Archive for February, 2017

Realistic Tips for Staying Healthy at Work

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Most of us came to Superhuman from an agency of 50+ people. Being at a larger agency meant more client meetings, more leftovers, and more people bringing in Friday donuts. As hard as we tried to make standing desks happen and to ignore the free leftover pizza, the pounds crept on.

We now have the luxury of working in an office with less than 10 people where it’s a little bit easier to manage some of those environmental factors and to rally the people around us to embrace healthy lifestyles. At Superhuman, the small but passionate healthy faction has taken over. Here’s what we’ve learned by trying to implement our habits into our workday and shared space.

1. Skip the Friday donuts (most of the time)

Nothing crushes my soul more than saying no to free donuts. In fact, it is so difficult that I convince myself that even just a small bite will be enough and I resort to cutting small bites out of all the different donut options throughout the day. I love to bake and am totally guilty of bringing in the work treats. It’s fun! But try to indulge if it’s more of a handmade, special treat and less of a weekly, store-bought tradition. There are plenty of ways to bring in snacks to share that won’t make you feel like you need a nap by 10 a.m. Try bringing in a veggie and hummus tray that you set out a few hours after lunch. Becky brought us all healthy granola for Christmas and Grant loves stealing baby carrots from me.

2. Develop an arsenal of healthy snacks

I make my worst food decisions when I am away from my pantry and I don’t come to work prepared. I tend to come to work with 3-5 healthy snack options, most of which I don’t even end up eating. It gives me peace of mind to know if hunger strikes, I am ready with healthy options. Some of my favorite snacks are baby carrots, low-sugar yogurt (I like plain Fage or Siggi’s), raw nuts, fruit, cottage cheese, or hard-boiled eggs. If you’re in a small office like us, make this a team effort!

3. Help each other make healthier lunch choices

If you don’t have time to meal prep healthy lunches or find yourself out to eat a lot during the work day, don’t fret! As a team, try to make better restaurant choices based on healthy menu options. If you find yourself at a place with a more limited menu, don’t be afraid to ask for customizations. I like adding avocados to salads or omelets, getting a side salad instead of french fries, or ordering sandwiches without the bun. Sometimes restaurants will even let you sub avocado or greens for toast, buns, hash browns, etc.

4. Recognize your patterns

A big part of being healthier during the workday for me involved recognizing when and why I was eating during the day. If I’m not super busy I tend to snack a lot more often. When I hit a wall of tiredness around 2 or 3 I start to think about grabbing a treat. After lunch I often want a small bite of something sweet. I’m trying to combat these habits by 1) asking if I’m truly hungry before aimlessly reaching for a snack 2) going on a short walk instead and 3) if I’m still feeling a craving, I’ll have a coffee, a few nuts, or a small spoonful of peanut or almond butter.

5. Take a walk

As mentioned above, a lot of my aimless snacking comes from boredom or just needing a break from the computer screen. I recently purchased a FitBit, which quickly revealed to me how much I am really sitting during the day. It’s easier said than done to interrupt a steady workflow to go for a stroll, especially when it’s -10 in Minneapolis. I’ve been trying to do it more often, even if that means walking up all of the stairs in our 6-story building. I find it helps with unnecessary cravings and overall makes me more productive when I’m back on the computer.

6. Pick healthy drink options

I’ve never been much of a soda drinker, but having more healthy drink options has helped me turn to those instead of unhealthy food. La Croix has obviously been a game-changer for many people. Other great options include Kombucha, hot tea and unsweetened iced tea. As I’ve grown to like coffee more, I enjoy ordering an almond milk latte or an Americano as a less-bitter-but-not-sweet option.

7. Workout together

This might be a stretch for some, but it’s helpful to have a workout buddy, especially when they sit next to you all day. Get the whole office to do push-ups at 3 p.m., commit with a coworker to play racquetball once a week, or if your office is small enough, get them all to come try a class at your gym. This is my subtle hint to my fellow Superhumans to come to my gym.

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Whenever I’m reflecting on fitness and nutrition, this is the ultimate philosophy I try to loop back to, mostly because it’s really difficult for me. Following these types of principles 80% of the time leaves 20% of life to truly be enjoyed with no restrictions or regrets. That’s when you eat the Friday donuts, go to Shake Shack for lunch, have an extra cocktail at happy hour and take that much-needed exercise rest day. There will be days where, unfortunately, getting stuff done becomes a priority over having a nutritionally perfect day. It’s life, it happens. Think of every day as a fresh start and an exciting opportunity to make good choices for your mind and body. It will reflect in your demeanor and your work will benefit.

Stacia Burtis

Helping A Local Drum Brand Take the Next Step

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You might say a few of us here at Superhuman are drummers. Or at least, we are in our dreams. That said, we have immense respect for anyone who holds a rhythm for a living. That’s why we jumped at the chance to work with a local drum company whose star is on the rise.

Northeast Drum Co. is a father and son venture that brings 20 years of industry experience to designing beautiful, hand-crafted drums. Their jaw-droppingly gorgeous drum kits and shells are made of high-quality wood, each featuring an original pattern in its grain. Drummers get to dial in their sound by working with the company to build a custom drum kit that offers unsurpassed quality, consistency and flexibility.

Because of the uniqueness of their product, Northeast Drum Co. kits are selling fast and attracting plenty of world-class drummers. As the founders prepared to visit the National Association of Music Merchants tradeshow, they needed sales materials that looked as professional as their drums.

That’s where we stepped in. Using their word mark, we helped them whip up a set of brochures that expand on their current design language and brand story.

This project was a pleasure. Excuse us while we dust off our own basement drum kits.

We’re Looking for a Copywriter Intern!

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Job Description:
We’re looking for a copywriter intern to help with everything from creative concepting to naming to long-form content writing.

Start and end date are flexible
15 hours per week
Hourly pay

This Internship is Right for You If:
-You’re passionate and curious about advertising and marketing
-You have a flexible writing voice
-You have an excellent handle on style and grammar
-You work efficiently and meet deadlines
-You’re comfortable speaking up for your ideas and collaborating with a team
-You are seeking a multidisciplinary position
-You have experience with long-form writing (journalism, creative writing, blogging)
-You have experience with short-form writing (campaigns, comedy, Twitter, etc.)

This is Not Right for You If:
-You don’t want to work in advertising
-You feel comfortable writing but not concepting, collaborating or presenting

To Apply:
Please send the following:
-A cover letter
-Your resumé and/or portfolio
-Any passion projects (blogs, films, etc.) or writing links that show your skills
-The assignment (below)

Applications due by 4/23/17.

Send materials to Becky@superhuman.agency

The Assignment:

Choose a brand with household recognition that hasn’t yet worked to appeal to millennials.
Using a creative format of your choice (PowerPoint, website, Word doc, etc.), share your thoughts on how they could update their mission statement, tagline and content strategy to connect with young people. Provide a few examples of headlines or pieces of content that could come out of that content strategy.

Tip: Make sure the mission statement and content strategy are built on an emotional insight that taps into the needs, goals and lifestyle of millennials.

About Superhuman:
Superhuman is a strategic and creative startup agency in Uptown, Minneapolis. We’re a small team with a high-bar for quality. We work in a casual, stimulating environment, and we like to laugh a lot and eat ramen together at least once a week.

Food and Wellness Trends for 2017

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After drop-kicking 2016 off into the far reaches of the cosmos, we rang in the new year hoping for better times. Thanks to a political climate that reminds us to take nothing for granted, many people are entering 2017 with a healthy dose of caution. It’s likely that this year, wellness will be more important than ever as people aim to take care of themselves, their loved ones and vote with their wallets whenever they can.

Food and Wellness Will Become More Synonymous

The fact that we collapsed food and wellness into one column in 2017 is telling. Food is becoming central to our understanding of our health, our local communities and our planet. With a president who believes climate change is a hoax, unsustainable agricultural practices are sure to be met with pushback from those seeking to affect the issue where they can.

On a micro level, people will be looking closely into how foods make them feel. Check out the rising success of Moon Juice’s Amanda Chantal Bacon, whose focus on “adaptogens” and “alkalizing the body” received praised by major influencers like Gwnyeth Paltrow. Bacon has gone from being despised to having her products sold everywhere from Net-a-porter to Urban Outfitters. If you want to guess the next expensive ingredient people will be sprinkling in smoothies, her website can probably point you in the right direction. Call her fringe if you will, but she’ll be the one laughing all the way to her mansion.

Quelling Inflammation is The New Weight Loss

People may always want to lose weight and avoid disease. This year, those efforts may collide in the anti-inflammation diet, which seeks to fight the inflammation that’s increasingly being pinpointed as the root of chronic disease. It focuses on inflammation fighters like omega-3’s, flaxseeds, antioxidant-rich produce and wild-caught seafood, while nixing sugar and refined carbohydrates.

I would also expect organic meat to gain popularity with this movement. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t get you far if the animal products you eat were fed nothing but GMO corn, hormones and antibiotics.

The Rise of Turmeric

Speaking of antioxidant powerhouses, enter turmeric. I hadn’t heard anything about this bright yellow spice until I read a book about a cancer prevention lifestyle this summer. It talked in length about the miraculous antioxidant effects of turmeric, especially when paired with black pepper. Its main active ingredient, curcumin, may do everything from prevent heart attacks to fight cancer. I feel like everyone must have read that book at exactly the same time, because suddenly this ingredient was everywhere. Golden milk, golden smoothies, turmeric overnight oats and plenty of curries promise seriously intriguing health benefits. I’m going to go ahead and name this the wellness ingredient of the year.

Honorable mentions: Matcha, amla (gooseberries), mushrooms (reishi, chaga, ashwagandha, cordyceps), goji berries

Made-to-Order Nutrition

As a generation raised on antibiotics, non-organic meat and hand sanitizer, many of us have developed off-kilter microbiomes. In 2016, this manifested in the popularity of probiotic products, from kombucha to sauerkraut. We’re definitely at the beginning of understanding the ecosystems that live inside of us, and I’m guessing we’ll look back at our fancy-free chugging of probiotics as being a bit ham-fisted. This year, services like DAYTWO will enter the mix, offering to analyze your gut bacteria and give you personalized recommendations for what to eat. That is, if you can stomach sending in a stool sample! From their app screenshots, they sure do seem to recommend a lot of cookies, hamburgers and cake, so take their elevator pitch with a grain of salt.

This fragmenting of nutritional needs is likely to continue to develop. I recently did a blood test to see which foods I was reactive to, and ended up having a problem with vanilla. The whole experience left me wondering if future generations will have increasingly nuanced food sensitivities. If so, food companies will have to be quite creative to accommodate such individualized needs. Anything that lets people dial in their own ingredients will definitely be groundbreaking.

High-Fat Diets Will Kick Low-Fat to the Curb

In a groundbreaking exposé, the New York Times recently revealed some shady dealings between scientists and the sugar industry, which led to attempts to peg heart disease on saturated fat instead of sugar. This story furthers the case of experts who have been arguing that low-fat diets have led to our astronomical problems with obesity, diabetes and yes, heart disease.

Now, high-fat diets are popping everywhere, with one of the most popular being the ketogenic diet. I first heard of this in the context of helping epileptic individuals avoid seizures, but its neurological health benefits may also apply to those with Autism and Alzheimer’s.

Now, when I walk into Barnes & Noble, ketogenic diet cookbooks are everywhere. In 2017, fat is no longer the enemy.

Collagen: Not Just for Lips!

No longer do you need injections to get the beauty benefits of collagen. You can consume it regularly. As unpalatable as this sounds, many wellness goddesses of the Internet and dietitians mix it into their coffee and smoothies. Devotees swear it improves their hair and skin, and that it helps with joint and bone health below the surface. Who knows if this trend will stick, but prepare to encounter it this year.

Gen Z Will Magnify All Our Wellness Goals

While all these changes feel somewhat new for those of us raised with Subway presented as a legit weight loss option, they will feel native to Gen Z. Born on or after Y2K, this generation is starting to turn 17, meaning they’re entering the workforce, going out to eat and influencing brands.

These coveted young people are genuine unicorns. According to this report, they aren’t interested in self-destructive forms of “teenage rebellion” like smoking. In fact, they’re one of the most sober classes of high schoolers in modern times. What would their reboot of Skins even be like?! In place of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, they’re more into activism, spreading awareness about consent and eating vegan.

Brands rushing to create cricket powder granola bars may want to stop in their tracks. Gen Z might eschew crickets for plant-based proteins and granola for anti-inflammatory grain-free alternatives. Phew!

There’s a Chance Wellness Will Lose Popularity and We Will Enter an Era of Absurdity and Aimlessness

Will the idea of waking up with a mindfulness app, turning on your essential oil diffuser and then folding over into a yoga pose seem an Obama-era luxury? Will people turn back to junk food in the Trump era, washing down their angst with Cheetos and Four Loko?

Even if this backlash against wellness doesn’t enter the zeitgeist, there will always be people who proudly eat non-organic foods, hit up the drive-through and smoke like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a brave new world. Anything is possible.

Becky Lang