How to Teach Your iPhone Profanity

Standard

What does Cole Fox say today?

 

#%&@! – At least he’s trying to, but his iPhone isn’t letting him! Ugh!

 

We’ve all been there, trying to express our *true* self, and suddenly iPhone autocorrect gets in the way. Steve Jobs, the inventor of the device, was all about telling people to express their true self freely, but his iPhone certainly seems to contradict his anti-orwellian, ‘expess your true self’ philosophy. Today we are going to ensure he’s held up to that ideal.

I have a simple solution to enlighten you with, that’s better than updating your software to the buggy iOS8 update (which does give you a myriad of typing choices), or you could switch to Android (yikes)…but….for the 99%, aka the rest of humanity, there is only one method, and that is to manually teach your iPhone how to accept your dirty profane repertoire of communication. This can ensure efficient expression-of-self to your friends and maybe, a boss you’re not happy with?

Why do this?

It will save you many frustrating moments of being denied the right to free speech by your iPhone, and save you potentially hours of time over the course of your lifespan, needing to carefully type words that otherwise should flow freely from your hands…

wayne

Pontificate Profanity on your iPhone like Lil Wayne Dolls out Hundred Dollar Bills to his breezys.

So here’s where you go, it’s actually pretty simple.

Settings App > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Type your phrase

 

In Pictures:

Click on the settings app.

1) Tap on the settings app.

02-keyboard

2) Tap on the keyboard settings.

03-shortcuts

3) Tap into the Shortcuts area

04-type_phrase

You’ll see this screen when you add a shortcut. Here’s an example of teaching your phone a bad word that starts with the letter F and ends with UCKING

05-examples

In Case you have writer’s block, here are some of the words I’ve taught my iPhone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can type whatever you want without your iPhone correcting you when waxing profane poetry to your posse. Enjoy, and pass along to your friends so we can make the world a more profane, happy, expressive place.

Best running trails in US Cities: Hand-Picked By Locals, Foot-Tested by me.

Standard

I’m a big fan of exercise and health, especially running – almost daily. I recently took a road trip and realized by the time it was over, I had run in all of the cities I visited. I had asked the locals where were the good spots, instead of relying on Yelp or trail running websites. What I found was great. I was close to the city downtown areas and needed places that I could get to quickly, without transportation. I also average 5 miles in my runs, so didn’t want anything too intense, but also not too minuscule. I also am in the technology industry, so I figured sharing this with my techy friends who enjoy running could be helpful.

 

Austin, Texas – Barton Creek Greenbelt + Springs

austin

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is great because you’re running in the shade for a good amount of it, and when it’s summer time, the sun really beats down – and the weather is hot in Austin – over 100 degrees in some cases. Luckily the winter is nice and more temperate. There’s also some really interesting rock formations and caves along the way which can be fun to explore. It’s a classic running trail with small ups and downs, generally flat with an easy, almost un-noticeable grade. It goes almost 18 miles, so just run until you want to turn back, or until you want to take a dip in the cool water! Start at the Barton Springs Upper Pool, park there, and the trail head is easy to find. This site has some cool pics and info. Go take a dip in the barton springs pool for $3 cash if it’s hot out – great way to cool off after a hot run.


 
 

Chicago, Illinois – North Ave Beach, to LakeFront Trail, LincolnPark Zoo

chicago

If you’re staying in the city, the beach is really close by, and who doesn’t want to go running by the beach? You can rent kayaks and paddle boards too, but if you’re in the running mood, there’s a great trail. You can either do the paved trail or the beach. If you start in the south and head north, you can turn inland and run through the free zoo. That’s right, it’s the only free zoo in the world. You could also just stay on the LakeFront trail to keep it simple – the lake is beautiful. The water is pretty cold year round though.


 
 

Los Angeles, California – Santa Monica Beach, North of Pier

santamonicabp2

Santa Monica has the cleanest air since it’s near the ocean, and the wind blows east. Santa Monica has some of the hippest restaurants and small malls to shop in, so it’s a great place to be, it’s also close to the tech scene. The beach has a pathway and plenty of sand to run on, however the big difference is that it’s far less crowded than venice beach, so you won’t run into people! Venice is far better for walking. The other cool thing is that there are public outdoor showers, drinking fountains and restrooms along this stretch.


 
 

Manhattan, New York – The reservoir at Central Park

ny2

If you’re staying in Manhattan, you can run on the east or west side, and that’s cool, but the most beautiful spot with great views of most of NY’s lower manhattan (where all the sweet buildings are at) is Central Park, and furthermore, the best spot to run among the many trails in it is the track that surrounds its reservoir. There’s a drinking fountain and roads nearby so you can stay hydrated and take public transportation easily. The track is 1.5 miles, so do a few laps and then you can get your Starbucks.


 
 

San Francisco – The Marina @ Chrissy Field on San Francisco Bay Trail

sf

You could run the hills of San Francisco’s boulevards, or do this – which is way cooler. The San Francisco Bay trail is great because you get the nice delta breeze to cool you off, a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Sail Boats, a Beach and the Palace of Fine Arts. I live in San Francisco, so I’m sort of biased by this run (yeah, it’s the best). I also run on the beach portion, not the trail portion because I’m just so cool like that…here’s a beach selfie, on that note 🙂

marina

 

 

Hope you enjoyed! I’ll be adding more cities, like Seattle, Denver, and other tech cities later. If you want to learn more about my fitness and health routines, check out this post.

Make Something Out of Nothing – 4 Pillars

Standard

Also posted on my LinkedIn publisher platform page.

Do you ever look at creative people and entrepreneurs wondering if you could be like them? How do they create something from nothing? You can, too. We’re going to start deep and then get to the surface to get you out of your mental jail. Let’s define “something” as a product or service that you build from idea to success. What does success mean? It’s when you make profit from your target market buying your product. After building businesses that sell used cars, food, vodka, office supplies, software, knowledge, and access to cool humans, the following pillars held true regardless of what I brought to market. If you follow them, you’ll be able to create something out of nothing.

 

Creativity

To be creative believe that you’re creative and learn to observe.

Believe that you’re capable of creating.

steve_jobs“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs

 

He’s right. We grow up with so much momentum of mankind’s creation before us, it’s easy to conform. It’s hard to stand up and say, “Hey, no, I want it my way!” Funny thing about some of my friends is they claim they’re not creative, and the next moment they’re complaining about something that could be better. Turn that complaint into a business that solves a problem! By the way, creativity isn’t just about making shiny amazing new contraptions. It can be making the same ol things better. Remember AltaVista? Google did the same thing as them, but they did search in a better way. If that taco shop down the street sells crappy tacos, then stop complaining about it – get creative and sell cooler tacos (hopefully with more guacamole)!

Homework: Watch this video.

Observe the world around you to form new connections

Creativity starts with listening. Do you ever stop to notice what could be better about your day or daily routine? Learn to quiet your mind; be aware of everything around you. When you’re walking down the street, look up from your phone and take in the businesses and humans around you, and maybe even their pets. Talk to your friends about what could make their days even better. This is why ideas to improve your workplace’s operations come to you so easily, because you’re in it all day – listening. Plus, you get paid to be there. Unfortunately, no one cares about your ideas at work unless you’re an executive. If you’re more aware of things outside of work, you’ll get a greater diversity of ideas that you can get paid for – if you implement them properly. Connections will start to form about how you can change people’s life by adding more value. By the way, creativity doesn’t end with the idea. The idea will be molded, abandoned, re-couped and re-formedm like Play-Doh. Just remember that you need to quiet your mind so they will come to you. Make sure to write them down asap!

Homework: Spend 1 un-divided minute walking down the street taking in 100% of your surroundings or 1 minute listening to a friend’s issue

 

Value

Know the problem you’re solving and the amount of value your idea brings

Your idea needs to help people. The greater the value you bring to people, the more money you will make. The same fifty-cent bottle of water at your local Costco is five dollars at a Gas Station in the Mojave Desert. That’s not a mistake. Remember that you also have a lot of choice in what you build. Figuring out the cure to cancer or organizing a networking event on meetup.com both bring value, however one is more complicated to attain than the other. The most successful people choose things that they have a passion for as well as the skills to bring it to fruition. Many successful products are created to solve a problem that you face, sometimes as simple as a wrist wrap to film your surfing excursions. (GoPro)

 

Ability

Your skills and network should match up to the project

Another way to figure out what to create is to draw from what you already know how to do and who you know that can help. Your future customers love a good story, so adding in the ‘why’ is easier if what you’ll be doing is a natural progression. You will have more leverage, such as insider knowledge and connections to draw from and make things happen. If not, you’ll need to spend extra time either educating yourself, building new relationships, either way – acquiring talent. Life is short, and if you want to make things happen quick, then use the momentum you’ve already built. Sometimes choosing something that you can do pretty easily can make you fall in love with it. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll fall in love with something that’s moving along quite well. Sometimes when you have a head start, it can turn into something larger than you ever imagined. For example, Twitter was a simple texting blog platform. The founders made this simple app with little effort, and it is now a publicly traded company.

 

Tribe

Find early adopters and influencers to test your idea, decide who they are and treat them well

When you’ve got your idea prototyped, then you need to go out and test it in the wild, then sell the hell out of it. Put together a tribe. This involves reaching out to friends, networking and contacting influencers.

 

According to the AirBnB founder, treat your first customers like Kings/Queens, and contact bloggers. Yelp reached out to the most passionate reviewers for its first reviews on the site.

 

 

Creating something out of nothing shouldn’t seem so daunting anymore. People do it all the time. Creativity happens every day and in many forms. It’s not just for the Einstein’s out there. Now go forth and build!

5 steps to get over a nasty cold fast

Standard

What does the Fox say today? Getting a cold sucks. I had a killer one last week, and since I got over it faster than most my friends, I was provoked enough to pen my penta-prescription proclamation to help you power through your perilous plague with a high level of probability (ok done). Even if you know most of these, it’s good to keep this list bookmarked as a reminder since you’re statistically prone to 2-4 per year, and you’ll probably be too sick and out of it to remember.

So what’s the cure? Memo: there isn’t one (you dumb-ass). The good news is, you can fast-forward how fast it runs its course.

Before I get started, let’s have a quick review of what a cold is at a micro and macro level. At a micro level, a virus or bacteria has invaded your body, is multiplying faster than bunny rabbits because your natural defense system is taking too long to form a winning strategy to kill it off, so now you’ve got symptoms and a full-blown immune response, like a runny nose, the shits, or a shitty attitude toward life in general. Ok that was a bit dramatic. At the macro-metaphor level, look at the sick body like a dirty rag; a tourniquet that needs to be squeezed clean. What do you do if you want to use it again? You get it wet (hydrated) and then squeeze the (now) dirty water out. Here are the top ways to do that, along with some products I use that help stimulate and bolster the immune system. Ok, class dismissed, and on to my pentacular list…

 

1. A liquid diet

You’ve heard it before, “Oh, you’re sick? Drink lots of liquid.” This is the most important of the 5 steps. Drinking fluids flushes your body out the fastest, removing all those infected and dead cells. I take it a step further and “eat” liquid foods too. My diet consists of Coconut water, Soup, and Vegetable juices. That’s it. Stay away from heavy, liquid-less foods that are hard to digest (such as a giant steak and junk foods). Have you ever tried to stuff a slice of New York Pizza down a sore throat? It fucking hurts. Heavy water-less foods are going to tax your digestive system and slow down your cleansing process, so don’t go there.

Coconut water is more fun to drink than plain water, so you’re going to drink more of it than water. Luckily it has a low sugar content, so you’re not going to get fat and dehydrated (like you soda drinkers do), in fact it has plenty of vitamins and electrolytes that your body needs. You could basically survive off this stuff. Remember that when you’re cast away on an island, k?coconutSoup. It’s going to be your main course, your piece d’ resistance. Cause you’re a classy Frankophile. Not. Anyway, it’s going to keep your body temp up, which helps, because viruses and bacteria hate heat! BTW that’s why your body upps its temp aka fever when you’re sick. It’s also easier to digest than a steak, and keeps you hydrated, and you have nutrients coming in.

Vegetable juices are an easily digestible and rich source of nutrients and antioxidants to keep your body in a state to keep fighting off bad cells. In case you didn’t get the memo, Veggies are good for you in general. Look for juices with no fruits so you avoid a sugar overload. A great example is pictured below.

green_juice

 

2. Rest, ideally Sleep

melatoninWhen your body is in a resting state, it’s able to repair itself most quickly, even faster than when you’re sitting in front of your computer typing an email or texting your friend-with-benefits! So go ahead, tell him/her they’re not currently benefitting you by texting your sick ass unless they let you go the eff to sleep or bring you some soup. BTW, did you know that you build muscle in your sleep, NOT during your workout. Unfortunately, this may mean taking extended time off work, or…dating. Yes I know, not easy. If your cold is causing you to lose sleep, try the natural alternative to sleeping pills, melatonin. It’s easier on your body than Benadryl and NyQuil, nor is it addictive.

 

3. A Hot Bath with Epsom Salt

epsom_saltThis serves a few awesome purposes.

Weightlessness. Being surrounded by water puts your body in a weightless state, which makes physiological processes move more quickly. That’s why rom age Zero to Nine months you were in an aqueous sack inside your mom, plus Avatars were grown in tanks.

See, James Cameron was sorta smart, even though he's a dick.

See, James Cameron was sorta smart!

Weightlessness has been proven to make cells and metabolism move faster. So get in a damn bath, because you’re not Stephen Hawking and you can’t afford weightless plane rides.

Hot water gets your core temp and heart rate up. Blood pumping faster through your body is going to get the bad stuff to circulate to your filtration system (kidneys) so you can pee all that bad stuff out quicker. Also, as mentioned in soup section, more heat simulates a fever. Viruses and Colds HATE heat. Go forth, Genghis and gut those green-mucus-causing micro-gringos with your proverbial flame-thrower in the form of a hot bath.

Epsom salt absorbs easily into your skin. Good thing it’s GRAS! Why is it awesome? It’s made of two important elements; magnesium and sulfur. The magnesium makes your cells have enzymatic and P.H. harmony. Jargon-y sounding, but it means very good things are happening. Sulfur helps with anti-inflammation. When you’re sick, you’re likely going to be inflamed from all the white blood cells going nuts trying to repair you. Most anti-cold meds are made of some form of salt and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Think of Epsom as the natural version of this. It’s great for nursing sports injuries. Bathe in it ever effin day if you want! If you drink it, you’ve got a laxative at your disposal. Friendship prank, anyone ;).

 

4. Vitamin C – in a delicious form

vitamin_cThis vitamin makes your immune response happen and be at its best. There’s a lot of talk that Vitamin C isn’t effective at curing a cold – in fact, recent studies urge you to stop taking multivitamins altogether. Regardless, you still need Vitamin C to help your immune system. In this case if the extra dosage is just serving a placebo effect, many studies show that 1-2 days are shaved off the cold.

Take it in a delicious form so you’re motivated to eat LOTS. Pretend you’re a kid for a second. Do kids eat tasteless pills? No. Kids eat gummy bears and sweet things. Fruit snacks with Vitamins? Yes please. I’ll eat like 10,000% DV in a day with no problem-o. I wouldn’t consume more than 1 giant bottle over the course of a week though, you might get some skin rash, worse case. Nothing deadly, unless you’re allergic.

 

5. Zinc – in a delicious form

zincZinc is directly involved in cell division, which means you’ll be able to replenish new uninfected cells efficiently if you’re getting the proper amount. Unfortunately I haven’t found a gummy option, but one fun thing about zinc is it’s the reason Oysters are considered aphrodisiacs, they’re high in the stuff….sadly, ONLY for men! This is because Zinc causes men to produce more Sperm and testosterone. Sorry ladies, you’ll have to stick to chocolate and Bradley Cooper movies for the aphrodisiac aspects, but still take it when you’re sick!

 

Conclusion & Health Disclaimer

I hope you found this helpful. You probably knew a lot of it, but it’s nice to have a reminder for the next time you get sick. NOTE: I’m neither a doctor nor certified health analyst. I am going by a “strict” scientific study method called Cole’s life and the internet, utilizing a very large sample size of One Fox (that wasn’t harmed in the making of this), so please use this at your own risk, listen to your body and choose what works for you. If you die from this advice, don’t sue me. Ciao until the next blog post!

How to be a Networking Superstar

Standard

Today, Cole Fox says “NETWORK!” Why? Because that’s how you get a job. It’s how you make your own job. It’s how you make money. It’s how you build great teams. It’s how you can get introduced to awesome people. It’s how you develop business. It’s how you can have a support network to figure out what the hell to do with your life. In short, the more you network, the more opportunities and choices you’ll have in the business world, and the less stressed you’ll be. These are ingredients for a happy, successful life. So go forth, and network my friend!

But how, Cole?

Oh, funny you should ask.

A lot of people are confused by exactly what networking means. All it means is meeting people and maintaining some sort of relationship that leads to a positive outcome. What is a relationship? See a therapist if you don’t know. Most think of networking as this cold vanilla room with no windows…You walk in, greeted by a someone who looks like they deal out TPS reports and then you put on a red nametag that says “Hello, I’m __Name (in bad Sharpie Penmanship)___”. Next, you awkwardly start approaching people, then exchange clammy, wet-noodle handshakes, ask what one another does, and exchange business cards before moving on to the next human with a pulse.

hello_awk

It used to be like that…in the 50s. Now networking happens all over the place and in many different settings, such as a party, a family gathering, a conference, and now even the world wide web.

I have over 2K LinkedIn connections, 99% of whom I actually know and have met at some point. I have over 4K twitter followers, and have attended over 250 social and business networking events (including conferences) in the last three years. You don’t have to get to this level to be ‘good’ at networking, or get what you need, but this is what can happen if you care about networking.

 

1) Find events

Meetup

Meetup.com is great because you can search for literally anything that people might want to get together or do together. Don’t just search for “networking”. Search for specific things, like Android, Startups, Learning to code, Marketing, Sales, Healthcare, Yoga, etc. If you live anywhere close to other humans, you will find a plethora of results. Make sure to fill out your profile with a nice picture and description, and introduce yourself to the groups you join. I’ve attended hundreds of meetups and started my own, ranging from trail running to entrepreneurship. Feeling brave? Start your own meetup.

 

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

 

Event Mailing List

I stumbled across this cool mailing list that curates and shows what events are going on specific cities. This link is for SF, but if you’re somewhere else, then go to the site and change the settings, and of course then sign up for the correct email newsletter.

Eventbrite

This is a popular platform for selling tickets, but you may not know that they have a great public and searchable feed of events going on. Go to their website or download their app and you will find plenty to discover and chew on. Also, if you connect your facebook account, you will get occasional suggestions on what to do, based on what your friends are going to and what you’ve attended.

 

It’s not difficult to find events, just with these top tools, and most of them are free to attend. There are more, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. BTW, if you RSVP to an event, make sure to add it to your calendar, then set an alert a couple hours before. Most sites make it easy to add by the click of a button, with the venue address and all other details included. While you’re at it, shoot the calendar invite to a friend or two. A P.I.C. can help you feel more comfortable to get out of your comfort zone to meet others, and push you to go in the first place, if you don’t like going places alone, or have a severe lack of motivation.

 

2) Make people love and remember you. It’s not that hard.

Look good

Be clean cut and wear jeans if it’s a jeans crowd. Wear slacks if it’s a slacks crowd.

dress_for_occasion_don_draper

You should aim to feel like a million bucks, but not overtly powerful and not like the bottom of the totem pole. Clothes can govern your feelings. Many tech events and networking events allow men to wear jeans and a nice tee these days, touched off with nice shoes and a blazer or sport coat. Women can get away with even more. I get my shirts and blazers custom tailored by these guys. They will come to your house and measure you. It’s worth looking good, and you can even if you’re not a perfect genetic specimen.

 

 

Stand up straight

This is a bigger problem than you think. You might have bad posture and not even know it. Thanks to my mom reminding me, I fixed mine. Most people sit all day and hunch over their desk, creating a bad habit. When you’re meeting new people, such as at a networking event, others may form an impression that you have low self esteem, or perhaps a nerdy, socially awkward person. evolution-man-computerAn example of good posture is Tony Stark in Iron Man. His chest is out, head up, and he looks people in the eye. Use a mirror to correct yourself. Imagine a string attached to your head, pulling it up, and another two strings are pulling your shoulders back.

 

“I really need to get out of the house and my office and do more networking!”

 

Get and give out your business cards

I taught myself graphic design, so I make my own, but you don’t need to be an artist. I recommend these sleek cards if you want to make an impression.biz_card All you need is your basic contact info. You don’t need to have your company, unless you’re an entrepreneur and selling a product. Personal cards are great, because often times we have different intentions with different people we network with, and it leaves the door open.

 

GIVE GIVE GIVE

Reid Hoffmann, the founder of LinkedIn published a book that says giving to your network is important to get what you want.

Also, the book I mention below goes into ‘giving’ attention and interest in others.

Every mention, thought and gesture counts. Do it out of respect and karma will manifest.

Every mention, thought and gesture counts. Do it out of respect and karma will manifest.

Giving can be as simple as sharing your friends company launch video, or as complex as building a website for someone in your free time. Either way, always trust ‘networking karma’ and it will repay you.

 

Read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People

This is one of the most timeless business psychology books. There’s a reason it has sold 15 million copies despite being published in 1936. Follow what this book says and you will be effective at networking. If you don’t want to buy the book, here’s a free audio version on YouTube. Listen to it while you work out. If you’re too lazy to do that, at least follow these 6 core ideas when you’re at the next networking event:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves FIRST
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

 

By the way, here’s a cool way to remember someone’s name that I recently picked up:

  1. Repeat their name back to them when they tell it to you.
  2. In your head, repeat it 5 more times. (Did you know that if you hold a thought in your head for more than 5 seconds, it forms a memory?)
  3. In your head, try and rhyme their name with some characteristic of them you notice, physical or intangible. For example, Dave…(says he surfs)…(Dave…surfs waves) dave_the_wave…. Another example: John…(currently eating shrimp)…(John..eats prawns). Sounds silly, and it can be as idiotic as you want, but just make *A* rhyme and you’ll amaze yourself at how many names you can remember in one night.

 

Recap

See, events aren’t hard to find, and networking isn’t all about TPS reports and clammy handshakes after all! Networking happens everywhere, so you just need to be on your game, in the moment and seek to help others first. Diversify where you meet people and always be open to meeting others. Ask them what they do first, and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. This alone will have most warming up to you quickly. Make it a point to attend at least two events a month. Be cognizant of how you look and act at the first couple events you attend, and then make sure to follow up with an email, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter connection.

Special thanks to my friends Justin and Kristin who suggested I write about this topic!

How I got in shape in 2 Months (d-bag photo included!)

Standard

One of my new years resolutions was to get rid of excess fat and get back in shape, to the point of being happy with my body and ready for my favorite sports activities like Snowboarding, Backpacking and Tough Mudder Races. I’m no stranger to fitness, although sometimes I tend to ‘fall off the bandwagon’. After gaining weight and being unhealthy for all of 2013, I made up my mind to snap out of it and get back on it, and tested myself to see how fast I could. I have read a TON on health, tried many diets, and workouts, so I wanted to share my experience and wisdom with you. Tl;dr results: in 2 months I reduced my body fat from 23% to 13%, went from a panting 2 mile run at 9:30 pace to 10 miles at an 8:15 pace, and can get through a 1 hour HIIT routine with no problemo :). I began when I moved to SF on December 15th, 2013 and reflected on my results on Feb 15th, 2014. So here’s how I set myself up for success. Spoiler: I attribute only a small portion related to my actual workout regimen.

 

1) Moved close to a gym

map_from_home_to_gym

0.7 miles away, 5 minute jog

This matters, because I had less excuses to skip with a gym nearby. I don’t have to get in my car, I can shower and not have to bring a change of clothes, and it doesn’t mess up the commute to work as much. Less excuses is the king of motivation, and city life can really help with this. If you’re in the suburbs and can’t easily move, then you should put more stock in #2…

 

2) Surrounded myself with active friends

Running, Hiking, Snowboarding, Races

Running, Hiking, Snowboarding, Races

Thanks to my friends Justin, Max, Casey, Matt, Brie and others –  who in some cases live a few blocks away from me, I was able to be motivated by their fitness level and enthusiasm to push myself. Whether it was keeping up with them on a run, planning snowboarding or Tough Mudder trips – all of this has combined to make becoming and remaining fit easier. It’s been proven that we are the average of our 5 closest friends. It’s true.

 

3) Clean (kinda boring) eating

foods_for_fitness

Clean eating: Protein Powder, Trail Mix, Pro Bars, Kombucha. That’s IT!

Above is my weekly diet in a nutshell. Yup, healthy stuff can be boring and lame to eat, compared to the good stuff. If you have one splurge day a week, that’s fine, in fact it’s good for your mental health to splurge. In this photo there’s protein powder, because extra protein helps rebuild muscle. I have Trail Mix and ProBars. These have good fats that fill you up and have a high nutrient density per calorie. I also have green food vegetable juices and Kombucha. These are filled with Antioxidants and ProBiotics, which help with efficient digestion and fight off sickness naturally, while keeping metabolism high. If I eat out, I stick to whole grains, lean meats and vegetables. I avoid fried foods and fattening dairy. I’m not cooking because my silly little studio doesn’t have a stove, but hey…single guy living simple; ain’t nothin wrong with that! (But I can cook, really well, fyi)

 

4) A kick-a**, diverse Workout Regimen

Why do I put this last? Because while it’s important, it’s nowhere NEAR the most important, in terms of motivation. You’ll never stick to a workout unless you’re motivated. I see it as the iceberg metaphor. 90% of what makes it float is underneath (the motivation and reward system you build), and 10% is the actual workout, or results that show through.

Mix it up — Falling into a rut of the same workouts and not pushing yourself are going to keep you fat. Constantly change up your workout and push yourself so you always feel challenged.

  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for full body muscle building. Here’s a great YouTube Playlist to use or at least understand the strategy. This on its own is great for you and can be done at home with no equipment or weights.
  • Running – I ran from 4, working up to 9 miles at a light jog of 9mins/mile, two days per week. I now run on the beach and grass to minimize impact on my knees. If you don’t want to run, then hike hills for at least an hour. I also did that.
  • Rowing – The Row Machine is like Running, but for your upper body. I do this once a week. Swimming is great too, but it’s hard to find a good clean pool.
  • 1 Day of heavy weights. I limited this to one day because I didn’t want to bulk up. If you want to bulk up, then add more heavy weights.
  • 1-2 Rest days. This is important for your muscles to rebuild. If you don’t rest, you might not gain muscle and lose weight properly.

Aaaaand the results. Prep yourself for douchebaggery. Can you see any? I hope!

The left is how I looked Dec ’13, the Right is Feb ’14.
*The left pic was taken Jun ’13, although I looked that way in December!

Good luck and let me know if I can help in any way. I want to reiterate that setting up a system of motivation, like a closeby gym and active friends was the winning strategy here, not just ‘making a resolution’.

3 Methods to Get a Great Spot in SF

SF Housing
Standard

Like Borat marrying Pamela Anderson, the chances of finding a place in SF are slim. In fact it may be the most competitive in the world, let alone expensive. Never fear – ‘average me’ did it, in 1 week, with a desirable place I actually like! There are some steps you can take to greatly increase your chances. Unfortunately I don’t have advice for Borat though.

$870/month in Prime spot in Nob Hill. My own room.

$870/month, prime spot, Nob Hill. My own room. Includes Utilities. Boom.

Before you continue reading, please note that I assume the following is true about you…

  • you can actually afford to pay rent
  • you have solid friends who can at least act as references
  • your credit score isn’t pathetic; at least 650, or, if under, you have a family member who can co-sign

Assuming that’s all dandy, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

 

Post a wanted ad on Craigslist

Outline exactly what you’re looking for, tell people who you are, and why you’re good. See below for mine. I got over 15 responses, most of which were awesome, such as landlords either looking to rent a place to me, or renters looking to pony up on a place together. You’d be surprised how much time and work you save yourself by letting others select you. As they say, when you put something out in the Universe, things happen. I’ve done this for many items on Craigslist, including buying a new vehicle at the year, price, and color I wanted.

Be open. Put yourself in the shoes of what potential roommates or landlords would be looking for.

Be open. Put yourself in the shoes of what potential roommates or landlords would be looking for.

 

Set up an email push feed

I credit my awesome friends Brie and Jessica telling me about this best kept secret. Getting emailed instantly when something is posted is the ultimate early-bird-gets-the-worm strategy for SF housing. After 4 days and about 100 emails pushed to me, I found 10 I really liked, never had to go to CL again. Furthermore, every spot I was interested in allowed me to come view the place and invited me to sign a lease, likely since I was the 1st who emailed them. Here’s how to set it up…

1) Go to craigslist housing, and then tune the search to your specs, e.g. <$1,000/mo, shared, only nob hill, and financial district, etc, etc.

2) Scroll to the bottom of the screen, and click on RSS. Copy the URL in your address bar.

3) Go to blogtrottr, make a free new account and paste in the RSS URL. Set it to send you emails IMMEDIATELY. Do not get digests, otherwise you will NOT be among the first to email the landlord back.

 

Make a great first impression

So you’ve found a cool place. From the first email until you sign the lease, you’ve got to show them why you’re #1.

Email asap and suggest a time to meet soon

Of course email them when you receive the feeds ASAP, and suggest some times in the next 24 hours you’re free to meet up. Add a little about yourself, such as what you put in your wanted ad, (see above), and make sure to include social media links to you.

If you’re able to stay in the city, do so. I had friends with comfy couches, so I crashed on their couch for four days straight and spent a couple hours a day scheduling showings. This may not be easy with your job situation, but if you can at least get close to the city while searching, it will pay off.

Bring the right documents with you

Bring a copy of your credit report, a filled-out generic rent application, a pay stub, and heck even print out your bank account balances if you’re comfortable with it. By having these documents ready, it shows you are a good potential tenant without them needing to research you as much.

Prep your references and follow up

Since it’s so competitive, your references will likely get called. All of mine did; including my personal, professional and previous landlords. Luckily, I prepped everyone ahead of time, telling them that they might receive a call. Don’t tell anyone, but I faked my previous landlord reference. Even though she would give me a good recommendation, I feared her lack of English fluency and phone availability could undermine my chances. I chose a friend with an adult voice, prepped him with vital info, and it worked like a charm when he was called. Make sure to prep with amount of rent you pay, address of property and lease length.

Finally, I followed up and scheduled a time in the next day to come sign the lease, with all documents prepped and filled out with my best handwriting. I’m glad I did, because the property manager said I was the first, despite  a line, yes, A LINE forming outside his office the day after the CL posting.

Hope this helps. Happy hunting…if you are indeed a person who deserves to rent. Don’t screw anyone over if you can’t afford a place or are an evil human who plans to pillage your future SF abode! 😛

Homage to Snowboarding

Gallery

Ever since I was two years old, my parents had me on skis. It was great and came natural to me, especially since we lived in Sacramento, which was only 1.5 hours away, and we even had a house in Tahoe in Incline Village. My parents sold the house when I was 15, but that didn’t stop me from going. When I turned 13, my cousins were all snowboarding, so I soon switched. I haven’t looked back at Skiis since then, and have gone pretty much every season. I’ve been lucky to go to Tahoe resorts like Squaw, Northstar, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose and Alpine Meadows and in Canada– Lake Louise and Kicking Horse. Here is a collage of pictures of me Snowboarding…

snowboard1 snowboard2 snowboard3 snowboard4 snowboard5 snowboard6