Biohacking, body optimization, performance nutrition: No matter what you call it, the practice of using science and data to improve mental and physical performance attracts a diverse crowd. Among influencers in the space, Tait Fletcher has one of the most wide-ranging resumes we’ve ever come across. A professional fighter turned actor, stuntman, entrepreneur, and coffee connoisseur, Tait’s appeared in some of the biggest movies and shows of modern times: Breaking Bad, The Avengers, Jurassic World, and John Wick. You may not have known it at the time, but trust us, you’ve seen him.
Beyond the screen, Tait’s passion project revolves around helping people take control of their lifestyles through his successful podcast, Pirate Life Radio, and Caveman Coffee, a company specializing in extremely high-quality, single-estate coffees, along with MCT oil and other supplementary products.
We sat down with Tait to talk about mental performance, nutrition, nootropics, and what it means to Pirate your lifestyle.
Tell us a little about how Caveman Coffee came about?
It goes way back. Whenever I get into something, I talk about it a lot. I find stuff out, and I pass it along, and that turns me on to new things. Back in my days as a professional fighter, I was always really nervous about diet, because I had to cut weight AND come in in appropriate condition. I had to preserve the strength and endurance to operate well.
That didn’t allow a lot of variance in my diet. That career ended, but now I’m a professional actor and stuntman, so my body is still a professional tool, and I still want to keep moving beautifully as well as long as I can.
That all led to curiosity to explore a lot of different diets: ketogenic, let’s try that out and be disciplined about it for six months. What does a Paleo diet look like? What effect does insulin suppression have on my body and my emotions?
You were biohacking!
Definitely. I always joke, all you biohackers, understand we see your WHOLE life. You see a lot of these guys talk about a strict ketogenic diet, then they’ll have 15 beers over the weekend! For me, I have to be all in, find out what the result is, and then go from there. I went deep into it, I go into the blood work as well. If I’m feeling great and my outsides are great, maybe there’s something to adjust there. And a lot of folks are asking me about my routine and what I’m doing. That leads to a lot of conversations that are meaty, not just blabber. I got to speak with all these beautiful people who were dialing things in and working to get a handle on it.
I became interested in coffee, interested in mycotoxins, different strains of mold, the ways coffee is procured. I realized a lot of major chains tasted the same, whether I was in South Africa or Boston. And I started learning that’s because the coffee is all burnt to the same degree! They’re not having one roaster, they’re procuring beans that are years old some times, and they just shuffle them together to make blends. That allows them to work the commodity market of coffee greatly.
If you really want to get high quality nutritious coffee, see, I’d never thought about coffee as nutritious before. Coffee is a fruit that’s roasted into a bean, and there are different parts of the roast that affect that. The darker the roast, the more robust the flavor, but a lot of the caffeine and antioxidants are going to be burned out of the bean.
I started talking to my business partner Keith Jardine about this, and then another partner, Lacie Mackey, who’s a high level trainer and athlete. We got on this road of coffee and nutrition together, then I started having discussions on twitter about people’s favorite single origin roasters, and I started trading bags with people, sort of like an informal coffee club.
Then Keith introduced me to a guy named David, he and his brother Juan immigrated from Colombia and have a coffee roaster in Albuquerque. They have the roaster here and a family plantation in Colombia, they get the beans from the plantation there and roast them in New Mexico.
Single origin is from the same region, single estate is even better than that, it’s all off the same farm. All the beans we do are hand picked, cold washed, come from the same estate and same family. They’re the highest quality coffee beans in the world. And I realized I needed and wanted to share that with people. We thought up a brand around that, and we went from there.
Our parent company is Pirate Life, and the whole idea is to educate ourselves about our own wellness. The conversation a lot of times is that we get sick, and we need some pills to get us back on the track to wellness. We’re all victims of our lifestyle, whether you’re a hang glider or a rodeo rider or professional chef.
But I want to empower people to Pirate their Lifestyle, help people find out what consumption does to them. The only vote that counts for me is to vote with my dollars. My good friend Joe Rogan says voting in the national elections is like pro wrestling. It might make you feel better, but it doesn’t affect the outcome. So where I spend my dollars makes the difference, which is why I spend my money on small based community companies. Maybe that costs a little more, but real food costs more in this day and age, crazy enough.
Caveman Coffee rose out of that, as did my Pirate Life podcast and a few other things we have in the works. We didn’t want a business, we wanted a movement to empower people.
Caveman sells high quality coffee, and you also sell MCT oil. Is that something you incorporate into your own routine?
I travel a lot, and I’m always warding off fatigue. Wherever I end up, I need to be on and 100% present. My nutrition is super important for me.
MCT is a nice healthy fat that you can derive from coconuts or palm oil. But with palm oil, you have destruction of rainforest and great ape habitat, so we try to be careful of how we source, and we do it from coconuts. I use it in my coffee to keep my fats high. I keep my fats high because I feel better that way. I spoke a little bit on the ketogenic diet; personally, I’ve found that keeping my carbohydrate count to 50 or 30 grams a day or less, I feel great. But in order to do that, I have to eat a ton of fat. Then my body creates ketones, and my body is fueled off adipose tissue.
MCT oil supplants the use of cream in my coffee. I have a little whip that I blend it up with, it’s nice and creamy and delicious. That and fish oil I take religiously.
What are some some tips to fighting fatigue and staying your best on the road?
For me, it’s diet, so much of it is diet. I used to have really bad mood swings when I was a sugar burner. When I burn sugar as fuel, I crash, and then I’m on this roller coaster all day long, and it played with my emotions, I got surly. I’m a slave to food in this way.
That’s one of the reasons I went on the ketogenic diet, fats don’t do that to me. If I need to take a little cat nap, I can wake up good and present. And I take Alpha BRAIN at night before I go to bed, which is a great product that Onnit puts out, your readers are probably familiar with it. I sleep deeper.
That’s just me, a lot of people take it throughout the day for mental clarity, I don’t do that, I take like four or five of them at night. And of course, it’s probably against the recommended dosage on the bottle, but I’m 240 pounds and I’m used to taking a lot of things. I get into REM sleep a lot quicker than I normally would, and even shorter duration sleep I’m getting more benefits out of. But that’s what biohacking is all about, getting the most out of what you’re doing.
We get a lot of questions from folks on supplement dosage, especially when it comes to Alpha BRAIN. We’ve noticed a huge amount of variation about how it will work for some people.
I just spent the weekend with [Onnit CEO] Aubrey, and he was talking about how different people are affected differently by it. Experience is the best information we have, and my experience is going to be deviated from yours.
And one more supplement I take daily is ZMA. I find the zinc, magnesium, and B6 highly useful for my rest and recovery.
How I work out these days is different than how I worked out as a professional combative athlete. Now I do higher volume in a shorter duration. I try not to have any metabolic conditioning workouts that last more than 8 to twelve minutes.
Where can people find out more about you, and what’s the best way for people to get in touch?
I try to answer all my messages. I’m on Twitter and Instagram, Taitimus Maximus is my Snapchat, and I’m responsible to all of those. You can find out more about our coffee and MCT on Caveman Coffee’s website. And of course Pirate Life Radio, I’m honored to be able to have the conversations I’ve had with some really fantastic people. I get to talk to people I really admire who are living high octane lives and have found fantastic success and serenity by walking an alternate route than what they were given as kids generally.