It’s difficult to find quality products from all the choices out there. There can be a lot of trial and error and disappointments.
That’s where getting personal recommendations from friends and family is preferable, so you have a better idea of what you’re getting.
Well, we’ve done a lot of product vetting over the years (all of us on Team GMB have close, personal relationships with our mail carriers from all our Amazon orders), and the list below reflects the products and brands we love the most and want to share with others.
We are all about quality food and drink, so we’re picky about the source, how it’s prepared, and what goes in our mouths.
Beer – Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Series
Andy’s our resident beer man, so this recommendation comes from him.
Beer is subjective. Even beer snobs argue over the relative merits of IPAs with differing hop profiles. But none of what we enjoy of the craft brew scene today would be available without pioneering breweries like Sierra Nevada.
Beer Camp is their yearly experimental line of new brews, and they run the gamut of types and flavors. If you enjoy beer and want to broaden your horizons, beer camp is a great way to do it.
Blender – Vitamix
The Vitamix is a steep investment, so I wouldn’t recommend it if your blender tends to gather dust in a cabinet, but if you make a lot of smoothies and blended soups, having a powerful machine like this in your arsenal will make a world of a difference.
Okay, this one’s not really a brand, but seriously, butter is delicious and makes everything better. It’s a kitchen staple.
Coffee Machine – Nespresso
Like the Vitamix, you can steer clear of investing in a Nespresso machine if you’re just an occasional coffee drinker. However, if you run on coffee like the rest of us do, Nespresso makes really great espresso machines that take the mess and clunkiness out of the picture.
Oh, and the coffee is ridiculously good.
Cooking Help – Paleo Dave Method
We recently wrote a post all about how to get started in the kitchen if you have absolutely no cooking background.
David Cooley’s course on Udemy, called the Paleo Dave Method, is a great step by step primer on the fundamentals on how to make yourself a good meal from start to finish. From making sure your knives are sharp, to the best techniques for preparing meats and vegetables, it’s a great reference for learning to eat better without the hassle.
Protein Powders – Skoop, Jay Robb, and Vega
Jarlo has tested out a whole bunch of protein powders over the years, and frankly, most of them are terrible. If they’re not chalky, they’re hard on the stomach or just taste bad.
I’m including 3 options here because they’ve all worked for Jarlo, but you may need to experiment a little to find one you like. Skoop and Vega are both vegan, and Jay Robb’s is an egg white protein powder, so all three work well if you don’t tolerate dairy well.
Rice Cooker – Zojirushi
A rice cooker is a must-have appliance for any fully stocked kitchen. Can you make rice the old fashioned way on the stovetop? Sure, but why would you want to?
Seriously, though, a rice cooker will do a better job in less time, with no need to keep an eye on your rice.
Zojirushi makes a top of the line product, so you can have as much perfectly cooked rice as you like for a LONG time. It’s Jarlo’s favorite rice cooker for a reason.
Tea – Rishi
If you’re a tea drinker, Rishi is a great company with a vast selection of quality teas. They sell a lot of the more commonly available options, like green tea and black tea, but they also have some more unique options if you’re looking for something a little different.
The Turmeric Ginger is fantastic. It’s spicy and citrusy and is perfect for waking you up in the morning.
Our web Guru Jason is also in love with the Cocoa Mint. It’s like the liquid version of Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s which everyone knows are the most delicious seasonal cookies on the planet.
In all seriousness, Rishi products are high quality, organic, and brilliantly paired. No powdery nonsense or broken, overly dried herbals.
This category speaks for itself. We all wear clothes, and we all know what a difference it makes when something is made well vs. cheaply.
The products below are some of our favorite options for high quality gear.
Bags – 511 Tactical
This is Ryan’s favorite bag. The company sent him one to try it out, and he raves about it. Its sturdy design and makeup fits everything in his active lifestyle
511 Tactical sells a slew of other products, but the only one we’ve tested is their backpack, so that’s what we recommend.
Jeans – PrAna
Ryan mentions always having a hard time finding jeans that are comfortable enough to wear for any activity, but these pass the test.
His PrAna jeans are comfortable enough, yet strong enough, that he wears them to train, teach, hike, ride his bicycle – basically he wears them for anything.
Outdoor Gear – Patagonia
Not only are Patagonia clothes well-made and long-lasting (Ryan still wears some Patagonia gear he got as a teen!), the company is amazingly passionate about environmental causes and leaving the world a better place.
The company donates 1% of sales (and employee time and resources) to support and campaign for preservation and restoration projects all over the world.
Patagonia has also influenced many companies to evolve their corporate policies to better support their employees (and they were one of the first American companies to actively promote better conditions for working mothers, like generous maternity leave and on-site child-care centers).
Patagonia makes really nice clothing, and actually, Jarlo prefers their jeans over Prana. But their bread and butter is outdoor gear – jackets, base layers, that kind of thing.
Observe Amber in her Patagonia jacket while standing in a frozen tundra!
Shirts – GMB T-shirts (Duh)
How could I not recommend these?
We spent a lot of time testing out different styles, fabrics, and colors before finalizing our GMB t-shirts. We ultimately decided to use American Apparel for our tees, in large part because they’re made in the USA.
GMB tees are super comfy, flattering, and of course, they represent a pretty great company 😉
Shoes – Vivobarefoot and Lems
Andy and Ryan wear Vivobarefoots. They like them because they’re well made, while having a thinner sole than most shoes, which can help avoid some of the orthopedic issues many people encounter from regular shoes.
Jarlo’s shoe of choice is from Lems, this minimalist brand provides quality footwear with an environmental consciousness and frankly is the most comfortable on Jarlo’s wide monkey feet. He’s been wearing them for the past two years and are the only shoes he wears aside from slippers.
Unique, Badass Clothing – Betabrand
Betabrand is not the place to go for run-of-the-mill clothing, but if you’re looking for out-of-the-box threads, like reflective work clothes you can wear on a bike or onesie dress suits, this company’s got it.
Basically, Betabrand’s doing really cool stuff, and Andy’s got a massive company crush on them.
As an online company, we depend a lot on apps, gadgets, and other techy stuff to help us communicate, stay on top of our work, and keep our company going. The products below are some of our favorites, and even if you don’t work online, you can benefit from all of them.
Camera – Canon EOS 70D or iPhone
We shoot a LOT of video and pictures around here, in case you haven’t noticed. Ryan’s favorite camera at the moment for indoor and outdoor use is the Canon EOS 60D but since that’s been discontinued, we recommend the next model, the EOS 70D.
This is an expensive camera (He actually got his used at a local camera shop in Japan), but you get your money’s worth with this top notch DSLR.
Of course, our main standby camera is the good old iPhone. There’s a lot you can do with your phone’s built in camera, so if you’re just taking simple shots for personal use, don’t go spending a thousand dollars on a separate camera. It’s really not necessary.
Cloud Storage – Dropbox
Dropbox is the best tool we’ve found for sharing documents, video files, and photos. There’s a free version that’ll work well for personal use, but for larger scale file sharing like we do, the Pro version is great, and only costs 100 bucks a year. Not too shabby.
Computers and Handheld Devices – Mac
We’re all a bunch of Mac-philes around here. Sure, Apple’s markup is ridiculous, but they make powerful, reliable, beautiful machines that get the job done. We all have at least one Mac, and almost all of us (with the exception of Jarlo, who has yet to see the light) are permanently attached to our iPhones.
Working on a Mac is a must at GMB and we do what we can to make sure everyone on our team has fully functional gadgets at all times.
E-Reader – Kindle
Reading is a hugely important part of all of our lives here at GMB, so much so that we cover the cost of any Kindle books our team members want.
Kindles certainly don’t have the charm of old fashioned books, but they’re really convenient and most books are cheaper if you buy the Kindle version instead of the hardcover or paperback version. That means more books for your buck.
Meditation App – Headspace
Ryan, Jason, and I have all been using this app for a while, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Headspace is an app that makes meditation as accessible as possible, and has built-in accountability, making consistency less of a hurdle.
After using Headspace, we started hearing about people in the Alpha Posse, and other friends using it as well. This has made the accountability piece even easier.
Since starting Headspace, we’ve all noticed better clarity throughout the day, and feel calmer and more centered.
Screen Adjustment for Sleep – F.lux
We wrote about F.lux and how it can help your sleep in this post, but basically, when activated, this app eliminates “blue lights” from your computer screen at night. Those blue lights have been shown to decrease your body’s production of melatonin, so having those on at night can negatively impact your sleep.
It’s a simple app, but it could potentially be a big contributor to your overall health.
This category might surprise you, considering we’re a fitness company, but it’s the shortest list on this page.
The simple fact of the matter is, when it comes to fitness, we like to keep things as simplified as possible. We don’t believe you need a million gadgets or a specialized mat to make serious progress toward your goals. Still, the two things included on this list are good to have.
Lacrosse Balls and Foam Rollers – Rogue Fitness
Honestly, you do not need a specific brand for lacrosse balls or foam rollers. Any brand will do. The important thing is these two “gadgets” can be really helpful with working through tight muscles or using other self-massage techniques. I personally take my lacrosse ball with me everywhere.
Since we’ve had a lot of people ask me for brand recommendations on these, we’re happy to endorse Rogue Fitness. They make solid gear, and we really like their products.
Vitamin D3 – Pure Pharma (or the beach)
This one’s a no-brainer. The research behind our need for vitamin D, and the consequences of vitamin D deficiencies, is pretty strong.
If you live in a place with a lot of sun, spend some time outside to get your daily dose of D. If not, Pure Pharma makes a high grade supplement you should take to make sure your levels are high enough.
Here are some other things we love.
Film – Purple Rain
His Paisley Majesty is probably the very best living musician. He has more range than Mariah Carey and plays more instruments than most jazz combos – and plays them better.
Purple Rain is, to be honest, badly acted, with a plot to match. But it captures Prince’s musical universe at a pivotal time in his career and introduced the world to what a real rock concert should look like. Also, everyone needs to say the phrase “that’s not Lake Minnetonka” at some point in their lives.
Production Knives – Spyderco
Jarlo is our resident knife man. I’m not even sure how many knives he owns, but he recommends Spyderco’s knives for general use.
As Jarlo puts it,
It’s the Honda Civic of knives; reliable and gets the job done.
Writing Tools – Moleskine and Uniball
As much as we all love our Macs, there’s really nothing like good ‘ole pen and paper.
Buy Quality and Don’t Skimp
One of our mottos at GMB is “buy quality.” It can sometimes be tempting to buy an off-brand to save a couple bucks, but really, if you can’t afford to buy the trustworthy, high quality brand, you’re better off not buying it.
We’ve tested out all the products above and can recommend them confidently.
Though we didn’t include many “fitness”-related products on this list, we have a whole page dedicated to our favorite fitness programs, books, and companies, which you can see by clicking below.