30 of the best tips I’ve learned on fitness, nutrition, productivity, life.

By Paul Milano

Typically in my posts I tend to go very in depth on one subject.

I’m doing this one a little different however. It is going to be more of a rapid fire, quick tip list of 30 of the best things I’ve learned on fitness, finances, health, nutrition, sleep, people, yourself and how to optimize all of them to build a more powerful life.

What possessed me to write this?

I recently had my 30th birthday. With some wisdom from Yoda guiding me I starting thinking that if I could summarize some of the most powerful things I’ve learned on the topics above over the past decade , what would they be?


(If you’re wondering where this majestic Yoda statue is, it’s outside the Lucasfilm studio in the Presidio in SF).

Naturally I decided to be super lame and name 30 of them here for my 30th b-day.

1. Don’t rush lifting weights. I’ve noticed many people in the gym try to throw weights up and down as fast as possible. Instead of doing this, slow down your moments (3 seconds lowering the weight, 1 second lifting it back up) to maximize the muscles time under tension and really focus on contracting the muscle at hand. If you’ve never done this, prepare to feel the burn and see better results.

2. Skip carbs for breakfast. Eating a breakfast high in carbs or sugar will throw off your hormones for the rest of the day. Eat one high in protein and good fats to keep your waist trim and your energy levels high.

3. Better yet – delay your breakfast. That being said, don’t rush into eating breakfast altogether. You can maintain your fat burning hormones longer by waiting (trust me, you won’t starve). Start off with water, wait an hour or two, then eat.

4. Prioritize your sleep. As someone who routinely took sleep for granted in his earlier days, I can tell you the dramatic change it makes when you make it a priority. Go to bed by 10:30PM and create a consistent sleep / wake schedule that is the same every day and watch your energy levels soar.

5. Travel and see new places. Travelling put things into perspective on where your from, understanding different cultures, ridding yourself or prejudices and truly just understanding the planet you live on and the people on it.

6. Workout at the same time each day. If your workouts are sporadic, your results will be sporadic. Planning your workouts to be at the same time each day allows you to keep a simple schedule (so you’re more likely to do it), allows your body to recover better and allows for a consistent eating schedule to, which is important to control and optimize your hormones.

7. Don’t complain. When I was younger I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa. He had fought for Italy during World War 2 and was taken as a prisoner of war for several years. One of the main things I remember is this, I never heard him complain once about anything… Even when 7 year old Paul, made a mess or broke glasses on the floor.  Complaining isn’t productive, it doesn’t really do anything. He had seen what real stress was during his time in World War 2, nothing after that could phase him. I try to model him on that and not sweat the small stuff, because realistically, if you are on a laptop or mobile phone and can read this, you probably don’t have much to complain about compared to many others. Complain less, enjoy life more.

8. Automate your finances. Lots of people have good intentions to save money and want to set aside a certain amount each month. Leaving this as a manual process though that you have to do means it will probably never happen or at least not as frequently as you want. Automate it so a percentage is taken out automatically and put into separate savings, it will grow quicker than you realize.

9. Take walks alone and explore – Ever find that the solutions to your problems come when you’re not thinking about them? Studies validate this that solutions tend to come to us when we are in a calmer state. Go for walks alone to clear your mind and explore new scenery.

10. Invest heavily in books and you – The best investment you can make is in yourself. One of the biggest commonalities between anyone who’s ever hit a level of success is down to reading. Specifically in areas you want to get better at. If you hate reading books (you should try to change this if you do), see point #29 below.

11. Don’t bother with most supplements – As someone who spent hundreds of dollars on them in my younger days the majority of them are a waste of time. Email me if you want to know the ones that are worth it.

12. Don’t get involved in internet arguments – Facebook can be a very negative place (especially recently). Don’t get involved in arguments or spats over Facebook posts or news comments; it is a complete and total waste of your time and energy. Spend your time doing something productive. If someone constantly posts something that has you fuming, just un-follow them.

13. You can’t avoid criticism: The more you put yourself out to the world, the more criticism you will get. This is a fact of life; anyone who has seen success or tried to do something “different” then the general population has seen it. Don’t let it discourage you.

14. Optimize your workout routine: You don’t need to workout for hours a day to get in good shape. I used to do everything under the sun for fitness, running, weights, yoga, Pilates, boot camps, you name it. I do 1/3 of what I used to, only working out for 3 hours a week and am in way better shape now (with way more free time). Check out this post to get a glimpse at what I do.

15. When you workout, actually workout: When in the gym, don’t look at your phone, check emails, texts or chat on the phone with your bestie. Be totally present in the moment, focusing on your form and contracting the muscles and watch your results improve.

16. Don’t mistake being busy, for being productive. A lot of people will say they are “busy” all the time and will tell you so when you ask how they are. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually accomplishing or moving forward with anything though. You could stay busy your entire life with tasks that don’t matter or add value, focus on the ones going to make the biggest difference for you.

17. Your physical success is a gateway to all success. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that his bodybuilding career gave him the tools he needed for all his future success to come. Persistence, focus, growth, routine and enduring pain are all ingredients to both fitness growing in life.

18. Your health affects everything: If your health is only at 70%, then your business, relationships and life can only operate at 70%. Most wait until something happens before they take their health seriously. Be the small minority who emphasizes and makes it a top priority from a younger age. When your car breaks down due to poor maintenance you can by a new one. When your body breaks down for the same reason you can’t trade it in for a new one.

19. The planet we live on can survive without us, but we can’t without it. Don’t be lazy in your life choices and take the extra step to recycle use the green bin and reduce your waste. Be open minded to innovation and progress in new clean energy. We are at a critical moment where what we do now will really dictate how good of a life our kids and grand-kids will have on this planet. I like to embrace the motto of trying to leave this world a better place than when we first joined it.

20. Prep your meals in advance: One of the biggest challenges in trying to build a healthy lifestyle is making sure each meal fits in all the time. Cooking all the time sucks, so you can optimize it by picking a couple times a week to prepare a ton of things in advance. Buy the proper containers and jars to do so and fill them with individual size servings. Then when the time comes to eat, you can just pick and choose from your prepared options over the next few days.

21. Create Filters for your mind: Your mind is a precious resource; the more negative that goes in the more it will start to wither. On the flip side, the more positive that goes in the more it will flourish. Be very protective of what you allow in from the media, social feeds, your friends etc. The more you can surround yourself with more positive thoughts and people the better for you.

22. You will get what you allow. If people are controlling you, it’s not their fault; it’s your fault. In life you tend to always get what you allow. If someone is treating you in a way you don’t like, it’s up to you to let them know to stop (in a non-violent way). This can be more difficult if it is a behavior you’ve allowed for some time but it can be done.

23. Set boundaries and stick with them: The statement of nice guys finish last is simply not true. Nice guys win, but you also can’t allow people to walk over you. Define your own personal boundaries and things you will accept / not accept and stick with them.

24. Don’t try to please everyone: Know matter what you do someone will almost always find fault in something you do

25. Practice Yoga: This is especially true if you are a gym and barbell fanatic like myself. Tight, cramped muscles don’t make any gains. Yoga is like meditation and a workout mixed together, it is awesome.

26. Practice public speaking, communications and sales. Many folks hate “sales” yet, you are selling yourself , your value and your ideas to the world every single day

27. Don’t become obsessed with the number you see on your scale. When you weigh yourself, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Your body fat percentage is a far more important metric and really the one you should be monitoring. If you are gaining muscle and losing fat, the number you see on the scale won’t necessarily move much, but your body fat will be dropping.

28. Schedule your day based off your energy levels. Highly thought intensive, creative work should be done when you have your most energy (for me this is the morning and early afternoon). When your energy is low, focus on completing the more “Admin” type tasks that require less thought (scheduling meetings, appointments, purchases etc). Trying to do thought intensive work in a low energy state leads to procrastination and frustration

29. Signup for Audible – The amount of time people spend commuting is ludicrous. If you are forced to do it at least get some value from it. Audible is one of the easiest ways to learn new skills and absorb information on subjects that you want to grow in. There is a crazy statistic out there that people could get a PHD level education in only a few years if they listed to audio books every time they commute. Pro Tip – Speed up Audible to play at 1.25X (as long as you can still intake the knowledge) to get through books quicker.

30. Be 100% responsible for everything that happens to you. It is only with this mindset that you can truly grow and flourish. It is not up to the government, a politician or anyone else to get you a better job, higher pay, to lose weight or anything else. It is only up to you.