[music]. Welcome to the huberman lab guest Series, where I and an expert guest discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life. I'm Andrew huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine. Today's episode marks the sixth and final of the six episode series on fitness, exercise and performance, and today's discussion is all about nutrition and supplementation to maximize your fitness, exercise and performance goals. Dr Andy Galpin, I'm super excited to discuss today's topic, which is nutrition and supplementation for performance and recovery, and I'm particularly excited about this conversation because I've been interested in supplementation and nutrition for performance really since my teens, but also because in recent years, we've witnessed a massive transformation in the general public in terms of their view of supplementation and nutrition.
First of all, more people are thinking about nutrition- what is good nutrition, what is not- a very barbed wire topic, as you know, but there are some truths in there that we'll discuss. But also supplementation. You know, whereas 10, 15 years ago, I think, most people would either be really into supplements- that was a small percentage of people, but the majority of people were either told or were thinking: oh, you know, vitamins, you mostly excrete them, they're just expensive urine. Nowadays, it seems that many people, including many of my colleagues and Physicians, all the way down to sports performance experts, are taking and making recommendations about certain supplements, and so the way that I like to think about supplements is that they aren't necessarily just supplements, which makes it sound like they are augmenting what should already be there but you're not quite getting enough of. But indeed a lot of these things we call supplements are very potent compounds that can transform our ability to perform in the short term to recover from exercise, and that can really shape brain chemistry, hormone patterns, acutely and when taken long term. So I'm very excited about today's topic and to be able to try and sort through this. Let's call it a cloud, hopefully not a storm, but this cloud of supplements that are out there, because indeed many of them are excellent and can provide us a lot.
Some of them are terrible, and then some just don't do anything and therefore are terrible because either they have side effects or because they're very expensive and they don't do anything. And then, of course, within the realm of nutrition, there's an equal amount of of confusion. But that's why I'm talking to you, because you're going to put Clarity and structure and definition on these incredibly important topics. You, you absolutely nailed it there. One of the major reasons supplements can work is because you can consume nutrients in extremely high concentrations such that you would not get in nature through food. Having said that, you really do want to focus on the basic sleep, nutrition, hydration- and I'm going to get into very specific detail later with some of those things. That said, there are plenty of situations and circumstances when supplementation can do exactly what you said. Also, though, because you are taking them in such high concentrations, they can also be unproductive, they can be destructive or they can be counterproductive. So in case, if you're taking a couple of supplements over here, it may actually be counteracting the benefits of some of the other supplements over there. So in the ideal situation, we would be able to work like snipers here, so we would be able to run full biological testing- so extensive blood work and saliva and urine and stool- and have an in-depth analysis of your gut microbiome and your stress patterns and your time of day and your cortisol curve and like all the things that we do in our high performance folks.
With that, then, we can get extremely high Precision supplementation and- and, quite honestly, our philosophy is we only give individuals exactly what they need. So even some of the standard, generally safe and effective supplements, we don't really necessarily use them if there's no specific need. We've talked about the consequences of this with things like antioxidants, but even simple stuff like stimulants and other tools that are effective for Recovery, we don't use them unless we have a reason that said that's not the reality.
For a lot of people. They're not going to be able to do something like that or somebody who can help them in that. So there are a handful of supplements that I would consider to be in my my 80- 20 rule, which is sort of like the 20 of supplements that are going to give you 80 of the benefit for the lowest cost, and so what I can actually do is just sort of start there, even though this like burns my skin and my soul a little bit. I absolutely hate this. I am the context guy, I'm the it- it depends, it's high Precision guy. But let's be real. There are a number of supplements that are fairly effective and fairly cheap for a wide range of outcomes. So this is for general public. This is for people who want to do the three buckets right, you want to look a certain way. So supplements that could enhance muscle growth and fat loss. Non-hormonal based supplements, of course, supplements that can improve energy or physical performance again, from everything from, you know, squatting more to feeling better in your yoga class, to having more energy throughout the day, to our third major bucket that we've been talking about throughout this entire series, which are longevity, so we can cover those first. If you'd like to start there, yes, absolutely, let's start there. Oftentimes, when we think of supplements, we immediately jump to High Sport performance type of things or vigorous workouts or muscle building, though that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Take, for example, creatine, and I've spoken about this at lengthens with Darren kandow, who's done a tremendous amount of research. I was just up at his lab recently in Canada and he has covered extensively.
In fact, I think I put up a post- perhaps I could draw this up- where he laid out all the Myriad of benefits of creatine. This is taken in the, you know, typically three to five grams per day of dose of creatine monohydrate, which has the most research behind. It seems to be extremely low side effects in almost anyone and the benefits including, course, things like muscle performance and strength and things like that. And if you go back to our discussion and our episode on metabolism and endurance. We talked about the phosphoryl creatine system, so you can figure out kind of what this is going to do in terms of effect. That said, there's excellent information and data coming out, and all on the benefits of bone mineral density and creatine. There's a ton of work looking at a host of cognitive factors, from memory, executive function, to effects potentially on even things like depression, mood, to alzheimer's, Parkinson's, all forms of neurodegenerative disease.
In fact it's it's pretty obvious. The brain loves creatine as a fuel and so not only we sort of discussed in the episode as being the fuel for skeletal muscle contraction, but the brain needs to do that as well. The astrocytes are on the brain, need to be able to provide energy, Etc. So it's very clear that metabolism in the brain is reduced with things like TBI and potentially, concussions. So now to be extremely clear, creatine does not prevent any of those diseases.
It does not treat any of them and the data are mixed, but it's more and more are coming. Some show a little bit of benefits. I'm showing you know, maybe none, but I'm not aware of any research in those areas that show it has any downside. For the most part, side effects are extremely minimal, if not null, and then potentially some benefit and, depending on the specific study. So we could put up a, if you'd like, a couple of links directly to those meta-analyzes and folks can go through those things one by one.
So I only say that to again maybe expand our understanding or thinking about what these types of supplements can do. It's not just about growing muscle or, you know, high performance, it's everything to again, there's an association with recovery. So creatine is fantastic for recovery, for muscle, for muscle damage. It helps and can potentially Aid in fat loss and a whole host of things. So you can actually also even look at websites like examinecom. I have, you know, no affiliation with them whatsoever, but if you want to just type in something like creatine monohydrate, you can see a whole list and you're going to see thousands of studies of the potential benefits of creatine. So that is is always number one on my list. I'm relieved to hear that creatine sits at the top of your supplementation list because, well, first of all, I started taking it when I was in college. At that time I was taking it in this kind of loading mode where you take it in, you know, anywhere from 15 to 25 grams per day, often causing some gastric distress, often combining with fruit juice to try and shuttle it into the muscles, sure, and then so-called maintenance phase of reducing to 10 or 15 grams per day.
Now days I just take about five grams or so, although later I know you're gonna tell me why I should probably be taking more than five grams per day, given my body weight. So I know we'll get into some of those specifics a little bit later. But in addition to experiencing Direct effects on muscle size and strength, which I did, I don't know how it contributed to my cognitive function, or if it does now, because there's really no way to tease that out with with standard at home tests like a scale.
But it is very clear to me, based on the literature that you described and some of which we've covered on other episodes of the podcast, that the phospho creatine system is vitally important for forebrain function, right, the forebrain, of course, being the, the portion of brain, broadly speaking, the portion of brain just behind your forehead that is responsible for planning action, setting rules and context. So even as simple as if you're going downfield in a game of soccer or basketball and you're on offense and then you make an attempt on goal or basket, and then it switches and you go back.
Now you're on defense. That being on defense is very different than being on offense, and that goal- excuse me that, that rule switching- is a prefrontal cortical function, as is every context dependent way of thinking or acting, and so anything that can favor function of the forebrain, I think is good for humans in general. It suppresses anxiety, allows us to interpret what's going on for us, and so I'm very relieved and gratified to hear that creatine sits at the top of the list. Also, as I'm sure you'll point out again later, creatine is for the most part, a relatively affordable supplement for most people. So here we're not talking about something that's really esoteric or that you have to, you know, fly to some remote location to get an infusion of right. But although I apologize to all you because I know the price has skyrocketed recently, really, yeah, why is that? I think it's just well, nobody knows, but it's- quote unquote- Supply and demand issue, if you will. So those prices have gone up. There's also, of course, been shipping problems in the world and things.
So every time I talk about creatine right now, people just flame me for like, oh my God, it's so expensive. Now I'm like, I know, I'm sorry, but honestly it's only so expensive because you're used to being so cheap. So when you, when you counter the fact that you're like right, yeah, like relative to the other stuff you're probably taking, relative to any other number of purchases, for the it still lands very high in my Roi List- my, you know, my- 80: 20. Because of that it's. It can be taken any time of the day. It doesn't have to be in magical combination. You talked about co-ingesting with carbohydrates that can enhance how quickly you can get into the system. In fact it's. It's going to work on the exact same mechanisms will probably potentially talk about hydration, but these things are shuttled. So anytime you bring in carbohydrate, that's going to be shipped into tissue as quickly as it can. Creatine then goes along super ride and then it brings water into the right. That's how you enhance hydration. That's why it's important to have carbohydrates when you're trying to hydrate, so you're just going to take it in there, and that's also why you get quote-unquote cell swelling, which is a good thing, like you're, it's just enhancing hydration. We actually use it a ton in our post way in protocols. So, and individuals that have to cut water weight. Creatine is a great thing to throw back in there. It's going to help you rehydrate. It's also why, when you take 30 grams of it, it can pull a bunch of fluid in the intestines and and there you go with your little bit of GI distress. So yeah, there's a lot of fun things you can talk about there. I just had to flag that because every time I've been talking about it recently and I say it's cheap, people are killing me for it. So I apologize. I don't know how to make it any cheaper, but it's still fairly, fairly affordable. Yeah, I would say relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of supplements out there.
And when thinking about the return on investment, is it's quite good? Yeah, so like, actually sorry it started to cut you out. But I was also thinking. There's been a number of studies on sleep deprivation as well. With creatine that can help. So obviously, sleep deprivation will generally reduce cognitive function and creatine can ameliorate some of that drop. So if you think about it in that context, I had a crummy night of sleep. Well, and if that enables you to perform a little bit better in your job, then you would make up the dollar or so whatever you paid for that day's supply of creatine- so it is something kind of on that note- it's not going to work as an acute response. So it's not something you're like I feel terrible, let me throw some creatine Down the Hatch, I'll feel better. That's not going to work. It's going to take several weeks to have a noticeable effect. It needs to be stored in tissue, it needs to be built up before you can actually do much of anything.
So it is unlike some of the other things like stimulants or caffeine that have an acute- you know- response right now, and so if you're going to take it, you probably need to consume it consistently. If you can't do that, then really there's no point in doing it. And the loading phase- you mentioned- distance were here- is something you can do again if you need to enhance the storage of it really quickly. So say, for example, we've done this in some military cases where it's like you get back to base and you've only got a week and you got to go back out. We may actually have to do a little bit of a loading phase then.
But if that's not the case, the loading phase is unnecessary. It's not really harmful, other than maybe GI stress and maybe waste, but you're going to have three or four weeks it's going to reach full saturation- plenty of time to to be there in that if you're in that three to seven grams per day range. I'm glad you mentioned the slow accumulating positive effects of creatine as compared to so-called acute effects, because the way that I think of Health promoting and performance enhancing protocols like viewing morning sunlight or endurance exercise, for that matter, or creatine or sleep, for instance, is that while they can have effects in the immediate term, you might feel a little bit or, in the case of a good night's sleep, a lot better- it's really the accumulative effect of raising your Baseline level of functioning.
You know, there's another way to think about it. Is these supplements or behaviors and quality nutrition, when done consistently over time- and that doesn't mean 100 of the time, but you know, because probably 80 of the time- sure lead to a sort of buoyancy in your system that allows you to be more resilient under conditions where conditions aren't perfect, right, and if conditions are made perfect or close to perfect and you already have that buoyancy, that's when you really start to see the ultra high performance effects that are so much fun, but they have to be established through consistent supplementation, consistent nutritional intake. So today, I know we're going to distinguish between- normally they're called- chronic and acute effects, but that makes it sound like chronic illness the moment.
People hear chronic, well, they might think of other things, but but in the context of Health they typically think of, you know, chronic illness and we're not talking about that. What we're talking about is slow modulatory effects in the body. A lot of things in the body take time to build up, but once they've built up, they they clearly can benefit us. And then other things, as you mentioned, you know, a stimulant, for instance, has a very acute effect that it's going to occur with, you know, Peak within 30 minutes and wear off within, you know, four hours or so, can also have some chronic effects, but typically it's a short-lived effect. So we just want to frame up the, the language that we'll be using- and I'm really excited to dive into this topic- and I think creatine is a beautiful example of a supplement that has positive, chronic mental and physical benefits. Down the road I can come back and talk a little bit more about creatine and we can cover some other information regarding best practices for for getting the most out of it as well, as we'll certainly dive into some of the common side effects, or at least a thought of side effects.
While we're here, though, I also could throw in a few other of these high impact, low-cost, generally safe things that are my 80: 20 rule, if you will. So the way I actually kind of think about it is, you want one from each of three categories, and these categories are fuel stimulants and fatigue blockers. So creatine is actually in the fuel. It's not a stimulant, as we talked about The Chronic effect there, so we've already knocked that one off. Another one from the fatigue blocker is going to be anything like beta alanine or sodibicarbonate, and then from the stimulant yeast, of course, we have anything like a beetroot juice to a caffeine or something of the equivalent, so we can come back again and talk about all those in more detail a little bit later. Before we begin, I'd like to emphasize that this podcast is separate from my teaching and research roles at Stanford.
It is also separate from Dr Andy galpin's teaching and research roles at Cal State, Fullerton. It is, however, part of our desire and effort to bring zero cost to Consumer information about science and science-related tools to the general public. In keeping with that theme, we'd like to thank the sponsors of today's podcast. Our first sponsor is momentous. Momentous makes supplements of the absolute highest quality.
The huberman Lab podcast is proud to be partnering with momentous for several important reasons. First of all, as I mentioned, their supplements are of extremely high quality. Second of all, their supplements are generally in single ingredient formulations. If you're going to develop a supplementation protocol, you're going to want to focus mainly on using single ingredient formulations. With single ingredient formulations, you can devise the most logical and effect active and cost-effective supplementation regimen for your goals.
In addition, momentous supplement ship internationally, and this is, of course, important because we realize that many of the huberman Lab podcast listeners reside outside the United States. If you'd like to try the various supplements mentioned on the huberman Lab podcast, in particular, supplements for Hormone Health, for Sleep optimization, for Focus, as well as a number of other things, including exercise recovery, you can go to live momentous spelled ous. So that's live momentouscom huberman. Today's episode is also brought To Us by levels. Levels is a program that lets you see how different foods and activities affect your health by giving you real-time feedback on your blood glucose using a continuous glucose monitor. Many people are aware that their blood sugar, that is, their blood glucose level, is critical for everything from Fat Loss to muscle gain, to healthy cognition and, indeed, aging of the brain and body. Most people do not know, however, how different foods and different activities, including exercise or different temperature environments, impact their blood glucose levels. And yet blood glucose is exquisitely sensitive to all of those things.
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That's levelslink huberman. Today's episode is also brought To Us by element. Element is an electrolyte drink that contains the exact ratios of the electrolyte sodi, magnesiand, potassito optimize cellular functioning for mental and physical performance. Most people realize that hydration is key. We need to ingest enough fluids in order to feel our best and perform our best. But what most people do not realize is that the pro upper functioning of our cells, and nerve cells, neurons in particular, requires that sodimagnesiand potassibe present in the correct ratios. Now, of course, people with pre-hypertension and hypertension need to be careful about their sodiintake. But what a lot of people don't realize is that if you drink caffeine, if you exercise and, in particular, if you're following a very clean diet- that is not a lot of processed foods, which of course is a good thing- chances are you're not getting enough sodipotassiand magnesito. Optimize mental and physical performance element contains a science-backed ratio of 1 000 milligrams, that's one gram of sodi200 milligrams of potassiand, 60 milligrams of magnesiand no sugar. If you'd like to try element, you can go to drink element- that's lmntcom. Huberman- to get a free element sample pack with your purchase- again that's drink element- lmntcom. Huberman- to claim a free sample pack. To start off, I want to ask you about something that, as soon as I say it, some people might roll their eyes or wonder: why are we even talking about that now?
But that, I have to believe, is among the more fundamental, if not foundational aspects of nutrition and supplementation for performance, and that's hydration, right, I mean, I think we hear hydration. It's like, okay, we have to drink six to eight glasses of water every day. Our urine should be relatively clear. If it's too dark yellow, we're not doing a good job of hydrating enough. How much of that is true? Is alkaline water worthwhile for changing the alkalinity of my body? I learned when I was in college and graduate school that the alkalinity of the different tissues in your body is very well controlled in order to keep you alive and that you don't want it to shift too much or you can enter pretty horrible states of seizure, vomiting and even death.
So tell me about hydration and, woven into that, if you would educate me on electrolytes and hydration, because I think most often when people ingest electrolytes- sure they could be ingesting salt tablets- they're probably getting some electrolytes, by the way, electrolyte sodimagnesipotassi- through their food. I think most people think about drinking electrolytes. So water and electrolytes, I think, is a vitally important topic to kick this off with. Sure we can jump right into your alkaline water. While there's perhaps much to say about this, we can maybe revisit this in another seven part series all on its own. I would just say it this way: there's probably a few things you should do before worrying about the alkalinity of your water and I'll just leave it at that, meaning the alkalinity of the water is sort of irrelevant.
Not that you won't go that far, is just it's probably remember we started started off talking about 80- 20.. Well, this would be, in my like, 99 one in terms of like, if we're really at the level of worrying about the pH of your drinking fluid, we have optimized so many other things that then we can talk about it, but until we have nailed months and years of work on other things, this is just not going to make much of an impact. Great, then perhaps you could tell us about what volume of water we should be drinking, when we should be drinking that water relative to training and just generally.
And yeah, and anything else relate to water and electrolytes that can improve mental Performance, Physical performance and offset any, you know, ill effects. I like the fact that you mentioned physical and mental performance, because it's clear in both cases we hear that we need to drink more water, and I can give you some numbers and I will in a second. What we also need to recognize is there's this is hormesis. We talked about hormesis a few episodes ago and this is the case, right, whether we talked about food or hydration, or I think I gave you the example of cyanide naturally occurring in your food, hot water is the same way.
So if you are under hydrated or dehydrated, then there is a clear negative effect on your body and as I increase the level or improve the level of hydration, things get better, whether this are physical performance or whether this is mental performance. In fact, we know that a body weight reduction of as low as two percent via dehydration- so imagine you're doing a bout of exercise and you're sweating and you lose two percent of your body weight- that alone is enough to reduce accuracy and performance. So the classic study we talk about here was in basketball players. So shooting accuracy, so free throw shooting, I think, is specifically what they looked at- significant reduction in performance with as little as two percent dehydration. That that level. You also see a significant increase in perception of difficulty of exercise and so only right at two percent- and again when I say two percent, I mean percent body weight lost, right, that's what that means.
You start getting the three, four, five percent dehydration. You start having a significant reduction in blood volume and that's incredibly important for endurance. Your blood becomes viscous, it gets hard to pump through and you're going to start having all kinds of issues. So being dehydrated is again not only going to reduce performance but because of the mental aspect which we just walked through and neuromuscular issue, you're going to lose accuracy, you're going to lose total endurance performance and you're going to lose speed and power. So we have the Triad there: no matter what you're interested in, it's going to be harmed by being dehydrated.
That also is happening- then if you're starting your program dehydrated- so if you're already one percent or so dehydrated, maybe you're like a little under hydrated and you lose a little bit of sweat- you've already hit that two percent and so we're starting to see reductions in performance there. The same happens on the other side of that hormetic curve. So if you are optimally hydrated in some large window but you start going past that, we can start running into equal problems. Remember there's a. There is a need for an optimal concentration of sodiand, potassiand chloride between your cell, inside your cell and outside your cell. These are electrolytes. This is what we call osmolality, and osmolarity is really going to think of it like concentration and osmosis, if you remember those terms. So if we are trying to create a muscle contraction. That requires an electrical gradient and so sodiand, potassi, specifically in magnesicalciare positively charged and chloride is negatively charged and we need to have a certain amount inside the cell and outside the cell so that the positives and the negatives are balanced appropriately so that when we move one we change the voltage and we have, in the case of a muscle contraction, okay, I just came through a whole lot of physiology there to say if you then go mess with fluid only and you say, if I were to give you a bolus of, you know, three liters of pure water right now, you're going to dilute your blood and so there's not going to be as many chemical, there won't be as many electrical signals in there, because you've taken the same amount of sodipotassiEtc and put it in a larger volume of pure water, so that gradient has now changed. That becomes a significant problem for contraction. I mean quite literally it can kill you. This is what we call hyponatremia. So notremia spelled n a, hypo being low. Hyponatremia, if you actually go to the Periodic Chart, n a is what we use for sodiso hypernetes, because the word is natremia actually, so that what that literally means is low sodiand.
You didn't get that from sweating out all your sodiyou actually get hyponatremia from drinking in too much water. So it's not that the total amount of sodigets low, it's the fact that the concentration gets low from excessive fluid intake. So in the Extremes, in fact, if you look at the literature, you'll see anywhere between like two to fifteen percent of people who finish endurance races are are into hyponatremia. Now, that varies wildly. If you're doing Iron Man and Kona versus, like you know, the marathon in Denver in in October, right, it's going to be totally different depending on weather conditions, but these are all important. So, while, like, death happens, that is sort of extreme. If you back up just a little bit, you start seeing the same types of performance sacraments. In fact the symptoms can be identical: brain fog, confusion, performance irritation, a GI distress, and you think, man, these are symptoms of dehydration. So then you drink more water and you're just exacerbating the problem. And I can actually give you one little example of this. We had an executive- actually female CEO, I'll say she's- probably when I was in her early 40s, and so she came to us and she thought, man, for sure she has some sort of gut problem going on, because we hear a lot about kind of like gut health and how it affects everything. And so she's just like I have brain fog and I've done all these things and I got blood work done and everything's fine, like nothing's going on. I think I must have some sort of gut thinger going on or whatever, and it's okay. And we just started going through her stuff and she was, I think, about 170 pounds plus or minus, and she was consuming like 250 to 60 ounces of water a day. That's a ton of water. And we were like holy [ __ ], what are you doing this for? And she says like that's sort of like my thing. It was, but she didn't realize it was more of like a nervous tick than it was anything else. Right, she just like sips of sip, sip, sip water. I'm like man, how often do you go pee? And she's like, yeah, like every you know 30 minutes or something. I'm like fantastic sleep problems focused. And so she's smashing caffeine. She was at like eight cups of coffee a day, which is also going to add to excretion of sodi, totally right. So it's like, okay, we don't really need to come in and run a sleep study on you, we're just going to lower your water. And she was like what? Yeah, we dropped her down to like 180, so basically an ounce per pound of body weight, which is still high because she did train 180 ounces, correct? Yeah, she does work out.
So she needed to replenish some stuff and we'll cover these numbers in a second. Instantaneously, I mean like two days in, she's like: oh my God, I haven't slept six to eight hours in years and then after that it was like basically tears coming back to us. Right, my focus, my brain fog is gone because she's in a very high pressure job. It's like everything's coming back. Like now. She was down to three or so cups off a day, like the whole thing. Digestion improved all of it. She was sick, like to. Her. Only problem after all the analyzes was she was just drinking way, way too much water and adding more salt to her would not have solved the problem because she would have just had simply way too much fluid in her system. She was having all kinds of ADH problems and aldosterone, like the whole thing, and then that that rolls into cortisol.
The whole like system gets goes into chaos. So it is important that you pay attention hydration, even though, as you sort of mentioned, people tend to just kind of like roll their eyes around it because if you're in the middle it's fine, but if you're anywhere past- not even the extreme extremes, but just that first standard deviation away- you're going to have problems. And you might be thinking adrenal fatigue, you might be thinking you're testing, like you're going to think all these things, and you simply just haven't actually dialed in your hydration. Yeah, I think people sometimes roll their eyes at the discussion of hydration because it just doesn't sound very sexy.
It's not like, doesn't sound like a neurotransmitter or a hormone. It doesn't sound like testosterone or estrogen or DHEA or dopamine, but it actually is all of those things. It sits at a level beneath all of those, but not beneath on a hierarchy, beneath in in terms of a foundation. It's actually the. Without proper electrolyte balance and hydration, none of the cells of the body can function. And then I think people also hear that, oh, you know, we are 70 water and somehow, like it. That statistic Alone or that fact alone doesn't seem to stimulate any kind of action, will take away right, it's like great, you know, like gravity also, you know, keeps us, you know, from jumping his eyes.
We like, you know what do I do, and so I think it's. It's important that people understand that every cellular process in the body critically relies on having enough sodimagnesipotassiaround and the. The way that it's concentrated in fluid water is really the way that you allow every cell in their body to function as well as it possibly could and respond to all the sorts of kind of quote unquote- High Performance Tools that we're talking about. The other thing I've observed many times over is that if people are ingesting too much water and also drinking a lot of caffeine and their electrolytes are low, they get shaky and they actually can have anxiety like symptoms. So when people come into my lab to do studies on anxiety and fear, we ask a few questions, and those questions include how much water they've had that day.
Also a sort of bizarre fact, but one that I think is worth mentioning, is that when the bladder is full it stimulates a sort of anxiety. If you ever had to urinate very badly and you're in the car or you can't urinate and then you get to the door like that's talk about anxiety and that's because there's a direct neural pathway from the bladder that registers the mechanosensors- how much stretch there is on the bladder that sends a signal to the brain stem alertness areas, broadly speaking, Locus ceruleus and others, that wake us up. These are the. When we're awake, it makes us more awake, and when we're asleep, this is what wakes us up to urinate in the middle of the night. Yeah, that's actually why you can use night urination as a pretty good diagnostic of sleep disorders.
So if, because of vasopressin- right, almost exactly what you're talking about- if you're having sleep disorder issues and you're staying awake and a vasopressin gets taken off, right, an APN goes straight to the kidneys, your kidneys are supposed to be dormant, basically, at night. You're not supposed to be filtering a lot and producing a lot of urine at night. If that's happening and say you, you have any number of apneas kicking on or anything going on, vasopressin keeps going, keep sending signal, kidneys start filtering. So if you're waking up and peeing multiple times a night, that's called nocturia. That is a very, very good sign that either one of two things happen. You one, you have some sort of sleep disorder, or two, you're drinking outrageous amounts of water, and so that's actually a bit of a backward cycle. Now, right, because you're drinking way too much water, you're waking up and peeing all night. That's actually ruining your sleep, and so we have seen this a number of times with our sleep company as we go in and it's just like you don't need any of this crap. You just need to be properly hydrated. Alternatively, if your hydration is sound and you're still waking up more than one time a night to pee on average, then you almost well- I shouldn't say like that, but there's a potential that you actually have some sort of sleep system or sleep condition going in. So the rule of thumb on that is: so we're here once or night, once a night or so of urination is fine. If it is routinely or consistently more than two, you need to make some adjustments. Start with hydration. It's the simplest way, right, getting a full sleep study done. Just figure out hydration.
We've had this happen a number of times where people want to get more health conscious and they just get. They hear things like this and they're like I gotta get on my water and then they just start train wrecking their sleep and then waking it up. So if you're waking up multiple times and you're urinating- and it is a large amount of urine for you and it is clear that's probably not sleep apne, induced noctria- that's probably excessive hydration. If you're waking up a bunch of times and it's fairly small amounts of urine, then it's probably not the fluid issue, it's probably the fact that the vasopressin is kicking your kidneys into gear.
So that's not a perfect criteria but it's just like a quick little tool you can sort of use. That's actually one of the reasons why we measure almost always your body weight at night as well as in the morning, so that that's like the combat sport in the UFC- fighters, boxers- we call that your float. So how much you floated overnight? I like to know that number because I want to know as well your first morning void. So when you wake up then you went to bed at 200 pounds. You woke up the next morning at 195.. It's like: oh, you floated five pounds. Did you pee last night? Yeah, yeah, three times. Interesting another case: you woke up, you went to bed at 200 pounds, you wake up at 199.5. Okay, you're dehydrated, because you should have a a certain amount of fluid that you're just Whispering out as you're breathing throughout your nose throughout night. Ideally guaranteed you're gonna wake up. What was your urine like? Oh, yeah, a little bit pretty dark, like shocker. You're dehydrated, so you can kind of look at numbers like that a general float is something like a pound to two pounds for the 170 plus pound person. As you scale up that number then go up a little bit. But you can kind of use these to triage a little bit about what's going on with this kind of combination. Everything is everything right, so it's like it's not just about one system. So you're gonna pay attention. You can also look- well, I don't, if you don't jump into it, we can, but there's a whole bunch of ways I can teach you to diagnose hydration, and maybe we can start there and then we can talk about hydration numbers. Yes, I'd love to talk about diagnostics for hydration, over hydration, dehydration.
To start off, would you be willing to give us some numbers? How much water should we be drinking? The classic rule here, and you're making me do what I hate, right? I want to give all the caveats first, but I'll go straight to your number. Half an ounce per pound of body weight is a rough rule. So if you weigh again 200 pounds, that would mean you drink 100 ounces of water a day. Most water bottles are like 12 to 20 ounces, something like that. So you know you end up drinking six of those or so a day, kind of like plus or minus, which is not that unreasonable. This does depend on a number of factors which I could go over, but that is a rough starting place. The only other thing to add to that is that does not account for exercise, induced water loss or sauna or anything like that. So that's assuming just like basal daily needs if you are exercising or sweating at all for any reasons or work related. So folks that work outside are in the Heat or a human environment. These numbers all change and you can slide this scale up. But you generally want to drink about 125 percent of the fluids you've lost during that physical activity back. And how much do you lose per hour of exercise?
That number ranges between one to five pounds depending on the person. It can even be higher with some of our athletes, like I can think of a number of NFL players right now- it's not uncommon for those guys to do eight or nine pounds, even not even like crazy circumstances. If it's August and we're in Jacksonville, it's not wild for us- those guys go nine, ten pounds. But what about the typical person who goes to a air-conditioned gym or goes out for a run on a day that is somewhere between, let's say, 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit you're probably looking at like a pound. It's not extremely high. If you are totally soaked might be like a pound and a half to two pounds. If you're like, come back and like your pits are a little sweaty and there's a little bit of water kind of on your neckline, it's probably like a more like a pound or so. So in that case you might drink back a pound and a half of water. Okay, so just to review these numbers to make sure that I'm on the correct page here: a half an ounce of fluid per pound of body weight is a sort of a foundation for hydration. And then you want to replace a hundred and twenty five percent of the fluid lost during exercise. And exercise varies. Where exercise is done varies. Whether or not people are wearing uniforms or helmets is going to impact how much fluid they lose, Etc. In a very hot environment. That the amount of fluid lost can be anywhere from, you know, one to five, maybe even ten pounds easy per hour of hard, hard exertion. For most exercise done in conditions of 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 72- excuse me, 85 degrees Fahrenheit, done with some degree of effort, one might lose a pound or or two pounds of water. Super easy way to find out: all you have to do is weigh yourself naked.
Go do your workout, come back in, dry off, weigh yourself naked. That'll tell you exactly what you lost. So, if you went in, you were 160 pounds. You come back out, you wait, you're 158, you lost two pounds. Drink back two and a half pounds of water, you're good. So that is is that? Honestly, it's like fairly gold standard for identifying. You can actually buy a whole bunch of technology for this, and they are using the exact same equation, which is your body weight when you were there. Now, if you do that, though, you do need to account for any fluid you drink during the workout. Sure, because that then offsets it. Simple, but, I think, important question. We're talking about a half an ounce of fluid per pound of body weight. Does that include things like coffee, tea, soda, pre-workout drinks, mid-workout drinks, mate, matcha, whatever the? You know, there's a yerba mate, there's a, there are a million things out there- or just water?
Any fluid, for the most part, is going to count. And is it true that fluids that contain caffeine generally cause us to secrete sodi? Yeah, okay. So do you recommend including electrolyte powder or a small pinch of sodior, any number of other supplement type electrolytes that can replace that sodimagnesiand potassia couple of things we have to pay attention to accurately answer that question. Well, you also sort of asked about- you may have not even realize is: does caffeine actually enhance dehydration, which is not really what you asked, but it's probably a lot of people thought that as well.
So caffeine can, but coffee doesn't necessarily do that because, remember, you're co-ingesting that with fluid and so we used to say that all the time. How coffee dehydrates you, it doesn't. It might make your urine yellow. That certainly gives off a odor in your urine, but in general coffee will not do that because you're just. If you were to now be taking caffeine pills alone now, there is a bit of a diuretic effect there and so you're going to year. And how much? Maybe not enough for you to be really concerned with, especially when you balance that against the ergogenic effects and benefits of caffeine. It's not something we are concerned about. Second part of your question: do you need to then offset the loss of sodiI'm not super concerned about the amount of sodilost to caffeine. I am more concerned about simply the amount of sodibeing correct because of the bigger circumstances, like how much is actually in your system and how much you lost in the training session. So it's not the caffeine that I care about that much relative to you. Know, if you lost three grams of sodibecause of the training and you added another few milligrams because the caffeine I don't really care, or didn't. I'm glad you brought up the difference between a substance like caffeine and the vehicle It's contained in, like coffee.
This is all really important and it also raises a question about individual differences in sweating ability. And I call it sweating ability because I have a good friend I've known for ages- really actually work with him in my laboratory as well- and he's one of these people that the moment he starts any physical activity it's like a flood warning. Right, he just soaks through clothing. It's just the sweating adaptation is is exceedingly robust in him, other people less so. So is it true that sweating in our ability to dump heat through it by loss of water is something that we tend to vary on and that also that we can build up that capacity? I know a number of people are probably thinking, ew, gross, why would I want to sweat more? But there's actually a huge advantage to be able to dump body heat during exertion, because body heat in some ways sets the cap for performance a lot, many, many ways, including mental performance is stay alert often is enhanced by being cold and of course we all want to warm up properly. But in terms of loss of fluid through sweating, is there a way to easily bin ourselves into kind of a low sweater, medisweater, heavy sweater? That sounds like an article of clothing, but in any case, you know what I'm, you know man.
Another a lot to say here. We should wish we had a whole series on this listen. If we have to go 17 hours we can do it. Just everybody hydrate well. I think we've shown the listeners that is a real threat. That's a very real threat. Podcasting to failure: you don't have to do every set in the gym to failure, but here we are attempting a podcast failure in it. In all seriousness, what? What is the role of sweating ability and is this something that any of us should care about or train for or pay attention to, or is this just kind of getting into the Arcane number one? You can train your ability to sweat.
This is important for heat acclimation and why that matters when you sweat. That actually is not what regulates your temperature. You what you want to have happen is the fluid to hit your skin and that to be evaporated. That's the actual mechanism. So, in fact, if you stop sweating and, like you, can guarantee within a short amount of time, you're going to be done moving. Oh, very interesting. I hope people heard that and really are are highlighting that in their mind that sweating is a process of bringing fluid from your body onto the surface of your skin and then the heat dumping aspect of sweating is the evaporation of that off, off your body, which brings to mind all sorts of ideas about how to dress during exercise, Etc. But what you said is that if you are not sweating enough, you are limiting your output capacity. So it's not just about having enough fluid to switch wet. Yeah, it's also about being able to sweat and being dressed appropriately to allow that sweat to move, to evaporate off your body. Yep, and heat acclimation training is as simple as it sounds, so just practice it more.
So if you're going into a process where you either need to be in a hot environment or you need to improve your sweat rate, you just need to practice sweating and your body will get compared to that. I practice the sauna, practice a Jacuzzi. Just get in those things and you will improve your ability to do that. Now there is a huge genetic component. I have one individual- actually a UFC fighter- I've been working with- and I don't mind mentioning his name, he'll give me full permission: Scott Holtzman. Many, many years. He's actually fighting right now, actually today, he'll be going. He is like he. He is like you described, like buckets and buckets and buckets of fluids come off this guy.
When he's tying his shoes like he just goes right like- and we've we've improved that- I actually sweat too much. We worked on that a lot early in his career and we got some improvements down to get him to hold on to the fluids better. That being said, I've worked at the other individuals in his weight category and it's the opposite right. So we can have them literally do the exact same training session together and Scott will dump six pounds and other folks at his size will dump two, two and a half. So there's a genetic component that is just there and you don't need to worry about it there.
So can you identify if you are a heavy salt sweater or not? Well, you have a whole bunch of routes for this. Number one is you can use the old free cost, free test of just looking at your clothing and if you're seeing that white residue all over it, so you've, you've all have the friend who probably wears that same baseball hat that they've had for eight years. If it is covered in the white junk all over the place, that's a sign of a higher salt sweater.
If the opposite happens and it's like you can pull their clothing back and there's just nothing there, they are maybe a little bit of a lower salt sweater. You can also use any number of hydration tests. I know that there is some coming out in the market very, very soon that can give you theoretically real time measurements. It's like a CGM would be, although I haven't seen any data on if those are accurate or not.
I haven't used one yet. But there are a number that are out super cheap. You know 10, 15, 20 bucks, all the way up to a couple hundred dollars. You can buy these patches, put them on you and get a reasonably close estimate. And again, if those things are 5 or 10 or 20 off, I don't know. I have to see independent data come out first. But even if they are. You're not worried about the specific milligrams, right?
Whether you sweat out, you know 1250 milligrams in a workout or if it's 1340, it doesn't really matter. You're trying to look for big, big numbers, right? Are you losing 500 milligrams using three and a half grams while you're at? So those things will get you in a ballpark to do exactly what you decide. Am I high, medior, low, and there's a lot of them that I've used in the past, so that that's another way to go about it- then what you want to do is probably match your electrolyte intake to something close to what you sweat. That's the ideal scenario. You can get a lot of information about hydration from blood.
You can look at like acute markers of dehydration, like hemoglobin, hematocrit, if you're like. If your hemoglobin is like 15 plus- it's funny- we've talked about this in a few episodes before, but I see that, and I'm like man- that dude's super fit. That's like a 15 for him would be pretty high. 14 or so would be pretty good for a female. That's also the exact same thing- as a sign of acute dehydration.
So hematocrite- same thing. If you're north of 50, you're probably dehydrated, so you can get a lot. There are also, though, a lot of biomarkers that can tell you more about chronic dehydration, so you can run through those things as well. So good blood chemistry test can tell you a lot, and you can actually get some insights in your sodiand potassi albumin is another fantastic way to measure longer term hydration status- now, one of these amazing globulins that we've sort of talked a lot about. So you can do all those things. You can also simply measure the body weight pre and post and use a sweat patch or not, and use the, the Freer version of your clothing test, and get a rough idea of where you're getting it from. So those are good places to start. I want to go back, though, and make sure I wasn't over terrifying the audience too much on a server piece. If you're performing a type of training or exercise or sport in which you're not losing more than two percent of your body weight, you don't need to be overly concerned about hydrating in the sport, and so we can actually get into some equations for how much water to drink during training right now.
But if you- if you're again- losing less than that, it's not critical. You can have some fluids. It like makes you feel better, but you're not going to be experiencing tremendous amounts of performance sacraments. If you're, you know, again out playing a baseball game and is 50 degrees out, you're fine, you can drink some water, but that's not going to be compromising performance or recovery, so we can actually.
Then, if you'd like, I can go through the three-step system for optimizing hydration. But those are I want to make sure I planted that flag so people aren't just terrified that they got to be guzzling down water. If they're, you know, going to their physical therapist for some stretching, that's probably not super important. I'd like to take a brief break and acknowledge our sponsor at athletic greens.
Athletic greens is a vitamin, mineral, probiotic and adaptogen drink designed to help you meet all of your foundational nutritional needs. I've been taking athletic greens daily since 2012.. So I'm delighted that they're a sponsor of this podcast. The reason I started taking athletic greens and the reason I still take athletic greens once or twice a day is that it helps me meet all of my foundational nutritional needs. That is, it covers my vitamins, my minerals, and the probiotics are especially important to me. Athletic greens also contains adaptogens, which are critical for recovering from stress, from exercise, from work or just general life. If you'd like to try athletic greens. You can go to athleticgreenscom huberman to claim a special offer. They'll give you five free travel packs and they'll give you a year's supply of vitamin d3k2 again. If you'd like to try athletic greens, go to athleticgreenscom huberman to claim the special offer. I would love for you to tell us what I refer to as the Galpin equation, understanding, of course, that you did not name it. The Galpin equation- listen, folks, scientists can have things named after them, but in general it's not reflective of healthy psychology if they name things after themselves, correct sometimes? Yes, neuroanatomists used to do that. But in any case, Dr Andy Galpin did not name the Galpin equation after himself. I named it after him. And the Galpin equation for how much fluid to ingest during exercise is: you want to take your body weight in pounds and divide that by 30, and you want to consume that number, which would be in ounces, about every 15 to 20 minutes. So in the example of you being 200 pounds, you would take 200 divided by 30, which is- let's just call that number- seven to be close, which means you would consume about seven ounces of water every 15 or 20 minutes or so. Okay, now as a little bit of a point, while I also did not name it- I also didn't do the research- it's important to point out that other scientists figured these things out.
I just read their papers and made that derivation of their equation to make it a little bit easier for us folks who do not work on the metric system. Okay, a couple of things. First of all, I'm not 200 pounds, but it doesn't matter how much I weigh, because the point is that the listener, correct- should take their body weight in pounds divided by 30, in just that number of ounces in fluid every 15 minutes.
And then, for those out there outside the US that are accustomed to thinking in milliliters and liters, not ounces, and kilograms, not pounds, what is the Galpin equation? In the metric system? This would be two milliliters per kilogram, which, again, if you were, let's say, 200 pounds, that's going to be something roughly like- we'll call it 90 kilos. And so if you did two milliliters per kilo, you'd be something like 180 milliliters of fluid, again every 15 or 20 minutes. Great, and how should people ingest that fluid? And of course I would imagine it's through their mouth. I would hope. I hope there are other orifices that it might suffice, but let's not go there. They're drinking that water consistently, or is it every 15 minutes? They Slug it back. Does it matter? Okay? Yeah, that's very good.
A handful of things. In general, when you talk hydration, the slower and steady you can go the better. In fact, the reason these- this two milliliters per kilogram number, came out is because a number of Trials were run when they looked at that. Every 15 minutes, just one bolus of it, you know, in different derivations, and it's pretty clear that the slower Pace one could do it, the better. So whether you're doing it every 10 minutes or 15 or 20 minutes, the reason we actually give that Gap is because you have to be also offset a little bit of GI distress.
In fact, like kind of the, the four golden rules of recovery, if you will. We use sort of three R's: you need to rebuild, rehydrate and replenish. What that really means is you need to have a continuous glucose stream, you need to have a continuous amino acid stream, you need to hydrate and you need to do all one, two and three without disturbing your gut too much, and so in this particular case, it was sort of found that we can hit that level in general and be just fine for most people.
So I mean a little bit of context, the example we gave there. In both cases it's something like six to seven ounces for 15 or 20 minutes. If you think about that, there's 16 ounces in a pound and most water bottles like if you go buy a water bottle in a store here it's- they generally come in like 16 ounce bottles, ish. So six or seven ounces is really like a third of a water bottle, Maybe every 15 or 20 or so minutes. So it's not some egregious amount of water that you have to slam down. Now. That is influenced heavily by how hydrated you started the session with. So how high are you? Came in external factors like heat, humidity, temperature, things like that, but that gives you a rough idea that again- and these are numbers that you would need to consume to optimize performance. At the end of that then is when you would look to see how much I lost, like we talked about earlier, and then add back that 125 percent, taking into account how much fluid you ingested. So if you're 200 pounds and you drink a total of, say, a pound of water during the training and you started off at 200 and you finished at 198.. You actually lost three pounds, not two pounds because you lost three. You drank one during it, so your final net number is two. So now you don't you really need to drink back 125 of that remaining two pounds, two and a half pounds, something like that. These numbers, especially that 125, are, they're just rough guidelines. Some, actually papers, suggest it's all the way up to 150 percent, so it's just like an idea. Don't measure out whether you need 5.5 ounces or 6.2 ounces, like it just sort of gives you an idea of where to start. All right, a few sips every 15 or 20 minutes is close enough. I've actually started using the Galpin equation to determine how much fluid I need for mental work, given the now robust data that are out there on the relationship between hydration and mental work.
It's been very effective for me and again, there are peer-reviewed studies that that support the idea that hydration is important for proper mental Clarity and energy and focus and that even being slightly dehydrated can disrupt that. But if one is drinking so much water that they're frequently going to the restroom and can't comfortably focus on the work they're doing, that's also an issue. So that's very helpful. What are the three most critical features of hydration? And then I'd like to move on to some of the more particulars about supplementation and nutrition. Three parts: start hydrated. Maintain hydration throughout. Part three is hydrate post. To fix it, okay, we gave you the half ounce per pound of body weight equation. So you start the training hydrated. We gave you the, you know, two milliliters per kilogram. Slash body weight divided by 30.. To stay hydrated, let me give you the 125, but I can actually just give you sort of. I'm giving you another list here. I'm sorry, but it is my five-step cheater guide for optimizing hydration for performance. All right. Step number one: drink a lot of water first thing in the morning. This gets everything kickstarted, get you going. It also saves you from having to drink a bunch of water at night, which is then going to compromise your sleep. What's a lot, depending on how big you are. The general thing I'll tell people is like one of the very first things you should do throughout your day. You wake up, go to the bathroom- as you're consuming your sunlight, consume water. This is maybe chugging a full glass. That's honestly what I do. It's not the best route, but I'll just get 16 ounces. 16 ounces or so is great.
It's fine if you're larger. You know I'm 165 to 70 pounds, depending on what's going on, maybe a little higher sometimes. If you're 225 pounds, maybe that number is 30 ounces, okay, so you just sort of scale up and down. And the only reason I say a lot is it just depends on what you're doing. And I also should clarify: I don't really literally mean chug, just like sips, because the faster you drink water, the faster it's going to expand blood volume. The faster it stands blood volume, the faster you get rid of it. I don't think a lot of people will know that. Yeah, this is maybe this is clarifying.
This is also we sort of talked about earlier. If you drink too much water, you'll dilute the system. Well, if you have a diluted system, your body's first reaction is to rid of water to bring total blood volume down right. Remember if you were to go to a doctor and they look at your total blood volume, they're like man, you're five and a half liters. You're gonna be like holy crap. You're going to be put on a diuretic because you don't want to have a heart attack, blood pressure. I wonder if people are drinking a 16 ounce glass of water or other fluid all at once before going to sleep and that's why they're waking up in the middle of the night.
Totally, given what you just said, probably a better protocol would be to sip on a glass of water in the final hour, two hours before sleep. Generally, the number we say is three hours. In the three hours proceeding sleep, you want to basically limit fluid intake to sipping as needed. I think that's. I'm going to start that tonight, because I wake up generally once per night to use the bathroom and I do drink some fluids before I go to sleep, mostly because I'm pretty thirsty at that time.
Yeah, but I'm gonna start sipping that water in the three hours heading into sleep. Yeah, so you can actually pay attention to his. To go back, this is actually I love doing this stuff, but if you're waking up at night and you have a very dry mouth- not for me, all right, because it can be one of two things- you might actually be dehydrated, and so then what the mistake people make is: like man, my mouth is so dry, I keep getting up to drink water at night that makes you then pee too much.
What that also indicates is probably your mouth breathing. So a lot of ways to fix people waking up and urinating too much at night is to tape your mouth and or use a dilator over your nose and then what happens is you don't feel like you have a dry mouth, so you don't get up to consume any extra water throughout the night, so that actually reduces your your fluid intake, so you don't have the problem of actually now having too much fluid to do it, and so it's another reasons why mouth taping can really really help. And if you are having those issues and or snoring, those are not benign. That's a really like you really should get some work on those. Something. You're not sleeping very well is the way I'll say it. It doesn't doesn't necessarily mean something life-threatening, but it's not a good thing. So you're going to run kind of your triaging things back and forth. So if you're like I'm waking up to pee a lot, but my mouth isn't thirsty, okay, great. Then you may actually have just a water consumption issue. If it is- my mouth is dry, but I'm actually waking up and I'm having these large urinations- then you're not actually dehydrated, you're just breathing through your mouth. If you're waking up and your mouth is dry and there's not a lot of pee there, then you actually might actually legitimately be under hydrated. So a little bit of a game you can play there. Well, that's super informative. I think that the point alone that gulping a bunch of water all at once is going to cause you to need to excrete that water soon after is a really important point, also for people that are going to- I don't know- give a talk or you don't want to have to get up to use the restroom. You have to sit through a long meeting. Yeah, clearly I'm violating all these rules. Up until right now, I've been. You know not. I sort of followed the seagull approach to to consuming fluids, just in enormous volumes. I'm going to start sipping fluids instead. What are some of the other rules of hydration? So you're going to wake up, you're going to start your day and start hydrated, so you know you're consuming a larger percentage of your water earlier in the day.
Then you get all the performance enhancing effects of water and you don't have to worry about it compromising your sleep. So that's step number one. Also, now you're gonna start your session closer to hydration. All right, great. Number two: eat mostly real Whole Foods. Why, interesting? What you may or not have thought about is a huge determinant of your hydration status is your food choices. If you look at different foods, for example, most fruit, watermelon. Watermelon is like 95 plus percent water- fantastic Source also, by the way, since we're here. It is not extremely high in carbohydrate. It's not extremely high in sugar, it is by percentage. But since it is almost exclusively water you're eating, it is not something that is extremely dangerous in terms of sugar. I there alone- probably all the things we've talked about in the six, six episodes- that comment right there will probably blow the internet to pieces and I'll probably get hate mail for life for it. But from people water throwing watermelons, yeah, yeah, oh, my gosh. Well, I don't think the point is that sugar is necessarily bad. I think the point is that for most people, they're ingesting too much sugar.
Most people, yeah, and it's interesting, oftentimes the people who are justifying the ingestion of sugar are exactly the kind of people that should not ingest so much sugar. So there's a little bit of a- well, a user bias. The point here is, if you're eating whole real food, this is like now we're kind of splitting hairs about those things. So so morning hydration, yeah now, important Point here, if you compare it to other Foods, like actually meat is- is a very high percentage of fluid, depending on how well or long you've cooked it. You just remember- you said earlier over 70 water, right. So if you're eating meat, you're getting actually a big chunk of water. As you cook it, of course, you lose some of that, but meat can be like- I wouldn't call it a hydrating food item, but it is not as low as something like a biscuit, which can be actually like 10 water. That's why it's like dry and dense, which doesn't mean it's bad for you, but there, if you're eating highly processed foods, almost by association, that means they've been dehydrated or portionably right, so you're just getting less total fluid intake. In addition, they have also been highly salted in general, right. So now we're in this position where we're under hydrated and highly salted bad spot. If you now switch over to mostly- again just mostly- whole, real food-ish, whatever that means to you, then your hydration is going to Skyrocket. You're going to have a lot, so you're eating a ton of food. In fact, it should be. A large percentage of the fluid intake you have actually should be coming from your food. You shouldn't have to be smashing water bottles after a water bottle all day.
In that case, though, you do need to add salt back. So we do see this a lot with people who try to make a transition from maybe a sub-optimal Nutritional Lifestyle and they give up a little bit of other processed food and they come over and they start having problems because they're not actually consuming enough salt. So add that back. Easy way to do that: you can use electrolytes and we could talk about those numbers if you want. If you just salt your food that you're making you know to taste, that's going to get most people in a pretty good spot. So start hydrated, consume hydrating Foods. Step number two, step number three: you want to pre-hydrate. If you know you're going to do a workout session and it's going to be hot and long or one of those things. You want to look for that. Half a pound, a per body weight of ounces. So that's the number we're looking for to start our hydration session. We do that, we're pretty much taken care of, and then, like I said, adjust depending on lifestyle, humidity and other factors like that. You can use what is called the what system w-u-t. I think Bob kennethick has done a ton of research in this area.
If you want to read more, look up his research. It is simply weight, urine and thirst. So in other words, check your body weight, look at your urine color and engage your thirst and actually you can use through those three things and those can significantly predict actual hydration status, independent of actually measuring osmolality or anything like that. So those three metrics alone are pretty good indicator of where you're at. So you're going to have that normal amount of water, plus or minus. If you miss that number for whatever reason, you get distracted. The number we typically tell people is like something like 400 to 500 milliliters of water in the hour proceeding the training. All right, so that's like 13 to 20 ounces. So, like you know, you're gonna go work out at three o'clock. It's two o'clock and you realize, oh man, I have not drinking much water today. You don't need to go smash tons and tons and tons. Just look for something like that. You know. Call it a bottle of water if you will. If that's not enough, if you're in a really tough spot, you can do more, like five to eight ounces. 15 or 20 minutes before exercise. You want to be really careful about drinking a bunch of water, like in the seconds before exercise, because you're just going to feel a whole bunch of water bouncing up and down in your stomach and nobody likes that. So one to three hundred milliliters 15 or so 20 minutes before. That assumes you're in this like 185 pound range ish. Again, if you're talking people of much larger size, you may need to increase those values accordingly.
If you do all that, then you use the Galpin equation for your intra workout hydration and you're in a pretty good spot. What you want to consume in that is what I call Sweat. What I mean by that is you don't actually want to necessarily consume water only during a workout. You want to consume something that is ISO osmotic to your blood, so something that is the same concentration that you lost in your sweat. So if you've done a sweat test, you would then drink a fluid that is of the same osmolality. The short version of that- something in the neighborhood of 200 to 400 milligrams of sodimost. Electrolytes products are going to be something like that. Now I know element is is a thousand milligrams and it's a lot higher, but most products now that you're going to find are 250 to 400 milligrams and they're typically in the like two to maybe up to three to one sodito potassirange right. Coconut water is actually cool. It's like basically the opposite: like a cup of coconut water, I think, has something like 200 milligrams of sodibut like 600 milligrams of potassiso, like total spoiler alert. But will we use coconut water, a lot of hydration, just add a little pinch of salt, because that'll bring the sodi way back up. Yeah, one note about sodi. Obviously people who have pre-hypertension or hypertension want to be careful with their sodiintake anytime. I've suggested that people might consider ingesting more sodiyou. Know, it's sort of it's like it's like putting a Target on your, on your back. And yet the data are pretty good, showing that if people are not getting enough sodi, their mental Clarity, their focus, their mental stamina, their physical stamina really suffers. And then people argue: well, most of us are getting too much salt. That often is true for people that are eating a lot of processed foods and not training and not training. But for many people who are already sort of health conscious, who are training, they're largely consuming- or I should say they're consuming largely non-processed or minimally processed foods, and especially for folks who are not ingesting many carbohydrates and are consuming caffeine. Totally, you know, a lot of people don't know that carbohydrates hold water and that makes it sound bad. It's not necessarily that you know you're going to get subcutaneous swelling of your body. Now it's recovery. It's it's bringing water into your system and it holds water.
So when you drop carbohydrate, starches in particular, you urinate a lot more. And when you drink caffeine, you also urinate a lot more, as as you pointed out earlier. So you start combining a few things like slightly lower carbohydrate or low carbohydrate eating, really- quote unquote- clean. You're not getting a lot of salt in your food and drinking caffeine and then exercising, and then pretty soon those numbers that come along with, you know, a gram of sodiin, your electrolyte drink, are not all that outrageous and what you find is people feel much, much better when they're getting enough sodiand, of course, I should say that there's no reason why someone has to ingest a supplement like element or something. There are plenty of other ways to bring sodiinto your system. You use a pinch of pink salt or Himalayan salt or sea salt or even just table salt in water, or just making sure that you're salting your food enough, and I think that there too, salt appetite and salt taste is a pretty good guide. If you taste something and it tastes really salty to you, that's an indication that either it's really salty or your salt stores are kind of tapped off, you're okay, whereas if you're craving salt and you and you're thinking, gosh, I really want to put salt on this already salty thing- not necessarily, but oftentimes that means that you are salt efficient. So salt appetite is a pretty hardwired set of neural circuits and hormones, and I think we would all be wise to learn to tap into the our kind of intuition about salt intake, but of course, also to measure your blood pressure, Etc. Yeah, of course, if you think you have some sort of contraindication there, that work with the medical specialist without without question. Those situations you laid out, though, are very real.
A lot of people are living like that, and so it's important for those folks to understand. If you are going through symptoms- fatigue, lack of focus, cognitive function, performance isn't there- then hey, like you may be under salted and, again, actually, a good amount of blood chemistry work can unravel that a lot, and it can sort of tell you if you're going out of whack. There are a number of folks who are extremely sensitive to sodiin terms of health risk, and that that is a real thing. Again, work with your individual folks on that.
I don't work with anyone for disease treatment or management at all. I've said that probably four times. I'll say it six more times. I only take people who are healthy and try to make them perform at their best possible level. So it's actually funny you mentioned that, because I was going to give people my recommendation for sodiintake in general throughout the day and then I decided I'm not going to say that because all it's going to do is make all the rest of the people who aren't coming to come after me for the watermelon comment, come after me for that. So by the end of today's episode, the goal is that there everyone's coming after you, but also everyone has learned something of value.
You've already given us a tremendous insights and actionable information on Creatine and hydration, and along those lines, I'd love for you to tell us about some of the things that we can do with supplementation in order to enhance training by taking certain things before we train. And I also have the question of how long before training should we start thinking about supplying nutrients and supplements for the training session? I'm not sure I've actually finished my fiber.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough about the last one, so I just want to tie that that bow, and then we'll go to the next one. Yeah, no, it was probably my fault, so that, in addition to the Galloping equation in terms of amount I'm recording, I recommended, at you know, roughly three to one sodito potassi recommendation, and I gave you some rough numbers. For things like that, I actually, in all honesty, use probably six to ten different electrolyte companies, depending on the situation. Some of them are really good. In the case, again like element that's nice about that is there's no carbohydrate. However, the downside is there's no carbohydrate. So sometimes I want carbohydrates in the training because, as you mentioned, there's significant evidence going back, actually several decades, on the benefit of carbohydrate during exercise.
So if you're in a situation where you're trying to again maximize actual exercise performance, you- especially if it is either long duration- so more than two hours- or extremely high intensity, and this has to be well north of 100 of your VO2 max- in that situation, as we talked about in the endurance episode, you can actually start having a decrement performance because of a drop of muscle glycogen- Global glycogen can start coming down. If that's the case, augmenting with carbohydrates during the training, that is going to enhance performance, it's going to do what we call spare the liver and it's going to keep my second rule of my four, which is maintain a glucose ingestion.
It's going to keep that going in general. What you're going to find is the number is like a five to nine percent glucose concentration in your fluid, which turns out to be like exactly the number that most sports drinks have as well as. I think that's pretty much exactly what a coconut water is. The downside of sports drinks, since we're here, is they actually tend to be undersalted and so that they don't provide enough of them.
If you look at the numbers, they're going to say something like 60 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per hour is the Target, and now if you're using the sort of Galloping equation and you're splitting that up into 15 minute intervals, it's something again like 20 or so grams of carbs per 15 to 20 minutes if you're doing again an hour long plus training though.
So, admittedly, 100 grams is a bit much for some folks, depending on your size. So I would recommend starting in that 60 gram or so range again per hour total is what you want to get to, and only in the situation in which muscle glycogen depletion is becoming a limiting factor to Performance. So the other benefit of that is, as you mentioned, that actually drives water into the cell, and so you're going to be in that nice sweet spot of you're actually keeping glucose going, which is going to enhance performance, and you're helping hydration at the same time.
So the other little part that's important to pay attention to here is the type of carbohydrate matters. So you can use actually a whole combination of things called resistant starches, which I will use for a long bouts of exercise, but in the middle of the workout you're going to want to focus on glucose and fructose- mostly glucose, typically at least a two or three to one ratio of glucose to fructose- and the reason is those actually get into tissue through separate Transporters, and so what happens is, once the glucose Transporters get full, you can't bring anything else in. However, since fructose comes in a separate route, you can maximize total carbohydrate intake by using two different unique forms.
There's a lot of ways you can do this, but this is where the momentous fuel product is, is that specifically has that exactly in it. So it's fantastic. You can use food, no problem. You can use the combination of things like honey and different easily absorbable and usable and things that you can actually like maybe put in a drink to get away with. So there's lots of routes for it, but you want to look in that, that sort of combination of five to nine percent roughly glucose for there. So you do need to train your gut. So do not do anything. And there's a generally A good rule: do not do anything in your competition that you've never done in practice. So try these food items, try these amounts, the carbohydrate numbers, try the sodi numbers, try the total amount of water. Start low. You can always increase. What you don't want to do is have to run out during the middle of your spin class and Sprint to the bathroom and hope nobody's in your way, which in the lab we've seen. We'll just say: accidents like that occur more than once, so just be careful of your stomach. I'd like to take a brief break to acknowledge our sponsor, inside tracker.
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This is something that we talked about in an earlier episode, but I think it's worth highlighting now. Sometimes the best way to supplement, if you will, a workout or pre-workout is ingesting nothing. I'm one of these people. I actually prefer to do my weight training somewhere between seven and eight am each morning, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little bit later. I drink fluid water and I do ingest caffeine prior to those training days. On days when I don't train, I do, as I often recommend people do, delay my caffeine intake 90 to 120 minutes after waking, but in any event it's water and caffeine, yerba mate or coffee or some sort of stimulant for weight training workouts and generally not for cardiovascular training workouts, although sometimes, yes, so I'm training fasted.
That said, I'm ingesting carbohydrate the night before to make sure that my I have glycogen stores that are topped off, and so it's fasted. But with that caveat, what are your thoughts on training fasted? And what I just described is fasted overnight, but some people are training in the afternoon and they may opt to not eat anything in the- you know, two to four hours prior to training, or maybe even longer. I personally find that caffeine hits my system a lot better when I'm fasted. Better meaning it just seems to have more of a potent effect. There are some reasons for that and of course, we dissuade people from ingesting caffeine too late in the day because it'll disrupt sleep.
So I'm not saying, fast for three hours, then drink caffeine, but who knows, maybe that's in your protocol. The simple version of this question is: what are your thoughts on training fasted. And if people are going to train fasted, how should they modulate their fluid intake, if at all? What happens with exercise in the endurance and Metabolism episode we walk through and the fact that no matter what you're using for fuel- carbohydrates or fat or even other potential sources- the end product of all of those is ATP, CO2 and water. Right, so you're trying to make ATP. That is the fuel for exercise.
Now ATP is adenosine, triphosphate, so one, two, three phosphates on top of an adenosine. Well, what you may have not put together is, if you hydrolyze ATP and you break off one of those phosphates, you now have ADP. If you do it again, you have amp addressing monophosphide. If you do it one more time now, you just have adenosine. And if you have then therefore, run through a lot of exercise, burned a lot of energy, you have increased the amount of adenosine that's floating around. Now, if you have a high concentration of adenosine, what's that going to make you want to do? That's going to bind to certain receptors, and we know when those receptors get bound to, you fall asleep. Bingo, caffeine will competitively bind to those receptors.
Therefore, that's why caffeine stops you from feeling like you want to go to sleep right. So we have a very clear relationship between exercise fuel. In fact, if you look at the literature, there's a pretty clear relationship between the more caloric expenditure in different sports and the higher amount of hours needed for sleep. So there's a nice tie between how hard you're exercising, how much energy you're burning, how much you need to sleep stimulants, which brings us all the way back to your question of fueling.
So do I need a fuel prior to my exercise about? If you're going to be limited in your exercise bout, buy fuel, then fueling is necessary one way or the other. If it is a type of training that is not, then it's not going to matter. And so the examples we gave: if you're doing, if you're going to go, do a 30-second bout of maximal exertion and you're going to do it one time, you don't need to worry about fueling at all. We're eating within your workout because it's only 30 seconds.
Yeah, you got 30 seconds. You don't need to worry about hydration post exercise. You don't need to worry about recovery. Total energy expenditure was nothing. If you're going to go, you know you're going to go practice. You're going to go to the driving range and practice your golf swing. You don't need to worry about it. The total amount of energy expenditure is just not high. In fact, in that case you might want to keep it somewhat low because you want to keep blood glucose fairly even and you don't want to bring into the system. You certainly wouldn't want to use stimulants, right, because you may get over exerted inside in all of these things. We probably should have started off our conversation with this.
In terms of macronutrients, the total amount throughout the day is more important generally than the timing of them, which is why you can do things like have a bunch of carbohydrate at night, not eat the next morning and lift and be just fine. It doesn't matter that you didn't have them in a few hours before your muscle glycogen is topped off, your liver is glycogen is topped off, you're absolutely fine. You have plenty of fuel, even if you're to wait a few more hours. In fact, even if you were to do conditioning, you're probably fine. I I have plenty of athletes that prefer to do many of their training sessions faster in the morning for personal reasons, not because it enhances performance, but if it doesn't enhance or harm it, then- and it's a personal preference thing- fine. If you're going to go do a session, though, where you're going to be really concerned with muscle glycogen depletion- and again you can go back that episode to learn of different types when those thresholds hits and what you worry about- then a feeling would be important.
You would either need to have something before the session or consume it during the session. So one of the other things we'd like to say here is: recovery starts during the previous workout, right. So if you're working out right now and you optimize nutrition right now, even if you don't necessarily need it for the current workout, if you can get ahead on recovery, then you're going to be fine the next day. And the differentiation here between carbohydrate and protein is important. So the total amount of protein you ingest throughout the day is probably a bigger determinant for things like muscle growth than the timing.
So the post exercise anabolic window- it doesn't necessarily matter. Carbohydrate is different. The timing of that does matter. It needs to be around and available. You can maximize both hydration and muscle glycogen resynthesis, which is restoring the muscle glycogen you burn during exercise. I also work with athletes that train multiple times a day, so in those particular cases a recovery window is half what you normally have. So if you're in a situation where you have two or three days before you work out again, you don't need to worry about getting carbohydrate in before, during or after, Because by the time you go to train again, you will have restored your muscle glycogen levels easily. However, if you're training every day or twice in a day, then the timing of carbohydrate really starts to matter. In that case, I see no reason to not ingest those nutrients either before, during or after. You don't need to necessarily do it, but you can. The general rule of thumb I give is something like this: if you're doing something where you're trying to really work hard- whether this is hypertrophy training or a lot of endurance- energy expenditure is going to be high.
Potential muscle damage is high and or energy utilization is high. What you want to look for is a number, something in the area of like half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. So you weigh 200 pounds. You want to make sure that either pre-mid or post or total, you bring in 100 grams of carbohydrate. It's just a very rough number. To start, protein is about half of that, so it's about a quarter of your body weight, right?
So those numbers would be: if you're 200 pounds, make sure you have 100 grams of carbs and 50 grams of protein- and again, it doesn't necessarily have to be before or during or after- and you'll be in a good spot. All you need to do, then, is Alter. What I do, I should say, is Alter the amount of carbohydrate based on energy expenditure, so a lower energy and easier workout. Instead of having 100 grams of carbs, I might tack that down to 75 or even 50, and be it a one to one carb protein ratio. If it was even harder- more sun, hotter outside, more fluid loss- I might go from 100 grams of carbs up to 150 or 200 and get closer to like a three to one or four to one carbohydrate to protein ratio. So those are the numbers that I generally go by. Well, as I take a sip of My Double Espresso Americano here. I'd love for you to tell us about stimulants- sure, there's no shortage of these in most of our lives, and, of course, you can cover the health benefits of it later. You maybe? You have an episode- yes, we have an episode- on caffeine, and it does have certain health benefits, although one has to use caffeine correctly in order to drive those.
Yeah, so there's, caffeine is the easy one to start with and we won't belabor the point here. The evidence is strong. It has a negrogenic effect. You can take it at whatever dosage is reasonable for you and of course there is a bit of a learning curve there, such that obviously the more you take it, the more you need to take, even though there's actually some recent evidence showing even folks who are acclimated to it will still see an ergogenic benefit, even though if they don't feel a big boost of this. So typically that takes 30 to 45 minutes or so. But it's highly dependent upon the person. So some people can smell coffee and immediately feel better and that's probably working, actually through a different mechanism of anticipation. But you can take it there. The half-life of it is, you know, four to six hours or something like that. It totally depends on the person, so don't let it ruin your sleep. But if you take it prior to Performance, it has a noticeable effect on particularly endurance. Maximstrength may be less well, quite clearly less so. In fact, the data are mixed there on whether it actually does anything for Peak strength, although I think most people would. Rec would suggest that you know you're going to take it prior to trying to truly lift as high as trying to. You know, lift a one repetition Max or similar, but most of the the documented effects are on the, the endurance based activities. Yes, so my read of the literature in terms of performance enhancing effects of caffeine are that one to three milligrams.
I want to make sure that people hear the units correctly before people Blitz themselves out with that caffeine. One to three milligrams per kilogram of body weight about 30 minutes prior to exercise has a definite performance enhancing effect. It also has a definite mental performance enhancing effect, especially when people who are regular caffeine users have abstained from caffeine for anywhere from 2 to 15 days and- and that's an extremely rare circumstance- but even if they have not, it appears that one to three milligrams per kilogram of body weight of caffeine, taken about- again- it's not super precise as far as I can see now, about 30 minutes before the event starts- can really enhance reaction time and power output and as well as, as you mentioned, endurance.
When I was researching the caffeine episode, one interesting caveat that I discovered was that if people are not caffeine adapted, they are not regular users of caffeine. The sudden introduction of caffeine can really degrade performance, mostly because people don't know how to operate at that high level of autonomic arousal. Have you ever observed that? Yeah, 100. In fact. There's actually data going up as high as 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Wow, which is, in fact. Once you cross the five milligram per kilogram threshold, you will start seeing performance decrements. So there's absolutely such a thing of ruining your performance with too much caffeine. So most people listening to this, if you're thinking, wow, they said caffeine, I'm all in, and then you just stop listening and now you, you know, go for your quad espresso shot before your every time you go to work out, you probably are passing that threshold. If you think about those numbers, one to three milligrams per kilogram body weight- if you weigh 100 kilograms, that's 220 pounds- that'd be something like two to five hundred milligrams of caffeine, which is like a pretty high amount.
But you know, a coffee is going to get you close and espresso is going to get you somewhat in that ballpark, depending on source and stuff. So you don't really need to go and blister your brain with caffeine. In fact, if you do, is it's quite common and in fact, likely that you'll actually make performance worse, right? Yeah, the amount of caffeine in different coffees and sodas, Etc of course varies.
One thing that people ought to know is that the smallest of commercially available coffees at the most popular commercial vendor so generally contain anywhere from 250 to 350 milligrams of caffeine. What that means is that the so-called mediand, the large, contain as much as 500 milligrams or one gram of caffeine. So for you morning large coffee at a commercial vendor drinkers, if you're wondering why you get a headache if you're 30 minutes late on that caffeine, or if you can't access that caffeine at all, or even if you're drinking coffee- excuse me- from another source you're finding like, oh, it's really not doing it for me. It's because the amount of caffeine in the now commercially sold coffees is exceedingly high. It's about two or three times higher than the standard lookup tables that you'll see on the internet. So I'm not saying that to demonize caffeine. We can pretty quickly adapt to and form a tolerance to caffeine. Some people never really can get over the Jitters. Other people are just fine with even a thousand milligrams of caffeine, but only because they've been drinking a lot of caffeine consistently anyway. It's also wildly inconsistent from location to location, The Brew type, the functionality.
So yeah, that stuff can be very hard to figure out. What's happening. There's only one way really to objectively measure caffeine and that's use caffeine tablets, and they work pretty well. Actually, someone I know who's prominent in the podcast space uses 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine in tablet form combined with tea. So they've now conditioned themselves to think that herbal tea actually has this caffeinating effect. But tablet form caffeine- while I'm not recommending it to to outright, it is going to give you the best sense of how much caffeine you can tolerate and how much is performance enhancing or is performance degrading.
There's actually another line of supplementation we can go down here, which is not technically a stimulant, but it's something I use to help performance when you don't want caffeine. And so this thing, specifically if you're one of those folks who have to exercise at night and you want a little bit of boost for your training, but you don't want to have caffeine because it messes up your sleep, and this is when you can turn to the whole like citrulline, Arginine, nitric oxide sort of route, and we'll skip the explanation there. But effectively what happens is nitric oxide is this wonderful compound that causes vasodilation and of course that's going to Aid then in transporting nutrients in and out of the cell.
So it has an ergogenic effect, the you have a number of ways you can go about this. Some of them have more pros and cons than others, and and there are more and more data coming out specifically on citrulline more recently. If you look, though, in my opinion, the most consistent evidence for the most consistent effect is in the supplement of beetroot or beetroot juice or extract or something like that, so you can find those supplements, and they tend to again, they're pretty effective and enhancing performs, specifically anything moderate to longer duration, endurance performance, and they are not a stimulant, so they won't ruin your sleep that much, you know. One note of caution for those of you that are interested in citrulline or beetroot, because they are in the Arginine pathway.
If you're somebody who has a predisposition to cold sores- oral cold sores, that is, or other forms of cold sores- that because activation of the Arginine pathway can exacerbate some of the neural related aspects of cold sores, and that's because the viruses that cause those cold sores actually live on neurons- then you want to be very cautious with citrulline, especially high dose citrulline. I can really amplify that, the cold sore response. What about non-stimulant yet Focus enhancing supplements, things like Alpha GPC, for example? I routinely use 300 to 600 milligrams of alpha GPC prior to hard physical training, typically weight training, but occasionally I'll take 300 milligrams of alpha GPC prior to a mental work bout- less often these days because I kind of reserve it for physical training and I don't tend to use it every day, maybe once every, you know, third or fourth workout combined with caffeine. So that combination is pretty, pretty potent, I find, and so, technically, because it's a cholinergic Agonist, it's not a stimulant in the traditional sense, but it has a focusing and an alertness promoting aspect to it. What are your thoughts on those sorts of compounds? There's not much human perform exercise performance data on those. There are certainly cognitive functioning tests on those, so you're not going to find a lot of information.
No, though there isn't none. We actually will use many of these substances. You could globally call them nootropics, which is, you know, any substance that specifically only has brain function is a rough way to think about it. We'll use them prior to more challenging bouts of training. This is something that we'll pull out, say on sparring day only, or the most important training session, or a session when you're trying to work on Pitch command, or when you're trying to enhance work on your shot and as a basketball player, or you're really trying to improve a certain swing as a golfer or something like that, but we do not use them every day, we do not use them with every person. So, yeah, we will use those.
They are not stimulants, but they can be performance enhancing. And another kind of way to think about this is if you're in the case of caloric restriction. So whether you're trying to lose weight or we're actually trying to control weight- for you know weight purposes in terms of a sports where you have to be in a certain weight class or something like that- well, we may not be able to give you food. In fact, we may not be able to give you stimulants because of the sleep thing or because we're already like maxed on a sibilance.
Now we can go this route and so at least like mentally, you're a little bit there and you're more likely to be alert and focused and you can train harder, despite the fact that we didn't actually change fuel. Now that's a little bit of a short game in terms of that's not your permanent solution. You eventually need to bring calories up or you know whatever other trains you're training or whatever we're going to do, but it can work in a nice short pinch. I'm very interested to learn from you about fatigue reducers and I'm hoping that rhodiola rosea will come up in the conversation.
Yeah great, let's just start right there then. There's actually a lot of research on this, despite most people not having heard of it. I think I mentioned in a previous episode I've used it a lot over many, many years. You have to be a little bit careful of it. There's well, first of all, no, we- only we- should have said this at the onset- no supplement is the Panacea, right, nothing's going to work for everything in Rodeo is no, no different. It can have a number of effects. If you look across the literature, you're going to find generally somewhere between a small benefit to little benefit it, but not often is it detrimental, with a few exceptions. I know of a handful of papers that would be two specifically where it may actually reduce muscular endurance. Okay, fine, if you think about what's happening is one of the benefits that has been seen so far with Rhodiola is it is helpful at managing cortisol. But cortisol suppression is not a necessarily a good thing.
We talked about how, if you do an acute out of stress, cortisol will go way up and that is a sign of acute stress. However, a sign of long-term excessive stress is cortisol suppression, and so this is a thing to be really careful of is if you're feeling down or lethargic or tired and you think your adrenals are messed up and then you start taking cortisol modulators, you could be making the problem worse, because now your cortisol is actually suppressed and now you're taking these things to blunt it or keep it low and then you continue to feel lethargic and lack of desire and libido and focus and sort of all these things. So cortisol is not a bad thing. We want this to be going up and down any amounts that we want. So if we're thinking about like, for example, waking up, you would want generally something like a 50 reduction in the first hour in terms of cortisol concentrations. However, if you're extremely suppressed, already going down is is only going to be a problem. So rhodiola is is has a a good evidence base to support it for that. You'll see actually, a number of studies that have looked at it in a whole host of areas for benefits. So something good to do. The difficult part with rhodiola, to be quite honest, is getting it from a high quality brand and Source. It's difficult to get as a single source, which is a very, very important thing to do with supplements. To try to get them sourced alone- Rodeo, that typically comes in combination with any other herbals or other stuff, adrenal support etc, etc.
And also then getting them then third party certified, which for most folks is not necessary. But for any athletes that need to go through drug testing systems, you should not take any supplement at all that does not have some sort of third-party certification. So those are the challenges. That being said, if you've ever ran into somebody who's taking rhodiola and they're like I didn't do anything for me, it it's possible, that's.
You know, nothing works for everyone. It also could be just very poor quality sourcing. So if you look at the, there have been a number of papers on its perception of fatigue and you've sort of mentioned that you felt pretty immediate effects of taking it a few times. Yeah, I'm fairly sensitive of supplements, but I've started taking rhodiola before workouts and found that I could push much harder, much longer through the workout.
Normally I would, or typically before taking it, that is, in sessions where I did not take it, I would be able to work out very hard for 20 minutes or so the next 10 minutes I could get some work output, and then the remaining period of time it was kind of a tapering off. Now, granted, these are very intense training sessions. These are not the endurance training sessions, these are the weight training sessions that one one time per week per body part type sessions. What I've noticed is I can complete the entire 60 minutes with with minimal fatigue. Now, I mean, obviously I hit fatigues within sets and of course you know I get. You remain human despite taking it. But I found to be very useful and I've been using it whenever I use Alpha GPC prior to workouts. Yeah, and I've been impressed by by it overall. I do want to highlight something that you said, because I think it's so, so vitally important, which is that using single ingredient formulations for most things is critical to figuring out what works for you, what doesn't, what dosages you need.
Being able to take things two on, one off, two days on, one day off, for instance, being able to increase dosage in the morning and then maybe reduce the dosage and combine with something else in the afternoon. Single ingredient formulations are pretty much the only way to do that. There's perhaps only one supplement that I take at all, and that's athletic greens is. There have been a regular podcast sponsor for a long time. That is a cocktail of many, many things and those are all adaptogens as well as some probiotics and vitamins and things like that.
So I'm not opposed to Blends where the Blends include a lot of nutrients that are synergistic, but for all pill capsule based supplements, where I'm looking for a very targeted effect and it's not just about foundational nutrition, I really believe strongly that single ingredient formulations are the way that you can build a rational approach to supplementation and also make adjustments if something isn't making you feel better, and also make adjustments if something's really working for you.
So, for instance, some people might take Alpha GPC 300 milligrams and not feel anything. Go up to 600 milligrams- not feel anything, maybe just feel kind of they don't like it. Other people like myself, took 300 milligrams of alpha GPC. The first time I was like wow, this really puts me in the zone. But I want to be really careful how often I use it. I did mention I go up to 600 milligrams occasionally, but that really puts me on the outer threshold of kind of overall levels of focus and amped up such that if I drink too much caffeine. It can tilt me over the edge. So I encourage people to become scientists of themselves, and the only way to do that is to try and limit the number of variables. And the final point is that I think that single ingredient formulations are by far the best in terms of changing things over time. You know this could be: women during their menstrual cycle might find that during certain phases of the cycle they're more sensitive to certain things than not others. And for men and women, it may be that, you know, certain times of year even, and certain supplements might go better, closer to sleep, some earlier in the day, and on and on and on. There's just no real way, in my opinion, to have a supplementation protocol that involves lots and lots of Blends. One or two Blends, okay, but lots of Blends. I think that's, I actually think that's the potentially dangerous territory. Yeah, I mean, just take rhodiola as a good example.
I know a new meta-analysis came out just in the last few months looking at it and they found in general, you see again, a slight to moderate Improvement and everything from Power output to fatigue resistant, antioxidant effects to endurance performance. So it's like: okay, great, maybe there's a little bit here. Now, let's say you went to do it and the only way you could access rhodiola is in common Nation with that and some lion's mane and you know some other of these adaptogens, and was like, well, wait a minute, I just wanted to take this to get a better workout. But now it also came with the stimulant or this cortisol suppressor or cortisol activator. Well, now, also, you can't take it at night or you can't take it in the morning because you're already. You already had coffee. Your options are just way limited. So I think the biggest part of all that is you. If something doesn't feel good, you have absolutely no idea. You don't know if it was a rollio, you don't know if it was the boswellian- it is in there. You don't know if it was any of the other things that were smashed in there, or it could be something as simple as the, the, the citric acid they use, like some other combination of thing. And now here you are thinking that some supplement that actually works for you doesn't and you throw that out of your repertoire for the rest of your life, which is, you know, not the biggest crime.
But it's not needed and you're not really going to know. So, yeah, I fully stamped. You can look back at my course lectures for the last decade and you will see, like stamped number one on the supplement the sections is: make sure you're taking single ingredient supplements at all costs. The last part about that too is you're more likely to ensure the amount that is on the label is correct. So if you're taking rhodiola and it says you know it's 100 milligrams in there and if that's only thing that's in there, you're more likely than not to actually get something close. Now, they're never perfect, but it will be close. If it's in a combination of 20 other things, you actually don't have any idea if that's in there.
In fact, there have been many papers on melatonin and vitamin D and a number of other supplements in which, when you actually just pull them off the shelf, these are- these are standard studies- where they would go and buy us in like 20 to 25 different supplements in the case of melatonin and we'll actually measure the amount of melatonin actually in them and despite the fact that the label says five milligrams, they can be up to a 500 to a thousand fold actual concentration in that supplement.
And then you wonder why some people react great to melatonin and some people. That absolutely destroys you and this is also why, like we'll- actually we'll see this constantly- well, people will have like 500 times the upper limit of melatonin the morning after, when the half-life is supposed to be more like 90 minutes. It should be totally gone, but we're seeing extremely high. I'm not even talking like double, I'm talking 10, 20, 30X the upper limit range for melatonin the next morning and then it's like: well, what are you taking? He's like: oh, I got this melatonin at X store or X website. And you're like holy cow. So I'm not opposed to melatonin theoretically, but you have to be careful with that one in particular.
So any supplement has that to be true. So you want to buy them from as many places as you can that are high quality and if they are third party tested- even if you're not a performance athlete- I want to stress this- even if you're not a performance athlete, third party certified and tested supplements are, you're less likely to just just get wildly high concentrations or low concentrations of active ingredients, and so, relative to other ones who you might get for cheaper, but you could be totally wrecking Yourself by getting, you know, 50 milligrams of melatonin every night and not realizing it. So then, of course, the next morning you drown yourself in caffeine and then you can see what death cycle you're in now. Yeah, and people could look for third party certification on the packaging, and some websites will allow you to zoom in on the bottle beforehand.
It's largely listed on on certain vendor websites. A brief point about supplement cost and blends, and I promise this will be a brief point. Different ingredients, meaning different types of supplements, have widely varying costs in order to, you know, create, to get them, to manufacture them so often does. What you'll find is that blends will include the least amount of the most expensive ingredient, right? Not always the case. There are some. There are certain exceptions to this, and I mentioned some Blends that I like a few minutes ago that are for foundational nutrition, adaptogens and probiotics, athletic greens, of course, just being one of several examples out there.
But when it comes to say, a sleep Blend or a pre-workout blend, there are some decent products out there, but a lot of them tend to put in more of the least expensive ingredients and less of the ones that you're actively seeking, and so those tend to be caffeine tends to be a kind of a buffer against the other things, meaning, if you pre-workout, that putting caffeine in there isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if it has five other things in there, oftentimes what manufacturers will cheat on is the actual amount of the things that are costly.
So again, single ingredient formulations for eighty percent of your supplements, I think, is really the way to go. And the other thing I know is going to come up as we're talking about all these supplements is this issue of dependency. I often get this question and when I solicit for questions on social media in anticipation of this episode, number of people said: okay, so if you take a sleep formulation, do I need to take it every night? If I don't take it, will I have an incredibly hard time sleeping? If I take a pre-workout every time I train will, will I need it? It's a great question. Some people will take supplement holidays, as they may be called for a couple of days each week, back back to back.
Some people take them straight through. I myself take a sleep cocktail. We've described this. It's magnesitheanine and things. This is not one ingredient. These are multiple ingredients, in fact, precisely because some people who have sleep walking and Vivid dream issues, can't take theanine before bed. In any case, I've had times when I either forgot my supplements- that's rare- or I just didn't have what I needed or just simply took a break for a night and it was not a problem. But in terms of pre-workout, I do think that people become dependent on being in that really ramped up state.
But I don't think we view all this as like true dependency, kind of like addiction. Totally right, I mean, I Define addiction as a progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure. So you know, I I suppose people could get addicted to pre-workout, but it seems a little unlikely. More likely there would be a dependency such that if you didn't have your pre-workout you might feel like, oh, you're not motivated to train. So what are your thoughts on taking little holidays from supplements and varying the frequency of supplement and, in particular, as it relates to stimulants and fatigue reducers? The end goal anytime I coach somebody is to get them into a physiological state in which they require no, or close to no, supplementation. That's the target we should really be in a position to, where our lifestyle, our sunlight exposure, our Stress Management, our physical activity, our sleep and our hydration and our whole food nutrition provide us almost everything we need. Now look again. There are some foundational items that we can give people. We've put together a little bundle actually for this- that the basic things that you can go look at, but that's the goal, right.
So the target is to be: let your physiology run the guy. Your physiology is way smarter than we are. Even if I take a bunch of biomarkers from you, your physiology still knows better than those few markers can tell me. So that's always where we're ending up. I actually personally don't like people being in a position that they have to take a supplement for anything. So I don't like it if you have to take a supplement to have a good night of sleep. I don't like it if you have to have a supplement to train. We will use any of these stimulants very, very carefully with any of the athletes we work with, and certainly for the non-athletes, because at least the athletes- we have an end date, we have a fight schedule, we have a season, we have a game you're going to pitch whatever.
When you don't have that. It's sort of like you're in this endless cycle of: oh, you're just going to do that all day, every day. We don't really need to be in that spot. So what I- the way that I describe My Philosophy is: I will use those short-term tactics to symptom manage if I have to. So if somebody comes to me and like you're feeling awful and we've got to get through the hump, okay, great, maybe we'll give you something for Sleep immediately to get you sleeping. That allows us to then come back and work on the causal problem, right? So this is what is: why are you having a hard time sleeping? Anyways, if you have to take a nine cocktail supplement to sleep, then all we're doing is is blinding the reason. Why are you in that position to begin with, right? So we see this all the time, whether it is sleep problems, whether it's cortisol or testosterone. The question is: well, why is that low? Now we may give you something again to manage it immediately, but the task, the the mystery I'm going to try to unveil, is: why? Why is it there to begin with? This could be. Something like this is natural for you and your lack of energy is something else, or it could be. Actually, it is not a natural level for you, but something is suppressing it. Any number of you've got some infection going on. There's some allergic reaction to something in your environment, there's a- you know, mold, Mercury like that. One comes up a lot. You'll see Mercury and folks, and that's causing a lot of problems. Or any number of heavy metals or toxins, any host of things, psychological distress, bad daily habit, you don't ever see the sun like you don't ever sweat, you don't ever drink.
We was talking about so many things, so I'm always going to hunt for that and I hate using this phrase. It's highly maligned for a good reason, but root cause, all right. So we're trying to find that. It's like: are we making sure that we're not causing this problem? And I'm not going to want to give you a supplement to cover up something if we're not even trying to solve the problem of what's being there. That being said, am I that concerned about people taking a multivitamin just all throughout? No, not really. Am I concerned about people taking creatine? No, like, go ahead, those ones are generally pretty fine to to just take. But anything else I want a reason. I really don't like giving people anything in a super physiological concentration or a superfood concentration, right. So again, an amount you wouldn't find in a normal food dosage, unless we have really a specific reason.
Some of these things are more problematic, others are less problematic. So when an ant. To answer the question of dependency, you have a combination of actual physiological dependency- caffeine like that actually creates a physiological dependency- versus a emotional or psychological dependency or just a I like drinking this, like that's my habit, that's my routine. There's a fancy scientific phrase for that, but it doesn't matter. So, yeah, we want to get off that and like again. My personal philosophy is: I don't want you dependent upon anything. I want to create extremely resilient people and I want to create physiological resilience. We actually have a fancy little algorithm we use to measure that in people and so we can actually calculate that number, and the goal of us is to push that number higher so that we don't have to have anything. So many situations pop up in your real life that you're not going to have your supplements or you're not going to have your routine, or you're not going to have your journal or whatever.
But also for the long term, I don't want to create a situation in which this is a short-term success, that you have to now do that the rest of your life. No, let's just get out of the way. Let's fix the problem. If there is something- symptom management- that's real, while we're actually searching for a better foundational habits. The last thing I want to say about this is, if you're only covering symptom, you're really missing signal, right, which is, if you're constantly tired throughout the day and all you're doing is giving yourself a number of Alpha, gpcs and caffeines, Etc.
Even though there's good literature, okay, are you really just using that to allow your poor sleep hygiene to happen? If I took those away, I bet you you would actually start addressing your sleep. If that's the Cause, right, all right, you're stress or your poor hydration, like you would go hunting for the problem and so, like you want to walk a fine line here of going like Hey, look, is an athletic greens supplement that big a deal? No, probably not. But wait a minute, am I actually now covering up the pain point that is maybe needed? It's a signal to actually get my ass in gear to go make one of these changes, whatever it needs to be. So I know I got like a little bit meta on you, a little bit philosophical, but that's honestly how I approach it. Yeah, I think it's really important.
A friend of mine who's a physician has a great saying, which is: Better Living Through Chemistry still requires Better Living. Oh, that's golden, that's so good you know, and it pertains also to things like antidepressants and ADHD drugs and things of that sort. Most all of those things were developed as tools to allow people to move from a maladaptive State- okay, maladaptive, it's hard to Define, but think about. In any domain of life, you can either be back on your heels, flat-footed, or forward Center of mass, and there are times when people are so compromised neurochemically that they need to use pharmacology in order to get into a flat-footed position. Yeah, you know, they're really back on their heels, flat footed, or forward Center or mass. But the idea was always that those things were developed as things to allow people to engage in the sorts of behaviors that can produce the same sorts of neurochemical shifts. And if people are thinking well, what sorts of behaviors can induce these neurochemical shifts? I'll just zoom out myself for a moment here and say I am a big proponent- I believe you are as well, if I may- in doing behavioral tools. First, whenever possible, really establishing good habits, the do's and don'ts which we've talked a lot about in this series and in this episode.
Then excellent nutrition, which involves do's and don'ts: volume, food Choice, timing, all the factors, and then also supplementation, and also they're sometimes a case for prescription drugs, certainly, and often brain machine interface or body machine interface, measuring stuff using devices, but that the foundation of behaviors and good nutrition are really truly foundational and it's hard in anything to skip steps.
But supplements and prescription drugs are one place where people often skip steps and then they they don't actually learn how to cultivate the best behavioral practices, including the don'ts, as you mentioned. And then just one more point along these lines. You know you talked about taking anything for energy is really disruptive to the system and it is because especially caffeine, while it has its uses and even health benefits, it's really borrowing it, it's against the adenosine system with interest.
And so because caffeine acts as an adenosine antagonist effectively, while caffeine is present in those receptors, you don't feel as sleepy, you have more energy, your reaction time goes down, memories enhance Focus, performance of all kinds, yes, but then when that caffeine is dislodged from the receptor, then the adenosine can act even more potently at those receptors. So it's sort of like being able to borrow against the normal variations in wakefulness and sleep.
And this is why we encourage people, if they're not training first thing in the morning, to push their caffeine intake out about 90 to 120 minutes after waking so they can clear some of that adenosine in the morning, which tends to happen even after we wake up. People can listen to episodes on Master your sleep or perfect sleep for the caffeine episode to understand more about that. But the the final thing I just want to say here- and then it prompts a question- is: you know, in thinking about supplement protocols, I think a lot of people assume that once they start taking something, they're going to have to take it all the time, and one idea perhaps is that people have some Alpha GPC around that they could take, and, granted, it'd be great if people could try things without having to buy a whole product. I think companies, hopefully, are listening to this and we'll give people a sample to see if something works for them and then give them an opportunity to try it, to have things around, but not necessarily assume you're going to take it every time right.