Hello and welcome to the Optimized Geek. I’m your host Stephan Spencer. Today, we have Kurt Johnsen with us. Kurt is the Vision Keeper and co-founder of Simplified Genetics, a health and lifestyle brand. Kurt is passionate about positively impacting the lives of people around the world and revolutionizing the health industry. He’s currently the senior calmness for Yoga Digest and the official yoga trainer of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Kurt, it’s great to have you on the show.
Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Let’s talk about the Simplified Genetics set of test. In particular, the one that I did was the Simply Fit Optimal Test and how this differs from other kinds of genetics test like 23andMe.
In the beginning, it comes down to intent. With my resume, a lot of people question how I wound up with the helm of a genetic company and it’s because I really came out of the health and happiness field, being a founder of the American Power. You get the opportunity to work with tens of thousands of people. A lot of perceived happiness will be tied into body composition or body composition management. That pointed me that direction. What we did is looked at full sequence genetic analysis to look for answers to everyday problems and mainly actionable. We get into the genes a little bit later with the receptors, while we chose receptors but the biggest difference from us and most everyone else out there are two fold. One, the scientific process that we use. Everyone’s looking for a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP for short. But the methodology which to get that information is used wildly but the current industry standard is called SNP analysis and it’s just merely using a computer and a chip plate or a SNP plate to analyze this one polymorphism. Because genetic analysis is so complicated, there’s a bunch of heating, elongating, amplifying and whatnot, if you make a mistake, if you make a single error then everything is misaligned and everything going forward is wrong. As opposed to looking at individual location and assuming that you’re dialed in, what we do is called sometimes full sequence, sometimes it’s called 500 base pair analysis. But basically, we look at 500 locations just to make sure we’re lined up and then we replicate the results, we do that on the coding side and also the non-coding side. Meaning we replicate the results in our own lab before we send these results out. That’s important because one of the powerful tools or elements of this type of analysis is you get tested once and as long as it’s accurate, it’s good for the rest of your life, you never have to get retested. The second fold back to the intent is we’re looking to just empower people with tools. We don’t get into disease pathway, we don’t get into drug interaction, we don’t get into your lineage and all of that is great, good, somewhat of a novelty in some cases. What we try to do is really provide simple actionable tools. One of my favorite mottos is, “Knowledge without action has no power.” We first started to come out with the results, no one really cares what polymorphism you are on the PPARG gene because no one knows what to do with it. A lot of geneticist wouldn’t know what to do with it. Other companies give RS codes which again is beyond the scope of actionable or accessible for that matter. What we do is really try to take that information and whittle it down back to intent, the reason why we did this is because thousands of people asked me the same three questions. Kurt, what should I do, what should I eat, and what should I take? For years, I gave what worked for me, I gave the latest and greatest of the opportunity to interview a bunch of amazing people like you do as well and I would give the latest and greatest of what worked for me. Now through genetics and through just observation, you can look and the truth is one exercise program doesn’t work well for everyone, one diet doesn’t work well for everyone and one supplement regimen doesn’t work well for everyone. That’s what we strive to do. We have a higher quality of science that’s out there, as far as in methodology, ensuring accuracy. As importantly or more importantly, because knowledge without action has no power, we have that ability to say hey, here’s the information. Now here’s how you can easily implement it into your life and then have a positive impact.
Give me an example of how one diet doesn’t work well for everyone. Everything from the more extreme diets like Atkins to just eating more leafy greens, healthy fats, less sugars and simple flours, processed foods and so forth. Let’s go into the dieting side.
Bottom line is we’re looking at three adrenergic receptors and we’re looking at a nuclear receptor. By doing so, we can determine fat sensitivity and glucose sensitivity. Our output has nine different macronutrient footprints. Macronutrient being protein, carbohydrates and fat and there’s fairly substantial variation. Some people might thrive on a low fat diet, and a good friend of mine went on a food raw diet and she also got into crossfit or super high intensity exercise. She gained 22 pounds, why? I mean, raw food diet, how healthy is that? Well, she’s highly glucose-sensitive and on the exercise side she needs long, steady slow. She did the opposite of what her genes react or respond best to. One of the takeaway I’d love to share, there’s not good or bad genes in our results, as far as what we are looking at. There’s just a problematic environments. You have the same genotype I do, I believe 70/30, if I remember it correctly. You and I, and us being 43% of the male population are most likely to be diabetic or obese. Some people would say, hey, that means you have bad genes, no. During the last famine, we had the best genes to have, which is also why we have the most common genotype. But, now that movement is not required very much and food is abundant, the world around us has changed and we have, evolutionarily speaking, caught up. That’s where we dial in. Yes, some people, high fat diet will work, some people, low fat diet will work, some people, glucose-sensitive, moderately or very, and that’s going to be different throughout the entire population.
Is a vegan diet where you’re avoiding any kind of animal protein, is that healthy? Not healthy? Is it maybe healthy for some people based on their genes?
It really depends. I can’t tell whether you should be vegan or not according to your genetics, at least not with the receptors that we are looking at. We merely recommend the macronutrient footprints. If a vegan is like me or us, as long as they’re bringing in enough protein then I think it would be great. I assume with getting the essential amino acids and whatnot, which is sometimes problematic for that but by no means an expert in vegetarian or vegan. I like sticking mainly to what we can tell by the genes, and that’s really how much of the macronutrient footprint but not necessarily a source. Clearly, there’s a lot of leeway there, if you’re filling up your fats, trans fats, or things that aren’t going to serve you then even if you’re following macronutrient footprint it could be problematic. If all your carbs are twinkies, that’s going to be problematic. That’s kind of neat about genetics and what we do. We’re agnostic to your diet, we’re agnostic to your exercise, we’re agnostic to your self-regimen. We don’t have a pony in the race, we can simply tell you what types of stimulus are best for your receptors and then you can choose and accolade from there.
One diet I’ve recently heard about, you just track your macros and you have to hit the numbers. Doesn’t matter the quality of the food that you intake, you could be eating chips and other processed foods, you could be eating twinkies, as long as you get the numbers of carbs, you can eat whatever you want. And then, there’s cheat days. There’s one guy that I know, I’ve actually had him on my podcast, he is thriving under that diet. He’s built a lot of muscle, and he’s lost fat, and he feels great. There’s something counterintuitive about eating whatever you want within the numbers.
Well, I’m not familiar with that. I still think we need to eat things that get the energy from the sun and give it to us and whatnot, I’m simplistic that way. But, I can tell you the power of eating within the macronutrient footprint that is beneficial for you, that is a very powerful thing. I would be curious to see what the macronutrient footprint recommendation is because we’ve tested over 10,000 people. It’s certainly not clinical because people who have chosen to get tested by us are a certain demographic or whatnot, so, it’s not an objective sample size. But, I can tell you out of 10,000 samples, like you and I are collectively about 43%, I can tell you 14% people are highly fat sensitive, and 60-something are moderately glucose-sensitive, we’re having those type of things. I’d be curious to see their recommendation on macronutrient footprint and I just can’t belly up to the bar and say it doesn’t matter what you eat. You know me, I can’t go there. Think about scurvy, there’s a lot of things that play.
Yeah, I’ll put him in touch with you. I think it’ll be interesting to have him tested if he wants to.
Yeah, that would be fascinating!
Do you have a before and after example of somebody who did not eat on their macronutrient footprint and then took the test and then switched to staying in that footprint and what the impact was?
Oh, yeah. Through our providers, we’ve had lots of 100 pound losers, 70 pound, and all that good stuff. Our largest client is a chain of weight loss centers. They started with one and as soon as we launched, they built the program around us, I think they just opened up their 15th location. They were funny because they weren’t into exercise. A lot of weight loss centers and whatnot don’t really get into the movement part of it. Myself, being a martial artist, and yoga and stuff is pretty horrified because they keep calling us saying, hey, can you take the do off the report, because they just want to focus on the eat and take. Of course, I was horrified at the suggestion but we came to an understanding. My point being is they mainly focus on the eat and the take and they have incredible success. The trainers like to say abs are made in the kitchen and what not, again, I’m the big movement person, I need your push back there. But, there is something to it. We’re talking about stimulus and receptors. We’re talking about shining a flashlight on your ear or shining a flashlight on your eye, which receptor is going to respond to that stimulus, that being light versus sound, or we can bring it to analogy of cones and rods in the eye itself, or locking key mechanism, it’s really that simple. Two things, one, there’s so much information, so much energy, so much money being spent, and I think a lot of time is wasted in body composition. It’s just not that hard, it’s either you experiment and you try different things or you get tested. The analysis provides that map. I tell people, you can’t do it on your own. It’s just really understanding how the body works like people doing a bunch of different workouts. They might think jogging, yoga, swimming and long biking are all different things. But, to your receptors, they’re not. They’re just one form creating that low steady stimulus. People will thrive those four things though, I’ve tried everything and nothing works. I can tell you whatever you’re doing, if you’re tired during the day after work, if you have cravings, you’re probably stimulating the body improperly and then it’s time to try something in a different heart rate. Same thing with the macronutrient footprint as well. The eat is the most challenging of the recommendations, for sure. We’ve gone to great measure. We’ve included now hand serving portion control methodology, we’ve included meal planning and it looks like we’re partnering up with a meal delivery service to be able to help facilitate that, to be able to break up that macronutrient footprint without suffering the indignity of calorie counting which I don’t think anyone really wants to do and I don’t believe anyone really needs to do.
All right, okay. That was one of my next question. It was around calorie counting, do you use an app for that, or this tool or something that estimates your caloric intake and the amount of fats, carbs and proteins? There’s a watch type thing that’s a fitness tracker and it shines light on your capillaries and it tells you within 85% accuracy. The accuracy is if you guess what your intake is and then you write it down. My wife was using MyFitnessPal to take the numbers down and track all that. Then, I got her this device, it’s a Healbe Gobe health tracker. The Gobe gives you data on your heartrate, your caloric intake but also it was the only device I could find that estimated your fat intake, your proteins and carbs. Pretty cool!
Interesting! How do they do that? Based on what, do you know?
It shines a light on your capillaries as you’re wearing the device on your wrist.
Oh, it’s making the recommendations based on the capillaries.
Yeah, and they claim 85% accuracy.
Of course, 90% of the statistics are made up on the spot. Including that one. There are a lot of ways to do it. We’re launching a client facing portal which will have a couple of other just supporting whistles and bells where you can put in your height and your weight, your activity level and then start to come out with some core work recommendations. I think to your point, most of it is fairly intuitive. It’s also not rocket science. I’m pretty opposed to calorie counting. I don’t do it and I have a very problematic genotype. I think it’s really cruel creating that awareness. Again, the hand serving method that we provide with the results was the most intuitive. We didn’t create it but we think it’s one of the better ones out there as far as not a high-tech solution but a very simple solution and it’s resetting that. The other thing about calories, what I found is if you aren’t stimulating the body properly, if you are shining that flashlight in your ear, you don’t suffer cravings and then you don’t have the calorie issues. Unfortunately, the people who are actually trying to get into shape and trying to take control of their life which is actually what we’re trying to support. But if they happen to run down the wrong path, i.e. the wrong stimulus that is designed for their body, cravings is a side effect, major side effect, or common side effect. Imagine the person who is doing whatever physically and then just starving the rest of the time and then begin overeating. You get this combination or cascade effect of the exercise not being optimal or efficient for body composition change, at the same time feeding cravings so then over eating’s occurring. I think this explains why people have so much trouble when it’s something that’s relevant. You would think so easy particularly with all the information out. I just traveled back from Middle East and I was over there just having amazing conversations. One random one that came up was I was in a museum in Bahrain looking at their lifestyle before oil hit and what not. Just thinking, going back to those people, 100 or 200 years ago, clearly struggling in a very harsh environment. And going hey, things are going to change so much that movement would be so required, so little, and food will be so abundant that it will literally be killing us as a society. This change has been so dramatic which I think is why we have all these issues because the people 100 or 200 years ago, I think they would have a hard time imagining the fact that that rest and food is so abundant that we’re sick because of it as a society, or the majority of people are suffering ill effects because of the access of all this. It’s a fascinating change and a quick one. I think that’s why genetically, our evolution just hasn’t been able to keep up because of the quickness or the speed of the change itself. I think simple analysis like providing to give just guide this point people in fairly specific direction. But, again, being agnostic, not picking hey, you got to do this class or Zumba or this whatever, saying, hey, you need this to stimulate your adrenergic receptors and then sending them off. I think this type of analysis will help overcome the speed of change as far as the society of what we’re going through today. The beautiful thing about being agnostic is kind of nice because do something you like, eat something you like, and it frees you up to be vegan or vegetarian or any other ill, or mediterranean, or just eat Japanese food or whatever gets people going, whatever they want to do, but they know the macronutrient footprint. Same thing with the exercise, to do something you like, do something that’s safe but here’s the heart rates, here’s the heart ranges that you need to be in to just effectively stimulate your body. To me, it’s a bit liberating as opposed to saying, hey, this program for everybody, this diet is for everyone, and that’s been the standard for the last 25 or 30, 40 years. Everyone do Atkins, everyone do this, everyone do CrossFit and then it hasn’t worked. It’s actually fed the problem, I think.
Yeah, that makes sense. Before we delve into the exercise side of things, one more diet related question. Do you think there’s any validity to eating for your blood type? Was that kind of like a pre-cursor before genetics testing was readily available? This was the closest you could get to eating for how you’re wired internally and how things are structured?
I think it was a precursor for sure. You’re a small business owner, you know the challenges here. Since we have so much data now, the one thing I would really like to do once I’m given a little bit more time or resources or both is to check these things out. We have a beautiful database so I’d love to compare the validity of a blood typing and the recommendations taken from that compared to the genetic analysis or even Ayurvedic. In Ayurvedic medicine, you can compartmentalize people or identify people through questionnaires. We can send out our questionnaire to our database and bring that information in and then compare it to the recommendations that were given out based on their genetics. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to explore the facts and we’re dealing with facts now which is also kind of nice. The blood type was a theory but now we’re dealing in a world of facts. We’re getting really to the root of it. When you’re talking about genetic receptors, you’re talking about that alpha, that very beginning point, everything kind of builds from there. I do believe the blood typing was a pioneer and one of the first voices saying, hey, not everything works for everyone. That’s the wisdom there. Again, the accuracy I’d have to really compare it now and it’s an interesting concept. But, to be that blown voice going one size doesn’t fit all, that’s a powerful thing and they should be commended for it.
Yeah, so, you mentioned Ayurvedic. For those listeners who aren’t familiar with that, could you briefly describe it?
Yeah, by no means an expert, but, it’s really just body typing in Indian medicine basically, traditional Indian medicine will body type people according to different categories of Ayurvedic medicine and recommend some movement, personality traits, and diets accordingly. I’m an old school Kung Fu guy, I trained this morning, I’ve been training for almost 30 years into that Kung Fu and acupuncture and herbology. I’ve enjoyed the best of East and West, and old and new, and I really like to blend it. Again, given some time, I’d love to lay down some of these things on top of our database and start to come up with some information. I kind of feel a book coming on so we’ll see if I can get some time, that’s where I’d like to go with it.
Yeah. That will be cool. I’d read that book.
Excellent! I’ve sold one already. Start a Kickstarter soon.
The body types also applies to regular Western medicine looking at mesomorph, I forget the three different body types, that comes into play as well, right?
Absolutely! These are the first people who said people are different, and that’s certainly a good start. Now, it’s going to be dialing in and seeing if the science holds up, honestly. That’s going to be the interesting thing.
Yeah, so the three body types, let’s see from memory. Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph, right?
Right on. Yeah.
Yeah, cool. Alright, let’s talk about exercise. One person you mentioned who was long, steady, slow type for exercise, how many types are there? How do you determine which types or what are the receptors you are looking at?
I always come back to [00:25:19], it’s in my wheelhouse. To me, it’s the most dynamic in many ways as far as recommendations, it can be most varied. To the trainers out there, abs are made in the kitchen, the side effects of improper or just not optimal exercise can be problematic as mentioned before, and fatigue, and cravings. There’s two adrenergic receptors and two positions on adrenergic receptors. The two, in particular, that really kind of dictate the receptors and give you an idea what kind of catecholamines that the receptors we’re looking at bind to. It’s real straight forward physiology. When people exercise, the body can’t really tell if you’re doing sit ups or pilates or kettle bell or what not, the receptors that are largely responsible for shaping your body composition can’t tell the difference and they don’t care. They divvy up reality between high intensity for that heart or steady aerobic or low intensity for that heart. And, that’s the moving target as well, depends on your particular cardiac health. When we first launched, I went to the fitness world first because that’s where I came out off and that was my comfort zone. I believe I will be hailed the Messiah with the Holy Grail as I’ve had the ability to make all trainers 100% effective with all their clients from day one. The resistance I got, this is years ago, was just extraordinary. I was shunned, not embraced. They were clinging to myths like got to do high intensity burn fat, and more is better, and all that stuff. Then we pivoted, we went to the clinical realm and clinicians of all [00:27:12] but the first group that really embraced us, and I was very surprised by it, were cardiologists. I should have known that cardiologists were the first clinicians who really knew the power of adrenergic receptors. The adrenergic receptors to the two physicians we looked really give us a determinant on the percentage of high intensity versus steady aerobic and this is based on the receptors. The ADRB3 is another adrenergic receptor and that gives us the actionability. Some people do need to work out more, stimulate the body more than others. ADRB3 is a relevant player in that decision. Let me be clear, no one has to work out five days or seven days a week, no one has to spend two hours a day in the gym for optimal body composition except for outliers. If you have a thyroid issue or what not then, I’m not going there, I’m talking about generally speaking. If you want to and you do it for mental reasons or what not, hey, great. I train every day because I love to. But, no one has to work that for body composition. The last gene that we look at is the nuclear receptor. It’s a PPARG gene which is an amazing gene because it serves as a bit of a governing gene and can influence how the other genes, adrenergic receptors, work together. Let me touch our working together. One of the things that also differentiates us from other analysis providers is that we look at the genes comprehensively, as I just eluded to. Your polymorphism at the PPARG gene can influence the actions or the attributes of the adrenergic receptors. Out of the four genes that we look at, there’s 81 possible combinations as far as amino acid combinations as the output. And, because men and women are different, we have 162 possible variations of the report itself. When we look at them comprehensively, instead of saying, hey, you’re a pro pro at the PPARG gene, it means this, we look at all the output and put it into comprehensive recommendation. Taking into effect like the adrenergic receptors, looking at that combination of high intensity versus steady aerobic type receptors but we also look at fat sensitivity and look at the exercise recommendation and how that would impact the macronutrient footprint recommendation. Not only do we look at the polymorphisms comprehensively but the output in the recommendations themselves are comprehensive. If you might have the same glucose-sensitivity and fat sensitivity is someone, another male, but because of your adrenergic receptors if your recommendations are varied, then your macronutrient footprint could be varied as well. That’s where we look at it altogether and make that. The reason why I think it’s kind of the sexiest output is because it goes from recommending 90% steady aerobic and 10% high intensity through 20-80, 30-70, 60-40, 50-50, all the way to 90-10. You can really have that full swing. One of my favorite examples is my wife. She was a fellow yoga teacher as well and always struggling with her body composition. Not obese by any means, in fact, she was one of the healthiest people I’ve ever met. She was gluten-free, sugar-free, militant with her diet. She was doing yoga every single day and doing about 10 hours of steady aerobic a week, bike riding, walking and that type of stuff and just couldn’t lose this perceived 10 or 15 lbs that she wanted to lose. Her sister, an Abercrombie model, super flat stomach, the whole bit, they do everything together. It turned out that geno needs 90% high intensity so the more yoga, the more steady aerobic she did, the more fat, the more tired, the more nap she would take and then more cravings she would have. It can be that extreme, which I think makes it really rather interesting. Now that we have the 10,000 people in the database, we just started pulling out information like the 70-30 split, our genotype is 43% of the population. 8% of all women are 10-90 and they can just do yoga three times a week and have optimal body composition. I’m talking about optimal now, the extraordinary shapes, 6% of all men can do that. Conversely, 19% of men can just do high intensity three times a week for 30 minutes and have optimal results. 8% of women could do 50-50 and that’s where they come dial in. I can tell you these statistics and these facts, I just can’t tell you who’s who by looking and that’s the deal. That’s where it comes into getting tested or simply experimenting, try in a month. Breaking down that input the way your adrenergic receptors break it down which is high intensity for you versus steady aerobic for you.
Right. I know there are health experts, fitness experts out there that are really big on high intensity interval training. They’re like this is the secret but if your genetics don’t suit that high intensity type of work out very much then you need to adjust and do the low intensity stuff like jogging and pilates and yoga and that sort of thing.
Right, you can just look around. You can go to any cross fit, I don’t want to upset crossfit people out there. I think that they work very hard and that there’s a lot of injuries that take place too so they need to be careful. But, my point is, cross fitter’s, no joke, work hard. You see them, they’re working hard, I don’t think anyone would deny that. There’s still heavy cross fitters and there’s fat marathoners, if it was just about calorie in, calorie out, or hey, you just got to work harder, there wouldn’t be. I think that to me is one of my favorite examples of if it was just that, then there wouldn’t be fat marathoners because clearly they burn off that calories and there wouldn’t be fat cross fitters because clearly they work hard and they get the high intensity in. It’s just one size doesn’t fit all. I don’t know why that’s been such a hard thing for particularly the fitness world to embrace, but it really has. I still get pushed back by trainers, it’s starting to shift now but. As far as a company, one of the greatest challenges was just getting the mind of the trainer around the fact that one work out doesn’t work for everyone and if someone’s not getting results, it doesn’t mean that they’re not trying hard enough or that they’re cheating all the time.If someone’s not getting results, it doesn’t mean that they’re not trying hard enough or that they’re cheating all the time Click To Tweet
I’ve heard of this concept of slow twitch muscles versus fast twitch muscles. How does that fit into the equation here?
Yeah, that’s really a different genes called ACTN3 and that will give you, I think, a percentage of fast twitch muscles and then you make the assumption about the slow twitch. That doesn’t get into our analysis though, that’s probably going to be one of our next ones. We’ll have a simply fit, probably, athlete type output which we’ll be adding the ACTN3 as well as a couple of other genes, I believe. The ACTN3 is going to be an interesting play because from it, you can really start to determine fatigue ability and this is going to be much more in the pro-athlete realm or the super competitive, weekend warrior realm to really figure out how to train. In fact, we’re working with a couple hockey organizations right now because looking at the ACTN3, you can determine another big hockey, hockey is all about the line changes and match ups. To be able to pull your player off the ice before they hit that fatigue point where they can’t recover during the game, that’s going to be really important. And then also the matchups according to fatigue ability. That’s coming up, in fact, I’ll make a bold prediction here on your show, but I would say that within the next year, ACTN3 will be the next kind of money ball being the stats analysis in baseball that kind of change the game a bit. I think ACTN3 will change the game in hockey and perhaps some other sports as well but, I think in hockey it will be a big one and everyone, all of the pro-teams, will be using this information in tracking their athletes.
Well, that will be interesting. Very cool. Let’s go into my specific report, I’m a 70-30, so 70% low intensity, 30% high intensity. What happens if I am not exercising regularly or just kind of not exercising at all? What happens if when I do exercise, all I do is just go to the gym and hit the weights and don’t do more than 5 minutes of aerobics just to warm up my muscles? Let’s just go a few different scenarios based on my genetics, I have 70-30, like you do. What happens if those different scenarios happen where I’m not doing the 70-30 recommendation?
What can be measured can be managed. It’s kind of breaking down the analysis. Say you go to the gym, you warm up a little bit, then you hit the weights for a while. There’s a good chance if you’re hitting the weights in not an aggressive manner that you’re at the steady aerobic state and you getting part of that 70%. There’s so many variables on diet, whatnot, as far as body composition. I can’t predict what might happen because there are variables there whether you’re hitting the calories or macronutrient footprint or not. But I can tell you at least from my own experience, in my mid-30s, I created American Power Yoga and because it was my own system, I hadn’t trained teachers, I taught the majority of classes myself. I was teaching 18 classes a week and it was a rigorous, pool of sweat every single class type presentations. I was doing 18 hours of steady aerobics a week which is fairly insane. I was probably 10% more body fat than I am now. And, now I’m 52, I still train everyday but nowhere close to that. The only change being is my secret sauce, if you will, is that 30%, it’s the 3 out of 10 workouts that I do for a short duration at a higher intensity. That’s what will bring it to that optimal level. I would say for us, if you split your workouts, we do half high, half low, that would essentially get you in a good place and feel good energy wise. We don’t talk about blood work or what not but I’m actually going for my yearly tomorrow but, for most my life my cholesterol’s have sneak up and what not, and my father always had cholesterol issues and everything. Over the last few years, I started to add my 30% into my workouts, the high intensity, my numbers improved which kind of makes sense because it’s your body becoming optimal as far as utilization of resources. But, that’s it. I can do, if I am doing weight training, which I don’t do year round, I do it as part of Kung Fu methodology, we do it for a few months a year then take a break and work on other things because the body will remember, you set bars for the body which will hold on to you pretty well. But I can do weight training at a high intensity, or I can do weight training at steady aerobic, it really depends on weight and speed of movement and rest in between.
Got it. Okay, all right.
It’s either if you’re looking to get down to 6% or 8% body fat in total or you just want to stay in a healthy, normal range. To me, the secret sauce, that mix will really help people like us. And then, of course, time of the diet. You and I are the most fat sensitive out there which is unfortunately to me, because I like all things fat. I don’t know if you do, but by avoiding fat, that certainly helps our body perform as well. And then, lastly, a big indicator for us is the PPARG gene. My wife just consults and she’ll do a little differently, obviously, being a female. She’ll compare the PPARG gene to like that old friend who holds a grudge. If you haven’t called them lately or what not, they just won’t be really warm to you for a little while ‘til you kind of proved yourself once again. And, she compares it to if you’re doing the wrong thing or not treating the body well, the PPARG gene, certain genotypes like yours and mine, the pro pro at that location, it takes us a little while to get it back into shape. But, contrarily speaking, if we treat it pretty well, then it will elevate the bar and we’re sophistically most likely to be obese or diabetic. When I was growing up, I played club soccer all my life and if you look at soccer, it’s kind of a perfect blend of 70% of the time you’re jogging and 30% of the time you’re running. By me stumbling onto my perfect do as a child and doing it for 20-somewhat years as I grew up, that gave the ability for my PPARG gene to keep my fitness bar a little higher than if I would have not done anything or just did high intensity or do something that didn’t serve my body. We’ve met so I think either you got into something that worked for you or your key to spot on to where it’s not an issue but, also, I would say 80-90% of the people I know with my genotype have an issue with weight. You and I are certainly outliers in that because 43% I think it is of men are our genotype and the vast maturity are challenged by weight management.
Yeah, I have a high body fat percentage, I think, for my weight and frame and all that. I have I think 22%?
Oh, really? It doesn’t show.
I have a lot of visceral fat in my mid-section. If I were to switch to doing 70-30 exercise of 70% low intensity, 30% high intensity and then doing that three to four times per week, you think that can get the kind of results where you got to, how much did you drop in body fat percentage again?
About 8% in total now.
When you switched to the 70-30 workouts, you were at what, like, 18% or something?
Yeah, I know. And that was mid-30s. That was much younger then you could argue that I should be in better shape then and now at 52. With two companies and two kids to boot, I was single back then. That’s the power, man. It’s working smart, not hard. You’re a smart dude, I know you can appreciate that. You’re an analytical dude with your other businesses. That information is so powerful to break it down. My job and the company is kind of a consumer advocate. I’m a lay person and I make sure that everything we do can be understood by the majority of people because that’s who we want to serve. We provide that map and if I knew I was going to meet you in LA, I could drive around for years and never find you. If I have a map that should tell me where you are, I can go directly there. LA is a bad example because it would still take me years to get there because of traffic but assuming no traffic, I can go directly there instead of wasting time circling the block or circling different neighborhoods. That’s what people are doing right now, they’re circling, they’re wasting their gas, literally and figuratively, as far as resources, time, energy, money, the whole bit. What we can do is go here, here is a direct path. People, they’re pushed back because of what about this test? What about blood work? What about neurotransmitters? Absolutely, man. I’m going to my general practitioner tomorrow for my yearly thing and I will ask for all kind, I want my Vitamin D, I want my testosterone, I want everything I can get, I love information. Back to the map analogy, that information shows traffic on the map. It doesn’t change your genetic map and that’s the beauty of having this simple baseline. It’s one and done analysis that points you in that direction. To you, back to the 70-30, for a year you can do jogging or you can do yoga, and then, next year, you can do something else. You can rotate every other day, it doesn’t matter. You’re free to do what you like and what is safe for you and you’re free to change it up. You just have to make sure you stimulate that body properly. That’s really where it comes down. Let me touch on that real quick. Particularly, because you know I feel you, we’re brothers genetically speaking now. Steady aerobic, back to my wife, the struggling with her weight yoga teacher who was doing 10 hours of yoga a week and just not doing it. Now, she needs 90% on high intensity. Now she works out about three times a week and she gets on the treadmill for about 20 minute sprints, cools down and she goes home. She has a better six pack than I do. But, because high intensity can stimulate the body for a shorter period of time. Because you and I are so fat sensitive and that’s why we need that 70% steady aerobic or low intensity, and with that, we really need a minimum of 60 minutes. That’s where you and I will never have the shortcut that these majority high intensity people will have. You and I will have to just spend that time in and get that body, our bodies, to start to get into that fat that we love and store so well which served us so well during the last famine but, now, it’s a little problematic. The 30%, the high intensity, in fact you get a diminished return after about 45 minutes. With the high intensity, just find something that’s safe and that you’ll enjoy. But, really, you just have to keep it up there for about 30 minutes and we’re good. That’s the difference. Let me touch on one other kind of to me it was always interesting and it happens all the time. Back to my wife, the 90-10er, and we know, they’re about 80% of all females so I know a lot of 90-10ers. The same thing happens every single time, particularly if they’re doing something very wrong like I eat power yogurt versus sprinting. First, they’ll get a huge response. They’ll not be tired, they won’t have cravings and the body composition will change dramatically quickly. Then, a month or two go will by, and they’ll call me and go it stopped working, and I’m like, what do you mean? It stopped working. I got tired, or I flatlined. What happened is as you stimulate the heart, you get better cardiac health, meaning, what was once high intensity when you get your heart in shape, it’s not high intensity anymore. They’ll slip back into doing the same thing and all of a sudden what was high intensity was steady aerobic and then they’ll start suffering the effects of stimulating the body properly. My wife now has had this information for a long period of time. She is in such good cardiac health that she has to set the treadmill on a mountain climb basically, sprint, just to get her heart rate to that high intensity. However, she only has to do it for about 20 minutes because she’s in that ideal shape. She has that ability to really short circuit her work out and literally is shredded. People stop her in stores and look at her arms or whatever and she spends very little time doing it but when she works, she has to work very, very hard to accomplish it. You and I have a different path, we’ll have to kind of trudge through those hour long, steady aerobic or low intensity states so we can stimulate the body and deal with our fat sensitivity. And then, we can pepper it with a high intensity to change things up and to treat that other adrenergic receptors, probably, morphism that we have.
Got it. What do you think about, speaking of shortcuts, the biodensity machine? I had the inventor of the biodensity machine, John Jaquish, on my podcast talking about the technology and how with just four minutes a week you can build all this muscle density and bone density and you don’t need to go hit the gym and you still do aerobic exercise but you don’t have to go hit the weights anymore.
I don’t know. That’s an interesting concept. What did you think of it? What was your takeaway?
Well, it’s intriguing. I haven’t used it enough. I’ve only used it twice so I don’t have enough data myself but I know Tony Robbins is big into it. He has one in each of his homes, he’s got like four different homes, four different biodensity machines and these are expensive. They’re like $25,000 piece. He’s gotten such great results. He became an investor in the company so there must be something to it. I don’t know.
My knee jerk is not everyone’s going to get the same results. I would have a hard time believing that everyone gets the same results. It might get results for everyone, but I’ve seen very few things besides people need air and water that everyone else is identical. You know what I mean?
And it’s also getting into optimal too, but I’d have to research it a little bit further. It’s fascinating. That’s also a big price tag as well.
Yeah, it is.
We don’t want to divert on that but, I’m curious. What makes it so expensive? It’s just the IP or is it the actual machine or equipment that’s so expensive?
Well, the machine itself is what’s really expensive. There are four different exercises that you do. There’s a chest press, a leg press, and I forget what the other two are. It’s one machine that does all four of those exercises and what you do is you just max out your muscles, it’s very small range of motion. For the chest press, you’re going from almost fully extended in the arms to a bit more fully extended. It’s just a small amount of movement but you’re just pushing with your maximum force available and it measures that and shows you where you’re in the red zone, where you’re maxing out your muscles. And then, you hold that maximum for I think 20 seconds.
Yeah, it’s interesting. You should listen to the episode, it’s John Jaquish, one of my earlier episodes, might be interesting to you.
How was your heart rate during that? It’s high intensity, I assume.
Well, it’s only for like 30 seconds or something for the whole thing so it’s not. I wasn’t measuring my heart rate but I can’t imagine it got up that much in just that short period of time.
Yeah. Interesting. Well, giving that intensity to develop density makes sense. We have to do that. I’m not a big weight guy, I use body weight more than hand weights or machine weights or what not. Weight training to some extent is very important just to maintain the bone density and strength, I mean, it’s martial arts, my bones and there’s other people’s bones and whatnot. Stress is not bad, there’s eustress, there’s good stress out there. Even with a super expensive machine that does that, you’re going to get the benefits of the bone density and whatnot as well. I’ll check out the podcast for sure. I’ve always been curious about that. There was one a while ago I always see in plane magazines, it was like $14,000, some kind of crazy machine that was supposed to do everything in four minutes or what not.
Oh yeah, I think I know which one you’re talking about. I forget the name of it.
It was cool looking though. The design reminded me of something that the guy who designed alien or something, all things, it’s coming off of it and stuff. Again, you’re talking to an old school Kung Fu, yogi guy so I need space, gravity, desire and this information that I can be in optimal shape efficiently.
Yeah. I like that space, gravity, desire.
It’s all you need, man. You know what it also does? It eliminates all other excuses.
I don’t have my mat, I don’t have my weights, I don’t have my super fancy biodensity machine, whatever. You need the space, gravity, desire, that’s it. And then that’s naturally put, that’s all you need. I think Simply Fit adds to it because then you knew what to do with that space, gravity, and desire. I like to keep it simple mainly to eliminate excuses.
Yeah. Let’s move off of Simply Fit now to your other product Simply Safe. Let’s kind of start that discussion by what is Simply Safe and what’s the genetic link between concussions and genes?
Simply Safe is extraordinary and a very fascinated but frustrating topic but we can touch upon it. This is a very important one. Bottom line, Simply Safe is an analysis looking at the infamous APOE gene. I say infamous because it’s one of the most studied. I think the first study on it was in the 70s in Spain. It’s one of the most studied genes ever. On Simply Fit, we look at the most studied genes on the BCD gene map because we want a lot of old school multi-reports information before we make recommendations. APOE even has puts those to shame as far as volume in information. APOE is a gene that’s responsible for the response to brain insults, as a bunch of neurologists like to call it, which I thought was kind of a cool word, because it’s arguable that your brain doesn’t know if it’s getting concussed or heat stroke or any other kind of insult but it has a reaction. It has a reaction to produce a protein and everyone has two copies of APOE gene, one from Mom, one from Dad, and you’re either APOE2, 3 or 4 carrier. I don’t know what happened to APOE1, I guess it wasn’t very helpful because there are no people with it. APOE2 and 3 carriers and 2-2, 2-3, 3-3, that type of stuff, have one normal susceptibility to concussions and a normal response. I’ve met several old or retired NFL players who are APOE2 carriers and everyone I’ve met are remarkably sharp, just still spot on. They’re just quick and mentally just as sharp as a tack. I do believe that APOE2 carriers are actually more resilient to head injury than most. APOE3 carriers really kind of have that standardized response. APOE4 carriers have a bit more problematic response. A single carrier like myself are about 8.4 times more likely to report a concussion. We can assume that they’re more susceptible. Susceptibility comes from physiology. APOE4 carriers have a less dense dendrites. That connection to the brain itself is just simply not as dense, so the concussions, I said, 8.4 times more likely to report. More of the problem comes into the response itself. Again, after that brain insult or concussion, it sends out this protein and ideally, the protein is meant to protect that area and heal that area of the brain and then ideally, clean up any lipids and any fats that are out there, then, get out of there. Comparison to like a road crew, the road’s damage from the snow or what not, the road crew will come out, filling the holes and cracks and let it all settle, smooth it out, pick up trash along the way and then leave. With APOE4 carriers, it’s more like a road crew that comes out, doesn’t quite fix any of the holes and then just leaves, leaving all their stuff there. Meaning, not only does the APOE4 protein not repair the brain very well, it actually binds to fats and lipids causing more likely for an amyloid or a plaque to form. The numbers break down, and then of course the double carriers are 8.4 times more likely to report a concussion and really up to 600 times more likely to have issue afterwards. The numbers break down like this, 17-23% of the population have the single copy like myself, and only 2% of the population have two copies. APOE is also most famous for its tie into Alzheimer’s, early-onset of Alzheimer’s. That’s something that we don’t get into because I don’t want to be in the bad news business, I’d rather be in the empowerment business but7 I can tell you, the best epigenetic environment for APOE4 carriers is not hitting your head on something. There’s something you can do with Alzheimer’s too, even just taking fish oils have been shown to really improved the odds of reducing early-onset Alzheimer’s and as a single carrier 4, I can tell you I take high quality fish oil every day. The genesis of APOE4 really came from my son, I wanted to know because during the time when all these NFL players are having some huge issues and I want to know if it’s safe for my son to play collision or contact sports. He was one of the first people tested and then, luckily, he was a 3-3, he picked up a 3 from me and a 3 from his mother but I can tell you, if he was 3-4 like myself, I probably let him contact sports like soccer, whatnot, but probably not plan for a career in it because he will start collecting concussion and it’s more problematic every concussion. If he was a double 4 carrier, I’d be buying him a tennis racket or swimming lessons, I wouldn’t let him on any field to play. In the end, I think this is going to be a standard, I think every child should be tested before they play collision or contact sports. In the end, I think it should be a liability play, organizations and academic organizations will not let kids play until they know this information. Europe is already starting to move on this, I work with a lot of pro hockey players. The pro hockey players have come here from Europe to know their APOE4 status so I think that’s going to be something that’s going to come up. Right now, we’re offering this retail and we pulled it from our offering just because we got pushed back from some large government agencies and I think they’re getting fed from large organizations, sports organizations here in the State that for whatever reason don’t want this information out so we’ve had to shelf Simply Safe here for a little while until the environment changes. Again, I don’t know the fear that’s driving this because honestly, we can make sports like football or hockey more safe. In particular, football, youth sports, the participation has dropped dramatically, they’re way down and have been. They’re down because people are making decisions based on fear not fact. I get that. But, as I just told you the stats, 25% of the kids out there have one or two copies,, that means 75% don’t. I believe the numbers of youth footballers such that more than 25% of the kids are being kept off the field because of fear and not facts. If they started to embrace this testing, they would see participation levels actually increase. There’s also big pictures here as well. I remember Dr. Daniel Amen, I had the privilege of interviewing him a few times, and in one of his books he speaks about is a study he did with prisoners. Again, 25% of population have one or two copies. Prison population, close to 50% have one or two copies. Usually, whenever I speak at a large group, there’s always someone who comes to me afterward going, hey, you know, my niece or nephew was a straight A student, an amazing kid, in high school, either got in a car wreck or got a concussion in football or something, started turning to drugs, started to steal stuff, grades went down, that whole bit. That trigger, the power, particularly the double 4 carrier being concussed. Double 4 carrier can actually have a personality change within a few hours of a concussion. We work with a lot of amazing neurologists and stuff but they’re still working hard to try to counter the effects of a concussed double 4 or single 4 brain. It’s just hard to do. It’s frustrating, you probably hear my voice. We’re still a small company and I have to pick my battles carefully and I can’t pick this fight right now so we have to sit on the sidelines on the APOE4 discussion right now. It’s funny, our chief science officer did a lot of research on it when we were really trying to see if we wanted to fight this battle this time. He said it’s odd because about every six, seven years, APOE there’ll be new studies, there’ll be more articles and stuff and then it will go away. Years later, it’ll come up again and then it’ll go away. I believe for whatever reason this has been rejected or not really more squished or just pushed down for whatever reason, but I do believe we’re close to a tipping point, there’s books on it, the information is overwhelming and there’s more clinical on it than most anything out there so the resistance is really fascinating. The big organizations who I believe that are responsible for quelling this, I think, if they really looked at it, they would be getting this and embracing would actually serve their organizations, not hurt them in anyway.
Yeah. I firmly believe that the FDA does not have the consumer’s best interest at heart, it’s aligned elsewhere. When they shut down, the whole diagnostic reporting side of 23andme so you couldn’t get any of the medical side of the reporting anymore. I was one of the last few people who had gotten the medical reporting and I was so glad that I had that, more information is better than less information. Then, the FDA comes in and shuts that all down, I guess you can still get the raw data from 23andme then you use some open source software to run that data through to get the reports. Why make that not available to the consumer? It makes no sense to me.
Right. It’s their body’s instruction manual, man. I mean, it’s so much our right to have this information, it’s incredibly frustrating and it’s hard to believe that it’s happening. I always say follow the money, it doesn’t make sense. But having this information I believe will empower consumers so much, so it will be a game changer and not just in sports or what not. In health care in general it will be a game changer. It will be a paradigm shift of preventive care and of lifestyle choices and. Not everyone’s going to run down the right path or adhere to it but more and more people will and it will move a lot of money. Look, I’m the most susceptible for diabetes, and I don’t think it’s going to happen in this life. Whatever company was going to sell me diabetes medicine or cholesterol medicine for the rest of my life is losing that revenue and I’m sure it’s not just me, it’s millions of people like me, and us, with our genotype. I think when you’re moving that kind of money, that’s where the fear comes in because they aren’t making money in keeping people healthy, they’re making money in keeping sick people alive.
Yep, disease maintenance.
Yeah, exactly. That’s treating not curing. Curing is problematic because you’re one and done much like genetic analysis. Preventing, that’s even worse as far as in the pocket book of a lot of the health care providers and I don’t want to [01:08:13]. They have Board members and that kind of stuff, it’s a tricky system because the interests are not permanently aligned.
I don’t have the solution at all but I do believe that people’s genetic information, they have a right to it, they have a right to have it directly and also I believe they have a right to be able to run it through whatever clinician or either software or neurologist or what not. This is their health and health is such a large part of overall life and quality of life. The power belongs to the people and getting to all the politics of that, but I believe that particularly with genetics, I think if you empower people correctly and you make it accessible and you make it actionable, a large portion of people will actually do it and adhere to it. When you break it down and when people perceive that they can’t control their own body, be it composition or whatnot, then they start to give up other controls of their life, like relationships and careers and that type of stuff. When people are given the power back, man, they will start to take control of other aspects of their life like relationships and career. From a societal standpoint, to get people out of this victim mentality, I can’t do this, this is doing this to me, and that type of stuff, and going, no, you’re behind the wheel. Everyday, weaker, stronger, tighter or longer, every day in better shape or not, you decide. I think more and more people are going to make a decision that will serve them. That decision, if enough people make the decisions to serve themselves and take care of themselves, that will improve everyone else’s world because from straight up healthcare costs that we all endure and we all are connected in many different ways as far as having that cost or bearing that load to just society, friendliness. The person who is frustrated and anxious about trying to lose 10 pounds or whatever it is, man, they’re going to be different when you run into them on the street or the coffee shop or in traffic. That frustration, that anxiety translates into problematic behavior, maybe violence or rudeness or whatever. If we can stop to to turn that around and give people their power back, I think it will be wielded well and that will serve us in the end. That comes back to the very first thing I said to you today, is it goes back to intent. I’ve ran Sales Forces and whatnot, I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life but I didn’t get into yoga and create my yoga system for the big bucks, I mean, no one does because there’s just no money there. I didn’t get into genetics for the money either and it’s much sexier and hopefully more lucrative business than yoga but what drove me there was the same desire that drove me to create American Power Yoga. It was simply to help people, to do some good while we’re busy in this planet for such a short period of time. It comes back to that intent. Everything we do in simplified genetics and most everything I do on a professional and even personal level my life is to do some good while I’m on this planet. This planet is an amazing place full of amazing experiences and people and I think what I can do to kind of give back to it while I’m on this planet, it goes by so quick, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do some good, have some fun and not take anything too serious because, hey, we’re just visiting anyway.
I love that. That’s great advice and a great philosophy. I know we’re out of time here. Just a few points here for our listeners. First off, I want you, of course, to visit the Optimized Geek website to get the episode show notes and the transcript and the checklist of action to take from what we talked about in this episode. Also, check out the interview on this podcast show of Dr. Daniel Amen who we just discussed a few minutes ago. He’s a strong proponent for brain health and he’s done a lot of research on concussions and so forth. That episode is amazing. He’s the author of Change your Brain, Change your Life, definitely check that out. Another thing I’d recommend you check out is a book called Freakonomics, talking about misaligned incentives and how does the health establishment is not incentivized to cure us but instead to maintain our illness so that we can make the maximum amount of money for them. It’s one of my favorite business books of all time and the way that the misaligned incentives are baked into the system across so many different areas, not just healthcare, is just fascinating so it’s a great, great book. Also, of course, if you’re interested in taking the Simply Fit test, getting that genetics test, Kurt, where would you want to direct our listeners to? Which website?
Yeah, that’s simplifiedgenetics.com
Alright, awesome. simplifiedgenetics.com and the test is called Simply Fit Optimal. I took it and it was an awesome test.
I want to hear how you do with it, okay? You got to follow up and see how you do.
I will definitely make some changes to my diet and exercises based on it so I’ll report back.
Alright! Well, thank you Kurt so much. Thank you, listeners! This is Stephan Spencer signing off. We’ll catch on the next episode of the Optimized Geek. Kurt is offering you listeners a 10% off discount on the Simply Fit test at simplifiedgenetics.com. Just use the promo code GEEK. Doesn’t have to be lower case, upper case, doesn’t matter.
- Kurt Johnsen on LinkedIn
- Kurt Johnsen on Facebook
- @kurtjohnsen on Twitter
- Simplified Genetics
- Yoga Digest
- Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
- Simply Fit
- American Power Yoga
- Healbe Gobe Health Tracker
- Adrenergic receptors
- Atkins diet
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph body types
- Fast twitch muscles versus slow twitch muscles
- The bioDensity machine
- John Jaquish on the Optimized Geek
- Tony Robbins
- Dr. Daniel Amen on the Optimized Geek
- Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Dr. Daniel Amen
- Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
About Kurt Johnsen
Kurt Johnsen is Vision Keeper and co-founder of Simplified Genetics, a health and lifestyle brand.
Johnsen is passionate about positively impacting the lives of people around the world and revolutionizing the health industry. He is currently the senior columnist for Yoga Digest and the official yoga trainer of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.