Disclaimer: I am still not a doctor. Discuss with an actual doctor before beginning any diet or supplementation regime.
I knew I was in trouble when clapping hurt. It was a cold morning in Chicago and I was driving myself to the gym, and the shivers caused me to clap my hands together rather than rub them, resulting in a searing hot line of pain to shoot up my right forearm. For the previous few weeks something had been not right, but now it was a capital P problem.
A few years prior, I had joined Forteza at the prodding of my wife. Back then I was working at a startup, and things had gotten pretty stressful at work. Like, “got hospitalized due to stress triggered psychosomatic problems” stressful. Leah knew about Forteza nearby, and figured that a bit of working out and fighting would be a good outlet for my stress.
It turns out she was right, go figure. Forteza is a historical fencing and martial arts gym nestled into the North side of Chicago. There I learned longsword fencing, yes longsword, wrestling, and medieval dagger fighting. The work was complicated, intense, dangerous, and deeply satisfying. More importantly than the specifics of my martial career, I discovered a love for fitness and sport.
I had never been a good athlete. Aside from peewee soccer, my entire sports story consisted of two disappointing years of wrestling, one of which terminated early due to my low ability. For most of highschool I actually spent more time in marching band than any other physical activity, although in my defense the band was significantly more successful than our football team. At Forteza my love for fencing eventually transformed into a pursuit of fitness in general, at first to improve my fighting stamina, and later for the sake of fitness itself. I started showing up at 6AM several times a week, rain or shine, to throw around kettlebells and get stronger along with a few other crazy diehards in the cold Chicago mornings.
But in my car that cold November, everything was in jeopardy. my wrist was hurting badly, and nothing was helping. I couldn’t hold a kettlebell with my right hand, nor could I perform the variety of snapping and rotating motions that longsword fencing requires. Something had to be done.
It turns out that there was something wrong with my ECU tendon, which runs from the base of my pinky along the outside of the wrist to the elbow. This tendon travels in a groove on the bone, and is held in place by a soft and flexible cover. Either due to genetics, which was my doctor’s explanation, or over training, I had managed to pop the tendon out of place, doing all kinds of damage to my wrist in the process. The solution was to either undergo some serious surgery to modify my bone structure and reset the tendon, a risky and expensive proposition, or sit still on it for months on end and hope that it gets better.
Unfortunately, this is just one of those injuries that will probably never go away. It kept me out of Forteza for the remainder of my time in Chicago, and even here in sunny LA it continues to be an occasional problem while training. Anything that involves compressing the wrist or rotating it under pressure is an injury risk for me, making some types of pushups and ring work tricky propositions that might end up in pain and reduced training.
The only thing I had ever found that helped my wrist was cryotherapy, which involves standing still in a -200F chamber for a few minutes. While this sounds miserable, and it is, it would almost instantly return range of pain free motion back to my wrist. It was also hard to get to, a temporary fix, and prohibitively expensive to do on a daily basis.
Revive is basically a concentrated form of one of Lucid’s ingredients: Velvet Antler Extract, or VAE for short. It’s a tincture, which means its a few ingredients mixed with alcohol, that you take orally. Add a few drops, or a whole dropper, under your tongue and hold it as long as you can since the alcohol burns a bit. For me I’ve discovered that Revive is every bit as effective as Cryotherapy over the long term, even if the effect isn’t as instant as a -200F chamber can be.
Okay, so what’s Antler Velvet? Antler Velvet is the fuzzy layer that can be seen on top of deer, elk, or moose antlers; in this case we’re going to be working with Elk antler. In case you didn’t know, deer and similar animals grow a fresh set of antlers every year, which is insane when you think about it. While the antler is growing, up to an inch a day by the way, it’s covered in a fuzzy layer that contains all the support systems necessary to build an organ so quickly. Once the antler is done growing it sheds the velvet, leaving behind the hard and pointy antlers that we all know and …. love? Eventually these antlers fall off too, which is why you can occasionally find them laying around the woods in the right places.
Historically antler velvet was collected by hunters while hunting, which seems kind of obvious. If you’re a hunter and you can get some antler velvet along with your meat, this is obviously a good deal. But for those of us who want pound after pound of the stuff, that is a short term strategy. So Totem’s Elk Antler is harvested from semi-domesticated Elk. During the growing season they have their antlers trimmed, which is a bit like you or I cutting our toenails. All the work is done under the supervision of a veterinarian, just to make sure that the animals aren’t hurt. Obviously this means it isn’t a vegan product, sorry, but Totem promises that the Elk that lay the golden velvet are not being harmed.
So, what’s in the stuff? Lot’s of things, basically anything necessary to actually grow new parts of your body. For the Elk this is obviously the antlers, but for you it could be anything. One of the biggest ingredients is IGF-1, insulin like growth factor 1. IGF-1 is a protein that humans can synthesize ourselves, but we produce a lot less of it as we age. This is a problem, since IGF-1 is closely related to both mental and physical health, and is one of the reasons why exercising is so good for your brain. There’s also a lot of glycosaminoglycans, which aside from being really hard to pronounce are basically building blocks for skin and joints.
Beyond that there’s a huge list of Amino Acids that are helpful to you, including quite a few that are scientifically shown to improve your mood, including being precursors to making the happiness nerotransmitters - dopamine and seratonin. Obviously anything that helps you synthesize what’s known as the “happiness nerotransmitters” is something you’re going to want to have in your life.
Note: The ingredients in Revive are so potent that they’ve spent some time on and off the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list. I personally think this is insane, since it’s basically food and humans have been eating this stuff for millenia, but I’m also not a professional athlete who’s being tested on a regular basis. If you are a professional athlete who will be tested, be sure to do your own research.
Totem Nutrition offers a no stress money back guarantee if you aren’t happy with their products for any reason. Best of all readers of my blog can get 10% off their first order by using the coupon code “ASHTON2018” on their first order.