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Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe with a Side of Business

June 15, 2019

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved chocolate chip cookies (not an insanely original or unique thing, right?). As I’ve gotten older I’ve wanted to consume less “bad foods” in my life and, big-time spoiler alert: Cookies are mostly made up of BAD FOODS.

In the paragraphs below I want to share how my journey to find/create a delicious (and healthy!) cookie recipe became a solid analogy for running my own business.

But, like you, I get frustrated when I come to a recipe and I just want the damn recipe without having to scroll forever. That’s why I’m starting with the recipe itself! You’re welcome!

Healthy vegan gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

Vegan, Dolphin-Safe, Gluten-Free, Organic, Single Bowl, 8-Ingredient, “Healthy” Chocolate Chip Cookies 🍪

(These titles for food recipes are hilariously long these days… but it’s all true!)

Total prep time: 5 minutes
Total cook time: 12 minutes
Total cookie rest time: 15 minutes
Time until eating cookies: 30-ish minutes 🤤

Dry ingredients…

1 Cup Oat Flour (buy on Amazon)
1/2 Cup Maple Sugar (buy on Amazon)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (if staying vegan, grab a vegan option)

Wet ingredients…

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (melted)
2 Tablespoons Nut Milk (Almond or Cashew)
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

NOTE: I included (aff) links to buy the flour and maple sugar. Everything else I buy at our local grocery store and I buy the organic version. Also, I believe any nut milk will work!

Baking directions…👩🏻‍🍳👨🏻‍🍳

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the dry ingredients (oat flour, maple sugar, baking soda, sea salt, and chocolate chips into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.

Melt the coconut oil and add it to the dry mix along with the nut milk and vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients with a spatula. Enjoy eating a bite of the cookie dough 👌 (very important step!)

Set the mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes or as long as your oven takes to pre-heat (if longer).

Grab a spoon and scoop out 2 tablespoon-ish size cookies and form into balls place 2-inches apart on the parchment paper. Depending on the size of your cookies, you should end up with 12-16 cookies on the tray.

Place cookie sheet on the middle rack in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. When the time is up, take the tray out of the oven and place on your stove or on a cooling rack for 15 minutes (do NOT remove cookies from the cooking tray, you want them to continue to set and cook with the heat of the tray).

About 5-7 minutes into the cooling process eat ONE cookie because you’re not a monster 😂 and you should enjoy a warm cookie that melts in your mouth.

After the cookies have fully set, try not to eat them all! The cookies will keep for 2-3 days, good luck not eating them all before that.

Okay, now that you have the recipe and maybe you have a batch of cookies in the oven, let’s kill some time with the rest of the article…

Making chocolate chip cookies!


What Finding The Perfect Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Taught Me About Business

A few years ago I stopped buying break-and-bake cookies. You know the ones… you may even have some of them in your fridge right now. Listen, I’m not going to guilt-trip you about those, but just know I stopped eating them and have been on a mission to figure out a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that’s as healthy as possible #CaliforniaLife.

Now, we are talking about cookies here, so let’s be honest about the how healthy these will ever end up being.

Anyhoo, recipe after recipe I kept running into small roadblocks. One recipe was great, except it called for a lot of butter. Another recipe was delicious but it tasted awful with any non-refined sugar. One recipe was close but for some reason half the time it tasted weird after baking (no clue!)

I have some pretty hilarious photos on my phone of different failed cookie recipes. If you follow me on Instagram you may even remember a time when I ended up making a “cookie burrito.” Amazing in theory, not very practical to eat.

From cookie burrito to a delicious batch of vegan gluten-free chocolate chip cookies!

One day, I took just a few of my random chocolate chip cookie ingredients and baked a really solid batch of cookies. It was one of those moments where I just told myself I knew I had all the ingredients I needed, let’s just try a slightly different combination and see how it goes. The cookies had:

  • No refined sugar
  • No butter
  • No eggs
  • Non-dairy nut milk
  • Gluten-free flour
  • And didn’t taste like carboard!

Ummm, did I just hit my own personal chocolate chip cookie jackpot?? 😱

The next day I baked another batch and they were just as good. Then a few days later another batch, same positively delicious results. I’ve now baked at least 30 batches of these cookies and they are consistent and scrumptious!

I know the recipe like the back of my hand and I can have a tray of warm cookie-goodness ready to eat in just about 30 minutes (damn you oven, requiring so much pre-heat time!)

Jason Zook Cookies

Besides just talking about how great cookies are, how does this relate to running a business?

My journey to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe is a lot like trying to solve problems in business. We WANT the perfect recipe, blueprint, or roadmap to lead us to the promised land. Yet, when we actually try to apply a blueprint or roadmap we don’t end up with a perfectly Instagrammable batch of cookies, we end up with a messy (yet tasty) cookie burrito.

Where we ACTUALLY end up solving problems in our businesses is when we’re willing to roll up our sleeves, experiment a bit, make a mess, and let things take as long as they might need to take.

That doesn’t mean you sit back and cross your fingers, it simply means things may take longer than you can account for and you have to be okay with that if your goal is to achieve a certain outcome.

For over a year, our journey with growing Wandering Aimfully’s membership has felt akin to my chocolate chip cookie journey. Some things work, some don’t, and I’m a bit frustrated by not being able to figure it out.

I’m guessing you might relate to this and know what it feels like to be frustrated with trying to grow your business? Well, guess what? That’s the way this life and business stuff goes. Through a few recent conversations with Caroline and my good friend Greg, I’m allowing myself to get more in the mindset where I was a few months ago with my chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Mindset shift: I’ve tried a lot of things and I’ll continue to try stuff but I’m going to put LESS pressure on myself and just see what happens.

Who knows, the right recipe for attracting more paying customers for Wandering Aimfully might pop up in a few weeks but it also might take another year (and I’m okay with that!)

We all succumb to trying to find the easy road when doing hard or unique things.

We have to stop and remind ourselves there are no silver bullets to success. Instead, we need to do the work, take action, experiment, and allow the results to come from all our experience and effort.

🍪 Need to jump back up to the recipe and start baking? 🍪

Health sugar-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

026 – An Extremely Honest Conversation About Anxiety

March 4, 2019

Listen to the audio version

Episode Summary

This episode will be a bit different than the rest as we share Caroline’s story in dealing with anxiety. It’s something she’s been confronted with for years but recently it hit her extremely hard, to the point of feeling she couldn’t even get out of bed for weeks on end.

We wanted to have an honest conversation about how it feels to go through a mental health issue and talk about how it affects our relationship, work, and more.

Our goal with this episode is that it helps anyone with anxiety or depression feel some sense of hope and that you are not alone.


Want to support us and our show?
Wandering Aimfully Memberships

We recently created a 100% free, no strings attached Test Drive of our Wandering Aimfully Membership. You can kick the tires and see all the goodies we have to offer, along with a hands-on preview of our newest program Build Without Burnout Academy (a 6-month guided program to help client-based business owners transition to digital products).

You’ll also be able to see inside our “Vault,” which contains 30+ courses and workshops to help you grow your business or make big changes in your life. Give the WAIM Test Drive a shot and don’t hesitate to reach out and set up a quick 1-on-1 call with us!

Joining Wandering Aimfully is the best way to help support us on our journey AND help yourself grow your business (or start a business) with intention and on your own terms.

I Burned 18,339 Calories In 30 Days Riding A Stationary Bike At My Standing Desk

January 28, 2019

For 30 days I wanted to see what riding a stationary bike at my desk would be like.

Would I absolutely hate it? Would it be difficult to ride the bike and get work done at my desk? Could I get any exercise at all and see a difference in my body or my energy levels?

Watch the full 30-day challenge recap video (or read the daily journal I wrote below):


Quickly jump to daily updates:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 & 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 & 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 & 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Day 26 | Day 27 & 28 | Day 29 | Day 30 (last day!) | Final Thoughts!

I’ve been a standing desk connoisseur (that’s what we standing desk users call ourselves) since 2015. I strongly believe that sitting is the new smoking* and it can’t be good for our bodies to be scrunched up into a tightly compacted ball for hours on end each day. Although, if you’re a Cirque de Soleil performer and sitting in a desk chair is how you are able to do what you do… keep on keepin’ on!

Extremely random and unimportant fact: I’ve never seen a Cirque show.

As the years have gone on I’ve wondered if there’s more I could do than just stand at my desk?

You know, get some additional health benefits (6-pack abs) by adding something else (hopefully 6-pack abs!) to the daily standing routine (plllleeeeeease abs!)

Sure, I could be one of those really fit people who set some sort of push-up or jumping jack alarm every hour (but… ew). I wanted to try something that didn’t feel like I was literally exercising for 8 hours each day. I wanted to get some sort of physical benefit from being at my desk while adding another 30-day experiment notch to my belt.

See also: Do A 30-Day Social Media Detox and Why I Love 30-Day Challenges

Before we keep going I have to legally tell you that I have a sponsor for this 30-day stationary/standing/weird challenge. Well, do I legally have to tell you? I don’t think I do, but, now I feel like I’ve covered my soon-to-be-sore-from-biking-daily ass, so here we are. It’s time for the background color change so you actually read this next part…

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve gotten pretty good at getting sponsorships for various projects. There was IWearYourShirt, BuyMyLastName (twice), SponsorMyBook, a Trivia + Beer Roadtrip, a 90-day fitness challenge, and a handful of others. Yeah, I’m weird and oddly good at convincing people to sponsor my ideas (call me when Superman needs a vacation).

This 30-day challenge sponsorship came together over Twitter with this random tweet:

How these weird ideas tend to happen

Then after a handful of DMs and a few days later… BOOM… Dubsado is sponsoring this little experiment.

Okay, so who/what is Dubsado and should you care at all?

Well, I think you should care because I’m literally getting paid to tell you to care. Okay, I’m not really getting paid to do that. But, don’t you want to learn more about a company that was willing to sponsor a crazy/silly idea I had on Twitter??

Dubsado knows that running a business can be difficult, time consuming, stressful, and tedious. From administrative tasks, communicating with clients, bookkeeping, and organizing a calendar; entrepreneurs and business owners have a lot on their plate. To run a business, it may take multiple apps and softwares to do so efficiently.

Dubsado is a business management software that provides tools to simplify how people can run a business. Dubsado acts as a hub to running your business and ties multiple systems together to make running a business easier, smoother, and more efficient. Dubsado can save you time by automating different tasks and steps in your business to allow you to focus your time and energy into growing your business. In turn, a well-organized business has the potential to book more clients and develop stronger relationships with existing ones.

Thanks Dubsado team for sponsoring this!

Alright, with that little sponsor introduction outta the way (seriously though, thanks Jake and Dubsado team, you rock!), let’s jump into this experiment!


The preface

I Have No Idea What I’m Getting Myself Into, So This Should Be Fun!

I’m starting on February 4 and ending on March 5.

I’ll be riding for a few hours each day while I work at my desk. I’ll be writing a daily update in this post describing what happened.

Should I track calories burned each day? Miles ridden? Level of butt soreness (on a scale of 0 [meh] to 10 [I can’t wear pants])? Energy levels? Quality of sleep increase or decrease? Sex life improvement (or the opposite if I feel I need to start wearing those tight spandex bike shorts at my desk all day)??

I think I have a fitness tracker of some sort laying around. Or wait, did I sell that on eBay? I might have. Can my phone just track this if I keep it in my pocket while I stationary bike each day? The RunKeeper app is something I’ve used before. I think I’ll give that a shot?

Ahhh… the huge life questions I’ll be able to answer by the end of this 30-day challenge!

Oh, I bet you’re DYING to know which bike I’m going to be riding??

Not Jason Zook riding a stationary standing desk bike

(Note: That’s not me in the photo, I’d never be caught dead owning that rug or those curtains)

That’s the FLEXISPOT Home Office Standing Desk Exercise Bike Height Adjustable Cycle – Deskcise Pro and no, I didn’t in any way shape or form make that name up. That’s the real name. Also, that’s my Amazon aff link, so, yeah.

My favorite review on Amazon was one that said:

“the best part is, YOU DON’T EVEN FEEL LIKE WORKING OUT. And somehow it helps you to concentrate better. I guess because of the working out, my sleep improves as well. Not mention the pains from back. All in all, this thing changed my life!!”

I mean, c’mon! That’s gold. That’s a real recommendation folks. We’ll see if my life is changed in 30 days (again, meaning I end up with 6-pack abs).

It should be painfully obvious to you that I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m not going to try to set any ridiculous goals for this project. I simply want to see what happens each day and record my thoughts in this post. Feel free to bookmark this sucker, keep it open in the never-ending tab catacomb you have going, or get your VA to tell you soon as I publish a new daily entry here.

UPDATE: I remembered I bought my wife a simple wearable fitness tracker a year ago and low-and-behold it was still nestled away in her nightstand. I pulled that sucker out, plugged it in to charge, and voila! Still works! Tomorrow I’ll get a benchmark of my daily calories burned without the bike.

Very cheap fitness tracker from

BTWs: This is a very cheap fitness tracker, if you’re looking for one.


The… 2nd preface? (February 1)

The Beast Has Arrived and I’m Almost Ready To Ride My Buns Off!

And just to reiterate, by “ride my buns off” I mean casually ride this stationary bike each day and see what happens over the course of the next month.

I’m excited to share that the FLEXITRON 9000 arrived safe and sound. And yes, I know it’s not actually called the FLEXITRON 9000 but that name seems wayyyy cooler to me, so it’s what I’m going to use from here on out.

The bike has arrived!

Our dog Plaxico is not impressed

Stationary bike installed at standing desk for use

Jason Zook on the Flexitron 9000

What a dork, huh? I mean hunk. I totally meant to write hunk there.

Let’s have a look at my baseline fitness metrics (steps, calories, distance, heart rate, and sleep)

I wanted to have a “normal day” tracked to compare to as I go through this 30-day challenge. This day was fairly uneventful (read: no sexy grocery store trips) and included about 6-8 hours working at my standing desk. I went on one walk at the end of the day with my wife Caroline and our pup Plaxico.

That 10,000 steps goal was just the default one, so… cool? I’ll be super interested to see how riding the FLEXITRON 9000 impacts that daily goal.

Note on the sleep metrics: I typically wake up at 5am to feed our pup Plaxico and take him outside to do his biz-nass. The fitness tracker doesn’t account for the fact that I snuggle back into bed for another 2-3 hours. 🤷🏻‍♂️😴

Jason Zook's baseline fitness metrics

And now let’s look at the metrics from a day when I went to the gym

My normal workout routine involves super-setting weight exercises. If that sentence made no sense to you, the gist is that I get incredibly bored doing one weight exercise so I tend to do 2-3 in succession to avoid nodding off at the gym (never something you want to do, especially while lifting large metal objects).

It’s kind of fun to see the overall difference in steps, calories burned*, distance, average heart rate, and my sleep cycles. Almost nothing else changed between the baseline day and this day besides going to the gym. Oh, and I did the laundry, so that’s about 38 extra steps and +10 husband points! I believe all the scientists reading this will be proud of me.

*Admittedly I have no clue how this little fitness tracker I’m wearing is tracking calories burned. Is it a random calculation of things? Is it a completely made-up number? Who knows!

Jason Zook's normal gym day


Day 1 – February 4th

Houston, We Have Some… Um… Numbness

Okay, here’s the honest truth: I haven’t ridden a bike in years. I don’t remember the feelings and bodily effects that go along with it and I ESPECIALLY don’t remember my… um… man-parts taking a nap mid-ride.

I’m not going to dive into details about my 🍆falling asleep during the first 20-minute “ride” this morning. Let’s just say that was quite unexpected and hello, tingles!

I am recording snippets of video each day to compile into a recap video at the end of this challenge. You can guess what I was chatting about at this exact moment:

My eggplant emoji fell asleep

Day 1 Bike Stats: 62 minutes of active pedaling, 14.13 miles ridden, and 341.2 calories burned

To reiterate what I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I’m not going for some big ambitious goal or thinking I’m going to get in the best shape of my life by riding a stationary bike at my desk. I’m also not riding the bike constantly every minute while I’m sitting on it or at my desk (I’m crazy, I’m not a serial killer!)

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I wrapped up my desk-time for the day and clicked through the stats tracked by the FLEXITRON 9000.

Day 1 on the Flexitron 9000

I mean it when I say it, these were the easiest 341 calories I’ve ever burned.

I rode for a consistent 20ish minutes after eating breakfast and drinking my morning coffee. During that time I…

  • Finished watching an episode of Hot Ones on YouTube (I had 1/3 left)
  • Answered a handful of emails that didn’t need long replies or much thought
  • Hopped in a few Slack convos in our WAIM Slack Channel

Those aren’t the most mentally-tough tasks, obviously, but they are tasks that were completed while I was burning a few calories. The rest of the active riding time throughout the day came in random spurts here and there. Riding didn’t affect my work output AT ALL.

If I keep at this pace for all 30 days, I should ride a total of 420 miles and burn an extra 10,000+ calories this month.

Ummmmm, yeaaaaahhhhh! We’ll find out if I achieve those numbers but I’m fairly confident I’ll blow them out of the water (oh, early momentum and inspiration, you’re so neat!)

Seriously though, kind of cool to think about burning an extra 340 calories per day and not really even thinking about it. We’ll see what my 🍆 has to say about all this in a few days/weeks. Also, sorry not sorry for referring to my man-parts as an emoji throughout the next 29 days.

I didn’t plan on giving Dubsado (the sponsor) any love until mid-challenge, but this was unexpected and fun…

I received an email from the Dubsado team, which was just supposed to be about getting a nifty sticker for my bike, but come to find out this zany adventure I’m on has inspired their team to do something active:

Dubsado team takes on OrangeTheory

How fun is that?? My wife and I thoroughly enjoy OrangeTheory workout classes ourselves, so it’s cool that the entire Dubsado team is going to take a class. I asked for fun photos and video of them in action (you know, to share here for a very integrated but honest and tasteful sponsor callout).

Also, I got my first few text messages today and one of them was related and pun-tastic:

Dubsado crack team pun is punny

Kudos to you, stranger from the Internet, who texted me a butt pun and a positive remark about getting paid to do weird things!

First bit of drama: I have very sweaty palms

Maybe the man-part numbness was the first bit of drama in this challenge? We can argue that later. However, for getting work done while riding the FLEXITRON 9000 I did notice that my palms started getting sweaty almost immediately. Even at a very, very relaxed riding speed, my hands decided it would be fun to perspire on my laptop.

You won’t believe what happened next, my laptop melted! Kidding! Kidding!

Jason Zooks sweaty palms

Nothing bad happened, it was just, kinda gross. I now have a microfiber towel (because I’m fancy and regular towels are beneath me) positioned neatly next to my laptop. For all my neatness-obsessed fans out there, don’t worry, the towel is removed from my desk surface while not in use.

All-in-all, a pretty great first day! Weird… but great.

Because I’m not trying to Lance Armstrong this bike challenge (insert your favorite doping joke here), I see this as being a fun and fairly simple thing to add to my day.

I did have someone text message me giving me a heads-up on how to deal with chaffing. Hmmm… I guess that is a concern I should think about? Eh, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it, shall we?


Day 2 – February 5th

Why Yes, I Can Take Video Calls From My Stationary Bike

You may be on the edge of your seat (which should be a stationary bike seat) looking for an 🍆 update but alas there isn’t much news to report on that front. I mean, there’s plenty of news, lots of news, BIG news… wait, what were talking about? Oh yeah. I had my first video call while riding the bike at my desk.

Video chat with WAIM member, Mason

Everyone say hi to WAIM member, Mason!

Having the stationary bike for “boring” moments is great!

I had a scheduled video call with WAIM member Mason at 11:00am but I was on Zoom and ready at 10:50am. I blame this need to show up early on my high school basketball coach Mr. Smith who said what all coaches say:

“If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, you’re on time.” – Every coach, ever

Because I find myself showing up for calls and meetings early, being able to get 10 minutes of biking in is a much better use of my time than, say, scrolling through social media feeds or catching up on NBA trade rumors.

To me, this is a fun little life hack and one of the unintended outcomes I hoped to find during this challenge. Oh, I did hop off the bike once the call with Mason started. I have no intention of being the sweaty out of breath guy on video calls.

I only logged 10.6 miles on the bike today and I blame going to the gym.

I certainly didn’t ride a bike at the gym, that would just be plain silly. It was a pretty active workout and I pushed myself fairly hard for about 45 minutes with little rest. When I got home from the gym I wasn’t exhausted but I also wasn’t looking forward to hopping on the bike and continuing to exercise (or sweat).

I had a moment where I thought it would be funny to take a photo of “normal” people on stationary bikes at the gym. Then I felt like a creep for taking a photo of people working out. (Hence the emoji faces!)

Normal people riding stationary bikes at the gym

After eating something and taking a shower I found myself with no motivation to hop back on the bike for nearly 2 hours until I felt guilty that I hadn’t gotten back on the bike.

I’m not sure if it was just the hard workout I did today or the timing of the workout (late afternoon), but I’ll be sure to pay attention as this challenge moves forward if I’m less motivated to pedal out a few miles on days where I workout.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a little self-conscious about my lack of beating yesterday’s mileage so I’m going to move the bike into the living room while I watch TV.

Update two hours later: 4.03 more miles ridden! 😂

Late-night biking

Be honest, silliest thing you’ve seen today on the Internet??


Day 3 – February 6th

Undies or Bike Shorts?

You know the trope about people who work from home always wearing sweatpants? Well, sweatpants + biking = a lot more sweating. Today I found myself coming back from running an errand and because I’d put on “adult pants” to leave the house, I had to make the tough decision: Put on shorts or just… rock the undies.

Undies or bike shorts

I think if we’re both being honest with each other, why go through the effort of putting on bike shorts if I’m biking at home, completely alone?

Not that you asked but I absolutely loooooove my SAXX Underwear. This is not a sponsor mention by any means. I was recommended SAXX by a friend (Hi, Leah Lou!) a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. So many fun patterns to choose from and these undies are suuuuper comfy. Well worth the money, in my book.

Other folks are weird like me!

I received a DM on Slack from my buddy Kade and was pleased to find out he rocks the treadmill desk. I’d heard of the treadmill desk but had never known anyone to use it. Kade mentioned he enjoys the additional random exercise throughout the day but isn’t on it every working hour. #twinsies

Kade's treadmill desk

Do you have an interesting desk setup with a treadmill, bike, or some other weird apparatus? Let me know, I’d love to share it!

Today was the first day the stationary bike and I were separated from each other for most of the day.

My wife and I currently rent and the main house that our rental unit is attached to is going up for sale. As real estate people were getting ready to barge through our home I figured I’d be a nice person and try to hide the odd stationary bike. You know, trying to avoid the serial killer vibes. (Or maybe I shouldn’t have, if we don’t want to move? Maybe I should go all Step Brothers on them?)

Shout out to the FLEXITRON 9000 designers, this bad boy rolled smoothly from my desk area into the laundry room. I will say, it was a bit sad to see my poor bike nestled away in the dark corner of the laundry room.

Sad laundry room, is sad

Even though I was away from my desk for most of the day, I was able to knock out some pretty solid stats:

  • 77:04 total minutes of riding time today
  • 19.06 total miles ridden today
  • 460.2 calories burned on the bike

I feel like I can easily get to 500 calories burned each day as I get into a rhythm later in this challenge. Because I’m not riding for 77 straight minutes and instead breaking it up into 10-15 minute chunks, it really doesn’t feel like I’m pushing myself too hard.

Then again, I’m only on Day 3. We’ll see how I’m feeling a week from now.

What about you? Is this weird challenge inspiring you to do anything? Or not? 😂


Day 4 – February 7th

Dangit, I Only Rode For 5 Miles Today – Arrghh!

Have you ever had one of those days where EVERYTHING feels out of your control? Maybe a bit like life is 💩’ing on your face? That was me from 7am-10am today. Ugh.

Part of getting through my messy morning was to vent to Caroline and then to blow off steam at the gym. Sometimes you just have to: Step. Away. From. The. Laptop.


How I think riding the stationary bike is becoming part of my morning routine

A few years ago I decided to create a weird morning ritual. Since then, my morning routine has stayed fairly similar, looking something like this:

  1. Roll out of bed after looking at my phone for about 30 seconds*
  2. Make pour-over coffee while also whipping together breakfast (no technology for 5-10 minutes)
  3. Watch a YouTube video or two while eating breakfast/drinking coffee
  4. Spend 20-30 minutes catching up on Slack message and emails

*Normally I’d spend 5-10 minutes scrolling Instagram in bed, but because I’m currently off social media there’s nothing else to check on my phone.

Riding the bike while checking Slack messages and emails is perfect!

I’ve found that these simple tasks are easy to accomplish while putting the pedal to the metal (and by pedal to the metal, I mean putting my naked feet on the padded pedals and spinning at a very moderate pace). I can easily knock out email replies and Slack messages while not even thinking about burning a few morning calories.

Unfortunately, today’s only riding time was done during my morning routine. Womp. Womp.

I’m bummed I only rode for 22 minutes, a distance of 5 miles, and only an extra 140 calories burned. But…

As much as I wish I’d ridden a bit more, I did get a solid workout in at the gym AND did a 1.5-mile walk with Caroline to our favorite local coffee shop. The gym workout was how I blew off steam from the crappy start to my day. The coffee-walk was just quality time with the wife 😘.

I was bummed I didn’t get more riding done, however, not bummed that instead, you get this sexy slow-mo coffee drinking GIF from our walk (lucky you!):

Jason Zook drinking coffee, in slow-motion

I LOVE that this bike challenge inspired the Dubsado folks to do a team workout!

You may remember from Day 1 that the folks at Dubsado (who are lovingly sponsoring my weirdness) mentioned they were going to do a group OrangeTheory workout. Well, we now have photo proof of this awesomeness:

Team Dubsado at OrangeTheory

I was told they accrued 826 SPLAT points as a group! If you don’t know anything about OrangeTheory that means nothing to you at all. In fact, now I don’t want to explain SPLAT points and you can just let your imagination run wild. Either way, congrats Team Dubsado on getting yo sweat on!

Side-note, you guys look way happier than we do after an OrangeTheory workout…

Team Dubsado at OrangeTheory

Alright, if you need me, I’ll be dreaming of all the miles I’m going to ride tomorrow. Gotta make up for the lack of performance today!


Day 5 – February 8th

Who Doesn’t Eat Homemade Cookie Dough While Riding 26.49 Miles??

I don’t know about you, but I’m enjoying sharing the small oddities of my days with you in these updates. I had no idea what I’d be sharing when I had the idea to write this daily journal so it feels natural to share glimpses of my silly life choices.

Now, clearly, you expected to read through this update and find a vegan cookie dough recipe, right? Yeah, you did!

Jason Zook’s homemade vegan cookie dough recipe… because, why the hell not?

  • 3 tablespoons flax seed + 1/2 cup hot water (combine and let sit for 15 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter of your choosing (put in medium-sized mixing bowl)
  • Add 1 1/2 cups maple syrup sugar (you may use less or more depending on desired sweetness level)
  • Combine butter + maple sugar using a pastry blender or fork (if you’re a badass) – it should look like small balls of sand
  • Add flax + water mixture to butter + maple sand mixture (don’t mix yet)
  • Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mix everything together with a fork or spoon, it should have a pancake batter consistency
  • Add 2 1/2 cups oat flour (don’t mix in just yet, fancy pants)
  • Add 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt (definitely NOT table salt)
  • Add 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (go sugar-free if you can find ’em)
  • Mix thoroughly and taste (add more sugar if needed or more flour if too sweet)
  • Place bowl in freezer for 20-30 minutes (lick the fork/mixing utensil clean, obviously)
  • Remove from freezer and use cookie dough scooper to make cookie dough balls!
  • Keep the balls in the fridge for more doughy texture or in freezer for frozen texture
  • Scrape the mixing bowl clean while riding your stationary bike!


Everyone eats cookie dough while riding a stationary bike

And yes, this was a bad idea, my tummy hurt immediately 😅

These legs were made for riding! I put in 1 hour and 42 minutes, knocked out 26.49 miles, and burned 639 calories. Booyeah!

Earlier on in the day, before I gorged myself on vegan cookie dough, I went through my morning routine (as laid out yesterday) and spent about 30 minutes riding and knocking out emails.

I’m LOVING this. I feel super productive and that I’m getting a tiny bit of exercise and a small cardiovascular push at the same time.

I did try to ride while editing a video later on in the day and that didn’t go well at all. The more complex task had me starting and stopping my pedaling without even realizing I was slowing down. I’d be super-focused moving something around in Final Cut Pro X, only to look down and notice I’d stopped moving the pedals completely. Hmmm. I think I’ll stick to riding during the less mentally-intensive tasks.

Should I be wearing shoes while riding?

Today was the first day I felt myself wish I had my stationary bike with me to deal with more mundane moments in life.

The FLEXITRON 9000 is really becoming a nice time-waster for me. Whether it’s before hopping on calls, while taking small breaks throughout the day, or while lounging around and watching TV. It’s almost replacing the twitch to grab my phone and scroll through social media (reminder: I’m not on social media right now).

I accompanied Caroline to an awesome doctor’s visit today. No seriously, it was really great. I’ll ask her if she wants me to share more about it. For now, you can enjoy this photo of my legs wishing they were riding while we sat in the doctor’s waiting area.

These legs can't be held back!

Those are my rubber ducky socks, thank you for noticing.

Am I eventually going to wake up one day in pain, or nah?

I know I haven’t ridden the bike an insane amount these first few days. I think I’ll get to 100 total miles in this first week, which is only 2000% more than any previous week for years. I half-expected to have some soreness or to not want to ride… Instead, I’m finding the opposite. The um, 🍆 tingles still happen here and there though.

There’s no soreness. I’m burning some calories. I’m enjoying this!

But now the competitor in me is coming out. Once Monday rolls around and I have a tally of my total time, distance, and calories, I’ll have to beat it the following week. That could spell trouble.

Anyhoo, I’m off to enjoy the weekend. The next update will come on Monday (I’ll still be riding Saturday and Sunday and keeping track of the stats, don’t you worry your pretty head).


Day 6 & 7 – February 9-10th

Week 1 Recap: My Daily Average Was 59 Minutes, 15 Miles Ridden, and 366 Calories Burned

If you would have told me a week ago that I’d be riding a bike at my desk for nearly one hour every day I don’t think I would have believed you. Sure, one hour is not a long time in the grand scheme of a day, but when was the last time you rode a stationary bike for one hour? Riding a stationary bike at a gym has always been god-awful. Like, stab me in the eye with a spatula, boring.

The overall totals for the first seven days: 414 minutes on the bike, 107 miles pedaled, and 2,561 calories burned.

Can I get a hell yes?? I feel pretty damn great that I burned an extra 2,561 calories and didn’t feel like it was too much extra work.

Jason Zook and Chris Evans are pizza pals

Thank you, Chris!

While my riding time wasn’t amazing over the weekend, I was happy to put in 27 miles and 96 minutes of biking time

I try not to spend much time at my desk on the weekend so it was actually more mental effort to think about pulling the bike into the living room for a quick ride. Lucky for me, watching basketball on TV has become another great time to hop on the bike.

Thanks to Duke and the Lakers, I was able to burn 642 calories. Instead of the, you know, zero calories I’d normally burn watching basketball games from the couch.

Jason Zook, the weekend warrior

I convinced Caroline to ride the FLEXITRON 9000 for the first time…

And she liked it! Not only did she like it, but she also mentioned she might try riding the bike when I’m not using it. Ugh, that’s totally going to force me to have to do math each day (obviously I can’t combine her time, miles, and cals with mine – a marriage only goes so far!)

Caroline Zook on the FLEXITRON 9000

I do miss being on social media right now for sharing things like Caroline mounting the bike for the first time 😅😂🤣

Of course, there are the boring moments during commercials when I’d rather be scrolling through Instagram, but I captured some fun moments when Caroline first got on the bike that would’ve been fun to share.

Don’t you worry though, I’m compiling a bunch of footage, clips, and other little moments for a full recap video once the 30 days are done.

For now, just know that I’m sharing most of the best stuff in these daily updates!

For the second week, what do you think I should strive for? Doubling the miles ridden and calories burned? Or…?


Day 8 – February 11th

Hmmm… That’s Not A Good Sound 🤔

My morning routine was in full effect and then about 15 minutes into my first pedaling sesh of the day I heard a weird sound…

Huh. That doesn’t seem good.

I crouched all around the FLEXITRON 9000, inspecting all the parts as if Sherlock Holmes himself was tending to this stationary bike mystery. What was I expecting to see? A random bolt sticking out that I could push back in place? No idea. All I know is that the bike is making a weird noise above 90 RPMs.

I hopped back on the bike a few times throughout the day and the noise came and went. Sometimes it sounded crunchy, sometimes more clicky. Gosh, I should write technical support manuals or something, huh?

Hi ma’am, yes I understand you’re having an issue. Is it a crunchy sound or clicky? Crunchy? Okay, let me transfer you to the crunchy support specialist on my team.

Crunchy sound and all, I rode for 63 minutes, 17 miles, and burned 418 calories.

I was thinking I’d try to hit 500 calories burned as a daily goal this second week but that didn’t happen today. I did, however, up the resistance on the bike for the first time… from -1 to 2 (out of 10) 😂

I’m not going to lie, the resistance setting of 2 was noticeably tougher than NEGATIVE ONE. When I looked down toward the end of the day and saw I still had 80ish calories to burn and my legs were feeling a little more tired than normal I decided just to call it for the day. Don’t judge me! I’m going to sleep on the idea of going back to -1 and continuing to have this challenge feel easy. Is that wrong?

Obviously, I’ll keep you posted on the resistance drama (and #CrunchyGate).

Shout out to Ruth Carter who emailed this “inspirational” photo. Truthfully, I love it.

Weird is good!

Ruth, you just get me!


Day 9 – February 12th

Trying To Up The Resistance Felt Too Much Like Working Out

More resistance was too much

As I mentioned yesterday I touched the resistance knob on the FLEXITRON 9000 for the first time. I made the humungous jump from -1 (the lowest setting) to 2, the first setting on the way to 9.

While I understand the need for additional resistance if you were using this as a full-time exercise bike, but that’s not what this bike is for me.

After 12 minutes trying to bike at the resistance level of 2 I found myself out of breath and sweating profusely.

Listen, I want to exercise through this challenge, but after 12 minutes I don’t want to feel tired. That’s a recipe for me not continuing to want to get on the bike each day. I gave myself permission to crank the resistance knob back down to -1 and proudly kept riding throughout the day without feeling a ton of strain.

500 calories? How about 639 calories burned on the bike today!

I spent 93 minutes on the bike and pedaled a solid 26.5 miles. A big portion of that time (probably half) was spent putting together our new WAIM Member welcome packages.

Jason Zook multitasking

Look at that sweet, sweet multitasking action! Riding the bike while assembling 22 packages was a great way to make the time go by quicker.

Not too much else to report today. Enjoying this challenge and looking forward to riding each day (not at the resistance level of 2 – haha).


Day 10 – February 13th

Battle Ropes, You Were A Bad Idea

I hadn’t been to the gym since last Thursday (almost a week ago). Part of me felt guilty because I like to get to the gym every 2-3 days, but then I remembered I burned an extra 2,500+ calories last week.

No doubt, I’ve had a little less energy each day since starting this challenge. Might need to add more protein to the diet? Or just MOAR COFFEE??

Heading into the gym today I was going to take it easy and not push myself too hard. Then I decided to finish the workout with battle ropes… What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

During the battle ropes, looking good:

Jason Zook on the battle ropes

60 seconds later:

The battle ropes always win

Also, I have to mention there was a 143-year-old man (okay, he wasn’t THAT old, but he was old!) next to me while I was doing battle ropes. I kid you not, he did pushups for about 8 minutes straight. No breaks. I should’ve asked him what his secret was but I was honestly intimidated 😅🤷🏻‍♂️.

Even with the battle ropes I was still able to hit the daily 500 calorie goal! 74 minutes, 21 miles, and 509 calories burned.

I did 90% of my biking today before my workout, lucky for me I had a lot of admin-esque tasks today that were perfect for biking. One of which was finishing up our Wandering Aimfully Membership Test Drive (which you can find in many places on this site… If you can’t find it, I’ve done a terrible job!)

Not going lie, I’m a bit nervous of how my legs are going to feel tomorrow. Or maybe I should be more nervous about my inner thighs? We’ll find out!


Day 11 – February 14th

Happy Valentine’s Day To My Thighs And Glutes!

I would’ve loved to share some dramatic update where I could barely move my legs and therefore didn’t accomplish my riding goal today BUT I’M A BOSS! Well, that, and, I’m still only riding a stationary bike with a resistance setting of -1. #beinghonestwithmyself

I’m assuming you’ve seen one of those ridiculous Peloton commercials by now? It’s not so much the bike they use is ridiculous, it’s that everyone lives in the NICEST house ever in those commercials.

I may not fit in one of those Peloton commercials just yet (close though!)

Jason Zook vs Peloton

I may not be worthy of the Peloton life, but I did knock out another 97 minutes of riding time, 26.5 miles, and 639 calories. Woot!

This was one of those work days when I went pretty deep on one task. Not sure if you can relate, but it was a rainy day and usually those are days when I can get locked-in on work and stay free from distractions.

One of the to-do items I’ve been putting off for quite a while is playing around with RightMessage here on the Wandering Aimfully website. Essentially the goal is to add personalization to copy and calls to action, specifically related to the new WAIM Test Drive experience we created. I’ll be doing an in-depth breakdown on RightMessage and how extremely rad it is very soon (also, shout out to their fantastic customer service – thanks Dana!)

Rainy day, productive day

And sometimes you just have to troll your customers 😬😆

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Today was Valentine’s Day and while we aren’t a big “Hallmark holiday” family we did cosy up on the catch and watch the amazing documentary Free Solo. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I can’t say enough great things about the doc, but also the feat of strength (mental and physical) that you see unfold from Alex Honnold. If you haven’t seen it, consider paying for it on iTunes. It’s a movie that absolutely deserves your dollars.

Watching Free Solo Documentary

Oh, and if you were wondering, no, I’m not allowed to complain about my sore butt after watching an accomplishment like free soloing El Capitan.

But… my glutes were sore today. 🤣


Day 12 – February 15th

I Missed Today’s Biking Calorie Goal But Crushed My Overall Calories Burned

The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult on Caroline. She’s been battling some really rough anxiety. Not the kind of anxiety you feel for a few minutes but the kind that keeps you in bed and unable to focus on anything without feeling dizzy (for hours and hours and hours).

Each day is its own journey and we’ve been trying to go for short walks when she’s feeling motivated.

Today was the furthest we’ve walked (around 3-4 miles) and overall the best she’s felt on a walk. Yay for small victories!

Soaking up some gratitude Jason and Caroline Zook

I’d already done my morning biking while knocking out emails and Slack messages but after the 3-4ish-mile walk I didn’t feel like jumping back on the bike. I did, however, get some motivation to go to the gym. Maybe I just didn’t want my 🍆 to fall asleep??

February 15th steps

I’m not sure I can trust my cheap fitness tracker.

The other day we went for a long walk and I didn’t get close to hitting my 10,000 steps goal. I think I was at around 4,000 steps at the end of the day. Today, over 12,500 steps. Hmmmm. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you get what you pay for!

I did burn 409 calories in 61 minutes (17 miles) on the bike. Along with a gym workout and a 3-4 mile walk.

Even though I was close to the biking calorie goal, I probably burned the most calories today that I’ve burned in a loooong time. My conservative estimate is:

  • 409 biking calories burned
  • 881 fitness tracker calories burned
  • 300 gym calories burned
  • 3,095 daily metabolic calories burned

In case you were wondering where the heck I got that 3,095 number, I googled a “daily calorie burn calculator” and added my personal stats for a general idea (none of these calculators are perfect). I used the first Google result – feel free to see what your daily calorie burn is!

Daily metabolic calorie burn for Jason Zook

So yeah, I didn’t hit my 500-calorie goal on the bike, but I think I’ve justified that. Hahah. No idea why I felt the need to do draw that out so much. Did you care? Probably not.

That is a fun benefit of doing a daily journal like this. You feel accountable to the people (YOU) who are reading and you want to stick to what you set out to do. Thank you for that, I guess 😘.

I’m off to enjoy the weekend and will still be riding! Go out there and get some exercise, friend.


Day 13 & 14 – February 16-17th

Week 2 Recap: My Daily Average Was 76 Minutes, 21 Miles Ridden, and 518 Calories Burned

Wahhhhhoooooooo! My goal during the second week was to try to average 500 calories per day and I made it happen. Not only did I make it happen but I really am enjoying this challenge (especially after giving myself permission to stay at the lowest resistance setting).

I burned an extra 3,626 calories by riding 150 miles in 531 minutes. Total miles since I started: 257 💪🏼

Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I know this challenge isn’t going to give me shredded abs (a girl can dream, right??) Even though I’m not going to make a big physical change, I’m loving that I don’t hate this challenge. In fact, I can already tell I’m going to keep riding the bike as part of my morning routine.

If nothing else, I know I’ll continue to ride the bike daily for at least 30 minutes once this challenge is over.

To me, that’s a sign of a successful challenge: When you know you’ve tried something that can turn into a healthy habit and bring value to your life!

Speaking of healthy, I treated myself to some delicious vegan cookies tonight.

Vegan chocolate chip cookies!

This is the recipe if you want to try ’em out!

If you’re wondering why I made actual cookies instead of the vegan cookie dough I mentioned last week, it’s because we have a little bit of news to celebrate.

We found a new place to live and will be moving in a few weeks! 🎉👯‍♀️

Long story made short we aren’t moving too far, only about 9 miles from where we currently live. We’ve been renting for the past few years since moving to California and that trend will continue in our new place. The celebratory part of this is that it’s nerve-wracking to find modern/updated properties for rent in our area.

I’ll share photos of the place once we get back in there and the updates have been finished. Here’s a sneak peek of us seeing the place for the first time (while still under construction):

Our new home... almost!

Oh, and you better believe we’ve already been building a Pinterest board and mood board to make the space feel fun, unique, and our very own.

I think this will be a nice breath of fresh air to move on from our current place, even though it was great for us. A fresh start can go a looonnnng way.

Pinterest boards, galore.

You might be wondering how I managed to still fit in at least 60 minutes of biking each day while expending tons of mental effort on a potential move…? Well, I’m just a badass I guess. Jk. Jk.

This challenge is really showing me that 60 minutes of extra activity per day isn’t that hard when you pick an activity you can do over and over (without hating your life!)

So, what should my goal be for this week? 750 calories per day? 30 miles per day? Something else?


Day 15 – February 18th

I Burned 835 Calories Thinking Of Creative Ways To Talk About Dubsado

Let’s call today “Sponsor Day” on this 30-day challenge! Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit you over the head with messaging and bullets and yadda yadda. Truthfully, the awesome folks at Dubsado didn’t even ask for what you’re about to scroll through.

As a reminder: Dubsado gives you the tools to help you run your business smoothly (invoicing, scheduling, and more) all in one place.

A little more info about Dubsado if you own a small biz and are looking for a suite of tools to keep things more organized and streamlined:

Dubsado is a business management software that provides tools to simplify how people can run a business. Dubsado acts as a hub to running your business and ties multiple systems together to make running a business easier, smoother, and more efficient. Dubsado can save you time by automating different tasks and steps in your business to allow you to focus your time and energy into growing your business. In turn, a well-organized business has the potential to book more clients and develop stronger relationships with existing ones.

Now, please enjoy this quick video I put together while riding 34.5 miles on the bike today (crank your volume ⬆️ if you like synth music)…

And for all you GIF lovers out there…

Woot, Dubsado stickers!

Applying the Dubsado sticker on the FLEXITRON 9000

Thanks again Dubsado for sponsoring this challenge!

You can’t beat burning 835 calories while paying the bills!

I spent a good part of the day in my email inbox. This happens every Monday for me for two reasons:

  1. We send out our weekly Wandering Aimfully email at 7am on Mondays
  2. I don’t answer any thought-intensive emails over the weekend

On most days I think I spend around 1 total hour checking email. Today, I spent nearly 3 hours in my inbox and 127.5 minutes of that was while pedaling on the FLEXITRON 9000. Needless to say, I’m pretty damn happy to burn ALMOST 1,000 extra calories while checking email! Not many people can say that.

I don’t think it’s realistic for me to shoot for 800+ calories per day, but, why not? Let’s see how it goes!

Also, if you’ve been wondering… the 🍆 numbness has pretty much gone away completely. I think that’s a good thing?? 😅🤷🏻‍♂️

Biking at sunset


Day 16 – February 19th

We Spent The Majority Of The Day Planning Out Our New Home!

Oh, and I set my daily record with 907 🙀 calories burned on the bike today! We’ll get to that in a moment.

If you’ve read through the previous updates then you know we are moving into a new place. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride to find a place we liked, especially compared to where we’ve called home the past 15 months.

We saw our new place for the first time a few days ago while it was under fairly heavy construction and we took a small leap of faith to scoop it up. Today we went back to do measure all the rooms and were pleasantly surprised by a ton of progress!

New office space location

Measuring where my desk will go

We busted out the tape measure and Caroline used her iPad to quickly sketch out the floorplan of our new 1,165 sq ft home. Using some masking tape we got an idea of where the most important items will go: our desks!

And yes, we’re those crazy people who work from home and have our desks in our living room.

I’ll get to my biking accomplishments in a moment, but one more quick new home update. Caroline found this cool 3D rendering program that was completely free and easy to use. She took our measurements and was able to start building a walk-through 3D model of our place. Not just any ole model, she was able to pick flooring, tile, decor, kitchen cabinetry, and more!

It almost felt like I was watching an episode of Fixer Upper for our own home! 😅

Measuring where my desk will go

We’ll share an updated 3D rendering as Caroline continues to work on it!

Okay, okay, I buried the lead: I biked for 2+ hours today, burning 907 cals!

Can we talk about how crazy burning 907 calories is AND NOT FEELING LIKE I WAS KILLING MYSELF TO DO IT??

Seriously though, I was shocked when I realized I spent 136.4 minutes on the bike today. About half of that time was spent this morning while I cranked through emails. I’ve had a few more than normal since we kicked off a new Wandering Aimfully Test Drive (of our membership).

It’s amazing how quickly time flies when you’re working on spreadsheets!

Keeping track of WAIM Test Drivers

And yes, I am manually emailing folks daily 🙃

I don’t know if I can keep up the pace I’ve set for myself to begin this week, but I’m sure as heck gonna try!

At this rate, I’m averaging 850 calories per day which would be a total of nearly 6,000 calories burned this week… while biking… at my desk… and not hating it!

I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty rad. Now, can I keep it up??


Day 17 – February 20th

Giving Myself Permission…

Today I gave myself permission to not have to beat 900 calories on the bike. When I woke up this morning I thought I would go for 1,000 calories burned but then I asked myself if I really needed to do that?

This may seem like a weird parallel, however, the constant “leveling up mindset” isn’t always healthy.

It just seems ingrained in us as humans:

  • Work as many hours as you can
  • Grow your business as big as you can
  • Get as many customers as you can
  • Make as much money as you can
  • Always trying to push yourself further

What I don’t want to happen with this challenge is get to a point where I’m constantly trying to one-up myself, only to eventually hit some sort of wall and burn myself out (then hate the bike, never ride it, and everyone ends up sad!)

I only rode for 103 minutes, 29 miles, and burned 702 calories

Okay, yeah, so maybe you expected today to be a 20-30 minute ride and that was it? Give me a little credit here! If you’ve been reading each update, biking has worked itself perfectly into my morning routine. I rode for 70 minutes this morning, all while knocking out my morning to-dos.

Another good chunk of riding came while Caroline showed me the progress on the 3D rendering of our new home, fully decorated and everything 🤩:

Biking and 3D

So freakin’ cool! Speaking of new stuff, we ordered a small handful of new things to decorate our new place and have it feel unique. This fun item showed up today:

Gold thumb decorative accessory

How cute is that little guy? It came in a pack of three and was only $20. 👍👍

Remember those 700 calories I burned while biking? I also went to the gym and had a longer workout than normal while I waited for Caroline to finish up a doctor’s appointment.

What do you do when you work out a little extra in a day?

Treat yo’ self! Obviously.

Our friends Caleb and Jen brought over some vegan chocolate ice cream and I threw in one of my vegan cookie dough balls (from Day 5’s recipe). MMMMMMMMMM!

Not a bad way to wrap up the day…

Vegan chocolate ice cream and cookie dough


Day 18 – February 21th

Look Guys, I’m A Social Media Influencer, Without Being On Social Media 🤣

As a friendly reminder, while this 30-day biking challenge is happening in real-time I’m also on a break from all social media.

Let’s be 100% clear, I do not consider myself a “social media influencer.”

If anything, I unknowingly created a career as a social media influencer back in 2009 with my IWearYourShirt project before that term existed. I don’t know why I feel the need to justify the fact that I got a small unexpected package in the mail from a company Caroline and I love and spend our own money on.

Nonetheless, there was a knock at our door, I heard the UPS truck drive away, and I found a bright green box on our welcome mat. Hmmm, I don’t remember ordering anything green?

Oh hello, brand new flavor of Spindrift!

Spindrift Lime Flavor and Jason Zook

Spindrift is the only beverage we drink in our home besides coffee and water, so the fact that they sent us a new flavor (lime 👍) in the mail is super fun!

Spindrift is not paying us and we are not sponsored by them. Also, drinking fizzy water while biking gives me rumbles in my tummy.

Just to remind you, the wonderfully creative folks at Dubsado are the ones sponsoring this biking challenge. Gotta pay the bills and respect the folks who raise their hand to financially support my zany ideas!

So yeah, that was a fun and completely random surprise today. And in case you were wondering, we dig the lime flavor. It tastes like you’re drinking summer. Hah!

In keeping with yesterday’s theme, I didn’t try to overdo it on the bike and still knocked out 32 miles in 114 minutes and burned 770 calories

Today was a solid day on the bike but more importantly, it was a great day for Caroline. HURRAY! She actually felt normal for most of the day, including a long walk to our local coffee spot.

A fancy coffee walk

Don’t mind the awkward outfit choice, it was rainy, but I also get hot on a long walk. #beprepared

In all seriousness, it’s a light at the end of the tunnel to see Caroline having a more normal day for the first time in many weeks. It’s a relief for me as the person that’s watched her be in pain every single day since the beginning of the year and I know it’s a HUUUGE relief for her.

On the walk, Caroline mentioned she was going to write an in-depth article about her dealings with anxiety. Less of a “here’s how to fix it” and more of “here’s what it’s really like and no one has all the perfect answers.” Keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.

As far as the biking goes? I’m feeling really solid about it! I like this week’s pace of 30-ish miles per day and around 2 hours of biking time. I think my goal will be to average 750 calories burned this third week.


Day 19 – February 22th

Today Was Just One Of “Those” Days

This will be the shortest update yet along with the least amount of biking for the week. It wasn’t necessarily a bad day, it was just a very FULL day.

With Caroline (finally) starting to feel better we are trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.

For us, today that meant:

  • Recording a WAIM Show episode (first one we’ve recorded in 2 months!)
  • Going out to lunch
  • Swinging by the grocery store
  • Picking up some art supplies at Michael’s
  • Having a tough convo with a biz partner
  • Stopping by our new home to get a photo at sunset

While I still biked for 67 minutes, 19.6 miles, and burned 473 calories, most of it happened in the morning.

I’ll be honest, I did feel a bit guilty when we finally got home after all the running around and I realized there was no way I’d get 2 hours of biking done today. Instead of beating myself up about it, while we watched the newest season of Chef’s Table (heck YESSSS new episodes!!!) I put in a few miles to finish out the day.

Watching Chef's Table while biking

It’s not all about the biking…

So yeah, as far as biking is concerned, not an amazing day but I’m REALLY HAPPY that Caroline is feeling better and we’re getting back to a sense of our previous lives. Super grateful for that!

And also super grateful that we get this view every evening starting in just two weeks – holy moly how great is this?? 😍😍😍

Sunset for the Zooks


Day 20 & 21 – February 23-24th

Week 3 Recap: I’ve Biked A Total Of 462 Miles So Far!

Just to be clear, I’ve biked a TOTAL of 462 miles, not 462 miles this past week. I think my butt, legs, and 🍆 would have fallen off had I biked 462 miles in 7 days. 🤣🙈

It’s pretty cool to think that this time last month I’d biked 0 miles. Along with the month before that, and before that, etc. I don’t hate getting on the bike each day and that has me pumped to keep this as a habit moving forward beyond this challenge!

During this third week I spent 721.5 minutes on the bike (that’s 12 hours of biking time!!)

Guys! 12 total hours on the bike this week? Sayyy whaaaaat? If you’d told me I’d be on the bike for 12 hours I’d have laughed at you. That time translated to 205.2 miles ridden and 4,974 calories burned.

It’s fun to look at the progress of total calories burned week over week so far:

  • Week One: 2,561
  • Week Two: 3,626
  • Week Three: 4,974

And those are just biking calories burned! That doesn’t include the additional calories burned from walks, gym workouts, and daily metabolic burn.

I didn’t plan on sharing before and after photos of my body but now I think I might just because there’s no doubt we’ll be able to see a difference at the end of the 30 days.

Granted, this challenge was not about burning calories. It wasn’t about getting in better shape. It was simply trying something at my desk that could give me additional exercise that didn’t feel like a ton of exercise (and not doing anything drastically different with my diet). To me, I’ve already succeeded in that category and am pumped about that!

Since the past two days of biking were over the weekend we did a bunch of normal “weekend stuff” (which included buying the wrong size of coconut oil and binge-watching The Umbrella Academy on Netflix).

Weekend at the Zooks

It’ll be interesting to see how these final nine days finish out. Obviously, I have to try to beat this week’s numbers in the next week. Let’s see if I can do it!


Day 22 – February 25th

I’m Doing Better Than A Random Guy In Some Office Somewhere 😅

It’s easy to get excited about taking on a new challenge. You buy those new workout clothes. You download a healthy meal plan to stick with. You dive into a course or program for your business.

But then, just a few short days or weeks later, you’ve fallen off the wagon.

Other people tried to bike

As I was exchanging a few texts (Hey, Matt!) it dawned on me why when I do these 30-day challenges I rarely have a slip-up:

Public accountability is the BEST motivator when you’re trying to stick with something new in your life.

It’s sooooooo easy to quietly commit to a new challenge. You get excited but then you fizzle out faster than you started. When we’re only accountable to ourselves it’s much easier to quit. When we’re accountable to our peers we want to impress them and will push through adversity (to, you know, look cool!)

If you’re looking to take on a challenge in your life, I guarantee your success rate will greatly increase if you make it public and force yourself to share your progress daily/weekly.

Not that you were seeking my advice today on how to succeed with some change or experiment in your life but alas, here we are and you’re welcome!

Speaking of making things public (smooth transition, ahoy), an email from the folks at Dubsado landed in my inbox this morning telling me it was their 3rd birthday as a company. Friendly reminder: They’re sponsoring this weird 30-day biking challenge. And while their company’s b-day isn’t of much importance to you, they included a link to their first company vlog and I felt compelled to share it – without them knowing or asking me to do so.

It’s rare that we get to see the human side of small business and that’s why I thoroughly enjoyed what Dubsado shared in their video:


Where can I sign up to be pulled across the kitchen on a rug??

If watching their first vlog has you interested to learn more about how their suite of tools can help your business, check out

Monday mornings are great for biking: 684.5 calories burned in 100 minutes of riding time.

I remember what hating Mondays used to feel like. Nowadays I love Monday mornings because of the possibilities and conversations that happen (especially convos from our WAIM Weekly email that goes out on Mondays).

In one biking sesh, I knocked out 28.4 miles while crushing through emails, customer support messages, Slack messages, and the like.

I felt so great about my morning I had to dance…

Bike Dancing


Day 23 – February 26th

Awwwww Yeeahhhhh – My First 1,000 Calorie Biking Day!

My first 1,000 calorie day on the bike

Today’s biking stats: 1,013 calories burned in 151 minutes of riding time (42 miles ridden)

Would you look at that? Would you look at it??

It definitely helped that I woke up at 6:30am today and couldn’t fall back asleep. Since I’m on a social media detox during this biking challenge I don’t have Instagram to mindlessly scroll through from bed.

After breakfast and coffee, I found myself with nearly an additional hour of morning work time and you know what that turned into!


Believe it or not, I actually got some work done today as well!

The majority of the day was spent working on video recording and editing for our brand new Build Without Burnout program that kicks off next week.

Caroline did a wonderful job organizing all the content for Build Without Burnout via a master Keynote file. It made my job easy to record and edit 10+ videos today.

Build Without Burnout Academy videos

Now if you need me, I’ll be sitting on the couch watching college basketball and resting my buns (not too sore though, which is surprising!)


Day 24 – February 27th

Prepare For Lots Of Daily Updates Related To Moving

Just over a week from today, we’ll be moving into our new home about 10 miles north of where we live now in San Diego. You’ve been warned that you’ll probably get a bunch of photos of boxes and potentially even some box-fort GIFs. We’ll see!

New things arriving for our move

Chair punching is fun!

The square box on our doorstep contained this fun comfy chair we’ll be adding to our new living room. The instructions on the website said to “fluff it up the first few days.” I went with therapeutic punching 😂.

My morning routine was interrupted today but it was TOTALLY worth it because I got Norwegian chocolate out of the deal!

Last week I got a Slack DM from one of our Wandering Aimfully Members (WAIMers) named Thomas Moen. Thomas was traveling to San Diego from Norway to hang out at a conference and asked if I wanted to grab coffee. Um… obviously, you traveled from halfway around the world Thomas!

Thomas Moen and Jason Zook

I’ll always love Norway if I get chocolate out of the deal!

It wasn’t a 1,000-calorie day, but I still rode for 101 minutes, 29.5 miles, and 711 calories burned.

I noticed a big difference today trying to fit biking into my schedule since I missed my normal morning ride. It’s amazing how quickly we humans adjust to new habits.

I have a suspicion that after this challenge I’ll easily stick with riding the FLEXITRON 9000 in the morning but during the latter parts of the day? Ehhh, not too sure.

For these last few days I’m still trying to impress you with my riding prowess so I’ll force through the rides later in the day.

Anyhoo, today was a busy one as we recorded a few videos along with all the other normal to-dos. It’s nice to know that I’m getting SOME exercise even on these busy days.

Recorded some videos, not on the bike


Day 25 – February 28th

Today Was A Whirlwind Of A Day

Remember back on Day 4 when I mentioned having “one of those days?” Today wasn’t as bad, it was just jam-packed. It seemed like every hour I was switching to another task that took about an hour of deep focus. It makes the day go by quickly BUT it also requires some intensely focused work (which is tough to do while pedaling the FLEXITRON 9000).

I managed 24.7 miles ridden in 85 minutes with just 596 calories burned.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Well, I mean, is it fair to say over an hour of biking and 600 calories burned is a bad day?

As much as I want to crank out the biggest numbers these last few days I don’t want to dislike biking.

Here’s what my day looked like, hour by hour:

  • 730am – 830am: Breakfast, coffee, emails, some biking
  • 830am – 930am: Phone call
  • 930am – 1130am: Video editing for our Build Without Burnout program
  • 1130am – 1pm: Gym workout
  • 1pm – 2pm: Shower, lunch, emails
  • 2pm – 4pm: Video editing and some biking
  • 4pm – 8pm: Walk Plax, take Caroline to Dr’s appt, have dinner out, get home
  • 8pm – 830pm: Write this biking update!

That’s a FULLLL day. Not enough time for white space. Luckily, this weekend we have zero plans.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the Build Without Burnout videos I edited today. We try to have a lot of fun when we teach content that can be a bit stale and boring…


Remember how I said we were moving? I think Plaxico likes the new chair we bought him 🙄

Plax loves his new chair


Day 26 – March 1st

Hello March, Goodbye Cheap Fitness Tracker!

Goodbye cheap fitness tracker

It’s not that the cheap fitness tracker I bought doesn’t work… it’s that it smells awful after wearing it and sweating on it for nearly a month. Hah. Gross.

Real-talk: I’ve yet to find a fitness wearable that doesn’t stink after a few weeks of use.

I’ve owned the Jawbone Up, almost every Fitbit, Garmin wearables, and a few cheap options from Every single of one of them, no matter the price, starts to smell (even after cleaning daily with different cleaning solutions).

So today, my cheap fitness tracker was retired to my bedside and will become the tiny clock I check at 4am when our dog Plaxico wakes me up to eat his breakfast at a terribly early hour. The (cute) little jerk!

Today was another busy day, but it was the perfect type of work to knock out 39.2 miles on the bike which was 947 calories burned!

How many imaginary life points do I get for stopping at 947 calories and not forcing myself to bike to 1,000 calories? It may sound weird but I’m actually proud of myself for not doing the extra biking just for the numbers.

You may remember earlier in this challenge I mentioned how difficult it was to edit videos and bike at the same time. Well, like most things, you get better with practice…

We take online business seriously

I spent two hours finishing up video editing for our Build Without Burnout program (134 minutes of that was spent on the bike!)

We’ve had cool weather the past few weeks here in San Diego which made biking for over 2 hours pretty sweat-free. Today? It got above 70 degrees and I found myself pretty dang sweaty while biking at my desk. I don’t see the FLEXITRON 9000 getting a lot of love in the summer months. 😅

Did you know I’m a plant-based eater?

Caroline and I have been vegan, although we say plant-based because “vegans” can get a stigma attached, since December of 2016.

We got lunch at one of my favorite plant-based spots today. I was a happy boy!

Plant-based lunches are the best


Day 27 & 28 – March 2-3rd

Week 4 Recap: You Aren’t Going To Believe Me…

Okay. I couldn’t believe me either. Wait, you’re probably thinking riding the bike gave me 6-pack abs by now and I’m a full-fledged Instagram model who pushes detox tea??

Sorry to burst that bubble but check this craziness out:

  • Week 3 recap (as you may recall): 721.5 minutes, 205.2 miles, 4,974 calories
  • Week 4 recap (this past week): 714 minutes, 205.8 miles, 4,967 calories

I don’t think you comprehend how mind-blowing it is that I biked almost the identical time, distance, and calories burned the previous two weeks. Especially when I admit I only biked for 10 minutes on Saturday.

GUYS! Just 7 minutes in time difference? Only .6 miles?

I’ll remind you in the first week I rode for 414 minutes (107 miles) and in the second week, I rode for 531 minutes (150 miles). That’s a normal amount of difference. But to be as close as I was the past two weeks? Nuts!

It’s cray cray to me that the previous two weeks were so close in biking metrics because my schedule between each week was so inconsistent.

In the third week, I had a work-week nearly free from distractions. Any phone calls were in the afternoon. There wasn’t too much running around for life stuff. Last week, though? I had two calls that heavily disrupted my morning routines AND I didn’t bike much at all for one day of the week. And by “didn’t bike much at all,” I mean I biked for 10 teeny-tiny minutes on Saturday. I just wasn’t feelin’ it and wanted to veg out on the couch.

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering why I’m making such a big deal of this? I just couldn’t believe it when I sat down to tally the final numbers and saw how close they were.

This week, like last week, I averaged 102 minutes on the bike, 29.4 miles per day, and 710 calories burned. More good news on the calories burned in the days to come!

Moving on… Wait, speaking of moving (hah, see what I did there??)

Zook Packing Party

Writing notes to future self

Am I the only person in the universe who actually loves packing boxes??

I mean, I LOVE it. That and installing IKEA furniture? I could do both of those things as a full-time job and probably die a happy man.

We officially move out of our current place and into our new home this coming Friday (March 8) but we started our packing party early to ease Caroline into it. She doesn’t dislike packing but with her current anxiety, we want to take things a bit slower than I normally would (you know, packing the entire house the night before).

And yes, I did write a note to my future self on a box that will be used after we move out. I am that weird. Deal with it.

Now the real question: Can we fit our entire 1,200 square foot home into 50 total boxes? We’ll find out this week! 😅📦🤓


Day 29 – March 4th

My Second-To-Last Day Of This Challenge And I’m 100% Committed To Continue After It Ends!

As you may or may not know, I’ve done a few 30-day challenges before. I can say, with certainty, that all my previous challenges ended and I was happy to be done with them. This one though? It’s gonna be different!

I’ve really found a flow while biking at my desk early in the mornings, especially on Mondays.

I've gotten into a biking flow

Look at that flow state in action! Okay, maybe a little cheesy, but I’m dead serious when I say that I see Future Jason continuing to pedal at his desk every morning.

  1. Wake up
  2. Coffee and breakfast
  3. Biking while checking emails and Slack messages
  4. Boom! Solid new morning routine!

My gut tells me that 45-60 minutes will be totally doable on a daily basis moving forward. That’s about 350 calories burned while checking my email in the morning. HECK YES!

Today was another one of those super productive but also really active days! I biked for 130 minutes, worked out at the gym, AND went on a 3-mile walk with Caroline to finish off the day. 💪💪

I think it’s safe to say that Mondays are my favorite days of the week. I’m in the zone and full of energy. I guess that’s what doing less stuff on the weekends will do for ya, huh?

Before I knew it I’d burned 922 calories on the bike today. A pretty solid showing for my second to last day of riding the FLEXITRON 9000 for this challenge. By the end of the day, my legs were feeling a bit more tired than normal, but not too tired to keep me from a glorious ocean spin…

Jason Zook is an adult man

Tomorrow marks the end of this challenge and I can’t wait to recap the entire month!

Not only from a “how am I feeling” perspective but also from a numbers perspective. I know I’ve burned at least an extra 15,000 calories this month. Um, raaaaaaaad!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these daily updates. It’s been a fun little daily blog for me, something I haven’t done in a lonnnnng time.

Would you like to see another 30-day challenge that involves a daily blog like this? Any ideas for what challenge I should try next?

If you’ll excuse me, it’s time to soak up the sunset with Caroline (just 3 more days until we get this view every evening!)

Caroline Zook enjoying the sunset


Day 30 – March 5th

Obviously I Had To Go For The High Score On The Final Day: 1,288 Calories And 3 Hours Of Biking Time!

You had to know I was going for the biggest day of this challenge on the last day, yeah? Was there any doubt in your mind??

Last day of pedaling

Jason Zook celebrating 30 days of biking

On my FINAL day of this 30-day biking challenge I spent 180 minutes (3 hours) riding a total of 53.4 miles, and I burned 1,288 calories 😱😱😱

Not gonna lie to you, 3 hours of biking time was A LOT. It wasn’t three consecutive hours, that would’ve been gnarly, but spending three hours pedaling at a fairly decent pace takes some solid effort.

1,288 calories burned in one day of biking

Riding for 53.4 miles definitely left me with sore feet and sore legs. Although, the soreness has to be a cumulative effect of 30 days biking without a rest day.

Are you ready for the FINAL numbers from this challenge?? Well, you’ll have to wait just another day or two…

Sorry for the tease but I write these updates around 8pm each evening and the final thoughts and numbers will take some time to cobble together. Plus, I have a full recap video I want to edit together. I’d like to drop all that stuff at the same time.

I know, I know. You’ll be okay to wait another day or two. To tide you over, I present a slow-mo GIF of a butt toned by 30-days of stationary bike riding 😂🍑…

Jason Zook slow motion butt



I burned 18,339 calories biking at my desk!

That is not a typo, friend! After crunching all the numbers (read: using the calculator app) I discovered that riding a stationary bike at my standing desk for 30 days helped burn a crapload of calories!

In total: I rode 759 miles, spent 2,690 minutes on the bike, and burned 18,339 calories

The best part of those numbers? It really didn’t feel like I was trying too hard or was actually working out (well, except maybe for the sweaty hands).

Average distance per day: 25 miles ridden

Average time per day: 1.5 hours on the bike

Average calories burned per day: 611 (or two donuts 😂🍩)

I’m honestly surprised at how well I was able to integrate riding the FLEXITRON 9000 into my daily schedule. It really did become the perfect form of light exercise to do while checking emails and other admin tasks each morning. There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll keep riding the bike at my desk.

And, one final shout out to my friends at Dubsado who were willing to sponsor this silly experiment. Make sure to check out Dubsado if you own a business and want help managing all aspects of it!

This 30-day challenge was one heck of a success. Hopefully, it inspires you to do some sort of 30-day challenge of your own!

Do You Have To Practice Meditation To Live A Happier And Healthier Life?

January 20, 2018

The idea of meditation makes total sense to me. There’s science that’s proven its value. Adding more calmness and stillness to one’s life is absolutely something that I believe is important. Yet, I’ve never downloaded a meditation app, I’ve only tried meditating (in conventional ways) a few times, and I’ve always felt a tinge of guilt about not having a meditation practice.

Let’s be honest, we all want to feel happier on a day-to-day basis. Everyone could enjoy any additional percentage points of happiness in their lives.

So why don’t I just shut up and meditate (and why don’t you?)

While you may have thought the revelation-on-the-mountaintop would come at the end of this story, it’s actually going to happen right now…

I actually do have a daily meditation practice—it’s just not conventional.

I don’t sit cross-legged on the floor.
I don’t focus on my breathing.
I don’t wear super baggy clothing (that’s more just a fashion choice these days).

But I do consider it meditation. What’s more, you might already have a meditation practice, too.

You see, here’s the funny thing about life as a human being. You don’t have to subscribe to anyone else’s definition of anything. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m living the best life I can for myself when I’m doing things differently and on my terms.

I can feel a churning in my gut whenever I’m told I’m supposed to do something in a certain way. It honestly feels like part of my body is being torn away if I’m forced to do something a certain way. Call it a resistance to any authority ever, or just call it my own biology, but I know that’s what holds me back from conventional meditation practices.

Let’s discuss the point of meditation for a moment…

From some extensive Googling, almost every resource I could find that explained “why you should meditate” touched on these outcomes:

  • You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll have less overall stress
  • You’ll eat a more mindful diet (less stress or binge eating)
  • You’ll be able to reduce pain and heal faster
  • You’ll be able to beat anxiety or general worrying
  • You’ll smile more
  • You’ll have a more relaxed outlook on all things
  • You’ll enhance your love life
  • You’ll feel more successful and achieve more goals

These things are FANTASTIC. We should all strive for improvements in these nine areas of our lives (and probably way more). But, who says we can’t improve those things and get the same benefits with non-standard forms of meditation?

Do we have to feel guilty if we don’t want to meditate in the common ways in which meditation is respected? Is it possible we can get similar benefits and amazing results even if we take a different approach?

I should mention that I have absolutely nothing against widely accepted meditation practices, and there are apparently thousands of ways you can meditate. From another quick Google search, you’ll find that I’m definitely not the only one customizing meditation in a way that works for me. If you’re looking for a new way to tackle your life and business, meditation of some kind may be the answer you’ve been looking for! I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the Headspace app (and their design is beeeeautiful!).

Headspace App

But what does it mean to meditate, anyway?

I wonder sometimes if the thing that scares people (like me) off from meditation, or prevents them from keeping it up consistently, is some arbitrary idea about the “right” way to do it. In many ways, this is the same limiting belief that will prevent people from all kinds of things: taking risks, quitting their businesses, worrying about competition, whatever.

But if you look at the dictionary definition of meditate, which I did just for you, it might surprise you: Merriam-Webster says that to meditate is simply “to engage in contemplation or reflection.” That’s it. It doesn’t mention incense, saying “Om,” or wearing head to toe Lululemon (although, I looooove my Lululemon pants #sorrynotsorry). That’s one way to do it, but it’s not the only way.

Coming to that realization has opened a whole lot of doors for me, and maybe for you, too.

Where did I create my own form of non-conventional meditation to feel happier and healthier on a daily basis?

Answer: My weird morning ritual. I’ll let you read about my weird morning ritual in its entirety if you like (and the story of how it came to be), but here’s the part of my weird morning ritual that has become my own form of mediation:

Every morning of my life I handcraft a cup of coffee while doing nothing else. I get the water boiling. I carefully measure the amount of beans (50 grams). I freshly grind the beans. When the water is done boiling I rinse the unbleached paper filter while also warming the Chemex coffee maker. I pour the fresh coffee grounds in the filter and saturate with 100 grams of water for 30 seconds. Then I start a 3-4 minute “brewing” process where I add 600 grams of water. I do nothing else during this 7-10 minute process until I have a gloriously delicious steaming cup of meticulously made coffee.

This is my meditation. This is the thing I do on a daily basis, no matter what, that lets my mind wander free of any other thoughts. This is the time of my day that I have all to myself and I’ve enjoyed the benefits of this “practice” for years.

Jason Zook Chemex Coffee

(Also, let it be known I never have my phone near me while I’m making my morning coffee. That time is free of all technology.)

I’ve been doing this morning ritual since 2014, and I can directly tie improving all nine of the meditation benefits listed above to it. Sure, there are many other things in my life I’ve done since 2014 besides making coffee that have helped me become happier and healthier, but couldn’t you say the same thing if you’re meditating in the widely accepted ways people meditate?

How you can create mental space and a calming daily habit

You don’t need a fancy pillow. You don’t need the perfectly lit room. You don’t need any special beads. You don’t need any apps. You just need to spend time every day allowing your brain to rest in whatever way works best for you (then rinse, and repeat – hah, you catch that coffee filter rinsing joke there?? Yeah you did.)

Please, by all means, try any of the more commonly used meditation practices: Transcendental Meditation, Heart Rhythm Meditation, Kundalini, Guided Visualization, Qi Gong, Zazen, or grab the Headspace or Calm apps. If they work for you, awesome. I’d love to hear about it. If they don’t, shrug it off and try something else.

You don’t need to feel guilty if you don’t meditate like everyone else. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it is proven that intentional quiet space for mind increases your happiness and your health.


(Just kidding. Or not?)

90-Day Challenge: COMPLETED! How I Lost 44 Pounds and 15% Body Fat in 90 Days

August 29, 2012

It is with a ton of excitement that I introduce you to the completely reinvented Jason Zook! After turning 30 years old and being upset with the way I looked/felt, I embarked on a 90-Day Challenge.

I lost 44 pounds, nearly 15% body fat, and 6″ off my waist in just 90 days.

Let’s not waste any time, here are comparison photos of what I looked like at the beginning of my 90-day challenge: From the front, back and side. The photos below have not been edited whatsoever and were taken on a Canon T4i by my loving wife, Caroline.

Jason Zook Front Before After

Jason Zook Side Before After

Jason Zook Back Before After

Jason Zook Day 90 Stats


I can distinctly remember taking the before photos and thinking, “I’m out of shape, but it’s not that bad…” But with the comparison photos, it really shows how out of shape I let myself get over the years. My posture was suffering, my bathing suit was about to pop off at any given moment, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I felt at the end of the challenge! Well actually, I can:


Why Did I Do A 90-Day Challenge In The First Place?

First and foremost I’d like to admit to you that I used to be in pretty good shape in my 20s. I played basketball at the collegiate level in the early 2000s, but those days were left behind when I tore both ACLs in my knees. I used to be a gym rat when I worked a normal 9-5 job in 2004-2007, but when I started my IWearYourShirt business in 2009, fitness and nutrition took a backseat.

I thought I knew what eating healthy was, I thought I knew what a good workout was, and it’s obvious that I was wrong and let those things slip away.

Almost everyone has seen a friend do some sort of health and fitness challenge, and heck, I have to say I was super inspired when I read David Siteman Garland’s 90-Day Transformation. I figured if 90 days was working for lots of other people, it wouldn’t hurt to try it for myself. I had just turned 30 years old (May 15, 2012) and knew I wanted to do something to get back in shape.

It all started with a public declaration: I sent out a tweet that I was fed up and I put a post on Facebook that said I was determined to take action.

Shortly after my virtual proclamations, a previous business client named Tyler Ford emailed me. Tyler, and his awesome wife Mimi, were Body by Vi coaches, but had no interest in trying to sell me on anything. Tyler wanted to help me set goals for myself, have supplements/products at my disposal and be a coach in my corner to cheer me on. After an hour on the phone I was even more excited to get started, and Tyler and Mimi Ford were going to be my official 90-Day Challenge sponsors (what can I sponsor next, right??).

I had 90 days to change my thought process about food, to structure my day around exercise, and to lose weight and get back in shape.

Was it hard? Absolutely. Were there times I wanted to give up? Of course. Am I glad I stuck with it? HELL YES!


What Was My Diet Nutrition Plan During The 90 Days?

You can spend hours on Google and fitness forums reading secrets, tips, tricks, and lots of other junk. The information that keeps coming up no matter where you look: Eat smaller portions (you shouldn’t feel full after a meal), eat more often throughout the day (5-7 meals), drink over 100 ounces of water a day, carbs should be limited to fruits and veggies (they do make veggie pastas), no processed sugar (honey and stevia are your friends), no soda, less salt, and for me no dairy or alcohol.

By this point you’ve probably thrown your hands up in the air and said, “I can’t give up my…” or “You work from home Jason, it’s easy for you.”

Both of those statements are absolute garbage. If you want to make a change in your life, if you want to feel better, you need to change the way you think about food and about your daily routine. Not only can you save a butt-load of money each month by eating healthier (I saved about $1,500 a month, no joke), you can spend 1-2 hours and prepare your meals ahead of time for an entire week.

I started my 90-Day Challenge thinking I was going to change my eating habits for a few months, but I realized it’s a lifestyle change. When something awesome happens, you don’t have to celebrate with cake or a night of drinking with your friends. We’ve been trained as a society that food/drinks are rewards and they shouldn’t be, because the types of food we reward ourselves with are the worst ones for us.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox and focus more on what you should eat. Otherwise, here are a couple of things to note:

  • It took me 60 days to fine-tune my “diet” and figure out what worked best for my schedule and for my body.
  • I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have headaches or food withdrawals when I started.
  • I often felt like I was hungry all day long, but it takes time to reset your body and break your habits.
  • For years I’d pretty much eaten three large meals a day with a couple of snacks (not healthy ones) thrown in.
  • Years after completing this challenge I’ve switched to a 100% vegan diet and have never felt better!

In less than 90 days I retrained my body to a new schedule that made me feel and look better. The human body is pretty awesome.

I didn’t do cheat meals during my challenge. Why? You don’t need it. You may crave the heck out of cheat foods, but give yourself the chance to work hard for 90 days and then think about doing cheat meals/days. Stick with eating healthy for just 90 days and I promise you’ll survive without pizza, Chick-Fil-A, beer, ice cream, etc, etc. When you want a cheeseburger, make a black bean quinoa burger (without a bun). When you want chocolate, eat some fruit. Find healthy substitutions and your palette will quickly adjust.

Here are my three (cheap) nutrition essentials that helped me lose weight:

Magic Bullet Blender

Plant-based protein

Vegan BCAA Powder


What Were My Workouts During The 90-Day Challenge?

Ahhhh yes, everyone wants to know how many crunches I did in the 90 days right? Well, I can tell you exactly how many I did: ZERO.

The new Jason Zook physique was made in the kitchen. Okay, so not totally made in the kitchen, but I firmly believe that 90% of getting in shape is your nutrition and the other 10% is fitness. At least I tell myself that so I eat healthier.

Having worked with different personal trainers in the past, I knew there were tons of different things I could do or try, but I wanted to keep my workout routine simple. Not only because I’m busy and don’t have two hours to spend in the gym each day, but because you don’t need to work out for multiple hours every day to see results.

My typical weekly training regime

For the first 60 days of my challenge, I casually worked out 4-5 days a week and maybe one of those days was a cardio day (maybe). Which day did I do my ab exercises? No days. A typical week of workouts looked like this:

  • Monday: Weight training chest and back
  • Tuesday: Weight training arms and shoulders
  • Wednesday: Pickup basketball (cardio)
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Weight training legs and plyometrics
  • Sunday: Rest day

When I started I wanted to do workouts that slightly resembled Cross Fit workouts, but without the destroying of my body and therefore my spirit. I would focus on doing weight training for one or two muscle groups (chest and back, arms and shoulders, chest and legs, arms and back, chest and shoulders, etc) and in between each set I might do 50-100 jumping jacks or jump ropes. My workouts lasted about 20-30 minutes, usually longer if I worked out with my supportive wife, but I always worked up a great sweat and focused on what I was doing.

If you don’t know much about weight training, you should definitely think about getting a personal trainer (it’s worth it!). None of these workouts were rushed and every movement I did with a weight in my hand was purposeful, in perfect form, and with 100% of my strength and effort.

This progression photo shows my progress throughout my challenge:


I lost 30 pounds and 9% body fat in the first 60 days.

Not bad huh? But then something bit me in my slightly smaller ass – I wanted more. For some reason the thought got in my head that I wanted to get down to 10% body fat by day 90. In fact, I professed this goal on Facebook. I knew that losing 6% body fat in 30 days would be tough, but that I could do it!

I increased my cardio workouts, setting a 1,000 calories burned goal along the way, and streamlined my weight workouts to one muscle group per day (chest, arms, shoulders, legs). I also upped my water intake to over a gallon per day, but nothing really changed in my diet. Towards the very end of my challenge I did cut fruit out of my diet, but that was really only for the last week.

To burn 1,000 calories in one cardio workout I did incline treadmill walking. The incline was set at 15% and I walked at a 4.3 mph pace for 60 minutes. I hit 1,000 calories at the 59 minute mark!

I can honestly say I’m proud of myself for hitting that 10% body fat goal, even if it was only by .1%.

I never set out to “get ripped” or “have a 6-pack” when I started this 90-day challenge, I just wanted to feel and look better.

I am, however, very proud of what my body looks like and I don’t want this to go away…

Jason Zook 90-Day Challenge Smile

Jason Zook 90-Day Challenge Back

Jason Zook Workout

Don’t be afraid to think differently about your workouts, but be realistic when you’re getting started. The more you can get in the gym and get workouts done, the more you’ll want to get better at it. The less you dread working out, the easier it will be to make time for it, and everyone has 20-30 minutes a day to get some exercise (with or without a gym). Think of a gym membership (or personal trainer) as an investment in your health.

Here are a couple workout things I love and recommend:

The Perfect Pushup

Resistance Bands

Bose Soundsport Headphones

Bowflex Dumbbells

The Best Microfiber Towels


Biggest Challenges During The 90-Day Challenge?

Now let’s talk about the hurdles I overcame while doing my 90-day challenge. Yes, I do work from home, but I have a very busy schedule and a very active Google Calendar. One of my biggest challenges was to disconnect throughout the day to make myself food, to get to the gym, to take showers, to sleep, etc. When you work at a 9-5 job, you have structure. I had almost zero structure. It can be hard to convince myself to put on pants some days, so you can imagine it was even harder to cook meals.

I also did a bunch of traveling during the 90-day challenge. Trips to Anaheim, Nashville, NYC, Memphis and Cape Cod. It’s REALLY hard to stick to a nutrition plan while fending off TSA agents and visiting the BBQ capital of the world. But I did it. I packed protein powder/shakers in my bag, I brought snack bars in case of long flights/layovers/emergencies, I picked the healthiest options off menus (or just didn’t open the menu and asked for grilled meat and veggies), and I avoided temptation where I could. I’d by lying to you if I didn’t slip up here and there or didn’t have a bigger meal than normal for my wife’s surprise birthday dinner in NYC, but I stayed on track.

Another big challenge? Oh you know, just completely restructuring my company during the challenge. Dealing with website redesigns, letting people go, finding new clients, creating new processes, and all the stress that goes along with all of that. Yeah, that was tough.

But you know what? No matter what it was, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to give up. I wasn’t going to break down.

I have my family, friends and my online community to thank for that. Lean on your friends and family and don’t be shy to ask for help. Heck, I’m happy to lend a helping hand to anyone, just don’t give up!


Final Thoughts And Thank Yous!

My wife Caroline was amazing throughout the 90-day challenge. Not only did she make changes along with me, she pushed herself to keep up and kept me from breaking down and skipping a workout or eating a bad meal. Thank you Caroline!

Thank you to my Mom for understanding that I do love her homemade mac-n-cheese, but I don’t need it in my life. Thanks for all the support, Mom.

Thank you to my t-shirt wearing partner in crime, Sean Ely. You were a huge help while we traveled to get me to work out, to keep me from ordering something bad off a menu, and to continue to encourage me. You’re like the red-headed brother I never had but always wanted. Gracias mi amigo.

Thank you Tyler and Mimi Ford for reaching out to me and holding my hand on this journey. It was pretty awesome having such a supportive and helpful sponsor throughout my journey.

And to everyone who commented, Liked, tweeted, emailed, shared any of my 90-Day Challenge posts: THANK YOU! Honestly, your support helped me get over so many small hurdles and kept me focused and determined. The IWearYourShirt community was fantastic and I really appreciated you guys letting me share my personal goals right alongside by business goals.