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Eat Better to Travel Better: Plan, Prepare, (Practice) Patience

By: Bret Gornik

I am frequently asked about healthy spots to eat at in different cities or countries.  I love telling people about exciting and tasty restaurants, cafes, and juice bars all around the world.

I am currently in Amsterdam and within the first few days, I have had an Acai Bowl, Gluten Free Avocado Toast, Superfood Kale Salad, a Turmeric Shot, and Hummus Bowl.  You want to maximize your energy to enjoy your trip, so fueling your body is the best way to get the most out of your travel. Here are a few simple ways I find some of the best food ever anywhere in the world.

Plan

You, or in my case Sarah, have already planned the tours, museums, day trips, activities, and clubs.  Here are a few easy and effective ways to plan amazing and healthy meals during your trip. It is wonderful to see that every part of the world is kicking into the health trend because we all want to find the best quality food in each spot.

Google Maps - This has been my method of choice.  I search three things and these results have been amazing 95% of the time.

1. Organic Restaurants - You will find gems!  Although they might not always be 100% organic, you are going to find the highest quality and best tasting restaurants by doing this search. 

2. Superfood Juice Bars - Again, you might not always find your local HiVibe, but you will likely find plenty of spots to get a green juice, which we could always use while traveling.

3. Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants - I originally used this search when traveling with Sarah and her family (Sarah and her sisters are all vegetarians), and in doing so found some of the most fantastic restaurants I have ever tried.  You notice that these places tend to have an extra attention to quality and flavor.  Instead of going for the next burger spot on the street, you'll find hidden favorites and new dishes you've never tried.

After I have found the best spots, I take it right to the map.  I use My Maps on Google to drop a pin on every spot.  This is super effective because then when you are by the Anne Frank House, you now have three spots within a ten minute walk that you know will be healthy and clean.

Prepare

You get to the airport and you're hungry, you can set the tone for your trip with fast food, or you can enjoy your packed salad to invigorate your travel.

Travel Day - To Destination

1. Pack your travel meals - You can get through security with anything but liquid.  This means you could (and should) pack an entire meal for your trip.  It is super easy to stop at the Whole Foods salad bar before your trip and make a huge nutrient rich salad to bring with you.

2. Take your supplements - Planes dehydrate you and cause serious fatigue.  I recommend a multi-vitamin, Megahydrate, and activated charcoal while you travel to replenish nutrients, hydrate, and detoxify your body.

Trip

1. Bring your snacks - You will be moving around and are in a new space, so have plenty of healthy snacks.  My top choices are Activated Spouted Trail Mix, Bullet Proof Collagen Protein Bars, and Ryan Silver and my very own Vital Protein Energy Balls!

2. Take your supplements - When we travel, it's very important to stay on top of this because your body is in a new/different environment.  I recommend my three above as well as Immortal Machine and Vegan or Collagen Protein because your body needs high quality fuel to take on different environments.

Make your trip more enjoyable and don't let getting hungry make you miss out on an epic adventure.

Patience

You've got everything planned out.  The best breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots close to every activity, but you get to one restaurant and it's closed, or you explore a new part of town, or you get lost.  Now what?  As we like to say, "Never settle".  This is where you rely on two things - being social and not giving in. 

1. Ask people - Go up to someone and ask where is a good local healthy or vegetarian restaurant.  Go into a restaurant and ask for the local vegetarian spot.  People are always willing to help or at least point you in the right direction.

2. If this doesn't work, take your time.  Sarah and I were on our way home yesterday, and nothing was close on the map, so we popped into just three different spots and the third one is where that kale salad and hummus bowl came from.  One of the tops meals of the trip for sure! 

 

Planning is key.

Preparation is huge.

Patience is a virtue.

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The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do To Succeed In Life

Author: Jason Loebig

GET UP OUT OF YOUR SEAT & CRUSH LIFE.

REMEMBER, IT'S YOURS. AND YOU ONLY GET ONE.

Yes, of course that's the whole post. Now get your ass moving. 

#LiveBetter

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Why You Should Slow Down When You're Living Fast

By: Bret Gornik

I was recently asked, “What is the number one thing you are working on?” I had to think about this question very hard.  I am working on so many different things from getting married to mastering new physical skills to business opportunities.  I took some time to really think about what I wanted to work on in my life and decided that there was one thing I could do that would better all aspects of my life: slow down to enjoy the moment instead of living only for the future.

There is always something new I want to be better at.  Every week I add more and more to my schedule, so that I’m doing everything I can to be successful.  A strong work ethic is very important, but what I realized that I need the most in my life right now is to slow it down and really appreciate every moment of every day. I don’t mean take my foot completely off the gas, but I really need to embrace the energy of the now by being fully focused on what is at hand, instead of solely focusing on how happy or successful I will feel when I get to where I’m trying to go.  We shouldn’t wait to feel happy or successful or excited until after we achieve our goals.  We should start feeling those things now because we’re on the way to getting there.  The “best day ever” slogan is more than just an idea.  It is a mindset that helps me appreciate every day.  That means that today, the day where I’m working towards my goal, should be just as amazing as tomorrow, the day I actually achieve my goal.  I need to slow down the pace and realize that the journey is really what makes up the dream.

We live in a society where more is better.  The more deals you close, the sooner you get promoted.  The more hours you work, the more money you get.  The more pictures we post from vacation, the more “likes” we will rack up.  We cram our days and minds with so many things at once that when we take a second to look down at the clock, the entire day has passed us by without even realizing what was going on. When we only focus on the quantity and not the quality of our day, we start to miss the greatest details about life.

I will never stop striving to be the best I can be, but I will take each moment as its own.  Instead of trying to get everything done in one day, I will learn to be patient in my life.  Older and wiser people always tell us to appreciate the journey and to not just focus on the end result.  I’m finally starting to realize the truth behind that advice.  Instead of feeling the need to accomplish everything all at once, I will put my full heart and mind into each thing I do so that I appreciate every step along the way. Appreciating the journey is what makes success so great.

Through this self-realization, I have been able to see this need for improvement in every part of my life, staring with the most important part of my life: relationships.  I know that without strong relationships, life loses all meaning.  Sarah is my rock.  We met in college and since then have overcome long-distance, job changes,  and me starting a business.  When I stop and think about where we are at right now (planning a wedding, buying a house, building our careers) I realize how many amazing things are happening in our lives together.  With all those exciting plans comes a lot of stress, and that stress overwhelms us at times, causing us to get caught up in everything and losing sight of what we are doing this all for.  We tell ourselves that we’ll be happy once we get everything finalized for the wedding and that we’ll be happy once we move into our dream home.  There are days where we both wake up early, spend a full day working our asses off, and then come home late and only talk about the future.  Those are the days where our focus is on checking off the next thing on the list.  It’s in those times where we need to slow down and take a moment to reflect on where we’re at now and appreciate how far we’ve come.

I’m going to be engaged in the little details, and appreciate that all of this hard work and energy is going to get us to where we want to be.  Instead of focusing on how happy/excited/successful I will feel when we achieve all of these things, I will start feeling that way now, because just taking the first step towards your goal is enough reason to feel happy/excited/successful.

I had a true “ah-ha” moment a few weeks ago when we were out to dinner with Sarah’s grandparents, who have been married for over 50 years.  When Sarah's Grandfather first married Sarah’s grandma, they had the full weight of the world on their shoulders.  On top of going to college, they had to work multiple jobs to pay for their tuition, rent and food, and even had a baby to care for during all of this.  They did not have everything figured out, but they had each other and they loved each other deeply.  Now, 50+ years later, he told Sarah and me that the one constant in their lives has been their love for each other.  The moments they experienced 50+ years ago where they had to work together to inch towards their goals are the moments that made them the people they are today.  They didn’t wait until they achieved their goals to be truly happy and show each other how much they loved each other.  They started that from day one.  They appreciated the journey they were on and lived each day in the moment.  His words made me tear up, as I realized that these long, stressful days Sarah and I are experiencing right now are strengthening our relationship and that one day we will be like Sarah’s grandparents, looking back on our lives and realizing that this stage we’re in right now is pretty damn great.  Instead of focusing on how happy we’re going to be when we have everything figured out, we’re going to be happy right now, through every step of the way. And instead of wishing we could fast forward through all of the sweat and tears that it will take to achieve our dreams, we’re going to enjoy the journey.  With patience, your life becomes more holistic.  It’s time to slow down.  Appreciate everything now, because time is the only thing in life we lose.

I need to look inward daily to take a step back and value the journey. The Live Better Team checked into Maderas Village just two days ago and within this short, but impactful time, I have started on this journey.  The first yoga class we took was the slowest moving flow I have ever done.  When the class started the teacher said, “today we will go slow”, and I knew right then and there that this was coming full circle.  Time always moves at the same speed, but how you appreciate it changes with your mindset.  This "business" trip is proving to me that having patience and getting deep into thought helps me slow down. 

There are little things we can all do to start living in the moment and appreciating the now.  Don’t bring your cellphone to dinner – engage in conversation with the people you are eating with. Turn off work when you’re spending time with friends and family. When you’re stressed and overwhelmed at work, take a minute to remember why you’re doing this and channel the feelings you think you’ll feel once you achieve that goal.  I promise you that that energy will put you on a better path to achieving your life’s goals.

Take a step back.

Slow down.

Look inward.

Enjoy the moment.

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How Training Will Change Your Golf Game (And Life)

Why is golf-specific training relevant to you, even if you’ve never picked up a club (or have any plans to)?

Golf, much like your daily routine, is single-sided. We swing a golf club the same direction, sit in the same position at our desk, sit in the same seat on an airplane…the list goes on.

This isn’t unique to golf - baseball players throw with the same arm and bat from the same side of the plate. Basketball players favor one side and (for a majority of the time) shoot with the same hand.

This is exactly the reason we train. We fix imbalances, correct our weaknesses, and become well-rounded athletes (and, humans). If you golf regularly, these imbalances may be very tangible. You may feel tightness in one shoulder, low-back pain, or have trouble carrying a bag for 18 holes.

If nothing else, you don’t swing left-handed to balance out the number of swings you take right-handed. Compound this the number of times a professional golfer swings per year, and you’ll quickly realize the value of physical training for golfers.

A golf swing through the full range of motion displays an amazing translation of power through the kinetic chain. Strong legs, stability in the core, and flexibility through the hips, back and shoulders are vitally important, all while remaining in balance. It’s being able to generate club-head speed with good posture (no Happy Gilmore hacks) that generates a repeatable long ball.

Consider the last time you didn’t warm up before you hit the links. You woke up late, rushed to the first tee, took a couple BS half swings, and ripped it into somebody’s pool just off the first fairway. You don’t get a breakfast ball when it counts - start preparing the way you should, even when it’s just for fun. Physically and mentally.

It’s longevity to your golf game we’re looking for - can you carry a bag for 18 holes, swing the bat 65 to (120?) times, and come away pain free in your low back? Can you mentally let go of the last shot you pulled into the creek and stick the dropped ball inside 10 feet?

We’re going to discuss a few strategies to take your training to the next level (even if that’s Level 1).

Physical Training - Mobility

The first aspect to your training is mobility. What would a longer, smoother, restriction-free swing do to your game? Obviously, improve it. Mobility, for the purposes of this conversation, is the intersection of flexibility and strength. Too “Susie-bend-and-stretch” (thanks, @JogaJana) and you lose distance. Too “Arnold” and you lose range of motion.

Self-Myofascial Release

Use a foam roller or Hypersphere at home before your round to release tension from muscles, restore range of motion, and bring blood flow to key areas of the body pre-stretch.

Routine Length: 5 minutes (two minutes each area, one minute each side)

Areas of Release:

  • TFL (Hips)
  • Piriformis
  • Glutes
  • Back
  • Lats

Stretching Exercises:

It’s time to warm up the body mimicking the demands of the golf swing.

Routine Length: 10 minutes

Child’s Pose

Cat & Cow

Figure-4 Stretch

Shoulder Sweeps

Dislocates (use an exercise band)

Movement Preparation

Before the round starts, the goal is to establish a mind-body connection between the brain and the muscles you want to activate during a golf swing. If your core isn’t working properly it’s tough to initiate a strong, balanced rotation - this means more use of the hands, and more sliced or pulls shots.

Routine Length: 10 minutes

Glute Bridges

Forearm Plank

Hip Hinges (Note: this is your stance at address over the ball)

Side Shuffle

World’s Greatest Stretch

Warrior III

Shoulder Circles

Physical Training - Strength

The second aspect to your training (on off-days) is strength. We explained why training is important to your golf life - more years, less pain, better swing. The perfect example of great strength in golf is Rory McIlroy. His transformation in just a few years is incredible. Rory added muscle and power to his swing, one in which length is vitally important to an increasingly longer game.

For the “desk-to-course” (or “couch-to-course”) golfer, the main concern here is posture. Consider the position you sit in at work, checking emails, etc - slouched over, legs and shoulders tight, and limited room to breathe properly.

Combine that with leaning over 30-40-ish putts a round and violently swinging a club in the same direction and it’s easy to arrive at some low-back pain.

First, planks, in every variation I can try. Remove a hand, lift a leg, add instability to the foundation you’re working on. Anything to get the core to brace (this function of the core keeps you upright, in good posture) - this is your insurance policy for the low-back.

Second, rotations. Any time you can add a medicine ball toss, use the cable machine in a gym, or simply mimic the demands of golf swing with resistance, do it.

Bodyweight Exercises:

Forearm Plank

Side Planks

Push-ups

Bodyweight Squats

Assisted Single-leg squats

Forward Lunge (add rotations with your 9-iron)

Reverse Lunge

Lateral Lunge

Single-leg deadlift (unweighted)

High Plank Shoulder Taps

(For weight-training exercises, send us a message!).

Key Areas of Physical Training Focus:

  1. Mobility
  2. Balance/Stability
  3. Flexibility
  4. Strength
  5. Power

 

 

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It's Your Choice

By: Bret Gornik

You decide how to live your life.  Yes, things are thrown at you and you do not always get to choose the hand that you are dealt, but, from today forward, you have the choice.  You picked your job.  You take the fork, pick up the food, and eat it.  You go to the gym.  You read a book.  You select your friends. You decide who to date.  Starting today, you will realize how all of these choices add up to how you feel at the end of the day.


Ask yourself: How do I want to feel tonight?  Accomplished, proud, excited, or tired, bored, unsatisfied, and average?


It's time to turn up.  If you are already a crusher, which most of you are, let's take it to the next level.  If you are ready for a reboot, let’s start now.  Not tomorrow.  Right in this moment.


I have learned from my yoga journey that you need to look at yourself from time to time and make sure you are happy, or you will be failing those around you.  Take time to examine yourself and make sure you are fulfilled.


To steal a term from one of my favorite books, The Alchemist, you must define your “Personal Legend”, your life's spiritual purpose. It's a spiritual calling that awakens a deep desire and passion to live with a sense of purpose for something greater than yourself.  What is your meaning?  Once you define this life essence then you will understand that every decision your make plays into whether or not you are achieving this life mission.

 
Relationships


One of my favorite quotes is, "You are the product of the five people you spend the most time with." I couldn’t agree with this more.  When you are with your drinking buddies, you drink.  When you're with your gym rat friends, you work out. We are often a product of our environment.  The overlooked part of this statement is that you CHOOSE those five people you spend all your time with.  Who is in your top five?


Work Colleges/School Mates


Does your work team motivate the hell out of you to be the best you can be?  If yes, keep them in your life. They are helping you grow into the best person you can be.  If no, it’s time to change teams or jobs. You will not achieve your Personal Legend by coasting and surrounding yourself with people who do not inspire you to work hard.


Significant other (if applicable)


Does your significant other support you and help you flourish? If yes, he/she is on the squad! If no, this is tough, but you need to make the choice.  We tend to get caught up in how relationships look on the outside.  We spend time posting Instagram pictures together and rack up as many “likes” as we can, but if behind closed doors the love and support are not truly there, you are selling yourself short and missing out on an important aspect of relationships.  Every relationship in your life should have a positive impact on you.


Friends


Do your friends help you through hard times and push you to get better? If yes, they are great! If no, years together in a relationship does not necessarily mean it's a positive impact on your life.  Choose your friends.

Make sure your friends are moving forward.  Always grow and surround yourself by those are want to be great.


Mind


Your mindset is everything.

 
You wake up every day.  You can either snooze your alarm, and reluctantly get ready.  Or you can meditate, workout, enjoy a healthy breakfast, tell someone in your life you love them, and go ham!  The same sun comes up on Monday that comes up on Saturday.  Live for that day, no matter which one it is. The key is to think for yourself.


Take one-step forward.


Make conscious choices that you decide to make with the understanding that you choose your life's direction.  Do not go with the flow or do anything you do not believe in.


Body


Your body is yours.  Yes, your height is hard to change.  Sorry we are not all 6'5'' 220 lbs NBA point guards (damn, I wish) but your image of yourself is your choice.  You choose who you follow on Instagram, you watch reality TV, you order your dinner, and you are the one that walks into the gym. This is all your choice.


You do not need to be the next fitness model, actress/actor, or personal trainer, but you need to be healthy.  Your health is your wealth.  Without a functionally fit body, you slow down.  You make more excuses.  You don't think as clearly.  You take less initiative.

 
Being healthy opens up so many doors.  You have more energy.  You set goals.  You strive for greatness. Your optimal fitness level is up to you and what you want to look like is up to you.  Do not let others sway your Personal Legend.  You chose it.  Never settle.  


Job/Career/Major


Depending on where you are in your life, you are in school, working, both, or none.  


No matter where you are in your life, you choose to go into the classroom, office, or neither every day. Why do you go to class?  What motivates you to get in your car and drive to work?  Do you go to work at 9m and leave at 5pm because those are your “hours” or because you believe that is how long you should be working?


Does your job correlate with your Personal Legend?  You might not be in your dream job, but are you on the path to get there?


Did you choose your major because investment bankers make the most money? Or, are you in Neuroscience because you really love how the mind works?


I chose economics because I thought business was the only major I could get a job in after school.  I never once contemplated switching.  I never once stopped to realize that this field was not what I was passionate about.  I never realized that switching my major to something I was actually interested in was an option.  I took a corporate job because that could pay for a car, apartment, and bills.  I did not even know the real role of the job until I worked there for 6 months.  That was not my Personal Legend. However, it is never too late to turn things around and start living your Personal Legend.  Ask yourself, what is my purpose?  What can I do that will make others better?  How do I want to feel at the end of the day? This was the defining question in my life's quest.


I want to have the best day ever, everyday.  I am my best when I improve the others around me to be healthier and follow their passions. I need to know that the sky is no longer the limit.  


How do you want to feel at the end of the day? The choice is yours. Have the best day ever.
 

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Travel: What My Favorite Destinations Have Taught Me

Everyone has a different love (and appetite) for travel. Some prefer the beach, some prefer the mountains.

I can’t decide. I live in Chicago, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for someone with a love for mountains and temperate weather. It does, however, create a unique environment for exploring city, beach, and forest (relatively close) all at once, with a full dose of all four seasons.

Yes, it sometimes bothers me it snows nine inches overnight in March. Yes, it sometimes bothers me it hits 95 degrees in July at 80% humidity. 

But yes, it IS amazing to jump off a sailboat into the Play Pen on one of those days (which makes it ALL worth it). It still feels good to drop a paddle board into the lake in early February, just for fun.

I think I’ve decided I like returning back to this concrete jungle with intermittent trips to both the beach and the mountains. I love the energy of a big city (especially New York City) - it encourages, motivates, and drives you to excel. It’s electric, well into the early hours of the morning.

But there is something about the stillness of a night spent camping in the mountains, where the only lights you need are those from the moon overhead. There is a tranquility to hearing waves crash outside your hammock as you nap in the late afternoon. I love to snowboard and surf, which attract me to these places even more.

Many view travel as an “escape.” It’s funny how many times you hear, “Back to reality tomorrow…”

Every second you spend breathing is reality. Life, going on all around you, whether you’re on vacation or in the “real world,” is reality. Your reality is negotiable - you could live exactly where you just vacationed to. 

If you’re using vacation as an escape, maybe it’s time to take a second look at what it is you’re escaping from. I actually don’t love the term “vacation.” It creates a negative mental association with returning back home. I like "adventure." I’m changing my environment to experience something different, gain a new perspective, and expand my boundaries.

You can learn to find value in your destinations, both at home and on trips. You can take the mindful, relaxed lessons you learn on trips and apply them at home. 

Take a day off from work. Go out for a morning walk while you take your first conference call. Take two weeks off and “live” somewhere else. If you’re fortunate enough, live in multiple destinations.

My Favorite Destinations (I’ve Been To…So Far)

Mountains

Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland - I’m an adventure sport junkie. Any gravity-aided (or gravity-resisted, if we’re rock climbing) sport is good enough to make me happy. Mountain bike riding, trail running, canyoning, you name it. This is the mecca.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming - Snowboarding is one of my favorite hobbies. JHMR is steep, deep, and enough for anyone to have the best ski trip of their life. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone, which was an amazing day trip as well.

Vail, Colorado - I’m not sure whether I enjoy the summer or winter more in Vail, but it never disappoints. Rip the bowls on a powder day, fly the groomers on a blue bird day, and enjoy long mountain bike rides during a summer day. Plus, apres is always going for winding down (or turning up).

Whistler, Canada - The “perfect” mountain, both in winter and summer. The drive up through British Columbia’s amazing wilderness is almost just as amazing.

Beaches & Islands

Kauai, US - Kauai might be my favorite place on earth. I stayed in Poipu on the southern coast, but got to adventure along the Nepali coast both by boat and by helicopter (take the open door helicopter tour, for sure). Surf, hike, snorkel, and just live.

Pebble Beach, California - My favorite stretch of coastline in the world. A mix of rocks, ocean, sunshine, and cypress trees make for an unforgettable landscape. Put a golf course right along it, and it makes for a pretty special experience.

Exuma, Bahamas - If you imagine the perfect sandbar, with nothing or no one else in sight, this is it. The water is clear, the pigs and dolphins are friendly, and Chat 'N’ Chill serves up the freshest conche salad and island cocktails.

Greek Islands, Greece - I lived on a sailboat for 7 days and sailed to a new island every day, sleeping on the boat in the harbor every night (with 70 of my closest friends). The people, food, and blue water are pretty much all you could ask for.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica - The picturesque surf town. Relaxed, amazing vibe and warm waves to get in, every day.

Nice, France - Romantic adventure through the south of France. I also made a stop in Cannes (during the film festival), which was really enjoyable.

Maui, US - My favorite golf course in the world (shhh, don’t tell Pebble), plus Mama’s Fish House, my favorite restaurant in the world. The best day ever.

Cities

New York City, New York - If you need a dose of motivation, inspiration, or flurry of activity, Manhattan is the perfect weekend trip.

Rome, Italy - The best plate of pasta, my favorite place to have a cup of coffee, and the home base of civilization. An amazing place to simply walk around.

Barcelona, Spain - Spain operates on my body clock - nap, eat late, stay up late, wake up early. Beaches, night life, soccer, and good food. Yes, please.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Lay in the park, take a few long bike rides, and enjoy a beautiful and artistic city.

Travel light. Travel long. Travel free.

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See Ya Sugar

For the month of February, I made a decision to consume less than 10 grams of sugar a day.  Let's be honest, I was addicted.  Every single night, I needed to end the day with a half (well... a full) dark chocolate bar, or entire container of coconut ice cream, or granola, cookies, etc.  All of these snacks alone have 10+ grams of sugar. 

I wanted to prove to myself that I can achieve any goal I set out for myself, no matter how challenging it may be.  There is still a full container of coconut ice cream in my fridge that I bought that last week of January, so I think I can successfully say mission accomplished!  The temptation was there, but I did not succumb.

The fact of the matter is, we are all addicted to sugar.

HISTORY LESSON:

In the 1960s, the sugar industry started booming and adding extra sugar into everything they could from cereal to sports drinks (sugar, brown sugar, agave, corn sugar, dextrin, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, etc).  We started eating it for every meal without knowing the impact on our health.  As the industry turned into over a $50 billion a year industry, the sugar folks paid scientists to prove that fat made you fat and not sugar.  They conducted studies to show that sugar had no adverse effects on health.  Well, this is wrong.  With growing rates of type 2 diabetes, autism, ADD, and childhood obesity, something cannot be right with this equation.  I am NOT saying that sugar is the entire problem, but I am saying that you do not need it to enjoy your food and you might even find that you enjoy food more without it!

Giving up sugar is hard.  We  associate sugar with happiness.

Birthday Party = Cake

Friday Office Breakfast = Donuts

Movies = Sour Patch Kids

Little League Championship = Ice Cream

Sunday Morning Brunch = Syrup with a side of Pancakes

We have conditioned ourselves to believe that sugar correlates with positivity. When in reality it slows us down. When is the last time you felt amazing after eating 15 donut holes?  When is the last time you wanted to workout after the whole pint of ice cream?   It is time to make a change and show you that good food means good mood and good mood means a good life! 

What I Ate:

Wake Up - 4:30am

Water - 0 Grams

  • Drink 2 liters of water with sea salt
  • Activated Charcoal

Tea - 8:30am

Mushroom Tea - 0 Grams

  • 1 TBS. Cacao
  • 1 Four Sigmatic Coryceps Tea Packet
  • 1 Tbs. Rishi Turmeric Ginger Tea
  • 10 oz. Mountain Valley Spring Water

Meal One - 12:00pm

Smoothie Bowl - 4 Grams of Sugar

  • Base

o   Coconut Milk - 0 g

o   Vital Proteins Collagen Protein - 0 g

o   1 TBS. Peanut Butter - 1 g

o   1 Handful Kale - 0 g

o   1/2 Avocado - 0 g

o   1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds - 0 g

o   1 Serving Gluten Free Oatmeal - 0 g

o   1 Tbs. Tonic Alchemy Super Food Blend - 0 g

  • Toppings

o   1 tsp. Bee Pollen - 1 g

o   1/3 Cup Pumpkin Seeds - 1 g

o   Sliced Avocado - 0 g

o   1 Tbs. Chia Seed - 0 g

o   1 Tbs. Hemp Seed - 1 g

o   1 Handful Walnuts/Brazil Nuts - 1 g

Morning Supplements

  • Garden of Life Multi Vitamin
  • Mega Hydrate

Meal Two - 2:00pm

Avocado Gluten Free Toast with Egg - 0 Grams of Sugar

  • 2 Slices Gluten Free Bread - 0 g
  • 1/2 Avocado - 0 g
  • 2 Over Hard Eggs - 0g

Snack - 3:30pm

  • Bullet Proof Vanilla Shortbread Protein Bar - 2 Grams of Sugar

 OR

  • Bullet Proof Fuel Bar - 0 Grams

Meal Three - 5:00pm

Salad/Grain Bowl - 3.5 Gram of Sugar

  • 1/2 Cup Rice - 0 g
  • 1 Chicken Breast - 0 g
  • 1 Handful Spinach - 0 g
  • Mixed Chopped Peppers - 1 g
  • 1/2 Cubed Sweat Potato - 2.5 g
  • 1/2 Avocado - 0 g
  • 2 Tbs. Hope Hummus - 0 g

Meal Four - 7:30pm

  • Grass Fed Burger
  • 1/3 Pound Grass Fed Ground Beef - 0 g
  • 1/2 Avocado - 0 g
  • Toasted Gluten Free Bun - 0 g
  • Swish Chard - 0g

Daily Sugar Total = 7 to 9.5 grams

 

How I did it:

I reached out for social support by telling my fiancé and friends sugar was gone from my diet for the month.  I wanted them to know so they could support my mission.  I used Instagram and Snapchat to document my experience by sharing recipes and my feelings throughout the sugarless journey.  The support was amazing.  I had so many people ask me for recipes, to cook with them, and asking how the hell I was doing it.  It was amazing.  And that was a huge contributor to me achieving my goal.

I had serious cravings! The first 5 days were really tough.  I saw the ice cream, wanted the ice cream, but dismissed it even existed! I told myself, "I am the one who reaches the spoon in there, fills it with ice cream, and then eats the damn thing."  It is your choice to eat everything you eat.  Remember that.  Take ownership.

I challenge you:

Not to do what I did, but to go 5 days without added sugar.  Mind you, I took it to the extreme (as I often do) and went completely off all sugars.  Try it without the added stuff.  Read the labels.  Sorry Captain Crunch, Minute Made Apple Juice, and Starbucks Mocha Fraps, but we are taking a week off! You will be amazed on how much sugar is in foods we consider to be “healthy.”  No more sugar.  Learn and improve yourself. Notice how your body changes, your mind clears up, your skin gets better, and you feel like a better you!

Take control.

Get off Sugar.

Enjoy food again!

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Creating Discipline, Red Teaming, & Worst Case Scenario Planning

I open with this thought: "Warriors aren’t trained to go home."

This post is about creating strength…it’s never a question of why, but always question of when. Strength is always needed, including strength of the mind, body, and spirit.

Discipline

The strongest person you know, both mentally and physically, likely has a disciplined and consistent approach to exercising strength. Think about the barrage of mental challenges working with terminal cancer patients might present. The bodybuilder in the gym who doesn’t miss one rep, one calorie, or one minute of sleep over months at a time. The single mother taking care of three children while working two jobs. The challenges vary, but the warrior mindset doesn’t.

What is the difference between those who are truly strong and those who are not? It is simply a willingness to do the hard work when you least feel like it. The resolve to succeed, by any means necessary.

Motivation is fleeting. Discipline is consistent.

Warriors train in the harshest of conditions, even when it “doesn’t matter”, so that when it comes time to perform they are ready. Rain or shine. Snow, sleet or hail. They’ve already succeeded (or beaten you) just by the way they prepare.

While seemingly extreme, these methods can be applied to anything in your life. Work, workouts, finances, family hardship, etc. This applies to something as simple as making your bed every morning. It’s the first “win” of the day, the first chance to check something off your to-do list, and to kick start your morning routine.

Everyone and everything can be stress tested, and it should be. But why?

For one, life is complicated and at times pretty difficult. Things may spiral out of control, the world may seem as if it is crashing down around you, but you are always in control of at least one thing - your reaction to it and your preparation for it.

Think of the last time you walked by a fast-food restaurant, or a donut shop, and you caved under pressure. Why did you make that decision? Let’s assume you are trying to avoid those foods for purposes of this discussion. It is very likely your discipline faltered due to a lack of preparation.

Your preparation involves an active decision to eat something else (i.e. you cooked food at home so you don’t need to purchase more food), but it also involves the willingness and ability to say “no” when you need to practice discipline.

This is what we’re getting at. The pre-planned ability to say no (or yes, potentially in the face of fear) to make decisions based upon a set of rules you already made for yourself. No excuses, no BS, no peer pressure.

Real Life Scenario: I just completed one month of paleo and intermittent-fasting. I said “no” a lot, even when it was very difficult. No grains, no dairy, no alcohol - even on dates, nights out with friends, and a seemingly insurmountable stream of peer pressure.

If you can’t say no during times of low stress what makes you think it’ll be easier when it gets worse? Don’t rely on motivation. Create discipline.

Red Teaming

The second “stress test” of self-will involves the concept of "red teaming." The concept is used heavily in the tech and military sectors in which a group takes an “attacker” approach to hacking their own system to determine vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and assess security.

Writers “red team” all the time, though they don’t call it that. It’s just called “peer editing."

We can do the same thing to our own operating systems. And it involves editing your life for variety. Try new workouts, new foods, work on a creative project with a different person, or ask your own personal “board of advisers” (i.e. those people who’s opinion you seek most often) to try and poke holes in your behavior, decision making, and reactivity.

What are your weaknesses? Where are you vulnerable?

Growth happens at the edge of being a little bit uncomfortable. If you’re afraid of public speaking, and your number gets called in the next group meeting, will you be ready? Do you really want to wait to get in front of that important group of people to find out?

I regularly try to put myself in these types of situations to mitigate my weaknesses. Then I amplify my strengths. This is a great activity to do with a mentor - you’ll receive critical feedback, learn from someone smarter or stronger, and become stronger yourself in the process.

Real Life Scenario: My weakness with food has nothing to do with me buying something from the store, grocery, or restaurant, but everything to do with food being offered to me. Whether it’s sitting on a work desk, girlfriend brings home candy from the office, or the appetizers the group orders, it always catches my attention (and appetite). Could I have avoided bread and booze if I had locked myself in my apartment and not socialized for a full month? Definitely. But life isn’t fun that way, nor should your wellness goals get in the way of your life. Learn to actively say no with a purpose. Don’t get caught shrugging your shoulders because you “don’t have an excuse."

Worst Case Scenario Planning

You’ve assessed your weaknesses and developed a road map for dealing with a crisis. Now actually practice that crisis. This third stress test is “worst case scenario” planning. If everything goes to $*#&, can you handle your $*#&?

This goes hand in hand with red teaming. Create back-up systems for your health and for your work.

Just as you back-up your phone and computer for data, we can do the same for the body and mind. If you’ve properly hydrated all morning, you can handle a few hours without water (and without getting a headache) - try it.

If you’ve developed a meditation or mindfulness practice, there will inevitably be a period of high stress in your life. Use this back-up system in your brain to deal with that stress. When rational thought cannot reason your emotion out of feeling overwhelmed, fall back on that discipline.

Bring your own food with you in your carry-on. Pre-research food menus and restaurants when traveling. Try a pre and post flight stretch to relieve inevitable tightness, and continue to develop that practice in between travels.

You can even take this a step further. For instance, fasting is a great way to drop your reliance on food, specifically eating right away in the morning or at regular intervals. Try the same thing with your phone - “fast” by leaving it at home for a whole day (woah!).

What feeble technology do you absolutely rely on every day for success? Try going a day without it, just in case.

This is not doomsday preparation, just simply a way to stay on your game when your routine fails.

Be comfortable feeling a little uncomfortable. You’ll be one step ahead of yourself, and two steps ahead of everyone else.

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Pressing the “Reset” Button

Author: Ryland Hormel

Even when I am standing in the middle of the city, surrounded by endless opportunity and possibility, I sometimes get the feeling of being trapped.

I had that feeling last week, but knew exactly what I had to do.  I loaded up my truck, grabbed my 15-week old Malamute puppy and headed out to camp in the snow for a couple of nights. Just me, my puppy, and my camera.

I needed a system reboot. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city - the pace, stress, people, and pressure can be overwhelming at times. My cure is diving face first into my passions like a birthday cake.  I am the type of person that feels at home on the road and comfort in the unexpected.  I love my city life, but I require a balance within it to be able to appreciate all of the amazing people, places and experiences around me.

My “reset” button lies inside my adventure truck, “The Moose Mobile,” with a long open road ahead, some reggae music on the radio, and the excitement for what I will discover.  My passion for photography came from a synergy of beautiful images and my love of nature. It allows me to tap into my creative self and forces me to find new perspectives.  When I am behind a camera I am almost guaranteed to enter a flow state (the present moment).  In this flow state, only capturing the present moment matters to me, unloading constant and unnecessary stress may be carrying around. Chasing experiences like these help produce more confidence, gratitude and awareness.  

I encourage you to find your reset button.  My guess is that it lies within your passions. Need help finding your passion? Follow your curiosity. It is your road map.  

With stress-free living on my mind, I drove three hours northwest of Chicago to Devil's Lake State Park.  I found myself a nice campsite where I could sleep in my truck. I was shocked to discover three other campsites taken as it was absolutely freezing outside! I met two guys named Sam and Travis who had taken residence in hammocks for the night. Savages.

I shared a beer with them by the fire, and they told me how doing things like hammock camping in the freezing cold makes them feel alive. I could not agree more. Moose, however, was already curled up into a ball in the truck, signaling bed time for the two of us.  We snuggled up in the truck, under the stars and blanket of wilderness. We awoke the next morning to what looked like the inside of a freezer - everything was iced over, all the water bottles in the car were completely frozen, and the windows frosted over. Due to proper preparation, both Moose and I slept warmly through the night.

Moose and I went on a hike around the lake to start the morning, and then returned to camp for the rest of the day to relax in the solitude of the forest.  It was Super Bowl Sunday, so I was of course the only person at the campsite. Come nightfall, I sat by a raging fire, just looking at the stars, feeling absolutely stoked on life.  And that was it - I was back to ground zero. That was the reboot moment I was looking for and needed.  I slept through the night once again, adventure on my mind, and returned back to Chicago the next day, excited and appreciative to be back for city adventures.

If I found any lesson from this trip, it’s that sometimes a quick pause on the stress of “daily” life, taking a step outside the box (and into the wild), can be just what you need. And if you need help finding a direction to take, follow your passions. It only takes a quick moment of clarity to know exactly what you need to do. Relax, reset, go HAM.

Move Mountains,

Ryland Hormel

 

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Live Better Valentine's Day Guide - 2017

Valentine's day is right around the corner.  A holiday centered around love has turned into teddy bears and giant heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates.  It seems like a lot of people dread this day, but if you stop to remember what it’s all about, it can actually be amazing.  Let's make it an epic day.

At Live Better, we believe that you should spend every day doing what you love, with the people you love.  Valentine’s Day is a reminder of that.  It’s a day to go above and beyond and remind that special person in your life how important they are to you.  We have a few tips for you on how to do Valentine’s Day Live Better style.

Have The Best Valentine's Day Ever

1.)     Make sure your home or apartment is clean.  A clean house is a clean mind. The more organized your living space is, the more productive you are – it’s just common sense!  Trust me guys, there are few things that make a girl happier than coming home to a clean house.  Always use organic products! 

2.)     Do NOT forget flowers!  Trust me on this one… Regardless of how long you have known each other, flowers are always a good idea.  It is a simple gesture that goes a long way, and it brings some life into your home.  Whole Foods has great flower specials right now.

3.)     Plan a fun date activity for the two of you – something you’ve never done before.  We recommend a Barry’s Bootcamp date, followed by dinner at True Food Kitchen.  Nothing says “I love you” like getting your ass kicked in a workout class and then eating the world’s finest guacamole.  Another one of our favorite date activities is rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders.  We love dates that involve being active and doing something unusual, because who doesn’t want to try something new?!  Dinner and a movie is great, but why not switch it up for Valentine’s Day and climb one of Brooklyn Boulders 60 foot walls?!

4.)     Planning to stay in for a chill night?  Spice things up with a Turmeric dinner.  Check this out and enjoy a movie together.  My favorite is About Time.  This movie is filled with the true meaning of life - You decide to make your day/life great!

Valentine’s Day is probably one of the most dreaded days of the year.  It’s filled with stress about relationship statuses, expensive gifts, and showcasing everything on social media but, it doesn’t have to be that way.  It can be as simple as spending the day with your significant other, or friends, and doing something different and reminding them that you care about them.  If you live your life the Live Better way, this day is just another reminder that we should show our love and appreciation for the people in our lives.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day.  Mix things up.  And at least get flowers...

Have the best Valentine's Day ever.

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February Nutrition Experiment: Paleo & Intermittent Fasting

This month I’d like to highlight (and challenge myself to) something that doesn’t get iterated enough by fitness and nutrition professionals.

Within the context of navigating an American diet, eating healthy (at least a majority of the time) is extremely difficult.

Inherently, it shouldn't be this way. No one forces you to eat the foods that you do. You put the fork to your mouth for every bite (that self-admission might be the first positive step towards fixing it as well). There are so many great, healthy options for food, including buying your groceries and cooking, restaurants with fast-casual options that fit almost any dietary restriction, and food delivery.

However, marketing tricks, food labeling, and the sheer convenience of unhealthier (albeit good tasting) options are overwhelming to the point of mass confusion.

So why did I choose Paleo and Intermittent Fasting?

First, I’d like to caveat all of this by saying I don’t necessarily think that Paleo is the best way to eat (for everyone). Veganism has the utmost importance to some. If you’re a professional athlete burning through thousands of calories a day, you may require a higher number of fast acting carbohydrates than Paleo might allow. If you’re trying to fight cancer in the body, the ketogenic diet holds a ton of promise.

Every person is different, and every person will perform optimally eating different types of foods. Don’t let someone bully you into thinking their diet is the best for you. What makes a lot of this difficult is spending the time to figure out what is best for you.

You might say, “well I just don’t have time to figure that out. I’m too busy as it is to find healthy food, much less perform diet experiments to figure what and how to eat."

I’m calling BS. If you don’t have the time to make your health the number one priority, something else in your life is suffering. Maybe it’s your mood, energy or physical performance.

A simple equation:

Better fuel = more energy = better output = more (active) hours in your day = best day(s) ever.

I’ll start with Intermittent Fasting because it doesn’t actually involve any food itself. Intermittent Fasting (without going into too much detail - Google it if you’d like to learn in more detail) provides a structure for when to eat. I use the 16/8 method (I only eat during an eight hour window, like 1-9pm), which I’ve found most effective for my body. John Romaniello provides a great starting guide for how and why IF works (read it here) if you want to go into further detail. I use it for two reasons:

  1. It decreases my reliance on needing to eat at specific times/intervals
  2. It provides hormone optimization for performance, like elevating HGH levels and creating insulin-sensitivity in the body (for those times when you accidentally eat a donut)

IF has allowed me to enjoy my morning coffee (I drink Bulletproof), with noticeable benefit to mental performance, as the only thing I consume until about 1pm. If I’ve got a busy morning or am traveling I no longer am in search of food like a bear out of hibernation. I find myself consuming less food overall, which is a great change from how much I used to eat.

Alright, so why Paleo?

More than anything else, Paleo provides three inherent challenges I’d like to try:

  1. No alcohol
  2. No dairy
  3. No gluten

Due to my current work schedule and energy requirements, I don’t drink much alcohol anymore. When I do, I like to make it count (margaritas in Mexico, for instance - ouch). I don’t eat much dairy, except for the occasional dose of goat cheese on eggs or slice of pizza. I don’t eat much gluten, except for the occasional slice of bread when a GF option isn’t available.

Why then would this be a challenge for me? It’s the principal of a zero tolerance policy that I really like. Any of those individually wouldn’t provide a big challenge for me. However, with all three at once I’m bound to arrive at a tough decision at some point.

The hardest part of sticking to any nutrition protocol is (the lack of) social support.

If your coworkers are going out to eat, you’ll have to be that guy (or girl) ordering a salad and water. How hard will you find it to just have one (or none) glass of wine or beer at the wedding you’re at? There is pizza delivered to your next meeting - are you going to sit there and say “I’m good” and not take some heat for it?

The only way you’re going to be able to field criticism for your life decisions (and get out unscathed) is if you already have a framework for decision making. You have a plan to say yes and no, when required. Tony Robbins said, “You get what you tolerate.” Don’t tolerate anything you don’t deserve, and that is an infinite amount of healthy energy to live your life the way you want.

At this point, I’m honestly surprised there aren’t Jolly Ranchers sitting in a jar on your way out of the dentist’s office. Sugar is EVERYWHERE, and we’re all addicted to it.

I like Paleo because of its focus on low sugar, non-processed whole food options as well as an increase to the amount of healthy fat as a proportion of overall food intake. It is low (and slow) carb, which keeps the body’s blood sugar levels in check. Even at the highest levels of human physical performance, you must earn your carbohydrates.

You don’t fill your gas tank if you don’t drive your car, right?

In an ideal scenario, the days you workout or require more work of the body you’d consume higher levels of carbohydrates. If your body doesn’t need the quick energy (e.g. if you’re sitting at your desk for 10 hours a day), then why are you feeding it fuel from those sources?

Here is the breakdown of Paleo food sources:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean Meats
  • Fish
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Fats (avocado, olive oil, MCT oil)

Here’s what I cannot eat:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Processed Food
  • Legumes (e.g. beans)
  • Starches (e.g. potatoes)
  • Alcohol

Here is what I do know for sure - taking a month off alcohol, pasta, pizza, cheese, and anything cheap from a package or box will definitely do my body well. I’m aiming to decrease inflammation, increase energy, look good, feel good, and perform well.

I will be tracking my food intake, workouts, and energy levels via a notebook for the month of February. I will report back at the end of the month on how it went!

Happy living better,

Jason 

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Chicago Bucketlist Takeover

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Chicago Bucketlist Takeover

Yesterday was epic.  As Jason, Ryland, Moose, and I traversed around stunning Chicago, I became infatuated by its intricacies.  With a tourist mindset, we approached the city in a different way.  Motivated to jam our day with as much cool shit as we could; we did it. A day consisting of handstands, hammocks, rooftops , skyline views, history, and culture, we all now respect Chicago even more.  To see the city from the inside out in one day, made me realize how incredible Chicago really is. Check out @chicagobucketlist Instagram story right now, before it is too late, to see everything we did!  Take this piece as a kick-start to explore your town.  Take one day and do as much as you can.  Realize how amazing your surroundings are and enjoy the history that has helped to create your home. Have the best day ever.

 

We did A LOT yesterday, but here are my top five events!

Event 1 - Edge Hammocks

IMG_6263.JPG

Yes, this was slightly frightening, but that is our goal.  Every day you must shock your comfort zone.  Continue to take it up a notch.  In this state, we found peace and a true sense of calm.   Being able to relax during a fearful time builds a true energy that we can all use more of.

Event 2 - Rings

Strength is key.  Try training in a new way.  Do something you have never tried.  Knowing you own strength helps you grow and push past your barriers.  Jason is working towards a goal and uses new methods to increase his body awareness.  Control is strength. 

Event 3 - Building Tops

Wow, to see the city from up high is incredible.  To dangle your feet off a skyscraper is even cooler (Do not attempt without serious supervision).  Living on the edge is a true way to stimulate the mind.  During this event, I noticed my mind filling with new ideas and plans that I want to start doing now!  Try something crazy.  Live it up.

Event 4 - Going Live (Dream Flow)

Going live is something I love.  Interacting with others in real time is my favorite thing about my day.  To be able to do this with thousands of people is truly the best ever!   We are always live in our day to day.  Interact in every moment knowing that you influence everyone around you.  Do what you do for others.

Event 5 - Night Time Chi

Unbelievable.  The cityscape at night is something else.  Sarah and I always joke about how we want to get an Uber just to drive us down Lakeshore Drive at night to see the city.  Well today, we had Ryland do it ha-ha.  The skyline is magnificent and stoic.  It stands for strength and compassion. As Jason said, "There is an aura glowing around the city."  This truly is the best city in the world and our architecture shows it.  Always make your nights count.  End the day on a high note, so tomorrow is even better.

We cannot thank @chicagobucketlists enough for the motivation to explore.  We went to the edge, literally, of our comfort zone and back.  We laughed and shared in the awe of this great city.  I am proud to call Chicago my city and cannot wait to crush it again today!

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The “No Cell Phone Challenge” (And Why You Should Try It)

Here’s something Apple didn’t tell you when you bought your phone - every button, sound, light, ring, bing, message, and notification on it is meant to addict you to it. We rely on our phones for everything, often for good reason. Why wouldn’t you want to have a full GPS system (rather than print out Yahoo Map Directions), multiple social networks to connect with friends and family, and any of the other millions of apps available? Those little devices are responsible for so much of our attention.

But is giving it all of our attention really the best idea?

While I don’t necessarily agree with the “cell phones are ruining our ability to communicate” sensationalism, there is some merit to spending some quality time actually talking to the people you’re with (whether you know them, or not). Yes, I can manage to walk to the sidewalk without bumping into people and chat with someone new on a plane, but as I reflected the past couple weeks on how much I use my phone every day, I realized I am guilty of being slightly anti-social (at times).

My “No Cell Phone Challenge” involves specific times to put your phone down and engage. I like Instagram (and the subsequent endorphin rush of getting a “like”) just as much as the next person, but I’m going to try this with you (note: if you see me break one of these rules, call me out!).

In the Elevator

We have a tendency to bury our head in our phone every time we step into the elevator. I’m not sure why no one talks to each other, but it’s awkwardly quiet. We make sure our headphones are plugged in, our Snapchats have loaded, or just do anything at all to avoid eye contact. Fight the urge to make a comment about the weather, leave your phone in your pocket, and smile at those riding up with you.

During All Meals

“Breaking bread” is ceremonial among all cultures and a time to be social. We spend all kinds of money to have a wonderful dinner out with friends or a significant other, yet we’d probably get more talked about if we just all texted each other at the table. Our goal here is to engage with the people we chose to spend time with. Schedules are busy - don’t waste it. Plus, being mindful about the food we're eating (where it came from, how good it is, remembering what it tastes like…) helps us both appreciate it as well as slow down (helping to curb accidental over consumption). I would like to extend this part of the challenge to watching TV as well. Try reading a book, listening to a podcast, or chatting with your company if with people.

Just After Waking

The first moments after waking (in or out of bed) are crucial to how you start your day. If our goal is to be less reactive, meaning we are able to control our emotions and response to stressors through the day, it is important to filter the inputs we receive right away. Think back to the last time you immediately checked your email right after waking…if the email started a firestorm, reflect on how that made you feel. Your cortisol is high enough just after waking, don’t send it higher.

Try spending two minutes (under the covers) telling yourself three things you are grateful for. The goal here is to smile (not squint at your Twitter feed). This is part of having “the best day ever” - manage the information you consume, or it will direct your attention wherever it wants to take you (see “phone addiction” article).

Passenger in the Car

I am guilty of this, mainly because I hate driving. I bike everywhere in the city (thus avoiding all traffic woes), so usually find it a waste of time. My wonderful girlfriend is usually kind enough to take the wheel (except on long trips where I take over), so this one is something I’m working on.

Similar to eating a meal, this is time to chat with the driver. I also want to extend this challenge to taking a cab or Uber. People lead interesting lives - question them about it. Enjoy some good music and conversation; your email will still be there when you arrive.

One Weekend Morning

This challenge involves leaving your phone untouched until noon, either Saturday or Sunday. If you plan to wake up at 11:30am due to the previous night’s activities, please wait a few hours.

Be productive or relax, your choice, first thing in the morning. If someone emailed you at 6pm on Friday letting you know there is a firestorm in the office (that can’t be fixed until everyone gets in on Monday), it’ll surely occupy some headspace that should be reserved for that first, wonderful cup of Bulletproof coffee or a morning workout. Read the book you’ve been putting off all week. Take a walk outside with a friend, pet, or significant other. Prearrange to meet someone for brunch (and don’t check your phone during it!).

This has been one of my favorite challenges to tackle.

Driving

Seemingly self-explanatory, it’s still lost on almost everyone. In the most selfish manner of self-preservation, I ask you put your phone away while driving, mostly because I don’t want to punch my ticket getting run over by someone playing Pokemon Go in their SUV. You’ve seen the commercials (“the text can wait”); now do as they say. Make a driving playlist and jam out, but don’t pick up that phone. My life and your life may depend on it. Plus, your passenger (also participating in this challenge) is awaiting lovely conversation from you!

Alright Live Better team, there you have it. Six “no cell phone” challenges. If you’ve found another area of your life that you feel it’s been beneficial to ditch your phone for, please share it with me!

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New Year - Set Your Intentions

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New Year - Set Your Intentions

 

11 days into the New Year!  Are you sticking to your resolution?  Have you stayed away from Diet Coke or visited the gym every day last week? 

I love the start of the New Year, and I think resolutions can be great.  Resolutions give us time to reflect on the past year, be proud of what we accomplished, and set goals for where we want to be by the end of 2017.  2017 is going to be a big year.  There is a lot of change going on around us that we don’t have control of, but we do control how we approach the day.  We decide how we execute.  We make the decision everyday to do what we do.  So, how can we make sure we’re making the best decisions in our day so that we’re achieving our resolutions and goals for the year?

Make this your year.  If you’ve always dreamed of doing something, now is the time.  If you have a passion, pursue it.  If you have fear, tackle it.  If you have pain, resolve it.  If you have a goal, crush it.

Start by setting your intention(s) for the year.  Create a mindful approach to your goals.  Instead of a laundry list of things to accomplish throughout the year, own your thought process and add strategic logic and planning behind each goal you set. 

I set my intentions by looking at 2016 and evaluating my biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses. In assessing both areas, I was able to make strategic plans on how to enhance my strengths and continue to grow and focus on what I need to do to overcome my weaknesses.

I have a packed year, and I am pumped for it! I'm getting married; I'm starting the year self-employed; and I have a lot of personal goals I want to accomplish this year.  I divided my year into five major areas and then set an intention for each area by deciding how I want to feel about the area on December 31st, 2017. Under each area, I listed key points, which ultimately helped me to develop my goals.

I summed it all up with one intention for the year:

Create.

Below is an outline of where I started.  I have gone into much more detail on my own with how I am going to execute and game plans for each area, but, this is a great place for you to start and see my thought process.

2017 Intention: Create

1. Relationships

Intention: Create the strongest bonds possible

a.  Sarah - Getting Married

  • Always improve and be the best fiancé ever

b. Family Time - Gornik Family

  • Coordinate family outings

c. Friends - My Team

  • Host group gatherings so we spend more time together

d. Business/Professional – My Network

  • Engage with the top people in each field to learn how to be successful

2.  Personal

Intention: Create My Education

a. Read - Read More– both fiction and non-fiction!

  • Create yearly reading list and recommend my favorites to others

b. Write - Become Stronger

  • Take classes to develop my style

c. Listen - Learn

  • Listen to podcasts in varying fields to enhance my overall knowledge

3. Live Better/Business Goals

Intention: Create something no one has ever dreamed of before

a. Retreat - Coordinate

  • Host the most epic retreat ever

b. Podcast - Educate Others

  • Line up our best guests yet

c. Blog - Develop Interest

  • Utilize feedback to create relevant posts for viewers

d.  Training/Coaching - Be the Top in my Field

  • Create holistic package so clients receive highest level of instruction across lifestyle

4. Physical

Intention: Create better body awareness

a.  Handstand - Be More Comfortable on My Hands Than on My Feet

  • Create morning and evening routine to do handstands daily

b.  Middle Split - Stick it!

c.  Body Weight Control - Know How to Move Better

  • Educate and learn more about how the body works

5. Nutritional

Intention: Create a lifestyle plan

a. Decrease Sugar - Stop Cravings

  • Pick one month to go sugar free (<15 grams a day)

b. Decrease Reliance on Food - Use Food as Fuel

  • Complete three cleanses

c. Water - Spring Water is the Best

  • Hydrate and always use spring water when available.

I invite you to create your intentions for 2017.  These goals take time, as they should, but at the end of 2017 you will be proud of your journey and your successes.  You gotta start somewhere/sometime? 

Start Today.

Have the best YEAR ever. 

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How to Quit Your Job (successfully) and Be Happy (forever)

Author: Jason Loebig

Ultimately, this is not a tale of money, power, or “sticking it to the man”, but examples of working towards happiness and fulfillment with your career. In this post I want to give you tips about how to quit your job successfully* to pursue something that gives meaningful value to your time.

It is possible to work a job that you don’t love (all the way) and still be happy. There are other ways to pursue passions, projects, and hobbies without making them your career – in fact, I think a lot of passions are best left as that.
 
I want to put a disclaimer on this advice, because my facts and circumstances will likely differ from yours. No matter where you’re starting from, however, these teachings will be applicable. Some of my advantages include the fact that I am white, male, have no debt from college, and my parents were very encouraging. This support system alone provided me an inherent level of stability.

That being said, I took none of it for granted. I worked, hard, to earn everything I have achieved thus far. I don’t complain a lot, I put my head down to grind, and I am relentless in my pursuit of growth. That’s something your parents can’t teach you – it’s a decision you have to make every morning and every night. You must flex and develop this “growth” muscle on your own, through blood, sweat, and tears.

Assuming you have found something you might like to pursue, the below will serve to help guide your thinking and framework.

#1 – Who is already doing it?
Your preliminary search into a new field likely returned several answers to this question. If you want to be a yoga teacher, look into studios in your area. If you want to be an investment banker, chances are someone from your high school or college is working in the field, especially in a bigger city. Seek out similar stories to yours – chances are everyone working your dream job didn’t start there.

#2 – Find a mentor
This might be the most important point in here. Every great practitioner loves to teach his or her craft, especially to someone young, humble, and hungry to learn. This window can help you decide if the ups and downs of this new career are really for you. Mentors have practical experience over a long period of time, have a network of relationships to assist you, and can give you a one-on-one learning environment. This alone is invaluable. 

Their career path can be a road map to emulate success, however, it is to be put into the context of today’s environment. The way we communicate, work, learn, and connect is different, as is the workplace. Apply what you have already learned to this new mentor knowledge, and make the best choices available.

#3 – Seek peer relationships
Almost just as important as the mentor relationship, your peer relationships give you insight into the entry-level position of your new career. If your mentor is a VP, it is unlikely their day-to-day life will be anything like yours. It’s great to know what your career might turn out like, but it’s also helpful to know what it will be like right away.

#4 – Speak with as many people as possible in relatable fields
Live Better essentially started this way. We spoke with countless people on the phone and via email asking only one question – “We are starting a business (at the time making superfood protein bars) and really love the work you do. If we can jump on the phone for 20-30 minutes, we’d love to talk about your successes and get some advice on how to go about (insert topic) to grow our business.”

This line of questioning also works wonders when asking for help in finding a job in your desired field. People often feel like they are burdening others with a request such as this, however, you have something to offer them as well. Networks grow when more branches are formed. Even if you are not able to help immediately, or if they are unable to help you immediately, that doesn’t mean that just a few weeks later your name won’t be top of mind when someone comes asking for a good candidate for whatever job opening. Lessen your degree of separation from everyone.

Just smile and wave, people.

#5 – Overlap your old job and your new job
When preparing to start my personal training business as well as Live Better, I was simultaneously a tax consultant at a Big 4 accounting firm. From personal trainer, Nike trainer, superfood protein bar maker, podcaster, and yoga teacher to senior associate in tax, all at once. The best way to find out if you’ll love doing something long term is to start doing it, right now. Yes, the hours are going to suck. I woke up three hours before “work” started to train clients, went to the office for a few hours, ducked out to teach a Nike class for lunch, went back to the office for upwards of 8, 9 10 hours, came home to workout, then met with Bret (my business partner) to chat about whatever project we had going and finish my Live Better tasks for that day, often until well past 1am. And repeated that for months on end.

I had the dichotomy of tax consultant vs. health coach to remind me at the end of each day which I would rather be doing. Finally it became too much to handle both, and I made my decision. For me, it was easy at that point with months of experience encouraging me in one direction.

#6 – Make a budget and project your income
One of the hardest parts of making the jump is feeling secure. The main source of insecurity is largely financial for most people. It’s hard to give up a comfortable living (with great future earnings potential) to pursue your own, uncertain future. I’m here to tell you there is no price tag on mental freedom, working towards something you care about, and waking up with a pep in your step.

If the first thing you get out of bed for in the morning is something you have to do, and not something you want to do, your day is already off.

I had a very clear picture before I quit about what my earnings potential was in accounting. I also tried to project what I felt my time was worth, including what rate I would charge for new training services. I figured out how many hours I needed to train per week to earn more than my tax position, and calculated whether I would feel happy working that much.

I had enough clients to help me feel secure enough to pay rent, buy groceries, and generally do things for fun I loved, like travel. There was still enough to save a little bit, which was awesome right from the start.

Make a plan, budget, forecast, and stick to it. Exceeding these goals is the fun part!

#7 – Envision what success looks and feels like
Ask yourself, “What will it take to make me happy?” For some, this is a financial figure. “I want to make $100,000 per year.” For others, it might be “I want to work five hours a day, be able to travel where and when I want, and be home with my family every single night for dinner.”

This is an ever-moving target, and one that is hard to define. Mine sounded something like, “Earn enough money to save a little, spend a little, help someone every day have the best day ever through changing their fitness or lifestyle, and travel when the opportunity presents itself.”

I struggle with turning off my uber competitive nature to earn as much money as possible, to “win” at all costs, against feeling content with the fact that I am making a tangible change in several peoples’ lives every day doing exactly what I want to be doing. Ultimately, I hope both of these paths jive. I believe when you are passionately working to help others in the pursuit of something you love, the money will come.

#8 - Imagine the worst-case scenario…. is it really that bad?
If you had the option, would your old job take you back? Could you remain financially stable for at least one to two months without your current income? Is moving back in with your parents the worst possible scenario?

Of course, death isn’t preferable. Not what I mean here. Envision what happens if you fail at your venture. Could you put that on a MBA application and go to business school to restart? Could you reapply to another firm that does similar work as your last job in pursuit of starting your own business?

I can promise you that putting something like “I tried to develop the next [Facebook], got [X number of] users to sign up, but ultimately failed at implementation for [X] reasons” is going to stand out against whatever the generic print is for applying to your next position.

Be interesting, and interesting conversations will follow.

#9 – Take note of things you’ve learned and people you respect
Is someone you work with a really great leader? Why? What process or excel technique might be useful going forward? No matter how much you seemingly dislike your current job, there are translatable skills you can take with you. If there is one thing I took from my time in professional services, it’s that of conducting yourself like a business professional. This includes, but is not limited to, sending emails, setting meetings, giving speeches, shaking hands, handling (sometimes difficult) clients, concise writing techniques, and traveling.

Pay attention to what works, who does well, and how to perform as part of a team. This is invaluable, and will stay with you forever.

#10 – Value your relationships above all else
I made so many wonderful friends at my first job. When you work long hours, eat together, complain together, laugh together, and repeat, it’s easy to build some camaraderie. I got super lucky to have made “real” friends (as in hanging outside of work functions was fun) and will cherish those friendships forever. This included several people above my level. 

Your friends are your first level of support. They become the cheers you hear from the crowd as you start out. Your network is the most valuable thing you own, and it should be protected at all costs.

#11 – Establish a “Board of Directors” for making decisions
Speaking of relationships, you will need someone to bounce ideas off. I’d suggest a whole group of people. The same way a company establishes a board of directors, you should as well. This group can include your mentor, your parents, close friends whose opinion you respect, and someone who will keep your moonshot ideas on the right track.

This group backboard extends beyond your professional decisions. They can be utilized to make personal ones as well, especially your family and friends.

#12 – Make a leap of faith
The time will never be right. The stars won’t align. You (very likely) won’t win the lottery.

It’s time to make your own luck. You will be okay, you will be successful if you want it bad enough, and the time is right now. The little devil on your shoulder is going to try and convince you forever that a life of comfortable boredom and easy security is better than pushing your chips all in.

Ditch the safety net. Just do it.

#13 – Never stop. Ever.
No regrets. The hours might get longer, your stress might go up, things might not go as planned, but never stop doing, thinking, creating, sharing, and moving. It’s what keeps you alive and keeps you growing. It’s not worth wasting one minute over.

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Live Better Holiday Movie Challenge

By: Bret Gornik

We have all played our fair share of holiday drinking games.  Now, I support having a good time around the holidays, but let’s put a spin on it and do it Live Better Style.  Put away the Jägerbombs and Peach Schnapps and bring out the yoga mat and kombucha. It's time to turn up.

After last week's email, the responses came in and these three movies were at the top of the list: Home Alone, Elf, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Now I guarantee if you turn on Freeform (better known as ABC family) you will see these played at least 20 times before Christmas.  If these are not your favorite, pick your own.

We are going to turn your favorite movie into your workout for the day.  We all know you are not leaving the house in this tundra, so what better way to put in work than while watching Macaulay Culkin throw an iron at a robber’s face!  This health-oriented challenge will get you moving.

Supplies:

Rules:

  1. Every time someone gives a present - 10 Squats
  2. Every time it magically starts snowing at the perfect moment - 20 Seconds of Butt Kickers Every time someone says "Merry Christmas" - 5 Squat Jumps
  3. Every time some moron doubts the existence of Santa Claus - One Minute Foam Rolling Hamstrings (and yelling at the TV)
  4. Every time someone decorates a Christmas Tree - 3 Side-to-Side Lunges each way
  5. Every time someone sings a Christmas song - 20 Second Plank
  6. Every time someone bakes a cookie - 20 Jumping Jacks
  7. Every time an unlikely couple finds themselves standing under mistletoe - 30 Seconds of Russian Twists
  8. Every time a Christmas tree is LIT - 20 Seconds of Leg Flutters Up and Down
  9. Every time you're overcome with joyful Christmas spirit - Take one big sip of your Hot Chocolate
  10. Every time someone mentions Santa - One Minute Foam Rolling Hips
  11. Every time the Santa hat lands on someone's head - Take a Kambucha shot (see picture below)

Let's break it down:

 

Workout & Description

 

Pushup - Start in high plank. Keep your back flat from the top of your head to your toes.  Bend elbows and lower towards the floor until your chest is on floor and push all the way back up to locked elbows.

Squat - Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.  Squat down to a 90 degree bend in your knees.  Keep your glutes back. Push through your heels and return to straight legs. 

Jump Squat - Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.  Squat down to 90 degrees in your knees and accelerate up so you get as high as you can off the ground.  Land soft with a slight knee bend and repeat immediately.

Plank - Start on hands and toes. Keep hips level.  Brace your core and hold.

Leg Flutters Up and Down - Lay flat on your back. With heals only one to two inches off the ground, raise one leg up and then the other.  Maintain a slow pace.

Side to Side Lunge - Stand up with feet wider then shoulder-width apart. While keeping your left leg straight, sink deep into your right knee until the knee is at 90 degrees.  Moving side to side while keeping your glutes low to the ground, straight the right leg and sink into the left knee until it’s at 90 degrees.  Repeat.

Jumping Jacks - Stand up straight. In a jumping motion bring your hands over your head as your feet go out wide. Then bring hands to your side and your feet together.  Repeat.

Butt Kickers - Stand up straight.  At a jogging pace, bring your heels to meet your glutes.

Russian Twist - Sit in a V position with knees bent at 90 degrees.  Twist entire upper body back and forth. Get all the way to one side and then the other.

There is nothing better than watching a Christmas movie the Live Better way.

All of these body weight exercises are in our new Fuel for Performance 2 Week Nutrition and Workout Guide

 

Check it out!

Have the best holiday ever.

 

 

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Live Better Holiday Gift Guide

Author: Jason Loebig

All year long, we’re dedicated to helping you become the healthiest, happiest version of yourself. Below is a compiled list of products ranging from fitness, wellness, and nutrition to skincare and fashion. Except for the wild sneakers (see ‘Nike Adapt’), all products have been tested by the Live Better crew and receive a stamp of approval.

We don’t use anything that can’t help us become mobile, whether that means taking it on the go or literally helping with physical mobility. We want function and fashion, style and swag. But most of all, we want and support trustworthy companies. Let us take the hard work out of finding a Christmas gift that wellness-minded individual in your life.

And, all of them fit in a stocking! 
(Disclaimer: the kettlebell may rip your stocking from the fireplace hook…)

Live Better Snapback ($30)

The Live Better Snapback represents a call to action. It’s a reminder to encourage us to do the things we love with the people we love. That might mean checking the next item off your bucket list or traveling to a new country. Visit our Instagram page for several inspirational #HowILiveBetter moments – awesome photos get featured on our page and in our newsletter.

Apple Watch Nike+ (38mm $369)

The next generation of Apple Watch is a serious step up from the original. Built-in-GPS, longer battery life, water resistant to 50 meters, and you can sync a playlist to the watch to be used with Bluetooth, wireless headphones – no phone necessary. With an assortment of custom Nike faces, including quick touch buttons from the home screen, it’s perfect for runners and exercisers alike.

Hyperice Hypersphere ($149)

The Live Better crew cannot get enough work done on the Hypersphere. We were shown this wonderful travel ball of pain and joy by Jason Raynor early this year, and have used it every day since. It is a serious upgrade (or addition) to your foam roller at home. The vibration and density of the ball make it very effective for at-home soft-tissue release, which can help you stay in the gym longer or recover from that holiday flight faster.

Onnit Primal Bell (36lb Chimp Primal Bell $84.95)

These little monkeys scare all of the residents in my building every time I take them down the elevator. The benefits of kettlebell training are vast, as is your coolness factor in the gym if you’re swinging around two 36-pound Chimps or a 72-pound Gorilla…

Santa can now also get all the little strong boys and girls a 90-pound Bigfoot Bell.

Nike Adapt Sneakers (Price TBD.... "IOU" will work)

“The potential of adaptive lacing for the athlete is huge, Hatfield adds, as it would provide tailored-to-the-moment custom fit. It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance.

Wouldn’t it be great if a shoe, in the future, could sense when you needed to have it tighter or looser? Could it take you even tighter than you’d normally go if it senses you really need extra snugness in a quick maneuver? That’s where we’re headed. In the future, product will come alive.”

I know what Santa is gifting all of his reindeer this year…

Four Sigmatic Coffee & Elixirs

Want to take your coffee to the next level? How about adding some superfood mushrooms to the mix. Four Sig’s Mushroom Coffee is made with either Lion’s Mane (cognitive booster) or Cordyceps (balanced source of energy) to provide you with lasting energy throughout the day.

We wind down at the end of the day with the Mushroom Hot Cacao (with Reishi) to melt stress and prepare for sleep.

The best part of all their products is they are easily taken on the go in individual packets - perfect for those that travel or that want to skip the Starbucks line.

Gibbon Slackline ($75)

It’s harder than it looks, people. Slacklines work core strength and balance, which makes them popular among rock climbers and yogis. Great activity for a day in the park, on the beach, or in the backyard. 

Alitura Clay Mask ($59)

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this line of skincare. Andy Hnilo, founder of Alitura, has an amazing message to go along with his products. You’ve heard us speak about how effective superfoods and healthy nutrition is for your body, but what about the products that go on your skin (where they absorb the fastest)? The mask leaves your skin with a healthy glow and smoother than you’ve ever felt – perfect for any holiday party you might be headed to…

Give the Moisturizer and Night Cream a shot too. I use all three.

Mugsy Jeans ($98)

IMG_7984x.jpg

I can now workout, rock climb, do gymnastics, yoga, picnic, mountain bike, go to the office, go out to eat, and sleep in a pair of jeans. They are so flexible and comfortable it’s hard to take them off. One of my favorite things about these jeans is that they don’t feel “thin” like other pairs of stretchy jeans. They are still “jeans” in the way you want them to look, but they feel incredible.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss ($17)

The sensei master teacher Timmy F is back at it again with his fourth book. Anyone that’s ever talked to me knows how much Tim’s way of thinking and teaching has shaped the way I learn. Now you get to learn as Tim might – from billionaires, media moguls, geniuses, and professional habit makers. It’s several of his podcast episodes and interviews distilled down into the actionable stuff to take on the road with you.

You’re welcome.

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Top 10 Winter Supplements

By: Bret Gornik

We just had our first snow in Chicago, which means winter is right around the corner.  This is the time of year you really need to ramp up your nutrition and supplements.  While spending more time inside and less time being active, it is, of course, crucial to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. To really keep your mind and body sharp, these supplements and herbs are going to kick it up a notch. 

1. Multivitamin

Reason:

The body needs nutrients to perform at a high level.  A multivitamin corrects nutrient deficiencies within the body providing energy and boosting immunity.

Product Recommendation:

Garden of Life Multivitamin - Take this once a day in the morning to start your day off right.

2. Activated Charcoal

Reason:

Detoxification is just as important as nutrition.  Activated charcoal draws out heavy metals and other toxic materials in the body, which primes the body to utilize all the great foods and supplements you consume the rest of the day.  

Product Recommendation:

Coconut Charcoal House Activated Charcoal - Start by taking this first thing in the morning with a large glass of spring water.  Make sure to take separate from other supplements, as it can bind to the positive nutrients within them and draw them out of your body.  

3. Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps)

Reason: 

These mushrooms are the building blocks of a healthy immune system.  It is nearly impossible for negative bacteria and viruses to penetrate your body when you are taking these mushrooms regularly.

Product Recommendation:`

Four Sigmatic Drink Blends - These instant packets include straight blends, coffees, hot chocolates, and superfood blends that come from wild crafted and organic mushrooms. Depending on the time of day or your goals, use cordyceps for energy, chaga for immune boost, and reishi for a clear state of mind.

4. Vitamin B - Complex

Reason: 

The harsh wind and weather conditions can be tough on your skin.  A Vitamin B Complex strengthens, replenishes, and rebuilds the skin at the cell level to keep your skin feeling fresh.

Product Recommendation:

Garden of Life RAW Vitamin B Complex  - Open capsule and add to smoothie or water.  Take this water-soluble complex two times a day before and after your workday.

5. Spices (Turmeric, Ginger, & Garlic)

Reason:

These three kings of the spice world decrease inflammation and flush out your body.  Inflammation and stagnate mucus cause head colds, runny noses, and coughs.  These spices get rid of all that to help you breathe normal and feel refreshed.

Product Recommendation:

Longevity Warehouse Products - The key is to cook with these as much as you can.  Add turmeric to eggs, smoothies, quinoa bowls, chicken, and soups.  Ginger is excellent in green juices and desserts. Garlic is one of the top five longevity foods off all time, so add it to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  If you have a sore throat, eat a raw clove.

6. Vitamin D

Reason:

We obtain natural Vitamin D from sunlight.  Due to staying warm inside, we do not get our needed daily value.  Vitamin D supports healthy energy and mood levels, as well as a healthy immune response.

Product Recommendation:

Vitamin D Crème - The best way to absorb Vitamin D3 is through the skin, so this formula penetrates the cells quickly and more effectively.  Use this morning and night as a moisturizing crème after cleaning.

7. Spirulina

Reason: 

This is the best green food of all time.  This product detoxifies and nourishes the body at the same time.  Spirulina helps build the body with protein, vitamins, chlorophyll, and other trace minerals.

Product Recommendation:

Go Raw Sweet Spirulina Bar - This is the tastiest way to get spirulina.  Have one of these bars as a snack or use as a topping for a smoothie bowl.

8. Probiotic

Reason: 

Our immune system lives in our gut.  Having a healthy gut gives you a healthy body.  Probiotics help replenish the gut walls, providing your immune system the support it needs to run smoothly.

Product Recommendation:

Kombucha - This is one of my favorite tasting drinks and is an excellent delivery system for the probiotics within the drink.  You can drink one of these two times per week.

9. Elderberry

Reason:

The bioactive compounds in Elderberry inhibit replication of the flu virus and activate the immune system.  

Product Recommendation:

Living Intentions Superfood Cereal  - Enjoy this cereal for breakfast with nut milk.  It tastes great and is packed with superfoods.

10. Vitamin C

Reason: 

We all know Vitamin C is good for the immune system.  This really helps fight against the common cold, which can help prevent other sicknesses.

Product Recommendation:

Camu Camu - This is the highest Vitamin C content superfood.  Adding this tangy superfood to a smoothie or juice gives it a great kick.

Spending time inside with our family and friends is amazing during the winter and holiday season.  Being sick is not.  You have the choice to stack the odds in your favor by nourishing your body with these impactful supplements and herbs.  Enjoy this winter.  Make it the best one yet.

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Dos & Dont's to Rewire Your Brain For Positivity

Author: Jason Loebig

Your brain makes distinctions every day on what is “good” vs. what is “bad.” 

We do it with food and the weather, all the way to exercise, chores at home, and tasks at work. You make thousands of snap judgments on whether you like doing something or not, and this serves as reinforcement for the next time you are faced with a similar decision.

Below are a few easy dos and dont's to rewire your brain to crush each day (as you perceive it to be) at your fullest potential.

The Dont’s
 

Don’t let the weather affect whether it is a “good” or “bad” day outside.

This is especially true as we move into the winter months. It can be challenging to face freezing cold temperature, in the dark, on your way to work. It can be challenging to throw your winter running gear on and take a few gusts of wind to the face as your work towards your goals. 

The problem therein lies with considering any day “bad” because of the weather. Sure, it gives you something to talk about on your elevator rides, but that’s an easy way out of a potentially awkward social interaction. Want to try something different? Next time your elevator mate says, “How bout that weather out there? It’s so cold I don’t want to do anything but stay in bed,” try responding with, “Oh, I actually love it. I get to [insert activity outside], which you just can’t get during the summer.”

You’ll certainly get a few odd looks, but people will also think you’re a determined, go-getter style person. And you will surely save yourself from complaining so many days this winter.

I made a goal in November to run outside every single day it was raining. I didn’t want “bad weather” (which was usually just some mild rain) to affect the way I attacked my day, nor keep me from doing whatever I wanted. I celebrated it.


Don’t use food as a “reward”

This is vitally important around the holidays. There are times when it is appropriate to “reward” yourself with a treat. But what do you consider a “treat?”

If you’re cramming in your veggies to get to dessert (the “good” food), you’ve now made a mental association towards what is good and what is bad – not too incentivizing to finish your greens if your ice cream isn’t around….

All food you consume is either medicine or it is poison. You’re either making strides towards your goal or away from it. The holiday season presents the most difficult challenge to staying on track during the entire year, which serves as a great starting point for your self-discipline. Self-discipline > Self-motivation. The battery meter for motivation can run out pretty quickly when you’re out with friends and family.

Tip: Reintroduce the foods you’ve cut out (e.g. pumpkin pie) in a small dose after sticking with your planned nutrition for a whole week. This will serve to mute the voice in your head (and stomach) telling you you’re getting a craving – in this way, you are using a small step back to stay on track going forward. Three steps forward, one step back, three steps forward.

The Dos


Start your day off with something you want to do, not something you have to do.

This is a very interesting change in mindset. What is your motivation to wake up in the morning?

If your alarm clock sounds at 6am and your activities consist of brushing your teeth, showering, throwing clothes on, and rushing out the door for work, it is very likely you resent mornings. I get questions almost every day on, “How do I become a morning person?”

The answer is by waking up to do something you want to do, not something you have to do. Try creating a few morning tasks that you love. If that’s working out, wake up an hour earlier to get to the gym. If that’s when your young children wake you up, make a routine that you will cherish forever (someday they’ll sleep in, and you’ll still be getting up early…).

I make my coffee, which takes about 20 minutes. It’s a process, sure, but one that I can rely on to help me start my day in a relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes I read 20 pages from a book I can’t put down. During the summer, I watched the sunrise several mornings.

Ultimately, it will be pursuing your passions that make you jump out of bed rather than roll over onto your snooze button. If you’re not at that point yet, use your extra morning time to work towards figuring out how to make that your reality.

Develop a morning mindset that feeds motivation.

This is where our “Best Day Ever, Every Single Day” mantra goes to work. You have the power to change your perception of a “good” day vs. a “bad” day at any point. Making more “good” days begins with how you start your day. In the above example of hot docking into work after resenting the fact that it woke you up, your mind is now prepared to make negative judgments on what follows. If the copier breaks, that’s now the 10th thing that’s gone wrong this morning, and another thing that you hate having to deal with. Instead of being a very small but easily fixable inconvenience, your brain now further reinforces that the day is conspiring against you.

Your morning didn’t go as planned? Plan a better evening, and then do it.

Consider how you felt sitting around the table at Thanksgiving dinner with your family. That warm, fuzzy feeling of “home” is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether you expressed it or not, you felt gratitude in its purest form. You felt thankful to be around people you love and who love you in return. If the term isn’t too fluffy for you by now, use gratitude as your morning mantra. It’s hard to feel angry when you’re feeling thankful.

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8 Reasons Bret's Thankful

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8 Reasons Bret's Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  So here are the top 8 things I am thankful for this year!  Fo' real.

 

1.       That I finally have Nutribullet’s Dessert Bullet so now I truly don’t have to chew any meal ever again.

2.       Now that the winter season is here, the tourists and leisure riders will not be stealing my Divvys anymore.

3.       That thanks to Barry’s opening in Chicago, I get to train and rock a Bieber mic.

4.       That while everyone else is struggling with winter colds, my marine phytoplankton drops, mega hydrate, and Four Sigmatic Cacao Cordyceps Elixir leave me blissfully sniffle free.

5.       Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so that means it is time for my crowd favorite Raw Goji Golden Cranberry Sauce...trust me, it's good.

6.       That even when the Polar Vortex hits, you can still get a six pack in your own home thanks to the Simply Fit Board.  No sweat required - thanks, Lori Greiner!  I need to star sharing my ideas on Shark Tank.  Is this serious?!

7.       Now that I've "mastered" the handstand and the Cubs won the World Series, I see the world from a whole new perspective.

8.       That I already know tomorrow is going to be the best Thanksgiving day EVER (of all time ever in the history of ever, in the world, ever)

Enjoy Turkey Day.  Eat good food.  Relax.  Unwind.

In all seriousness, this time of year is about being grateful for the little things.  It is great to reflect on the year and be around family and friends.  Jason and I have had the opportunity to work with our friends at Optimized Journey, giving our thoughts on reflection, gratitude(video below), and yoga.  Check out these links for a little more serious side to the meaning of each of these topics.  Enjoy this time of year.  Be grateful and give thanks. 

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