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The best of 2% with Michael Easter and how it works.
You can listen to the audio version of this post in the audio bar above.
Every 2% post includes audio of me reading and explaining more about the post. Like a mini audiobook.
We’ve got a lot of new subscribers around here. If you’re new, welcome to our cult (I’m kidding. I think?).
To bring everyone up to speed, this post will cover:
What 2% with Michael Easter is
A bit about me
Why I started 2% with Michael Easter/The state of health media
Top stories from 2%
How 2% works and the benefits of Membership
If you’re a long-time reader, thank you! This post will remind you why we’re here and re-introduce you to some of our best stories.
What’s 2% With Michael Easter?
We publish the world’s best and most useful health and performance information three times each week. Our readers and listeners get results.
I began publishing 2% three times each week in the Spring of 2023. Since then, readers of this newsletter have:
Lost a collective thousands of extra pounds.
Covered untold miles on foot (usually with a heavy ruck!).
Vastly improved health markers and fitness metrics that are critical for healthspan and lifespan.
Made big shifts in their mindset, allowing them to do things they once thought they couldn’t.
Spent more time outside with friends and family doing activities that improve their lives.
Taken on epic Misogi challenges that irrevocably changed them for the better.
Made business and life decisions that gave them a huge return.
And much more …
That’s the tense of living we’re after.
It’s easier for all of us to stay in that tense when we have constant reminders of what that tense is, where we find it, and how we stay in it and milk it for all it’s worth.
So that’s what the 2% newsletter does. We publish three stories and accompanying audio versions of those stories each week. The goal is to:
Remind us what that tense of living is by covering breaking and time-tested information on health, performance, and mindset.
Show us the most efficient way to find that tense of living by making that information actionable no matter who you are.
Stay in that tense of living through community and a regular publishing schedule.
About Michael Easter
I’m the New York Times bestselling author of The Comfort Crisis and Scarcity Brain. I’ve spent my career researching and writing about mental and physical health, performance, nutrition, fitness, mindset, toughness, the value of challenge and adventure, and much more.
My research has taken me everywhere—from war zones to the Arctic to the Bolivian jungle to the top scientific labs worldwide.
I’ve interviewed thousands of experts, from Nobel laureates to world-class athletes, and pored over countless studies to find the best science-backed tactics you can use to optimize your life.
My goal has always been to take these insights from the edge and make them accessible and actionable for anyone anywhere.
That is to say, you.
Why I started 2%
Around 2017, health and performance media began changing. It became less helpful and useful. So I started 2% as a solution.
For years, I was a Senior Editor at the world’s largest health magazine. We had roughly 71 million readers worldwide, and my work went out to 50+ countries.
But sometime around 2017, health and performance coverage from major media outlets changed. It stopped being useful.
The focus shifted from quality to quantity and clicks. Editors were asked to crank out multiple stories each day. And write stories not that they believed would help people but would drive traffic at any cost.
They were forced to spend less time reading actual research and gathering multiple viewpoints from experts. Stories began lacking nuance, context, and deep reporting.
So I bailed.
I left the magazine and took a job as a professor of journalism and media studies, focusing on health media. I wanted to deeply understand what was happening, how that impacted people, and how to correct it.
I found that the new economics and corporatization of journalism had led traditional media outlets to measure their impact only in the number of clicks. Unfortunately, what got clicks was often at odds with providing accurate information and actually helping people.
But I also discovered that a new form of health media rose as traditional media changed in 2017. And it wasn’t great either. In the place of major media, we got online health influencers.
And not just the wacky ones on social media telling us everything is toxic and to please buy their supplement. Some of today’s biggest health voices are M.D.s and researchers at elite universities.
These people are well-meaning. But many have a narrow worldview and go so far down the rabbit hole they can’t see out of it. They don’t account for critical perspectives from other scientific disciplines and approaches to living that have existed for thousands of years.
We got a lot of 75-step morning routines that will help you “optimize” and “hack” this and that. We got advice to take some far-out, off-label drug or supplement to live longer. We got hyper-complicated, inconvenient diets and protocols drawn from results on lab rats (reminder: humans aren’t lab rats).
The problem is that life isn’t a laboratory. What looks good in a tightly controlled study rarely works as well as we think it will in the real world. And it often just sucks the soul out of living.
I felt like we all needed objective health information that is as broad as it is deep.
That information should include groundbreaking new science, yes. But it must also view topics from multiple lenses and leverage time-tested wisdom from real conversations with experts and cultures across disciplines.
And that information must be human. It must account for tradeoffs and different perspectives and work for real people in the real world—changing them for the better.
So I started 2%. That’s what we’re building with 2%.
The Best of 2%
We have a lot of great stories on 2%.
I created this page for you to find some of our group’s favorites:
Harvard’s Running and Rucking Prescription
Exactly how many miles you should run or ruck each week for ideal health.
Why Women Should Ruck
Four reasons why rucking is the best exercise for women.
Don’t Die. Do Pullups.
This simple exercise might be the ultimate longevity test + a tactical plan to do more pullups—or nail your first one.
How Accurate is Your Activity Tracker?
Fitness tracker accuracy varies wildly. Find out how yours did and how to use it better.
The New Science of Outdoor Exercise
The case for moving more outdoors is clear. Learn the benefits and how to leverage the takeaways here.
Six Fitness Lessons from a Fascinating Study on the Amish
You’ll learn: How farming changed human fitness; the upsides of farm and manual labor; six ways to mimic farm and manual labor in your exercise to fill fitness gaps and build grit.
Rucking: Backpacks Vs. Weight Vests
A deep dive on which you should choose and why.
6 Pillars of Useful Fitness
Training for the outdoors is likely the best path to overall health, longevity, and fitness you can use.
How to Find the Right Exercise Shoe
This one led to shoe industry insiders emailing me saying I’d condensed years of knowledge into a single, simple read.
P.S. Interested in rucking? Type “rucking” into the search bar on our homesite, TWOPCT.com.
Six Sleep Myths
Prepare to be surprised. Some of the most popular sleep advice doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny and common sense.
8 Sleep Tips That Actually Work
This advice is backed by research and common sense. You’ll find something that helps you sleep better. Better sleep = better life.
Carrying Kids: The Incredible Science and Benefits
Not just for parents. Understanding the evolution of child carrying can shape how you think about health, exercise, and development.
How Many Steps a Day Is Best?
Hint: It’s not 10,000. But the number that’s best for you depends on what your goal is.
You Probably Don’t Get Enough Vitamins and Minerals
Micronutrient deficiencies are overlooked, and they can hinder your health, sanity, and performance. They’re associated with everything from obesity and heart disease to fatigue, depression, and impaired intelligence and performance.
Fasting: Facts, Myths, and Best Practices
What fasting can and can’t do for you, and four ways to try it.
A Nutrition Rule That Cuts Through Confusion
You’ll learn: why and how many online nutrition claims are wrong and a rule that will help you navigate the complicated world of food and health.
The 2% Hydration Guide: Part I
You’ll learn: the truth about hydration and performance, how to tell if you’re dehydrated, how dehydration does and doesn’t impact health, three guidelines for hydrating, and more.
The 2% Vitamin and Mineral Guide
Even healthy diets can lack some vitamins and minerals. But knowing your status is complicated, and getting more isn’t so straightforward.
Wild Findings From an Analysis of 400 Diet Books
A scholar read 400+ diet books going back to the 1860s. She discovered the real reason why diets become popular—and ultimately fail.
Can You Out-Exercise a Bad Diet?
You’ll learn how much exercise it takes to eat what you want within reason—and whether you’re even capable of that.
Mindset & Mental Strength
Why We Get Hooked On (Insert Anything)
A dive into a big revelation from my New York Times Bestselling book, Scarcity Brain.
Four Lessons from Misogi
Why doing hard things can transform us, and how to navigate challenge better.
Use Science to Reduce Screentime
Get your time and attention back. Years of behavior science back up this simple phone trick.
Absolve Yourself of First-World Problems
This might be the ultimate mindset shift.
The True Science of Gratitude
Gratitude is essential for wellbeing, but the science and advice around it is murky. We’ll explore what really makes people grateful.
The Heavy Rucking Mile
A challenge that will push you to your edge—and expand it.
Don’t Die: Wilderness Edition
These four simple guidelines will help you follow the 2% motto: Have fun, don’t die.
Gear Not Stuff: June Edition
Three outdoor necessities.
Gear Not Stuff: July Edition
13 items to stay healthy while road tripping.
Gear Not Stuff: October Edition
Great gear under $100, sourced from the 2% community.
Gear Not Stuff: December Edition
The best gifts for people who like to have fun and not die.
P.S. If you’re a gearhead, search “Gear Not Stuff” in the search bar on the homesite, TWOPCT.com. That’ll allow you to easily find past Gear Not Stuff columns.
Work and Productivity
How to Talk to Anyone
Asking better questions can improve your conversations, make you more likable, and increase your success in business, relationships, and life.
The Truth About Morning Routines
Many morning routines are often a distraction. Here’s how to make your morning routine work for you—and not the other way around.
The Paradox of Making Your Bed
Why a common piece of morning advice has downsides.
Leverage the Power of Silence
How escaping the noise can boost your productivity.
The Problem with Goals
A simple question that will help you accomplish more in 2024.
The Benefits of a 2% Membership
We have three plans:
Non-Member, which is free but gets you limited access.
Member, which gets full access to every past and future 2% post and its audio version. Cost: $6.87/month or $68.70/year.
Founding Member, which is for those who are all in on living well and want free bonuses. Cost: $247/year
Members of 2% have made massive, inspiring changes to their lives. For example, I recently picked at random a handful of messages I’ve received about this project.
Cindy lost 37 pounds (and counting) combining the fitness and nutrition ideas published in 2%.
Tyler beat anxiety and depression by deploying simple mindset shifts laid out in our Mindset and Mental Strength articles.
Morgan quit drinking and took up rucking with his wife five days a week.
Ada, 63, improved critical health markers that her doctors say vastly reduce her risk of all-cause mortality.
Richard lost 120(!) pounds by combining the fitness and nutrition ideas in 2%.
Sarah quit her soul-sucking job and took on an epic Misogi that took her around the globe after reading our Mindset stories.
Catherine did her first pullup and is now training for an IronMan triathlon.
David, 75, realized age is just a number and now has a practical rucking plan that has added more life to his years.
Tammy began understanding the roots of her shopping and overhauled how much she buys, saving her thousands of dollars across the year.
John overhauled a back injury that had been plaguing him and is now back to regularly hiking and golfing.
I’ll stop there because you get the point. We’ve got hundreds of case studies.
There are three versions of this publication: Non-Member, Member, and Founding Member. Here’s what each gets you.
Non-Member/Unpaid Subscription to The 2%
A great but limited place to start
One of three 2% posts a week (Mondays)
Previews to the two weekly Member’s-only posts (Wednesdays and Fridays)
Access to the archive of free posts
Member Subscription to The 2%
Life-enhancing information that saves you far more time and money than its cost
Note: I have an agreement to save you time and money. Members repeatedly tell me they’ve gained far more than the monthly Member cost in improved health and work performance, and reclaimed time.
Here’s what a Membership gets you:
Every 2% post and access to the full archive of 2% posts (three posts each week—all the good info, all the time).
Audio versions of every 2% post (great for people who like to consume information while driving, rucking, exercising, cooking, cleaning, etc).
Answers to your personal questions (killer Q&A posts … AMA).
Exclusive access to our HAVE FUN, DON’T DIE series (the most essential information for living better and longer today).
Full access to limited-run franchises like our Gear Not Stuff gear columns and Burn the Ships workouts (I use these to prepare for different adventures and live better).
Free, easy, and effective nutrition and health approaches (the no-BS stuff that actually works).
Cost: $6.87/month or $68.70/year
(Again: You’ll save more time and money in the long run than the cost.)
Founding Member of The 2%
For those who are all-in on living well
Everything in the “Paid” subscription above
Free 2% Dad Hat (the perfect workout hat)
Free access to any e-books and paid training programs I release (The upcoming rucking book; full SUPERMEDIUM extended training plan; etc … $300+ value)
Welcome to the 2% Community. Now let’s do big things.
Have fun, don’t die.
Sponsored by Maui Nui Venison
Axis Deer provides the healthiest meat on the planet. That's according to researchers at Utah State, who compared axis deer meat to beef and found that it contains 1 to 64 times more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. It also contains 53% more protein per calorie than beef. Here's a fascinating brief on the research. Equally important is that Maui Nui solves ethical considerations around meat. Axis Deer are an invasive species ravaging the Hawaiian island of Maui, and Maui Nui harvests the deer at night in a stress-free way, improving the ecosystem.
My picks: I like it and eat everything from Maui Nui, but the 90/10 Organ Blend is particularly great for people looking to get more micronutrients in their diet, and the Jerky Sticks are my go-to travel snack.
**Use discount code EASTER for 15% off.**
Sponsored by Momentous
Momentous made me feel good about supplements again. Over 150 professional and collegiate sports teams and the US Military trust their products, thanks to the company’s rigorous science and testing. I don’t have the time or desire to cook perfectly balanced meals that give me all the necessary nutrients and protein I need (let’s face it, few of us do!). So I use their collagen in the morning; Recovery protein during hard workouts; essential multivitamin to cover my bases; creatine because it’s associated with all sorts of great things; and Fuel on my longest endurance workouts on 100+ degree days here in the desert (because Rule 2: Don’t die). And I also love (love!) that Momentous is researching and developing women-specific performance supplements.
**Use discount code EASTER for 15% off.**
Sponsored by GORUCK
When I decided to accept sponsorships for this newsletter, GORUCK was a natural fit. Not only is the company's story included in The Comfort Crisis, but I've been using GORUCK's gear since the brand was founded. Seriously. They've been around ~12 years and I still regularly use a pack of theirs that is 11 years old. Their gear is made in the USA by former Special Forces soldiers. They make my favorite rucking setup: A Rucker 4.0 and Ruck Plate.
**Use discount code MEASTER10 for 10% off anything from GORUCK.**