Base Layers

I want to talk about a lifestyle and concept that has been world changing for me and friends: base layers.

The definition of a base layer is a healthy prequel to the main event.

You can have food base layers, discussion base layers, and even pre-workout gym base layers.

History of Base Layers

The idea of base layers originated for me when I noticed myself regularly visiting the salad bar before dinner.

My friends and I were on a trans-Pacific cruise. This Cruise was in 2014 but click here to read about a recent cruise I went on in 2017.

My friends and I went on a trans Pacific cruise: Vancouver to Tokyo.

I wanted to eat a healthy dose of salad and vegetables before we had our nightly routine of fine steak and sugary desserts.

PRO TIP: eat a salad before you eat delicious meat.

Because vegetables in quantity were difficult to obtain in the dining room, we would go to the salad bar an hour before dinner.

At the salad bar, we could feast on unlimited spinach and lettuce and cucumbers and broccoli.

We went to the salad bar an hour before dinner.

In my opinion, this was a healthy balance and a nutritional ground cover for what I would eat later.

Famous Quotes About Base Layers

Jared Kleinert at General Assembly NYC.

I asked my friend, noted author and millennial expert Jared Kleinert, to add his input. Here is what he had to say:

To me, base layers are the warm-up. Athletes do warm-ups before games, but executives, employees, and the everyday working man or woman usually dives right into their work without a similar practice of preparing themselves for what’s ahead. It made a lot of sense to me to get “base layers” of work in before the most important tasks for the day, especially when your schedule allows for it, such as when you’re on a transatlantic cruise for productivity purposes to get away from the noise of everyday life (where I first heard of “base layers”).

My friend Jimmy rarely wears ties, but when he does, he looks great.

Jimmy Hayes, co-founder of Minaal travel gear company, succinctly sums it up:

Without base layers, I’d be 1/2 the man – and 1/3 the beast – that I am today!

Michael in black says “Chipotle is only a base layer if you eat it twice in a row.”

Michael Alexis, Marketing Director at Museum Hack says:

Perhaps the most under-mentioned benefit of base layers is the social aspect — it’s not just about increasing dietary fibre and maximizing your value on cruise ships. What is that social aspect?

First, base layers are an opportunity to extend a group meal by 20 minutes or more. A recent study by Michigan State University showed a positive correlation between quantity of time spent together and building strong bonds.

Second, and perhaps more important, is that the composition of a base layer is a highly personal choice, with questions like spinach or lettuce and protein or no protein; base layers are a built in icebreaker that tell you not just what your dining-mates likes to eat, but what they value.

Base Layers in Clothing

Men posing in their long underwear, the earliest known example of the “base layer” concept.

Cold weather residents are familiar with the concept of base layers. Long underwear is the best example.

Other Base Layers

Me in Cancun: We ate a lot of base layers on a different vacation we went on in Mexico with some of the Museum Hack team.

Conclusion: How You Can Add Base Layers to Your Life

  1. In life, for food: Always eat a salad or healthy snack before going out to eat.
  2. At work: Conduct pre-meetings with your direct reports before quarterly reviews so that there are no surprises.

What other areas of life use the base layer concept?

Leave a comment and let me know!



  • Andria Yu: When painting, you should always use a base layer (primer) to prepare the surface. Whether painting walls, cars, art or even your face (makeup). The base layer, as you have noted, is a key foundation upon which to build a meal, an idea, a process, an adventure. Motorcycling has taught me a lot about base layering EVERYTHING. (Think skills, clothing, safety, focus, mental prep.)
    • Nick Gray: This is genius!! Great example of base layers. Thank you Andria Yu — cc Tynan

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