On Episode #122 of the PricePlow Podcast, Team PricePlow welcomes Jake Powers, the Director of Community at MTN OPS – a brand focused on outdoor performance supplements.
MTN OPS, located north of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently celebrated its nine-year anniversary and does phenomenal business on Amazon (see the MTN OPS page on Amazon).
As “Director of Community”, Jake humorously describes his role as a mix of various responsibilities, from being the “loudest voice in the room” to working with events, ambassadors, and manufacturing partnerships.
MTN OPS: Supplements for Hunting and Outdoors?!
This episode is fun and different because the brand has a different purpose — supplements for outdoor enthusiasts. This pulls the conversation into the direction of hunting, where we talk about the training, hydration, diet, and supplementation to succeed.
MTN OPS of course has protein bars and hydration supplements for these purposes, but one interesting supplement discussed is one made for adaptation to elevation, which plays a major role for those heading into the mountains.
The OPS in MTN OPS actually stands for “Outdoor Performance Supplements” – listen to Jake get into it himself on your favorite platform:
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Video: Jake Powers Brings MTN OPS Supplements on the Hunt
0:00 – Introductions
Aside from his own introduction (see the top of this page), Jake details the company’s foundation by CEO Trevor Farnes and its initial product, a vasodilator named Enduro, originally formulated for Trevor’s father.
He emphasizes MTN OPS’ core demographic of outdoorsmen, including hunters, fishermen, and hikers, and highlights the company’s commitment to producing quality products that appeal to a broader range of outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.
Additionally, Jake mentions the company’s charity work, rooted in its founding principles. He then shares his personal background as an outdoor enthusiast, hunter, and athlete, leading to his involvement with MTN OPS, first as an ambassador and later in a more integral role.
5:00 – CrossFit and Hunting
In this part of the podcast, Mike and Jake discuss how CrossFit supports outdoor activities, specifically hunting. Jake, a CrossFit coach since 2014, explains how the evolution of CrossFit from a competitive sport to functional fitness benefits outdoorsmen. He highlights that exercises like pulling a sled or heavy rucksack in CrossFit are directly applicable to activities like hunting in the backcountry. Jake, from the Midwest, contrasts his experiences with those of hunters like Cameron Hanes, who hunts in extreme conditions and is an ambassador for MTN OPS.
Jake emphasizes the importance of fitness in hunting, not just for performance in challenging terrains but also for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and passing down hunting traditions. Ben, the co-host, then shifts the conversation to Cam Hanes’ son, a MTN OPS employee and a record holder for pull-ups, reflecting the importance of fitness in their family. The discussion also covers the challenges of hunting in the backcountry, like the effort required to track and hunt elk in rugged and remote areas, and the physical demands of carrying gear and adapting to high altitudes.
10:45 – Hydration in hunting
Jake details the process post-hunt, which involves quickly deboning the elk to prevent meat spoilage, protecting it from insects, and ensuring it cools properly. Jake recounts a personal experience where he spent seven hours processing an elk, underscoring the necessity of good hydration and electrolyte balance during such demanding tasks. The conversation then shifts to the communal aspect of hunting. Jake explains how hunters often share resources and efforts. In instances where only one hunter is successful, it’s common for the group to split the meat, acknowledging the collective work involved.
15:15 – Getting ready for the hunt
Jake advises those new to hunting to leverage the wealth of information available online, including YouTube videos, blogs, and direct contact with experienced hunters via social media. He emphasizes the necessity of mastering one’s chosen hunting method, whether it’s using a bow or a firearm, for both safety and efficacy.
Hunting, according to Jake, is not always about bringing home game; it’s about the experience and the respect for nature. He also highlights the ethical aspects of hunting, such as the rule that drawing blood on an animal marks the end of the hunter’s trip, to respect the animal.
Mike then inquires about physical training for hunting, particularly for longer, more challenging hunts. Jake explains that while CrossFit provides a good foundation, specific preparations like ruck training, exercises for the thoracic spine, and step-ups with a loaded pack are crucial for building the endurance and strength needed for backcountry hunting.
22:15 – MTN OPS Demographics
Jake explains that MTN OPS started with a focus on outdoorsmen but has since expanded to include a wide variety of ambassadors from different backgrounds, including ultra-marathoners and Spartan racers. He highlights that MTN OPS products appeal to a broad audience, from his 64-year-old mother to professional athletes like Cameron Hanes. Jake also touches on the rise of “adult onset hunters,” people who take up hunting later in life, often influenced by the pandemic and the desire for natural, self-sourced food. He shares a story about James Stone, a transformation challenge winner who overcame alcoholism, lost 60 pounds, and became a fitness model and ambassador for MTN OPS.
You can see the James Stone video below:
This story exemplifies the company’s impact beyond just products, focusing on community, personal transformation, and support. Jake praises the positive and uplifting work environment at MTN OPS, emphasizing the company’s emphasis on character in their hiring process and the diverse yet united nature of their team. The conversation underscores MTN OPS’ commitment to not just selling products, but fostering a supportive community that can lead to life-changing experiences.
31:15 – Solitude for Climate Acclimatization
Jake explains that being at elevation can feel similar to dehydration effects, including headaches and shortness of breath. He advises patience for newcomers to high altitudes, sharing a story of a friend who experienced severe symptoms due to a rapid ascent. Solitude contains ingredients like Ginkgo biloba extract and adaptogens aimed at improving blood flow and oxygenation. Jake, initially using the product to adapt to high elevations, now finds it enhances his VO2 max and stamina, particularly useful in activities like CrossFit and ultra-marathons.
He recommends starting Solitude a couple of weeks to a month before engaging in high-altitude activities. The product’s effectiveness, particularly for VO2 max improvement, is also highlighted by ultra-marathoners in the MTN OPS community.
37:45 – STM = Straight to Mouth! Equipment on the range
Jake emphasizes the need to manage equipment and gear weight efficiently, with a common saying among hunters being “ounces lead to pounds, pounds lead to pain.” This approach extends to everything in the pack, from the food to the gear. He talks about the importance of having supplements like MTN OPS’ Solitude capsules to help alleviate altitude sickness, considering it a worthwhile investment for a comfortable experience.
They also discuss luxury items like Packeroons, a type of concentrated muffin from Heather’s Choice, which are delicious but heavy, leading to tough decisions about what to include in a pack. Jake regrets leaving them out of his pack on a recent hunt.
The conversation also touches on other other products like MTN OPS Hydrate, which also comes in Electrolyte STM — Straight to Mouth — electrolyte sticks that can be “dry-scooped” right from the stick on the go!
These proved invaluable during a strenuous pack-out of an elk, highlighting the balance between weight management and having essential nutrition and supplements while hunting in the backcountry.
45:45 – Food in the backcountry
Ben and Jake discuss how nutritional needs and strategies change while hunting in the backcountry compared to training for activities like CrossFit. Jake emphasizes the importance of meal prepping, focusing on calories and carbohydrates for energy, especially due to the quick energy depletion at high elevations. He notes the critical role of hydration and maintaining a balanced diet to stay mentally alert, especially during the whitetail mating season.
Ben then raises a question about food smell and its impact on hunting. Jake confirms that scent is a key factor in hunting, with animals like elk and whitetails being highly sensitive to odors. He explains how vacuum seal bags help contain food smells and discusses various products to neutralize human scent, including technologies borrowed from the medical field. Jake also shares his personal experience with a bacteria-neutralizing foam that replaced his need for traditional deodorant.
The conversation then shifts to macronutrient considerations for hunting, with Jake focusing on healthy fats, carbohydrates, and energy-rich foods like peanut butter, shelf-stable cheese, hard candy, and performance bars.
54:30 – Slumber sleep aid
Mike and Jake discuss MTN OPS’ unique sleep aid product called Slumber, which contains a blend of ingredients like organic coconut oil powder, collagen, magnesium, theanine, hops, valerian, and a moderate amount of melatonin. Mike points out that the combination of hops and valerian is particularly noteworthy due to their synergistic effects, although hops are less commonly used.
Jake describes Slumber as tasting like Swiss Miss hot chocolate and recommends mixing it with hot water. He also mentions a newer product, Slumber Gummies, which includes tart cherry and a slightly lower dose of melatonin, making it suitable for lighter sleep support. Jake shares personal experiences with these products, emphasizing their effectiveness in providing quality sleep and recovery without the grogginess often associated with melatonin supplements.
59:15 – Performance bars
Mike and Jake discuss MTN OPS’ range of performance bars, which are popular for their taste and utility in outdoor activities. Jake mentions that Caramel Crunch is a crowd favorite, likened to the flavor of a Snickers bar. He also recommends the Triple Chocolate Mudslide, especially as a morning treat when warmed up briefly in the microwave. These bars are particularly praised for their ability to sustain well in a pack without melting easily, unlike older power bars that were tougher to chew. Jake notes that some of his friends exclusively use these bars from the MTN OPS range.
Mike inquires about the quantity Jake brings for backcountry trips, to which Jake responds he usually carries one bar per day, breaking them into halves. Ben then asks about the difference between the Performance Bars and the Venture Bars, with Jake explaining that the venture bars are being reformulated to better cater to endurance athletes, though he humorously dismisses the idea of adding mushrooms to the mix.
1:01:30 – Conquer Hunger Charity
Mike and Jake discuss MTN OPS’ charitable mission, Conquer Hunger, which focuses on providing meals to children who lack food at home, particularly over weekends. Jake shares the story behind the mission, inspired by Trevor’s experience during the financial crisis of 2008 and a faith-based commitment to providing for others in need.
The Conquer Hunger initiative started small, with Trevor and his team packing nutritious meals in gallon ziplock bags for local school districts and pantries in the Salt Lake area. The mission has grown significantly over the years, with a portion of every MTN OPS purchase contributing to the cause.
Jake highlights a recent event in Bozeman, Montana, where they surpassed the milestone of distributing 5 million meals. During these events, volunteers assemble an assembly line to pack meals, which include various nutritious items and a motivational message. The goal is now set to reach 10 million meals, with plans for expansion, including a potential event to pack 1 million meals in a day by 2025.
Watch the Operation Conquer Hunger video here:
1:07:00 – More MTN OPS products
Mike and Jake delve deeper into the various products from MTN OPS, focusing on their unique formulations and benefits. They again touch on Slumber, and Jake mentions its pleasant taste and recommends consuming it with hot water. They also discuss the performance and venture bars, with the performance bars being a favorite for their taste and durability in outdoor conditions.
Jake highlights the company’s samplers, which allow consumers to try products for a minimal cost. He praises the taste and mixability of the performance reds and greens supplements, emphasizing their natural ingredients. Additionally, Jake touches on MTN OPS’ Yeti and Yeti Mode pre-workouts, which offers a balanced mix of caffeine and other ingredients for a steady energy boost, and Ignite, a midday pick-me-up with nootropics and caffeine.
Jake elaborates on the use of Yeti and Yeti Mode, noting that Yeti is ideal for workouts like Murph as it helps avoid redlining during exercises, while Yeti Mode is suitable for shorter, intense workouts. He also mentions their Magnum protein line, which is a whey isolate that is easy to digest and suitable for everyday use, and even for cooking.
Jake brings up their hydration product, MTN OPS Hydrate, which is preferred for its potassium-rich formula over sodium-heavy alternatives. He explains that Hydrate has a good taste, provides a slight energy boost, and is versatile in its use across various sports and professions. Additionally, Jake touches on the inclusion of tyrosine in Hydrate, which is a neurotransmitter precursor, but also notes that it might interfere with sleep if consumed late.
1:23:15 – Farewells
In this concluding segment of the podcast, Mike thanks Jake for his participation and insights shared during the interview. Jake expresses his pleasure in being on the show and offers to answer any further questions that Mike or his audience may have. He encourages listeners to check out MTN OPS on social media in the links in the section below.
The podcast ends with expressions of gratitude and encouragement to “conquer more.”
Where to find Jake and MTN OPS
- See PricePlow’s MTN OPS page to sign up for product alerts and deals
- See the MTN OPS page on Amazon
- Follow @MTNOPS on Instagram
- Follow @TheRealJakePowers on Instagram to follow Jake
You can head back to the main PricePlow Podcast page — as always, please subscribe on your favorite app and give us a 5-star review!