Spring Energy, Protein Candy, and a Few Thoughts about Consistency

Spring Energy, Protein Candy, and a Few Thoughts about Consistency
Image credits

Consistency. Influencers and pundits from all sectors, but particularly from health and wellness, like to talk about consistency as the key to greatness. "A habit must be established before it can be improved," James Clear writes in Atomic Habits. "If you can't learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the finer details. Instead of trying to engineer a perfect habit from the start, do the easy thing on a more consistent basis. You have to standardize before you can optimize." And okay sure sure. Repetition does build muscle memory, neurological pathways, operant conditioning, pigeons as habit-hackers blah blah blah. But this sort of council about consistency always feel like it grossly underestimates the barriers – individual and structural – to "habit formation." And it does so with such a sneer too: "basic skill of showing up." Fuck you, dude. I'm tired.

I am trying, nonetheless, to be consistent about the things I have to do in my life, among them write this newsletter and send it you all via email a couple times a week. But on Wednesday of this week, I started a pretty intensive treatment for a couple of (pretty unsurprising) mental health diagnoses that are going to make "the basic skill of showing up" a little more of a Level 300 effort for the next few months.

And so I'm probably going to just publish Second Breakfast twice a week through much of the summer and fall and hold off on writing any longer essays until I can clear out more space in my head to do so. (It is deeply deeply ironic, particularly if you've known me for a while, that I am still managing to stay consistent with my training as an athlete. But see, that does not require the kind of thinking or feeling that writing does. Indeed, that's no small part of why it's so profoundly compelling to me right now.) Anyway, thank you for being patient with me.

Elsewhere in consistency, Spring Energy has announced that it's reformulated its Awesome Sauce gels on the heels of one of the biggest controversies in endurance running this year: the inconsistencies between what the label says the gels contain and what labs have found. Spring now says that there are 180 calories in a pack, with 28 grams of carbs. (The label used to boast 45 grams of carbs, and that is a huge, huge difference if you're, say, running a marathon and trying to calculate how many carbs you'll need for the duration.) Keen eyes will notice that there are a couple of new ingredients in the product now: MCT oil and avocado oil, bringing the saturated fat content up from 0 to 3.5 grams. Posters on Reddit, where these discrepancies were first noticed, are fully convinced that the label information is still wrong, that there's still something shady going on, that no one will ever buy Spring again. That last one, at least, rings pretty true for me, I admit.

Elsewhere in running-related technology news: tis the season (in the northern hemisphere at least) to churn out your "how to run in hot weather" and "how to hydrate" content, often accompanied with long lists of products to buy. Also for sale (soon, supposedly): "Hyperice And Nike Unveil A Recovery Sneaker Boot That Massage Your Feet." Running tech-adjacent: "The Best Alternative to Dating Apps?" The New York Times suggests "Running Clubs, Apparently."

In other fitness technology news: three star instructors announced via social media that they are leaving Peloton. "Bigger problems loom," says New York Magazine.

The business of health technology, more generally: Hannah Giorgis reviews Rachel Somerstein's new book on the C-section, the most common surgery in the US, and what it reveals about our health care system. Via The New York Times: "New Drug Provides Total Protection From H.I.V. in Trial of Young African Women." "Longevity Startup Function Raises $53M for Personalized Health Testing." Among the investors Andreessen Horowitz, Kevin Hart, Matt Damon, Zac Efron, Pedro Pascal, and Colin Kaepernick. Make of that what you will. (Me, I'll resist making a crack about men's mid-life crises and just say these fellows have some very bad financial advisors.) A post-mortem on the personalized vitamins startup Care/of, which shut down last week. Bayer and Samsung will be conducting a study of sleep disturbances during menopause. "Naomi Watts Wants Menopause to Be the New Puberty" – her brand Stripes Beauty was just acquired by a private equity firm. It's not just private equity that's coming for us olds. Apparently Nestle is going to start developing nutrition products (food?) aimed at older people, now that there's less of a global market, I guess, for baby formula.

Elsewhere in food technology: Protein bars are candy bars. Literally. And now there's straight-up protein candy, and it's not even in bar form. We probably shouldn't be handing out melatonin gummies like candy to small children. And yet, we are.

You could just have a goddamn popsicle, you know.

Thanks for subscribing to Second Breakfast. I'm going to go catch up on the US Olympic Track & Field Trials, and I'll have much more to say about that on Monday.

Images from Kin