Category: Adventure

Your New Year Checklist For Dominating 2017

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, here’s a checklist of the 11 top things to do right now to help ensure you make the most of 2017, and set you up for a future of success and YOGness.

  1. Download a time management app

For most of us, many hours went to waste in 2016 due to poor time management. As our lives get busier and more distractions emerge around us, we develop an even greater propensity to procrastinate or misspend our precious time.

Having an organizer that can help you plan and complete your daily “to do” list is a valuable productivity tool.

There are many apps out there for this purpose, but I like to use the Wunderlist app which allows you to set tasks and sub tasks within projects and sorts them into a daily or even weekly to do list while sending you reminder notifications.

wunderlist-eg

2. Buy a large water bottle

There is no doubt about the necessity of water for survival, so it should be no surprise either that there are countless benefits of water to our health, function and even maintaining a youthful appearance. After all, we are comprised of up to 80% water.

The minimum recommended intake of H2O for adult males is 2.7 liters, and we normally get 20% of that through food. It can be difficult to remember to drink the other 80% we need, so investing in a large stainless steel or glass bottle to carry with you everywhere is my recommendation.

Treat yourself to a 40oz stainless steel bottle from Mobot, which also doubles as a foam roller, and aim to drink two full bottles per day to meet your minimum requirement.

If you want to take your health to the next level, then invest in an alkalizing water filter. Our friends at Life Ionizer will sort you right out.

mbot-thumb

3. Buy a group fitness membership

I know, the fitness kick from January 1st vibe is so cliché, but no harm in playing along. Problem is, so many people buy new gym memberships, or commit to finally using the one they already have, then inevitably end up just donating money monthly to their respective fitness boxes as soon as February rolls around as life becomes hectic again.

This is partly why I recommend a group fitness membership instead. Your motivation is likely to remain higher in an environment where other people are contributing to the overall energy and a good trainer is keeping you honest while sweating safely. The social aspect and sense of community in group sessions is also likely to keep you wanting to come back for more.

I recommend places like Training Mate, Soul Cycle or even sign up for a team in a semi-competitive sports league like mixed flag football or ultimate Frisbee. This way, you’re not just letting yourself down, you’re also letting down others by choosing to stay home overdosing on ESPN instead of lacing up the trainers for the real deal.

training-mate-01-600x450

4. Block out 1 weekend per month for a road trip

I am speaking mostly for Angelenos, but the vast majority of major cities around the world have great weekend or day trip destinations within a few hours drive, or at the most, a 60 minute flight.

Getting away from the rat race is important not only for achieving balance, but also enriching our character, and it need not be any more than loading up the car with a tent and surfboards, or hiking shoes and a picnic basket.

If taking a domestic flight from LAX is a bit steep, then a road trip to any of California’s great National Parks such as The Sequoias, Big Bear, or Joshua Tree should be high priority.

Don’t feel like driving? Take the train down to San Diego for an overnighter, or maybe just to San Clemente for a Sunday Funday.

cali-road-trip-1

5. Prepare for Yoga and meditation

This may seem like two checklist items, but these go hand in hand. If you’re not convinced about the benefits of yoga for your daily life, refer to our article about Yoga for YOGs HERE.

In L.A.,  yoga studios are as prolific as plastic surgery, but if I had to choose, Yoga Works normally provides a great experience for all levels in several locations, and there are often good deals on Groupon to help give you the extra push to sign up.

While Yoga helps quieten our minds and center our energy, it isn’t enough to rely on as your sole dose of meditation. Seeking more meditation practice will help you dominate 2017 and execute all aspects of your life at a high frequency.

Guided meditation sources are popping up everywhere, and the Headspace app is leading the charge. Start with just 5 mins per day and build up to as long as you’re comfortable with.

headspace-cartoon

6. Simplify your HQ

Over time, we accumulate lots of stuff, especially over a whole year if we don’t de-clutter regularly. When we have more stuff, we have more stuff to manage which can be overwhelming and stressful. Start with your home. Clear your bedroom of objects you simply don’t need to free up some space. For inspiration, watch “Minimalism” on Netflix immediately. If you have a home office, aim for a completely object and paper free desk. Downsize your wardrobe by donating any clothes to Goodwill that you haven’t worn in a year. Watch the documentary “The True Cost” for extra motivation.

You can also spring clean your phone by deleting contacts, unused apps and social media followers or “friends” . Go through these lists and unfriend/unfollow anybody you don’t know well or doesn’t have a positive influence on your life. You’ll be surprised how liberating this can be.

cluttered-desk

7. Create a “live life to the fullest” reminder

I shared my most recent and powerful “life’s short” trigger in our last article How I really feel about turning 40. It could be a quote that you frame and hang in your bathroom where you’ll see it first thing every morning, or even make it your smart phone wall paper. By constantly reminding yourself that you have one chance at this life, and time is ticking away ever so quickly, it will hopefully allow you to eradicate your fear based thoughts and go out to chase your dreams.

carpe-wrist

8. Get rid of your TV

I know this may sound a little extreme, but your television set is often the source of many non-redeemable hours of life disappearing into a black hole of waste. The way I look at it, ridding yourself of your TV is similar to taking junk food out of your fridge. If it’s not there, you won’t eat it. I prefer to have a Netflix account on my laptop, which is similar to having a corner store where you can still buy junk food, but you’ll only make the trip if you can be bothered or have something you really want to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, a little entertainment media is a good way to help us switch off our brains after a stressful day or provide some much needed laughs. Just try to be disciplined and avoid binge watching consecutive seasons of popular fictional shows for hours on end, and make an effort to balance it out with uplifting and educational documentaries.

no-more-tv

  1. Buy an Audible account

Read more books this year. And if you’re like me, whose only time to read is bedtime which normally lasts 5 minutes before falling asleep, then audiobooks are for you. Audiobooks can be handy when stuck in traffic on the way to work, cooking your evening meal, or even working out at the gym.

For a reasonable monthly fee of $15, an Audible account offers discounts and 1 credit for any purchase per month, which can accumulate up to 6 credits at any time.

audiobook-headphones

10. Put a nutrition plan in place

We all say we’re going to eat healthier this year, but how many of us even devise a plan, let alone stick to it?

Improving our nutrition will also require some education on better food choices and also meal preparation. It’s a constant, fulfilling practice. For education, there are many great documentaries out there such as Food Matters, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and Sugar Coated to put you on the right path.

Too busy to prepare and cook your own healthy meals? Meal delivery services can be an excellent way to ensure you’re putting the right stuff in your body to suit your lifestyle.

I like Fresh n’ Lean which delivers pre-cooked, vacuum packaged goodies using organic, vegan ingredients that you can simply heat up on the stove. Stack.com also has a useful list of meal services for you athletes out there.

The best way to put you on the right nutrition path however is consult a reputable nutrition specialist. If you’re in Los Angeles, Clinical Nutritionist Dr. Bruce Fulford with prescribe the right diet according to your metabolic type.

fresh-n-lean

11.  Create a work vs play diary

Did 2016 seem like all work while your friends were all out doing cool, fun stuff? Or was last year fairly unproductive overall due to your social FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?

The work:play ratio can be difficult to manage, especially if you have kids or you’re trying to get that business off the ground. It can also be challenging staying totally present when engaged in either of the two, for fear of the other one suffering.

So it can be useful to not only schedule your leisure time, but evaluate it at the end of the day. Simply keep a diary where you rate your work productivity and quality of social activities and the reason for the rating. You will soon see whether the time is being misused. Setting goals for your work and play time will then give you more control over your quality of life.

play-vs-work-balance

 

Okay there you have it, well done for sticking it out up to this point, this tells me you’re keen for a good start to a big year. This checklist could have gone on, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. You should have a great basis here to use the month of January to get your shit together to start 2017 on the right foot, and maintain these good habits throughout the year and beyond.

Now go get ‘em Tiger!!

 

M

 

 

 

YOG tours – Zion National Park

Spontaneous trips are often the most rewarding experiences. One of the reasons for this is that you don’t allow yourself to build unrealistic expectations the way you would with a planned trip, which almost always leads to disappointment.

Living in Los Angeles lends itself to exploring a myriad of wonders. Within a 7 hour road trip, you can venture to some of the most exciting, and most beautiful destinations in America.

My most recent YOG tour was a quick 3 day jaunt to Zion National Park in Utah. A buddy of mine was invited by his work colleague, who had managed to secure permits to hike the Narrows from top to bottom. These permits are hard to come by, particular this time of year, so when I was asked on Tuesday if I wanted to tag along on the Thursday, I simply couldn’t refuse.

After some gnarly traffic leaving LA and a few pit stops including In & Out burger in Vegas, we reached the small town of Hurricane just outside Zion around midnight and bunked down for the night in a cheap roadside motel.

The plan was to get to the park early on Friday morning, get our permits and take the shuttle for an hour up to Chamberlain’s Ranch. From there the hike is 16 miles down into the canyon along the Virgin River and through the Narrows, stopping halfway and camping overnight.

Before we even arrived at the park however, the shuttle bus company called us to say that it would not be possible to take the shuttle up because heavy rains the previous night had made the road impassable.

The next best option was to hike the Narrows from the bottom up. As much of the hike requires walking through the river riddled with bowling ball sized rocks, we rented special shoes, wetsuit socks and walking stick from the Zion Adventure Company.

We then jumped on the free shuttle bus, enjoyed the spectacular views of the surrounding red rock formations, and jumped off at the 7th and final stop - Temple of Sinawava, then set off on our exciting journey

After a mile walk along the river, we entered the famous Narrows, and it was nothing short of magical. The sheer vertical walls on either side rose 300 – 400ft high. Sections of the Narrows were a symphony of darker shaded sections mingled with bright gold and red blocks lit up by slivers on sunshine sneaking their way into openings of the gorge.

Traversing through the river, with some sections as deep as chest height, added to the overwhelming connection to the surrounding raw and natural beauty. It was blatantly evident why this hike was recently rated by National Geographic as #5 top adventures in the United States.

Hiking the Narrows does not come without potential peril. Hikers and tourists are extensively warned by park authorities about the prospect of flash floods. Rain showers from storms upriver can cause flash floods in the canyon without it raining over the canyon itself. There are segments of the Narrows, including one called Wall Street, where there is no high ground and extremely dangerous should a flash flood strike.

We considered this when deciding whether we should camp in the Narrows or not that night, but the weather was sunny and the forecast said no rain until possibly the next day in the afternoon, so we continued on past the heavily populated bottom section and up into the serenity where small campsites began occupying the river banks.

After 5 hours of hiking, we set up camp at site No.8 of 12 and crashed about 9pm in anticipation of a 4:45am rise to get back down to the Narrows. At around 1am, there was an unexpected flash of lightning and a crack of thunder overhead. Soon, the star riddled sky was replaced with angry thunder clouds, resulting in 4 hours of heavy rain, and consequently a very uneasy feeling which led to very little sleep.

All those flash flood warnings had now become very real in my head. I imagined getting up in the morning and seeing a raging river, rendering the path back to civilization unhikeable. This would mean possibly having to stay another night waiting for the river to calm down and we were very light on food as it were.

Scenes of the movie “Into the Wild” kept playing over in my head where the main character is forced to eat poisonous berries after being trapped by a rise in water levels. All of a sudden, shit got real!

When the rain cleared, we went down to the river to check it out and were immediately comforted by a relatively tranquil scene, similar to yesterday. The river didn’t seem to have risen much at all, and flowing at a normal rate, making my “Into the Wild” visions rather silly and obsolete.

We didn’t want to take any chances however, packing up and leaving promptly having learned that weather forecasts weren’t entirely accurate in Zion National Park.

The hike down was not as user friendly as the day before, with the water having turned a murky color due to the rain, making it much harder to navigate the uneven bottom of the river.

Nonetheless, we reached the bottom unscathed to find a drastic reduction in the normal number of tourists thanks to a sign indicating that the Narrows had been closed due to heavy rain and imminent flash floods.

Good thing we didn’t hang around too long to take photos in the sketchy sections...although I WAS wearing my Budgy Smugglers, which I’m sure would have kicked me into Baywatch mode should the need have arisen.

Overall it was an amazing experience, and one I recommend everybody add to their bucket list, regardless of where they live.

Here are my tips for anybody keen to hike the Narrows based on my trip:

1. Don't leave L.A. after 2pm.

A no brainer for Angelenos, but if you're on vacation and deciding to take a road trip from LA, try to leave between the hours of 10am and 2pm, or better yet at sparrow's fart in the morning (6am) to avoid spending a fifth of your trip crawling in bumper to bumper. Another alternative is to fly to Vegas and rent a car from there, which should only take you another 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

2. Apply early for a permit well in advance

If you decide to hike the Narrows from the top down, you will require a permit, which is possible to book two months in advance. You'll want to jump on it immediately as they get snapped up pretty quickly, especially in the warmer months. You'll also want to reserve one of 12 camp sites located along the upper portion of the hike. Visit Zion’s online Wilderness Reservation System for more info and reservations. I recommend snapping up Campsite #8, which is set further back from the river next to a cool cave for extra shelter.

3. Don't always believe the weather forecast

It's very important to check the weather, especially for any rain which may increase the risk of flash floods. Even if no rain is forecast, be prepared for some anyway, as passing storms can whip up out of nowhere in the region.

4. Bring/Rent the appropriate gear

You'll get wet often, sometimes up to chest height, so be sure to wear quick drying material instead of cotton. You won't regret paying $37 to pay for a day & a half worth of river walking shoes, socks and walking stick. Be sure to get snug fitting shoe and sock sizes though, otherwise lots of annoying pebbles and other debris will make their way in. The stick is also essential in providing extra stability as you negotiate the rocky river bottom, while also providing a good way of checking water depth. The good people at Zion Adventure Company sorted us right out!

5. Take more provisions than usual

If planning on camping overnight, like it or not, there is a chance of flash floods spoiling the party and requiring you to wait it out another night for the river to die down. Don't make the same mistake as us and leave a whole bag of snacks in the car accidentally! Also, take plenty of water and drink it often. Hiking in a river can trick you into thinking that you are not becoming as dehydrated as you actually are! If you don't fancy the weight of extra H2O, REI has a great selection of water filters you can use in the river.

6. Empty yourself before the hike

Just a heads up that this excursion demands a "leave it how you found it" policy, which means you must bring everything back out of the Narrows you took in, including your solid excrement. I recommend a quick coffee at the cafe next to the park visitor center and a visit to the restroom shortly after for your best chance of avoiding having to carry your poop in the special bags provided by the permitting office.

7. Don't watch 'Into The Wild' beforehand

Watching this movie before going into the Narrows is like watching Jaws before scuba diving. I haven't seen it for a couple of years and visions of the film even kept me awake in my tent for hours. Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but then again, I'm certainly no Bear Grylls...

 

Tell Her

Have you ever met your buddies out for a social drink or two and the vibe just wasn’t happening? The crowd is a little stuffy, the mood is a bit low and you’re running out of things to say to each other (probably because you’ve already hung out most of the day together).

Well it’s up to us YOGs to bring the vibe, and a sure fire way to add some spice to the occasion and fire things up is by starting up a game of ‘Tell her’.

Rules of the game

The first thing that must be established are the participants.  Players are invited to play, and upon a verbal agreement with a handshake that each person will honor the rules and not back out of challenges, it’s game on!

So here’s how the game works…

Let’s say a player makes a comment, positive or negative, about a female who is visually present. If another player hears this, and immediately says “tell her”, then the player who made the comment must go and tell the woman what he said about her…VERBATIM! (obviously re-wording the phrase to direct it at her).

Men Checking out woman at bar

He must open the conversation with those comments.

He must talk loud and clear enough so she hears it.

He can either walk away, or stay and try and avoid being slapped. However, he is not allowed at any stage to mention the game to her  (similar to rules 1 & 2 of Fight Club).

Tell her

Immunity

There is a way players can avoid having to “tell her”. It’s simple, they have to follow their own comments about a woman by saying “tell her”before anybody else can say it and this makes them immune.

The Pass

Obviously, some comments can be quite nasty and offensive when repeated to the subject they were directed towards.

However, YOGs are not about being cruel to others so the person who called the “tell her”needs to use their discretion on whether it will have overly negative consequences by making the offending player go through with it.

In this case, they can offer a ‘pass’and the offender no longer has to “tell her”.

The Benefits

The obvious benefit of the game is the entertainment value, particularly witnessing that awkward moment as your buddy sheepishly sidles over to a girl and drops the “tell her” bomb.

Men in Bar

Even just the initial moment when you catch your buddy out with a “tell her”on something he says can be a source of crying laughter.

Another benefit is that it forces you to engage with females and start a conversation. You never know where this may lead. It is particularly good practice for your conversation skills, especially if you have to get yourself out of a sticky situation

Finally, “Tell Her”serves as a reminder of how much shit we tend to talk about people. So this game provides consequences for speaking dishonorably (not just negatively but behind her back) toward a woman. Hopefully after playing a game of “Tell her”, you’ll learn that if you can’t say it to someone’s face, then don’t say it all.

M

Brucie’s Big Four Ohhh!!!

It was a much anticipated event. A celebration of Bruce Fulford entering his 5th decade. The stage was set in one of Bruce’s favorite watering holes – The Basement Tavern in Santa Monica. The theme was 1940s. They turned out in droves to revel in the joy, clad in vintage attire, and drinking muscles at the ready…

YOG tours – Downunder edition

It was time for the YOGs to head on another adventure to take in new experiences and of course, touch some more lives. The destination was Australia, and although this is my home country, neither of us have been to the Great Barrier Reef and therefore was added to the itinerary, upholding our commitment to visit as many of the World Wonders as possible.

First stop however was Sydney where we were instantly reminded of just how small the coffees are there compared to the US.

Sydney Mocha

But before we could have any fun, there was a mission at hand to treat the  battered body of one of Australia’s top boxers Anthony Mundine as he prepared for his next fight. It wasn’t anticipated how large Anthony’s entourage is, and that they all required work, so Bruce’s healing hands got to work and proceeded to produce miracle after miracle. He also had an appointment with the Head trainer of Super 15 rugby team the Waratahs, and other fitness professionals and their clients to showcase his magic.

Team Mundine and bruce

Allianz alignments

Later that night, it was back to the old stomping ground with a bunch of YOGs to watch my former rugby team the NSW Waratahs take on the Melbourne Rebels. It was great to see them bring home the bikkies (win), even though the game was a tad boring…

Bored Bruce and Beer

One of the main reasons for the trip was to attend the wedding of my childhood friend Terry, who was marrying a girl I went to Primary (Elementary) School with…that’s the Shire for you (as in Sutherland, not Lord Of The Rings shire, although quite similar in mentality)!

The Hitched

The dress theme was ‘French Riviera’,  and we YOGs love a costume party so naturally we went all out…turns out we were two of only a few people who did!

YOG wedding

It was a beautiful setting, with Sydney Harbor as an iconic backdrop. The only problem was there were plenty of trees…and where there are plenty of trees, there are plenty of birds.

biggles bird shit

Safe to say it was a long enjoyable night, and digging deep was required the next day, which is exactly what did. After consuming 2 miniature mocha lattes, we headed from our hotel in Potts Point to the park in Rushcutter’s Bay for a sweat session. It was a beautiful day, with scenes not unlike that of LA as hoards of personal trainers and Yoga instructors put their clients through their paces in a picture postcard setting.

Rushcutter's Bay workout

Now with tighter skin and slightly lower blood alcohol levels it was time to catch up with my father and his wife at one of Sydney’s 19 million cafes.

Cafe Fiore

2 more miniature mocha lattes later and it was off to Bondi for some much anticipated Nandos and a surf check.

Bondi Surf Check

Shortly after we trudged off to the airport for a quick trip to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for Skydiving and waterdiving as a pre big 40 birthday celebration for Bruce. Unfortunately, the thing about the tropical northeast of Australia is that the weather is…well…tropical, meaning unpredictable. So Skydiving was called off, and the trip out to the reef was very soggy, both in and out of the water, but was still a treat to sample some of the ‘Wonder’ beneath the rain pelted surface. It was also a treat for me to witness Bruce’s surprise at the large number of Asian tourists that flock to see Australia, which he mistook for locals…

Cairns shenanigans

 

So once the Barrier Reef was ticked off the list (although I do suspect we will return to do it properly) it was back to Sydney to see the 3 sisters, and by that I mean my mother, her sister, and my sister as opposed the rather underwhelming formation in the Blue Mountains.

The venue this time was yet another page out of LA’s book, an Organic Vegan cafe in my little home suburb of Cronulla, where half the population there don’t even know what the word ‘vegan’ meant (the retired generation mainly).

lunch with the girls

And so ended another whirlwind YOG tour as we hopped back into the big metal bird back to LaLa land after 5 YOG filled days, with Sydney not knowing what hit it. But as I hinted before, be prepared for a YOG tours follow up to the ‘sunburnt country’ at some stage down the track.

Sydney From Above

 

 

 

 

Chilean Adventurer Becomes First Man To Surf Antarctica

Chilean big wave surfer and soon to be YOG Ramon Navarro (35 this year) teamed up with Red Bull on an expedition which would make most men’s testicles shrink (literally).

Red Bull is known for it’s boundary breaking promotional stunts, and their latest  effort involves freezing water and savage conditions as they plop team surfer Navarro into previously unsurfed waters off the coast of Antarctica.

Hopefully Navarro thaws out before he turns YOG in October this year, as we’re excited to see what crazy Red Bull slash GoPro inspired  limits he decides to push then. Stay tuned!

dusk take off

Come Fly with Us

To be adventurous is to be young at heart.  Traveling, particularly abroad, is quite often the best education one can receive. It opens our eyes, our hearts, and contributes to our growth.

Here on the YOG blog, we’ll be busting our guts to keep traveling and growing and take you along for the ride with us.

But adventure doesn’t just require boarding a big metal bird. We’ll also be searching for adventure on our very own doorstep. And in a city like Los Angeles, that shouldn’t be too hard…

Welcome Yoggers!

Stay tuned – the YOGs are coming in 2014 to bring you laughs and inspiration from Los Angeles, arguably the YOG capital of the world…

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