Thoughts, practices, interests, habits, and biohacks of Kyle Scarmardo

On Writing – Part 2 LMAO

Published 3 years ago in writing - 0 Comments

Still a Love Hate Relationship

Let's just say 2020 did not go how I expected it to ūüėČ.  Like many others during the Covid fun, I checked out mentally and was not as productive as I would have liked.  It was not all related to Covid, but it certainly did not help.  I was at the gym daily and all the sudden could not go.  There's only so much walking I can do, which is usually at least three miles per day, and I really do not enjoy working out at home.  Part of it is lack of space, but the vibe is not the same for me.  Needless to say, the impact to lifestyle made me a bit bitchy.   I was able to do some great hiking in New Mexico and Colorado, but I still put on more weight than I would like to admit.  I easily put on 30 pounds in a matter of months, but reversed that trend in September and am as low as I've been in years.  I've put on muscle as well, so overall the reduction in body fat has been very good.

Now for writing...what happened?  Like many other things, I simply did not prioritize it.  Due to other stuff going on and needing to balance it all, it went on the shelf while I numbed out a bit.  Yes I'm a coach and professional executive, yes I maintain a rather strict diet geared toward health and all-around performance.  Yes I have machine-like discipline around certain practices that increase my capacity to get things done.  At the end of the day, I bleed red like everyone else....I'm human.  Shit happens and I process and deal just like others.  My feeling on writing is still the same.  It has to be simple and low overhead if I'm going to sustain it, so here we go again.  It's 2021...I'm no longer mentally checked out and ready to have another go.

Covid life is still not over and most likely things will never return exactly to how they used to be.  This is something that will be with us for many years, but I know it will be better.  Humans are incredibly resilient and will adapt as always.  Here's to a better year for all.

On Writing

Published 4 years ago in writing - 0 Comments

Love Hate Relationship

I imagine folks have landed here and come to the conclusion that I had an idea of blogging, but did not follow through.  It's true.  I've never really been a writer and I was doing some consistency in 2017, but can't say I fell in love with it.  That said, the intention was always to do better.  It's hard to be good at anything when you don't practice.  What I now know is that my writing needs to be like my hair.  It can't take much time to do or I won't do it.  Being a perfectionist, I would get into long editing cycles, then SEO, etc.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  I just want to write and keep it simple.  I won't try to be SEO, word count, or picture compliant.  I've never been one to follow rules that did not make much since to me, so why now?  This year I'll aim to write something once a week.  I have multiple sites, so maybe not on all of them, but I'll post something.

I will say, the things I write about I enjoy either the topic or just sharing about it.  My writing has gotten much better over the years for sure.  Often times in my work I found myself helping others learn to be concise and say a lot with few words.  We're at a point in our lives where most of us are inundated with noise, information, and distractions.  Hats off to folks that have learned to simplify and be present in life, but it's simply not the norm for most.  Being concise is an art and takes practice.  I suggest honing this skill for professional life.  You'd be surprised how much more effective you could be if folks would read your email the first time.  Here's a hint, nobody wants to read a book or be impressed by your long-ass sentences and incredible vocabulary.  Get to the damn point!

Change Everything: Part Two

Create New Boats?

Last time I posted all kinds of change that had occurred in life very rapidly.  Needless to say it took some time for the dust to settle on that one.  Since then the following has happened:

  • Started a corporate gig
  • Sold a home
  • Left said corporate gig (life is too short to not enjoy where and who you work with and for)
  • Sold a car
  • Bought a car
  • Picked up another corporate gig (Nothing like working with friends and building high performance teams)
  • Various life struggles that I won't get into detail about

I recall a conversation with my coach mid-2015 and us discussing my goals etc.  She asked if I was prepared for the challenges that would come my way, because for all the good I wanted to do, there were sure to be challenges.  With conviction I said yes.  I did not expect what came after, but I'm still standing and just as determined.

Going Back to Corporate

It was not in the plans, but a friend reached out and asked if I would be interested.  I had not heard great things about the destination, but I figured how bad could it be.  The commute would be the shortest I had ever had in my life and it was an opportunity to work with new folks and make a difference.  Needless to say, life is too short to put up with some levels of bullshit.  Arguably I've not been one to tolerate much in general.  I put up with much more now compared to my adolescent days and have tremendous patience compared to then as well.  That said, I don't suffer people for too long.  I have patience, but I have my limits and is too short.

The second gig has been great.  Working with a great friend, having a blast, and making a difference.  Find somewhere you want to be, doing work you want to do, with people you want to work with.  If you're not experiencing this, then look again.  Don't confuse this with being outside of your comfort zone.  Don't assume shit work with shitty people is the same as you just needing to be out of your comfort zone.  At the same time, dealing with this is a challenge unto itself and I don't personally deny that value comes from this kind of perseverance.  That said, I'd rather challenge myself in other ways that does not involve dealing with narcissistic assholes and backbiting cultures where there's no focus on development of people. 

It's Worth It

Continuing down the entrepreneurial road and building a business is so fun and rewarding.  Continuing to add value to the lives of others through coaching is incredibly gratifying.  Doing that on a bigger scale through my partnership with great people is a blast!  Continuing to have fun doing technology media with a great friend is also hard to believe.  I was so introverted throughout most of my life, that I would have never thought I'd be doing something like that.  On top of that we're profitable!

Change Everything: Part One

Burn the Boats!

Image of a boat on fire and says to win you must burn the boats

I believe events in life happen for us not too us.  Through this, if we allow it to happen, we grow tremendously and in ways we can't see until later.  In 2017 I committed to taking leave from the corporate world after 16 years.  Shortly after that I did the following: 

  • started three businesses
  • wife started multiple endeavors and businesses
  • we put my oldest in college
  • we put my younger two children in new schools in the city (fifty minutes away with no traffic)
  • bought a new place in the city to get three hours of lost time a day back
  • sold two homes
  • sold one car
  • bought another car
  • various personal struggles that show up in life

Most sane people would not do this much at once, but I'm not most people.  At times I'm unsure if it's a good thing, but this is how I've lived my life and things are good!  I recall Adam Robinson talking about 2018 being a fulcrum year on Tim Ferris' show and I was definitely feeling that in my life mid 2018.  He talks about the moments coming every so often in life and they hold a lot of opportunity.  It's his opportunity that thrust me towards all of this change.  Deep down I new it needed to happen, but I resisted and tried to take it "slowly" and controlled.  Just like my brain would  This was not to be.  To be where I wanted to be and have opportunities I wanted to create for my family, everything needed to change.

image of a chart showing rate of change and the sweet spot in the center followed by a dip in productivity to the right


Regarding homes, we went from one acre, 3500 square feet 5 beds and 3 baths to no yard and 2000 square feet with 4 beds and 3.5 baths.  I used to not hear any road traffic and now I hear it all.  My sleep is not the same, because my brain is still trying to categorize the new patterns relative to my safety.  I'm mostly a country boy.  I love nature, the sound of rivers, streams, oceans, the wind through the trees etc.  That said, I do enjoy the city and having been in the "city-country" for ten years, I was game for a change.  I'm someone that needs change in life, so I've been excited about the move.  This also creates an opportunity to pursue buying a ranch, but that will have to wait.  The driving situation alone is incredible regarding getting kids to school.  We're getting three hours a day back, spending less on gas, tolls, and food/places to be with wifi.

This has also created an interesting opportunity for me to look at startups in the city that would allow me to bike a mile to work.  If this were to play out, it would be the shortest commute of my life and is exciting.  I'm at a point in my life where I value time more than working for a specific company or role.  If it's close and aligns, then I could be interested.

It's Not Easy!

Regarding entrepreneurship, I love it!  There's nothing like growing and earning through your own business.  It's a different kind of stress, but it's certainly a motivating one that holds much more personal growth than a corporate gig (in my opinion).  I relate it to others through the difference in eating the food in a village versus producing/finding the food for others in the village to eat.  There's a comfort knowing food will be there when it's provided and there's no need to make drastic change in this comfort.  Hunger and the responsibility to keep others alive/fed will motivate in a very different way.

image of guy from braveheart saying it's my island!

When I was young, I heard someone say "if you're not growing you're dying" and I've come to believe and experience this.  Although I was growing in the corporate world, it had slowed to a rate that was holding me back.  It also did not provide me the time that I wanted for myself and my family.  It eventually came to a head  mid 2015, and I knew I needed to get out in order to start a new story.  Leaving is what I needed to focus on creating something new and to learn from the process.  It's also what I needed to put me back into a state of discomfort to motivate me through the struggle.  I needed to be reminded what it felt like to be without and to not have that comfort.  I needed to be hungry again.

My Turn to Become the Iceman – Part Three

Published 6 years ago in biohacking , self-improvement - 0 Comments
The Iceman - image of a plastic blue iceman character slightly illuminated

Nearly a year later ūüôā

Ultimately workload, family, and pursuing two certifications forced me to shelf this.¬† I was not able to prioritize the breathing and other practices, nor was I able to be scientific in measurements.¬† With everything left to experiential alone, I can say going into winter I was able to tolerate the cold in 30 degree Fahrenheit weather like never before.¬† I simply did not get cold as I did in the past.¬† Being in Texas, I turned a lot of heads, because it’s just abnormal for someone to be out and about in shorts and a tee shirt.¬† I don’t really get sick, so I can’t say I experienced my immunity getting better and I was not measuring gains or focused on a specific body fat percentage, so I can’t say anything changed there.¬† Energy was great throughout the whole period and a cold shower will certainly get you going in the AM, but I can’t offer any qualitative changes there either.¬† The biggest change was simply resilience in the cold.

This is me taking a position to say it does not work, but rather saying my ability to execute and measure was very limited.¬† It’s ultimately why I stopped prioritizing it, because I could not measure the results and speak to the experience of it in the way that I would like.¬† The experience and feeling are still with me though and I will have some time freeing up in the near future.¬† I will be taking some time off to recharge after completing my certifications, but it’s also an opportunity to bring something like this back if the timing is right.¬† The science of it is still very compelling and the novelty of the experience is fun as well, so I definitely suggest trying it out, but if you’re like me and want the quantitative measurements, then make sure you’re budgeting the time for it.

Paleo Friendly Ponce Market, Biltong, and Dro√ęwors in Atlanta

Published 6 years ago in travel - 0 Comments
An image of the front of the Ponce Market building in Atlanta.

Paleo Friendly Ponce Market is a must!

Ponce Market in Atlanta is a must see spot. Ponce Market is in the landmark Sears Roebuck & Company building in the Old Fourth Ward. ¬†The restored building houses an incredible unique food hall serving quality cuisine that you won’t find elsewhere. ¬†There are retail shops as well, but I never made it past the food. ¬†Anyone following a paleo or bulletproof diet like myself will be happy to find plenty of options. ¬†There’s a busy noise for children to drown out in and the environment is kid friendly. ¬†This was a plus for us, because we had quite a few with us. ¬†The market sits on Atlanta’s growing BeltLine, a former railway corridor now serving as a multi-use trail. ¬†We took the opportunity to go for a walk after grazing for a bit. ¬†Despite the southern heat, there were a lot of bikes and pedestrians on the mile stretch that we walked. ¬†I can tell the the BeltLine has more to offer, but we were there for the market.

The Bulletproof Diet Compliant Biltong Bar!

My favorite place at the market was the Biltong Bar. ¬†I don’t drink alcohol, so the bar was of no interest to me, but my oldest son stopped in there and left with food called biltong that I later devoured. ¬†It was new for me, so when I went back for more I took some time to learn. ¬†Biltong originates from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia and is a jerky-like cured meat. ¬†It’s more common in South Africa, but is spreading throughout the world as they immigrate with their culture. ¬†I follow the Bulletproof diet, which could be described as a modified paleo diet with more restrictions, so I was happy to find the beef served at the Biltong Bar was 100% grass fed and locally sourced.

An image of thinly sliced biltong in a white dish

Thinly sliced biltong

The biltong was served in thin sliced strips and tossed with herbs and spices. ¬†We got ours with fat-on as that was an option and it was 100% grass fed. ¬†Always go with lean meats when that’s not the case. ¬†Along with more biltong, I also decided to try dro√ęwors (pronounced drovers I believe) and this I fell in love with. ¬†It’s a cured sausage, maybe one or one and half centimeters in width. It has a prominent coriander flavor and had more fat in it making it soft and rich. ¬†I’m currently searching on how to get this in Texas, so please reach out if you’re aware of good options. ¬†I’ve found both biltong and dro√ęwors on Amazon by Ayoba-Yo and Biltong USA. ¬†From the little reading I’ve done, I’m leaning towards Ayoba-Yo, but will continue to research options.

An image of two cured sticks of dro√ęwors sausage on a brown paper bag

Sticks of dro√ęwors cured sausage.

I see more time in Atlanta in my future…

Due to the nature of our trip, I did not have enough time to fully explore Atlanta. ¬†We quickly visited the Little Five Points, spent some time at Martin Luther King’s original house, and drove around a bit. ¬†There’s so much to do that I could probably spend a month there and still be writing about it. ¬†I know I’ll be back, but for now I highly recommend Ponce Market to anyone visiting Atlanta and be sure to try this South African treat while you’re there.

An image of Atlanta's downtown skyline with trees in the foreground.

Can’t wait to get back and see more of the city!

My Turn to Become the Iceman – Part One

Published 7 years ago in biohacking , self-improvement - 0 Comments
The Iceman - image of a plastic blue iceman character slightly illuminated

Want to own your body’s immune response?

If you’re unfamiliar with Wim Hof “The Iceman”, then do more reading. ¬†He climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro in shorts! ¬†He also holds 21 records for cold exposure. ¬† Start with his site¬† and consider his book, jointly published with Justin Rosales, “Becoming the Iceman”. ¬†Get the science from the 2014 study by Matthijs Kox. ¬†The high-level summary is that the sympathetic and immune systems can be voluntarily influenced. ¬†Before this study it was believed to be impossible. ¬†Wim has been successful in biohacking his body to provide anti-inflammatory responses using cold exposure therapy. ¬†Exposing yourself to the cold is outside of most people’s comfort zone. ¬†Even now you may be asking yourself “Why would I want to consider cold exposure therapy and what do I have to do to become the iceman?”. ¬†Know that your comfort zone cares not about your success, it only cares that you’re “safe” and comfy.

He has climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro in shorts!

The potential benefits of the study are rather interesting. ¬†Inducing your body to create an anti-inflammatory response could provide paths to deal with various conditions involving high or chronic inflammation. ¬†This applies to conditions such as asthma, arthritis, and other auto-immune conditions, of which I’ve personally dealt with. ¬†The Wim Hof Method to become the iceman consists of specific activities centered around three pillars. ¬†They describe the pillars as Cold Therapy, Breathing, and Commitment. ¬†Most of the action is around the first two with commitment being a need for any new practice. ¬†There are plenty of practices around commitment, creating habit, and increasing focus, but for this post I’ll focus more on the other two pillars.

Sure, I can practice breathing!

I can meditate here all day!

Starting with the Breathing pillar, this consists of three breathing exercises referred to as 30 power breaths, the hold, and recovery. ¬†You can read full detail on Wim’s site, so I’ll continue to summarize here. ¬†The power breaths are supposed to be done as if you’re blowing up a balloon inhaling through the nose or mouth followed by a powerful exhale. ¬†After the last of the 30 you take in one deep full breath, exhale completely and now you’re in the hold. ¬†In the hold you want to relax and stay there until you begin to experience the gasp reflex. ¬†When you’re ready to inhale again you’re entering the recovery phase. ¬†You’ll take in a full expansive breath and hold it for 10 seconds and then exhale completely. ¬†From here you start over for two more rounds and then take your time recovering and observing the effects.

A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that meditation and a practice of mindfulness reduces inflammation by calming the immune response. ¬†This anti-inflammatory response is caused by a change over time in the brain’s functional connectivity. ¬†Even if you don’t go for the cold exposure therapy, it’s simple biohacking to alter your brain in a positive way using this practice. ¬†Most people do not practice breathing, so this may be out of your comfort zone. ¬†If it is, then you need to do this just to practice embracing discomfort.

I have to do what?!

Now comes the cold exposure therapy part and the true path to being an iceman! This is where most people will back away, so I’ll challenge you to stay openminded. ¬†There’s no doubt that cold exposure therapy will create discomfort, but resist the urge to say no and walk away. ¬†It’s in discomfort that we find true growth! ¬†Our comfort zone is currently in the way. ¬†This is a much longer conversation that goes outside of this post, but most everything from exercise at the gym, public speaking, and learning a language feel uncomfortable until we spend enough time there. ¬†You can read more on this in one of my series about increasing self-awareness. ¬†It’s worth mentioning that the breathing practices serve as great biohacking to assist with self-awareness related work.

It’s in discomfort that we find true growth!

We’ve known about the anti-inflammatory effects of cold exposure for quite a while now. ¬†Athletes have been using it for years to recover from injury and muscle soreness much faster. ¬†We’re talking about taking this concept further. ¬†For those that have no experience with deeper cold exposure therapy, Wim suggests starting with 15-30 seconds of cold water at the end of a warm shower. ¬†Ease into it starting with your legs, arms, and eventually your torso and head. ¬†Focus on your breathing and work to maintain a regular breathing pattern. ¬†Your comfort zone will be not be happy with this! ¬†Your body will respond appropriately, and try to keep you safe, by having you gasp and retreat. ¬†By focusing on your breath and staying in discomfort you will eventually communicate to your brain that all is well and you know what you’re doing. ¬†This is where true biohacking is achieved.

Your body will respond appropriately, and try to keep you safe, by having you gasp and retreat.

Be Patient

Whatcha talkin’ bout Willis!

Anything involving a physiological change, such as building muscle through weight training, takes time and cold exposure therapy is no different. ¬†Do yourself a favor and start slow and be patient. ¬†I won’t go into detail about the other exercises covered in the book, but they involve exposing hands, feet, and later on your whole body to ice and/or ice cold water (i.e. 40 ňöF). ¬†Some practitioners may take their biohacking to higher levels and get involved in running barefoot in the snow wearing only shorts, meditating in the snow until it melts, swimming in frigid water, and more.

My experience so far

I personally skipped straight to the cold exposure. ¬†It had been on my list from previously hearing others like Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, and people I knew or encountered that spoke about the benefits. ¬†I’m usually game to try anything and it’s certainly an exhilarating way to start your day! ¬†I’ve had plenty of experience with breathing from practicing both yoga and mindfulness, so those exercises were less of a priority for me since I was already getting anti-inflammatory benefits from them. ¬†That said, I do not pretend to think the breathing is not a critical part of this and will be starting with that very soon.

I began with straight cold showers at the beginning of June (so roughly 30 days ago), but shifted to doing it at the end of a warm shower. ¬†My reason for the change was to improve consistency. ¬†Strangely enough (he says in a sarcastic, but amusing tone), sometimes I did not want to shock my body with cold water, but I could always convince myself to do it after the warm shower. ¬†The gasp reflex was much stronger when I started, but now I barely feel my breath being affected. ¬†Before, I was able to focus on the breath and push past the response, but the reaction from the body was strong and lasted longer. ¬†My comfort zone has already changed and continues to do and I expect I’m already getting anti-inflammatory benefits from the little progress I’ve made. ¬†With more time and patience this will only get better.

I no longer mentally have to brace for impact and actually look forward to feeling the cold.

Potential Biohacking Combo to go Faster?

Towards the end of the month I actually started combining the cold shower with EFT (emotional freedom technique), or tapping, as a way to reprogram my body’s interpretation of the discomfort. ¬†EFT is also a bigger topic that I won’t go into detail about here, but the premise is we can affect the interpretation by tapping on meridians to excite the nervous system in a manner that removes the negative association with a certain feeling. ¬†For doubters of meridians and such stuff, you’ll want to read about the primo-vascular system. ¬†EFT is another great tool for folks interested in biohacking. ¬†There’s no harm in experimenting with it, but it does feel awkward at first.

After practicing EFT during the cold shower, I can say that the apprehension and negative feeling prior to switching the water from hot to cold is gone. ¬†I no longer mentally have to brace for impact and actually look forward to feeling the cold. ¬†This is good news, because the cold exposure therapy will only get more intense. ¬†The only way to make progress is to continually challenge my comfort zone. ¬†The benefit of the anti-inflammatory effects are greater than my desire to be comfortable, so I don’t expect this to be an issue.

Iceman Status…what’s next for me?

Me next year?

I live in North Texas and it’s summer. ¬†There’s not a lot of natural ways to practice biohacking ¬†with cold exposure therapy. ¬†That said, it does get very cold in the winter with the temperature and wind chill combined. ¬†On a recurring basis we get snow as well, so ¬†I’ll have plenty of opportunity to do iceman practice this winter. ¬†In July I’ll start the breathing practices and begin working back to straight cold showers. ¬†In August I plan to work with direct ice exposure and ice baths in preparation for winter.

By winter I’d like to be watching my oldest son play soccer in my shorts and a t-shirt! ¬†Usually I’m in ski clothes, so it will be a good test and put me way outside of my comfort zone. ¬†Based on my reading it seems possible, so why not go for it! ¬†The anti-inflammatory benefit is worth it. ¬†I don’t have a set plan for the number of posts in this series, but intend to share on my biohacking progress in decent increments, so stay tuned and subscribe if you’re curious to see how this goes!

Suggestions for those interested

  • Read all the warnings!
  • Check with a doctor etc. first!
  • Start slow with the cold showers at the end of a warm one
  • Try the breathing practices
  • Journal about your experiences and share!
  • Be patient and take your time

Diverse Topics You Can Read About Here

Published 7 years ago in Uncategorized - 0 Comments
Creative Brain - image of a graphic designed brain on fire with colors of paint arcing over the brain.

There’s simply too much stuff to think and write about!

There’s a lot of stuff that interests me that I would like to share and write about. The problem is that it would not go well with my work related blogs. Finding myself becoming increasingly frustrated, I realized I just needed to start my own blog. I have to credit GoDaddy for telling me my full name was available, but that aside it was the only way forward. I needed an outlet for the millions of thoughts, topics, interests etc. to reside, so here’s a list of the diverse topics. ¬†Probably I’m forgetting stuff, but you get the idea.

The Diverse Topics I Was Referring To

  • Technology – this will go all over the place, but things like Cloud, Infrastructure, Development, Machine Learning, AI, Wearables, software stacks and platforms, micro services, serverless, and more
  • Science – Most likely this will be focused on Biology/Physiology, Neurology, Physics, Computer Science
  • Philosophy
  • Travel
  • Culture
  • Sociology
  • Books – Read a lot, so do my friends, so I’ll discuss books I read here to add to the diverse topics I’m already sharing
  • Biohacking
  • Music – All of it…there’s not much that I don’t or won’t listen to
  • Art – All kinds…the normal traditional stuff like paintings, sculpture, etc. and graffiti, tattoos, comics, etc.
  • Self-Improvement – strategies, skills, organization, habits, self-awareness, emotional intelligence
  • Entrepreneurship
  • DIY Stuff – building things
  • Coaching – Professional/Life Coaching
  • Sports – probably College Football and Soccer/Futbol
  • Active Lifestyle – Hiking, kayaking, skiing, camping, etc.
  • Food! ¬†– of course food…I almost became a chef and someday may still
  • Fitness and Health – traditional diet and exercise stuff along with more bleeding edge and latest science stuff too
  • My Dog – Travi is a rescue dog…most likely Airedale and Lab mix….he likes going for walks, the dog park, and hiking with us on trails
  • Language – mainly Spanish, but Italian, and Mandarin are still on the list
  • Coffee – roasting, making, shops, etc.

Stay tuned!