Boomer Anderson works with high-performing professionals to overcome stress and health issues.
In this episode, he addresses questions on sleep, diet and genetics in relation to health and performance.
Tune in to find out how you can live and work better knowing what Boomer knows about the body and mind.
In the podcast:
01:23 – The background on Boomer
04:20 – Some stuff people think is true that isn’t
06:33 – The argument for getting enough sleep
08:32 – If you think it works for seven billion people, think again
10:22 – It all comes down to the individual
13:43 – A recap on sleep
15:16 – What benchmarking and measurement do
17:45 – Bringing back the sensitivity
21:27 – What do I actually eat?
25:59 – Boomer’s viewpoint on DNA
30:25 – Aiming at the genetic potential
33:23 – Health in the hierarchy of investment
35:35 – Taking a longevity point of view
38:09 – Three tips for becoming a better you
42:03 – How to manage stress effectively
43:18 – Nature and work management
45:47 – The wrap-up
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 781. We’ll be decoding humans with our special guest, Boomer. And it’s an unusual name, and also got an interesting accent for where you’re living. Why don’t you give us a little bit of a background on that one?
Boomer: Yeah, and congratulations, James on 781 episodes. That’s pretty incredible, man. That’s a lot of dedication and discipline right there. So congratulations.
James: Thank you.
The background on Boomer
Boomer: Yeah, just for the accent, my accent is not Dutch. And I live in Amsterdam. So there’s probably a backstory there, right?
You know, I’ve been obsessed with this idea of performance and trying to live, quote, unquote, best life, or just push life to its absolute limits for a very long time. And, you know, when I was in school, in the United States – I grew up in Chicago, and predominantly Philadelphia – when I was in school, in the United States, there was just sort of this inclination to go into finance, because of sort of the nature of the beast that is finance. You were rewarded for what you were able to produce, similar to entrepreneurship in many ways.
And so I ended up in finance after school, first on Wall Street, and then eventually in Singapore. And I actually spent quite a bit of time where you are, working with some of the power companies, but also a couple of your telco companies that were owned by Singapore companies.
And I ended up, you know, after six years, sort of saying, like, hey, I’m pretty good at this. But, you know, along that theme of living life to its absolute limits, you know, why don’t I try this whole building a business thing? And so at that time, I’d also met the lady who I’m now engaged to, and we were kind of like, Okay, why don’t we try something new?
I’ve lived in Europe briefly before, I lived in London. But London’s a mighty expensive place to start a business. And so rather than moving to London, we decided, you know, what’s my favorite city to visit? It was Amsterdam, which coincided very well with what she was into, which is design. And now we’re here.
And so it’s been quite a journey, and there’s a lot of gaps in there. Because along that whole gamut, if you will, I kind of jumped out of the proverbial airplane without the parachute and decided to build the parachute on the way down. Transitioned into a completely different industry as a result of some health issues that I had faced. And you know, at this time, I’m kind of involved in numerous different businesses in the health industry, but also have my own one-to-one consulting practice where I work with entrepreneurs. So it’s been an amazing journey. And I still, to this day, haven’t picked up the Dutch accent.
James: You definitely haven’t.
Now we got introduced by a mutual client, friend, Matt.
Boomer: Yeah. Matt’s a great guy.
James: He was, you know, he was introducing me to concepts like taping my mouth shot to help me breathe through my nose better. And he picked up on that I’m interested in surfing and breath-holding, and it can help with all sorts of things. So I’m obviously from a similar world.
Rather than talk about all the stuff that everyone always talks about – I’m sure you get probably compared to Tim Ferriss, and you know, who’s a human guinea pig and trying out everything from ice baths through to fasting and stuff – let’s just go straight for the jugular.
We’re business owners. I believe that if us, as a business owner, is functioning well, then our business can be magnified by that. And if we’re not functioning well, it can be brought down by that. That’s sort of one of my observations from coaching a lot of people.
Some stuff people think is true that isn’t
What myths or untruths are out there that you constantly see that you’ve found to be dead wrong, that you really think everyone should know about? Especially, you know, people in my community, some of them border on health nerds, some of them are in the bulletproof gang, other ones are helping people with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Other ones do gluten fasts. I’ve got plant eaters, I’ve got carnivores, I’ve got woo woos. They’re all there. But what’s the mainstream thing that really gets under your skin?
Boomer: Oh, god, there’s so many of them. I mean, it depends on how long you want to go, James. So just like, you can stop me whenever I get done ranting.
James: Just give me one to start with. Throw me a bone.
Boomer: Yeah. I’m going to give you two, and then you can tell me which path you want to go down. It’s sort of like those little novels where you choose your own adventure.
James: Both. I want both.
Boomer: Yeah. So okay, first one is, sleep is a waste of time. And then the second one is this (fill in the blank) diet works for everybody.
Boomer: And so you tell me which path you want to go down and I will go on a little bit of a soliloquy.
“Sometimes the absolute best thing we can do is just go and sleep.”
James: Well, I’ll tell you where we’re up to. And like, obviously, with 781 episodes, we’ve covered some of these, especially sleep. We’ve had sleep experts on the show. And we learned that sleep is really where we do all our repair and restoration. And sometimes the absolute best thing we can do is just go and sleep.
But we also learned that alcohol kills sleep more than just about anything else. And, you know, turn off distractions early and make sure we’re getting away from those bad lights. And get the temperature right, all this sort of stuff, and that most mistakes happen through fatigue, with car crashes, hospital accidents, etc. So we’ve had some good insights on that.
“Any diet or recommendation that is all or nothing is generally going to be bad.”
And with regards to, you know, diet, we learned on one of our episodes, I did a whole series with Anita Chaperon. She said basically, any diet or recommendation that is sort of all or nothing is generally going to be really bad. If it says you cannot have this, or you must do that, then it’s a warning sign.
Boomer: Yeah. And so look, I’ll kind of piggyback on those. And then we’ll wind up down a different wormhole, right?
James: Yeah. And then you can disagree with anything as well. We love that as well.
Boomer: Yeah. I’m always happy to have a friendly argument about certain things.
The argument for getting enough sleep
So let’s take a look at sleep, right? And so, statistically, and this is perpetuated by people like the president of my country (my country that I have a passport, not the country I live in)…
James: Yeah, the midnight tweeter.
Boomer: The midnight… There’s other forms of words that we like to use to describe him sometimes. But in terms of things like sleep, right? I grew up in the era of early 90s rap music. There’s a rapper called Nas who perpetuated this thing that said, sleep is the cousin of death.
Statistically speaking, 3 percent of the world can get away with less than six hours of sleep per night. That is due to a very distinct genetic variant, something called DEC2, which are, sleep cycles happen faster. The rest of us need to get something more like seven plus.
And so there’s this idea among entrepreneurs – and again, like, I’m involved in several businesses, so I am one of these entrepreneurs – that you just don’t need sleep, and that you can just keep going because passion drives and fuels you. And to a certain extent, that may work for a couple of days. But you are sacrificing performance as a result of that.
Perhaps one of my favorite studies of all time regarding sleep is they actually map the brainwaves of somebody who was sleep-deprived versus somebody who was drinking beer. And essentially, what they looked at was, if you had two beers, what is that equivalent in terms of sleep loss and sleep deprivation? Well, it’s about two hours of sleep deprivation. So that’s two hours versus your baseline.
If you were to pull an all-nighter, which I’m sure there’s people out here, and I’ve done this in the past, who have pulled all-nighters, that’s the equivalent of having 10 to 12 12-ounce beers. Now, we’re not talking about the baby pints that you get here in Amsterdam. We’re talking about like, real actual-size beers.
And I don’t know about you – it’s been a long time since I’ve ever drank that much alcohol – but like, that would floor you. And so why do we accept as a community that you can survive on very little sleep? You are not going to perform at your best.
Boomer: It’s a categorical fact.
If you think it works for seven billion people, think again
Okay. So let’s take that one and then move that aside. And I completely agree with your guest who said, like anybody who comes out there and saying that this works for N of seven billion people, is just – and you haven’t told me if I can curse or not, but I’m going to go ahead and do it – they’re just bullsh*t, right?
Everyone is different. We have different ancestral heritages. We have different things, different environments in which we were raised in. We have different exposures to toxicities. As a result, everybody needs to be brought down to the individual.
And so what I spend a lot of time on, and what I’ve spoken a lot about, is the idea of measuring. And so when we look at just health, let’s reframe that a bit. Because there’s this common misconception that health is really just diet and exercise. And I know this from past experience, right? I was in finance and worked for a decade and thought I was pretty damn healthy. Right?
Like, I was one of these crazy ass crossfitters, which you’re in Aus, so I know that there’s quite a lot of those people around you. But I was one of these crazy ass crossfitters, I was following whatever diet the Huffington Post recommended for the day, because of course, that diet that was good for seven billion people changed every week, because you need to sell papers and that kind of stuff.
James: The irony is that Arianna Huffington wrote a book on sleep.
Boomer: Yeah, exactly. So I mean, the funny thing is, like, Arianna Huffington knows firsthand what sleep can do to performance. And I’m really glad, by the way, of how she’s kind of done with Thrive Global and sort of the advocate for a healthier approach to things like entrepreneurship.
But coming back to health. Now, if we look at just health as an individual, let’s boil this down to what is the smallest part of the individual that we can measure. And that’s us at a cellular level. And so I can run you through a series of tests, blood, urine, and stool, and get a sense of your metabolome, which is essentially where your cells are currently, and where they have been.
It all comes down to the individual
And what we’re able to measure are things like the Krebs cycle. And think of the Krebs cycle as just as sort of a way that your body produces energy. Now, why does that matter for an entrepreneur? If you are not efficiently producing ATP, you’re not going to be able to perform at your absolute maximum. And most of the entrepreneurs that I’ve met don’t like leaving sh*t on the table. They want to be performing at their best as frequently as possible.
And so what do we do there? Well, we can test the health of the Krebs cycle, we can test the health of your cells, and we can really just start to measure what nutrient deficiencies you have, what things may be blocking your cellular level processes. And then we take that information and we kind of map view.
And now why is this important? So let’s look at you from an evolutionary perspective. cells from an evolutionary perspective evolved from basically a symbiotic relationship between the mitochondria in ancient bacteria. They came together, and that’s effectively our modern cell.
But these aren’t the only symbiotic relationships in our body. Whether you like it or not, you have fungus all throughout your body, called your microbiome. You have viruses in your body, they may be inactive, they may be active, called your virome.
And collectively, all those omes actually sums up into something which Dr. Lynn Margulis called the holobiont. She passed away in kind of the mid ‘90s. But fantastic woman, lots of great research, specifically as it relates to systems biology. But the holobiont is actually how I and people that are trained in the same modality as me look at health.
And so you’re actually not just your diet and exercise, you’re actually the collective health of your organisms. And so when we’re able to assess your cells, at the most minute level possible – and right now we can only get to the cellular level, maybe perhaps quantum computing allows us to take it a little bit deeper in the future – but we can assess that. That fractalizes out. So if we can really improve the health of your cells, that fractalizes out, and it really allows you to show up and perform at your best.
So going back to the things that sort of grind my gears are, you know, when we say these diets work for seven billion people, it’s not true. And there’s also different diets for different time periods in your life.
Because if you think about, James, what you may show up on in terms of testing right now, may not be the same gene that shows up in six months’ time, because you’re going to test yourself right now, you’re going to make some lifestyle modifications. And as a result, we may need to then titrate you or kind of, I guess, manipulate your supplementation or whatever it is, your diet. And so that’s going to change over time.
And I think there’s this dogma, or almost tribal-like effect of diets, as well as everything in sort of the health industry, that you kind of have to stay within this framework. And if you’re not within this framework, then you’re not a member of the tribe, you’re ostracized, and you’re going to go die a lonely death in the desert, because that’s what people did in the savanna, right?
“You’re not going to die from being an individual.”
But now, we have the ability to recognize that we’re all individual. You’re not going to die from being an individual. In fact, you’re going to perform better, and we’re going to change and sort of adjust that over time. And I think that’s something that people need to get comfortable with. Because ultimately, like, if you’re not growing, then, you know, are you leaving something on the table? And how do I get you to grow as fast as possible in terms of performance?
A recap on sleep
Yeah, look, this is really interesting. From the things you’ve just said, just a quick recap, we start out with the sleep thing. I know, in my case, if I stay up late, and it will usually happen when there’s a Formula One on in Europe, which is a bad time zone for me to watch a Formula One…
Boomer: Well, this year it’s a little bit better for you for sleep then, right?
James: This year, it’s been great. Like, it’s every week or two, and it’s fantastic. But if I watch it live at midnight, and it goes to one or two in the morning, I will definitely feel like I’ve got a hangover the next day. I’m so in tune now with how my body reacts to sleep deprivation. And I’m hyper-tuned into it. So I totally agree.
It made me think of things like the 4am Club. And one of my friends says 4am Club means you go to bed at seven o’clock. That’s all it means. If you’re going to wake up that early, you should go to bed early.
James: The other thing is, like these billionaire hustler quote type things that say, you know what, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. That’s really wrong, it should actually be I’ll be dead because I didn’t get enough sleep.
Boomer: I would love to just track those guys’ longevity, right?
James: I really felt like the early Gary Vee stuff was pushing a message of hustle and grind. I sort of came around and said, No, this is not right. This is not right. We’ve talked about it a lot on this show, actually, because I’m really, you know, with the book, Work Less, Make More, you can tell them, I’m going to leave my grinding to the barista.
And hustle’s a dirty word really. It’s kind of what a grifter does or someone who’s tricking you. I think there is a phase where you have to work hard, you have to crawl over broken glass, you have to eat beans, generally when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur. But the trick is to pull back and change your habits.
What benchmarking and measurement do
And I also think it’s fascinating, what you said, we change. I did rounds of blood testing and on a really deep level, etc. Even the time of day or what you had for a meal or whatever can dramatically change your blood test results.
James: So let alone a month or two, like even the next day, you could be a different result. I’ve done all the DNA testing and everything else, and I’m really interested to find out your position on those things.
And I’ve done exclusion diets, where I take things out and then add them back in. And I can tell you now, I can detect food or ingredients in something almost instantly. Like, if there’s stevia in something, I can tell straight away. If there’s sugar in something, I can tell straight away. If there’s gluten, I’ll know instantly.
James: So my body’s like this finely-tuned machine, as I’ve gotten closer to the sources. I’ve been experimenting with removing things and adding back in. It’s just so critical, I just think of all the damage I’ve done.
And now that I’m a little older, and I’ve got kids, you notice the hormone level changes, you notice that it’s not as easy to shift weight so quickly. I surf every day, but you can actually build up some sort of baseline to that fitness, where you’re going to have to do something else to trick your body into shedding weight. You can get very comfortable, too, when you have a good business and good relationships. Your body can start stacking it on as you’re not in survival mode.
So really, really fascinating insights. And that sensitivity’s really my point here. I totally agree. We are not the same person as anyone else. And we’re not the same person as us, in a sort of snapshot sense through the year.
And that’s why I really love your point about measurements. And taking those measurements has really made changes. I take my pulse, my resting pulse. Because I want to be able to hold my breath for when I get held under by massive monster waves, like yesterday, which is kind of like, it’s life and death. And I want to make sure I’m not going out into a situation that I’m not ready for. So I have to keep a realistic measure of my capabilities.
Boomer: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s something there that I just want to double click on here for a second because one of the things that – actually it’s probably two points. So benchmarking and measurement allow us to give a benchmark relative to ourselves. It’s not about comparing, you know, myself to James or myself to someone else. It’s about me versus me.
And, you know, ultimately that’s kind of the game and sort of entrepreneurship, too, right? It’s like we’re in a constant fight with ourselves, our mind, to perform better or fast. And so what we’re doing is we’re benchmarking against ourselves.
Bringing back the sensitivity
The other thing that I wanted to touch on, that you so rightly pointed out, was the idea of sensitivity. And so most people, when they come to work with me, everybody’s on a continuum, right? It’s largely similar to business, you’re in a certain part of the continuum, and you want to kind of move somebody to the better half of the continuum.
When they come in, there’s generally this sort of loss of sensitivity. Why? Because, you know, we’ve been wrongly taught by some of those billionaire quotes, if you will, that, you know, the mind needs to beat down the body. And you know, we need to just go, go, go, go go, right?
And so one of the things that I spend a lot of time on people with, is just sort of bringing back that sensitivity, otherwise known as interoception. So are you able to feel that you’re hungry? Are you able to feel that you’re tired? Are you able to feel, maybe, that gluten, those lectins, those… stevia, as you mentioned? Like, stevia is a ubiquitous substitute now for sugar. And there are many people that can’t take it. I’ve got clients that can’t take erythritol, either. You know, we’re all individuals.
James: It creates an instant reaction for me. I had some in a keto thing the other day. And I said to the guy, this has got stevia in it. He goes, Yeah. And I’m like, Yeah. Because I don’t have any sweetener. No sweeteners.
James: No sugar. Don’t add any sugar. So I’m hypersensitive now to any kind of thing that tastes sweet, because I don’t need sweet anymore. I’ve tuned my body out of sweet.
Boomer: Good, good. Excellent.
James: But it also gives me this weird feeling. It’s like a drunk feeling, almost. This stevia effect is significant.
Boomer: Yeah, and what’s interesting about stevia, each of us kind of has, in certain cases, quicksand foods. This is a little bit different than what we’re talking about here. But we have foods that we’re sensitive to, and may end up as sort of a crutch, if you will. And so if you are aware of what those foods are, if you have done the testing, and what’s great about data is it allows people to visualize associations, right? And so if you have somebody that is not sensitive, as you are, James, right? Like, if you have somebody who is just sort of building back that interoception…
James: Well, like me, five years ago.
Boomer: Yeah, there you go.
James: I’m like, I’m eating pastas and breads. I love pasta and bread and croissants and everything. And turns out my body gets inflammation from gluten, and I’m just hammering my joints and hammering my body and bloating up like crazy.
And I thought it was the onions making me bloated. It was nothing to do with that. You know, it’s like, I’m a completely different machine now that I’ve cleaned out the junk. I was, like, putting this junk through, so I was desensitized to it. And now when you take it away, it’s like, purifying it. It’s pretty hard to explain unless someone’s been through that sort of cleaner eating phase. But unfortunately, a lot of adults listening to this are not clean eaters. They’re stuffing down a packet of crisps or chips, or drinking soda from the cans, etc. All this horrifically bad stuff.
Boomer: Yeah. And if you wanted to experience this and you didn’t necessarily want to go out and pay for the testing – which I actually think is a more direct approach and could save you money over a longer period of time – but if you wanted to experience this, there are books out there on elimination diets. Or if you think of something classically, like the Whole30 or the Paleo diet, that’s a good way to just experience this without necessarily going out and getting your blood drawn.
James: Well, that’s what I did for dairy, gluten, and sugar. Just didn’t take it for 14 days.
Boomer: Fourteen days are, you know, I prefer to get people on sort of a six-week elimination diet, because that will allow a lot of the antibodies that these various foods have to clear out. And then you reintroduce them.
What do I actually eat?
And it’s amazing. First off, the usual reaction that I get is, so you told me to eliminate vegetable oil, which is ubiquitous in most restaurants. You told me to eliminate grains, you told me to eliminate dairy, cheese, etc. They’re like, what do I actually eat? Well, it turns out there’s a whole class of foods out there that you can actually eat.
James: That’s the mind-blowing thing. Every time I’ve tailored my thing, the first phase is a bit difficult because I have to go through that decision matrix. Am I allowed to have this or not? I literally said to my wife today, I’m about four or five weeks into my current way of eating. And I’ve lost four kilograms, just as a little aside.
And now, I actually have absolutely no struggle to find things to eat. I’m enjoying the new things. I’ve discovered new things that I’ve never heard of before. And I’m not feeling that hungry most of the time. I’ve got a massive amount of energy. Even my kid’s got so much energy. Other people say, your kid has got so much energy. I’m like, well, because she eats, like, the most pure, cleanest, healthiest foods possible.
Boomer: Exactly. And, you know, that’s important to realize that like, you know, it should be fun, too. It’s an investigation into learning more. And so anytime I adjust my diet – similar to you, I do adjust my diet, probably I re-benchmark about every six months. And you know, every time I adjust my diet, I view it not as a struggle, necessarily. The first two days are a little bit more difficult. But like, I view it more as a learning process, because I’m a very curious individual.
And it’s just sort of like, Okay, so now I’ve switched my diet. So it’s much more targeted towards the nervous system and just sort of manipulating my nervous system for sleep, essentially. Well, okay, that’s interesting. Now, what can I do during the day? What kind of carbohydrates can I have that will not spike my glucose? I have a continuous glucose measurement in my arm right now. What are things that will not spike my glucose? But also, you know, what kind of seasonal vegetables are out there? And that kind of gets me into an exploration into Dutch farming practices. Like, I kind of view it as more of a learning process rather than a struggle.
James: Well, it’s totally framing, isn’t it? It’s like, rather than denying of something, it’s like, what does this open me up to?
James: I’ve really enjoyed the discovery aspect of it. At my age in life, it’s fascinating to me that there are still foods and meals out there that I’ve never even eaten once. And I’m well traveled, and I’m well-eaten. I’ve eaten in all different types of restaurants and countries. And there’s still some really interesting things.
I bought five or six books the other day, and I just pull out recipes and pages and just crack on with a new recipe and make something new that I haven’t tried before. And then I eat it, and I pay attention to how I feel. And I am tracking some of the measurements as well.
But I’m particularly paying attention to things like my energy levels, if I feel like I’ve got a headache, if I feel like I’ve got low energy, if I feel grumpy or crabby. If I’m hydrating properly, etc. All these things will be variables around my regular schedule.
But the other thing that’s been a windfall this year, is it’s the first year since 2008 that I haven’t been overseas every month. So I’m now able to basically, from a testing perspective, I’m able to normalize most other elements. Because I’m in mostly the same environment, I’ve got mostly the same supply, mostly the same temperature and routine. So the food thing is a really wild variable, where everything else is similar. Whereas when I was traveling a lot, it’s really hard to take into account time zones and airplanes and go from winter to summer, summer to winter, you know, in eight hours, all that sort of stuff.
Boomer: Yeah. It’s fascinating to me, because there’s a lot of people that are looking at 2020 and saying like, Hey, the sh*t has actually hit the fan, right?
James: Oh, it’s definitely a crazy year by anyone’s measure.
Boomer: Yeah, it’s crazy.
James: But it’s a huge opportunity,
Boomer: A huge opportunity. And for me, similar to you, since 2008, I have not spent more than probably three or four weeks in the same city. And since I’ve moved to Amsterdam, I’ve never spent more than probably two weeks consecutively in Amsterdam. And what’s funny is, is now I’m sitting here and I was like, okay, I went for a span of three months, and oh my god, this is like, actually amazing. You get to sit down, get into routines.
And I’m the type of person that even when I traveled, like, I had a travel routine, I had a home routine, that kind of stuff. But if you start to get into that rhythm, it’s amazing to see what kind of performance you can generate. But also looking at your baselines now, your baselines aren’t so erratic, or your data set is really not so erratic, because you’re traveling all the time. Your data set is actually quite normal, actually, which is useful from a nerd’s perspective like myself.
Boomer’s viewpoint on DNA
James: Very cool. So where do you stand on DNA?
Boomer: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up, because I’ve done whole genome sequencing, I’ve investigated different sort of these sort of direct-to-consumer testing companies.
So let’s break down DNA just first off, where it sits in kind of the omics value stream, if you will. So you have genetics at the top. And think of genetics or DNA testing as sort of the blueprint of you. It’s the code of how you should be made if you were made in a petri dish, perhaps in some sort of brave new world type scenario, right?
But we then have all these environmental factors that come into play as we grow up. Like, let’s say you and I have the same genetic code. If we grew up in different places, like let’s say, I grew up in Chicago, Philadelphia, you grew up in Australia, we’re going to be exposed to different things like toxins, different, even positive things like quality of food. Quality of food in Australia is probably higher than, I’m guessing, Philadelphia.
James: There’s no question. There’s no question the produce in Australia is high-grade. And we’re also a real, very safety-oriented place. You know, I’m sure we probably got rid of asbestos and lead, and we were, I think, if not the first, one of the first to have food labeling as law and that sort of stuff. Like you can read the ingredients of everything you eat in Australia. Have been able to for a long time. So we’re pretty up with that stuff.
Boomer: Yeah, exactly. And the number of times I’ve been in Australia, it’s just always amazing to me, like the quality of food. Even when I lived in Singapore, the grassfed beef I was buying would come from Australia. Right?
James: Well, that’s why Asia is not so so big on the beef. They got lots of chicken and pork and fish.
James: When I have visitors come here, they’re like, oh, wow, these tomatoes taste really good. And this steak, I’ve never tasted anything like that. It’s like, because I think in the US, at least from the documentaries I’ve watched, only a handful of companies actually own all of the chicken farms and all of the meat produce.
James: Three companies or something. It’s kind of locked down.
Boomer: Yeah, the farming practices in the US – and maybe we’ll get into that later – are a little bit, you’re right.
James: On my eggs here, inside the label, they’ve got the address where I can go and watch a webcam of my chickens walking around in a massive paddock outside.
Boomer: Now that’s pretty cool.
James: Yeah. Like, actual free-range chickens. They get an X amount of land per chicken, for the eggs. I eat eggs, apologies to anyone who doesn’t eat eggs. But that, to me, sounds way better than some, you know, synthetic cage thing that I’ve seen on other documentaries that are scary.
So let’s take this back to genetics, right? So all of these things that you’re eating, these beautiful foods, etc, they all have a net effect on how our DNA code translates into you, the person. And that is partially something called epigenetics. So epigenetics, the environment influences how these genes are turned on and turned off. And that influences how you look on a downstream level.
So you have genetics at the top, you then have epigenetics, you have something called proteomics, which is looking at how proteins are formed from the genetics. And there’s actually transcriptomics in between there. We don’t need to go through all of them.
And then downstream, I already mentioned something called metabolomics. And so metabolomics is the testing of the cells, where you are now at a cellular level, and where you were.
Now let’s bring it back to your original question, Where do I stand on DNA? So DNA is a very useful tool for sort of plotting the 10,000-meter, 30,000-foot strategy, right? In terms of, you know, where do I want James to eventually go? It would be nice for James to kind of look at evolutionary norms, and sort of your genetic potential, and kind of plot towards that.
James: You know, genetic limitations, like, for me, it indicated things like I might end up being bald, or that I could have osteoarthritis, you know, and these things definitely seem to be panning out.
Boomer: Yeah, so knowing that information is also very powerful, right?
James: Yeah, because we can do something about it if there is something to be done.
Boomer: Exactly. And so, genetics are a probability-weighted approach to looking at these things. It’s not exact, because we already talked about how the environment influences the genes.
James: Plus, isn’t there something like the data sets they get in the beginning, there could be some free play there as well, like it relies on people filling out surveys and stuff for them to actually associate trends to those genes in the first place.
Boomer: Very astute of you. Looking at the way that genetics are studied, right now, there’s a couple of different processes. One, the one that you’re referring to, is called genome-wide association studies. So essentially, what they do is they take a population of people that has a particular trait, try and line up what that trait is caused by, and they then make an inference based on that.
Aiming at the genetic potential
This is why genetics is a useful tool, but I don’t think it should be the only tool in the tool set, right? And so if you’re looking at it, and saying, Okay, I have this probability-weighted approach to looking at things like diet, lifestyle, etc, that’s useful, but I don’t want it to control everything that I’m doing.
Because I want to know where James is right now. I want to know what is going on with you at a cellular level, because it doesn’t necessarily matter where your genetics are, if at a cellular level, you have a mercury toxicity that’s inhibiting all of the energy production in your cells, right? So we need to know that information, then start to kind of plot out that strategic map, if you will, to getting you to live more towards your genetic potential. Does that make sense?
James: It’d be like my body’s blocking B12, it won’t metabolize it, and then I take a different version of it, a sublingual version of it, and then I start feeling like I’m taking a turbo booster.
Boomer: Yeah. I mean, that’s an example of one, right? And so you can look at B12, you can look at basically anything.
Boomer: So MTHFR is one of these ones, where I think initially, when we started doing genetic studies, everybody said, I have an MTHFR variant, and oh, my God, I’m going to die. And there’s probably forums out there. I know, there’s forums out there, for instance, things like APOE…
“You can google anything on the internet and be scared to death by the answer.”
James: Well, you can google anything on the internet and be scared to death by the answer.
James: It’s generally what people do in retirement, is Google the internet from their iPad, which is like three software versions ago, and figure out the various ways they’re going to die early, you know, from the horrific things out there.
Yeah. And so MTHFR, APOE, all are just sort of characteristics of a reductionist approach to health. And so you don’t want to look at these things in isolation, you want to look at these in context of the whole.
The fact is that APOE4, from an evolutionary perspective, when we were all kind of on, I guess, we originated in Africa, right? It was there, because it helped protect us from parasites. Now, over time, as we migrate across the globe, you know, people sort of had genetic variant shifts.
And so there was an original functional purpose to APOE4. Now, it’s not necessarily helpful, because, you know, parasites are a little bit harder to come by, in developed countries. And as a result, we now kind of associate it with saturated fat and oh, my god, I can’t eat bacon, because I’m going to get Alzheimers. Life isn’t that reductionist.
James: Wouldn’t that depend on the aluminum pan?
Boomer: Well, there’s that, and there’s also, life isn’t that reductionist. So my point here is that, try and span out a little bit and say, like, these individual variants are useful to know. But how does that work in the entire system? How does that work in your environment? How does that function with the amount of money that you’re making?
Are you able to make some adjustments via supplementation? Or do you need to make some lifestyle adjustments, because it may be cheaper for you to do so? And so, you know, when I look at health, and when I look at DNA, in particular, it’s one part of the toolbox, it’s not the entire toolbox.
Health in the hierarchy of investment
James: Cool. So I imagine you’re probably pretty keen on the idea like, food is medicine, and, you know, spend the money on the food now or spend it on health care later. Would these things ring true for you?
“Spend money on health.”
Boomer: I will expand upon that a little bit and just sort of say, spend money on health. I look at sort of a hierarchy of investment for myself.
Boomer: Health is near the top, in terms of I’m going to spend money on health because I could calculate a return on health.
James: That’s why we’re having this podcast on a business-ey themed show, because I think it’s just, it really is top of the totem pole. At the end of the day, you can have the greatest business in the world. But if you die, then the part where you get to enjoy from it’s finished.
James: I’m thinking about, you know, I’m potentially at a halfway point in my life, maybe. I don’t know. Maybe a third, maybe halfway, who knows? Or maybe I’m just one wave away from a bad day. But the thing is, I’m thinking more about longevity; I’m thinking more about being fit and active for my kids; I’m thinking more about avoiding the pain and hassle that I see afflicting the older generation, like my parents’ generation, in particular, where you know, quality of life can start to slide.
I’d like to maximize the time where I’m having, like, an epic quality of life. But it seems like if you polled a teenager, they’re not really that focused on it at that point in life. Their priority’s not quite there.
So I think a lot of people listening to this show are at a stage in life where they’re probably noticing or getting some warning signs, if not already had hospitalization or visits or bad test results. They’re coming. And it’s time to make the change now. And your business, and your team and everyone around you, your family, will be huge beneficiaries of that return on investment. So yeah, health is a big one.
Boomer: Yeah. So for me, hierarchy of investment is health is number one, because that will fractalize out into other portions of my life. It’ll fractalize out in my business, and I’ll perform better in my business and my relationships, etc. If I am sick, I slip into a**hole mode. And I don’t want to be that, right? And so the investment there is very, very clear.
Taking a longevity point of view
Now from a longevity perspective, let’s also look at that. So there’s this point in, if we look at just lifespans right now, in society, there’s a point where people start to, quote unquote, deteriorate, right? Depending on the person, 40, 50 is typical. I, similar to you, I want to go as high of a quality of life as possible, until the day that it’s time for me to go, and I just want to drop, that’s it.
And so if we want to, I mean, calculus actually gives us a measure here, of that sort of slope downward in the typical person’s life, it’s derivative, right? And so for the typical person, that slip downward starts around 40, or 50. And it can be very significant.
There’s things like the Four Horsemen of death, right? So neurodegenerative disease, falling, cardiovascular disease, cancer. And so by taking a preventative measure here, and sort of looking at investing in health, what we’re actually doing is taking that slope and rather than have it be a steady downward trend from 40, or 50, trying to flatten out that line, so that you and I can achieve the goal of, you know, when that time comes, I’m kicking ass, probably surfing with you, and then you know, it’s just my time, right?
James: We’ve heard a lot about flattening the curve of late. Just on that, why aren’t we hearing more message about improving your gut health or eating better food in terms of protection against catching potentially fatal, but apparently not that fatal diseases?
Boomer: So from a society level perspective, it’s difficult for people to do that, right? Because it’s work.
James: Right. And what we all want, you know, if you look at businesses that succeed, and if you look at just sort of the history of Apple, for instance, it was all built around one concept, how do we make things simple for people?
And so if you take things and try and make them simple, well, living proactively and being healthy, there’s a little bit of work associated with that. And it’s not necessarily work that everyone wants to be doing. I mean, you and I may be interested in it. But it’s not work that everybody wants to be doing. And so, if it’s difficult, there’s a resistance there.
And so people would rather be hearing about, what’s the latest pill that I can take. And in certain cases, some of these things are great, and they’ve helped extend life, definitely. But in other cases, it’s more of an education thing. And I do think that there is a global education need around health, and that should start at a much younger age than where it is currently.
James: I think about it with my daughter. When I’m shopping and feeding her, I’m thinking about her health and nutrition and guarding it way better than I was as a kid. I’d load up my rice bubbles with sugar and cream, and I’d have cordial and just, you know, packeted food and stuff. That’s not going to happen for my daughter.
Three tips for becoming a better you
So just to finish up, because I think that’s a really good one. Let’s say we’re prepared to do some work. What would be your top three tips for someone listening to this particular episode they can implement, even if it’s work, to go from where they’re at now, at whatever cellular or DNA level, to being a better version of themselves in a reasonable timeframe?
What would be the parting three points that you’d like them to write down and action, to be able to come back to this episode in say, a month or two from now and say, Look, I took your advice, Boomer, and I did those three things. And here’s the result I got. What would that message be?
Boomer: Sure. I’m going to start with one as I get my thoughts together on the others.
James: I’m not totally throwing you on the spot, because you obviously know your stuff.
Boomer: I’m happy to be thrown on the spot. It’s always a fun place to be.
So let’s start with number one. And there’s a theme that you’ll hear throughout this episode, which is measurement, right? And so the first thing that I want everybody to take away from this episode is go out and set some benchmarks for yourself. You set some benchmarks in your business, right? Set some benchmarks for yourself.
Now, you can do that through a very rigorous way that we’ve talked about in terms of lab testing, potentially DNA. But also, I like the metabolome quite a lot for assessing where you are now. Or you can take sort of the other approach, which is gathering a few surveys.
So the ones that I would recommend, Institute of Functional Medicine has something called the MSQ, which is multiple symptom questionnaire. And that’s a way to just assess how you’re feeling in your body.
Number two, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. And then I would find some sort of measurement for anxiety and stress, just because this is a business show. Most entrepreneurs I’ve worked with have issues with sleep, stress, and nutrition. So that would be where I would start, setting some sort of benchmark there.
The number two thing that I would love people to start doing is focus on training circadian rhythm. And you’ve had numerous episodes about sleep, right? And you’ve talked to sleep experts. But sleep is kind of that Archimedes lever, if you will, for upper levels of performance.
And so how would I do that, just to give some tactics for people? In Australia right now, it’s getting towards summer, so why not go outside and get some sun? So first thing in the day, get out, get your face in the sun. And sun serves as sort of the signal to our body to ramp up, right? And so in the morning, get some sun on your face. Do it for 5, 10 minutes. Ideally, you can go out and surf, and get it on 80 percent of your body. But at least start there.
James: Without sunglasses?
Boomer: Yeah, without sunglasses.
James: And without sun cream, in the morning.
Boomer: Yeah, in the morning, you definitely don’t need it. Now, I’m not one of those people that says like, hey, go out and play in the sun for 100 percent of your day and don’t care at all.
James: No. There’s a whole movement of people who will tell you that putting sun cream on is like, toxic for your body, your skin organ, and it’s blocking the sun, no healthy benefits in it. I prefer zinc and a hat. Going to stop myself getting burned, don’t get burned. But it’s important to not wear sunglasses, otherwise you’re losing the impact of seeing that sunlight, right?
James: In the morning.
Boomer: In the morning, in particular. If you’re driving on a road, and it will blind you, for instance, if you’re not wearing sunglasses, I think there needs to be some level of sanity.
James: We’re just talking about the reset. That’s my remedy when I travel, is I want to see, I want to get out in the sunlight without sunglasses and start resetting my body.
Boomer: Yeah, absolutely. And then I think the third thing, so what we’ve done here is set up a framework for benchmarking, you’ve set up a framework for sleeping better. Now let’s talk about a framework for stressing better, because this is a business show, right?
And so for your framework of stressing better, I do think that you need some benchmarks as to how stressed you are. Of course, I’m not suggesting number one. But if you want to stress better, sort of two key tips that I have for people, actually three.
How to manage stress effectively
Number one is hydrate. So actually make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day. I know that there’s a tendency among people that are hyper-focused and hyper-driven to just forget everything else and get into tunnel vision. And hydration does matter. It will zap your energy if you do not hydrate well. So that’s number one.
Number two is spend time outside in nature. There’s tons, and actually the Japanese prescribe this. I think in Scotland now, they prescribe time in nature as a remedy for people who are burnt out. And so I would do those two.
And then number three is learning how to breathe properly. And if you’re a surfer, you definitely need to know how to breathe properly.
James: Oh, you’re going after all my sweet spots. After sleep, breathing was my next frontier. I did breath-holding exercises, I lowered my resting pulse. I need to be able to stay underwater for quite some time and not panic and not burn up all the oxygen in my body when I’m letting the waves wash over. And it’s critical for me being able to adventure to the next stage in the cycle. But it’s also got a massive advantage. I was asthmatic before. I want to be able to run if I needed to for something, and not be out of breath.
Boomer: It’s a fantastic tool.
Nature and work management
James: You know, the nature thing, that totally transformed my life. You know, every single day, walking down to the ocean barefoot, emerging into the sea, watching dolphins swim past, catching waves that are just energy, riding across the sea, is just, there’s nothing that comes close to that for me. It’s so soulful and spiritual in a way that I don’t prescribe everyone else do it, because it’d be a really crowded lineup. But definitely, it was a game-changer for me.
And I know, look, you’re a CrossFit instructor, you’ve found your thing. I think everyone should have their thing, whatever that is, that’s a release from the work side of it.
Boomer: Yeah. And CrossFit, that was, you know, a long time ago. But I think the release for me has become much more nature. Like right before this, I was doing a cold plunge in a canal.
James: As you do.
“You’ve got to take advantage of your environment.”
Boomer: As one does, right? You know, you’ve got to take advantage of your environment. And so you get to go see dolphins, I get to cold plunge in a canal. But for me, movement and a movement practice has become that release, right? And so, you know, within this little confined space here that is my office, I have numerous gadgets that I can, you know, between calls just get up and lift something.
James: Well, you know, after this call, I won’t be in this room for till the fifth day. I’m going to have Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. I’ll be back in here on Tuesday. It’s currently Thursday when we record this. So I’m going to have a four-day buffer from this actual environment, from this particular space.
And I think that’s been a healthy thing for me that took a lot of breaking in the beginning, even just to take Sunday afternoon off and then a whole Sunday, and then a whole weekend from the work environment, from scheduled calls, I’m talking about. I still check my forum and stuff, but I do that from my phone on the couch or wherever.
James: Or outside in the courtyard.
Boomer: It’s taking frequent breaks. Look, the human mind has a capacity to think focused, do focused thinking for about 90 minutes. And most people are less than that, because we live in a Tiktok generation. And so just keep that in mind as you guys structure your workday, right? Like, if you have a focus time period of 90 minutes max, well, use the offer time after that to go take a break, go walk in nature, go move, do something to kind of reset yourself.
James: I deliberately put spaces between my calls, and I do a chunk in the morning and a chunk in the evening. And I do it Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So I have a block, space, block, sleep, block, space, block, sleep, block, space, block. And then four days off.
James: It’s a good routine, it works well.
I want to thank you for coming and sharing, Boomer. It’s been tremendous, this interview. I know you’ve studied nutrition and you’ve been in your epigenetics and you’ve done your Bachelor of Science in Business, so you really do span both worlds. Can you just let us know where we find out more about you, what sort of things you’ve got cooking there that, you know, at least as a next step, if you’ve grabbed some attention here, what would you like someone to visit?
Boomer: Sure, so my life is all at DecodingSuperhuman.com. I also have a podcast. I’m not quite at 781 episodes, but I’m going to chug along. So you can find me there. You can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
And then in terms of companies that I’m involved with, the one that I would send people to is Troscriptions.com. There we make some cognitive-enhancing nootropics right now, and we’re exploring, or we will be launching some stuff in the United States in the cannabis space next year. So it’s a very interesting topic for a separate time.
James: That’s a booming market.
Boomer: Yeah, absolutely.
James: Good luck.
Boomer: Thank you.
James: Thank you, Boomer.
Boomer: Thank you, James.
James: And it’s been such a pleasure to catch up.
Boomer: Yeah. Thank you, Matt, for the introduction. And James, I love what you’re doing. So keep it up.
James: Now we’re going to fully transcribe this. We’ll chunk together some of the insights here, especially Boomer’s action steps at the end of it, and links to his website, as a downloadable PDF as well. If you enjoyed the show, or you know someone who needs a bit of help in the health department, please leave a review or send them to this episode, and share the love. I really appreciate it.
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