Favorite Tools

I thought it would be helpful to create a page with all of my favorite resources that I think would also be useful to you.  There are a lot of other supplements and gadgets that I have and am messing around with, but since  don’t feel quite comfortable recommending them to my friends and family yet, I definitely don’t feel comfortable recommending them to you.  I’ll continue to add to this as I learn more.

Disclosures: Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these products; if they’re books, I’ve read them cover to cover, and if they’re products or supplements, I’ve used and/or continue to use them.  I recommend these because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

SUPPLEMENTS

Athletic Greens 2Athletic Greens: This is now my favorite greens supplement and is something I try to take every day. Sometimes I even double or triple the dose on days when I've had a terrible nights sleep. I first heard about it when Tim Ferriss endorsed it in The 4 Hour Body and after trying it for myself I have to agree with his assessment. You can read my entire review here. They also have excellent customer support so you can cancel or suspend the order at any time. The only issue is that it can be pricey, but for me it's worth it, especially since I work a night-shift and need all the support I can get.
Athletic Greens D3

Athletic Greens Vitamin D3: Since I work at a desk job and am indoors all day, I need to make sure I have enough Vitamin D. This formula is my favorite form of vitamin D for a few reasons: 1) This is oil based so all you need to do is drop it on a spoon or directly on your tongue. That's one less pill I need to take. 2) Each drop is 4000 IU, and there's enough in the entire bottle to last the entire year, which makes it amazingly cost effective since it's only 12.95 a bottle.

Upgraded Collagen

Upgraded Collagen: While a part of me knows that I SHOULD be doing my best to incorporate more bone broth into my diet... I just get too lazy sometimes... well most of the time. Dumping in a few tablespoons to my morning coffee or evening tea has been the most convenient way for me to add more collagen in my diet. While I haven't noticed much of a difference in terms of improvement of my joints and skin (this could be because those areas have never been real problems for me), I can say that this has definitely helped me in muscle recovery.

Upgraded WheyUpgraded Whey: I especially like this whey because it's sourced from grass fed cows, and has added colostrum as well as coconut MCT powder. I also like that there aren't any special additives or artificial sweeteners. I figure if I'm going to try to eat as much grass fed beef as possible, I might as well subject my whey supplement to the same standard. This has a slightly milky taste and goes great in coffee. Dave Asprey does caution that the coffee needs to be cooled so that the temperature doesn't denature the protein and the protein shouldn't be blended too vigorously because that can also damage the protein. While I'm not sure how valid this is because proteins are all pretty much digested into their component amino acids, because of the price, I try to follow his directions nonetheless.
Upgraded XCT OilUpgraded XCT Oil: This was formerly known as Upgraded MCT Oil, and I'm not quite sure what the thinking was behind the name change, but overall I've been very happy with the product.  I like to add it to my morning coffee or evening tea as a way to give my body a dose of ketones.  Because medium chain triglycerides are metabolized directly into ketones they allow an increase in the amount of carbs ingested (more than allowed in a ketogenic diet, but still less than in a standard American diet) while maintainig blood ketone levels, which would have typically fallen with the carb intake.  You can read my full post comparing this and Upgraded Brain Octane where I also discuss some of the basics of MCT oils.  As a word of caution, please be slow when you're adding this into your diet.  If you add too much too fast you can develop what Kelly Starret nicely calls 'disaster pants'.... which is something I have personal experience with.
CreatineOptimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine: Creatine monohydrate is perhaps one of the most well researched supplements available with a whole host of positive benefits. If you want to learn more about it, check out these articles (here, here, here, and here). I take this brand for no particular reason other than it's what my Crossfit Coach recommended to me a while ago and for the fact that it was reasonably priced and has over 1300 positive reviews on Amazon.
Upgraded Coffee CartridgesUpgraded Coffee Cartridges: This is actually the only form of coffee that The BJJ Cavewife can drink that won't cause her to feel palpitations and jittery. That's one of the main reasons that I continue to pick this up. Again, this is on the pricier side of things, and buying them in Keurig friendly K-cups also makes things even more pricy, but for us it was all about ease of use. Dave has a whole storage protocol for his coffee beans that involves vacuum sealing and freezing the them (you can read the rest of it here). This sounded like a royal pain in the ass to me, so paying a little extra for the convenience was well worth it.
Solaray Vitamin CSolaray Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a vitamin that pretty much everyone recommends. I chose this brand in particular because it's what Dave Asprey recommends in his Better Baby Book, is reasonably priced, and is rate 4.5 stars on Amazon. When I'm around sick people or when I myself am sick, I make sure to increase the amount I take, sometimes up to 4-5 gm per day which I've found to be effective. Both Kiefer and Dave Asprey caution to avoid taking this after a training session because the anti-oxidant properties can interfere with muscle growth.
Carlson Fish OilCarlson Labs Liquid Fish Oil: This is a great source of Omega 3 fats, and I've read that the liquid form is most resistant to oxidation, which pills can be subject to. There is only a mild fish after taste, but the lemon flavor hides the majority of it. The BJJ Cavewife who is super picky about what she eats, will only take this brand. That's good enough for me!

 

SLEEP

uvexUVEX Blue Blockers: I make sure to use these whenever I look at an electronic screen within 1-2 hrs of going to bed AND when I'm leaving work after a night shift and walk out into the sun to block out blue spectrum light. This has been shown to be an effective way to stimulate endogenous melatonin production, which blue light is known to disrupt. The BJJ Cavewife also has a pair and it almost never fails to put her to sleep. It can actually be quite comical because she starts looking like this!
Moldex Ear PlugsMoldex Official Nascar Earplugs: Recently outside of my apartment complex they started construction on a brand new building. Every damn morning at 8 am sharp there's the high pitched beeping of the tractors, the sound of pile drivers pounding away, and all sorts of other loud heavy machinery that I don't know the names of. Seeing as how I work a graveyard shift and get home at 8 am, this makes sleeping extremely difficult. That's where these guys come in. These are the official ear plugs of Nascar and are rated to block out 33 decibels of noise. The amazing thing is, they work! Also the BJJ Cavewife likes to use these because I snore... but they are a little big for her ears, so she just uses scissors to cut the tip off which seems to do the trick. Also, these are only $25 for a box of 200 individually sealed ear plugs! That's only 12.5 cents per pair... so if I happen to lose one, I just go ahead and open another packet without a thought.
Melatonin MZSMelatonin MZS: This is now my preferred form of melatonin. Each tablet contains 3 mg of Melatonin combined with 8.7 mg of Zinc and 50 cmg of Selenium. There’s something about this combination that makes it super effective, because I notice that I get the best sleeps after I take this. The only draw backs are the taste, make sure to never let it sit on your tongue... when that happened to me, it made me gag. I do make sure not to take it more than 3 nights in a row since I don't want to screw up my endogenous melatonin production.
ReloraThorne FX Relora Complex: This is a blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense with some B-vitamins mixed in which are used to modulate coritsol levels. I first came across this as I was browsing through the Thorne Fx site after listening to Ben Greenfield interview a guy from the company and openly vouching for the quality of it. Since I know that a big part of circadian rhythms are closely interrelated with cortisol I reasoned that if my circadian rhythms are screwed, my cortisol rhythms must be screwed too (remember cortisol is one of the end products of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). After using this for a while I can say for certain that it's had a beneficial effect on me 20-40% of the time.

 

GADGETS AND GIZMOS

MyotapeMyotape Body Tape Measure: Since measuring changes in circumference in various parts of your body is the cheapest and most convenient way to determine changes in body composition, having a convenient tool with reproducible measurements is essential. This was the easiest tool I've come across that does this reproducibly. You especially need something like this if you want to measure areas like your arms! Try doing that with a standard measuring tape... you will end up looking ridiculous. Believe me, I've tried!
Basis bandBasis Band: This is my favorite activity and sleep tracker. The sleep tracker has been shown to correlate will with medical grade sleep trackers. You can read my reviews here and here. Basis has just recently released their newest model called the Basis Peak, which addresses a lot of my complaints.
KetonixStandardKetonix: This is the only way to measure ketone levels by breath, which is more convenient, less painful, and more cost effective than measuring blood ketones. I've already reviewed the Ketonix Standard (here) and am in the process of reviewing the Ketonix Sport. While I've found that there isn't a 1:1 correlation with blood ketone measurements, the Ketonix is good enough at telling you whether or not you are in ketosis.
Precision xtra systemPrecision Xtra Blood Ketone and Glucose System: At this moment, this is the gold standard in home blood ketone monitoring. The only draw back is that the ketone strips are exorbitantly priced! If you decide to use this system, you have to ask yourself: how important is accuracy? For me, very, that's why Abbott is making so much money from me.
Freestyle liteFreeStyle Lite Glucose Monitoring System: This was my first blood glucose system which I've used for almost 5 years now and it's still going strong. When I've checked this with my blood glucose levels from actual blood tests, it's always been spot on, so I'm confident in its accuracy I guess if I were to do it all over again, I would just use the Precision Xtra system for both blood sugars and blood ketones to minimize the amount of clutter on my desk, but since I already have this I'm going to keep using it.
Bioforce HRVBioforce HRV: This is the heart rate variability system that I use. It comes with a Polar bluetooth heart strap, book, and online access. I use this first thing in the morning to see how stressed out my nervous system is. This system gives a number and a color. I pay the most attention to the color since that affects what I do during that specific day. Green means I can go as hard as possible. Yellow means I need to take it a little easy. Red means that the absolute MOST I can do is some light recovery work. I've been injury free since using this... so I think it's working well for me.

 

BOOKS

Primal Blueprint 1The Primal Blueprint:  Written by the great Mark Sisson... if you're not going to read any other health books, make sure that this is the one you read!  I've personally bought and gifted at least 8 copies of this book to my friends and family.  His emphasis is on optimizing overall health, and diet is only one facet of this.  He discusses the importance of sleep, relaxation, play, movement, etc. and how best to incorporate these things into your life.  When people around me ask me what they can do to improve their health, this is what I automatically refer them to.  It's wonderfully written and easy to read, and you don't have to have a science degree to understand what he's talking about.  You can read my full review here.
Cholesterol ClarityCholesterol Clarity: Jimmy Moore does a wonderful job of explaining almost everything you need to do know about dietary and serum cholesterol and does it in his usual plain-spoken, easy to understand manner.  He admits readily that he doesn't have the scientific credentials to be an expert on this subject which is why he surrounded himself with dozens of experts when he wrote this.  His lack of credentials actually worked in his favor since he is not accustomed to using scientific jargon that typical experts fall into.  This book continues to serve me through my own self experimentation as I get acquainted with my own cholesterol issues.  You can read my full review here.
Carb Night SolutionThe Carb Nite Solution: This is John Kiefer's take on the cyclic ketogenic diet to maximize the burning of fat.  I won't go into too much detail here since so much of my site is already dedicated to this methodology, but I will say that this is the way of eating that I think works best for me.  You can read my full review here.
CBLCarb Back-Loading 1.0: This is perhaps Kiefer's most famous book.  It's his version of the targeted ketogenic diet, primarily eating carbs in the evening after resistance training.  This primes the body to burn fat while putting on muscle... which is the holy grail of body recomposition.  While my own experience with this showed me that this wasn't the optimal program for me (primarily because I too easily give in to temptation), I still thoroughly enjoyed reading through it.  He provides much more science and in depth discussion behind his thoughts than in The Carb Nite Solution.  I would encourage anyone remotely interested in this stuff to pick it up... although you may want to hold off on this since Carb Back-Loading 2.0 is in the works.  You can read my full review here.

Disclosures: Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these products.  If they're books, I've read them cover to cover, and if they're products or supplements, I've used and/or continue to use them, and I am not shy about giving my honest opinion of them, positive or negative.  The small commissions I make help me out a tiny bit, and if you've found my site helpful then feel free to purchase these products through the links I've provided.  If not, that's fine too, no pressure, I'll still continue to write!  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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