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21 Things That Make Life Awesome

1. Cold filtered water with fruit, vegetables, or mint.

Tastes delicious, like drinking liquid summer. Suggestions: orange, lemon, lime, strawberry, cucumber, spearmint, peppermint.

2. Riding bikes

I recently bought a single speed road bike, my first one since I was 12 years old. Now I only use my car for major errands like grocery shopping or for getting to anything that’s more than three miles away.

3. Eating copious amounts of carbs twice per week

I guess you could say I’m in a “muscle-building phase” but I’m really just enjoying the physique benefits of cycling my carbs.

I don’t measure how many grams or calories I take in. Instead, I just eat a ton of added carbs on Tuesdays and Saturdays (my hardest workout days) and stick to mostly meat and veggies every other day.

My favorite carb sources: pasta, thin-crust  pizza, organic ice cream, and gourmet burgers.

4. Pina Colada protein shake

Tastes so good you almost want to add rum. (That's a good post-workout supplement, right?)

From the Gourmet Nutrition cookbook:

1/2 cup pineapple
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 scoops vanilla protein
1 cup chilled green tea
1/2 cup ice

5. The Superhero Workout

My friends Roman and Matt — lifelong comic book nerds — designed the perfect summer workout program.  In the spirit of Captain America, Thor, and the Green Lantern, they came up with the Superhero Workout, 12 weeks of hard workouts to help build the “superhero” body.

Perfect to do after my Hero Workout or on its own. (No cape required.)

Superhero Workout

6. Watching crazy thunderstorms

Spectator sport or action sport? Well, it depends on what you want to do. As a kid in Texas I used to run out of my garage and try to pick up hail stones before I got knocked out. Now I prefer to watch storms from my window.

I even wrote a poem about it:

Raindrops the size of quarters. The smell of the wet air. Trees that look like broccoli florets blowing branches everywhere.

I hope I don't get hit by hail.

Thank you, thank you.

7. Incline treadmill sprints

On a recent trip to Toronto to hang out with the infamous John Berardi, he introduced me to his favorite version of “cardio”.

Here’s the protocol we followed:

2 minute walk at a brisk pace
15 second sprint at 8 miles per hour and 12% incline
15 seconds rest (standing on the sides of the treadmill)
Repeat 10 times
2 minute walk at brisk pace as a cool-down

Be warned: the first few sprints feel very easy. But after number seven, you’ll be ready to give up or throw up. Whichever comes first.

8. Pappy Van Winkle bourbon

Smooth and sweet. The best bourbon I’ve tasted.

9. Concerts

This is the first summer where I’ve gone out of my way to see more live music. I love it. Here’s who I’ve seen so far:

The Head and the Heart. Iron and Wine. Ray LaMontagne.

Next up is Bon Iver and maybe a hip-hop show if I can find a decent one.

10. Meals with friends.

It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking or going out — hanging out with friends over a good meal is one of the biggest indicators of happiness levels worldwide. I try to meet up with everyone at least once per week.

11.  Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days” show on Netflix

The same guy who did “Supersize Me” created a show a few years back where people spend 30 days immersing themselves in a lifestyle with which they are unfamiliar (e.g. working for minimum wage, a Christian living as a Muslim, a straight guy living with a gay roommate, etc.) while discussing social issues.

It’s entertaining and informative with little twinges of second-hand embarrassment.

12. Precision Nutrition

It’s been roughly a year since I started working with Precision Nutrition and I can’t be happier. We reach thousands of people every day and help to change their bodies and lives.

This is the greatest group of people in the fitness industry, period.

13. The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts

Two phenomenal books written by author Erik Larson. The amount of research that went into these make for riveting storytelling.

14. Getting up at the same time every morning

Yep, even on the weekends.

15. My morning routine

Tea, stretch, breakfast, work for two hours before checking anything on the Internet.

16. Tom’s shoes

They look like ninja shoes but they’re damn comfortable. I own three pair.


Tom's shoes

17. Reading my little brother’s articles

He is the next great sportswriter. (Of course, I’m biased.) 20 years old and over 30 articles published. Damn, kid. Keep going.

18. Supporting my local shops

95% of my dollars go local grocery stores, farmers, breweries, restaurants, and clothing stores. I only go to Target or Amazon if I absolutely must.

19. Cooking dinner with my girlfriend

A glass of wine. A towel thrown over a shoulder. Great conversation and trying new recipes.

Who cares if we burn the chicken? There’s always next time.


Cooking dinner

20. Frisbee

Yes, frisbee. Cheap, portable, and with five minutes of practice, anyone can throw it level.

21. You guys

It’s been over 5 years since I was first published online, and I’m still amazed and grateful that people come to my blog and read what I have to say.

Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me.


Your turn.

What things are making YOUR life awesome right now?