NASM CPT Podcast

NASM-CPT Podcast: Tracking Your Metabolic Health

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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In this episode, NASM Master Instructor Rich Richey, along with featured guest Daniel Tal, Lumen Founder and CEO, explore tracking metabolic health and what that means for the fitness professional.
Tal, an established entrepreneur, and investor, elevates the conversation of food as fuel to reach our personal fitness goals, how diets are both extreme and viral, ways to improve your health through a specific, stream-lined eating program that fits you and your metabolism, plus much more.
 
The “NASM-CPT Podcast” takes the term, “food for thought” to a completely different level!
 

Rick Richey is a NASM-CPT, CES, PES, and Master Trainer.

 
 

 

 
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TRANSCRIPT: 

Rick Richey:


Hey, y'all, and welcome to the "NASM CPT Podcast." My name is Rick Ritchie. And as you know, we've been spending a lot of time on the CPT seven going through basically a podcast version of a study guide, piece by piece section by section, doing a podcast helping those that are studying for the CPT seven, and also for those who would like to review the content for the Certified Personal Training product that NSM has. So with that said, Today, we're taking a little turn, it's been a while several months, actually, since we've had a guest on the show. And I thought, Man, if you're going to come in with a guest, after not having one for a while, you better make a good. So today, I'm going to welcome Daniel tall of illumine, who is going to talk to us about metabolism, tracking metabolic health and what that means for the fitness professionals. So with that said, Daniel, how you doing, sir?

Daniel Tal:

Great, Rick, thank you for having me.

Rick Richey:

Happy to have you. Oh, man, thanks. I'm excited to have you. We are in some different time zones, you are based in Tel Aviv, and I'm in New York City. So I'm glad we were able to connect. Now with that said, Could you please tell everyone a little bit about yourself, and just start to to give us an idea of what lumen is. And then we'll start breaking it down a little bit more?

Daniel Tal:


Sure, happy to so. So my name is Daniel, I'm, I'm 40 years old, father of free. And I'm the founder, I'm intrapreneur. For the I think the last 16 or 17 years in my career, I build companies and build teams. And I'm fortunate to be working on my third company, some of my companies succeeded, some of them failed. So I have kind of a broad experience in this domain. But last seven years, I've been working on something extremely exciting, which is an invention. Basically, it's taking something from the world of science, and getting that to the hands of consumer and that's lumen. That's actually a small device that you can hold in your hand and breathe into. And it will start telling you information about your what is what is the fuel that you're actually burning right now in real time? And what does it say about your metabolism? Is it are you healthy? Are you not healthy? And it starts to elevate the conversation about the importance of food as fuel for us to reach our goals, be it weight loss with muscle mass or, or improving your health. And this is me and what I do.

Rick Richey:
Okay, so this is fascinating to me, because I don't know if you've you've seen it, certainly because this is the area that you work in. But for those of you who haven't seen it, you've at least seen photos of people with masks on on a treadmill that might be running and they're trying to get an idea of vo two Max and what substrates being utilized in it, it pipes into a large computer system. And it gives you a detailed readout. Now, I don't know the similarities or the differences between what that is and what the lumen is. But it sounds similar, is it? It is actually we were inspired by the by those metrics.

Daniel Tal:
Exactly. And our validation studies have been done on the same equipment. This equipment we're talking about is mainly metabolic carts or metabolic chambers that do an analysis of the co2 that you eliminate and the auto you consume and the flow in that. And using those three parameters. Basically, they can tell you several things about your metabolism, like the view to Max, for example, what is your anaerobic threshold? Like how many calories you're burning your body's burning and 24 hours at rest? That's your RMR. And what we are doing is taking on one metric, which is called our cue that tells you in real time, what's happening, are you are are those calories that you're burning? Are they coming from fats? Or are they coming from carbs? And by by getting that knowledge, basically, and by getting that understanding and understanding what you've done to get your body to fat burn? And how do you feel after a workout that you started that workout on carbon? You can start identifying what food is good for you. And actually what keeps you at an optimal level? Not all the time, but most of the time.

Rick Richey:
Excellent. All right. All right. I'm going to have to dig into this. Just to follow up ladies and gentlemen, this is Daniel tall, of lumen CEO and Founder and he's got some great information already. Let's get into it a little bit more. So what does it mean now that you're saying this is the amount of substrate that you utilize? When, let's say you're doing a cycling class? Alright, so somebody has, let's say, somebody in in what we find out from Lumen shows that someone's using more carbohydrates, and someone else is using more fat in order to finish or complete the exact same class. Tell me what that means. And how does that individualized to each person?

Daniel Tal:
So it's a it's a great question. And it's ready to give kind of maybe a broader context of that our body can use carbs and fats as fuel, right, and we have fats from meals and from our food, obviously, and we have fat from our fat stores, and carbs as well, we can have carbs from our last meal, or we can have carbs from glycogen stores. And a healthy body can make that switch can be very much reliant on fat when carbs are not available. And also can be very much reliant on carbs when carbs are available. Because when we eat carbs, and we fill our glycogen stores, insulin is secreted, right? And we use those carbs as fuel. what is good and what is bad is a great is a great question. It really depends on your goals, if your goals in that workout are to lose weight you want to be you want to be at an optimal fat burn level all the time, and you want to prolong that workout, right? Because that workout has a function, and the food you ate before has a function as well. Some people will, will not be able to sustain that workout if they don't have carbs beforehand, right? And they need to fuel up maybe even during the workout depending on the length of that workout. And so the answer of what is good and what is bad is really, first, what is your goal? And what is the goal of that workout, if I want to run an extra mile or I want to lift the heaviest, I want to be properly fuel before that workout. Because I want to get that extra, let's say, boost that carbs can actually give me carbs are more efficient in providing you energy immediately. For your your muscles, right? They the glycogen stores are actually they exist in in our muscles? And so that's the answer to the question really, depending on your goal, you can understand where you should be at and you can optimize what you've eaten before, or even what you're eating doing. So you can get to that goal.

Rick Richey:
At just so I have a question. I think this is probably relevant for a lot of people. And it goes to this. Alright, so a lot of people may be trying new diets. And let's use keto, for example, because that is a low carb diet that many people have been trying recently. So let's say that somebody is shifting to a keto diet, does it allow them to track progress in their ability to maybe get used to a new diet?

Daniel Tal:
So the answer is yes, but there is a button here as well. lumen doesn't really recommend a very specific diet, what we're trying to sue to, to change the paradigm of thinking of your nutrition as I'm going to completely eliminate carbs now because I'm going keto. And that's the best thing for me forever. But we're trying to do is to say keto is a great strategy. You can use it but you shouldn't be using it as a as a lifestyle as something that you have as a behavior that you will expect to do from this day, onwards to the rest of my life. And why is that? Because carbs are important. We have carbs and vegetables. We have starchy carbs that can help us build muscles. And, and keto diets are extreme. And diets in general are extreme. We're being sold off a very simple five things you shouldn't do five things you must do. And diets are viral in their nature. They need to be extreme in order to to be stay relevant and be and be viral and be shareable. I need to tell my friend here, who What am I doing and I need to see results in what I'm doing very, very fast. And what lumen does is actually trying to sell balance when we put you on low carb meals for several days and we see that there is impact. We will actually encourage you to have some higher carb days, and we want to see your bodies still making that shift or carbon. Right. So maybe I will actually give a glimpse of how a day on lumen looks like. And that will also give better bit of a broader context. So most of our customers, I think two thirds of our customers use lumen to lose weight. They could be and then that could be they are working out. So they're not necessarily sedentary. They're active people, but they have a mission. And that through their nutrition, they want to get to find their optimal weight, and they want to find their optimal habits. And what they do is take this small device and it's connected to an app, and every morning like brushing your teeth, you then you wake up, and you take a measurement, and morning time, it's fasting is a very interesting point in time for us, because our body should be at fat burn in that, in that, at that time. Why because we haven't been eating, hopefully for the past 678 hours, because we were sleeping. So nine time is the time for our body to make that shift to fat burn. So a first checkup in the morning can actually tell you, in a way how good your metabolism is what prevents you to to get to fat burn in the morning. If you've eaten a lot yesterday, if you've overfilled, your glycogen stores, and if you overeat, and carbs or calories in general, if you're stressed, if you're sleep deprived, your body can wake up on carb burn, because that's a stress response for the body. If you're drinking alcohol at night, so you're not really allowing your body to make that transition to fat burn. Because fat and alcohol are being processed in the liver, the same organ that is responsible for for treating the alcohol, which is poison for our body and doing fat burn. So there are many things that can prevent you from from getting too fat burn in the morning. And there is an aspiration that lumen wants to see you there. And during the day as you go by and what lumen does is building you a personal nutrition plan for that day, that takes into account your highly high level goal that takes into account if you're working out today or not. That takes into account your if you're a female, so your day and your monthly cycle that takes into account your activity, if you've been sleeping well in the past few days are not resting heart rate. So we take into account everything we can basically to tell Taylor, what you should be having today to help you reach your goals.

Rick Richey:
So what are some of the outcomes look like? Where you see people trying this? Right? So your their recommendations, and you're tailoring this to them? And then once they start implementing that, what do you see what happens?

Daniel Tal:
So um, as I said, two thirds of our customers are using it for certain types of weight loss. So on the one hand, they get to their results. But what's more important, after two weeks time, and gradually it's going to be sooner, lumen is going to show them what is their metabolic score is. So it's a it's an a scale between a person who is pre diabetic or diabetic on the one hand, and that and let's say an Olympic athlete that is very efficient in using those fuels as as needed. And as they're available. So there is a score, there is a range between one and 21. And what lumen does is actually present you where you stand. And what it does, then is to help you push that score onwards. So what we want to do is to improve your metabolism. So when you lose the weight, you can actually make sure that you keep it off because you made an internal change in your hormones and your ability and your enzymes and your ability to switch between carbs and fats. And this promises kind of the maintenance of that change. So there is no more yo yo dieting in that sense. And this is this is like this is a health metric for us. This is no longer just a weight loss journey. For us. Weight loss is the hook for a lot of people. But the actual mission is is getting people to become healthier.

Rick Richey:
That's it is really cool. And you've you've brought up, you brought it up so I'm going to ask more about it. You talked about type two diabetes or pre diabetes and maybe metabolic syndrome, how can lumen benefit or does it benefit people with type two diabetes or metabolic syndrome? 

Daniel Tal:
So, Lumen is from on one hand, it's a seven years old product in the making and went through a lot of patients and went through a lot of customer discovery to really understand what people bring into this because it's a new experience will they actually eat what we tell them to eat because no one ever used the gold standard metric to drive nutritional decisions. So there was a lot of research being done on customers. And, and in a way, we haven't really started doing experiments on people who are type two diabetic, we didn't start with that audience. Because we believe that in a way, this is a, this is what happens when your type two diabetic is actually rooted in your lifestyle. So in a way we what we envisioned is that we can help people tailor and make better decisions and empower them by knowledge. And by data for the first time in nutrition, we can help treat that from, from preventing that in the way. So So now there are experiments being done in hospitals on a pre diabetic population, with very promising results as well. With only lumen and a coach company, device and the journey that the people go through, we see phenomenal results in in all parameters that are related to that to pre diabetic to blood sugar levels of crest, and mobile being at winsy. And so far, so there was an opportunity there for us. But still, it's in the research, we want to be very diligent on knowing that we can we can actually make an impact and make a change there. But it gotcha.

Rick Richey:
So you're you're using it right now primarily to make sense and to be applicable for from people that are top performers. And for those people who are looking to add fitness or exercise and diet into their lab and maybe not fitness but maybe just dietary changes in their lives. How does that apply?

Daniel Tal:
Usually, it's interesting, usually they go hand in hand in a way for us, our audience is it's we start with the people who already care who already been on weight loss journeys in the past, who care about their nutrition, who see in the tuition, something which is beyond satisfy hunger. And that's our early adopters in a way those are the people who are buying into this joining the community, which is extremely vibrant. And and that's kind of that's the core audience where we're targeting. And, and yes, so fitness and nutrition, they really go hand in hand, it's when you adopt one good habits, usually you open the door to investment in wellness in general. So fitness is a second thing that you would invest in. And sleeping well is another element which is and when we see it's really all connected. So as we discuss and as we build content into the product, nutrition is the core of what we do because it it really separates us and the wellness market as a feedback loop on nutrition. But you can add confine that discussion to just impression it goes beyond and you can see the impact of a workout on your body. And you can measure before that workout and after that workout. And you can really understand did that workout got me to fat burn? Or did I actually use my muscle to to an extreme level that my body post workout is still using that sugar from the muscle? So you can we learn things about yourself and and correlate that with how you feel. So you can make educated decisions on your next workout. Oh, man, this

Rick Richey:
Oh, man, this, is so good. So again, this is Daniel tall of lumen talking to us about this metabolic measuring device, a small handheld device you put in your hand you breathe into and it can measure the amount of carbon dioxide that's coming out and it gives you a better idea of what substrate you're using as you are living. So whether or not that's at rest after you wake up or potentially after a workout. What substrates Have you been utilizing during that workout? I think it's absolutely fascinating. So I do have a question for you. And this is comes up from time to time and it's not unknown to lumen. So I'm gonna have you speak to it for just a moment. And you've probably kind of talked about it already. But there's a term that goes along with this is called metabolic flexibility. What is that?

Daniel Tal:
Yeah, so so when we started working on Lumen, honestly, we didn't know what what is the meaning of metabolic flexibility to begin with. It's known As a science, and it's, there is a lot of literature on that. And it's essentially the ability for body to use carbs and fats in in the, in the context, they should be used in a way. So I said it already morning time it's fasting. fat burn is where is the go to fuel you want your body to be in after a meal, let's say I had the high carb meal, I should wait for 30 minutes, and I should see my body transition to carbon. A Bali, a body that is less metabolically flexible, will not make that transition. Because I'm going to eat that sugar, insulin will be secreted, but the cells will not absorb the sugar into them. And so this is an evidence of let's say, a metabolism that should be fixed. Right? It's and the way to fix it is actually to, to try and again, avoid, get get the body to use fats more often, and then introduce back carbs in a way. And that transition between carbs and fats is a metric of health in in a sense, and metabolic flexibility is something that you can only measure in, in clinics. And and you can only understand that usually when it's too late. So when people trail into diabetes, no one almost no one wakes up and become type two diabetic. Like the next day, it happens through a series of bad decisions you made in your life, in nutrition, and in in lack of fitness and in stress and lack of sleep. And those all for confounding that will make an impact and kind of lumines role is to put you on a journey. It's no longer a device for us. It's a journey for improved metabolism and better health.

Rick Richey:
All right, so if I find this interesting with metabolic flexibility, because I would like to become more metabolically flexible. So what that may mean for me is that Alright, here's the thing, if, as a trainer, I'm interested in strengthening some of my deficiencies, right? So not Can I use aluminum to not only trained my strengths, but can I use it to identify not just what I'm good at, but what I'm not good at metabolizing or utilizing, and then say, Okay, well, now, maybe I do a lot of high intensity interval training. I'm very, very good at my anaerobic abilities. But I'm testing and I'm not really good aerobically. And I can measure that and tell by substrate utilization, I'm not really good at that. Can I use that to then say, you know what, maybe this is time to start upping your aerobic capacities?

Daniel Tal:
For sure. So what we do is we allow you very soon in the next version of the app, we allow you to do food logging, and we collect all the data about you. So you can tell us if that was a successful workout, what you ate before, how you slept before, we know because we collect that data through your phone, and so forth. And we can start giving you personalized insights on what are the things that you're doing that are actually supporting you to a goal. And what is the biggest bang for the buck could be that for you is to stop eating at 8pm. And it could be for that for someone else is adding another hour of sleep. And it could be that for someone else is try prolonged fasting for for two days. And for someone else is actually adding carbs to the menu. So and it really varies between people, their habits, how they come to us how they come to this platform. And, and that's what makes it interesting. So it's it's really not about just a single measurement that tells you necessarily the whole story. It gives you an insight. But as you go by and you continuously use the device, and you use the system, we deepen our learning about you and we give you insights that can help you improve.

Rick Richey:
Yeah, I think that's one of the things that we really need to take to heart. And as fitness professionals we need to consider that is that we need to track progress. It's not just about that you've done a workout. It's what that workout over time has now allowed you to do. I think it's the same thing for for myself as a diabetic, not it's not just that I test my blood sugar and see that it's within a range that I need it to be. But what's that like over time, I mean, just because it's good today doesn't mean it's good. Tomorrow was good yesterday. So it's something that needs to be tracked over time. And it gives This consistency, it's like a metabolic journal is what it seems like that allows us to better see what's going on, as we live our life, not just what's going on right now, when I blow into this device.

Daniel Tal:
Definitely, and there is also a crucial element which is having a human involved in your journey. So what we have done and, and some of the trials and in some of the products we offer, we offer a coach and we offer we offer a coach and, and, and a customer, basically a client's of is to work jointly. So whenever the client breathe in the morning and gets the results, all the data is actually sent to the coach, and they can chat about it. And that moment in time, just that moment in time in the morning that you can talk with someone about your nutrition, and tune a bit and maybe change your workout. And those are like three minutes of chatting through text, they have a huge impact because it's no longer context less discussion is actually a discussion that starts because the client did something and you as a coach have the opportunity to tweak him a bit or to help her understand something about her habits that can that she can change, that can make a huge impact. So we see that also as an opportunity as well to maybe differentiate and help help coaches do their job better actually help their clients better and elevate the discussion not only about the workout, but actually support the nutritional change this person is also probably going to embark on.

Rick Richey:
Alright, now you're speaking my language, because you're talking about coaching in the process. So it's not just about data, it's about the support, you need to interpret and apply that which is what we do as fitness professionals all the time with our fitness clients. So with that being said, What are maybe some other ways that lumen can be utilized by our training audience, what are some of the what are some things that fitness professionals can do to help to make use of this really cool tool,

Daniel Tal:
It's all about, I think, the discussion that you can have around goals and around how all the things in your life should support your goals. Because if you only think about your role, as I'm going to put stress on this person's muscle or on this person's cardio, cardio, for example, or aerobics training, then you're probably missing out on a compounding opportunity to make an impact of that on that person's life. And to retain that customer for the long term. Because as a person starts to noticing, because of the workout, because of how good he feels after that workout, he actually has an opportunity to start rethinking about his nutrition again, and he has an opportunity to maybe add another hour of sleep. And holistically you build stronger and more resilient people by just you know, touching more points in their lives. And that touch point, even if it's just a minute or two, it could be really the difference from a person just slipping and you know, letting go. Because he, he feels that he ate last late last night and ate a lot. And, and now he will not want to show up for a workout. Or now he's is he's judging himself and he doesn't want to be engaged in fitness anymore, because he feels like he's a fit is failing. So that's I think it's it goes way, way, way beyond the device. As you said, when we build the device, we knew that there is no longer justification in the world to build a device that measures something. That's it. It's more about the content, the insights, and actually it's more about the journey, and the accountability that this metric can provide. And the role of the metric in people's life in is really more than just knowing and analyzing, it's actually motivating. And it's actually keeping you accountable as well. So it's it's, it's it's all part of programming ourselves to better behavior. 

Rick Richey:
Man, I love that. Let me let me just follow up with it with what might be a final question but I'm curious because you talked about this as an entrepreneur you you've engaged in multiple things, you win some you lose some, but this this came about for you. So what is it about this product? What is it about lumen that made you start this business? And why was it important to you?

Daniel Tal:
Yeah. So I would have a, I wanted to say I want to have a romantic answer. But actually, I have a romantic answer. I'm here, okay. Because my wife because of my wife, so my lumen is not really the idea is not my invention. It's, it's my spouse, McCall and her twin sister Rob. So it was really originated by those two nutritionists who are also a PhD in physiology, in the in the space of cardiac arrhythmia, and both of them were Ironman competitors, and became very, very good at those extreme competitions, over marathons, and so forth. And their secret sauce was always nutrition. And I was married to one, but I was a kind of overweight from my own startup experience. And I wanted to understand how how I'm I'm using data in everything that I do in my companies, and in my day to day, but nutrition is, is basically like astrology, for me. I don't know what's working what's not. And for me, it was a personal journey. And for them for the Harlem lab, it was kind of a career change. They wanted to make an impact, they went to study nutrition, and they realized that it's, it's kind of psychology for food. And, and there is no which is, shouldn't be under underestimated, but there is no data. nutritionists don't really have data on what's happening, and what their how their recommendation is actually making an impact. They can see that on the weight scale. But it doesn't tell the whole story. And it doesn't necessarily tell a story of health. And so this was the genesis of our, our own journey. So we are five founders, two of them are my spouse and her twin sister, and the other two are my co founders from previous companies. So this is a family business. And it's like, we're all we're all in, we can't allow this to fail.

Rick Richey:
This, what an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad I asked that question. Thank you so much for sharing that. And you know, I wish the best to you and your family. And I'm fascinated with the product. I gotta be honest, I cannot wait to get one of those and to start tracking my metabolic health and my metabolic outcomes so I can understand more. I I heard about it probably two years ago from Registered Dietitian in New York City that I was working with a friend of mine, I've done a lot of referrals back and forth. She's part of my referral network. And she was asking me if I'd ever heard of it. And I said no, and she started filling me in on it. And then here we are a few years later being connected and talking to the to one of the co founders of this and the husband of one of the twin sisters that you know put put their brain power together to create what seems to be a really incredible product. So with that being said, What can you tell us if we we or any of our audience, if we are interested in the product? What What do we need to know where to find it? If you can discuss pricing as it stands as of today, whatever you can share with us, please do it.

Daniel Tal:
Sure. So you can basically find us online, we just sell online at the moment. And it's www dot lumen l u m e n.me. And basically through the website, you can start getting a sense of the content of the journey packages that were selling, or just buy a device. That's, that's the basically the price at the moment is $350. The company is looking into transitioning to a different business model, but it's it's going to take some time and so far, you can just buy it online.

Rick Richey:
Fantastic. That's what I wanted to hear. Daniel Tal. Thank you so much. We appreciate you being here is the CEO of lumen one of the co founders and an amazing guest to have on so I appreciate you. Alright, thank you so much.


The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.