Very seldom am I actually sold on something….this did it
This Fall I went to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) OPTIMA conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is the second year I’ve gone and it really just gets better every year. I was blown away but not only the quality of the keynote speakers and the high quality educational content of the sessions (my brain felt like it needed a whole day to “de-frag” (for us older generation) or sort out all the information that had been stuffed in there in 2.5 days) but in the quality of the people attending (not an ego to be found! Despite being surrounded by all kinds of trainers, from the super-fit to the ordinary, people -next-door types, everyone was SUPER friendly and everyone was there to learn, no competition among us!) and the vendors! Last year I went for the first time and didn’t have the chance to go to the exhibit hall, this year I’m glad I did, and I’ll expound upon why in a minute but for now, if you’re a personal trainer (especially a NASM-CPT) you NEED to go to OPTIMA. Not only do you get 2.5 days of hands-on learning and CEUs, you get to network and make friends with SO many great fitness industry people!
But this isn’t about OPTIMA, this is about CHAGA.
I’ll keep it short. Here’s the deal. We’ve all been there at a conference: you go to the convention hall, polite but skeptical, or maybe eager but reserved, not sure of who’s a “snake oil” saleseman, not wanting to spend all your money on the first person you see…
So I was perusing the conference hall and I came across these guys in the corner.
CHAGIT….WTH Is that?
There were 3 dudes in the booth, 2 pretty chill, 1 extra hyped. I totally got on board with the extra-hyped dude (that’s me too!) and asked what is this stuff? Well, extra-hype dude (his name is Doug, btw) was MORE than delighted to tell me all about this stuff.
Chagit, is a product derived from the Chaga mushroom. It grows WAY up North of the Arctic cirlce where it gets like, -30F. There are little to roads to get there and these guys have to go harvest these MASSIVE mushrooms off the trees only during certain times of the year. There was a chaga mushroom there that the brought with them…I didn’t see it before, because it looks like a giant black rock, feels like it too. It’s super dense and heavy and rock hard. Not what you’re thinking of when you think of a mushroom.
Ok, so these things grow in the middle of nowhere, where it’s difficult to get to them and they have almost magical properties….right. Sounds like a potion made of unicorn tears, havested by Swiss virgins on the 3rd full moon of the month…..but read on.
So I am skeptical. I ask nerdy questions. Doug points to the 2 super-chill guys in the booth – one is a botanist…the other, I forget (sorry!) but botanist stood out to me and that’s what I remembered. SO I said, ok, look, I have a 100 mile bike ride coming up next week, it’ll be my second of the year, third ever in my life and the other two I struggled big time, will this help?
Doug was all over it.
“Yes, absolutely! Take one every day leading up to it, day of take one right before you go out, then dilute one in your water bottle and sip on it during the ride, then take one right after” at which the botanist chimed in and said “you don’t need the one after, that’s a little overkill”.
So, they gave me a couple samples. I was still a little jet lagged from the trip, sleeping in unfamiliar territory, stressed, eating strange food and brain on overdrive.
I took one.
IMMEDIATELY I got a rush to the head of …..oxygen?? IDK what it was but there was definitely something going on. I also don’t know how to explain this exactly but I felt my higher than normal levels of inflammation going down. (from overtraining on my bike, traveling and poor food choices, my knees were not happy and I felt….puffy). And you know what? I thought more cleraly and suddenly, caffeine sounded like a bad idea.
I did it the next day, too. Same results.
I was sold.
Went back and said I HAVE to have a box. Took it home, took one every day.
The following week up to the ride, I tapered my training, upped my veggies, rest and water like I would normally do and then added in a Chagit shot every day.
The day of the ride, I was excited but a little nervous because my bike fit was still not quite right and I was worried about my knees. I did what Doug said and took off. At the first rest stop I adjusted my saddle and again at the top of the next hill and BOOM! I found my bike fit! I had no extra caffeine that day, and it was still a long ride at 5 minutes under 9 hours, but you know what, when I got to the end I was almost a little sad it was over because I felt like I could keep going for another 15-20 miles at least! AND THIS WAS AFTER 7 HOURS OF RIDING SOLID!
The stats? Let them speak for me:
July 2018 October 2018
Distance: 103.2 mi. 103.2 mi
Moving time: 6:27:53 7:12:23
Total time: 9 hours 8:55
Total Elevation: 1842 ft 5472 ft
Temp: 80-100F 52-63F
Avg Speed: 15.9 mph 14.1 mph
Even if you’re not a cyclist, do you see the main differences? The heat was definitely a factor in the first one, but it was mostly flat, I should have gone much faster and finished so much quicker. The October ride, I can’t believe I averaged that speed and the imporant thing? I had never accumulated more than 3555 in one ride, I TRIPLED my elevation, and still beat my total time by 5 minutes AND felt like I could keep going!!!!!
Ok, so I’m sold at this po;int, but I’m about to run out and wonder, is this placebo?
So I let myself run out of Chaga. At this point I’ve been taking it every day for almost 3 weeks solid. What did I notice?
1) I started waking up every night, hadn’t realized I’d been sleeping so soundly
3) energy dropped and I started looking for caffeine and energy drinks again.