When it comes to training, nutrition, and now supplements, Kris Gethin is always the first one through the door.
By Mike Carlson
PQ: “The one thing I have always loved about fitness is that you are always learning. I always say, ‘Knowledge without mileage is bullshit.’ Unless you try it yourself, you never know.”
PQ: “You should always have some type of goal that leads to the next chance to better yourself. Everyone wants to reward and overindulge, and next thing you know they need another transformation.”
Late on a recent evening, Kris Gethin returned to his house in Boise, Idaho, from 12 straight hours of travel. His day consisted of hotels, shuttles, cars, planes, and airports. When Gethin finally arrived home close to midnight, he did something very few people in the fitness industry would do.
“I sat outside for an hour even though it was dark out,” he says. “I just sat in my garden underneath the stars to get fresh air into my system.”
No social media, no late-night workout, no well-deserved beer, no Netflix and chill. Fresh air and nature has become a health priority for Gethin. Last year, Gethin—who has created and quarterbacked dozens of physical transformations for tens of thousands of fitness enthusiasts—underwent a life-changing transformation of his own. Suffering under the dark cloud of depression and insomnia, he spent six weeks with Dr. Rick Sponaugle in Florida, who helped guide him through a complete lifestyle reboot.
“I am in a really good place now. I’ve been living a much healthier lifestyle. I don’t generally stay in air-conditioned units, I eat organically, I have my weekly colonic, and I detox a lot,” he says. “My body responds better. It is easier to lose body fat, maintain muscle, and build muscle. A couple years ago I had a lot of niggling issues in my back, knees, and biceps tendons. I don’t have any of these aches and pains, and I am not training any lighter or easier. I am eating less, but I’m able to put on muscle because I’m assimilating my foods much better. And I’m able to lose fat because I believe my cortisol levels are that much lower now.”
This type of intrepid experience is classic Gethin. During his years in fitness publishing and as the former editor in chief of Bodybuilding.com, he was always his own best guinea pig, testing every workout program and dietary strategy on himself before reporting on it. “Knowledge without mileage is bullshit” is a favorite quote of his. (A recent e-mail to Gethin was returned with an auto-response stating: “I will be offline for a Digital Detox and Juice Fast until next week. I will not be reachable via phone or email during this time.”)
His hunger for experience stems from his desire to share effective findings with his legion of followers. It’s this devotion to his fellow fitness junkies that inspired him to create Kaged Muscle, a boutique supplement line that is an industry game-changer in terms of quality, integrity, and transparency.
Mike Carlson: You’re a bit of a transformation guru. Are you better at the workout part of the transformations or motivating people to do the work?
Kris Gethin: It all depends on what the person has taken from me and what they need. Some people work in automatic and just need the education. Some people are extremely educated and know everything they need to do, but they just don’t do it, so they need the motivation. I can’t say what I am better at. All I can say is that I try to give out every leg of that stool to sit up in, and if one of those legs are short, they are going to fall off.
MC: What’s the most common problem people have while trying to transform their physiques?
KG: Number one is that people reward themselves with the wrong thing. When they reward themselves, they think of food. They want what they think they can’t have even though they don’t really enjoy themselves when they can have it. Some people overindulge because they create a mindset that they need to overindulge at the end of a transformation. I just finished an eight-week transformation, and I went out and got myself some triathlete gear. I got a new bike, a bike fit, a wetsuit, and touch-up on a tattoo. Part of a reward goes to my next goal. You should always have some type of goal that leads to the next chance to better yourself. Everyone wants to reward and overindulge, and next thing you know they need another transformation.
MC: What kind of diet do you follow?
KG: It’s a pescatarian diet. It’s made up of whey isolate protein after my workout and a cold-filtered micellar casein shake at night. Every other meal is egg whites or fish, along with a carb source that is usually quinoa or sweet potato or gluten-free oats. I eat gluten-free as well. And then my fibrous vegetables such as spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce. And my fruits are just a little blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple.
MC: Is it difficult to eat well when you travel so much?
KG: It is difficult, so I pack as much as I can. I’ll get myself salads at airports. Sometime I’ll get three at a time and put them in my Tupperware. I was at a Holiday Inn Express yesterday, and I was eating boiled egg whites and dipping them in low-fat Greek yogurt—it tasted awesome. And then I bring packets of oats, tuna packets, and Ziploc bags of protein power and Pre-Kaged.
MC: What are your workouts like?
KG: I do various rep schemes all in one workout. I use both low reps and heavy weights, and high reps and still heavy weights. I combine them both, so I attack the fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers all in one go. Generally, I’ll start with the high-rep principle and use that as a warm-up. I’ll go to failure, so it’s counted as a working set. I’ll increase from there until I get to a low-rep range, which is about 10 reps for me. And then I’ll go back down the pyramid until I get to 40 to 50 reps. I rest during the low reps for two to three minutes, but when I’m doing the high reps I only rest for 30 to 45 seconds because I’m trying to encounter sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which is encouraged through high reps and shorter rest periods.
MC: The online fitness world seems to attract dogmatic characters, but you have always seemed remarkably open to change.
KG: The one thing I have always loved about fitness is that you are always learning. I always say, “Knowledge without mileage is bullshit.” Unless you try it yourself, you never know. So I love to test things, and once I test something, and if it’s new, I will adapt to it and tell as many people as possible. I have always been that way. I never participated in team sports. I never enjoyed that. I like to “test and not guess” to see if anything would help me achieve something greater than the next person. I have always been open to that because I want to evolve.
MC: You use the words “toxins” and “detox” a lot, but to knowledgeable fitness people that sounds like Gwyneth Paltrow-esque junk science.
KG: I think they’re looking at it the wrong way. Maybe they think that detox means “cleanse,” but it does not. It means “fighting free-radical damage.” When I say “detox,” I mean different things that stop free-radical damage or bring our cortisol levels down. I think people take detox to mean cleanse—it’s a problem with the translation or perception of it.
MC: What kind of toxins are you referring to?
KG: Environmental toxins. In a house, you have a lot of cleaning toxins, you have pesticides on our food, contaminants in our water, so I make sure I always have the windows open whether it’s hot or cold outside. We basically live in gas chambers now. Air conditioning only been introduced in the last 35 years, and during that time there as been a huge increase in various issues, whether they be viral, cancers, or emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. I find that is no coincidence. I use a travel filter for my shower at the hotel so I don’t absorb any contaminants through the pores of my skins. And I take certain supplements like selenium, glutathione, and alpha lipoic-acid to make sure I’m detoxifying my body.
MC: And you have brought this health-forward mindset to your supplement line, Kaged Muscle?
KG: Every ingredient in Kaged Muscle is third-party tested that they are free of any heavy-metal contaminants. There are fermented ingredients, organic ingredients, patented ingredients, they are all BSCG [banned substance control group] certified. Everything I put in my body I want to be clean. They are not providing a toxic environment where my body’s own enzymes have to break down those items. Once I run out of my own enzymes, I become toxic and open to cancer, viruses, sickness, and I definitely don’t want that.
MC: In simple terms, what’s the difference between Kaged Muscle and other supplements?
KG: No proprietary blends, no generic ingredients, and efficacious doses of every ingredient. I make sure every single ingredient is listed. I have like nine patented ingredients in my formula. I have patented creatine HCL and not the generic one. I always have the efficacious dose of citrulline. Another difference is that my product has fermented BCAAs. I have carnosine, and I have the Spectra ORAC blend with all the antioxidants. I have the coconut water powder in there. I have the PureCaf organic caffeine, which is a green-bean coffee so you don’t get that crash. And it’s all naturally flavored and naturally colored. There is no artificial shit in there.
MC: Are consumers responding to it?
KG: Pre-Kaged just become the number 11 product on Bodybuilding.com. When I was at the Bodybuilding.com warehouse yesterday, it was in the front tier, which is where they keep the products that are ordered all the time. Pre-Kaged was right in the front, and it made me feel really happy.
The proudest part is that everybody keeps telling me this—and I have never heard this before—they say, “It feels so clean,” or “It is such clean energy.” The word “clean” always comes into it.
MC: Is Kaged Muscle a game-changer in the supplement industry?
KG: It is for the consumer. I don’t know if it will be for any brands. I don’t know if they are even interested in doing that. To be honest, they are in it for the money. I don’t mean every brand. There are some great brands out there. But the leaders in the industry, I don’t think they will take any notice of Kaged Muscle and change their ways anytime soon.
Name: Kris Gethin
Lives: Boise, ID
Profession: CEO of Kaged Muscle, Co-Founder of Kris Gethin Gyms franchise
Dislikes: Negative people
Favorite Drink: Hydra-Charge
Favorite Clean Meal: Kaged Kasein Pancake
Favorite Cheat Meal: Granola
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Who Would You Cast To Play Yourself in a Movie? Tom Hardy
Desert Island Exercises: Leg press, deadlift, chest press
Favorite Charity Or Cause: International Bipolar Foundation
Sponsors: GASP, Ryderwear and Nutrition Solutions
Facebook: Kris Gethin
Websites: kagedmuscle.com, krisgethin.com