Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 7 - Matt Bach - HEALTH BEFORE FITNESS - Part 3 of 3

I'm kind of curious. I mean, how do you go from finance to I guess I don't know exactly what you do at UCAN now. You'd mentioned bringing UCAN more into the triathlon world. So, what specifically are you doing at the company?

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JESSE: I'm kind of curious. I mean, how do you go from finance to I guess I don't know exactly what you do at UCAN now. You'd mentioned bringing UCAN more into the triathlon world. So, what specifically are you doing at the company? MATT: So, I'm the director of the triathlon business at UCAN, which means that my role is mostly marketing. I’m mostly raising education and awareness of UCAN in the triathlon world. So, right now education and awareness of UCAN and the triathlon world is not that high. Like it's bigger than the running space. And that's mainly a kind of a coincidental thing. Like we had ever since our founding about nine or 10 years ago, we've had - Kozlowski using UCAN. And he was using it before, it was even a brand before it was even a company. He was getting it in like white plastic bags and I'm sure that was kind of sketchy, it was white powder. But he was one major asset, and still is one major asset for our firm. And a number of other assets and influencers that have driven popularity of UCAN in running have helped. And it's also because of the fact that the company, the people that work at the company, had a lot of expertise and running, and they knew the space well, but they didn't know triathlon as well. So, last year, a venture capital firm, a venture capital arm of Kellogg, invested money in our company. So, we now finally have resources to play with. Not to play with, resources to invest to devote to the growth of the company. And one of the ways that they've done that is by hiring me, so that we can enter the triathlon world in a meaningful and significant way. So, our three main focuses are running, which is our biggest segment, fitness and triathlon. JESSE: So, does that mean that you're heading out to expos and shaking hands or are you like directing people to do only their duties? MATT: Yeah. Great question. So, my main role is the directing of where those marketing efforts are going to go. There's all sorts of ways that we can be in front of the right people. We want to reach the right people at the right time, and deliver the right message so that they understand what UCAN is, and why it's compelling for them to use in their endeavors, their athletic endeavors. That's the main goal that I'm trying to accomplish. And those methods could be set-- My purpose here is to put together the plan as to what approach we're going to take to get in front of those people in the right way with the right message. And that might be expos like some combination of expos, of race sponsorships of sponsoring high level athletes, it might be using social media, and content on social media, or it could be email marketing campaigns. It could be developing content with some influencers and bringing on coaches and nutritionists who know and understand the product and we could support them and raise a following through their influence in the world of web triathlon. Ambassador program we have right now could be utilized in even a bigger way to grow presence of UCAN in tri. JESSE: So, as a numbers guy, since I'm more familiar with, like digital marketing, and a lot of what digital marketers talk about, it's all about metrics. Like you're designing this particular sales funnel, however complicated they can get, as I'm sure you're aware, they can be very, very complicated because people are complicated and the funnel, all kinds of stages. I mean, are you sitting there and actually trying to track metrics from all those kind of things at the expo visit from the ambassador's? Do you look at all the numbers or is it say softer than that? MATT: We try to make it as concrete as possible and we are measuring a lot. And the measurements dictate to us how successful each of-- We can look at those measurements and see how successful each of those approaches are, in terms of a cost benefit analysis, and how scalable it could be, and then deploy those in the way that is going to get us the most new users and the most loyal customers and people who are just UCAN fans, we want them to be diehard fans, like they understand what it does and why it's compelling for them. And they just want to keep coming back for more because it's amazing and they're hitting their goals. So, we’re very much measurement based. And we're using that as indications of what our approach should be, the mix should be. JESSE: So, actually, that kind of leads me to where we can go back and say like, what is UCAN and why is it important? Why does it matter? MATT: We should probably talk about, there's probably some listeners that are like, what the hell is this stuff, they’re like sounded out already. So, yeah, UCAN is a complex carbohydrate, or what underlies you can is called super starch. And it's a complex carbohydrate, that gives you energy without the spike and crash that you get from sugar. So, all of this works nutrition products out there are some form of a simple sugar. It's either a lot of them are maltodextrin, which is considered complex, but it's really a pretty simple sugar, very simple sugar compared to what super starch is. Or they’re fructose or their glucose or they’re some very simple sugars, smaller complex molecule or a smaller carbohydrate molecule that for many people causes issues in their races. So, I'll use my own story as an example and the reason why I'm such a believer in it. For my first for Ironman events, I used the conventional approach. I was taking in, I was trying to take in about 300 calories, twice my body weight in calories worth of calories per hour. That's what I was told is like a good rule of thumb. So, I'm trying to take in 300 calories per hour and I was only able to manage something like 230 calories per hour during my first four Iron Man's because I would get to like my ninth gel and I'm like I just don't want this anymore. Like it sickens me just to look at this thing because I've had eight of them already. I don't know if anybody's experienced that. But I-- JESSE: Yeah, I definitely have with sports drinks. It had a sweet flavor like the sports drink I use now is it is a tart lemon lime and it doesn't bother me near as much because of the tartness, I think. MATT: Yeah, so I tried all of them, like I use it, it’s sounds like maybe using scratch or something. JESSE: It’s EFS. MATT: EFS, okay. That was the one I was actually using right before I made the switch to UCAN. EFS, Scratch, Gatorade Endurance, like you name it, I tried it. I was using - I was using the blocks to like everything I've tried. And it all kind of did the same thing because what underlies them is essentially the same thing. It's a simple sugar. And so I had issues like GI issues, stomach ache, exploding in the porta potty, that's not a good idea when you're supposed to be running a marathon. All those issues, and I had issues during my first four Iron Man's, majorly in two of them walking parts of the marathon, obviously not living up to my performance that I know I could do. And then two of them, I had relatively minor issues to the point where I was able to run okay, like well enough to do well enough, right to get like to Kona 2013, I was able to qualify using this conventional approach. And then in 2014, I finally said, I'm done playing this Russian roulette. I've trained so hard for these events, and it's a 50/50 whether I'm going to do terrible because of my nutrition. And what UCAN allowed me to do, and teaching my body how to burn fat better as well, through medical efficiency training. Through those two things, I was able to avoid any GI distress and I’ve had no bunking issues since I started using that approach. And it allowed my fitness and so 2014 I won Iron Man Maryland, I was using UCAN. And I, what I found is that I was trained and I was fit and I was ready, and in that instance, my nutrition didn't hold me back. It allowed my fitness to express itself in my racing. And that's what I had been looking for and I was able to do really, really well at Ironman Maryland. I jumped off 51 minutes. So, my PR I'd gone 942 at Louisville. And then I went 851 at Ironman Maryland, won the race, ran a three flat marathon. And then the next year I was top amateur at Eagle Man and I was sixth overall. So, I'd beat nine pros and lost to five. And then in Kona, I was 72nd overall and that was all during Kona actually, I only had 68 calories an hour of UCAN, only UCAN during that entire race. And at Ironman Maryland, I was 94 calories an hour. So, that really open my eyes to the fact that you can avoid GI distress, you can avoid bunking, use UCAN. It's incredible. JESSE: So, I mean, I did a little bit of research on UCAN, although not super in depth. So, can you tell us a little bit more about like, what is super starch? How is it made, where does it come from? Like ?? 9:20> we get to where we are, I guess. MATT: Yes. The UCAN is, or super starch is a complex carbohydrate, right. And it's made from non GMO corn starch. They take non GMO corn starch, and they cook it over 40 hours, just using heat and water. It's an all natural process. And it elongates the carbohydrate molecule a lot to the point where it's become super starch and it goes into your stomach very quickly. It absorbs very quickly in your stomach, but then it releases energy at a slower rate into your system. And the founding of it, I love the founding of the company and our origin story. It has noble origins. It's not some corporation, greedy corp that wants to make money off of triathletes because they know the triathletes at money. It was a company that was created for these kids who have a rare metabolic disorder. So, our founder’s son is named Jonah, and he has this disorder. And what it means is that he needs to be fed corn starch like Argo cornstarch off the shelf every two hours, in order to keep his blood sugar stable, day and night, and it's life threatening. So, if overnight, its parents missing alarm, and they slip through it, and they miss a feeding, he could have seizures and die. Very, very stressful for the parents. The kid is obviously not living a normal life. And Jonah dealt with that for nine years until a carbohydrate breakthrough was made through some scientists that Jonah's parents were able to engage. And they found a solution. They had this carbohydrate breakthrough which they created super starch. And now Jonah can have the equivalent of two packets of UCAN before he goes to bed, and he can have a full night sleep eight hours straight. When he was nine years old, it was the first time he ever had a full night's sleep, eight hours straight. And his parents too probably. JESSE: Right. Yeah, I mean, I can’t even imagine the level of fatigue that you're dealing with at that point, like not to make light of the situation, but just like just trying to wrap my head around. Because it's like, if I went two nights, three nights and I said in college, I had trouble sleeping, it’s just this, like the irritability creeps up, and you become almost like a different person without proper amount of sleep. So, like for a kid to go through that, it's always worse when kids have to go through anything because that should be like a time when it's kind of - like a time of innocence or you shouldn't have to deal with that kind of stuff as a kid like-- MATT: You didn't do anything wrong to deserve this like kids are perfectly good nice little kiddys...if you feel terrible for them. JESSE: Yeah. So, I think you already really addressed this but it’s like, what I was curious about was like the digestion time since it's like, it seems like typically longer chain carbohydrates take longer to digest. So, it seems like it's a relatively quick digestion period, and then long release, s, that's why it doesn't spike your insulin. MATT: Yeah, so actually, the longer the carbohydrate molecule, the lower the osmolality, which means it goes into your system faster and into your gut faster. Once it's into your system, it'll release the energy into your system at a slower rate because it takes time to break down a carbohydrate molecule. JESSE: Okay. Okay. So, you're saying that the founders of the company, were they associated with the scientists while they were working on this study or like, it's-- There's so many scientists working on so many things it's just kind of curious, like, why were they even doing the research that would lead to this, do you know? MATT: Yeah. I don't want to get it wrong, the origins of the story and I got to talk to my CEO again, her name is Shelby Morales, she's an impressive person. And I have to talk to her again, to make sure I have all the details straight in my head. But I know the crux of it was that Jonah's parents engaged with some scientists, and it ultimately was some scientists in Scotland, that were the ones that discovered this process of elongating the molecule, and therefore producing what is super starch, which is what underlies UCAN. JESSE: Yeah. To me that's like, this is an aside, but it's almost like, validation for why we do science. Like as humans, we explore and do all these things that not necessarily have direct connections. But sometimes there's these like tangential discoveries that bring about something that's a solution to a problem that we didn't know there was a solution. So, it's kind of like, it's kind of neat on top of being very practically helpful to people with this disorder. Like, the whole process of how that even happens. It wasn't just, oh, they have this disorder, we need to find a solution. It was like a very roundabout way they're all coming together. Matt, if people want to follow you, I know your blog slowed down a little bit since 2017, but I'm hoping as you get back into training, it’ll pick back up. If people want to follow you, where can they find you? MATT: Yeah, I mean, my website is a great place to just check out more about me and it also has links to my Instagram, which is @IronMattBach and Facebook, you can find me on there as well. I'm on Twitter as well. I think it's the same handle, it's @IronMattBach. And that's probably the best places to find me. Also, I can share with you for the notes a code, if people want to try UCAN. And I can give it to you now too, so the code is Smart Athlete, and it'll be for 15% off if they want to give it a shot. JESSE: Okay. I'll ask you this question, but I'm going to take a stab, I already know the answer. I asked everybody the same question because it varies so wildly. MATT: I'm excited. JESSE: If you could only eat one thing for recovery for the rest of your life, what do you choose? MATT: I think I'd be remiss to say anything but UCAN, right? JESSE: we’ve just been talking about this. This seems like a pretty, almost like a teed up question like, what's it gonna be? But I have to ask just because it’s-- MATT: Yeah, but in this case, though, we haven't really talked about, UCAN does have a protein enhanced, two different flavors that are protein enhanced. So, chocolate, and vanilla cream. So, my choice would be the vanilla cream flavor, - the chocolate flavor, but I like the vanilla cream flavor and more. So, I would have that as my recovery, my recovery, drink. JESSE: Good deal. Thanks for coming on today, man. MATT: Yeah. Appreciate you having me. Go to Part 1 Go To Part 2

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