The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #186 - Kris Gethin
Co-Founder of Kris Gethin Gyms (India), Kaged Supplements (int), Kris Gethin Coaching, host of the Kris Gethin Podcast, Hybrid Athlete, Former Natural Pro Bodybuilder, Welshman, Biohacker, 48 years old with a biological age of 26.
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12:15 - Kris's Personal Story
16:15 - being mostly pain free
17:20 - peptides for injuries
18:40 - injury prevention and post injury therapies
21:30 - BLISSY: Get Cooling, Comfortable, Sustainable Silk Pillowcases To Revolutionize Your Sleep, Skin, And Hair! Once You Get Silk Pillowcases, You Will Never Look Back! Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At Blissy.Com/Melanieavalon, With The Code MELANIEAVALON For 30% Off!
24:15 - ice baths
26:45 - what draws a person to athletics and sports?
29:25 - competing in iron man
33:45 - training for endurance Coming From Body Building
37:15 - altitude training
38:35 - tips for training as a larger athlete
39:15 - investing in the equipment and the bike
41:15 - losing weight and sacrificing strength
41:55 - natural bodybuilding vs enhanced bodybuilding
45:05 - natural diuretic
45:35 - kris's supplement line
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52:20 - partnering for the supplements
53:35 - the keystone product
55:50 - BCAAs
57:20 - creatine
58:00 - water retention from creatine
58:20 - antioxidants supplementation while working out
59:20 - following a high protein diet
1:03:00 - kris's strict diet
1:03:40 - implementing a fasting protocol as a body builder
1:05:55 - training for men Vs. Women
1:07:20 - is either sex more inclined to injury?
1:08:00 - what is the priority for high level training?
1:09:20 - hydration
1:10:50 - being consistent
1:11:50 - being diagnosed with mold toxicity
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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #38 - Connie Zack
The Science Of Sauna: Heat Shock Proteins, Heart Health, Chronic Pain, Detox, Weight Loss, Immunity, Traditional Vs. Infrared, And More!
1:18:20 - the count down app
1:19:20 - how does training effect longevity
1:21:10 - mortality after a fall in old age
1:21:50 - the role of social connection and social media
1:24:50 - colonics
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. Welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I'm about to have. So, here's the back story on today's conversation. It is about a topic or topics that admittedly, I do not personally engage with intensely, which is things like strength training, and bodybuilding, and endurance exercise. I will clarify by that to say that I really appreciate the importance of physical movement, and muscle, and all of that, but I just personally am not the type of person that does routines around all of this. The irony is that I think it's super, super important for health and longevity, both good and bad, which we probably will talk about in today's episode. And I know it affects so many people and I know I should be doing more episodes about it. So, I get really excited when people who are really, really cool in this area reach out to me about coming on the show. So, that happens with Kris Gethin.
He's like a legend. He has a huge following. He's the co-founder of Kris Gethin Gyms in India, Kaged supplements, which is international, Kris Gethin Coaching, he's the host of the Kris Gethin Podcast, he's a hybrid athlete, which we will talk about on today's show, a former natural pro bodybuilder, a Welshman, a self-identified biohacker, so I love that, and he recently wrote a book called Man of Iron: A World-Class Bodybuilder's Journey to Become an Ironman, which was very inspiring and also super cool, because he's doing something that a lot of people don't do, at least from what I see, which is that a lot of people seem to be doing either the bodybuilding aspect side of things or the endurance side. He brought it together and had the experience of accomplishing Ironman, which is super amazing. So, I read his book. It's really cool. There's actually a lot of things we have in common that I did not anticipate and I'm really excited to dive into today. So, Kris, thank you so much for being here. I'm really looking forward to this.
Kris Gethin: I'm really looking forward to it too. Thank you very much for that introduction. I really appreciate you having me on.
Melanie Avalon: Well, actually, and to start things off, normally I start with people's personal stories, but the one piece of your bio that I didn't read, you said that you're 48 years old with a biological age of 26. I'm curious, which program or clock or platform do you use to measure that?
Kris Gethin: So, I try to put together like a combined effort, because I know one party will argue that, "This is correct and that's correct." So, I've averaged it between GlycanAge, telomere testing, and methylation testing. With those three combined, I've been able to bio hack my biological age, I think. I do feel much better now at 48 than I did in my 20s. I think that should correlate. Maybe the injuries hold me back a little bit, but I think it does correlate, because I've really changed my lifestyle from a typical bodybuilder style, I'd say nutritional protocol, training protocol over the past eight years. It's over the past eight years that I've been able to slowly reduce my biological age.
Melanie Avalon: That is super awesome and very interesting. Literally, the last episode that I recorded for this show, we talked all about GlycanAge. It's super legit. We were talking about it for a product that you stir in your water, and they've done studies on people drinking the water, and it affected their GlycanAge. For that they look at, basically, glycated cells and how inflammation factors are affected. So, that's super cool. You already touched on a huge topic that I would love to talk to you about, which is how the different types of lifestyles involving different types of training can affect health and longevity. But before that, a little bit about your personal story. So, like I said, listeners can get your book, Man of Iron, to hear the full thing. But you have a crazy story. You've done all the things, lived all the places. I know there's a lot there, but what are the highlights for what brought you to what you're doing today?
Kris Gethin: I would say what brought me into the health and fitness industry was motocross. I raced motocross competitively for about 11 years, I believe it was. I just accumulated a lot of injuries over that time. It was a back injury. So, I've got a major curvature of the spine. My spine is actually left aligned on my pelvis by over an inch. So, that really put an end to everything. I went to a lot of specialists and nobody could really alleviate me of specifically the back pain until I went to physiotherapy and started resistance training, because training for motocross, there was no resistance training, it was mostly all cardio. I started getting alleviated of the pain because now my spine was being aligned by the muscles that were becoming taut and more developed. So, I really enjoyed that feeling, obviously of being alleviated of the pain. I was alleviated of the depression associated with that, because for years, I'd gone from being an adrenaline junkie to nothing. So, I'd crossed into an abyss.
I started reading more about it, about nutrition and training, and I realized that I could retain this content quite well. I went to college for several years to study it, which then gave me my ticket to remove myself from Wales, my social circle, and travel to various countries as a personal trainer or gym owner or an editor. I started writing content and editing content within the bodybuilding circles. I was competing as a natural bodybuilder at that time, so it collided with itself. I wanted to figure out how I could reach out to more people. It was one-on-one training that I purchased my first gym when I moved to Australia. Then I thought, "Okay, how can I reach more people?" There was no Internet back then. This is back in 2000. So, I started writing for magazines. I taught myself how to write journalistic and contributing content. And then that took me to the US to LA, the macro bodybuilding, where I got a contract working for Weider Publications for Mr. Joe Weider back in the day. And then that brought me to Boise, Idaho because I published my own magazine there for a little while and Ryan DeLuca, the founder of bodybuilding.com, needed an editor in chief. So, that then brought me to Boise, Idaho. I competed in natural bodybuilding from 1999 to 2009. Even though, I didn't really like getting up on stage in front of people in nothing but underwear, really, I liked the goal setting to it. It gave me a sense of urgency and it gave me a purpose to work towards something. I'd always participated in individual sports. So, whether it be like motocross, I went into downhill mountain bike racing, and then bodybuilding was a personal journey, as well as like Ironman, and we could talk about that later. So, it's always been a personal journey for me.
Sometimes, you can learn a little bit more about yourself in the grind in that last mile, in that last rep, or that last minute in the ice bath than you actually do reading a book sometimes. So, that really ingrained itself into me. It was therapy and it still is. It's definitely mental therapy. That's probably the most important aspect that I get from physical movement. It's not so much, look at the pecs, look at the delts. My insecurities probably want those pecs and delts, but it's the mental therapy that I get out of this industry more than anything.
Melanie Avalon: So, today, are you relatively pain free?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. As I stood here talking to you right now, yeah, no injuries or no pain, however, when I do work out or if I do move certain things, certain ways, I've accumulated so many injuries over the years, then some of them do rear their ugly head. It's weird. It's not so much in the gym, I feel. It's always when I'm doing more endurance work, that constant repetition from running. They will rear their ugly heads. But the worst injury that I got was like a couple of years ago when I was snowboarding. I love snowboarding and I ragged dolled it down the mountain and I tore 68% of my tricep off the bone. So, that was a gnarly one. I've become quite used to pain. So, the pain wasn't the issue. It was just a complication of the injury. I've flown overseas for stem cells to really help with that recovery. This is like a career changing injury and it hasn't changed my course. So, I feel that the lifestyle that I've been living has allowed me to help me heal a lot quicker and more efficiently than the doctors thought I would.
Melanie Avalon: Maybe we can actually just talk a little bit more about that, because I'm so interested in all of this. How do you feel about peptides? I did that for the first time this week actually.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I love peptides. It's all dependent on which ones are needed obviously for injuries, BPC157, TB500, things like that. Great. Absolutely phenomenal. There's a GHK-Cu peptide that I really like for skin and hair. And CJC, we could talk about several for growth hormone releasing as opposed to someone going for growth hormone, but natural growth hormone releasing peptides are great and these bio-regulating peptides, I don't know if you know much about them. They are absolutely phenomenal. So, these bio-regulating peptides mostly come in oral form and they could be specifically targeted for your kidney, for your liver, for your pineal gland. So, these sequences of amino acids that were first discovered in Russia during the Cold War have just really changed the lives in people. Some people have had, I can't remember the name of the disease where they lose their eyesight at a very young age. Some of these bio-regulating peptides have actually restored the eyesight of some of these people. So, yeah, absolutely phenomenal if used in the proper way.
Melanie Avalon: I've heard about them for so long, but I finally did them this week, like a local injection in an area of my knee that I have some pain with. The doctor was just all about it and I was like, "Oh, I need to be doing these more." What are some other postinjury methods and also just ongoing to prevent injury? Red light massage, cold, all the things?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. Well, preventing injury sometimes it's a little bit difficult. The majority of my injuries have come from like crashing mountain bikes, motocross, surfing, snowboarding. So, there's nothing I can do to prepare myself for that really other than not get older. [laughs] But postinjury, when I had a couple of surgeries and usually as soon as I come out of that surgery, I have my shaker, this may sound meathead of me now, with glutamine in there. I'll have essential amino acids and I'll have full spectrum of amino acids come in the form of like a protein isolate, because these are the building blocks of connective tissue. And glutamine is actually fed to burn victims in a lot of hospitals in Europe and Scandinavia because it's wound healing and obviously much like bodybuilding, we break down muscle tissue and through surgery, it's a very invasive process.
So, the faster that we can heal the more efficient that we're going to have from that recovery of that injury. I'll usually have that glutamine, I'll usually have peptides immediately following, and specifically go on that course. Yeah, red light therapy, of course, can help with elastin and collagen. So, I do that on a daily basis, anyway. Ice bath. I do that on a daily basis, mostly for mental stability, blood sugar stability, but of course, it can knock down inflammation as well. I try not to do that after my work out because we want that hormetic response from that workout. So, I'll usually do it first thing in the morning. When I wake up, I'll do a sauna beforehand help with that heat shock protein that can help with healing as well. But just making sure that I have a very, very clean diet that's mostly protein based because like I said, those are the amino acids that are the building blocks of our connective tissue.
Making sure it's grass-fed, it's humane raised because we don't want too many omega 6s in our diet, because that's pro inflammatory. We want the most more along the lines of the omega 3, which negates a lot of that inflammation. So, that's pretty much the protocol. It's nothing woo-woo. We could talk about stem cells I've had several times since 2017. That's probably a little bit more woo-woo among some people, but it works. I can say that firsthand. And for my clients as well, it's worked. So, that's something that I'll always invest in. I'm going to go overseas again in November next year to have another bout of stem cells, because I don't plan on slowing down anytime soon. Even though, I've had a lot of injuries, I love snowboarding. There're things I'm not going to give up, but I want to do whatever I can to ensure that I'm not regretting it by the time I'm in my 80s.
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you touched on the ice bath not directly after the workout, because that is something I've wondered about. I actually don't do an ice bath. I do cryotherapy every day. Do you have your own unit?
Kris Gethin: Yes, I have the Morozko Forge, I have had that. I think I was one of the first people that had that. I was on the fence because I'm like, "God, these things are expensive. But before that, I had the typical cattle trough and you'd only do it a couple of times a week because it's inefficient.
Melanie Avalon: Ice. [giggles]
Kris Gethin: Yeah, finding the ice and getting rid of it and making sure the water is clean. It's just too much of a pain. So, with the Morozko, because it's so convenient, I'm doing it twice a day. I usually do like three minutes in the morning, if I have time or if I want to make time I'll usually do about a minute in the evening. But like I said, I don't do it around my work out, before my workout its absolutely fine. There are studies that actually show that you can actually perform better. I don't know if you've looked into these cooling devices. There's an AVA cooling device, where you can hold onto between your sets in a workout, for instance, or if you're just on the bench and you're in a basketball game. I know LeBron James is actually using something like that where it just cools you down through the hands, so you can recover more efficiently between your sets or between your games, so to speak. So, I think it has a similar effect from an ice bath where it really does help with the vasodilation, it helps with the performance, it helps with testosterone levels, but obviously post workout, we want that inflammatory response, we want that hormetic response, so we can heal and be stronger for our next session, our next game, our next workout.
Melanie Avalon: Do you know how long? Is it hours or you just don't do it that day?
Kris Gethin: No, I'd leave it for at least, 3 hours post workout. That's what I tell my clients. I make sure that you have that hormetic response, which usually decreases after an hour or so, but you want it completely out the system, play it safe, two and a half to 3 hours.
Melanie Avalon: This is an esoteric question, but it's something I've thought about with myself and then I was thinking about it a lot with everything that you were talking about, mentally what you were experiencing with your experience with all these endeavors. I was mentioning in the beginning that, like I said, I love movement, I really appreciate. Its effect on health and longevity, but I've never wanted to run a race or do bodybuilding. I've just never wanted to do any of that. I'm very similar to things you were saying about goal setting and the individual versus community sports, like I don’t like community-- [giggles] I love community and social relations, but if I had to do a sport, I would never want to do a team sport. It's not because-- now I'm coming off as very selfish. It's more just because I like what you were saying about it's all on you and you're in a way competing against yourself, and that's what I really like and appreciate.
Why do you think this is what gives people dopamine and not other people? Why do you think you gravitate towards these grand athletic endeavors? Do you think it's like a gene? Is it a type of person?
Kris Gethin: It could be a bit of both, because if I think of my family, they're pretty much-- Well, my mother's side of the family is definitely much more social, where my father's side of the family isn't. I grew up on a farm as well away from anybody. I was the only child until the age of nine. My best friends were animals or just adventure, maybe an Action Man figure and that was it. So, I didn't really fit in at school, I didn't like school, I didn't enjoy being there. I just wanted to be at home. Couldn't understand why we were learning about religious education, or geography, or anything like that at that time and I couldn't retain the content. I just felt singled out in a certain way. I just didn't feel like I belonged there.
So, maybe it's part genetic, maybe it's part of my upbringing. It's like, if you look at team captains, some of the team captains will encourage some of the people within the team, but they will actually bark orders at others, because they respond differently. So, I think everyone's going to be different to a certain degree just like we have different personalities, character traits. I do understand that social connection is very good for longevity and it's probably the only bio-hack that I'm not really employing as often as I could or should. But maybe there's some sort of anxiety around it. I don't like the pressure being put on my shoulders and I don't like to put the pressure on anyone else, where if you are just doing an individual thing, whether you win or lose it's all down to you.
Melanie Avalon: Same here. It's funny with the pressure on people's shoulders. People often tell me that I should be a doctor or work one on one with people, but I don't want the responsibility of being responsible for other people. I'd rather just learn what I can learn and share it. Okay, so the actual Ironman. What inspired you to do this? Not only to do it, but you were a bodybuilder and then you gave yourself six months to train to do an Ironman and you did it. So, first of all, what inspired that and then what was that journey like?
Kris Gethin: So, what inspired it initially, I guess, it was a little bit of boredom. I like challenges. I like to sign up for physical things that I would likely suck at. So, if someone tells me, "You're probably going to suck at them, sign me up." So, that challenge is engaging. It gives you a purpose. It makes you feel alive, much like if you jump out of a plane or if you do a bungee jump, if you like adrenaline, it's going to make you feel alive and I guess, that was part of it. A lot of people said, "Well, you're not going to be able to do it at your size being 220 pounds at 5'8". You're a bodybuilder, you're not fit, you require too much oxygen. But I like cardio. I've always been one of those weirdos that absolutely loves cardio. I don't mind it at all. People think it is mind numbing and boring. I'm like, "I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks. I like multitasking." So, it was perfect for me. Yeah, people would say that it's going to take at least a year, maybe two years to actually finish an Ironman. So, I wanted that sense of urgency. Much like, the very first time I picked up a weight, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to do a bodybuilding show because that sense of urgency would allow me to get the best out of my training. So, I'm going to make sure that every rep can. So, I'm going to make sure that every step or mile counts." That was a part behind it.
I really enjoyed the social community. The social pipeline that I'd plugged myself in here in Boise was astounding. There're so many professional triathletes here, I couldn't believe it. I trained very, very different to those people. I was like a traveling buffet when we're going out riding, where they're just eating one bar or a gel or something, because I required so much more fuel. But I just loved the community, and I loved the process, and I loved the challenge. I've gone ahead and I've done several Ironmans since then and ultramarathons and things like that. It is just a beautiful challenge. I know, "Okay, if you push it to the extreme, maybe it's not going to be good for your heart, maybe it's not going to be good for your hormonal levels." So, I try to be efficient with my workouts and do more intense work as opposed to slow and long.
Melanie Avalon: To clarify, so, Ironman, is this right? A 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run?
Kris Gethin: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Just in general and competing in that, do you think, is it more beneficial to have a strength in one of those or is it less beneficial to not be as good in one of those? If you had to be the best at the swim, the bike, or the run, which would it be?
Kris Gethin: I think it'd be the run. I think it'd be the run because by the time you get to the run, you--
Melanie Avalon: Is that what wipes people out?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, pretty exhausted. And usually, if you've trained going on a 16 or 18-mile run, you're usually pretty fresh. But when you do it as part of a brick session, maybe, meaning that you've gone straight from the bike to the run, it's quite exhausting. And usually, when you become exhausted, you become lethargic, then your form starts to break down. When your form starts to break down that's when you get injured. I was very surprised that more people get injured just doing a run as opposed to doing a PR on a deadlift. So, it's just that repetitive strain over and over that gets people and once that form goes, the injury likelihood really, really goes up. So, I'd say it would be that. For me, personally, for sure, a lot of my running I just did off road because I just didn't want that compound of the hard surface. But what you do on a day? There's nothing you can do but run it.
Melanie Avalon: Do you know why they picked that order of the swim and then the bike and then the run?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. Well, it was originally in Hawaii that they decided to put it together. It was like a swim race from what I understand, and then they added the bike, and then they added the run.
Melanie Avalon: Then they added-- So, they could add a fourth thing.
Kris Gethin: They could. Yeah, I don't know what that would be.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. In your experience of training, well, first of all, was there anything like going into it-- going into the six months? Did the training materialize the way you anticipated or did you experience things in your training that you didn't anticipate? What were some of the techniques that you had to adjust based on coming from a bodybuilder now adding this endurance aspect?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, instead of muscling my way through this, I realized quite quickly I just had to focus on technique. I had to focus not on just trying to swim as fast as I could. It was definitely on being hydrodynamic, making myself narrow, reaching a little bit further, so I didn't have to hit so many strokes per length because that was inefficient. I was utilizing a lot of energy, a lot of food, a lot of calories, a lot of oxygen, so I'd burn out very, very quick. So, I had to think of going slower in order to go faster if that makes sense. How to be smoother, like I said more hydrodynamic. When I was running, I was doing whatever I could to be efficient with my pull of my posterior chain, my glutes and my hamstrings as opposed to being quad dominant and using momentum. So, I did a lot of running on what's called like a woodway curve, where you power the treadmill by yourself. So, I'm actually using my glutes and my hamstrings a lot more so that could correlate to the run. So, it's more efficient and I didn't succumb to knee strain or hip strain or flexor strain. So, that was the main thing.
Then in the gym, I realized that I was definitely overtraining because I'm a high-volume trainer. I love doing high reps. 20 reps is usually my minimum. I just love the intensity and it works for me. But doing the high reps, which I thought would actually help with a run, with the cycling, with the swim actually did the opposite. It worked against me, because I was checking my heart rate variability. I was figuring out how I was recovering. My HRV was just tanking. I just felt like I had nothing in me. So, I drastically dropped the volume of my workouts, I lessened the exercises, I lessened the amount of sets I was doing or the amount of reps I was doing, and just heavier work and more rest between those sets and with that then all of a sudden my sleep was better, my HRV started to come up, and I started to hit new [unintelligible [00:24:57]. Instead of going from five days a week, which I usually train, I had to bring it down to about four days a week in the gym, which helped immensely.
Then when I was actually out doing the swim-bike run, I started working on a lot more intensity, so hill sprints and doing more sprints in the pool as well. And that just helped with my cardiovascular function and it helped with the strength in the race as well because a lot of races-- I've done races that are very, very hilly, but then I've raced in Tempe, Arizona, and it's very, very flat. But you have a lot of corners in that flat race. So, you're still having to use strength to come out of those corners of, for instance, the bike. So, I found that the weight training really does help when you're working more explosive as opposed to volume.
Melanie Avalon: This is such a naive question. So, Ironmans, do they happen all over? I was wondering if you do altitude training or if that is something that applies.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. So, fortunately, I'm in Idaho and close to the Sawtooth Mountains, so I'd go up to Stanley and I'd do some rides up there. I'd do like 100-mile ride, I'd go for a swim in the lake and obviously, runs around there. So, the high-altitude training really, really helps. But yeah, Ironmans are held all over the world all the time, all the time. Plenty to choose from.
Melanie Avalon: Are some of them known to be more difficult than others just based on where the trail is?
Kris Gethin: Yes, correct. The one that I did in Coeur d'Alene, I've done that a couple of times. That's in the red. So, that's one of the hardest ones because of the altitude, because of the heat, because it's right in summer as well. Very, very hilly course. So, that's in the red. There's one in Wales in Tenby, that's in the red. That's supposed to be very hard as well. However, the one I did in Tempe, Arizona, that I said was flat, that's known as one of the easier ones. But I found it just as hard because of all the corners. And yeah, all the corners just pedaling your way mostly from the bike, mostly from the bike, I just found it just as hard.
Melanie Avalon: For people who would like to attempt an Ironman and train for one, because you have so many tips in the book, are those tips specific to people who are coming from a bodybuilding background or are most of them applicable to most people?
Kris Gethin: Well, I'd say mostly for people that are coming from a strength-trained background or they're larger athletes, because if you're a larger person, you do have to train a little bit different because we just succumb to so many more injuries of that weight, mostly from the run that compound constantly on our spine, our hips, our pelvis, our knees, our ankles, our feet. So, it's mostly, mostly for the larger person. And obviously, you have to make sure that the bike is fitted specifically for you, because a lot of these bikes are not fitted for people that are larger. So, you have to have a specific bike fit. Otherwise, it's going to be a very uncomfortable ride, especially when you ride in over 100 miles in training, let alone the actual race. So, I'd say it is definitely more specified to the hybrid athlete. Meaning, coming from a strength-trained background, but don't want to give that up to start doing cardiovascular exercise.
Melanie Avalon: Well, speaking of the bike, how important is the investment that somebody puts into all of the specific equipment? Does it really matter, like really fine tuning everything?
Kris Gethin: Look, if you are at the top of the game or you want to be at the top of the game, then yeah, because I know people in the Ironman community seem to have a lot of disposable income, because they'll go, "Eh, check out my new wheel. It costs $6,000, because it's so light and it's strong at that weight." But for the rest of us, no, it's not important. I've ridden a Cervélo bike in every one of my races and I bought it for $800 secondhand, because I know, look, I could spend so many more thousands on a better bike and a lighter bike. However, I could go and drop 20 pounds as well, but I'm not going to do that. So, it would probably be lost on someone like me. The most important thing I'd say is the wetsuit. You want to make sure that you get a high-quality wetsuit because when you get the folds in your armpits, on your neck and it starts chafing, it's not a pretty sight.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, man, so many things I wouldn't even think about.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. And if you've got a larger chest, you've got to ensure that that wetsuit fits that chest. However, you may have a small waist, so it has to be fitted accordingly.
Melanie Avalon: You mentioned it in the book and just now that you chose not to lose weight. Could you have lost weight and still maintained or would have sacrificed some strength?
Kris Gethin: No, I definitely would have sacrificed strength. If you watch any bodybuilder that's getting ready for a bodybuilding show, usually, they're about at least 20 pounds heavier in their "off season" to the competitive shape. They always lose strength because now you're in a calorie deficit. I really didn't want to be in a calorie deficit while I was preparing for the Ironman because you just go through so many calories. And of course, bodybuilding is where my pivotal foot is. I enjoy that activity. Like I said, it's very therapeutic, so it wasn't something I wanted to sacrifice.
Melanie Avalon: How do you feel about natural bodybuilding versus conventional-- which, to clarify again, all my naiveness is coming out right now? In conventional, nonnatural bodybuilding, is it legal to use anything like steroids or is it all just illegal, but everybody's just doing it?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, it's illegal, but everyone's doing it.
Melanie Avalon: That's so interesting to me.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. In untested shows, I was exactly the same as you, Melanie. Back in 1999, when I competed in my first show, I had no idea there was such a thing as natural bodybuilding shows. So, I went and competed in an untested show. I was definitely the smallest person on that stage, but because I was just so shredded, I managed to get on the podium. I got a good placing, but I remember someone coming up to me and saying, "What did you use to lose all your fluid?" And I said, "Asparagus and vitamin C." He's like, "No. What diuretics?" And I'm like, "What's a diuretic? I had no idea. I was very naive to it." Like I said, I grew up on a farm. I knew nothing other than what I was reading in the magazines, basically. They're not talking about steroids or anything like that, but yeah, it's prevalent throughout bodybuilding.
Some of my best friends are competing on the Olympian stage, but that's their choice. If that is what they want to do to be the best, that's up to them. They're not in McDonald's eating crap and they're not drinking copious amounts of alcohol and destroying their health. I'm not defending them by any means, but a lot of them are getting their blood work done every three to six months. And unfortunately, it's the amateurs that actually look up to the pro body builders that are actually doing it more haphazardly. They're not doing it with any guidance. So, they're looking at what someone's saying online and that's what they're doing. So, that's the unfortunate thing. The people that you see in your local gym that may be on it are probably taking more and disregarding their health than the actual professional bodybuilders that we see in the magazines.
Melanie Avalon: It's interesting to me because there's these "natural competitions" when technically it's all supposed to be natural, it sounds like.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. Well, it's supposed to be, but everybody who follows the untested shows knows that everybody's untested. Everybody in that audience knows that the people on stage are untested. But when you go to a natural bodybuilding show, those are the ones that I've always competed in. Yeah, you'll have your blood test, you'll have your urine test, you'll have your polygraph test. So, you know that you are not going into that show, basically on a bicycle racing against motorbikes. But if you want to go and race against the motorbikes, then you have to be in motorbike.
Melanie Avalon: Do people trick the system and purposely do natural ones and get around it somehow?
Kris Gethin: I don't think they do. However, I do know of an organization that doesn't exist anymore that used to do testing, but that test never made it to the lab. It would end up in a skip, in the trash [unintelligible [00:33:31] the back. So, they test people just to say, "Hey, we got tested," but those tests never made it anywhere. Everybody passed.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay, got you. Can you take-- because you mentioned like diuretics, for example. So, there's like pharmaceutical diuretics, but there's like dandelion. Does that count as a diuretic?
Kris Gethin: No. Natural diuretics like dandelion, vitamin C, asparagus, no, that's absolutely fine. It's the pharmaceuticals that are banned.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, got you. Speaking of pharmaceuticals and supplements, this will be a fun tangent. I got really excited reading your book because you talk about your journey creating your supplement line, KAGED Supplements and it made me so happy, because I launched a supplement line last November, so like 2021 and it was for very similar reasons to what you discuss in the book, what you were saying with all of your concerns with conventional supplements, and it was things also specific to bodybuilding supplements that I wasn't even aware of. So, what was your journey with your supplement line? What made you decide to start it and what was that process like?
Kris Gethin: Well, this is going back 12, 13 years ago, I started filming what's called Daily Video Trainers on bodybuilding.com. You can find them on YouTube as well. So, I did a video trainer getting ready for my Ironman, I've got video trainers putting on muscle, transforming, [unintelligible [00:35:01], etc. And millions of people were watching these video trainers. So, I knew that I had a responsibility now to not put my hands together and hope that the supplement that I was suggesting actually had what was inside that was written on the label. So, I actually started getting some of these supplement companies tested and I was shocked that some of the ones that were very, very small companies, the test came out perfect, 100%. But some of these very, very well-known brands were the opposite, which I would have expected the opposite. So, that's when I thought, "Well, I'm actually putting my sincerity on the line here. What can I do?"
Fortunately, when I was at bodybuilding.com, I met the CFO at that time and the formulator at that time. We'd all left. This is going in 2013, 2014. We spoke about creating a line. So, that's where that came about, because I just wanted to ensure whatever I was ingesting and putting into my body wasn't contaminated, it wasn't underdosed, it wasn't fairy dusted. We have very different rules here in the US to the UK. They have to be naturally tested. Sorry, naturally flavored, naturally colored. You don't have to have that here. So, the regulations are very, very different here. But I wanted to adhere to more international or European regulations and I wanted the amino acids to be fermented for instance, as opposed to derived from human hair or bird feathers. That's why I went down that rabbit hole and to ensure everything was certified specifically and mostly for heavy metals, as we know, could be a neurotoxin. So, I didn't want any heavy metals in the supplements because supplements are supposed to contribute to the health and fitness industry. But when they actually take away from your health, then it doesn't fit right. So, I wanted it something that would actually contribute to our health.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I had the same experience as you with-- It's really, really shocking, some of the things that happened, because my most recent one was a berberine that we launched and it took us forever to find a source, where it actually tested for the purity and potency that we wanted. Because we got one berberine source and then were looking at a company that currently uses it. They're on Amazon. They have hundreds of reviews, five stars. But if you go search through the FDA database, you can see all these warning letters they have, where they found rat feces in the complex, and the ones that said they were gluten free like had gluten in them, and all of these things. It's really shocking to me how prevalent this is and how people are just blithely unaware. And also, like you're mentioning, people might misattribute the potential benefits of a supplement to the supplement, but it's because they're not taking one that is actually what it says it is or the purity or the potency. So, yeah, I thank you for creating that. Actually creating the line, was it difficult? Did you partner with somebody? Did you find all the production facility and all that stuff or how did you do it?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, so, fortunately my formulator, he had formulated several brands before at bodybuilding.com, the Jim Stoppani line. So, he had formulated several before. He had very, very good contacts when it comes to third-party testing, contract manufacturers, and all that sort of stuff. I just gave him the wish list and he went ahead and formulated. And then the former CFO of bodybuilding.com, basically put all the funds together, because it costs a lot of money to actually launch one of these companies. So, I was lucky, very lucky that I was able to surround myself with very good people.
Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. When did you launch that?
Kris Gethin: End of 2014, December 2014.
Melanie Avalon: Nice. What are the fermented BCAAs?
Kris Gethin: So, fermented BCAAs and glutamine and citrulline, they all come from plant sources. A lot of amino acids can come from human hair, bird feathers, animal fur. Some people just don't care where they come from as long as it has the nitrogen balance. I did care where they come from. So, they have equal nitrogen balance, but I just wanted a natural source. So, they come from plant sources.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, got you. When you first started the line, did you start one at a time or did you launch multi-products? Do you have a keystone product or your favorite product, or is it really just based on the individual?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, it's definitely based on the individual. The pre-workout is the flagship. It seems to be the best seller based on my demographic, I guess. But we started off with single form amino acids. I know some founders and CEOs in the industry, and they thought we were crazy. People would usually launch like a pre-workout or a protein powder, or something like that first. But I really wanted to shake the tree a little bit, because nobody knew where a lot of these amino acids were derived from. So, I knew that I'd shake the tree, because there isn't a supplement company out there that's going to say, "Hey, my aminos come from human hair." So, I shook the tree and let people know that, "People in my industry know this, but you don't." So, that's what we started off with the liquid glutamine.
We started off with the BCAAs, citrulline, and something called Hydra-Charge, which is an electrolyte drink with antioxidants. It's got spectra blend of antioxidants in there. So, that was like your flavoring system. I've got a meathead gallon jug next to me right now and I have the Hydra-Charge in there. So, I'm drinking my electrolytes throughout the day, but I also add my other amino acids such as my glutamine and my citrulline to that as well. That's what we launched initially. And then we came out with our formulated products with the blended products such as a pre-workout, an intra-workout, and a post-workout product. So, that's how we expanded. And then we started expanding into probiotics, into organic greens products, and high levels of EPA and DHAs in an omega 3 supplement. So, we started to venture out a little bit more into that once we had our flagships.
Melanie Avalon: Some more questions about the pre-workouts and amino acids in general. I'm also the host of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast, which granted its people asking from a different perspective. They're mostly asking based on their fasting lifestyle and do these things break a fast. But we do get a lot of questions about should I take pre-workout, should I take BCAAs? So, fasting question aside, I feel like there's a lot of debate out there about BCAAs. So, how do you feel about BCAAs and who needs them? Is it just people who have very specific performance goals when it comes to bodybuilding or could your everyday athlete benefit from them?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I'd say BCAAs are going to be more so for the athlete. And the high levels of leucine, I probably wouldn't suggest that in a fasting protocol. I'd suggest EAAs, your essential amino acids, which are going to have lower amounts of leucine, because much like if you're in ketosis, the leucine can take you out of ketosis. So, I wouldn't suggest the BCAAs. I do a controlled fast where I do allow my clients who are mostly working out essential amino acids and glutamine during their fasting window. But look, if you're following someone like Dr. Satchin Panda or Jason Fung, then, look you can't even have a cup of tea. So, there's going to be a different protocol for that specific person. But because most of my athletes-- most of my clients are working out, they're trying to build muscle or lose fat and maintain muscle, then I do suggest amino acids, so essential amino acids, not BCAAs, glutamine and electrolytes.
Melanie Avalon: How do you feel about creatine specifically? I feel like that's becoming more and more popular. I get a lot of questions about it on the show.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, creatine is great. I take it all year round. I don't take it just if I'm going through a muscle building phase or fat loss phase. It has a lot of benefits further than performance. It has nootropic effects. So, yeah, providing that individual is hydrated, because it does volumize the cells, then it's absolutely fine. Obviously, it can contribute to higher creatinine levels, if you have any blood work done. So, you're looking at your BUN levels, your creatinine levels, they can increase slightly, but that's just part of the waste product. So, it's absolutely fine providing, as I said that you're hydrated.
Melanie Avalon: Does it create hydration specifically in the muscles or is it all over? Do you just retain water all over?
Kris Gethin: No, no, no in the muscles. So, it's cell volumizing within the muscle cell only if that person is dehydrated that they're going to have subcutaneous fluid holding. If I deal with a lot of obese clients, a lot of the time they have edemas and they're holding a lot of subcutaneous fluid just because they're not hydrated, they're just not drinking enough. And usually, after a couple of weeks of drinking much more water, then they lose that fluid.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. And then similar to the question about the ice baths and the cold water after workouts, do you have thoughts on taking supplements or drinks that have antioxidants while working out? Do you think that negates any of the body's natural antioxidant response?
Kris Gethin: Yes, correct. So, I wouldn't suggest high levels of antioxidants like vitamin E or anything like that around your workouts, because yeah, that's going to negate that hormetic response that you want from your workout or can certainly contribute towards it. So, I generally don't have my clients and I generally don't do myself have a lot of antioxidants around workout time.
Melanie Avalon: Then what about protein from food you mentioned earlier, following a high-protein diet? I follow a very-- I basically eat protein as my main thing and fill out beyond there. How do you feel about adequate protein intake or ideal protein intake and protein sources? Do you favor a certain type of protein over another? We get a lot of questions about protein.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, it all depends on a certain time of day, I guess, as well like if that person is working out, then you want to have a more bioavailable protein around your workout. So, let's say prior to your workout, you could have like eggs, you could have fish along with your carbohydrate source, the glycogen needed to fuel your workout. And then post-workout is usually a protein isolate that has a smaller fraction or a smaller peptide to get into your system very, very efficiently and then around the other times. It doesn't really matter. I don't believe if it comes from poultry, as long as it's humane raised or if it's coming from a steak, as long as it's grass-fed. I think it's good to mix up your amino acid sources.
The only time that I would suggest that you change that protocol is if you're working out and you have a higher bioavailable type of protein such as your fish, such as your egg whites so it's easier to digest and break down around your workouts. I like to mix up the protein sources. I do eat organs. I'll have organs as well on a daily basis, mostly liver or heart just to ensure because as a bodybuilder, we usually eat a lot of muscle meats. Actually, the majority of the world eats a lot of muscle meat. So, we're just getting so much methionine, which can lead to the onset of aging. So, I think it's very important that we have plenty of glycine in our diet coming from collagen, coming from organs or bone broth or anything like that to negate the effects or supplementation.
Melanie Avalon: So, interesting that you mentioned heart. I actually haven't had it, but I was thinking about it the other day. Is it technically a muscle meat? Is the heart a muscle?
Kris Gethin: It is a muscle, but you do have higher levels of glycine in there.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. And it does taste very similar to like a steak, for instance.
Melanie Avalon: That's what I heard.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. So, my partner, she's not into organs, she's not into liver, she's not into anything else, but she will eat a little bit of heart because it really doesn't taste that much different. But liver is my go-to, really. When I was in India recently, I did try other delicacies. When I was in Goa, I tried the brain, I tried the testicles. Not something I'd probably eat very often, but I had to try it. I was at the Health Optimization Summit in the UK this year, I guess. This year and myself and Dr. Dome. I don't know if you know Dr. Dr. Dome and Tim Gray. We were trying to get organs-- [crosstalk]
Melanie Avalon: Dom D'Agostino?
Kris Gethin: No, no, no how do you pronounce his last name? The biodentist, biodentist.
Melanie Avalon: I know who you're talking about. Yeah.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. So, we try to get organs everywhere. We couldn't find it anywhere except for squirrel. We found some squirrel. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Squirrel? What did that taste like?
Kris Gethin: They were serving squirrel and pigeon, but it was wood pigeon. It just tasted, I don't know, it's like a little bit of rabbit, I guess. That's probably the closest thing to it. Yeah, I can't say that I've eaten rat, but maybe it tastes like rat.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. Where do you get the heart?
Kris Gethin: The heart I just get it from the farmers market here. There are at several places. There's a place around here called Cunningham Pastured Meats that do it as well, but I usually go to the farmers market and collect it.
Melanie Avalon: I really, really want to try that sometime.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I'm sure there's a farmers market there or somewhere online that actually delivers.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay, I'm putting this on my immediate to-do list. How strict are you with your approach to diet? You say in the book that you haven't missed a meal in is it 18 years or something?
Kris Gethin: I hadn't.
Melanie Avalon: Hadn't. Oh.
Kris Gethin: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Has that changed?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, that changed in 2017 or 2018. Yeah, I had to go for a colonoscopy and they asked me to fast. I thought, "Okay." Well, I knew a lot about fasting and I've been reading a lot about fasting. I thought, "Okay, let me try it." So, I started doing a fasting protocol, because I wanted know, "Am I going to lose muscle? Am I going to wither away?" So, I did actually start fasting and now on my non-training days, I'll usually fast.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, okay, this is so interesting. So, what did you experience? Did you experience any muscle loss, any decline in performance implementing a fasting protocol?
Kris Gethin: No, nothing. I definitely felt it on larger muscle groups. So, if I was training legs, for instance, and I was in a fasted state, I didn't feel as strong or I wasn't as strong. I wasn't recovering. I wasn't able to perform at my best. But on smaller muscle groups like arms, shoulders, not a problem. I didn't feel any difference. And obviously, I know the benefits of fasting and I thought, "God, if anybody needs to fast, it's me," after eating so many meals over so many years and I wanted to reduce my biological age as well, so I started fasting on a regular basis. I did it for about eight months consistently to begin with and then I just started bringing it back a little bit where I was just doing it a couple of times a week.
Melanie Avalon: Did you ever do like a one-meal-a-day-type fast?
Kris Gethin: I was doing two meals a day and it'd be like an 18-hour fast. I did try the Valter Longo five-day fast as well.
Melanie Avalon: You made it through? I made it like one day and I was like, "I can't. I need more food."
Kris Gethin: All right. Yeah, I did it. I had my friend and business partner with me doing it as well. So, I think that helped. But what was so difficult is I was training during his time as well. So, weight training and having, was it 500 calories a day on average. It was tough. It was tough, very, very tough. After the five days, I vowed never to do that again. [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. Yeah, I've had him on the show twice actually. The second time I had him, I was like, "I'm going to do this." But for me, I think it's harder to have just a little bit because you're eating just a little bit and that's just miserable, at least to me.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, that's the worst. I agree with you there. I think you'd better off actually having nothing and getting used to it, because it's like, I don't know, you're feeding, I guess, your appetite's foreplay, but you're actually not following through. So, you're doing that on a daily basis is not a happy ending.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree. Although I do know it because some people do it and they love it and it's like a great reset. So, if people enjoy it, do it. It just doesn't work for me.
Kris Gethin: Each to their own.
Melanie Avalon: How about men versus women? Is there a large difference in how they approach? Everything but protein intake for men versus women training, are there special considerations? Do you work with female clients?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I work with females and males. I really don't have anything that different in the way that they train. The food is obviously according usually to their lean muscle mass. So, let's say, if it's one gram per pound of body weight, whether you're a male or female, that's generally what I found that works. I do find on a diet that females-- I don't know, thyroid will down regulate a lot quicker. So, sometimes as we're going into a calorie deficit towards the end of a program, let's say if they're getting ready for some event or some show, then I will give them refeed days more often than I would with a male, only because I just find their metabolism downregulates a lot quicker. So, let's say, for instance, I'm just pulling this out of my hat, that I'm going to give a male a refeed day of higher carbohydrates every eight days. I may do that every four or five days for a female, because I'll just find that they plateau much quicker. But the training is pretty much the same. We have the same muscle insurgence, we have the same muscle attachments, very similar digestive system. So, everything else is very similar.
Melanie Avalon: Do you see between the two sexes, is one more inclined towards certain types of injury than the other or is that also pretty similar?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, females are much smarter when it comes to training than guys, I notice. I think maybe it's an alpha thing, testosterone filled, very competitive. I want to be the king of the jungle. So, we'll train a little bit more haphazardly. We'll have more injuries. You never hear of a female tearing a pec or a bicep, but guys, you do, very, very often. So, I think females are much more smarter and articulate like an artist when they go to a gym.
Melanie Avalon: Well, when it comes to being smart about your training and your priorities with all of this, where is the priority for people? Is it the actual exercises? Is it the diet? Is it the mindset? Is it all of the above? If a new client came to you and was like, "I want to become the best in this bodybuilding," what would you say, this is the most important thing to know?
Kris Gethin: I usually start them on sleep. Sleep is usually the most important thing that I get.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I like that answer.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. I get them to prioritize sleep, because if you're lacking in sleep, then again, you're dehydrated, you could possibly injure yourself, you're emotionally charged, so you crave more. So, I try to get people sleep and consistent habits in order first before even thinking about the training or the [unintelligible [00:54:47] or your goals. That is the goal because that's the goal that people seem to struggle with the most. It's free. It's much like if I tell clients to ground every day or meditate every day, "Well, it's free. It's not going to work." So, that's usually what I get them to focus on the most, because that's what they should appreciate the most. You don't recover, you're not going to perform. Your recovery dictates your performance and sleep is a big portion of that performance, your recovery. So, that's the one thing that I usually get people to focus on and hydration.
I noticed specifically in Europe, I have a lot of clients that just drink coffee and tea, and I think that's their hydration. So, hydration is a big portion of it. If your body is made up of around 70% fluid and you want to perform and maybe you live in a humid climate, you're just not going to-- A lot of the time, if I look at all my own progress, if I'm down, I'm just not performing as I should from a mental and physical aspect, it's usually not the food. It's usually the fluid. That's another thing, a component that I'll focus on. And the consistency, because if I look at someone's progress from the neck down, it's always coming from the neck up.
So, having the right mindset, especially when you've gone through an injury or you're depressed, you just got fired, you've just split up from your girlfriend, it's that consistency of being relentless in your pursuit is what's really going to count and what's really going to help you in the long term. Because if a client ghosts on me, it's usually because they've gone through a breakup or they've been on holidays, and they have shame now, because they haven't followed the protocol as they should. But as I tell them, it's 10 times more important that you put your sincerity on the line and be transparent with yourself and with myself for you to pursue your goals. Otherwise, life happens and you'll always fall off the rails. That's why when you do the cryotherapy, do you want to always do it? Probably not. But you do it, because you know that's going to have a transcendence effect in your life anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Like to that point, we were talking before this about how it got cold recently. So, it was eight degrees, and I still went to cryotherapy, and my friends were making fun of me. They're like, "Why did you go?" I was like, "It's about the habit. It's about just doing it every day regardless." Because if I start making excuses like, "Oh, it's cold," then that might dovetail into other excuses. So, I might as well just be consistent.
Kris Gethin: 100%. It's like when you wake up in the morning or when you go to bed at a certain time, you try to make that habit of consistency because there are going to be days that you have to do things when you don't want to do it. Maybe it's sunny outside, but you got to be inside to work. I don't know what that is, but the more that you scratch that itch of consistency, the better you'll be.
Melanie Avalon: Yep, I agree. For your sleep, I would guess since you're an early morning person that maybe you don't struggle as much with insomnia and sleep issues as other people, as like night owls, but I could be wrong. Have you struggled historically with sleep?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I have. I had major sleep issues up until 2014. I was diagnosed with mold toxicity.
Melanie Avalon: You and me both.
Kris Gethin: Oh, really? No way. Oh, wow. So, yeah. Did that affect your sleep?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's hard to know because there are so many things happening. At one time, I just did not feel well, like heavy metal poisoning and mold and all the things and insomnia. It was just not a fun place. The good thing is it made me obsessive with trying to fix my sleep. And now if I do all the things and I can sleep pretty well. So, what was your experience?
Kris Gethin: I had the same effect with me. It's made me obsessed with it. Now I'm part of a sleep hackers group as well, where we have to share our Oura Ring every morning. One of my clients is in that, so it keeps him accountable as well. So, yeah, with the mold toxicity, we found that originated from when I was staying in an apartment in India. Very humid in Mumbai, very close to the ocean. Electrical devices don't last long there or appliances. So, there was mold there and my sleep was just getting less and less. I wasn't a good person to be around, that's for sure, which is hardly surprising when I was on about three hours sleep. But I had this mentality, "I'm still going to outwork you, I'm still going to out train you" and I was burning the candle at both ends.
I have a lot of resilience in me, naturally. So, I'm getting sicker and sicker, but I'm fighting and fighting against it, which is not good. I should have, I guess, acknowledged these symptoms and done something about it a lot earlier. I exhausted everything, whether it's supplementation, medication. Going to bed every night was like getting on a 12-hour flight. It was just horrendous. I'd wake up every 30 minutes thinking it's time to get up, but it wasn't. I'd only been in bed for half an hour. So, I went to Dr. Sponaugle's Clinic in Oldsmar, Florida and he was the one that diagnosed me. I stayed there for six weeks to go through, I'd say, quite a strenuous detox protocol. He would have had me there for a lot longer if he had his way and if I could have afforded it. But then I become obsessed with just trying to detox myself of the heavy metals, of the mold and become an obsessive of my sleep. And ever since then it was so weird, because I had a lot of inflammation in my body, in my joints. And I just thought, "Well, this is from weight training. Of course, I guess everybody deals with this." But when I was able to detox myself of this toxicity that the inflammation went, the sleep got better. I felt like I'd come out of a fog and I actually liked myself, [laughs] because I hated myself there for a number of years. So, that put me in a "biohacking rabbit hole," where I just went down every avenue I could to just really optimize my health and help with my recovery knowing that I really wanted to improve my health span and my longevity.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you and me both. I was at similar story. I graduated college and moved into an apartment with mold, and also the oven was leaking carbon monoxide every night. But I was so high on adrenaline and life that I just powered through and didn't really notice the symptoms as much like you were saying, and then it was just like a crash and burn. But it's good because this was before biohacking was super popular and it really made me look up all these things. So, I've been doing red light glasses, and blackout curtains, and all of these things for a long time, and I think they make a huge effect, and I love tracking on my Oura Ring.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, and it's amazing, isn't it? Then you just start looking into like, "Okay, is there petroleum in my mattress? What are the acids in the house? Do I have radon gas in the house?" which is good, because a lot of us you know unless something life changing like that happens, we'll never know.
Melanie Avalon: I definitely went through a super obsessive period that I'm glad I'm not there anymore but it's good because it really opened my eyes to being aware of everything potentially problematic, toxic wise or things that could be affecting my health and really addressing them. And now, I feel like I'm at a healthy mindset surrounding all of it.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, we can go down a rabbit hole of quantification and then when that controls your life, you're just never going to leave the house.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so true. Is it an app that you have that tells you how many days you have left?
Kris Gethin: Oh, yeah. What was that? It's the Countdown app. I forget the name of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I haven't used that for such a long time. We're talking about the balance and not using so much quantification. I know that. Yeah, that was an app that basically gave me an average of how many days I have left on this Earth.
Melanie Avalon: Was it how many meals you had left?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. How many meals you have left, how many sleeps you have left, how many workouts that you have left, you can populate it with all sorts. I think it's called Countdown, but I'm going to have to look.
Melanie Avalon: Well, we can put in the show notes.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I'll find it and send it to you.
Melanie Avalon: That's a really interesting perspective. I want to look it up. I'm curious what data you put in for them to decide that.
Kris Gethin: Yeah. Well, they go by averages. They go by averages, look, but if they tell me less, then that's going to give me a sense of urgency to live more.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Kris Gethin: Be a little more present.
Melanie Avalon: Well, bodybuilding in general, endurance, all these different types of athletic trainings, how do you think they affect health and longevity and your lifespan?
Kris Gethin: Well, it's much like balance, isn't it? If you take it to the absolute extreme, then it's probably not going to be good for your longevity. I think a lot of us, prior to me getting diagnosed with mold toxicity, I was eating six meals a day, but I didn't care if it was humane-raised food or if it was organic food. So, if I think back, if I'm eating double the amount of meals than the average person, I'm probably doing double the amount of damage. Taking in all the antibiotics from the food, for instance, or the heavy metal contamination, I don't know. So, I think if you're doing it the right way, it can help, because we know that grip strength and squat strength has had positive correlation towards longevity and obviously bone density, things like that.
If you look at the blue zones, like in Okinawa, they sit on a floor. That's their resistance training. These centenarians over hundred years old, they're standing up and sitting down on the floor on an average 60 times a day. So, that is probably their resistant training. Of course, they're not going to a CrossFit box and not competing in Ironman Triathlon, but there's movement and exercise and I think in balance, it can have a positive effect. How many people do you usually see walking the streets in their 80s, 90s with a lordotic spine or a curved spine, they've had a hip replaced. I just think to myself, "If you've just done some form of weight training--" It doesn't have to be its a failure, doesn't have to be to the extreme, but resistance training to give you more muscle density, more bone density, better blood flow to your brain. There's going to be so many positive effects that you can encounter from that. And it's just making that sacrifice of being in a gym for 30 minutes a day or actually doing some body weight movements at home.
Melanie Avalon: I just think it's so, so important. If you just think about the stats, I don't know what they are specifically, but on mortality and just from falls when you're older and there're so much preventative things that you could do by supporting that.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, it's always the same, isn't it because it happened with my grandmother, fractured her hip or chip a bone in the back from falling over and then usually, it's a death sentence six months later, if you're lucky.
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I heard the stat the other day. I shouldn't say it's not good. So, one more over compassing bigger topic. You mentioned earlier the role of social health and social connections. I'm curious what your experience is because you have a massive following and a large audience and what is your day-to-day experience like and how do you feel about the social media arm of bodybuilding, which is a relatively new thing in the history of the sport?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I think it's good and bad. It's funny. I was having this conversation on a podcast yesterday, where I really enjoyed writing for the magazines and covering the bodybuilding events and the athletes because everybody had this mystique about them. Nobody really knew that person other than what you would read in a magazine. If you're covering events or that person's training protocol, you're not finding out about it until three or four months later once that publication hits the shelf. I like that mystique about people. You'd always be craving more, more, more, what are they doing? where today, there's no mystique, however the positive is that you can ask that person questions directly now. I consider myself very, very lucky. I always say to myself, "I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be on this podcast talking to you right now. I shouldn't have all these followers based on my upbringing and based on where I came from, I shouldn't be here. However, I'm humbled by it and I find myself very lucky that I'm able to help people with their transformations."
A lot of people out there that are obese, it's like they're fighting a drug which is the food that is being marketed to them. They're drug addicts or alcoholics and you have to treat them very much the same, because they have issues, they have problems. If I can step up and help these people, then I'm very humbled by that. People have discovered me just through social platforms, or on YouTube, or something like that. So, I think it's phenomenal if you use it and not abuse it, because then we do know that there're kids at Christmas at 11, 12 years old that got themselves an iPhone and they're going to be in bed somewhere around the world right now scrolling with that dopamine fix and then the blue light penetrating their retina to give them another dopamine of addiction to that device, because they're stuck on social platforms now. So, I think it's a use and abuse relationship.
Melanie Avalon: I'm super grateful that I am the age I am right now and doing what I'm doing right now. This is the situation, because I wouldn't have had the ability to, well, maybe I would have, but it gives you an agency to just create something. It's like with the podcast and with brands and forming an audience. It's an agency that I don't think we had before social media. On the flipside, I would not want to be a child right now doing all this. Can you imagine middle school with social media? That just sounds miserable.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, not my thing. I'm really glad I was born when I was born.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. Oh, my goodness. Okay, here's just a random tangent question I just have to ask you. You mentioned in the book how you get weekly colonics. Do you still do those?
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I do that. Well, it's not so much colonics. I do enemas. The colonic was a big part of my mold toxicity protocol that I did five days a week at Dr. Sponaugle's Clinic. That's how I got into that. It's not something I'm like, "Hey, I really enjoy this." But what I found is that I've had very high liver enzymes from a young age. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a physician, I'm not telling people to go and do this. I've got to be very careful, because people say, "What are the benefits?" I'm like, "These are the benefits that I've encountered." Number one, I just feel obviously when you're eating a lot of protein, a lot of it ferments in the gut, you get good bacteria, but a lot of bad bacteria if you're not totally cleansing yourself all the time. So, I find that I have less bloating, and based on the quantification that I've been doing with blood reports, my liver enzymes stay under control when I do the weekly coffee enemas. So, obviously, I'm very careful of the coffee that I choose making sure that I don't have any mycotoxins or high acid or anything like that. But that's what I find on a weekly basis. Every Monday, I'll do the enema.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, so the coffee enemas. I went through a coffee enema period where I was doing them daily, I remember the first time I did one, I was like, "Oh, wow, I feel like I can climb Mount Everest." This feels amazing.
Kris Gethin: It's probably the caffeine fix as well.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, but then I really love colonics as well. So, I get really excited [giggles] when people mention doing them.
Kris Gethin: Who would have thought that brought us together?
Melanie Avalon: I know, I know. Well, this has been absolutely amazing. Was there any other topics that you wanted touch on in your day-to-day life? Because you talk about in the book how one of the potential concerns for people when they have these big goals or something like an Ironman is, they do it and then that is what was giving them a lot of purpose and drive. And then when it's done, it's like, "Now what" feeling.
Kris Gethin: Yeah, I found that in bodybuilding where I would compete at a show because all I'm focused on is my meals, the amount that I'm eating, the time that I'm eating, going to bed, making sure I'm at the gym at a certain time, and then you compete, and then you cross into the abyss. And abyss usually leads to depression and that's why I gave up bodybuilding. I'm like, "It doesn't matter if I come first or second, I'm still depressed." So, I had to figure out a different way of approaching life. And now I just like to get ready for nothing. I still train with a lot of ferocity. That's my attitude, that's my character. If people say, "What are you training for?" I'm like, "Nothing. I'm training for life." This is what I enjoy.
People get into training, because they love bodybuilding. I got into bodybuilding because I love training. As soon as I realized that, I'm like, "Okay, I love training." It doesn't matter what it is, if it's Ironman or if it's ultramarathon or getting ready for a Spartan. I just love training. I love getting out on my mountain bike, I love snowboarding in the mountains. I love movement. That's what I've realized now, so I can be happier with what I do. But I have got a full year ahead. I am about to travel overseas again in January to train a celebrity. So, I'm going to be in India, I'm going to be in London, I'm going to be in Georgia near Russia, and Italy, and then I come back in March, and then I film a Daily Video Trainer again for three months. So, it'll be nice to be back in Boise for three months. Then I'll be heading over to the Health Optimization Summit in June to speak there. Are you going there by any chance. Do you know?
Melanie Avalon: Not as of right now, no.
Kris Gethin: It's a great event. I love it. I love it. Anyway, and then I come back, I film another Video Trainer. In November, I go to Australia to speak at a retreat over there. And then December, I'm going to be heading to Colombia for stem cells, because I'll probably need them after that year.
Melanie Avalon: Well, it's a big year ahead. With the celebrity stuff, is it like Bollywood type stuff?
Kris Gethin: Yes. So, this is a client that I trained initially back in 2013 and I don't usually train people one on one. I just don't have time. But I really respect and like this person, Hrithik Roshan his name is. He is a great guy. Absolutely phenomenal guy. So, I did say I will help him for this movie that he's getting ready for.
Melanie Avalon: I'm pretty sure it's way bigger than the Hollywood scene, like money wise.
Kris Gethin: It's insane, the whole spectacle of it. These people aren't seen as actors. They're like Gods. It's unbelievable. Yeah, it's another world.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, that's crazy. Well, that's exciting. Yeah. So, for listeners, we're actually recording this the day before New Year's Eve. So, that's very exciting lineup that you have. Well, thank you so much. This has been so amazing. Like I said, I really enjoy and appreciate these conversations, because it's something I really should know more about, and I love learning about, and I think it's helping so many people, which brings me to the last question that I ask every single guest on this show and it's just because I do realize more and more each day how important mindset is. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Kris Gethin: I'd say I'm really grateful for my nieces and my nephew. I've never been one that would want to have kids, but I feel like I'm a father figure to them, even though I'm not their father. So, they keep me grounded and make me realize, "Wow, you can just have so much fun without even thinking about it, because we're always so concerned about how we appear to other people." I just love that. So, I'm very, very grateful to them.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I love that. It reminds me, I was just reading a book yesterday, it was about our different happy hormones, endorphin, dopamine, oxytocin. This had never occurred to me. I was talking about how kids act like things are the best thing that ever happened to them or the worst thing that ever happened to them, but it's because it literally is the best thing or worst thing that ever happened to them, because the science of the book was talking about how our brain feels about new information versus a repeated experience. But I was like, "That's so true. Things really are the best or worst."
Kris Gethin: Yeah, and they are in a moment. They're releasing a lot more oxytocin than we are, because we're always dopamine fixed for the future.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much, Kris. This has been absolutely amazing. I'm so grateful for what you're doing, especially because I'm not super knowledgeable in this space, but I really appreciate your character that you bring to this and that really comes through talking to you in your book, and your attention to the mindset and the health aspect and everything you're doing with your supplement line, and the motivation. So, I just really, really appreciate it. How can people best follow you, get your supplements? How can people best follow your work?
Kris Gethin: Yeah. Thank you ever so much, Melanie. I really, really appreciate you and everything that you've been doing as well and have me on the show. But people could just find me on Instagram. It's probably the best hub for people to come find me. It's K-R-I-S, @krisgethin, G-E-T-H-I-N.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, we will put links to all of that in the show notes and thank you so much again and have a fabulous New Year's Eve tomorrow.
Kris Gethin: I will and you. Thank you so much.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you.
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