Everything in moderation? Nah..

 Photo by  Samuel Zeller  on  Unsplash

It is not uncommon, while we go through life that someone will tell us, in response to how intense we pursue our goals “everything in moderation”.  Hmmmm… It is something that is worthy of consideration.  Should we indeed do things in moderation?  What is the rationale for doing less, or doing the “average”?  Seems that it is just not connected to becoming better at something or doing what we love.  Doing more is better in so many instances and it really is a choice for us to make.  Moderation is an option; but if we want to be the best we can be we cannot stop at moderation, rather we need to go to a level where more is better.  More is better, yes, that is it!  Here’s to having fun with no ceiling or limits to what we want to do.  Yea baby!



Go!

 Photo by  asoggetti  on  Unsplash

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

Do not stop, do not hesitate, just go.  Seems to be a good mantra on our life's journey.  Go -- to move, to take action.  It has the right feeling.  When someone tells us Go – we know what to do.  We are instantly propelled forward.  Such a simple word, and such a powerful result.  All we have to do is feel it in our heart and live it in our lives.  We are made to move, not to be still, so Go is indeed core to who we are.  Ready, set, go…... 

Share the Love

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The holiday season is upon us and with it an opportunity to make the next five weeks even more impactful than would be ordinary for any of us on our journey.  We carry with us an understanding that we are supposed to take care of others and not just ourselves.  And at this time of year when there is a lot of buying and gifting it is important for us to make sure that we share the love with those who are less fortunate, the ones who might be forgotten, and in truth the people who would most benefit from anything we can give them and share with them.  If we are not sure exactly how to do this then there are a lot of great organizations that facilitate the giving process.  So, let’s make some time to take care of others this holiday season, share the love, whether it be, a hug, a donation, some assistance offered, they will all have a positive impact. Here’s to a wonderful holiday season – sharing the love, again and again.

The Nitty Gritty

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The Nitty Gritty

It just sounds cool to say I am getting down to the nitty gritty. Seems like a fitting statement or declaration on our life's journey. It is a phrase that has real feeling and yet it is in the definition that we really can embrace its meaning.  The Nitty Gritty is “the most important aspects or practical details of a subject or situation”. The quintessence, the heart of the matter.  Now we are getting somewhere.  Yes, when we get down to the nitty gritty it is a deliberate statement and time in the journey when all comes together. It is a declaration to all and ourselves that we are serious about what we are doing and that we are making the commitment to get it done at the right level.  So, let’s think about getting down to the nitty gritty every time we take on a challenge. It is after all what is required to make it happen.

Setting Goals

 Set a climbing goal. Get a flapper. Keep climbing hard. Push your limits.

Set a climbing goal. Get a flapper. Keep climbing hard. Push your limits.

When we start on our life's journey we do so with big goals in mind.  We set the goals and then we work to achieve them. It is a rather simple model.  It works because we define an end, a finish, a way of measuring the attainment of our goal.  And then imagine how difficult it would be if we set out to achieve something and we did not set a goal or an endpoint. We might find that not knowing when we would be done is a big obstacle and can be one of the reasons that we do not finish what we start. The understanding of where the end is allows us to focus and to push to the end when we get close. A lack of a finish line or a very specific goal then ends up being the reason that we don’t complete what we start out to do. So, let’s make sure that when we take on a challenge, in any part of our journey, that we establish a goal and an endpoint, and we measure ourselves along the way. When we do this, we can achieve a lot and when we fail to make a defined end point we become victim to the simplicity of how to succeed in life. Here’s to setting goals and making them happen.

Eat Real Foods

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EAT REAL FOODS

What we do while we are on our life journey matters, a lot.  But what we eat might be even more important than what we do on our journey.  It really does matter what we put into our body.  We have so many food choices and with our ever-increasing time starved lives we might just be tempted to choose the easy path, the choice of foods that might not be great for us but could taste good and be considered snacks and easy.  What we need to do is to make a concerted effort to focus on real foods.  That is vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and more.  They support us with great nutrition, a great balance of vitamins and other healing properties and then just taste great.  Say good-bye to eating poorly – we are going to love making the change!


Live Like You Mean It

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LIVE LIKE YOU MEAN IT

Once upon a time, we all had that moment when we embraced what we were doing in a big way.  We were passionate about it, we did it over and over again, we were obsessed of sorts.  And we got better at it and it defined much of who we were.  Then life got in the way and we got off our path and we embraced other parts of life.  Then time goes on and for reasons sometimes unpredictable we have the opportunity to get back at life with that same passion, that same fervor, that same intensity.  It really is our opportunity to live like we really mean it.  And it is for us to decide what this is all about, to make it mean something, to embrace that which we do not know and make the most of the unknown.  Yes, we can live like we mean it, it is up to us, now let’s figure out how we want to make it happen.

Living an Empowered Life of High Performance

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LIVING AN EMPOWERED LIFE OF HIGH PERFORMANCE

Recently, our CEO, Joe Gagnon was interviewed for the Activating Greatness podcast by Nathan Crane and Derek Crane. In the interview they discussed:

-How anyone at any age can live with greatness in their lives and have more energy and high performance in their relationships, business, passions and fitness.

-What it means to live the high performance life and how to activate more performance in your health.

-The important power of diet and nutrition through a plant-based diet.

-How Joe didn’t start running or do any regimented physical exercise until he was 40. He now, at age 57, feels better and has more energy than ever before!

-Supporting important causes and helping others through inspiring grand feats of fitness.

Plus, so much more! Check out the episode in the link below!!

https://www.facebook.com/cranefactor/videos/295605707919257/

We Have to Care

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WE HAVE TO CARE

On October 7, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an urgent report on the state of global warming. The laws of the physical universe say that we can keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels but we’re quickly running out of time. As in, we may reach that 1.5 in as little as a dozen years at the rate we’re spewing emissions. And the consequences will be disastrous.  To correct course, we’ll need to cut emissions by half before 2030, and go carbon-neutral by 2050, the report says. That gives us three decades to transform our energy production, adopt renewable energy, and leverage carbon capture techniques. We’ll have to change our behavior as individuals, too as this is an issue for all of us to solve. 

There are signs that what we do makes a difference.  For example, deploying technologies like electric cars on massive scales can help and when we consider that in 2016 alone, Los Angeles cut its emissions by 11 percent, the equivalent of yanking 700,000 cars off the road we can make an impact by paying serious attention to this global issue.  On our journey we can all make a difference with the choices that we make, and we cannot leave this to “others” to take care of it.  Let’s all put an effort into this topic and learn what we need to do to make an impact. By so doing we can keep this beautiful world around for centuries to come.  After all we are the ones who got us into this situation thus we have to find a way out of it.  

Give It Away

  "Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park"  Ansel Adams (1940)

"Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park" Ansel Adams (1940)

GIVE IT AWAY

It is not surprising that for those of us who spend a lot of our time building a purposeful life that we amass a lot along the way. It can be gear, possessions, knowledge, experiences and so much more. It is truly of benefit to hit this stage along the journey. And not because we need to have this much of anything. Rather it is because it is at the point when we have enough that we realize the magic of life is upon us.  We can now use what we have amassed, on every level, to give what we have to others. We can start to enable others with our knowledge, experiences, our stuff. We put in the effort and we got a big return and now we can do the same for others. It is powerful and ultimately rewarding when we can give it away. The smile that we receive in return is not to be beat. It is after all the reason that we spend so much time on the journey….give it away indeed….

Stand Tall

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STAND TALL

When there are times of turmoil and chaos it is important to make sure to stay centered.  To take the time to reflect on what we hold true in our community and on our life’s journey.  It starts with simple values and beliefs, such as respect for everyone. There is nothing more powerful than respecting each other for who we are, for our similarities and differences. We all share the planet, our country, our community and thus we need to protect the common good, sustainability, prosperity, and service to each other.  When any of our values are attacked we have to defend and do so vigorously.  With a healthy and defined approach, we can turn our defense (of values and respect) into a way of living that is good for everyone, each of us included.  We can make a difference. Let’s defend the crazy beautiful life that we know we can have.  It is the right thing to do and then some.

Make it Memorable

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Sightsavers

Make it Memorable

There are big moments on our life's journey. They are easy to remember. A big climb, a long race, a big project, a promotion, it can literally be anything that makes us feel different and gives us a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing like that feeling. And yet, it does not seem to come often enough. Is it because we have too many things going on to do the “big things” or is it really just a perspective that we can play with and adjust? What would it be like if we created more memorable moments? That would be special for sure. We have the power to make it that way.  What if we think about some of the more regular things that we do and find a way to make them memorable. Maybe we can cook dinner for someone unexpectedly, we could offer to help someone with their work, we could run in the rain, we could…… There are so many ways that we can take the ordinary and make it memorable. It is up to us how we construct this journey of ours, let’s make it mean something to ourselves and all around us!

Where We Live

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Where We Live

Our individual journeys take us to a lot of places but on Monday mornings, and for much of our week, we might get confused and think that our “desk” is where we live.  That being inside with “climate control” and incandescent lights is our reality.  And yes, we all know that work is essential and can be very productive but that is not enough, and the story cannot end there.  It is important to remind ourselves that there are other realities that can balance out and inspire our lives in ways that complement what we do at work. It’s refreshing to see that there are filmmakers who take time to remind us that our true “where we live” is in the neighborhood or in nature, with the flora and fauna. 

Will and Jim Pattiz have a way of capturing the outside that inspires and motivates us to want to spend time in the world around us.  Enjoy this three-minute journey and let’s challenge ourselves to go to see this kind of place soon – it is good for our heart and soul.. 

https://vimeo.com/morethanjustparks/badlands

The Earth Must Win

 Eugène Samuel Grasset - 1893

Eugène Samuel Grasset - 1893

THE EARTH MUST WIN

At one level, life is about each of us, pursuing our goals and dreams and working diligently to achieve them. At another level it is about the community that we are a part of and protecting it and making sure that it is vibrant and functioning to help all of us on our journey. At a meta level it is about Mother Earth, our land, our home, and our ecosystem, all of which is required to support all of life. It is with this perspective that we have to stay true to protecting the earth, our resources and our future. We cannot continue to pollute our planet, to waste resources, to compromise our future. There are some who think it is ok to have money win over taking care of the earth and this is just unacceptable. We have to fight to protect the earth we have to make sure it wins, and we cannot allow short-term thinking to drive the way we live on this precious resource that we are so fortunate to inhabit. Let’s use our pursuit of a better world to serve as a platform to voice our thoughts and make sure that we save the earth for generations to come.

Old Ways for a New You

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OLD WAYS FOR A NEW YOU

Adaptogens and super functional products like Performance Tea have deep roots, starting with Native American and Chinese medicines, and Ayurvedic traditions that tapped healing plants, herbs and mushrooms.  And now we can leverage this powerful, age-tested approach. We can go beyond using these plants and mushrooms as medicine for treating disease and can use holistic approaches to health and well-being by connecting with nature's medicine for their nutritional and health-promoting power. Today we have the opportunity to use an all natural approach to reach our truest potential. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise and a good social community, Performance Tea can help you do just that.

Going Uphill

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GOING UPHILL

There is a desire, sometimes hard to explain, that pushes us to want to take the route that goes uphill.  Harder is better, the easier way rather uninteresting and the challenge that uphill provides a way to find out what we are made of.  Can we push hard when it gets harder, do we stay in the game, do we stay focused and enjoy what it is we are doing even when it hurts and feels uncomfortable.  We get to the top and we feel that exhilaration that is hard find otherwise.  We find out that it is indeed going uphill that is the way to go to the next level, to feel great about what we are able to do on our own and to make ourselves ready for whatever comes our way….uphill here we go!

Don Reichelt runs the Badwater 135

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The Badwater 135 is called the toughest footrace on planet Earth.  Covering 135 miles, the race goes from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney CA.  Temperatures can reach as high as 135 degrees F and the race puts the runners under significant stress with their first steps at the lowest elevation point in North America at 280 feet below sea level all the way to the entry point of Mt. Whitney at 8,000 feet.  Runners have 48 hours to complete the race. The strongest are looking to challenge the record of 21 hours 56 minutes set by Pete Kostelnick in 2016.   

For many runners and adventurists, entry into Badwater 135 is the jackpot of endurance sports. A lottery, running in at least three 100-mile races and a deep endurance sports resume are the first hurdles to get over.  So, even to get to the start line is hard. Races like the Badwater 135 attract those who have a sense of adventure, keen determination, and a deep-rooted belief in their ability to endure and embrace suffering.  In a modern world where so much of what we do is geared towards making things easy this race is as much about survival as it is finishing in a good time.  And in choosing to take on a challenge of this caliber, running a race like Badwater gives one the opportunity to find something that is difficult to find – personal fulfillment.  

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One of the entrants into the 2018 Badwater is Don Reichelt, an ultra-endurance specialist who has competed in countless ultramarathons including 5 races of 100+ miles with a 100 mile PR of 16:27.  His journey as an ultra-runner comes to a pinnacle tonight when he starts the race at 11 pm (to avoid the heat – haha).  Performance Tea is proud to support Don during his race and with our Energy blend drink, we are confident that Don will have just the right stuff to hydrate himself and keep him going strong. 

The Reasons Why

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The Reasons Why

It is hard, at times, to explain what it is that drives us to be active.  Is it something intrinsic?  Is it that it just feels good?  Maybe we know that it is good for us?  Is society telling us it is the right thing to do?  Well, yea, probably it's all of that and more.  It is a good place to start for sure.  But when we dig deeper, when we start to find that being active is integral to how we live, who we are, and what we expect, then it starts to change and maybe even clarify a bit as well. 

The active person finds meaning in their movements, their balance, their inner strength.  And from there it gets even bigger, in being active we are a vessel that has yet to be fully expressed.  There is something in us that wants to get out….to be felt and seen, to test and push ourselves and find satisfaction in what we find out along the way.  We stop worrying about “ends” and start caring about the “means” and the journey. We find that it is our opportunity to get closer to who we are and how we feel about it.  It is a place that we have to work to get to and it is accompanied by the requisite struggle and testing of ourselves against ourselves.  So much potential to be realized that we are compelled to reach in and see what we find.  And as we push ourselves past the place of comfort we lay witness to the human condition, our own humanness, via the feeling that comes from extreme motivation, vulnerability, suffering and reckless joy.  And that is, after all, why we need to be active......indeed it is.

Life Doesn't Come in a Pill

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Life Doesn't Come in a Pill

Why do we remember certain experiences and forget others?  It seems that often it is the level of energy, commitment, and sacrifice that we put into what we do that creates the most lasting memories and feelings.  For decades companies have spent oodles of time and billions of dollars to find ways to create products that help consumers create magical moments when expectations are exceeded.  And it is self-acknowledged that there is still a long way to go to consistently find ways to help people live the life that they want to live – intentionally thinking about how we can achieve our potential.  Sadly, there have been many flawed approaches for how to do this.  The promises are too big, the believability tough and the results just not where we need them to be.  The promise of a pill to do everything that we want seems flawed from the outset.  Pills are not how we want to enable life, it takes away the experience, the feel, the excitement.  What we want, actually need, are ways to enable us to do more, that fits naturally into our active lives, that allows us to feel what it is we are doing and feel great when we are done.  We have the power to embrace this approach, stay away from the idea that life is driven by “pills” and we can make a change to this anytime we want. 

And it is with this sentiment that we embrace an active life.  We can and should be participating in activities, being members of local communities, taking on challenges and more.  While we do this, it is great to have products that naturally complement and support what it is we are doing.  No chemicals, no pills, only good stuff that we can drink (or eat) each day as we set ourselves up for embracing who we are and what we want to do.  The Performance Tea Blends are a good example of how when we can take Tea to the next level and maximize our potential with Focus, Energy, and Balance – each of which brings their great taste and highly convenient packaging with no sugar to a functional beverage powered by adaptogens.  And here is where we hit liftoff.  Rip, pour, shake, sip, into your reusable water bottle and we are starting to feel what happens when we make good choices. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.  With this kind of support, we can supercharge our day naturally with great taste and amazing benefits.  No pill can stand up to that….for sure.

Four Ways Coffee Damages Your Training Regimen

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Long-term gains are sacrificed for short-term goals with coffee. Here’s why.

I know this going to raise the hackles of some my biohacking friends and competitive athlete clients who love their bulletproof coffee. I, myself, love the smell and taste of a good espresso and am not against an occasional cup of coffee. But I do recommend to my athletic and fast-paced clients that they take daily coffee out of their diet, in exchange for a higher degree of cognitive and athletic performance.

I should note that I live in one of the smartest, athletic, and most ambitious places in the country (Boulder, Colorado), the kind of place where scientists, tech start up entrepreneurs, and nationally-ranked triathletes all rub elbows over a green-smoothie Sunday brunch. It’s the kind of place where being at the top of your game — and staying there — is a serious driver for many of my friends and my clients. Coffee, then, is often used by these high-achieving men and women to climb their next literal or hypothetical hill.

Coffee and Credit

Chinese Medicine is fond of metaphors to describe how our body functions, for the simple reason these metaphors point to the larger truths that emerge from complex systems like the human body. Caffeine’s interaction with the body is like that of a credit card. The credit card is a great financial tool and can give us extra resources right when we need it. Chinese Medicine envisions the kidney/adrenal complex to be very similar.

Caffeine allows us to borrow the energy of tomorrow from our reserves to use today, which is great in a pinch. If we use our credit card sparingly and pay off our balance in full each month, it just is a tool to help manage our finances. The problem is when we no longer can pay what we owe each month and go further and further into debt. Likewise, when we use caffeine beyond our ability to repair via our parasympathetic nervous system, i.e. rest and repose, we start to see the ecology of our body being damaged. (The parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes called the “rest and digest” system, and is what is active when we slow the heart rate and relax our sphincter muscles — chilling out, in other words.)

In functional medicine, we like to focus on how substances interact with the receptor sites, the space in between the neurons. Understanding how crucial neurotransmitters function, we get insight into how different substances impact our body. Caffeine blocks the receptor site that the neurotransmitter adenosine binds to. Adenosine slows you down and activates your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system gets you ready to sleep, digest and repair cellular damage.

The great part of caffeine is that when we block our nervous system from slowing down into parasympathetic response, we get the rush of speed, strength and delayed fatigue from a sympathetic nervous system that remains active. This rush stimulates dopamine and we get a satisfied feeling of our global reward signal being pinged. All is good, for a time. Except that we’re accruing debt on that credit card.

Coffee and an Adrenal Stress Response

Nature designed caffeine as a protective pesticide which functioned to shock the herbivores munching on it. So what happens when we are down-regulating adenosine and stimulating the system throughout the morning and the afternoon, downing coffee to get us through the next lull in our workday? We go into an adrenal stress response.

You know your adrenals. The last time someone cut you off when you were a little sleepy, you felt them. Boom! The adrenals stimulate the release of the big dogs: adrenaline and cortisol flood the system and we are awake — wide awake. You feel jazzed and might feel a pit in your stomach, but you’re ready! At least until the adrenaline and cortisol wear off, and the fatigue returns.

Drinking coffee or other high caffeine drinks is creating this moment all the time, but in a smaller way. And over time, it has some serious side-effects that can impact those of us looking to operate at our very best.

#1 Blocks Cellular Healing and Deep Sleep

Drinking coffee for years will lead to elevated cortisol levels throughout the day and evening, the downside to the stress response. Staying in a dominant sympathetic, fight or flight state blocks repair and more importantly inhibits the deep delta wave sleep which is where we repair both body and mind. Staying in a sympathetic dominant state for an extended period can impact the regeneration of the nervous system over time and lead to anxiety or sleep issues, premature aging, slower recovery from injury, slower muscle growth, and damage to the cardiovascular system.

#2 Releases Sugar that Gets Converted into Fat

Spiking your cortisol causes your insulin to surge and release the sugars out of your liver and into your muscles for increased energy, but those sugars get turned into fat unless their immediately used. Increased cortisol ups the conversion of your essential fatty acids, and in an emergency (or if you down an espresso right before a CrossFit workout) this can work because the fats are used before they have a chance to land on your waistline. But if you’re drinking coffee at your desk or on the bus, like most of us, those sugars turned to fats are doing you more harm than good.

#3 Coffee Equals Long-Term Inflammation

Controlling inflammation is the key to faster recovery from workouts and slowing the aging process. This is why things like Whole Body Cryogenic Therapy have appeared for the most cutting-edge of athletes, in an attempt to slow the inflammation response of the body.

Having an elevated sympathetic state creates vasoconstriction, which means less blood flow to your periphery. Many coffee drinkers remark on cold hands and feet because they are chronically vasoconstricted. This increase recovery time and will aggravate old injuries and create a higher level of inflammation over time.

A low inflammation diet and exercise regimen is one of the best ways to ensure steady, stable growth, especially for those who are pushing their edges in other places and creating intentional stress responses (the gym) alongside unintentional ones (the job).

#4 Coffee negatively impacts your gut health over time

The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, acid reflux and dysbiosis (imbalance of your gut flora). Caffeine interferes with the production of GABA, the neurotransmitter that calms your nervous system and tells your gut to digest. When we favor the sympathetic nervous system by using stimulants, we don’t allow our parasympathetic system to do it’s job.

In this case it is getting the billions of intestinal villi to absorb nutrients and move wastes down out of your intestinal tract. Irritated bowels are a common complaint seen in our clinic, from IBS to diarrhea and constipation, most digestive complaints are improved by cutting down caffeine intake considerably. But more importantly then not having the side effects of too much caffeine is getting the benefits of a healthy gut and body whose PH is properly balanced.

Coffee as a Recreational Drug

An occasional cup of coffee tastes great and is super enjoyable. I tell my patients to use coffee as an occasional recreational drug not as a daily habit, like an occasional glass of wine or fine ale. That said, for committed athletes and entrepreneurs who are looking to optimize their practices for elite level of focus and output, coffee as a daily habit does far more harm than good, and should be avoided.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post on how to use small amounts of caffeine and large amounts of adaptogenic herbs to maximize your potential and minimize long term negative effects.

Enjoy your coffee, but enjoy it in moderation.

Marco