@Leo_Margets on Fitness, Focus, and the Unexpected Benefits of Red Light Therapy
If you’re into poker, you’ve likely heard of Leo Margets. One of the top professional poker players in Spain, and certainly the most recognized female player in the country, Leo’s passion for the game has earned her close to one million dollars in live tournament winnings. Her success in the poker world speaks to a more general sort of passion, however. She is a fervent advocate for health, fitness, and a balanced lifestyle. In fact, her dedication to a holistic way of life has helped her break the mold of the typical poker player, and has helped usher in a new age in poker, in which players look at how their lifestyle and health as a whole can affect their game.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Leo has long been into health and fitness. In fact, “into” might be an understatement. “It’s a part of me,” she says. “I am me if I have a healthy life. I train - not in an obsessive way, not in a way that gets in conflict with other things. I just feel better when I do.” She’s an avid runner, having completed 10 full marathons, and also enjoys Crossfit.
“I am me if I have a healthy life”
She firmly believes that her active lifestyle gives her an advantage in her poker career, and vice versa. If she feels good physically, she feels better mentally, and she performs better at her job. Her natural curiosity and constant desire to improve is what caused her to pursue poker as a career in the first place. From playing her first ever game in 2006 to finishing 27th overall at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas just three short years later, her rise has been nothing short of meteoric. And the more she sees a connection between physical health and mental performance, the more curious she becomes.
Leo hosts a podcast with her friend, fellow poker star and fitness enthusiast Manuel Cortada called Bio Solver. “It’s about lifestyle, biohacking, nutrition, and health in general,” she says. “But also decision-making, basically you’re hacking about everything related to a holistic approach to health.”
It was through Manuel and the podcast that Leo discovered red light therapy. “He’s even more freaky than me with biohacking and fitness,” she says of her friend with a laugh. Manuel had already started using red light therapy and was impressed with the results. They dedicated an entire episode to it, both having investigated it thoroughly and separately beforehand, as they do for every topic they cover.
Leo claims that playing poker has helped her develop and refine her critical thinking skills, which can make her wary of promises that seem too good to be true (and they often are). There was something about red light therapy in general, and Rouge in particular, that seemed different from all the over-hyped products, therapies, and supplements those in the fitness world encounter all too frequently.
“I’m usually very critical with the latest thing that could, you know, ‘change your life’,” she says. With red light therapy, however, “it made sense that it wasn’t exploding” in popularity. To her, it showed that those who are in the red light therapy business aren’t in it to make a quick buck. The research clearly demonstrates that a certain combination of red and near-infrared lights at a specific wavelength is necessary to see benefits. Manufacturers are carefully and deliberately respecting these parameters, and letting the results speak for themselves, rather than pushing cheaper options that don’t work optimally.
“It’s very bad for the industry if the competition doesn’t do the work, because then a lot of people will start trying the cheap stuff you can find on Amazon for $40,” she explains. “And of course, it gets generalized, and people think that it just doesn’t work because people don’t understand the science and that the power of the machine makes a huge difference.”
When it came to deciding to try red light therapy and choosing Rouge, Leo went with her gut. And, as a pro poker player, it’s not something she takes lightly. “Sometimes you can have a gut feeling that you can’t explain why it feels like ‘that’s the one’, because I had looked at other ones, “ she says, of her decision to choose Rouge. “I learned to trust your gut feelings in those aspects because it’s not like, oh, intuition coming from the sky. It’s probably based on other experiences. So I felt like, okay, I can give it a try. And Marc was very fair in recommending me a good panel, not like, okay, you need to get the super expensive one. I have the tabletop, the second smallest one. I like that the people you’re talking to are the same people that own the company, you know? Skin in the game. It looked like a trustworthy company that’s also serious.”
Her interest was bolstered by the tidal wave of scientific research backing red light therapy as an effective treatment for a variety of issues, which she pored over, along with Alex Fergus’ massive blog post covering every imaginable aspect of red light therapy. By the time she and Manuel recorded the podcast episode, Leo decided that red light therapy was worth a shot.
The Unexpected Benefits of Rouge Red Light Therapy
Leo initially purchased a Rouge red light therapy panel to help her in her fitness journey and relieve her chronic plantar fasciitis. “It’s nice to know that if I have muscle cramp or some injury from overexercising or doing a bad gesture, it can speed up the recovery process,” she says.
“It’s nice to know that if I have muscle cramp or some injury from overexercising or doing a bad gesture, it can speed up the recovery process.”
Applying red light therapy to her feet for 15 minutes a day, at any time of day, helps boost the effects of other treatments for fasciitis, such as shockwave therapy. During these 15 minutes she is able to do other things, such as work on her computer, play poker, or any other activity for which she is seated.
However, the benefit that she speaks most passionately about came as a complete - but utterly welcome - surprise.
Red light therapy for increased focus
“The first thing I realized, and it was like a snap after the fifteen minutes, was like a super focus,” she says. “Incredible focus. Almost as if, you know, I’ve experimented in the past with nootropics, and it’s very similar. At first I thought, maybe it’s because I’m kind of meditating when using the light, and maybe it’s the effect of meditation. But no, because I now use it when doing other stuff, because I can keep my eyes open and it doesn’t hurt, and still I feel the focus.”
“The first thing I realized, and it was like a snap after the fifteen minutes, was like a super focus. Incredible focus.”
While she says she gets the same spike in her ability to focus no matter what time of day she uses red light therapy, she prefers to use it first thing in the morning. “I feel a lot of space in my mind,” she says. “And the sooner I do it, the more I get the benefits for the rest of the day. Like when you exercise in the morning. Now you can take all the good stuff from it and enjoy the rest of the day.”
She uses the time after her morning red light therapy session to work, play poker, and accomplish other tasks for which focus is important. “Everyone who works with their brain” should use it, she says with a laugh. “Which should be everyone, but you know what I mean.”
Red light therapy for stronger, healthier hair
While the effects on Leo’s level of focus were immediate, there was another benefit that she didn’t even connect to red light therapy until other people started noticing. “My hair is super nice,” she says. “It got stronger. My boyfriend was very skeptical with all of this. He was laughing at me when I bought it and stuff, and now? He’s like, hmm, maybe I want to try,” she laughs. “I thought it could be a placebo, but then even people in my social network have said it looks nice, it looks better. Of course at a certain age you start feeling that your hair is more dead, less alive, so that is a boost we can all enjoy.”
We asked her what she would say to someone who is not sure about red light therapy, or who thinks it’s too expensive. “Expensive is relative,” she says. “Especially for people who practice sport. It’s a no-brainer. It seems like a big investment or a big one-time thing, but if you think about how much you spend on massage or physio.” With your Rouge red light therapy panel, “you have it forever. You have it in your own time, and you don’t have to get out of the house.”
Would she recommend Rouge red light therapy to others? According to Leo, it’s worth hedging your bets on. “Anyone who is active or feels that kind of push, or is into trophics and biohacking, that kind of stuff, I’m pretty sure will value red light therapy a lot.”
“I would never never recommend something that I don’t trust, or that I don’t experiment with on myself,” she continues. “I’m a superfan of red light therapy.”
Ready to see how red light therapy can benefit you in your life? Check out Rouge’s selection of at-home red light therapy devices and unlock your potential today.