A brief intro to our new series – Supplement secret weapons
Today marks the beginning of a new series, in which we’ll be covering a broad range of supplements. Those to improve mental clarity, fat loss, longevity, energy, sleep, and more.
I’d like to take a moment and explain why I feel compelled to do this particular series of blog posts, or any of our series, for that matter. And why we cover so many different areas of the “becoming optimized” spectrum, risking the possibility of seeming like we have Human Health ADHD.
** If you don’t care to know this or are pinched for time, please scroll down to the headline “Now, let’s talk some supplements…” **
We cover what we’re passionate about and what we have an adequate amount of knowledge and experience in, in order to share with you. I would rather write each post in hopes that some people LOVE it and rave about it, while others merely shrug their shoulders, instead of trying to please everyone with clickbait-y titles about the “top 5 ways to lose belly fat” or “eat this miracle food to reduce your wrinkles.”
You’ll never find us talking yoga – although we believe it to be extremely beneficial – because neither Holly nor myself know crow pose from warrior pose. Neither will we talk about being an herbalist or making tinctures – visit our good friend Caitlin Frazier over at Locusts & Honey as she’s the expert in that department (although we plan on collaborating on a blog or two in the near future).
Fresh Evolution Fitness, much like anything else born from an individual, is our baby. It’s a part of us. We’re inseparable. So, naturally, you’ll see a large part of our personalities and approach to life bleed through. What this means for you is a constant supply of information. One that covers a wide and a varied number of topics, but all pertaining to becoming a better version of yourself.
Most people know me as a “personal trainer.” But, I secretly hate this title.
I think for the public it conjures images of sleeveless tees and protein shake farts at best or reasons to hide your spouse at worst. At the very least, I don’t want to be confined to counting reps and building programs.
So what other options are there?
Nutrition coach? That’s a little better but still so limiting. While it’s a central theme, developing and living your best life certainly depends on a heck of a lot more than just your macros and micros.
Fitness professional? It has a nice ring, but it’s becoming almost cliché these days. It seems like every Instagram girl with a peach emoji for a butt or guy with granite for a torso is a fitness professional.
Strength and performance coach? I don’t feel specialized enough to call myself that. I would never put myself in the same realm as Joe DeFranco, Louie Simmons, Cal Dietz or any of the other thousands of individuals whose experience in the professional trenches far exceeds my own.
Hell, when I fill out tax information, file for any business ventures, or even go about creating a new website profile the existential crisis I endure with “Please Select Occupation _____________” I’m sure is nothing short of comedic gold to any witnesses.
There’s simply no option for “I believe the human body, mind, and spirit are such a beautifully interconnected and intricately woven system.” That’s why our passion is to help people intertwine the following:
- proper nutrition and digestion,
- appropriate exercise and recovery,
- quality supplementation,
- active stress management,
- a growth mindset,
- time management and so much more.
I don’t think health should be compartmentalized. It’s one thing to become an expert in a particular field. It’s another altogether to think that your field and ONLY your field is the key to optimal health.
This is the first reason why we do what we do.
To force people to look at the bigger picture of integrated health. To possibly light a fire of curiosity under the behinds of every person looking for a healthier life. To help save you from making the mistake of chasing the wrong rabbit down the wrong tunnel for the wrong result.
Which all brings me to my next point…
I still remember the sting of my friend’s sister telling me I was getting a little fat like it was yesterday (try 3rd grade). Still remember the striped shirt and suspenders I was wearing too. Even then, it took me 5 or 6 years until I actually started to do something about it.
For over 20 years (I started working out at 13, I’ll be 41 in November) I’ve pursued being healthier. While I had some initial success, I certainly had my share of mistakes. I vividly recall:
- Eating a plateful of spaghetti before my workouts for energy in the low-fat ’90s (only to wake up 2 hours later, after a carb coma, wondering what happened).
- Taking so much pre-workout that I felt my head start to swim, then catch on fire, then break into a cold sweat.
- Spending over $60 on 2 lbs of over-hyped protein powders that caused me to run to the bathroom.
- Going so low-carb back in college that a single piece of juicy fruit gum gave me a sugar buzz.
- Getting hurt from bad form and lifting too heavy.
- Getting hurt from over-training and under-recovering.
- Getting hurt from trying to show off after the entire girl’s basketball team stopped and whistled (I still hope none of them saw that).
- Spending $100’s per month on supplements that I NEVER felt working (but, they were expensive, so they HAD to be good, right?).
- Eating a sugar alcohol, soy protein loaded cereal for months that caused bloating and gas noxious enough to peel paint off the walls.
- Letting an innocent kid take the blame for said noxious gas by his disgruntled father in the grocery store (“Boy! Did you poop yourself?” – “No dad! I promise it wasn’t me!”).
All true stories. Let’s just say, I’ve made my share of mistakes so you don’t have to.
This is the second reason why we do what we do.
I want to help prevent as many juicy fruit (and juicy toot) moments for others as possible.
In 2018, being healthy is big business. And everyone knows it.
There is no shortage of quick-result supplements, fitness gurus selling their “revolutionary” diets, online communities engulfed in dogma, dietary strategies or information products like podcasts, ebooks, PDFs, or audiobooks available. All vying for your precious attention. They all mean well. Well, most of them at least.
A lot of them are overpriced, under-dosed, misguided, or just plain wrong. But, fortunately, there are almost always kernels of truth to be had in their messages or ingredients.
This is where my wife and I want to fit Fresh Evolution Fitness.
We have no want (time?) to create exercise programs. There are hundreds of apps to download for free which do exactly that.
We would actually enjoy creating an effective product, but again, a lack of time (and the fact that just about every supplement out there works well for half the population while possibly doing jack squat for the other half) keeps us from pursuing it at the present moment.
Also, at the moment we are in a very red ocean of fitness professionals (ahem) all clamoring for your attention.
Plus, who am I kidding?, as I write these posts and newsletters, as Holly and I welcome the world into our living room to record daily videos, and as we attempt to give away everything in our arsenal in an ongoing attempt to grow we’re well aware that we have yet to gain enough momentum to effect enough impact and change.
The beautiful thing about having a passion and having conviction is that you see the possibilities. You see your vision of the way things could be and that vision is enough to push you forward, day-after-day, year-after-year.
It’s enough to make you live in alignment with your goals because you know the only way you’ll reach your vision is to get so damned good people can’t ignore you.
It’s enough to finally make you thick-skinned enough to make a stand against that red ocean.
It’s enough to make you want to leave every drop of sweat on the workout room floor, every drop of blood on the keyboard, and every second of your day pre-scheduled out in an organized structure that most would never understand.
It’s enough to make you do crazy things like give everything in your heart and mind away for free, for the single purpose of building an audience of people who want to be healthier, who like what you have to say, and who don’t want to make the same mistakes.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m assuming you feel something and are curious to hear what we’ve got to say.
For that I thank you.
I felt the need to get all of the above out there, so the next time someone asks what, how, or why we do what we do I can simply point them here.
In the future, if you ever wonder why we covered supplements for mental clarity for 3 weeks only to go into 2 weeks of microbiota posts, followed by active recovery videos…now you know.
Because it’s what we’re passionate about.
It’s what has gotten us to where we are and is what will continue to help us grow and help you grow.
Now, let’s talk some supplements…
Artichoke extract and Forskolin – Memory and Focus enhancers?
For those who are unaware, we’ve begun posting blogs twice a week: once on Tuesdays and again on Fridays.
Our aim with the current series is to briefly detail and explain the benefits of one to two supplements that are not well known but which may have a synergistic effect. We will not cover anything we have not specifically taken and tested ourselves.
- Neither myself nor my wife is a doctor (though I thoroughly believe she could be one while running the country) so it should go without saying that WE ADVISE YOU TO SPEAK TO YOUR DR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW SUPPLEMENT OR DIETARY REGIMEN.
- If we ever share an affiliate link (a link to a product or vendor which we make a commission on) we will state that clearly to avoid any mixed signals or mistrust.
With that said, today’s supplement secret weapons are Artichoke extract and Forskolin.
Both are reported to have multiple benefits, as well as a synergistic effect. Let’s take a look:
What it is: Simply put, Artichoke extract generally comes from the leaf of the plant, although the edible part you can buy in the store has more overall nutrients. These include vitamin c, inulin (a prebiotic vegetable fiber which helps improve the number of good bacteria in your digestive tract), magnesium, potassium, and certain polyphenols like chlorogenic acid, luteolin, and cynarin.
Common use: Artichoke extract is typically used for its liver-protective benefits. Cynarin helps to stimulate bile production, which may sound gross if you’re unfamiliar but is critical in aiding the body with the digestion of fats. In addition, the other minerals and polyphenols provide a strong antioxidant boost as well. All of these, paired with the inulin means Artichoke extract helps with a number of digestive maladies, from indigestion to IBS.
Secret weapon use: Artichoke extract has been shown to be a PDE4 inhibitor, which means it slows the breakdown of something called cAMP (cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate). cAMP is considered a secondary messenger, meaning it assists the effects of hormones like adrenaline and glucagon (basically the opposite of insulin) into cells.
What we’ve noticed: Many people express an increase in memory formation and retention when taking Artichoke extract. I notice an overall increase in energy levels and the aforementioned improved digestion, as well.
Caution: There are some allergic reactions and medical conditions to be considered. Anyone allergic to the ragweed family should be careful, as well as anyone with bile duct obstructions or gallstones.
What it is: A plant-derived compound, mainly from the dried root of the Coleus forskohli.
Common use: Forskolin is commonly used for weight loss, as it can increase metabolism and reduce appetite. It has been shown to potentially help in increasing testosterone, protecting against cancer, and reducing inflammation.
Secret weapon use: Forskolin may help increase a neurotransmitter called Orexin, which helps us become awake, alert, and aware. It also, like Artichoke extract, has been shown to increase cAMP. Which may be why the two pair well together.
What we’ve noticed: On a personal level, I have certain SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms, aka small genetic “mutations”) which cause me to be rather sluggish if left unchecked. My mother has CFS, which was a big part of me getting my nutrition and healthy lifestyle on point. I definitely notice a difference taking Forskolin by itself, in the wakefulness department. Thankfully, I don’t notice any reduction of appetite.
Caution: There are some potential medication counteractions, like blocking the effects of warfarin. In addition, Forskolin has been shown to have a negligible impact on certain liver conditions, although the research was on animals and seems to indicate that diet plays a role in the effect.
Where can you get these?
While there are a few products available with both ingredients – CILTEP comes to mind (no affiliation) – you can find both Artichoke Extract and Forskolin at most vitamin and health food stores. I feel it’s necessary to always warn people of buying supplements online unless you’re buying from a retailer you’re very familiar with.
Buying from Amazon can be good or can be disastrous, again depending on the seller. Please read the reviews and do any additional research you feel may be needed.
Personally, we buy ours from the local GNC. But the owner is a great guy and I’ve been doing business with him for years.
Wrapping it up…
As with any and everything we put out, we hope you find this helpful, informative, humorous, or thought-provoking.
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Our mission at Fresh Evolution Fitness is to help clear up the information overload so that you and your loved ones may find clarity on the path to a better body, a more focused mind, and a happier life…in whatever shape those terms may take for you.
As always, thank you for sharing your day with us and we’ll see you for the next post this Friday!