#119 Trailer: HVMN’s Michael Brandt: Barefoot Running, Synesthesia in Branding, Finding More Mentors, Favorite Books, and More | 20 Minute Playbook

In Episode #119, we deconstruct Michael Brandt's peak performance playbook—from his favorite book to the tiny habit that's had the biggest impact on his life. Michael is the Co-Founder and CEO of HVMN and Ketone IQ. We cover barefoot running, creating brand synesthesia, and the magic of walking.
Last updated
November 15, 2022
Min Read
Michael Brandt is a triathlete and marathoner with a 2:42 PR.
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About Michael Brandt

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“Do not reinvent the wheel for 80% of what you're doing. Because the 20% of what you're doing that's really special and interesting, that's going to take a 100% of your time. It could and should.” – Michael Brandt

Michael Brandt is the co-founder and CEO of HVMN and Ketone IQ, which makes the world's first drinkable ketones. HVMN stands for Health Via Modern Nutrition. And in 2017, they launched version 1.0 of their drinkable ketone product after landing a six million dollar contract with the US Department of Defense to study how ketones could improve the performance of our special forces warriors. HVMM launched version 2.0 called KetoneIQ last year in November 2021. Michael is also an avid marathoner, long distance runner, and biohacker which we talk about a lot in this episode.

In this episode, Michael shares his product design and branding principles, including his theory of synesthesia or why every part of your aesthetic and brand has to relate to every other part. He talks about how he's gotten better at running over the years, including running for as fast as he can, and for as long as he can, while keeping his pulse below 140 beats per minute. He talks about how he uses drinkable ketones and KetoneIQ in his daily life, including what products he stacks it with. We discuss his favorite books on running, and the design and engineering thought that went into HVMN.

For more, explore the transcript of this episode.

As a listener — that’s you — you can try Ketone-iQ and save 10% off today. Simply go to HVMN.me/OutlierAcademy or use code OUTLIER at checkout.


In this episode, we deconstruct Michael Brandt’s peak performance playbook—from his favorite book to the tiny habit that's had the biggest impact on his life. In it we cover:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:02 – HVMN and ketones
  • 00:04:17 – Barefoot running and improving running form
  • 00:06:50 – Speaking multiple languages across the business as a founder
  • 00:09:37 – Continuous glucose monitoring and heart rate monitoring for peak performance
  • 00:13:27 – Embedding Ketone-IQ into daily life
  • 00:15:58 – Creating brand synesthesia with design
  • 00:22:22 – Recommended books, from Shoe Dog to Born to Run
  • 00:26:43 – The importance of daily activity and the magic of walking
  • 00:31:19 – Find more mentors and don’t reinvent the wheel for 80% of your business

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

An Idea Worth Trying

Michael doesn’t take any meetings after 2pm. He finds that meetings always end with follow-up items, and he spends his afternoons processing information and following up on his morning meetings.

Our Favorite Quotes

Here are a few ideas we'll be thinking about weeks and months from now:

  • “I think as I've matured as a leader, it's also just being really smart about getting a new initiative going with that founder grit, that B level execution, and very quickly getting out of my own way, hiring that A+ person.”
  • “The best products just work out of the box. And everyone knows that, but then once it comes down to your own precious baby, it's very easy to forget that.”
  • “Good product design is synesthesia; all of the surface area of your brand kind of rhymes with itself.”
  • “One simple rule is do something active every day. I like it in its simplicity. It is not a hard rule to state. It's not a hard rule to follow. And I'm not saying that people need to run seven miles a day, but that doing something active every day seems to be this magic unlock.”

Books Mentioned

The following books came up in this conversation with Michael Brandt:

Selected Links

We covered a lot of ground in this interview. Here are links to the stories, articles, and ideas discussed:

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