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129: Why ‘Evidence-Based’ Information Provides the Best Health Tips – with John Fawkes

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Are you getting your health and fitness information from trusted sources?

Our host, Wade Lightheart, talks with one of the fittest globetrotters you will ever meet in this episode – John Fawkes – who lives the “digital nomad” lifestyle. John travels the world while serving as the editor-in-chief of the health and fitness website The – a place where health-conscious people can find reviews and articles on health and fitness products, services and trends. 

What separates The Unwinder from most other fitness websites is how all their reviews, tips, and advice is “evidence-based.” John and other contributing writers use published studies to back their claims – or to back off. The website is not all about selling you something. The Unwinder publishes negative reviews when they deem necessary. They will also tell you why you shouldn’t do that latest health trend everyone is talking about.

John says, “I’m good at writing health and fitness topics in a research-informed manner and citing all my sources. The goal of The Unwinder is to give people honest advice about supplements and some other topics like exercise equipment. We also strive to be leaders with cutting edge topics that are in niche circles and bring those topics to the mainstream.” 

John started out working at an ad agency and didn’t enjoy his job, so he started a fitness blog. Writing became a way for him to escape the drudgery. Once he began researching other blogs for guest post opportunities, John noticed how the sites that used evidence-based research and cited the sources in their content had the information you could trust. “I was like, why doesn’t everyone do this? I was an instant convert. I think it’s the most honest and informative way to talk about health.” 

John is someone you want to listen to as he uses scientific studies in his work. But he’s also quite experienced in health and fitness in his own right. 

John is an NSCA certified personal trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 nutrition coach, and managing editor at The Unwinder. 

In this podcast, we cover: 

  • How to determine actual research from bogus research
  • How to take scientific evidence and apply it to your fitness program
  • John’s analysis of the ketogenic diet
  • Daily things John does for optimal health and longevity
  • Discoveries in maintaining cognitive function as we age
  • John’s nutritional findings
  • John’s experiments with caffeine for optimal energy
  • How John uses EEG headsets and music for better focus

So How Does John Sift Through the Fake Research, Find Legit Research, and Then Apply It to His Life?

John says, “A lot of studies are legit and still lead to the wrong conclusion. The first thing I do is look at the sum total of research, not just a single study. I think a lot of people have this misconception that new research replaces old research. New research adds to old research. It’s another piece of data.”

“Another thing I do is look at sample sizes. Smaller sample sizes make a study more likely to find no significant correlation or no significant difference between groups. By the way, the reverse is not true.”

“Many people think that if a study does find something that it finds a significant correlation. Well, a small sample size makes that less valid. That’s wrong. Small sample size means the effect size had to be bigger to overcome that to be significant. So, if there is a positive result, the effects of a small sample size have already been accounted for by a small sample size, which makes a study more likely to find nothing.”

“Whereas a big sample size means a result can be significant statistically, but not be that important. So make sure you keep those things straight.”

John’s Sleep Tips for Better Health

John emphasizes the importance of sleep. He says the best studies indicate 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to be optimal for overall health, particularly brain health and avoiding dementia. 

His evening routine is consistent. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated. John begins to “wind-down” two hours before bedtime. He stops playing video games two hours before bedtime. The last hour is when John likes to read a physical book. He does not look at computer screens the last hour before bed–including his phone.

John has been a night owl since childhood. These days, he generally gets to bed at midnight and sleeps till 8 am. 

Wade and John talk a little bit about chronotypes and which chronotype fits their personality.

This conversation has much more to offer! 

There is a lot of “noise” out there passing off as legitimate health research. Lots of fitness and health content does not even use scientific research to back their claims. Instead, they use the “experience” of the person providing the information, which makes it harder to know if the information is legit or fake. 

John Fawkes knows how to separate truth from fiction in the health industry. Listen in as he shares his secrets to sifting through health information and finding the gold nuggets of truth. 

Check out this episode – “evidence-based” fitness coaching can be life-changing!

Episode Resources: 
John Fawkes on Instagram
The Unwinder on Instagram 

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the Awesome Health Podcast, and we are delighted and excited to go deep and unwind. We have a lot of interesting things to talk about today. My guest today is John Fawkes, who is an NSCA certified personal trainer under precision nutrition level one, nutritional coach, and the managing editor of The Unwinder, a website dedicated to unwinding the truth behind health and wellness products. And what's really interesting about John like me has shared a passion for traveling the world and unusual experiences. If you check out his Instagram or Facebook, you'll see some very cool photos. So he gets into a lot of different things, including EEG headsets, brain hacks, nootropics, full body workouts, the ketogenic diet hacking inflammation and cortisol management. John, welcome to the show.

 John Fawkes: Hey, good to be on here, Wade.

 Wade Lightheart: Well, Hey I guess a lot of people who might not be familiar with The Unwinder, their website and your mission in life, maybe you can kind of say, share with us. Why did you create The Unwinder and maybe what was the background and leading you to create that site, maybe your history and how you got started in the industry and all that sort of stuff.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. So I wasn't the original founder of the site I was brought on not long after it was founded by a couple other guys named Alex and Brandon. But they wanted to create a site that talks about health topics and in particular supplements in a way that is really backed by science, that references studies it's just kind of no BS and that kind of overcome some of the incentive problems in writing about particularly that stuff, namely that you, you have almost no incentive to ever write anything bad about anything because you make money off affiliate links, which means you make money by writing good reviews, not bad ones. That incentive issue was still there, but it was like, well, let's be honest. And if we have anything bad to say, we'll chalk that up to this article is to build our credibility more so than to make money.

 John Fawkes: So they brought me on because I have a history of writing, very evidence-based articles, I'm in, what's called the evidence-based fitness community, which is a fancy way of saying people who reference it, who directly referenced published studies rather than popular articles about studies. So they brought me on because I just, I'm good at writing about health and fitness topics in a research informed manner and citing my sources. So I'm not the president of the website, I'm the managing editor. I kind of lead the editorial policy there, do some of the writing, ll the editing. But yeah, the goal of The Unwind is to give people kind of honest advice about mainly supplements some other health topics like exercise equipment, and also to be at the cutting edge of, alking about kind of new things that are starting to get discussed, n niche circles and kind of be one of the people who brings them mainstream.

 John Fawkes: For instance, right now that's longevity like senolytics. It's a thing that's very exclusive to biohackers right now. So we kind of want to be at the cutting edge of bringing those discussions mainstream,with the caveat that sometimes when you're the first, the honest thing to say is, well, we don't know that much. We got to wait for more research, but,again, you know, commitment to honesty with the trust that, if you're honest, you will make money one way or another. But they started it. And I agree with this mission because they found that there is a lot of hype around, upplements in particular around health topics. And it's very rarely backed by evidence. And there are very few good sources of information that are not directly from someone selling the very thing they're talking about.

 John Fawkes: But and the thing is, and that's not to say that anyone who is selling something can't be trusted, but sometimes they can, sometimes they can't. And the ones who, and if they can, the way, that is usually that they cite the evidence. I mean, so it's not terribly hard to tell who can be trusted, who can't, but there is still a need for independent sources of information. And one thing that even an honest supplement company won't usually do is they won't explain why they don't sell the things they don't sell. It's just honesty aside. It's usually a bit too off topic. So that's the other thing we want to really get into is saying, well, here's a thing that's popular. Here's why we don't recommend it so much

 Wade Lightheart: Great stuff. I know years ago when I was a first in the, well, I was probably about maybe six, seven years into my,training and nutritional career as was a student, ook exercise physiology and then became a sports nutrition educator and a personal trainer and, y own career. And then I ran a supplement store and I was approached by a group of business, people who wanted me to develop a fat burning formula. And so something that would aid in, bating appetite, suppressing appetite, and potentially improving your capabilities if you were on a dietary supplement program in combination with the diet. And so you had to write a book and it was the dummies book. And so they, you write a book and then they dumbify the book, and then you build a supplement. And then I traveled around, and I remember it was the most shocking journey I've ever done in my life.

 Wade Lightheart: We went to a manufacturer first, we went to a major university and everybody would recognize this university, met with the department head. And he told us that for a hundred thousand dollars, he would generate a study that would support what we wanted to do. And I was like sitting there in the meeting going, and they would, they would assign it to some some master's students in his department and they would do the experiments on some bugs or something, and there, it would be. And then later that day, I flew to Southern California to a company that was producing a bunch of different nutritional supplements. Probably about 30% of the supplements in the United States. At the time, it was a very big organization. And I met with the PhD that was running the lab. And so I asked him off hand, we toured the plant and I said, so, which of these products do you take? And we'll get to you in the second. And he's like, well, I don't take any of them. And I'm like, what you mean?

 Wade Lightheart: I don't know these sources. I mean, I don't know if it's contaminated and I was just blown away. Now this is around the year 2000. And then I met with the board the people that were putting the project together and the conversation was about, how much margin they could get, how would they do the marketing, all this sort of stuff. And, I opted out of the, the, the quote unquote opportunity, which is a kind of an interesting word to use. And I said, I'm out. And three years later when we started our supplement company, Matt and I made a pact that we would only be mission-based regardless, and it's a harder sell for a supplement company when you start out. And what I found the best supplement companies are usually owners who have had some problem or some issue to solve on their own. They went through and sorted through the wheat from the shape and then found out, Hey, here's where we can get something. And they make a product for a small group of people. And if they're lucky enough, they can scale and go through the growing pains and build a decent company. And it's fascinating to see, but what attracted you to this industry? What was your background maybe that got you into this style of education for the public? Because it's a great service.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. well, I started my fitness blog back when I was working at an ad agency and I just wasn't happy in my job and I needed an escape from it. So I just started writing. And I certainly didn't get started in the evidence-based fitness world. I got started in the more traditional I'm an experienced trainer. So believe what I, because I'm experienced world. And after I started this blog, of course, I started researching a lot of other blogs and websites because when you're a new blogger, you, part of the way you grow your blog is by guest posting for other people. And so I think that's how I first found it was when I was researching, when I was like, Oh, I need to guest post for people, time to research other blogs. And I came across, a few people whose just their blog articles were full of like links to like studies on pub med, like the actual studies.

 John Fawkes: And I was like, Oh, well, why doesn't everyone do this? This is the way stuff should be written cite the evidence. And I was just an instant convert that I think it's the most honest and informative way to talk about health, but it is one that demands more of the audience. I mean, it is one that you have to expect the audience to actually read the study that you're citing, because if they don't do that, it's not actually any better than just saying, just trust me. I mean, and there are, by the way, I've seen people. And I see this plenty at The Unwind, as we're researching sources for articles is I see other sites will cite studies. And then they'll misrepresent what the study says. Like the study will say one thing, they'll say something else. It's either the opposite of what the study says, or just kind of unrelated. Like I saw one the other day. I don't remember what website it was, but they cited a source saying vanilla could do. I forget what they were saying vanilla extract could do, but you read the study and it's vanilla flavored, nicotine like there's no vanilla at all. It was nicotine like nothing to do with anything you're talking about.

 Wade Lightheart: I think this is this is a great topic because I think there's a lot of research driven experts out there or there would be a small group of research. And I would say there's an interesting relation there's research, then there's applied research. So how does this research translate into the real world? And then there's the part of, how do you determine the real research from the bogus research? And, then, and so I would love to know your methodology for first sorting through what might be cited in an article or reference or information. And then second, how you take that information and then maybe apply it directly in someone's fitness program or your own stuff. Like what what's your methodology. And around that, I think that'd be valuable for people to know

 John Fawkes: In terms of figuring out which research to trust or what to take away from it.

 Wade Lightheart: Yeah, correct. So, because I'll give you an example. So way back in the day when I was in university, this was before the internet and we had to actually go to the library. We would have to research a vitamin or mineral. And unfortunately I remember my first time in there, it was shocking to me. Oh, I was at 18 years old going into the research lab and then you'd see, all these articles supporting vitamin D supplementation. And then all these articles saying that you shouldn't do vitamin D supplementation. It was worthless. And then I was sitting there going, okay, I recognized immediately I was not quipped with the discerning factor at that point in my career, how to determine which was the legit. So how do you ferret through legit research and then apply it in the real world?

 John Fawkes: Yeah. so first off, I wouldn't say, I mean, a lot of studies that are legit and still lead to the wrong conclusion. I mean, first

 Wade Lightheart: That's what I mean, that how you find it?

 John Fawkes: Look at the sum total of research, not any one study. I think a lot of people have this misconception, that new research replaces, old research new research really adds to old research. It's another piece of data. Second look at sample sizes smaller sample sizes make a study more likely to find no significant correlation or no significant difference between groups. And by the way, the reverse is not true. A lot of people think that if a study does find something that it finds a significant correlation, well, a small sample size makes that less valid, wrong. A small sample size means the effect size had to be bigger to overcome that to be significant. So, that's already, if there is a positive result, the effects of a small sample size have already been accounted for a small sample size, makes a study more likely to find nothing.

 John Fawkes: Whereas a big sample size means a result can be significant statistically, but actually just not really be all that big. So make sure you keep those things straight. Second look at what they were doing, how big of a dosage or of whatever it was, whether it's medicine exercise and they were using with vitamin D. I mean, and how long the study went for with vitamin D, you can get studies doing a thousand IEU. You can get studies doing 10,000 IEU. And with vitamin D I don't know which studies particularly you're talking about, but because it's, fat-soluble, it builds up in the body slowly over time. If you have a low dosage and a short length of the study and a small sample size, you're not going to find much because you honestly did not do much. I mean, it is something where you need like five or 10,000 units a day for weeks to really see, I mean, maybe longer five or 10,000 units a day for a couple of weeks to see your blood vitamin D levels go up actual health results from that probably longer.

 John Fawkes: The other thing I would say is applies some Bayesian reasoning, meaning except that you're going to probabilistic reasoning. I shouldn't say that you're ultimately going to have to make a probabilistic decision, meaning with the vitamin D example, if you come out of this thinking, there's a 60% chance that taking vitamin D will help me a 40% chance that, it's kinda going to be a wash, a vanishingly small chance that it will be bad for me. And vitamin D is so cheap, it's practically free except the uncertainty and take the vitamin D so it's part of life is being able to make probabilistic decisions in situations of uncertainty like that. Another similar example, when it comes to weightlifting is training frequency. I think everyone who reads the research at this point knows you need to train every muscle at least twice a week.

 John Fawkes: I mean, I think anyone who's been following it knows the traditional once a week thing is too little beyond twice a week. There is some doubt I'm more of a high-frequency guy. There are some studies saying that high frequencies are better. There are some studies saying they're not better. There aren't really any studies saying higher frequencies are worse. So again, can't say I'm a hundred percent sure might as well go with higher frequencies and at least it doesn't hurt. And again, that's another thing with the studies that find no difference. You can often chalk it up to small sample size because they're in exercise studies, you almost always have small sample sizes because mainly because there's not a lot of funding for them because unlike drugs or even supplements, there are no corporations almost ever that have an incentive to fund them, which means it's the funding is coming from just kind of the government from colleges, from pure research organizations, but no one who has a commercial interest in it. And that can just kind of limits the resources available.

 Wade Lightheart: Yeah, it's an interesting situation. I know we're working with a research team some PhDs and microbiome in, we believe in the potential of developing new strains of probiotics to deal with the Franken bugs that have emerged from antibiotic resistant strains and things like that. And so we're conducting a whole array of kind of, Hey, well, what happens if we blast them with EMS and what happens if we give them this food and what happens? So it can be really fun. But it's been a long time before we've been able to get into a position where we can actually have a lab and have PhDs, actually doing stuff and dream up crazy experiments. And someone that actually knows how to make an experiment. That's, that's going to produce, produce some directional components. I think you touched on something, I think, which is really important.

 Wade Lightheart: And I was on a call with Dave Asprey, not that long ago. And we were talking about stacking the deck in your favor, or taking the probabilistic thinking, which is essentially what biohacking really is. It's like, okay, well, you know, if, if the life expectancy here for round numbers is 80 and the New England Journal of Medicine says that the disability adjusted life expectancy in North America is 60. And the surgeon general says that 90% of the conditions that people are suffering from our lifestyle related. Well, it looks like at the very minimum, we should be able to with pretty good accuracy, mitigate an increase that the quality of our life during that 20 years, and then potentially extend the quality of our life beyond the adjusted life expectancy. So how would you, because you talked earlier about kind of getting into this, you know, biohacking around aging, living a long time. What's your thought process around that in stacking the deck in your favor, in regards to these things?

 John Fawkes: I mean, I would start out by handling. I'm going to assume that I'm answering this for someone who's under 60. They have a bit of time. They have enough time to wait for more research to come out if they take care of themselves. Because it's different. If you are very old, then it's like panic button take a risk or you're going to die, you know?

 Wade Lightheart: Right, right.

 John Fawkes: Cause that's, again at me as a 36 year old, I look at the research, it's incomplete. I say, I'm not going to take a bunch of drugs. I'm going to wait five more years.

 Wade Lightheart: Me too.

 John Fawkes: Fundamentals, sleep diet, exercise. The research is overwhelming. You should eat way more fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables sleep about seven to nine hours a night. A lot of people think eight plus the research actually says about seven and nine for most people. Although there is evidence that you can benefit from more sleep. The more you exercise, like there was a study on college basketball players that did better, with 10 plus hours a night sleep more exercise for, from a longevity standpoint, I would say a mix of cardio and weights and make sure you've got all your micronutrients covered. I would get tested for vitamins and minerals. See if you're deficient in any of them.

 Wade Lightheart: Are you testing on something, like?

 John Fawkes: I don't have a favorite company or anything. I just kinda go say, look, test all my vitamins and minerals. I know people say SpectraCell is good. I have to be honest. I haven't investigated like, which is the best method I just haven't taken the time

 Wade Lightheart: I use SpectraCell under the guidance of my ND. And I like, because it shows not only deficiencies, but where you may have trouble absorbing, like how your body absorbs. So it's not just serum levels. It's, what's going on at the cellular level, which is really great. Continue on. This is great stuff

 John Fawkes: With regards to that, test two or three times, months apart, particularly nutrients can either be water soluble or fat soluble. If they're water soluble, your blood levels are not very stable at all. They can vary a lot from day to day. So like vitamin D I mentioned earlier as fat soluble, if you test it today and tomorrow, you're going to get similar results both times. Other things like vitamin a water soluble, it's a crap shoot. You can't read too much into any one test. So you just got to test a few times and take some combination of the averages and the trend, you know so for longevity, I wouldn't do all that beyond that. I mean, there's a lot of interesting kind of hacking stuff like this. I know you've read the [inaudible] and dasatinib study that came out earlier. I think it was last year, but we with senolytics, so, you know, a drug combo to kill senescent cells, but it was, it was very promising, although it was specifically in very elderly people with diabetic kidney disease. I believe it was having the loss of senescent cells was not just in their kidneys. Like they also saw a reduction of senescent cells in their skin, which is,

 Wade Lightheart: You Want to explain senescent cells to our audience.

 John Fawkes: I should. Yeah. Senescent cells are basically senescence means kind of old and useless, like not old and disabled, I shouldn't say. So it's when you're body cells get really old, well, a few ways senescent cells can go senescent. One is they can just hit a limit of how many times they can divide replicate. I think that's the Hayflick limit if I'm not mixing that up with something. I was thinking, is that something from astronomy now, which is about like 40 or 50 times, and then they'll go senescent. Another thing that can happen a cancer. If they get cancer, a lot of times cells will go senescent as a defensive mechanism. Or if they're just, they get a lot of toxins in them, various external toxins. And it's not a bad thing to have a few senescent cells.

 John Fawkes: There is some evidence that they serve productive purposes in low amounts, but as you get older, you end up with too many of them. So part of your immune system, the natural killer cells do try to kill senescent cells to keep their numbers low. And as you get older, that mechanism kind of gets overwhelmed because on the one hand more and more cells go senescent, the pace of that picks up and at the same time, the number of natural killer cells goes down. So there are this particular study directly killed senescent cells by using a combination of a leukemia drug and a very common dietary supplement for just three days. Very promising again, and probably not too risky because it's only three days of the same dosage that leukemia patients take for years. Having said that a, you wouldn't want to overdo it B if you're young, no reason not to wait a bit longer, see more research.

 John Fawkes: You can also reduce your senescence cell load by increasing your natural killer cell count. There are a lot of supplements that can do that, but healthy lifestyle probably does more. I mean, that's more of an overall health thing. And you can also reduce the rate at which, I mean, there are various ways to prevent cells from going senescent in the first place, although that I don't know that you would necessarily want to do that because they often go senescent for good reasons. The way I describe it is when cells go senescent, it's like that scene in a zombie movie where someone gets bitten. So he shoots himself, you know, it's like, Oh, now I'm a danger to the rest of the body. I gotta disabled myself, you know? So you don't necessarily want to prevent that from happening.

 John Fawkes: And that's one of the reasons I'm slow to join the kind of senolytics train is not just because I'm wondering whether it works, but because I'm wondering to what degree do you actually want to reduce your senescent cell load? And are there downsides to reducing it too quickly? Like for instance, in your skin and the skin, I believe is the part of the body that tends to have the highest senescent cell load, the earliest in life. I mean, that's a big part of why you get wrinkly is because of senescent cells. So I'm wondering if you kill too many of them all at once. I mean that many skin cells dying all at once is that can be a structural issue where you just have all of a sudden, the skin collapsing in, on itself where those cells used to be, I don't know,

 Wade Lightheart: Trigger other, it also could trigger other metabolic response mechanisms, like knows we don't, we don't know sometimes when we're studying this stuff, we don't know, like what's the trigger event that could activate a kind of an unmitigated cascade towards death versus, an upregulation to an extended ended of life, because that's the unfortunate part of compartmentalization things. Right?

 John Fawkes: Yeah. And the unfortunate thing about longevity research is it takes a long time to do at least on long lived species like humans which is why we can study. And this study I'm about, by the way, one reason, I'm not another reason I'm not reading too much into it. The only outcomes they looked at were senescent cell load. They didn't go beyond that. At least yet they could do a follow-up study on the same people, I guess, but they didn't go beyond that and look at health outcomes, like, did these people lose weight? Did they have a better resting heart rate? Did they have better VO2 max or exercise capacity is their subjective quality of life better? None of that, all it proved is that their senescent cell load went down. We're left to assume that that meant good things for them health wise, which I think it probably did, but again, because they were diabetics with kidney disease, I also can't generalize too much from them to everyone else.

 John Fawkes: And so there's a ton of research on senescence and it's almost all in like worms flies, sometimes rats. And so one the thing about longevity research is I, I would not, you know, those, those very small life forms don't live very long. They live, I mean, rats, maybe a couple of years, worms flies less than a year. And so the degree to which you can generalize from small animals to bigger, longer lived ones is pretty limited. So I think that the purpose of that kind of longevity research on flies is to provide ideas for what you should then research on bigger animals, including humans, but you can't jump directly from this worked on flies. So it'll work on humans.

 Wade Lightheart: So, so to kind of go through a couple of things based on the research that you've kind of established, and you said something in here, that's very interesting because I've noticed right now there's a trend around longevity and things like that, but a lot of people are going to a ketogenic type style diet, and then you're citing vegetables and fruits as something that's probably to help. So can you kind of unpack that a little bit for our listeners because interestingly enough, my business partner is a ketogenic guy and I'm a plant-based guy. And so we are what many people would see as opposite ends of the spectrum. So I'd love to know what, how you see this picture

 John Fawkes: Yeah. As far as the ketogenic diet, I mean, it's a great tool for weight loss. Mainly, I mean, we have more research on it now there's still weight loss is still calories in calories out. There's no hacking around it. Having said that the ketogenic diet is great for weight loss first and foremost, it seems to suppress your appetite. And a lot of people will feel that by the way, just from taking ketones supplements, without even going on the diet, like I had some lemonade with ketone raspberry ketones in it just an hour ago, it kills my appetite. And actually in my case I've done the ketogenic diet for weight loss, and it's too much for me. Like I don't, when I really stick to it, I have a hard time even eating a thousand calories a day. Now that this, by the way, I'm muscular now, I was very skinny as a kid.

 John Fawkes: So my gut take away from that, that I can't really prove is that if you are a person whose tendency is to be underweight or who has historically been very skinny, the ketogenic diet is likely to have that effect that you'll not even eat enough on it. Where the ketogenic diet is great for weight loss for a lot of people the effect. I would, if you go want it for more than a few months start getting your lipids, tested your cholesterol, your triglycerides the effects that it can have on those are just kind of all over the place. Some people find they get better. Some people find they get worse and it doesn't seem to strongly correlate to body type. I think it's probably more of a genetic thing just in terms of some people process high carb diets better. Some people do better on high fat diets.

 John Fawkes: And that's the thing you can get tested. I mean, it's partly genetic, it's partly body type that you would think there is a gene for in one gene, but there are genes for how well your body processes, high carb versus high fat off the top of my head. I can't name them. I actually did though. I got a DNA test years ago before I found out about this gene. And then when I read about it, I went back to 23 and me, and was like, Oh, okay. I actually have the high carb genetics. Cool. that said ketogenic diet was great for me for fat loss. I did lose muscle on it because I was just so fatigued and so under eating. So I think it's just kind of a try it and see how it works for you thing. But the other thing I will say about fruits and vegetables you still want to eat vegetables on the ketogenic diet and a little bit of fruit, to the extent you can.

 John Fawkes: I think a lot of people that your goal on the keto diet is to be as deep into ketosis as possible to absolutely minimize the carbs and maximize the ketones. And that is I think people are conflating kind of health and fitness ketosis with medical ketosis. So keto is used for some medical conditions in particular,epilepsy. And if you're using it for that purpose, yes, you want to go as deep into ketosis as possible because the deeper into ketosis you go, the more your symptoms are going to improve. Now, if you're doing keto for general health, and for weight loss, it's not that you actually don't want to, like you don't want to sacrifice protein and vegetables just for the sake of going deeper into ketosis, because that is mixing up means and ends the ketosis is a means to an end. Uwhat you really we want to do is eat as much protein and as many vegetables and maybe even fruits you can, without breaking ketosis. In other words, get the benefits without sacrificing the things that tend to get sacrificed on a ketogenic diet.

 Wade Lightheart: Yeah, it's interesting too. And I think that's where I think biohacking taking the research and then running your own tests. So you've got the N of one on yourself to kind of number one, kind of tweak out for example, give you a, give you a great example. A lot of people in the ketogenic diet use coconut oil, my business partner, who lives in Panama found that if he used coconut oil, it kept his triglycerides high. He wiped out the coconut oil and his triglycerides came down. And so he was able to meet. So that was a variation myself. I'm a carb guy. And so my ketones are often in the levels of a ketogenic dieter while I'm eating carbohydrates while I'm on a carbohydrate diet, you know? Sowe're two guys in the same company that have vast differences and his blood sugar regulation is much different. There's also adaptive responses. The longer you go. So for example, people who have done ketogenic for maybe a year, right. They will go back much quicker go back into ketosis if they cycle off. And it would seem that it seems to be, most people do best if they cycle in and out of keto during various parts of the years, which would seem more like seasonal dieting. I don't know.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. I think, I think that's right. Partly because it's just, it's hard to get enough vitamins and fruits and vegetables on keto. So I think most people, and I do know some people who stay on it pretty much permanently, I think most people kind of go on and off it every few months, which is different by the way, from the cyclical ketogenic diet where you kind of carve up every week or so, which is I guess, an okay thing to do, if you want to, the thing is that, you get out of ketosis, you have this switch over a period where you're getting the worst of both worlds. You're maybe getting the keto flu. So I don't advocate doing that kind of carve up too often. And one problem I had, I ended up doing it really often just to balance out my calories.

 John Fawkes: So they weren't too low, but that sacrificed so many of the benefits of doing keto in the first place. And I think most people know this, but, you can get something called the keto flu where you just kind of feel fatigued and dizzy when you're transitioning from, into ketosis, from being out of it. The degree to which that happens varies from person to person, it is actually to me, is both a downside and upside, obviously a downside. It feels terrible. And it, it makes it hard to cycle in and out of ketosis on a high-frequency basis. Like the CKD, why I consider it partly an upside, if you're a person who has trouble being disciplined with dieting, it can be an upside for you because it punishes you for breaking the diet. So I actually, I've had clients who've expressed an interest in keto and they said, you know, it's a pretty extreme diet and I'm worried because I'm not very disciplined. I'm like, okay, well, good. This diet punishes you for breaking it, that's an upside. Yeah. So if you're someone who needs to build discipline and who needs like to just be slapped on the wrist, when you break your diet, the keto diet does that for you. So that can be an advantage for some people.

 Wade Lightheart: What are some other things that I would say let's maybe dive a little bit more into how, cause I think you've got such a good basis in research and information and being able to sort out things. What are the things that you do on a daily basis? That's going to, you feel contribute to living long and living strong

 John Fawkes: On a daily basis. The biggest thing is having an evening having a strict, well, not strict, but a consistent sleep schedule. You know, I've developed an evening routine where the last hour before bed, I will read TV off reading. And the hour before that I will not be working or playing video games or anything like that. Maybe you still reading maybe TV, but nothing too stimulating. So I think having a consistent sleep schedule is really the, kind of the anchor that everything else in your life kind of orbits around in that respect COVID-19 has been great because I'm like, there's no bars, no clubs there's is not too much to pull me away from that. Having a morning routine for the first hour of your day is important get to a running start.

 John Fawkes: If I in practice, there should be no reason why you can't screw around in the morning or in theory, there should be no reason why you can't screw around in the morning and kind of still have a productive Workday after that in practice, it never works. It's like I waste the morning. I'm like, well, this day is blown. I don't catch up in the afternoon. It just doesn't happen. So I've developed a morning routine, which is, I can't just hop out of bed and get to work, but I spend my first hour having a little tea, either reading the news or a book. And then after that, I'm off to work, you know?

 Wade Lightheart: Are you like a 10 o'clock at night guy six in the morning?

 John Fawkes: No, I it's funny. I was, as a kid, I was an extreme night owl. I'd want to go to bed at 4:00 AM and the older I've gotten the earlier that's been pushed back. So now my bed time is about midnight lately. It's sometimes been a little earlier, but I'm usually about a midnight to eight guy.

 Wade Lightheart: There's the chronotypes book. Have you seen that one about different, like different sleep cycles and kind of learning your own sleep cycles? A good value. Like I'm an early morning guy. That's a late night guy. Right? So we build it schedules out around those things.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. Now I don't know, to what extent that is genetic versus kind of has to do with kind of light in your environment. I think it's a bit of both in my case, there's clearly been an age component to it as well. So I wouldn't, I'm always wary of presenting this as something about yourself that you can't change because I can easily become more of a night guy. If I keep the lights on. If I have more caffeine, if I do more stimulating things in the evening, I mentioned video games is something that I don't do before bed because they are the perfect storm of everything that will keep you awake. You're looking at a screen that's blasting light into your eyes. You're performing an activity that in most cases has no defined endpoint. Like most games are designed to not have an end point.

 John Fawkes: They want you playing more and more. It's mentally stimulating, but not mentally fatiguing the way that working can be. And it's the kind of thing. If it's a fun game, when you stop playing it, you'd be like, Oh, I should've done this. What if I'd done this? Like, it, it can keep you up. It's just, it's everything that'll keep you up. Right. So if it, you know, if I drink a bunch of caffeine and play video games in the evening, I can be up until two and I'm a night owl now. But it's something I did, you know? So I, my chronotype is pretty flexible between about 11:00 PM and two or 3:00 AM, depending on what I do. Beyond that there's not much flexible. Like I can't force myself to go to sleep before much before 11, unless I either am sick or like take a bunch of edibles or something. And I can't force myself to stay up beyond two or three with again, without stimulants or an afternoon nap or something. But within that window of about four hours, I have some wiggle room depending on how I structure my day. So I think just, just bear in mind there, you know, this is partly something you can influence. The other thing is yeah.

 Wade Lightheart: Beyond, Oh, you got anything else on sleep?

 John Fawkes: No. I thought we were going to circle back to productivity habits, having a good day. A lot of that is keeping your workspace kind of ready for work uncluttered. In my case, I'm in a one bedroom apartment right now. I was in a studio before and I moved to a one bedroom that has a lot more space and it helped tremendously because I have more room to keep my work space uncluttered separate from my eating space, separate from my plane space makes a big difference. Working, standing up helps a lot. I find if I sit down for too long, I get like antsy. I want to just kind of get up and pace around. So I will alternate between working, sitting down and kind of just standing at my kitchen counter here with my laptop up on the counter. And I'll try to work standing up as much as I can until my feet start my feet, or my legs started to get a little fatigued and I'll sit down for a bit.

 John Fawkes: And I actually discovered this way back when I was in my day job at the ad agency, you're more alert you think faster when you're standing up. And so it's worth thinking about what kinds of work that's going to be useful for versus sitting down. You're more relaxed. So I was in, I was the director of business development. So I would stand up anytime I had to do phone calls because you're in a live conversation with someone you have to think faster. Having said that I am sitting down right now, but I'd stand up for phone calls. I'd sit down when I was doing emails or anything else. So I would kind of just game that system. Like when do I need to be relaxed? When do I need to be thinking faster on my feet, standing up more throughout the day does help you sleep better too.

 Wade Lightheart: I have a standing desk here that I stand at most of the time. And then sometimes when we're on team calls and something, I have a little bike that I can slide under the desk and I'll just kind of do a slow biking, cardio. Some people do walking stuff. And I I've always, I always prefer to actually be standing up for personally communication style things where I'm involved in verbal fluency. I find I get a, more of a rhythm when I'm standing than when I'm sitting. So it's, I guess everybody's got to kind of work things. What are some other things that you're doing on a daily basis to kind of optimize your health in longevity,

 John Fawkes: I mean, working out, I do full body workouts nearly every day

 Wade Lightheart: So tell me about that.

 John Fawkes: I mean, they're short. I usually I go to the gym sometimes I'll work out at home, but I just, I try to work out all the movement patterns every day. So that's upper body pushing and pulling kind of squat style movements, hinge, style movements mean like dead lifts, something with my abs. So on a day when I don't have a lot of energy and this might be about a 15 minute, you know, 12 or 15 sets, very short workout. Uon days when I have the energy, it might be more like 30 sets. And then everyday. I'll do long walks because that's just good to clear my head. Usually I'll jog a little bit for a while. I've started doing more cardio for a long time. I was of the opinion that you don't need to do cardio if you're doing plenty of weights.

 John Fawkes: And the research largely seems to support that. But my personal experience just doesn't. So I've definitely found the cardio. I mean, I just have more energy when I do it. I sleep better when I do cardio. It helps me with fat loss. So in theory, everything you get from cardio, you can get from doing weights, cause that can get your heart rate up. I've found it still worth doing extra cardio above and beyond the weight training. That may not be true for everyone. It has been true for me to.

 Wade Lightheart: Do you cardio every day as well?

 John Fawkes: Not every day, I'm less concerned unless you consider long walks to be cardio, which in a way they are, but if we're only including running or jogging, no, that's maybe four days a week lately. For important to.

 Wade Lightheart: What's your duration?

 John Fawkes: Maybe a half hour of kind of intermittent all run or jog for a few minutes, I'll walk for a minute or two. And I got into that partly because I want to get back into sports and I think I'm just going to need more stamina for the sport I want to play, you know? So I,

 Wade Lightheart: Nutrition wise, what are some of the things that you found have been helpful in your program that you feel really solid about?

 John Fawkes: Nutrition-Wise number one, high protein breakfast all the time, regardless of when that is breakfast, I don't mean first thing in the morning. It's whenever you feel ready to eat. So I don't schedule permitting. I don't think you need to force yourself to eat first thing in the morning, but whatever your first meal of the day is, it needs to be very high in protein. And I think usually relatively low in carbs, just not no carb, but I think it just works better that way, in terms of being slower, digesting, getting you steady your blood sugar levels. And there's research that having a high protein breakfast is gonna make the brain produce more dopamine, which will keep you awake more. And the other reason to have lower carbs in the morning, you want more of your carbs in the evening, cause that'll let the brain produce serotonin, which has been processed into melatonin.

 John Fawkes: So it helps you sleep to have more of your carbs in the evening. And protein wise, I also just find it's best to have three or four good meals a day with a decent amount of protein. There is research that not only the amount of protein, but kind of spreading it out throughout the day is important. And that's because your body has no way of storing protein or amino acids other than about 50 grams of amino acids in your blood at any one time. And beyond that, it's your muscles, your muscles are the fat, the fatty tissue of protein. So you burn through the amino acids in your blood. You're breaking down muscle to get beyond that. And a lot of people say they don't care about building muscle. What people need to understand is for any given calorie balance, for any given level of calorie intake versus calorie burning.

 John Fawkes: If you are building muscle, you have to be burning fat to make those numbers balance out. And then beyond that, of course, if you build more muscle, your metabolic rate goes up. You're also in a better position to stay healthy as you get older and start losing strength. So it is people need to understand this is important from a health standpoint. And then for me, the other thing is just eat more fruits and vegetables. I'm a guy who enjoys eating fruits and vegetables, but I'm not a guy who naturally loves to cook, which can be an issue for vegetables because they're not usually like ready to eat. Like fruits are like I have a bowl of apples right here on my dining table here. Just keep a bowl of fruit out where they're easy to reach, keep some vegetables ready to eat. I think it's very important to recognize just how much human behavior is driven by convenience. And by doing whatever feels like the default, you will eat way more fruit. If you have fruit, just sitting around in a bowl,

 Wade Lightheart: Totally. This is a big thing used to be. You walked in and there was a fruit bowl on people's tables as a kid. Now you don't see that as a, there's a bowl of candy or something.

 John Fawkes: You will work out more. If you keep your exercise gear kind of ready to go by the door. And in my case, I haven't been taking a bag to the gym. It's two blocks away. It's half of it's closed cause of COVID. But I just, I keep my weightlifting gloves, which are the only real gear I take right now. I just have them sitting right out there. I don't have to dig through and get them the Jim's two blocks away. And I picked this apartment by the way, partly with that in mind that I want to be as close as possible to the gym. I know I'll go more. If it's a short walk compared to the mile, plus a way that my old gym and my old apartment were so a lot of people will tell you to not be lazy, to try and work harder, which is good advice, but it takes time to change.

 John Fawkes: What kind of person you are. I would say recognize that you are lazy and this isn't always a bad thing. It's because your brain is evolved to try and find the easiest way of doing things and the shortest route from point A to point B, but recognize that you're lazy and make doing the right thing easier than doing the wrong thing. Keep healthy food ready to eat. And a lot of people will say, don't keep junk food in your home. I would say, don't keep junk food ready to eat in your home. If I have a box of cookies, they're getting eaten. If I have a box of cake mix, it can sit there for a year and never get cooked.

 Wade Lightheart: Yes.

 John Fawkes: So it's only an issue to the degree that it's super convenient to just quickly consume. So go ahead and keep all the junk food that has to be cooked. You want assuming you're not someone who loves to cook. Keep some very easy, ready to eat fruit, yogurt, vegetables, carrot sticks,make doing the healthy thing more than doing the not healthy thing. So I mean, I keep my running shoes by the door. I keep my weightlifting gloves around. I keep my bed made and ready to sleep in. I don't wait until evening to do that. I make my bed in the morning. Just recognize the convenience factor and clear the time out of your schedule. Um,ich for me, I mean, I work from home flexible hours. This is something I tell other people to do. It tends to not be a major hurdle for me in any case.

 John Fawkes: And then if you have something that's messing up your life, get rid of it. You know, like I mentioned video games earlier, historically I've loved video games. I got rid of most of them, cause it's like, it's a time sink and I'd rather be working more or at least doing more productive hobby stuff. Anything that you find is kind of getting in the way of you being successful ditch it, I've found external noise was bugging me a lot at my old place. So I started wearing headphones there. So if you, I guess the core idea here is solve your problems at the source, meaning get rid of them rather than find ways to put up with them. What else? I mean, I could get back into productivity stuff.

 Wade Lightheart: Well actually I want to kind of go into particularly, really into one of the big issues. I think that is facing society right now and where a lot of research is going is cognitive decline as people age. And then there's another ashes, how much cognitive load is optimal and then how do we maintain cognitive or improve cognitive capacity? And I think this is a very big topic because there's so many people in our aging communities, which are really suffering from brain degeneration, which has horrific implications, not only for their own life, but also for those around them, especially as they get into, you know, stages of dementia and progresses into Alzheimer's or Parkinson's and things like that. And it's, there's seems to be certain amount of evidence emerging that many of these things can be prevented if lifestyle like there's lifestyle controls that are involved, what are, when it comes to cognitive function. What are some of the things that you think are that you've discovered that really work well to maintain cognitive function over time,

 John Fawkes: Over time? I mean, sleep is still number one. Another big research-based thing is glucose tolerance. I mean, there's a big link between Alzheimer's other aging diseases and having kind of impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistance. So do what it takes to get a handle on that. Whether that's the keto diet, low carb, low fat, mainly it's low calorie plus exercise regardless. But people need to recognize physical health and kind of brain health are not too far separated from each other. Another big, big thing is stress. I mean, stress will both directly and indirectly reduce your cognitive abilities indirectly, it'll stop you from making healthy decisions, which will in turn impact all areas of your health, but stress also directly makes people less intelligent and less able to focus. I mean, there are a lot of studies now that if you can manipulate subjects' stress levels, their IQ goes up and down immediately.

 John Fawkes: I mean immediately. I mean, there are a lot of studies showing saying that you know, poor people tend to be less intelligent, not just because like they grew up with all the disadvantages and stuff, but literally just because they're poor and they get smarter, as soon as their financial circumstances improve. Like, there's a very, very interesting study out of India the farmers, of course they have their annual harvest. And so they make most of their money for the year, all at once. And they, this study found like the new IQ test people before and after the harvest, their IQ went up like 10 or 15 points once they had some money in their pockets and they felt more secure versus a couple of months earlier in there, like they knew the harvest was coming, that there was always some uncertainty about A how good it would be, B what the market price would be. So, I mean the same people, their IQ goes up when they're in, when they're safer. So obviously make more money. Isn't the most helpful advice, but save your money. You will be less stressed out and actually smarter for having financial security.

 Wade Lightheart: There was some, I was listening to Dr. Jordan Peterson the other day kind of psychologist out of Toronto. And he had worked on a project in association with the guy that did this long-term study on what is the number one thing that we could do? The factors that would improve the environment health and social issues. And there was two distinct factors. I thought that was really profound in that number one was, if you can increase the quality of nutrition in kids around the world, it would make a remarkable difference. The second thing was getting the mean average income of individuals to $5,000 a year. And so the nutrition made people make better choices, and it'd be able to go with delayed gratification, get better educated, increase their finances. And then when people get around 5,000, they start to care about the environment. When you're not in, like you said, when they're not in this ultra stress, if you're not living in, if you've been to anyone that's been to Mumbai India and gone where they filmed Slumdog Millionaire, you're very clear that you need to get past a certain point for you to even comprehend anything. That's not just like, how do I get through the day?

 John Fawkes: Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, the environmentalism very much tends to be a thing for wealthier people. Cause you have to have yourself taken care of before you can care that much about the role that mean, and there are people around the rule who are just like, I don't care. I need to shoot this monkey cause I'm hungry.

 Wade Lightheart: Right.

 John Fawkes: This nutrition thing is huge. I really, I really wished first off that schools would provide free super healthy lunches. I mean, be very strict about the nutrition into, I mean, I think there's a lot of room for the government to do more to fortify foods with nutrients. You know what I mean? Then we put like vitamin D in milk we put was it like niacin in bread. And they only did that a century ago

 Wade Lightheart: They calling it rich After they stripped everything out of it.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. And they only did that because we had like an epidemic of, I think it was rickets for vitamin D and pellagra for niacin. And so like, well, let's do the bare minimum to prevent people from literally dying. It's like, and I obviously don't want to overdo it cause you can't have too much of these things. And none of this is going to be personalized. You don't know who needs, how I need nutrients or who's going to eat what, but having said that, I think the government could put a little, some more vitamins and minerals. You have to air on the low side rather than the high side when you're doing this to everyone. But I do think that would help. And then if you combine that with, I mean, schools really serving healthier food and again, making it free. I think it's really dumb that schools charged kids for food. And if they can't afford it, they don't get food. Cause it's like, it's so little money relative to what you spend on the school itself. And like he said, it makes a huge difference in terms of kids' cognitive abilities, their emotional skills, their behavior, I think trying to charge them for it is really penny wise, pound foolish, as they say,

 Wade Lightheart: Well, you bring up a great topic and I'm not that hopeful that governments are capable of agreeing on anything to systematize kind of national agendas. And therefore, as individuals, I believe the more responsibility that we take for our own nutrition individually, and I suspect over the next 20 or 30 years, I think we'll see micro societies start to emerge with kind of these kind of society values that will work now because of the segmentation that's possible out of the internet and discourse. We essentially have these digital States where, okay, here's the biohackers and here's the people that are trying to live a long time. And here's the people that are trying to put rockets on the moon. And now you can connect with a wide diversity of people. I suspect that will, that will merge into people, choosing to live in certain areas very much like if you're in the financial industry, you're in London or New York, or maybe well before what was going on in Hong Kong or something like that, if you're in Silicon Valley, you're in San Francisco, if you're in the health industry, you're in California, it's kind of like all these, you know, these various pockets where there's emerging factors, I think that might increase over time.

 Wade Lightheart: What are some other things that you do personally for cognitive enhancement? Cause I know you got a wealth of knowledge in that area to kind of be at your top of your game.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. I mean, so one thing I had done is I mean really basic thing. I really play around with caffeine and with the balance of stimulants and depressants, maybe caffeine and theanine, the basic thing. So there's this thing called the Yerkes Dodson law, which is basically there is an optimal level of kind of mental and physiological arousal for any given task, meaning you don't want to be too jazzed up. You don't want to be too tired. And that is, it depends on the task. So if you look up the Yerkes Dodson law, they'll say they'll divided into two types of tasks, kind of high complexity, low complexity. So for a low complexity task, like digging a ditch, you want to be very energized. Because you need physical energy, you don't need to be able to think too deeply for a complex task, like writing an article, you need somewhat less energy because you need to be able to focus.

 John Fawkes: Really, this is still an oversimplification, I would say for physical, for purely physical tasks, you want to have very high energy for highly creative tasks. You want to have very relatively low energy for mental, but not super creative tasks. Like just doing a bunch of math or kind of collating data. You want to be somewhere in the middle. Then there's also a kind of a sort of mixed mental and physical task like play most sports falls into this category where you need physical energy, but also situational awareness. And then this also comes back to your default energy level. Some people are high energy by default and almost any amount of caffeine is going to take their energy level too high for any non-physical task. Other people are more sedate, they will benefit more from caffeine rather than theanine. So this is something to play around with and find your optimal level of arousal for any given task.

 John Fawkes: And so I years ago I experimented with an EEG headset called versus to help me kind of learn to focus. And then I actually used it. I experimented with different levels of caffeine and use kind of the, the games that came with the headset to see what it did to my performance on those games.

 Wade Lightheart: Very cool.

 John Fawkes: And of course they were pretty much [inaudible] purely mental. They were all used to screen and focus. So I found pretty consistently it was a low level, a low amount of caffeine that was ideal for maximizing my performance in those games, which doesn't necessarily mean that that's what's ideal for any given task. So I also experimented with different levels of caffeine and different tasks that I was doing. And I found again, if I was writing a blog article, a diet Coke is good, 50 milligrams of caffeine.

 John Fawkes: No, I think it was closer to a hundred today. It would be more like 50. I just don't have as much caffeine now because back then I was on always having pre-workout before the gym and all that. I don't do that anymore. If I was lifting weights at the gym, 300 milligrams of caffeine was great, which again would just make me sick today. But that was ideal for me back then kind of going through Google analytics, looking at math stuff for my business would be a slightly higher level of caffeine I have been compared to creative tasks. And then for ma mixed mental, physical tasks, I was playing Dodgeball at the time. And so I initially thought, well, having a bunch of pre-workout before the gym makes me really strong and gives me a lot of stamina. So that's probably what I should do before I played Dodgeball. Right. I should have a bunch of caffeine. And what I found was that when I did that, when I got incredibly amped up before on caffeine and whatever else was in that pre-workout before playing dodgeball, I had incredible strength. I had Berserker like confidence, I had stamina, I felt invincible. And I constantly got hit by a ball coming from the side because I had no situational awareness.

 John Fawkes: So I felt invincible and I could have absolutely destroyed the guy in front of me, but the guy off to the side always got me.

 Wade Lightheart: Right. Right. Dodgy principals of dodgeball

 John Fawkes: Yeah, I found, I got pretty bad tunnel vision from that in addition to insomnia because the games, [inaudible 1:05:00]

 John Fawkes: So I used the UCG headsets to kind of help train myself to focus and to relax better and to kind of test my responses to caffeine. Again, those results would not be valid anymore because I just consumed so much less caffeine these days. Another thing I do as I've gotten into using algorithmic music which let me, I always get it mixed up with a different website. I believe it's called brain. Yes. is what I use in place of these computer generated not songs because there's no scene, but like kind of two hour bits of music to help you focus. I don't know why it works, but it does just listening to this music while I work really helps me focus a lot. And this is something,

 Wade Lightheart: I read a book, I read a book byyears ago on super learning and how there is an entrainment factor by tuning yourself into Baroque music. And it's the way it started firing. And I started to extrapolate by getting into sync and then I would start switching the beats per minute into different things to kind of play with different alternative States. And I found that there was a correlation with how you change sounds. And now today I have a play in the background here, different frequencies as I'm working, and that creates different vibes. And they're definitely, I'm certainly not in any exact science on it, but I do absolutely notice difference in arousal level or focus level or, less focused so maybe chill out music in the evening, rock music, if I'm going to go work out and then kind of like these nice flutes and sounds when I'm kind of just chilling and focusing or whatever these interesting kind of,

 John Fawkes: Yeah. And it's funny, you said that music for focus, they have ones for like relaxing and sleeping too. But the focus music that I mainly use is like moderately high energy. It's not like heavy metal but it's a little more high energy. You can then call me your default energy level when you're just sitting in a chair. So I think it's a right. Just the amount to get you motivated to work without being so high energy that you're like, I want to get up and pace around. I don't want to sit. So I think it's pretty well kind of calculated to be right in that sweet spot. Another thing I do that helps me focus and I don't, again, I don't quite understand why is oxiracetam one of the oxiracetams it for whatever reason and this was recommended to me by,a guy named Jonathan Roseland is the same guy who recommended the algorithmic music to me, oxiracetam had, it's not super well-researched.

 John Fawkes: It has a few apparent mechanism of mechanism of action, but I don't know what to attribute this to. It's just, when I take it, I am less distractible. Like I am more likely to want to focus on my work and less likely to be like, no, I want to watch TV. I want to read a book. I want to do something else. I want to surf the internet. And I don't quite whether to attribute that to increased GABA or decreased dopamine or what, I don't know how it works, but it just kind of does.

 Wade Lightheart: And I think that's, I'd like to know I want to be mindful of your time, but I'd like to know what's your methodology because I think what you're really illustrating here and sharing for our listeners, I think, which is really pertinent is that your setting up experiments and creating some sort of feedback system, and maybe you're setting up an experiment based on some research that you saw or whatever. And then you're like, okay, let me create a feedback system and let's run a test and then see what happens and then play things around and, throw away the things that don't work and then use the things that do, did you just kind of come up with a zone or is that, do you think the key aspect of what it takes to be quote unquote a biohacker or biologically optimized there, or like doing that? Like, cause I think a lot of people are scared or hesitant to set up their own experiments.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. I think if something sounds interesting to you, you just need to try it but have a way of measuring your results and tracking what you did. So I used to use this spreadsheet. I think it's still on my personal website somewhere. But I would just record what I ate at what time what kinds of work or activities I was doing at what time supplements I took when I slept. And every day I would record my, I can't remember if it was every day or every hour or what, but I would record my energy level, my mood productivity level and libido on a scale from one to five. So four outcome measures. And I would see how, what effected, what else? And it worked very well, but it was a lot of work. There were a lot of things that had to be recorded several times a day.

 John Fawkes: More recently I've been using an app called Dailyio, which is maybe has less fidelity, but it's just a hundred times easier to use because every evening you record what all you did that day, just in general terms, what kinds of food you ate? Did you eat kind of meat, vegetables, healthy food, packaged food which of these kinds of work did you do, which of these kinds of exercise, which these kinds of social activity, how well did you sleep? And you record just kind of each day on a scale from one to five, like how good of a day was it? So it doesn't separate the outcome measures. That's one thing I wish it did a bit better is separate the outcome or the goal into multiple outcome measures. So you can kind of define for yourself, whether am I rating my mood, my productivity, some weighted mix of both which, and for me it's a mix of both, which also does kind of muddy the waters of what I'm measuring, but the upside is it's very easy to stay consistent with compared to my homemade spreadsheet. So that's a more realistic option in terms of just what you're going to stick to. And it actually runs the statistical analysis for you, as opposed to me looking at my spreadsheet and just eyeballing it.

 Wade Lightheart: Right. What are some, any other devices or tracking equipment that you find valuable or useful, or do you like the kind of the old biofeedback method of just kind of recording moods in the past?

 John Fawkes: I use a fitness tracker right now. I have a Garmin one that I, that seems to be broken that I need to figure out, but I like fitness trackers for, they seem to really overestimate my calorie expenditure for some reason.

 Wade Lightheart: That's what I found too. It's like, come on, I didn't burn a thousand calories.

 John Fawkes: Yeah. I don't know if, I don't know if it's because they're going off, like they're interpreting every arm movement as me walking or if maybe they're overestimating heart rate or what, but yeah, take the calories with a grain of salt, but they are good at measuring sleep. And they're good at measuring heart rate variability, which is a measure of your stress levels and your recovery status, how well you've recovered from a workout. And so that's kind of a good way to gauge, like how hard should I push myself versus recovery more? And it's better than just going off of how you feel. So I find it good for both of those.

 Wade Lightheart: What so can, maybe you can share with people a little bit about Unwinder your work in the world and how people can find out more and who Unwinder is for

 John Fawkes: Yeah. The Unwinder there is for people who, who want to be healthy, want to be productive, maybe not quite hardcore biohackers it's maybe I would say it's probably for people who are interested in the kind of things biohackers are into and kind of want to take an 80 20 approach to it in terms of how much work they're willing to put into either taking a DIY approach to doing it, or like scouring the internet for all the information. So it is for people who are willing to spend the time and money on kind of supplements on devices who really want to be healthy, want to be productive. I would say a lot of tech people are probably in our audience. I have a feeling that's our core audiences tech and maybe medical people. So it's for people who are like that, who want it to be research-based, who don't want to do the work of like actually having to become experts on everything themselves, but who do want to make sure that what they're reading is evidence-based and it's taking into account all of the research.

 John Fawkes: So that's really, it's kind of trying to demystify a lot of this more cutting edge stuff, whether it is magnesium, whether it is like the best natural alternatives to Adderall or senolytics or whatever. That's who it is. It's kind of the like semi not hardcore, but fairly motivated evidence-based health and fitness and productivity crowd. The people who want maybe I would say you want to be a biohacker without going to the level of setting up your own experiments is a good way of putting it.

 Wade Lightheart: Beautiful.

 John Fawkes: You, want to know what is likely to work for you. Maybe, maybe narrow it down to try these few options, but not like have to run a ton of experiments on yourself that you designed yourself. So not super hardcore, but willing to put in some work and want to know what the research says.

 Wade Lightheart: I love it. It's really great. And can you share with everybody where they can find you reach you and follow your research and information, your articles that you're doing?

 John Fawkes: Yeah. So The Unwinder's website is . My own website is I haven't really been super diligent about updating it. And you can also find both me personally and The Unwinder on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is, I am @officialjohnfawkes , The Unwinder is you're going to tell people how to spell my name. Right. It's F-A-W-K-E-S The Unwinder on, yeah, on Instagram, The Unwinder is the.unwinder And then on Twitter, I am just @johnfawkes on Twitter and the-unwinder is the underscore on winder. So different punctuation for every place that you find the unwind her. So that's why we post on Instagram and Twitter and also on our websites. Um mean, a lot of my old stuff on is still good. Umomeday I will start updating it more than once a month, every month or two. Most of the action right now is going to be on the unwind or, you know, we put articles up there several times a week and that's most of the supplement stuff's going to be on the unwind or too. That's the majority of our focus these days.

 Wade Lightheart: Super fun. Super cool. Any closing thoughts or intentions for the audience before we close up?

 John Fawkes: Yeah, I mean, I'd say, start with the basics. You know, it's easy to get down the rabbit hole of supplements and stuff. Remember that they are supplements in the sense of being ad-ons to the fundamentals of diet and exercise. And second, remember that information is meant to be used. Iit's also easy to fall into this trap of reading a lot of stuff out of sheer intellectual curiosity and intellectual curiosity is a great trait for people to have, but make sure are putting that information to use and doing stuff with it balance taking in information and taking action.

 Wade Lightheart: Very cool. I think that's really good. Don't get too addicted to the dopamine of information and get into the adrenaline of hitting that, hitting the gym, hitting the workouts, doing the work and winding down properly for a good night's rest. And that'll give you on the pathway, as they say, you cannot supplement your way out of a bad lifestyle, but the right supplement in conjunction with a great lifestyle can lead to a better sense of wellbeing. So I hope our listeners will come and check out your site. I think you're doing a great service to the world and helping people sort through the wheat from the shafe when it comes to supplementation and using evidence and research based. And we're very much in support of that kind of thinking and that kind of application of our brains in this very complex and sometimes confusing space or, in the health and wellness industry. So thanks so much for joining us. It's Mr. John Fawkes, you can find him on . Of course, all the show notes will be in here as well as all the references for your listening. Pleasure. I want to thank you for joining us today on the Awesome health podcast. I'm Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers. See you later.
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