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

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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!