The Minimalists are on tour. Free tickets: WordTasting Tour 2015

The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Day 20: Health


Minimalist Health: Diet & Exercise

The most important thing in your life is your health. Without it you have nothing else.

So why are we waiting until the second to last day of our journey to focus on it? Because we needed to declutter our lives first. After all, isn’t that the point of this entire journey, to strip away the superfluous excess so we can focus on what’s important. Well, we’ve stripped away the excess, now we will focus on the most important thing in life: our health.


There are so many ways to exercise. Whichever way you choose, you must make exercise a must. For me, I must exercise at least four times per week (sometimes more). I often exercise at a gym for 1.5 to 2 hours per session. I focus on cardio and weight training each time.

But you don’t have to belong to a gym to exercise four or more times per week. Colin Wright stays buff while traveling the world. And Leo Babauta famously changed his life without exercising at a gym. I also enjoy contemplative walks, ones in which I can clear my mind.

Either way, these are times of solitude for me, times I can spend thinking, times in which I condition my mind as well as my body.

When I first started exercising, it was quite the chore, and I hated doing it. That is until I made it a habit. After about six months of going to the gym three to four times per week (I always go four times per week now), it became a habit. Once it was a habit, I really began to enjoy it, I started to look forward to exercising, I look forward to my time in solitude, I look forward to strengthening my body.

Also read: 18 Minute Minimalist Exercises


Ryan and I both used to eat like crap. In high school we were the two fat kids in school (N.B. I was considerably fatter than he was; oh how the tables have turned). We ate whatever was presented to us, gorging on fatty processed meal after fatty processed meal. In our early twenties, we got our acts together and lost weight by eating less food.

About two years ago—we were 27—we both became vegans. We were strict vegans for one year (it was more or less a bet between us, but we both felt great during that period). Since then, we’ve maintained that diet with some attenuated restrictions.

Now we are vegetarians who eat some fish (some people might call us pesco-vegetarians or pescatarians). We both eat fish and some dairy, but we still avoid other meats and tend to favor dairy substitutes when available (e.g., almond milk, soy milk, etc.).

More importantly, we favor fresh, unpressed foods. Lots of fruits and vegetables and raw foods.

I’m also experimenting with the one bowl concept, which also means that I don’t use my dishwasher.

Our health—and the way we feel physically—is extremely important to us, so eating properly and exercising is important to us as well.

Also read: Minimalism Is Health: How I Lost 70 Pounds

Go back to day 19 of your journey

Move on to day 21 of your journey

Go to the main page: Our Journey Into Minimalism: 21 Days That Changed Our Lives