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Health coach turned podcaster, Chase interviews industry leaders in fitness nutrition and mindset. Messages to help you live a life EVER FORWARD.

Chase Chewning, MS, ACE CHC

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Apr 15, 2021

EFR 463: Pain Science and Bridging the Gap Between Muscle Therapies with Sam Visnic

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Sam Visnic believes staying on the cutting edge is the key to FASTER results. That's why he is passionate about learning new techniques, staying on top of current pain research, and integrating the best approaches to both clinical massage therapy and movement re-education.

Sam is the founder of Release Muscle Therapy, where he provides pain relief through clinical massage and movement. He is also the owner of the Visnic Center For Integrated Health, whose focus is “on assisting clients with achieving the highest levels of health and vitality through an integrated approach.”

Sam began his career as a personal trainer at 19 during the fitness boom of the 1980s. He quickly found his niche in corrective exercise and decided to become a massage therapist subspecializing in neuromuscular therapist.

He describes the trajectory of his career and his expertise in his field as ever-evolving as knowledge about the human body expands over time. He quips, “What happens is, the more you learn in this field, the more challenging your clients get.”

Sam explains how his approach progressed in the past two decades, from an initial perspective that was purely mechanistic in its view of the body to one that is entirely holistic—known as the Biopsychosocial model of pain assessment and treatment. His open-mindedness and relentless drive to learn as much as he can earned Sam the reputation of being the go-to guy for difficult cases among his peers.

Listen in as Sam shares why developing the ability to build rapport with clients can be a game-changer for anyone in his field, why hypnotherapy is “the next thing”, how your brain controls how you feel pain independent from what’s actually happening to your body, and how to rewire your mind to dismantle unproductive beliefs.

Follow Sam on Instagram @releasemuscletherapy

Follow Chase on Instagram @chase_chewning

Key Highlights

  • What is the biggest misconception we have when it comes to pain and how can we work through it?

  • How does Sam communicate to his clients that a certain pain may not be due to an obvious cause, but a result of a myriad of factors (i.e. nutrition, neuropathic, etc.)?

  • How much of perceived pain is purely psychological?

  • Sam enumerates his five-step formula for making changes in your life.

Powerful Quotes by Sam Visnic

I always make fun of this concept that we’re going to somehow figure out where pain is generated in the brain and turn it off with a designer drug. That’s nonsense because pain is an accumulative experience of a lot of different phenomena, and the brain takes all of that information and runs it through various filters.

Your brain, to some degree, can’t tell the difference between something you’ve vividly imagined that’s pulling at all your sensory resources, and something that’s actually happening in the real world.

Beliefs are those things you can’t get by. A belief is just a thought that has legs under it like a table. It’s sturdy. It’s simply a thought that has moved up another level.

When you run up against a belief, the belief will shield a certain reality from you and leave you less perceptive to different pieces of the experience.

Brains do three major things: they delete, they distort, and they generalize.

More about Sam

I've spent my life studying the fundamental aspects of human health with a focus on movement and clinical massage therapy.

In a world of specialists, surgical procedures, drugs and quick fix remedies, I'm committed to finding and developing strategies that help people stuck at the “gap”.

Over the last 18 years I've studied dozens of systems and methodologies for uncovering the root cause of aches and pains, along with postural and movement issues.

Pain science, the art and science of hands-on soft tissue massage techniques, and coaching movement is essential in my practice.

Integrating different methods but above all deciphering WHEN to use different techniques with different people and situations, along with integration of movements that people want to be able to do again is the key to long term success with my incredible track record with clients.

Understanding the various elements that contribute to conditions and the power of communication and education makes my Release Muscle Therapy program separate from other hands-on therapy approaches.


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Interview transcript:

Sam  

Well, I have a very interesting history, I would say that classically, I was training, I was just a personal trainer, you know, when I was around at the fitness boom, where things started kind of moving into the corrective exercise stuff, you know, when asked and NASM was really starting to kind of take off into that realm. And I remember those old school books where they're telling you to suck in your stomach and all that kind of stuff and fix your posture. And, you know, when I started off in that realm I was a meathead, you know, skinny kid, wanted to lift weights and get jacked and want to be a pro bodybuilder, you know,

Chase  

Sounds about all of us when you first find a barbell, right.

Sam

Absolutely. And so, you know, a love for that kind of stuff. And, you know, science, a bodybuilding kind of stuff. I remember reading old school stuff. And if your listeners remember Fred Hatfield and so forth, and those books hanging out in Barnes and Noble

Chase  

Yeah, it was it a Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of bodybuilding. So many golden things back there.

Sam

Absolutely. And when I started with that, I mean, we can dive into that if it's interesting. But there was an interesting progression about how I learned and got to the way that I am right now. But I became a trainer when I was 19. So is I've literally done nothing else. And so it's been about 20 years now. And very early on, I linked up with, you know, was so interested in that kind of corrective exercise kind of model and learning from NASM because it was so new, I really found, you know, I had a niche, you know, and it was when I was working at 24 Hour Fitness, and I felt so comfortable kind of applying that stuff with people who had aches and pains, which are reality as anybody who's a trainer, right? Everybody's got something. And but nobody wanted to deal with that stuff because they were afraid to go practice. It was just like, hey, this person's got knee problems. I'm like, I'll take them. So give me a right away just kind of became this thing. And I linked up with, you know, I'd read the references on the back of the NASM books. And I linked up with a guy named Paul Chek and long story, you know, after that, we started to realize that casually, it just

Chase  

You casually just linked it with Paul Chek, no big deal.

Sam

Yes, yeah, he was, I mean, I give him a lot of credit for where I started. And he was way ahead of his time back then. And, you know, you know, you said, you're not going to be as good as you can be with this work and helping people unless you get some kind of specialty to put your hands on people and do manual therapy. So that led me to massage school. So I did go to I became a massage therapist. And that's kind of my license is the kind of work that I do. But it's hard to say it's like, you know, fitness training, but also massage therapy. But I call myself a neuromuscular therapist, because that was the subspecialty within massage that I worked at. And that's kind of like I think is a good reflection of the kind of work that I do is neuromuscular techniques, anything that's affecting, you know, the nervous system and the muscular system and the output of that, which is going to be you know, what it used to be is like posture and muscle imbalances, but it means a whole lot more now. So that's what I'd say I'd say more of a Clinical Massage Therapist. And in this country, it makes difference to actually state that kind of a difference. Exactly, you know, in a spa massage therapists, nothing wrong with that, but it's just different. And you know, in Canada, you're an RMT, which are a little bit more of an integrated health professional, you know, it's different there. So if I were to say if I was in Canada, I’d probably be an RMT. You know, so, but that's kind of like my general sphere of the work that I do.

Chase  

Sam we were talking before we hit record and you have a very, very unique approach and kind of lens through which you look at pain through which you look at the human body where it is. Where people think that it is, where people think they want it to go. From head to toe, head to toe, you're even kind of challenging some just common terms and descriptors that I'm familiar with. And I would even use in a very unique way. So like, please what is the misconception, the biggest misconception we have when it comes to pain and understanding where it is in our body, what it means and how to work through it?

Sam

 Oh, that's a whopper. 

Chase

It’s a big one; you'll be here for 30 minutes.

Sam

Hey, that's cool. That's cool. I like it. Um, but it's good to understand that that model of how things have progressed in this industry, and I talk about, and it's very interesting to see how it all has progressed and how my thinking has progressed around this. When I, when I started, it was all about, you know, looking at the body, obviously, through this mechanical lens, you're looking at posture, distortions, and posture, muscle imbalances, it all kind of started off with that. And so what we looked at is to say, hey, these muscles are short and tight, these muscles are long and weak and we can fix all of this stuff by just giving you stretches and exercises and foam rolling. 

Chase

Just focus on those muscles. 

Sam

Totally as if the person didn't exist, it was just a you're looking at, you know, like a pinball machine, it had parts in it that you could just fix and, you know, very early on, I was kind of moved off of that thinking because in the beginning, that's what it was about. And sometimes when you're learning the mechanics of the body, it is helpful to kind of think, think about things as a structural mechanical model. But and I dropped the name, Paul Chek. And I do give the guy a lot of credit. And he's not so much some people aren't even aware of him now. Because there's so many new models and things that people are talking about. He's out there doing his thing. But in the beginning, you know, I remember going to the, you know, looking at him as a reference. And here's this guy out here. And I bought, I think, remember scientific core conditioning these programs. And this was seven hours of video of this guy yapping on and on about functional anatomy and how all of these things are connected. And I was like, I have to take this, nobody knows this. This is insane. And so I took the courses and you know, through the course of Paul's program, he moves you more into even in the beginning when you like now he'll teach you all the spiritual stuff and the nutrition stuff that he talks about. But early on, he didn't talk about that. It was all about you know, you got to learn the mechanics first you learn something's working well, and when it's not working well, but then started kind of introducing this idea of nutrition. And you know, how, why is it you've got clients that come in and their lower abdominal muscles don't seem to be working or they're hanging? Did it ever dawn on you that the person has a gastrointestinal problem, and they're inflamed? How are you going to get that person to not have an excessive anterior pelvic tilt in these postural aberrations when their guts are inflamed, and they don't feel well, and they have neurotransmitter problems, and blah, blah, blah? And that really just got you to think like, whoa, you can't, you have to actually kind of move into some different fields here,

Chase  

Maybe there's more than just meets the eye

Sam

Totally and then that kind of like, as I kind of made progress in these mechanical models, I had to jump track and learn a lot about nutrition and this was early on when nobody knew what an adrenal test was. And I remember I was learning through them through bio health diagnostics, Bill Timmons, here in San Diego, they got us through Paul's nutrition coaching program, we were able to do some of these kinds of labs. So I started running adrenal profiles, urine test on people and I was looking all these metabolic markers and you start to see a lot of people have some interesting stress based syndromes and issues going on here. And so we would work on that just from a lifestyle perspective. And it was just, you know, we didn't get into too much supplementation later on I did but very early on, it was like, are you sleeping? Are you drinking enough water?

Chase

Fundamentals. 

Sam

Fundamentals and these are things you got to do. And you know, things will get more complicated. And it's funny, what happens is, the more you learn in this field, the more you get challenging people. And so you know, you get stuck, and you're just like, people have these problems, you don't have to deal with them. And you had to kind of branch out and learn new things. And that led me into communication. And you know, early on, I was a Tony Robbins fan because he was you know, 1920 and I want to be successful. But, Tony, I talked about his neuro associative conditioning, which was, you know, tied into hypnosis and early neuro linguistic programming. So, you know, being me, you know, and obsessed with everything about this stuff, I went and took a ton of courses on neuro linguistic programming, and I spent years learning the communication models, and then I would tie that into the things that I was doing. So when somebody came in, and usually they were coming in through, they might be coming in for nutrition, or might be coming into mechanics, because I was a do everything practitioner, which means I was a master of none of them but you try to discern way did somebody need to go with this? And it was really hard to put all of that stuff together, as anybody who works in a kind of a unit of practitioners knows that it's better off that to see an individual for each individual kind of discipline. 

Chase  

That is why we have specialists, right. 

Sam

Absolutely and so but I was I was getting good results. And my name was starting to grow as being somebody who was really good with difficult cases. So easy stuff. I never see these people but I call chiropractors in my area and be like, hey, do you have those patients that you don't know what to do with and you want to get rid of?

Chase  

Send me your problem children.

Sam

That is what I did and so when you get cases like that you get good at those kinds of cases. So I get to lead athletes and stuff from time to time just because of my networks and I got to tinker with those. But my real passion was dealing with these people with these really complex problems. And they had actually been cleared through the medical system. 

Chase  

So like what, for example, if you could kind of highlight one, you know, you're talking about maybe someone presenting with something and actually, maybe considering a nutritional approach, like what would be an example of one?

Sam

you would get people that would come in, I think, you know, whatever I was writing about, you know, as I was doing, writing blogs and stuff, I became really well known for sacroiliac joint problems, for example, because not a lot of people were writing about it, the therapy field was kind of moving away from the SI joint as a pain generator. And you know, for good reason. But you know I still talk about those things. And you know, really, what you'd end up finding is people would come and say, have this chronic SI joint problem, it was really nonspecific low back pain, they'd run through, you know, the medical system that had x rays, MRIs, nobody knew was wrong with these people, but their pain was, you know, six on a 10, they have very specific, you know, movements and so forth, that would help. They went through physical therapy, they still have pain, and they'd end up on my office, and they've been just trying everything, you know, acupuncture, chiropractic isn't doing all this stuff. And then when you evaluate them, you know, there were certain things that early on, I was not aware of what was making them better. But my colleague reminded me even just a couple years ago, and he's been out of the business for a long time, and we're usually like, I remember you saying it 15 years ago, you were convinced that the reason why a lot of the people were getting better is because you were convincing them that there was nothing wrong with them. And it struck me now 

Chase

That kind of psychosomatic approach. 

Sam

Yeah. Which was really just, you know, as reflective of what we look at with pain, neuroscience education, now what's happening, which is, you know, people would say, I can't do anything in my low back would hurt, or my SI joint or whatever. And I'm like, can you breathe? Yes, this is my favorite line, can you breathe? Yes, I can give you an exercise. So I can help people. And I would just start with whatever they could do. And a lot of people at the time, it was bird dogs, it was lower abdominal exercises, things that I learned through the Czech Institute, and NASM, and so forth. But I would really show people micro progressions and graded exposure. And that's what I was doing. And I would start with whatever they would do and a lot of people would say, I've done planks, I'd done bird dogs, but they didn't have specific protocols on how to progress them. So they would get this kind of initial level exercise of a bird dog, but there sets, reps, loading tempo speeds, those things were not included. And what I would do is I would show people how to do those micro progressions and each way along the way, I would say, you know, some people would be nervous to do movements. Sure, and those listeners are familiar with this term is called kinesiophobia. So they would believe that they had a delicate spine or whatever, and they were gonna get injured if they weren't careful.

Chase  

And that would enhance the belief of what I can or cannot do.

Sam

Yes and that would make them more sensitive, short, and their nervous system would express more pain when they would move as an alert system. So what I would teach them and say, you know, did your back brake when you're doing this bird dog exercise? I'm like, no, it feels okay. And I'm like, good take, remember that. So now when you do this exercise three times a day until you're absolutely convinced that your nervous system doesn't give a damn about doing this exercise and this is how I used to talk to people, but I didn't realize what I was doing. But at the time, I had that mentality where you are not fragile. And the answer is to build up a bunch of muscle. That's a meathead’s mentality, right? If you have ton of muscle, your spine is going to be stable, because I was still in

Chase  

Need to stabilize the joints above and below as you need to strength train and hypertrophize. 

Sam

That's right, dude, you're good to go and stop bitching, because you're going to be fine. And you know, so it was like that. And over the years, the approach was more refined. I just went through a lot of phases where I just developed my craft, and I got better at, you know, convincing people they refined by giving them exercises and so forth. And then, you know, again, I got into a phase where I leave this out, but I did lots of lab testing, and I was really into the functional medicine side of things. That was due to influence of Charles Poliquin, big guy in the in his bio signature phase and that went through a whole thing, where I was learning about hormones and everything else. I linked up with a well-known doctor back in the day. His name is Dr. Eric Serrano, became a very good friend of mine and I literally went to Ohio and I moved out there with him to literally go room to room with him with patients and learn how he treated people. And you know, he's taught me a whole lot about hormones. And, you know, Eric knows a lot about bodybuilding and dealing with that kind of stuff. Bodybuilders who have those kinds of challenges and, you know, that just kind of really and one of the things that I give a lot of credit to Eric for is Eric was just absolutely masterful at patient communication. He had such an insane rapport with his patients. And I was just convinced that watching him interact with people is that his level of comfort, and the confidence that he would have still on his patients, it was brilliant, brilliant doctor as it was but just watching him interact. I was like, this is the key. This is what I'm missing.

Chase

Communication.

Sam

Absolutely and building rapport and helping his patients not feel threatened. And it was such a game changer for me. And it's funny that a lot of the a lot of classical things that you would think would actually make you better as a practitioner made me better as a practitioner just watching somebody who's really good with building rapport and communication and a lot of things he would do with people, you know, you know, hugging a patient I was very uncomfortable with because I wouldn't hug people, you know, very much like I don't like people touching me

Chase

Don’t get too attached to the patient, you know.

Sam

 That’s the irony of being a massage therapist I don’t want people touching me. So but you know, stuff like that really got me into, again, understanding all of the facets. And you know, when I got back to Southern California decided I want to stay in Ohio, restarted my practice again, but then kind of went into a different direction, which I really want to just kind of focus on the mechanical aspect of the work, I don't want to be running labs on people and having to work with doctors, and it was just kind of a pain to do that. And so I just kind of went full scale into just going back to my mechanical work. And what came along out of that was I think, a number I can't remember how many years ago that was, but pain neuroscience education started to become a thing. Internet started booming, you know, a lot more professionals online sharing information, which is just remarkably changed everywhere

Chase  

More access to information.

Sam 

Unbelievable and you know, I started reading things and I got a lot of from a confirmation bias perspective, things that I had been doing that research was like, this is it and I was like, Whoa, this is bonkers. 

Chase

You're getting validation on your work, you're getting challenged approaches. 

Sam

Yeah. And then of course, you read it. And then you're just kind of like, there's a lot of that stuff that you hadn't considered. It's kind of like I had cracked open the doorway, and I was starting to get going on it. But I really didn't get it until I read a lot of the books on that information. So I started reading a lot about pain neuroscience education, from Adrian Lau therapeutic neuroscience education, that book was awesome. Every clinician needs to read it. Mosley's audios and videos online and I just immersed myself in that there's a lot of stuff that I just didn't know. But as I got into it, I started noticing parallels between that stuff and a lot of things that I had been doing, which I feel like I was able to kind of advance or put it more into practice, again, with hypnosis and using language. And you know, one of the things and I'll mark my words on this and everybody listening is hypnotherapy will be the next thing, we are stuck in this this realm where we don't understand how to kind of reset things a lot of times in the nervous system. We're dealing with subconscious elements and that's what with things like hypnosis, excels in. I mean, we've seen the rise of motivational interviewing and so forth, which are language models to help shift beliefs and people.

Chase 

Just needing to tap into altered states of consciousness in various ways.

Sam

And we're doing it anyway. It's just the problem is that people don't have a structure for doing it on with volition doing it on purpose. So but there's tons and mountains of research on hypnotherapy and I always tell people, you don't believe it works. Imagine what happens when somebody has an allergy to anesthesia and a dentist has to pull your tooth out. When they use hypnotherapy for dentistry, and they can yank a tooth out and you don't feel it. It works. So I know you say they had like, come on, we know it works. There's a lot of research. And the problem is just the comfort with it and dealing with the stigma that's associated with it, which is a problem. But you know that stuff when I looked at it in the languaging, because pain neuroscience education is really about taking something that people just really don't understand at all, which is pain. And we don't have an instruction manual for it

Chase

Really, we're still studying it. 

Sam

That's right, we don't understand it but take that to an individual who's just dealing with day to day pain, and educating them on this and being like, Hey, you know, let me teach you what pain really is, and how it relates to what you're experiencing and reframing that and putting those things into context, which changes things for the individual. And the my work is really kind of coalesced around that whole can of worms, there's the interaction between the structural elements, the biological elements, sociological and psychological elements, which is known as the bio psychosocial model, which is looking at an individual as a whole, and all of the environmental interactions, and so forth, that kind of like, maintain and sustain that, that status, or that state of consciousness that they are experiencing, or, you know, whether that's pain or anything else. And so it's complicated, and it is a web factors, but traditionally, you walk in, and people are gonna go, well, I'm going to do a structural evaluation on you, and we're going to start kind of layer without overwhelming people. So it's a, it's very, very cool. There are a lot of facets to it. And that's just kind of like the essence of the kind of work that I do

Chase

It is pretty wild. When you think about I think everyone would agree when we think of homeostasis, it is head to toe, majority speaking here, every system in our body working individually and working together in a very efficient manner but when we have something that is a problem, when we have pain when we have an injury when we have all of these things that we believe to be true, or we're being told or we look up or our doctor tells us or trainer tells us, it quickly goes from the holistic systemic view to individual. So how then do you tell how do you help translate to somebody, hey, you may think you have pain here but what actually is going on is a whole myriad of systems running in the background that are probably out of alignment and this is just kind of like the manifestation? 

Sam  

Yeah, that's, that's a really tricky thing because we cannot, you know, I think the real genius is to be able to go global and go specific, and be able to slide between these kinds of realities. And with language we call specificity versus generalization is your ability to move within that realm and tie all of the pieces together. So within individual coming in and says my knee hurts, and my knee hurts under these conditions under these circumstances. And, you know, if, if it makes sense, you're gonna say, well, I want you to do these exercises, these stretches, these are the things that are predictable, meaning I can turn that issue on, like a light switch on and off, right, so if I can do that, I'm going to hone in on that. But then you're going to find that more chronic pain situations, and this is how we would describe it, let's say, for example, central sensitization, or, you know, one of these kind of, let's just stick with that central sensitization, which is basically that the system itself is having aberrant responses and having over responses to non-painful stimuli. So let's say Fibromyalgia or something like that, there is no consistency to it, right? So how are you it is not a light switch phenomenon. So in that situation, you cannot deal with these people on a localized way, you have to teach them global approaches to understanding their situation. So the, you know, proper classification of the kind of pain that the person is experiencing is really, really tricky. And that gives you an idea of what to do like, again, it's like I've seen, I don't see many people with fibromyalgia because again, as a massage therapist, you do get a lot of people who are looking for pain relief, and we come in and one day, I would do massage work with somebody that they would feel amazing, I would do the exact same massage the next time in person and a lot of pain with fibromyalgia and that's because their system, for whatever reason, 

Chase

There’s no rhyme or reason. 

Sam

There is but we just don't know what it is true, you know, so that day, maybe they were being affected by some other type of stressor, or trigger, and now that sensory input was way too much. So in that situation, you know, that person does not have an understanding of how central sensitization works, and all of the different factors that can kind of cue them in as to whether or not that kind of stimulation is appropriate that day, then they're going to be largely far more stressed and anxious, because any given sensory stimuli may result in them having a horrible day and being in a lot of pain. So, you know, they have to have more education and they have to have more, you know, guided like, you have to let us know how you feel this day and then we can help kind of guide what might be best for you that day. But again, on the other end of things, that the more kind of run of the mill, my back hurts when I bend forward, or when I deadlift, we want to be able to replicate the scenario as much as possible. And you know, to some degree, that's not always going to be the case because the context in which the behavior is occurring, which generates the threat is not the same in your office. You know, we all see those people of practitioners who, you know, got the client that comes in, and who plays 18 holes of golf on the weekend, and their back kind of hurts a little bit. But then you come in to give them a bird dog exercise, and then they call you the next day. And we're like, what the hell did you do you my back is killing me? And you're like, how can you be swinging a golf club and walk in you have minor pain, but yet this non-threatening stimuli has a significant reaction. So you know, those are, those are situations that you're dealing with. And I say, I always tell my clients, I'm like, I'm very conservative. In the beginning, I give you small doses of things. Because I'm going to go after antagonizing your direct pattern, we don't know what your nervous system is going to do with that, you know, and so educate you so that you don't feel extra threatened by the process. 

Chase

You want to know exactly when, where, why and how you poke the bear it wakes up.

Sam 

Yeah and under what circumstance and so that the closer you can get it into that into those cues, and those triggers, because the nervous system may have very, very defined parameters on when it feels threatened and when it doesn't. And so, you know, a lot of people, you can replicate things and correct them in the office and doing exercises. I say more often than not, that is the case but there's definitely circumstances where it's not the case and that's where you have to dive into the lifestyle factors. Because, you know, a lot of people said, we don't know why people hurt. We don't really know what the mechanisms are. And that's okay. We're not going to figure that out but as a result of that, not knowing we need to be kind of encapsulating the problem with more different therapeutic modalities, meaning dealing with their stress levels if we can, make sure they sleep, the researchers and all supporting certain things in neuroscience education, like number one, we educate people. I mean, the more they know about their pain, the less threatened they are by it. We know that the research shows that but then we have to sleep. You know, they do these wonky studies where of course, they take some college kids, and it's alright, we're gonna poke you with needles, and then we're gonna see how much pain you experience and you're gonna give us a rating, then you're not going to sleep for three days, and then we're gonna poke you again and let's see how much pain you have. And of course, when behold, they have more pain sensitivity when they don't sleep. So we know that and that makes things easier. Your client comes in, and you run a pain questionnaire on them, and they don't sleep and they have chronic pain, and nobody's been able to help them. But yet every single practitioner they see has another biomechanical reason why the person hurts interesting. And I'm like, well, first of all, your eight on a 10 scale, in terms of pain might really be a two, if you got some sleep, why aren't? Why aren't you sleeping? And so that's the direction we want to go with that. And you want to get quick wins with people by kind of targeting those areas. But again, like every case is different. You look at that paperwork, and you start talking with people. Do they fear their situation? The pain? Do they fear movement, that kinesiophobia, they're phobic of movement, or they're not sleeping, and they're just really stressed out and a lot of different areas of life. And it does not mean that they don't have a mechanical trigger, because they do usually when they come in, but there are all these exacerbating factors that are making that situation far worse than it really is.

Chase  

Sure. Yeah. We tend to do that, don't we?

Sam

Yes, yeah. So you're, you know, you're kind of circling around this, trying to understand the scope of what it is that the person is experiencing. And I always tell them, I said, Look, I feel like if I could jump into your body and live in you for a day; it's probably a lot easier to figure this out but we have to deal with this little issue, which is that I'm living in my body, you're in yours and we have this crude source of communication, which is we're using language to try to communicate that experience back and forth. So a lot of times, it's like, I'm literally having to teach the client and get on a common language.

Chase

How to translate and how to talk to you in a way that you can actually properly interpret and is like hitting home for them.

Sam

That's right. And if I'm a bad communicator, and I can't teach people how to communicate to me, and we're literally passing by each other in terms of the language, there's a much higher chance of failure, because we're not talking about the same thing and we're not creating the same representations in our minds of each other's experience. So that is, I feel like when a lot of the pain, neuroscience education pieces really about and, you know, so that's kind of a, that's a, that's an interesting terrain to dive into.

Chase  

Yeah, you bring up a really interesting point as well of the more people can know about pain. I personally have been through experiences. And when I was in clinic, I would see patients as well, who you have some kind of thought or affinity towards something that happened to you pain, limited range of motion, whatever it may be. And then you learn about it. And then you learn about what's going on in my muscles, what's going on, like, what's a pain receptor, you, the more you learn about the situation, and you develop an understanding for it, and with it, it kind of alleviates the pain a little bit sometimes or it can exacerbate it, you know, you understand more what's going on your body like holy hell and what my body is doing what? Like then it can either go one of two ways I think. So to that my question is, is like, to what level is pain real? To what level? You know, when you help someone understand what's going on in their body? Does it get alleviated? Does it get worse? And so then was there actually that level of pain even to begin with? Like, what is the knowing concept of pain?

Sam

There's a lot of ways you could probably tackle that idea and so we know that there is no pain receptors actually in the body we use that term, just to make sense of things. But there really is just receptors, and all of our tissue tissues can send information through the medium of nerves to the into the brain and, you know, these receptors sense different things. We can sense blood flow, we can send compression, we can send temperature, we can send stretch, all these different types of receptors that we have. So these receptors send neutral information up the spinal cord to the brain, it's up to the brain to make a decision determination through many quadrants in the brain. So I always make fun of this concept that we're going to somehow figure out where pain is generated in the brain and to turn it off with the drug designer drug. That's nonsense because pain is an accumulated experience of a lot of different phenomenon. But the brain is going to take all of that information and run it through various filters in the brain that always remember these. But let's say for example, you have the part of the brain that is going to interpret the information. What is the information that's being sent; it is a stretch is this compression is this what is this? And it's also going to kick it over to another part of the brain that is going to make another evaluation which is going to run it through your memory filter. We've all had that experience where we go Oh shit, I felt this one in here before and this means my back's gonna go out. So and this is happening in

Chase  

Your brain made an imprint on that moment of that sensation of that interpretation.

Sam

And it remembers it and so it'll run it through a memory filter. And then you have another element that kind of accumulates all of this data. And then you have the anterior cortex, remember which one it is. But you have a conscious evaluation of that data too. So when we say psychosomatic, and when we say things like, you know, I'm really trying to eliminate with my clients, the idea that pain is in your head, what do you mean by that it's in your head because your brain is in your head. But there's information that's going on in the background here, and you have a conscious evaluation of what's going on in the background, you are not generating that. That is happening. So you have sensor sensors going on, like you can think about slowing your blood pressure and your heart rate down but as soon as you check out again, it goes back to doing what it is doing. So, you know, when we are evaluating that, we, as human beings have this ability to layer our consciousness on top of itself is self-reflexive consciousness. This is what I feel about that. Well, how do I feel about the way that I feel about that? So we create these what we call Meta states, these states that layer on top of so many layers

Chase  

How many layers of awareness, do I have consciously and subconsciously, about this sensation?

Sam

Infinite, you can have as many as you want but what we're trying to do is to look at this and to say, let's say for somebody has the experience of the sensory inputs that are going into the brain, the brain making that decision as to whether or not this is a threat.

Chase  

Its sole job; survival.

Sam

So if it's a threat, you're going to get pain and pain is an alarm system. All pains job is to do from what we know is to tell us that there is a potential threat or danger and an action needs to be taken. The problem with this is that we don't know what that action is. And we oftentimes are just kind of instinctually react to things, if you put your hand on a hot stove, the instinctual response is to pull it away but if you have chronic pain in your body, what are we supposed to do with that? We don't know. So the system is trying to tell us to take some kind of action. But then if we have this conscious element on top of that, and a lot of times when we have acute pain, you roll an ankle or you put your hand on a hot stove, there's what happens our brain is like can rectify why that happened. So we're not going to go on and on, we might punish ourselves and say, I'm stupid to put my hand on this, though, why did I do that. And that can occur. But in chronic pain, and chronic is that long term, past the expected time of healing, that the pain will continue. And the brain has a hard time kind of a lot of times squaring that is to figure out why this is still occurring and what it means. So if we pull in this meta state reflexively to say, you know, I'm sick of my pain, I'm angry about my pain, I fear my pain, we bring this state to bear upon the initial state; what we're essentially doing is sending more threatening information to the system. So let's compare this to panic attacks. So in a parallel is like if somebody actually has a panic attack, and it becomes a terrifying event for them, because they don't know what happens all the time it does, then they will start to become afraid of situations that may generate a panic attack. So now for their system is more on edge and there's the irony of that situation, which is, are the main paradoxes like actually, being more afraid of having a panic attack makes a panic attack more likely.

Chase  

What actually is causing the panic attack, like the trigger the event itself? Or like just the fact that you know, you've had this experience before? And you can kind of sense when it might happen again. I’ve been there.

Sam

Yeah, absolutely and the nervous system will and the brain will start setting up more potential triggers that are associated, that were never associated to the first one. So what will happen, it's called neuro tags and this is where things get interesting is that through a multi-sensory experience in our brain, because we coat information with lots of different pieces and chunks of information that will start oftentimes, like in this is a manifestation of like, for example, the way a client will come in and say, I initially bent over and my back hurt, then I can't deadlift. But over time, now can I not only deadlift, but I can't sit on a bike.

Chase

Anything that mirrors that movement that I thought I can't do before. 

Sam 

And then it expands to things that had nothing to do with that movement. Now, when I sit, now when I do this, there's more things I don't understand why more things now make me hurt, because the brain is actually starting to create further associations. And this is called a neuro tag. And that neuro tag can be more expansive. Now sometimes even with some type of mirror neuro tags I believe that if somebody can watch somebody else do the movement, they will hurt. So what happens is the brain is again, taking that sensory experience and tying it to that that pain experience that they're having so that things start to become associated in building connections.

Chase  

Mirror neurons blew me away the first time I kind of discovered that or read about them. It's just like, wait a minute, you mean to tell me that my brain is not telling the difference between what my body is going through and what I'm watching somebody else go through of like a pain of pleasure of anything, it interprets things in a very, very similar way. And then it’s only really up to our conscious state to decide, oh, no, that is me or it's not me. We have to kind of get in front of that system.

Sam

Yeah, and it's, this is a lot of ways where again, you'll find elements of that as a reason why hypnosis works or something else like mental rehearsal, because your brain to some degree can't tell the difference between something you vividly imagine that's pulling in all your sensory resources and something that's actually happening in the real world. So you know, when we're, we have that idea again, of that, that reflexive state of fear of pain and etc., we have a little bit more of a like a dragon state, we have a problem here that turns on itself. And this is where you get something like pain education becomes it really shines. Because if you have that, then pain education itself, first of all, brings awareness to that that is occurring. Some people will auto correct. So when you tell them that they didn't know that they were doing that and a lot of them that will, their brain will just start making the changes in their little chain. You know, ever had a realization where you're like, Whoa, I didn't realize I was doing that and you just kind of changed. And there was a process for that. But some people do not have that process. 

Chase

Inserting awareness can be a powerful tool for change.

Sam

And sometimes it does nothing. So yeah, I know that when I do this, this happens. But it doesn't stop the behavior from actually triggering and doing. So that's again, another distinction you have to make when the person is coming in saying sometimes education itself remedies the problem. And people's I've had cases where somebody fairly significant amount of pain. And then you know, anybody out there who teaches this will say the same thing. And then they'll say, after the first session, that kind of goes, I don't know if this is weird. But I feel like just after we talked about this, I'm already feeling like I have less pain, like, that is a flag there being like, this is a significant thing to this person. And then you'll have other people that just seem to be sitting there and digesting the information, but it's not changing anything. 

Chase  

That kind of leads into a lot of things I'm sure, you know, you were talking about hypnotherapy and a lot of other modalities. It's like, we choose to believe that it is true, and therefore it works, or we don't, and it's not kind of thing, you have to kind of have to be open to believing these kinds of things. Would you agree, you have to you have to be open to understanding that there is a lot going on in your body consciously and subconsciously and there are a lot of other ways to go about treating it? And if you from the beginning thinks something is real or not, then your brain is gonna be like it is or it isn't. And if you think something's gonna work, or it isn't, then odds are will or won't?

Sam

Yes, and you're working with people's styles, and there's you know, what we might call, you know, Meta states and, and values and beliefs. And I remember Richard Bandler, from NLP would say, there's a murmur beliefs of those things you can't get by. And a belief is almost like a shield, that when you're trying to move against it, a belief is just a thought that's been facilitated that has legs under it like a table. So it's not, it's sturdy. So, belief is nothing is functionally or neurologically not really much more different than a thought, or a value, a value is just a belief that has moved up to another level internally. So when you run up against a belief, a belief will shield a certain reality for an individual and leaves them less perceptive to different pieces of the experience. So you know, brains do three major things they delete, distort and generalize. So with beliefs, you're going to have a piece of distortion, generalization and deletion. So what you have to do is understand what's the framework by which that belief exists and you have to work around it. And, you know, one of the fastest ways of doing that is reframing, you know, when somebody says, my pain is always going to be this way; can you consider a situation where your pain might not behave that way? And then the person has to consider that and you have an opportunity to fill that in and to say, do you do you know anybody who this scenario has not played out this way? And that person is going to have to stop and consider that and very simply, you can break through beliefs

Chase  

Attach themselves to a possible other reality,

Sam

Right. The first thing you have to do is to loosen the frame. And if you if a person has a frame, and you can't, you're not going to be able to move through it, you've got to loosen it, you know, and you have to show them counter examples, anything counter examples are probably one of the most powerful things. My back pain is because of my disc bulge. Well, let me show you this study that shows that, you know, 100 people were taken off the street, and they ran an MRI on them. These people did have pain or did not and 60% of them had at least a spinal abnormality. And when they ran, you know, literally looked at how many people and they compare it to so most of the people had the spinal abnormalities had no pain. What do you think about that? 

Chase  

I would see this all the time in my clinic to where you know, people would, you know, they would get an X ray or MRI back and they would see something or the doctor would you know, interpret the reading and they're like, Oh, yeah, you know, now my shoulder does you know, that makes sense. Now, my shoulder does hurt, where they never had shoulder pain before but then they see it and the brain interprets it as this is bad, this is an injury, this is whatever or even the opposite you're in, you're in immense pain somewhere, and then you get the results back. I'm sure how many people have done that. And the doctors like, I don't know, where your therapist is, like, I don't know, like your X ray looks fine. Your MRI is fine. You know, there's nothing there. What can I tell you?

Sam

I see it all the time and it's probably the majority of the work that I see in the problem is, of course, in the and this is a big issue. You know, it is a tangent. But, you know, certain portions of the orthopedic societies are trying to stop clinicians or doctors from running MRIs and actually, so soon into the process, I believe it but this is a big problem with liability to be the standard care somebody comes in, they're not doing movement evaluations on people there's expectation set from the people walking in the door but the problem is, once you get that visual diagnostic, now, boom, you know, you have a solidified belief, and we don't question it.

Chase  

So many people want to go looking for something in hopes to find something in hopes of that being the answer, like doctors give me an MRI like see look told you see that micro tear in my labrum that's why I can't you know, have range of motion like no. 

Sam

No you have pain, because I want you to remember this because it's an important one, you have pain because your nervous system gives a damn about that not because there are many people and you know, this is another thing that I tell people is that look how many people have a disc bulge they overcome the pain, and then rerun the MRI to see what happened to the disc bulge. Nobody. So the reason why we don't do that is because the most obvious which is the experience of pain is the only thing that matters, not the disc, the presence of the disc bulge. In either of these cases, I can tell you many times, this is where people's brains were getting twisted like for example, somebody has an extrusion and but yet they have pain. The doctor says that's never going to go away. You're not going to fix that it's not going to just reabsorb on its own, we're probably gonna have to do surgery on that, but then moves into what we're going to treat this by giving you an epidural. Okay, so what is the epidurals because what happens after the epidural is I well, then we'll see and then if it in a couple months, and if it doesn't work, then we'll do the surgery. Okay, wait a minute. So you're getting conflicting information here. So does the extrusion matter if there's no pain? So the tree falls in the forest, nobody even knows does it matter. So that's kind of like where that's confusing for the person is, because their mind is going to be clung on in the presence of the extrusion, when really, the doctor should have communicated, you know, this extrusion could be this issue could be stable structurally and we just need to get this nerve to calm down, we're gonna get the epidural and if that pain goes away, then you're okay, because he did not indicate whatsoever that the extrusion was so important that they're going to remove it, because it's, you know what I'm saying? So this is confusing, but this is the stuff that happens all the time. And again, it's like always, clients are like, Wow, my doctor doesn’t know this, your doctor knows this they go to pain conferences every year. The problem is communication. And that always ends up being the issue. I've talked to many smart clinicians, people, they know this, and I'm like, why don't you tell people this, you know, if you walked into the door, and again, spent a little bit more time on the understanding of like, Hey, your MRI is not 100% conclusive that this is causing your pain and I want you to know, this, you know, and some do, some don't. But all of this ends up kind of going into that idea of what people end up coming in with and this complexity, and that's what you're trying to kind of extract from people and see what the beliefs are. And the beliefs are the things that are kind of framing the experience. And that experience becomes part of their neuro tag, which continues to keep their state in this or their system in this state of suspended threat. And you've got to break that you've got to see it as an entire piece or chunk and where you need to start throwing wrenches in the wheels to start softening those frames or those barriers around that reality without necessarily taking a hammer straight to them on day one, you know, because again, their brain is not going to be able to interpret all of that information and to understand that because behavioral changes doesn't occur overnight like that, when you have we're dealing with a complex problem. People have been dealing with pain for years, and there's many components to their pain, which is now kind of influenced their entire, you know, psychosocial circle, people respond to them differently now that they have pain, their social interactions might be different, they might reduce that they might be dealing with anxiety and depression as a result of that. And when you come in there barreling through with all this pain education, you don't really know what's going to happen as a result of that. So it's always better to be conservative to work your way slowly into it, and kind of see how that person's nervous system is going to respond or be receptive to this.

Chase  

Amazing. My squirrel brain went off for a second thinking about an analogy on the way you were describing belief system being this kind of like she'll this force field recently watched this Marvel show Wandavision, big MCU fan guy and I just finished it. I won't do any spoiler alerts for people but when you get into the show, you realize they're you know, Wanda this character, I mean, she's a superhero. So she's got powers and stuff. But it's a great analogy to this belief system that we have, you know, there's this consciousness, this world that she projected, and it literally formed, they call it the hex it was this barrier or like a force field kind of thing. And inside and outside of it, there were just various approaches to what's going on inside what's going on outside. And it all stemmed from a belief system. And it just, I'm probably doing a horrible job explaining this analogy, but just for some reason, when you talked about it like that, it's just yeah, it's like, how we perceive our world not only is how we live in it, but it is that projection on everyone around us. And then in the show, instead of like, you know, attacking, it didn't work, you know, he actually had to go to the source, they had to go to her and change her belief around how she was viewing the world. And only then did that kind of shield change and absolve,

Sam

And change technology works very much like that. And I think that no matter what system you're looking at, I mean, I was learning the, the formula for change is very simple. Number one, identify the problem state. Number two, because you can't change necessarily external circumstances, we're dealing with a person, you have to identify the problem state, you have to disassociate the person from the problem state, then you have to associate them to the resources that they need. And then once they're associated into the resources, you reassociate them into the problem state with those resources, so that the nervous system has an integration of those things. And then the last piece is to future pace them, to project them out into the future, seeing them responding differently to the same stimuli in the future, end of story that's therapy. Well, so when you do that, and I'm doing the same thing, I think with my work is associated the problem disassociate them, associated them resources, pain, neuroscience, new exercises that don't cause them threat, etc. and associate them back into those conditions and circumstances in which would generate that experience to begin with, lending deadlifting, whatever. And then with those resources, so the person has an integration experience, which is going to be a confusion state with skepticism, that the outcome is going to be the same, or different. And then future, pace them, let them continue considering in the future that they're going to be able to do that experience over and over again, with that with a different outcome. That's it. It sounds so simple, when you put it that way. But every step of the way, there's going to be interventions that may be necessary to do that thing. Some people cannot disassociate. Some people don't know what resources they need. Some people don't know how to not be anxious about the future. And that's those are those states that people get into anxiety is looking off into the future, thinking about what you don't want to have happen and feeling that as if that was happening now. That's dangerous.

Chase  

Yeah, I've been there so many times. And speaking of resources and stuff, you know, I brought up for anybody watching the video here. A couple things, you know, when we look at treating pain, pain, management, mobility, all the standard protocols that we are led to believe, or we just naturally want to gravitate towards because we read about it, or we had an experience that actually gave us some kind of relief when you get into a couple of these. But one quick point I'll make is that I think for people like in the gym, especially this is a huge barrier if you're working through an injury or you had an injury before. And I've thought about this many times before. Me, for example, I've reached some plateaus, I'll say some limiting points in, in PRs in the gym, amount of weight or amount of reps, particularly in like a squat and the deadlift because I get to a point to where it's Yeah, it's that stress load is that load, you got to push through, like I've done so many times before. But it's at such a high level that I immediately instead of thinking about what my body can do, I think about what it used to not be able to do and recovering from a string of serious injuries from my hips. And so then I always wonder like, well, am I at a point a I recovered enough now, years later, when my body actually physically if under the right load and progressive overload can handle that? Or is my brain just say, hey, no, no, no, no, like, this is a weak spot this is an injured spot, you know, like, what is it? I have always wondered, am I physically capable? Or is my brain just a limiting factor?

Sam

Yeah, that's a good question. And but those things also highlight the importance of being around a influential community of individuals like I had the luxury or great experience of when I was in Ohio, being able to meet Louie Simmons and experience a Westside situation, which is interesting and to train at elite FTS for a while. Dave Tate and a colleague of mine, JL Holdsworth, who is a record power lifter and you know, watching this environment where the environment is it very much about

Chase

What is possible.

Sam

That is right and there is something definitely too and we've been talking about some of these really influential about changing beliefs as we are our visual system is far more trustworthy to us on a lot of things then actually hearing about things and so forth. So being in an environment where you're watching people, I mean, I think I watched one day, Matt Wenning in there and he was benching, I think a two board or three board press with 900. I mean, I watched that it was and my colleague JL was like, I haven't bench-pressed in six months, I'm going to bench today and he was on about a 10 or 15 degree decline. And I was on the video, it's funny, I have to find it. But he's like, I'm feeling it today, I'll bench a little bit. And it was like 495, for five human beings exist to do this. But at some point, you realize, you know, there has to be there's limitations, and saying I'm capable of doing this and seeing people do that. Sometimes there's genetic freaks, and you're gonna create stories in your mind, while you're just not that kind of a genetic freak and you're not able to do that. But seeing more like-minded people or people that you associate to kind of in your, in your sphere of like people that are like you, and you see them accomplishing that, that changes things. And that's the whole Roger Bannister thing, you know, the four minute mile, you know, yeah.

Chase  

Nobody did it before him. And then he did it. And what like the same year like three, four other people did it right. Something crazy. Yeah.

Sam

Right. So he didn't suffer from the same generalizations, deletions and distortions as the people he was with. And you know when he moved through that, it takes crazy people to break the mold. So I think those things are really, really important. And that's also kind of comes into in the therapy world, why group exercise is important, but also, and you know, the old system of medical exercise therapy that came from Norway, I believe, but was all about, they wanted to have people in similar conditions in the same room doing their therapy programs, because you're always gonna have those people, it's going to influence the group. And so that's kind of like that, you know, we're talking about mirror neurons, which is, you know, we have pacing and leading, and that's a natural thing that occurs is that either your, your leader and other people, other people are pacing. But those can transfer roles as well, in your social environment sometimes you're the leader, sometimes you're the Pacer, but you're always going to kind of take on the characteristics. And hypnosis teaches this, like, for example, the first way to induce a trance with somebody is you have to go first. So the hypnotist should be in a trance, to lead the patient into a trance. So if I'm speaking fast, my heart rates elevated and I don't feel relaxed, it's going to be very hard for the person you are trying influence to get to that state as well. So the therapists, same thing, you know, when you don't know what happened, understand pain and you know, I don't show subconscious signs that I'm convenient with what I'm trying to teach you, you're going to have mixed communication with the individual who's receiving that information as well.

Chase  

Like do as I say, not as I do kind of thing you have to you always have a problem with that.

Sam 

I think it is hard to convince somebody to change a belief that you don't believe. Because it may or may not depending on the sensory acuity of the person you're telling it to, may be able to tell there's something in congruent about the what you're trying to come across with. So congruence does make a big difference as well and so all of that stuff is all part kind of part of this, this entire process. 

Chase

Amazing, amazing. Well, before we kind of, you know, wrap up, you know, this is blowing my mind, I'm definitely I could go longer, but we'll have to get a part two. But you know, I brought up a manual therapy gun, a foam roller or lacrosse ball. Those are my go twos when I'm just you know, recovering from a workout or I'm just sore for you know, for posture from work from daily living, or just mobility, whatever the intention is behind it these are my go twos. Am I right in using these, you know, kind of learning more about, you know, what's going on with pain? How am I understanding it? Or what is my brain telling me? Like? Are these things actually doing anything for me?

Chase

Yeah, I mean, I look at everything. And I'm like, it's just a, I think, a form of sensory input. And so we're really looking for is you have this consistent state, right, of whatever's going on information that's going from tissues to the nervous system, your brain, and then it's outputting by having a behavior type muscle, whatever,

Chase  

Let’s start with this guy so handheld therapy gun, like, the receptors, like what's going on there? Like what, what's actually happening?

Sam

Well, you know, we call it a novel stimuli. And in particular, it's like that stimuli is going to come in, you know, from the outside, the tissue is responding in a certain way, you know, sensory input. And then, you know, if I put my hand on there, it's a novel stimuli. And it's, it's something different than what's currently going on. And my nervous system is going to take that information, and it's going to process it, and it's going to determine is as threatening as non-threatening? What's going on here? 

Chase  

How would you describe it? So this input I would describe this would be rapid, consistent intensity and pressure.

Sam

Yeah. And it does induce a stretch. So if I pull a muscle under tension, and then I percuss it and the percussion is pushing down into it, let's say that has a 16 millimeter stroke to it.

Chase  

It is fast; how fast can you count?

Sam

Around 2700 rpm. It's rapidly pushing into a muscle stretching it, right. So my challenge is that when I use it, these tools is I think, for the way that most people use them, where they're just going to put it on the muscle and let it sit there. And it's not very valuable. It's just like massage therapy, there's a difference between just lying there and being passive and just kind of checking out versus engaging with therapy. So if I put that on there, right, let's say that I have pain in my

Chase

I just want to localize I'm going to target it.

Sam

And then so okay, I could put this on there. But when I straighten my arm, I feel pain. And then I go like this, if I put the percussion unit on there, and you can vary the speeds in the application, and I start moving my arm, the outcome we were initially looking for is a state of confusion. So I might go this way and we've got input coming in, that if it's close to the area, where the receptors are that we're, you know, sending information that was threatening, it's going to create confusion. So if I put that on there, and you go, I can move my arm farther without pain when this precursor is on there. What is that doing? Your brain is like, changing the input. So the input is now taking that information that novel stimuli and changing what it's doing in the tissues. So when we start to move to this kind of more neurological basis of what it is that we're doing, you know, we start to move away from it. We talked about kind of before these mechanical eyes models. So we're talking about like this, these, you know, and I think in the therapeutic field, and people can be quite vicious on social media, the more evidence based kind of crowd which is right, and the saying that is not releasing fascia that is not doing any of these things. It doesn't negate the use of the tool, the tool is a good tool, 

Chase

And it doesn't negate the therapy, the person interprets they're getting. 

Sam

That's right, if they get therapy, if they feel better, you know, and they say, like, I use all sorts of tools, but the explanation of what I'm doing, I'm not creating nonsense, pseudoscience and reaction, the reasoning why I'm using these things. What I'm saying is I'm putting a novel source of stimuli into this tissue. And does that make the sensation that you feel different? Yes, it does. In a way that's less threatening? Yes. So I'm going to leave this on here. 

Chase

And I think that's a key concept in a way that's less threatening. That's what the brain has to recognize and latch on to. And that's something that I would recommend everyone, you know, to kind of introduce as a state of awareness. Anytime you're trying a familiar modality or something new, you know, is this a non-threatening input? I think that can be crucial.

Sam

Well, let's look at you know, in the field where everything is about hyper aggressive, soft tissue techniques, I won't name names, but we know those ones that are making people squirm off the table. And, you know, the reasoning why they're doing this is because the interpretation or the idea of what is changing in the tissue, and we all know that that's not what's happening. Research doesn't support that. And one of those in particular is releasing fascia. We know that, you know, fascia is hyper dense material, and there isn't mountains of research on fascia that's really done, you know, you can find on PubMed, a lot of it is just basically shows

Chase  

Relatively recently, only known. I mean, what in the last 50 years, 100 years, like I, I may be totally wrong here. But like our actual understanding head to toe clinical understanding of their being fascia, what it is, and how it operates it's in anatomy and physiology is a relatively new concept, right?

Sam

Well, a lot of it is being studied that actually has some value. The funniest thing is that you talk to who deals with fascia all the time, and you should really ask about this is talk to a surgeon and they're like, yeah, that's a crap you cut through that's in my way.

Chase  

Yeah, it's that coating of the sausage, I got to slice through it in order to get to work.

Sam

Did you put that fascia back together when you were done? No, I don't do anything with it, you know, but now there's new research that shows that fascia has some interaction or activity that occurs. But again, it's generally non-relatable to the therapeutic industry, because it's not has hardly anything to do with what we're doing. Because fascia has, let's say, you know, I think the cranial fascia are somewhere in say, 5000 pounds per square inch of density. So you're not changing that with that percussive and certainly, if it even was possible, it would be insanely painful. And it will take a lot of applications to stretch that kind of tissue. Like if you've got the idea, I think, you know, started would be like, the amount of force that a lion's mouth and teeth. It would take a lion could barely, like tear through some fascia in your body by I mean, that's a hell of a lot of application and pain to get through that or to change it or to form it.

Chase

 Maybe there's a new business model for the next handheld therapy gun and the lions bite. Don’t try this at home kids.

Sam

Yeah. So when we listen to this, and we're just like, wow, that's what's happening. And then you're like, Okay, let's ditch what I have. The problem is if we ditch the narrative of why these things work, and we talk about it more like this is non-threatening activity, and it's novel stimuli now, we get a little bit more into, you know, the reasoning why these things might work and move people away from some of these again, stories and overly biomechanical models. These changes are neurophysiological, they happen rapidly there, I could do quick things. You know, if I foam roll, you squat and your knee hurts and you've foam roll on your quadricep which is painful, you know, but it still does work. It causes blood flow to go to the area and it changes or alters the stimuli that the nervous system is experiencing. And then you squat again. And then you have less knee pain. Hey, that works. But let's be careful the narrative, right? Because the narrative is, is yes. So all of these tools will do these things but they're, you don't need any of this. I mean, that's the reality of the situation is you can use anything. You know, there's new, more evidence based kind of approaches to manual therapy. One of them from Diane Jacobson she's a PT and herr system is called neuro modulation, which is kind of a new take on myofascial release and myofascial release itself is has some hokey stuff to it, and what it might do, versus the idea that all of the nerves that are coming from deep are innervating, the dermal layers, that of the skin, and when you stretch the skin, you are actually pulling the nerves through these little grommet holes from which they originate. And nerves love multiple things. They love blood, they love oxygen, and they love movement. So when you slide those nerves around, you're creating an altered sensory experience. And the nerves will alter the behavior. In a lot of ways like for example, 

Chase

Making all the conditions just right for what it likes.

Sam

That's right. So when you do something, and you know all of these techniques, and I can generalize this insane osteopathic techniques and muscle energy techniques, contract, relax, skin stretching, a lot of people are just kind of blown away sometimes at the work that I do is non-threatening, there's no pain associated to it and large increases in range of motion and non-threatening movement just by stretching their skin with breathing. And they don't really understand it when you're totally trying to go back to these pain science principles and say, your nervous system is perceiving like how does it know when you move? And how does your back know to hurt in this situation? Well, some receptors in the tissue are sending signals to the brain to tell it when to stop. And if I can manipulate the perception that those receptors are feeling or make those receptors fire later, by holding a skin stretch for two minutes until your nervous system starts to check out. And then I let go with a skin stretch and you repeat the movement and now you can go 10 to 15% further. What just happened there? What happened there is I manipulated the reporting stations in those sense receptors, and when that person now moves 10, to 15 degrees more, call their attention to it, and then the brain will start to go, I don't understand what happened here. And I just saw belief just get floored.

Chase  

Or I mean, you hit on a key point to what happens when we hold a belief that we have a limited range of motion and injury, pain or whatever, and you ask someone to go through that range of motion or to move in a way that they think will aggravate that the clench, they tense up, they hold their breath, yes, the power of breath. And this I promise you won't get another tangent, but like I'm currently wrapping up James Nestor’s Breath, the book, what breathing can do for us or against us is blowing my mind is just, I mean, just that concept alone, like I bet if you are working with someone, and you go, Okay, go through this range of motion and they clench up imagine just like actually no brief, like just walk through some breathing exercises, and then see what you can do like that, that I think is one of the very first signals that we tend to send to our brain, like, Hey, no, this is danger, danger Will Robinson or no, actually, I can do this. Or it's not as bad as I thought before.

Sam

It happens on a subtle level and you know, we have these synesthesia patterns, which will occur like for example, breath, extension and flexion eye movement and those things trigger reflexes and initiate that process. So in the old osteopathic books, when you're using muscle energy techniques, let's say that somebody has limited range of motion, turning their head to the left, I will take their head to the left to the barrier, I'll back off about 5% to the non-threat, because I'm not stimulating the receptors, I'll have the person I'll put my hand right here and I'll say I want you to look to the right, turn your head to the right with a 5% effort. Take a deep breath, hold your breath, relax, let everything go, turn your head, your eyes to the left and then go further. And the range goes further. This is all muscle energy techniques. So you're facilitating this. Now remember, these micro breast holds are also a piece of it that are far below consciousness. So in trigger point therapy, and one of the things I learned early on when I learned from St. John neuromuscular therapy is first of all the language was wrong. So when you push on an area that had a trigger point, and they said, this is referring, I feel that pain going down my leg or whatever. Here's what I want you to do. Let me know when that releases. I had a problem with that statement. Because that statement is let me know when that releases as if that's something outside of you but it is not.

Chase  

The whole communication concept again,

Sam

So I changed the language and I say, let me know when you release that. And all of a sudden, I started getting better results. Because people go, it's not releasing. Well, why don't you release that.

Chase

You are putting the power back into the person.

Sam

You have to. So then where they go, well, how do I do that? Now we're on a better therapeutic course and say, here's what I want you to do when I push on that do you feel that sensitivity? Yes, your sympathetic nervous system goes up a little bit. If I had a heart rate monitor on you or whatever, I'd probably be able to notice the subtlety? Now when I feel that do you feel like this little micro tensing? And that's the importance by the way of like, when I push on a trigger point, is it a one to 10, we need to be a five, because then you can actually relax if it's an eight and a half. And so if I push on there, like, that's a five, would you take a deep breath, remind yourself of the pain science stuff that we talked about at the beginning of the session, no threat, no threat, and I'm in a therapy office, and Sam is pushing on my back and it feels amazing. Now let go. Does the pain drop? It feels like are you lightening your pressure? That's what people know. I'm just keeping the same pressure and what happened is your nervous system goes, this is no threat, and it's gonna down regulate the receptors, it's going to send descending information down to say, this is less important. That is the therapeutic effect. And people are what Why do you call your release, that's the release. And they go, that's it, you understand how powerful that is? The difference is, is that when I stimulate tissue and your brain is firing up that neuro tag, and you have the ability to not lay there and passive therapy and hope that it releases, but rather you're part of the release, by engaging with your sympathetic nervous system and releasing your own threat response associated to that stimuli. That's the magic people. That is it. So when you take that range of motion, and you move, and you go, I feel threatened right here, I want you to bet I'm feeling threat back off 5% How do I feel okay, that's less threatening, breathe. And I want you to breathe until you're convinced that you're fine. And that you move a little bit further into it. If you can't, now boom, we got a therapeutic modality, I'm going to stretch, I'm going to put that on you, we are going to use contract, relax, breathing synesthesia with eye movement until your nervous system can get into a state of reduced the threat and we're going to attempt that range of motion again.

Chase  

It's the human body, especially the brain, as of late neuroscience in the brain has been a huge interest of mine in the last like year, like six months to a year. But it just never ceases to amaze me. 

Sam

Diving into the weeds with that stuff and saying, oh, that doesn't work. That's junk. What are you talking about? It's input. I could use nothing. I can use my hands. I could have the person go into a light state of hypnosis. And I can have them rehearse the movement 20 times with no threat. And then I can have them repeated, it'll probably work. So remember that we're talking about the nervous system can't tell the difference between reality and what's vividly imagined. So if I can vividly imagine that Andre Agassi was famous for saying when he won Wimbledon, he didn't look too excited. You're like, what happened? Well, I already won women's Wimbledon hundreds of times. It was rehearsal. He rehearsed the response. So many times and we've seen those things where people do and wonky applied kinesiology lectures where somebody turns and then you know, they think about something a positive emotion, whatever, and then they can turn further, what just happened there people? There's stuff that goes on there and when you're doing that with the interpretation of misleading people, because you're coming up with nonsense reasons why that worked. I have a problem with that because there was a legit reason why that works. And even when I do this, and people go, well, that's just placebo. And I'm like, okay, you know placebo is a good thing but also at the same time no, it's not, it's altering sensory input into the brain and your brain is taking new information and integrating with it, you know, and again, but we have to people have a hard time realizing that a lot of their boundaries are actually because of their beliefs. And truly, when you're doing neuroscience work, neurons are traversing new paths relative to old ones, I'm sorry, that structural therapy, things are changing and because the neurons are actually doing different things so you're structurally changing the brain. So like, let's stop relating this to the realm of pseudoscience, placebo, blah, blah, blah, and be like, we're actually changing things. And that's what I love about and I forget the neuroscientists that you came in, and you ask any neuroscientist about this stuff, the neurosciences will tell you, yeah, the brain is changing. Yeah, that's called plasticity. So let's, let's get rid of this pain is in your head nonsense, these associations to language in situations that people have that have negative connotations, and make it seem like what they're doing is not real. It is real. But let's ditch the garbage bogus narrative. And the reality is that there are plenty of studies that show that even when people are told that this treatment is a placebo, it still works. So you don't even tell I tell people, I'm like, look, this is what we're doing. It doesn't change it actually, in my opinion, makes it better. It makes it work better because people actually understand what you're doing. And they go, I don't understand how this works, but I'm experiencing the benefits so cool let’s just keep doing it.

Chase  

I had a phenomenal conversation with a neuroscientist. She was on the show recently. Louisa Nicola. We talked all about like, these insane, tangible ways to increase neuroplasticity. She was a gem like just blows my mind.

Sam

Yeah. And you have somebody like her and me which was mesh and it's just really what you're talking about is just kind of like and this is the funny part is that all of this is like new science and you are like this stuffs been around for a long time, but nobody bothered to kind of look into some of that stuff and to really grab onto the parts of it that are working, and then figure out faster clinical applications for these things to actually put them in real time. And that's where we're talking, you and I are talking when I feel a wave is on the edge of what's available. And nobody knows, because we're now starting to play and playing and figuring out what works. But my next stop is, if I can find the time to do it, is again with more with hypnotherapy because I really think that that has the application that has been least emphasized in getting in and actually working with some of these subconscious beliefs and so forth in a more direct way, rather than an indirect way. Like right now we're using movement for that, we're using lots of different things that are indirect ways of doing it rather than kind of like working with it at the source. And there are lots of the Curable app, which is another one was just fantastic. Curable is that's they're leading the way with that stuff with pain metaphors, and teaching coping mechanisms, I think the pain psychology Institute is in West LA somewhere. So they're doing that stuff. And again, there's going to be integration here at some point where all of these disciplines are just going to kind of come together. And it's gonna revolutionize everything.

Chase  

Amazing and I mean, again, I could just keep going. This is an incredible conversation, I greatly appreciate you coming on the show and blowing my mind, giving some great new science, some old science and applications for my audience here to just like, tune into their bodies, challenge a belief system a little bit and just push through and to move forward in life. And that's what the whole premise is here at Ever Forward. And so I'll ask you the final question, then. How can this information help us move forward? How do you use this and do what you do? How do you live a life Ever Forward?

Sam

I would say to the first of all, that this information, I would hope to all the viewers inspires hope and most people feel that they're at the end of the line here, there's they've tried everything. And so for you haven't, you know, there's plenty of options and it's just more than often than not is a lack of creativity and you know, exploration, and never being satisfied. I mean, I think that's a really the key is that we tend to kind of run into a certain end point where we think we know everything there is to know about something and then that's all there is. But just realizing you're deleting, distorting and generalizing information. And the more you realize that the more you're like, oh, there's a lot more that exists out there that I know. And just becoming aware of those things, and starting to first of all, be skeptical, should always be skeptical of the things that you believe. And that's a hard space to hold. It's duality, which is I can believe something, but also and fervently believe it to the point where I can put it into reality and use it but also simultaneously be highly skeptical of it. Meaning I'm willing to change my beliefs, when new information comes along and it's better information, I will update my model. And that's how we work. And we need to work that way physically, and we need to work that way mentally, as we can obviously see as a reflection of what's happening in our society, that people are being awarded new opportunities to get new information, and they refuse because they want to cling to their models. But we have to upgrade, we have to constantly upgrade and seek out new opportunities because that's how we expand our horizons, we develop and we create new things. We're certainly not going to get people on Mars if we don't. But that's the mentality and I think it's the mentality that goes after that about the voracious learning and being open to learning new things and upgrading your model. If you can start with that, then I think a lot of filter down magic happens in a lot of areas of your life.

Chase  

Beautiful, beautiful answer, we got to upgrade our model. Absolutely. Well, I'm gonna of course have all the information down in the show notes and video notes for people to find more about your work and possibly even work with you but if they want to click on the link right here right now, where are they going? Where are you hanging out the most online? Where can they learn more?

Sam

Well, I'm a in the office practitioner so I'm usually seeing people all day every day I'm literally that that type of practitioner but go to releasemuscletherapy.com and somewhere on there, you'll find my book, which is just kind of like a nice synopsis of all of the research that I've gathered in different areas, I call it a work in progress. But it's really something that like if people want to work with me or they're just interested in dealing with their own pain issues I am like read this book, I've kind of gone through all the pain science literature and kind of put it together I'm not the I guess the most highly best writer but I am putting things together, here's the resources, these are the links, that is where I got this information from and start learning about this and be skeptical of your pain if you have pain and what might be the primary generators and what you should be looking at and so the website has a lot of materials on there, I got some good articles, things I like to talk about, you know, which we'll talk about caffeine and pain and sleep and pain, all these different things and some of the holes, glaring holes that everybody is missing in these things. But check those things out.

Dr. Amy Shah is an allergist and immunologist at Valley ENT as well as a speaker and consultant on health and mindset. In March 2021, she published her first book, I'm So Effing Tired: A Proven Plan to Beat Burnout, Boost Your Energy and Reclaim Your Life.

Shortly after starting her wellness practice, Dr. Shah was named one of mindbodygreen's Top 100 Women In Wellness to Watch in 2015. Clinically, she was named in Phoenix Top Doctors magazine in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

We kick off the conversation with the personal experiences that led Dr. Shah to learn all she could about burnout and, later on, offer guidance to others who are suffering through it. She was inspired to do her part in changing the mainstream perception of burnout as a “badge of honor” and steer people away from the glorification of “the grind”.

Listen in as Dr. Shah goes on to discuss the hidden dangers of supplements; why cases of burnout have drastically risen over the past year; the benefits of “circadian fasting”; and how optimizing your gut health, immune health, and hormone health can supercharge your energy levels no matter your age.

 

Follow Dr. Shah @fastingmd

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Dr. Shah shares why she was driven to understand burnout and how it affects mental health and wellness.

  • We’ve all heard of intermittent fasting. Dr. Shah introduces a new concept, “circadian fasting”, that combines the knowledge of circadian rhythms with intermittent fasting.

  • What biomarkers should we look out for when recovering from burnout?

  • Gut health, immune health, and hormone health are central to energy. Dr. Shah explains how to optimize all three.

  • Chase and Dr. Shah describe how their nighttime routines evolved over time and how to get a good night’s sleep.

Powerful Quotes by Dr. Amy Shah

Real change in your life comes from changing your daily habits.

Giving your body food in the middle of the night is like me waking you up and asking you to do a complicated math problem in the middle of the night. You’re going to get it wrong, you’re going to be pissed that I woke you, and the next morning you’re going to feel tired. That’s how our gut bacteria feel when we eat close to bed or late at night.

We’re literally different people at different times of the day because the genes that are turned on during the morning are different from the genes that are turned on during the evening.

Gut health, immune health, and hormone health are all one.

Once you respect your own boundaries and your own time, other people start to respect them, too.

 

Episode resources:


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Interview transcript

Chase: no and continuing in a way that doesn't serve us compounding stress and all these things is really now your specialty. It's kind of what you literally wrote the book about it.

Amy: Yeah. So people who are giving you care are the most burned out of them all. So it's like, how are they going to offer you solutions when they themselves can't get themselves better? Right, like

Chase: So what brought you to this conclusion? What brought you to I need to focus on burnout, and how it's actually affecting people in their health and wellness?

Amy: I mean, I think you and I both know that it's not just this past year that we've felt burnout, I think a lot

Chase: It has been a tipping point for sure.

Amy: Yeah, I think a lot of us have felt it even before well, before the pandemic and I definitely had my crisis. And I could not figure out why I was so tired all the time, why I had GI complaints, why I was feeling anxious, you know, all this stuff, nutritional stuff, bloating. And I felt so stupid, because my labs or my labs were, quote, unquote, normal. And they were like, you're fine. You know, I don't know. You're just getting older. I was a mom, like I had a new practice. And so that was, it was just chalked up to, you know, just accept it. And there's no solutions given at all, no tools, no solutions, no advice. I mean, I knew I wasn't expecting dietary advice. But I was thinking like, maybe there were some things that people can impart on me that was interesting. 

Chase: So you were hoping to find something wrong so you could fix it?

Amy: right. And I see the frustration for so many of us. And I know you're alluding to the fact that you had something similar recently.

Chase: Oh, yeah burnout, for sure.

Amy: So then at that time, I didn't know what that was. And I looked up all my symptoms, because I thought, well, you know, I get why people are frustrated, because there's no real answer. And so there was this, these things about gut health, you know, poor gut, health, leaky gut, whatever. And then there's this whole thing about adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance. And then there's this whole thing about inflammation and so I kept thinking like, okay, maybe I'm inflamed. No, wait, maybe I have a leaky gut, no way maybe. But I realized that the way energy works is focused on health. It's actually like all interconnected, the gut health is connected to inflammation connected to hormone health, I had no idea. I mean, all these years of schooling, I was a nutrition, nutrition major in college, all these years of schooling, and I had no clue that this was all 100% connected. Inflammation is actually fatigue, like, so when you're inflamed. When we say, you know, inflammation, that's why you feel tired. That's why you're feeling burned out, because there's such a connection between the brain and the body. So when the body feels inflammation, it sends signals to your brain to say, hey, slow down something, she's sick, he's sick, something's wrong, something we can't keep on going with what we're doing and then we have our stress in our lives that are making us more inflamed, impacting our gut. So realize a hormone, the gut and the immune system are completely connected and everything we do around that has to kind of help all three. And so the whole thing about a system like, oh, your adrenals are, you know, burned out that like, that's not even, that's not what's happening. So I realized, like, okay, so then as I started to figure myself out, and it's not rocket science, like some of the things that I talked about are things that you probably intuitively knew help you, you know, how you feel when you get a good night's sleep, I just found that the science behind it, you know, that helps the gut, it helps the inflammation, it helps the hormones, but in intuitively, you knew that. So it's not everything is not like this shocking revelation, but I pared it down to the things that really, were going to make a big difference. And I experimented myself, and then I helped other people with it. And then that's why I wrote the books because, because I thought, okay, if I can pare it down to a few little changes throughout the day, like you're really busy, I'm really busy. I can't be like doing every single wellness trend that's out there a lot. It could be like a full time job, right. And it is some people's full time job. You live in LA, there's people here who literally spend their entire day in their wellness routine.

Chase: I probably spend hours a day. 

Amy: so I was trying to think of like, what's a total of one hour a day, little things that you can do to kind of like change that so that you're one lifting yourself up out of burnout, which is like the first part of it, and then choose like keeping a daily routine so that you don't get into that place again. I put a quote up the other day that said, like, real, if you really want to be burnout, you have to build self-care every day. It's not chocolate, cake massages, and you know, spa day or whatever. Like, you have to build in little parts of your day, every day to prevent the long term burnout. And in our culture right now burnout is a badge of honor, like if you're exhausted, because you're working so hard. Like, that's amazing that, you know, that's great.

Chase: it is glorified it means that you're grinding? 

Amy: Yeah, like the grind is total glorified. But people, I feel like, we can adapt, we can learn this information. Technology is moving so fast, that we have all these tools today that we didn't have 10 years ago. So couldn't we build new tools, 10 years from now that would like learn from this, maybe, you know, we don't need to be looking at screens and doing work, you know, all the way until midnight or 10pm every night, maybe we can change our culture a little bit so that all these things don't emit so much blue light. Because like at night, not only are we not supposed to see blue light, our body's also more sensitive to it because it's like it's sensing whether it should stay up or not. 

Chase: should I stay vigilant or not? Is there a threat? Or is there a reason we need to be up? 

Amy: exactly. And then people who are worried about aging. So if you think about skin, I found this to be fascinating. Skin has a circadian rhythm to like a body clock and so it knows that during the day is probably when you're getting the most sunlight and blue light. So it has a lot of defenses up against aging and discoloration wrinkles. 

Chase: I read this in Matthew Walker's book “Why we Sleep” it has this concept of like all the photoreceptors that our skin actually has, just in the rods and the cones in our eyes. 

Amy: yeah and then so they are really turning like down off the genes the protective genes at night and so when you are seeing a ton of blue light, or your you know, expose to stressors for your skin, you're going to age faster, you're going to get more wrinkles, you're gonna so it's not just about you know, feeling tired. It's about aging in general that you can really change by changing our habits. So I think for me, it was eye opening and I felt like you know, there's so many amazing people in the world who could make changes or make technology or do things that can help us through this

Chase: shout out. Where's Elon Musk? Can we focus on Earth a little bit more? I love space travel. But we got a lot of problems right here.

Amy: yeah, here at home, inside of ourselves. So that was something that I thought was important to share and clarify for people because I think we hear so much information, that it's hard to know what's real, what's not. So I kind of parsed it out. For us to say, Okay, this is where it matters. Let's concentrate on these things. And then, you know, if you have extra time, you can do all this other stuff, right? 

Chase: yeah because we can do all things and I've been guilty of trying to do them all as well. And I would even say kind of in the pursuit of preventing burnout in the pursuit of taking care of yourself it almost induces stress and burnout, because it's like you learns, it's like, trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant, yeah, learn all these things that you can do to improve your health, your wellness, your sleep, your metabolism, immune system, all of these things, and then you try to do them all. And then sometimes it can, you know, work against each other, and just add more stress.

Amy: I didn't know before looking into it, that there are many supplements that actually damage your body and so when people are adding on these things to their wellness regimen, you have to remember that some things cancel each other out. Other things

Chase: decrease or increase bioavailability of nutrients.

Amy: yeah, antioxidants taken by mouth through supplements are actually not good for your body.

Chase: Really? How so? Like they cancel them out or they hurt you actually?

Amy: yeah so we have a very complicated antioxidant balance in our bodies, right? So when you're adding things, it can throw off that balance. You can get more oxidative damage by adding antioxidants on, you know what I mean? It's so wild, like, whenever, when I read those studies, and you know, there's so much controversy about vitamin A and vitamin E, both of which were shown in studies to be dangerous when taken.

Chase: individually, or in excess?

Amy: vitamins A, D, E, and k are fat soluble and so if you take too much, you will store it in your body, and it can be toxic. And so after I read all that I really became a big minimalist on supplements. And I realized, like, these wellness routines that people talk about that have, like, hundreds or like hand fulls.

Chase: you don't want to look at my pantry. I mean, I've got a repertoire of things that I yeah, I choose and select and based on kind of over the years of a lot of self-experimentation. It's like, I need this, and I want that. 

Amy: I have a few that I experiment with but I also remember that these studies are really powerful. And we don't even know that half of it, because most people aren’t doing studies on supplements and we don't really know what happens if you mix all of these things together. And what we do know is our body's super smart, and if it's food based, it's able to kind of parse things out a lot better. So antioxidants from fruit, for example, are really great for you. But if you separate that into a supplement, it can be dangerous.

Chase: I've read so many things on that topic of how in Whole Foods, the way that things are even like just the amylase that your body produces in your mouth to just trigger the initial breakdown of certain starches and sugars and things based on what you see and what is known and that it has had before, like, that's the start of the metabolism. And so then it like from the entry point, based on what it is it is going to have a relation and it's going to have a lot more like basically just things ready to go, that we don't even fully know about, like the way that we absorb things and the way that certain phytochemicals and nutrients interact. There's so many things we can't even tap into to understand all of them yet.

Amy: We don't we don't. And we don't understand how our gut bacteria sort of got back to our urine, the army, right? So the military. So the gut bacteria is literally our military and it determines so much of who passes through, who are we going to attack? What are we going to extract from this

Chase: great analogy?

Amy: And they communicate with our immune system at all times. You know, hey, I need help, come over and help me. And so what's that complex interaction is something we don't understand. That's why people say, Oh, I can't do gluten, but nothing comes up on testing or I can't eat dairy, but nothing comes up on testing. It's because there's such a complex interaction between our gut bacteria and our immune system that we can't understand yet. There's no test for it. And it can change. Because we know that gut bacteria as it changes, it may be tolerating new foods, right? Most, a lot of people will say, they have all these food intolerances, and then once they kind of fix their gut, so that means replace some of that army they will be able to extract the nutrients that they need and not have such a bad reaction to them. So that's the basis of actually my book, the basis of the book is to understand, hey, this army is in constant communication with your own immune system, and your brain and the hormones and so you really want to keep that group intact.

Chase: as like a primary focus? 

Amy: yeah and that's, that's how you're going to get more energy and get out of burnout as on a personal level. Now, burnout is, there's so much brain burnout too you know,

Chase: yeah, I would love if you could, can you kind of really define burnout? What is it from the medical perspective in terms of how it shows up possibly, things people can be on the lookout for? What it looks like, what it feels like?

Amy: Well, burnout is a controversial term, because there's no medical diagnosis, per se,

Chase: you're not like, alright, yeah, burnout. Take two of these. 

Amy: exactly, exactly. It's I mean, fatigue is fatigue is an actual medical diagnosis, there is testing that you would do to rule out medical causes of fatigue, thyroid, B 12, vitamin D, and anyone who is suffering from burnout or fatigue should definitely undergo a battery of tests to make sure that there's not an obvious Oh, it's your iron. You know, it's your it's your B 12 level, like a lot of people who are plant based they deplete their B. and vitamin D, as you know, so much so many of us are low vitamin D,

Chase: it is instrumental in so many things in the body,

Amy: right. So fatigue is a diagnosis and burnouts, main symptom, the prominent symptom is fatigue, but its constant fatigue, 

Chase: it's an inexplicable fatigue 

Amy: exactly, that doesn't go away with a good night's sleep, it is the feeling of depletion. It's a loss of motivation. So a lot of people who feel burnout won't be able to do a good job at work, because they feel not only tired, but almost like the loss of motivation, apprehensive, and a change in mood. And there's a few, you know, there's a few different definitions of burnout, but in general, those are and then there's a whole host of medical symptoms that people will get often, for example, you'll be tired but wired at night.

Chase: Yeah, the mind is just constantly going, going, going. All the things you didn't do.

Amy: Exactly, so tired, but wired, so you get a very sleepless night of rest or don't sleep well. And then you have often GI complaints because our gut is so connected to our mind and so when you were in this fight or flight mode, and you're feeling at the end of that road kind of depleted, you will often have GI complaints, so people will often complain of like constipation, or bloating, or just some GI distress,

Chase: irritability, or general, irritability,

Amy: reflux disease. So that's often a part of burnout as well. So burnout is real, but has a variable definition. But most people will say that symptoms of burnout have risen over the years. In fact, this last year, there's a 33% rise in people who were saying that and before that it was about 69% of women and 50% of men said that they reported feelings of stress, burnout or fatigue beyond the norm. And, you know, there is a differential between women and men. And this seems to be both societal and biological. And this year, obviously, a lot of the stressors came into focus. And what I think happened this year is that the mistakes we make and society just became more blatantly obvious. You know, some, some of the things I talked about in the book is like disruptive circadian rhythm; so that internal clock that we have in our brain and each one of our cells, we need to be listening to that and when we were indoors all the time for, you know, a good part of this year, not seeing natural light, maybe getting a ton of blue light because everybody's like stuck to their TVs 

Chase: reduced physical activity. Gyms were shut down. 

Amy: gyms were shut down. We were getting no social interactions. And we had no release, right? And then you couldn't sleep at night because you were stressed. And a lot of people were triggered by what's going on? So there are these unconscious pathways that are connected to our HPA axis or our HPA axis is our stress pathway. Hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis and there's a part of our brain that's, that gets programmed from when we're children to respond to stress. That's why some people who have had a lot of trauma in their life, really had a hard time during the pandemic, because you know, these trauma pathways trigger that cortisol, more so than maybe others.

Chase: I'm so glad you said that right there. And sorry to cut you off, right. That's such an important point. And I'll say personally, that's been an irreplaceable part of my wellness journey. But also for people to realize right now, when they're listening and hearing this, like the things we naturally gravitate towards, or the route that we think we're supposed to take, or maybe even our doctors or providers tell us to take can be beneficial. But there's a lot more going on in the background, and the conscious and the subconscious and just that initial framework and system really, that was wired and built years and years and years decades ago, even for some people say don't discredit that I'm so glad you brought that up.

Amy: I mean, the trauma pathways, not only build our thoughts, but also what we look for, for comfort.

Chase: Exactly. How we cope. Or don’t. 

Amy: Yeah, exactly. Or, you know, what are we reaching for to cope? Because there are a lot of people who need comforting, but they don't know how to get it and so they reach for the easiest tools that they can find to cope and often that's negative coping. So you know, drinking has gone up, you know, usage if there's some food intake can be comforting in a negative way for people like they go back to their you know, what releases dopamine and serotonin 

Chase: they go for the chips or they go for the Oreos? Oh, that's just me. I am a sucker for Oreos. I don't keep them in the house. I'll eat a whole sleeve and won’t even think about it. 

Amy: that is so funny. I don't think I've eaten Oreos, I am a salty person. So definitely during the pandemic, I hadn't eaten, you know, regular chips. I mean, tortilla chips I've had, you know, at a restaurant or whatever. But I would never buy bags of chips and salsa or like potato chips. But I got into all that stuff because I think it was just like we're saying it's a stress. Everybody has subconscious pathways. You know, we all have some, I mean, when you drive to work every day, that's your subconscious pathway driving you because you're thinking about something else. So we have so many of those, and those get triggered. And so what I was trying to do in the book is say, one recognizes that because sometimes you just fall into those habits, and you repeat it every single day. And they're negative habits. And it's just because you've done it since you were a kid or you know, that comforted you as a kid doesn't mean that that's a good thing. 

Chase: or they're seemingly positive. Right? But they're just not leading you to that same positive outcome.

Amy: Yes and then changing I think, real change in your life comes from changing your daily habits, changing little things, understanding the science of why you're doing what you're doing. I think so many people, myself included, think like you too when you start to improve your personal health. Your mental health starts to improve, and you start to see things that are

Chase: a little bit more of the veil lift; what you're doing, what you're not doing. The response that you get.

Amy: I was running like a million miles per hour every single day and I had this huge car accident, which is how I start the book. Because what happened is, I was burned out. I knew I was burned out, but I couldn't stop, right.

Chase: said every person that has been through burnout ever.

Amy: yeah, I was like in the cycle and I had so many things going on and I had a new practice. I had these little kids that were depending on me to pick them up all this you know, do all these things. I had my boards coming up because I had two board certifications. So you have to like certify for both and I was just running on empty and I thought just like we were talking about before that I wasn't trying hard enough if I got enough sleep because if you're sleeping that means you're like not living or not doing a good job, right? And I thought that I didn't have time to do a real workout or something I really wanted to do, I had to do something really quick and intense.

Chase: I am sure no one listening has had any of these justifications running through their head, never.

Amy: right and then you give yourself a lot of guilt for doing anything for yourself, because you want to be working all the time. And so I knew there was something very wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it. And I didn't know what to do. Because I didn't have any tools, I didn't have the knowledge of like, what I should be doing. And so one day, my partners asked if we could do a last minute meeting at five after clinic and I, and I wanted to say no, but I felt like I had to say yes, and I didn't have the guts to explain, like, I have to go pick up my kids like they're going to

Chase: Maybe you didn't have the gut health.

Amy: Right. Exactly. And I and I didn't have the clarity to know like that I should speak up. Because I thought it would be judging me like I was new, you know. So anyways, I thought, okay, I'm just gonna not like going through the meeting. I just have to get there before six because I think they were getting out at 530. And I thought, okay, if I can get there by six, the center closed at six. So I'd be okay. So we get done. You know, later than I thought really close to six. And I literally ran out of there. And ran to the car. I was rushing to go pick them up. And you know, those little small decisions you make, like, should I make that like and I think about it now, it's so clear in my mind that I was rushing. And I wasn't like

Chase: It's a great example of how even the most seemingly obvious things that of course we could answer in our sleep when under stress it just kind of makes us like, baby deer just stuck in the headlights.

Amy: Totally. So I was making a left, right, what as I was getting to the center, and that I got into a car accident with an oncoming car, who and literally I saw, you know, I was literally spinning. I thought I was spinning for minutes, but I guess it was like seconds because it was a big intersection. And the only thing I remember is I've never seen all the airbags inflate the entire car. Like there were back seat ones front seat ones.

Chase: your car just turned into an airbag? 

Amy: literally, it was an airbag. So it activated all of that stuff. And then all I remember is I got out of the car, and I was bloody there's, you know, the whole windshield was shattered. And I remember thinking like, I don't care, I need to run and go to that center because it's like six and, you know, like, I have to be there and I have to take the kids and they say no you can't go anywhere you are in this huge accident.

Chase: You're bleeding like you need to stay.

Amy: I could barely walk. Anyways, so I had I was on you know, I couldn't do anything for the next week. And it really opened my eyes. I was like, Okay, I need to, I need to make some big changes here. There's no reason for me to feel like I didn't feel almost like a worse version of myself that I didn't want to be like I was cranky, like a virgin. So then that week really helped me kind of refocus. And I started to look into a lot of more of this stuff. And that's where my journey started. And as I started to figure it out myself, I made a ton of mistakes. But as I started to figure it out myself, this is why I mentioned before the wellness, like the energy trifecta, I realized, oh, our gut health is related to our energy, but then our immune health is also related to our energy, and so is our hormone health and if you keep all three systems happy, you will feel good on daily basis. So I learned that and I started to implement things to help all three things every day. And then over time, I refined it, then I tried it on other people

Chase: sounded like you did a great little self-assessment. And paid attention to the variables of what was working what was not.

Amy: and I made a ton of mistakes, because just like a lot of people out there I was tempted by all the shiny objects, oh, take this for adrenal fatigue or, you know, try this diet for and I think that it's kind of like it kind of like steered me the wrong direction. But then when I came back, I was like, Okay, I realized there's no real shortcut to doing the work but here are like some of the things that helped in circadian rhythm. 

Chase: what is the work please? 

Amy: The work is fixing, you know, that gut, that hormone system and the inflammation system, which sounds complicated, but it's literally the same few things like one was living with their circadian rhythms a little bit better. So our society as its belt is completely off from circadian rhythms, like we are programmed to sleep at night and not eat right before bed. And so when I got interested in the science of intermittent fasting, it made so much sense to me. I'm like, yeah, of course, you're not supposed to be eating late at night, and probably, you know, 1000s of years ago, you didn't wake up and have a pop tart, like, as soon as rolled out of bed, right, 

Chase: like, roll out of the cave, and yeah, go find some scraps.

Amy: So it made sense to me that there, there should be a little bit of a break. And then I learned, oh, got health improves from that those bacteria need a break to like, it's I mean, giving your body food in the middle of the night is like waking you up and asking you to do a complicated math problem in the middle of the middle of the night,

Chase: Even in the middle of the night, or you are what about just like late night like a couple hours before bed?

Amy: Yeah, yeah, that's what I mean. That's, the feeling is the same as waking you up in the middle of the night and asking you to do a complicated math problem, you're going to get it wrong, you're going to be pissed that you were woken up, and then the next morning, you're going to feel tired from being woken up at night. And that's how our gut bacteria feel when we eat kind of close to bed or late at night. And so I understood, okay, that makes sense that’s what intermittent fasting can help. But the way I talked about in the book is circadian fasting.

Chase: circadian fasting. I've never heard that. 

Amy: that's a new concept that basically combines the knowledge of circadian rhythms with intermittent fasting. Because

Chase: what does it look like? 

Amy: Yeah, so the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2017 was on circadian rhythm science and then in 2019, it was on intermittent fasting science, because these are two novel concepts. I mean, they've been around for 1000s of years, but it's like novel

Chase: finally kind of paying attention to them, right. 

Amy: So what we realize is, hey, 80%, up to 80% of our genes work on a circadian pattern. So literally, we're different people at different times of the day, because the genes that are turned on us during the morning are different from the genes that are because, of course, the morning our body wants to focus, our body wants to metabolize. And so the genes for metabolism, focus, energy, or like high, and then two to three hours before bed when our melatonin hits the system it starts the genes that repair and renew. So when we're doing all these things off, eating off schedule, seeing a lot of blue light, not seeing daylight during the day, we're literally shortchanging our repair renewal processes. 

Chase: I actually caught myself on that recently today, I forced myself to take a break, my office downstairs, faces the other side of the house here, I get no sunlight. And I was telling you earlier, I've been kind of going through some burnout. And I've been doing a lot of things to work on that and repair it. And one thing came to mind that came to light today, pun intended. I haven't been getting regular daily sunlight. And it sounds so bad. I live in Southern California where it's sunny all the time. So today, I took about a 25 minute 30 minute break, went up to the roof, took my shirt off, had some shorts on, just got some sunlight, and listened to an audio book. And so it gave me kind of twofold from burnout. It helped me introduce break in a pause and de stress. And it gave me simple, I guess, threefold the sunlight and then I finally got to catch up on an audiobook. So yeah, some kind of like pleasurable thing.

Amy: That is one of the biggest things I actually say is a strategy. So you figured it out yourself. So basically, the multitasking of taking a break, getting the sunlight, and doing some self-reflection is the multitasking way to really get out of burnout. One of the tricks and what I recommend is to do in the morning, like before 10am if you can

Chase: I always strive for my morning routine. Strive for about 10 at least 10 minutes of sunlight first morning, so I get that probably about three to four days a week. I'd say about four days a week.

Amy: And you know, people who don't live in Southern California or Scottsdale or somewhere where their sun is. There are these lamps on Amazon that have 10,000 Lux of light. And remember, you can't be looking through a window, you have to roll down your window, you have to be outside. Windows block out a ton of those locks of light that you need to activate in your red Now that goes straight to your brain and reset all of the circadian pathways. So you really want to be doing some sunlight during the day. A circadian fast overnight. So what that particularly looks like is stop eating two to three hours before bed. So if you were on perfect circadian rhythms, you might stop around seven or eight. 

Chase: that might be difficult my wife is Persian and they like late nights

Amy: I totally get it. Oh, you don't even know I went to India, not this December but 2019 the first time I'd been in 20 years or whatever and I learned that their culture, the way they eat is completely against circadian rhythm. But I convinced some of them to try this. So basically, whatever bedtime is for you work two to three hours before that.

Chase: I like that. Whatever bedtime is for you. So this is just another example for the listeners that you know, this isn't a here's one strategy that you have to follow. But here's a strategy that you can implement into your life.

Amy: Exactly. Yeah. And you know, shift workers of course. Yeah, it's tricky. Yeah, they can't do that. Stop doing you know, your first responder work you can't. So one strategy I tell shift workers like it doesn't matter when you're sleeping but when you are sleeping to stop eating two to three hours before bed, and then you obviously don't eat overnight. And in the morning, you may not want to eat first thing; maybe you go into a fasted workout, get some sunlight, do your morning routine, do some mindfulness or self-care and then you break your fast. So the magic of fasted workouts is that there was a study that came out in the New England Journal of Medicine that detailed the benefits of intermittent fasting and one of them is the metabolic switch. So we preferentially use carbohydrates as fuel and most of us are always just sugar burners unless you're on a Keto plan. But overnight, you deplete your sugar because your brain is still working on repair, renewal processes, whatever. And in the morning, often, you may have some sugar leftover, or your liver had some stored glycogen leftover. So you could do a workout and deplete that glycogen. And once you start to really get low on glycogen, our body makes this cool switch. And that switch to using, you know fatty acids as fuel seems to be the magic switch. And that seems to be what turns on all the beneficial aspects of intermittent fasting. We don't know when that switch happens. And it happens at different times for different people. So if you ate your carb loaded last night, probably not going to make that switch for a few hours, but many hours after your carb load. But if you're someone who keeps a pretty low or a healthy level of carbs and then you fasted from two to three hours before bed, and you get up and you do a fasted workout, you're often going to be in that switch zone, and that is the magic. And so what I say is like, hey, you don't have to be fasting for days. And, you know, even this can happen at 14-15-16 hours and so you're kind of getting all of the benefits of both circadian rhythms and intermittent fasting in one overnight fast. So that's another strategy because there's lots of anti-inflammation that happens when you sync to circadian rhythms and you intermittent fast and remember, inflammation is fatigue and burnout. So if you're doing things that are anti-inflammatory, you're automatically curing that and that's the connection when people are like, wait, what's a food diet? You know, burn out? So you're reducing your inflammation and you're feeling less tired. So that's a second strategy is a circadian fast, the fastest workout, sunlight in the morning self-reflection; self-reflection more because you want to activate your parasympathetic system, your vagus nerve. So a lot of us live in that fight or flight, you know, response and we never counteract it with being parasympathetic.

Chase: You got to have the Yin to the Yang. 

Amy: Exactly. Doesn't have to be one to one. That was what I realized from the get interesting. It doesn't have to be like, okay, six hours I was stressed like now next hours, I should not it’s not like that. You just need brief periods of being parasympathetic.

Chase: That's been a big realization as of late for me is that to come back to homeostasis at this level to come back to just feeling your sense of normalcy. It actually doesn't take a whole, whole lot. Yeah, even just introducing a few deep national breaths, out to the nostrils. I recently wrapped up James Nestor’s “breath”. The power of activating the parasympathetic nervous system through just selective actual breathing is incredible. So that's often another lie I think we tell ourselves in the burnout is that I don't have the time to go do all these spas and relaxation or meditations like it actually can compound with just a few deep breaths, few small practices every day

Amy: 100%. That's exactly what I said in the book. I said, you just need two minutes a day, one minute in the morning, one minute in the evening to do that counteract a parasympathetic exactly what you said, breath work, it can be humming

Chase:  we'll take a two minute break now for everybody to join together. 

Amy: Yeah, I know, I've seen that before, where people like to do it together. It's really easy. And you can do it. And it makes such a huge difference it does. And then, you know, and then one of the other things I talk about is really taking a little stock of where your energy is going. So I think a lot of burnout is also thought processes, like who is taking your energy? Who are you giving your energy freely to? And how can you edit your life so that you're eating the foods, doing the things and hanging out with the people who are bringing you joy and energy? And how can you block yourself from the people who are constantly taking it away?

Chase: That's a huge point. Burnout. It sounds ironic. I'm burnt out of energy and burnt out of motivation. I'm depleted. But you're saying it's actually there are things there are people a thing, a person that is just constantly taking the energy?

Amy: And often it's like a colleague, or someone you see often a friend or a family member. And what I realized if you really take note of what it is that is repeating your energy, and what it is that is constantly depleting your energy, you get a lot more clarity. And for me, I realized I was doing things on a daily basis that were constantly depleting me and I was hanging out or interacting with people that were constantly draining me. And so I really started to edit my life, I started to say, I'm too busy to hang out or talk or engage with the drainer. Then I purposely started to do activities out which were like to fill your cup. Yeah, like, you know, the one minute twice a day it was great in the beginning when I was just getting out of burnout. But then I realized, wow, this whole nature thing is like, really amazing. And I love how I feel. I feel really good after I spend some time outside. And there's a study that came out that said 120 minutes in nature is like really what you need a week to get optimal health. Right? So I was thinking about it. And I like calculated. I was like, okay, 120 minutes, not so hard. Two hours a week. And you space it out through the whole week. And so I started to add in those things. And one of the biggest things I did, which you I'm curious to see what your thoughts are, okay, I used to do these really heavy, intense workouts, and I would skimp on sleep, I'd wake up at five. And I do these, like CrossFit type workouts. And what I realized after doing my research is that I was actually contributing to the problem. I was doing too many hormetic stressors, too much of a stress load on me, because those work, those kinds of stressors are supposed to be intermittent and heavy, not constant and not taking, not after you've had a bad night of sleep. So of course, I wasn't seeing results because I was throwing cortisol in my system after the workout.

Chase: throwing salt in the wound.

Amy: Exactly. So I changed a few more. I did a little more yoga. I did a lot and I did this yoga that was super athletic. Like I you know, I think a lot of people think oh, like, I'm never going to do yoga. I never did. I hated yoga. But I picked one that was very athletic. It was all about gymnastics and balancing. And so it kind of, you know that type A personality kind of can come through so well. And then I really toned down on the CrossFit type stuff, because at that time, that was like the big trend and I would wake up super early to do that. But I realized it was just short changing myself and you know all the other things that was happening because I was stressed at work, then I would be stressed at home that I was skimp on my sleep and then I would go to the stressful workout and then I'd expect to see results. 

Chase: which is where so many people go I know I've heard it. I've heard it in my coaching practice before and I damn sure hear from people now. It's like, I'm so tired. I'm so stressed. Let me just go. Let me just go move some bunch of weights, which can be great. Like it's good you time. And honestly, it's something that I love as well. But when you really, really think about it, like what are you doing? You're overloading your system. Again, you're taxing your system systems in a way that now like, it's your choice, all these other things may just be happening because the life around you, you may have some control over things. Maybe not. But then you take all that. And your body finally gets some you time. And what do you do? Do you go beat it up again?

Amy: You know about Blue Zones? Right?

Chase: Yeah. Dave?

Amy: Yeah. Dan Buettner. So if you look at the centenarians around the world, they're not going to CrossFit or like a high intensity gym.

Chase: They're walking and drinking wine with their best friend. That's what they're doing. 

Amy: so there's this exercise called NEAT exercise, non-exercise activity, thermogenesis, that's super important. And so even if you've done your workout for the day, you really need to do more NEAT exercise. So it's like walking from your car to you know,

Chase: people vastly under estimating the power of walking. It's profound.

Amy: When I, the things that I recommend is when you're really burned out, you really want to pull back on this intensity, and the type of exercise that stresses you out, and you usually know where you are everybody's different, right? Somewhat stressful to you maybe, you know, fine for me, or vice versa. So pull back and maybe do a little more walking, a little more nature time, a little more mindfulness, whatever, before you kind of add it back in and just like you said, our bodies are so resilient. Just two weeks absolutely no pulling back a little bit, you're gonna feel like a million bucks, good sleep, pull back your workout, start getting nature time, start eating better. And your bacteria actually in your gut can replace itself in three days, you can have a whole different, new you.

Chase: Yeah, I was gonna say what are some of the medical medically oriented positive effects of when we're on the comeback from this burnout? What can we actually expect in terms of biomarkers in terms of you know, anything?

Amy: So there's a biomarker for inflammation called CRP, C reactive protein, and high sensitivity of c reactive protein is a marker of inflammation in our body. And you can look at homocysteine levels that are also a marker. There's ferritin, which is also a marker of inflammation. Now, these are really nonspecific. And so some people will be very burned out, and they won't have high levels, and other people, because there are so many markers of inflammation. So those are just three that people can look at, in the beginning of their journey. And then like, follow them down. A lot of people will see, oh, wow, my levels, my CRP levels have gone down, or the biggest change, you can see is that your digestion is better. Your mood is better. Your sleep is better. So I have kind of check-ins in the book, because even in 2021, we still don't have a good panel that you can say, hey, Chase, you feel like crap and then there are a few things that you can check. But most, a lot of people will, you know, be quote unquote, normal. And so there's not a great blood test for all this. So one of the best things you can do is, how's your energy? How's your mood? How's your sleep? And how do you know overall well-being is like a big marker for how you're doing? So you know you're burned out? Like you're talking about your own stuff. I'd love to hear about it because I workshop it through. Sure. Most people know when they're approaching that. Sometimes you're not willing to stop and listen, but you kind of know when we're getting there because it's not something that gets better with just a one night of sleep. Something that is a little worse than a daily fatigue. So are you what are you doing for you?

Chase: I'm probably going on about I would say week three of like working through it and improving for sure. Um, for me it was showing up. It was well first of all, this is just a great marker for I get like we're saying before what the body remembers. It's like, for some reason, I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but it just felt like, like I felt this way before, but I don't really know what exactly I'm feeling. I just, it's like the spider sense. It was just my body's like, hey, something's something familiar here that we don't actually like. And so then, you know, thankfully now years later, I've kind of gone through processes to kind of like pay attention, biofeedback, energy levels, productivity, all these things and it just felt like it felt very begrudging. It felt like I was just showing up for the sake of showing up, I felt very kind of disconnected and unmotivated from a lot of the work that I do. And, you know, I've been doing the work that I love that I choose to do for many years. And I'm very grateful for that. But even at that point, I felt disconnected. Yeah, I felt like I

Amy: I liked that word disconnected, that's probably a nice way to talk about it.

Chase: And that's really what I've come to realize, you know, now, a couple of weeks later, it was like, I have my just unmotivated, and my lazy and retired. But it was just a disconnection. And so I kind of just took an analysis of like, what are all the things that I'm doing? And I do a lot of things like taking care of myself, my mind, body, spirit is very important to me. So if I'm doing all the things that I know that I like and work for me, what am I missing my forgetting something and or, like, let me just look at the whole. So I realized that I've just been going hard for the last like two ever since we moved to LA really the last like two, two and a half years, I have been performing at a level that a I had to just the nature of my household and the world and my type of work. And but then B it was like, I know why I'm doing what I'm doing. But the way that I go about it, it's just no longer serving me. And so it was kind of like a come to Jesus moment, I guess of, of like the physical state, but then also kind of like, I guess, the spiritual state, but just like my purpose for everything, like how I go about it, and like not wanting to just feel like I'm spinning my wheels. And so I turned off social media for a couple of days. And my wife and I took a quick little trip up to Santa Barbara, we just disconnected for like a weekend. That's kind of always my go to I go, I go to nature, once a year for my birthday actually do a bit I just go like my friends and I my wife, we get a big cabin, or we went to Jackson Hole Wyoming last year, we just get away. And so I realized that I may be needed to do that sooner this year. So I disconnected. I got back in sunlight, got back in nature, and kind of introduced a lot more sense of calm. And after that one weekend, like we're saying, I've been going for two and a half years hard. That one weekend was a very great reset for me. And it was like the hard kind of positive shock to the system that I needed. So now like two or three weeks later, I've just been taking it easier, a little bit more. I took a week off of my show. I hadn't taken a week off for the podcast in 4 years. And so after that, like it was a very great reset. And it showed me a lot of things where I was pushing too hard, where I could pull back a little bit. And just I'm still working through it for some reason. There are still just certain things I feel. It's just like a feeling. You know, I can't I can't put a biomarker on and I can't put a label on it. But my body is just like, Hey, we got some work to do.

Amy: Yeah, I think the nature thing is huge. The sleep thing is huge. And the self-reflection thing is huge. And then we didn't mention but I think food is a huge part of it. So I think what happens is,

Chase: I've been vastly under consuming calories. So that's my go to I again, I was so caught up in the work and go, go, go. I actually, for the first time in a long time I've gone back to tracking my calories. And for the first couple of days, I would just log my norm. And I would barely be getting like 1400 1600 calories. That's way too little for me. So now I'm finally back up to my norm which is like between 22 and 2400 for maintenance. But now it's no wonder Chase, you haven't been giving your body the nutrients it needs.

Amy: you know, I heard one of the other doctors saying that we're overfed, but like, you know what? 

Chase: overfed and undernourished.

Amy: Yeah, exactly. And underpowered as well because, you know, we're eating a lot of things that don't have any kind of nutrient value to us and even those of us who are, quote unquote, eating healthy. So when I went through my journey and when, after that car accident, when I really looked at my diet, and I consider myself super healthy, but I was eating very little fiber. So if, like I had, you know, my, I really didn't have much vegetables at all, and really no natural fiber in my diet, and I was thinking to myself, I Thought I was doing all these healthy things like I have like a protein bar, and then I have coffee. And then I'd have you know, all these things.

Chase: This is a double board certified medical doctor.

Amy: I was in a rush. And I would do the protein bar during work.

Chase: I was going for convenience as well, way more than I should have. Even in my mind, I was like, well, these are healthy snacks. This is a healthy protein snack, protein shake this that whatever. 

Amy: exactly. And that's when I looked into it. I was like, wow, I'm getting, I'm eating a lot of sugar that was hidden and a lot of these bars and shakes and, you know, convenient foods that are healthy.

Chase: But it also goes to the whole burnout thing, like we want something a quick fix, like, our body's gonna be craving something, right? We crave something like that.

Amy: And I had no idea that you could eat vegetables, like breakfast, lunch and dinner. I want to get like six to eight servings a day, I'm gonna have to incorporate it into like, every part of my day. So I really started to change, I realized that there's that army, that bacterial army that you're trying to grow, that's their food, they actually don't eat other food. That's, that's what they eat. And so if you're not eating enough fiber, which 95% of people are not 95? You are really shortchanging your entire health

Chase: and enough fiber being what? Are we still in like the 25 to 30 grams a day?

Amy: So most people are eating 15 or less grams, we're supposed to be in the 25 to 40 grams. But really, for optimal health, we want to be the 60 to 80 gram mark, if you look at you know, when they did hunter gatherer studies, they were probably over 100 grams a day, probably 120. And they found that the prebiotic fibers are what was feeding their bacteria, they had more bacteria, and they had more diverse bacteria. And we know that our gut, the more diverse, and the more army and the more diverse it is, the better it is. So the better we feel.

Chase: a mutual friend, Sean Stephenson actually that's one of the key things we talked about on when he came on the show a couple months ago when he was talking about his book Eat Smarter, and the fascinating old science and knew that we're finding the correlation between the diversity and your gut health, how it is directly correlated to and now we're even seeing causation to mental health, to brain fatigue to immune system, because what, like 70 plus percent of your immune system lies within that gut. When we're talking gut health, we're really talking immune health.

Amy: it is; gut health and immune health and hormone health are all one. There is even particular bacteria that they've seen, that's associated with good mood and well-being like facilitar, bacterium or whatever. And you can boost that with prebiotics, basically, fiber inulin fiber from foods. So when I learned that, I was like, wow, what that's an easy fix. I mean, that doesn't require supplements. It's not like you don't have to buy anything. Really just go to the grocery store. 

Chase: turns out mom had it right the whole time.

Amy: seriously. So and I, you know, people always put fruits and vegetables into one category. So I was eating a ton of fruit, like every day, but I didn't realize that that was not a substitute, like zero vegetables and offer it's not a good idea. In fact, it should be the opposite. You should be doing tons of vegetables. And fruit as needed.

Chase: To pick one more majority, I would go with vegetables.

Amy: 100%. Right. So then once you rebuild that gut, you start to feel better. And like you said, it's such a mental connection that you start to think better. And you know, not only is your immune system and your gut, you have a lot of serotonin in your gut, your neurotransmitters are in your gut, and they're communicating with your brain and saying, Hey, I feel better, I'm eating better. I'm less inflamed. And so things become clearer to you as well. So that's why so many people have these like epiphanies when they start because they're like, hey, I hate my job, you know, like, this relationship sucks, or like, I'm not doing what I really want to do my life or whatever it is, that becomes a little more clear. And that's really how you get out of burnout, right? Re-find your purpose, connect with people who replete you, do the daily habits that are going to give you those mini self-care and do a lot of self-reflection and really try to piece that out. And like you said, centenarians in those Blue Zones have figured out it's a you know, hanging out with your friends, community walking, nature, sleep and good food. You know, those are kind of like the basic aspects of it

Chase: My favorites are the I forget the group and I think it's Japan. The Okinawa women that just like they outlive everybody. They have a tribe together community. And they all say like good Sake. Italy it is good wine.

Amy: Yeah, exactly. So alcohol is a big part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The only thing is, is that in our culture, we take this little thing and we run with it. So if you think about what the anti-inflammatory levels are, it's three to five drinks a week for a woman. And it's like five to seven for males. Most people are doing way over that on a weekly basis. And so if you cannot control yourself around alcohol, because oh, a little bit, it's good but a lot is better than that's not the strategy for you. You have lots of other anti-inflammatory strategies. But I do think that it can be really helpful for people who are like, oh, yeah, I can incorporate three to five drinks a week for me that is easy. 

Chase: It goes back to what you're saying in the beginning, when, especially when we're facing stress and in burnout, we tend to reach for things that we may already be doing in a healthy way. But we push the envelope. You know, the coping mechanism becomes tainted a little bit.

Amy: like with coffee and what I say is that caffeine is like stealing from your energy bank. You have to pay it back. You're not, it's not free energy. And people don't like when I tell them that they're like, wait, it's not? No, you have to put that energy back through either sleep or rest or recovery. And if you don't, you will crash. And that's why so many of us overdo it on the caffeine, and then you have a super big crash in the afternoon. And that, you know, that's a sign that you need to kind of get off that caffeine.

Chase: that was another thing I did. And I've always been very conscious over the last several years I've been very conscious of not only caffeine, and like total milligrams, but my caffeine cut off time. So I actually the past  like two weeks I've realized I'd gotten a little high caffeine high for me had been, like 350 milligrams, maybe a day. Well, actually would have to two, but I know the exact dosage. I use, like a couple different specialty coffees. They're healthy coffee. Yeah, they're really good. So I actually would then decrease my servings to 250. I decreased by about 100 milligrams per day. And my caffeine cut off time was usually two o'clock. But when I really looked back, again, I was logging things. Now I could see it was actually pushing between two and three ish. So that extra hour could have been directly correlated to you know, reduce recovery, sleep quality time. So I cut back 100 milligrams. Now my max is 250. And I have a hard like, absolutely not past two o'clock. Honestly, I'm sure I'm shooting for more for noon. 

Amy: It's my, like, I can have something at lunch. And that's it. That's kind of like my cut off. I'm like, and it depends on how you metabolize caffeine. I'm a slow coffee metabolizer. So if I have something in the afternoon, I will definitely have a poor night as well. So it just, it does depend on the person, but you will know, I mean, you probably know that if you consume caffeine late in the afternoon, you're gonna feel it, you won't be able to fall asleep. The other thing I talked about is high quality sleep. So I think I severely under because of all these years of training and so much sleep loss, that I kind of lost respect for sleep, like I love sleep, but I thought, oh, I can't sleep. I'm not that's not productive. 

Chase: That's not grinding. 

Amy: Yeah. And then I realized, like, oh, all this. All the things that you want in your body, and in your mind, and your brain and your gut, happen during sleep. And so I started to really guard my sleep and clean up by sleep routine. And like you said, caffeine, it was the blue light exposure. It was the working all the way through until bedtime. It was, you know, not realizing that if you have ambient light in your room that's actually disturbing your sleep. So they did this interesting study with two groups of overweight women, because they knew that blue light has some implications on weight. They weren't sure. They had these women sleeping rooms, one with ambient light in the room, kind of like a nightlight. And then the other ones were in a blackout room. And they found a significant difference in weight loss with same calories consumed. I mean, if that's not enough for someone you know who's trying to be fit and healthy to actually make it a blackout room, or you can wear a face mask and make

Chase: I use a face mask for sure.

Amy: I totally look like a crazy person especially when I travel because it's like earplugs and the face mask because I realized that if you protect the quality of your sleep, you're just a different person the next day and you're building up that gut bacteria, you're helping your immune system, you're helping your hormones, and all of the things you want, both externally and internally are working the way that you want. And I just feel like I'm a better person, I get work done. So I started to protect my sleep. Like it was like the most important thing. And it's funny because you know, even now, I think that they say you're supposed to sleep at the same time every day. And obviously, on weekends before the pandemic, we could never do that. So I made a rule, I wouldn't go more than two, I try not to go more than two hours past my bedtime. And most nights, even on the weekends, and then you're not so hung over or like sleep hungover it feels so horrible the next day. So protecting your sleep became one of the big tenants, for me, that helped me through my burnout. And I tell people, like you'll have to sleep a little bit extra, when you're trying to get over, I'm sure you've felt this in the last couple of weeks when you've worked on it. It's not enough to sleep your usual seven hours a day.

Chase: I've been going over probably, I'd say 45 minutes to sometimes an hour and a half and I don't set alarms, I go to bed at the same time I wake up the same time that my natural rise time last month ish has been about 45 minutes to an hour and a half more than usual.

Amy: Yeah. And it's nice, because you really do need that time when you're recovering from that you need that extra time to recover. So don't feel guilty. And I think that's one of the biggest things that I have to tell you and other people like, I think that we all give ourselves so much guilt for taking a break.

Chase: yeah, that's I was gonna say that's got to be another component to this is that you try to take care of yourself. But then you feel bad about doing that. Yeah. Because you think it's creeping into all these other responsibilities. 

Amy: we feel so guilty for ever taking time for ourselves. I mean, I've had people say to me, oh, it must be nice to you know, sleep, work out now, you know, kind of implying that it was selfish or that it was must be nice all these things and what I said is that actually protects me from being able to protect me from burnout. And it helps me do more during the day and last longer, without, you know, feeling burnt out. So I think for me, I realized I'm allowed I'm, I'm giving myself permission to get sunlight every day to get a workout in every day to sleep every day to eat good food every day. That is not a luxury that is part of self-preservation. I think we've lost that in our culture, I think we kind of feel like all of these things are like, nice to haves. But it's you must have that. And you know, there are things we can do in the future. Like I said, the technology can change, we can have different barriers. So in my world, sometimes you're getting a lot of emails, tons of activating things late at night and so one of the things I've decided is I don't make any phone calls or any activating conversations or like stressful events, like two, three hours with somebody that's gonna demand more of your time and energy. I try not to do any meetings like late like, we used to do practice meetings now at like 8pm or 9pm. And I don't do that anymore, because then it's like just riling you up, and then you can't sleep, and you have the higher anxiety levels, and your body's basically getting mixed signals like, Hey, I thought it was like time to go to sleep. And like, now you're doing all this stuff that's keeping you awake

Chase: yeah, it doesn't know how to properly respond when it needs to.

Amy: Yeah, so then, I started to turn off all of my devices, I still have my phone with the blue light blocker. And but I don't respond to any like emails, I don't do any major phone calls or meetings or anything, two to three hours and that's a really nice way to block your mental space. And I really have a strong nighttime routine just as strong as my daytime routine. And these are all little sounds like a lot but literally ends up being just minutes a truly extra. That's basically how that's what I talked about in the book.

Chase: Amazing. Well, we definitely gonna have all the book information listed down in the show notes for everybody. I've thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and kind of getting towards the end. I have a one other question I want to ask you before I final question. So we've been talking about a lot of different ways to work through well, to understand it, to address it, to pay attention to it, how it's probably showing up in our lives. What we can do to address it and work through it. What's waiting for us on the other side of burnout, like once we actually kind of take control back of our life and reintroduce some things that get us through this burnout like what can we expect to like to get back into our life?

Amy: I think the biggest thing I noticed a change is my energy levels I had stained and high energy. I think we all want that, right, want to be able to do the things that we love, and we want to do with full energy, you will have energy like you haven't had since you were a kid. That's how I describe it to people, I think I thought, okay, getting older is also energy depleting but I didn't realize that just like muscle, you can build muscle at any age, you can actually build your gut health, your immune health, your hormone health, you can be energetic at any age. I also think it really brought out in me my purpose. And so then once you know your purpose you can draw clear boundaries, 

Chase: that is a whole other source of type of energy. 

Amy: so once you realize what you really want in life and what you're going for, then the boundaries become a little more attainable, because that you can say, Well, you know, what I'm going to not do or interact with, or I'm really going to protect this passion and build some boundaries. And I think building boundaries is so empowering, because you're saying, Hey, I love this energy, and I love what I'm doing as my life's work and once you figure out the people and the pieces, then you protect that at all costs. And that means, you know, maybe that means not doing the eight o'clock meetings ever. Maybe that means not answering everybody's text right away. Maybe that means, you know, putting no notifications on your phone, and just, you know, whatever it is, those are my boundaries. You know what I mean? Whatever it is those are mine. But make sure you have boundaries. Because once you respect your own self and your own time, people start to respect that too. There'll be like, oh, yeah, I don't call Chase after 8pm. Because I know he's not gonna pick up until the next morning. You know, like, that's, that's what I'm talking about.

Chase: Yeah, I've even had to have some moments with my own family member like, why don't you answer your phone? Why can’t I reach you? I don't turn my phone on until like, X amount of time after I wake up. I don't, I can turn it off X amount of time before I go to bed. You know, what if it's an emergency? Well,

Amy: figure it out.

Chase: thankfully, you know, do not disturb on the phones. Now, it's like, if you try to call somebody, I think three times in a row, it'll actually go through. So there are ways even in the modern world to set boundaries, but still be there for the people 

Amy: I had a strategy. Well, we stopped this strategy. But my strategy was that I had a landline but nobody knew the number except for a few key people and so I would be okay, I've disconnected from my phone. But I knew that if there was an emergency, we could use that. But now we have that do not disturb thing that you can you can do. And you can selectively deselect, you know, my kids calling?

Chase: I need some people to come through.

Amy: Yeah, exactly. So for me, putting up boundaries has been so empowering. Because once you really do realize what is repleting you and what is draining you, then you start to put up those boundaries. And then you feel so much better. Because you're like, Oh, I should have done this years ago, like I should have said, you know, I'm not going to, you know, do this thing. And be okay with it. It's not like, yeah, you don't have to be in the popular crowd, you can say whatever you want to say. And as long as not hurting someone else you're good you know,

Chase: one thing I heard in there that I love is that it can come across in people and we talked on that talks about that earlier, as well. And all the things we've been talking about of biofeedback of paying attention to what's showing up in your body and your mind, like, also look for that in people take an evaluation analysis of the people that are just energy suckers, and never energy givers. And it's a very, very hard thing to go through. I've been through it so many times. And honestly, it just turns into people coming and going out of your life. And at the end of the day, you have to recognize you have to do that, because those behaviors aren't going to go anywhere.

Amy: Yeah, no, you have to you have to take those energy suckers. If you can't take them out of your life I say just stop giving them your energy. You don't have to engage.

Chase: it doesn't have to be a harsh cut off kind of thing. 

Amy: it can be that they wouldn't even know the difference. Because they might just see you in passing now and you're just too busy to you know, maybe you're not organizing things with them. But you are reaching out to someone who is giving you energy and I think that that naturally kind of happens sometimes. But if you're deliberate about it, you really can do great things and you know energies is such a thing that if you give up off really good energy, you will attract more people with really, absolutely, yeah. And then you can kind of engage more with those people and engage less with the people who obviously don't give you good energy, and then you don't have to give energy back to them. So that's the energy tactic. 

Chase: that reminds me this tactic I would use to use a lot in practice of when people are embarking on like their health and wellness journey, especially in the beginning, a common misconception is all the things I have to give up. All the things that I can't do, that I can't eat, or the places I can't go. And that is just a mindset shift that we would work on a lot. And I still try to work on that through the content in my own life is no just focus on what you can do. Focus on the people that light you up, focus on the people that you light up, focus on the things, the practices, the modalities that just give you back something, some kind of ROI and just lean into that. And like, just follow that mentality and the things you're doing, the places you're going the people in your lives, things are eating, like you will also just wake up and realize like, wow, I'm, I'm getting it all back. Because I've been giving only to people places and things that deserve it.

Amy: it's so empowering. So that's, that's really the key is, is finding out what things can replete you and what things and people are depleting you and kind of doing an edit.

Chase: yeah, that's, that's a whole I feel like I have a whole other conversation on like the people in the community aspect. That's been that's been, especially what the whole world has been going through this last year, that detachment and lack of community for so many people has just, I mean, now we're literally feeling it a year later of having such, like, harsh lines in the sand of how often we see people when we see them where we see them. It's just been like, now we're really we were reaping what we sowed.

Chase: it's terrible. I mean, there are people who haven't seen anyone for a full year. It's so sad for our elders and children. It's, it's, it's just sad all around. And everyone, you know, can argue about, you know, what we did wrong. And what we did, we can all say that we all suffered from the disconnect that we had this year. That's why I started to really realize, oh, there's so much value in the actual energy exchange in person energy. And that we really underestimate that when we you know, this year, we weren't able to do that. We realized now what we were missing, you know,

Chase: which is why I'm so grateful you are here in person. I appreciate appreciated and enjoyed your energy and your expertise today. And so the final question I ask everybody on my show is ever forward; to live a live a life ever forward and I have like this philosophy of taking awareness, a heightened sense of attention, awareness to our fitness or nutrition or mindset, all the things that just make us and what we can fine tune and what we can keep and what we can maybe get rid of just take a step, take the step, take any step to just move forward. How do you interpret that? What does that mean to you? How can what you're doing in this whole work of burnout help us do that?

Amy: I think the whole conversation we had was really how to move yourself forward, how to move our society forward. If we understand these things, then we can build systems, we can build technology, we can build network, I mean, we can really change how we build the next, say 20 years of our lives forward by learning all this and incorporating it and making it tangible tools for people. Maybe, you know, not everyone can get natural light, but maybe they can, you know, have these light lamps and in the winter months, and maybe, you know, we emphasize nature time more on for everyone. And maybe we deemphasize working late at night or eating late at night and change our culture a little bit. So yeah, moving forward as individuals act as a collective society by doing some of these things, especially the circadian rhythm synching is something that I think that can change a lot of people's lives.

Chase: I agree. Very well said. I always tell my guests there's never a right or wrong answer. It's just, I love it right? After we have our conversation, and then you know, I share a little bit of the philosophy of my own and in the show, you know, I'm always grateful for the answer that I get. So it help. Well, where can people learn more about you? Where can they get the book? If they want to go somewhere right now connect with you where are they going?

Amy: there a few places. So on social media, I'm at fasting, MD, on Instagram. I'm at Amy Shah, MD on Twitter and Facebook. The book is that I'm so effingtired.com

Chase: I love the title by the way.

Amy: Amymdwellness.com is my personal website.

Chase: Okay, amazing. Well, thank you so much.

Amy: Thank you so much for having me.

Apr 12, 2021

EFR 461: Perform, Adapt, Evolve - The Three Pillars of Human Optimization with Jeff Byers

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Jeff Byers is a former NFL player and the current CEO of Amp Human, which offers innovative products that help athletes push the limits on their performance, adaptation, and recovery.

With an interest in both sports and entrepreneurship from an early age, Jeff always harbored an interest in finding creative ways to push his boundaries for growth as a human. “I was always thinking about the little things I could do to get better,” he says. “I tried to use my brain to work smarter than always just work harder.”

After retiring from the NFL, Jeff worked for a few years in the finance space before joining an early-stage biotech startup in late 2015. This company had discovered a way to deliver pharmaceuticals through the skin, bypassing the GI system which often limits the body’s ability to optimally absorb vitamins and minerals taken orally.

Not long after joining the company, Jeff and one of his partners developed a broad vision for a business offering products specifically formulated to optimize human performance, a space in which they saw, at the time, a huge gap in the market.

Listen in as Jeff talks all things human performance and optimization and why he refers to it as a “broad spectrum”. He also discusses the benefits of Amp Human’s flagship product, PR Lotion, and its newly released D+ Lotion.

 

Follow Amp Human @amphuman

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Jeff explains how to differentiate between human performance and biohacking, and how he optimizes his cognitive abilities.

  • Routines are great for introducing discipline; but could they also be a limiting factor to evolving, adapting, and breaking past barriers with regard to human performance?

  • What does Jeff mean by “broad spectrum human performance”?

  • Jeff speaks on the relationship between mindset and human performance.

  • How do Amp Human’s products, particularly PR Lotion, help humans break their limits and achieve more?

Powerful Quotes by Jeff Byers

One of the things I learned from sports was how to make decisions, and how to make decisions fast knowing that you’re going to fail. It’s important to fail fast but how do you evaluate that and actually move forward over the long-term to really be able to create big gains over time?

Human nature is how we continue to move forward whether we are doing it willingly or not, or knowingly or not.

Our goal at Amp Human is to deliver relevant solutions using a systems-based approach to athletes who train with a purpose, or to humans who continually seek to level up.

We don’t know what the potential of a human is, and we won’t know.

We believe there are three core pillars to human performance: perform, adapt, and evolve.

How do we not just train harder, but also maximize everything around it including the mind, body, and soul?

 

Episode resources:

Apr 8, 2021

EFR 460: Why You Don't Need Supplements with Mike Matthews

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Mike Matthews is the Founder and CEO at Legion Athletics, Inc., a company which offers all-natural, science-based supplements, including pre-workout, post-workout, fat burners, protein powder, multivitamins, and more.

Mike is also the author of several bestselling health and fitness books, including Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body and Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body.

Chase and Mike do a deep dive into supplementation and how to navigate an industry that has unfortunately grown to be filled with misleading claims, half-truths, and outright lies that leave the average fitness guy or gal at a disadvantage when it comes to getting informed on what the right products for them are.

Listen in as Mike lists foundational supplements that nearly everyone would benefit from adding to their daily regimen. He shares common shady marketing tactics and gimmicks that many supplement companies use to promote subpar products.

Finally, Mike explains the secret to becoming the number one all-natural sports nutrition brand in the world and what sets Legion Athletics’ product line apart from all others.

 

Follow Mike @muscleforlifefitness

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Since supplements are only supplementary to your nutrition, what should people really be focusing on to get the most ROI on their training when it comes to their nutrition?

  • What supplements should be top priority for someone who is already following a healthy diet?

  • How can you know for sure if you’re really getting what it says on the label?

  • What should you be looking for in a protein powder?

  • What does “naturally sweetened and flavored” actually mean?

  • Mike explains what makes his superfood supplement, Genesis, different from all the rest.

 

Powerful Quotes by Mike Matthews

You don’t need supplements to do what you want to do; just so you know. Supplements are supplementary by definition. That is true of ours and anybody else’s; so, don’t believe that there is a magic pill, powder, or potion. It doesn’t exist.

If a company is using proprietary blends in any of their products, just move on. Find another company. Why use a proprietary blend? It’s just for bullshit. It’s to add a little bit of marketing pizzazz in the names.

If a company is selling a greens supplement as a replacement for, say, “22 servings of vegetables”, bullshit. Stay away from that company. They’re either ignorant, or they’re malevolent—they’re just lying.

I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. I think that should apply in business as well, so, I try to treat consumers the way I want to be treated as a consumer.

 

Episode resources:


Ever Forward Radio is brought to you by Legion Athletics

Legion Athletics is the #1 brand of all-natural sports supplements in the world. We sell supplements based on sound science that are 100% transparent, 100% naturally sweetened and flavored, and contain no artificial food dyes or other unwanted chemicals.

Scientifically-Backed Doses and Ingredients

  • Every ingredient in our supplements is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research and is included at clinically effective levels.

  • That means the ingredients and doses in our supplements are based on published scientific research demonstrating real benefits, not the restrictions of razor-thin production budgets or gluttonous profit margins.

100% Formula Transparency

  • All our supplements are 100% transparent, meaning you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

  • We disclose the exact amount and form of each ingredient in all our supplements and never use proprietary blends.

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  • Customers either love our stuff or they get their money back. Period. No forms to fill out or hoops to jump through. That’s just how confident we are in our products.

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Interview transcript:

Chase

Yeah, so it's pulling up, like I said, some extra tabs to, to reference items and I wanted to make sure I got the episode number right from the last one you were on man. Exactly one year ago today, really? March 9th 2020. Well, it came out. It's when the episode went live. But I was back in I was back in Virginia, I think was like February, late January, February of 2020. And we caught up there at the old HQ in Vienna. And yeah, exactly one year ago today went live Episode 292 Back to Basics, man, here we are. 

Mike

synchronicity. That's wild. And in fact, the talk now supplement basics.

Chase

 Yeah, yeah, that's what I was talking to the team over there at Legion I was, you know, here's some great topics. And some things we want to kind of go over last time Mike and I really dove deep into the training fundamentals and training basics. Because it was right on the cusp of when this guy was coming out, you know, beyond bigger, leaner, stronger. And I was like, Yeah, let's go. Let's go the other route. You know, what are the what's the other big training principle when it comes to making any kind of change? And it's, it's the nutrition, it's the supplementation, so I guess, happy podcast anniversary, first of all, man. 

Mike

Yeah, man. Thanks for having me back. Appreciate it. Looking forward to the reciprocation. You're going to come back on my show, too. 

Chase

Yeah, that's right. You guys, I love your show. You guys dive into like the thick of it for anybody that wants to nerd out but just also very, very easily applicable ways to move the needle in your in your weight loss journey, your fitness journey, whatever you're doing.

Mike

Thanks, man. Yeah, I appreciate it. That's, that's what I'm going for. I like to get into the details. But I also like to stick with, like, try to make it as simple and practical as possible, because that's just the kind of information that I personally look for. So it's simple self-serving, but at least there are people out there who like it, too.

Chase

If you make it for yourself, there's got to be enough people out there like you as well. 

Mike

Yeah. That's how a lot of these come about is things like I wonder about that. And then look into it, learn about it. And then sometimes I learned things I can incorporate into my own regimen. Sometimes I learned things that are not worth incorporating. But then I can just share that information. So there's some efficiency there, I guess

Chase

And speaking of not worth incorporating, that's kind of where I would really love to start, you know, this episode is going to really focus on supplementation, a lot of myths, half-truths, whole lies, you know, just ways for the consumer wave away for the fitness goer, to really look at something in their nutrition in their supplementation. So yes, I need this. No, I don't. What am I being sold? What am I not? What is actually in here? But before they even get to that point, supplements are made to supplement a diet of weight training of physical activity of exercise, and proper nutrition. So before we even talk about supplements, man, like, what should people really be focusing on to get the most ROI in their training when it comes to their nutrition? 

Mike

Well, I mean, you said it right supplements are supplementary, by definition they are something that you can add to an existing training and, and diet program that's working. But if you don't have a training or diet program that are working, then supplements aren't going to do much for you. And if we were to envision the most important aspects of nutrition as a pyramid, supplementation would be probably toward the top. I mean, you could you could maybe say nutrient timing is a bit less important than the because like we're building a pyramid. Alright, we started with foundation, we start with energy balance, and then we talk about macronutrient balance and then we talk about food choices and making sure that you're eating enough nutritious foods. And those are the most important aspects of nutrition, whether we're talking body composition, or just health and wellbeing. And if you stopped there, and you didn't bother with supplementation, you didn't bother with nutrient timing, you didn't bother with playing around with meal composition, or trying to even really micromanage the fruits and vegetables that you're eating, which that would come into the food choices kind of straight on, which would be alright, let's make sure that you are getting your one to two servings of fruit per day, three to five servings of vegetables per day, probably one serving of whole grains is smart to throw in there as well and if you just want some bonus points, throw in some leafy greens, otherwise, just you know, whatever you feel like eating day to day so long as it's a fruit, it's a vegetable, it's a whole grain you're going to do well with that right? And so if you just stopped there, you're going to do very well. You will be able to achieve your fitness goals. You will be able to achieve your health goals, you will reduce the risk of disease and dysfunction. You don't need really anything higher up on that pyramid, which, which would include supplementation. That said, I would say that if you have the budget, and you have the inclination, I do think there are some supplements that are worth considering. Because they either add convenience, like in the case of a protein powder, primarily, it just adds convenience. I personally would rather when it comes 3pm, I would rather mix up a couple scoops of protein powder and just drink it down then like eat another chicken breast. But, but that's me, some people, they don't mind it, and they actually maybe they wouldn't want to eat the third chicken breast of the day, but they're happy to have some, that just gets old and even someone like me with the palate of a Rottweiler eventually, you know, eventually all I could do without the, the chicken tender, the chicken tenderloin again, so, so there's convenience, there is in some cases performance like creatine and beta alanine and citrulline malate, not major players, they're not going to make a huge difference in your results. But individually, they can make a small difference. And if you can add up enough small differences, it can be a, I would call it slightly significant difference. Again, I don't want to oversell any of this, because that's just the reality. And then we move over into the realm of health, in which case, I would actually say that's where I think the stronger argument for supplementation is, as opposed to body composition. Body composition sells a lot. You can sell a lot of pre workout, you can sell a lot of muscle build 

Chase

They see the end result and they think this is actually what got them there. 

Mike

Yeah, yeah. And when I understand when you're wanting to gain muscle, when you're wanting to get stronger when you're wanting to lose fat those are very tangible goals. And you look in the mirror, and you can see whether you're making progress or not. And that is at least 50% of why any of us do any of this anyway. And I absolutely at least 50% of the reason I'm in the gym every day is to look a certain way. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. So you can sell a lot of that stuff. But if we if we get into I think more of the science of supplementation, I would say you can probably make a stronger argument for things that are great for your health that are difficult to get through your diet, or in some cases impossible, because you're just not going to eat the stuff. And we could start with something simple like, oh, an omega three fatty acid, like a fish oil supplement, unless you're eating several servings of fatty fish or a lot of ALA, which would be the plant based source of omega threes, and you have to eat a fair amount because of the absorption issues, you are probably not getting enough omega threes in your diet and if you bump those up, you can notice I mean it can benefit your physical and mental health and performance in different ways, it can impact muscle building, it can impact fat burning it can it can cause quite a few beneficial effects in the body.

Chase

So let's expand on that real quick before we kind of get into like the training supplement stuff. Supplements for first of all, great job we hit the head and hit the nail on the head on kind of just talking about why to supplement. Now that's keeping that kind of overall health and wellness person in mind of just I want to I want to feel good I want to just perform my best for daily living and you know, I'm generally active, certain things like a fish oil, certain things like focusing on micronutrients, focusing on your joint health, what things should someone be looking for and targeting first outside of their diet for that kind of general wellness blanket so to speak?

Mike

Yeah, so a fish oil. Certainly. Or you can go with a plant based omega three supplement, most people are fine with just taking a fish oil, I would say that is going to be the most efficient way to get the EPA and DHA molecules that we specifically want. And a multivitamin, I think it depends on the quality of the multivitamin and that can be all over the place, depending on the company and the formulation depending on how much money they're willing to spend on it. For example, Legions multivitamin is I actually have to we've been hammering our manufacturers to give us better prices, but I believe it's probably around $13 to $14 a bottle right now for us and then you have to add some extra expensive so it probably cost me $16 a bottle to send, to produce and get the multivitamin to a customer right. And to put that in perspective, a lot of the multivitamins that you see on the shelf at your local supplement store or on the virtual shelf over at Amazon they cost maybe about $6 a bottle on average. Half. And the reason is, is a lot of them, if you look at the formulations, they're just vitamins and minerals, and that it's either just that, or it's that plus of a couple of other cheap ingredients, maybe some amino acids and tiny amounts of a couple herbs and it's really just to pad the label and make it look like it's better than it is. 

Chase

You say that, in some of these products, such as a multivitamin. More is not always better, more could just be more for the sake of more. And when you throw a lot of sciency words on a label that could be misleading to the consumer of Oh, this is clearly the better choice. Right? 

Mike

Totally. And that that is a common ploy with many types of supplements is the kitchen sink approach, just make it make it a really long label list, and sometimes even includes some proprietary blends, which we can talk about that; more companies are moving away from that. So maybe they don't use the proprietary blend, and they have a transparent formulate? Well, I mean, it is I shouldn't put it in scare quotes. It's a transparent formulation. But the problem is, the ingredients either are just not good like there's no good scientific evidence that they do anything or the amounts are not good, the ingredients could be good, but maybe it has 1/5 or 1/10 of what you would need to actually get benefits. And so in the case of the multivitamin take Legions, one of the one of the ways that you can spot a potentially good multivitamin from one that is potentially not good it's just how many pills do you have to take per day? If you only have to take one a day? You can't fit that much stuff in one pill you like 

Chase

I’ve heard that name before one a day. 

Mike

The one pill a day approaches is convenient and maybe you can find some that are two a day and many consumers, I would say less informed consumers not stupid, just less informed. And I was once one of these less informed consumers myself. They like the convenience of that. And we do hear from customers who either asked, Why is triumph are Legion or multivitamin over at Legion why is it eight pills per day? And so what you do is you split it up four in the morning and then for dinner is actually the better way to do it. Just in general, even if we just look at the vitamins and minerals as opposed to taking the entire dose in one sitting, you'll get more absorption by splitting it up. But the reason why it's eight a day is because of all the extras I don't we just recently upgraded the formulation. So I'm going to say it's probably between 12 and 14 additional ingredients. I don't know off the top of my head because it used to be 14 I believe it we might have dropped one. I don't remember the exact number now but it's over 10 additional ingredients. And, and sure, I could go down to 6 a day or even 4 a day, but I'd have to start pulling stuff out. That's it that there's no other way to do it. And, and fortunately enough people, they understand what they're getting and they also are like, Yeah, I don't love taking the four pills twice a day. But I like what I'm getting for it. 

Chase

Do you think the argument could be made? I mean, because look at the end of the day, you me the work that we're in the content that we create, we are in the business of helping people establish healthy habits, keep healthy habits, I guess, to play devil's advocate a little bit could the argument be made for someone who is ready, there at that readiness to change level of the one a day pill of taking one thing a day to seemingly make their lives better and maybe that could be a catalyst to put them on the path to making better changes, more changes, versus maybe taking four to eight pills or something else could be a barrier? Like how would you kind of go around that? 

Mike

Yeah, I would say though, if we're talking about that's obviously the kind of the beginning stage of someone's journey or kind of the mini habit or the tiny habit phase? At that point, I would actually rather have that person focus that energy or that bandwidth, so to speak, on just eating a little bit better, or exercising a little bit more consistently. I would say let's just leave supplementation out. And, let's get so let's say you're at one serving of vegetables per day. Let's bump that up to two. And it might be in the beginning. Let's not even worry about calories or macros, right? Let's just let's just get some more nutritious food into your diet and let's improve your relationship with food a little bit. Let's get you used to enjoying these more nutritious food. And then maybe we'll start subtracting a little bit of, quote unquote junk food. Not that you can't have sugar and relatively non nutritious foods, of course you can Chase

The person probably wants less of it in their diet in their body.

Mike

Right. Right. So I would rather I would rather just hold off on supplementation and if somebody okay for at the point where we're going to incorporate supplements, and eight a day is just a no go, then I would find something that is decent than that is okay. What is four a day workable? Alright, I'm sure there's a four day out there that's, that's okay. I don't know exactly what it would be. But I'm sure I could find that. And, and to your point, then, okay, if they're going on the four a day, and then they're like, you know, what's another four? Who cares? Then it could be appropriate to upgrade them because they will get more out of mine than they're going to get out of the four day. But yeah, I mean, that's a perfectly valid point, I think. And back to your original question, then. So multivitamin, and I think a multivitamin is a good multivitamin is worth taking regardless of how well you eat. 

Chase

I'm so glad you said that, because that was going to be a follow up question I had, and you just brought it up, you know, I think bar none, no matter what anyone is going through in their health, fitness, wellness journey, a multivitamin, I would recommend that to everybody, before I even maybe had like a console or sit down with them. Because no matter what we're eating these days, it just, you just don't know the true level of nutrition and potency in your foods unless you're growing them 100% yourself. I think 

Mike

And again, micromanaging, I'll be talking about specific, it's hard to get vitamin K, for example, in forms k one and K two, and it's hard to get enough vitamin D unless you are conscientiously spending time in the sun. Really, that's you or you're eating a lot of fortified foods. But if you're eating well, chances are you're not eating a lot of fortified foods, because you're probably not drinking a ton of milk or eating breakfast cereals, we may be a little bit here and there but not enough to get, let's say a baseline of 2000 I use a day of vitamin D. Same thing goes for depending on dietary preferences, calcium, if somebody eats a lot of plant foods, for example, it can be it can be difficult to get enough calcium, zinc can be an issue and particularly with women who tend to eat less meat. Iron is also a common issue with women, you can benefit from a high dose if we're talking about comparing it to the RDI of vitamin B 12. And some people report more energy. Some people don't notice a difference, but some people respond well to a higher dose of B 12. But you're not going to get that through food. So yeah, there are I think it's just you can think of it maybe as almost like a little bit of an insurance policy. And a good multivitamin that you just add on top of a good diet, and I practice what I preach. I mean, I take of course I'm going to take my own, but I eat very well, by anyone's standards, I follow the advice I've shared so far. I also do kind of micromanage my food to make sure that I get in my dark leafy greens to make sure that I get in cruciferous vegetables. I mean, I'm traveling right now. So I'm actually staying with my parents, which is funny. I haven't slept in this house since I left 20 years, or 18 or whatever it's been. It's funny to me, like 

Chase

wait, I don't have to sneak out at night now. I could just come and go as I please.

Mike

I do not have to sneak my girlfriend. And so it's funny, but so here I eat what my mom cooks but yeah, she'll cook whatever kind of vegetables and it's not it's not how I normally go about it because I'm just kind of over the top normally again, I'm eating garlic every day and it's raw for example for the allicin and I and my wife doesn't particularly like that. I buy her horses so you know it balances out. And so despite that I still take I still take my multivitamin because of the there are some again some vitamins and minerals that I want to make sure I'm getting enough of and then there are the extras that I'm just not going to be getting. And so multivitamin important. I would say vitamin D I touched on that. It depends. You know, if you're if you were taking my multivitamin that has 2000 I use in it, that's a good baseline. You may need to take more but you probably need to get blood tested to really confirm that to check your d3 levels. Right. And then you could you could work with a doctor who could tell you like, Oh yeah, 2000s not enough for you so we need to bump that up to five that would be the case for some people. But 2000 IUs is that's generally accepted as like the baseline you want to be getting 2000 IUs for adults at least. And after that, I would say it's probably worth getting a couple of body comp things if you're into fitness right like a protein powder and probably creatine, if you are training your muscles just because it's inexpensive, and most people respond to it, it's natural. Some people just don't. It just doesn't help them. 

Chase

the most clinically studied. 

Mike

Yeah, it's just why not right? You take five grams a day or you or you take a good post workout that has five grams in it. 

Chase

I mean, it's just, I mean, look at the research, it's going back for decades and decades. .

Mike

Right, right. So yeah, I'd say that's, that's, that's a good, good place to start. And you had mentioned joints and, I mean, now we I do feel like we're getting a little bit into the peripheral, if we're talking joints, and then yeah, sure, there are other things that you can take as well. Again, more for health than then performance. But I would say, in my opinion, a joint supplement is probably on par with a pre workout supplement like do you need it? No. But if it's well formulated, it'll probably make a difference in your joints acutely and chronically. Like in the case of Legions, that's one of the reasons that I just really liked that product is it's not it's not just for people who have joint problems. It's also for people who have healthy joints and want to keep them healthy. And a good pre workout probably will make at least a slight difference in your training help you train a little bit harder, and over time, that can mean better progress. 

Chase

absolutely, man. And one last thing I'll say on the multivitamin thing before we shift gears when you brought up you know, I forget the exact word you just said but you're talking about the ingredients in the profile panel, when you kind of get into like what that really means. I before coming over to Legion I was taking the same multivitamin every day for about 14-15 years they changed the formula I think like twice over that times timespan, but I love the company I love the research they put into it and I could absolutely feel the difference over the years. Not every year. But you know, every couple years I would I would do kind of like a 30 day off cycle just like really test myself and absolutely was noticeable and just general vitality, general energy. I could see it in you know, in my urine I would even sometimes I remember one year I did a test right before a blood panel. I was going for going in for physical and like the years leading up to that it was you know, vitamin D looked great. All these things look great. I went off entirely in their life. Some things dropped here. And then so I would go back and cycle which I think is a very good point to make for somebody, you know, be an n equals one, you know, know your body, get some basic labs. But then you know, like know how know what your baseline is, basically, and then go in and test it out. But you know, try if that was the first thing in like 14-15 years, man to sway me over. So um, you guys definitely the proof is in the pudding there. 

Mike

And you have curiosity have you noticed any differences that in your blood work? Have you gotten blood work yet and then and then just subjectively. 

Chase

So I haven't gotten blood work yet. I'm a being a bad patient this year, actually was supposed to. Last week, I was supposed to have multiple doctor's appointments and ended up just having to reschedule everything. So I am very excited to see because at this point now it will be I think four months, okay, three months, three solid months on with triumph there. And, and again, it was right around the same time period where I was phasing out of that, that one bringing in you know, Legion, and it's just you know, wow, I'm back. Just honestly, when you know how good you feel at a baseline and that goes away. And then it comes back. You're like no, no, no, no, I don't need to cycle this off again. Like I like feeling good for damn sure.

Mike

Yeah, yeah. No, I totally agree with that. I think of how important sleep is in that regard. I've that's something I've come to appreciate more as I've gotten older and I'm, you know, I'm no longer invincible. And yeah, well

Chase

welcome to your 30s. Well, I think this is a perfect time to transition into a big area where we can add some value for the listener here in the consumer, the person out there looking to do the work in the gym, their physical activity, their nutrition, and they're ready to make that decision. Like I want to add in some supplements, but what are these ingredients? What's effective? What's ineffective? What are these proprietary blends we’re talking about, like, how can I actually look at a label, whether it's Legion or anybody else and know like, I'm actually getting what it says a good dose that's going to do me, you know, do my body right? 

Mike

Yeah, yeah, it's, it's, it's a bit tricky, to be honest, because some of it comes down to trusting the company. And so that means there's some due diligence there, as we're starting to look into who's behind it. Is there anybody even behind it or is it just a faceless kind of Amazon brand for example, there is one brand in particular, just for example, it's quite big on Amazon, that they, the people behind it are just marketers like they're not fitness people. They're completely out of shape. And so they're some of their products are okay. 

Chase

Beware the rise of the Amazon drop shipper. I mean, it's no, they don’t own a small businessman but you know yeah to your point the person behind the person running that that wouldn't be the person that I would want, you know to have

Mike

Unless they have like, Oh, well hold on, let me explain why you should take my supplements, you know what I mean? But in the case of this brand, I'm thinking of No, it's just, it's just marketing. That's all it is. Right. But I think what we can first start with is proprietary blends, I would say if a company is using proprietary blends in any of their products, just move on. That really that is that is my best advice. Just find another company. There are many, many supplement companies out there. And the reason I say that is we should probably first explain a proprietary blend is a blend of ingredients that when you look on the label, it's given a name. So it'd be like the muscle pump max, you know, and then it'll have a weight. So it'll say, you know, 1200 milligrams next to the blend, name. And then it'll list everything that's in the blend, but it won't tell you how much of each thing is in the blend. It'll just give a list and labeling standards. And this is not to say that, that all companies follow them because they don't but technically, they're supposed to list it with the first ingredient would be the greatest or the largest amount listed in weight and then the second would be the second most, but let's say it's a 1200 milligram blend and the first ingredient is maltodextrin, which is a cheap carb for example. And then the next ingredient is creatine, good ingredient. And as a consumer, you might look at that and go I don't really know what maltodextrin is. Oh, but creatine is good, right? What you don't know though, is the amounts it could be 1100 milligrams of molto and, you know, 100 milligrams of creatine and that's it. Let's just say this blend had two ingredients, right? 

Chase 

It's a very cost effective blend. 

Mike

Exactly. It's a tasty it's a tasty blend, because molto is just sweet, right? And 100 milligrams of creatine though, and this gets to this point of clinically effective doses, meaning a dose that was proven effective in clinical research, that's about five grams, you take about 5000 milligrams of creatine per day on like that, that's just your standard dose to really reap the benefits that the marketers are probably going to be referring to in their, in the, in their marketing, right, the studies that show that creatine works. And so why so, to, to that point, then why use a proprietary blend, it's just for bullshit. That's really the reason to use it. It's, it's to add a little bit of marketing pizzazz in the names, the names are often, you know, kind of sensational over the top bodybuilding type, you know, get super swole super shredded type stuff, right? 

Chase

Drink minotaur

Mike

And then to hide the doses of the individual ingredients. Because if you the consumer, let's say often these blends have a lot of ingredients because it looks impressive, right? It has like 10 ingredients. And as a consumer, it's easy to assume Oh, well, I mean, shit has 10 ingredients, at least one or two of those have to be good, right? 

Chase

Getting my money, you know? 

Mike

Yeah, yeah, reasonable assumption, right? In many things in life more is just better, right? Not always, but sometimes it is. And so what consumers don't realize though, is of course, it's the amounts that matter, not just the ingredients themselves. But if they were to see amounts, then they might be a little bit suspicious here to see three milligrams of reishi mushroom or one of these other mushrooms that are popular, you might wonder like three milligrams, milligrams, that's all that's a very small amount. I'm not sure I'm not sure that's going to do much of anything, right. So you use the proprietary blend to hide that. So any company that is using a proprietary blend, there may be the I can't say they're all full of shit, but most of them are full of shit. And again, as a consumer, I don't think it's worth trying to go any further figuring out Wait, wait, is this one actually full of shit or not? 

Chase

Sorry, man. I got this random image in my head. Did you ever watch the show on History Channel Ancient Aliens I've seen some of it. Giorgio. Yeah, the hair guy. He's like, I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's alias. So basically, like you're saying that all proprietary blends are aliens. 

Mike

Correct. Correct. We are originally formulated by ancient astronauts. Yes, correct. So yeah, yeah, the first proprietary blend goes back to sumur 1000 BC, it was there at Stonehenge,

Chase

actually, this proprietary blend is the magic dust that enabled Stonehenge to assimilate you know, on its own.

Mike

Correct, correct this, this is the legendary Starfire nectar of the gods that they that they drank to live forever. Legionathletics.com use my use my coupon code. 

Chase

The thing is that there would be some guy or girl out there that would like, find that appealing. And they would want to just like grab ahold of the most secret of ancient sauces and blends and like, I don't need to know, I don't want to know, but just, you know, if it's attached to this, this, I want to believe I want to believe. That's a whole other concept of you know, how, as on the consumer and someone who's on a realistic health and fitness journey, like you have to kind of detach yourself from other people's and results, just because you got you know, Mr. Olympia on this cover label of a proprietary blend of a supplement. I mean, that's, I mean, it's sells, and maybe he does use it, but is that what he took when he was at your point in the journey? Maybe, maybe not. You know, this is the whole point of do your do your again do your due diligence.

Mike

Especially if we're talking about muscle building anything? Like, how much of that intro workout you know, cellular swelling supplement has to do with his 21 inch guns. Is it that or is it the 10 the 10 grams of dedication that he's on.

Chase

But to your point, building muscle. Another thing I love about Legion I love about your you know, your work and you know, kind of just unfolding a lot of the half-truths and whole lies in the supplements industry is when it comes to protein powder I think that is one of the most tried and true if, if people are thinking supplements in the fitness industry, they're probably thinking protein powder. And what I love about you guys, now I've been kind of on more of a plant based kick the last almost year. And so for personal reasons. And also, I just noticed a subtle difference in my digestion, bloating a little bit, you know, when I switched to a vegan protein powder, and you guys have both, but I noticed a big difference as well. Like the same benefits the same basically the things that I didn't feel when I was on the vegan protein powder with your whey plus protein powder. And when I was diving more into it, I was really amazed that you know, you guys have gone through a lot in terms of the protein isolate the grass fed aspect, even down to like a single source from where all this this whey comes from. So when it comes to protein powder when it comes to these proprietary blends and stuff, can you kind of walk us through like someone's looking at a protein blend, like what is actually good for them? What should we be looking for and supplementing our diet for protein and or looking for you know, muscle hypertrophy here? 

Mike

Yeah, yeah. So, a couple of important things with a protein powder is you’re going to want it's okay if there's a protein blend, that's not necessarily bad, like our, our vegan protein is it's a blend of rice protein and pea protein. And we combine those two intentionally because they have complimentary amino acid profiles. One is strong or the other is weak and when you combine them together, their amino acid profile looks similar to whey like that combination is often referred to as the vegans whey. And so we created that that blend now it's not a proprietary blend, we don't give it a fancy name it is just blended protein. It's just half. And that's, I believe it's half. It was some time ago and we put that together and we haven't changed it because that's just the way to go with it. But regardless of protein blend is not quite the same necessarily as a proprietary blend, but the first ingredient should be a higher quality protein. So let's say if they're trying if the marketing is leading you to believe that it is a whey isolate. So if it's straight up claiming it's a whey isolate or calling out whey isolate in some way, and whereas whey isolate is not the first ingredient, let's say it's a concentrate, whey concentrate is the first ingredient, then one red flag because it's just misleading. Like when if you are in emphasizing the whey isolate, then you're trying to get people usually what they're what the marketers doing, they're trying to get people to believe that it is a 100% whey isolate, when it may not be right. So if you're looking at the label, and the first ingredient is whey isolate, then that's a good sign. Now, if it's a blend, and it also has whey concentrate, or maybe a milk protein, source of milk protein, like it could be, it could be milk isolate or milk concentrate. Again, that's not necessarily a red flag, it depends how it's being presented. So if it's just being presented as a whey protein, then that's okay. I would say any one of those three as the first ingredient is, is acceptable, whey isolate would be the highest quality, it's at least 80% protein by weight, the lactose has been removed, you're going to most people, especially those who have, I wouldn't even say so sensitive stomachs but who are who have had stomach issues with whey proteins in the past are going to do better with an isolate simply because first and foremost, the lactose is removed. And then there also are some just other elements of the protein fractions themselves and the milk that the whey protein came from. And in the case of you abroad, you had mentioned this in the case of Legion, we are currently working with all of our of our protein comes from small dairy farms in Ireland. And we're actually vetting it's a very similar setup, but they are in the Netherlands. And it's, I would say it's the both of them are like top tier, basically whey isolates. And we're checking out this this Netherland product, because it may allow us to bring the prices down a little bit and not lose anything in the way of quality. And because there are there are some we're getting the Irish protein through Glanbia and because of like import export, there are a couple things that have nothing to do with the whey protein itself. It's just several dollars more expensive

Chase

 Other things that just get passed on to you 

Mike

Exactly and so we're checking, we're checking out something that is very comparable, but it's all the all the farms are in the Netherlands. But the point is the reason why I originally chose that Irish protein at the time, I was reading something from the US from Ireland and from New Zealand, I think were the those were like the three best way eye slits available basically at the time. And the Irish wound and what is currently what we're currently selling, it just really stood out to me the mouthfeel is very crisp, very creamy, despite having like no fat, you know, zero or maybe one gram per serving. And it tasted just noticeably better. And it wasn't it was the same flavor lab so that wasn't it, it just had a better taste. And it was just the clear winner to me. And since you know, we've been selling that 

Chase

that's the same thing with like, with meat when I eat grass fed steak versus anything else, which these days, I really make a conscious decision to only buy grass fed meat. It's so noticeable. I mean, I think that just speaks to the quality of life that the source is having the quality of light, the quality of activity, the quality of ingredients, and how they're just they are going about their natural lives and like the more natural everything along that journey can be I mean, any result any end result along that path, I think is going to be quality. 

Mike

And what's great about it is it doesn't really matter why all that matters is you notice a difference, really at the end. So why in the end, why? It's hard to say actually, nutritionally, like you know, there's some research that has looked into the nutritional differences. And there are some differences, I think it's fair to say the grass fed beef is a bit more nutritious, on average, but that wouldn't exactly explain why you just feel better. And is it is it subjective? Is there a psychological component? Maybe, but in again, it just, it doesn't really matter? Because you notice a difference. So that's it, you know what I mean.

Chase

That's a good point. I mean, that goes kind of goes into the whole aspect of, you know, placebo effect, I think, would agree. If I'm taking something that I maybe know nothing about how it was sourced how it was made. It could be a phenomenal product over here. But you know, product B is one that I know the company, I know somebody that works there, I know the land on which you know, it's grown or harvested and I just have some kind of association. I can tether myself to that more. I have It's almost like you develop more empathy for what you're putting into your body. And if you feel some kind of way, a positive way about just starting off with something, then you know, that definitely has to feed into the psychosomatic aspect of the results that is going to give you I mean, you can literally be given the same products as B, but if you just have a better association to B, then I think that could definitely play a role. 

Mike

Oh, for sure. I mean, there's a lot of research on of course, the placebo effect, but then step over into research, more related to marketing that shows that people's first impressions markedly influence how they end up liking the product or service. So when they land on a website, it actually starts right there. But it also could be when you receive something in the mail, how does it look, all of those things matter. And that's more, that'd be like getting off into a business discussion. But that's why it's smart to really pay attention to all the touch points that people have with your business and really work try to make all of them as good as possible, because the more you can create a good, especially first impression, the more likely they are in the case of supplements, the more likely they are to like my stuff. I mean, that's just that's just a fact. Like, if they hit my website, and they like it, and maybe they interact via our live chat with there's a little chat there that pops up and we have certified personal trainers that are live. Probably, I don't know if we've added the weekends yet, but certainly during the week, where people can just ask questions like you don't, it's not just a pitch, it's ask questions, and I'll help you out. And we have people that are personal trainer, certified trainers, not marketers like that, and they don't and, and I actually I don't, I don't have any financial incentive in place for them to sell things like I don't give them bonuses. And that's intentional, because I really just want them to be able to help not have that high pressure to like, okay, now you got to buy something. And we have on the website, we have probably over 2000 articles by now on all kinds of things. And I've recorded a lot of podcasts. So we have a lot of good resources too. Often people have questions, like if somebody hits the website, and they see the chat, and they're like, oh, how do I get rid of belly fat? What do I do? And instead of getting into a long chat discussion back and forth, in that case, what the trainer can do is shoot them a link right on our website

Chase

go to an article go to a podcast.

Mike

Here's an article on just that. And there's also a podcast, if you want to listen to me explain it. And you and then and then you can check that out, you know, and then often people will and then they'll have follow up questions and they're able to continue the discussion. So it's, it's pretty cool in that regard. But anyway, coming back to coming back to the protein powder, 

Chase

we'll save the business conversation for March 9 2022. We'll just keep things rolling next year. 

Mike

Yeah, man, maybe Rona will relented by then. And we'll have we'll have more people interested in that. But yeah, so So coming back coming back to protein, the blend or not or no blend is not necessarily a negative sign. However, in the case of whey, you do want to see as the first ingredient a form. If it says whey it should be a way it should be whey isolate whey concentrate, it should not be any sort of milk protein, not that milk protein is bad, per se, it's just the it's the cheapest form of protein powder really, you can buy and the quality can vary widely. So the quality can also vary widely in whey concentrate, for example, a low quality whey concentrate, which I get pitched on all the time from Chinese suppliers. It can be as low as probably 30 or 40% protein by weight, and the rest is just fat and carbs. And if I were really unscrupulous, I could get that stuff. And then I could amino spike it by I can throw in a cheap amino acid that's nitrogen rich. So it'll test out as having, you know, 20-25 grams of protein per serving because it will have the nitrogen that would be present in 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving, but it actually doesn't have it has maybe nine grams of rest. And the rest is glycine. Glycine is a good one for that because it's it tastes good. It's sweet, and it's nitrogen rich. And, and so whey concentrate can vary again, from 30 to 40%, up to 80%. If it goes above 80, then it's now a whey isolate. And so that's one of the nice things about a whey isolate for it to actually be a whey isolate it has to be at least 80% protein by weight. And so if you are choosing a whey isolate, then you are you're not necessarily again, I don't want to say like oh you're just getting a better protein and you're going to, you're going to build muscle faster with the whey isolate than the whey concentrate, or even the milk protein? No. But you can be a bit more confident that it is a high quality product. Whereas the concentrate, it really depends now, who are you getting it from? And do you trust that company? You can look around online to see if there have been any third party lab analyses. There are many that you can find like I've seen quite a few on Reddit over the years where people who work in labs just take it upon themselves to buy some proteins on the market and just run tests. And some companies just then just put the data out there and say, Hey, here's what we found. Just so you know, for example, I've seen Optimum Nutrition consistently test well, over the years that I've seen people do that and that's, that's no surprise. I mean, they are the 800 pound gorilla there, they probably do over a billion dollars a year. And even most of that is proteins. I mean Glanbia owns them, they're fully vertically integrated, it'd be really stupid for them to do what I just said to amino spike to get cheap protein and then try to cut corners and then get caught. That'd be really dumb. So I'm not surprised they don't do that. And then you should also look with a protein powder, you should look at the size of the serving. So let's say it's 28 grams, and you want you want the amount of protein to be, it's not going to be exactly 28 grams because even in the cleanest, simplest protein powder unless it has nothing but protein powder. And that's it no flavoring, no excipient like really nothing, then you know, then yeah, it could, it could more or less match. But if you want it to taste like chocolate, for example, even if it is completely natural ingredients, it's going to require ironically, even more sweetener in particular, and also flavoring but more so sweetener if you're using natural to get it to taste good. So you're if it's a 28 grams serving, for example, it only has 22 grams of protein per serving, or 23. That's not a red flag, you just want to know, Okay, what else is in there? And if you look at the other ingredients, you're like, Okay, so it has stevia, it has some natural cocoa, it has some salt, and it has a couple of other things. Cool, I get that. But if it were a 28 gram serving, supersize, and that's listed right in the nutrition facts label, and it only had 19 grams of protein per serving. What else is in there? And you might find like, oh, it has a bunch of carbs? Well, that's an that's a no, no, like adding a bunch of carbs to a protein powder is just inappropriate. It's just done. Again, it's usually something cheap, like dextrose maltodextrin. And it's done to make it taste good. And but it's at the expense of calories and macros that you're now wasting. We want to drink protein, we don't want to 

Chase

Unless you're in like the meal replacement shake kind of then you're more on target. 

Mike

Correct. And, and that's I mean, that's another issue that something I don't like about a lot of those products is how many of them are full of dextrose and multi, just really cheap ingredients. But yes, correct carbs, at least are they are appropriate in the case of a weight gain or a meal replacement, but not in the case of a protein supplement. And then you should also I would say take a look at the at the labels, the ingredients and if there are a lot of very multi syllabic fancy sounding words that you pronounce again, you might want to look elsewhere. I don't I don't want to say that, that all chemicals are bad, and you'd be afraid of chemicals. But it's just not a good sign. And I say that, you know, working in the industry and knowing what goes on behind the scenes and knowing that it's not necessary to have a bunch of chemical junk in your products. It's just not I also this is something that is it's not as it's not as important as some people would have you believe but I think it's important enough to make my line all natural, which costs me a lot of money. I mean, to give you an example, my pre workout Pulse, it costs on average, I want to say probably $3 to $4 just to flavor and sweeten it with natural ingredients. I could literally cut that down to 50 cents a bottle if I went away artificial. If I was sucralose it would cut down the amount of masking agents that we need. Sucralose is super sweet. It's super cheap sucralose is bullshit. It's just a what you can do with sucralose is 

Chase

So I mean I see that on Legions products and yeah I see that on a lot of other products really defined for so what does it mean naturally sweetened and flavored? Is that just clever marketing? Or what do you all actually putting in there rather not putting in there to maintain the integrity of naturally sweetened and flavored ingredients? 

Mike

Yeah, that's a good question. And it actually, it brings me to another common sleight of hand that supplement sellers will use because the natural space, the natural supplement space, the natural food space, I mean, really even the natural beauty product space, natural is growing more people are more and more consumers are gravitating toward products that are more natural, containing fewer ingredients containing fewer chemicals. And that trend, I think, I don't think that that wave has even begun to crest yet I think that trend is going to continue to grow indefinitely, probably certainly into the foreseeable future. And so what some supplement marketers will do is they'll it'll say, naturally sweetened, or it'll say naturally flavored on the bottle right now and like Okay, that sounds good. If it's natural must be good, which is actually kind of a fallacy. That's how a lot of people think, right? Like, like, for example, ascorbic acid is not it's not natural, vitamin C, it's not right but in the body is just as good as the natural vitamin C, like, in that in that case, you know, the cofactors that come with eating an orange if we're talking about vitamin C, it has the same effects in the body as ascorbic acid. But anyways, so if you if you then look though, on the nutrition facts panel, if you look at the ingredients, what you may see is like wait a minute, yeah, this has stevia, and it has a resveratrol, which is a sugar, alcohol natural and, and even research even shows they can have health benefits. So that's cool. But then it also has aspartame or sucralose, you're like, wait, what? Because they didn't say that it is 100% naturally sweetened, they just said, naturally sweetened, 

Chase

made with 

Mike

 Or they'll say naturally flavored, if they don't even have any natural sweetener in there. They just want to be able to put the word natural. And so again, as a consumer, when you see those things, I would I would implore you to not then just get into rationalizing there, lack of integrity for them, like oh, well, they probably didn't mean it. No, that's exactly what they meant. They meant for you to think that it is a natural product when it is not. And if they're willing to do that, what else are they willing to lie to you about? What else are they willing to try to fudge to make more money. And again, having been in the space now for seven years, in supplements, in particular, for seven years, I can say people are willing to do a lot of shady things for money. Unfortunately, that's kind of how the world works. And most of people's unethical behavior is just driven by greed. And it's unfortunate, but that's the human condition. I don't know what can I say? 

Chase

And look at even more in detail, you know, the consumer here, look at you know, how much of that natural word or sentence was in big print or glossy film? And then how much of everything else was tiny, tiny small print, 

Mike

Sometimes it's not even there's no, there is no tiny, it actually is just like, oh, naturally flavored or just naturally sweetened. And not the made with natural sweetness just straight up naturally sweet. So in the case of Legion stuff, it is truly 100% naturally sweetened and flavored. That means that there are no artificial sweeteners, there are no artificial food dyes, and no other artificial ingredients whatsoever. No chemical junk, except I would say, and this is this is, again, just me being very conscientious there is ascorbic acid in Triumph, for example. So that is you could say oh, well, that's not a that's not a 100% natural sport multivitamin and yeah, that's correct. But actually, that's why I actually don't say it is just and nobody would, it's me being like overly pedantic. It's not It's not even something that anybody would probably even bring up, right, because the vast majority of the ingredients, actually the natural sources are better. So we go with and in some cases, we choose very specific sources of ingredients that that have proven to be better absorbed. But there are a couple where it's like, there's just no reason to go ascorbic acid gets the job done. You're not gaining, you're not you're not getting anything, which you know, ironically, as I say that, I think that from a marketing perspective, it may be smarter actually, just to go with the flip the couple natural ones in there shortly because then it truly is like right now it's 97% or whatever. And actually, I'll make a mental note of that. But regardless. So why is this important? Why did I choose to go all natural is particularly with the natural sweeteners and you know, actually, I believe I actually just interjecting into my own mind here, I believe I believe I did actually pass that over to my CFO, like, why don't we just replace these couple with the natural so then, just from a marketing perspective, we can get a little bit of, of a boost from it. And then it's 100% honest, you know what I mean? But regardless why what why natural sweeteners, why natural flavoring and natural dyes as well that like come from fruits, for example, instead of chemical dyes? And I would say that none of those things are as bad as some of the alarmists would have you believe the what's the what was that girl? She's food, babe, like, Oh, she's probably still a thing and whatever, but like as the food babes of the world and have you believe? Yeah, the GMOs are not killing you. Just if you need to, if you can afford to get organic produce it, it may be worth it, you can get a bit more nutrition, maybe you'll get a bit less exposure to pesticides. Personally, I noticed a difference in taste. That's why I stick to organic produce, like it actually just tastes better to me. 

Chase

Real fruits and vegetables, yes

Mike

 It makes a difference. To me, at least I can taste the difference. You give me an organic banana versus a conventional and I could tell you which is which and organic strawberries

Chase

local farmers market Farmers Market organic stuff. It's just like, it's just next level think

Mike

yeah, you immediately bite into that strawberry and then you just get like a conventional strawberry Driscoll or whatever. And it makes the conventional almost tastes like nothing just like watered down sugar with a little bit of strawberry flavor palate and yeah

Chase

exactly your palate and then almost kind of differentiate the ingredients that make up this thing they are trying to sell you as a strawberry or whatever it is, versus all the other organic stuff. It's just like it's just like nectar of the gods that makes a difference. 

Mike

So with these artificial ingredients, it's not that artificial sweetener is poison, or that the food dyes are poison, and that you can't have any amount of them under any circumstances. No, not true. But what is true. And there's more and more research that is proving this out is that if having too much of those chemicals every day is probably not good for your long term health, it's probably not good for your gut health in particular. And chances are, you'll notice a difference just how you notice when you have one whey protein versus another chances are, dear listener, you will notice a difference between eight to 10 servings of sucralose Ace k aspartame and what is the couple of the blue and red and yellow food dyes that you'll find commonly in particularly in sports nutrition products. versus not like I noticed a difference and I tend to have a steel trap stomach it takes a lot to upset my stomach for me to notice anything. And for me, it's probably about four or five servings. So I have four or five servings of any these things I just mentioned I feel a little bit off like my stomach just feels it just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel good. And in the case of sports, nutrition, people who are into this stuff they will have it can easily hit eight to 10 servings, depending on how sweet the product is. And so let's say let's start with it starts with the pre workout. And maybe they even you know, use one and a half servings. And again, it depends on how much is in a serving some pre workouts are sweeter than others. And then maybe they have a scoop of protein before they workout. a scoop of protein after they work out. They have a post workout supplement, maybe they have some BCAAs, which is a worthless supplement, but it's popular. Maybe they have some BCAAs or an intro workout, then they have some protein powder later. And then they maybe have the green supplement and you know it goes on then they are drinking more BCAAs and that's just that's just their sports nutrition. Maybe they also have an energy drink or two on top of that. So it can it can be pretty significant and doing that every day for weeks, months or years on end, is I do think it's fair to say that there is good scientific evidence that that is probably not ideal for your health. Now, if you were just to have a serving or two a day, for example, and maybe not even every day, I don't think it's fair to say that anything bad will likely happen you will almost certainly be totally fine. But again because of sports nutrition and because of how popular a lot of these products are and because of how into supplements a lot of gym goers are that's why I just thought that and this again is really was me scratching my own itch this was me creating the stuff that I wanted as well for myself but that's why I thought it was appropriate to go all natural and fortunately now again that trend is growing so we're able to legitimately claim that we are the number one biggest all natural sports nutrition brand in the world if you look at it just in terms of revenue really because there are companies that have natural like they'll do what I was talking about earlier they'll combine the yeah you know the natural with the unnatural but there aren't many brands out there that have fully committed to natural like we have.

Chase

Mike I love it man and getting kind of towards the end here I want to switch but

Mike

hold on one sec let me just shut this fucking window I thought it was a problem. I don't know what the fuck they're doing out there. Hold on one sec. All right. Sorry, fucking goddamn construction site out there. How are you guys running power machinery every day? 

Chase

Yeah, dude, it reminds me living back in DC. It's just I felt like every single day from 7am until like 6pm was how do you always have something to jackhammer? Like, you can't need to like fuck up that amount of like asphalt every day. I don't get it. Jesus, I want to go back and talk before we wrap up. I want to go back to one thing that I wish he would have slid in right when we're kind of talking about the like multivitamin stuff, but it's all good. We're going to talk about the green superfood. Because that's one big thing that I think besides a multivitamin, no matter what the journey someone is on again, you can have all the best eating habits in the world to a certain degree, I also make the argument that most people could benefit from a increase in their attention on micronutrients coming from a super greens powder. Yours Genesis. Again, love what's in it and love what is not, all these things we've been talking about no proprietary blends backed by science third party tested 100% naturally sweetened. But you guys actually, you have a couple of things in there that not a lot of other green superfoods have in particularly mushroom, reishi mushroom and spirulina at the doses that I see; five grams of spirulina three grams of Reishi. Can you touch on the importance first of micronutrients? Why micronutrients in in the form of like a green superfood powder can most likely benefit the general public? But also like, why spirulina? Why Reishi? And those doses? 

Mike

Yeah, yeah, the greens supplement is one of my favorite of ours, because saying these gradients, the ingredients are unique. Your average greens supplement is just mostly a blend of cheap blend of fruit and vegetable powders, which is okay, but I didn't do that because I would rather people and this is in the sales page. Like I would rather people just eat enough fruits and vegetables and, and more importantly, you really can't replace fruits and vegetables with powdered fruits and vegetables, you're losing fiber and you're losing other cofactors other elements that are in the food that you lose if you are taking a supplement. And that is how a lot of green supplements are sold. And that for example is one of these other red flags. If a company is selling a greens supplement as a replacement for or saying this is like getting 22 servings of vegetables in one scoop again, the pitch is like don't worry about eating fruits and vegetables just take this powder, bullshit. Stay away from that company because they're either ignorant or they are malevolent. They're just lying. It's one of the either they just don't know what they're talking about. And they think that that they're just marketers right and they haven't really looked into it. Or they know that's not true, but yeah it is music to some people's ears.

Chase

Exactly. Their spiel is like, hey, never have to touch a vegetable again in your life like that's not happening. 

Mike

Or maybe they're trying to be a little bit more coy about it. Okay, yeah, you should still eat some vegetables. But check this out. This has nine servings of blueberries. It has 22 servings of broccoli Like do you want the bucket of broccoli? Or do you want the little scooper? So ours is very different and the reason it's green for example is the spirulina actually. And spirulina will make anything green. So be careful with that 

Chase

Including your clothes, your sheets, your hands. 

Mike 

Correct, correct. And it is an algae and it is very nutritious. And there's quite a bit of research on it. And funny enough this is this is probably Kurtis His name's Kurtis. He is the co-founder and former lead researcher and writer of examined.com so anybody who's been to Examined most of that technical stuff was researched and written by Kurtis. He is probably the single most knowledgeable person that I'll ever meet when it comes to just biology and supplementation. He heads up Legions Scientific Advisory Board. So he really he has been the brains behind the formulations from the beginning. And so I take essentially no credit for our formulation sometimes I have some input that is no but usually not honestly because not only that we have other people other thought leaders in the evidence based fitness space on the board, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, Menno Henselmans, James Krieger, Eric Helms and others. So between all of them, I usually don't have much useful input honestly, sometimes I'll find some research that Kurtis just hasn't found yet. Like he probably would as he does his rounds, but I'll send something his way occasionally where he is like oh that's interesting. I hadn't I didn't see that. I'll look into that. 

Chase

Mike's like I got one all right.

Mike

Yeah, I got it. I finally I finally contributed. But spirulina is Kurtis's one of his favorite molecules just because he loves he loves all the effects that it has. He loves how it works. He's just super into this stuff. Right? So he was super happy that you know, we have spirulina. And if you look at the research, in terms of benefits, it can improve cholesterol profile, it can increase strength, it can increase athletic performance. Another study came out on that just recently, which is something that I mean, we don't even really pitch that because the evidence wasn't good for it previously. But now another study came out, which is kind of cool. It can reduce muscle damage caused by exercise it can it can help mitigate or help lessen allergies. That's something that I appreciate, especially right now I'm in Florida and there's pollen everywhere. There's oak pollen in particular everywhere. And that stuff used to really mess me up when I was a teenager. I mean, my eyes would be I wouldn't even be able to do this interview right now. I'd be sneezing and my eyes would be just I just be itching my eyes and sneezing basically, that'd be the interview. And now it's now it's not anything like that. But I still will get a little bit of eye itching and a little bit of congestion from the oak pollen. But by taking spirulina every day, that brings it down to basically nothing and I actually just experienced it here because she said to walk out so I brought Yeah, I brought I brought my Genesis with me. And then I ran out of it because it wasn't I thought I had more in it than I did. And so I was without it for a few days. And I was starting to notice the oak pollen in my eyes a little bit. Not too bad. But just Yeah, a little a little like, you know, a shading of what it used to and then now I'm staying at my parents’ house visiting them. And they actually found some in their in their pantry and took some and immediately notice that that went away. So that's cool. I mean, spirulina can help lower blood pressure, it can help protect liver health improves insulin sensitivity, it does a lot of cool stuff in the body. And five grams a day. Yeah, that's, that's the clinically effective dose and that's what you'll find in Genesis. And so that's just one of those. I think, again, it's just a great ingredient. It's just a great molecule that can benefit your body in many different ways. 

Chase

Back in the day, I used to take it before I got into greens powders I used to take it just on its own I would get like powder from whole foods or something I would put it in you know my water or protein smoothie kind of thing. You know, and then I would then I went down the rabbit hole of blue spirulina and all these other all these other items. It's powerful stuff. It's one of the oldest known living substances ever on earth and it's like honestly, I may be getting this confused with carella so for some reason always matches up but I think it is like gram for gram or like entity by entity. It's one of the most like protein nutrient dense molecules like living is we've ever experienced. 

Mike

It's a very popular standalone ingredient. My wife takes it every day, she would take Genesis, but she doesn't do well with stevia, it actually like just, she can even get kind of nauseous from it, which is unfortunate. And that's just some people, they some people, for example, they get stomach aches with creatine, they just can't take any form, it doesn't matter, they just can't do it. So even natural ingredients, you know, some people just their bodies don't like them. But you can you can. You don't get much of that, like you can get more of that stuff, the more chemicals are in the products. 

Chase

the other item there, the reishi mushroom, I mean, this stuff, I've been using Reishi for probably six, seven years on a daily basis at this point. And I love how you guys have it in a greens powder. Because again, my belief is that all of us could focus on enhanced attention on micronutrients and something like Reishi and adaptogen of functional mushroom. Like this is something that like creatine to your point, like we know, is effective. Reishi is the most clinically studied and time after time proven, beneficial functional mushroom we've ever encountered. But also just anecdotally, like humans, the Chinese, the east, they've been using this stuff for 1000s and 1000s of years. 

Mike

Yep. Yep. And Western science has, has now discovered many of the reasons why like we know that Reishi can help with your sleep, it can help with your brain health, it can help with your cholesterol, it can help with your immune system, your kidney health, it is a multi-factorial winner, it's one of those ones that you just you just get a lot of bang for that buck. And that was also kind of the philosophy behind Genesis is, again, instead of making some cheap, lame fruit and vegetable powder product, let's just encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables and focus on things that they're not going to eat. They're just not going to get in their diet that can really provide benefits above and beyond the healthy dieting. And so that's why you have like maca for example. I mean, sure you can buy maca powder and you could put it in a smoothie if you want but still you're buying a supplement like you're not going to buy the root and cook it up and eat it. You are just not.

Chase

Maybe some people in LA or Venice maybe.

Mike

but yeah, so that's a product that again, I like a lot and it has a lot of for people who understand it and appreciate it. They really they really like it and make it one of their go twos.

Chase

Amazing, man. Well, Mike, I feel like I could keep picking your brain for forever, man. It's been so great having you back here on the show. I love how this conversation we've been really able to help the consumer, the listener, better understand nutrition better understand why they might want to consider supplements, what they should be looking for. You know, of course, I'm a raving fan and love, you know, using and working with partnering with Legion now here in 2021. It really was a lot of the stuff on the backside that that sold me the third party testing the scientific advisory board the level of ingredients that aren't in there a lot of times that's what I'm after. I'm after companies that want to just do the due diligence on their own because they care about their personal health and wellness. And they just happen to make a great product that helps me do the same thing. 

Mike

Yeah, I love it. And I appreciate that. I appreciate your support. And what we're doing tends to resonate best with people like you we have a lot of a lot of our customers are, are very educated for example a lot of people with and we know this from Quantcast data, we have a lot of people with advanced college degrees and a lot of people who work actually in related fields, who really understand when they see these ingredients, they're often surprised like, oh, wow, yeah, they put that in there. And they put it in the correct amount, which is something that we touched on a little bit that clinically effective dose. And so that that from the beginning was also kind of a I was looking at that through the through the lens of marketing, and I did it that way one because I just think it's the right thing to do, honestly, like, I believe in trying to treat people the way I want to be treated. And I think that that should apply in business as well. So I try to treat consumers the way I'd want to be treated as a consumer. But then there's also, I think, a good business case to be made for by doing it that way I've attracted a lot of people like you who have their own spheres of influence. So yeah, when I win someone over like you, I've not just one over one customer, but I have now won over a lot more people because you want to tell people about it. And even if you weren't doing the type of work that you're doing, that that's going to be the case, you know, if you are just take it let's say you had a had a PhD in something and you teach in a university, for example, okay, you're not doing podcasts and online influencing stuff like that, but you are a quote unquote influencer still. 

Chase

You know, before the show before this, you know, I day in day out, I would go and I would work with clients work with patients, I was a Clinical Health Coach. And we would we would talk about a lot of these things. And then because they're going to ask exactly many times, then it came down to Well, what do you take? What do you what do you use? What do you believe? And I would keep, you know, in my office for personal use, but also out there, I would say hey, here are the things that I use, here's what I take, and we would we would go down that rabbit hole of people. And yeah, sphere of influence is there especially you know, at that at that clinical level, so I was in the office years ago, and now it's just on a microphone and through the internet nowadays.

Mike

And it needs to be done right, though to really gain the wholehearted endorsement of someone like you, and people out there again, you have their own spheres of influence. And that was something else I wanted to like. That's why one of the reasons why we don't sell a BCAA supplement, we get asked for it all. Yeah, it's the number one requested supplement, and we don't sell BCAAs because they're useless. They're just useless.

Chase

I think it is just the water change up, you know, just something. 

Mike

And I that's exactly what people even say like, well, just all I've, I've explained it to customers, in our in our customer experience, people, I've explained it that we don't make them because there are maybe a couple fringe cases you could find were like, okay, you're training seven hours a day, and you just can't eat enough protein. And maybe, but for the rest of us no, there's just no good use. That's why we don't do it. And ironically, many customers have acknowledged that like, Okay, well, that's cool. And it's good to know, that's why you're not selling but, but if you made them just to make my water taste better, I'm just telling you, I buy them from you. And I'm still going to keep buying them with you, but if I were selling a BCAA, or if I were selling a hormone, testosterone booster, right, which, unfortunately, there's just nothing natural that you can take to really make a difference. DHEA is an exception if you are a guy and you're probably in your 40s or beyond. And so you've started to really experience a natural decline there is there is research show the DHEA can help. In that case, also women as well, actually, but we're talking about testosterone booster like bigger boners, bigger biceps, you know, alpha male supplements been off line, it's 

Chase

That is going to be my spinoff it will be boners and biceps for sure. 

Mike

You will make some sales, it will not be a complete flop. We're talking about that. There is no natural supplement to accomplish that. That requires the dedication period. Right that that's it got to get on the vitamin, the vitamin T for that. And so and so if though we were to sell one of those products, then it kind of muddies the water. Now, when you're looking over something like you're like, Okay, I like that. I like that. I like that. I really don't like that. And so then now why is this here? And what does that mean? And then And then again, rightfully so you start asking questions, what else could they be doing that I don't know about and that I can't verify that I would have a problem with like, like, for example, okay, they say these ingredients are in their products but how do I really know? now in our case, we provide certificates of analyses third party lab tastes like people can actually go and verify on the sales page. We were updating our sales pages, we've always had them and we've provided them upon request, but now we are putting them like on the sales page so people can see from the last batch. Oh, cool. Here's the lab test. Good. And so, you know, that's also something that that I've just been cognizant of, is that I want people like you to be able to just go all in and say, you know, maybe you'd say I don't take every single one of Legion supplements because I just don't need to but I take all of these ones and I stand behind everything that they do. And I stand behind their educational material. And so if anything makes sense to you over at Legion, just know you're in good hands. And so you know that's the experience that I'm trying to create. 

Chase

Absolutely, man. Well, it's the experience is there and being in good hands is what you know, the show is all about and you know, it's been a year since you asked the final question. But you know, all these conversations and in questions and inquiries we have in our health, fitness, wellness, nutrition mindset, it's so that we can keep moving forward in life man so that we can live a life ever forward. How do you do that? How does Legion help other people do that? 

Mike

I'll say, well, in a few different ways. I mean, one of the things that I particularly like about the companies that we are education first, we really are, we put a lot of time, I still spend time on the blog, I, of course, spend time on my podcast, I'm always working on the next book and I have now a team of people who also write with me on the blog, they write under their names. So anything that is published by me was written by me, I have a couple of people who may help with some drafting and putting together some initial outlining and stuff just to save me some time. But I still do that work. And we are very open about everything that we've talked about, particularly in the beginning of the podcast, like you don't need supplements to do what you want to do. Just so you know, like, if you can get into great shape, you can look good, you can feel good. supplements are supplementary, by definition that is true of ours and anybody else's. So don't believe that there is a magic pill powder potion, it doesn't exist, however, and then we go into, you know, the lot of the education that we've that we've shared on this podcast is just baked into the DNA of the company. And that's also why we offer a coaching service, it's sure it makes money, but in the scheme of things, it doesn't make nearly as much money as the revenue is kind of irrelevant. It's more just a service that some people want. And I know we can do a really good job with it. And we've now worked with 1000s of people ages and circumstances. And it's just great to see those success stories. And it also does make good business sense. Because a lot of those people are now they're customers for the long haul. Because again, we didn't just give them a pill or powder and say, yeah, thanks for your money, we really helped them get their body into a better place 

Chase

educated and empowered the individual.

Mike

Exactly, exactly. And so that's why I continue to spend a lot of my time and a lot of Legions resources on creating more content and getting our content that is created more out there into search engines. I mean, just even the investment into ongoing SEO is pretty significant. It just is if you I mean creating stuff is one thing but getting it getting it, getting it ranked in Google and getting it visible is another thing. And so that's, I would say that in a funny way, the supplements are maybe not second to the education. But I would say if we're putting them on both sides of a scale, it's pretty evenly balanced. It's certainly in terms of what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm not just trying to sell supplements and make money, even just sell good supplements that actually do help people. But I want to I want the whole 360 degree when you know I want them to have their supplementation, where it needs to be. But I also want to make sure that people know how to get their diet where it needs to be and their training where it needs to be in. And then I also venture off a little bit into lifestyle stuff. I focus mostly on just health and fitness. But talk a bit about maybe the inner game of not just getting fit but living a better life where you're always trying to strive for the next thing and improve yourself. And so, yeah, those are, those are the, my contributions to humanity as it stands right now. 

Chase

The core values how they blend with us over here, man. So, Mike, again, I'm going to have all your information down in the show notes for everybody to check out the muscle for life, podcast, Legion athletics, I'm going to make sure to put down you know all of my go to Legion supplements and not only what I take, but why you know why I gravitated towards you guys why I gravitated towards this product and how I integrate it into my daily living my nutrition. There's a lot of lot of a lot more that goes on here than just you know, popping a few pills or scooping a few powders. Totally love it, man. Beautiful brother. Well, I'll wrap the interview there. 

Mike

Hey, I'm Mike Matthews and I'm the CEO and founder of Legion, which is a sports nutrition company, we sell workout supplements and on this episode of Ever Forward Radio, I'm going to talk to you about why you don't need supplements. My supplements are anybody's supplements, why they are supplementary by definition. But if you have the budget and you have the inclination, why there are certain supplements you should consider adding to your regimen. And I'm going to explain which those are and why you should consider them and also I'm going to help you navigate the very turbulent seas of sports nutrition and find products that are likely to work and unfortunately many, many of them don't work. And if you don't know what to look for it can be very hard to know a good one from a bad one. 

Chris Bello is a Houston-based real estate agent and investor and the host of the Entrepreneur Motivation Podcast.

His journey from employee to entrepreneur is a familiar one to many who have been, or currently are, in his shoes. The Texas native followed his friends and family into the oil and gas industry right out of college for no other reason than that’s what everybody else in his circle did.

Right away, Chris realized that he was on the wrong path. He recalls asking himself, “What could there be for me outside of the cubicle?” He began reading books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek. Bit by bit, an inspiring new vision for the future was taking shape in his mind.

“I didn’t put all the pieces together,” Chris recalls of that time, “but the questions started being asked in my mind.”

Chris finally quit his job in 2018 to dive into the world of entrepreneurship and self-development, and hasn’t looked back since.

Listen in as Chris shares the practical steps he took to create freedom in his life, including how he set up systems and processes appropriate to his work and lifestyle, the value of the phrase “fail fast, fail often”, why you don’t have to have the “perfect” plan to start right now, and what it means to embrace your zone of genius while encouraging your team to embrace theirs.

 

Follow Chris @chrisbello_

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Taking control of your life isn’t just a matter of vision and goal-setting. It’s also about setting up the right systems to make your lifestyle choices sustainable. Chris shares how he did all this for himself.

  • Chris explains his process for evaluating failure to learn from mistakes and pivot when he needs to.

  • How do you stop yourself from falling into the perfectionist mindset while being able to gauge whether you’re making progress?

  • How do you make sure you have the right team in place and that you’re cultivating a supportive work environment?

Powerful Quotes by Chris Bello

Every entrepreneur is going through their own journey of mindset, from having a day job that they don’t like to reading their first few books on mindset that gives them that paradigm shift toward self-development.

I haven’t “made it”. I have way further that I want to go; but I feel so satisfied now. I’m waking up to my purpose every single day.

What you don’t do is as important as what you do do.

Systems become a byproduct of the clarity that you have for what you need to focus on.

Learning how to scale up and outsource a lot of the stuff that I didn’t like to do or that I didn’t want to do is what separated me, because I don’t feel like it has to be me doing everything.

 

Episode resources:

Dr. Casey Means, MD is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Levels, a metabolic health company that provides individuals “real-time continuous glucose biofeedback coupled with machine-learning driven insights to inform personalized diet and lifestyle choices.”

Glucose, unlike other biomarkers, provides us a closed biofeedback loop which if tracked helps us make better diet and lifestyle choices on the fly. Other biomarkers, such as genetics or cholesterol, do not provide that real-time information which means we cannot track changes around them based on our nutritional and lifestyle choices on a day-to-day basis.

“The beauty of glucose,” says Dr. Means, “is that there are tools, right now, that can measure our glucose levels in real-time, at home, with a wearable sensor. Unlike these other variables, we can actually see how this biomarker is changing based on choices that we made five minutes ago.”

For several years, glucose monitors have been available as a treatment tool for diabetes. What Levels has done is take this technology to the mass consumer market to be used as a precision nutrition tool.

Listen in as Dr. Means explains how Levels translates real-time insights around your blood glucose into actionable steps that you can use to improve your metabolic health today.

Follow Dr. Casey @drcaseyskitchen

Follow Levels @levels

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

Key Highlights

  • Why did Dr. Means decide to focus on metabolic health specifically in helping people improve their diet and lifestyle choices?

  • Why should someone who is not diabetic or prediabetic be concerned about monitoring their glucose?

  • What are the “reps” we need to put into improving our metabolic fitness?

  • What are the indicators of potential blood sugar problems?

Powerful Quotes by Dr. Casey Means

Our mission is to empower people with their personal health information to help them make better daily choices around diet and lifestyle so that they can live their best life right now and enhance performance every day, and ideally ward off chronic problems down the road related to diet and lifestyle.

We can use tools like continuous glucose monitors to actually see how different foods are affecting our glucose and make smarter choices about what foods we’re choosing or how we’re even pairing foods.

Cell biology is complex and it’s about more than just food. We also need to think about the other pillars which are how we sleep, how we stress, how we’re moving, the micronutrient composition of the food in our bodies, our microbiome health, and our exposure to pollutants. All of these things feed into how our metabolic processes work.


Ever Forward Radio is brought to you by LMNT

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Interview transcript:

Chase  

All right, Casey, what's going on? Welcome to Ever Forward Radio. Thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Casey  

Thank you so much for having me, Chase, I'm thrilled to be here.

Chase  

I got to say, I feel like I missed the red memo mark, for the microphone, you're blending your shirt, your microphone, I got to get like some kind of color coordinated cap for my equipment over here.

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, you need my microphone; it matches your shirt

Chase  

I used to have that actually, I still have I'm looking below my monitor, I used to have that Blue Yeti, all the microphones that I've had, I keep as kind of like little memorabilia around my office and even like my OG, little $65 microphone I used four years ago, completely the wrong way, don't work anymore, I have it plugged into my desk down here. It's just, it's cool to see it, you know how far you've come the little tools that you've used along the way to get better at your craft. And which I think is a great segue into, you know, what we're gonna be talking about today, we have so many great tools for our health and our wellness, nowadays, hardware software, to help us become more empowered about what's going on in our bodies in our minds, and to really take charge. And that's really what you and everybody at Levels is all about.

Dr. Casey  

That's exactly what we're doing. Our mission is to empower people with their personal health information so they can make better daily choices around diet and lifestyle so that they can live their best life right now. And you know, really enhance performance every day currently, but then also, ideally ward off, you know, chronic problems down the road related to diet and lifestyle, which the majority of our chronic illnesses these days are related to that. So we're all about empowering people with the information to make those choices.

Chase  

So when it comes to curating information, or putting together a team to go find the information, there are a lot of different avenues I'm sure you all could have done or gone down when it comes to, you know, genetics when it comes to cholesterol, blood sugar, when it comes to cholesterol, sodium all these things? Why was the focus on blood sugar and glucose? And you know, what it can do for or against us?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, that's a great question. And the key answer this is that it'll glucose provides us a closed loop, biofeedback sort of circle. So with all the other things you mentioned, like genetics, or even cholesterol, these are things that we cannot get information about in real time and we can't see a change in that variable with our behavior on a day to day basis, it's more of, you know, either a lagging indicator for the case of cholesterol or for genetics, it's something that we're not going to see necessarily change over time. The genetic polymorphisms that show up on our 23andme test are not changing. Now, genetics can change in the sense that we can change gene expression over time with our choices. But that's not a readout that we really have a lot of availability. There's no consumer product that really does that right now, the beauty of glucose is that there are tools right now that can measure our glucose levels, in real time at home with a wearable sensor. This is what a continuous glucose monitor can do. And so unlike these other variables, we can actually see how this biomarker is changing based on choices that we made five minutes ago. Whether it's what we chose to have for breakfast, or whether we sort of allowed ourselves to get stressed in response to an email we read, or whether we got a poor night's sleep, or if we did a high intensity workout versus a walk, all of these things are actually going to have an immediate impact on our glucose levels. And there's a technology now that picks that up that creates a closed loop with nutrition and lifestyle choices. And the crazy thing about nutrition is, we have never had a closed loop system on nutrition. We have had closed loop for fitness with fitness trackers and heart rate trackers, we've had closed loop for sleep with sleep trackers. I love it. So you can wake up and see exactly what happened with your sleep. We even have closely for stress now with HRV trackers and heart rate variability. But we've never known there's never been a tool where you put something in your mouth and you know exactly what's happening in your body. And that's what glucose can do for us. And it's right now the only biomarker that can do that for us. So this technology, continuous glucose monitors, it's been available as a treatment tool for diabetes for several years. But what Levels does is bring this to a more mass consumer market to be used as a precision nutrition tool. So that we have a sense of what's going on with this key fundamental metabolic biomarker in our body.

Chase  

No, you mentioned there predominantly this type of hardware this type of information was for people who already excuse me had a concern had an issue, the diabetics and pre diabetics. Why should someone who is not diabetic why should someone who's not pre diabetic be concerned about monitoring their glucose?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, well, the interesting thing about pre diabetes and diabetes is that the vast majority of these conditions of this, those conditions is preventable. So right now we have 128 million Americans in the United States with pre diabetes or diabetes. That's like a huge chunk of our population.

Chase  

A lot of people,

Dr. Casey  

It’s a lot of people, it's an epidemic

Chase  

It’s probably, you know, one or one or two of the people who are probably staring at right now.

Dr. Casey  

Absolutely. If you walk down the street, it's close to 40% of people have either pre diabetes or diabetes. And with pre diabetes, which is 84 million people in the United States, 90% of those people do not know that they have a blood sugar problem. The CDC data 90% don't know. And what's so interesting about it is like, even if you've reached that pre diabetic threshold by diagnostic criteria, or the diabetic threshold by diagnostic criteria, that doesn't mean that if you're not in the pre diabetic threshold, that, you know, everything's perfect, because this is a spectrum. This is a spectrum illness, where over time, we move towards these conditions and metabolic dysfunction, and insulin resistance over time, until, you know, one day we go into the doctor's office, and we finally sort of met that criteria for diagnostic threshold. But that, you know, it's we’re marching along this spectrum throughout our lives and there's good evidence to support that 13 to 17 years before we actually reach those diagnostic thresholds where we're showing signs of early problems with our metabolism. 

Chase  

Over a decade before we possibly get a diagnosis, we are exhibiting signs of something that we can get ahead of?

Dr. Casey  

That's right. Yeah, that's so it's specifically and we kind of have to get into a little bit of physiology to understand this. But disorders of glucose, like diabetes, or pre diabetes one of the ways that these develop is that over time, as we, you know, eat diets that are predominantly composed of refined carbohydrates, which are Western American diets are predominantly composed of refined carbohydrates, these are digested, they turn to glucose in the bloodstream, so does refined sugar, of course and when that sugar elevates in the bloodstream, our body has a hormonal response, it releases insulin from the pancreas. And that insulin helps you take that, that sugar out of the bloodstream into the cells so that glucose can be converted into energy. And when there's excess, it's either stored as stored chains of glucose called glycogen, or it's turned into fat. And when this happens, sort of too much when we are getting really high glucose elevations in the blood, or we're just doing it many, many times per day, like let's say, we eat three high carb meals, plus three snacks, that's six spikes of glucose in our bloodstream, that's a lot of insulin the body has to produce to sort of manage that insulin in the bloodstream. And over time, the body gets tired, and it's actually become numb to that signal of insulin. And we develop what's called insulin resistance. And what the body does to respond to insulin resistance, it still has to get that glucose out of the bloodstream. And so the body produces more insulin and it overcompensates and a young healthy body can do that you just push out more insulin, and force that glucose into the cells. So what we can actually pick up on lab tests a lot earlier, is that elevated insulin and that insulin resistance that hyperinsulinemia, which is in this sort of compensatory period, where your glucose levels may not actually look problematic, because your body's working hard on the insulin side to compensate for it. So there are studies that suggest that, yeah, 13 years in one study, we're seeing signs of insulin resistance and elevated insulin before the actual diagnostic sort of test shows that there's a glucose problem. And you can imagine, over time, the body kind of just gets more and more tired, the insulin resistance gets worse and worse and then you start to see that glucose variability show up quite a bit more. So long winded way of saying that part of the reason the average person on the street should care about their glucose is because we're all on the metabolic sort of spectrum and we want to stay in that, you know, healthy insulin sensitive part of the spectrum for as long as we possibly can. And part of doing that is making sure that we're keeping our glucose levels stable throughout our lifetime. We're not getting exposure to these, you know, really high peaks and or really frequent peaks and kind of creating more rolling hills and our glucose levels in our blood with our diet. And we can use tools like continuous glucose monitors, to actually see how different foods are affecting our glucose and make smarter choices about what food foods we're choosing, or how we're even pairing foods. You know, when you add protein, fat or fiber to a carbohydrate, it tends to blunt the glucose response. When you walk after a meal it tends to blunt the glucose response. If you add vinegar or cinnamon to a meal, it tends to blunt the glucose response. There's innumerable strategies for minimizing the glycemic impact on our body and over time that can keep our bodies sharp to that signal of insulin. So that's sort of like the long term chronic disease part of things. But then there's also just like the current performance side of things, when our glucose, even if we're young and healthy, and our pancreas is working well, if it's going up, down, up, down, up, down, like peaks and valleys, valleys, that's going to have an experience of our, it's going to have an impact on our subjective experience of the day. When we go way up, like let's say, we have five cookies, and our glucose shoots up through the roof, the body is going to soak up, it's going to produce all this insulin and soak up all that glucose, and we may actually have a crash, a glucose crash, and that's sort of like that post meal slump that many of us have had before. And that can be a

Chase  

Food coma. 

Dr. Casey  

The food coma. And that can be associated with a little bit of jitters, anxiety, you know, some mood instability, maybe a little brain fog. So I like to say that a lot of variability in our glucose, even when we're otherwise healthy leads to variability in our day, whether it's mental sharpness, athletic performance, fatigue, or mood. So it's both; it's really sort of at the at the nexus of our current reality and our current performance. And then, of course, our long term disease risk.

Chase  

Insulin resistance, those, those are two words that I used to hear a lot when I was working in clinic, the doctor would come in, you know, the patient be ready to come see the health coach after they just had their physical labs. And the doctor would always say, oh, exhibiting signs of insulin resistance. And it was always my interpretation was that patient seems the person seems to be doing everything right. Air quote here, right. But they're having just that little bit of, you know, that that that little bit of that tummy, it's like that abdominal fat that just they just can't seem to get going away. And maybe the doctor would see some kind of numbers that look questionable, you know, over the months or years in terms of blood sugar, is insulin resistance is that is that the telltale sign that maybe we have that? Is that what's going on? Is that that that last few pounds that we just can't seem to get rid of that is that we're just likes to live? And could that be an initial sign?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, it definitely can be associated with that. So the interesting thing about insulin as a hormone is that not only does it help us shuttle the glucose out of the bloodstream into our cells so that's a purpose of insulin it by instance, and receptors helps you move that glucose into the cells. But one of its other roles is that it's a blocker on fat oxidation. So it stops you from being able to burn fat for fuel. And glucose and fat are two main sources of energy in the body and you know, we only have about two to three hours worth of like stored glucose in the body if we're working out, you know more if we're just kind of at rest, and so the body is going to kind of use that first. And only when you run out of that, and insulin is in a low state, do you start flipping the switch to burn fat, and that's obviously going to be important for weight loss to be able to actually tap into fat burning. But for the average American who's eating multiple meals a day, lots of snacks, a high refined carbon sugar diet, it's very possible that we're never getting to a state we're in during the day where our insulin really comes down to baseline really, you know, is low and allows us to take that break off of fat burning. And this is why I think so many people are interested in like ketogenic diets for weight loss, but also fasting for weight loss, because both of those strategies keep the glucose exhausted as glucose from the diet, sort of lower the Keto diet through a low carb diet, fasting through just not eating at all. Those are times essentially or your insulin is low, and you're taking that break off fat burning, you can actually flip that metabolic switch from glucose burning to fat burning. And so yes, so people, who, you know, are dealing with that abdominal fat what's interesting about insulin is it preferentially stores your fat around your middle, it preferentially stores what we call visceral adiposity, which is the fat.

Chase  

Lucky for us, right?

Dr. Casey  

Lucky for us, yeah. But you know, you see a lot of people walking around with like, maybe relatively lean appendages, but like really a huge belly. And that's sort of a telltale sign of insulin resistance where that insulin is elevated; we're on that spectrum moving towards a problem. And that insulin is basically stopping us from being able to burn through that fat, but also telling the body to store any excess glucose as visceral fat around our organs and in our belly.

Chase  

When is the best time, the best place in that spectrum to actually take action? Because I can imagine someone who is maybe going to the doctor and the last two years or last five years, the doctors is your sugar's look a little high, but don't worry about it. It's nothing. You know, you're not pre diabetic, you're not diabetic, like, when is when should we actually step in and take note of, hey, there's something going on internally that I need to get ahead of, and how much time really do we have to get to it later, so to speak?

Dr. Casey  

Well, the beautiful thing about metabolic health and really the body in general is that so often, things are reversible, and we can move in the right direction. It's not a one way street with health. And so in so many ways, and there are certainly exceptions to that rule but with blood sugar and insulin sensitivity there, it's very much a two way street. I like to use the term metabolic fitness because we really need to oriented around this idea of like fitness as if we were going to go lift weights, like we the first time we lift weights, we're not expecting to be jacked, we need to do it day in and day out, in order to build the cellular adaptations, that leads to muscle growth. And the same is true of how we should think about improving our insulin sensitivity, improving our glucose, you have to put in the reps in order to achieve metal in order to achieve in metabolic flexibility, and metabolic health and metabolic fitness. And the reps in this case, our days of not spiking your glucose too high of keeping glucose lower and more stable. Those are the reps keeping your insulin down is a rep, which allows your cells to perk up and say, Oh, I need to be more insulin sensitive, because I'm not seeing a lot of it around, I need to perk up a little bit. These are adaptations we can make. So I think, you know, going back to I did a lot of wilderness leadership in my early 20s and one of my favorite lines is the best way to not get lost is to stay found. And so you know, you always want to know where you are in the middle of the wilderness. And that's kind of how I feel about glucose monitoring and knowing about orienting our diet and lifestyle through glucose, the best time to do it is you know, when we're very, very young, we, we want to look through that lens as we approach our diet and our lifestyle so that we can stay found, so to speak. But the hopeful thing is that even if you're well down the road, even in tight, full blown fulminant, type two diabetes, there is evidence that it is reversible. And there's a wonderful company is doing great research in this Virta health, which is diabetes reversal program that's done through a coaching and low carb diet. And they've put out research showing that in 10 weeks, with a dietary intervention, their participants can go from diabetes to a non-diabetic glucose level. And so not to say that this is the only program or a program that like is the end all be all, I actually think there's other strategies other than just super, super low carb to improve insulin sensitivity. But what it shows us is that there is a door towards reversing these even when you're sort of in a late stage. But with that said, starting early, I mean and just crafting a diet that works for you to keep glucose fairly low and stable that you still love and learning those tips and tricks to sort of modulate diet so that it doesn't have so much of a glycemic impact for your personal body I think that's the time to do it.

Chase  

I agree. Absolutely. And I would love to get there. But before we do before we get into kind of like what do we need to do to regulate or even reverse high blood sugar concerns? Can you walk us through and we touched a little bit on already of the food coma? The itis? Can you walk us through from just initial body scans biofeedback to harder telltale signs? How do we know when we have blood sugar concerns? What can we be looking for, to feel to note, brain fog, physically and then even other bigger manifestations?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, so one thing that's really interesting about blood sugar problems is that it's sort of can masquerade as almost any symptom. And the reason for that comes down to fundamentally what is metabolism. So metabolism is a core pathway that takes place in every single cell in our body to generate energy for our cells and it's basically the process the set of chemical reactions, the body through which we convert food substrates to a currency of energy our body can use. And we have over 30 trillion cells in our body, every single one needs a well-functioning metabolism for our cells to work. And when cells start not functioning properly, when they don't get the energy they need, then we start getting tissue dysfunction, then we start getting symptoms, and then we start getting, you know, disease. So it, it all comes down to the cellular level of what's going on in the cells. And one of those core pathways is metabolism. So it can look like anything. For instance, if your metabolism is, you know, off kilter in your ovaries, it could look like polycystic ovarian syndrome, the leading cause of infertility in America, which is a metabolic condition. If it's happening in brain cells, it could look like Alzheimers dementia, which is being called type three diabetes now because it's so linked to Insulin resistance, but it could also look like depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia, chronic pain. All of those conditions are associated with blood sugar. If it's happening to liver, it could look like chronic liver disease. If it's happening in the blood vessels it could look like any host of blood vessel endothelial problems, and we know that retinopathy, which is an issue with the blood vessels of the eyes is related to diabetes. We know that big vessel disease, like heart disease is associated is directly related to blood sugar problems. We also know that erectile dysfunction, which is a problem with blood getting to the penis, is very much even considered a heart like a warning sign for having blood sugar problems. Men in their 40s with erectile dysfunction, if that's a symptom that that comes up are at this point, you know, it's sort of you must get checked out for blood sugar problems, but it's a very free. So it's really this great masquerader based on where this core pathway is showing its signs in the skin, it can be acne, and we know that blood sugar is related to too much oil production in the skin. So I could just go on and on. But it's amazing, because it could kind of look like anything, it could also just kind of look like feeling crappy, like not like having a little you're in your 30s and you have like some brain flog or fog, you're often tired after a meal 

Chase  

You can’t put your finger on it and you're just like, something's off like, yeah,

Dr. Casey  

Yeah. And I mean, I kind of skipped over the biggest one, which is issues with losing weight, you know, 72% of our country right now is overweight or obese, what is being overweight or obese? It is excess fat storage. How does fat get stored? Through elevated insulin and by not ever having that break of insulin off so that you can actually burn through those energy stores being overweight is really just having too much energy stored as fat that we're not using. So, so there's not a specific sort of symptom that I would say is directly related to like, a one to one relationship. But any of these things that I just mentioned, you know, should be red flags to dig into this deeper, what often will happen is that you go to the doctor's office, and they'll check your finger stick glucose first thing in the morning, and they'll say, Oh, it's less than 100 milligrams per deciliter. So you're totally fine. I'm sure a lot of people would have that experience, someone out there might say, Oh, my gosh, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, I'm gonna go to the doctor and ask for a finger stick glucose, and they're gonna go in, and maybe it's gonna be 95. And the doctors gonna say you have no problem, there's no, there's no issue here. I think a lot of doctors are starting to realize that we actually have to think deeper than that for a couple of reasons; One, because these diagnostic tests are just single time point measurements that don't tell us about what's happening actually, with the insulin. What if that person with sort of this high normal fasting glucose like 95, you know, maybe there's a person out there who's keeping that glucose at that level with a very low insulin, they're very insulin sensitive, and they're just putting out a little bit of insulin to keep the blood levels that way? Then there's another person out there whose insulin levels are 10 times higher to keep the blood sugar at that same range, they are going to be much farther on that spectrum than the person with the low insulin levels. So a lot of doctors are starting to order fasting insulin tests now, which is not standard of care. But there's many doctors who are sort of starting to incorporate that into their practice. There are other ratios that we can actually tell from our cholesterol tests, like our triglyceride to HDL ratio, total cholesterol to HDL ratio. So these are just from your standard cholesterol level tests and based on what those ratios look like, can actually be predictive of whether you are insulin resistant. And then there's another test you can do with a fasting glucose, and a fasting insulin test, that gives you what's called a Homa-IR score, which is a score of insulin resistance. So these are things that you can, you know, ask your doctor for potentially, to kind of get a sense of where you are in terms of insulin resistance. And then continuous glucose monitoring gives you know, while a fasting glucose test, the standard of care tells you just a snapshot of what's happening with your glucose but nothing about the context the insulin etc. continuous glucose monitoring can give you more of like a movie of what's going on with your glucose levels. 

Chase

And so more of during the events, you know, after the event, you know, it paints a fuller picture a much needed fuller picture. 

Dr. Casey 

Precisely. So an example of this, you know, let's say you have a glucose monitor on and you've eaten a full breakfast, and your glucose, it's going to, you're going to break down those carbohydrates that you ate, the glucose is going to go up in the bloodstream and it's going to come down and that should typically happen for a healthy person in about two hours. And you know, ideally, we don't go above about 140 when we eat that meal. But I would argue we want to not, not go that high, you know ever but just in terms of standard guidelines don't really want to go above 140 after a meal and want to come back down within about two hours. Well, let's say you put it on you, you're sitting there next to your friend, you both eat the same breakfast and one person, you know, goes up and comes down in two hours, the other person goes up and stays elevated for like three and a half hours and then comes down. Well, that's a lot of information that might be a sign, that person is actually more insulin resistant, their body is not responding that insulin well enough to get the glucose and it takes longer for them to clear it from their bloodstream, you're never gonna pick that up from a standard single time point measurement. But on a continuous glucose monitoring, you can. So that's kind of the lay of the land of some of the objective things you could potentially look at, and also some of the sort of more subjective symptomatic things you might see.

Chase  

So then, what can someone do with that information? What can someone do with seeing, oh, wow, this meal that, uh, you know, my whole family is eating or I've been used to eating my whole life, I'm actually learning it causes a longer insulin response, a longer blood sugar spike. Maybe I don't have any other signs or symptoms or concerns yet. But this is something that I'm aware of and I want to get ahead of what can I actually do about it?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah. So there are a couple lenses we can look through. One is food, which, which we should dive into. But then there's another of other a number of other factors that we know can improve our insulin sensitivity that I'll just touch on briefly. So with food, the key point is, is to regain our insulin sensitivity. And we can do that by stopping the constant stimulation of insulin in the body. And we do that by keeping our glucose more stable, essentially. And we can learn how to do that, by, you know, you can, there's lots of books out there about sort of like low carb, low glycemic Keto type diets, you can kind of read about what foods are the major offenders and what aren't. But you can also use biofeedback, like a continuous glucose monitor to actually test for yourself. And that's, that's what I personally recommend. Obviously, I'm biased; I started a company about this, because I'm so passionate about it. 

Chase

Shout out Levels. 

Dr. Casey

The interesting thing is that you and I could both eat a banana and we might have totally different glucose responses to that banana, I might go up from baseline of 70 milligrams per deciliter to 170 and go up 100 points, and you might go up 10 points. And that's what we've seen now in the research is that people respond very differently to the same carbohydrate source. And there was this amazing paper out of Israel five years ago is published in the journal cell that was called personalized nutrition by prediction of glycemic responses. And they gave people 800 healthy people standardized meals, things like bananas, or full meals or cookies, and saw this vast array of responses to those identical foods. And then they looked at what were the predictive factors of that. One of the big predictive factors was actually microbiome composition. So what's in our gut actually changes the way we respond to a carbohydrate, which is fascinating. So the idea of just following like a very restrictive blanket, low carb diet, to me seems less favorable than actually testing, like what works for your body and choosing the things that have less impact and then also using that tool to modulate foods to have least glycemic impact. So doing things like I talked about earlier, like food pairing, making sure that we're not eating carbohydrates alone and pairing them appropriately with fat protein fiber to minimize their impact to, you know, sequence meals appropriately. If we eat protein and fat and roughage before we eat our carbohydrates in a meal, we tend to have less of a glycemic response. If we eat earlier in the day, we tend to have a better response. So just like learning this metabolic toolbox of how to eat to minimize that glycemic impact, therefore minimize that insulin impact, and over time, perk up our, our insulin sensitivity. So that's kind of like big picture for food. It's really just keeping those keeping it more stable. But there's just to quickly touch on there's many other aspects I mean, cell biology is complex, and it's more than just food and there's no one like we've already talked about, there's no one food plan for everyone. It's, it's, it's your personal low glycemic food plan. But we also need to think about the other pillars, which are sleep, how we're sleeping, how we're stressing, how we're moving, the micro nutrient composition of our food in our bodies, our microbiome health, and then exposure to pollutants. So these are kind of like they're really the big factors with

Chase  

I am glad you bring this up. It's gonna be actually my next question was okay, besides taking care of our blood sugar if we have a, you know, concern around that why else should we care about monitoring our blood sugar, what are the other spillover effects, basically? 

Dr. Casey  

Yeah. So, you know, I mentioned those things because all of those things feed into how our cells process how our metabolic processes work. So stress is a really interesting one. When we stress we release stress hormones like catecholamines and cortisol. And these have a really big impact on our ability to metabolize things appropriately. Makes sense; a time of threat, you know, that has to put our body on a different pathway. It's not focused on, you know, optimal, nuanced pathways were in survival mode. 

Dr. Casey  

Yeah and what stress hormones do to our, our body is they actually go to our liver, and they tell the liver to dump out our stored glucose into the bloodstream because traditionally, our threats were going to be physical in nature, we were going to have to run from a lion or something like that, we need an easily accessible energy to run. Now, most of our stressors in our modern world, which is very physically safe, is they're psychological in nature, it's the text message. It's the email, it's the conversation with a coworker, it's the honking, it's these chronic all day, low grade stressors, and our body is still dumping sugar into the bloodstream and yet, we don't need it. So it's just it's sitting there causing, you know, problems. So, there has been research to show that if you can manage your stress response, and you can, you know, using diaphragmatic breathing and parasympathetic nervous system activation,

Chase  

Actually in James Nasser's book, I'm wrapping up now Breath, 

Dr. Casey

Best book ever 

Chase

Mind blowing. In the section now kind of, he's talking about like, the, like the metabolic spillover effect that getting better at breathing can have and talking about blood sugar management and disease management, it's unreal.

Dr. Casey  

It’s incredible. And when he was forced to do mouth breathing by plugging his nose in the Stanford experiment, like his blood, biomarkers, just like went totally out of whack. And it's, it's incredible, you know, our bodies are so finely tuned to help us self-manage our stress, but we've lost a lot of that traditional wisdom, which is so prevalent in so many other cultures, but we just we don't think about I don't think vagal nerve stimulation is something that children are taught in the US and yet it is it is our, our,

Chase  

I'm going to teach my kids dammit, I'm going to teach my kids about vagal nerve stimulation,

Dr. Casey  

I'm with you. I mean, this is about coping, this is about self-soothing, and, and that makes you know, your own life better, but also makes everyone around you their life better when you know how to manage your emotions. And we literally have built in hacks, like there are places we can touch on our body, you know, to actually activate some of the stuff that puts us that changes our stress hormones, and it's kind of amazing.

Chase  

With the listener right now, speaking of breath, to kind of couple what you're talking about here, the cycles that he talks about our nostrils going in in terms of left or night, left or right breathing. The left side is more directly tied to your sympathetic and right, tied to your parasympathetic. I'm pretty sure I got that right. I'll put that down. But just paying attention. Like this is a great biofeedback hack for someone right now is pay attention biofeedback, where which natural side are you predominantly breathing through? And that can be an indicator of, I'm actually stressed out. What am I on edge about? What am I nervous about? What am I worried about? What am I thinking? What am I doing? Who are the people I'm with just a small little thing of paying attention to which nostril you are breathing through can be like the precursor to managing your blood sugar.

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, totally. Totally. It's so yeah, major shout out for that book. It's amazing. I originally trained as an ear, nose and throat surgeon and I was so blown away by how much I did not know about the nose. I'm like, here I spent, you know, nine years between medical school and residency, obsessed with the nose operating on the nose. And in that book, I learned so much about like I'm sending this to every one of my family. So it's, it's a great, it's a great sort of just like, you know, just broad brushstrokes about some other ways we can be thinking about our lives. So, but stress is, yeah, it's huge for metabolic health. And it makes sense from that sort of evolutionary protective mechanism that sort of gone awry. And sleep really fits hand in hand with that we basically know I mean, it's this simple it's like if you sleep, not enough, you are at significantly higher risk for developing metabolic conditions ranging from being overweight, to having diabetes, to having heart disease, to the extent that these are now becoming like sleep is being asked as like standard questions when we're thinking about heart disease risk for people because it's, it's so strongly linked. So one really interesting experiment that was done was they looked at a group, large group of people and they categorize them by people who are short sleepers or long sleepers. Short sleepers were people who are getting 6.5 hours of sleep per night which is not even that does it for us doesn't seem that crazy and long sleepers for 7.5 to 8.5. And they gave each of these different groups or a glucose tolerance test, which is where you take a bunch of glucose, liquid glucose in, and then your you, we track your blood sugar for two to three hours after the test and see what happens and they each group had similar glucose responses. So it's like, oh, so they're the same, it doesn't actually matter. But when you looked at insulin, the short sleepers had to produce 50% more insulin to have the same glucose levels than the people who are long sleepers. So we know that even one night of sleep can make us acutely insulin resistant. There was another crazy study; this one's impacted me a lot where they had a group of healthy, very healthy young men and they subjected them to five nights of four hours of sleep per night, which is extreme, obviously, like that would that would throw us off

Chase  

Sounds like a lot of my time in the military, to be honest. Especially in boot camp.

Dr. Casey  

it sounds pretty crazy for like day to day, but I think back to my surgical residency when I was on call two to three nights a week and all-nighters and so it's not four hours of sleep at night, but on average, some weeks, it was four hours of night asleep. They basically took these healthy young men and in that intervention, converted them from normal to pre diabetic based on their lab studies. And then they gave them basically unlimited like 12 hours sleep a night for the next five nights and people it was reversible. But it's just you think about kids during college kids during like, finals week, how many of those kids are like I say, kids, like it's so long ago, but it was only like 15 years ago, but you know, they're probably flipping in and out of pre diabetes in college like not infrequently. And so best thing we can do, I think for our mental health is just like get a quality sleep and also for a metabolic health. Exercise, just I'll keep it short. Anytime we're moving our body, we're improving our metabolic health. And the reason for this is twofold. One is that muscles are one of our biggest glucose sinks in the body; they are this gigantic, full body place to that's using glucose. And so if you're moving a muscle, even if it means walking across your room, that's just every single one of those muscle fibers is having to take up glucose out of the bloodstream and keep it in more stable range. And the cool thing about muscle is that it's actually able to function in an insulin independent way muscle contraction in its own right allows glucose to be taken up, you don't need the insulin is a lock and key. So it's like a way to dispose of glucose without triggering the whole insulin physiology.

Chase  

So it's that dark knight working, working in the background for us. Amazing.

Dr. Casey  

It is it is and there's been some really interesting studies where basically you take people put them in different groups, one that walks for like 20 minutes, three times a day, before meals, one that walks for 20 minutes day after each of the three meals and then another end. So that's 60 minutes total for each group, or a group that walks two minutes every 30 minutes throughout the day. So each group totals 60 minutes of movement, but at different times, and the people who walk every 30 minutes actually have the best glucose control more than eating before after meals or in chunks. And I think the reason for that is because by moving every 30 minutes, even for just a couple minutes, you're activating the whole body of muscles, and you're keeping those pathways, you know, constituency activated, you're becoming a body that moves as opposed to a sedentary body that has little chunks of movement.

Chase  

So body in motion stays in motion. That's what they say, right?

Dr. Casey  

Yes. I love that.

Chase  

Well, your expertise is very apparent. It's been so great hearing some of these things are a reminder for me personally, but so many other nuances and new studies and new technologies that are coming out of the work that you're doing and the whole team at Levels is well, first of all, I'm thankful thank you so much for what you're doing. And for the education and empowerment you're passing on to the world. And you know, through the audience here on the podcast. And getting towards the end, I know that you all have now been able to not only educate, empower, but now pass off a tool to help somebody track it, become more in tune with their body, learn by feedback and just make a decision or make better decisions for their general wellness to get ahead of diabetes. Someone like myself who has it directly in his family I'm very mindful of carbohydrates and sugar and getting my an once every year but with Levels it has given me daily immediate continuous access to what is going on to some of my food choices to my physical activity choices. And in a lot of ways, it's been a great little just nudge of, hey Chase, you think you're doing the right thing well, maybe for you due to your bio individuality, you need to be doing something a little bit differently. And it's just been that great little nudge for me in maintenance and my wellness and so for that as a thank you but can you please give us the high level view of what is Levels and what is it doing for the person?

Dr. Casey  

Yeah, well, thank you for those kind words that I'm glad it was a positive experience. So Levels is doing exactly sort of what we've been talking about it's giving people this window into their metabolic health through providing access to continuous glucose monitoring technology and then pairing that with software that helps you understand what that data stream means and how to optimize it and improve your diet and lifestyle to keep glucose levels in ideally, a stable and healthy range. Because it is so personalized, each person is going to respond differently to carbohydrates, it allows people to really have that personalized closed loop lens on how these choices are actually specifically affecting your own body and to move towards what you know, more of an optimal state. So our program is a one month program, we call it a one month metabolic awareness journey. And during that one month, people get these wearable sensors that continuous glucose monitors which just stick on the back of your arm, and are super easy, super painless, they last on there for two weeks. So during the month, which is 28 days, you get two of these two weeks sensors. And it's just that it's like a little lab on your arm, it's like a little doing a little lab test on your arm 24 hours a day, it's crazy, like it's, it's like a like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch but it's actually testing something inside your body through this tiny little painless filament that goes under the skin and then it's transmitting that data to your smartphone, and our software interprets that data for you. So that's, that's what Levels does and ultimately, it's all about empowerment, helping people understand their bodies better and helping us make the consistent dietary and lifestyle choices that keep us healthy, both now and in the future.

Chase  

And that's what Ever Forward Radio is all about. That's the meaning behind the message is, you know, what are these things that we can continue to do? What can we learn more about to keep us moving forward? And so the last question, I'll ask you here, Casey, the question I ask everybody is, you know, what does that mean to you? How does your work? How does your mission? How can Levels and what you're doing in the world what does that mean to you to live a life ever forward? How can this help us at the same time?

Dr. Casey  

Hmm. To me, part of moving ever forward just has a lot to do with mindset. It means waking up every morning with a growth mindset and with optimism, and really knowing that the brain and the body are something that are modifiable and modulatable based on habit. And we you know, when we put in the consistent, you know, effort each day, whether it means focusing on a positive gratitude based mindset, or putting, you know, beautiful food into our body or moving our bodies that there is an amazing payoff there is plasticity in the body and we will move in the right direction. So it's just really about keeping that growth mindset and keeping an optimistic outlook on the mind and body because, you know, life comes I think in in waves and you know, there's generally a brighter side down the road, but we can help we can help, you know, make things brighter by the way we approach each day with our habits.

Chase  

I agree. Well, Dr. Casey Means, thank you so much. I don't think we've formally said that. So anybody curious as to what is this lady who what is she talking about? Who is she? Background for sure. I mean, again, your work at Levels is incredible. I've had a great experience so far. And it's great for my continued daily wellness, but also someone like myself who just, I'm unique. Like you're unique. We're all unique. We all have things that we want to achieve in life, in our body composition and our wellness, but also things that we should I think be mindful of because we didn't just pop out of nowhere, right. You know, we've got parents, we've got uncles, we've got family history. So do your due diligence, for sure. Casey, thank you so much. I'll have all your information down in the show notes for everybody. And we'll wrap it there.

Dr. Casey  

Thanks so much Chase.

Apr 1, 2021

EFR 457: Gamify Your Life Through The Five Core Success Habits with William Moore

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William is the founder of Moore Momentum. His story of success started in 2007 during the real estate market crash. He created a company called Doorstep Delivery- a restaurant delivery service and became the largest food delivery service in the southeast and had 19 branches. A year and a half later, Doorstep Delivery was bought for its recognizable success.

From his experience, William decided to share his knowledge of success in unity and growth and built a new company called Moore Momentum, a professional training and coaching service to help you become the best version of yourself. 

Moore Momentum's mission is to "create a movement of change that shifts the mindset of the world toward unity and growth."

In this episode, William shares five core areas of life if done properly will completely level-up your success, increase productivity, regulate the flow of energy by combining the latest in science and technology, and universal principles to gamify your life!

 

Follow William @5corelife

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Why are the 5 cores important?

  • Why is connecting to your why more effective than for?

  • Keep understanding, keep reading, and keep studying.

  • The role of mindset, goal setting, and accountability.

  • Why your morning routine matters.

 

Episode resources:


Interview transcript

Chase [06:24]

All right, lights, camera, action there we go. Will Moore welcome to Ever Forward Radio man coming from one of my favorite places in the US, Chicago and we're having a very similar weather day so while we're in good company man. Welcome.

Will [06:35]

Thank you, great to be here.

Chase [06:37]

What’s is going on the most in your world? Maybe go back just two years to like this big transition you've had in your life. What were you doing? How did you find yourself up here? What are you doing today?

Will [07:01]

I spent the last 10 years or so building a business. My story of success started in 2007 during the real estate market crash. I saw the need of food delivery service since it the market was not saturated and many people needed it. I created a company called Doorstep Delivery- a restaurant delivery service and became the largest food delivery service in the southeast and had 19 branches. A year and a half later, Doorstep Delivery was bought for its recognizable success.

Chase [10:01]

So, what's it like standing at the bottom of this tower and staring at something that doesn't exist yet, but it's clear as day in your mind? 

Will [10:21]

If you can kind of step back and sort of say, okay, what does the world need, right? People always have ideas. It’s only a matter if they make their ideas come to life or give out excuses. Your success depends if you actually do it or doubt yourself

Chase [11:05]

Not an ounce of doubt. Absolutely.

Will: [11:08]

You'll never succeed because there's so many bitch slaps. People can try to steal your business too. In the first couple of years, we weren’t very profitable. I think it’s pretty typical for new businesses. Some businesses die but fortunately, we got some momentum.

We started partnering with some bigger restaurants, like, Chili’s. Initially, we were the one’s going to restaurants asking if they want to partner with us. They would always decline or if they do accept, it took a lot of convincing. But by the end, it was kind of neat they were all kind of begging us to be partnered with them, because they saw it as profit. They were making money.

And I was like, shit, I've been working on this thing for 25 years or so this this kind of book, this personal journey of all the things that I've learned along the way.

I was suicidal when I was in college. I had a bit of a religion. I straight up was your typical fixed victim and I serendipitously was introduced to this book by a professor who I really admired at the time and he just kind of casually mentioned it in one of his lectures, and I like wrote it down and went right to the library after and luckily, they had it had they not had it, I wonder how my life would have turned out.

Chase [13:14] 

What was the book?

Will [13:15]

Butterfly Effect, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book made me realize that there's a different way to look at the universe to look at the world. There's these universal principles that I have not been taking advantage of. I am going to figure out all of them and I made it my life's mission to basically reinvent myself and figure out what it means to be happy. There is no short-cut elixir too.

Chase [13:48]

Three easy installments for sure. 

Will [13:49]

Right? It doesn't, it doesn't work that way. I started figuring things out over time using myself as a human science experiment- what worked, what didn't, what laws of the universe? 

I honed in on these main areas of life and these key principles. Develop habits to make me happy and get to where I wanted to be. And so, 25 years later, I did that with my career, my finances, I ended up dividing these into five different cores. That didn't come until way later I just knew like, my physical health is important. My relationships are important, my mind sets important, my emotional health is important. My career and finances are important.

And these are the five cores then I was kind of working on all of them. I got rid of my failure habits and replaced them with success habits; and so, I can keep building momentum to combine them all to form my overall happiness. 

Chase: [15:25]

Life is multifaceted. Our goals are multifaceted. Yes, when we focus on one thing, we can perform well, and we can get better at it, we can excel at it, but it is leaving a lot of other areas neglected, or it is leaving a lot of other room, leaving a lot on the table, basically a lot of room for improvement, all these other things when we become out of whack.

It all comes down to habits. Either we push ourselves closer towards the goal, or decide what is the goal that we want.  Sometimes, just to build positive momentum and figure things out along the way. 

So, when reading this book and applying some of these things, I'm curious, was it as straightforward for you as just instilling new habits? Were you realizing a lot of the habits that you had needed to go? Was it subtraction or addition? Or a little bit of the combination of both? 

Will [16:40]

It's a great question. Now, I like helping people shine a big spotlight on their lives. It wasn't until I read Atomic Habits, by James Clear that it really hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm like, wow, what I'm doing is the natural extension. 

Chase [17:24]

That one is great, I got about three copies up over here. Anytime anybody rolls through the office, they haven't read it, I give them one. It's amazing.

Will [17:30]

I mean, right? He talks about whether you're using this physical, relationships, emotional parts- how they work, connecting to your whys and why it’s important as human beings to understand that because it’s got to be a deep thing that syncs way all up in there in your body and your soul that goes.

Chase [18:29]

I always go back to the movie Inception; if anything is to stick and to be inherent to be worthwhile it has to be from our own design. 

Will [18:40]

That’s exactly right. Versus willpower, which is complete BS and doesn't work where you go- a superficial level. You haven't connected, like you said on that Inception level.

These different areas, these five cores, they cover everything. This is what life is about: these five cores, all combined to form your overall momentum, happiness, growing, and stopping your failure habits and replacing them with success habits to make sure you're becoming bigger, better, faster, stronger along the way.

It’s been a 25-year journey to figure it all out but, what I have realized is that it's these habits, but they've got to be based on these principles.

I've read 1000s of self-help books, been to seminars you name it, they all kind of have the same things in different ways and like I said, it's been my goal to use these principles. 

Will [20:52]

It fits perfectly. I need to use that same science and technology, what we know about habits, what we know about dopamine hits, why we do things, and use that to level up not just on a screen and get a shallow victory of a like or a, you know, you're playing a game and you get you know, gold coins but to level up in real life. That's what I've dedicated my life to.

Chase AD [21:18]

Hey, what's going on my friend, I want to take a quick second and pause from this interview with William Moore. First of all, just take a pause and just let it all sink in everything that Will has been talking about up to this point, just let it sink in for a second. I don't want this to be just another podcast that you listen to and have just running in the background and maybe you pick up a few things here and there but just really take a pause right now and reflect back on what you've heard so far, let it sink in.

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Alright, let's go and jump back into today's conversation with William Moore.

Chase [26:30]

I want to dive into these five core principles and there's one in particular, I want to kick off with relationships. I really think that is the most profound one. I think they're all important, right? All these other areas in our life are important, but relationships are instrumental. 

You had this kind of epiphany, right? This realization that your life needed to change. You said that you wanted to change. How did you know the next steps to take? Because that can be that can be crippling. 

Will [27:32]

I didn’t is the answer. But I made it my mission to use myself as a human science experiment and to test start testing all these things. All I knew is I needed to keep reading and I needed to keep studying, keep understanding, keep learning.

Chase [28:50]

Yeah, right. Absolutely. Man, I love your response to that well said for sure. So then let's dive into these five core areas and we've got mindset, career and finances, relationships. 

I would love to start off with first physical health and emotional health and giving back so please indulge me. Why did relationships make your top five and what do you mean by that? Why is it such a core area?

Will [29:14]

Before we get into relationships, I have to bring up mindset because mindset is the surface. Your mindset is the glue that holds the rest of the course together and getting your mind working for instead of against you, and it makes all the other cores incrementally easier to build momentum.

Chase [29:37]

So, you kind of have a hierarchy for these a little bit?

Will [29:40]

They're all equal but mindset is the one that you need to make sure. I've got strengths just like everybody else, I've got weaknesses. I'm going to figure out how to outsource and work around those weaknesses, I'm going to focus on my strengths, I'm gonna learn what I'm passionate about, I'm going to set goals and when I fail, I'm going to fail forward.

I'm going to figure out what it was that didn't work and how to pivot so that every step of the way, I'm becoming bigger, better, faster, stronger, and that ends up applying to all your areas, including relationships, because, if you can look start looking at life that way, and that doesn't happen overnight and there's techniques.

One of the habits is negative self-talk, as long as you do that continually, that's the main thing that you're filling your brain with, you're never gonna be able to get to what I just said.

And so, with relationships, it's the same thing in terms if you want to build momentum and create these relationships. It's in our nature to have these human connections and interactions and if you're not doing that, you're going to be F’d. 

In the relationship core, I actually break it into four different areas, I have your colleagues and acquaintances, people you may be just met, family, colleges and friends, and your significant other. Are you married or single? 

Chase [33:16]

I'm married. Yeah, we've been together almost eight years. 

Will [34:10]

For instance, my wife and I have these agreements, right? We come we're two different people, just like every couple is we come from different backgrounds. We're not the same. I am a man. She's a woman, we, you know, they're our brains do not work exactly the same. And we, we forget that sometimes. And we get frustrated with the other person and we make assumptions, like, why are they doing this? Why are they doing that? And that just starts to chip away at the fabric.

Whereas it's like, okay, look, here's where you're coming from. Let's make it clear. Here's where we tend to have issues, right? 

Raising our kids, we do have some disagreements but we compromise even though we don't see it exactly the same how do we meet in the middle and what's best for our sons? And that's how we're going to do it.

Chase [35:13]

Present this unified front for sure. So, mindset first, that's definitely the lens we want to look through when we're starting all of these core values, core beliefs, these pillars, if you will, for the work that you talk about.

And then kind of you started talking about the relationship aspect, whether it's a significant other family member, I would even say that, what about the one with ourselves? How do you go about working on the relationship with yourself? Because I think that's probably the most important one that takes the most amount of work. 

Will [36:02]

So that and that's that that's your mindset. I mean, it is the most important and that's why I have people start with your mindset. Your mindset is your relationship with yourself. It's how you view the world. It's your confidence, it's your attitude. It's your perspective, literally on how the world is, is those a world suck, and it's out to get you are you a fixed victim, or a growth owner?

And if you have a bad relationship with yourself, you're going to potentially build that negative momentum hurting yourself. Like you'll get overwhelmed like this is too hard, you got to do it very slowly and surely, which is what I help with.

Chase [37:11]

It is possible to become overwhelmed and even more stressed out. Our personal development, self-help and growth, as we open our minds up to the possibility of what we want and we realize that all of this is possible just takes incremental work and consistent work.

Will: [38:54]

When you start to get your mind working for you, instead of against you it reduces the friction. Maybe before you didn't have the confidence, you didn't have the foresight - but then once you start to improve your mindset it's like just like same with physical health and same with your emotional health like it's like all of a sudden, you will say: I can do that!

Here’s my goal. This is what I want to do. This is my purpose.

You can get your brains working for you, and create ways that you never saw before and how to get there right at the end. You got to set goals. I'm a huge, huge, huge goal guy.

In fact, that they don't teach that mainstream in schools is shame on you. I'm trying to I'm trying to fix the broken system and the education.

Will [40:43]

We’ve got to start teaching things like goals and emotional health and how to get along with others, and how to balance your checkbook in school.

These five core areas, these habits, so by the time you get to young adulthood, you're not suicidal.

Believe it or not, even with all this tech, and everything that's happened, we're becoming less happy as a society. The world of happiness has been on a downward trajectory. 

For many years, teen suicide, especially for girls is at an all-time high and it's gone up every single year. Social media comparing themselves so it's like, we got to use this stuff responsibly. And so that's my whole mission. That's my whole goal in life that keeps me going every single day, just like with doorstep delivery, where I said, I know this is it. This is this is this is where the world is heading. 

How do I use the same science and technology to get people addicted to leveling up? Not just on screen, but in real life.

Chase [41:49]

That’s such a great idea, man. How do we get how do we introduce that kind of gamification concept that we've seen work time and time again, for things like video games, cell phone games, social media platforms?

How do we kind of get people conditioned to want to show up and stay present the same way they do for these other things, but in a way that is going to be a positive feedback loop?

Something that is going to get them addicted to themselves really in a non-egotistical way?

Will [42:20] 

Gamifying it up. My app is going to be the first product and you're a rocket ship. And you've got these five core areas of your life are the thrusters of your engine, and to not fly off course and end up where you don't want or to crash land. You got to make sure that you're balancing these cores, you're continually building momentum in each to get off the ground, then to get to the moon then to the first planet and the next galaxy than the next solar system along the way. You're meeting aliens. You are navigating through asteroid field.

Chase [43:39]

Is this co developed with Neil deGrasse Tyson by chance?

Will [43:47]

The whole point is it's I've been working on this for the last three years this app.

I had this idea it started with I literally back when I was telling you in college when I was suicidal, one of the first books I read, talked about Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues. 

I'm calling them habits, the things that you want to change in your life. I would write a list and forced myself writing it every day. What did I do today? Did I do this, this thing that I know that is good for me this habit that I'm working on? Or did I not? And I would put either a checkmark or an x.

Slowly but surely, that started shining this big spotlight and making me aware of the things that were really hurting me causing that negative momentum so to speak. I started becoming aware.

I've got my five cores, and within each core, I've got the habits that I'm working on and improve each day on them. 

Chase [46:14]

How much weight do you put on accountability for the ability for change to happen when it comes to our habits? 

Will [46:23]

Huge. To me, it's all about systems in life systems, systems. Like you read every success book I've ever read every successful person and I use success in quotes. By the way, because most people think success is just money and finances, power and fame; but to me, it's living a true success is live in the five-core systems of life.

These people, they've developed a system that works for them and I wanted to figure out was, how can I make kind of a universal system that works for anybody? 

Chase [48:07]

I want to dive into a couple of the key concepts you talked about here and that's emotional health and giving back. Why did you put those two together? And do you think they are kind of dependent on each other in order for us to have that that level completed here in these core values? 

Will [48:23]

The honest answer is I put those two together, they do tie together but it was more I wanted to have five cores instead of six. That is actually to be to be brutally honest five cores- to me it's simpler.

Emotional health is when you are you aware of the things that are hurting your mind every day in terms of like stress? Are you aware of the things that bring true joy and happiness to your life? Like what are your passions?

Being aware of these things and making sure that you're proactively incorporating them every single day into your life so that you're reducing the stress.

Chase [50:58]

What is maybe one habit you're working on right now that you're like, I'm making it better or maintaining it like what is one key habit you have in your level of awareness right now that is, like the one you're working on the most?

Will [51:13]

This is part of my morning routine, which by the way, morning routines are huge terms of like staying on track, things that are actually going to help burst you into the day and have you going in with a smile and that energy versus another day.

One example just of that, like I used to read the news, and I start getting sucked into politics. And I would literally I would soon as I would wake up, I would open it up. And I would be in a bad mood within two minutes. 

Chase [51:34]

You're bombarded with everybody else's stressors and worries. Might be some good news in there to but it's a wave of noise that, like you need to go into intentionally I believe, right? 

Will [51:57]

That’s exactly right. And so, I caught that. With all this awareness and holding myself accountable, I realize this news doesn't fit in with my happiness. And so, I replaced it with good, and positive news.

I have this app called Flipboard, you can even do it on your Apple news feed as well- I can select the types of articles and things that I want to see. So, wellness, personal development, video games, entertainment, like whatever you're interested in that is happy and uplifting, that's all I'll see, right?

I got 10 habits that I'm currently working on posture, one of them but the top one is shorten, simplify and make things more succinct. 

Chase [53:26]

Got to get that hook, right. Is that with a new book? Is it hooked? I forgot the guy's name. 

Will [53:30]

Hooked by Nir Eyal, great book. 

Chase [53:40]

Yeah, exactly.

Well, William, it's been great having you on the show here. I can't wait for my audience to continue to dive into what you're doing over there. The Moore Momentum, everything you're doing and the change in the impact and connecting the dots for other people so that they can find other ways other walks of life, to learn from to pull from and to instill these habits and create their own system for success.

Will [54:00]

Right on brother! I really appreciate you having me on. Thanks for letting me ramble. 

Chase [54:04] 

No worries, you're in good company. Podcasts are great for that, it’s a long format content for a reason. But I do you have one final question. I'm curious, what does that mean to you, William? How would you say you live a life ever forward? 

Will [54:04]

Well, I think our messages couldn't align better. I mean Moore Momentum. M-O-O-R-E is my last name, Momentum. That's my website. That's my brand. That’s everything I'm doing.

It's about building momentum. Every single day, like we talked earlier and your podcast about not getting complacent, not resting on your laurels, but instead saying this is where I want to be in each of my areas, taking little incremental steps every single day using what I call the equation of life, which is your belief system.

So as long as you start to change, my belief system ties to your mindset as you start to change that. And then you start to take different actions than you used to those actions, then aren't going to happen right away, but the time will do its thing. That's who you're going to become. And so, it's building a little bit of momentum every single day moving forward, as you would say, every single day. 

Chase [55:29]

I love it, man, there's never a right or wrong answer. There's just your answer. I appreciate your insight on that. 

Will [55:35]

Right on.

Chase [55:36]

If you could send somebody listening, watching right now, somewhere, where are they going? Where can they connect with you online? What's going on? 

Will [55:48]

So, mooremomentum.com. I have a life evaluator quiz where you can actually see where you stand in each of these five core areas of your life.

It's like you're saying being aware of figuring it out is the first step- the quiz will help you get there.

Then on our Instagram page @5corelife. We have all sorts of fun viral videos, positive news, fun stuff where humans are doing good things exemplifying the five-core life.

I also have my own podcast and I do little interviews and there's little snippets of that.

Chase [56:55]

Amazing man, it definitely great place to get lost scrolling for a little bit for sure.

William, thank you so much. Appreciate you. 

Will [57:03]

Appreciate it, brother. Thank you so much.

Adam Lowry is an entrepreneur and one of the four co-founders of Sugarbreak, launched last September 2, 2020 as the first all-natural, complete solution to help reduce sugar consumption and promote healthy blood sugar management. Sugarbreak, which raised $3 million in seed funding, offers pills and tongue strips to reduce sugar cravings. A suite of products backed by science was the goal. The brand itself was built on three pillars: all-natural, proven, and measurability.

Sugarbreak’s marquee product is Resist, a dissolvable minty breath strip that blocks your taste buds from tasting anything sweet for about 45 minutes, curbing sugar cravings on the spot. Its key ingredient is gymnema sylvestre which makes sugar taste like “sand on your tongue”. In other words, “it interrupts your ability to enjoy sweets” by “break[ing] that connection between your brain and the reward of sugar.”

Its other two products are Stabilize, a pre-meal capsule which helps block carbs and sugars and stabilizes post-meal sugar spikes and crashes, and Reduce, which supports consistently healthy A1c and blood glucose levels.

The company was founded to support diabetics and prediabetics through a clinically-tested supplement line that supports healthy blood sugar levels. However, for the consumer who has no medical need to reduce their sugar intake and simply wants to stay healthy, Sugarbreak’s products are “a convenient way of having on-demand willpower”.

Follow Sugarbreak @takeasugarbreak

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

Key Highlights

  • What problem is Sugarbreak looking to solve, exactly?

  • Adam explains how, aside from direct consumers, Sugarbreak is also looking to create products that primary care providers and other healthcare professionals can offer to their own patients.

  • What’s on the horizon for Sugarbreak?

Powerful Quotes by Adam Lowry

Sugarbreak was founded to give people a convenient way of having on-demand willpower.

Part of what we’re doing with Sugarbreak is to try to create a relationship with consumers that is built around enablement and freedom and helps people live with whatever condition they’ve got in a way that’s more pleasant.

If we can create a little bit of freedom, whether it’s reducing sugar consumption on the front end or helping people maintain healthy blood sugar levels over time on the back end, then we’re doing something good.


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Sean Dollinger is the founder of Vancouver-based PlantX, an online one-stop shop for all things plant-based, including meal delivery. The ultimate goal of the platform “is to educate people on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, eliminating the barriers to entry for everyone.”

He has been involved in the ecommerce space for over two decades, and has a growing portfolio that includes more than 15 companies.

Having been overweight growing up, Sean discovered the power of eating a plant-based diet ten years prior, which helped him lose 60 pounds of bodyweight. It was a transformation that not only completely changed his body, but his mind as well. Sean was inspired to create a platform to share what he had learned over the past decade and it developed into what is today PlantX.

Sean goes on to share how he found success as a serial entrepreneur, from why he sleeps only four hours a night, to how he scaled PlantX from $6 million to $1.5 billion in a year-and-a-half, to how he spots opportunity in times of crisis.

Follow PlantX @goplantx

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

Key Highlights

  • Why did Sean decide to start a business around plant-based products and services?

  • Is a plant-based diet something that people can realistically integrate into their lifestyle?

  • Why Sean feels best sleeping for only four hours a night.

  • How do you find and capitalize on an opportunity amid crisis?

Powerful Quotes by Sean

At the end of the day, PlantX’s job is to give selection and choice. We’re not here to make that decision for individuals. We’re here to make sure everything fits into the plant-based lifestyle. We like to give people freedom of choice.

What I always remind people is to think back to why they started the business. Why did you think it was such a good idea? Why did you take that leap of faith? Why did you make that investment in yourself to do it? Then keep going. [...] At the end of the day, what you’ve taken a chance on could be exactly what you’re looking for.

I believe that if you put that positive energy out there, you work extremely hard, and your dedication is towards making the Earth a better place, I always believe that opportunities will present themselves.


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Eliot Marshall is a martial artist, business owner, podcaster, bestselling author, and a self-proclaimed “ex-UFC fighter turned motivational speaker”.

Eliot points to change as the defining characteristic of his life and career. He looks at each new day as an opportunity for growth, and believes fully that he is a better man today than he was at any other point, regardless of past successes. In fact, even with a prolific run in MMA behind him, Eliot admits that “my UFC career was literally just me trying to hide all these insecurities I have.”

Today, instead of running away from the coward within, Eliot embraces that side. He made it a point to learn all about his fear, and to coexist with that fear. He goes on to speak about how love from those he cared about the most yanked him out of the literal death spiral of negative self-talk that enslaved him early on.

Eliot explains how anybody can reverse engineer their ideal life in order to start taking steps toward it. This includes going through the three Is that you need to write down to start calibrating your mindset for growth: your I ams, your I cans, and your I wills.

 

Follow Eliot @firemarshall205

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

 

Key Highlights

  • Eliot explains how and why he used his career as a professional fighter to hide the coward inside of him.

  • How was Eliot able to surround himself with a great community of people that he could trust in his darkest hours?

  • How good can our life become just by changing our mindset?

  • Eliot may no longer be in the UFC, but he is clearly still a fighter. He shares what he is fighting for today.

 

Powerful Quotes by Eliot Marshall

As your coach, I don’t want to see “perfect”. I want to see the mess. I want to see you when it all falls apart. I want to see as ugly and as bad as it gets. Once I see that, we get to plug the holes. I need to see what you’re going to do when the shit really hits the fan because you can’t hide who you are when that cage door closes.

There’s a coward in all of us. If you won’t say hi to him, then he comes out during really inopportune times. He comes to say hello. But if I say hello to him every day, knowing that he’s part of me, then he can come hang out, but he doesn’t get to mess things up.

Living by your values is not easy. It’s not comfortable. It’s not fun. There’s no fun about it. But if you say who you say you are, then you do it.

I never want to equalize outcomes; but I want to equalize the opportunity for every single human being that walks on this Earth to be able to find, discover, and harness their power.

 

Episode resources:


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Ashley Stahl is a counterterrorism professional turned highly sought-after career coach, TEDx speaker, Forbes blogger, podcaster, and author. In January 2021, she published her first book, You Turn: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction, and Design Your Dream Career.

She illustrates her approach to getting “unstuck” as traveling from one lilypad to another. The first lilypad is where most people start out: They have a dream (or at least the outline of one) but are too afraid to take the next step thanks to the myriad of what-ifs plaguing their mind.

Getting over to the second lilypad is all about creating a “river channel” by figuring out your unique gift and learning how to harness your primary skillset. It’s about acknowledging that the key to getting unstuck in your career is to not do what you love, but to do what you are.

The third and final lilypad is “a level of dharma” achieved only after consistently putting that skillset into action. Ashley explains that “when you’re vibing in the current of your gifts, what happens is, on the periphery, people start noticing where you’re talented.” When you work only where you thrive, and you own your unique gift, opportunities naturally arise and your career creates itself.

Ashley goes on to share how to get clarity on your best career fit, uncovering your identity, nipping resentment at work in the bud and finding your purpose, and the biggest myths that keep you stuck in your career.

Follow Ashley @ashleystahl

Follow Chase @chase_chewning 

Key Highlights

  • Ashley explains how to get unstuck in life by hopping from the first lilypad to the second and to the third. She addresses the many challenges that everyone will encounter on their personal journey along the way.

  • What did Ashley carry over from her previous career in intelligence into her current work as a coach?

  • Ashley gives her thoughts on identity and why the search for who you truly are can be freeing or limiting depending on how you approach it.

  • How do you address burnout and regain a sense of purpose?

Powerful Quotes by Ashley

The ultimate message of my book is: Don’t do what you love. Do what you are.

Instead of hiring a bunch of life coaches, let life be your coach. [...] When you see your career as this vehicle of experimentation, as a vehicle of self-expression, what happens is you start saying “yes” to opportunities that are in the vein of where you’re gifted, and you start getting opportunities to really do something on a higher level.

Purpose moves. Who you are, moves. We’re not a static organism. I think it’s so important to give yourself permission to change. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to like something different. People don’t give themselves that because there is such a strong egoic desire to maintain an identity.

Buying into identities can free you as much as it can limit you.

Resentment is a sign of burnout. [...] Anytime you have resentment, what you really have is poor boundaries. Resentment is just feedback that you’ve trespassed on your own boundaries.

A lot of people who are low energy are actually just low on purpose.

The pain of acceptance is never as bad as the slow-burn, gnawing pain of denial.

You really can’t move forward until you have awareness of what’s true.

 

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Dr. Anthony Balduzzi is a naturopathic doctor, national champion bodybuilder, and founder of the Fit Father Project and Fit Mother Project—online health and fitness communities aimed at empowering busy parents to get healthy, lose weight, and build muscle through practical nutrition and exercise plans.

Seeing his father suffer through sickness and pass away at the age of 42 imprinted in young Anthony’s mind that life is both finite and fragile. Being faced with mortality so early on, no less through a parent, catapulted him into the world of health and fitness. He realized, as he went down this path, that it all comes down to “how we manage our nutrition, our sleep, our movement, and our mindset.”

The tragic, early experience of losing his dad planted a seed within Anthony to help others like his father who were “just busy and caught in the throes of managing everything” at the expense of their healthy routines. “Health,” he continues, “is often put on the backburner when we have bills and responsibilities, and I saw that happening to so many people.”

To this end, Dr. Balduzzi created the Fit Father Project alongside the Fit Mother Project, programs that simplify—and make sustainable—exercise and nutrition for everyday busy parents.

Follow Dr. Balduzzi @fitfatherproject

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

Key Highlights

  • Dr. Balduzzi’s father passed away at the young age of 42. He explains how this tragic period of his life served as the catalyst that began his journey into the world of health and wellness.

  • In a nutshell, what do busy people need to know about taking care of themselves for the long haul?

  • How do we ensure our children’s success through epigenetics?

  • Community is immunity. When we have deep, meaningful connections with other human beings, how do those connections impact us, chemically and physiologically?

Powerful Quotes by Dr. Anthony Balduzzi

There are a lot of things in life that we can’t control. Yet at the same time it was a very empowering experience. After going through the grieving of losing my dad, I realized that I was the man of the house, and that I was able to make choices about how to move forward and how I was going to represent for my mom and my little brother.

This body of ours is intimately connected to the rhythms of the planet, through our circadian rhythm—and how that affects all of the cascades of hormones—and how these different cycles happen in the body.

When you look at longevity for the human mechanism, the longest-living people are not doing P90X workouts. They’re farming. They’re walking up mountains—doing low-intensity, joint-friendly ongoing activity. We are built to walk. Humans are built to walk.

Suffering is our natural, course-correcting mechanism. When something hurts, when something’s wrong, we have this experience of pain. When we feel out of alignment with our core values, we have these emotions of guilt or depression. These things, when viewed in the bigger picture, are opportunities for us to choose something different and move in a better direction.

I think one of the greatest qualities that anybody can embody is a self-reflective nature.

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