An elite performance coach swears by an almond butter, olive oil breakfast

An elite performance coach swears by an almond butter, olive oil breakfast

  • Andrew Herr is an expert in human performance and has worked with professional athletes and Navy SEALs.
  • He said the experiments helped him optimize his own routine for better focus and energy.
  • His breakfast is olive oil and almond butter — but there’s no one-size-fits-all measure for best results.

Imagine your ideal breakfast: but instead of waking up to a bowl of cereal, a plate of eggs and bacon, or even a stack of waffles, it’s a viscous slurry of olive oil, almond butter, and water.

It’s the perfect way to start your day—at least if you’re Andrew Herr, an elite performance coach who’s worked with Navy SEALs and professional athletes and has been awarded a “Mad Scientist” designation by the U.S. military.

He is also the CEO and founder Sourcea start-up whose philosophy is to use lifestyle experimentation to optimize performance, for clients ranging from military operators to high-level business executives

Herr uses the same process of experimenting with exercise, diet, sleep and other habits in his life, with unconventional but effective results.

“I’ve found that the absolute ideal breakfast for me every morning is to eat a mixture of almond butter, olive oil and water,” he told Insider. “It’s so much better than anything else I could eat, I take it with me when I travel because it makes me feel so good and so energetic. People find it quite strange for obvious reasons.”

However, that doesn’t mean you should try it at home. Herr said finding the optimal routine is unique to each individual, but looking for specific patterns can unlock what your body and mind need to perform at their best.

There is no one size fits all for peak performance

Herr hit on his signature breakfast combination while trying to find a way to fuel up for a 24-hour Spartan race. He said that the mixture of olive oil, almond butter and water is so effective in giving him enough calories, energy and focus, he added it to his morning routine. The ratio includes enough water to make the substance drinkable, but with the texture of pudding.

But he said part of the experimental process involves trying out and discarding strategies that don’t pay off.

“There is no such thing as a failed experiment,” he said. “It’s often the failed interventions that provide the most valuable data. This change didn’t help? Great, you don’t have to make that change.”

For example, Herr said he was not doing well low carb diet, and also reacts badly to omega-3 supplements, which he said occurs in a small percentage of people. As a result, while these adjustments may be useful to many, there is no such thing as a part of his ideal routine.

Andrew Herr holds an eagle as he works with Kazakh nomads in western Mongolia, who train the birds for hunting.

Andrew Herr’s work with the elite military put him in unique circumstances. In one project studying stress and leadership for the office of the secretary of defense, he worked with Kazakh nomads in western Mongolia, who train eagles to hunt.

Courtesy of Andrew Herr

When working with clients, he tailors each recommended experiment to the person’s unique needs and goals, although there are some common patterns in finding what works.

For example, a client who complains of lack of energy in the afternoon is often not have breakfast, said Herr, and this can prevent an energy drop. Or, if it is low energy happens after lunchit may be related to what they eat at the time, he said.

“You start to see patterns that you can recognize very quickly,” he said.

Another example: Herr helped develop a a routine that prevents jet lag for the vast majority of people.

Balance what’s good for your body with what’s right for your goals

It’s a misconception that optimizing performance means doing things that are uncomfortable — feeling good is an important part of the process, with the right planning, according to Herr.

“You have to turn to hedonism a little bit. But ideally, it’s hedonism about tomorrow,” he said.

There are exceptions to such a regimented approach — Herr said no one is a robot, including himself, and it’s all about balancing what’s important to your own goals and priorities.

“If someone wants to take me to a restaurant with three Michelin stars, I will gladly accept that invitation, I will eat outside the program and tomorrow I will feel a little worse, and it will be worth it,” he said.


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