Nate Bosshard is the Co-Founder at Tonal, the world's most intelligent fitness system focused on personalized strength training. At Tonal, Nate has helped raise over $90M in venture financing to date. Prior to launching Tonal, Nate served as a Partner at Khosla Ventures, and independently invests in and advises a number of startups including Hims and MatchaBar, among others.
Prior to Khosla, Nate led brand management at Nest, GoPro, The North Face, and Burton Snowboards. Independent from his Bay Area entrepreneurial ventures, Nate owns the largest independent beverage co-packer in the country: City Brewing Company.
On his morning routine. I wake up at 4 am. Crush up some matcha that I sourced from an artisanal farmer in Japan. From there I work out for about 2 hours and meditate for 45 minutes. After meditation, I do a sauna and cold plunge circuit. Just kidding. I have three kids ages 9, 7, and 2.
While I aspire to have a regimented morning, I rarely am able to do anything for myself before 8 am. The majority of the people who promote productivity hacking don’t have kids or a company and usually have a lot of money to insulate themselves from average people responsibilities. It’s completely unrealistic for most people to achieve that level of consistency. For me, it’s all about little wins throughout the week.
In reality, my morning usually starts with one of my kids jumping on my head around 6 am. We hang out, eat breakfast, see them off to school, and then I head into the office. If I workout 4 times a week, eat healthy and spend quality time with my friends and wife/kids then my week is successful.
On prioritizing health. Health is wealth. Rest is rust. Not to be too contrived or cheesy with those slogans but without health you literally have nothing. Two of my really close friends passed away from cancer in the last two years. This was a major wake-up call for me. Not that I haven’t been healthy or active, but it reinforced my commitment to my health, family, and friends. Ultimately, all you have is your time. Having loved ones pass away amplified my focus on what was important to me.
I’ve found that if I’m ever stuck or not feeling productive, working out is a great way to achieve a little win and feel in control. Being in the outdoors is also incredibly therapeutic for me. I try to blend my fitness routine between Tonal (convenient strength), running in the woods, and surfing. I also dabble in yoga but I’m less consistent there. During the winter I get into the mountains to snowboard quite a bit.
From a mental health standpoint, I’m meditating about three times a week. Calm is one of the best apps around. I try to think of my fitness routine as a balance between mind, body, and soul, and target each of my activities towards addressing one or all of those three elements.
On his life's motto. "Take time for yourself, so when you’re with others you can be present." If I’m not taking time for myself in the form of travel or fitness, I’m not present professionally, as a partner, or as a father.
On building emotional brands. The most successful companies are able to take advantage of two things in parallel. You need a novel product offering that is uniquely tied to cultural relevance. Launching a new product is quite a linear process. What is incredibly difficult and rare is to trigger and permanently enter into the emotional real estate of a customer’s mind.
To be a lasting, institutional consumer brand you need to transcend both emotional and rational value propositions. You need a novel or new product solution, but you also need to be part of a new conversation amplified by cultural rocket fuel that propels your company past the competition organically. That can occur by being centered inside a new generational trend, a cultural behavior shift, or simply tapping into an emotional zeitgeist that hasn’t had a product articulation yet.
On the 'busy' trap. Being in control of your time is the ultimate luxury. Some of the most professionally successful people I know who are not in control of their calendar are not happy. It’s a fine line. There are so many things we’re programmed to say yes to that are net negative or not creating benefit to ourselves or others. Busy does not equal being productive.
Rethink how you’re spending your day. Is it creating personal value? Could you be doing something else more productive personally or professionally? This is the new lens that I process a lot of my decision making through. In the past, I would just say yes reflexively and I’m trying to avoid that.
On reading before bed. I'm usually reading about 15 books at one time. This isn’t the best way for most but I try to read at least one chapter from a single book each night before I go to bed. The book that has captured my attention most recently is “Why does the world exist?” It tackles the mind-boggling question of existence.
This sounds super heavy, but at its core, it’s helped me not take things too seriously. That title sounds a bit nihilistic but I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful to ground my thinking and life priorities recently. More specifically, I can’t function if I’m not consistently getting about 8 hours of sleep.
— Nate Bosshard, Co-Founder at Tonal