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You Need Healthier Friends

Take your five best friends and take an average of their salaries and that’s how much money you likely make (or so the old saying goes). For the most part I’ve found this to be true in life. You tend to rise up or fall down to the level of your peers in most situations.

Something I recently discovered though is that the average of your five best friends principle works for other things. How happy are your five best friends? How much integrity do your five best friends have? And for the purpose of this blog post, how healthy are your five best friends?

I offer a simple solution for losing weight and being healthier:

Get Healthier Friends

I say this only from my personal experience with hanging out with healthy people in the past month. Here they are.


1. Nathan “Nonstop Awesomeness” Agin Couchsurfs With Me

They say some people come into your life for a reason. Nathan was a godsend as I found myself a week away from embarking on my location independent adventure. I thought I had great self-discipline but Nathan puts me to shame. The two days that we spent together was like having a nutrition coach, life coach, and personal chef on call 24 hours a day.

A lot of people tend to cheat on their diet, skip exercise, or overindulge in alcohol when they travel. You might call it the “I’m on vacation” mentality. What happens when full time travel is your everyday life though? Nathan has been location independent for around 15 months now so having strong personal practices in his day is essential for showing up in the world as best as he possibly can.

Nathan’s morning usually starts at 6am with an hour of creative work, then a half an hour of exercise, followed by a half an hour of meditation. By the time most of us are waking up, he’s already gotten all of these personal practices out of the way.

My main takeaways from hosting him for a couple days were:

  1. You don’t need to eat as much as you think.
  2. You don’t need alcohol to have fun.
  3. You can eat delicious paleo or vegan homecooked meals for much cheaper than you think.
  4. Without consistent personal practices in your day, it’s impossible to be healthy as a full-time traveler.


2. I Couchsurf With Anthony and Karen Monetti

After selling all of my belongings I had the pleasure of couchsurfing with the Monettis, who have been competing in bodybuilding and fitness competitions for years. You might recognize Anthony from MTV’s True Life series where he showed us the dedication and hard work it takes to be a successful natural bodybuilder. Karen recently won the Ms. Universe title in the figure competition, so these guys really know a thing or two about nutrition.

Again, from one night of hanging out with healthy people I felt healthier almost by osmosis. I felt bad asking so many questions over dinner, but I learned a great deal about diet and nutrition from two experts who charge people a lot of money to do the same for them.

Karen cooked us the most amazing paleo-friendly meal ever and we talked all about recipes that are easy to make that fit into their diet even if they’re in pre-contest mode. Competing in a bodybuilding competition has always been one of those items on The List of Adventure that I thought was impossible, but after hanging out with the Monettis I feel this could definitely be a reality in the future.


3. Jenny Blake and I Try a Healthy South By

For most people, SXSW is total mutiny on your body. You drink all day, you eat massive amounts of BBQ, you drink all night, and you end the night at the food trucks in the wee hours of the morning. Or so I’ve heard from past conference goers.

Somewhere on the 30 hour road trip down to Austin from NYC, Jenny and I decided that we would try and eat healthy the entire time. We called it “Healthy South By.” We agreed to stay away from daydrinking, sweets, and gluten for the entire time. So we did.

The first day felt really good. Intentionally passing on free beer, pizza, cupcakes, and other temptations made me feel great. I was drinking my water proudly, knowing I’d thank myself in the morning. By the third day we had both actually LOST weight.

SXSW was the pinnacle of my realization that I can be healthy anywhere. Since then healthy eating and living has just become part of my life. And I thank all my healthy friends for helping me with all their knowledge and support.


Next Steps

As a thought experiment, make an effort to hang out with healthier people for the next couple of weeks. Sit down with that guy at work who packs the huge salad bowl of veggies for lunch every day. Talk to the lady who ran an Ironman triathlon that you think is a little crazy. People who value their health love to share the knowledge that they’ve gained over the years. So take advantage of it.

  • Sean

    So, so, so true. With that being said, when are you and Jenny going to move to Portland? 🙂

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Well, I can guarantee that we’ll be there in July. Only for a week though. 😉

  • Amy Scott

    You’re so right. I, and plenty of my friends, have healthy *intentions*, but what I think we’re missing sometimes is willpower: one person’s craving for pizza is enough to make everyone slide off the wagon! I’m really inspired by your commitment to Healthy South By – way to go! Maybe we should do Healthy WDS?

  • Max

    This reminds me of last Southby where just by hanging out with Karol Gajda and talking to him influenced us to go meat free for about 6 months. He never even had to tell us to – it was osmosis, as you say.

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Oh ya, Karol is another great one to hang out with if you want to be good at the game of life. And he’s not preachy at all. He just leads by example.

  • Nathan Agin

    thanks mike! it was such a pleasure to connect, and thrilled to be included on this list. great work on the Healthy South by – I feel like there’s a whole sub-culture of people who go to these events who still want to rock it on all levels!!

    i do still feel bad that i was meditating during your mexican wrestler entrance in the morning! i take solace in the fact that if that were a sitcom scene, it would have gotten a huge response! 🙂

    • Mike Hrostoski

      I thought about just standing there until you were done, but was afraid your head would have exploded, haha. Seriously, I can’t thank you enough for all the knowledge. I’ll forever be the biggest supporter of