13 min read

Free Fatty Friday #2

We had a phenomenal response to FFF1. As expected I'm getting a lot of ketosis, biohacking, and human performance questions, and I will do my best to optimize you from afar. I'm also getting questions about startups, business, organizational best practices, and politics. Those types of questions are going to fun to explore and it'll be a challenge to unpack some of the deeper, more gnarled questions within a 5 minute time limit.

However, we are not afraid of such limitations on FFF. Let's try it out and hopefully not get into too much trouble for our efforts. Keep your questions coming, and we'll feature you in an upcoming FFF session.



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Hey, this is Geoffrey Woo with the Health Via Modern Nutrition podcast, the H.V.M.N. podcast.

This episode is Free Fatty Friday 2. So for those of you who are just tuning in and missed Free Fatty Friday 1, I'm going to give you a brief overview of what this new segment is all about. And this new segment is all about a rapid-fire Q and A session from questions from the community and folks out there who are just tuning in and part of our tribe. And I know we have a lot of new listeners and a lot of new folks who have joined the community through the new Netflix docuseries called Unwell which just dropped a couple of weeks ago in mid-August. And it's awesome to have fresh faces and new questions and new ideas being explored with all of you.

I've already gotten so many questions that go beyond our typical wheelhouse, but of course, we're always going to have our content focused on human performance, physiology, metabolism, fasting, ketosis, longevity, all of that good stuff. We'll continue to have awesome interviews, long form discussions with leading academics, researchers, scientists, performers, athletes, folks that are competing and doing all of this at the very highest levels in the field. We're going to keep doing the deep dives into the research papers and subject dives into specific topics around fascinating ketosis, all different protocols, but I've also wanted to explore other aspects of the world, our culture, where we're at and modern solution today. And hopefully this rapid-fire Q and A format allows me to explore in some of those topics that you might be curious to get my take on.

So these will be a rapid-fire Q and a session. I'm going to time box myself for five minutes for each question. So we'll keep this fun. We'll keep this going. We're going to dive into our first question today. I'm going to get my timer set up here and I’m going to give myself five minutes.

Cooper C asks, What is the best way to increase testosterone? Asking for a friend.

No need to even ask for a friend, I think that's an interesting question for every man, in generally every human, because even women and men, we have testosterone, estradiol, estrogen, just at very different ratios and different levels. Before talking about testosterone and supporting that specifically, I do want to make a disclaimer, a caveat that I'm not a medical doctor and the endocrinology is not my area of focus or expertise, but it is something that I am interested in because hormones are such an important part of overall human performance and physical performance. So it's definitely something that I look at from a diet metabolism perspective and how that might affect hormones. So I do feel comfortable enough to at least give some general observations of how I'm interpreting the literature and my conversations with experts in the space and just helping maybe break it down and translate it so you can take away some best practices.

But, and before I go, and I want to also make another sidebar comment here, which is that when I first discovered a literature showing that the average testosterone of men has been dropping by on average 1% year over year for the last few decades, that just got my attention because that's a pretty  a stunning statistic. This means that the average man in 1984, six year old man had 17% higher testosterone, then that same average, a six year old man in 2004. So you can almost say that each generation of men, so our fathers had 20% more testosterone than our generation of men and our grandfathers have an incremental extra 20%, even more testosterone than our fathers. And again, all of these statistical studies controlled for co-morbidities or co-factors like being obese or other statuses that do affect testosterone. And that's kind of scary, because we know that testosterone is such an important driver of male health and male fertility that just overall society or American studies that testosterones are dropping in an unexplained way should concern all of us.

And I think it's definitely something in our environment, whether that's plastics, pesticides, things that we're consuming, there's something happening in our environment that's driving this change. That's going to be a much longer conversation and we can talk more about that, but we'll get to your specific question, which is what are some easy things I can do today to help boost my testosterone?

Well, let's make sure you don't have any micronutrient deficiencies, common deficiencies in vitamin D and zinc and magnesium, potentially cholesterol are highly associated with low testosterone. So make sure you're getting baseline decent nutrition from all those micronutrient levels. So make sure you get your diet on point, make sure to lift heavy things, working a big muscle groups drives growth hormone, drives testosterone. Lower your cortisol, cortisol and testosterone just share the same precursor of cholesterol and they're anti-correlated so as you're more stressed out, you have lower testosterone, so reduce your cortisol.

There are some supplements like what's in RISE are one of our nootropics, which is an anxiolytic and helps control stress that actually drives cortisol, which in turn drives a potentially boost and drives up testosterone. So maybe check out some supplements that have good data to lower cortisol. Make sure you have ample sleep, if you're not sleeping, you're not letting your body actually rest and get to that restorative state of deep sleep, which is also critical for your body to generate endogenous testosterone. Of course, you always gotta talk about, you know, where in metabolism podcasts, improve your metabolic health. Obesity increases aromatase activity, and aromatase is actually the enzyme that converts testosterone into estradiol, which essentially is a form of estrogen. So reduce your body fat, get more lean muscle mass, you have lower conversion of testosterone into estrodiol.

So those are some of the big things, but I'll leave it one extra bonus thing, which is check out the hot sauna. That's something that I actually see really good anecdotal well with clinical data and anecdotal data talking to top end performers. Hot sauna use boost growth hormone testosterone, so also check that out. And then lastly, baseline your data, ask your doctor and get the blood test. Do all of these interventions, see for numbers actually go up and down. So, don't just throw interventions and not measure things. Let's speak good scientists, let's measure, let's baseline, let's try these interventions and see if we're actually moving in the right direction. And if you actually are a hypogonadal, meaning just actually clinically low testosterone, there are a number of pharmaceuticals or drugs that might be able to help you as well. So talk to your doctor to see if you actually have a medical problem or something you just want to optimize testosterone. But good question, I think it's something that we all should think about and understand more. So I'm going go to my second question here.

Sara Q asks, What is your morning routine?

Good question, I think you gotta win the morning to win the day and I try to keep a pretty lightweight, simple to follow routine. I know that there are a lot of biohacker guru types who have these very fancy, convoluted, complicated morning routines with gratitude journals and all of this stuff. And to be honest, I don't think I'm at that level of performance art, I would say of just saying, “Hey, I'm doing these 17 things.” I think that's more performance over actual efficiency. I'm smart and lazy. I want to get to my goal as quickly and as effortlessly as possible. So I try to keep my morning routine pretty simple. I anchor on a couple things I trust try to set my circadian rhythm on point. So in nature we would actually get woken up by the sun and as we're all indoors, especially now with the shelter in place in a quarantine or not getting under circadian rhythm set by sunlight.

So I try to get out onto my roof or outside, have my eyes hit the sun or the sun hit my eyes and get my circadian clock reset, get that blue light from the sun into my eyes. I always hydrate, I drink a lot of water, so likely drink 12-16 ounces of water. I take my morning supplements, I got the HVMN supplements, Rise and Kado, my dailies, Kado awesome, omega-3 health kit, essentially gets that DHA which is awesome for brain function as well as rise, which is our sort of daily nootropic stack, that really helps set the day in a strong place. I've recently completely cycled off of coffee. So I have very minimal caffeine, but I do miss that warm beverage in the morning. So of recent I've replaced that coffee habit with either decaf coffee or matcha tea. I know that there's some caffeine in there, but at least I'm not doing a hundred, 150 milligrams of caffeine in the morning. I'm doing basically sub 50, if not closer to sub 25 milligrams of caffeine, which I find as an acceptable modeled model of little stimulant in the morning to help me get started.

Oftentimes I'll throw in some of our HVMN Keto Collagen Salted Caramel that’s my current flavor of choice, makes a nice delicious morning beverage of the day. And go into my morning calls. For our business, for our team, we start pretty early in the morning to get a jump on the day, so got to keep everything updated, so just fall flow into the day. If I do have a little bit extra time, love to do some mobility works and so do some light stretches. Again on our last Free Fatty Friday, one been doing exercises as described in the happy body book. Again, nothing super magical about the book itself. It's a mixture of fingertips to toes stretching the lower back, some very deep squats, some shoulder mobility exercises, again, just making sure that joints are moving. So I'd like to do a little bit of that if I have time, but just trying to tuck in a little bit of physical mobility in the morning. On some days where I have little bit more time in the morning, I'll just do a morning walk to get my sun, get my circadian rhythm and get my blood moving a little bit. I think it's great to start the day a little bit active, and I know that's not necessarily possible for folks that have families or kids or hub, like myself have just pretty busy schedules, try to take calls in the morning. But that's why you have kettlebells near. You can pick it up, do a little bit of farmer carry, do a few kettlebell swings, just get the blood and let your heart rate up a little bit and get the day started.

If I had a hot sauna at my disposal, which I do not, that would be an awesome thing to add in the morning routine. So hopefully those are accessible, not too complicated things to consider, hydrate, your morning supplements, may be a nice warm hot beverage, matcha or decaf coffee with a little bit of HVMN Keto Collagen and, have a walk, see the sun, get your circadian rhythm set. And then from there, get on with the day, get your tasks done, and rock the today. I think that's a good ritual for me. Let's get onto the next question.

John H asks, What exercises do you recommend to maintain muscle mass?

Muscle mass is retained if you use it. Our bodies are smart. If you're not using a muscle, your body sees no reason to maintain the expense of lean muscle tissue and all atrophy. So what muscle groups maybe to answer the question, probably what muscle groups, our most important, especially for longevity in resiliency and to me, that's our lower back and hips. It feels like a lot of people as we age have lower back problems, lower back pains, hip problems, hip pains. And it's often times because it's driven by that we're constantly sitting and that gets tight lower back, tight hamstrings. So one thing that I spend a lot of time doing is a lot of deep squats, but as close to the ground as possible and squatting, and sometimes I don't even need super heavy weights. I just like sitting in that squat position for 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes, and just really open up and get that, get my hips and lower back used to that squat position.

I think that in our modern context of constantly sitting, I think we're constantly hunched over. So I like to do a lot of pull-ups and exercise that stretch the back, so it opens up the chest and you have a better posture. So a lot of pull ups, pushups, I think are super solid. Something you can do essentially in between a work tasks, and you can tuck that in almost any part of your day schedule. Deadlifts, not something I have readily access to, nor a bar bell, but those were some of my favorite exercises to maintain muscle mass. I really like doing snatch and cleans with a barbell, so Olympic power-lifts. It's almost a combination of dead lift, chest, shoulders and all in one where you have to use a lot of power and, and really dial in your central nervous system, your brain, body connection, where you can like dynamically link up that chain. So I like those exercises. I think it's also just generally good to carry around weight again, if you just carrying around a kettlebell or wedding wearing a weighted vest, just that added pressure of just walking around, it seems to be a good general, a stimulus to just make your body a little bit stronger all across the board. So those are some of my favorite exercises.

But as you probably can sense, I like these more functional, more chained motions. I don't really like just doing classic body building exercises because, as I've grown a little bit older and wanted to do more explosive movements or more sport movements, I've just found that these simple exercises, like a bench press, don't seem as functional and as useful for a lot of the sporting applications that I care more about.

So I like doing more complex chain movements that seem a little bit more applicable. And speaking of things a little bit more applicable, I like to do kind of swinging kettle balls in the transverse plane. So twisting side to side, that's where a lot of injuries happen is not in the up and down a plane, but this the transverse plane. So I like almost swinging kettlebells side to side and really getting that lower back, strengthened and more flexible.

So again, to answer the question in a most succinct and direct way, exercise the muscle mat areas that you want to get bigger and get stronger and progressively overload them, meaning increase the repetitions or weights over time. That's how you maintain muscle mass or grow muscle mass, but to maintain muscle mass, you just got to use them. It's much easier to maintain. You've got a progressive overload to grow them. So hopefully that gives you some indication of what I consider very important muscle groups to be focused on as we're aging and growing and wanting to maintain functionality.

And the fourth question for this Free Fatty Friday comes from Lucy P:

What would be the top lifestyle habit that would make the most difference in peak mental health, peak physical health?

If I had to choose one single lifestyle habit, I would choose intermittent fasting. I think to me, this metabolic habit, can cover so much in the sense that having a discipline intermittent fasting routine covers a lot of sins. You can have a less clean diet. You can have less robust exercise protocols. You can have all these bad habits, but if you have a very strict, tight eating window of 16 hours fast, eight hours eating, or even 18 hours fast, 6 hours eating, you can still likely maintain a healthy metabolism and a healthy weight because of how powerful and how broad the applications of fasting are. And on top of that, it's free. And it's something that is accessible to everyone. That to me is why fasting is so powerful and why it's grown so quickly in just the last few years. In terms of mental acuity, right? Fasting is again, one of the most robust ways to consistently boost brain derived, neurotrophic factor BDNF, which is important for the growth of new neurons or neurogenesis, and again subjectively, and likely driven by putting your body into ketosis. A lot of folks report feeling much more mentally clear, mentally sharp when they are fasted. So in terms of peak mental health, again, that lifestyle habit of not over-consuming getting this big insulin spike and glucose spike, and then crash, and then you feel lethargic after that heavy lunch that we've all been totally know about. You don't really get that if you're fasting.

And that's not even the count, the, the distraction of the decision paralysis of having to fly in food. So as you're finding healthy food, so a number of both metabolic physiologic and cultural aspects of why fasting could be very powerful from a mental focus, mental health perspective. Moving into physical health, the majority of the problem in America is a disease or a state of over-consumption. I'm not talking about people that have eating disorders or underweight. I'm talking about the average American who is morbidly obese and on the way to type two diabetes that is most rural country. Just look around, look at the statistics, and if we can get them to tender eating window, not be constantly snacking, I think that is a powerful, simple intervention to have these people get to a healthier weight, healthier metabolism. And again, even back to the first question we're on testosterone, just that reducing obesity from a testosterone perspective, reduce that aromatase activity that convert your testosterone to estradiol. That's something that is gonna be beneficial for men and similar impact on women.

I think one thing that I've been curious about is that estrogen levels don't seem to be happened impacted by our environment as much as testosterone, at least from the data that I've seen. If, you know, otherwise I'd love to know if fertility rates or estrone levels have been changing for a woman as drastically as it has changed for men where not only has testosterone come down, but sperm counts have crashed in some studies, almost 40% drop from 40 50 years ago, which again is a crazy sign of the health of our population. The first thing to go in terms of health is our fertility, and if men on average are half as potent as we've been a generation or two ago, something's wrong with our generations of men's health. And I don't see why this environmental problem would only impact men and not women. So there's probably some biomarker or something also happening in women's health that we're not quite fully understanding. A bit of a distracted, a bit of a segway there, but again, top lifestyle habit I think is the most cornerstone habit, it's also very accessible, consider intermittent fasting. Free, simple, and very very powerful.

And that's five minutes. And those are my four questions. That was fun! Have an awesome weekend. And send me your questions! Find me @geoffreywoo on either Instagram and Twitter. Send me those questions, and I look for answering them on the next Free Fatty Friday. Have a great weekend guys!