With all the “fads” that have happened over the last 5 years its hard to keep track of them all. From Man Buns to Flash Mobs, and the Harlem Shake to Tebowing, there have been a lot of fads, and like all fads, they peaked, and then faded out (thank god). However, the Dad Bod was arguably one of the most interesting fads we have ever experienced. Anyone that knows me at all knows that I jumped all over the Dad Bod.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First we need to talk about what the Dad Bod is. The Dad Bod really hit its stride when a sorority girl from Clemson wrote an article for a class (literally exactly what I am doing now) about how this new phase of male physical appearance. The “official” definition of a Dad Bod is “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time. It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either”.
When I first saw the article I was thrilled. First of all, I saw that the trend was taking the nation by storm, so naturally that made me feel comfortable. Secondly, girls liked it? Apparently girls no longer wanted wash board abs and ripped biceps, they wanted someone fun, someone who didn’t take them self too seriously, and someone who would go to Taco Tuesday or $4 pitcher Wednesday (Missoula, we could really use a bar that does this).
During the peak of the Dad Bod phase many celebrities also joined in, including:
Robert downy Jr.
Obviously with all these A list celebrities embracing the Dad Bod, I figured I needed to as well. When I came to college I was relatively fit. I played competitive soccer 4 nights a week, ran track and cross country. I generally respected my body and my physical appearance. My first year of college I did a good job of working out and trying to eat right. I gained a little weight, which was to be expected. The next two years however, that’s a different story. My Liam Hemsworth esque physique quickly turned to an Owen Wilson esque physique. I traded in my 24 pound dumbbell curls at the gym for 24 ounce IPA curls downtown (that a type of beer for those of you that don’t know). Just like the definition says, I started working out less and enjoying adult beverages and pizza more. By the second semester of my Junior year the trend was in full swing and when people thought of the dad bod, they thought of me……… the following are all from my personal Facebook page
I was so into the Dad Bod that I even bought a shirt, and people posted pictures of me in that shirt on my birthday
But like every other fad, the Dad Bod inevitably died. However, I did try to ride it out as long as I could. I even wrote a speech for my Public Speaking class titled, An Ode to the Dad Bod. I would wear my Dad Bod shirt and embrace the Dad Bod mentality for an entire semester in the Fall. I did finally give up on the Dad Bod and decided to get my life back in order. I cut down on my beverage intake, watched my diet, and lost 25 pounds (shout out to Pneumonia). Unfortunately for now the Dad Bod seems to be dead, and that truly is a shame. I am fully prepared for its return, and hopefully this blog post can jump start that. I know that I will gladly lead the comeback tour of the Dad Bod.
What a time to be alive, am I right? We live in an incredible day and age where unlimited information is at our very fingertips, billions of people are connected through the internet and innovative technologies are advancing at an unprecedented rate. Technology has truly affected every corner the world, and has drastically impacted life as we’ve all come to understand it.
With great access to information and the age of global connectivity, humans are bombarded with more stimuli and information that we could ever hope to process and make sense of. It is for this reason that so many of us find ourselves constantly distracted and engaging in multiple technologies at once. Think about it: how often do you find yourself studying with multiple entertainment browsers open and periodically flipping through various social media platforms? How about listening to music or absentmindedly watching Netflix while studying? Sure, we still get work done, but is it truly our best work? Are we maximizing our time and productivity? Most likely not, and there’s a lot of research that proves quite the opposite.
There’s a whole science of learning, concentration and productivity that seeks to prove that humans fundamentally are not built to multitask, and cannot maximize efficiency while doing so. And in a world filled with distractions and noise, the reality is that we live in a time where it is harder to focus now than perhaps ever before. Which is why I’d like to write about the true value of deep work – the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. With graduation just around the corner in a few weeks, I couldn’t think of a better time to write about the value of working in a deep state of concentration. I believe everyone should take steps to learn this skill, because no matter who you are, you’ll benefit from it. I promise.
Deep work is, fundamentally, a very valuable skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Working in a state of deep mental focus free of distraction helps cultivate many of the core capabilities that we need to survive in the world today. So why is this important? Why is working in this deep state of mental concentration more valuable than working in a state of constant noise and distraction? Because people who possess certain skills and characteristics in this new digital age are fundamentally more equipped for success and prosperity
What does it take to be successful? The theory of deep work outlines two core abilities that people need in order to thrive in our new economy.
The ability to quickly master hard things.
The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
Let’s face it, our world is getting damn competitive. Where many technologies used to provide a competitive advantage to organizations and individuals who possessed them, we’re steadily moving in a direction where they playing field is leveling and ultimately the world is demanding other sources of differentiation and value. And where is the world demanding this added value from? That’s right, the individual. It is more important than ever to build our personal skill sets, work habits and abilities as we enter a world that puts a tremendous pressure on us to be outstanding performers in everything we do. So how does this relate to deep work?
There is a lot of research that shows that when we work in a deep, uninterrupted state, we are more likely to optimize our time and productivity. When we are 100% mentally engaged and focused, we are able to more quickly learn and master harder tasks. When we are completely mentally engaged, we are able to produce higher quality work, faster.
Start by having a solid go-to playlist, or a few. Think about classic (to you) songs, or just songs that make you feel good. For me that would be 90’s Jams, showcasing the likes of Beck, Third Eye Blind, Oasis and such. It’s possible you would benefit from a pre-made workout playlist on Spotify. If Hip-Hop is your thing, make a list of the best. Just knowing you don’t have to try (or think) that hard to get some good tunes flowing is gonna pick you up just that much faster.
To see what YouTube recommends on Mondays, check here:
Dress for Success
Go to bed on Sunday night with an idea of what you’ll want to wear tomorrow. Take into account the day’s tasks: a regular work day, group presentation, running a boat load of errands, etc. Figure out not only how functional you need your outfit to be, but also how comfortable you want to be. Our desires for these ideas change from week to week based on what our priorities and short-term goals are, which is part of what makes picking out your outfit fun. I totally commend yoga pants on a Monday, but consider pairing them with a cute, cozy top instead of the first thing you find on your floor, which you’ll end up having to turn inside-out in the bathroom because a rando discovered last Friday’s pizza stain and thought he was being kind by pointing it out to you (this is me commiserating with you, not judging you). If picking out your outfit the night before is not your thing, just think about what kind of style you’ll be in the mood for. Just by having an idea of what direction you want to take your own wardrobe before you even get there is going to help make the process simpler and smoother. I’m not saying this will make deciding what to wear simple and smooth, but simpler and smoother.
Find joy in the little things
Take your time to pack a healthy but satisfying lunch or really yummy snacks. Walk to campus and with this new chunk of time and pick up a piping cup of Oolong to switch it up. Take your chance to review Tumblr and Pinterest without the guilt of not responding to that (kinda?) important email or you know, doing homework. This time can be perfect for carrying-out mundane, somewhat mindless tasks that should get done. Monday mornings can actually serve the purpose of being productive, and setting a high, yet attainable standard to set a good pace of productivity for your week.
Hey, hear me out here, I’m not excited about this one either. Part of what makes Mondays so perpetually unpleasant is the morning rush. If you have a regular 9-5 job, or are a student attending traditional classes, by the time Monday morning rolls around you are out of your routine. Between battling the great debates of getting up and putting at least some effort into your appearance or clutching even tighter to those fleeting, precious moments of sleep, before frantically looking for something resembling breakfast food (or just something edible if it’s “one of those Mondays”) or just not eating because you’re whipping around like The Flash and ain’t nobody got time for breakfast (unless it’s brunch-which it’s not, because it’s fucking Monday) Mondays are just going to make you feel rushed. By waking up just half an hour earlier than you need to to fulfill your morning routine you are giving yourself the gifts of time and sanity. You could sleep for an extra 15-30 minutes (which yes you would be doing anyway, but in the moment it feels like finding that last present hidden behind the tree) or you could actually use the time. Allow yourself to spend extra time in the shower, or have a bath if that’s what you prefer. Watch an episode of Friends while putting on your make-up or eating breakfast (I recommend “The One with the Embryos” if you’re in need of a suggestion). Stop denying your inner child and actually make yourself a smiley face pancake. Just do something easy that you love, that sounds good in the moment. The only limitation is this treat can’t have a great potential of totally derailing your whole routine, like watching Games of Thrones in bed. Sorry folks, I wish that last one really would help me get ready in the morning…
Over the years there have been a countless number of incredible basketball shoes released. From signature lines donned by greats such as MJ, Lebron and Kobe; to shoes designed for big men like Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Shawn Kemp; not to forget kicks sported by great guards like Scottie Pippen, Gary Payton, and Penny Hardaway. There is no way I could have compiled a list of top ten best shoes of all time. Instead, here is a list of the most memorable shoes of my time, as seen through my eyes. Ranking is in no particular order, as each shoe could easily make an argument for the top spot.
Nike Air Jordan 1
Even though I wasn’t born at the time of this shoe’s release, I’ve got to give credit to the shoe (and legend) that started it all. Designed for MJ in ’84, these shoes were outlawed by NBA commish David Stern for not having enough white in the original black and red colorway. Just as exhibited my MJ’s style of play, nothing could stop His Airness, and he chose to sport the shoes anyways despite a $5,000 fine per game (paid by Nike). The following season a new colorway was created, allowing MJ to wear his signature kicks fine-free.
Adidas T-Mac 2
These beautiful kicks were sported by one of the best young players to ever play the game, and one of the few to make the jump from high school successfully. T-Mac’s career was sadly cut short due to knee injuries, but the 7-time All-star was dominant during his time. Early on in his career it was even debated whether he was a greater talent than young Kobe. I remember wearing these through my middle school basketball career, hoping they would zap a little of the future HOF’s greatness into my lackluster scoring game.
Nike Shox BB4
Vinsanity’s ability to jam on any man, woman or child who stood in his way may have contributed to the amazement of this shoe, and the introduction of Shox technology to a basketball shoe. Every basketball fan dreamed of dunking like Vince, and instead of trying to do the man justice with the use of words, here’s a link to a clip of his nasty slams.
Nike Air Penny 1
Stepping up to fill the void left by Air Jordan’s absence, Penny and Shaq nabbed the attention of many NBA fans young and old. These are the first basketball shoes I can remember putting on my feet at a young age. The Air Penny 1 inspired Nike’s Uptempo line for versatile players. The Uptempo line was a happy-medium between Nike’s Flight line, designed for guards looking to increase agility, and Force line for bigs requiring a little extra support down low. If you’d like a refresher to remember how talented Penny was, check out the 30-for-30 titled, This Magic Moment.
And1 Tai Chi
At the peak of And1’s streetball popularity and trash-talking apparel, these eye-catching shoes were the talk of many teenagers when released in the early 2000’s. Whether spotted on the feet of Hot Sauce while breaking the ankles of helpless defenders, or Vince Carter during his 2000 Dunk Contest victory, these striking shoes and colorways were the talk of many basketball fans. Despite their drop in brand popularity, these shoes have recently made a comeback due to their attractive design.
Reebok The Answer IV DMX
The choice between AI’s Questions and Answer IVs (also the 5s are SO sweet!) was not one made easily. Captivated by Allen Iverson’s unique style of play, and proof that anyone can be competitive despite their size, the Answer IVs are possibly my favorite shoes ever. The design was worn by the greatest undersized guard of all-time during his run to an MVP trophy and Finals appearance. They were re-released recently, and sadly I didn’t jump on the chance to buy the amazing shoe that now I wouldn’t outgrow within a year.
D-Rose took the NBA by storm, using his explosive athleticism and slashing ability to win a Rookie of the Year in 2009 and MVP in 2010-11. Rose is a Chicago native who inspires many with his style of play. Just kidding, I wouldn’t recommend these shoes unless you feel like blowing out your knees.
Air Jordan XI
This list wouldn’t feel complete without another pair of J’s. While just about all of them could be included on the list, I had to force myself to choose just two. The XIs were the first basketball shoe to feature patent leather and is regarded by many as best shoe of all time. Not only that, but Jordan wore them in the greatest movie ever, Space Jam, giving them a few added points in my book. The GOAT also wore them en route to his 10th All-Star appearance, 8th scoring title, another MVP and 4th NBA title.
Nike Zoom Lebron II
Along with Air Jordans, the list wouldn’t be complete without including a pair of shoes designed for a King. These shoes were designed for The Akron Hammer early in his career and were nabbed by just about any basketball fan who could get their hands on them. Just about every one of Lebron’s signature shoes could have made the list, this pair has always just been my personal favorite. The shoe included increased Zoom Air support for larger players, detailed laser-graphics, and a removable ankle strap to suit each player’s unique needs.
I’m not certain about the performance aspect of the Sprees, but who really cares, they have spinning rims on the sides. These shoes are almost as questionable as making Latrell Sprewell the face of your brand, despite the fact that he once choked his own coach in 1997. These weren’t a pair of shoes I ever had a desire to wear, but they sure as hell caught my eye when seen on the feet of others. Rumor has it they may even be making a comeback.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Have to give a shout out to the basketball shoe that truly started it all. First available prior to the Great Depression. With the assistance of a few modifications, the canvas shoe with rubber soles was the most popular basketball shoe through much of the ‘60s. Although these shoes don’t meet performance standards required by today’s athletes, they are still worn by many as casual sneakers.
Kobe Bryant Signature Shoes
The Black Mamba has tons of great shoes, whether early in his career when sponsored by Adidas, or for the many years he donned the Nike Swoosh. Kobe was the face of the NBA for as long as I have been a fan, and the game has been forever changed as a result of his greatness. Sadly, I cannot say that I have ever sported a pair of Kobe’s shoes, mainly due to their high price point (and my heart’s soft spot for MJ’s).
Made famous by Dee Brown during the 1991 Dunk Contest, these shoes with pumps on the tongues are basketball shoes of legend. Designed to inflate around the ankle for improved support, these beautiful shoes are ones that no basketball fan should forget.
Trimming this list down to 10 leaves me feeling like I have done many great shoes an injustice. To give every shoe the proper respect they deserve, I think the list would have been closer to 150, especially if colorways were included. Share a picture and a comment to shine the spotlight on your favorite pair of shoes and help me to do the world of kicks the justice they deserve.