Your Delusions of Grandeur – 5 Reasons You Don’t Look & Feel The Way You Want!

Delusions of Grandeur

This time of year, perhaps moreseo than all others, marks a time of change. After the holidays, copious intake of sweets and cookies and all the celebrations and time spent with people it’s pretty natural to want to take a moment for yourself. And in doing so that probably includes a long stare in the mirror both for the reflection as much as to hear what is being said behind those eyes of yours. I have a sneaking suspicion the voice starts talking about change, both of your body and of your life going forward. I’m going to see if I can help you with both.

First, let’s get to your delusions of grandeur regarding fitness, aesthetic goals, reduction of physical pain as well as weight optimization.

I Beat Anorexia

Well, yes sir, you did. But perhaps you “succeeded” all too well!

Delusion #1

If there’s any one thing people just NEVER seem to understand well enough it’s this: 90% of the fat loss equation happens in the kitchen. And over the next few weeks the proof of this will come as I’m about to receive dozens of emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and text messages all asking for one thing: “Adrian, help me dude, I packed on the holiday pounds and I need to get back in the gym to lose it.” Listen, closely:

I’m not the answer. I’m not the solution.

This is:

Prepped Meals

Well, minus the plastic containers as only a fool would ask for good meals like this alongside a fair dose of xenoestrogens. If you don’t know what a xenoestrogen is you should: READ, READ, READ, READ and go learn about these suckers that are in everything from your shampoo to your antiperspirants (oh and xenoestrogens absorb 10fold through the skin!)

Back on track. If your major goal is fat loss: DO NOT call me for assistance in fat loss before you first contact this guy (my first choice) or this guy (my secondary choice). I’ve already told you why when I wrote THIS.

Delusion #2

For years upon years I’ve been doing my best to dispel the myth that spot reduction is possible. There may be an ever so slight chance of it, but likely it’s all hogwash. And whatever amount it may possibly happen is quite simply not worth focusing on. You have to understand one simple FACT: YOU CANNOT FLEX FAT. Despite the minute scale in which spot reduction is possible you can’t turn fat into muscle. You can’t flex your bingo wing. You can’t flex your love handle. You can’t flex your saddlebags. And despite Dean Somerset‘s epic picture, you cannot adduct your inner thighs into the greatness you so desire.

Dean Somerset

Body fat is nothing more than excess fuel storage. While hormonal patterns may partly determine where you may store this excess fat don’t take that to the extreme and go buy the latest fad supplement that supposedly targets cortisol sites therefore it will magically erase your kangaroo pouch. There’s far more evidence suggesting biotyping is a myth as well. IT JUST AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

Look, does your car burn fuel right at the site of the gas tank??? NO!

It burns it in the engine’s process. So what is the engine of the body?? The answer is your muscles.

Light Bulb

DING!

Again, you can’t flex fat. You have to burn it off. Your muscles burn this fuel. So work them, hard and often! And know that targeting fat is a bloody waste of time. Make the whole machine work harder and you’ll be on the right track. Which leads me to the next…

Delusion #3

What’s the biggest muscle in your body? Hint: it’s not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your glutes!

Glute Anatomy

What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: it’s still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your back!

Rhomboids

Oh, those painful knots in your back are the highlighted muscle (the rhomboids) and the main reason they hurt so much is your shitty posture is overstretching them as you slouch all the time. So say it with me now: “I _____ (insert your name) shall always prioritize back training over chest training!”

What’s the next largest muscle group? Hint: Nope, still not your chest, nor your biceps. It’s your legs!!

Leg Anatomy

Should I even continue? The next would arguably be your core/midsection musculature followed by your upper arms/shoulder combination. AND THEN finally, last and least: your chest and biceps (and well, calves but let’s not go there).

What’s my point?? Look, I’m all about looking pretty in the mirror, I like pumping my chestceps and biceptorals into oblivion like the next guy BUT if your main goal is fat loss, which means you’re gonna attempt to burn off the excess fuel hanging around the various sites of your body (pinchable body fat) that means a smart person would have already deduced the best chance of that happening in the gym (refer back to Delusion #1) is to work those muscles in that order. Glutes, Back, Legs, Core/Midsection, Shoulders/Arms, Chest and if you insist, biceps. Doing this backwards is the complete idiots guide to failure! But, Adrian, you ask: “What about cardio? Should I perform fasted cardio 3hours every morning 8 days a week?” Look, do proper cardio if you want but muscle training always matter more! The bigger the engine (meaning the more muscle you build) the more fuel that sucker is gonna burn off. A 550 horsepower V10 engine is going to burn WAY more fuel than a 250 horsepower 4 banger, even when sitting idle in the driveway (your periods of inactivity).

So ladies, when you ask me why I keep making you do so many squats, drag and push the sled up and down the gym and why I’m training your glutes so aggressively understand the above and know it’s not because I have a gluteal fetish. Oh, wait, I do but that’s besides the point. I don’t care about your tricep area fat. We’re gonna burn that better by moving your biggest body parts – all the time!

And gents, if I see you walk into the gym again wondering what you’re going to train (you’re supposed to be following a training program anyway) and you decide on chest and biceps instead of legs, glutes and/or your back I will kick your ass with a barbell and then make you squat with it! If you still insist at least do something like a push up plank as a work-rest between sets. That would at least make some minutia of sense. Or just throw a push up streak into your weekly/monthly/yearly training programs.

And if you still don’t understand how strength training can equate to fantastical fat loss well, Nick Tumminello’s book is set to arrive soon enough!

Brain Power Increase

Delusion #4

You can work smart, not hard. Nope! Lies. I cannot even begin to go off about the hundreds of stories about folks in the gym busting their ass ALL WRONG. I mean, there’s even an epic Facebook page dedicated to this. But oftentimes, moreso than I’d care to admit to my clients: those working the hardest in the gym are the ones usually seeing the best results.

Exercise technique is of paramount importance, do not get me wrong there. And I am in no way advocating horrid exercise as being okay because you’re “working hard.” Trust me, an injury will slow your roll in the near future! But if you haven’t grunted, if the color of your shirt has not visibly darkened in the time you have been in the gym (for the love of the petri dish that gyms already are bring a damn towel with you!), if you haven’t gone through 1L of fluid during your workout or haven’t sworn to either me or yourself a good half-dozen times: YOU ARE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.

Work hard first. Then seek the expertise to help you learn how to work smart and hard! There is always a better way but it never means you’ll be working any less hard. In fact there is a nice little slogan I see floating the interwebs often:

It Never Gets Easier, You Just Get Better

Delusion #5

It IS your fault. Period. You look and feel the way you do because of no one but you!

You Are Not Fat, You Have Fat

There is a reason why I wrote this on my gym walls forcing you to read and reread it every time you walk in!

Not a single soul is going to get you where you want to go except for you! Sure, there is assistance out there but you have to move, you have to workout, you have to prep your meals, you have to eat them, you have to go to bed on time, you have to de-stress.

I will endeavor to get to the details of the formula as I have written on the walls (the above pic) to help you understand where you need some changes. But basically the formula is: NEPA (non-exercise physical activity) levels. You’re probably not moving about enough in your day. And I hope for your sake you’re not sitting too long. Nutrition: are you eating enough (so many overweight people simply starve themselves yet oddly enough get confused as to how they aren’t eating enough)? Are you eating the food types and in the amounts that match your goals? Again I’ll refer you here for more info on that and eventually tell you to contact this guy (again, refer to Delusion #1). Does your exercise frequency and type fit your goals. It’s quite likely despite me telling you prior that you need to work harder that right now you might be working out too often! Are you getting enough rest (sleep included), downtime and finding ways to lessen the stress you face in your life? I definitely do not. And a friend recommended I order this book which I did today so I may work on this aspect. Are you doing the small things daily that recharge you so you may be the better version of yourself? I also neglect this so I went out and finally bought a sweet set of headphones to drown myself in the music that rejuvenates me.

Again, I’ll get into that formula in a near-future blog but know that if you feel lost there are always professionals out there that can help. You don’t cut your own hair (well some of you do but usually that means you don’t have any). You shouldn’t do your own taxes. You don’t fix your own furnace when it blows up. And I doubt you change your own car transmission. There are experts in every field and you may need their assistance. And while this journey and its successes are 100% dependant on whether you get it done, part of that means being smart enough to recruit, hire and ask those around you to assist.

Conclusion: No More Delusions

I will leave you with this final question and the wonderful source I found it (trust me, spend the 35 minutes of your life to watch this video uninterrupted and in one go!!!):

What seperates the successful from the unsuccessful?

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWFXQAWkqX4]

For 2014, I will implore you this: work more on debunking your delusions than you do talking about all the things you’re going to achieve this year. Via that you shall certainly see your goals come to life! As my buddy Rob King always says: “Go F*^king Get It!”

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Streaking: And How Every Step Counts

If one were to ask me: “Adrian, what’s the absolute fastest way to get to my weight/fitness/health _______ (loss, gain, size, shape, etc) goal via exercise, what would that be?”

Without a doubt: STREAKING!

Streaking

Well, perhaps not this sort of streaking

But let’s think about that picture for a moment. Every step this brave soul took the entire crowd was anticipating (either to see how far he’d make it or when it would finally be over). Every single step counted. It mattered. If it was ended 3 seconds in, it went down as a flop, waste of effort and was worthless. Instead this dude made it far enough to get himself plastered all over the internet for people like myself to use in a blog. Great job sir! I hope your phone call went through in time.

It all started with Martin Rooney

I first heard about the idea of streaking via a coach I have looked up to for years. He was working on a 10,000 push ups in a year “streak” he called it. At first I thought, wow, that’s a lot of push ups. But then I’ve done 500 in a workout (took me 40 minutes) before so really 200 days like that and you’d be done.

Martin Rooney - 10000 Push Up Streak

But surely it would not be that easy. Work, life, family and other usage of our time could really get in the way of a goal such as this. Or….not. I mean I could hop off the computer right now and bust out as many push ups as possible …

…Okay, just did that. Got 32 reps. Damn that hurts after yesterday’s chest and back day.

Now if I just did that 3 times a day, 5 days a week for a year I would attain 24,960 push ups within a year. It took me 48 seconds to do those 32 reps. So about 25,000 push ups would cost me a total of 1,872 minutes of the 525,600 minutes I get every year (or 0.35%).

But let me ask you this: would 25,000 push ups in the next year make a VERY significant difference to my physical appearance?? Probably one very much in line with my goals?

Why You Should Streak

Given the right selection of exercise(s) to utilize in a streak you are going to save yourself one giant hassle: setting aside the time required to get your exercise in. Let’s face it, driving to the gym, getting changed, making sure you remembered your water bottle and towel, making your iPod playlist, dealing with the meatheads grunting on the bench press station every 8 minutes when they do a set, driving home, changing, doing the laundry of those smelly clothes…

Working out at a gym takes time, energy and don’t even get me started when having to work with a really busy personal trainer who’s schedule is absurd and hard to book appointments with (I apologize for that). With an appropriately chosen streak there’s none of that. You can climb out of your cubicle right this second, perform 15 body weight squats and 15 wall slides and sit right back down. Your boss won’t even know. Hell, you’ll probably even boost your energy and lessen your pain this way. So the question I really have for you is: why haven’t you been doing this all along?

How You Should Streak

I’m of the opinion first and foremost streaks should be body weight only first. Sure you could do a 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge using 12kg. BUT are you really going to pack around a 12kg kettlebell with you to work?? or carry it to the bedroom and bust out 50 reps before bed. Unlikely. So don’t set yourself up for failure when it comes to your first time streaking. Make it foolproof and then the only thing you have to worry about is excuse-proofing your damn self!

What exercises should one choose? Here are some criteria I suggest you consider:

1) it should be a movement you’re quite capable of performing pain-free and comes with a fairly low chance of joint stress on the long run (see warning later about that)

2) it should be a movement you can do anywhere (home, work, gym, on the train ride to work if you’re an attention seeker…)

3) it should be a movement based on your A) aesthetic goals  B) posture correction, mobility or flexibility improvement or pain reduction goals C) performance of a lift goals (eg. 10,000 body weight heart beat squats would probably improve your barbell back squat)

The Details

No one said this had to be rep based.

It can be time based: maybe you want to spend 25 total hours in hamstring stretches because you haven’t been able to touch your toes since the 80’s.

It can be program based: maybe you were lucky enough to read this article: http://bretcontreras.com/5-things-you-should-do-everyday/ and decided that within the next 60 days you were going to achieve this brilliant advice 45 of the 60 days! That would do absolute wonders for you and your health and pain reduction.

And who even said this had to be exercise related? Maybe your goal is to finish 3 jugs of Superfood within 3 months.

Don’t make it complicated is my point. Just whatever numbers, time, goals, etc come to mind as a challenge but achievable and within a decent amount of time…just do it!!! It doesn’t have to be every day. Maybe you’re too sore; fine, skip a day or two. BUT don’t go too many days without doing your streaks or you’ll simply fall off the wagon permanently.

Exercise Ideas

So, you’re willing to give it a go eh? Good on ya. Let’s help you set up a few streaks. That’s right, a few. You’ve come this far, why bother with just one. If this is your first time, pick 2-3. If you’re really gung-ho and really can’t afford to get to the gym more than 1-2x/week than hell, go for 10 streaks at a time. Some you’ll finish well before others.

Want a better butt? Try a streak of this sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSUFWViGZ54 Maybe you do it 250 times

Want better chest development? Pretty tough to be a push up. Try some of my favorite variations here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eQopawA3vM

Your shoulders creaking and achy all the time, well perhaps you might want to give these a whirl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMOQNsBMSl0

Want to increase your overall toughness, fitness level and “core” power? Pretty impossible to beat isometric holds in this category: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIJDhKbVp94

Want to perfect your kettlebell swing technique because it may just be the single best exercise on the planet? My gal did just this and it took her quite some time and instruction to get her to not feel it in her back. Here she nails the form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raLZ9bRFu_o (and oh boy so her booty look primo for doing so!)

Stronger “core”: Try these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdRFsf1A0Uw

Better abs: Look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yzte9pmOZOM

Harder, more shapely thighs: Here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baokarot4Ss

Wanna bring up that glute-ham tie it (I get giddy for GHTI): Alright: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO0ad0h-qE

Want bigger shoulders: Try this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGHKp1Wc8I , this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aIdaOI7E7A or this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVWelgUaIx4

Point is: any PAIN FREE, well performed exercise done in a streaking manner will equate to absolutely astounding results in a very short period of time. IF you don’t give up and you actually set your mind up to getting it completed!

MY ONLY WARNING

I akin the goal of a thousand repetitions of an exercise to the display at every IKEA store that shows their cupboard drawers being pulled in and our mechanically thousands upon thousands of repetitions. You can’t do hundreds and thousands of reps of anything and not expect a few negative situations to occur such as muscle soreness (perhaps a lot of it), tendon wear and tear, fascial tissue trigger points, inflexibility of the muscle being worked (10,000 push ups doesn’t sound like a good postural idea for the average gym monkey), and possible injury risk (such is the case with chin up streaks http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/13064_pullups_in_5_months which led to my first purchase of gymnastic rings).

I will say this: if you choose to slaughter your glutes via 50,000 glute bridges you had better be smart enough to do some very serious self myofascial release on them routinely!

Wanna do a push up streak? Best be hitting some chest self myofascial release there too and copious amounts of chest stretching such as Dan John’s amazing “Stoney Stretch”

Stoney Stretch

Trust me on this: you will never see faster change in performance, posture, strength, muscular endurance, muscle shaping/size/hardening and mental toughness than utilizing properly selected “Streaks” into your overall health and fitness programming.

If you’d like some help in selecting streaks based on your goals just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

We're Going Streaking

The Top 12 Reasons Why Every Gym Should Have a Surge 360!

Surge 360 Performance Training Logo

One of the single best all-time equipment purchases I’ve ever made has been the Surge 360 Performance Trainer (formerly called the Powermax 360). Just like a functional cable stack, a good squat rack and copious amounts of free weights, the Surge 360 has found an irreplaceable home in my gym and it’s collecting miles at an alarming rate. It got me thinking as to why no other gyms, training studios or big box gyms I know of in my area have one…for the most part it’s because it’s new to market, it’s a reasonable financial investment and in my opinion, despite the decent number of videos out there on how it works or athletes working out on it…the message hasn’t been delivered as to the value of this type of training or this peice of equipment has from a gym owner or personal trainer/coach’s perspective. So I’ll step up to bat and tell you EXACTLY why you, your clients, your club and your membership is missing out if you don’t have a Surge 360. (and no, they didn’t pay me a dime to say that; well they did give me a free t-shirt, but I don’t work for that cheap; I simply LOVE the 360).

Surge 360 (formerly Powermax 360)

Here’s the Top 12 Reasons YOU or YOUR CLUB should own a Surge 360 (formerly called the Powermax 360)

1. PLUG & PLAY: East set up (less than 30 mins from packaging to workout; watch the instruction video); Incredibly easy to insert into programming, simply ask your client to have some fun for 20 seconds: they will teach you what this machine is best for (though I will have a 75-100 exercise video coming soon for what you can do on this beast of a machine); Indoor boot camps and group personal training: this is an easy, no frills, high intensity way to make your group competitive with others and themselves, you know when you’re not working hard on this piece plus it’s safe to teach someone quickly and be okay to turn your head away to ensure the rest of your clients are doing their exercises correctly!

2. EVERYONE CAN USE IT: Hydraulic resistance means the harder you push, the harder the machine fights you. If you have a very strong client or fragile clients, it doesn’t matter; the resistance is based on what they can handle. It’s a simple question “from 1-10 how hard are you working?” Everyone tells me the machine is tough, but yet they all keep jumping on it to go for more.

3. SPECIAL POPULATIONS & INJURIES: Warming up overweight, obese, injured, and third-age/elderly clients all present challenges. Be a better trainer: don’t put your overweight/obese clients on the floor to make them do a dynamic warm up (they feel self-conscious, insecure, silly and clumsy getting up and down enough as it is). Yes some things are best done from the floor, get those over with first and quickly, then finish their warm up on the 360. Elderly/third-age clients: it’s important you increase their core temperature before you do much else with them and the bike for 10mins pre workout is not going to cut it! Prep their joints better on this machine. Underweight/skinny clients often feel weak or stupid when presented with strength challenges or even free weight exercises where they have to use low weights (or can’t even lift a barbell), again, bring your client confidence, they’ll love when they CAN do on this piece. Most injured people (shoulders, low back, knees, hips, etc.) function best from the upright standing position, being mindful of explosiveness on this machine, even people with “bad shoulders” can do very well on this machine AND even improve their shoulder situation. If they were able to walk from their car to get into the gym, they’ll be okay to train on the 360!

4. WARM UP: This machine has been the single best addition to my warm up sequences since I first learned about self myofascial release or dynamic stretching and mobility drills. 4-5 minutes (20 seconds per drill with 10 seconds rest between x 8-10 exercises) will increase your core temperature, will lubricate your joints (especially the shoulders), will prep you for all upper body exercises, will engage your core, will increase your energy and most likely improve your mood and workout mindset before you get to all your other exercises. If a client walks in late, bang, no problem, no need to skimp on their warm up. If a client walks in anxious, looks frustrated or had a bad day, guess what: don’t lay them on the floor to warm them up, mentally they are good to go, just flip the switch, get them moving on the 360 and work some of their frustration away so they can zoom into the workout at hand.

5. LEARN GROUND FORCE PRODUCTION: “Put your space boots on!” Some people just don’t understand how to plant, root or ground themselves before performing exercises. I cannot overstate this: ground force or grounding oneself must ALWAYS precede “core engagement.” Don’t believe me? You had to lie in the right spot, stand in the right stance or width and have the right posture FIRST before you went to engage your core. Being able to produce toe to fingertip tension/grounding is VERY important in power production of any kind.

6. INSTANT, THOUGHTLESS “CORE ENGAGEMENT”: Forget telling your clients to activate their core on this equipment, forget telling them to hold their pee mid-stream to activate their pelvic floor, forget hollowing, and forget relaxing/overreliance of the diaphragm, forget all of it. You just simply CANNOT use this machine without core engagement happening on its own. The harder you push, the harder your “core” will buckle down to help produce power/movement. Also for those of us with lordosis (anterior pelvis tilt based, excessive low back/lumbar spine curvature) where we really should be doing significant anterior core work to limit the problems with this posture, the sheer volume of anterior midsection based core work you get with this machine save you TONS of time instead of wasting it on questionable crunching exercises. Unique circumstances of clients with SI joint instability or sciatica pain, this machine is friendly to those who suffer from these terrible pains and one of the major cures to training these clients is to make their core more stable and strong but many exercises are simply not useable for this population; the Surge 360 is a wonderful tool for them.

7. BALANCED SHOULDER GIRDLE TRAINING VOLUME: Everything in our lives happens in front of us. The insane usage of cell phones, driving, eating, couch based TV surfing, computing, and school work; let alone people with sit down jobs…EVERYTHING in life and in most sports happen in front of us. All good trainers know the posterior chain, the postural based back muscles, the rear shoulder complex, rotator cuff health, etc. is VERY important to maintaining shoulder joint and shoulder girdle health. With the 360 every single rep pushed, must be pulled back. 1 Push = 1 Pull. At worst, that’s equality to the shoulder girdle. Personally, I like to add 50-100 lazy push, aggressive rows to the end of my upper body training to bring back some balance to my life.

8. ROTATION & ANTI-ROTATION: Rotation is a very important plane/pattern of movement. It’s difficult to get enough volume, safety and exercise variety in rotation based work. And what about the eccentric (think the down phase of a landmine/angled barbell rotation) of a rotation: that’s where most of the injury risk happens. What about a heavy medicine ball toss or slam against a wall? Every catch of the med ball means the spine has to deal with anti-lateral flexion (so they don’t fall over) at the same time as rotation which is where most low back injuries happen (lateral flexion + rotation; e.g. you bend to tie your shoe or pick up a pen and blew your back out for a week). There are no eccentrics to your rotation based training on the Surge 360. Lastly, if you want to hit core stiffness from an “anti-rotation” based force production, no problem, just lock the body down, ensure all movement from the midsection down is frozen and the core is fighting very hard to resist the urge to fall into rotation. Hey, I love my anti-rotation cable Pallof presses like every other trainer but this is simply a better way.

9. POSITIVE/POSITIVE OR CONCENTRIC/CONCENTRIC ONLY RESISTANCE: It must be stated, again, the Surge 360 was not designed to replace any of your current training. The closest thing to this unique system would be an angled/landmine barbell (which has huge eccentric based injury risk or client fear). Postive/positive or concentric/concentric resistance means you only have the “up” phase to all your exercises. Some of you might say “well the eccentric is where most the muscle breakdown is happening so I’m not going to get huge muscles with this thing.” Probably true. For those of you familiar with how eccentric-less training (think Prowler, sleds, Treadsleds, rower machines) all add volume of repetition and muscle work to your training, quite simply this is pretty much the only, and definitely the best eccentric-less training tool. For athletes who can’t afford muscle soreness or stiffness, this device allows training to continue at a very high intensity without the need for further muscle breakdown and recovery. You get the volume or work required for consistent improvements in power and aesthetics (especially upper torso/arms) without taking away from your other training. The finishers you can do on this piece of equipment will quickly turn any meathead into a believer, especially when his shoulders hurt a lot less!

10. INTENSITY & TRAINING DENSITY INCREASES: Trainers know that if I superset, triset, giant set, quadplex or create a circuit of exercises versus my client simply doing one exercise and resting right after it I am going to see much faster results out of my training. Doing more quality reps or muscle work volume in the same or shorter time frame is what you should be accomplishing with your clients. But not all forms of exercise allow that. You have to recover if you are expected to produce power. For example, you don’t ask your client (or yourself) to perform a 3 repetition max bench press, followed by a 6 rep max barbell bent over row and then demand they jump right back on the bench press and start immediately! Instead, throw them on the Surge 360, add in 30 seconds of chest flyes and rear delt flyes or double arm push-pulls. That’s another 15-45 reps for the back and chest that won’t require a ton of rest before getting back to the bench press. Everything from warm ups to work-rest drills to finishers on the Surge 360 all mean one thing: increased workout intensity!

11. LEG-LESS CARDIO CONDITIONING: Think about it for a second: every cardio exercise from jump rope to running, to the stair climber to an Airdyne or spin bike to hill sprints to sled/Prowler training to burpees and wall balls or anything else you can come up with ALL require significant or entirely leg based work. But what if your client has a big game, race or event coming up, what if you are doing something where they don’t want their legs to be useless or sore or stiff for the next three days, what if you are supposed to heavily train your legs tomorrow…cardio conditioning up till now has pretty much always taken away from this. The Surge 360 brings in upper body emphasis cardio and muscular conditioning. I hate to tell you, the elliptical trainer just ain’t gonna cut it!

12. SPORT SPECIFIC POWER PRODUCTION/MOVEMENT TRAINING: Finally, I’ve arrived at the last and final reason for owning a Surge 360. If you work with, train or are an athlete in any sport you know that sport specific drills can be hard to mimic (more like gimmick!) into anything that actually makes you a better athlete. For the most part, athletes should spend their gym time focusing on increasing muscle mass, improving strength, improving explosiveness, minimizing chances of injuries occurring (think pre or re-hab based drills) and working their body with serious intensity. Save the sport specific skills for practice and the game/fight! However, mimicking force production (be it left to right, toe to fingertip, and front to back or multi-directional) SHOULD be trained in the gym. The Surge 360 has incredible versatility for your sport. From MMA to Jiu Jitsu to Hockey to Football to Soccer to Golf to all sports with sticks, paddles or change of direction or rotation patterns…bring some creativity to your Surge and the payoff is huge! Lastly, competition based drills amongst team members (or hell, even husband versus wife!), on the 360, is where you see the fire light up in your athletes!

Check out this video where I lay out all of the above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiBzym5fLF8

If you want one for yourself or your fitness facility give the guy who hooked me up, Paul Schrantz a call at (240) 447-0605 or email at paul@surgept.com

Their website: www.surgept.com has tons of great stuff coming!

You’ll also be seeing a handful of specific warm up videos (upper, lower, core, injured/tweaky shoulders, full body workout, etc.) coming very soon AND I endeavor to create a 75-100 exercise video demonstrating 15 seconds or so of every exercise I’ve tested on this thing.

Stay tuned on the YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

Adrian Crowe Athletic Training - New Card Front (JPG) - Large

My Epiphany

Have I ever told you about my very first paid personal training client? I swear somewhere in the past 80 blogs I must have but it’s worth telling again.

It was my first day at the corporate big box gym, I figured I’d be learning the ins and outs, the paperwork, where all the knickknacks go, who all the staff were and other basic stuff that happens the first day of any job. My boss (coolest guy ever!!), Dennis, who was always quick on his feet with decisions had a client thrown at him that needed a personal trainer ASAP as the one scheduled had to bail. He asked if I would fill in.

Cool! My first client! My first $40 (well, $18 ‘cuz you know the big box gyms rip the trainers off by stealing half or more). “One thing though, he doesn’t speak English. He’s a young dude on vacation from Mexico and just wants a good workout.”

Um, what?!?! No English?

“Yea, he seems pretty smart, he’ll pick it up if you show stuff to him.”

It’s my first day on the job, I can’t say no. But damn, at least take me on a date first before you try to get all the goodies.

That first session was fantastic, was a lot of fun and well, when you don’t have your smarty pants words to back you up, you quickly realize that most of what we’re doing is monkey see, monkey do; a trainer’s job is simply to learn/choose the best monkey exercises for the client’s goals.

6 years later, my girlfriend’s family, all of whom I enjoy training, has an exchange student in from Beijing, China. Pops thought it would be a great experience (and relationship builder) for the student, an avid high school basketball player, to jump in and workout with him. Now, the student speaks okay English, enough to understand what we’re saying and articulate what he feels and clearly animates when something is the right intensity.

We went through the workout I had planned for Pops but along the way I had to stop myself and ask, in the eyes of this boy’s parents (if not himself)…why are we using this exercise? Why are we doing it this way, in this rep scheme and why would I choose this one over say, the bodyweight version or the cable version? Why are we working the chest press pattern when the client’s goals are mainly fat loss and overall fitness?

For a long time I’ve really been questioning the value of the bench press. Unless you’re a dude who’s 5’3″ with T-Rex arms who may actually get his swole-on from such an exercise it’s dawned on me that the bench press blows goats. And not just because I’m not great at it with my orangutan arms (I’ve actually just started getting my groove with it after 10 years of trying various techniques), but anatomy wise it makes no sense to work the chest with fixed shoulder blades glued to a bench. They’re designed to move/glide freely over the rib cage as you flex and extend the arms out in a horizontal pushing pattern. Dual Cable Chest Press is hands down twice the chest builder that bench press ever hoped to be, and at FAR less shoulder injury risk.

So why?  Why are we holding onto exercises that are cool, fun, really frickin hard to do, make our clients curse us, whatever…

I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to learning new training styles or exercises or systems, instead I prefer to experiment on myself with the intention of amalgamating the positives into what currently works for me and my clients. Over time I dump what doesn’t work, or is better accomplished with X exercise or rep scheme instead.

But there’s something in my gut that says we’re wrong with how we’re training our clients. I feel it every time I hear Nick Tumminello go off on a rant about the ugly of the industry, or Scott Abel when he tells us about the charlatans of the internet age of coaching or Dave Parise when he pretty much says anything.

There’s only one way to solve this: meet with my mentors, these coaches, ask them what are the most important lessons they’ve learned in their careers (just like a newer person to the industry just asked me), and delve more into the science and anatomy as to why I choose the exercises I do. Mentorship will be the only way for this to work, so when you coaches get an email from me asking for it, I hope you’ll understand the background of the request.

I have this “talent” for watching my clients and seeing that something just doesn’t look natural to them. I formulate the right question to figure out what they’re thinking, feeling, or focusing on that leads me to the clue as to why it doesn’t look right. Every notice how the Clean exercise when performed perfectly looks so damn, well…clean. If you don’t get what I mean watch the first 90 seconds of this video where Reza Zadeh makes 500lbs+ look like a joke in the Olympic Clean & Jerk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7nL8Bg5LDQ

Most often it’s a cue, a visual or a description of intention that really allows the client to turn the movement into something that matters and more importantly, works. And if it still doesn’t, then either it’s not the right time for this exercise progression or quite simply the exercise isn’t great for this specific client.

Every exercise worth a damn seems to follow the same pattern. It works with the body, not the body forcing itself to perform some inventive, cool, hardcore fitness toy based movement for the sake of.

So am I going to swear off the bench press? Well, not just yet, but something in me says in the future I probably will.

When mentoring other trainers coming up and discussing exercise program templates I always say to write them out and then spend double the time it took to write it in trying to tear it apart, poking holes in your theory as to why you chose that exercise over another, why that combo, did you think of this or that, or how the client is going to walk out the door (posturally or energetically speaking).

My epiphany is quite simply that I need to do this on a grander scale. Perhaps you do as well?

Parking Lot Lunges SUCK – Part 2/2

It’s done. Complete. Finito. It sucked but, dare I say, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I started this adventure.

My 135lb barbell x 194meter parking lot walking lunge adventure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4smdMT7ocqI

I went to the chiropractor a couple of days after the event to ensure I wasn’t too whacked out (which I was). When he asked what I’d done since I saw him the day before the lunges, I promptly responded “I put a 135 barbell on my back and lunged two football fields.”

His look was priceless. It was a mix between concerned, scared, disbelief and finally the simple “you’re an idiot” look I’d expect.

“Why?!?!” he proclaimed.

The funny thing was I didn’t have an answer.

For fun I guess. Something to do. A challenge. Mental instability. I don’t know…

Why does anyone run a marathon? To be healthy? For fame or wealth?  There’s debate out there as to whether humans were really “built” to run for long distances like that. But when someone tells you they’ve run a marathon, there’s a level of respect there. Perhaps that’s why I did the lunges.

Try and tell me something harder than that.

Well, a 55-year-old client of mine did just complete the Canadian Ironman last weekend in under 15 hours (congrats Linda!!). THAT is hard. THAT is dedication. I couldn’t do it. Nor would I want to. She couldn’t do what I just did with those lunges. Nor would she want to. So it’s all semantics as to why.

The Human Guinea Pig

Look, I treat my personal training career as that: a job. As with any job there is training, continued education and experimentation that must be done to become an expert in my field. For example:

I’ve been doing this program the past 12 weeks while working on this parking lot lunge challenge. It’s by far my favored programming method. But for the sake of learning and experimentation I will soon be doing the 10,000 x 24kg Kettlebell Swings in 10 days (1000 swings a day). Why? The promise of body recomposition is my main driving factor but the learning experience is a very close second.

Following that I plan on doing the Velocity Diet which I did 3 years ago with ridiculous results (I’m talking 10lbs of fat loss in 14 days; and I gained muscle at the end of the 28 day program). Why would anyone in their right mind “eat” nothing but protein shakes for 28 days straight (well, you do get 1 healthy, solid meal a week)? Simple, the results. Secondary, however is challenge. There’s something to be gained in restraint and strict dieting for short periods of time.

Following that, after seeing the results attained by a comrade at our gym following Jim Stoppani’s 12 week Sortcut to Size program, I am excited to give that a whirl. I’m sure you’re wondering why a trainer would use a program I’ve not designed for myself and instead use something so easily accessible to everyone. The truth is I have great respect for other coaches who know what the hell they’re talking about and have the clout to back it up. This is exactly that type of program. My one rule about following other coaches programs is that you should always follow it 100% if possible. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from following other coaches recommendations. I find a way to bring that knowledge back into the programs I design for my clients.

Then I’m going to go back and do a program I did 4 years ago where I saw insane results: Christian Thibaudeau’s Mechanical Drop Sets. I swore I’d come back to it one year soon. It’s 12 weeks of very high volume training but should be a great blend in coming off the previous Jim Stoppani program. So why go back to a program I’ve done before? Where’s the learning experience in that? I was my biggest then (about 195lbs; whereas I’m 180 now) and I want to see how I’d feel at that weight again.

Me at 195lbs during CT’s Mechanical Drop Set program 4 years ago.

I’m a lot stronger now then I was back then. So I’m curious what will happen after a combined 24 weeks of bodybuilding style training.

And in the New Year, I begin training for the Vancouver marathon to be run in May (with my then 50- year-old client who will make this her 50th marathon run).

So, what may seem like training ADHD, there is a purpose. {Deep Breath In}…The 10,000 swing challenge I’m treating like a mental reset to the difficulty I’m going to surely face doing the Velocity Diet which will help reset my food cravings and improve my insulin sensitivity as well as act as a good training deload before I slide into Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size program where I plan to eat a shit tonne of healthy foods to gain size but coming off the V-Diet this will also help negate any fat gains with the increase in training volume. Then just as I’m seeing the total benefits of that 12 week bodybuilding style program I shall move into a program I’m more familiar with, a coach’s style I prefer and again will eat and eat and eat, at that point not caring (around the end of year) if I pack on some fluff, for in the New Year when I start training for a marathon where I’m surely going to drop the fluff and hopefully maintain most of the muscle size for when I run I tend to get pretty lean.

So I have a plan. Albeit a very turn left, go right, jump up and down, 3 lefts, two rights, and a sprint sorta plan. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from training myself and others this year. With this 8 months of training plans I’m sure to learn a great deal more.

Why You Shouldn’t EVER Do As I Do

The biggest reason, especially if you’re a young dude, it’s my opinion the main reason most guys in a gym don’t look or feel the way they want is because of programming ADHD. You’re not sticking with one mode (growth, strength, cutting, whatever) long enough to really see it through 100% before properly switching modes (which I’ll blog about soon). If you haven’t had 1-2 years under your belt of training under one style exclusively, STOP CHANGING PROGRAMS SO DAMN MUCH! For me that was the 18 months I trained Max-OT style.

Also, when a mentor of mine, Dave Parise boldly stated that walking lunges were one of the worst things a person could do for knee health, well I sharply paid attention. If you don’t know who Dave is, you should.  Problem was I was in the middle of the 135lbs parking lot lunge challenge and I had no intentions of giving it up. What I have done is drop the exercise (dumbbell, bodyweight or barbell) from my programming for my clients; not that I used it a lot to begin with but for safety reasons you’ll never see it again. I’m hopeful he will attack this issue with depth as he complete this series of videos for the industry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7h-stdQgrA but until then, if you’re not convinced that walking lunges can ruin knees I suggest you ask the man for his reasoning; get the knowledge from the horse’s mouth per se.

I was starting to feel tweaky knee pain around the 95lb mark of this challenge. It concerned me as I had 40lbs to throw on the bar still. My band-aid solution was to ensure I was doing copious amount of unilateral leg training like the exercises found in Nick Tumminello’s latest DVD:

The knee pain was kept at bay and seemed to subside the more unilateral (single) leg training I did on top of my prescribed squats and deadlift training.

But, then the sheer weight of the bar on your back for anywhere between 8-12 minutes (135lbs took me 9:30) without the ability to adjust it became the real problem. Your traps BURN, your ability to breath properly becomes difficult, the cramping in your mid and low back is brutal. Let alone how 100lbs+ on your back while lunging can easily have your hips/spine push out of alignment. My chiropractors really kept me solid this past while.

When I did the 135lbs, sure my legs were shaking, they felt weak, they were burning with lactic acid. But that wasn’t the hard part. The balance, the shoulder girdle/rib cage pressure (despite using the Manta Ray barbell attachment which is a must for this!) and inability to breathe deeply, the burning sensation in my low back, the threat of a knee tweak happening at any given moment was the real challenge.

Of course, the real reason I survived was because of my awesome Performance U t-shirt! Thanks Nick!

But it’s done, and I promised I’m never doing that crap again. Cross it off the list. Just take it from me, the value of the exercise is not there.

Was I Sore After? Destroyed? Hospitalized?

Was I broken after? No, it was my buddy’s birthday so in the spirit of that he decided it was about time he hit his goal of back squatting 405. Our good buddy Cailin jumped in on that and hit a PR of 365 for himself. Then the three of us decided chasing a conventional deadlift PR was a good idea. Cailin hit a 410 PR. I hit a 390 PR. And just to top it all off, because ya know, enough old fomula Neurocore will do that to you…

…it made all the more sense to tack on the 300 workout after all that madness. See that in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2Kc0TyeXc

At the end of this test-fest I proclaimed to Chris and Cailin: “Thankfully, Chris’ birthday comes only once one a year!” Was fun though!

Now I move on to the 100 yard (football field) Power Wheel croc walk challenge! Should only take me a couple of weeks to complete that. See this badass get it done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75mP4iGSwjk

Parking Lot Lunges SUCK – Part 1/2

I like to torture my friends. I think maybe in a past life y’all did me wrong and my karma is being able to cause you muscular pain and suffering via various exercises that no one in their right mind would ever sign up for.

I have one rule: I won’t give you any form of torture I wouldn’t put myself through. Now, I’m not talking about my clients, of course I program for their abilities appropriately and progress them whenever able. But my training partners, y’all are fair game and I keep telling you that when I suggest something stupid, like building up to 500 push ups at the end of an upper body workout (took 6 weeks to build to that and took me 39 minutes to complete it) or a bet with a friend to do the 10,000 kettlebell swings in 10 day challenge…someone is supposed to say no.

Just like I sorta leave the responsibility on my client’s shoulders to tell me no when I tell y’all I’m buying a new piece of exercise equipment that is not going to be “fun”, like the Power Wheel:

But noooo, not a single soul stopped me

Y’all just wait till I get THIS, THIS or THIS! Haha

So, let’s talk parking lot barbell walking lunges for a moment. First off, they suck, never do them. Just saying.

Had my squat-a-tron buddy roll through for a leg workout one day and he made me look like a school girl on squats like he always does so come the end of the workout it was game-on for me so I suggested we wrap it up with 45lb barbell parking lot lunges. The only caveat is my parking lot at the gym is 194 meters long (~2 football fields). When I finished I wondered to myself why that felt “easy” and muttered something about how ridiculous it would be to be able to do that with a plate a side on the barbell (135lbs).

And that’s how it started.

During the summer of 2011 I set out to reach this mentally unstable goal of the 194m x 135lb barbell parking lot lunges. I had completed up to 105lbs and the day prior to attempting 115lbs I was in a car accident which rendered the goal null and void.

When the weather came around this year, I got the spark back to achieve this goal. It’s been about 15 weeks now (I started at a broomstick, went to 30lb bar, 45lb bar, then added 10 pounds every 7-10 days) and last Sunday I hit 125lbs which for some strange reason I did faster than any weight lighter than it. Basically took me ~8 mins, 30 seconds.

Don’t believe me, just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDkcw2FPiKQ

Now, I’m not delusional, last week was some hard shit and it really destroyed me for a few days. But this Saturday I will clean that 135lbs onto my back and will attempt to complete this goal.

I promise you one thing, when it’s done, I am never, EVER going to do this again.

It’s been a long journey, I’ve learned a great deal from it and I’ll share that all in Part 2.

If I’m alive come Sunday.

The Caffeine-Free Brain Candy Experiment

The people surrounding me this past month are no doubt wondering why I’ve been so “off” but the truth is I’ve just never been so on.

If you’re here from the ADD-nation  and need an abbreviated review I suggest you skip this next part and get right to the review. Those that know me know I don’t do anything short-winded.

Moments of clarity in life have always come to me at times of inconvenience, like midst shower, washing dishes, bedding a woman or the random sleepless 2 a.m.

When the time for action comes, life has a funny way of throwing work or family commitments of priority in front of me. By the time this magical YOU time arrives, well, I’m just too fucking exhausted to do anything about it. It’s a terrible cycle.

Boohoo you say, just put me first for once, just take a day off, just go on a vacation…sure, says the person who doesn’t realize I run my own business (Read: one man army!)  in a single income relationship (my gal is in nursing school).

We success driven introverts have one secret weapon y’all extroverts will never: we understand ourselves better than you ever will. I may be the dude who’d give you the shirt off his back or give you my last dollar if you needed it more than I, but don’t catch me wrong for I do plan, I do plot, I do visualize and see every aspect of my life forming as I dream it to be.  The pace may be slower than I hope but hey, 12 years ago I was homeless, penniless and sleeping in a tent in Stanley Park. Today I own and operate a successful business with plenty of opportunity and I have a beautiful gal I plan to share my life and build a family with. I can’t complain.

But let’s talk about the pace of life, goals and successes. Last summer I stuck my head in the sand for just 60 days during which I built my own website, started a blog and a YouTube channel. Those 60 days of hard work, focus and exclusivity to only the task at hand has increased my business by roughly 60% over the year prior.

Going online was one of the best things I could have done for my career. In a year I’ve seen over 3000 views on my website, I’m approaching 40,000 views on my blog, and within a few days I’ll see 100,000 total views  across the 275+ videos I’ve uploaded. I’ve been spotlighted by other respected coaches in the industry, been featured a couple of times in a local newspaper and done a decent job of developing relationships with other health practitioners (chiro, physio) to further the services for my clients. I’ve even been honored by 2 people who reached out from the US to come up and train with me. I couldn’t have guessed a year ago that I’d be here, doing this.

I’m not listing this out to sound like an egomaniac but I am proud.

What truly intrigues me is how all of this became possible because of 60 days’ worth of serious focus, dedication and hard work.

Why can’t every 60 days be like this? What’s holding me back? Am I just lazy? Undedicated? Do I not want it enough? Do I not feel deserving of the rewards of such work?

Where’s the disconnect?

In my 33 years on this planet I’ve come to realize recently that I’ve gone through cycles of prepping myself mentally and setting up life circumstances with work, family and relationships to allow short periods of time (1-3 months) where I put me first, where the value of my time is more valuable than yours. And near every success in my life has come because of the actions taken in those time frames.

So where am I going with this and how the hell does it relate to a nootropic supplement?

First, go read my Brain Candy series here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. It’ll take you a whole of 10 minutes.

I was able to barter and procure a 1 month supply of the caffeine-free version of Brain Candy (which was recently released to the public in the past week or so). I finished the one month about three days. The novel above is going to help you understand the sheer awesomeness of this supplement and I’m going to give you some tips on how best to use it, should the promise of its results excite you. I’ll compare it against the caffeinated version and lastly I’m also going to issue some strong warnings.

Biotest Brain Candy, Caffeine-Free Review

The difference between the caffeinated (original) and caffeine-free Brain Candy products: The obvious and only label defined difference is the 300mg of caffeine in the original version vs. none in the free version. All other ingredients are the same and in the same dosages.

In my opinion this completely changes the game on how this product is best used, utilized and the “feeling” you’re going to see while on it.

If you are sensitive to caffeine, meaning it turns you into a chatty little bitch who can’t help but vibrate and froth at the mouth when the peak of crack-town smacks you upside the head (like me), then I highly suggest you shy away from the original (caffeinated) version. You’re (I’m) simply best to moderate and spread our preferred caffeine dosages/sources throughout the day. If you ignore me here, as I’ve strongly warned in Part 2 of my first experiment, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for adrenal fatigue.

If you could drink a pot of coffee and then go right to sleep, well, the original version would probably do you best as there was quite a boost that was had from the caffeine and it does enhance the feeling of the product. It gives you ridiculous get-up-and-go! My body just can’t handle running at 120% of norm for days on end like that, whereas my brain can.

I would also highly recommend that before choosing which version to use, you assess the reasons for which you’ll be using it. Do you need some pep and the ability to focus intently on a task at hand? Maybe Fridays are your department’s meetings and you have to present in depth material to your team? Well after the 4 previous stressful days at work, come Friday you’re just a wreck. Brain Candy, original (caffeinated) version to the rescue. Wake, slam it, get your bang on! The world shall be your whipping boy today.

If you’re a student who has a 15 page literature review ahead of you, well, being tweaked out on that much caffeine is really going to hurt your ability to sit still and focused that long. The caffeine free version will have you in full on genius mode in no time. Ever felt your keyboard get super-hot while your hands cramp from the sheer speed at which you’re typing? It’s an interesting experience.

Taste

I was direly hoping the caffeine free version of Brain Candy would not be 1980’s orange Popsicle flavor as the original version is. I was praying it would be the same great flavor as Biotest’s Alpha-GPC product. While it’s not absolutely terrible, both versions are the same fake orange flavor, are very sweet and leave a lot to be desired. They’re not disgusting but starting your day off with BANG: FAKE ORANGE is not the best thing in the world. Biotest has never been the company to care too much about flavoring systems (save for their Metabolic Drive proteins) so I highly doubt we’ll ever see some designer flavors come about with Brain Candy. But one could beg for a pineapple, green apple or grapefruit flavor, no??

Stomach Upset

I mentioned in Part 2 of the first experiment that this product did cause some stomach upset the first few days I was taking it. I’ve given a few bottles away of the caffeinated and caffeine free for friends to try and half of them tell me the same thing. Being the only one I know who’s used the product for months at a time, I can say that for me, that stomach upset pretty much goes away after the first couple days. I’m sure it could be completely negated by slamming your Brain Candy with breakfast but I’m sure the product works better if you do what it says and slam it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Down-Regulation

Have you ever tried a supplement and for the first two weeks it’s the best thing you’ve ever tried but 3 weeks later it’s doing nothing for you? I can name half a dozen pre-workout products that fit in that category. Down-regulation or the body getting “used to” a supplement where you stop feeling the positive benefits is always a big concern in performance enhancing (in this case, brain power) supplements. I’ve done two experiments on this product, 4 week of the original version, a 2 week wash out, then 2 more weeks of the original, then a 1 month wash out, then 30 days of caffeine free…it’s all the same: when you’re on, YOU’RE ON! When you’re not drinking the elixir, within a few days your super powers disappear. It’s brutal when words were coming out of your noggin so fast you couldn’t even process your own genius and then all of a sudden you’re stumbling for the words to something you mastered years ago. I hate feeling dumb.  There is ZERO down regulation or getting used to in either version. I will again proclaim the caffeine free version tops the original as the latter really caused me some serious adrenal fatigue with the caffeine overkill (300mg per shot). The coming off (I’m doing a 2 week wash out of the caffeine free version now) of Brain Candy this time has been much smoother but I really miss the peak of brain performance when “on.”

How long do you feel the effects and can I make them even better?

The short answer on how long you’ll feel the positive benefits is: all day. From 15 minutes after you slammed the bottle till the time you sleep, there is no off button. With the original (caffeinated) version the caffeine wore off about 5 hours after dosing and the transition to the continuing brain performance benefits was FAR LESS because a body kick and a brain boost are two very different things! With the caffeine free version it’s just genius mode all day, the product doesn’t quit until you’ve decided it’s bed time.

Another unique way I’ve seen others on T-Nation suggest usage is to use the system come-down and save a few dollars by being on Brain Candy for 3 days followed by two days off, repeating in this cycle over and over. They claim it leaves them feeling mostly the same. While I can see this working for someone on a budget, right now I’m 3 days off Brain Candy and there is quite a difference. My super powers are diminishing quickly back to my normal. I can afford and understand the sheer value of this supplement so I see no reason to micro cycle it like this.

What happens when you take more than the suggested dosage? Oh man. I realize and many have commented that when I speak of Brain Candy I sound like a drug addict. Hell, I even use druggie terms. I’ve never touched any illegal drugs ever in my life but I do realize I sound like an addict (as I’ve known many). So, you know, for sake of this experiment (riiiiiiight) I sacrificed myself and have tried (with original and caffeine free version) consuming 2 bottles in a day. The only thing it does is ensure stomach upset and a thinner wallet. Taking more than the one bottle first thing in the morning does absolutely nothing for brain power, physical performance or energy levels. Nothing. So don’t bother trying, I’ve failed it for you.

The Effects on Sleep

Last experiment, in Part 2, I showed you a unique perspective on how the original (caffeinated) version of Brain Candy was affecting my sleep. I’ve mentioned my Zeo to Zen experiment here and will have the next installment coming soon. For sake of comparison of the caffeine free version vs. original here’s what happened with my sleeping patterns while on the caffeine free Brain Candy (the time frame of supplement use was pretty much the whole month of July):

Total Sleep:

Tanked! By over an hour. I’ll explain more later.

Deep Sleep (the sleep that truly recovers your physical body):

Higher than it’s ever been! Even despite the lack of total sleep. So what got lost?

REM Sleep (the type that organizes your brain; think defrag of your hard drive):

Scary tanked! 15 minutes lower than any month’s total this year (1:20 vs. February’s low of 1:35)

Note: The amount of times I woke and how long I was awake during the month wasn’t affected.

So what does this all mean and why did this happen?

Quite simply: with the caffeine free version my natural introvert plotted a monster coup d’état. I was able to process so much of my day (think increased computer CPU speed) while awake and have room in my brain power (think computer RAM increases) that come the end of my day I would sit in my living room and plan, plot, organize and create action for the next day. I discovered more about the patterns of my life, the reasons for all my successes, the reasons for all my failures and developed a calm about it all that would freak most extroverts out!

I see everything and it further calms me. Direction becomes extremely clear when you have this vantage point on your life.

So who wants to or even can sleep when you’re that motivated to change?

I’m not arguing the body needs sleep, I’m just warning you, the first month (or two) you use a product like Brain Candy (especially the caffeine free version) you may find yourself trading sleeping time to plot the next few years of your life. I’m already doing the smart thing and getting back to improving my total sleep.

Warnings and Suggestions of Brain Candy Usage

To caffeinate or not to caffeinate, that is the question!

If you need to tackle this day, the people in your day, or the physical task that’s not the norm, I highly suggest you opt for the original (caffeinated) version. From groggy to genius monster alpha male in about 15 minutes.  For the introvert, mildly social anxious person (especially one that doesn’t drink to create inhibition) trust me, the original version is magic here! Liquid courage and confidence.

If you’re a brain person, not a body person (meaning living in your brain is what drives your body vs. the energy of your body is what drives your brain) then the caffeine free version is for you on the regular. Crank me up 10 I.Q. points and trust me, I’m getting shit done! Students, you have no idea how easy those grades are going to creep up and how much time you’re going to save yourself in studying by utilizing this product (even if just for tests and study cramming; I get you on the poor student thing).

To negate the adrenal fatigue: now that both versions are available for purchase one could be savvy and simply mix one bottle of the original (caffeinated) version and one bottle of the caffeine free version in a cup and then pour it back into the two bottles, effectively cutting the caffeine down to 150mg, which is a MUCH more manageable dosage. Running a bottle of the original Brain Candy on days where you need body energy and on days you simply need a calm mental focus you could slam a bottle of caffeine free Brain Candy instead. By finally releasing the two versions, Biotest has given us a supplement we can highly tweak out and experiment with to see how it can work in various situations, personality types and stimulant sensitivities.

Warnings:

I’ve already covered my warnings of the original version in Part 2 and Part 3. Read them there.

These warnings are for the caffeine free version:

Everyone wants change. Everyone wants a better financial position, a better relationship with their spouse, a better relationship (or possible control) with their children, a better sense of self, less stress, more calm, a boost in ability to process your day without frustration, an increased ability to handle all the stupid or awkward interpersonal situations that can arise. We all want it, we all want more.

Hear me on this: ARE YOU IN A PLACE IN YOUR LIFE TO TRULY PUT A MAGNIFYING GLASS ON THIS LIFE? Are you ready to see yourself for the lazy bastard you really can be? Are you ready to conquer your procrastinations? Are you ready to rid yourself of all the toxic people in your life? Are you ready to lessen the stress you’ve been running on these past years (or decades)? Because it all equals the same thing: reflection and realization of what must change, what must go, what must be worked on and built by YOU.

This is what the caffeine free version of Brain Candy has done for me. The boost in nootropic-driven brain power works exactly like Biotest advertises on T-Nation. As I have no financial ties to Biotest, I’m simply a fan of their products; I’ve just given you the goods on how this product works FOR ME. Take it how you want. It’s going to cost you about $90 to figure out what a month of Brain Candy will or will not do for you. If you feel my experiences can help you decide if this product is for you and your challenges ahead, just leave me a comment below; I do my best to answer them all.

So what’s next for me?  I just smile at that question. For the answer is “a lot.” But after this first month of caffeine free Brain Candy which has enlightened me, my next phase shall be to map action. Let’s see how it turns out!