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Science to back up Sir Branson’s famous productivity tip “Work out”

When I first read the 4 Hour Body I was consumed with trying to work as much as possible so I could not work as much when my wife ended her maternity leave.  The quote from the book that resonated with me the most at the time was Richard Branson’s “Billionaire Productivity Secret”

“How do you become more productive?”

“Work out.”

For the next 7 months after that I got up early to workout most days, short 10-30 minute workouts and that helped me drop 35lbs and go from fat to ripped in about 100 days.  I now workout at lunch most of the time at a gym close to my office.

I always noticed on days that I did not workout I was not as productive at work.  When I started working out at lunch I noticed I was not as productive at work before my worked out.  This made sense to me but I never understood why.

A friend of mine sent me an article from todays New York Times Well section title How Exercise Fuels the Brain.  This article explains some recent research that was done regarding exercise and the brain, and could be an explanation of how exercise improves cognitive function.

Glycogen, the main source of fuel for the body, has small stores in the brain.  The study[1] found that after a single treadmill session, followed by food and rest their brain glycogen levels increased about 60%, but then went back to normal.  But it also studied rats that exercised regularly for 4 week and found the following.

In those rats that ran for four weeks, the “supercompensation” became the new normal, with their baseline levels of glycogen showing substantial increases compared with the sedentary animals. 

So if you were like me and always put off exercise because you were too busy with work, think about Branson’s quote and this recent science to back it up.

Let us know what you experience is with exercise and productivity.

1. J Physiol. 2011 Jul 1;589(Pt 13):3383-93. Epub 2011 Apr 26. Brain glycogen decreases during prolonged exercise. Matsui TSoya SOkamoto MIchitani YKawanaka KSoya H.




Interview with Pareto Nutrition

I have been talking to Trevor from Pareto Nutrition for over a month now, he saw some traffic from my blog when I first started and emailed me about it.  He and his business partner Kalin were nice enough to do a interview about their company and their PAGG product.

Q: For people that do not know what PAGG is can you give us a brief explanation?

A: The PAGG stack is a dietary supplement formulation developed by Tim Ferriss in his New York Times bestseller The Four Hour Body. The idea behind it is that by taking a specific combination of 4 ingredients at various times of the day, you can produce a greater benefit than by taking them all at once. The result is fat loss; when combined with other practices as defined in the book, such as resistance weight training and proper diet, the outcome is a leaner body.
The dosage schedule for the PAGG Stack, as outlined by Tim Ferriss, is very specific. The AGG portion of the stack is to be taken four times each day, before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sleep.

  • Alpha-lipoic acid: 300 mg
  • Garlic extract: 200 mg
  • Green tea extract: providing 325mg of EGCG
  • B-complex vitamin (especially Biotin)

On the final dose of the day, before bed, include policosonal, the P in PAGG:

  • Policosanol: 23 mg once each day.

Q: Why is your product better? and have you checked out your competition at and and how do you compare?

A: From the beginning, we made a decision not to be distracted by what the competition was doing. I know it sounds cliched, but we were completely focused on our product and our business and that involved, and continues to involve, a lot of time researching ingredients, dose combinations and even new products.

That said, when you are constantly reading and working to find that advantage you do come across the competition. Being the first all-in-one PAGG stack to the market, we attracted a lot of copy-cat imitators. At first we brushed it off as flattery, but there were several cases of extreme plagiarism where they even used our product images and used MS Paint to poorly cover our name. Here’s a couple that were particularly, ahem, sad.

Eventually these “competitors” disappear after they’ve burned through their Google Adwords credit and free month of hosting, but it still has an impact when it creates confusion in the market and creates a general feeling of distrust among consumers. That’s a frustration that we have had to overcome.

As for the two you mentioned:

  1. — They had an interesting idea for a specific niche, but their website disappeared a few days ago, almost exactly 30 days after it first went online.
  2. — This site popped up in late December and has left us wondering exactly what they have been doing ever since, for three reasons.  UPDATE: see comment below from Tyler of
    1. First, a lot of what is on that site is either confusing or stolen. If you line up the supplement facts graphic over ours, the pixels on parts of it match ours perfectly. Then there’s just odd things like the ‘community’ feature. Worse, for the first month, they were trying to sell the site as a cash-flow positive business so they could move to New Zealand. It’s disappointing to us because we feel it reflects poorly on the supplement industry.
    2. Secondly, they have never shipped product. I remember seeing their ads back in early January, maybe even late December, saying that they were shipping now. We’ve heard from several of their angry customers, who paid money, that it just wasn’t the case. We have visited them occasionally since late December and their shipping date has changed 5 or 6 times since then. That’s not good for anyone.
    3. Thirdly, and to answer your core question about why our product is better, there are three reasons why this is true: 1) our decaffeinated green tea extract delivers the exact EGCG dosage Tim Ferris recommends. The green tea extract from is only 50% EGCG, meaning you need to take two pills to get the same dose as ours. And since green tea extract is the most expensive part of the stack, if you cut your percentage, you can lower your cost albeit delivering an inferior product in the process. 2) Our product uses an aged garlic extract, not a fresh garlic extract. Aged garlic extract (AGE) contains high levels of the active ingredient S-allyl cysteine. The aging process also removes the components that cause the garlic breath and odor that are a problem with non-aged extracts or fresh garlic. 3) We use capsules, which are better than tablets for storing alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). ALA is unstable if exposed to air and sunlight. Our red capsules were selected to minimize against that degradation to preserve the antioxidant’s potency until it hits your body.

Q: How did you get started with the PAGG stack?

A: We’ve been big fans of Tim Ferriss for quite a while. One of us had the chance to meet him after a talk he gave at Railsconf 2009 when he disclosed a “secret project” he was working on that involved a new book on extreme training, sleeping, eating, etc. We were more than intrigued and the concept of the 4 Hour Body was one we knew Tim would nail. It didn’t take much reading between the lines of his blog posts and chapter excerpts to know what was coming and having lived through the 90s with the ECA stack, we thought Tim might just have something that could change the training scene. As soon as we had the book in our hands and saw the PAGG stack, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

Q: What is your background in bio-chem/pharmacy/supplements?

A: Neither of us are chemists but both of us have undergraduate biochemistry, organic chemistry and even genetics under our belts. We’re also a lot like Ferriss; having tried and measured the results for almost everything on the market, our kitchens look like they might be FDA testing facilities sometimes. We had a good head start with PAGG, with Ferriss already designing the formula. That allowed us to hit Pubmed for many long hours to make sure that the logic was sound and things made sense. While Ferriss recommends a B-Complex vitamin in the book, we knew that the most important thing here was to make sure people got enough Biotin, since your intestinal bacteria produce less when you take ALA. All of our competitors have copied that idea now. Finally, we also knew when to bring in the right expertise and we contracted chemists to extensively review our product prior to manufacturing.

Q: Where does the name Pareto come from?

A: Anyone who read The Four Hour Work Week will know who Vilfredo Pareto was – the originator of the 80/20 rule. Right from the start we wanted to deliver people a lot of benefits without requiring them to do too much extra work. Pareto Nutrition’s mission is to help people achieve their health and fitness goals with as little effort as possible.

While most supplement companies pick their measurements and pill quantities at random (why do so many come in 90 capsule bottles regardless of the daily dose?), we focus on delivering exactly what you need, when you need it. Our goal is to create products designed around protocols based on the newest research and recommendations of top nutrition experts and body hackers. To try to sum all of that up in one name, Pareto Nutrition was a natural.

Q: Are there any regulations that you need to follow?

A: We strictly follow the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). We’re fanatics about details and this is the only way we can ensure a quality product is delivered in every bottle.

Q: I have read your post about EGCG and insomnia, will you be keeping it in the night pill?

A: Yes. Everyone’s body is different, but after shipping out a lot of product we have found what we expected, and what the peer-reviewed research supports. There have been almost no complaints about insomnia; in fact, there has been only one so far. We actually have gathered a fair amount of anecdotal evidence (including our personal experience) that people are getting deep, restful sleeps while taking PAGG. Maybe we should include that as a side effect, uberman sleepers beware!

Q: Have you had any returns?

A: We offer a 110% guarantee if you return the unused product within 45 days. A lot of people see that and imagine that there will be a high return rate because a lot of people will take a chance on a product that might not be right for them. So far our return rate has been below 1%, well below industry averages, and we think that speaks to the quality of our product and the research and care that went into producing it.

Q: Do you or will you be selling other 4HB supplements? CQ? Athletic Greens or similar?

A: There are a lot of plans in the works, but we’re keeping tight-lipped at the moment.

Q: What chapters from the book have you found most beneficial other than the four horseman?

A: If you ask us, we would say there is one very important concept that stands out in the book – the commitment to collecting data about your training. From taking measurements to having before and after pictures, people often underestimate how important it is to measuring progress, and ultimately success, in any program. Without any proof of change, it’s difficult to make a good decision to stop, continue, or modify a program.

Q: Have you reached out to Tim about this or has he commented about it?

A: We tried to contact him when we first started but he was understandably very busy with the book launch. We know he’s aware of us.

Q: Where can people find it?

A: We welcome anyone to try the best PAGG stack on the market:

Cold bath delivers KO

New job today which meant that I had to get up extra early And go to bed extra early. I have always struggled to get to sleep so this was my chance to try a cold bath. The water temperature was probably 11-12*c I didn’t have ice to use but damn it was cold. I could not kee my feet in the water it just hurt too much. I was in for about 15 minutes. I ended up getting a great sleep and getting to bed 3 hours sooner than usual.

Insomnia – Engineering the Perfect Night’s Sleep

I have had the 4-Hour Body for almost 2 weeks now, and have read almost all of it, and re-read the chapters that are most important to me.  It is 12:22AM right now and I can not sleep.  I don’t really have insomnia, I do sleep well every night I just take a long time to get to sleep most nights.  I have been this was ever since I was a kid, thankfully the chapter titled “Engineering the Perfect Night’s Sleep” will solve this for me, right?

Instead of just reviewing the steps for turning off my monkey mind I will write about them as well.

  1. 67-70 Degree Room Temperature
    This probably won’t be possible for me, I have a 2.5 month old baby sleeping in our room and my wife is constantly cold and likes the room warm.  I will probably be closer to 71-73 degrees but should be OK.
  2. Eat a Large Fat and Protein Meal Within 3 hours
    I don’t really have a consistent schedule (never really have with is why sleeping some times is difficult), so eating is usually not 3 hours before bed.  I usually eat between 6 and 8pm and got to bed between 11 and 12.  In another chapter Tim talks about celery sticks and almond butter as a night snack.  I have not tried it yet but I well try to see if that helps at all.
  3. The Phillips goLite
    I saw this light at my local Costco the other day in the pharmacy section, might spend the $40 on it if it does help with waking up and getting to sleep as Tim suggests.
  4. Tax the Nervous system
    I have not been able to try this yet but might make the pre-hab workout my evening workout.  Currently I am doing dynamic stretches, myotatic crunches, and kettlebell swings or walking for my morning workout
  5. Ice Bath One Hour Prior to Bed
    This one is probably something I will start doing as well.  Currently I am taking a 5 minute cold shower in the morning after my workouts but adding the ice or just a cold bath seems to kill 2 birds with one stone (sleep and BAT fat loss)
  6. Ultrasonic Humidifier
    I do have a humidifier, we bought it just before our baby was born a few months ago for him, but we bought a warm mist one not an ultrasonic one.  It does seem to help my sinus issues, but doesn’t do anything to get me to sleep faster.
  7. NightWave Pulse Light
    I am not sure if this would be a good idea for me as I sleep with my wife and baby.  It does say that does not disturb others but I am doubtful of that.  I think this would be a last resort for me.
  8. Half Military Crawl
    This is actually how I usually wake up, I have not consciously tried to use this position to fall asleep yet but I will try it and report back.

I will post an update in the next week or so after I have tried these few things out and see how well they help.

NightWave Sleep Assistant Travel Edition NightWave Sleep Assistant Travel Edition

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