AJ Juodka: Biohacking in Bali, Ultimate Health, and SE Asia’s Hidden Gems

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AJ Juodka: Biohacking in Bali, Ultimate Health, and SE Asia’s Hidden Gems
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AJ Juodka Podcast CoverAurimas Juodka, AJ for short, is a “gentle giant” – intimidating in stature and size at 6’7 and 240 lbs, yet very pleasant and thoughtful when you chat with him.  Originally from Lithuania, we met at DMSS and geeked out on biohacking, SE Asian hotspots, the health benefits to eating organ meats and intermittent fasting, Bali’s hidden gems, key biomarkers and how to track them, and what a healthy lifestyle in a truly holistic manner entails.

In this podcast we cover these topics as well as what what AJ considers the six fundamentals for ultimate health:

  •     Sleep
  •     Stress Management
  •     Nutrition
  •     Movement
  •     Environment
  •     Mindset

AJ’s goal is to help people go from good-to-great and reach their optimal health.  Listen if you’re interested in bringing your body to its peak potential as we also discuss cryogenic therapy, infrared saunas, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy…you know, the usual biohacking stuff. 🙂

Favorite Quote:

“You have to take care of the fundamentals first…I break them down into six pillars: sleep, stress management, nutrition, movement, environment, and your mindset. Six things. Six pillars. That’s what ultimate health is surrounded by.”

AJ’s Links:

Other Relevant Links:

Transcript:

Brian Crane 0:30

Alright, so I’m sitting here with AJ Juodka. A Lithuanian-American expat now in Bali with me, and we’re going to be talking about biohacking, about routines, daily routines, morning routines and evening routines. And I just want to kind of give some context. AJ is 6’7″, 240 pounds, very big, very imposing figure, very fit. We met earlier this year at a conference here in Bali, and when I talked with them, his personality is not necessarily what you would imagine from seeing him. He’s much more of a gentle giant, which is a testament actually to probably how powerful that he is that he doesn’t need to convey it with his words and his actions. He just kind of carries it as his presence so… happy to be here and AJ, I just want you to actually pronounce your name for people in Lithuanian.

AJ 1:29
So first of all, yeah, thanks for that. It’s funny. I’ve been debating that, the physical presence, for the last couple of weeks. It’s come up pretty often as I help people get initially intimidated and once we actually started talking, and carrying on the conversation changes a bit. So yeah, my name is Aurimas Juodka and I just go by AJ because it is hard to pronounce.

Brian Crane 1:52
Yeah, I mean, I think you… You definitely… What has been the transition as far as the past couple weeks. With your physical presence people have physically said to you, I was really scared when you first walked in the room. Yeah.

AJ 2:06
Exactly. Yeah, the intimidation component in the beginning and then just… it’s just not me. I remember when I was boxing competitively, my coach would make me step over the top rope into the ring. So to intimidate people and, and I could barely keep the straight face on because I think to myself, “this is so stupid.”

Brian Crane 2:27
But it worked.

AJ 2:28
No, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The aggression and all that, I never really carried it in me. So yeah. I carry a lot of feminine energy, I guess. And I’m not… I don’t deny that. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Brian Crane 2:46
I mean, you’re sitting here wearing- I’m wearing pastels, you’re wearing pastels, right? It’s not like you’re not tatted up in the sense of like, a thug.

AJ 2:54
Right?

Brian Crane 2:54
Yeah, definitely. I guess it’s a balance between the two. So… yeah, I want to Talk about this because I’ve seen a photo of you from in the past where you were always tall, but not necessarily so big, right? So that journey from when you were like, I’m tired of being thin, you know, to where you got to now: how much weight did you put on, how’d you do it.

AJ 3:14
So first of all, it wasn’t just being thin, it was being sick all the time that I struggled with all kinds of childhood diseases. So I was constantly sick. I was constantly on antibiotics, I was constantly away from school and just in a hospital and something was always wrong with me. So that was one of the things that I struggle a lot as a child and as a tall lanky kid who’s just always sick. That’s what I was known for in my family. I had like allergies, asthma attacks and stuff like that. And at one point about kind of when I transitioned into my adulthood, that really carried over with me. And then I realized that I have to do something about it and started obsessively researching what can I do and the first thing that I found was fitness. So when I moved to the states and I was introduced to weightlifting, age of 20, I think it was, and in about half a year, I was able to put on over 50 pounds of muscle doing that through what I discovered, was fasting was one of those modalities that kind of sounds counterintuitive, but the growth hormone peaks when after like a 24-hour fast and then I would crush a workout, heavy workout, and then refeed like crazy and do that like two times a week and also eat a lot when I was weightlifting and then trying to put on weight so we eat a lot throughout the week and then those 2 24-hour fasts with massive refeeds after the workout.

Brian Crane 5:01
So you would basically, you would wake up, let’s say it’s a Wednesday, you wake up Wednesday, you fast the entire day and then Thursday, first thing in the morning, you go workout and have a huge, essentially protein laden meal afterwards. Right? And you do that twice a week. And then the other days, you know, whether it’s a Friday or one of the days when you’re not fasting, how many calories were you taking it?

AJ 5:22
I have no idea. I never tracked calories. So that was one of the things because now, even, when I work with my clients is just when they asked me about meal preps, meal plans, calorie counting, I shut that out immediately because I know how unsustainable it is and it’s just, it’s so against what I believe in, which is a holistic approach to wellness and fitness and everything and our lifestyles. So that you know, calorie counting, weighing your food, all of that just leads to obsession. And again now like if I’m collecting data, if I’m interested in measuring something exactly, sure, temporarily, great. I like want to do extended fasts. These days, I engage in five day fasting mimicking protocol three times a year. So I just did my third one like a month ago.

Brian Crane 6:18
And that’s a full fast you’re not eating like one avocado a day or…

AJ 6:22
So that like fasting, mimicking, so let’s say my caloric intake on more active days would be approximately 4000-ish calories on those days I would eat- so for five days, I would eat 1000; first day’s like 1000. Second, third, fourth, fifth, it’s like 700 calories that you consume and purely from plant based products and super low in protein. So you’re keeping the protein intake under 20 grams, and the reason for that is to suppress that mTOR, that anabolic pathway, that essentially is aging us if it’s always on, if it’s always turned on. Yeah.

Brian Crane 7:05
Hmm. And so, to go back in the story, were you then doing this fasting, this 24-hour fasting, followed by a massive feed while you’re at the Coast Guard Academy?

AJ 7:15
Mhm.

Brian Crane 7:15
Okay. So I have a friend of mine who went into the Marine Corps, didn’t, I don’t think, did the fasting but he wound up putting on so much weight in the Marine Corps because it was a similar dynamic: early 20s, and there was food available and they were also working him out.

AJ 7:31
Yep.

Brian Crane 7:31
And he… he got… He didn’t do 50 pounds, but he probably put on 25 pounds of muscle and came back and was just cut. Yeah, so when you’re at the Coast Guard Academy and you’re going through this, was this due to your own… you wanted, you were like, “okay, I just want to get bigger” or was it something that Coast Guard was essentially saying to you like “you need to do it for for our purposes,” right. I don’t know if they have a physical component too, when you’re at the academy.

AJ 7:57
We get some sort of physical component, but it wasn’t that. It was just simply how do I get better? How do I actually transform my body and transform something that… have something that I never had before? And that being health, I thought that fitness was directly related to health. And we all know that that’s just a small component of the healthy lifestyle. But that was my outlet. And I realized that in order to run away from that, from those sicknesses and what carried over into my adult life from my childhood, that was one of the things that I did, and that led into me understanding that that’s, that was not the most… not the smartest way to approach it. Because I looked good on the outside, but I felt like crap on the inside. Since the foods that I was… The food choices, the nutritional choices that I was making were pretty, pretty poor.

Brian Crane 9:06
And then did you also, was that also the point when you had people start coming to you and being like, can you coach me? Can you tell me what to do? And so I can imagine that you’re in a position where you want to tell them something, but at the same time, you know that internally, you don’t feel great about it. So you’re telling them hey, go, I don’t know what you were eating at that point. But how did that dynamic play out?

AJ 9:27
So at that point it was just them asking “how do I put on more muscle” and we’re in college, we’re in our early 20s. And that’s what you care about at that point. And then I knew how to put on muscle. And then when I realized that, the external… the way you look does not necessarily mirror the way you feel. That’s when I started discovering, started getting more into nutrition and strategies to eat better. To actually feel better because I had a lot of brain fog and low energy. And as I said, I looked good, but I felt like crap. I would have I was borderline Insomniac and had a lot of trouble sleeping and couldn’t get through the day without some sort of a stimulant.

Brian Crane 10:22
Coffee, or are you talking cocaine?

AJ 10:24
Coffee. No, not cocaine. Cocaine and the Coast Guard Academy. That would have been a bit yeah, it’s…

Brian Crane 10:30
Dicey. Yeah. And then your transition out of the Coast Guard Academy. When you and I had met, you told me a pretty interesting story of how you wound up staying in the States. You move down to Florida, right? How did that work? You were… Yeah, I don’t remember. I just remember thinking it was an interesting hero’s journey. Yeah.

AJ 10:48
So that was essentially, I’d realized that I did not want to be a part of the military and that was nothing that I stood for, and just the path that it would have taken me, it wasn’t- I didn’t resonate with it. So I found a way to give back in different ways, which was, yeah, working as a developing mind nutrition coaching practice. So that was the first step towards the journey that I embarked upon.

Brian Crane 11:22
Okay. And then you’re in Florida for how long? A couple years?

AJ 11:27
Yep, around that.

Brian Crane 11:28
Okay. And then what makes you leave the states?

AJ 11:31
Simply… a soul sucking environment. That’s what I described it as and just wanted to change the environment completely. And I ended up moving to Thailand at that point. And I actually found a… and the visa situation was tough in the States. That was another reason, and I found a job and so I applied for jobs in China, Korea and Thailand. I was interested in teaching kids and I was like that would be a great career shift and just do something completely different for a year and just living a completely different life that I’m used to living, and did that for a year in Thailand that was in this industrial city. I was teaching middle school girls math for a year and while I was had my nutrition coaching practice on the side, be an online medium. So I kept that but uh…

Brian Crane 12:34
Changed something.

AJ 12:34
Exactly. Completely different and loved the experience, and slowly but surely gravitated towards Bangkok. There I started my brick and mortar. And…

Brian Crane 12:48
You opened a gym, right?

AJ 12:49
Yeah. And that’s something that really didn’t, as I said, like, I just wanted… the idea of it was cool, and I thought that would be that would be something great to do. But then more and more I realized that that’s not what I stand for. And that fitness again, is a single dimension from all the pillars that I advocate for when it comes to healthy living and healthy lifestyle in general. And I simply realize that, yeah, I was not… to be honest with you, I was not willing to put in the work. So shift the mentality and the mindset surrounding the fitness industry, though, and that being very superficial and single dimensional, and I was, it would have taken me a whole career to change it and I stepped away from it and started to develop something that is actually all encompassing.

Brian Crane 13:43
So… I want to dig in a bit on Thailand because I have this image and the times I’ve been to Bangkok, it tends to draw… It just has like a crazy party atmosphere to it, right? I don’t know if everyone’s there partying but from my experience, it’s got kind of two dynamics, you got one dynamic, which is you have Westerners who want to live really cheap. And then you have another dynamic which is, you have Westerners who basically want to party and go nuts. And so you’re there, you’ve got this gym, who are the people that are coming in? Is it primarily Thai, is it Westerners, who’s there that’s training in your gym?

AJ 14:23
So the area was primarily Thai. We had a few foreigners who were coming but it was primarily Thai and again, their understanding of fitness health and all that is a good… 20-30 years behind what it is in the Western world so…

Brian Crane 14:42
But they’re basically… these are bodybuilders? These are guys doing like heavy… no, what…?

AJ 14:45
So the gym was more of a functional training facility and that’s what I was advocating and then trying to implement the nutrition side of things as well, which they didn’t understand that is has any…

Brian Crane 15:02
Like, I just want to get ripped? That’s…

AJ 15:04
Exactly.

Brian Crane 15:05
Okay. So then when you leave Bangkok you sell the gym or you shut it down, yeah? And then why’d you come to Bali? Like why was that the next…?

AJ 15:15
I have… To be honest, I’ve been so… It’s my getaway. Bali has been my getaway for the last couple of years and every opportunity I would get, I would fly from Bangkok to Bali for a short holiday getaway. Short holiday.

Brian Crane 15:30
And let me interrupt you just for a second because it’s interesting to me that Thailand as a destination for Westerners, they come from Europe, they come from the States, whatever, they go elsewhere in Thailand, and you would actually leave Thailand entirely and go to another… Like to me it’s like kind of trading one beach for another, right, in a way.

AJ 15:48
Hmm, I don’t know what it was with the pull, I guess with food scene. Yeah. Well, one of the biggest things I guess because I’ve been living in Thailand for a while, I’ve visited pretty much every single part of the country, and I was kind of tired of Thai food and Bali was that, you know, just… haven. For great food, great environment, great vibe. And it just really resonated with me. So I kept coming back. And this past July, I said, “Alright, I’ll give it two months. Feel it out, see how everything goes. And then if it goes, Well, I’m staying here. I’m just moving out of Bangkok and relocating to Bali.” And within the first two weeks, I knew that yeah, this is awesome. Yeah. And one of the reasons was because, so Bangkok is, from my personal experience, was very shallow in terms of relationships and the relationships and the connections that I have made, within the first two weeks in Bali, were deeper than the connections – most not all of them, but most of the connections – that I had made in Bangkok in three years.

Brian Crane 16:54
And you mean connections with other Westerners or connections with the locals?

AJ 16:57
With the Westerners. Or… people in general.

Brian Crane 17:03
And so now that you’re here, a couple of the things, when you and I talked that I thought were interesting, you’re involved with a project down at the very southern end of Bali in the Bukit called YogiLab. And then you also, you’re doing a couple of other things, both online and offline while you’re here. So what are those?

AJ 17:22
So, yeah, that’s a very exciting project that we’re having. It’s a high performance retreat. So it’s a seven day retreat, where we’re going to incorporate every single dimension, every single pillar necessary for optimal health and peak performance. And so that’s a big project that we’re working on and I’m pumped.

Brian Crane 17:42
And one thing I think, cool there is they have a cryogenic chamber, right?

AJ 17:46
Yeah.

Brian Crane 17:46
Only one in Indonesia.

AJ 17:48
Yeah.

Brian Crane 17:48
Or at least in Bali? Yeah. Because it’s very expensive to build and maintain. Yeah. So talk about that. What’s inside of this seven days? Is there one… Do you get to use the cryotherapy? Yeah. Okay, and what’s the benefits of that?

AJ 18:01
So, cryotherapy essentially gives you the hormetic stress, creates hormetic response in your body which is that stress that is beneficial for your body. That’s the same stress that you get from exercise for example, and from cold thermogenesis in general has so many different benefits as for skin health, for recovery, for reducing inflammation of collagen production, all of that is a myriad of benefits and it penetrates the skin when you have it’s negative 110 degrees Celsius, it’s for staying in there for three minutes. Also, trains the vagus nerve, so getting into that parasympathetic nervous state. So actual overriding the sensation, the urge in your brain that is asking you to get the hell out of there. So that’s one of the benefits and again, the facility has other things like infrared sauna, cold, hot punches, again, similar response, hyperbaric oxygen therapy. So that oxygenates your body.

Brian Crane 19:13
Which, for people who don’t know what that is, essentially, it’s acting as if you’re at the top of like Mount Everest, or, yeah, it’s like oxygen deprivation in a way.

AJ 19:22
No, that one… That one is a bit different. So that one, there is the one that shifts your oxygen saturation. So that’s a little bit different, this one kind of pressurizes your body more from the outside. So if you get a pens, for example, that’s one of the treatments that they do, but again, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, it’s pretty popular now around the world in terms of health benefits and neurogenesis and neuroplasticity for, again, a lot of things that are beneficial.

Brian Crane 19:56
Are you going there and doing this on a regular basis?

AJ 20:01
Yeah, that’s my productivity chamber, I call it, as I want to go in it, I just lay down and then get some stuff done on my computer and I’m very productive. Yeah. Another thing floatation tanks, so complete sensory deprivation and the water is ozonated so that’s just again it’s like a little sanctuary down there on a cliff side and in those seven days, you know, again, of all of this fancy stuff, we got into the weeds of biohacking and I absolutely love- again, I’m very fascinated about stem cells, about, again, I mean, I have a lot of self quantification devices and all that. But…

Brian Crane 20:47
As you’re sitting here right now, you’ve got a continuous blood glucose monitor taped to your arm. Yeah?

AJ 20:52
Exactly. Yeah.

Brian Crane 20:53
As an example, yes. So you’re basically monitoring how your body’s responding to sugar, 24/7.

AJ 20:59
Or different foods, in general, so for example, so my girlfriend has a health food brand and she makes these plant-based Snickers bars, sweetened with dates. And I tested that against a regular Snickers bar to just test my blood sugar response to and it was crazy to see the difference that it made. Just the blood sugar response had a massive spike from a regular conventional Snickers candy bar and then no blood sugar response at all from plant based one with dates. Yeah, exactly.

Brian Crane 21:34
Why is that beneficial to keep the blood sugar response from spiking to not have that happen? Why? What’s the benefit to that?

AJ 21:42
Yeah, that’s a good question. So the there are a couple of things with that, so one of the of it, the more overarching one, long term, is that the more blood sugar fluctuations you have, the more spikes you have, that has a clear correlation to reduce longevity. So you want to keep your blood sugar as level as possible throughout the day. That’s why people in the anti-aging community are taking Metformin for that exact reason. Another layer to that is simply because of the feeling that you get on a day to day basis if you have like conventional healthy quote unquote breakfast, people have granola in the morning or cereal or something like that something sugar even overnight. That spikes your blood sugar like nothing else. And then you can visibly see it. I’m actually going to put out some data once I finish this because I’ve been logging things; what I was eating and how my blood sugar response to those tests and show people how conventional beliefs the way that my blood sugar responds to that and then if I’m doing something…

Brian Crane 23:03
New, different, unconventional, that, yeah…

AJ 23:06
Right, like a higher fat whole meals in the in the morning and then not having like carbohydrate rich meals in the morning and seeing the energy levels completely shift and blood sugar response be way more level.

Brian Crane 23:23
Because you had told me… What do you normally eat in the morning and what do you recommend people eat in the morning because I remember you telling me this and I thought it was… steak? What do yo normally eat in the morning? Not steak, what is it? Yeah.

AJ 23:37
I usually get something something fatty. Whatever it is, so sometimes I would have like a coconut yogurt with coconut flakes and nuts and seeds if I feel like…

Brian Crane 23:49
But not sweetened. It’s not granola.

AJ 23:52
No, not at all. So just like a… and no fruit, no, because I have seen how my blood sugar responds to that in the morning. Okay, if I have a smoothie bowl, my days lost like by noon. Yeah. By noon I’m going to be a zombie and then I’m gonna have cravings throughout the day. So for example, if I had one meal today at around 10ish AM. What time is it, about two maybe? Yeah, I’m not I’m not hungry at all. Because what I had this morning was a couple of eggs. Whole avocado. I had some stirfried vegetables in, in grass-fed butter. Had a cup of cacao

Brian Crane 24:45
Yeah, boiled in…

AJ 24:47
Oh, cacao with coconut milk with some, some butter and coffee. So it’s like this mixture. And yeah, and that’s pretty much it. That’s pretty much it. I don’t feel like I need to eat multiple times a day, and as I said, if I did eat a smoothie bowl, I would be peckish you know, just trying to grab a bite and constantly be looking for food and something to snack on. Because it just triggers that response, those cravings to keep blood sugar levels.

Brian Crane 25:22
And one of the things with blood sugar, to be somewhat of a tangent, is you probably don’t drink alcohol, do you?

AJ 25:28
I do. I do. Yeah, yeah.

Brian Crane 25:30
How does that affect your blood sugar?

AJ 25:32
Oh, that’s a good question, actually. I haven’t measured yet. But the thing is with alcohol, alcohol is the first like a primary fuel for our body. So let’s say you eat whatever. The first thing that is going to be consumed is going to be ethanol from alcohol for energy, and everything else is going to then it goes carbs and then goes fats. So and that’s how your body prioritizes it, essentially, so let’s say you’re drinking alcohol and-

Brian Crane 26:06
Add a meal. Hey, you have a pizza and some red wine.

AJ 26:09
Yeah. So the energy is gonna come from alcohol and the carbohydrates that you’re consuming are most likely gonna get stored. Because your body’s not processing. So if you’re drinking, for example, if you’re drinking, that’s why, you know, happy hour, 5-7pm. But that’s actually a great time to have a drink because it’s before dinner. It’s not with with a meal, and you’re…

Brian Crane 26:39
Can burn through it.

AJ 26:39
Exactly, precisely. Yeah, that’s it. So if I do drink alcohol, I go for something pure, let’s say gin and soda water. Or…

Brian Crane 26:50
Tequila?

AJ 26:51
I’m not a fan of tequila, honestly, but I like wines. I like wines, but I’m very picky with them. Obviously biodynamic, organic, just you know, I get fancy with it because of the- I know the sugar content and yeast and the GMOs. Organic wines in the States can still have 70+ additives.

Brian Crane 27:16
Okay. So that can still qualify as organic.

AJ 27:18
Exactly and so it qualifies as organic. In Europe, it’s a bit less, it’s about 50-ish and biodynamic ones are literally the ones that there are supposed to be no chemicals. People literally cycle around those grapes, it’s made with wild non GMO yeast, super low in sugar, you can have a bottle and then have no hangover the next day. They’re fantastic. Yeah.

Brian Crane 27:40
Interesting.

AJ 27:41
So if I do choose to drink that’s my go-to.

Brian Crane 27:44
And you find this stuff in Bali?

AJ 27:47
Yeah, I usually bring it in.

Brian Crane 27:49
Yeah. Okay, so as you’re talking about the continuous blood glucose monitor in your arm. Last time you and I spoke you’re wearing an aura ring. I want to know a little bit more about that. Some of the other… You and I both fans of treadmill desks, you actually travel with one which I thought was fascinating. So talk about some of the stuff that you find the most useful, let’s say, yeah, the things that have the biggest impact.

AJ 28:16
So the way I approach health in general and the low hanging fruit, so I was going on a tangent beforehand that I love stem cells, I’m fascinated by all this anti-aging research, but before you do anything, all the fancy things, you have to take over take care of the fundamentals first. So before you take care of anything and do any of this cryotherapy, red light, infrared, exposure, whatever, all the sciency stuff comes second. Sensible, sensible sun exposure. Actually living a with a circadian rhythm. We’re living with nature and not eating for example, after sunset. Those are massive. So I break them down into six pillars, which is sleep, stress management, nutrition, movement, environment and your mindset. So six things, six pillars. That’s what ultimate health is surrounded by. And that’s one big umbrella of health, essentially. So the biggest thing is, as I said, I do quantify my sleep, because I was borderline insomniac and really had a hard time sleeping. And I used to sleep for over eight hours and then wake up and feel like a zombie. And I wouldn’t understand why and the reason behind it was because I was eating way too late. So my body was focusing on adjusting of the food that I ingested rather than creating the hormones necessary for for sleep. So that’s one of the biggest things is not eating within at least three hours before bed.

Brian Crane 30:05
And the general rule is not to eat after the sun goes down, right?

AJ 30:08
That’s the best. Yeah, in a perfect world. That’d be great.

Brian Crane 30:13
Because for Northern Europeans, right, wintertime is the sun going down to 3:34 in the afternoon. Yeah.

AJ 30:20
I try to have dinner by 5:30, 6 at the latest. So then because I know that if I eat after seven- yesterday, I ate a bit late, I went out with some friends just to have dinner out and finish eating around eight. And already. I took a massive hit on my sleep.

Brian Crane 30:41
And you can see that with the aura rings. And you see it the next morning when you wake up.

AJ 30:44
Yeah.

Brian Crane 30:45
That’s amazing. Okay.

AJ 30:46
Yeah. So that’s, that’s one of the things. And…

Brian Crane 30:49
Let me ask you a question with that. So for instance, let’s say you eat at 8, what about if you just stay up later, until 11 or 12 to basically give yourself enough time to digest and then sleep in later.

AJ 31:01
Hmm. So that’s not ideal for me as well because certain my REM and deep sleep patterns happen in the in the certain window. So there’s a pattern that I’ve identified. If I skip that window of going to bed or waking up at a certain time, I’m gonna… It’s gonna…

Brian Crane 31:22
You can’t get it back. You basically can’t move that window, right?

AJ 31:24
Exactly, yeah, yeah most of the time it doesn’t work that way.

Brian Crane 31:28
Hmm. Interesting.

AJ 31:29
Sometimes if I don’t sleep enough then I try to offset with meditation. So I do practice transcendental meditation and I go into an hour of meditation while traveling or something along those lines and that helps me with my sleep and the way I feel.

Brian Crane 31:48
Yeah. When you and I had talked previously, you had mentioned that you have this device that you put into your nose.

AJ 31:56
Vielight, yeah.

Brian Crane 31:58
Vi or Bi?

AJ 31:59
V-I-E, light. And it’s essentially photobiomodulation which is red light therapy. And our blood has this property of carrying light. Of transferring light throughout the body. And the reason why in your nose because the capillary density is the highest

Brian Crane 32:24
And your ears, right?

AJ 32:25
Yeah. Or ears, not so much as, I mean, I guess nose is the best oriphice. Yeah, exactly. And so different wavelengths of light act different ways on your body. So for example, like I have 810 nanometers, so that one targets your brain activity and then there’s another one 633 that targets your body activity. So essentially what it does is recharges your mitochondria which are energy currency of the body, the cells… The thing that produces energy in the cell. And those wavelengths trigger the higher response of energy production. So I do that twice a day. It’s like I said, 25 minute session. Yeah. So in the morning while I’m meditating, I kind of combine earthing, meditation, binaural beats for me to get into a deeper meditative state. And then I have that red light therapy in the morning.

Brian Crane 33:34
I’m picturing you sitting somewhere on the earth, big headphones, contraption in your nose, deep in meditation. And I would love to see a photo of it and then so at night, what are you then doing when you’re winding down, because some of the things you talked about, again, red light, sorry, blue light, UV blocking, and some of the things there, yeah?

AJ 34:00
Yeah absolutely, so blue light blocking to trigger that melatonin production. So if you’re exposed to blue artificial light… During the day, it’s great, especially from the sun, natural blue light, it spikes up cortisol and you need certain levels of cortisol to get through your day. When you’re winding down you don’t want to expose yourself to artificial light because again, it spikes cortisol which is antagonist to melatonin. Yeah.

Brian Crane 34:13
Well, it’s effectively your fight or flight module, right? It’s basically saying like, yeah, be on guard, be aware. Yeah?

AJ 34:36
Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s it. And so I block any blue light when the sunset so I’ll put on my blocking glasses once the sun sets. And I have a bedtime alarm, which goes off it’s like, actually your sleep stars when you wake up. I like that phrase. So first of all, I always get sun exposure. First thing in the morning. So while I’m meditating, I’m sitting outside and soaking up some rays.

Brian Crane 35:05
How were you doing this in Bangkok? Or were you…

AJ 35:08
Rooftop.

Brian Crane 35:09
Okay.

AJ 35:09
Yeah, yeah, we’d go on a rooftop. Yeah. So that was that. I just couldn’t get grounded, I guess. And… yeah so I have a bedtime alarm and then I go through my evening routine, take my pre-bedtime supplements which are: I take Reishi, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane mushrooms- that… depends, that varies. Five HTP. I’m a huge fan of that and GABA and zinc, and topical magnesium, that’s my pre-sleep stack that I take and then I lay down on my acupressure mat, which overwhelms my central nervous system and completely relaxes me. Best investment. Every single client of mine has it like this.

Brian Crane 35:54
It’s basically a long mat with needles.

AJ 35:56
Like spikes, not really needles.

Brian Crane 35:57
Okay.

AJ 35:58
Like spikes, and as I said for first 30 seconds or so it’s a bit unpleasant but then your body adjusts to it and then you you feel the most relaxed you ever feel. And then whatever else, again, that’s my bedtime routine but everybody can craft their own. Taking a hot bath, have a cup of tea or what have you just something whatever winds you down, read a book. Yeah, or what have you. So whatever winds you down, that’s…

Brian Crane 36:27
Yeah, it’s a habit that essentially says to your body, “it’s time to go to sleep, now. It’s time to prepare for this.”

AJ 36:32
Yeah, yeah. For sure. So that, yeah, we got sleep covered. Stress management. As I said, meditation, different forms work for different people. I’m a huge fan, a fan of breath work. So I just had a breath work meditation session this morning. And so breath work is a great modality for stress management, dealing with trauma or releasing whatever you need to release. Also incorporate that while driving, so like a 4-7-8 breaths: 4 count in, 7 count hold, 8 count out, just to get into like a more parasympathetic state when you’re driving fast and especially here in Bali, can be stressful. So that’s why I relax myself.

Brian Crane 37:14
And you, you have some sort of timer. You have headphones with a timer going off so that you remember to actually stick with this…?

AJ 37:21
I just count. Yeah.

Brian Crane 37:22
And you get it?

AJ 37:24
Yeah, yeah. So that’s, I do it like for five minutes, and it puts me into a parasympathetic state and I feel great.

Brian Crane 37:32
Beautiful.

AJ 37:32
Yeah, it prevents me from being too stressed out after or, you know, sometimes you get, especially riding around here. It is very sensory activating. So…

Brian Crane 37:43
A lot going on, a lot coming at you.

AJ 37:45
That helps me stay grounded. Yeah. Because I used to be just shaky after those rides and now it’s just…

Brian Crane 37:54
Easy. One of the things with stress management that’s helped me a lot is turning down notifications, turning down the ways that people can get in contact with you. And kind of limiting that. Limiting both the time in which I’ll look at the phone and then also what the phone can tell me, right? So yeah, I don’t know if you’ve done something similar.

AJ 38:14
I have no notifications. So the only ones that… it’s WhatsApp, yeah, that’s the only one and then most of the time my phone is in the airplane mode. Also want to put it in my pocket. It’s always in the airplane mode. Because I’ve seen a lot of compelling research that they measure your hip bone, hip density, or hip bone density on the side that you were carrying your phone. Yeah, and it was freaky. I think it was pretty significant difference between the hip bone density and that’s scary. Like that’s radiation at its finest.

Brian Crane 38:51
So your phone is in RFID blocking case? Yeah. And you also had told me about the headphones. Tubular headphones.

AJ 39:02
Air tube headphones. Yeah, so those block essentially they have a metal- because sound travels either through electrical impulse or through air. So if it travels through air, it has low sulfur air tube, it has this metal… first of all it goes through a wire and then it blocks that electrical impulse and then transfers that as far as… I’m not an electrician, but as far as I understand it, it just transfers that electrical impulse into the sound and it goes through a tube and then into your ears, so…

Brian Crane 39:37
Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, I remember asking you, you did not like AirPods. Anything with Bluetooth?

AJ 39:43
Yeah. And I do limit my bluetooth exposure for sure. I mean, Bluetooth is less dangerous than Wi Fi, then the phone signal, that’s for sure. But I still limit it as much as I can.

Brian Crane 39:59
At your place in Bali, do you actually shut off the Wi Fi?

AJ 40:04
Yep, I have like a red light bulb installed in my bedroom. So that’s another thing for sleep. I did actually in Bangkok, especially, I would feel a massive difference or notice a massive difference between my sleep patterns I measure for three days I remember it was like, three days with WiFi, three days without WiFi. And the average difference I did pretty much the same like as… not being in a strict study as same as it can get, n = 1. tests, it was… the difference in deep sleep was about 15 minutes, with WiFi and without WiFi. So without WiFi had more deep sleep than with WiFi turned on. So that’s pretty significant, I would say.

Brian Crane 40:48
And have you noticed, this is kind of last question because we don’t have much time, but have you noticed a difference in your sleep between Bangkok and Bali? All things…

AJ 40:57
100%.

Brian Crane 40:57
Yeah, everything else being different, right? Going from a big city to I assume you’re living kind of somewhere quiet and rice paddies. Yeah?

AJ 41:06
Yeah, by all means, man. I definitely… I’m convinced that is the vibration that electrical currencies and electrical exposure that you get and your biology is bombarded in a big city. Yeah, every angle in a big city, whereas here, you get grounded and your body’s actually at more of a negative charge. You get more negative ions exposed to more negative ions out here. So absolutely. Massive difference.

Brian Crane 41:39
Yeah, I have often told people that, I think, particularly up here in Ubud, there’s just because of the lack of light pollution, that it’s very easy to go to bed early. To be in bed by 9-9:30. Things closed down, there’s not a lot of light. And as opposed to somewhere like Bangkok where there’s just a ton of stimulus coming at you. I find when I get here It’s very easy to be like, Cool going to bed at 9:30 waking up at 5:30 like, no need to force myself to do it. Right? Yeah. And that my sleep has gotten a lot better. So, all right, I think we’re pushing up on your, on your time limit here. So AJ, where can people find out more about you online and follow what you’re doing and get in contact with you if they want to, if they want to do some coaching, and learn more about you?

AJ 42:24
So the project that we’re working on, and it’s going to be… one or two more after our first one, is thehighperformanceretreat.com on Instagram.

Brian Crane 42:36
So it’s THE high performance.

AJ 42:37
The high performance retreat dot com on Instagram @wellwithaj, or @thrivingwellness.co, we’re running with a partner of mine who is a functional medicine practitioner, we’re running a functional medicine and health and performance coaching practice. So that again encompasses every single aspect of a human’s body and to peak performance, health, and I like taking people from good to great. Ryan likes taking people who are really struggling and… bringing them to baseline so yeah, that will help…

Brian Crane 43:10
Kind of depends on where the person is coming in at.

AJ 43:12
Exactly.

Brian Crane 43:13
Yeah.

AJ 43:13
Exactly.

Brian Crane 43:14
Yeah, hang on. Cool. Okay. Thank you for your time.

AJ 43:16
Yeah, pleasure.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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