Look Good Naked.

by The Good Life on August 10, 2017

in America

As someone who feels like at 38, they are in “decent” shape for being an office person with wife and child, I have never felt that fit or strong though and always felt like i have a couple of pounds to lose and so I was intrigued when someone at work sent us a note saying “Look Good Naked”, not the usual email you expect on a tuesday morning.  Especially intrigued after the Costa Rica trip in March with Sani and Koen both of whom are chiseled bellied men.

Me. Not Chiseled.

Since I moved to the states 5 years ago, its not that I’ve ever fat overweight or fat but between being a parent, having a dadbod, office dweller and the wonderful food that Portland has, I have gradually put on a few pounds but never really been sure of how much.  So I thought, perfect time to figure it out.

That said, I usually in a week use the gym 2/3 times, do yoga twice, run once and play football once.  But my diet is usually poor consisting of:

Breakfast of sugary cereal or eggs & bacon.

Lunch of something including rice.

Dinner.  Whatever we fancy.

Snacks throughout and beers when needed.

The Before.

As one of the first steps on this journey, we had the good folks from Dexa Scan come out and visit us at Nike.  The scan itself is fairly simple and straight forward, and the chaps from Dexa are amazing at explaining first what will happen and second ways to improve your body.

So…. day 1.

May 2nd : Body Fat : 21.7%

Total Mass : 198.3lbs : Fat Tissue : 41.2lb : Lean Mass : 148.9lbs

Yes this confirmed what I thought.  I’m heavy.  Maybe too heavy.  I feel it.

So the first 6 weeks we trained 3 times a week, with Ryan Flaherty (read more on him in links at the bottom) who has a very specific way of training, which whilst ungodly hard, is amazing.  You feel like you can’t walk, move your arms or sit all at once for the first few days.  Lots of time under tension.  In his words the simpler you make your training, the better the results become.

Most days.

Now as per above, Ryan recommended Intermittent Fasting.  Whats that you say?  Basically, stop eating at 8pm every night and don’t eat until noon the next day.  Ultimately you put your body into a state of Ketosis and trying to get your body to run off the fat within the body.  The way I understand it best, is imagine you drive a car everyday and end of the day it still has gas left in the tank.  Next morning you go to the gas station and fill it up, it uses that new energy to operate. To burn fat you need to go through all the gas in the tank and then start chipping away at the reserve tank aka fat.

The first 2 weeks was pretty tough as increased training plus no food in the morning means 11-12 meetings become pretty irritable but if a few of you are doing it becomes easier.

Just working on those love handles as stylish as it gets.

I also reduced my carb intake at lunch, cut out rice etc as I was always getting tired after lunch.  This has definitely helped!!

Snacks : I tried cutting them out but still had the odd Cliff bar here and there.  I also had a doughnut on date night and a few other things including ice cream because of course ice cream.   Alcohol : I definitely had a few beers here and there but no real blow outs as alcohol is certainly the enemy in losing weight.

Check in 2 : June 21st : Body Fat : 17.3%

Total Mass : 185.5lbs : Fat Tissue : 32.1lb : Lean Mass : 145.2lbs

Fat Lost : 9lbs

Total loss : 13lbs

I was so hyped to see this progress its crazy as i had been weighing myself but to see this drop in such a short time felt great.  I felt lighter when surfing, and definitely noticed some more definition.  So after seeing the results i set about another 6 weeks with the same diet but switched up the workouts, adding some more upper body strength, adding more cycling and keeping up with the rest.  Snacking did start happening a bit more unfortunately towards the end.

2nd 6 weeks was way more like this…

The other thing that we started midway through the first 6 weeks, and continued on was Hello Fresh.  Amazing ingredients delivered to your door, with great recipes and relatively affordable.  Now I thought this wasn’t worth it, but for the meal portion size alone its amazing as it stops me eating huge bowls of pasta.

Check In 3 : August 7th : Body Fat : 14.1%

Total Mass : 182.9lbs : Fat Tissue : 25.8lb : Lean Mass : 148.8lbs

Fat Lost : 15.4 lbs

Total loss : 15.4lbs (check the scan, you see my bone density went up, lean muscle went down hence the same number)

Again I was really happy with the results, but was also stoked to see i managed to chip away at the total fat, which coming down from 41.2 to 25.8 feels amazing.  The crazy thing with that is this morning we were throwing 14lb medicine balls in the air, and that is such a heavy workout.  Essentially i have been carrying that around in fat on my body the last few years.  I did lose 3lbs of muscle in my legs though and I imagine thats because we moved away from the time under tension work.  I also didn’t take BCAA as much in the second 6 week period.  The other thing with this, was that at the beginning I had a worryingly high level of Visceral fat (around the vital organs) and so I managed to reduce that from 1.53lbs down to 0.54lbs which is way better level.

Somehow, I lost that amount of fat is the weight of that med ball.  insane to me, but apparently true.

So in summary things that I learnt about through this :-

Having a crew to train with is the most important thing to keep you motivated both in the gym but also on the diet side.  Find a partner and hold each other accountable!  This crew is the best!

Training : time under tension.

BCAA’s : Thank you Max Artsis, which essentially stops your muscles being eaten away when dieting.  Helps explain muscle loss

Intermittent Fasting : No food till 12.  No recovery shakes, just water and coffee.

Hello Fresh : Portion Control people!

Bullet Proof Coffee : I also realized thats an amazing treat and seemingly fine in Ketosis.

Am I going to continue?

If it means i can do this with Lenny then anything for that!  I also know now to get body fat down to say 12% will take a really ramped up training schedule, so we’ll see how that fits around life, but the diet is an easy way to ensure to keep working towards that goal.

Links to learn more:

Dexa Scan



The Savant of Speed — Ryan Flaherty

A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners






Hottest Weekend of the Year

by The Good Life on June 26, 2017

in America

This weekend was the hottest day of the year so far in Portland and definitely the hottest day of the year at the beach.  97′ the car said when we left, but thats easily the hottest i’ve seen it in 5 years.  As you can see it looked more somewhere tropical than Oregon this weekend.

Combine that with some mellow 2 ft long boarding waves and it was pretty all time out there.

We started the weekend with a very European feeling BBQ over looking the ocean, with wine, beer, bratwurst and all kinds of condiments.

Yes this guy was stoked.

Colleen was on fine form as always, going very much straight to the point on a Friday.

As was Lenny.  No sauce, just straight Wurst.

In between searching for bugs with Hans the chef and chief child helper.

That night we found a great camp spot near by.  I always feel like our Land Rover is too big, but then against the rest it feels like it could grow some more too.

The car got nicely set up and it was pretty cosy in there actually.  Lenny’s first camp mission was a success!

As long as he gets his milk.

and something about it being mid summer, the stars were out like I’ve not seen before.

Camping with Ami is always great.  Has the best coffee set up ever always ready to go.

Before we set up down at Indian Beach and snagged a great spot.

Yes.  Thats a surfboard which works pretty well as a chopping board too for bacon sarnies.

It was a foamy kind of day out there.

and the water was still warm enough that Lenny wanted to run in the ocean every 5 minutes.

and yes.  We got him on a board too!

The squad, with our set up.  Summer doesn’t get much better here.

After a while though it all got a bit too warm for Lenny so we retreated for Peppa Pig and some snacks.

We kept an idea on everyone from our hideout.

Thanks for a great weekend!  Epic times crew!

Tualatin Surf Club

by The Good Life on June 11, 2017

in Uncategorized

This weekend, we headed out to the coast with a good crew of the folks at Nike who all surf and headed for a great couple of days of surfing, beers, sing alongs and BBQ action.

The first day we ended up getting called out by some locals at Seaside “Go back to Tualatin” was probably the highlight of the localism.  Waves were pretty fun though!

Managed to sneak a few photos of the gang getting in amongst it.

It was all good times though.

Enough for us to get a rainbow to come out and say hello at least.

Next day we hit up Shorthands for some classic weekend surf action.

Beers and surf and a fire was pretty much par for the course.

Somehow whilst there was rain everywhere in Oregon, we managed to snag a window right over shorties.

Enough for a bit of a sunburn anyways.

We surfed the South End which was working quite nicely.

I’m always amazed by the driftwood here.  It must be chaos here mid winter.

Thanks to the two legends for getting us all out to the beach, Gabe..

and of course the leader of the pack, fresh from paying the man for 8 stitches on his face after a nasty board meeting face incident.

A Letter to my 14 Year old Self.

by The Good Life on April 9, 2017

in gentlemen of the goodlife

I’ve never written a blog post like this, but since me and the good lady wife now have a son, I thought maybe a few life thoughts whilst I’m somewhat still young, well, middle aged if you ask my body, as to what I would say if a 14 year old asked me for advice now.
Well, first of all, don’t worry about the cool kids.  The cool kids always end up with their hot girlfriend 6 years from now living in the same town, with the same girl, with a child in tow.  So don’t worry about them.
Definitely not the cool kids.
Find something you love.  Find something you can’t stop thinking about day or night.  Call it becoming obsessive or an addiction find that thing.  It could be playing a musical instrument, being in a band, climbing, water skiing, reading, yoga, snowboarding, football, whatever it is, love it and then try to live it.  See if it can help shape your life.  There is the amazing quote by Martin Luther King about being a street sweeper.  Its true.  Its so true.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’
Maybe you like writing, start a blog, maybe you are obsessed with the camera on the iPhone, well, make movies with it.
I watched this video the other day from Italy.  Its about a guy who loves the foo fighters, he loves them so much he made a tribute video.  But with about 1000 Italian fans of the Foo Fighters.  He made this pretty moving video and whilst it also looks like an amazing time, he also caught the attention of Dave Grohl and got him to come and play in his town.  I have no idea what that guy is doing now, but knowing how these things work if the bands label haven’t hired him for something you can bet that he is running a festival or something in Italy.  Its that motivation and get up and go that you can’t apply for a job with.  You have to create something yourself.
 In the various worlds of worked or been part of, be it snowboarding, supporting Swansea City, surfing, Crossfit, I would say that there is nothing better than being so passionate about something that it becomes part of who you are, to the point that wherever you go you can feel at home with your family.  If you have ever tried crossfit they have figured out a way to make this work.  To really mean its not the workout, its the community, the family they have created, so anywhere on earth you go you can walk in a gym and ask what the workout of the day is.  Its that simple.  Its beautiful really.  Same in surfing, last week in Costa Rica we went to a Tiki Hut bar and two locals who hardly spoke english and I sure didn’t speak Spanish in within seconds of him saying “Whoaaa John Johns Turns man” you have a new best friend to share a beer with.
Talking of creating something for yourself, I have been listening to a podcast from NPR called “how I built this” which features interviews with some amazing entrepreneurs including Richard Branson of Virgin, Yves Chouinard from Patagonia, Mark Cuban, the inventors of instagram and one of the key things you notice on each of them is that usually they came up with each idea through seeing an opportunity, being young enough to act on it and having zero responsibilities so they could commit to it.  Money was never something they felt like they needed.  So I would say thats the next thing.
Enjoy life, enjoy being young, travel, be reckless, love something, but commit to it.  Each and everyone of us has probably had that million dollar idea, but never thought to commit to making it happen.  And even if its not a million dollar idea exercising that muscle of committing to something is probably one of the best things you can ever do. I started a very low level video production company called Hungerpain and made 3 films.  I’d never made a film before but knew that we could find some amazingly talented people to help on it, which included Damian Doyle, Chris Chatt, Chris Schulz & Pete Ellis all of whom have gone on to create some brilliant work.  It was enough for the company i was riding for Forum/Burton to take notice and get me to work for them.
This is the part from Henry Jackson and Ollie Plumley.  Two of the very best.
Then the next thing….. education….  yes I have thought more about this recently having a young son.  Especially living in the states where its frighteningly expensive.  Well, do you need a degree and a bachelors?  Well…. I think everyone should figure out what feels right for them.  I suppose its easy for me to say you don’t need a degree  as I do have one.  But I studied at a fairly humble place which wasn’t even a University (it was Southampton Institute) but it was 3 years, allowed me to travel to Finland and was cheap at the time, but I still worked around a 30 hr week during that time to pay for snowboarding.
I think having to get through a degree shouldn’t be considered mandatory for people.  In the part above about “how I built this” how many of those folks do you think had a degree?  None from that list and in the 20 or so I’ve listened to there must be only 2 or 3 who have one.  In germany they focus more on vocational learning, so you have a skill, trade or something you can use in the real world.  In the UK and US people seem obsessed with “just getting a degree”…. how many people do you know who did film studies or something and then couldn’t get a job.  Thousands upon thousands and whilst they were looking for work there were others getting ahead of them by getting real world experience or starting their own company.  Again though it depends on the career path.  Whether you are looking for a corporate role (for which a degree is very useful) or looking to build something for yourself (I’d argue passion, dedication and commitment is more powerful).
Languages are one of the most amazing thing to learn and woefully under valued in the western society lead by the US and UK. Its shocking really.  Scandinavians can speak 5 languages and most in our two countries can’t muster a second language.  Try it.  Travel with it.  It isn’t really that hard once you unlock that part of your brain that encourages learning.
Yes the naked guy speaks 5 languages.
I’d encourage travel.  As far as you can go and as cheap as you can make it.  Live like the locals, eat their food, drink the local drink, don’t stay in some fancy Westernized hotel.  You’ll feel like your home with a starbucks on site and wont see how a country really is.  Make sure to also be able to travel on your own.  Nothing makes you a better tourist than not sticking out like a sore thumb wherever you go.  I’m lucky enough to have travelled personally, with my parents, with my own young family, with friends, alone and with work.  Its all part of the learning curve but every time I go I feel I come back better than when I left and also again, thankful for the opportunity I had.
Another thing I would love to pass on is…. Enjoy the now.  Its so easy to get caught in looking for the next thing.  To buy something new, to travel somewhere, meet someone, to save up for something.  Enjoy what your doing right now.  Enjoy the time with your family, even if your parents are annoying the hell out of you right now, they only mean the best, but communicate with them.  Spend time with your friends, go explore, near or far, stay up late, get in trouble, go on road trips, do whatever feels right.  Just know when things are going too far, or it feels wrong.
To that end, to enjoy the now, I think there is a certain amount of needing to be present.  I mean putting down that phone and looking up at whats happening around you.  Its hard as everyone is constantly updating, checking in wanting to be up to speed with the latest and greatest, but there has to be a time to put down the phone and just live.  Have a conversation.  Have a beer and have a conversation and a good laugh.  One of the things I hope is that my sons generation who grow up with technology will be better placed to deal with it better than my generation do (the 30-45 year olds) because we damn seem obsessed by making sure we update this, that and the other 24/7.  How many billions of photos get taken each second and never get seen again.  Its like the old home movies but they never get seen.  I would love to think the next generation will be way more able to provide boundaries to whats real and not.  Because the way that some of us currently use Cell Phones is very unhealthy.  Me included. I hate myself for it, and am trying to be more present and in a spring break resolution kind of thing I would do my level best to limit use at home and at work.
This sums it up well….
So was this just a piece about me telling people what to do?  Maybe.  It wasn’t meant that way.  I’m in no means the best person to look to for advice, but these are just my thoughts and sometimes as a kid growing up you just want someone to talk to who isn’t a friend, a teacher or a parent.  Everyone wants what they think is best for you, I’m just laying out what worked for me.  Even if this just helps one 14 yr old kid help them find their way in the world, then it was worth the hour it took me to write this.
Travel, Be Present, Enjoy Life, Find a Passion, Share your passion, Learn.  Learn.  Learn.  I don’t mean College.  I mean whatever and where you go.  Have a beer.  Enjoy that sunset.  Be yourself, be true to what you believe in and the rest is easy.
Thanks for reading.  Love to know what you think.

Costa Rica Part 2

April 3, 2017

The new annual spring break ritual surf trip was kicked off this week with the inaugural members representing Austria, Belgium and the UK.  Costa Rica is a place I have […]

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The Costa Rica Movie

March 31, 2017

I really enjoy making these videos as a great way to remember a trip.  This one has been a blast!  Enjoy! Tweet

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Costa Rica!

March 28, 2017

With spring break approaching, last minute the call went out for a couple of good souls for a trip down south and so with a few last minute arrangements we […]

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Mt Baker – Legendary Banked Slalom 31

February 15, 2017

I’ve been very lucky in snowboarding.  No messing around there.  I’ve managed to blag my way onto trips, work on a couple of amazing snow programs, and ride and work […]

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Snowpocalypse 2017

January 16, 2017

This last week has reminded me a lot of the storms we would have in England, where there would be a few inches of snow and then it would be […]

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Mt Hood

January 16, 2017

It seems my luck at Hood is changing.  The last two trips have been memorable.  This one was well pretty fantastic.  just riding groomers from 9-12am, fast laps, leg burns, […]

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