- Andrew Herr is an expert in human performance and has worked with pro athletes and Navy SEALs.
- He said experiments helped him optimize his own routine for better focus and energy.
- His go-to breakfast is olive oil and almond butter — but there’s no one-size-fits-all for best results.
Picture your ideal breakfast: but instead of waking up to bowl of cereal, a plate of eggs and bacon, or even a stack of waffles, it’s a viscous sludge of olive oil, almond butter, and water.
This is the perfect way to start the day — at least if you’re Andrew Herr, an elite performance coach who’s worked with Navy SEALs and pro athletes, and been honored as a “Mad Scientist” by the U.S. Army.
He’s also the CEO and founder of Fount, a start-up whose philosophy is using lifestyle experimentation to optimize performance, for clients ranging from military operators to high-level business executives
Herr uses the same process of experimentation with exercise, diet, sleep, and other habits in his own life, with unconventional but effective results.
“I have found that eating a mix of almond butter, olive oil and water is the absolutely ideal breakfast for me every morning,” he told Insider. “It’s so much better than anything else I could eat, I bring it with me when I travel because I feel so good and so energized. People find it quite weird for obvious reasons.”
However, that doesn’t mean you should try it at home. Herr said finding the optimal routine is unique for each individual, but looking for certain patterns can unlock what your body and mind need to perform their best.
There’s no one-size fits all for peak performance
Herr hit on his distinctive breakfast combination while trying to find a way to fuel himself for a 24-hour Spartan race. He said the blend of olive oil, almond butter, and water was so effective at providing him with enough calories, energy, and focus, he added it to his morning routine. The ratio involves enough water to make the substance drinkable, but with the texture of a pudding.
But he said part of the experimental process involves trying, and leaving behind, strategies that don’t pay off.
“There’s no failed experiment,” he said. “Often the failed interventions are the ones that provide the most valuable data. This change didn’t help? Great, you don’t need to make that change.”
For instance, Herr said that he doesn’t do well on lower-carbohydrate diets, and also reacts badly to omega-3 supplements, which he said occurs among a small percentage of people. As a result, while those tweaks might be beneficial for many, there’s not part of his ideal routine.
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.
As an example, a client complaining of low energy in the afternoon often isn’t eating breakfast, Herr said, and doing so can prevent an energy dip. Or, if the low energy happens after lunch, it may be related to what they’re eating then, he said.
“You start to see patterns you can recognize very quickly,” he said.
Another example: Herr helped developed a routine that prevents jet lag for a vast majority of people.
Balance what feels good for your body with what works for your goals
It’s a misconception that optimizing performance means doing things that are unpleasant — feeling good is an important part of the process, with the right planning, according to Herr.
“You do have to lean into 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 him, and it’s all about balancing what matters for your own goals and priorities.
“If someone would like to take me to a three Michelin starred restaurant, I will gladly accept that invitation, and I will eat off the program and will feel somewhat worse tomorrow, and it will be totally worth it,” he said.