These Are the World’s Best Gyms (with Kris Gethin)

Today we’re talking to Kris Gethin, a renowned bodybuilder, biohacker, and owner of KAGED Muscle Supplements. Kris, who joins us on the podcast for a second time, is also an extreme sports junkie, and earlier in 2021 he suffered a significant triceps injury while snowboarding. We talk about Kris’ approach to recovery, and how his years of working to optimize recovery from in the gym training have impacted that approach. We also discuss his favorite gyms around the world, and why bodybuilding training can be so much more difficult than many people realize.

Kris Gethin BarBend Podcast

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Kris Gethin about:

  • Kris’ recent injury recovery (01:50)
  • Training heading into the injury, and why “bro splits” can be okay (07:00)
  • The impact of training on your mental state (11:00)
  • Kris’ intermittent fasting protocol (13:00)
  • The process for developing new supplements, like a brand new meal replacement (15:50)
  • Kris’ favorite gyms when he’s traveling (21:00)
  • Finding the hidden gems among independent gyms (24:30)

Relevant links and further reading:


Kris GethinKris Gethin

I used to look at natural bodybuilders. When I first started going to competitions and I thought, “There is no way they are natural, impossible,” but then I started training with somebody who hadn’t won that show. Then I realized, “OK, so this is what real intensity is and that’s how you get a physique like that, naturally.”

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the, “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by


Today I’m talking to Kris Gethin, a renowned bodybuilder, biohacker, and owner of Kaged Muscle Supplements. Kris, who joins us on the podcast for a second time is also an extreme sports junkie. Earlier in 2021, he suffered a significant triceps injury while snowboarding.


We talk about Kris’s approach to recovery and how his years of working to optimize recovery from in-the-gym training have impacted that approach. We also discuss his favorite gyms around the world and why bodybuilding training can be so much more difficult than many people realize.


I do want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend podcast in your app of choice. Now let’s get to it.


Kris, thanks for joining me. You’re a repeat guest on the BarBend podcast. We don’t have too many of those. A lot of ground to cover, but I got to dive right into it. You suffered a triceps injury a few months ago while snowboarding, and you’ve been documenting your recovery process online.


It’s been interesting to see some of the techniques you’ve been using and some of the knowledge you’ve been using from your fitness career to hopefully enhance your recovery process. How’s it going? How are you feeling? What are some of those techniques?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Thank you very much for having me back on. You must be desperate.

David TaoDavid Tao

Slow times. What can we say?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

I tore my tricep while ragdolling it when I was snowboarding in Jackson Hole. I think it’ll be six weeks on Monday I had surgery to reattach the medial head and the lateral head of my triceps that came off the bone, obviously, and the two tendons.


They had to drill through my humerus and my ulna to reattach the tendon underneath. It’s cinched back there.


I’ve had many injuries over the years. I raced motocross as a little toddler, downhill mountain bike racing, surfing, snowboarding, this is not new to me. I don’t generally injure myself in the gym when I’m focused and when I’m present it’s always outside of it but when it happened I knew straight away that I’d torn it.


I grabbed hold of it, I could feel it was really soft so I knew I didn’t need an X-ray, I just needed an MRI and get it fixed as soon as humanly possible before the tendons start to retract, which I did, it was a very successful surgery.


It’s a shotgun approach for sure. Some people say, “How does this work?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” I’ve really hidden it from all sorts of angles, so there’s obviously the basis of nutrition and having a positive mindset I’d say is the strongest biohack.


As soon as this happened, I listened to Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself” again, just to put myself in the right mindset and see this as a challenge, as an opportunity that I could share with other people.


I had stem cells, I’ve been on my PEMF Mat a couple of times a day, I’m put in a DC current through here with my NeuFit Neubie machine so I can involuntary contract the muscle without voluntary doing it because the force that I put through a contraction manually by myself would probably be way too much and I’d damage it. At least I can scale it a little bit with that DC current.


I’m doing red light therapy, different forms of red light therapy which helps with the wound healing externally and internally. I’m doing several peptides, BPC-157, TB-500, GHK-5-Amino, Tesamorelin and Ipamorelin.


That’s my wolverine stack that I was taking. I’m not taking it now, I don’t feel I need to now because everything is way ahead of schedule. I met with the surgeon yesterday, and he was blown away. He couldn’t even see the incision, so the actual wound, the scaring has healed really well too.

David TaoDavid Tao

I know you also put a really big emphasis on sleep. Sleep is important whether it’s gains in the gym or outside of the gym or recovery from an injury. What is your sleep protocol looking like these days?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

The sleep protocol is the same. I’m usually in bed by eight o’clock. I’m always very strict about that. In the first couple of weeks I was focused because I don’t nap, I never nap.


I guess I’m a little bit mentally anxious during a day to nap. I’m thinking, “God, I’ve got meetings, I’ve got to hit some deadlines.” But I was conscious for the first couple of weeks of making sure that I was getting my naps in as well get some sponge baths from the wife. Those always help as well.

David TaoDavid Tao

Having a supportive partner is the most important part of any recovery process.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, for sure. I’m not going to show her this podcast and tell her that I’m better.


I’m still suffering baby. I have been doing infrared sauna as I usually do as well. Making sure that I worked very high on my essential amino acids, glutamine, high on antioxidants as well, like glutathione and hydrogen rich water, the ESS60, so the C60 carbon taken out a couple of times a day. Being a very highly antioxidants, glutamine, things like that.


I punch a lot of them into my gallon jugs and drip feed them throughout the day. A lot of people feel sorry for themselves. They will eat emotionally and that’s not going to heal the damaged tissue. You think about it, we take post-workout supplements or protein because we’ve created trauma to a localized area.


Well, this is massive trauma. It’s essential that we heal the area with the proper nutrients. I was doing cardio day after the surgery, to get nitric oxide and blood flow to the area. Then I started with my contralateral and BFR training two days after. That’s healed the process.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk a little bit about your training. What was your training looking like going into the injury? You’re one of the more active people out there. I don’t think there’s anything you don’t do. I know that in the gym, in your bodybuilding career, you are a very high volume trainer. Outside the gym, if there’s a sport or a mountain to go down or up, you are probably tackling it.


What was your training looking like in the weeks leading up to the injury?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Typical bro split bodybuilding style workouts. Yes, high volume, because in December, I had a lot of photoshoots lined up both here, in Texas, in Vegas. I was doing a lot of high-volume training, because that what’s gets me in shape. Don’t take that lightly like I don’t do light weights. If I’m doing 30 reps, I’m usually doing 70-pound incline dumbbells for 30 reps.


I’ll go high volume, that’s kind of what it looked like. Three days on, one day off, two days on, one day off, is generally how it looks. It was like that. I was pretty lean. That probably wouldn’t ever help my cause when I wiped out. If you’re a leaner, you have less cushioning, less sodium, less fluid, and you could tear a muscle a little easier.


That could have been one of the contributing factors to those. That’s pretty much what my training was looking like. I do cardio twice a day all year round regardless. I was doing cardio a couple of times a day there as well.

David TaoDavid Tao

What does your split look like now? You mentioned a little bit about getting back and doing some resistance training. Obviously, you’re not doing 70-pound inclined dumbbell presses with the injured arm right now. I have seen you on social doing some work with your uninjured arm, doing some unilateral work and focusing on other areas that are not inhibited by your triceps.


Tell us a little bit about what your split looks like now.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

[laughs] It’s exactly the same.

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, really?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

It’s identical, yeah.


The only caveat, the only difference is that I’m training my shoulders — and or shoulder I should say — shoulder and bicep and triceps twice a week. I know that the contralateral-unilateral training does help with the prevention of catabolism to the trauma site by doing so.


I’m hitting that a couple of times. I will do biceps and triceps by themselves. I’ll hit delts by themselves. Then I’ll choose one day to hit delts and biceps and triceps all together as a bit of a top-up if you like. It’s the same splits. It’s a typical bro splits, shoulders, legs, biceps, triceps. It’s pretty much the same.


It’s usually legs on Monday because no one’s hitting legs on Monday. I get to choose all the equipment that I want. I like to do a lot of giant sets and things like that. It’s important that I get a few pieces of equipment to myself.


Then I’ll usually hit biceps and triceps on the Tuesday. The Wednesday will be shoulders. Then I’ll take a day off. Then I’ll hit the two larger muscle groups like back on one day. Then I’ll do chest on the following day. Then on the third day I’ll do biceps, triceps, shoulders, and then I’ll repeat.

David TaoDavid Tao

I remember when I first heard the concept of contralateral training and the fact that if you say your right arm is injured by training the left arm, you could help reduce muscle loss on the injured side over the course of your recovery.


The first time I heard that, I thought it was the biggest crock of bro science pseudoscience I’d ever heard. There is a lot of interesting research behind it. Anecdotally, as someone who’s been injured myself not doing anything as cool as you, but just injuries I get in training.


There is some credence to that. It’s this mindset of, OK, you’re injured or you have a localized injury, it doesn’t mean you should stop training. In fact, training might be even more important than it was before.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Oh, no doubt, because number one, it’s good for your mental state, because people aren’t feeling good mentally, when they’re injured. You have to get through that trough. Workouts do help that, of course, you shouldn’t be pushing yourself in the beginning until if your trauma site is throbbing.


Then it’s going through enough of an inflammatory response as it is, you don’t want to inflame it even more. You have to be easy for the first few weeks, obviously, but then you can push it a little bit more. I’m five weeks post-surgery, and already undoing side raises with this injured side with a 15 pounds.


Front raises 15 pounds rear raises 20 pounds. I’m going a little bit heavier on the left, but at least I’m able to do something where they tell you, you shouldn’t be able to do something with an injury like that for a good six months.


Well, we’re way ahead of the curve here. Like I said, I’m not stupid with it. I’m not here to tell everybody to do the exact same. I’ve had so many injuries since the age of 8, 10 years old, that I understand the process.


When I had shoulder surgery, about two and a half years ago, within four months of that surgery, I told my labor and had an anchor down. I was competing in another Iron Man triathlon.


With that exercise with that movements with the blood flow, the nitrogen rich blood flow and oxygen rich blood to that trauma area, it does help the recovery no end. We can look at studies research, but I was always saying knowledge without mileage is bullshit. I look at the studies and then try before I buy.

David TaoDavid Tao

That makes a lot of sense. Let’s talk about your nutrition protocol. You’re someone who I know is very passionate about well, let’s say everything in performance. One thing we’ve talked a little bit before when we had you on previously was fasting protocol.


Do you have a fasting protocol that you are a fan of right now or something that’s working for you right now?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, definitely right now, because it does help with stem cell proliferation. I’m doing a few things for stem cell proliferation. That is hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I’m also fasting and taking exogenous stem cells as well.


There’s a three prong approach to that. I am fasting, I’m not doing it every single day, it’s generally a 16 hour fast. I call it a controlled fast, because during that fasting window, I’m still drinking essential amino acids, not BCAAs because the leucine can knock you out of that if you have too much.


I’ll have glutamine during that time. If you listen to people like Dr. Satchin Panda, or Dr. Jason Fung, they will say that that will knock you out of a fast but then you have other people like Dr. Valter Longo that allows you to have a certain amount of negligible calories, that still allows for stem cell proliferation. That’s what I’m doing.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, what is your diet looking like when you are eating the eight hour windows when you are generally eating? What is a macronutrient split or typical day look like in that regard?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yes, so at the moment, because I’m not training to crazy absolute failure I did at Flex Lewis’s gym opening about a week and a half ago. I regretted that it was a leg day and I still didn’t recover by the following Saturday.


I try not to push it too hard because I’m allowing all the recovery to go here. My calories are down a little bit. I’m looking at about 1.1 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and usually have about equal amount of carbohydrates, not a huge amount.


Then fats, probably looking at about 25 percent of those macros are coming from fats. A lot of them are naturally occurring from oily fish from steak. I do high EPAs and DHS through supplementation as well. Sodium butyrate, some form of short chain fatty acids.


Maybe a little bit of C8 in my coffee and that’s pretty much it. A lot of my greens, because I’m not as active as I usually am. I find that I don’t have the hunger, the appetites as I usually do. I’m drinking quite a few of those calories as well. My greens, I don’t eat that many vegetables. I drink my Outlive 100, my greens concoction.


I’ll have in my meal replacement, which is clean meal during the earlier part of the day, maybe once a day. I’ll have an Isolate maybe in the afternoon. That’s pretty much it.


No, sorry, I was going to say, but I am very cautious to ensure that all my food is humane raised, grass fed, organic, etc. I don’t like to take antibiotics, I didn’t take antibiotics after my surgery. I certainly don’t want them in the food that I’m consuming either.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, that’s a good segue. In addition to being a bodybuilder, and athlete, you are the founder and run Kaged Supplements. It took me way too long, by the way to realize Kaged with a K was from Kris with a K. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I didn’t put the two together that quickly.


Let’s talk a little bit about that. I see the reflection of a lot of what you talked about recovery, what we talked about in the last podcast, other content you’ve put out in the supplements that Kaged produces, you’ll mention something.


Then a few months later, Kaged will announce a new supplement. It’s like, “Oh, Kris was clearly building the supplement he wanted to take.” Tell us a little bit about that formulation process.


Obviously, making any supplement can be a complex endeavor, if it’s got a lot of ingredients, if it’s something new, that adds a level of complexity to it. What Kaged is producing? Are you coming up with these ideas and then working with formulators? Or is the process for development maybe a little bit different?


Kris GethinKris Gethin

It’s between myself and our formulator. My formulator is Brian Rand. Of course, I’m going to be biased, but he’s the best formulator out there on the planet. The guy is an absolute freak, he spends a lot of the time in his, in his basement coming up with these formulations, which are absolutely phenomenal.


He’s always approached through new ingredients, I’m always approached with new ingredients. Then if it seems it’s something that has some merit to it, then we’ll try it. If it has merit to it, then I’ll go out to the manufacturing plant or the farm, depending if it’s in this country or another country or whatever.


Then go and speak to the farmers themselves before we start sourcing and patented in whatever it may be. We do things a little bit differently. Some people say, “Well, why don’t you have one of these supplements?


Why don’t you have a [indecipherable 17:41] powder, or H&B?” My response is, “Look, we’re not a MeToo brand, if there’s a company out there that already has a great formulation, I’ll promote it. We’re not going to go and do it ourselves. There’s just no point.” That’s where we’re how we came up with a lot of these things.


We ensure that we want everything that’s either patented, organic, fermented, naturally flavored, naturally colored, so a lot of the things that we do cost us, 3 or 4X of what generic ingredients would cost. We don’t charge 3 or 4X. I’d say, that we have our investments elsewhere.


We do this because it’s just a passion of ours. I want to feel comfortable that what I’m suggesting I’m going to suggest to my family.

David TaoDavid Tao

What is the new supplement, for example, I know you have a meal replacement, Clean Meal, I believe, which I, full disclosure, have not tried this yet. I’ll hold my judgment on the flavors, and I’ll get back to you on that.


Take us through the life cycle. How long did it take from idea, hey, we want to produce this meal replacement, to there’s a product on the shelves people can buy?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

It wasn’t an active process. I’d say the idea came about three and a half years before. I’d say we were actively involved in the formulation for about 18 months. We didn’t know whether we wanted to come out with a meal replacement, first of all, because we didn’t know if it would sell.


I come out from the days of Twinlab, EAS, Medarex, CNV, where they all had meal replacement. I loved them. I loved them at that time. I’m not too fussy with flavors. It makes me laugh when people say, “God, this tastes horrible!” I’m like, “Wow, you didn’t try the supplements 20 years ago, then.”


This is phenomenal. I love it.


We decided if we’re going to do a meal replacement, we got to make sure that it has low GI carbs, like organic quinoa. If we’re using a protein, we want to make sure that the isolates has ioWhey technology so it’s easy on the stomach, it has more surface place to digest, and the fats are going to come from coconut oil.


We wanted a very high-end, as closest to a meal as possible. Making sure that we do put vitamins and minerals in it, so we all have 21 in there, and making sure they are organically sourced as well. That was the process and the meaning behind it.


We put out a survey to ask people what did they feel was the right amount of carbohydrates compared to the protein. People really wanted a lower carbohydrate blend. We went with 18 grams of carbohydrates to the 28 grams of protein.


That’s for a smaller serving, of course. If you want a bigger serving, you can have that. That’s why we came up with that ratio.

David TaoDavid Tao

Where do you get most of your supplements manufactured? Are they all on the same facility?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yes, we will have these done in Nashville. We’ll have these done out there. We were in California, but it was just taken us way too long for the lead times. We really couldn’t judge how many to have a PO and how long it would take for them to get manufactured. We moved to Nashville and that seems to be a much easier process for us right now.

David TaoDavid Tao

What are your favorite things to do when you visit Nashville. The city I’ve spent some time in, there’s a lot to do there. What are some highlights for you?


Kris GethinKris Gethin

[laughs] Well, I’ve already been Downtown once. That was probably to go to the Kid Rock bar. That was a fun part but whenever I go there because Brandon Curry lives there, and we like to go to work out at Carbon Culture gyms, I got to say that’s my favorite. If I go on holiday, I want to check out the gyms, man. People probably think that’s kind of boring or meathead-ish but I just love it.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, do something you love, you never working a day in your life. What are your favorite gyms to train at in the United States?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

In the United States Destination Dallas in Texas. I love that facility — has got such good equipments. They have a lot of the arsenal strength, matrix strength, they got the prime fitness USA equipment. I just love it, great atmosphere. They got everything for CrossFitters, for strong men, for bodybuilders, for Supercross athletes, they got absolutely everything there and they train a lot of football athletes there. Love that place, love the atmosphere.


I like Metroflex in Texas as well. It’s very dirty, grimy, hardcore, great music, it’s hot, it’s sweaty. I like that as well. I was at Flex Lewis’s gym opening, the Dragon’s Lair about a week and a half ago in Vegas. I love that facility as well. Again, a lot of the equipment that you’d find the Destination Dallas, and it just works really well with the biomechanics of the body, so I like that.

David TaoDavid Tao

What about international. You might be a little bit biased because your name is on a chain of gyms that you’ll find out at the United States but what are some international spots for you. You were visiting a place, you found a gym and you’re like, wow, this is a great training destination.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

It’s not there anymore. I don’t know if this counts by Temple gym that was owned by my friend Dorian Yates. I swear that I’ve never encountered the atmosphere that you’d get in that gym anywhere else.


It was eerie. It was so good. You just go in and know that you’re going to probably crawl out by your lips and have the best workout of your entire life and, of course, training with Dorian in there, which I had many times, is just such an experience. That’s when you really understand what intensity is.


I used to look at natural bodybuilders when I first started going to competitions and I thought, “There is no way they are natural, impossible.” But then I started training with somebody who actually had won that show and then I realized, “OK, so this is what real intensity is, and that’s how you get a physique like that naturally.”


When I started training at Temple Gym with Dorian, even though Dorian is understood, he’s a extracurricular supplement taker or was back then. That’s how I realized that’s how you take your physique to the next level, and it was just through the sheer intensity that you get from the aura of that facility. It was just phenomenal.

David TaoDavid Tao

There aren’t many of those hardcore training facilities left it seems. Though you mentioned Metroflex in Texas, which is still famously has that vibe, right? It’s going to be a little dusty, some stuff might be a little rusty, there’s got to be some very hardcore music on.


If folks are looking for that training environment, where would you recommend they start to seek out those places? I feel like they’re diamonds in the rough these days.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, they’re independent. I guess you’d have to ask around because a lot of them are hidden, but a lot of these independent gyms…And I find that you tend to see them a little bit more in Europe, definitely the UK more than you do here.


This is definitely more of a family atmosphere within those selected facilities that you’ll find overseas than you do here. I think that’s why Destination Dallas does so well to bring that to the masses, because the owner is Swedish. He comes from a bodybuilding background, always has done, and he’s really brought that on a larger scale.

David TaoDavid Tao

OK. Here’s the advice we need, say you’re an American, and you’re looking to find a great traditional hardcore bodybuilding training facility in the UK and you find one, what can you do as an American to ingratiate yourself with the community there and maybe not stick out like a sore thumb. That’s [indecipherable 25:28] my question.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

You’d have to pick up the local accents, I think. Even if you go to Wales, and some English people walk into a gym, you’ll get a lot of stares. It’s just how it is. It’s funny because you’ll find in some Welsh places, people speak the Welsh language, and as soon as…


They usually speak in English but then as soon as an English or a foreigner walks in, then they will start speaking Welsh again, so no one can understand what they’re saying about them. Yeah, I think that you just want to make sure that you do fit in and probably…I don’t know.


The hardcore gyms that we’re talking about, you’re probably not going to fit in wearing a very tight-fitting Gymshark top. It’s going to be something a little bit more gasp, a little bit baggy, or a little bit more hardcore.


David TaoDavid Tao

Maybe not the style of the day is what you’re saying?

Kris GethinKris Gethin


David TaoDavid Tao

You got a little bit of a throwback?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

You’d have to prepare in advance your gym attire dependent on where you’re going.

David TaoDavid Tao

OK, do you still cut up your sweats, or do you wear sweats off the rack?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

I’ll wear sweats off the rack but sometimes I cut them up. I just cut up a pair of gasp pants just two weeks ago, because they have something…There used to have some hard course of cargo shorts, and I really missed them. They don’t make them anymore, but they do make the cargo pants. I’ll tend to order the pants and cut them halfway.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s some old school style in the bodybuilding realm. The big cargo shorts, where you could fit everything and train in them, you don’t see that enough these days. I missed that.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, I think we’re going to have to bring it back. Maybe we’ll have to put out a survey and maybe a GoFundMe.

David TaoDavid Tao

Or Kickstarter for the Retro…

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, there you go.

David TaoDavid Tao

The Retro Cargo shorts. Well, Kris, where’s the best place for people to follow along with you, your training, your recovery process now, and a lot of the other great content you put out? I know you’re someone who’s passionate about training, performance, recovery, biohacking, and…


Especially in non-COVID times and I’m sure you’ll get back to this, after, you’re always traveling the world meeting with people and expanding your knowledge base. How can folks follow along with you?

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Yeah, thank you very much. It’s probably best to go to my Instagram which is, Kris Gethin, spelled K-R-I-S, G-E-T-H-I-N. I’ve put a couple of more extensive videos on my YouTube just to show people my recovery process. Of course, they don’t have to have a tricep tear to follow that recovery. I’ve had a huge amount of people reach out and say…


…”I’ve injured my foot, my knee, my ACL, my shoulder, whatever.” You can take that and apply as you did.

David TaoDavid Tao

Excellent. Kris, thanks so much. Always a pleasure. Really appreciate your time.

Kris GethinKris Gethin

Thanks for having me back, sir.