In Own the Day Own Your Life (2018) Aubrey Marcus seeks to condense in one single book all you need to know about nutrition, training, and self-help.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- 1. Water, Light, Movement
- 2. Breathing & Freezing
- 3. More Fat, Less Sugar, or Skip Breakfast
- 3. Supplements
- 5. Drive Time, Alive Time
- 6. The Power Plants
- 7. Doing Work & Finding Your Mission
- 8. Eat a Weird Lunch
- 9. The Power Nap
- 10. Training
- 11. Dinner
- 12. Hangover Cure
- 13. More, Better Sex
- 14. Reduce Stress
- 15. Sleep
- 16. Bring it Home
- Real Life Applications
- Eat less sugar and refined carbs
- Get sleep, sex and reconnect with the people around you
Own the Day, Own Your Life describes how an ideal, typical day would look like.
The idea is not to live your life perfectly on one ideal day, but to move towards that ideal with healthy choices every day.
So let’s start to see how a perfect day looks like.
1. Water, Light, Movement
As soon as you wake up, do the following:
- Drink water (or, ideally, the water cocktail below)
- Stand in the light for 5 to 10 minutes
- Exercise (any kind of movement will do)
Morning Cocktail Mineral:
3 grams of sea salt
Water at room temperature and make sure the salt dilutes and does not stay at the bottom.
My note: Brita is useless
the author recommends Brita filter, yet my research showed that Brita filter actually often ends up increasing bacteria counts (read the study here) and its health effects are disputed.
I’m still debating whether or not to buy a Brita, but I’m more leaning on the no side.
Edit: I never bought it.
2. Breathing & Freezing
In this section the author talks about breathing to oxygenate your blood and ice showers.
Here is the breathing:
- Inhale through the nose deep into your belly
- Exhale naturally
- Do it until you’re light-headed or feel tingling in your extremities
Light-headedness and tingling sensations are signs that your blood is oxygenating. Usually 30 breaths are enough, but for some people it takes up to 50.
The shower part was way too complex and long in my opinion, mixing the deep breath, hot water, then super cold for a minimum of 3 minutes and then hot again.
the author recommends having a friend with you because you might faint and if there is water in the floor of your shower it’s even risky you might drown.
Too complex for me.
A healthy life should also be a simple life to follow. If it starts getting full of complex habits and rules to follow, it becomes a chore, and I don’t always see the added health benefits to adds more complexity in your life.
So I will stick with my few seconds of cold showers :).
3. More Fat, Less Sugar, or Skip Breakfast
The author talks about the bonehead “war on fat” that we waged for decades and how wrong it is.
It’s not fat that is harmful, but it’s sugar.
Sugar is not really harmful if it’s consumed in moderation.
Also, the author says he likes smoothies for breakfast but in other health books I enjoyed the recommendation was not to go for smoothies because they break the fibers in both fruits and vegetables.
Aubrey Margus sells supplements, so I made sure to take his supplements’ advice with a grain of salt.
The NHS also says most adults don’t need supplements
In the end, out of all the supplements he suggests, I narrowed it down to the following:
- Vitamin D (if you live in regions with little sun during winter)
- Possibly Melatonin
Magnesium might also be useful for you but not to me as I eat lots of nuts. Iron might be useful for you if you don’t eat enough meat.
5. Drive Time, Alive Time
In this chapter, Margus talks about how much time we all waste on commutes. And, worst of all, what a nasty impact it has on most people’s moods.
He recommends instead you practice mindfulness.
Keep your eyes open, see everything but focus on nothing.
Let elements, others cards and pedestrians enter your field of vision, notice them but don’t lock your eyes on it. Stay on the overall picture.
Keep breathing with your belly, become aware of everything.
6. The Power Plants
The author says that nicotine, caffeine and even cocoa leaves have a place and can be useful.
Just not the way that most people use them today.
He does for example use caffeine and nicotine in the form of patches or chewing gum when working late.
Later he will also say that it’s possible to enjoy marijuana and wine, as long as you don’t exaggerate.
7. Doing Work & Finding Your Mission
Finding your mission means that you will not just one day, but every day in your life.
The author also talks about how he uses oil scents as an anchor. He says that if you get into flow while scents are wafting in the room you can replicate that experience later with the scents first.
I’m not a big believer in this technique and it feels like adding unnecessary complexity, such as preparing the oil scent, and it makes you, in a way, an addict.
8. Eat a Weird Lunch
This chapter is another good overview of healthy foods.
The author recommends proteins (grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, free-range eggs), fibers (chia, asparagus, avocado, greens, onions).
Go for slow carbohydrates
When it comes to carbs, go for “slow” carbs.
Carbs that are metabolized more slowly include: quinoa, sweet potatoes, fermented or sprouted or grains, and some fruits.
Fibers also slow down the absorption of carbs.
No, it’s a misspelling :).
Prebiotics are food that helps your already existing gut bacteria thrive, and they include: raw asparagus, raw garlic, raw leek, onions, almonds and pistachios, and blueberries.
Probiotic food adds bacteria to your gut.
Good probiotic food includes sauerkraut, greek yogurt, and dark chocolate.
Chia, wild-caught salmon, mackerel and sardines, grass-fed beef.
Eggplant, grapes, berries, tea, wine, chocolate, garlic, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, black rice, turmeric, black pepper.
Finally, the author says you should diversify your meals, albeit Ineed to add here that Tim Ferris says in his popular The 4 Hour Body that there is no proven benefit from diversifying your food intake.
I side with Marcus here.
9. The Power Nap
Aubrey Margus is a big proponent of power nap.
And so am I, for that matter :).
Power naps are one of the reasons why I hate office jobs so much: almost nowhere can you take a power nap -and the other reason is the artificial social hierarchies-.
The author mentions a study that compared the effects of caffeine, more sleep time at night, and a power nap on the people’s level of concentration. And guess which one won?
The power nap.
In this chapter, the author also goes into binaural beats, which he says it’s his N.1 favorite bio-hack.
The author uses them for his power naps.
The idea behind binaural beats is that they hit sound different sound frequencies in your left and right ear which can affect how you think and feel.
You can find a few of them on YouTube and there are also apps available: remember to use headphones though.
My Note: I haven’t tried binaural beats yet and I will update this section once I do.
This is what the author proposes:
- Mobility and flexibility – 15 minutes
- Cardio – 10 minutes
- Muscular endurance – 8 minutes
- Strength – 5 minutes
- Power – 3 minutes (maximum force workout)
After training it’s also the best time to enjoy a wine or some cannabis. The author enjoys this time to connect with people as well.
If there is a time for bread, that is for dinner, and after the workout.
The author also talks about chocolate here and popcorn. He says that most chocolate bars today are not real chocolate but add dairy and a ton of sugar that makes it unhealthy.
Natural chocolate is a healthy food and you should consume it. As long as it’s in its natural state.
Popcorn is similar, with commercial brands adding the highly unhealthy trans-fats and omega-6 vegetable oils.
Tell Yourself Positive Things About the Food You’ll Eat
What you think and what you tell yourself of the food that you are about to eat will influence how your body will receive that food.
So think positive about the food you are about to eat, think that it’s healthy and it’s going to nourish you.
Eat Slow & Chew Well
Digestion starts in your mouth. People who complain of stomach pain are often fast eaters.
Instead, eat slow and chew your food well.
Foods to Help You Digest
Foods that help you digest quicker include pineapple, papaya and ginger. Ginger can help you digest up to 50% quicker.
Since Margus prepares his perfect day with sex in mind, digesting quicker will help you get over the “fullness” feeling quicker and, later enjoy a fuller feeling in your pants quicker (referring to guys here of course).
Avoid Gas-Inducing Food
If you have sex as an appetizer in mind, then it’s best if you avoid foods that make you full of gas.
Avoid or limit the fermentable types of fibers like legumes, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
Dessert: Slow Down Sugar Intake
Your goal is always to slow down the absorption of sugar. And the two best foods to help you slow it down are fat and fibers.
That’s why a sweet dessert after a high-fat meal, if you must have that dessert, is the best solution. Add cinnamon for further sugar intake slowdown.
The author also recommends stevia and monk fruit as healthier options of sweeteners.
Go For a Walk
Low intensity physical exercise after a meal also helps to drop sugar levels.
12. Hangover Cure
Aubrey Margus doesn’t recommend you exaggerate with the alcohol of course, but he knows that sometimes it will happen.
This is what to do when you go down a bit harder on that wine:
- Re-hydrate: drink lots of water, 1 liter, until you pee twice
- Use molybdenum supplements, 300mcg evening and morning
- Green tea like matcha to balance out glutamate
13. More, Better Sex
To improve your sex life, here is the Own the Day advice to increase testosterone:
- Eat fat
- Get sleep
- Lift heavy
Marcus Aubrey says that it’s crazy that in America people talk about “getting lucky” and “scoring” with their own partners. He recommends sex every day and trying something new.
Avoid pornography as it’s unrealistic and focus on your partner.
Oh, and lastly, all the advice on not masturbating is bogus.
14. Reduce Stress
Marcus’ advice to reduce stress is to limit the tasks and work-related activities to the ones you really need and to increase the time for yourself and the ones you love.
His mantra is: do it well or don’t do it at all.
Do it well or don’t do it at all
The author says that our ancestors probably didn’t sleep for 8 hours straight but slept multiple times during the day at different intervals.
You can do the same if you can afford but, in any case, you should stop stressing about how many hours you sleep per night.
You can focus instead on your 90 minutes sleep cycles per week, which will make it easier to manage and remove the pressure from every single night.
16. Bring it Home
Here Margus talks about visualizing, the placebo effect -including the book The Placebo Effect– and our need for community and tribe -including Tribe by Sebastian Junger-.
I partially agree with what he says but found several major flaws in both those two books he mentions.
He says there are four keys to positive and compelling action:
- Know what and how to do it
- Believe it will work
- See the value in what you’re doing
- Get support from the people around
Real Life Applications
Avoid Cold Beverages With Your Meal
I loved this recommendation as it was a mistake I often did.
Lots of liquids are not good with your meal anyway. And cold ones further hamper and slow down your digestion.
Eat Fat & Fiber With Sugar
If you must eat carbs, eat it with fat and fibers.
Albeit I liked “Own the Day, Own Your Life”, there were also some parts that didn’t convince me.
Use Inefficient Tools to Eat Slow?
I didn’t like the recommendation of using less efficient tools to force yourself to eat slow. If you know that you should eat slow and chew well, then eat slow! No need to handicap yourself to follow through on something you know you must do.
Masochist Sex Advice
I didn’t particularly enjoy the recommendation of “having to try something new” and experiencing with pain and S&M. I think that’s up to people’s taste and preferences.
Some Made Up Evolutionary Psychology
The author says that our ancestors slept at different times in the days. However, he has no way of knowing that for sure.
It’s an opinion, an informed opinion at the very best, but not a fact.
He also says that we are “programmed to love others and even sacrifice ourselves for the good of the tribe“, which is simplistic evolutionary psychology at best (see here the best books on evolutionary psychology).
The author provides readers with a sleeping target to reach. But sleep is very personal and different people need different times. It’s not good, in my opinion, to give a general, catch-all target.
All the swearing makes it seem to me a bit like “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck“: good content, but all the swearing just felt try-hard “trying to sound cool”.
Especially saying “goddamn miracle” was really unnecessary in my opinion.
Some Historical Interpretations Left Me Cold
The author uses the example of Sparta as an example of a culture of sacrifice, virtues, and strength that underpinned its success.
Athens kicked Sparta’s asses multiple times and in the course of history, it’s been much more powerful influential without any of Sparta’s militarism.
Some Over-Optimization Advice Like Sleeping With Dominant Hand on Top
The author says that to maximize your safety you should sleep on the side that leaves your dominant hand on top. Why? So that if an intruder breaks in then you’re at your most ready.
But people move during their sleep. And you just gain a split of a second for an event that will probably never happen in your life -while you might be sleeping on the side you like least for a lifetime-.
Overall, I really enjoyed Own the Day, Own Your Life:
- Packed with actionable advice
- Overall well researched
- Very good overview on health and nutrition
I could take away some new wisdom from “Own the Day, Own Your Life”.
I did take some tips from this book, for example the vitamin D and the pre-biotics.
However, the typical demonizing of “bad foods” and the misplaced hyping of “good foods” is misleading.
And the advice on water purifiers and overselling of supplements leads me to take one star off,
At times, I also felt the recommended habits were a bit on the geeky, overly complex, and overly-engineered approach to living.
But I do still highly recommend this book.
Overall, “Own the Day, Own Your Life” is a great resource to provide an overview of healthy living.