A Florist.

A Greens Keeper.

“I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up, but I know it should be something with Business and Sport”

They were 3 things which were in my ‘National Record of Achievement’ which I looked at last week for the first time in 10 years. Pretty insightful right?

Well Florist was what some test that I did determined what my future calling would be. What is more telling is that someone has likely made money creating a personality test for 15 year olds who have zero clue about what they want to do for A levels let alone as a career.  I suppose everyone has their calling.  The greens keeper part was where I spent my work experience which again despite it having zero reflection on my future was amazing fun driving round a golf course at 6am dodging old golfers teeing off and digging holes in the ground repeatedly.  “I just know I want to do something in sport and business” was the only one that actually came true thankfully!

So the reason for writing this blog, was just that whilst in the U.K. I saw the various news articles about A Level results (age 18) coming out, and people stressing about which university they will get in too.  It just got me thinking, there seems to be such a stress for kids to figure out where they are heading in the future and have everything all nicely lined up.

And ultimately I just wanted kids to know…..

You don’t need to have all the answers.

You don’t need to know what career you will go into.

Hell, by the time most kids now are working the notion of working at one job for 30 years will be something only their grand parents will have done.

Probably the best thing about our University.  Andy Mills making good use of his back yard.

So what do you need to know even if you don’t know what you want to grow up?

Well, first of all, if someone asks me today “what do you want to do when you grow up?” I still couldn’t tell you. Maybe that’s just me and maybe I need to do a better job of planning but I still don’t have the future mapped out, and still consider myself as learning everyday. Maybe it’s something I inherited from my father who at 75 seems ready to try and start a new business or write a book or anything he seems in a state of constant get up and go.

Set some Goals

What I do know though is that I’m not sat round doing nothing and do set goals each year which I strive to make and for anyone who sets goals, you will see the power in doing so as in general whatever you write down and set out to achieve quite often does become reality. It’s a strange thing but it is something I would encourage kids to do right away.  Even just saying, I want to do this in the next month, next 6 months, 1 year, really does help you see a bit clearer.  I guess that’s why the “what will you be” question just confused me when I was young because quite often you just need to think in more manageable time frames.  I link info to goal setting at the end.

Passion

That plays into something I said it in a previous blog, but just make sure you have something you care about and would ultimately do for free if needed and are ready to hustle to make happen. It helps when it’s an 11pm trade show set up or a 4am wake up call for a demo up in Stubai when it’s minus 30 out and the forum boards have just introduced a ‘revolutionary slider system’ which keeps breaking.

Yes I had passion for dreadlocks for a minute there.

Adaptability

One of the worst things about planning is just good old life itself. Ups, downs, upsets. It happens. Life happens. Every problem that happens is a learning experience to make you better.  The quicker you realize a life without problems would never make you help you grow the quicker you realize how you can progress quicker in life.

I bet Henry never thought he would grow up to an event MC.  He is doing rather well at it now.

Learning for the future

I’m sure times have changed and now things is more vocational learning but I do still worry that kids are focusing on what they want to do in future when for many people know instead of working at a company for 30 years people are moving to more of an Air BnB economy and perhaps people should be preparing themselves for more that kind of freelance lifestyle as for most it offers the ability to combine work, creativity and lifestyle.  When I was going to University, I was looking at computer science which would have been a great one at the time, so just keep an eye on where the world is going…. Renewable energy anyone?  Unless you live in the USA that is…. Even china just said they would ban petrol and diesel cars!

Finances.

What still I find interesting though is that for many at school these days the old favorites are taught in terms of maths, science etc but there still isn’t much about personal finance or your own economy. Yes you can study economics but is there anything in there really providing them with the opportunity to learn about things that they will actually need in the next 18 months? Such as credit scores, how interest rates work and affect you, the ability to borrow money, where best to save money, how and when to invest.  I’m sure some advice on pensions would also be likely useful as for many whilst it seems a million miles away, even just a few dollars saved a week from a young age can really help long term if you subscribe to the theory of compounding interest.

Yes. I need to start saving money for this guy.  I get it.

Money is something which for some reason most people don’t like to discuss, sometimes the same as religion or politics but ultimately way more important as it’s something which will have a direct correlation with your personal situation moving forward and it’s something you can control which is something that can’t be said of politics or religion both of which seem to be in the eye of the beholder.

There are plenty of well published authors who have highlighted the fact but it doesn’t seem to be resonating.  Sex education when I was at school was damn near a joke and now I’m sure is a lot more when thought out, but why isn’t personal finance?

A bunch of dudes still figuring it out.

The other thing I would love to fix is the food at schools. F*ck the fact there are fucking vending machines at school.  And they wonder why there is an Obesity problem.  Stop the machines and you will help solve the problem.

Again, knowing what you want to do in 20 years is damn near impossible, unless luckily you get that bolt from the blue telling you that you want to be a vet or an astronaut but for many millions of us just be confident in your own abilities, love what you do and just know….

That we’re all here creating it ourselves, making it up as we go along, doing our best, setting goals and just soaking up the journey.

And well if that strategy gives out on me, then I do have my career as a Florist to fall back on.

Thanks for reading please share with as many younger readers as possible and I would be genuinely interested in your thoughts in the comments below.

Thought I should leave you with this from one of the best.

A Letter to my 14 Year old Self.

Mexico!

by The Good Life on September 7, 2017

in America

Surfing is fun.  Traveling to surf is probably more fun.  I often wonder what Surfing would be like if I lived at the beach.  Without the need to travel, drive, fly, organize to get somewhere to surf, would it have the same joy that it it does right now for me, almost as an escape?

People often talk about why countries without snow make great snowboarders, but I think part of it is the dedication needed to succeed.

I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico.  Especially right now with all of the rhetoric being spouted about Mexico and Mexicans by politicians who would have you believe that everyone south of San Diego is dangerous.

So with Labour Day upon us a good friend from the glory days of Nike Snowboarding called me up that he was celebrating his birthday over the weekend and so I should fly down.  Without a moments notice I was ready.

First stop, figuring out packing two cars with 7 people, 12 boards and enough food and drink to feed an army.

When we moved to the states, I don’t think we ever set out to visit all the close by countries but through surfing we have now done Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua.  Got to say I am pretty happy about seeing these wonderful, rich, beautiful places.

We drove to K38 just south of Rosarito which had a nice spot to stay, with our crew consisting of Brian and Jamie the birthday crew, Tyler and Murph the boys, Sarah and Kathleen, the girls and me.

The boys crew.

With a cuppa and their feet up though.

So back to Mexico.  Things which are epic.

Food.  You knew this, but it is.  This place just next to Rocas hotel was amazing.  Fish tacos the whole 9 yards.

Drink.  Of course it is.  Tyler who hadn’t been drinking managed to this point decided on finishing a handle of margarita (I think it was) anyways.

The Hustle. Those Mexican blankets we all have here in Oregon, they must all come from here and damn its fun here looking around the market, well for a man the first 30 minutes are fun, before the humidity sets in.

This was at the border.  I have so much respect for the people out here selling fruit, blankets, football shirts, singing, doing whatever they need to support themselves.  No one is begging, but just putting in the work.

The happy Couple and the amazing sunsets

Since I didn’t get the chance to go to their wedding this made up nicely for it.

The surf outside the villa was amazing fun, although the first day we did kind of mess up by paddling out on high tide and scaring ourselves shitless by paddling straight at a rock only 6 ft away and hoping to take off, bottom turn and navigate along the face before being mangled on the rock.  Not easy for me.

At mid and low tide though it was a very forgiving for a mediocre surfer with a bad hip.  Perfect.

Thats those rocks.  Right in the way.

I believe this was Murph winning yet another heat out front with us

I have been using this app called Dawn Patrol on the Apple Watch.  Yes its a bit goofy but on the other hand, tracking where you are surfing, wave speed and length is kind of cool.

This was another beach we visited, called La Fonda ” A zippy beach break” as it was advertised to me by the boys.

but unfortunately Brian managed to come undone the second day (maybe as I wasn’t there to distract him with my average surfing) but he got a fin deep in the side of his head.  That’ll teach him to have large fins…

Of course they had an epic restaurant to watch from after the surf too.

After the trip when we got back to Encinitas, we missioned out for a surf in some terrible conditions, but my changing room right here was worth a photo anyways.

One last shout for Alaska Airlines.  They charge $25 each way for a board pack.  Sorry delta but at $150 thats a joke.

oh yeah.  Thought this was very Apt.  People in Mexico just seem to be getting on with it.  despite this guy.

Its an odd one as the very same people who cast that fear into the mind of the people seem to forget the dangers of parts of cities of the modern world like their own house is in order.  The world can be dangerous wherever you go, it can be beautiful.

Thank you Mexico, thank you Crew!

Oh and I also put together a video from the surf in Mexico too….

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

dexapdx.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1618591071779501/?notif_t=group_r2j_approved&notif_id=1498109217574629

The Savant of Speed — Ryan Flaherty

A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners

https://breakingmuscle.com/fuel/leptin-the-secret-key-to-getting-shredded

https://www.hellofresh.com

https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bcaas-the-many-benefits-of-amino-acids.html

https://www.bulletproof.com/food-drink/fat-for-fuel

 

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!

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