The Stenmark Brothers on Healthcare Industry Hacking
Health is synonymous with great. We have superfoods, superheroes, and supersets. So it makes perfect sense that
The next giant leap in health-related innovation comes from Australian model duo Jordan and Zac Stenmark.
Over the past decade, the Stenmark twins, 29, have dominated the international menswear scene. But it is precisely what they have been doing in their “free” time for the past five years that has brought us together at sunrise on a beach in Sydney Harbor.
Following a life spent in the air, between Los Angeles, Milan and New York City, the genetically blessed duo have spent their downtime in transit seeking to hack their health in any way they can. To stay fit, look fresh and perform at their peak (they are former AFL players and are currently looking to break a Masters Swimming World Record). And years of research have clearly paid off.
Fresh off the heels of the 2020 launch of their own wellness platform, Stenmark Fit, the twins are now expanding their health empire with the launch of Dreamers, a neuroscience-focused lens and eyeglass technology that seeks to improve sleep by blocking out the pesky blue and green. light.
And no, Jordan and Zac aren’t just celebrities who lent their names to a gadget. Such is their knowledge and expertise, spending time with them makes me question my own credentials as a health journalist.
Each burpee is followed by a book recommendation, each swim preceded by a journal reference, and each sprint of soft sand accompanied by the calming tones of scientific methodology. They are smart and worldly, a deadly combination when it comes to cementing themselves at the top of the health pyramid.
With their wings clipped for the time being, the Stenmarks are dedicating their time to improving the lives of their fans by sharing this wealth of knowledge and accessing global health experts. You too can boost your health the supermodel way, perhaps starting with the easiest trick to master: a good night’s sleep.
MH: How did you get started in health and fitness?
Zac: We were playing soccer [AFL] with GWS, studying economics at the University of Sydney and our modeling careers all started at the same time, so health and fitness were an integral part of our lives.
For us, it wasn’t just about physical performance, it was about feeling really good, especially with all the trips we took on a regular basis. So we started researching all of these different health modalities and finding the most sustainable ways to be healthy, not just more fad diets.
Jordan: Zac does a great deal of medical reading. It’s like how we came into the world. This is my test dummy. If he does well, then I’ll go.
From the outside, you live the model lifestyle. Have you ever faced difficulties with your health?
Zac: I had this problem with my hip which got really serious; it was basically like arthritis in the hips. I remember there were times when Jordan should have carried me off the plane, I was in so much pain. So there I was, a 20 year old guy struggling with this health issue that was already preventing me from training, so I had to learn how to deal with inflammation. [Doctors] I wanted me to take these really strong anti-inflammatories, and I wanted to find a natural way to deal with it.
So this is one of the big factors that led me on this path to try to understand how to really take care of our body and have very good health.
And that led to your health platform, Stenmark Fit, in 2020? How has this been received since launch?
Jordan: It had an incredible response. One of the great things we’ve seen through Stenmark Fit is that people are saying, “I love that this is a holistic approach to health, and I love the fact that although I am looking for an aesthetic result, I am also looking to improve my lifestyle ”. And
it was something we really wanted to do. And the way we have tried to live our lives.
With the human body, there is no one size fits all for each person and this is another important factor for us. There are methodologies in healthcare that work for a lot of people, but it won’t always be this cookie-cutter approach. But there are some basics you can lay down that anyone can apply in their life.
Considering your profession, do you find that a lot of people have come to Stenmark Fit motivated by aesthetics, in search of a supermodel body?
Jordan: I think people definitely came for, say, abs, but came away with a healthier lifestyle. [Abs] are a byproduct of a healthier body. We know that good looks come with actually taking care of your body.
As a model, you can pretty much pick any expert in health, nutrition, fitness, sleep, science. How do you choose who you want to be part of your healthcare empire?
Zac: There must be a very credible science behind their thinking and a very balanced approach as well. You cannot be so extreme and over the top that goals or concepts are unachievable. Then we look at the lifestyle and off we go, is that something that resonates with who we are and the way we think?
Jordan: Funny, the best experts are the ones who admit they don’t know everything. Science is science and you don’t always get definitive answers. You get as close as possible and you keep looking, keep finding. I think this humble approach is something that we look for in our experts, this always learning approach.
What do you think are broader issues in the health sector?
Zac: I think the emphasis is on the singular moments, trying to prepare for a specific event. And everyone is looking for the quick fix rather than creating sustainability. I think we’ve all learned that you have to build a lifestyle around habits. This is not the short-term “I want to be in good shape for six weeks” approach.
How did the passion for sleep come about?
Jordan: Out of necessity. We were really at a point in our life where we were traveling all the time. We were on the set, we went from job to job. And we realized how important sleep is for our longevity, but also for our overall performance and the quality of our lives.
So we went there and started researching the factors that influenced sleep and we realized that light has a huge impact on our circadian rhythms. So that’s where we went to [US scientists] Dr Stafford Sheehan and Professor Andrew Huberman, who have identified a way to block light that prevents us from making the sleep hormone melatonin.
Zac: Much like the inflammation in my hips, it has become such a need to make sure that we understand those things that
could actually improve our sleep. We ate really well, we trained really well, but we neglected the key point
to recharge our batteries and start to notice things that were lowering our performance or mood or preventing us from doing the things we wanted to do.
Jordan: We were sick more often, got colds, that sort of thing. Many people say that “you are busy” or
“This is exactly what happens when you get older.” But the more we read, we started to realize that there are things that you
can tweak and sleep is a prime example. Retention of information, cell regeneration and detoxification – there is actually a designated time during the night, that is what sleep is for.
What other health hacks had you tried before you hacked into your sleep?
Zac: We’ve done a lot of cold therapy, using cold thermogenesis. We did a lot of yoga and breathing. And I think these are all really important things. The importance of nasal breathing is really interesting.
Jordan: But despite all the things we’ve tried, it all brought us back to sleep, which is most important for recovery. And there are good practices we can add to complement the sleep component of recovery. Dreamers block both blue light and green light.
Why has blue light received so much attention and not green light?
Zac: Blue light is responsible for shutting down about 55% of melatonin production, so green light is responsible for removing the remaining 45%.
Jordan: blue light has also become the main enemy due to the speed at which we have evolved
with technologies that emit it in large quantities. Phones, televisions, LED lights. . . we really need these screens. They are such a part of our lives and telling people to put their screens down is going to be very, very difficult.
Zac: This is where we came up with Dreamers. We don’t want to change habits, but we want to reduce the impact of these screens, without limiting the positive aspects. If you had just
blue and green light during the day of
sun, you wouldn’t have that change in your circadian rhythms. Your body would not stop producing melatonin. So it’s
really important that people understand that there is a balance.
What is “sleep hygiene”?
Zac: It’s the whole sleep routine. Similar to dental hygiene – brushing your teeth and using dental floss and mouthwash – it’s your sleep routine.
Jordan: Everyone tries to find a good bed, but there are several factors other than what you sleep on. It’s all part of this routine. As we said, the key is that you put on your glasses and sleep really well so that you can make the most of the next day, the next day and the next. Just like if you go out, you put on your sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, you put on your Dreamers at night.
What’s your sleep routine?
Jordan: I put on the glasses right after sunset or just after sunset. It’s really important that we try to dim the blue and green light as much as possible.
Zac: Exactly. Even if it’s only half an hour before bed, it can still be very helpful. I think for us eating is another important thing.
By that I mean trying not to eat too close to the bed. Because in order to get very good quality sleep, you don’t want to digest food
while you sleep. Instead, you want your body to be fully engaged in the regeneration process.
Jordan: We generally look at the senses, like touch, feel, as well as temperature and how these variables affect your sleep. This
gives you an idea of where dreamers might hang out.