This episode introduces Cloud Christopher, the oldest of the three brothers, and the original idea man behind the company. We delve into his history as a bodybuilder, personal trainer, army recruit, cross fitter, MovNat and more. And he lays out the three most powerful herbs in his opinion…
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Logan: Hello and welcome to The Vital Way. I’m Logan Christopher here. In our third episode here, we have the third brother, actually the oldest brother so maybe the first one. Cloud is joining us today. Say hello, Cloud.
Cloud: How are you all doing?
Logan: So like in our previous episodes where we did a bit of an introduction for myself and our other today absent brother Zane, we’re going to go into a little bit of detail of Cloud’s background, how he got started in this. We have to give him credit. The whole idea for the company started with him. So Cloud, tell us a little about yourself.
Cloud: Well, I’m a human and I’ve always enjoyed working out. I’ve been working out since I was 13 or 14 years old. I’ve always been—
Logan: A few different supplements back in those days.
Cloud: Yeah. Always been into working our since then. I just loved it right away and kept doing it. I worked out for football in high school. Most of what I learned about working out came from bodybuilding magazines, Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Encyclopedia. That’s what was out there information-wise and that’s what I did for a long time.
Logan: I mentioned in my sort of introduction all the commercial gym experience. It started with my brother. He kind of pushed me to play football and to work out in the first place. While he was kind of naturally good at it, the different body type, I was anything but. So he kind of took to it. It took me a while to really get into it, sort of through an alternative path.
Cloud: Logan was actually my first client let’s just say. I remember. He’s mentioned the story before in articles he’s written. I don’t know if it’s been in audio before but he had the president’s physical fitness test coming up in a few weeks in junior high. I remembered taking it, I didn’t perform very well but at the time, he looked like an Ethiopian cross-country runner. His thighs were as big as my forearm. He could not do—
Logan: Let’s just pause on that, thighs as big as forearms. Yeah, that’s kind of small.
Cloud: So he couldn’t do a push-up.
Logan: I don’t remember this. I believe him. I just don’t remember.
Cloud: He couldn’t do a push-up.
Logan: I learned quickly though, right?
Cloud: Let’s just say in a week or two I had him doing multiple depth push-ups on cinder blocks so basically, yeah, he was my first training client.
Logan: I remember working the deadlift and the first time I did more than a hundred pounds, I felt wow, I’m getting to the big weights now.
Cloud: Yeah, that was my first experience teaching someone. I don’t know maybe it didn’t take hold then but as I continued to lift in high school, I went through many training partners because nobody I found liked it as much as I did. I found I did love teaching other people a lot but no one ever carried the same passion as I did, except for my best friend in high school. But then, we kind of went our separate ways in our training methods so that didn’t last that long.
From there, I continued to work out. At one point, I got sick of bodybuilding, realizing all the alternative supplements they were using in bodybuilding. So I started running and doing only bodyweight stuff. I would trail run. And I hated running. In football I hated running but I started running and unfortunately I lost a lot of mass and a lot of strength.
Logan: How big were you at your biggest?
Cloud: The most I’ve ever weighed was 220 pounds. I’m about 5’9”. So at 220, I was rather fat. I was working at the boardwalk at Santa Cruz and I worked food service so I got free fast food, anything I wanted, one meal a day so I would pile it on.
Logan: It’s good for bulking up.
Cloud: No, actually it wasn’t 220. It was 230. I got up to 230 and I remember going well this is way too much. And within a month, I don’t even remember what my protocol was but within a month I was back down to 210. I think I just cut out the amusement park food and that just slowly melted it away because I was working out a lot. I used to work out two and a half hours a day, six days a week. And I loved it. I would do bench everyday too. It was leg day, bench first.
Logan: You were one of those guys.
Cloud: With the lack of instruction at my high school and you know just the info that was out there available to us or even mentors or anything just wasn’t there.
Logan: Internet was not as big then.
Cloud: From there, I think I got back into bodybuilding, maybe not as much as before. I started lifting weights again. But like I said, I never reached the same strength levels I had before. During that time, I was consuming a lot of protein powders.
Logan: No herbs.
Cloud: No herbs. I was bigger because of my diet when were kids, when I was a teenager. The more money our parents made, the more processed food they bought, the more sodas we drank, the more cookies we ate. Growing up, I considered myself kind of fat but other people would say no you’re not but whatever. I was taking like Xenadrine all the time. For like a year or two I would be on Xenadrine. Then I moved to Hydroxycut. I’m taking the protein powders and working out, doing this and that. I never reached any goal I wanted for myself. I never really knew what I wanted.
Logan: So you spent a lot of money to get there.
Cloud: Oh yeah, I spent a lot. I’ve always had my own money. I worked hard and had my own money to buy things. I spent a lot of money on MuscleTech products especially and Cytodyne products, the Hydroxycut, they had Nitro Way, Cell-Tech, the creatine with carbohydrates. Yes, that stuff. I remember when creatine first came out or I first heard of it.
Logan: Creatine works.
Cloud: Yeah, creatine’s good.
Logan: Some of the other stuff not so much.
Cloud: I don’t know how they make it. I’m aware of that now but whatever. So after that, I’d moved to Southern California, met some people and became a 24-hour fitness trainer.
Logan: You said that under your breath like you’re ashamed.
Cloud: So I did that. I was fairly successful at that. I love training people and teaching them movements. At the time, I didn’t realize what I loved but I really liked teaching people. I didn’t like selling to people. I like teaching them. I became a personal trainer, worked for valets, too, and then I went through a period of a few years I didn’t do anything. I moved back to Santa Cruz, joined the army. I got sent here, there, left, right and spent three years in Alaska.
Logan: That’s when you started doing CrossFit right?
Cloud: Well, I got to experience army PT which—yeah.
Logan: Which is still quite old school. I mean they haven’t adapted what they’re doing much in many years.
Cloud: Let’s just say where I was, they were still doing old conventional training. I was in infantry which probably is going to do more effective stuff. I didn’t like the way they trained us. It actually led to a lot of injuries in my—
Logan: Your knees.
Cloud: Yeah, a lot of bad knee injuries actually for running improperly. The army is where I found CrossFit in about 2009. I had actually gone to the HQ here in Santa Cruz before I joined the Army and showed up and thought to myself, I know what I’m doing, and drove away and never went back.
But once I discovered CrossFit and since I was in Alaska there were no gyms, I delved into everything I could online, learned all the movements, basically went to the gym, and started doing their WODs. I taught myself how to talk kipping pull ups which took me a month without instruction and I really liked it. It was very difficult compared to how I previously worked out. It just felt more right to me because it was harder. If you’re a CrossFitter, you know about Fran, the benchmark of CrossFit.
Logan: What’s in Fran?
Cloud: Fran is 21-15-9 of 95-pound thrusters and pull ups. I remember the first time I did it, it took me like 11 minutes and the next time I did it, it took me like 8 and then 7:30. And the very last time I did it, I think I got like 3:59 or 4:59. I was pretty happy with myself. I’m not a fire breather but I’ve never trained CrossFit since I discovered the herbs actually.
So I had a little bit when I got out of the army, I became a CrossFit coach and started working out at the original CrossFit Santa Cruz with some people who taught me the correct way to do things. But I was still having nerve problems. I couldn’t use my left or right shoulder. I don’t even remember because I used to switch back and forth. My shoulder would hurt so bad. I couldn’t do anything so I spent a whole month once doing WODs with just one arm and modifying them because I couldn’t use one of my shoulders. A PT told me that this was a nerve problem, not a muscular ligament problem. Then I realized I had lower back problems, I had neck problems which actually went all the way down to my hands sometimes. That started me looking for alternative things kind of.
Logan: Because when you were doing the CrossFit it was making it worse, right? A lot of times, you’d try to do a workout and then you’d be in more pain.
Cloud: No. Well when I was still in Santa Cruz, besides the shoulder thing, the back was all right. The people there kept me in check, kept things right. Then I moved back to Huntington Beach in Southern California and that’s where the back kind of went out of control. I didn’t have the same people watching me and you know CrossFit, you push yourself trying to do your PR every time.
Logan: Push yourself into pain.
Cloud: Yeah, sure. Not begging on it. It’s just I didn’t do it correctly. So the back became a bigger problem. I was a CrossFit coach coaching at a gym but I was injured all the time and I had found the new experience, new method of working out called movement natural or MovNat.
I got very interested in that. I started learning everything I could about that. I started practicing what we could figure out with Zane. Basically, you would do the 13 natural movement patterns that humans do. You don’t ask a tiger to walk like a duck and expect it to look like a tiger. Once I started doing the MoveNat, that led into some parkour training. We did animal movements that Logan had introduced us to. We had kettlebells.
So Zane and I basically took pieces from every training system that we did like and thought was very functional and the funny things was I trained for eight months with no pain at all. I had no pain at all. I could train every single day. Again, to me this is more like skill training than just lifting weights. That was unique to me and that’s where I really fell in love with what you can say is bodyweight stuff, calisthenics, again the MoveNat stuff I still love a lot but I just don’t get a chance to do it all the time. So I got certified in the first class to be a MoveNat trainer, down in Southern California.
Logan: Was this right around the time you started taking herbs? Found out about them?
Cloud: Ah yes, it was actually. So along with these new movements we were doing—Good thing you brought that up—I had Zane call me up one day. We were working out all the time. I started to get down to where I always wanted to be. I always wanted to have abs. I did not want to be this huge massive guy. I wanted to be ripped. So he calls me up and he’s like, “Hey, we got to check out this pine pollen stuff. I heard about it when I was in the Marines.” I was like okay so I Googled it.
Logan: The Marines, are you sure about that? Because he was saying he got introduced at the conference we went to.
Cloud: That’s what he told me back in the day. We don’t even remember. Maybe I got it wrong. I don’t know. Anyway, I Googled it, I started reading about it. I find a company, started reading about their info on it and I am hooked instantly. I didn’t know why, whatever. It just spoke to me. Boom, click on the shilajit, oh my god, the destroyer of weakness, conqueror of mountains, I’ve got to get these stuff. So I get my first order of pine pollen.
Logan: You got both of those at the same time?
Cloud: My first order was pine pollen, shilajit powder and pine pollen tincture. I started taking those three. So my story goes, I started taking these three products and while still training CrossFit and my own stuff, not changing my diet—I had four abs showing when I started taking them—within three weeks I can see 8. That was the most incredible transformation as a trainer that I had ever seen in my life. I was hardly eating. Logan had taught a bunch of stuff like your morning drink you used to do, the green mix, the lemon juice, this and that. I was doing all these nutritional stuff Logan had taught.
I couldn’t believe the transformation. I was hardly eating. I was going to school. I was bouncing off the walls with energy and I felt so good all the time. The herbs literally were like a drug to me. I loved taking them. I was buying the stuff. I didn’t take tons of it. I only took two teaspoons of pine pollen a day and I loved when I got to take the droppers. And the shilajit, I loved the taste of the shilajit. I couldn’t get enough of it but I still only took a couple of teaspoons a day because I was buying it like anyone else.
Logan: Well that was recommended. It was only when Zane was digging through some of the research that you found how the Chinese used up to 10 grams a day, 3 tablespoons. Everyone was saying just take this tiny amount which it still works like that but you can take even more.
Cloud: Like I said, I discovered some stuff with the shilajit the hard way. I’d be out training myself, take a bunch of shilajit before training and just I could feel my body being drained but having the shilajit in my system, I could push forward and just continue as far as I wanted. That was awesome for working out. I also discovered if you take shilajit and don’t eat, or maybe it’s me personally, if I take shilajit and don’t eat, my blood sugar will drop so fast that I will pass out and fall asleep. I was like, what the hell! This was supposed to be fore energy. Then I’d eat a meal because snacks didn’t do anything, I’d eat a meal and I would shoot through the roof once my blood sugar went back up. I’m oh my god, this is incredible. I tried to get everyone, all of my friends, I was like oh my god. Zane started taking these stuff.
Logan: You basically became a zealot.
Cloud: I was buying kilos of the pine pollen and the other products and selling them to my friends and fellow gym members not for profit, at my cost, just to be like oh my god, you’ve got to try this. I’ve been taking bodybuilding supplements for nearly 16 years and nothing ever worked like these stuff. It was totally incredible.
Logan: And that’s the cool thing about the herbs. They’re good for you at the same time, unlike so many of them who knows what’s inside so many other supplements out there from food colorings to artificial flavors and all kinds of stuff.
Cloud: It just floors me now after taking the herbs for a few years and thinking about what I used to take. Just the taste of some of those things sickens me now. Even if I think about what it used to taste like, it just makes my stomach turn.
Logan: Just so fake it assaults the senses. That’s a cool thing too because people think often times with herbs, they’re not going to be as powerful as science, these supplements. Cloud’s saying here and from countless customers, these reviews, all their experiences, this stuff can be very, very powerful. And we have some cool stuff in the future that may be a little more modern methods of extracting herbs and whatnot, turn them quite a bit more powerful. We’ve got some sitting on the table right there but that’s a story for another time.
Cloud: So to continue, I lost my place, Logan.
Logan: So we got the MoveNat. You’re taking pine pollen and shilajit and telling everybody about them.
Cloud: Selling them. Zane gives me a Christmas present in what year was that? 2010? He gives me the 4-Hour Work Week. I read that book and ’m not a fast—
Logan: Were you on like vacation or something and you came back with your mind blown?
Cloud: No, that was a different book, a different time. So he gives me 4-Hour Work Week. Actually, I had a choice of books and I picked that one. I read that book. It was an excellent book. That book illuminated me to basically how the person I was buying my herbs from did it. I called up Logan and was like, “With your internet knowledge and stuff going on, do you think we could sell herbs online?”
Logan: And I said yes, figure it out. I mentioned this in another one. I was kind of testing him to see if he was actually serious about it.
Cloud: Oh yeah because I do talk a lot.
Logan: Everyone talks. Everyone has grandiose ideas.
Cloud: But I did talk a lot and I do believe action speaks way louder than words. So I took up the challenge.
Logan: You found the supplier.
Cloud: I found the suppliers. I think we got very lucky to find some very good ones in the beginning because there’s a lot of crap out there and we did find some excellent people to start with. The whole idea when I was first taking the other companies herbs, like I said, I was bouncing off the walls. I felt so good. It was doing so much in my life. I think I was probably at the point in time, the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I attributed a lot of it to the herbs and I wanted other people to experience what I was experiencing. I was so happy that I couldn’t believe it. If the whole world felt this way, it wouldn’t be such a bad place. And then once I read 4-Hour Work Week, that to me became what I want to have everyone else experience. Not only for working out, I want everyone to feel as good as I felt at that time.
So basically, we just went from there and will continue to grow. But those original feelings are a big driving force in how I would like the company run. My emphasis on the way we do things is to 1) not be like other companies. We firmly believe nature knows way more than man does.
Logan: We’re trying but it’s crazy to go through science and realize when you narrow it down to one so-called active constituent and by saying that’s the active part and none of these other plants matters, right? It’s interesting how we do things. I’m not saying that that’s not an important part of the plant and it may have more activity but it’s really hard to narrow things down like this. So there’s so much unknown. Yeah, I completely agree with that.
Cloud: Yeah, I mean I studied a lot of the Ayurveda side. With the MoveNat and we were hiking a lot, being outdoors, everything clicked, that nature knows what it’s doing and we’re a part of nature, not separate from it.
Logan: However much we try to be. That’s kind of what civilization is about but that’s a whole big subject in and of itself. So you mentioned pine pollen and shilajit. I know we talked a little about this beforehand but are those your favorite herbs? Anything else?
Cloud: I get asked that all the time. What’s your favorite herb or what would you take? I tell people, if I can only take one herb for the rest of my life, I honestly cannot decide between pine pollen and shilajit. I love both of them so much. I take both of them every day. I recently got stomach flu or food poisoning, viciously.
Logan: A lot of people did right around this time.
Cloud: I could barely get out of bed for most of the day but I would take shilajit and boom, it helped so much. It was freaking awesome so pine pollen and shilajit. But now that we’ve introduced tongkat, and I’ve been on tongkat for I don’t know, a good four months, I would throw that in one of the three. I don’t know which one I would choose, if I could only choose one for the rest of my life.
Logan: Those are three powerful herbs. It’s hard to really beat that combo.
Cloud: But I would definitely say those are the three I will take every day.
Logan: You’re cycling tongkat somewhat, right?
Cloud: Oh yeah, I cycle the tongkat, five days on, two days off.
Logan: Do you cycle with pine pollen at all?
Cloud: My personal view is pine pollen is about nutrition.
Logan: You take the powder more than the tincture?
Cloud: The pine pollen powder is about nutrition. Yes, it will help with hormones. That’s totally evident by what our customers have told us.
Logan: By experience, anecdotal evidence. We don’t have science to back it up.
Cloud: I don’t care what science says. To me, true knowledge is through experience. You can’t read about something and know anything. You have to experience it yourself. I have seen it work for females. I have experienced it myself. I have two pine pollen kids now. I know this stuff work.
Pine pollen powder is about nutrition. I will take three or four tablespoons a day. I make sure my wife takes it every day. I would take a little bit of the pitch every day. If I make a mix, I’ll use the brown shilajit. If I’m going to do a smoothie or a drink, I will cycle the tongkat. I do five days on, two days off. I think the cycling works great. I love to do it Monday through Friday. Actually, I take a break on the weekend and when Monday gets here, I’m like, “Yes, I get to take tongkat again.”
Honestly, I know a lot of you out there cannot stand the taste but I actually crave the bitterness of tongkat now. Maybe it’s just all my experience with all these herbs being so bitter that my taste has changed.
Logan: That seems to be the general consensus. People are getting used to it, maybe not craving it but I’ve heard that from besides you and several other people. They definitely get used to it and it doesn’t bother them as much. It’s interesting.
Cloud: I do believe that taste isn’t for our pleasure necessarily. Yes, it’s there to be like oh this is good and I want more of this as a human being. But I believe a lot of it is to tell the body what’s coming, how to deal with it.
Logan: Right. That’s all throughout Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, the importance of the taste. And it’s standard American thing we’ve got two tastes, salt or three I guess if you count the umami which is done with MSG and whatnot. But sweet and salty, nothing else. You’ve got no bitter, you’ve got no sour, and you’ve got no—
Cloud: Oh my daughter loves sweet and salty.
Logan: Some spicy sometimes. That’s the thing. Taste is actually trainable. It’s because most people don’t have anything bitter that they hate bitter things. Or they don’t have anything sour so they’re not used to that.
Cloud: So in our Western culture, if you either have sweet and salty and that’s what you grow, that’s what you crave. That can explain a lot of the food that’s out there now. In other cultures, they eat bitter things all the time. It’s just part of their culture. They grow up with it. I’ve met those customers that are like bam, this is fine, what are you talking about? Because do warn people because a lot of them—
Logan: I try to overplay how bad it’s going to be so hopefully it’s not. It’s like man, this is the foulest thing you’ve ever had. You do that then it’s like it’s bad but it’s not that bad. But if you underplay it then they can be turned off.
Cloud: But I do believe tasting your herbs is a big part of it. Yes, maybe put it in a smoothie and cover it up a little but you’re still tasting it.
Logan: Well, we’re about to wrap. What would you say just as far as the future, some ideas of where you’d like Superman Herbs to go and what’s coming down the pipe besides unveiling our secrets?
Cloud: I want us to be different than the other companies. I want us to keep that in mind. Nature knows what it’s doing and man doesn’t really know so using nature as a guide. Oh, between us three brothers, I firmly believe in the traditional native peoples. I can do let’s say western diet, a high fat diet. I can live off fat and that’s just me. And I do believe the way traditional people ate back in the day, without technology and they had this knowledge on herbs and fermented foods and then—
Logan: Herbs weren’t really thought of as separate with food often times. There was no class between food and medicine. It was blended together.
Cloud: Right and that’s how I view them. People tell me, “I forgot to take that herb, I go, “Did you forget to eat? No, you didn’t!” Anyway, so what I want for the company is to be different. I want us to be different and do the right thing. It’s not always about money. The less we worry about money, the more will come. I want us to grow and get bigger so we can spread our message of just be happy or train freaking awesomely with these herbs. Man, I’m just getting happy talking about these stuff right. So yeah, we’ve got a lot of crazy things coming down the pipeline.
Logan: Quite a few projects in the works, probably too many.
Cloud: Probably too many. We’re probably spreading ourselves too thin but we will focus, get them out and just look for us in the future.
Logan: All right, I hope you enjoyed this podcast. If you would do us a favor, if you enjoyed this information, just head over on to iTunes and leave a review. It helps other people find it so we can help spread this message. Of course, tell other people about Superman Herbs and what we’re doing here on The Vital Way podcast. Thank you and we’ll talk to you next time.