Train Loco readers, it’s that time of the month again! We have an awesome and informative joint-interview with two great individuals who we really respect and like to call colleagues and friends. Shawn Wells is the VP of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer for BioTRUST Nutrition and Ryan Lowery is a young-star researcher and Director of the Powerhouse Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Tampa. Shawn and Ryan have done a great deal of work in the industry and they look forward to doing more great work, which we are huge advocates of and support 100%. Without further ado, let us introduce to you these two studs, Shawn and Ryan.
-Eric and Chris
Forward: I first had the opportunity of meeting Shawn back at the 2007 ISSN conference, just months prior to my first year as a PhD student at UIUC. My brother, Jake (now Dr. Jacob Wilson) and I were just overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge of both himself and Dr. Dana Houser. They were literally walking encyclopedias, talking about dozens of supplements off the top of their heads we had never even heard of, which lead Jake to nickname Shawn the “Ben Stein” of the sports supplement industry. Now having just recently joined Shawn in the ranks of industry, having started a position as the Head of Science and Innovation at Maximum Human Performance (MHP), I find that I can appreciate his incredible insight and breadth of knowledge even more. The information provided in this interview is quite frankly gold, and I almost had to tell Shawn to be careful on just how much he reveals, but he is simply too giving to hold back on his knowledge. I hope the readers enjoy and can appreciate this interview as much as I did. Keep up the great work Mr. Wells! – Gabriel Wilson, Ph.D., CSCS
Could you give us a little background info on who Ryan Lowery and Shawn Wells are?
I’ve been an athlete all of my life, most recently winning the National Championship at UT in baseball, and I have always been intrigued on how to take a good athlete and make them great, whether it be alterations in training and/or nutrition. Fortunately, I was introduced very early on in my career to Dr. Jacob Wilson and absolutely loved the research he was doing and knew this was the career path I wanted to take. I recently obtained my B.S. at the University of Tampa while working with Dr. Wilson and since then have decided to pursue my Master of Science degree in exercise and nutrition science also from the University of Tampa.
I have served as the senior researcher in Dr. Wilson’s lab the past four years, publishing about 80 manuscripts, book chapters, and abstracts, and am currently a director of the Powerhouse Human Performance Laboratory. Ultimately, my main objective is to provide people with quality, unbiased information in a way that this can be understood. I live by this quote “If you are not making someone else’s life better then you are wasting your time.” Our lab along with brilliant individuals like Shawn Wells and yourselves, strive to do this daily. Luckily for me, I am working with a fantastic group of brilliant scientists in the lab and everything I’ve accomplished couldn’t have been done without their help.
“If you are not making someone else’s life better then you are wasting your time.”
Well, I am a scientist, clinical dietitian, businessman, educator…I have been blessed beyond belief. I think part of my success is due to having a unique blend of knowledge in the field of performance nutrition and supplementation. As I attended UNC-Chapel Hill, earning a Master’s degree in Nutrition and minor in Exercise Science. My education along with the credentials of Registered Dietitian and Certified Sport Nutritionist (CISSN), distinguished me as an expert in sports nutrition.
I have held the role of Chief Clinical Dietitian with over a decade in acute and skilled nursing care, which grounded my ethics and practice of patient focused care. I then fulfilled the position of CEO of Zone Halo Research, a consulting group for supplement formulations, and gained significant notoriety in the industry. This opened the door to becoming an accomplished author, formulator, and clinician. This led to a huge opportunity in 2011, when I took my experience and passion to Dymatize Nutrition, becoming Director of R&D. Dymatize is now owned by Post, and has cemented its role the global leader in finished product research and innovation with over 200 products in more than 50 countries.
After the Post Holdings acquisition, I was acquired in my own right, by the top non-GMO & natural dietary supplement company in the industry, BioTRUST Nutrition, as their Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer. I travel the globe looking for the next great ingredient, doing research, and assembling innovative formulations with experience in every channel of distribution/sales. I also work on Intellectual property, patenting/licensing, and subject matter expert work for legal cases.
1a. who are some of the people who have influenced your career?
Shawn- I have a network of staggeringly brilliant and amazing people around me that make me better and challenge me constantly, geniuses! You know in the past few months to years I’ve talked with or spent time with people I used to worship on the internet from academia, industry, etc.: William Llewellyn, Jose Antonio, Bill Phillips, Patrick Arnold, Rick Collins, Marv Heuer, Ralf Jäger, Jacob Wilson, Gabe Wilson, Hector Lopez, Dana Houser, Michael Colgan, Anthony Almada, Daniel Amen, Joey Rodrigues, Tim Ziegenfuss, Layne Norton, Erica Stump, Bruce Kneller, Mike McCandless, Rob Wildman to name a few (and there’s lots more).
Along the way I’ve met amazing new people (to me) like Ryan Lowery, Mike T Nelson, Mike Roberts, Abbie Smith-Ryan, Mike Ormsbee, Paul Cribb, Colin Wilborn, Bill Campbell, Brett Hall, Dom D’Augustino, Jeff Volek, Ben Esgro, Lee Brown, Stephanie Wilson, Laurent Bannock, Alan North and Bernadette (One Life Radio), Joel Marion, Josh Benzoni, Lawrence Ballenger, Ben Pakulski (BPAK), Peter Thornton, The “Dynamic Duo”, and so, so, so many more. It is seriously staggering. Just writing this out, Wow! I am truly blessed to know and learn from these people. And these are just 10% that came out of my mind off the top.
Ryan, what got you started or inspired to get into doing research, specifically research on Ketogenic Diets and Metabolic Flexibility?
Hmm… well the ketogenic diet interest of mine sparked after watching a video by Dr. D’Agostino. I saw the implications it had for cancer and was absolutely astounded by it. I dug deeper and found some work by Dr. Phinney and Dr. Volek on body composition and athletes, which caught my interest, even more. Dr. Wilson and I discussed potential studies and decided that we needed to team up with the authorities on the topic (Dr. D’Agostino and Dr. Volek) and create a study in highly resistance-trained athletes looking at a variety of different measures as it relates to body composition and human performance. Even I grew up thinking that you needed carbohydrates to grow and recover so it was a study that personally intrigued me.
As far as the metabolic flexibility, I was talking with both of the Dr. Wilson’s one day and Molly Bray’s 2010 study came up. I must have read that manuscript 10 times and just kept finding new, intriguing aspects. One of the biggest critiques is that it is a rat study so our lab is working on what is the threshold of carbohydrates that you can have with breakfast and still have that “programming” and flexibility affect.
Shawn, what got you into the health and fitness industry?
I hurt my back and couldn’t play basketball in my freshman year of college at a top business specialty school. I was obsessed with basketball and played every waking moment, so the injury devastated me. I was pursuing an IT and Marketing dual degree and I started reading Muscle Media 2000 and IronMan magazine and a book by Dr. Michel Colgan called Optimum Sports Nutrition (this was 1993). And in this book he talked about bloodwork, working with Olympic athletes, amino acid stacks for GH, etc. and at the time there were no supplement studies. There were no “sports nutritionists” let alone a degree in that. And I became transfixed. I started working out and along came CREATINE from EAS called Phosphagain and then Phosphagen. I experienced incredible results and I was hooked. I started working at GNC, working out five days a week, reading every magazine and book I could (there wasn’t much internet data available then). And there was the supplement review guide Bill Phillips did and one later by Stout and Antonio.
I thought this is all great, but I can’t do this as a career. This is no career in this “stuff”. I was at a general practitioner doctor getting a physical for college and I started rambling to him about my new passion at the ripe age of 20. I said, it’d be too much to go back to school to get more education to pursue this pipe dream of a master’s in nutrition. I need to just buckle down finish up my business degree and start making money. He turned to me with a serious look, took a piece of paper and drew a life line for me. Drawing a line for 0-20 was where I’ve been up until now. Then a hash mark and a much longer line from 20-80 and said, “You have ALL of this”…pointing to that 60 year gap…”What’s 3, 4, or 5 more years, when you’ll be happy for 50-60 more? Why not be happy? Why not do what you love. You don’t have to do whatever you’re learning now. You’ve got 60+ years of doing something in front of you, do what you love.” were his words. A stranger’s words changed my life path. And I think about that often. Our words have profound impact to make or break people’s dreams (I recommend reading the Four Agreements on this front if you have not).
So I had to get 2 years’ worth of pre-requisites to even get in to a master’s program in Nutrition at a school like Chapel Hill. The advisor told me, “You’re a business student. Not a science person. You can’t do 26 hours of credits a semester of pure advanced sciences with several labs classes per class. You’ll fail and fail miserably”. Remember what I said about words. I thought about his words EVERY SINGLE DAY, EVERY DAY. A 4.0 later in 1.5 years and admission to Chapel Hill for my Master’s later I was on my way. Luckily I did not listen to that man because he could’ve robbed me of my dream. All those people I said I’ve met, worked with, friends, learn from, do business with, all of it could’ve been gone and stolen from me, just by one man’s words. I also owe a big thanks to Ryan DeLuca during all of this schooling of science classes, reading, working out and finding my passion, and Bodybuilding.com forum is what built me. I became a guru there and worked my way in to companies as a rep, a writer, a formulator, etc. and it just grew (along with my passion). While at UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!), I took Exercise Sports Science classes with my Nutritional Biochemistry and a Registered Dietitian track. Years later, Chapel Hill now has a sports nutrition degree (Dr. Abbie Smith-Ryan currently teaching) I took the road that was less travelled and created my own path. While it was difficult, I truly appreciate where I am and it has shaped me.
Alright Fellas, Lets Talk Protein Supplements and Low Carb Diets…
Ryan, one of the more common adaptations one feels with a ketogenic diet is the hypoglycemic effects (lethargy, lack of energy, hunger). How does one mitigate these hypoglycemic effects?
That’s a great point and what I think you are referring to is the adaptation period. The keto-adaptation takes about 1-3 weeks depending on the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming, activity level, etc. And yes it can be a really tough adaptation period until your body switches over to using ketones. One way you can get into ketosis faster is by depleting your glycogen faster by doing sprints, etc, One of the ways I help get through that adaptation period is things like coconut oil, or straight MCT oil, or even ketone salts by Patrick Arnold. The best bang for your buck would be MCT oil in your coffee or pre-workout drink. MCTs get converted to ketones pretty rapidly and can be used as immediate fuel by the brain thus diminishing the effects you mentioned…but be careful not to overdose on the MCTs in the beginning or else you’ll be running to the bathroom all the time 🙂
Shawn, what drew your interest specifically towards research and development and supplementation?
I loved the search for the next big thing, discovery and creativity. It’s all intoxicating. Isn’t it? Knowing something most don’t know. Holding the Straight Flush close to your chest and laying it down. Spending hours and hours in journals, online, looking at KEGG pathways of metabolism, CAS numbers, etc. It’s often about “WHAT’S NEXT?” That question is a dangerous one as it consumes the inquisitive mind, it drives us, it keeps us up at night, and it fuels our passion. But at the same time I realize like Mark Twain said: “The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism.” We plagiarize every day. Every day, like Google Scholar says, “I stand on the shoulders of giants”. It’s one more step and it’s adding to the thoughts others have had and knowing others will add to yours. That is the beauty of science and that is why it must be shared. Otherwise progress stops. And what’s next will be waiting indefinitely.
Ryan, can you tell us how a Ketogenic Diet would work for an elite level athlete such as a Pro Football player or Baseball player? Pros and Cons?
Great question. I will preface my answer by saying in no way, shape, or form do I think ketogenic dieting will be advantageous for all athletes, especially those in season. What I can say is that based on the current available literature we know it can be advantageous for in season athletes in sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, and now even bodybuilding. As far as a professional football player goes, I would say it may be beneficial for someone like a lineman who is trying to shed some fat mass in the off season in order to move faster. Professional athletes are a completely different bread and we would need to study them using a diet strategy like this but from what we know from our data and others is that in normal resistance training individuals, sedentary, and obese populations, ketogenic dieting seems to advantageous in regards to body composition.
Shawn, currently you are the Vice President of Research & Development at Bio Trust Nutrition. Can you tell us a little bit more about what this entails of and any new and exciting things to come?
I’ve never stayed in my box. I bring project management, stage gating, SKU rationalization, margin analyses, etc. that most “formulators” have no idea of what I’d be talking about there. I have an inquisitive mind not just in science, but also in business, it’s a science to, with many secrets to unlock. I’ve learned from brilliant business minds too. Again, I am blessed, sourcing is key as well. I am going to China this fall, locking up supply chain, understanding production, extraction methods, quality control, chain of custody, etc. is all critical. I’ve been able to cut ingredient costs for companies 30-50%, which often translates to a massive ROI. Scientific substantiation is critical when you make claims.
You have to have human data on your ingredients, typically more than one study and it needs to be that dose, that form, that delivery, and in many times a day, in a population that represents your target demographic. So yes, most companies are out of compliance with the FDA and FTC, especially ones using animal data or cell culture studies and extrapolating. Best case is to do finished good studies. I’ve worked to get the green light to do 3 (yes, 3) finished good studies PER PRODUCT. This kind of data is gold standard as you never know how ingredients interact. Each could have solid data but counter the other when taken together. This happened on a product we tested and we went back to the drawing board.
I manage a team in R&D and Quality Control which consist of testing methodology, monitoring and reporting adverse events, producing ingredient and finished good product specifications, etc. I love how people think it’s about “formulating”, when that’s about 3% of what I do. And then can you formulate where the ingredients are consistently source able, aren’t hygroscopic (pull moisture), hold stability (accelerated and real time), hit margin targets, have the correct density for capsules or tableting (e.g. granulation), have human data at that dose/form, etc. And if it’s a product with taste (organoleptic/sensory) do you know the flow/particle size characteristics so you have proper distribution, the blend speed/time, order of operations, how well are your ingredients spec’d so you get consistent product (e.g. creaminess, color, taste from proteins, pH), etc. Then we have flavoring products. Do you know the flavoring technologies? pH with various acids and which acids match up to which flavors (e.g. grape and tartaric), what maskers and enhancers to use, suspension technologies for ingredients that aren’t as soluble, emulsifiers, sweeteners (different ones hit front, middle and back and affect flavor greatly) to quote my friend Ben Pakulski, “You Can’t Do What I Do!” 🙂 Seriously, there’s so much to it.
It’s a great company that has a massive following. And yes, I have VERY COOL things to come, but I got to keep some things under wraps. We have a brain product forthcoming, and I cannot discuss much beyond that. But it will be amazing
We are big proponents of nutrient timing, specifically partitioning more carbohydrates pre/post workout, where does one get the energy and fuel to train at a high level without any carbs while on a ketogenic diet?
Ryan- Im glad to hear you guys are fans of nutrient timing as well hahaha. Though it is a very controversial issue, I believe more research definitely needs to be done in this area and our colleague Dr. Brad Schoenfeld is beginning a study in the fall actually looking at this. As far as energy, some athletes use whats called “targeted” ketogenic dieting where they have some carbohydrates around their workout to help give them that extra boost. What I can say is this: for athletes like soccer players or basketball players the targeted may be advantageous since they are expending a great deal of energy. However, in our studies, after the adaptation period, subjects felt fine and had a sustained energy for their workouts. Why? You are running off of ketones as fuel and you aren’t using carbohydrates so it’s a completely separate aspect. So the fuel you are essentially using for your workout is your own bodyfat.
Dr. Steve Phinney back in the 80’s showed that keto-adapted athletes had greater fat oxidation not only during rest but even while exercising (about 3x the amount!) Ultimately, like always it is going to depend on your goal. If you are going to play basketball or you are going into the gym to try and dominate a PR or do a ton of volume then yeah maybe some carbohydrates peri-workout may help. Otherwise if your goal is to optimize body composition, ideally you would stick to something like BCAAs with some MCT oil peri-workout.
What are the top ingredients to look for in a Whey Protein Blend?
Shawn- Cross Flow, Micro filtered; cold-filtered is where I’d start. You don’t want ion-exchange. You want cold filtering start to finish and you want membranes that give you ideal yield. Proteins can be denatured easily; a gram of protein is not a gram of protein. Bioavailability is one thing, as is denaturing. I prefer whey concentrate over isolate as the difference in “speed” is nominal, but the difference in more growth factors, immunoglobulin, lactoferrin, etc. being protected and maintained is massive. I see isolate as the inferior choice quite honestly. Not that it’s terrible; it’s just an overrated simplified message. Some argument can be made for hydrolyzed if it’s HIGHLY hydrolyzed down to di- and tri- peptides (low molecular wt. or daltons), but at that point it would taste so bitter you wouldn’t be able to drink it. Whey concentrate that’s processed and filtered how I stated is the “whey” to go.
Adherence is paramount for any type of nutrition program, do you feel in order to fully adhere to a ketogenic diet, one must optimize the macronutrients profiles correctly and make sure to eat foods that are suitable to their metabolisms?
Ryan- Absolutely. Just like in any aspect of life, if you hate doing something then it isn’t going to last. I think variety is key with the ketogenic diet and I was able to learn more about that when visiting Shawn Wells in Dallas because his wonderful wife Shelley has so many different keto recipes. Everyone looks at the keto and says wow that’s tough because all I can eat some steak, eggs, bacon, cheese, and heavy whipping cream. However, once you get creative with things like almond flour you can virtually make anything.
For instance, Shelley made things like butter biscuits, mini cakes, muffins, pancakes, pizza, etc. Its all about making foods that you love and just getting creative. I would never want anyone to go on a ketogenic diet and all they eat is bacon and eggs and drink heavy whipping cream. Make it fun, make it enjoyable. If you are going to try it, still go out with your friends and family to restaurants, fast food, etc. All you have to do is be creative and get a burger minus the bun, etc.
When shopping for a quality Whey Protein Blend, what are some red flags to look for in the nutrition facts and why?
Shawn- A “blend”. Proprietary blend that includes taurine, glycine, creatine, arginine, etc. None of these are protein. They are aminos and amino derivatives. Glycine and Taurine are less than half the price of protein, but test out with nitrogen tests as protein (as a nitrogen/Kjedahl test “knows” no different). Even better they look like pure protein, but have no carbs and no fat (again at half the price). Creatine and Arginine have three nitrogen atoms and test out much higher gram for gram than even pure protein but you can’t even begin to construe creatine as protein. So this is a pure scam (and it’s less than half the cost of protein as well). So these labels with sky high protein, no carbs, and cheap price, well this is how it’s done.
Some of the ones I’ve tested had less than half of the protein they claimed on label, again HUGE SCAM! Class action lawsuits are being mentioned. Why? You paid for protein? And that 25g of whey protein should have 2.8g of leucine, enough to trigger Muscle Protein Synthesis (the reason you’re taking the protein). But what if it has 1.4g? No MPS, no Gains, and less Recovery? Wasted $$$. So looking for the Amino Acid Profile is another thing to look for on an honest label. 25g of whey should be 2.8g of leucine. If they say 2.0g or 1.8g or whatever well they’re “honestly” scamming you. I guess that gets more points than not listing it.
Where do you see keto diets playing a role for prep diets and reverse dieting?
Ryan- Now this is an area that we really want to look into in the near future. Our lab lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps bodybuilding and how to optimize it. It makes sense on paper for both aspects as far as pre-contest and post-contest. Pre-contest is a very stressful time so a lot of people won’t want to play around with this concept until they have tried it before. However, what I will say is that in our 8 week resistance training study, guys were losing a ton of fat like 8-10 pounds of fat mass. As far as the reefed is concerned, a lot more work needs to be done in this area. Maybe you can go keto for 8 weeks and carb up 2 days before your show..maybe but its something we are looking into.
Post-contest gets even more interesting. We know from the case studies like the one from Drs. Fahs and Rossow that post contest you are anabolic….to fat tissue. So the issue is that you’re ghrelin is high and you’re body preferentially gains fat mass. That is why reverse dieting is so key and I know you guys do a phenomenal job of this with your clients. The goal is to get their calories back up, get their metabolisms cranking again, etc. Well maybe if post contest you use a ketogenic diet, you can get calories up quicker, spare lean mass without gaining fat mass. This could help get the athletes back quicker without having to worry about gaining a ton of body fat that they are going to have to eventually shed again.
Many people tend to feel Casein Protein is better than Whey Protein. Can you give us your insight on this debate and some possible research?
Shawn- I don’t have the answer on this one really. I tend to think there’s value in both. Whey is highest in Leucine, BCAAs, fastest, and mixes easiest but we are now seeing timing of some of these nutrients may not be as critical as once thought, especially for those that are not HIGHLY trained or elite athletes. Casein and whey are part of what millions of years of evolution thought were optimal to grow a being of some sort.
There’s fast and slow protein (whey and casein), fast and slow carbohydrate (glucose and galactose – from lactose), and key fatty acids, and growth and immune factors, and vitamins and minerals, and, and, and… Milk is fascinating to me. And we DO NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS yet. It’s the biggest secret in nutrition with much to be unlocked. What is interesting is the ratio of casein and why depending on the species. Those that have more “mother”/”infant” contact and frequency like humans have 80% whey and 20% casein. Whereas cows are the inverse at 80% casein and 20% whey as they feed less frequently. We are seeing that it’s not necessary to have leucine every three hours. MPS slows down at that time, not due to leucine availability, but ATP availability as MPS is taxing. Simply administering glucose at the 3 hour mark reestablishes MPS with humans.
Dr. Gabe Wilson did this groundbreaking data. With cows, their milk is very high fat, and they may be ketogenic (whereas humans may not be with lower fat and higher whey). Being ketotic is leucine/protein sparing. Further glycogen as an energy source is in 1/50th of an energy supply as body fat/adipose and is less than half as calorically dense. Maybe casein-rich milks are often paired with higher fats and these are 1.) Leucine sparing/protein sparing 2.) Not as in short supply of ATP as a carbohydrate adapted fuel source model like most western diet humans. We’ve seen radically different “rules” with athletes in ketosis. But that’s a whole different discussion.
Many consumers get confused by the different Protein blends. Can you tell us what the differences are between a Hydrolyzed Protein and a Concentrate?
Shawn- Hydrolyzed doesn’t mean much to me and let me explain why. You thought the amino spiking scam was bad. This one is right up there. I’m here to tell you about the scams. “Hydrolyzed whey” does that mean concentrate or isolate? Did you know a concentrate is anything about 34% protein (all the way up to 80% or so…oh and that’s “dry weight” without moisture factored in, yet another scam). So hydrolyzed whey…what? If they say “hydrolyzed whey isolate”, ok, that’s fairly forthright and a nice start. Now, hydrolyzed to what degree? DH means “degree of hydrolysis” it can be as little as “3%” and be called hydrolyzed legally. Though some company adds a little inactive enzyme (because heat and processing inactivated it) and call it “hydrolyzed”, Nauseous yet? Mad about wasting money yet? So 15%-20% is highly hydrolyzed and often tends to be bitter.
What you’d want to look for is molecular weight in daltons and you’d want data from the company that shows they have markedly higher di and tripeptides. What’s unique about di and tripeptides is they use a different transporter. They’re obviously faster than oligo- or polypeptides, but shockingly, they’re faster than singlets (solo amino acids) to. Yes, a dipeptide is faster than one that’s solo, thanks to the unique transporter. I’ve seen VERY few hydrolyzed proteins on the market meet these standards. I’d recommend you ask for answers. Here’s another question, which bonds are being hydrolyzed? Uh “hydrolyzed” just means some of them are, but the protein supplier that manufacturers it for the finished good company is bathing the protein in an enzyme solution. It’s the enzymes of their choice. Maybe you’re mostly getting glycine di and tripeptides, maybe arginine, who knows? The company selling you your protein probably doesn’t even know. Ideally you’d like higher BCAA’s but again ask for that data. I’d recommend you use a good whey concentrate with the aforementioned processing.
Where do you see the Supplement industry going in the next few years? We have seen promising research on HMB, any other secret supplements coming out?
Shawn- The next great supplement should be less of a concern than 1. Is what you’re taking what’s on the label? 2. Is what’s on the label safe for you? 3. Do they test for heavy metals, metabolites, toxins, impurities, etc.? 4. Is it hidden in a proprietary blend and fairy dusted? 5. Did they use ingredients that ONLY have human data? 5. Does that human data relate to the form, dose, method of administration and the population that applies to you? 6. Is there finished good data…that applies to #1-6 as well…
THEN we can talk about the next great thing. Chances are you’re not getting what you’re paying for (the dream) and you’re getting things you don’t (heavy metals, metabolites, toxins, etc.) need.
And by the way let’s give a shout out here to my guys like Ryan Lowery and Dr. Jacob Wilson at the University of Tampa doing the research on the branded ingredients and finished good studies. They’re leading the charge to improving the industry. Collectively we feel we can make a difference with better formulations, ingredients, sourcing, transparency, and data we give people safe and effective products they can feel good about using.
Fun Time and Bonus Round…
What is your favorite lift and why?
I would have to honestly say the deadlift. It is one of the exercises where I truly feel you can go to absolute failure…you either pick it up or you don’t. It’s a fantastic whole body exercise when done correctly, with proper form and is something that has really helped me put on mass.
Your favorite Pro Sports Teams?
Basketball: eh probably the Nets
What does Ryan Lowery like to do for fun? Please don’t hold back on us 😉
Haha quite honestly, my fun is going into the lab everyday and working in an environment that we call the “think tank” with all of the brilliant guys in there. Since I am in Tampa, I definitely like going to the beach, going to some hockey games, and occasionally some Friday night outings with the team to unwind 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to let us interview you Ryan.
Ryan- Thank you guys for the opportunity and thank you for continuing to provide great information to people. I would just like to take the time to thank all of the mentors and people who inspire me to do great things on a daily basis. I am a firm believer that without a strong support system even the greatest of men can crumble and I have been extremely blessed to be surrounded by brilliant, caring, passionate people every single day: Dr. Jacob Wilson, Shawn Wells, “Team Muscle”, Stephanie Wilson, Dr. Jose Antonio, Ralf Jäger, Martin Purpura, Dr. Gabe Wilson, Hector Lopez, Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss, Dr. Rob Wildman, Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, Mike T Nelson, Dr. Mike Roberts, Dr. D’Agostino, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Lee Brown, Laurent Bannock, Lawrence Ballenger, Ben Pakulski (BPAK), Dr. de Souza, the NBL team, Powerhouse Tampa Bay, and of course The “Dynamic Duo”. The list goes on and on…..but one thing I’ve learned over my short career is that it’s all about building each other up and spreading knowledge. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and encouragement from all of my mentors and for that I am forever grateful. Enough with the hate, arguing, and belittling other people and scientists…its time to change the paradigm and build one another up, get quality, unbiased information out there, and bring a positive, loving atmosphere to the industry. So in closing thank you guys for doing great interviews like this and ultimately getting the information out to people.
Your go to “Top 5 Supplements” are?
1) Creatine. It’s not sexy, but with over 500 studies and data on brain health, bone health, muscle health, strength, methylation/DNA protection, etc. etc. (read the chapter I co-wrote in the ISSN textbook on this…there is excitement in the new research). Click here to see the book. You cannot go without creatine. The bottom Line is it’s a bad list if it’s not recommended.
2) Fish Oil that has High EPA. I’m not a huge proponent of DHA; EPA is the one that has the staggering data with inflammation and health. Even better than EPA is DPA, found in Menhaden fish that has about 10x the anti-inflammatory capacity and synergy with EPA. Again, way too much data.
3) Vitamin D. Could be the single most important nutrient to take as it’s a hormone more than a vitamin? Bone Health? That’s so 80’s. What health factor isn’t vitamin D tied to now? Depression, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes, Testosterone, etc. etc. The data mounting in the past five years on this nutrient is staggering. Yes, some may be correlative and not causality, but most every other country is at about 2000 IUs while we stay stuck at 400 IUs talking about take your calcium and vitamin D like its 30 years ago.
4) MCTs. I am ketogenic guy and the information on going this path for weight management and chronic diseases is mounting quickly. Look at Dominic D’Augustino, Dr. Steven Phinney, Dr. Jeff Volek, and Dr. Thomas Seyfried. These unique fats promote ketones, to which there’s so much benefit too. The above researchers are the place to start if you’re curious.
5.) Along those lines, something like Berberine/Alpha lipoic acid and keeping insulin sensitivity high. Glycation is a nasty fact of rampant damage and health impact. Keeping insulin sensitivity in check through diet is a good place to start, but these are good insurance to.
6.) Hey – I can do 6 if I want, right? I do have interest in Leucine and the metabolites (e.g. HICA, KIC, HMB) and presented on that topic at multiple conferences with Dr. Gabe Wilson. But more needs to be learned there.
What does Shawn Wells like to do for fun?
Read the Dynamic Duo Blogs and pick the minds of brilliant people in the fields such as yourselves of course!
*Parting Thought: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
* People I’d like to thank most: My wife, Shelley Wells, Dr. Jacob Wilson, Dr. Gabe Wilson, Stephanie Wilson, Ryan Lowery, Dr. Hector Lopez, Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss, Dr. Rob Wildman, Michael Casid, Josh Benzoni, Joel Marion, Brett Hall, Abby Garrett, Dr. Antonio, Lawrence Ballenger, Geoff Case, BPAK, and Erica Stump. Thank you dearly to you!
Where can our readers follow your future work?
Shawn Wells, MPH, RD, CISSN
Ryan Lowery, MS
CHECK US OUT ON: