Go small… go home.

The internet has always been useful for the micro as well as the macro. The example that struck home early on was how a primitive forum, basically no more than an updated BBS, was the primary platform I used in a college town when Facebook was really taking off (and like a rocket!)  Ugly design and extremely minimal functionality. Still, it worked, and it brought people together.  Folks living in a relatively isolated area used a platform accessible worldwide to communicate about local trails and bike-oriented goodness.

This opportunity still exists.  It’s actually more significant than ever.  Back then, we could even choose to see every post from all our friends, chronologically (oh my!).  Now in the days of AI-generated content, racing to the bottom of your brain stem for the quickest (and often worst) responses, we barely remember how good we had it.  But we now understand more about how detrimental it can be for our mental well-being.  We also have tons of services that are more functional and easier to use than ever, and almost all for free(mium).

It’s never been easier to connect with those in your home area… whether you live there or not.  You may have to blast out a few FB/Insta posts, tweet a link, or even staple a flyer to a literal bulletin board before you commute to the metro, but you can get traction… to your blog, site, message group, whatever.  Contrary to some assumptions, smaller communities can be great test-beds, more accepting of minor errors and less than professional design.  As long as it gets the job done, whatever that is- local info, community calendar, arts, products, advice- it can work.

This doesn’t mean you need to take your best ideas and implement them where they don’t fit.  But surely there is one thing that seems like it would work where you’re from.  One thing that won’t get the hits, likes, or head turns in the already crowded (and obnoxious) mass marketplaces… but it just might find the right audience in a smaller, homier setting.  Put it out there.

Interfacing with AI for creative writing

The AI will write what it wants, and I will fill in the blanks.

The only reason I made these changes is that my old one was just too much of a pain for me. But the changes brought significant pain of their own. It wasn’t unexpected. Adaptation requires stressors, but how much and to what extent the changes were to blame was a mystery.

We’re all too happy to blame things on the current state of affairs in America, but that was not the root cause of the suffering. The root cause was a lack of human decency.

On Supplementation

We *shouldn’t* need to supplement.  We should eat healthy, whole foods from clean sources in just the right amounts for our particular genetics in order to give us the fuel we need to perform to our goals. But we don’t.  Life is hectic, the world is crazy, our environment (personal and planetary) is a mess, and the list could go on. So if you want to perform to your optimal capacity, you supplement.  This is how you get the vitamins, minerals, and whatever other stuff your environment doesn’t supply.  Got a nutrient deficiency?  There’s a solution for that.  Wanna be bigger, stronger, or faster? We can do that, too.  Mental alertness not what it used to be?  Here ya go.  It’s awesome and i love living in the 21st century.

That being said, it also poses risks.  Overdoing just about anything can be bad for you in some way.  Side affects can range from a diarrhea to cancer, just like with anything you consume or somehow ingest into your body.  Caffeine can work wonders.  Excessive caffeine in the form of non-stop energy drinks filled with all kinds of other nasty stuff (or even just pure caffeine anhydrous) can kill you.  If it doesn’t kill you, overuse will at least mess up your adrenals.  Also, your body often produces many of the substances that we can supplement.  If you constantly feed your body massive amounts of x, it may just stop producing x on its own.  Melatonin is amazing for sleep enhancement.  Use large doses every night and you may not be able to get to sleep without it. Moderation in everything.

For the most part, i err on the side of caution and recommend whole foods first.  For example, although it’s great stuff, you shouldn’t need to supplement with conjugated lineolic acid (CLA).  If you eat and drink dairy products from grass-fed cows (or goats, camels, etc.) you probably won’t need CLA and you’ll be getting it in the right ratio(s).  Spend an extra few bucks on your milk and cheese.  It might cost a little more than just buying a bottle of cheap CLA (which i probably wouldn’t recommend anyway) but who knows what other good stuff you’re getting from dairy that grazes the way it was intended. I also try to point out the potential negatives of the supplements i do recommend, especially when there is scientific support for the downside(s).

But i am not a doctor and i don’t play one on the internet! I’ve done a lot of experimenting over the past few years, and in my opinion, my life is better because of it. I supplement the great majority of the time and although i cycle off pretty much everything for periods, i’m usually supplementing something.  Before you do anything, you should consult your physician. Even after getting the go-ahead from her/him you need to carefully consider where your personal beliefs are leading you.

Top 3s

Overall

  1. Walk at least 20 minutes (consecutively)
  2. Eat healthy, whole foods, especially vegetables
  3. Get quality sleep

Phyiscal performance enhancements

  1. Interval-based cardio training
  2. Some type of goal-oriented strength training
  3. Movement practice, i.e. mobility training, yoga

Supplements

  1. Caffeine – coffee/green tea
  2. Greens
  3. MCT oil
  4. Bulletproof coffee – yes, #4 in a top 3, since it’s a combination of 1, 3, & Kerrygold.

Brain/body supplements

  1. Caffeine – coffee/green tea
  2. C8 MCT oil
  3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Brain supplements

  1. Alpha Brain
  2. Lumonol
  3. Four Sigmatic Think Coffee (lion’s mane)

Body supplements

  1. Grass-fed whey protein (goat preferred)
  2. BCAAs
  3. Green tea

Vitamins/minerals

  1. B-complex
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Magnesium

Greens supplements

  1. CapraGreens
  2. Organifi Greens
  3. Athletic Greens

Herbs

  1. Eleuthero root, Siberian ginseng, Ciwujia
  2. Ashwagandha
  3. Or just get a bunch of everything in TianChi

Spices

  1. Turmeric/curry
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Pepper – anything in the capsicum family – the hotter the better but even black pepper can help with nutrient absorption

Performance enhancing vegetarian foods

  1. Beets, epecially cold-pressed beet juice – organic
  2. Broccoli, especially broccoli sprouts – organic
  3. Eggs, especially local – organic, free-range

Soul performance

  1. Meditate
  2. Sing/play music
  3. Practice gratitude

Mind performance

  1. Journaling
  2. Mindfulness walks
  3. Dual n back training

 

CapraGreens

I’ve downed a lot of greens concoctions.  They’ve been one of my staples since starting to think seriously about health and nutrition.  Maybe it’s because they are such a critical piece of what’s lacking in the standard American diet.  Maybe it’s because so many people i follow and respect have endorsed them or encouraged using.  Or maybe it’s because one of the first greens blends i ever tried produced such profound results.

After trying a few different brands available on the shelf locally, I tried CapraGreens after hearing about them from Ben Greenfield [link].   They were so effective it instantly set a high standard for all future performance enhancing foods and supplements.  Although initial taste impressions were poor, the results were undeniable to myself and pretty much anyone else i could guinea pig into trying it.  You almost instantly just felt better after drinking them.

Was it the sulphurophane in the broccoli (a commonly overlooked ingredient in many blends)? Was it the Mt Capra goat milk minerals?  Whatever it was almost everyone agreed- rough taste, feels great!  New customers/converts were created and it certainly wasn’t because i possess any overwhelming skills of persuasiveness.  To be fair about the taste, i doubt there is any greens blend that someone would drink just because of the flavor.  Maybe if there are a bunch of other ingredients thrown in to cover up the greens but that’s not really a greens supplement any longer.  Even the most palatable greens like Organifi and Athletic Greens are pretty meh tasting and come at a price premium.

But back to the experience.  After drinking CapraGreens, you simply feel better… cleaner, clearer-headed.  Aside from the previously mentioned ingredients, the other stuff includes pretty standard, identifiable veggies, both chlorella and spirulina algae, and a healthy dose of healthy spices including cinnamon and turmeric, which helps with the taste and aroma rather than using stevia or fruity natural flavors.  The lack of sugar(s) allows you to get a decent amount of whole food vitamins and minerals with less chance of knocking you out of fat-burning mode if that’s where you’re trying to stay.

Mind Body Soul Hack Bio

I’ve always been moderately active- participated in a sport or three in school and rec leagues.  Ultimately, decided skateboarding and biking were more fun and less forced.  Eventually, started hitting the gym every once in a while to put a little muscle on my light frame.  But there was not a lot of structure.  I paid a little attention to nutrition and ate a gel or two on a trail ride or downed a protein shake of some sort around workout time.  Most of my decision-making was based on economics because most of the products seemed to work about the same- minimally well.  It really didn’t appear to make too much difference- calories were calories and as long as you got enough macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, fat, although i did make some effort to avoid fat at that time) all-around, you simply had to push harder and keep going, just make sure to keep feeding.

When i started inching into the mid-30s, things began to go downhill.  They’d probably been going downhill for awhile but i wasn’t too obsessed with measuring results (yet) and hadn’t really noticed. Now I was slower… a lot slower.  What used to take a couple weeks to get whipped into shape was now taking months.  And injuries… what in the world was up with injuries?  Previously it took a couple weeks to heal from anything and now recovery took over a month or longer for silly stuff.  Some issues wouldn’t go away.  This was not going to work for me.  Something was wrong and i was not going to succumb to the “we’re just getting old” narrative.

So began what has now been approximately a decade long journey deep into performance hacks, weird foods, supplements, mental tricks, fitness equipment, and more. Research and experimentation fuel me.  I have a natural tendency to seek out the latest and greatest but a desire for results that keeps me somewhat balanced in reality rather than just the latest woo woo fad.  But woo woo fads (as well as forgotten classics) that work, based on personal experience, science, and other anecdotal evidence are golden.  But aren’t there a ton of biohackers out there already doing the same thing?

Here’s the deal- i’m still like you.  I have a day job and an hour commute… each way…  when traffic is good.  My wife and i are outnumbered by our three kids.  We are active in our community.  We value balance.  I have to figure out how to conduct these (sometimes ridiculous) experiments and get results on a normal person’s schedule.  Don’t get me wrong, Tim Ferriss, Ben Greenfield, and Dave Asprey are great and consuming their content (that commute is good for something) has given me immeasurable information and help.  But no average Joe is going to spend the amount of time and money on this stuff that they do.  I make it work on a budget and do what i can to sneak in what usually amounts to 20 minutes of actual workout time on an average day.

Admittedly, i am still an oddball with a penchance for the exotic.  But Peter keeps me honest and helps me see what has a better chance of succeeding for larger amounts of people- link to Peter’s bio.

[Still too wordy? Cut out as much fluff as possible while still remaining conversational. Combine paragraphs 3 and 4?]

Podcasts in the Golden Age of Podcasting

Ok, so a significant percentage of the population and i are addicted to podcasts. It truly is the golden age of podcasting.  So much good content that it’s impossible to keep up. Sometimes i go to work just so i can listen to podcasts while commuting.  Don’t tell my wife.  Anyway, here are some favorites in no particular order:

Philosophize This – Stephen West – A mostly chronological history of philosophers and their ideas broken down in easily digestible chunks (most episodes are less than a half-hour) with plenty of examples and pop culture references to keep things easily understandable and light.  Kind of like having your best friend talk to you about philosophy and doing it better than all your profs combined.

The Tim Ferriss Show – Deconstructing the habits of high performers.  TONS of quality guests, many of which you’ve never heard of, but should have.  From academics to finance to physical performance to arts to food to pretty much anything, it’s covered.  There definitely is an emphasis on tech and 21st century-friendly topics and entrepreneurs.  Almost every episode has multiple takeaways and brilliant, unique quotes.

Hardcore History – Dan Carlin – Dan reads all the best historians and then puts together an episode that is usually 3 hours-ish long and worth every bit of your time.  They don’t come out super often so it’s not hard to keep up.  My favorite part is how much time he spends on historiography, or how history is done/made/revisioned/remembered.  Really digs deep to find the diamonds in the rough that help to explain the hows and whys of what went down.  Highly recommended by pretty much everyone.

The Naked Bible Podcast – Dr. Michael S. Heiser – A true scholar who knows not only the biblical text but the ancient context and other literature that was relevant at the same time(s).  Brings out issues your pastor never mentions (and probably is ignorant of) and breaks down classic stories in enlightening new ways you’ve never heard.  Refuses to avoid touchy subjects or uncomfortable truths, whether they are culturally offensive or (supposedly) heretical.

Waking Up – Sam Harris – My favorite “New” atheist, mainly because of this podcast.  Thoughtful and open-minded monologues and interviews/discussions about everything from war to neuroscience to morality and, of course, religion.  I disagree with about half of what he says but i genuinely enjoy his calm and sensitive, yet still militant, approach.

Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast – Just about as nerdy as you can get about physical (and mental) performance, nutrition, and supplementation.  Half the shows are weekly-ish news and updates from the research world and marketplace (usually with a co-host) and the other half are interviews.  Not everything discussed will be relevant to you so the 1.5x speed button comes in handy and works well with Ben’s voice/delivery.  He knows all the latest research but isn’t afraid of the woo-woo subjects on the cutting edge either.  This is my number 1 resource for setting new personal records.

The Joe Rogan Experience – Hey, let’s have somebody over to the studio and talk for a few hours about whatever we want!  And you can’t stop listening.  Pretty hilarious if you can put up with a fair amount of cursing but covers some heady, thought-provoking ground at the same time.  Definitely the podcast i catch myself laughing out loud to the most.  Half the guests are either fighters or comedians, the other half is totally random but mostly high-performing “celebrities” (i use that word very loosely) that are usually near the weirder end of the spectrum (i mean that in the best way).

Jocko Podcast – Jocko Willink – I’m pretty much a pacifist so i listen to Jocko for balance.  He is a decorated Iraqi war hero that is THE stereotypical Navy SEAL times ten- yes, that awesome.  Heavy on leadership topics from a no-nonsense perspective.  Most examples are from the military but translate well into the business world and life in general.  Super motivating.  You will have no excuses after listening to this but you won’t need any because you’re going to get out there and get after it!  Talks about the realities of war in a way that no one else can.  Frank/brash yet thoughtful.

Tired of typing for now but here are some others on my list-

Reasonable Faith – William Lane Craig – philosophy and religion

TED Talks – there are a few different versions of these, more on that later

Packet Pushers Datanauts – Could be the enterprise IT podcast you’ve been looking for

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson – snippets of wisdom, often via short book reviews

Spartan Up! – Joe DeSena – Another podcast interviewing successful people from all walks of life

Pretty much all the NPR shows that are now podcasts are good.

2019 edit: this was the 2017 version that was updated to fix some typos via Grammarly. dang, i say i alot.