Fit Bods & Fine IdeaLs: So What is ‘Level Out’?
Two boys with super-buff bods and a fitness start-up. Now doesn’t that just warrant a massive eye-roll?
You probably won’t want to know more, your mouse is already hovering over that little X at the top of the page, your mind suddenly teaming with images of gains bros and hustle bros and all the other damn bros who are forever clogging up dating apps with chat-up-lines that boast all the intellectual nuance of Johnny Bravo.
Beside the wanker-banker, they may well be modern society’s most hated breed. But ancient wisdom dictates you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Move the mouse back to the middle of the page. Stay with us. Scroll down.
Babak Brazell and Jacek Bilinski do, on the face of it, fit the stereotype. But instead of living for the flexing selfies, the long-time friends parlayed their love of sport and healthy lifestyle into LevelOut, a nootropics company that wants to make your workouts better and your down-time sweeter. That’s our layman’s way of explaining their aim of ‘optimising performance’.
Nootropics… huh? Performance opti… wha?
Don’t worry, since we’re here to convert you, let us enlighten. Nootropics are a class of smart drugs that can improve brain performance, though even the word ‘drugs’ is misleading. Omega-3 supplements, for instance, can be considered a nootropic, as can caffeine. There are plenty of all-natural brain boosters and LevelOut currently produces two: FOCUS and RESET.
The aim of FOCUS is to make sure you’re in the right headspace before exercising, which is why it’s recommended for consumption pre-workout. The RESET product is about helping your body recover in the most effective manner. ‘I play a lot of hockey and CBD helps relieve my aches and pains, as well as improving my sleep,’ says Babak. ‘People who wear a fitness tracking device find they’ll either sleep for longer or go into a deeper sleep for longer when they take CBD. That’s the time your body is really resorting itself.’
That’s right, LevelOut’s products are all CBD-based, and that’s the next stereotype we’re tackling. ‘People have reservations,’ Babak says, going on to tell us that people have refused to try the product before, because they’d be driving later. CBD, as a component of marijuana, suffers from stoner-stigma. But in fact, it is an extract of the plant with no narcotic side-effects. ‘You’ve got THC and CBD, two constituent parts. THC is everything psychoactive. CBD is obviously also derived from hemp cannabis but it’s completely non-psychoactive. It has properties to help you relax.’
After noticing CBD has started playing a large role in sports, particularly amongst US athletes, ‘names you’ve heard of like Megan Rapinoe, Mike Tyson and Rob Gronkowski,’ says Babak, “We thought ‘why not bring that to the UK?” Britain is a bit behind North American trends in all things CBD. Obviously they’re on the road to legalisation there, particularly in Canada.’
LevelOut’s products may seem like they are just for those who are extra-focused on gym results, or for professionals, but their brand name is a clue to a far more moderate approach. Suggesting balance, rather than intensity, LevelOut’s mission is to bring together those passionate about movement in all its forms. Their community page features practitioners of all disciplines, from heavyweight boxing to breathwork, dance to crossfit. Everyone is invited to mingle through LevelOut’s events, which include group runs. What’s more, LevelOut are committed to London’s mental health – £1 of every sale goes to The New Normal, a charity offering free peer-to-peer grief support and facilitating conversations that tackle isolation.
Promoting responsible exercise and bringing people together in a city as strung-out and stressed as London is nothing if not a noble mission. And if it involves a little bit of CBD-aided relaxation after, what’s really wrong with that?