I am a creature of habit. I create routines and systems around optimizing my lifestyle and accomplishing my goals, and I stick to them. On the other hand, I also consider myself an early adopter, both of technology (tools) and best practices (wisdom from experts). Despite how set in my ways I generally am, I also enjoy augmenting my life and routines with new tools and habits that further accelerate my journey towards reaching my goals.
I am constantly consuming information from industry experts and the ultra-successful in the form of books, podcasts, interviews, articles, and more. This is where those new ‘best practices’ come from. I’m always on the lookout for the next thing that can give me the edge - whether it’s a certain workout device, sleep tracker, supplement, you name it - I’m willing to try just about anything if it’s from a reliable source and within reason and budget.
When it comes to new tools, I have a trusted source give me a daily digest of tech and startup updates (otherwise it’s rare that I read, watch, or listen to the “news”). This allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of new gadgets and trends. Working at a tech startup also helps with keeping me on top of what and who are new in startup-world.
Over the past couple years, I’ve consumed a pretty insane amount of the above information consistently. However, I am fairly selective over what I add to my life. Below are a few of my favorite discoveries from recent memory and a brief explanation of why they’re a part of my regular life now:
Inversion table - This bad boy allows me to hang upside down by my feet while in the comfort of my living room. After standing basically all day, this is a great relief to my neck and back, taking pressure off of my spine while allowing gravity to work in the opposite direction. Bonus: I feel taller after using this.
Topo Mat - Speaking of standing all day, I’m fortunate to have a standing desk at work. It is rare for me to sit for any extended period of time. This is good for my body but harder on my feet, especially with the typical hard floor surface of an office. I purchased a Topo mat to give my feet some ergonomic cushion while encouraging my body to move by the varied terrain of this mat.
Copper fit - Another tool I use while working at my standing desk is a wrist guard from CopperFit. I have my desk and monitors positioned as ergonomically as possible, but typing and clicking all day can still take its toll. The wrist guards I wear keep my wrists in a natural alignment which prevents them from getting sore in the short term, and can help prevent more serious injuries (like carpal tunnel syndrome) in the long term.
Oil diffuser - At both my desk and in my bedroom, I have ultrasonic oil diffusers. There are supposedly different benefits from the different types of essential oils you diffuse, but the jury is still out on the validity of those claims. However, I can say that subjectively, lavender oil diffused at night does make me feel calmer and peppermint (my go-to in the day) is very refreshing (dare I say, energizing?). Even if all the woo woo stuff is false, I am still getting natural, fresh scented air.
Infrared lamp - I now use this lamp every morning while I’m meditating and every evening as I’m winding down for bed. The soothing red light isn’t disruptive to melatonin production like a typical light bulb or (especially) a TV or other screen, so it’s pleasant to fall asleep to or wake up with. Many people use the lamp for soothing muscle aches or even increasing collagen production (and there is evidence to back both benefits), so I consider this an important tool for not just sleep health, but anti-aging as well.
Sauna - In the same vein as the infrared lamp, I have added a daily sauna practice to my morning routine (immediately after my workouts). The sauna leaves me feeling loose and relaxed, and always boosts my mood and energy. There are reported benefits of saunas aiding in detoxification and regular use is even correlated with preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
Brain.fm - For years, I have used binaural beats to aid in focusing, relaxing, or even feeling energized. Brain.fm takes this to the next level. The software creates unique “music” that is designed to help focus, relax, meditate, or sleep. I primarily use it while at work to help maintain focus. Sure, just putting on headphones and drowning out the busy sounds of an office environment make for better concentration, but I can notice more focus when I use this app as opposed to a regular playlist of music.
High altitude training mask - I’m not afraid to do or wear something that most people would consider “dorky” or embarrassing (e.g. wearing blue blocker glasses in public). However, I have not yet mustered up the courage to wear this mask to the gym for a full workout. First, it kind of makes me look and sound like Tom Hardy as Bane (maybe not a totally bad thing). The mask also makes doing anything extra difficult, and I would rather not pass out in front of a bunch of people (or ever actually). However, even just wearing this in short intervals in my living room - while swinging a kettlebell or doing push ups or air squats - can increase lung strength and capacity while improving VO2 Max.
Fat Grips - Something I’m not afraid to bring to the gym are my Fat Grips. I’ve been using these consistently for a few years now. Fat Grips easily wrap around a dumbbell or barbell to significantly increase the diameter of the area where you’re holding on to the bar. This forces a larger grip which will take a standard weight-lifting workout and make it more challenging. They can also increase your grip strength by strengthening your hands and forearms.
Trampoline - I have a small trampoline I bounce on for a practice called “rebounding”. This is another area where the benefits haven’t been completely verified (at least without bouncing aggressively for a long period of time). However, I found that even a few minutes of light bouncing can loosen me up and help me feel more energized.
Human charger - At the most recent Bulletproof Conference, I stopped by the booth of the Human Charger folks who explained the product and let me try it out before I purchased one. Before stopping by, I had actually heard quite a bit about the device from Ben Greenfield’s podcast as well as others like Rick Rubin who swear by it. Basically, it’s a small iPod-looking device with headphone-like earplugs that emit a super bright white light into your ear canals. The photoreceptors in your ears can detect this light and basically tell your brain it’s day time. This can be effective when you want to fight jet lag, lack of sunshine in the winter, or for a quick boost of energy.
Rolflex (Handheld roller/ball) - This was another goody I picked up at the Bulletproof Conference. It’s a clever contraption that allows you to roll out your own muscles without getting on the floor or needing a partner’s assistance. The device is built like a clamp with one side having a roller and the other acting almost like a lacrosse ball. This is great for a quick, no-hassle recovery session on your legs, arms, and back.
Vibe coffee - I have become quite the coffee snob over the years, so I was excited to l learn that one of my good friends started his own coffee company. My favorite is the Single Origin Medium roast from Brazil, roasted in Sacramento “with a cocoa sensation, pecan nutty undertones, and a creamy body.” The coffee is tasty and exceeded my expectations. Give it a try here: https://www.vibecoffeecompany.com
Stay tuned for more updates like this as I seek out more gadgets and goodies to try and experiment with.