I have always known in theory why maintaining physical function as we age is important. Likewise, I’ve always respected other people’s passion about traveling “Out West.” But this trip really drove it home.
Carrying your kids (or grandkids or simply yourself) up mountain passes at 8,000 to 10,000 feet isn’t just going to take care of itself. The whole two weeks was really active, hiking and biking and so forth. Though overall relaxing and restoring, the middle four or five days was packed and also at altitude, and afterward it really dawned on me how people could begin to opt out of enjoying some of this grandeur by letting their health and fitness go to crap.
Second, I now deeply and genuinely understand the special endearing nature of these vast open expanses. Prior, to me, a getaway or vacation meant ocean beaches and international travel. The allure of our own natural beauty in America clicks a lot more now. To really to get into it, however, you need to be a little physical. So you’re going to have to keep it together.
I’m reminded of a couple in their 70s my wife and I met while traveling in Italy some years back. They said they‘ve went every year for 25 years or so. As we asked about the nature of their travel, we discovered that it always looked like a prepackaged cruise where “exploration” of an area was predetermined on a stopwatch. Off the boat. Touristy spot. On the boat. Repeat. Even then I realized they flew to Italy over 25 times and never once truly saw the country. The same might be said about ourselves in our own backyards.
Let your travels be bigger. Let your life be bigger. Keep it together.
Running electrical current across the scalp and consequently brain had some breakthroughs in the 90s with Pascual-Leone and other researchers. In 2008, Sparing and Mottaghy demonstrated that it didn’t take a massive charge to make this happen. Since, numerous studies confirmed beneficial recall and language acquisition after-effects that persist subsequent to the stim application. Now, FDA-approved devices are everywhere, not just implanted for Parkinson’s, but wearable tech for everyone.
The science of the brain captivated me when I first saw the movie Awakenings in 1990. The stim component caught my eye in 2010, and entered my coaching in 2013. I’ve experimented with stim and various nootropics since then, which is, in part, why I am able to coach 45 hours of appointments per week in only three and half days of work, and still have ample reserve for my kids, friends, workouts, and self-development.
I just started using this particular device, but already notice it assists in my laser acuity during 12-14 hours in a row of virtual coaching. There’s a lot that could be covered here with regard to focus, attention, anxiety, dread, fear, depression, energy, sleep, TBI, neurodegenerative disorders and more. But for that, you can grab a Bellabee and run the experiment yourself... and/or hire me.
WHEN we persist. But don’t simply persist at any ol’ thing. Persist in all areas of wellness. This screenshot is from a client who has met some incredible challenges in recent years, including moving across country (to support one of her parents with deteriorating health), and developing strong sensitivity/allergy to mold, to name just a few. Yet, she persists. She succeeds because she persists. Here, at the peak of people’s malcontent during pandemic, she dropped over 10lbs in one week, even contemplating “slowing” down the rate (which can be a good idea).
I got this text on my day off yesterday in the midst of an already fulfilling family day with my kids. My heart is so full. Seeing someone stay the course WHILE the difficulties mount gives me hope.
Although she and I are currently implementing an iteration of the early 1920s medical version of Wilder and Peterman’s ketogenic nutrition, it should be noted that we have long put into place other practices with a huge focus on stress management and sleep quality. This is critical. Most of the female population, especially after age 35, will not respond even to great training and nutrition without a holistic view of health. I have to add that she hasn’t even had the opportunity yet to get out for lengthy walks like a lot of other people who are making excuses. This is just from stress management and nutrition.
Persist. We will make it.
Understanding Energy Systems
If you spend any dollars or time on deep understanding of human anatomy and physiology, sign up for Dr. Najeeb Lectures. If you can watch 8 hours of lecture within the first 24 hours of signing up, you get a lifelong subscription for 5 dollars. When I first started studying his free content in 2011, the same program was 500-1000 dollars. .
This is invaluable for professionals in the industry. Studying the totality of the USMLE1 medical lecture series in 2012 changed my life forever. It’s still a big part of the reason for why I have so many health care professionals and other coaches as my clients and mentees.
Most importantly, it brings you clarity about all the body systems, particularly energy systems. If you study nothing other than the videos I’ve screen shot here, you will quadruple your value as a nutritionist, a special populations or athletic trainer, or advanced coach in the next weeks. What is and isn’t optimal eating and training becomes evident when understanding glucose transporters, sodium channels, insulin and non-insulin mediated pathways, affinities, low versus high Km, pancreatic beta cells, hepatocytes, nephrotic reabsorption, glucokinase, SGLT, acetyl CoA, and the roles of glucagon, catecholamines, and ketolysis... and more.
It’s a coordinated effort of lots of reps, progression, with growth-signals (namely food) to pack on size. Most women who are afraid to “get big” are actually training for size by performing lengthy exercise efforts (like walking) and lifting light weights. If they trained super heavy for few reps with eating in check, they would get SMALLER.
Watch and learn (video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-zNqbxD-ue/). The first guy has a pretty average gym-goer build. He’s squatting 675lbs with a pause and no belt. He performs cleans with 500 and deadlifts 750. With a long sleeve shirt on, he doesn’t even look like he lifts. Legs are below average for an athlete. The second guy is in the middle of a circuit with light-to-moderate weight for lots of reps. It’s obvious he works out.
People think training like the first guy is what produces size, so they end up training like the second guy, lots of light reps, lengthy exercise sessions, sweaty, hungry all the time, and incapable of getting smaller. Ironically, avoiding heavy resistance keeps people bigger.
I realize that digging into exercise science and known physiology/biology is too much for most people, so I won’t bother with discussing fiber types, load-volume, tempos, TUT. But suffice it to say you aren’t going to just gain a bunch of size by getting strong. Don’t be an idiot. It doesn’t work that way. It CANNOT work that way. And you MUST become stronger to have any hope at improving health and fitness prospects.
When you have limited equipment (or even if you don't), there’s an effective method called pre-fatigue. People were anxious, not having their normal gym setups (and some still are leery about visiting gyms); but I guarantee I can annihilate an elite athlete without one single apparatus, simply using isolation fatigue followed by compound movements. Show me one person who can do TKEs or lock-knee hip flexion (or good ol’ leg extension) to muscular failure and then rep out 15 solid single leg squats with no added weight. NO ONE. Show me someone who can do fly-width pushups (or resistance band flys) to total muscular failure and immediately hit 15 solid one arm pushups. NO ONE.
Here, I’m employing pre-fatigue by hitting DB ham curls (see second video for a glimpse into how much dinking around I had to do to get the right angles) prior to single leg RDL. Though I have access to equipment, I’ve been getting so strong at the RDL that I’m worried about tearing something in my arm just from how heavy the weight is that I’m holding. By first pre-fatiguing prime movers in an isolated fashion, I can’t go as heavy. With pre-fatigue, I don’t need to in order to experience overload in the glute and hams.
I also included a few sets of the rest of this “pull day” workout.
DB ham curl - 4 sets of 6-8 reps at failure
1arm/1leg RDL - pyramid to top set 4-6; back-off set 12-15
Weighted pull-ups - 5 sets of 8
Bicep series - supinate/hammer/cross-body to fatigue
Because, during this zombie apocalypse, they are going to be sadly mistaken if they think they’ll be overpowering me or any of my clients.
Here’s a little single-leg RDL with a barbell in one hand and balance assist with the other. Last week, I was messing around with dumbbells and thought, “why not just use a barbell?” 325lbs x 5 ain’t bad for one side (video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-iLFm_jeA5/). And yes, that is a rip in the left leg of these pants whose tensile capacity has been tested with my glute and leg size gain over the past few months (probably more like the past year). I am so pumped. So this is a semi-flippant post.
My clients and I have been hitting PRs since the pandemic struck. It’s as if clearing out commutes and the white noise of pre-global-infection life gave rise to focus. At least, that’s the case for people who haven’t backed down. I’m sure some of the quitters out there are shooting themselves in both feet with two fully-loaded double-barrel shotguns. Good luck to them. Life will have to resume at some point; and you can be better to begin with or you can be worse.
The majority of studies on resistance training show acute and/or long term reduction of inflammation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933442/
At least two mechanisms within this are partially understood: myokine expression and interleukin-10. However, like any complex biological system, inflammation is complex. Each lifestyle behavior sends a signal. And resistance training, by itself, cannot completely overcome lack of sleep (pro-inflammatory), detrimental eating (pro-inflammatory), and overall stress mismanagement (also pro-inflammatory). Nonetheless, a strong body is more resilient than a weak one... against everything. And when all of these factors are put together to balance inflammation, the status is no longer fear but readiness.
Some things sound like nonsense or impossibility until you see them happen. There is upside inside downside. Our business model intended to take over and purchase the entire building/lot. At the initial launch, four of the full time coaches and two of the part time instructors were growing groups/classes, and needed ample parking, which was THE reason for this location.
However, the owner lied, promising we were displacing a business that dominated the parking. Long story short, our group members had nowhere to park, many driving 15-40 miles to support us, only to find themselves walking from two blocks away in the snow when they arrived in winter. Stressful, disheartening, negativity. I was spending more than every dollar of profit on marketing and promoting the other coaches, handing them every single inquiry/lead: they were still crushed. I couldn’t compel the building owner. Growth turned into stagnancy... into loss. Chaos came. I let people down.
But, I adapted. We changed models. We ceased the over five thousand dollars per month we spent on marketing and promotion. Instead of increasing to 15,000 square feet, we dropped our footprint in half, thus decreasing liability insurance, rent/CAM and utilities. I began taking inquiries, followed up on leads I’d given the other coaches, and every single “bad” lead signed up. Net income doubled.
We didn’t get to fulfill the vision. No empire, as of yet. It would be great to own the building outright by now, have an attached replete athletic training center, Starbucks or other shop in the end space, helping 20-30 coaches build their businesses, etc. But also, that’s a lot of stress AND I wouldn’t have been years ahead of the virtual training curve that everyone is jumping on now.
What at first felt like a failure ended up being a blessing, simplifying my life, reducing hours, and making more money than I could as an exec at a big box gym. From one point of view, we lost six grand per month of top-line revenue, and the potential for hundreds of thousands more. But from another, we streamlined and became more profitable. Chaos comes. No need to run. Embrace it.