Experience a transformative conversation with Dr. Erik Korem, the brilliant mind behind AIM7 – the groundbreaking app revolutionizing the way we optimize our exercise, sleep, and mental fitness.
Topics covered in the interview
Importance of sleep and stress
Serving the general population
Dr. Eric Korem’s Bio
Fueled by a deep-rooted desire to help others live a more fulfilled and healthy life, Dr. Erik Korem is an applied performance scientist that leaves every person or place he interacts with better than he found it. During the nearly 20 years he spent working with establishments like the NFL, NCAA, Nike, and U.S. Dept of Defense, it’s easy to see he didn’t let a single day go to waste.
Similarly, as a Presidential Leadership Scholar that holds a doctorate in exercise science with a research emphasis on sleep and stress resilience, he’s leveraged his education and platform to provide others with tangible health insights by writing for media outlets like Inc and conducting impactful interviews with notable experts and athletes on his podcast The BluePrint
While Erik’s relentless pursuit of high performance has come with its fair share of obstacles, it was also preparing him for his biggest challenge to date; *entrepreneurship*.
He became the Founder and CEO of [AIM7](https://www.aim7.com/) in 2020, pouring his expertise into an app that analyzes users’ data and provides custom recommendations for enhancing the mind, body, and recovery process. Leveraging the science of adaptive capacity, Erik and his team are unlocking a new level of human performance for anyone with a wearable device — so they can be their best without burning out.
Follow Dr. Eric Korem
Susan Sly 00:00
Hey Raw and Real entrepreneurs, I have a question for you. What is your sleep like? And okay, I have like 50 questions like, What is your stress level right now? Are you feeling fulfilled? Are you feeling motivated? And I guess some follow up questions are if you were sleeping better, if you were feeling more motivated, what would you accomplish? And in today's show, you're going to hear from my friend, Dr. Erik Korem. He is the founder of AIM7, he's the CEO. He has worked with NFL players and professional athletes from all of the various designations. He's absolutely incredible. He has an amazing heart of service. And he's going to talk about, he came on the show a few months ago, and Aim7 was in beta, he's going to share the beta results, how people improve their motivation, how people improve their sleep, people started losing weight without changing their diet and all of the different things. One woman even became a better mom. And so Aim7 is launching today, in the app store for iOS on any device, most devices, the aura, the Garmin, the Fitbit, your Apple Watch. And so we're checking in today, but today is launch day. And in full disclosure, I am an investor and an advisor to this company. I get sent pitch decks almost every single day. People text me, will you invest in my company? I've turned down probably 90% of the investment opportunities I've had this year, but I invested in this company. So without further ado, I want you to please give a Raw and Real Entrepreneurship welcome to my dear friend, Dr. Erik Korem.
Susan Sly 01:59
This is Rawand Real Entrepreneurship, the show that brings the no nonsense truth of what is required to start, grow and scale your business. I am your host, Susan Sly.
Susan Sly 02:13
Well, what is up Raw and Real entrepreneurs wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having an amazing day. And you know, I love when good people are doing great things in the world, they're adding incredible value and to catch up with them from time to time. When you write in you're like, I wonder what's happening with this founder? Well, he's back. Yes, today is a massive day. If you are listening to the show, live drop, it is August 28th. And this founder has a huge, huge announcement today. So I just want to say Dr. Erik Korem, welcome back to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. Why is today's so significant?
Erik Korem 02:57
Well, Susan, thank you so much for having me back on. Yeah, after two years of this entrepreneurial journey, actually like two and a half years, Aim7 is now in the App Store. So I know anybody that's ever built a piece of technology, when you do it right, you got to stress test this thing, you got to put it out there, you got to make sure that it's getting results. And then it's working exactly like you want it to work. And so we put this into private beta in February, zero marketing, which I think people will loving this. And between then and like, late June, we acquired over 500 customers. The average person in the first 30 days had a 19% improvement in their motivation, 16% better sleep quality, 17% improvement in mood, 15% reduction in stress, the energy was up, it was amazing. So we're like, okay, you know, we're a data driven company, data shows people are getting results, quantitatively and subjectively, people are writing in and we're like, now's the time to launch. So we've been on a track to do that this summer. And we are fired up to get Aim7 out to the world to impact more lives.
Susan Sly 04:06
I just want to stop there for a second 19% improvement. And I want to start with the first one, motivation. And I want to, I want to take a minute. Last time you were here because we both have health backgrounds. We got a little geeky, but I do, I want to, you spit out those stats so quickly, because I'd love to frame this in. When, a human being is motivated, even 1%, a 1% shift in motivation is the difference between, I'll throw some examples out, the decision to quit smoking or the decision to reach out and heal a wounded relationship or the decision to work out that day or not work out the day or not have a glass of wine or whatever it is. And we're talking 19% motivation, but I want you to comment on that because you had so many people write in and you created this group and became close with several people. Can you give an example of what that shift in motivation meant, maybe for one of the people what that did in their lives?
Erik Korem 05:13
Yeah, I think of Nikki. Nikki's a mom in Midwest. She's got a lot of kids, they live on a farm. And she is like one of our power users, right? So what Aim7 does, really quickly, it pulls in your wearable technology data from like your Apple Watch or your Aura. And then we turn it into precise recommendations for exercise, sleep and mental fitness, to help stop burnout and help you build the capacity to adapt to more stress with less cost, which improves your physical and mental fitness, you become a more resilient human being. And so Nikki, she was always emailing us. And she sent us this one quote one day, and it just stopped me dead in my tracks. And she's like, I'm a more present, and like energetic mom. And you're like, wow, like, That is unbelievable. So what happens when you become more physically and mentally fit? It means that you're more aware of your thoughts, emotions and feelings. And you can take concerted actions, deliberate actions anchored in your values. That is what leads to improve motivation, because now you're like, I know what I want to do. And I'm doing it in a way that's aligned with me. And actually, we teach that in the app, which is pretty, pretty fun. So yeah, like, you know, motivation goes up and down. Right, it can wane. The key is understanding that, how to consistently take action when it's high, when it's low, and how to scale that action. And I think when we make the outcome, like improved sleep, or more energy, or whatever it is, people are looking for more realistic and attainable that there is more intrinsic motivation to consistently pursue that goal. But when it feels like it's at the top of a giant mountain all the time, instead of like, hey, I can take this small step today. And guess what? I'm achieving success. And we've wired all this into the app. And I think that's what, that's what keeps people coming back and taking action.
Susan Sly 07:11
I just didn't want to gloss over that.
Erik Korem 07:13
No, it's a big change.
Susan Sly 07:14
And I want the listeners to know Erik and I are friends. So he doesn't know what questions I'm going to ask. But the story about Nikki and especially as a mom, like the day we are doing the show, so Erik, I had, yesterday, I had our youngest daughter, first day of high school. And she didn't have the best day. Something happened with her friend group, she ended up eating lunch alone, there was miscommunication. Then, one who is starting off at university, she was having, it finally all hit her. It, it was like, I'm really leaving home. And she's going tomorrow, the day, you know, we're recording this. And it's like that, you know, for me as a you know, as a CEO, and founder and you know, all the roles that I have. Nicky's story is huge. Because to be able to have more motivation to be present, even when I'm tired or when I you know, when I'm training and I'm working, and I'm doing everything is just, it's so significant. So I want to go, geeky me, let's go into some of those other data points you had and what they really mean. Because this is, you know, when people say, Well, this notion of what this is going to do for me in my life, not just data points, but what are the profound outcomes that it's going to have in all areas of my life. So can we go through a couple more of those?
Erik Korem 08:44
Yeah, let's talk about sleep. Do you want to talk about that?
Susan Sly 08:46
My favorite topic, I would love to have more sleep.
Erik Korem 08:49
Yeah. So there was a very interesting paper that just came out and actually wrote us, I have a little newsletter I send out called Adaptation. It's kind of funny. But in the article, the journal article was about like how your perception of your well being impacts next day sleep. And as a matter of fact, your perception also of your sleep is more important on how you feel than anything your sleep tracker says. And so although my PhD research was in sleep, and we do measure certain metrics off of your devices, some of this stuff, it can actually be counterproductive. And so when people are saying their sleep quality is improving, that's their perception of like, I went to bed and I woke up feeling rested. I woke up feeling like I have more gas in the tank. There's nothing better than waking up in the morning or like I'm energized and ready to go. Well, what leads to that? Well, some of the fundamental tenets of AIM7 is understanding your body's ability to adapt to stress today, and then the things that you can control like maybe how hard or how long you exercise, giving your body the right dose that day, or knowing where you are from a psychological perspective. In Aim7 will send you a specific, what we call mental fitness intervention. So let's say you're stressed, we'll send you a specific breathwork tool to help you calm down and improve performance. Or maybe your mood is off, send you a specific gratitude intervention. When you're able to adjust your psychology, you're able to understand what you have in the tank, and you're not draining it all the time, over time, if you stack that up, the sleep that you're getting is going to leave you more fulfilled, because you're not always operating from a deficit. So just like anything, it's a complex interaction. But what we do is we're helping people understand how much stress I can adapt to, what can I control, when they control those inputs? What are the things they're going to fill up my tank, giving you things that are going to fill up that adaptation tank, and then we also give you recommendations around how long you should sleep for yourself, when you should be going to bed, is today the day that I should take a 10 minute nap in my office like, just close my eyes for a few minutes and chill? And these things together are leading people, in just 30 days, that's crazy, to a 16% improvement in sleep quality. So it's the multifactorial thing that's going on here. But the sleep is absolutely amazing.
Susan Sly 11:26
And, and that, from a physiological point of view, we know that one of the leading causes of weight gain for menopausal women specifically, is poor quality of sleep. So I know because I saw what had happened throughout this beta, that there were some side effects and very positive side effects of improved sleep, improved motivation. And I know you were surprised as a scientist. So what were some of those things you heard because you and I've talked about a couple of different users?
Erik Korem 12:05
I'll tell you, I'll tell you one thing that was pretty interesting. A lot of times, I did another podcast today. And it's more of a health and fitness show, right. And these are like, experienced health and fitness coaches that like, in your former life doing group training, all this kind of stuff. And they're talking about how just people just crushed themselves all the time. Part of that is you go to your favorite boutique fitness shop or whatever studio and they just hammer you. Well, there was one person that was going to one of these studios and these things are great, by the way, especially if you're not, don't have a ton of time. But she was just pushing herrself so hard day in, day out, day in day out. What I didn't know was it she was also trying to lose weight. So she was telling us how her energy was down. And she started using her recommendations. And most of the recommendations were telling her to dial back her intensity, still go to the class just not go quite as hard. She was like, well, I'll give it a shot. And the first month, she changed nothing else in her life and she lost four pounds.
Susan Sly 13:06
Erik Korem 13:07
And the human body is very interesting when it's an adaptation machine. And what it's designed to do is to identify the dominant threat or the dominant need and to mobilize resources. And from a biological perspective, it's typically in protein, and then mobilize those resources to fix or address an issue. Well, if your body is always in this chronic state of stress, it's trying to deal with that. When you can lower this systemic stress, and you're working on other things, maybe it's you're trying to increase lean muscle, maybe it's you need more horsepower for your brain. Or maybe it is like this person trying to lose some weight, the body is going to do what it's capable of doing. But if it's always dealing with this thing over here, this threat, that's thing that's draining the tank, it's gonna have a hard time being an optimal state. So that was another like, pretty surprising story. But then Dr. Morris, who's on our team, he and I were talking, we're like we had the total opposite thing happened, with the original IP for this was the for, the exercise recommendation was developed over a decade ago. And when I was at the University of Kentucky and we had an athlete that could not gain weight. All the time, worked out all the time, couldn't gain weight. And we did an early study with headspace. This is a long time ago. And we got this guy doing mindfulness. Come to find out he was a ruminator. He would go out to eat, a waiter would say something to him, and he would just maybe caught on the wrong way, and he would think about it over and over and over and over again. We started implementing mindfulness with him. Within eight weeks he had gained 18 pounds.
Susan Sly 14:49
Erik Korem 14:50
Why? Because now he was aware of where his brain was. He was able to then process it. Reduce like man, like, like put in interventions to actually dial down stress. And then his body did what it was supposed to do. Like. So we've now taken all these things that we learned with elite athletes and like, how do we serve the general population, people that are working hard, exercising, have families, really busy, that just want to look, feel and perform their best. That's another example of just like how the power of just understanding what your body's capable of and then matching the right dose for it at the time.
Susan Sly 15:28
And one of the things that I'm really excited about. to that point is that the, what is Aim7 is able to do for someone who like myself, who, you know, I have the goal to do four more Boston marathons, there'll be 10. Right? And, and you know, I'm traveling all the time, and I'm that person who will push myself, but with the customization to be able to have the recommendations also adapt to my schedule, oh, I was delayed in, you know, an airport for four hours, okay, I can't get like a two hour run in today, or whatever the case is, and to be able to have it adapt very, very quickly. So can you talk about that? Now, someone doesn't have to be a marathon runner, for something specific. But I'm so excited about this.
Erik Korem 16:21
Yeah, thank you. This is one of the biggest, I'll say fitness companies in the world. Recently, their head of digital product, used our app and reached out and said, Erik, I was delighted by how granular your exercise recommendations are. He'd never seen that before. And what I mean by this?Like, so let's say you do want to go run, righ? Let's say you look at heart rate zones. Some days, if your body's not ready, let's say you're ready to go do an aerobic power interval run where you're maybe doing 10 minute intervals, and is these are exhausting. And maybe you were doing six or eight of them, but your body is drained that day. Aim7, maybe like you know what, today is the day to dial it back, maybe do a long zone to run, which is going to stimulate a part of your sympathetic, your autonomic nervous system called the parasympathetic system that's gonna help you recover, plus, you're going to build the aerobic capacity. Other days, it may be like, Hey, I know you had this planned. But we think you should push it today because the window is open. So it's not always about pulling back. It's also knowing like when the window for adaptation is open. And that's when you need to hammer it. Now, one thing we never do is we don't, we never tell people you can't do something. That was the quickest way to lose somebody, you just need to let them understand the cost. And just because like, hey, look, I got a busy, I got a project or whatever. And your body's maybe a little, you know, maybe not in the ideal state doesn't mean you can't get it done. It just means like, look, Today's a day not to over index on the physical. Maybe you should go on a long walk, do a little bit of mindfulness. And feel good about that. Because you did something in your winning and use that, those mental, that adaptive resources to go do some really hard work, and then come back later. And now that workout tomorrow.
Susan Sly 18:20
That is phenomenal. I know I'm so excited. I want to talk about the UI, right? So there are people listening. They're like, Okay, I want to download this. So let's just start with device agnostic. Right. So if someone has a, like, let's just list all the devices that we're on.
Erik Korem 18:39
So right now, Apple Watch, the Garmin, the Fitbit, and the aura ring, we'll be adding more soon. That pretty much covers the biggest number like as far as market share. We have a very interesting end to end integration with Apple. We use their data in a very unique way, specifically around sleep. We're on Apple, we're on iOS only and there was a very specific reason for that. Because most of these devices, that's where people are, are, you know, using them from. The user, it's really seamless, like you sign up, we're going to add your device, takes almost no time at all. But I'll tell you something that's really cool. We just released this recently. And the feedback has been absolutely amazing. I'll actually tell you this. The head of sports science for LSU football text Message me this morning. We put this out he was like so we have a feature every morning you wake up, it's a morning routine for very busy people. You put your finger over the camera lens of the app for one minute and we get your heart rate variability. So now we have an objective measure how you're adapting to stress, then I'm sure you've heard about it, but it's really important to get some natural sunlight in the morning and helps anchor your circadian clock which boosts your energy during the day and helps you sleep at night. What we've done is is for those several minutes, we've wrapped in a mindfulness session with some of the best mindfulness experts in the world, including people like Peter Haberl, who's a senior sports psychologist with US Olympic. So you get to wake up in the morning, go outside for a few minutes, or whenever you get to work, and spend two to three minutes anchoring your mind in your body with some sunlight, a mindfulness session. And then we do a short 22nd, what we call calibration. And it's like, you get to check in with yourself of how you're feeling and your mood that day. So we have built a very small little micro system, where every day you can start your day off by doing a little mental health check in and anchoring your mind and body to set you up for success. We're gonna go back to my friend, Scott, Scott, text me and says, The university was doing a story, a video story on the day in the life of the coach, and it was this head of sports science. He's like, I am showing them the Aim7 app and I'm literally outside anchoring my circadian clock and doing the mindfulness, I just want you to know. It's so cool. Like when you get these messages about that, and how really busy people are integrating this into their life. Like, it's just, it, it's a blessing to be able to do it. So we're really excited about that.
Susan Sly 21:15
And it sounds like it's not a piece of tech, it's a movement and movement that is necessary. Like you can listen to so many shows, we know inflation is through the roof, we know there's uncertainty, we know, blah, blah, blah, that and at the end of the day, it's not what is going on around us, it's how we are reacting to it. And, and so I'm very excited about that. So you download it, you add your device, you're off to the races, and you go and, and I know like we're at the top of the show, so that today is the day. And there is a very focused goal of how many new users and let's share the number what does it mean? Because this is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. And there are a lot of entrepreneurs listening, and they're like, Okay, like we love we love a good goal. So what is the goal? And yeah, what is the price of the app in launch like, give the 411.
Erik Korem 22:15
Yeah, so our goal is 30,000 users, I would say members, because when you join Aim7, you're joining a group and we're members, and I wanted to tell you something, we don't just get you in the app and leave you alone. Every two weeks, we have a community call. And I bring in world leading experts in exercise, mental performance sleep, and you get access to these folks. And it's just for our member community, we do it during a lunch so you can join in. We do like a little live interview, you can ask questions, and then we give you those videos. So we're trying to build a movement, like you said, where it's continual education and growth. But yeah, it's, it's $9.99 a month, we've made a very reasonable, we wanted to make sure, we wanted to give you a ridiculous amount of value for a laughably low price. But yeah, our goal is 30,000, we want to get to 1000 in the first couple of weeks, I would like to get that in first two weeks. And so because of that, we're going to give you guys a special code for a discount on your first three months in Aim7. You get a seven day free trial. I will just say this as an entrepreneur 85% of people that have tried our product have converted, that will put us in the top 10% of all apps in the App Store. And that's when we're like, and they're staying to, and there's a reason they're staying. It's because we provide a lot of value. And I think, you know, if you're somebody that identifies as being busy, you don't have time for you know, you know, crazy amounts of like, I don't have time for two-hour morning routines. I've you know, I just want to know what to do. I have certain things I like to do. And I just wanted a simple but comprehensive solutio, Aim7's for you.
Susan Sly 24:02
Absolutely. Well, seven day free trial. What is the, what is the code? Do we know?
Erik Korem 24:07
Oh, yeah, so we'll do rawandreal aim7. And so we're making this up right here. I'll put it in there rawandrealaim7, and you go to our website, to use that you need to go to our website. And we'll run it through there. So we'll put a special link in there that will direct you right to the website. And we'll give you that discount code for your first three months. And we'd love to have you in the community. Tell your friends, you know, we're building a movement. This isn't just an app to download. This is a movement to join.
Erik Korem 24:42
It's a movement and I really believe Erik, in all my years in health, all my years in entrepreneurship, and many of the listeners know my best friend was an entrepreneur and he died at 47. He left two young kids, his wife, of stage four cancer and he's said to me one day his name was Ken, he called me said, I gave myself cancer and he said, I stressed myself. So he was raising money, he was running around trying to get his idea. And I have met, entrepreneurs have the highest divorce rate, they have very high obesity rates, they have, the list goes on and on and on. And when we say this is a movement, I firmly believe that this is what so many people have been really praying for. And I say that very literally, because they're, they're trying to run their business, they're exhausted, their parents, I've a lot of friends in the sandwich generation. I am where I'm dealing, you know, aging father and kids. And it's like, there's something that is supportive, to say, you're thinking in your heart, okay, maybe I shouldn't push it today. Or maybe I do need to get out and get some exercise and you spend more time second guessing yourself, as opposed to just having a piece of tech that you know, is essentially feeding back to you what is best for you. And it's like, I feel that we're going to start to see over the next year or two years, the data that comes out is going to have so many ancillary benefits. I think there are going to be letters that say this saved my marriage. I'm not even, I'm not even kidding. It's going to say, you know, like, Nikki, I'm a better parent. I've made more money. I'm calmer and making better decisions. And so Erik, I am so excited. I want to see several 1000 downloads today.
Erik Korem 26:38
Susan Sly 26:39
Let's go. Let's do it. I love it. So everyone go to Aim7 seven website, put in the code Rawandrealaim7. I'm like, what did we say with-
Erik Korem 26:50
Rawandrealaim7, eah. And we'll put it in the show notes. But yeah, make sure to go there, you'll fill out a quick type form, go right to the checkout, and you put that in there. It's a seven day free trial, I'll give you 30% off for your first three months. We're gonna serve the heck out of you and make a difference in your life. And we'll do it together.
Susan Sly 27:07
I love it. Well, Eric, thank you, again, so much for being here. It was great to catch up with you. Everyone, go to the app store. Or sorry, go to the website, download the app, get your free trial. And with that, please, by all means tag Erik and I on social, we're very active on LinkedIn, on Instagram, all our handles are in the show notes. And if you have questions about the tech, please, you know write us as well. And if this episode has been helpful, especially as you start using the app, we want a five star review. We'd love that. So anyway, God bless. Go rock your day, and I will see you in the next episode.
Susan Sly 27:48
Hey, this this Susan, and thanks so much for listening to
Susan Sly 27:51
this episode on Raw and Real entrepreneurship. If this episode or any episode has been helpful to you, you've gotten at least one solid tip from myself or my guests, I would love it if you would leave a five star review wherever you listen to podcast. After you leave your review, go ahead and email reviews@Susansly.com. Let us know where you left a review. And if I read your review on the air, you could get a $50 amazon gift card and we would so appreciate it because reviews do help boost the show and get this message all over the world. If you're interested in any of the resources we discussed on the show, go to Susansly.com. That's where all those Show Notes live. And with that, go out there rock your day, God bless and I will see you in the next episode.
Susan Sly 28:35
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