Eclipsing the Excuse Tray: Wilderness Athlete’s Midnight Build

Toss your Excuse Tray like a high school kid flies a platter across the cafeteria. With Midnight Build (MB), open life’s window; you know, the one that seems shut to you. Here’s how.

Photo courtesy Sarah Eriksson, Sweden,

Dylan penned over a half-century ago the song “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” a B-side 45 RPM record with the A-side’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Take those comforting words encouraging one’s overlooking, even bypassing, negatives as a command to exit ” . . . the dark side of the road.” The Excuse Tray you carry daily, now so loaded by Bubba Fatz with false assertions it requires both hands just to hold it; chuck that into the bellyaching abyss just outside. Discard it in the pile of useless reasons that seem so real, alibis for not getting done what you as an athlete, hunter, outdoors person, or parent wants, even needs for living.

The first step to take?

Enshrined in a mysterious black bottle, you discover life’s nectar of health, ambrosia for the soul. No matter your status, first or last, succeeding or failing, Midnight Build will improve your wellness. Those marching orders, its heritage for this fresh design, carries on a new generation of Nighttime Optimizer, the company’s first venture into the world of improving you while you sleep. Understand the why’s through the research of Jeff Kildahl, Ph.D., Snowshoe Magazine’s Wellness Editor, an athlete who can run 700 miles in a month for charity, whose life’s work through his “Wholistic Edge” brand provides “synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport.” He takes time off from his Performance Medicine research to detail MB with his hard-hitting, straightforward approach.

Courtesy Anna Elizza runs with Fini, Seattle

“Endurance athletes represent a disturbing trend in which one can be fit yet unhealthy. Midnight Build offers an array of potent ingredients to propel, facilitate, and enhance your health, fitness, performance, and wellness from the inside out.

Vitamins function in the body as metabolic regulators and influence a number of physiological processes vital to endurance sport performance. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, metabolites, extracts, constituents, botanicals, and herbs have been an integral part of health, medicine, wellness, and sports performance for centuries.

Herbs do not heal your body. Herbs alter physiologic function and structure to facilitate your healing. The goal is to understand how it functions in the body via its biochemical composition and match it to the disease based on its biochemistry. Supplementation is often necessary due to the elevated demands of endurance endeavors in which temperature, elevation, terrain, wind, and so forth expedite oxidative stress, nutrient deficiency, and poor recovery.

No vitamin, mineral, or herb can cure a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, lousy job, or a dysfunctional childhood. Regeneration is a synergistic process that occurs while you sleep—a vital yet often shortchanged component of life.

Herbs complement the roles of vitamins, minerals, nutrient-dense food choices, and exercise to help your body regenerate itself. The key is to treat causation versus symptoms. Regeneration is critical to your body—whether your interest is improved health or becoming the next 300-Mile Man.”


Here Dr. Kildahl investigates each of the nine critical ingredients mixed thru a secret formula in Wilderness Athlete labs hid amongst the mountainous deserts of Arizona. There intense researchers built the component map for each capsule of Midnight Build.

Where he uses the words “endurance athlete,” change it to match your lifestyle, i.e., endurance parent, endurance spouse, endurance hunter, endurance outdoors-person, or even endurance couch potato. Study explorer Ernest Shackleton. Life requires endurance.


Niacin [Vitamin B-3] is one of the B-complex vitamins popular as a sport supplement. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the small intestine and stored in the liver. It is a coenzyme that assists in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Niacin is an ally of an endurance athlete because it allows energy to enter the muscle to enhance performance. It increases circulation and lowers LDL [bad cholesterol]. Like other B vitamins, niacin promotes the health of the nervous system further enhancing athletic performance.

Courtesy Andrea Kladar races the Ironman, Canada

Niacin helps balance and improve cholesterol levels and mitigate disease risk factors. Niacin converts food [fuel] into glucose to supply energy to the powerhouse organelles of the cell — the mitochondria.

Niacin is an essential vitamin for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and metabolism. Niacin helps with brain function, healthy skin formation, and maintenance and preventing or treating diabetes.

Benefits include:

  • Reduces inflammation;
  • Improves cholesterol levels;
  • Lowers CVD risks;
  • Assists diabetes treatments;
  • Maintains skin health;
  • Aids in proper bone function;
  • Improves brain function;
  • Enhances joint mobility;
  • Treats arthritis;
  • Reverses Pellagra [low vitamin B levels];
  • Helps prevent impotence [erectile dysfunction];
  • Niacin is not produced in the body. Most people could get enough niacin by eating a healthy diet. Evidence indicates commitment to a healthy diet is a not yet a priority for most people—endurance athletes inclusive.

Where the Midnight portion of MB begins to manifest itself:

Thanks to frequent and prolonged bouts of exertion endurance athletes will benefit from the level of niacin in this formulation [20 mg] while they snooze.

Though reticent about divulging secret information, Rich Scheckenbach, a Wilderness Athlete formulator, stepped out of the company’s deep desert caverns, scoped the geographical area, then turned to respond to a few questions. When his eyes adjusted, I asked: “Why does Midnight Build work best when at rest?” 

Midnight Build is designed to work in conjunction with the body’s circadian rhythms rather than working when the body is just at rest. The primary focus here is the release of HGH (human growth hormone) from the pituitary gland. HGH is vital for the anabolic processes in the body and its primary release into the bloodstream occurs in the very early morning hours of the day. Consequently, the recommendation for use of the product as a nighttime/bedtime optimizing adjunct to the regularly-occurring physiologic release of HGH.

Courtesy Sarah Seads Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

What happens if I use Midnight Build during the active day? 

The effect would be sub-maximal but a definitive percentage of effectiveness would be hard to quantify except on an individual basis with blood levels tested throughout the day.  
                                                                                                                              Pages of notes, more questions to explore, opening my mouth with intent  . . . and instead of a question looping out, it seemed more in awe as he had vanished much like the perfume of a Prickly Pear Cactus flower in the air.


Magnesium represents arguably one of the most important minerals in our bodies. It facilitates cellular health, enhances sport performance and is responsible for synthesizing more than 300 biochemical functions in the body.

Major functions include:

  • Cardiac activity;
  • Protein, fat and nucleic acid synthesis;
  • Nerve function;
  • Blood sugar control;
  • Neurotransmitter release
  • Blood pressure regulation;
  • Energy metabolism;
  • Production of the antioxidant glutathione;

Magnesium is crucial for energy metabolism by the activation of ATPases which are necessary to generate ATP [adenosine triphosphate]. Appropriate supplementation will defend against an energy shortfall, fatigue, lethargy, reduced power, muscle twitches, cramps, bone density reductions, anemia and irregular heartbeat.  

Courtesy Ella Magers, Miami, FL.

Mainstream media and research for decades focused on calcium supplementation. Statistics indicate magnesium supplementation is even more important.

I discovered Rich left small Post-It notes on the trail, answering questions I had yet to ask. This first conveyed his thoughts on using Midnight Build as part of one’s recovery regiment. 

Midnight Build can be used additionally as a post-activity, recovery formula but its primary consumption should be at bedtime for the HGH effect. That is, if the product is used only once a day then the maximum benefit will be from its use at night. An additional serving post-activity will certainly assist the recovery phase. 

Some benefits include:

  • Improves muscle function;
  • Enhances energy production;
  • Facilitates bone and cell formation;
  • Speeds recovery;.
  • Enhances nerve transmission;
  • Balances blood pressure regulation;
  • Maintains electrolyte balance;
  • Enhances blood coagulation;


  • Helps Increase energy;
  • Calms Nerves and Anxiety;
  • Treats Insomnia | induces Delta sleep;
  • Improves with digestion;
  • Relieves muscle aches and spasms;
  • Regulates calcium, potassium and sodium levels ;
  • Enhances heart health;
  • Prevents migraine headaches;
  • Reduces fatigue;

WA athlete Kristy Titus hunts the backcountry.

A primal or vegan dietary pattern closely mimics an optimal 1:1 or an acceptable 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. A Standard American Diet [SAD] results in calcium overload with a 5:1 or higher ratio of calcium to magnesium.”

In posts for parents, Dr. Bill Sears [Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital, Boston, and Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto] writes how bad SAD creates CAD. Ads make one mad exposing how easily we can be had.

The striking fact is that cultures that eat the reverse of the standard American diet – low fat, high in complex carbohydrates, plant-based, and high in fiber – have a lower incidence of cancer and coronary artery disease (CAD). What’s even sadder is that countries whose populations can afford to eat the healthiest disease-preventing foods, don’t. The United States has spent more money on cancer research than any country in the world, yet the American diet contributes to the very diseases we are spending money to prevent.

“Your body needs magnesium as a cofactor to utilize calcium. Depleted magnesium levels mean your body has a shortfall of both minerals thanks to poor dietary habits and misguided supplementation.


Zinc is an essential trace mineral involved in the function of a plethora of enzymes. Zinc is abundant in a carnivore diet but a possible deficiency in vegetarian or vegan diets.

Many endurance athletes are unaware of the benefits of zinc despite reams of scientific data highlighting its presence in nearly every cell of our bodies. Zinc plays a vital role every time cell division occurs which mandates optimal levels to maximize sport performance.

Endurance training lowers resting serum zinc levels in males and females versus their sedentary counterparts. Exercise has proven to increase the turnover of minerals in numerous studies. The physiologic impact of endurance training respective to zinc is evident in diminished plasma, sweat, urinary and aerobic capacity levels.

Courtesy Sarah Eriksson racing

Zinc is paramount to health and endurance sport performance despite its position in the alphabet. Find below some of its benefits:

  • Improves strength;
  • Enhances lean tissue;
  • Boosts immune function;
  • Supports reproductive health;
  • Bolsters antioxidant levels;
  • Improves insulin sensitivity;
  • Mitigates oxidative stress;
  • Facilitates hormonal balance;
  • Maintains heart health;
  • Supports liver health;
  • Improves fertility;
  • Enhances muscle repair,
  • aids in nutrient digestion, absorption, and assimilation;
  • Prevents chronic digestive disorders


Primary uses include blood sugar control, insulin resistance, diabetes, digestive disorders.

Fenugreek is indigenous to Asia, India, South Africa and southeastern Europe. It has an extensive history both as a spice and medicine.

The seeds are composed of fiber, protein, lipids, steroidal saponins, alkaloids and C-glycoside flavones. Its taste resembles maple syrup.

Fenugreek reduces blood glucose levels by slowing absorption of sugars in the stomach while stimulating insulin production.

Studies have indicated a reversal of pre-diabetes markers and mild diabetes markers and drug therapy thanks to controlled blood glucose levels.

Fenugreek benefits both women and men. Click the link (left) for more discussion. In addition, the fiber supplementation was found to increase satiety and reduce cravings and the postprandial response. Fenugreek benefits heartburn, a variety of digestive disorders, soothes the digestive tract, stomach lining, and intestines. 

Flying snowshoes! Courtesy Anna Eliza

Benefits include:

  • Enhances athletic performance;
  • Increases strength;
  • Improves body composition;
  • Modifies cholesterol levels;
  • Produces testosterone;
  • Reduces body fat;
  • Controls blood sugar;
  • Reverses diabetic biomarkers;
  • Mitigates insulin resistance;
  • Improves digestion

Then I found Rich’s last note answering the inquiry before it was made: how Midnight Build works for women: 

Midnight Build is formulated to work for both men and women.  This includes the pituitary release of HGH [for anabolic/muscle building], the support of testosterone production–vital for both sexes–contribution to energy production, carnosine production for improved muscle endurance, and the biosynthetic processes involved in muscle repair and recovery.  


Midnight Build uses an extract of this superfood. This means the starch has been removed [gelatinized] making its higher potency easily digested, absorbed, and assimilated in your body.
Bioavailability is the key.

Maca is a superfood root plant native to the Peruvian mountains. It grows in a harsh environment above treeline. It is able to resist intense sunlight, strong winds, and freezing temperatures. Maca has been used for thousands of years as a food and a medicinal tonic to promote energy, fat loss, stamina, mental focus, and fertility.

Mark Paulson, WA founder: “There are no locker rooms or timeouts in the backcountry.”

Adaptogens increase the body’s ability to adjust to stress. Adaptogens are limbic [emotional] brain tonics and tonify the stress axes — hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands and maximize homeostasis. Maca flawlessly works because it is an adaptogenic herb, not a stimulant.

Maca root acts as an antioxidant to boosts levels of glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These are two major disease Ninjas in the body. Results from recent studies demonstrate that maca root has the ability to help prevent chronic human diseases characterized by high  LDL cholesterol levels, antioxidative states, and impaired glucose tolerance.

Maca improves your immune system and balances cholesterol levels in the body. It significantly improves glucose tolerance, by lowering levels of glucose in the blood. This is directly linked to heart health, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome [MetS].

Benefits include:

  • Enhances muscle growth;
  • Promotes muscle strength;
  • Advances muscle synthesis;
  • Balances cholesterol;
  • Improves thyroid function;
  • Enhances mental clarity;
  • Boosts endurance;
  • Enhances stamina;
  • Enhances metabolic function;
  • It is stimulant-free;
  • Enhances hormonal balance;
  • Boosts testosterone;
  • Reduces excess estrogen;
  • Protects adrenal glands;
  • Improves sleep quality;
  • Reduces cortisol spikes

Maca root is comprised of approximately 18% protein, 76.5% carbohydrate, 5% fat, and 8.5% fiber (indigestible carbohydrates). Maca is a powerful source of nutrition boasting 20 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids, and an abundance of phytonutrients.

Courtesy Andrea Kladar, Canada


Beta-Alanine has been a staple of endurance and strength athletes for at least a decade. Beta-Alanine is an amino acid combining carnosine and pantothenic acid [B5].

When beta-alanine is ingested, it converts to the molecule carnosine, which acts as an acid buffer in the body. Carnosine is stored in cells and released in response to drops in pH. Increased stores of carnosine can protect against diet-induced drops in pH (which might occur from ketone production in ketosis, for example), as well as offer protection from exercise-induced lactic acid production.

The sport performance benefit of supplementing with beta-alanine lies mostly in its ability to elevate muscle carnosine concentrations. Beta-alanine is the limiting amino acid in carnosine synthesis which means its presence in the bloodstream is directly tied to muscle carnosine levels.

Carnosine has been shown to play a significant role in muscle pH regulation. Carnosine is synthesized in skeletal muscle from the amino acids L-Histidine and Beta-Alanine. The rate of carnosine synthesis is dependent on beta-alanine availability.

Fatigue during high-intensity exercise such as sprinting and strength training is linked to acid (hydrogen ion) accumulation in the muscles and blood. Carnosine concentration in muscle tissue is linked to a high percentage of Type II fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Men typically have higher muscle carnosine concentrations than women because the enzyme that breaks down carnosine is more active in women. Beta-Alanine makes sure the environment for exercise and endurance sport performance remains favorable.

Find these benefits:

  • Boosts explosive muscular strength and power output;
  • Increases muscle mass;
  • Boosts muscular anaerobic endurance;
  • Increases aerobic endurance;
  • Increases exercise capacity;
  • Delays muscle fatigue;


L-Ornithine is also known as the urea cycle.

The urea cycle occurs primarily in the liver but also in the kidneys. Amino acid catabolism produces ammonia. L-Ornithine is utilized during the urea cycle to eliminate excess nitrogen from the body.

Protein is a poor fuel source because it burns dirty. When your stomach and small intestines break down proteins, nitrogen-containing compounds produce ammonia as a byproduct. The liver converts ammonia into uric acid, and it is excreted via urination.

Courtesy Sarah Seads, VC

It can be synthesized in the body and precludes ammonia accumulation once it shuttles the excess waste from cellular metabolism.

L-Ornithine is crucial for removal of bodily wastes, and some research suggests this amino acid helps boost your energy level and provides your body with other significant benefits. L-Ornithine is a popular ingredient in dozens of exercise supplements used to increase power and endurance during workouts.

Your kidneys convert ornithine into arginine, another amino acid that benefits your body in several ways. Arginine is a precursor for a compound called nitric oxide, which helps dilate your blood vessels when you require extra blood to your tissues.

Arginine also helps your muscle cells produce creatine, a compound they need to contract. Research suggests that consuming extra ornithine can help promote physical strength and endurance.

Payge McMahon WA Athlete hikes to an amazing view.

During intense or long-term exercise, ammonia buildup can become a problem, inhibiting energy production and causing fatigue. By flushing out these toxic compounds, L-Ornithine allows muscles to sustain its workload, improve your endurance, and enhance workout quality.

L-Ornithine boosts endurance and reduces fatigue. It is an effective, fast, and natural way to get rid of chemical waste during exercise and extend muscle power. L-Ornithine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce stress and anxiety.

Arginine Pyroglutamate

Arginine is an amino acid with several roles.  Arginine Pyroglutamate represents the combination of the amino acid arginine with the molecule pyroglutamate.

L-Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide [NO] production which is responsible for dilating blood vessels to maximize blood flow. NO is a vasodilator vital to athletic performance enhancement and treating several diseases and health conditions. Arginine is impactful on growth hormone levels and suitable for lean tissue growth and fat loss.   

NO is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and improves circulation. Arginine may help improve blood flow in the arteries of the heart and mitigate symptoms of arterial plaque, angina, and coronary artery disease.

Climber on Shivling peak background

Arginine Pyroglutamate is being feverishly researched and studied because of its potential benefits as a cerebral vasodilator respective to degenerative mental disorders.

Find these benefits:

  • Improves cognitive functioning;
  • Improves athletic performance;
  • Facilitates HGH synthesis;
  • Increases lean muscle tissue;
  • Improves diabetic complications;
  • Mitigates cardiovascular disease;
  • Improves capillary proliferation;
  • Promotes fat loss;
  • Increases blood volume;
  • Enhances muscle strength, size, and endurance;
  • Promotes blood-brain barrier synergy;
  • Improves hormonal function;

Tongkat Ali Extract

Eurycoma longifolia is a herbal medicinal plant found in Malaysia, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Thailand. In Malaysia, it is commonly called Tongkat Ali and has a range of medicinal properties as a general health tonic, including improvement in physical and mental energy levels and overall quality of life. It is also called Longjack and Malaysian Ginseng.

The roots are used as an adaptogen and as a traditional “anti-aging” remedy to help older individuals adapt to the reduced energy, mood, and libido synonymous with age.

In modern dietary supplements, Tongkat Ali can be found in a variety of products intended to improve libido and energy, restore hormonal balance (cortisol/testosterone levels) and enhance both sports performance and weight loss.

The benefits of maintaining youthful testosterone levels include increased muscle mass and reduced body fat, high psychological vigor (mental/physical energy), and improved well-being.

Benefits include:

  • Enhances sport performance;
  • Improved energy levels;
  • Boosts libido;
  • Reduces stress;
  • Anti-bacterial characteristics;
  • Anxiety remedy;
  • Stunts tumors;”

Rich suddenly ran out of the mountain as we were leaving. 

I need to explain that the Midnight Build formula is designed to be an “all-in-one” formula to support active individuals in their quest for improved performance, muscle physiology, and endurance. By incorporating well-researched and benefit-validated ingredients, the formula is intended to give athletes an additional edge for realizing the maximum physiological results from their physical activities. That is, better muscle building, quicker recovery, and improved endurance realized from their investment of time and efforts in the gym, on the field or court, or in the wilds. 

Dr. Kildahl’s work lists at least 100 benefits or functions resulting from ingesting Midnight Build. Think of them as 100 ways exploding your Excuse Tray up and out where pieces scatter to the alley. In life, there are probably more rewards than even noted here. There are some overlaps. But the sheer personal gain of health-steps from MB overwhelms the ordinary. Thinking back to Dylan:

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter, anyhow
And it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don’t know by now

The most challenging thing one has to do to enjoy this kind of health? Remembering to take three Midnight Build pharmaceutical-grade tablets before your sleep.  Good night!

Jeff Kildahl Ph.D  



Phillip Gary Smith contributed to portions of this article



The authors were provided WA products including Midnight Build for this article. Both purchase  WA products retail from their website.

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