Max Goetzler is back for a second interview. “Max” grew up in Southern Bavaria and has been an athlete his entire life. After receiving a scholarship to play in the NCAA, Max graduated from Boston University in the U.S.A and then relocated back to Germany to join the working world. Upon discovering there wasn’t much, if anything, available on the market for affordable self-performance improvement without the diagnostics of costly physicians, Max began exploring the field of biohacking.
Using his education and lifelong athletic experience, Max discovered that there are ways to break down and identify your body’s physical abilities in order to build up better performance potential. He first created a company to help people access cutting-edge lab diagnostics, which offer specific guidelines for one to upgrade physical and mental capabilities.
Subsequently, Max founded Flowgrade, a successful product line that offers premium-quality nutritional supplements. As a frequent blogger and podcaster, Max is always striving to bring the latest technological nutritional advancements and health information to the hands of the consumer.
"Twitter, Facebook, and all these platforms want our attention all the time and they use very manipulative psychological tricks to get it. As human beings we are automatically drawn to them. When you look at your phone and notice a red dot on your Facebook, you automatically press to read it - you're already a victim."
Edge7: How does one best deal with stress in everyday life? How do you wind down well or deal with stressful moments?
Max: I have a couple of techniques that I use pretty much on a daily basis. One is a little meditation to take out the mental garbage. I think this can do wonders for pretty much everyone.
By sitting down for 15 minutes and focusing on your breathing, your emotions, how you feel, where you are, and being aware of all your senses, meditation helps you to get rid of all the nonsense and overwhelming stimuli of your environment - tasks, projects, WhatsApp messages, Facebook etc. I think time and attention are the biggest, most sought-after resources of our time.
Twitter, Facebook, and all these platforms want our attention all the time and they use very manipulative psychological tricks to get it. As human beings we are automatically drawn to them. When you look at your phone and notice a red dot on your Facebook, you automatically press to read it - you're already a victim. You're caught. I think meditation really helps to get rid of this urge, this little dopamine boost that novelty creates when you press the button, almost like a gambler.
I think everyone is aware of situations where you’re happy and all of a sudden something happens. You post something on Facebook and people don't like it. Or you get a phone call that's upsetting or someone is very late to a meeting. Then you notice you give away your happiness quite cheaply. All of a sudden this little event can make you unhappy.
In these situations, I try to be grateful. It's really something you can control. You can write it down, you can think about it, you can focus on one positive thing in your life and say ‘thank you.’ And that helps to correct the direction of your thinking.
Our evolution as humans has taught us to focus on problems and negative things; we're not supposed to be happy, but we can override this survival software by saying, "This is good in my life. Thank you for that."
There are a couple more tricks but gratitude and meditation, sitting down for 15 minutes and not doing anything but saying “thank you for the positive things in my life” are two very powerful techniques to deal with stress.
Edge7: What about sleep, the pillar of relaxation. Any ideas on how to make it better?
Max: Sleep is definitely one of the most important habits, and one of the easiest things to give away or trade for entertainment or time with others. But when you think about it, sleep is like charging your phone overnight - you just need a certain time frame in order to fully charge it.
According to research, the human body needs between six to nine hours of sleep, somewhere in between is your sweet spot. For most people it's between seven and seven and a half. You just need an average every night but you don't need the same amount every night. You can run on four and a half hours one night or even two nights, but then you would need to catch up and maybe sleep eight on the third night.
If you burn the midnight oil for too long, you've really messed with the most important period for recovery. Sleep is when your thoughts are being connected and your memories are stored. You recuperate, your muscles grow, and hormones are normalized. Testosterone is produced.
For people who travel a lot, or cross time zones, you cannot always sleep according to your body rhythm. I have great piece of advice from Mark Verstegen, the physical therapist for the German national soccer team. He always tries to block seven hours. Wherever he is, even if he goes to bed at three, he always blocks seven hours. Even if he doesn't sleep for the whole seven hours, he just tries to rest. That helps him when he travels. That's a little hack right there.
I'd say really focus on trying to get the amount of sleep you want and demand it for yourself or from people. Even if it means cancelling an event or going home early, saying no to things; it will benefit you down the road.
The other thing is biorhythm. If you don't travel, try to go to bed around the same time. There's a phenomenon called the second wave. Usually people become tired at 10pm but they stay up longer. Then you get another spike of cortisol and you stay up until two. Then you have trouble falling asleep and you're quite unproductive in that time because you're mad that you can't fall asleep. So trying to find this time, where you go to bed six out of seven nights a week maybe, or five out of seven.
There are a couple of ways to keep your blood sugar fairly stable overnight which also helps you sleep better. You can have a little pre-bedtime snack, a couple of almonds or almond butter on celery in order to keep your blood sugar fairly in check overnight, that's a way of normalizing it.
In winter, you should consider getting your blood checked to see if you have enough magnesium and vitamin D. If you are deficient in any of these (and many people are), it might affect your sleep. Magnesium is known to de-stress and help you fall asleep faster. Vitamin D also improves sleep. These are the supplements I recommend. To sum up, try to sleep between six and nine hours. Less is bad. It will decrease your life expectancy. More than nine hours is also bad. Try to find the biorhythm that works for you. For some people it's a little later, for others earlier. If you still wake up during the night, get a blood test and check for deficiency in minerals and vitamins.
Edge7: The next challenge after sleeping is getting up. Many people struggle to drag themselves out of bed in the mornings. Any ways to improve that?
Max: One really powerful tool is having a morning routine. We are creatures of habit. By doing the same things every day after you get up, you make the process easier. It could be anything - brush your teeth or make a cup of coffee, sit down to meditate, or write in your journal.
If you're in a situation where you can't do your regular morning routine, I'd say a cold shower works for me. Because first of all you start breathing in deeply. You flood your body with oxygen and your system wakes up. You might hyperventilate a little bit, which helps you flood your whole system. You step out of the shower and you feel superb.
Edge7: Cold showers are a big ask for most people…
Max: I would say you need a day where you feel good and energized already, then just start doing it. That's it. There is no easy way to get used to it, although what helps me is doing jumping jacks. I do 50 to 100 to get my system up and running and start sweating. It's a lot easier because you feel a little warmer before the cold shower. And afterwards you feel even better.
You can also alternate between hot and cold. You start hot and switch to cold for about 10 seconds. Countdown from 10 then switch to hot again. That actually helps a lot of the muscles all around your vessels and your veins to open up and close again. This trains your vascular system and it’s a great way to wake up.
Sometimes at night when I need to go out and I'm feeling drained, I take a cold shower. Then I'm awake again and ready to go.
Edge7: Speaking of feeling energized: Is there anything else you've come across which is useful in those moments when you really need to be at your best and mobilize all your resources very fast?
Max: There are many. Coffee is a fantastic trigger. I like mine mixed with good fats, like butter and MCT oil. Adding a shot of C8 MCT oil is a great way get some energy. It's pretty much pure caprylic acid and is metabolized into ketone bodies quite quickly so you feel an effect right away.
I'm also fan of two-minute workouts. A friend of mine, Nelli Lähteenmäki, founded the YOU-app with Jamie Oliver. She's a big fan of these very short, two-minute challenges or workouts to challenge yourself and get your mind off a stressful situation and then focus back on it.
Breathing is another fantastic way, probably one of the more powerful ones. I practice Wim Hof or the Warrior breathing techniques where you inhale deeply and force the air out. You do that for a whole minute or 50 breaths. Afterwards, you’ll feel this tingling in your fingers which is oxygen. It activates your autonomous nervous system and can be super effective to get amped up before a meeting.
There are also a couple of legal mind-altering substances you can use. Lion's mane, a medicinal mushroom or Cordyceps. It helps you increase the uptake of oxygen in your blood. There are some herbs called Adaptogens that help balance out your hormones. They are by definition, non-specific but they pretty much work on different areas where you need work. That can be an energizing trigger.
Edge7: Max, thank you for this interview.