Your Health and Functional Medicine critical to being an Effective and Agile Leader
How does your health affect you? On this episode of Agile Living, we interview Spencer Coppin, the founder of Coppin Health. We discuss how to focus on achieving optimal health, increasing your lifespan, and finding the right people to help you. Tune in as Spencer talks about the differences in our biochemistry, and tips and tricks to optimize your day.
“The harder you hustle, the harder you have to pay attention to your health.”
2:29 - Spencer’s journey to health & focus on our bodies
5:25 - The common thing that happens to business owners, and the approach to take
7:32 - What we need to understand in this day and age
10:24 -The big things to be aware of, and how to jumpstart your health
15:45 - How to get more from your genetic data & other products
19:38 - The baseline, and “healthy hustle” tools
27:54 - Do you need supplements?
32:28 - Tips to get started on your health
Connect with Spencer:
Jon Voigt: Welcome to Agile Living; The Entrepreneurs Journey the show dedicated to discovering how entrepreneurs and digital leaders are doing more with less. I'm Jon Voigt, your host and CEO of agility and we're on a journey across the country to learn from top digital entrepreneurs on how to live a more agile, adaptable and fulfilling life. Thank you for joining me today. And let's dive in.
Jon Voigt: Hey there, to celebrate the Agile Living podcast launch. I'm doing a massive giveaway, I'm giving three lucky winners a chance to win some of my favorite things I use frequently. The first step in being agile is your mindset and these prizes all help you with that process. First, a box of Bulletproof InstaMix. These are high octane oils to fuel your day. I add it to my coffee or my tea almost daily. Second, a Fitbit Charge 3. I don't even have one of these yet. They've not been released and they look pretty cool. It's coming out soon, and that will be the second prize. Third, a microbiome test by Viome. This is a leading test in the US that tests your gut biology and tells you exactly the foods you should be eating. It's pretty cool stuff.
Jon Voigt: I did at a year ago and saw the results and it was really amazing the things I should and shouldn't be eating. Please note this contest will only be open to those in Canada and the US. I'm really sorry for anyone internationally and to win you have to do the following. Subscribe on iTunes to the show, go to the agilecommunity.com and enter your email so we have a way to contact you and share the show with a friend who wants to start living a more agile lifestyle on Twitter or Facebook with the tag, being more agile. That's it. Pretty simple. Can't wait for you to hear some of the episodes and hopefully you can start living a more agile life.
Jon Voigt: I'm joined here today by Spencer Coppin. Coppin is the founder of Coppin Health and we met at a retreat in Utah earlier this year. Mountain Biking trip which is pretty awesome and I was blown away by his knowledge and view on health and super excited to have him here today to go over a whole bunch of his ideas and concepts. Spencer, perhaps you can introduce yourself talk about what you're up to at Coppin Health and dive into some discussions about why health is so important as a foundation to performance and a foundation to be your best.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah, thanks for having me on john. It's great to chat and just a bit of background and how we got to sort of where we're at today in our business and in our expertise. We're a family run-operation which provides a little bit of a unique experience. We all have our very individual specialties and areas of interest. Mine happens to be in the area of functional medicine and I kind of got there in a very roundabout way through acupuncture and Chinese medicine and obviously, with a strong nutrition background, mainly focused towards sports performance, being an ex-athlete. So that kind of culminated to my path being trained at the Institute for Functional Medicine, one of the world's world renowned institutes where we focus on treating the body as a whole.
Spencer Coppin: I know that sounds like a term that everybody's heard out before, but when you want to really achieve ideal and optimal health and wellness, ultimately understanding your own unique biochemistry and physiology is very, very important and that's really what functional medicine is all about. It's understanding why, not necessarily the diagnosis or what is going on, why things are happening. Fundamentally, that's kind of how we think, and our mindset.
Jon Voigt: Cool, awesome. Well, maybe you can talk about some of your ideas and what people are generally missing when they focus on just one thing or what's the pattern and rhythm you're seeing to really take control of your health?
Spencer Coppin: Yeah. Well, I mean, with your sort of unique listener demographic, I think, we're talking to the high achiever. We're talking about entrepreneurs, those who have their regular schedules, who have crazy work hours.
Jon Voigt: And that seems to be everyone these days, not just entrepreneurs.
Spencer Coppin: True, very true, but I also think a lot of us think the word entrepreneurs is being watered down a little bit. The Instagram entrepreneur is not quite who we're talking about but more the business owner. I think that if we break down someone's unique biochemistry, I think there's always a goal that we want to achieve and with an entrepreneur at some point things are going to begin to suffer. Whether it's a family issue or whether it's a health issue or as most entrepreneurs will be in the fitness routine that gets dropped and then in the end, the ultimate thing that drives people to start paying attention is now the business is suffering. It's like this domino cascading effective of if we really just took a proactive preventative approach to the ultimate crash of our energy systems and our businesses, then I think we'd be in a much more high performing state.
Jon Voigt: I think one of the problems is everyone leans in that thing, don't fix and then it's broken. We wait for something to break on our body or mind and then we're like, "I guess we should do something." But that's not really the right idea.
Spencer Coppin: It's a term that I've been throwing around and really it's your health and hustle and they're both intimately related. The harder you hustle, the harder you have to pay attention to your health and the more you pay attention to your health, the harder you can hustle. So have one without the other for a prolonged successful life whether that's in just having an enhanced health span where a disease kind of just shows up later in life. Or you have a wildly enhanced lifespan where which we're already experiencing, where we're getting these extended years of living.
Spencer Coppin: My mindset around all of this is kind of performing at your best for as long as possible and whether that's what we call that longevity or we call that health span, I don't know. I think you can or call it both. I'm thinking here, I'm sitting here I'll coming up big 40 this year, and I'd love to be doing at 60 the same stuff I'm doing that I'm doing now at 40 and have that exponentially grow as I sort of hang around on this planet longer.
Jon Voigt: I heard a lot of people talk about, living longer and all these things but then another group of people say, well, I don't need to live longer. I just want my health level to stay at the same all the way to my last day. You actually get so much more out of your life.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah, I agree 100 %. I think that this day and age we first need to understand or at least get a grasp ... I'm referring back to what you just mentioned there about these increase lifespans and this is something that your listeners are interested in. It's kind of understanding what makes each of us unique because we're all going to sort of, for lack of a better term unravel on our own unique way. Whether it's a coronary disease or whether it's a cancer or whether it's dementia or an aging brain we'll all sort of unravel in probably one of those three areas. And so understanding genetically, what pathway you tend to fall down and you can just do that by looking in your family tree most the time and then having some unique markers done. But like I said at this day and age we don't need to be guessing anymore. We have so much access to data, information, testing. The days of guessing, I think are completely over. We can act with precision.
Jon Voigt: I guess it can be overwhelming. It's kind of big data in computer space and things, it's just so much data, how do you make something of it?
Spencer Coppin: Mm-hmm I think that's sort of, next steps for a lot of the startups that are there, it's happening in the data gathering, even within the health world, the health industry. Big things are happening, with 23andMe, Viome is now sort of the new emerging leader and gut microbiome testing. And these are the kinds of companies that are going to put together this big data info set and then who knows 5, 10, 15 years from now, we'll actually have some, concrete evidence. But these things take time, right?
Jon Voigt: Yeah. So how would someone get started? What's the first thing is to kind of start looking at and some tips and tricks or things that people should be, 100% aware of right now?
Spencer Coppin: Well, if you're an entrepreneur whose hustle is struggling I think it's important to begin to start building a health team. Whether that's with your personal trainer, whether that's with, a local health food store owner or a manager or pharmacist. You kind of need a group. You're just not going to be able to do this on your own. So building that sort of foundation as we do, even within our own businesses and networks, to build that team around your health is really important. And that's kind of I think, step one is to put some really solid people in place that you trust and can help you. Then, from there, I think that analysis and getting a sort of a foundational baseline of what's the State of the Union right now? What's going on inside my body? What have I-
Jon Voigt: Good intel.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah exactly. What have I done to myself over the past 10 or 20 years?
Jon Voigt: I don't want to know that though. I know you don't.
Spencer Coppin: A lot of people don't. It's interesting you say that, because it's a major deterrent for a lot of folks. They're kind of scared to find out what I got. But that's the part of the wonderful thing about functional medicine is we don't really care what you have, we're more interested in how you're functioning. So it is a very much a systems approach. So we want to look at big systems in the body we want to look at, very small minute systems within the body at a cellular level. We're talking about an adrenal profile, looking at hormones, male and female hormones, all guys are now becoming super interested in getting testosterone measurements.
Spencer Coppin: It's kind of a new thing. I've been measuring my testosterone since I was 25-years old. I've got these extended baselines to see when things are changing, if I'm changing something in my routine, what is it affecting? Women can do the same thing with estrogen progesterone levels, also testosterone levels and all of these things are very ... Especially if we're in our 30s and 40s, I can almost guarantee you that some kind of hormonal shift is occurring. And so to get baselines unfortunately in some cases, it's kind of we have an issue here that needs to be dealt with. And the sooner we do that, the better.
Jon Voigt: Yeah, right. I have a friend who just got a testosterone test, but six months ago, and he's been going through some boosting levels and different things to try to rebalance it and stuff and he says, it's been a game changer for him, 'cause he has a real lack of testosterone being generated. Yes interesting.
Spencer Coppin: So those are kind of big system, hormonal systems. We can get into other metabolic measurements, whether we're looking at mitochondrial health, which is the engines of our body, the ability to make ATP or energy currency or whether we're looking at functional markers. Markers for information, markers that tell us how our build and repair and immune system is working, and then ultimately one of the most impactful markers that I think that people could do is to get a fatty acid profile. And that would be looking at the cellular structure. So the makeup of our cell membranes, the makeup of the lipids and the fats that are ultimately responsible for most of the communication within the body.
Spencer Coppin: If we're doing testosterone support or we're doing some kind of nutritional therapies but yet foundationally our cells and our communication system is at balance, then I think we're missing a huge part of the puzzle.
Jon Voigt: 'Cause you kind of just wasting everything you're enhancing again.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah, sometimes. And then I think the last sort of analysis component to this would be getting some kind of genetic workup. It seems like it's becoming very abundant out there these days. Everybody's probably heard of 23andMe there are now multiple genetic analysis companies out there. Some more affordable than others. Some more detailed than others. But these days getting your DNA analyzed for some key markers would be the final sort of step there.
Jon Voigt: It's interesting you mentioned 23andMe and Viome 'cause I've done both of those. And I looked at a few of the results but I also feel the loss on those because there's just so much stuff to look at and they're almost afraid to give you too much of a recommendation as well because they're still collecting data. So how do people do these tests and really get anything from it? Do they have to come to someone like you who's a specialist and can compare the results here and here? Obviously that would be the most recommended here. But is there other things they can do to try to get more from that data?
Spencer Coppin: Sure. Yeah, I think that with these consumer products, these health consumer products that are coming out now like Viome or 23andMe, these data collection groups as we're kind of seeing as the results come out. If I believe, if you're looking to truly make an impact on your health then someone who knows you, knows your story and knows how you got to where you are today, they need to interpret what your results look like and how the [inaudible 00:16:57]. Unfortunately some of these companies you're just a name a number, they have you fill out the some very basic questionnaires based on your current lifestyle habits, but they ultimately don't know you or your environment completely.
Spencer Coppin: I was actually just reviewing a bunch of Viome results this morning from some clients of mine and we came up with some very interesting results. But I don't think it was anything that they would have come to conclusion on their own. Or that Viome would have even known that this individual is being affected in a certain way, and how impactful this may be to their current situations. I think it's going to be years before the recommendations coming from these groups is going to be personalized and specialized to the point where it's going to be impacting your health dramatically.
Jon Voigt: It's interesting though I did the Viome test fully about six months ago, and I got the results back. And, one of the things that gives you is what your diet should be adjusted to, to support or deter certain bacteria or microbiomes and stuff. Spinach, everyone thinks it has been super healthy and I think, but for me, specifically for me, I'm supposed to avoid it. And it was just an eye opener. And I think you and I talked about it when we met as well. It's just how unique we all are as individuals and when we talk about one diet, or another diet or one exercise routine or another one, it's not one fits all. And that's where I think your baseline testing really, sets the groundwork for that. Where it's like? Where are you at? And what's affecting you is completely different than even family member.
Spencer Coppin: Personalized medicine, for the masses is going to be very difficult to implement, but for those who want it or have the means to achieve it, it can be extremely insightful and rewarding when you start to target and hone in on, what does John need? What's your machine need? It's a lot easier if we're all driving around Ferrari's and we kind of know how to fix a Ferrari but unfortunately we all have a different make of vehicle.
Jon Voigt: So everyone gets a baseline, they kind of test things out, any other thoughts on that? Or if not, what's the next stage from there?
Spencer Coppin: Well. I think the baselines are important to gather so you kind of get an idea for what things are. Slowly adjusting those or optimizing them that doesn't happen overnight. This is hopefully something that you work on for most of the rest of your life. So this is a long term play. This isn't, "I'm going to get healthy this month and then I can stop all this stuff." So, the other habits that we have to begin to implement, I call them a healthy hustle tools. And so hopefully you and I are both standing up here as we're doing our little recording here because the habit for entrepreneurs is what?
Jon Voigt: Sitting.
Spencer Coppin: Sit down for hours and hours a day. There's these little tricks and tips that we can use to optimize our day and so getting moving is one that work environment. There's another I know, there's a lot of really forward thinking companies out there that are providing spaces and time for people to tune out or meditate or get fresh air. I'm a huge advocate for grounding technologies or just the plain old technology of getting your body on planet Earth. Simple one for me I just take 10, 15 minutes every few hours and I go outside with my bare feet on the grass.
Jon Voigt: That's awesome.
Spencer Coppin: There's little things that we can do. The science is pretty overwhelming that our current work habits in lifestyle are detrimental. The circadian disruption that happens because we spent long hours in artificial light environments and that's a whole different world that our brain and our physiology just doesn't understand. Light exposure is a big deal and that's just another lifestyle habit of using some tools. I use something that I've downloaded onto my laptop here called f.lux.
Jon Voigt: Yep, I've used that as well.
Spencer Coppin: f.lux is grateful when you're want to kind of geek out on your screen for a little bit and you just know this is probably not good for my brain right now, this blue light exposure.
Jon Voigt: For those listening it mainly changes the spectrum of light coming from your screen so it's more read, more like a sunset mood, like when you're outside and the sun's going down and you can time it and automate it and so automatically it just pops on. Actually it's a great reminder when I'm working late, just feel like maybe you shouldn't be working now, and it pops up.
Spencer Coppin: Blue light exposure for a little bit of geekery here, when our eyeballs and therefore our brain are exposed to these specific spectrum of blue light. We can call it garbage light or junk light, it has a major, major impact on circadian centers. The parts of the brain that regulate sleep and wake cycles and so it can affect everything from our immune system to our metabolism, therefore setting us up for cancer down long term and also things like type 2 diabetes. We always wonder why we're doing so many other things to try and lose some body fat or drop some pounds.
Jon Voigt: That light off.
Spencer Coppin: Well also ultimately, it's affecting our sleep, it affects our metabolism and our ability to burn fat. But these are little lifestyle tricks and tips. The other one, really there's a couple actually that kind of relate to the data gathering stuff, these days I think that the ability to have a wearable data tracker of some kind is really useful and I'm sitting here where I'm wearing my aura ring at the moment. And I think it'll be sending me if I was to be sitting, it'll be sending me a little notice to my phone to get up and move around these little reminders. Obviously everybody's heard of Fitbit. These also track our movement but they also track our sleep, our heart rate.
Jon Voigt: Or lack of sleep.
Spencer Coppin: Or lack of sleep. Which is pretty common. The last thing that I think people should maybe do a little dive into something called HRV or heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is probably the cheapest and most accurate biomarker of health and our ability to recover from stress and maintain our wellness and performance. Heart rate variability is just as it sounds. Variability between your heartbeats. We should when we are very well and healthy, have a highly variable beat to beat rhythm. So it's not every one second or every half second, we want to have a variability between our beats, not a crazy variability but so small that we can't feel it. You can't check this by checking your heart rate and feeling for it. It requires a compatible heart rate monitor like a chest strap. There's some apps now that will allow you to check through a particular finger heart rate-
Jon Voigt: I know HRV Elite. I think it is the app just came out with a finger sensor tool that you can use. It's really easy. Just wake up in the morning and do it right away and it tells you, is today a day where you got to take it easy 'cause you need to recover or is it a day where you can go hard and take it slow.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah, it kind of helps you make decisions based on sometimes as an entrepreneur and a high achiever type A personality. It's just, pedal to the metal all the time. And we don't really recognize and when we need to take a break or slow down a little bit until it's too late until we've got a cold or a flu or we've completely crashed and burned or are now injured because we're training too hard.
Jon Voigt: Yeah, that includes working out maybe sometimes you got to have a break from that too.
Spencer Coppin: Yes, absolutely. You know, sometimes there's a day to crush the weights and sometimes there's a day to do some yoga and ultimately your heart rate variability can give you those insights. I kind of measure mine most mornings, if I'm changing something in my routine, or I'll build a routine with it, but I'll do it before I go to bed as I'm just kind of lying there waking up. My aura ring tracks it for me so I kind of just, flip on my Bluetooth and then connect the phone and it kind of gives me an idea of what happened over the night. But Elite HRV and the guys down there have done a really good job of putting a nap together that can give you some lay person some very, very insightful advice.
Jon Voigt: Yeah, sure. So those simple tools I think you know it sounds like a lot to do and you definitely don't have to do all of them but I think if we're looking to optimize the hustle, it takes these small lifestyle adjustments within our work day to make some long lasting changes.
Spencer Coppin: For sure, for sure.
Jon Voigt: That's awesome. What about like supplements and things like that? Is that something where you kind of like, everyone's taking multivitamins or they say they are, vitamin D and these different things but I guess at the same time you really got to take measurement whether you need those things before you should just supplement.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah. So I'll tell you what I take because ultimately I don't know what people should take without knowing them in detail and their environment and what kind of stressors they have going on. I just don't know what to recommend. So here's what I take. I take a pharmaceutical grade fish oil omega-3s, EPA DHA. Typically, they are extracted from small fish, sardines, mackerel, anchovies grill. These are the common sources of where they get these fish also where they get the omega-3s from. I also take vitamin C on a regular basis, daily. Some days it fluctuates, I'll take a higher dose and some days I won't be able to cram quite as much in me, but minimum I get five grams a day that's 5000 milligrams of vitamin C.
Jon Voigt: And vitamin C is pretty harmless too if you take a bit too much I think too, right? Because it's a water soluble vitamin and things like that so.
Spencer Coppin: You will excrete any excess vitamin C. It can be harmful only to your bowels.
Jon Voigt: Okay.
Spencer Coppin: So when you get up into extremely high doses of vitamin C. The only major negative will be loose bowel movements, which for some people is not great. It's actually a way to gauge vitamin C tolerance so it's kind of safe but not always wanted. That's for sure. I also take some amino acids. Take essential amino acids, I've used branched chain amino acids in the past but I use essential amino acids pre and post workout or if I'm engaging in any kind of intermittent fasting or fasting protocol I will also use essential amino acids to maintain my lean mass. I tend to be ... I'm the tall skinny type, so if you wanted to have a muscle loss competition I probably be here. So this one's really, really, really impactful for me. I take a multivitamin. There's a lot of research out there that says yes, says no. I try and get most of my stuff from food but I like to have that little insurance policy so I throw a multivitamin in there as well.
Jon Voigt: Wait a minute do you take a D? Everyone is always taking D.
Spencer Coppin: D3 is Probably the more important ones for me personally. I've got some polymorphous in my genes that say, a higher dose of vitamin D is beneficial for me. So I take anywhere from five to 10,000 units of D3, vitamin D3. And the last one that I really use on a regular basis. Now there's a whole bunch more stuff that I take but I don't take it all the time. I try and go in cycles otherwise I'll get pill fatigue. The last one that I use on a regular is some magnesium.
Jon Voigt: Okay. Just to help regulate sleep or your rhythms or has-
Spencer Coppin: Well magnesium it's involved in so many different energy pathways within the body. And so it's great for your skeletal muscle, your functional muscle tissue. It's great for your heart, it's great for your brain, it's great for your gut. It's one of those things that I think we should just put it in the drinking water. Absolute no brainers-
Jon Voigt: Get that chlorine out of the water and fluoride and other stuff right?
Spencer Coppin: Some magnesium in there. So that's what I take on a regular basis. Obviously I dabble with other things intermittently throughout the year based on what I'm up to, what I'm doing but those are kind of the baselines.
Jon Voigt: Awesome so if someone kind of wants to get going and kind of support their hustle a bit more. What would be the first tip just to get started on it just get out there and get measured or build your team?
Spencer Coppin: Yeah. Absolutely
Jon Voigt: Awesome. Any other things you want to share with the audience that could be helpful or get them on their way?
Spencer Coppin: No, I think this is really just a mindset, comment about the execution of this type of routine? I find that a lot of people want to jump in with two feet and kind of do it all tomorrow.
Jon Voigt: And want results too or two.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah, exactly. But just as we're building a business, you're going to build your health slowly over time. And those tend to be the most successful long lasting reputable businesses out there. It's the ones that grew over time. I think that your health follows very much that same rhythm. This is probably why this type of work, it is a tough sell. You always want to hear about the seven-minute ABS, right?
Jon Voigt: Yeah. Or you brought them back from cancer or something that already an issue.
Spencer Coppin: Yeah. So this is definitely the long play. There is no hurry in doing all of this, you don't get better faster by doing it quicker. I fall into that trap a lot when I'm working with clients, because we get all excited we have all these things to fix and work on and wow! Isn't that amazing? And we're trying to do too much too quickly. And sometimes you're going to imbalance the individual.
Jon Voigt: Right or toss something else off that was balanced.
Spencer Coppin: Ultimately the body likes sort of a few things at a time. A few signals, a few new things to learn. If you give it too much too quickly, it becomes confused and sometimes you can just end up creating expensive urine. So that's where everything ends up sometimes. So have a long term vision, implement a few things. Don't go wild and crazy start to make these long lasting changes.
Jon Voigt: Sustainable things.
Spencer Coppin: Getting your bare feet on the ground, they may not seem like a big deal in the beginning but as you build on top of them and you keep adding more and more things to your routine and they become a habit, they become part of your lifestyle then the benefits are amazing.
Jon Voigt: Yeah well I love it. I know every time we get together or we chat I've learned some other new little thing and it can be overwhelming at times and it can be like wow! There's just so many things to learn but I think this gives people a really good starting point and if they wanted to reach out to you chat with you or get direction on some things, how can they find you?
Spencer Coppin: Well I'm pretty elusive. I don't follow the typical social media tour that most people do. So if you want to reach out to me, you can, you can check out my websites. One of them is currently under construction so it'll be looking fresh and primped and pressed hopefully when this gets released so you can find me at spencercoppin.com or you can find me at cpppinhealth.com and you can reach out to me either through those sites or by email.
Jon Voigt: Awesome and we'll put that in there right up as well so that people can easily able to click on the links and stuff like that. Awesome. Well, thanks so much. It's been great connecting with you again and I'm looking forward now that ... On the West Coast for a bit, we were just talking about maybe hitting the hills a couple times this Winter.
Spencer Coppin: Yes, sir. Let's do it.
Jon Voigt: Looking forward to it.
Spencer Coppin: Let's do it.
Jon Voigt: Take care.
Spencer Coppin: Thanks, John.
Jon Voigt: Thanks a lot everyone for spending some time with us today. You've just taken the first step towards more fulfilling life takes, take here the journey I'd love for to you subscribe to my podcast that you won't miss out on the small, subtle details that can make the biggest difference in your life. You can also join our community on Facebook. We've just started the community there of digital leaders that want to do more with less. And all you have to do is go to Facebook and type in the search bar, the agile living and join the group there. If you want to hear more about this topic or have a topic of your own, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I love talking about this stuff, happy to talk about it offline as well. So now let's get out there and make a difference by doing more with less until next week. This is John saying stay agile.