Josh Clemente of Levels on Metabolic Health
Josh Clemente knows all about supporting life in hostile conditions. As a former SpaceX team member, he literally helped prepare humans to survive on another planet. Then he discovered that living a normal American life on Earth can be just as hostile: thousands of people suffer from dietary disorders that verge on diabetes. The worst part? They don’t even know that they’re sick, or what’s causing it. Enter Levels, the company Josh and his team are creating to help people get healthy and stay healthy by tracking blood sugar Levels. On the 303Endurance podcast, Josh shared why ketones are important, why current methods of testing glucose fail, and how small changes can add up to living your best life possible.
17:25 – A deep dive that brought perspective
Josh almost had a tragic outcome while diving in Bali. He had a panic attack where he wanted to pull out his regulator and swim to the surface. But he was able to focus his mind and think it through and continue the dive.
“I had a dive experience in Bali, Indonesia. We went to a shipwreck and it was at about a hundred-foot depth. It’s definitely my deepest dive ever. While I was down there, I had a very strange experience where I don’t know if I was hypoxic or if it was a panic attack or what happened. But essentially I was confronted by my instinctive brain wanting to go to the surface immediately. I actually pulled my regulator out of my mouth for a split second and was going to swim to the surface from the bottom. I don’t really know why it just happened. And I was able to catch myself and recenter my mind and kind of work through it, just by floating down there and taking a moment of eyes-closed breathing and mindfulness. I was able to bring myself back into the moment and overcome it and then have a really great dive after it. But it was very strange and I think it really brought some perspective to me. I came very close to probably a tragic outcome and got through it as well. It was like being on the edge in a sense. And me being very close to losing control and then bringing it back in was something I’m proud of.”
20:21 – Leading the life support program at SpaceX
As a former SpaceX team member working on pressurized life support systems, Josh is familiar with working with software and hardware systems that support life.
“On the crew program, I led a team called the pressurized life support systems team. Essentially I had a group of really amazing engineers and designers and production folks who were developing the oxygen breathing apparatus, the Nitrox system, fire suppression systems, and the cabin pressure controls. So it’s a series of software and hardware valves that maintain the cabin pressure at the appropriate atmospheric conditions and also saturation of oxygen. In the case of fires, we had venting procedures and fire suppression procedures. And so that whole process of developing both the components and the actual mission process that astronauts would follow in order to carry out any task they had and in failure scenarios and in normal flight. I led that project with some of my greatest mentors and friends. We were part of an overall system called the ECLSS: Environmental Control and Life Support Systems program. And I think it was very successful. That project or the work that came out of it first flew in May of this year. It took Bob and Doug to the international space station. I’m not sure if you saw that launch, but that was the first time that it was put to the test and it worked quite well.”
23:26 – What mice can teach us about dietary fitness
An experiment with mice uncovered the fact that a ketogenic diet led to a longer lifespan. This led Josh to wonder how a similar diet and behavior change would impact humans.
“I read this paper which showed that mice who were on a ketogenic diet could survive five times longer in this scenario than if they were on a normal glycolytic diet, their bodies running on glucose primarily. It seems that the mechanism was that ketones are less reactive than glucose in the presence of oxygen. And so those byproducts, those reactive oxygen species were much lower given the lower glucose levels in the brain when in a ketogenic state. And so this was a profound study for me because it was the first time that I was really confronted with objective data that described essentially a superpower characteristic of just a dietary balance, a different macronutrient ratio. And previous to that, I was a very calories-in, calories-out person. So this study completely floored me. Because at the same time I was kind of going through some personal energy issues, just a lot of fatigue, mental and physical, feeling a lot of burnout. And I had been thinking about what matters besides being physically fit. I don’t understand, I’m eating the right amount of food, I’m getting my workouts in. I should feel very healthy. And so this study really changed my life in the sense that it made me realize and come to terms with the fact that our bodies, our chemistry sets, and the way we respond to the chemicals we put into our bodies will dictate the way our bodies respond, in a chemical sense.”
26:01 – Why can’t we have access to our blood sugar levels?
Josh realized that he needed to understand the metabolic processes in the body by measuring our primary source of energy, glucose. However, the tools to do that were either not easy to use or not easily accessible.
“Once I started to understand more about how the metabolic processes in the body work, how we turn our food and environment into energy and ourselves, it started to make sense that I needed to start measuring my own levels of fuel. The easiest way to do that is to measure glucose, which is the primary fuel source in the human body. So I went and got a finger prick glucometer, which is available over the counter. And I started pricking my finger. I think I got to the point where I was breaking it, something like 60 times a day and like plotting in an Excel spreadsheet. And unfortunately, I was just inconsistent with it. So there’ll be clusters of data here and then a workday and then clusters of data there. I couldn’t make any sense of it. I didn’t know enough to understand what this data meant, but then I read a book called Wired To Eat by Robb Wolf. It talked about continuous glucose monitors, which are a device that was developed for the management of diabetes which allows you to wear a patch and it streams your blood sugar data full-time to your phone. And I was like, oh, I totally need that. That sounds amazing. I’m already basically trying to do this with finger pricks and my fingers are black and blue and so this is awesome. So I went to my doctor and I asked for one and he looked at me cross-eyed and said, why would you need that? You’re not diabetic. And in fact, you’ve got low body fat. You’re totally fine. This is for sick people.”
32:50 – The secret fourth macronutrient
Apart from fat, sugar, and protein, there is another macronutrient we derive energy from, called Ketone. It’s repackaged from fat by our liver, and it can allow fat to cross the blood-brain barrier. A metabolically fit individual can go into ketosis by fasting for 12-15 hours.
“Basically, we have three primary macronutrients. We have fat, glucose or sugar, and protein, and we use these for almost everything today. There’s a fourth “macronutrient” which we can drive energy from. And this is called ketone. Basically, it’s a repackaged form of body fat or even the fat that we consume, where our liver basically turns these molecules into a water-soluble version of fat. What that means is that this fat molecule can cross the blood-brain barrier and be used for energy in the brain, which is key. So glucose easily goes into the brain and is used for energy. Fat molecules cannot cross that barrier easily. And so ketones are the solution there, it’s basically an adaptation where you can use fat sources for whole-body energy production. And so it’s a really interesting molecule and I think it’s an adaptive state because it is the normal state when you don’t have food calories coming in. So if you just stop eating for any prolonged period of time, even as short as like in some cases, 12-15 hours, you will go into ketosis. Or at least people who have metabolic flexibility will. So a ketogenic diet is one that is formulated for a very high proportion of fat compared to protein and carbohydrates.”
35:18 – Transitioning to ketosis
The first time people transition to a state of ketosis, they experience a lot of negative symptoms. Once you are keto-adapted, it becomes a complete reversal of that. By being able to switch between nutritional fat and the fat in the body, a lot of people are able to increase weight loss.
“The first time people transition or do a long fast, or try to eat a ketogenic diet, they often experience all of these bad symptoms, like poor sleep, cramping, headaches, low energy, a lot of stuff that you don’t want. But people who are keto-adapted, who have been doing this for a long time, Dom D’Agostino being a great example, they describe that once you get through that period, like a complete reversal of all of that, a lot of mental clarity. The biggest thing that people describe is a complete absence of hunger. So because your body is now running on fat, it can effortlessly switch between the nutritional fats that you’re consuming and the adipose tissue, so body fat. And that process is very straightforward. And because you are not relying on glucose, which runs out quite quickly, you only have about 2,000 calories of glucose or carbohydrate stored in your body, but you have about 80,000 calories, the average person does, of fat stored. If you’re not relying on carbohydrates, you don’t need to refuel, so to speak, so often. So this is the concept. This ketogenic state produces the state of metabolic flexibility, where you can just kind of switch back and forth between nutritional and body calories. That’s a very liberating feeling for some people. And it really supports weight loss for a lot of folks.”
38:00 – We’re measuring glucose all wrong
We are measuring glucose at the time when our body is at it’s best. It is not easy to get a good understanding of blood glucose levels with a single snapshot test at the least relevant time.
“After seeing my blood sugar in real-time, I’ve seen that the way it works is again, a lot of really high sustained responses to the meals I was eating, the stress levels I had, and the poor sleep environment that I was producing for myself. So it was in the midst of the day that my blood sugar was really out of whack and then I would again sleep and it would be very erratic through the night, but tapering down towards my baseline. And so by the time I woke up, I was fasted, the glucose glycolytic energy had been pulled into myself, either for storage or had been used to power my body through the night. I was actually at my best right at eight o’clock in the morning. So that would be the low point for the day. It appeared from this fascinating measure that everything was fine, but then I would go and have my smoothie and my blood sugar would be at over 160 or 170 for a while. So that dichotomy, it became immediately clear, oh, this is just measuring at the wrong time. It’s not showing how I’m functioning through the day. It’s only showing a single snapshot and we’re then extrapolating the whole system from this one data point, which is at the least relevant time.”
39:31 – Moving towards societal dysfunction
70% of prediabetic individuals in the US are going to become diabetic in the next 5-10 years. The problem? They don’t even know they are prediabetic.
“There’s a ton of literature on this, where there’s this concept of pre-diabetic, which essentially is really not even a diagnosable condition. It’s just a label for people who might be at risk of getting type two diabetes. But there’s also pre pre-diabetes and pre pre-diabetes. And so what it actually is, is researchers are saying that we’re on a spectrum of metabolic health and there’s no threshold. It’s just that people are either making choices that are bringing them further and further from metabolic control or they’re making choices that are supporting it. And it’s important to realize that these things compound over years and decades. Right now we have pre-diabetic people in the United States out of which 90% of them do not know they’re pre-diabetic. And so through random sampling, the CDC has produced these statistics and 70% of those people will transition to type two diabetes in the next five to ten years if they don’t change something. This is detailing the way this happens is through people making choices every day. And without feedback, they have no way of knowing which direction they’re moving. And so they’re kind of flying blind, right? Without that feedback loop, we are moving in a direction of more and more societal dysfunction.”
42:55 – Five of the top ten causes of death in America are preventable
Simple lifestyle changes can prevent most killer diseases like heart diseases, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. That’s why it’s critical that people have access to GCM as a lifestyle wearable.
“The growth rate in the diabetic community for CGM use is tremendous. And I think it’s going to lead to a lot of breakthroughs in how diabetes is managed, but we’re now at a point as well, where we’re starting to think about the other end of the spectrum. The CDC says that not only is type two diabetes preventable with better lifestyle choices, but so are the comorbidities of it like heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease which is being called type three diabetes. There are all of these connections to five of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, which all are centered on metabolic dysfunction caused by chronic lifestyle choices. Thinking about that, this same technology, which is very valuable to moderate the effects of diabetes after it’s happened can also be very instrumental in avoiding that in the first place. Using real-time data from your own body to modify the choices you’re making in this goes across diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. And the most powerful accountability tool I could ever imagine is having your own body give you feedback on the choices you’re making. I think today, although it hasn’t yet made it into the mainstream, in that sense, what we’re working on is explicit that, in the future, physicians won’t even have to prescribe it. People will be using this like a lifestyle wearable, the way they have Whoop or Garmin.”
46:46 – How to sleep, eat, and walk your way to better metabolic health
Simple frequent movements throughout the day, better quality sleep, and food that keeps your blood sugar stable are some of the key paths to better metabolic health.
“More movement throughout the day with less intensity is one of the strongest levers for improving metabolic control and metabolic function broadly. So whether or not you’re wearing a continuous glucose monitor, we have shown across a very large range of people that simple movement, just a walk after an indulgent meal or a meal that induces a major blood sugar elevation can completely blunt that spike. And because the largest muscles in your body are your legs, and you’re using those while you’re walking, even a low intensity can take the peak, the massive blood sugar elevation and most likely the corresponding insulin elevation completely out. For people who want to induce metabolic control, adding a bit more walking around mealtimes, in particular, is like a very easy way to take that into your own hands. Another one is sleep. There’s a bi-directional relationship between glucose control and sleep quality. I described this in my own data, but this has also been studied before. Even a single night of short sleep can cause a 40% increase in insulin resistance. So basically that means that you need 40% more insulin to clear the same amount of glucose from your bloodstream. For people who know that they’re operating on shorter sleep or maybe you had a baby recently, you’re not able to get to bed on time or you’re woken up multiple times, this kind of describes and underlines that when you’re compromised on sleep, we need to make up for it with better choices on nutrition and exercise. And so a bit more walking and maybe avoiding foods that have a very high glycemic index, or if you have CGM data foods that are personally very sensitive to you, you can avoid those in circumstances where you’re sleeping poorly to help offset the effects of insulin resistance and glycaemic dysfunction that’s coming from sleep compromise.”
49:34 – How to fuel for optimal performance
Real-time glucose levels can help with fuel timing, fuel selection, and prevent over-fueling, as all of these activities should be highly personalized to each individual and their daily choices.
“There’s so little data on what it means to be optimally fueled for an endeavor, whatever it might be, whether it’s a sprint workout or an endurance, a triathlon. I think that more information in real-time on how your body’s responding to the effort you’re producing is really powerful. And so real-time glucose levels can help with fuel timing. It can help with fuel selection. And it can also prevent over-fueling, which is a real thing. Certainly in the CrossFit world, I’ve done this, you getting ready to go to a workout and it’s like, oh, I’m going to use energy. I need to give myself a boost. So I’ll have a big bagel, for example, before I go. I’ll eat that, get in the car, drive to the gym and start working out, and then I won’t feel great. I’ve now seen my blood sugar. It takes a huge ride, takes off a big spike from the bagel. By the time I’m getting out of the car, I’m having a blood sugar crash. My body has released a ton of insulin and it’s now plummeting. And so as soon as I go to start lifting the weights, I’m now operating at a deficit rather than at a benefit, and all of this fueling timing and the degree to which we need fuel is individual, but also determined by the type of workout that we’re performing.”
53:27 – The metrics of metabolic fitness
Throughout the day, glucose moves along a curve. Levels’ tracking system maps onto that curve, constantly seeking to iterate on and validate the data provided.
“Metabolic fitness is the focused effort and repetition necessary to improve your metabolic function. And this is entirely within our control. So the metabolic fitness score is a composite metric, which takes into account a few different sub-metrics of your blood sugar curve, the way your glucose curve is responding throughout the day. And it’s Levels effort to describe what we considered to be optimal glucose control. And so better metabolic fitness scores mean better glycaemic control and should lead to better metabolic function long-term. This could be a fat adaptation for metabolic flexibility or removing the large kicks to the system. So the blood sugar elevations, and then the insulin elevations that follow them can lead to insulin resistance and hunger and weight gain, all of these things we’ve been talking about. So it’s a metric that we’ve developed. It basically takes into account variability and glucose peaks, and then also time out of target range, a few of the descriptors of how your glucose is moving throughout the day. It’s something that we’re constantly iterating on.”
Josh Clemente: [00:00:00] So using real time data from your own body to modify the choices you’re making. And this goes across diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. And it’s, I think the most powerful accountability tool I could ever imagine, is having your own body give you feedback on the choices you’re making. And so I think today, although it hasn’t yet made it into the mainstream, in that sense, you know, what we’re working on is explicitly that. And I think in the future, physicians will.
They won’t even have to prescribe it. People will be using this like a lifestyle wearable, the way they have Whoop or Garmin.
Host: [00:00:51] Welcome to episode 259 of the 303 Endurance podcast. You’re listening to your weekly connection to coaches, experts, and pro-athletes to help you reach your endurance goals. We’re your host, Coach Rich Soares and 303 chief Bill Plock. Thanks for joining us for another week of endurance interviews and discussion. Bill, how you doing, man.
I am wonderful. You know, sometimes when you introduce us and you say episode 200 and whatever, and today you said 259. Sometimes I hear the numbers. Sometimes I’m not paying attention and sometimes I go, gosh, that’s incredible. Oh right. How do we sneak our way up to 259? That’s crazy. It is crazy. I love it.
And when you have missed a week?
No, not really.
I mean, I feel like there was, I know I’ve missed a couple, but yeah, yeah, yeah, no, we probably should think about that once in a while. Maybe we should take a Thanksgiving week off or a Christmas week or something.
holidays are coming up. We haven’t planned that.
We’ll have to figure that one out. Maybe we’ll release some old stuff during, during Christmas week
Well, not, not published. Maybe we won’t do a brand new spanking show on a holiday or something, but I’m doing
about you? Great. Well, first we want to thank last week’s guest, pro triathlete, Rudy Von Berg.
Uh, he, was real great interview and we really wish him well at Daytona. This week’s guest and topic is Josh Clemente, who founded Levels Health, which uses blood glucose monitors to track your blood glucose level 24/7, and give you insights into how your body reacts to food and exercise, and really help teach you how to fuel train and optimize your metabolic health.
And you know, just a quick little insight here. I participated in a 28 day trial of the Levels application and blood glucose monitoring. And, what this show is about is to share that experience and interview the founder of the company, to help us understand kind of what that product does and kind of what the inspiration for it all was.
We’re really excited to have that. We’re gonna talk more about that here in just a second. Thanks to Venga CBD for sponsoring today’s show. If you’re looking for a great gift idea for the holidays, here’s one, there’s a digital gift card from Venga that you could buy, could pick your amount. And also don’t forget, they’ve got those 2021 training calendars available for free download.
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We’ve got our feature interview with Josh Clemente present founder of Levels, the health app, and we’ve got endurance news. We’ve got PTO announcing paid, a paid maternity leave policy. Really a pretty generous one. And I found an article on one doctor’s advice for avoiding the bonk. It was kind of
related to this interview that we have with Josh Clemente. So I thought I would feature that article. Plus we’ve got a number of things here for what’s new in the 303. We’ve got the ride for racial justice, Bill, I saw that article. We’ve got your garage talks interview with Adelaide Purr.
I thought that that was really good in her book, The Gloved. And then, I think you’ve got a, some information about Big Ring Cycles. Yeah. They just sent out a press release just this morning or last night I saw it this morning. That’s pretty interesting. So I want to share that.
So all of that coming up in today’s show. Today’s interview is sponsored by UCAN., I just tried they’re brand new. UCAN Cherry Berry almond energy bar powered by SuperStarch. it’s really good. Plant-based protein in there. Gluten-free no trans fats naturally sweetened really tastes good.
Recommend it. UCAN performance, energy and bars are powered with SuperStarch. Use it in your training and racing to fuel the healthy way, finish stronger and recover quickly. It gives me steady energy and never upsets my stomach. Use the code MAT 2020 to save 50% off regeneration UCAN. And part of the reason that I’ve been so excited about this interview, and one of the reasons that I love UCAN is how it works.
It’s a different kind of carbohydrate. It’s made from a superstarch, which doesn’t spike blood sugar or my blood sugar. It always gives me kind of a slow and steady release of glucose in my bloodstream is. You’re going to hear later on after the interview, I’m going to share some, some of my experience and experiments that I did during this Levels Health test.
Um, that and stable blood sugar, you know, just really helps, helps me just feel like I don’t have cravings and I don’t have, you know, rollercoaster experiences in terms of my energy level. And, so I believe in it so much. And just like our friends at UCAN, the goal of today’s show is to help you fuel the healthy way we are going to be sharing some insightful information about how our bodies react to food and exercise.
Um, if you’ve ever wanted to know how many hours or minutes before a workout to really optimize your performance and maximize your energy, you’re going to learn something here in this interview. If you’ve ever experienced bouts of fatigue and had a hard time figuring out why, you’re going to probably learn something in this interview. it just could be that your diet and exercise habits might be just putting you on a blood glucose rollercoaster.
And, there are ways to fix that. I’ve been super excited to share my experience with Levels. you know, the product here continuously records your blood glucose and what that does. It gives you that real time feedback on kind of how your body is reacting to food and exercise. And their app gives you these zone scores that show you, you know, exactly just how your body is reacting so that you can make changes.
Uh, You know, for peak athletic performance, fueling your body is everything. Levels Health helps you eat the right foods at the right times. And, our guest, Josh Clemente has a fascinating story about how he founded, founded the company. But you’re going to hear before he started levels health. He was the lead life, life support systems engineer for SpaceX and the Dragon program.
And what you’re going to find out here is how a space engineer finds himself, creating a company whose mission is to help you manage, maximize your metabolic health. Believe me that the connection is there. And, it’s a really interesting story. Josh is also an accomplished CrossFit athlete and a level two CrossFit trainer.
I think he’s even dabbled in triathlon a bit. Let’s go get into that interview with Josh Clemente.
All right. As you heard in our lead up, we are joined by Josh Clemente. He’s the founder and president of Levels. Levels tracks your blood glucose in real time. So you can maximize your diet and exercise. They’ve got a great app that gives you all sorts of insights into how your body metabolizes carbohydrate.
I’ve mentioned this in previous episodes. I’ve had a chance to use Levels for the past month. It’s been extremely eye-opening. Welcome, Josh, and thanks for making some time to speak to our audience.
Josh Clemente: [00:08:47] Well, thanks very much for having me on, and I’m looking forward to the conversation.
Host: [00:08:52] Well, we are too, you know, one of the things we’d like to do with our guests, just to let our, you know, break the ice a little bit and let our audience get to know you on a more personal level, is this game called two truths and a lie, where we ask our new guest for three statements about themselves, two of those statements are truths.
One of those statements is a lie, but you don’t reveal, which is which to us. Give us chance to guess, have a little fun with it. And, then we’ll give it a reveal. Are
you good with that?
Josh Clemente: [00:09:19] I’m all good. Let’s do it.
Host: [00:09:21] All right,
Josh Clemente: [00:09:25] Okay. so two truths and a lie. So I have six sisters and two brothers.
I first stepped into a classroom as a student in college. I went to space camp four consecutive years as a kid.
Host : [00:09:49] All right. I’m going to go with, space camp as a kid, is a truth. I’m going to go with six sisters and two brothers as a truth. Also, I’m going to say your first, first classroom as a student was in college. I’m going to say, that’s your lie. Bill, you got a guess here? I’m going to say the siblings is
Josh Clemente: [00:10:13] Okay. All right. So, the lie is space camp. I’m one of nine kids and my mom homeschooled all of us all the way through college. K through 12. So in a sense, the first time I was in a classroom as a student was in college.
Host: [00:10:31] Wow. Okay. That is something.
Josh Clemente: [00:10:34] Now I can’t say I wasn’t educated through that process, but it was mostly in my bedroom.
Host: [00:10:39] Did you dream about going to space camp when you were a kid?
Josh Clemente: [00:10:43] I definitely did. I actually dreamed about flying fighter jets. That was my, like the main daydream that I had going on. But space camp was another cool idea that I applied to once, but I actually never ended up. I just, honestly, didn’t stand out as a student. And it’s pretty competitive.
And so, yeah, never ended up doing it, but, I got the next best thing. So I got to work at SpaceX.
Host : [00:11:09] Yeah. Well that is going to be definitely one of the things that we are going to want to dive into here. Actually we could do it right now. All right. We’re going to get to SpaceX here in just a minute, but I wanted to go back a little bit further growing up.
Like, what was your sport?
Josh Clemente: [00:11:27] Well, I played a lot of sports growing up. I think the one that I really loved most was lacrosse. I also played quite a bit of ice hockey, but lacrosse was most exciting to me because, it was just a really dynamic game. And the court, the constant coordination of sticking and the ball handling was, it was unique.
I felt like compared to, when you don’t have, you know, a secondary piece of equipment that you have to interact the pucker ball with. You know, and it was also a lot of running and, but it was sprints. So I was never. It’s funny, you know, being on an endurance show, I was never someone who you could convince to go for endurance activity really until the past two years ish, is when I’ve I’ve started. I’ve always had such a short attention span.
And so sprinting back and forth down a field, I can kind of chunk that in my mind and keep it going. And it’s very engaging, but I just didn’t have that control over my mindset until more recently. So I needed those sports where it was a constant, like all out effort.
Host : [00:12:36] Now if I read your bio or some of your history here, you are also a little bit of a CrossFit
Josh Clemente: [00:12:44] Yeah. That was a bit later in life. So once I got into the professional world, I needed a way. You know, in college I did a little bit of a cross training ish stuff, you know. Mostly it was lifting weights, and I played rugby in college. And so, you know, being out on the field and practicing, but then once I got into the working world, I needed something to keep me going and keep me in shape.
And I very quickly, I fell in love with CrossFit because it was so efficient. You know, I felt like I got a tremendous benefit from a short, you know, 20 minute session even. And so when I, you know, working crazy hours, it’s a nice way to feel like you’ve really put it all out there, even if you didn’t have a full hour even, in the gym.
And so I actually became a CrossFit level one trainer initially. And then, about two years ago, I leveled up to level two. And so even though I don’t actually teach classes that often. You know, I’m trying to, I’ve got these other pursuits that are taking up most of my time, so I haven’t had a chance to teach many classes. But I do still really enjoy the process of pursuing that, you know, certification process and learning more about the kinematics and how the human body moves.
And so I’ll probably continue down the track, and keep, hopefully moving up in the CrossFit world. And I, you know, even though I’m adding more endurance work into my daily schedule, and you know, definitely appreciating other modalities of exercise, you know, there’s nothing quite like, in my opinion, doing an all out PR, you know, on a CrossFit world.
Host : [00:14:18] Yeah.
All right. Cool. Well, we’re gonna have to, brush up on our CrossFit knowledge, and you’re welcome to listen to our podcast anytime you want.
Or it’s all I know about CrossFit is it hurts like hell. I can’t the function after.
I grew up playing soccer and basketball and all that stuff. And, now after doing all these years of Ironmans and whatnot, I can’t move three inches sideways without pulling up the groin muscle or something
it seems like. I
lost all that lateral movement. Yeah.
Josh Clemente: [00:14:46] Sure. Yeah. You know, I have equal respect for the endurance stuff. You know, like I said, I was, right before COVID I was training for a half iron man. It’s going to be my first endurance event. And unfortunately, that got nerfed by everything. But, it’s just a whole different type of pain, you know. It’s a very mental process for me, obviously.
And then it’s also physical. I mean, I’m trying to strengthen my joints in a different way, to keep the repetition going. And I have a ton of respect for, yeah, for all of that,
Host: [00:15:18] I’m looking at your LinkedIn as we speak, just to get a little, little background. I guess you have listed here, Nitrox rated scuba.
I’m guessing you have quite a scuba background to have that kind of rating.
Is that true?
Josh Clemente: [00:15:30] Well, I did a bunch of. You know, it’s been, again, it’s been one of those things that in the recent two years, three years, I haven’t had much time to be able to go dive unfortunately. I gotta get restarted, I think at this point. But yeah, especially as I got into the life support systems program at SpaceX, where I was developing breathing apparatus for astronauts, it was something I took a great interest in, and wanted to deeply understand both the equipment that’s being used in diving.
We base a lot of what we develop for the crew program on diving equipment and respirators, regulators, yeah. Delivery equipment that already exists, but also for the mental component of being. So being dependent on this breathing system to keep you alive in a life or death scenario.
And so getting the Nitrox rating, we use Nitrox on the Crew Dragon Capsule. And also it allows you to dive a bit deeper. And that, you know, doing so is really, it gets you into those depths where you’re at risk. You can’t surface right away. And so you are truly dependent on the equipment, and it puts you in a different mind space.
So, that was kind of my process of getting into diving, was working on similar systems, and just being very interested in getting into the same mindset, and understanding it from the inside.
Host: [00:16:49] What’s your favorite dive ever?
Josh Clemente: [00:16:52] Well, one that stands out, I would say this is probably, I don’t know if I should call it my favorite.
I’m proud of it in a sense, because I got through it. But I had a dive experience in Bali, Indonesia, and we went to a ship wreck. And it was at about a hundred foot depth. It’s definitely my deepest dive ever. And, while I was down there, I had a very strange experience where I don’t know if I was hypoxic or if it was a panic attack or what happened.
But essentially, I was confronted by my instinctive brain wanting to go to the surface immediately. And, I actually pulled my regulator out of my mouth for a split second, and was going to swim to the surface from the bottom. And I don’t really know why it just happened. And,I was able to catch myself and re-center my mind, and kind of work through it, just by like kind of floating down there, and taking a moment of eyes closed breathing and mindfulness. And was able to bring myself back into the moment, and overcome it, and then have a really great dive after it. But it was a very strange, and I think like it really brought some perspective to me. I came very close to probably a tragic outcome, and got through it as well. It was like kind of being on the edge in a sense, and I’m very close to losing control, and then bringing it back in, was something I’m proud of.
So, that story stands out for me.
Host: [00:18:26] Interesting.
Yeah. I used to dive a little bit, I can relate to
Yeah, for sure.
I got to think that, and I guess this is probably more of a question, which is as a lead life support engineer at SpaceX, like what were you responsible for?
Josh Clemente: [00:18:45] Well, I started out as one of the first employees at SpaceX to join the life support program, the crew life support program.
So, what that meant was, previously SpaceX was a satellite launch provider only. So we were able to just kind of honk inorganic chunks of payload up into space. And that was our thing. And then to go and say, All right, we’re going to start flying people, you essentially have to start from scratch.
You know, every system has to now be designed with deliberate redundancy and full understanding of how failure scenarios happen, and certification process and NASA involvement. And, at the end of the day, you also have the, you know, the reputation and the burden of supporting life. You know, it’s a very, it’s a meaningfully different mentality and culture that is necessary.
So, I got to be an early part there. And we started off by developing a system to bring rodents, so to bring mice into orbit. And that was my first program was the entire breathing apparatus for keeping the atmosphere of the capsule breathable and at pressure and temperature that could support these mice.
And, so we kinda like, it was a bit of a test bed for different components that we would bring into the astronaut program. And then, on the crew program, I led a team called the Pressurized Life Support Systems Team. And, essentially I had a group of really amazing engineers and designers and production folks who were developing the oxygen breathing apparatus, the Nitrox system, fire suppression systems, the cabin pressure controls.
So it’s a series of, you know, software and hardware valves that maintain the cabin pressure at the appropriate, you know, atmospheric conditions and also saturation of oxygen. And, in the case of fires, you know, we had venting procedures and fire suppression procedures. And so that whole process of developing both the components and the actual mission process that astronauts would follow, in order to carry out any task they had in failure scenarios and in normal flight.
And yeah. So I led that project with some of my greatest mentors and friends there. You know, we were part of an overall system called the ECLSS, environmental control and life support systems program. And I think it was very successful, that project or the work that came out of it first flew in May of this year.
It took Bob and Doug to the International Space Station. I’m not sure if you saw that launch, but that was the first time that it was put to the test, and it worked quite well. So it’s amazing launch.
Host: [00:21:29] Wow. That’s really
cool. What I’m curious about, were there things that you did in your, you know, experimenting, design, testing, whatever you want to call it, that gave you insights into kind of how the body reacts to glucose versus ketones or, you know, those sorts of things in those experiments that you’re doing or test flights.
Josh Clemente: [00:21:56] So,
In my specific experiments, there wasn’t much that went below the skin, if that makes sense. However, there was a lot of research that we, you know, brought into the program to guide what we’re doing. Everything we did was guided by some work that had been done elsewhere, whether in the NASA Apollo program or the space shuttle program or from other industry.
And one study that, you know, and it actually ended up completely changing my life was, it was a paper from Dominic D’Agostino from the University of South Florida. And, the paper essentially showed that in rodents, in mice. Well, I should back up a little bit. There’s a scenario where, when people are in a very high pressure and high oxygen environment. So you can imagine like you, you know, imagine you’re in a closed space or you’re diving or something, and the pressure and concentration of oxygen is high,
you actually can have, because oxygen is a very, it facilitates reactions in the body. You can start to rapidly create these byproducts of oxygen, reactive oxygen species in the brain, which can destroy the tissue very quickly. And you can end up going into what’s called central nervous system toxicity.
It can really cause seizures and even death. And working on the oxygen system, this was something I was thinking a lot about. And I read this paper, which showed that mice who were on a ketogenic diet could survive five times longer in this scenario than if they were on a normal glycolytic diet.
So if their bodies were running on glucose primarily, and it seems that the mechanism. I want to make sure I get my facts right here, but I believe the mechanism was that ketones are less reactive than glucose in the presence of oxygen. And so those byproducts, those reactive oxygen species were much lower given the lower glucose levels in the brain when in a ketogenic state.
And so this was profound study for me, because it was the first time that I was really confronted with data, objective data that described essentially, a superpower characteristic of just a dietary balance, a different macronutrient ratio. And previously to that, I was a very calories-in, calories-out person.
And, so this study completely shocked, it floored me because, you know, at the same time I was kind of going through some personal, you know, energy issues. Just a lot of fatigue, mental and physical feeling, a lot of burnout. And I had been thinking about like, you know, what matters besides being physically fit?
You know, I don’t understand, you know. I’m eating the right amount of food. I’m getting my workouts in. I should feel very healthy. And so this study like really changed my life in the sense that it made me realize, and come to terms with the fact that our bodies are chemistry sets. And the way we respond to the chemicals we put into our bodies, will dictate the way our bodies respond,
you know, in a chemical sense. Right. And so we can influence massive changes and, I think epigenetic changes potentially, but certainly physiologic adaptations, by modifying our behaviors around nutrition. And so that’s where it started.
Host: [00:25:07] Huh.
So that was the inspiration for you to go out and try and get a continuous glucose monitor for yourself?
Or what was, you know, what was that path and, you know, and what was that experience like?
Josh Clemente: [00:25:22] Yeah, it was very much the first. It wasn’t explicitly. At that point, I just understood that this alternative fuel source, ketones, was really interesting, but it started me digging into metabolic research broadly.
And, yeah, so a few studies later, I was like, You know what, I’m having these energy issues. I actually had gone to my doctor and said, I think I have a terminal illness because I just do not have the energy levels that I should. And I’m feeling these crashes, like I’m feeling these waves of you know, dragging, just malaise almost. You know, it’s a mental and physical experience where I just want to crawl under my desk and go to sleep.
I don’t have what it takes to get through the day. And it was very frustrating for me because I want to be a high performer. And, so once I started to understand more about how the metabolic processes in the body work, you know, how we turn our food and environment into energy in our cells, it started to make sense. Like I need to start measuring my own levels of
fuel, right? So the easiest way to do that is to measure glucose, which is the primary fuel source in the human body. So I went and got a finger prick glucometer, which are, they’re over the counter available. And I started pricking my finger. I think I got to the point where I was breaking it, something like 60 times a day, and like plotting in an Excel spreadsheet.
And unfortunately, I was just inconsistent with it. So there’ll be like clusters of data here, and then a Workday, and then clusters of data there. And it wasn’t, I couldn’t make any sense of it. It didn’t, I didn’t know enough to understand what this data meant. But then I read a book called Wired To Eat by Robb Wolf.
And, it talked about continuous glucose monitors, which are a device that was developed for the management of diabetes, which allows you to wear a patch and it streams your blood sugar data full-time to your phone. And so, this was like, Oh, I totally need that. That sounds amazing. I’m already basically trying to do this with fingerpricks, and my fingers are black and blue, and this is awesome.
So I went to my doctor and I asked for one, and he kind of like looked at me cross-eyed and said, You know, why would you need that? You’re not diabetic. And in fact, you’re, you’ve got low body fat. You’re totally fine. This is for sick people. And that kind of came across weird to me as well, because it felt like, you know, this is happening in my body.
Anyway, this information is just the output from what’s already happening in inside me. And so why should I not have access to that information? It seemed like, you know, I can count my pulse, right? Nobody’s stopping me from doing that. I can take my blood pressure, even though I don’t have heart disease.
Why can I not understand my blood sugar information? And that kind of redoubled my desire to get one. I eventually did get one. And within about two weeks, I had enough information, enough data that told me that I was either pre-diabetic or borderline pre-diabetic, depending on who you ask. And, that was another like sort of screeching tire moment, because at that time, I thought that I was doing everything right,
dietarily. And, you know, it turned out that I’m creating this almost mechanical, just self-inflicted prediabetes by eating foods that I’m extremely sensitive to in large quantities throughout the day, and producing this rollercoaster, this like massive blood sugar elevation, which is sustained for, in some cases, several hours.
And then I would have a reactive hypoglycemic event where my body would flood my system with insulin. I’d finally come crashing down. My blood sugar levels will come crashing down. And during that time, I would feel all of the,, you know, those symptoms of what I was describing, which is where I’d get hungry.
I’d get irritated, I’d get, you know, shaky, cold sweat. I’d be very low energy. And this was happening full time, and I can now see it. And that’s when I really decided, Okay, this is something that more people need. And there’s a real opportunity to make this actionable, and take all of that research overhead out of the picture, and just give people insights that they can use, combined with their own personal data to make better choices daily.
Host: [00:29:24] So let me make sure I understand.
So you were fit or are fit. No, no outwardly signs of having diabetes, diabetic symptoms or whatever. So give me an example of maybe what kinds of food were triggering this? What were you super sensitive to that would blow up your,
Josh Clemente: [00:29:43] Well, one thing I was doing is, so I would try and work out in the morning. And, I had this smoothie that I would make after every single workout.
And it was a banana, it was bran flakes. So actually just the brand Shredded. It was protein powder that had a good number of carbs. It was basically my glycogen replenishment shake. And I would blend all this up. I’d even throw some spinach in there and I thought, this is great. You know, this is an ideal smoothie, and my blood sugar would go into the diabetic range every single time, with this.
And it would stay there. This was an extremely. I mean, it was a bad event, and it would stay up there for several hours. And by the time, I was then, you know, cruising into work. An hour and a half, you know, a shower and a commute later, my blood sugar is now crashing back down. And right as I’m walking in the door into my first meeting, when I need to perform or be on top of my game, I’m feeling like absolute garbage.
And, you know, then dinner would be another one. You know, I’d have, I’d want to replenish again, you know, get myself fueled up for my morning workout. And so I’d, at night I’d have maybe like 300 grams of sweet potatoes or Brown rice along with a salad and a piece of meat. And, this, the portion size and my own personal sensitivity to those carbohydrates was really
imbalanced. And so I would be, my blood sugar elevation would. I would have a huge blood sugar spike. I would then kind of crash once right before bed. Oftentimes I would have another protein shake right before bed, because I’d feel that hunger and a bit of shakiness. I think I need to, maybe I’m low blood sugar.
I need to fuel up. And then I would, all night long, I’d have these elevations, these oscillating blood sugar levels through the night. And I now track my sleep. I wasn’t at the time, but I now see a one-to-one correlation between blood sugar instability and highs through the night and poor sleep. Now it is possible that I can have a poor sleep with good glucose, but it’s almost impossible to have good sleep and really bad glucose control, if that makes sense.
So then I would wake up, you know, even more tired because of a poor night of sleep. I go work out, have that big smoothie, start the process over again. And each of these things, you know, it’s not like I was eating fast food. I wasn’t living on junk food. This was stuff that I had put together in my mind by watching other people in the gym.
And it was based off of my concepts of what glycogen means and how often it needs to be replenished. And it was based on foods that I thought were “low-glycemic index.” But due to the personal characteristics, I think, of insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate sensitivity, I was way overdoing it.
And for years and years, and this had been building up into what I think was a really serious hormonal impact.
Host: [00:32:19] So what do you do for, instead
of the shake now? What, what did it lead to in terms of what you
put in your body?
Josh Clemente: [00:32:25] Well, for the record, I’m not a ketogenic person. I’ve done the keto diet several times, but it is not sustainable for me.
I just, I like food a lot. And, some of the things that you got to rely on with keto diet just don’t work for me.
Host: [00:32:40] So let’s talk about that real. What. Tell people what a keto diet is
just in two sentences.
Josh Clemente: [00:32:45] Yeah. So, the body can. Basically, we have three primary macronutrients. We have fat, glucose or sugar, and protein. And we can, we use these for almost everything today.
There’s a fourth “macronutrient” which we can drive energy from, and this is called a ketone. And, basically it’s a repackaged form of body fat, or even the fat that we consume where our liver basically turns these molecules into a water soluble version of fat. And what that means that this fat molecule can cross the blood, brain barrier and be used for energy in the brain, which is key.
So glucose easily goes into the brain, and is used for energy. Fat molecules cannot cross that barrier easily. And so ketones are the solution there/ it’s basically an adaptation where you can use fat sources for whole body energy production. And so it’s a really interesting molecule. And I think it’s an adaptive state, I believe, because it is the normal state when you don’t have food calories coming in.
Right. So if you just stop eating for any prolonged period of time, even as short as like in some cases, 12 to 15 hours, you will go into ketosis. Or at least people who have metabolic flexibility will. So a ketogenic diet is one that is formulated for a very high proportion of fat compared to the protein and carbohydrates.
And it induces what’s called nutritional ketosis, which basically tells your body to be primarily fat available, to start producing these ketones in high quantities. And you’ll know you’re in a ketogenic state if your ketone levels are above 0.5 millimole per liter, which is kind of like a random unit, but just, you know, that’s the standard for when you are in ketosis, when your ketones are that level or above.
Host: [00:34:27] Can you feel it?
Josh Clemente: [00:34:29] Well, it’s interesting, you know, when you get into ketosis for the first time, most people describe it as very uncomfortable. It’s a bit of a, because again, we are a chemistry set, and we run on hormones, which are responding to levels of other chemicals in your body. If you’re not predisposed, like if your hormones aren’t currently circulating in such a way that they support ketosis, it can be a bit of a transition period where your body doesn’t know what to do, because it doesn’t know effectively how to get into ketosis.
And so the first time people transition or do a long fast, or try to, you know, eat a ketogenic diet, they often experience like all of these bad symptoms, like poor sleep, cramping, headaches, low energy, a lot of stuff that you don’t want. But people who are keto adapted, who have been doing this for a long time, Dom, D’Agostino being a great example.
They describe like once you get through that period, a complete reversal of all of that. And, so a lot of mental clarity was the biggest thing that people describe, is a complete absence of hunger. So because your body is now running on fat, it can effortlessly switch between nutritional fats, what you’re consuming, and adipose tissue,
so body fat. And that process is very straightforward. And, because you’re not relying on glucose, which runs out quite quickly, you only have about 2000 calories of glucose or carbohydrate stored in your body, but you have about 80,000 calories, the average person does, of fat stored. If you’re not relying on carbohydrate, you don’t need to refuel,
so to speak, so often. And, so this is the concept. You know, this ketogenic state produces the concept or the state of metabolic flexibility, where you can just kind of switch back and forth between nutritional and body calories. And so that’s like a very liberating feeling for some people.
And it also is I think, it really supports weight loss for a lot of folks.
Host: [00:36:31] Back you up just a little bit on something. Josh, you said that when you went to go see your doctor and you asked for a continuous glucose monitor, it wasn’t prescribed for you. I’m curious. What was your, like, was your fasting, blood glucose, your, your lab work?
Was it all normal?
Josh Clemente: [00:36:47] Yes. It was. It was all inside the normal range. And so this is something that I’ve since learned a lot about. So there are two measurements that most doctors will look at. One is fasting glucose. So you’ll go into the doctor’s office at 8:30 in the morning or whatever. You haven’t eaten anything.
And they’ll pull, you know, your blood or they’ll take a finger prick and measure your blood sugar right then and there. And then the second one is called A1C. And what that is, is it’s measuring the amount of glucose that’s sticking to your red blood cells in your blood. And A1C is trying to approximate.
It essentially is a very rough approximation of average glucose. So because you don’t have a full time measurement of your blood sugar control or blood sugar levels, A1C is the best approximation. Now, the interesting thing is my fasting glucose was good, and my A1C, although it was on the high end of the normal range, it hadn’t crossed this threshold, into the pre-diabetic zone.
I now understand better how this works. And, after seeing my blood sugar in real time, I’ve seen that the way it works is again, a lot of responses, really high, sustained responses to the meals I was eating, the stress levels I had, and the sort of like poor sleep environment that I was producing for myself.
So it was in the midst of the day that my blood sugar was really out of whack. And then I would, again, sleep and it would be very erratic through the night, but tapering down towards my baseline. And so by the time I woke up, I was fasted. The kind of the, I think glucose, glycolytic energy had been pulled into my cells, either for storage or had been used to power, you know, my body through the night.
And so I was actually at my best right at eight o’clock in the morning. So that would be the low point for the day. And, so it appeared like from this fascinating measure that everything was fine. But then I would go and eat my smoothie or have my smoothie. And my blood sugar would be at over 160 or 170 for a while.
And, so that dichotomy, like it became immediately clear, Oh, this is just measuring at the wrong time. It’s not showing how I’m functioning through the day. It’s only showing a single snapshot, and we’re then extrapolating the whole system from this one data point, which is at, you know, the least relevant time.
And then when it comes to A1C, you know, averages take a very long time to shift. So that the time that it takes to transition from, you know, low on the normal range to beyond this threshold, is in some cases, years. And so there’s a ton of literature on this, where people are, there’s this concept of pre-diabetic, which is essentially,
you know, it’s not even really a diagnosable condition. It’s just a label for people who might be at risk of getting type two diabetes. But there’s also pre pre-diabetes and pre pre prediabetes. And so what it actually is, researchers are saying that we’re on a spectrum of metabolic health and there’s no threshold.
It’s just that people are either making choices that are bringing them further and further from metabolic control, or they’re making choices that are supporting it. And it’s important to realize that these things compound over years and decades. And, right now we have 90 million people in the United States, 90%. Sorry, 90 million prediabetics in the United States.
90% of them do not know they’re pre-diabetic. And so through random sampling, the CDC has produced these statistics, and 70% of those people will transition to type two diabetes in the next five to 10 years, if they don’t change something. And you know, this is kind of detailing the, I think the way that this happens is people make choices every day.
And without feedback, they have no way of knowing which direction they’re moving. And so they’re kind of flying blind, right? And, so like without that feedback loop, we are moving in a direction of more and more societal dysfunction. And, the University of North Carolina, they published a study, I think two years ago, which showed that 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy today.
Host: [00:40:54] That’s scary.
It’s so funny that you bring this up because I mean, the first show that we recorded after I started using this, I was telling Bill. I’m like, I don’t understand why my doctor doesn’t have me do this as a part of my blood work prior to my annual checkup. Like, why aren’t they prescribing this for two weeks,
just to get a sense of what my lifestyle is like, my, you know, and how my body’s reacting outside of that. As you said, that one snapshot in time where it, you know, it seems it’s in the normal range, whereas, you know, all of that time outside of that snapshot, my blood glucose is all over the place.
Josh Clemente: [00:41:37] Yeah.
Yeah. You know, it’s a direction, I really think, that we’re going to be moving in. So the technology is very new. And it was developed for, you know, an explicit use case, which is for people who have lost the control of blood sugar levels, their insulin systems aren’t working properly, or they’re very insulin resistant, which is a situation where your cells are basically numb to the effects of insulin.
And insulin is a hormone that is responsible for taking blood sugar out of the blood, and storing it in the cells, we’re using it for energy. So when insulin stops functioning for your cells, that’s a state of insulin resistance. And, so people who have diabetes have an immediate need to understand their glucose levels inhigh resolution, and to control them. Now,
so that’s areally strong reason. You know, everyone with diabetes should have a continuous glucose monitor full time. However, you know, we are only just now at the point where people are with diabetes are getting this reimbursed by their insurance. Like it’s very early, even for diabetes use. That being said, it’s being adopted at an amazing rate.
Like the growth rate, I think in the diabetic community for CGM use is tremendous. And I think it’s gonna lead to a lot of breakthroughs in how diabetes is managed. But you know, we’re now at a point as well, where we’re starting to think about the other end of the spectrum. Like, you know, the CDC says that not only is type two diabetes preventable with better lifestyle choices, but so are the comorbidities of it, like heart disease, stroke,
Alzheimer’s disease is being called type three diabetes. There are all of these connections to the top five, or five of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, which all are centered in metabolic dysfunction caused by chronic lifestyle choices. And so, you know, thinking about that, it’s like, Well, this same technology, which is very valuable to moderate the effects of diabetes after it’s happened, can also be very instrumental in
avoiding that in the first place. So using real-time data from your own body to modify the choices you’re making. And this goes across diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. And it’s the, I think the most powerful accountability tool I could ever imagine, is having your own body give you feedback on the choices you’re making.
And so I think today, although it hasn’t yet made it into the mainstream, in that sense, you know, what we’re working on is, is the explicitly that. And I think in the future, physicians will, they won’t even have to prescribe it. People will be using this like a lifestyle wearable, the way they have Whoop or Garmin.
And they’ll be able to walk into the doctor’s office and have that data for the conversation, to educate the conversation and inform us. And we can start off, you know, rather than running blood work for the first time, right there in that visit, you can have multiple years of lifestyle data to guide the, you know, the conversation in any treatment that’s necessary.
Host: [00:44:30] Huh.
So, how does this maybe come full circle for, let’s call it the middle bell curve kind of folks that might be listening to this show who are weekend warrior, triathlete cyclist, or maybe more than that, maybe less than that, but they’re just, they feel okay. They eat whatever, they have a few beers.
They have a normal life, if you will, and not really pay that much attention to their diet, but want to have increase in performance, where does this knowledge help them?
Josh Clemente: [00:45:02] Well, it’s, it’s really powerful. I think to take, you know, insight and advice, and turn it into a very, I would say objectively obvious insights, right?
So we all know that we should eat better and work out more, but specifically how to do that is actually quite complicated for people. And it seems like, you know, to eat better, you need to try some sort of one size fits all diet that, you know, you’re constantly searching for the silver bullet, and to work out more. You know, you got to put in more two hour rides or more one hour or 90 minutes, sweat sessions in the gym. And the way this technology works,
and some of the lessons we’ve learned from it, you know, growing our dataset is that, the way that we should eat is actually very personalized. And to put a point on this, there was a study in 2015 in Israel, at the Weitzman Institute, which showed that. They basically put continuous glucose monitors on 800 people without diabetes.
And they had them eat a variety of different foods throughout this process. And they showed that two people can eat the exact same two foods, and have equal and opposite blood sugar responses. So in this case, it was a cookie made with wheat flour and a banana. And, so these two people, one person had a major elevation on the banana and no response to the cookie, and the other person had the opposite response.
So this like, because the way our glucose levels move, influences the way our insulin levels respond. So the amount of insulin needed is proportional to the amount of glucose released into the blood. So because of that, it implies that there is no one size fits all diet, and that can feel really, you know, somewhat frustrating.
But I think one of the counterpoint to this is that more movement throughout the day with less intensity is one of the strongest levers for improving metabolic control and metabolic function broadly. So whether or not you’re wearing a continuous glucose monitor, we have shown across a very large range of people that simple movement, just a walk after an indulgent meal or a meal that induces a major blood sugar elevation can completely, basically blunt that spike. And because of the largest muscles in your body or your legs, and you’re using those while you’re walking, even a low intensity can take the peak, you know, the massive blood sugar elevation and the corresponding, most likely the corresponding insulin elevation completely out.
And so for people who want to induce metabolic control, adding a bit more walking around mealtimes in particular, is like a very easy way to take that into your own hands. Another one is sleep. So, there’s a bi-directional relationship between glucose control and sleep quality. And I kind of described this in my own data, but this has also been studied before.
So, even a single night of short sleep can cause a 40% increase in insulin resistance. So basically that means that you need 40% more insulin to clear the same amount of glucose from your bloodstream. So for people who are, you know, they know that they’re operating on shorter sleep or, you know, maybe you had a baby recently, you’re not able to get to bed on time or you’re woken up multiple times,
this kind of describes and underlines that when you’re compromised on sleep, we need to make up for it with better choices on nutrition and exercise. And so a bit more walking and maybe like avoiding foods that have a very high glycemic index. Or if you have CGM data, foods that you are personally, you know, very sensitive to, you can avoid those in circumstances where you’re sleeping poorly to help sort of offset the effects of that, you know, insulin resistance and glycaemic dysfunction that’s coming from sleep compromise.
So, you know, those, like the way that the data kind of paints a picture for each of us, about what context we’re operating under, I think is incredibly powerful because it’s really breaking it down to the smallest unit, which is the individual, which then can improve your
nutrition for peak performance in races
or events, right.
Host: [00:49:02] Training.
Josh Clemente: [00:49:03] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think all of this kind of stacks up to basically bettering recovery. Bettering, you know, which I think is fundamental to improving performance. And you know, from this point, which is kind of talking about the general population and how unfortunately, metabolic dysfunction is pretty rampant right now.
You know, I look forward to, not just correcting course there, but then setting our sights on optimal. And optimal performance, I think is yet to be explored. Really, there’s so little data on what it means to be optimally fueled for an endeavor, whatever it might be, whether it’s a sprint workout or an endurance, you know, a triathlon.
I think that more information in real time on how your body’s responding to the effort you’re producing is really powerful. And so realtime glucose levels, I think, can help with fuel timing. It can help with fuel selection. And it can also prevent over fueling, which I think is a real thing. Certainly for, in my world, in the CrossFit world, you know, I’ve seen, and I’ve done this. You know, you getting ready to go to a workout and it’s like, Oh, I’m going to use energy.
I need to give myself a boost. So I’ll have a big, like a bagel, for example, before I go. And, you know, I’ll eat that, get in the car, drive to the gym, and start working out, and then I won’t feel great. And I’ve now seen, well, my blood sugar. It takes a huge ride, you know, takes off, big spike from the bagel. Get in the car.
By the time I’m getting out of the car, I’m having a blood sugar crash. My body has released a ton of insulin, and it’s now plummeting. And so as soon as I go to start lifting the weights, I’m now operating at a deficit rather than at a benefit. And all of this, like fueling timing and the degree to which we need fuel is again, individual, but also determined by the type of workout that we’re performing.
So again, CrossFit high intensity, heart rates are typically around 90 to 100% in a lot of the workouts. Well, there’s an effect, a release of hormones called glucocorticoids, which are cortisol being one of them and adrenaline. And these hormones, like at very high intensities of work, they will be released into the blood, and they signal to the body that
you’re in a fight or flight scenario, and you need energy. And so the liver will actually start cranking out new blood sugar from your protein and fat stores. So without any food at all, I’ve gone into the gym after 15 hours of fasting, done a high-intensity workout, and had my blood sugar spike as though I just had a big sugary meal. And that’s entirely adaptive.
It’s my body making sure I have the energy I need to get through that workout. And I’ve now learned, like I don’t need to fuel it before CrossFit workouts. I just go in there and I do the work, and my body adapts. So that type of realization, I would never have had without insight into how I function.
And so I’m really looking forward to where the rest of the, you know, the rocks we’re going to overturn lie, so to speak.
Host: [00:52:00] I’m going to try to bring a lot of this information to a head here. So I’ve done four weeks of using Levels, and I just got my report, my Levels metabolic fitness report , just this past week.
And there are some things in here that I’m looking at, and I’m hoping that maybe you can at least explain the terms and what a high or a low score is. So the first thing I’m looking at here is my metabolic fitness. And, I, you know, I see that I had a 17% improvement over the four weeks. But maybe you can talk about what is the metabolic fitness, and what is the measurement I’m looking
Josh Clemente: [00:52:40] Yeah. So first off, I want to define metabolic fitness. And metabolic fitness. So we described metabolism, which is the way our bodies turn food and environment, so like sunlight for example, into energy. And we need energy, obviously for all of our cells. A lot of people have a concept that they are either metabolically healthy, or they’re not there. Either, you know, they’re going to get diabetes or they have it already, or they won’t. The reality, as we’ve kind of touched on, is that you’re on a spectrum, and every day you make choices, which will influence either improvement
or detriment. And so metabolic fitness is the focus, effort and repetition necessary to improve your metabolic function. And this is entirely within our control. So the metabolic fitness score is a composite metric, which takes into account a few different, basically sub-metrics of your blood sugar curve, the way your glucose curve is responding throughout the day.
And it’s Levels’ effort to describe what we consider to be optimal glucose control. And so better metabolic fitness scores mean better glycaemic control, and should lead to better metabolic function long-term. And this could be a fat adaptation for metabolic flexibility or, sort of removing the large kicks to the system.
So the blood sugar elevations, and then the insulin elevations that follow them, that can lead to insulin resistance and a hunger and a weight gain, and all of these things we’ve been talking about. So it’s a metric that we’ve developed. It basically takes into account variability and glucose like peaks, and then also time out of target range.
So a few of the kind of descriptors of how your glucose is moving throughout the day. And, it’s something that we’re constantly iterating on. And we’re pursuing clinical research to validate the metric we’ve built from those already clinically validated metrics, like again, postprandial or post-meal elevation and variability.
Host: [00:54:41] Oh,
well, I got to say that the report is very insightful and it really kind of breaks it down. I mean, I’m reading down further into my report. I’ve got, you know, my top scoring zones and my bottom scoring zones. And it’s great because what it did is, it took the, the journal entries I made into the app around food or exercise, and it’s now separated them.
And I’ve got very two very clean lists, a list of things to avoid doing and the list of the things to keep, which is actually pretty, pretty useful. Maybe you could talk about, like, what are some of the other features that you want people to hear about what Levels does, what the Levels app does? And maybe you can talk a little bit about kind of like
you know, where is it in the product release and when is it going to be available for, you know, the regular consumer. And you know, how much does it cost and all of those things?
Josh Clemente: [00:55:35] Definitely. So, yeah, so the reason we. Basically Levels is here to answer the question of what should I eat and why.
And we kind of talked earlier about why that’s a complicated question. You know, there’s a ton of contradiction and uncertainty in the nutrition space. Everyone has different goals and we’re all individuals whose bodies. we have different genetics. We have different body composition. We have different stress levels. And all of that matters and all describes how you will respond, or it influences how you will respond to the foods that you eat and the sleep that you get,
and the exercise you get. So Levels is seeking to answer that for the individual, with their own body’s information, their own body’s data. So, you know, right now it’s the interface layer. You know, when I first got a CGM and started measuring, I realized that I needed to do thousands of hours of research.
I mean, I literally did about a thousand hours of research into glucose levels at large, and trying to understand what I should be shooting for. And, you know, in collaboration with the Levels team, we’ve now started to zero in on what optimal should look like. And of course we’re going to, this is an ongoing process, but we decided that the most important thing to push the state of the science forward and to help with metabolic dysfunction broadly speaking, is to give people insights and actionability into the lifestyle choices they’re making.
So we want people to understand how simple things like meal composition or timing of your meals or timing of exercise, even simple exercise like walking or the quality of your sleep affect your glucose control. So that’s what the Levels software does is you log your meals. We have integrations with Apple Health Kit and Google Fit to pull in exercise.
We’re working on sleep integrations, which will pull in data also from other sleep wearables, on your sleep quality. And we kind of combine all of this together into the scoring and the user journey. So the user experience where you’re getting these reports, you’re logging your meals, you’re learning almost through trial and error, but guided trial and error about the quality of your choices, and which ones work best,
and which ones are maybe not so good. And then you can make adjustments, and the adjustments might be meal timing. They might be getting more sleep, or they might be removing nutritional factors altogether. But you know, right now we are heavily in development. We released our first app iteration in January of this year. And we’ve done, I think we’re at close to 600 app iterations since then.
We’re constantly improving. And we are right now, in a closed invitation-only what we call a beta stage, which means where we’re just trying to get the maximum feedback that we can, from every person going through the program, and ensuring that the product we’re building is insightful, it’s useful,
and it’s introducing concrete behavior change that people understand and can stick to. That’s what we really want is we want people to feel as though they know more about themselves, and they know what to do going forward, whether or not they’re wearing a CGM. So, you know, that beta program is ongoing.
We anticipate in 2021, being able to launch fully and make this product readily available. There are a few big milestone projects that we want to get out of the way before that, but essentially it’s a 28 day experience. And the program is $399 for the first month. And we have ongoing subscriptions available starting at $199.
And I’m very excited about that, the future direction, and also just the organic traction that we’re seeing. We’ve done very little marketing because we’re in this closed beta, but we have a waitlist that has reached close to 45,000 people. And I think that kind of speaks to the appetite
people have, no pun intended, for better understanding themselves. Specifically, people want to make choices that are educated and explicitly designed for them. And I think everyone’s kind of fatigued by the idea that they are an average, or that something that worked for someone else will work for them.
And there’s this intuitive sense that we’re all different, and that we all need kind of a different approach. So, I think that kind of describes why we’re seeing such a strong uptake. And I’m very excited to continue this process, and then make this product available for everyone.
Host: [00:59:51] Hey, Rich, while Josh is on the line, I’d love to hear you tell us what your biggest lessons and takeaways, and how it might change your path forward,
that has come from
this test you’ve done.
Yeah, well, absolutely. I would, I would say that the, some of the key insights or trends that I noticed is, I was much more sensitive to carbohydrate in the morning than I was in the evening for whatever reason. I. You know, the very first week, I didn’t, I tried not to change my diet at all.
I just wanted just raw feedback, you know, what does my lifestyle result in? And that was hard to, to not make changes. But I’m glad I didn’t. And then I tried to, without too much science, the second and third week, just try to eat a more, a diet that leaned a little bit away from carbohydrate, a little bit more protein and fat, but without being too scientific about it. I wasn’t tracking anything.
And what I was noticing was that, you know, one of the products I use for fueling my workouts is, is a product called Yukon. And it’s a carbohydrate that’s derived from starch instead of simple sugars. And my reaction is much less was, you know, a much steadier, glucose level blood glucose level
when I was using that product, which was a really key insight, news. A hypothesis that I had, that that would happen. And it did. The one thing that was surprising me was in my evenings during sleep, I would become pretty hypoglycemic. I mean, I was having periods where I was like below 50 and close to 40 milligrams per deciliter. Is it milligrams per?
Josh Clemente: [01:01:36] Milligrams per deciliter.
Host: [01:01:37] Yeah. Okay. And then my fourth week, what I did is I used a, there’s, fitness coach here at triathlon coaching. And, he actually wrote the book on metabolic eating for metabolic efficiency, literally wrote the first book on this. And, he and I had done a study two years ago where we did a metabolic cart on a treadmill to understand where my metabolic exchange point was in a graduated increase on a tread, increased pace on a treadmill.
And then he changed my diet with the target set of macronutrients, per day of basically, you know, basically 120 grams of protein, fat and carbohydrate each, which is a little bit more restrict on the carbohydrate, but it’s a very specific target, you know, percentage of macronutrients. And then we retested that same metabolic cart on the treadmill.
Seven weeks later, just changing diet, nothing else, and my running pace dropped by 50, dropped by 50 seconds per mile before I hit that metabolic exchange point, which is huge, which was really amazing. I mean, it was literally allowing me to run way faster without, you know, dipping into glycogen stores, which is great.
And I thought, Well, I’m going to try that same thing for this fourth week and see what happens. And I had, I didn’t have those really low hypoglycemic episodes at night, and I didn’t have super high spikes during the day. Really kind of helped. It felt like it was keeping me in the range. I felt really good.
So those were some of my key takeaways. So what would you think all of this would do for you from a, let’s say you were to race for an Ironman, Rich. And you’ve done a lot more of this than I have in terms of analyzing your diet and all that stuff. What, at the end of the day do you think you could benefit?
How would it benefit you doing an Ironman? Oh, I just think I, over a course of 28 days of doing this, I think you start to formulate some habits. And like, then there becomes some instinctive things. Like I go to reach for a banana and I’m like, Nah. Or if I’m going to reach for a banana,
I’m also gonna eat some, you know, peanut butter with it. Because I learned that if I had, you know, peanut butter with a fruit that was, you know, a fruit, that type of hyperglycemic, or sorry, a fruit that would really cause my blood sugar to spike. If I had like peanut butter, fat and protein with it, it really buffered it.
And so I would just change those daily habits.
Josh Clemente: [01:04:28] Right. We call them micro optimizations. They’re really small, but I think they, certainly, for me, they’ve stacked up into. You know, I describe energy as like the main reason I got into this, is because I was just feeling so depleted daily, and it was interfering with my ability to perform at work.
It wasn’t even in the gym. And, you know, I don’t have superhuman energy now. I’m not flipping cars over every day, but I do have consistent energy throughout the day. I do not have an afternoon crash whatsoever. And my reliance on food in the sense that like I used to need three square meals a day where I would feel like I was,
I don’t know, famished. I now have the ability to eat as needed, when needed. And it’s very utilitarian. And I know that that sounds bad. I love food. I love eating meals. I love cooking, but I’m able to do it as meets my schedule and my needs. And right now, as a startup founder, I’m always on the move, and I can travel for long periods of time.
I can, you know, work for long periods of time, and then have a nice big indulgent meal at the end of the day. And I know exactly what to go for to still get my calorie benefits, still get my, you know, meet my protein needs, and still sleep well. Like I’m not going to have that crazy blood sugar elevation through the night, and then the crashes and poor sleep, and then dysfunction the next day, that I was experiencing. So it’s a small thing, but it’s really freeing, I think for me, even before I get to the, like, you know, the objective performance improvements that you’ve gotten to, Rich, which I don’t have that much data on my performance. I’m not as far along in my athletic pursuits, but just in my performance day to day, it’s been groundbreaking for me.
Host: [01:06:07] Yeah. Well Josh, this has been absolutely fascinating. If people want to learn more about Levels where do you want them to go?
Josh Clemente: [01:06:14] I would say go to LevelsHealth.com and click on the blog. So we, one of the main focuses of the company is in moving the state of our understanding of metabolic fitness, and what optimal looks like forward.
So we write a ton on the blog about all different types of perspective and interest in why this is relevant, no matter where you are on the metabolic health spectrum and what your goals are. So it’s a great place to get started. Send us feedback and you can jump on the wait list at LevelsHealth.com as well.
And then of course you can follow along as beta testers and the team, show our data and talk about what we’re working on, on Twitter and Instagram. Both of those are @ Levels.
Host: [01:06:56] Wonderful. Josh Clemente, everyone. Josh, thanks so much for spending a full hour with us. I really appreciate how generous you were with your time.
Josh Clemente: [01:07:04] Thank you both. This was a really awesome experience and I appreciate, it was great to hear about your own experience. That was great.
Host: [01:07:13] All right. So Bill, I got to tell you, I want to kind of share my experience. What’d you think about that interview? Well, I always enjoy hearing people that are super focused in a really particular subject that are, you know, worldwide experts. If you will just really tear it apart, tear it down into exactly what, what you’re, how of this science can benefit you or your everyday life and the passion with which they do it.
And just the vocabulary, right? Just, just the, it’s like it’s a, it’s a. It’s just a really cool blend of excitement and knowledge. Yeah. It’s just, and it’s just so interesting how his background led him to this. It’s not like he was a, you know, a doctor who always studied, you know, particular topic.
It was just this intersection between, you know, what he was trying to do as a life support systems engineer, and, you know, creating, you know, the right environment conditions for astronauts, and how that led to basically creating the right conditions chemically in somebody’s body to help them be a better athlete or perform at their best, just in general life,
Right. Yeah. That was cool. Well, I got to say from the very first day, that I started using the Levels app and this continuous glucose monitor, I knew it was kind of weird. I had this like excitement that I knew I was going to learn a lot of stuff, but I had no idea really what I was going to learn.
I didn’t really have any hypotheses or anything. So I just kinda like wrote down like a list of things I wanted to learn, I wanted to know more about when I was done, like. How does my body react to certain food at different times of the day? Like if I have, you know, some, if I eat a banana or something in the morning, noon, or at night, is my body react differently to it, depending on, you know, do I have different sensitivities, different times, at different times of the day, you know, how different combinations of food work like.
So if I include both proteins and fats with carbohydrate, is there a difference? What about, I kind of wanted to know, like what a fasted training session would look like compared to a fuel training session. And the one that I was like actually most interested about, and it really kind of relates to UCAN, is, I mean, you can, the reason for you can is because it helps give you a slow release of glucose.
Um, it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t flood your system cause it’s a different kind of carbohydrates at SuperStarch. I wanted to see if there would be a difference between training, like a long training ride. Not using you can versus a training ride using you can. And so I set up two different rides, one of them, you and I did together by the way.
Um, and I’m going to talk about that here just a second, but I wanted to share, you know, like I think I spoke about this a couple of weeks ago, but I did notice a real big difference in the things that I ate. Like if I had white bread, if I had, you know, more than just a small slice of bread, my blood glucose shot through the roof.
It was weird. It was like, it almost like it was like exponential, like one slice of bread. Didn’t move it too much, but to send it through the roof, how fast? Like within 30 minutes, 30 minutes. Okay. Yeah. And that, and, and we’re, you know, and it was funny because like I noticed that during one lunch I had, I had, you know, it was a
a ham and, ham and Swiss cheese on sourdough. And it was like, I’m like, wow, that, that, that was a big difference. And then I had a set, you know, like the next day I had a salad with grilled chicken avocado. And it was almost like I didn’t eat anything. I was like, no, no reaction at all. And so, you know, just little things like that.
So now, like if I, if I’m going to have lunch, I’m like, you know, I’m, I’m aware of how my body reacts to those two different foods. And I’ll, I know I’ll go for the grilled chicken and salad and avocado now over the sandwich, you know? Right.
Okay. And, you know, I mentioned this, I mentioned this in the interview briefly, with Josh, which was, you know, that fourth week I really wanted to super dial in my, my macronutrients.
And so I used that recommended goal from Bob Bahar. For me personally, it was a personalized nutrition plan for a test that we did. We talked about it during the interview. The actual goals for me personally were 120 grams of carbohydrate, 130 grams of protein in 110 of fat each day. And that really made it huge difference in my physical performance.
When we did that test a couple of years ago where my, my metabolic crossover point on a treadmill in terms of my pace per mile was 50 seconds per mile, faster after seven weeks of being on that diet, which was huge. And so there’s the performance angle I felt better. And my metabolic scores when I was using the app,
the Levels app were much better. So, you know, it, the proof was there for me. And I just wanted to share that. The other thing I wanted to highlight this goes back to that ride. So, here, here’s just kind of a summary of this, this comparison that I did between I’ll call it ride A where I used a sugar based, sports nutrition drink, and ride B where I used UCAN.
And I’ve included a visual here in the show notes. I actually took some screen grabs of the app and I overlaid kind of put a layer, two of some analysis on top of it, and called out a few things. So here are my key takeaways. First big key takeaway is that. Using you can. I had, you know, so there’s a, a max target blood glucose level that is in the app and, Levels calls that blood glucose max level at 115 milligrams per deciliter.
We talked about that a little bit in the show or in the interview, right? So one 15 a shit go above one 15. If I go above one 15, I’m out of zone and my score comes down in the sugar based three plus hour training ride. I had three events above that. Max target in the, you can ride, I had zero events above that max target, which I thought was interesting.
Yeah, for sure.
Then, the average. Blood glucose level on the, on right. A my average blood glucose level was at 110 milligrams per deciliter for the, you can ride, it was at 90, about 20 points, lower, again, pretty, pretty stark difference. And the last one is that there’s just, there was less various, there are fewer peaks and dips and the peaks and dips, that were there were not as steep.
So in Rite aid, there were three spikes and crashes with sharp increases in decreases and ride be the, you can ride. There was really one, one, six, one spike, and the rest were kind of like waves. You know, they were a little bit milder. They weren’t as, you know, severe up and down. So, and, yeah, so, you know, Really insightful information, whether it was for kind of just daily habits and, and, you know, decisions I made throughout the day on what I ate or, in what I’m choosing to ride with in terms of fueling myself to ride with.
Um, it really helped me learn a lot. I really, I really recommended, if you can get into there, if you can get into the Levels beta test, check it out LevelsHealth.com. I’ve really enjoyed this experience. And I really appreciate, everybody who, kinda helped give us information and pull this together, whether it was Josh Clemente and the folks at Levels.
Um, and even going back to Bob C. Bahar and, and, you know, the work that we did together kind of helped help me put this story together. So I really appreciate all of that. Quick question for you. I don’t know if it’s a quick, but when I was at Kala multi-sport this week, you know, they’re closing their doors and, and they’re merging with full cycle.
I don’t know if you knew that, but I did. they had a big sale. I didn’t know they were doing a big sale. I actually went over to say hi to Michael, but anyway, they, Michael was telling me a story where, an athlete came into a shop, like let’s say two weeks ago now. And he was going to do Ironman, Arizona, which unfortunately got canceled.
But nevertheless, he came into the shop, never done a triathlon and wanted to buy everything he needed to do Ironman Arizona. Michael’s like, you know, like, Oh my gosh, where do I even start? Like, even really been training that hard apparently. And so Michael’s like flabbergasted, where to even start, but.
If you were that if you were Michael and you were to tell the guy, because you’ve taught, you know, we’ve talked about these different tests over the years, and you’ve had experiences like this one or with Bobsy Bahar or, you know, blood sodium blood levels or sodium levels, hydration. Is there, what, what two things would you say to that athlete or the most important thing that person needs to know now in terms of about their body, about their body and how they can have the best performance they can have given they’re pretty new at this?
Well, I, I’ve got to do the kind of universal disc or a qualifier here. It depends on the person, honestly. Right. And I’ll actually share this and I don’t think he’ll mind. so Matt, Emmett, one of the athletes I’ve coached, he is, he’s just signed up for Ironman, California, right. And, it’s going to be his first iron man and recommendations is.
You know, we’re almost a year out right now is the time to really just be focusing on getting your body healthy for the big work that you’ve got ahead. starting, you know, really right after the first of the year. And the first thing I told him to do is just start tracking what you’re putting into your body, you know?
And I go, I don’t even want to know about it. I just want you to know about it. And you know, and for him, this is, you know, that’s an appropriate thing because that’s something that is a goal of his, he wants to improve how he’s fueling himself. He knows that, you know, there, he doesn’t make, you know, he doesn’t always make the best choices.
Neither do I. and so I told him just, you know, use the, my fitness pal, the free version, and just start logging the food. So you are aware of what you’re putting in your body and learn about that, learn about how it feels for you. And then we can start to tweak and dial things in later. But just that awareness of what you’re putting in your body and how it, how, how you feel.
And at this point, you know, you know, we’ve talked about equipment, he is, he is getting a new tri bike for, for Christmas, you know? So, I think that that’s, a piece of equipment that’s pretty fundamental, but, I, I’m not gonna get into the, the equipment choices. I don’t think, I don’t think that’s as important talking about, I guess, sodium test.
Do you do an L test? Oh yeah, for sure. What’s Richard, the one or two that this guy should totally do
You know, I think that, probably the most useful piece of information I’ve, I’ve picked up along the way here is, from doing. The metabolic testing that I did with, with Bobsy Bahar. I, you know, I think that the, I think that the lactate threshold test is great cause you know what that one level is, and then you can kind of engineer what your training zones are around that.
Right. But, but I think having that graduated metabolic cart test, on a treadmill or, or you could do it on a bike too with a power increment, instead of a pace increment, I think that that’s extremely useful information. and I think that it’s something that you might want to do, just as a baseline to kind of directionally know kind of where you’re at.
And then when you’re about, when you’re in the middle of your build, you know, do it another check. So you can dial in where you’re at. And that tells people just so they know that tells people that they, you burn burn this type of carbohydrate, this kind of protein, this kind of fat. Is that right?
Yeah. Basically what it gives you, through the, through the, through your exhalation, into the mask, it’s analyzing the gas that you’re breathing out to determine what percent of your fueling or, you know, kind of, you know, of your med, of your metabolism at that rate of intensity is coming from fat versus carbohydrate.
And so at low intensities at slow rates, slow levels or easy efforts you’re using, you’re mostly aerobic. And so you are, oxidizing fat and using fat for fuel mostly. And then. The the higher, the effort, the faster, the pace, the more that you start to shift to, less and less of your fuel source coming from fat and more of more of your fuel source coming from carbohydrate until you get to this point called a metabolic crossover point where your level of intensity is so high, that you’re using more sugar or carbohydrate, sorry.
Yeah. More sugar and carbohydrate for fuel than you are fat. And then that just keeps progressing until you’re essentially not using fat at all for fuel you’re using mostly carbohydrate or almost exclusively
Okay. Sorry to deviate there, but no, no, thank you for slowing me down. I just, I just sometimes think that it’s overwhelming for somebody like that who.
First of all, they’re not going to probably go do all those tests. They just need to figure, forgot what bike they need and they need to get in shape so to speak. But yeah, but at some point they’re going to want to know more and what’s that, what are those first line sort of metrics that are important versus some that are a little bit more intense and a little bit more, you know, deeper into the process.
Here’s why all good. It is good. And, and I mean, can you finish an iron man without having done that? I’ve done, I’ve done five without having done that. Exactly. Right. But now, but now having that insight, I kind of know more about how my body is performing or like, you know, like what’s really happening inside my body and what it did does for me.
And I think it would make me a much better. Ironman, it’ll lead me to a much better Ironman result having had this information now, because now I have a better idea of how to, I know how much I’ve got in the tank. And I know what my miles per gallon is so to speak at different intensities. Right. And I know how to prevent the Bach, which I’ve got an article here later on, to talk about, which is really key.
And so I think that also might help, shed some, shed some light on things for some maybe, new, new Ironman athletes. So maybe that guy’s listening. I hope fascinating to take the average Ironman time from today versus 10 years ago. And just see if it’s changed dramatically with all this new information, new technology, new equipment, new, whatever, I mean in the pro field, it’s easier to see, but it’d be interesting if overall, right?
I mean, in the last 10 years, we’ve had a lot of new tests come out and a lot of new access for most athletes to things that weren’t.
Yeah. W you know, that’s actually a really, really good discussion point because, you know, It’s like as the number of people participating in marathons has gone up.
The average marathon times have gone down. I think as I think if you look, if you were going to really see if this is affecting people’s performance in general, you have to use it, look at the population. That’s probably using that technology and using this information. And I think to your earlier point, a lot of newer athletes, first of all, they’re not aware that these things, these resources exist for them.
Um, and they might not be committed enough to this yet to really spend that kind of money on these things and, you know, and that’s all good. but I’m not sure you’d exactly see a correlation with, you know, as new technology comes out, do do faster times result in general, just because there’s so many new folks.
Well, we probably should get into the second hour.
All right. So let’s, let’s shifted to our new segment. buddies shirts is the kind of peace of mind you deed as an active outdoor enthusiast. Buddy’s mission is simple to help people fearlessly enjoy an active and outdoor lifestyle. You can now get on-demand accident insurance to make sure you get cash for bills fast and fill in any gaps in your current coverage.
Good buddy insurance.com and create an account there’s no commitment or charge to do it. Once you have it created, you can just click on your phone and you’ve got coverage for the day, week, or month, whatever you need. check it [email protected]. So real quick, bill, I want to just touch on this article.
Uh, w this is that article I was talking about. This is from triathlete magazine, one doctor’s advice for avoiding the dreaded bonk. For the most part, there are two types of bonking hypoglycemia in which your body runs out of fuel or glucose and hyponatremia. Which is your body basically runs out of sodium in the blood.
Uh, when you’re hearing bonking, it’s typically the former, but both are terrible fates. I’m going to talk just a bit here about hype, hypoglycemia, and, the lack of, blood sugar bonk. So if you’ve experienced, exercised, induced hypoglycemia, once, you know, it’s bad, your body and especially your brain runs out of glucose and having low blood sugar means your body is out of fuel.
Often after about two hours of exercise without taking in carbohydrates, the way you recognize it, it starts on as a headache, can cause, can also include nausea, fatigue, and a slowed pace. Once you have hypoglycemia attack, it takes about a half an hour or more to cure. And, it’s more than enough time to spoil any race or event the way you fix it.
If you experience this type of bonk, ingest carbs, sports, drink, and gels, or you can, and especially, but it’s Oh, he writes here , a section piece of orange is a revitalizing, pure sugar injection into your system. I guess if you’re in that kind of a situation, you need a sugar fast to avoid it.
Prevention is the key during long exercise sessions, your body needs fuel, and, gels and drinks are the easiest ways to keep your blood sugar from dropping. pre-race nutrition is important as well. Make sure you’re getting in the calories your body needs. it goes on talk about the hype nitremia version of it.
Um, and all of that here is in the show notes. Also in the news, we’ve got PTO announcing a couple of things this week, first, a paid maternity leave policy. So a PTO announced that it has adopted a maternity leave policy for women, PTO professionals under the policy, a woman, a PTO professional shall be entitled to take up to 15 months of maternity leave beginning from her pregnancy date and ending six months after birth at this time.
Um, her PTO world rankings will be fixed. And during her maternity leave, she’ll be paid monthly payments based on, a hundred percent of the PTO annual bonus plan, which, for example, the PTO is existing annual bonus plan. The woman, PTO professionals, ranked world number five would be entitled to a $60 bonus payment and at the, at the end of the calendar year and, It looks like she would get paid 5,000 per month for 15 months from her pregnancy date, totaling $75,000.
It’s pretty incredible. Really. It’s
really, he is incredible. I mean, it’s, it’s becoming, it’s becoming a viable career.
Yeah. I wonder
how that’s, I’m curious what the mechanism is to pay that, is that a insurance policy? Is it a, like, do they, so what are the, what are truly the odds of the number five ranked triathlete in the world getting pregnant and then taking that bonus?
Probably not huge. Right. So do they just get an insurance policy against that? Or is that just money that comes out of their pocket or it’s yeah, it’s kind of interesting. A lot of there’s a lot of top five, women athletes out there that have got babies. Oh, no, I’m not saying that, but I’m just saying that.
There’s not many, right? I mean, literally, truly there’s not many. That’s true. And to be number five at the time you get pregnant and then to go through your pregnancy, have your baby come back in six months and retain your ranking and re and get paid $5,000 a month. During that time, there’s only a few people that’s going to probably apply to.
So just interesting. I don’t know if it’s a. Today, maybe, you know, but in the future now that, you know, if you’re a pro triathlete and you know that this is available to you or, you know, maybe you’re, you’re not sure if, you know, you can do, ProTrack fleet career in have a family and, and be successful.
Right. You know, maybe this could change your calculation. Oh no, I think it’s awesome. I’m just curious how they fund it. I don’t understand it. Right. and now I also just real quick, I did talk to Rachel Joyce about it because I was curious if there was a male counterpart to that. and she said there is, there’s a four month policy out there that, will help, you know, if a male wants to take off some time for their family as well.
So I don’t think the pay is the same, but there is a policy that, helps the men side of the equation. Ah, okay. Well, that’s I actually wondered about that. I’m glad that you asked her. That’s cool. Yeah. Yeah. So, well, anyway, hats off to PTO for that, then I thought this was kind of cool. So PTO is partnering with USA triathlon foundation.
Uh, thanks Dave, Shane, world famous triathletes from past, past, and present, including Yon for Dino Dave Scott, Daniella reef, Mark Allen, Lucy, Charles are donating or donating their time and merchandise in a global prize draw to raise money. this is called the 10 days of Daytona in which, they will offer 50 triathlon prizes between November 23rd and December 2nd.
With the benefits going to the COVID-19 triathlon relief fund. We’ll talk about more of that in a second, every day for 10 days, leading up to the PTO 2020 championship in Daytona, five unique prizes will be up for grabs for the five lucky winners in each days, a prize draw at random, in addition to a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage directly with the legends, like for Dana Scott reef, tens of thousands of dollars, will be, generated from NormaTec recovery boots to VIP race experiences, have all been donated by these guys.
So that’s really cool. And fans can even have an opportunity to donate to the fund, as a part of the live stream live stream broadcast, that’s going to happen. And since triathlon is truly a global sport, but lives at the grass roots level, use of the donations will be targeted to countries or regions designated by the donor.
So that’s pretty cool. Yeah. It’s really cool. Actually. It’s very cool bill. What’s new in the three or three. Oh man. Well, actually one thing. Yeah, it’s not on the list, but it came in this morning and I want to talk about, it’s kind of not just three or three, but big ring cycles. Send out a note to their customer base saying that basically, if you want to bike or you want and stuff for your bike, I E tubes, tires, whatever you better get them now because we cannot get bikes until next summer.
We can not basically they’re saying that the global supply chain is going to get even tighter, harder, whatever. So they, they are recommending to their customers. Anything you think you’re going to need next summer? You should start getting it now. And I thought, wow, that’s a big thing to say. I mean, I don’t think they’re being alarmist, but I thought it was a little.
I don’t know, it just seemed interesting. I, wow. That’s, that’s hard to imagine stocking up on tubes. Like people are stocking up on toilet paper, I guess. I don’t know. I thought that was pretty big that’s that doesn’t surprise me, honestly. It doesn’t prize me. Just thought it was interesting to come out.
Oh. Although it kind of, I was hoping that the it’s kind of hoping that the supply chain would sort itself out, but I’m guess not. Yeah. And I don’t know, just, it’s hard to imagine that tubes and some of those things wouldn’t, I don’t know what the holdup, is it just that much more demand or is there some manufacturing bottlenecks to probably some of both, but yeah, there’s a couple of other things going on.
Um, The, you know, I had a great interview with Adelaide pear on her book de gloved, and that’s, in video now. And we talked about, of course the book, but we talked about, you know, some more of the behind the scenes stuff. And it’s a very, a very raw book with, a lot of insight into her crash, of course, in the, but, but also just her mental side and the fact that she deals with, bipolar two and major PTSD from the crash and bouts of depression and just some things that were happening before the crash that became much more magnified because of the crash.
Um, it’s a good, it’s a real big picture behind the curtain, as they say, as they say. And, makes you think it’s easy to connect for most people, I think on different, especially cyclist of course, but it also talks about. A lot about relationships and a lot about your own demons and things that I think all of us could find some, some thread there that is relevant.
So, you know, the one thing that, you know, I listened, I watched the interview and the one thing that I took away from it, or, you know, kind of has been sitting with me is you asked about, you know, do you, does she feel invincible now? Is there anything that she, you know, she’s been through so much adversity and, you know, we have a lot of guests that have been through a lot of adversity and you ask the question, you know, does she feel like she could overcome anything?
And I think her response was interesting and I liked it, which was, I think she has more, she has more confidence in herself. you know, as, you know, future challenges might present themselves, you know, but she doesn’t feel invincible. All right. And, and, and I think that that might be true for a lot of people.
Who’ve overcome adversity that maybe they, you know, if you’ve never faced adversity, you don’t really know what you’re capable of. Right. And you may not have that confidence or, enough confidence to face a challenge. But yeah, that, that stood out for me. And I think that’s something that people probably would identify with because a lot of everyone goes through adversity.
Right. It needs that right. confidence in themselves to push through. Yeah. And I think the other thing that happens, and this week that I thought was really powerful and hopefully we can get, Marcus on as a guest, but Marcus Robinson is the head of the ride for justice. It’s a new organization that was formed this year, basically around the time of the, Floyd death.
And, You know, it’s, it was really powerful press conference with Marcus, Neil Henderson, Amy charity, you know, those are two big names in cycling and they’re on the board. Well, let’s first, let’s back up just second ride for racial justice, partnered with the Steamboat gravel race at Amy runs and they’re gonna provide, twenty-five basically scholarships for people of color to, get to the start line at the Steamboat gravel.
And not only that doesn’t only include an entry that also includes equipment coaching, getting them there. it’s a pretty big inclusive package. It’s not just an entry fee. So it’s, it’s designed for people anywhere in the country, probably the world, I guess, too. They have to apply. They have to say, Hey, this is why I want to go to Steamboat.
This is why I want to do a gravel ride. This is why I like biking. It’s all of it. Right. And. And Steamboat gravel. I’m not sure how they hooked up necessarily, but Steamboat, gravel has always been for the, you know, I started a couple of years ago. And if you remember, they were made a huge push to be inclusive to women.
They had a special, this and special that, and they did get a lot of women more than ever to come to do that gravel race. And so they’ve all always been about inclusivity. So that partnership is pretty strong and it was really powerful to hear Marcus in the interview. Just talk about his, why. I mean, it was pretty emotional and Marcus, I think he lives in California and anyway, super passionate cyclist.
And he literally felt like he had freedom taken away without all of the racial uprising happened earlier this year. He was afraid to go out on his bike literally. And so. You know, I think, and there was, I forget who the other couple, Oh, a mess. messy homes messing his name up anyway, you know, I’m a white male and I want to understand, I want to be empathetic.
I’m open to hearing and listening, but I don’t feel it right. I don’t feel it personally. I know of it. I appreciate it, all of those things. But to hear Marcus talk about it and to really share his true feelings about how he felt when he’d get on his bike in California. And he decided not to, because he was scared, it was pretty
and pretty telling.
And, so basically right for justices in the world to basically, you know, to bring more in. Inclusiveness. And as in the words of Marcus on the, on the press conference, he said, we’re going to be like the NAACP of cycling. We are going to get people on bikes and we’re going to make sure that people who have events do things to make people feel included.
That’s awesome. And that’s the bottom line. Yeah, that’s awesome. I tell you, it, it you’re right. It is a, cycling is a white dominated sport. I mean, at least it appears to me, you know, for my pants. Oh no, no doubt about it. And I mean, that’s, is it, you know, is it just the way it evolved is socioeconomic? Is it, you know, does it sort of parallel our culture and our to some degree maybe, but, but it is, we all know bike, bike racing particularly is it’s not the most approachable group of, of right.
People, if you will, it’s not that the people themselves are, it’s just that it becomes a massive sunglasses and helmets and fancy bikes and sharp looking kits that you’re like, if you’re not in that group, you feel a little bit intimidated. Right. And then you add in, you add in race, it just triples it.
Right. I mean, it’s right. I think that would be great to get them on the show. Yeah, no, I think he’d be a really awesome guests because I think he could bring a perspective that we’ve never had. Yeah, for
sure. So anyway, Marcus Robinson,
so we’ll get him on. I’ll try it. Okay. Awesome. That’s great. Thanks for that update.
Yep. Hey, so I chose for the video of the week, of course, the, garage talk interview with Adelaide per I thought that, it was really, a good, well done interview. And , I love that chair by the way. Right. We need one of those. upcoming interviews, we got Matt Hanson. He came in second at Ironman in Florida, last weekend, behind, last week’s guest.
Oh, actually I guess a couple of weeks ago. Chris life, Herman, Matt is a professional triathlete and coach for traveling cyclists and runners. He has an extensive background as an athlete and is highly educated in all things, sports related. he has a doctorate in education for adult and higher education.
He’s a smart guy, too. so anyway, we’re, excited to have Matt. Hanson on the show. Thanks again for listening this week. Be sure to follow us through three endurance and of course, go to iTunes, give us a rating and a comment that helps us out a ton. And we really appreciate it. Stay tuned, train informed and enjoy the interns journey.