Wisdom, Load, and Recovery

Let’s start with Wisdom.

Here’s a bit of Wisdom.

Recovery is essential to life.

“Ah, great philosopher tell us more.  Can you tell us why the grass grows, where the wind comes from, or why Mel Gibson has unraveled?”

Alas, those mysteries remain too deeply buried for even the wise . . . but I’ve got another blast of Wisdom from the annals of “what I absolutely know.”  Here it is.

RELOAD is, far and away, the best post-exercise recovery aid in existence.

“Well, great sayer of sayings, why is it that the wisdom you so clearly posses only comes with age?”

The answer is simple.  Because we have to test, try, experiment, do stupid things and learn from them, and as if that’s not enough, we have to then experience circumstances, situations, and interpersonal mayhem before we can even come close to a sense of understanding.  Of course, we become delusional along the way.

When we turn 16 we think we know all there is to know, and we have twisted ideas about what it takes to live a fulfilling life.  Of course, when we’re 16 our hormones tell us that sex and conquest are all that matters (girls, you may insert your own “things that mattered.”  I’m 100% certain all the male readers will agree with the two I mentioned.  I remember being 16).

At 16 we have the ability to screw our lives up royally, but thankfully most of us are subjected to the wisdom of parents, teachers, coaches, and elders along the way.

At 19 and 20 we’re equipped for almost anything physical.  We’re not quite sensible yet, but we start to open up to the idea that there’s more to learn.  With that little shift in awareness, we still hold on to delusions of immortality.  “Bring it on!  We can handle it,” and in great part, that’s true.  As we turn the corner into adulthood, our bodies, if we haven’t overburdened them, are prime examples of human development.  Our hormones are balanced, our joints move effortlessly, and . . . here’s the important part . . . we can drink insane amounts of Jack Daniels or Jägermeister, stay out until all hours of the night, eat crappy foods, drink beer out of the pitcher, inhale smoke and toxins and chemicals and after a few Tylenol and a groggy morning, resume a sense of normalcy.  Yes, young adults are given a mix of naiveté and . . . . an amazing ability to recover.

As a 25 year old personal trainer, half my life ago, I was inspirational to my clients.  I empowered them and educated them, but I didn’t fully understand them.  The average age of my clients was 44.  At 44, even with determination, stick-to-it-iveness, and a sense of resolve, you just can’t do what you did 24 years earlier and expect the same outcome.  Although I realized most of my clients weren’t in athlete condition, and although I understood progressive challenge, risk factors, and the foundations of physiology, I didn’t really understand why my clients couldn’t seem to find time to exercise, why they’d often come up with the “exhausted” excuse, or why they failed to follow through on the perfect programs I outlined.

Today I understand.  Improvement, at any age, comes down to the net result of load and recovery.  If the load is too great, or the recovery is insufficient, not only do you fail to progress, but you move in the opposite direction.

Just as strength is a variable, not only among people in a group, but also in an individual based on time and circumstance, recovery ability is a variable.  There are 11 systems of our bodies, and they all require energy to keep us optimally functioning.  If we overtax one, or worse yet, if we overtax and underfuel the entire machine, something somewhere gets compromised.

I have a 3-hour presentation I do for medical and fitness professionals about load and recovery, and I won’t drag this into a chronicle of that curriculum, but I do want you to understand that “recovery” is the vital fourth piece of the synergy puzzle.  If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, or attended any of my events, you’ve heard me discuss Synergy, the vital integration of the Right Nutrition, Moderate Aerobic Exercise, and a Concern for Muscle.  Those three components are the proactive pieces of the physical betterment puzzle, but there’s also a bit of a passive piece.

Recovery comes from downtime, from allowing the systems of the body to rest, repair . . . and feed.  Your immune system, your endocrine system, your muscular system, and your cardio-respiratory systems need stimulation through “stress” or “load,” and then they need recuperation.

Rest, sleep, and downtime are all parts of recovery, but there’s more.  I mentioned the systems must “feed.”  When fuel is in short supply, cellular repair is going to be inadequate to facilitate improvements in endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, strength, and performance, and whatever load you’re putting your body under, regardless of your age, you need adequate nutrients to meet your recovery needs.

RELOAD is a product I developed based solely on this concept.  I formulated it, with the help of scientists even wiser than I, specific to the need to nutritionally facilitate recovery.

I’ve written many articles on Post-Exercise Recovery, and rather than reiterating the key points, I’ll direct you to a couple that might prove enlightening.

1. Post-Workout Supplementation: The Extra Edge

2. Recovery

Now, I have some . .  . umm . . . news?   It’s not the kind of news customers like to hear . . . but it’s inevitable.  I held out as long as I could.  When RELOAD was first released, I sold it for $54 per container and made very little profit.  Over the years, thankfully, athletes and exercisers alike found it an invaluable aid, so our quantities went up significantly which allowed me to price it at $39.99.  Over those same years, my manufacturing costs increased, and now, with RELOAD being one of the best kept secrets of those who’ve found dramatic physical change, with it serving as a cornerstone of my TRANSFORM! Program and the ALIVE protocol, I have to increase the price.

I’m sharing this now because this is a last chance.  I will make RELOAD available for the remainder of this month (or while inventory lasts) for the long-standing price of $39.99, but in 2012 I have to increase the price to over $45.  I’ve worked hard to stay above the cost-cutting practices of many of the commercial supplement retailers, and I’ll continue to do so.   I just didn’t want you to be surprised next time you place an order.

Also . . . for the remainder of this month you can purchase a 4-pack for the price of 3 and intermix RELOAD and EAT! within the four pack.  Click on Nutritional Products at the online Superstore at philkaplan.com.

I will continue to share information specific to load and recovery in the months to come, as it’s not only fascinating, but it unlocks many of the keys to results at any age or recovery from any condition.  For now, let’s keep it simple.  Use your body, your mood, and your emotions as a gauge.  Irritability, fatigue, insomnia, lethargy, and loss of exercise motivation are all clear indicators that you want to back off on load and direct more attention to recovering.

Be Better.





I Hear Voices – Part II

Part I and Part II were written 90 minutes apart.  If you haven’t read it yet, read Part I first.  Then . . .

My mission went well, perhaps a valuable step toward proving my theory.  Nobody punched me, nobody spit on me, nobody even visibly rejected me.

I met Jaime, a 63-year-old mathematician who in poor lighting would be a dead ringer for Harrison Ford.  He even sounds like him.  If they ever make a movie about Jaime the mathematician, I know who I’d cast for the role.  Aside from lecturing and proving theorems (it’s probably much simpler to prove my frivolous theories than his mathematical formulas) he runs 2.1 miles a day, he lifts weights, owns a set of power blocks, lives in Boca, and  can’t get as lean as he’d like.  He told me about his kids, his cardiologist, and a whole lot more than I bargained for.  When I approached he was sitting at one of these technology tables with electric outlets and USB inputs staring at his computer wearing one of those Bluetooth earpieces which immediately creates the perception, “don’t bother me, I may be talking (or listening) to someone.”  It was the perfect test.  Would he wave me off as some oddball or engage in real human conversation?  30 seconds after I asked, “how are you,” he was headset free and yapping it up.  Yes, given the choice, he’d rather talk to a stranger than immerse himself in technology.  I have his card.  I’m going to email some info on my ALIVE program and think he’ll be an ideal test candidate to see how it works to take a fit 63-year old who wants leanness and propel him through 8 weeks of what I anticipate will be thrilling change.

Jaime’s card in hand I set off to continue the adventure.

Joyce looked up at me.  She had her iphone in front of her, both hands occupied, but she glanced up long enough to receive my hello.  The phone dropped to her lap.  I learned quite a bit about Joyce in the 15 minutes we conversed.  She worked for Southwest Airlines for 8 years before maternity leave.  Today she has a 5-year old and two new puppies.  She sees a difference in the gate staff compared to the environment and attitude when she worked for the company.  People seemed to care more back then, and they seemed to really take pride in doing an exceptional job.  Today she view the staff from the passenger view and feels a sense of disappointment.  “They just seem to want to do their jobs, get passengers on and off the planes, and go home with a paycheck.”  She has a herniated disk from a car accident when she was 19 and whenever she sits on an airplane for a long time she feels the after effects for a few days.  She goes to the chiropractor but doesn’t really think it does any good.  She takes a cardio-resist class 4 days a week at a small ladies’ gym when her daughter’s in pre-school, but this summer she really feels as if she slacked off.  She lives in Baltimore so I told her I’ll email her a pass to the Merritt clubs.  She also said she’d consider a bootcamp.  She gave me her zip code and I told her I’d find one in her area.

The plane was at the gate.  The inbound passengers were disembarking (is that a word?) and I still had some time.  I noticed a boarding pass on the ground, picked it up and asked a young woman and her daughter if they had dropped it, and sure enough, the daughter, Lisette, had.  Lisette and her Mom are going to visit Lisette’s grandmother in Florida.  Lisette is 12, not sure if she likes gymnastics of ballet better . . .  but she’s going to be a cheerleader at UF.  She won’t be college age for 5 more years, but she’s clear on her college of choice.  Two of her cousins graduated UF and she’s already inherited the Gator fanaticism.  Lisette’s parents divorced when she was three and the Dad isn’t around.  Her Mom takes great pride in being a single parent, working as an interior designer, and making certain her daughter has the full experience of childhood.  Last summer they went to New York for a week, this summer they went to Paris.  Mom loves Pilates and I must admit she didn’t look as if she was a pre-teen’s mom.  The two of them could have passed for sisters, and yes I told her that, and yes I meant it.  Honestly.  I ended the conversation with, “Paris sets the bar pretty high for next year.”  Lisette smiled and Mom said, “we already have that figured out.  The Grand Canyon and Sedona.  It’s a much shorter flight than Europe.”

So, I boarded the plane feeling a sense of achievement, feeling there’s virtue in being the ice-breaker, but ironically I intentionally avoided sitting next to anyone I met.  I went to the last row where I now sit with my seat belt fastened and my laptop.  I have work to do, articles to write, emails to respond to.  Perhaps that throws a wrench into my neat conclusion, the idea that people would rather converse than interact via non-verbal impersonal computer-to-eyeball communication.  As much of a dinosaur as I may be, there’s a wrinkle in the neatness of the theory.  Clearly I, the ice-breaker, the willing converser, have limits to my social needs.  Perhaps I too am prone to the hypnosis of finding some sort of solace or escape by burying myself deep inside my laptop.

What can I conclude?  That it’s easy to talk to people if you’re willing to approach, smile, and listen with genuine interest, and . . . being that the world has become what the world has become . . . as everything in our lives, it’s all about balance.  The last hour of human interaction gave me the dose of human contact I needed.  Now, with the hope of educating and empowering more humans, I enter . . . the laptop zone . . .  which I am already immersed within.  The voices around me are relegated to a dull hum as my focus goes to my fingers and the screen. 2 hours and 30 minutes from now, as we descend upon Palm Beach International, I’ll have written my articles, sorted through important emails, and, in quest of balance, I’ll be prepared for the human interaction that lies ahead.

I Hear Voices – Part I

I hear voices. I hear a child, I hear Spanish, and then, if I shift my attention quickly from voice to voice, I hear this (written in real time) . . . . “It’s not like they’re gonna get some new hotshot scanner out of the box. She’s just a raging bitch and we’ll have to make up for the difference with service . . . all she had for lunch were two tiny meatballs out of the soup . . . and Arthur had a complete workup and the . . . I think she appreciates . . . what I’m telling you is $400 is too much to spend on . . . . I’d just whoop his ass before he even sat down . . . . just can’t see myself as a struggling musician,” and the cacophony of voices is virtually infinite.

No, these aren’t voices in my head (I’m not that far gone yet). They are voices around me at Gate A11 at BWI airport as I await a 7:25 flight to Palm Beach International. What’s more amazing than the disjointed never-ending chorus of conversation is, I, from where I sit, only hear one end of each mini-dialogue. In other words . . . I can’t hear the responses because the voices aren’t speaking to people, at least not directly. They’re speaking to cell phones.

I hate coming across as the fossil of a human who remembers the days when people spoke to each other, face to face, eyeball to eyeball, idiosyncrasies to idiosyncrasies. As much as I hate to admit it, I also remember the days when people read books as they waited for their flights to come and go, focusing, learning, or being entertained by words on a page. Looking around, even glancing over at Gate A10, hardly anyone is reading and the few who are are easily over 65 years old, dinosaurs from a time before even I walked the earth. I am not fabricating or exaggerating when I tell you that in this moment, I can’t find more than three groups of people talking to each other. One Mom is telling her son to sit still. I guess the little boy behaving as a little boy might interrupt someone’s cell phone conversation.

Not everyone is on a cell phone. Some are viewing their laptops (guilty, but perhaps guilty with a greater purpose?), mobile game players, and the trendier among the bunch are tapping away on ipads.

It’s almost as if human beings fail to recognize each other as flesh and bone.

They simply recognize voices and tweets.

I recently posted a blog specific to AOS (my revisit of A.D.D.), and here I sit viewing what I can only describe as the mass misuse of the power of attention. Oh, I’m sure some people are using their laptops to save the world, but I’d guess few are on wireless missions of mercy.

Orange shirt lady with wide glasses is tapping away on her iphone with a curious or confused glaze. Man in blue business shirt eats a slice of pizza without looking at it as he moves his mouse around a portable mouse pad hooked nicely onto his laptop (I wonder if I replaced the pizza with a shoe if he’d notice, or eat it). Well dressed angry woman seems heated as she yells into her phone. Large man with mustache doesn’t hear angry woman yelling. He’s tapping his foot and making funny faces with his ear buds neatly snuggled in his ears. Everyone appears to be in their own virtual world, and here I sit, finding myself amazed and mildly entertained.

I have an hour before my flight boards (I just found out it’s delayed 25 minutes. . . the robotic woman made the announcement, everyone collectively grumbled and then they all went back to their electronic communication devices). I’m going to close my laptop, and over the course of the next hour I’m going to challenge myself to strike up conversations. I have a theory that I’m about to put to the test. What is that theory? Here it is . . .

People, by nature, are social. They become hypnotized by technology, but they’re pulled right back to their innate need for human interaction if they are greeted by charisma, interest, or curiosity. Oh, wait, what if nobody wants to talk to me? What if I’m ignored? Then I’ll have risked nothing, it will have cost me nothing, and the downside is . . . well . . . there isn’t one. I’m bored anyway. Here I go . . . .

(Read Part II)

Trainers Need to Know: ADHDP – the Global Fail-Proof Cure for A.D.D.

So you’ve got this brain, right?  And it does all sorts of cool stuff, like . . . it thinks, controls movements, regulates heart rate, respiration, etc. and it does about a million things without you even paying attention.  It decides what you notice, what you block out, who you recognize, who you’re attracted to, and what food you want right this very minute.  It can tell the difference between the smell and mouth feel of hot cheesy pizza and the smell and mouth feel of a grilled chicken breast, it can distinguish ice cream from a protein bar, and it can make you well, make you sick, make you happy, or make you a grouch, momentarily or for the long haul.

Now this busy brain of yours can go full throttle without even tapping into its true potential, and it was designed to multi-task way before we even knew what multi-tasking was.  Your ancestors were able to fantasize about the cave man or cave woman wearing the skimpiest cavestyle ensemble as they kept an eye out for enemies, and without much effort, they could also stay alert in case some food happened to come by.  Yes, that amazing brain entertained these tasks all at the same time.  Back then, the world was a simple place so “multi” really meant “like three or four tasks.”  From what I understand, from the Stone Age up until the Medieval Time Period (and probably a few years after that)  there were no iPhones or Blackberries, no LCD billboards, satellite radio, direct mail postcards, and no civilized organized competitive youth sports where dads wanted to kill each other so their kids could have fun.  Well, there were the Gladiators . . . but I digress.  Back on point . . .

Today, you have that same amazing brain . . .but dude (or Ms. Dude . . . Dudess?). . . it’s pulled in so many directions it’s near shredded!  You have You Tube videos on your phone, phone calls going into voice mail, facebook friends posting on your wall, televisions in the sports bar showing 15 different events at the same time, and then . . . on top of all of that . . . you’re supposed to set goals and achieve them?!?!

It’s even more frustrating if you’re a personal trainer.  You have to find a TRX workshop, design kettlebell movements for tomorrow morning’s bootcamp, respond to emails from clients trying to reschedule their sessions, renew your certification, and still find time to work out.  Oh, and you have to buy a birthday gift for someone who’ll be very upset if you don’t, go food shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, change the lightbulbs, get rid of the computer virus, register your Microsoft Office, shop for iPads, and pay the electric bill.

Your powerful brain wants to serve you, and before you know it, it’s so scattered its’ trying to do everything and you seem to be running in an odd circle that has you very busy but not getting very far.  That’s why you’ll be thrilled to know . . . there’s an antidote to the Disorder we’ve come to know as Attention Deficit.

Yes, there is a “fix,” but before I share it with you, let’s stop calling it a disorder.  After all, it’s reactive to the environment.  If you were a caveman (or woman) ADD wouldn’t exist.  You’d think about food, sex, and . . . more food and more sex . . . and your brain could handle that.  So, rather than tagging everyone with a diagnosed disorder, let’s call it Attention Overwhelm Spin (AOS).

Now that I’ve freed you from your disorder, let’s address your AOS!

I’m preparing a presentation for an upcoming conference titled, Chemicals, Tools, and the Right Environment, as those are the necessary elements for change, and change initiates in that brain I was referring to earlier.  The brain and the environment in which it operates is a sort of a chemical soup.  Drug companies have learned to synthetically replicate many of the chemicals, but norepinephrine, noradrenaline, serotonin, growth hormone, dopamine, and every miniscule hormonal messenger has a chemical configuration.  By themselves they are simply . . . well. . . . chemicals, but when the environment is ideal for them to interplay, you can experience joy, ecstasy, power, thrill, and an enviable sense of being well.  Really well!

Of course, if the environment is wrong, those chemicals are going to form a different chemical soup, which is where the tools come in.

In my Platform presentations and in my Be Better program I provide tools that I developed to lessen the impact of negative talk and distraction and ensure that I’m always moving toward betterment.  One of these tools is my Max 10 Time Management System, another is the Creative Tension overview, and a third is the Smart Financial Model.

All of these allow me to tap into a part of my brain, a part buried deep within the Reticular Activating System (RAS), a part of your brain that you want to meet and master.  Think of it as a toggle switch.  It’s the toggle switch for attention.  It’s always in the down position, which doesn’t mean your attention is turned off, but it does mean it’s at the mercy of all the stimuli your brain tries to sort through.

Right now, get that imagination revved up.  Concentrate as you read.  Visualize.  Imagine, deep within your RAS, which lies deep within your brain, is this tool, this mechanism that instantly creates the ideal environment for achievement . . . not only career achievement, but achievement of anything you’d find rewarding and fulfilling.   And that little toggle switch changes everything.

Just above the switch is a sign . . . is says Hyperdrive.

I remember years ago my friend Cory had a jacked up Dodge Charger with Cragar wheels, a raised rear end, and, a toggle switch.  I don’t think the switch was legal.  I’m really not sure exactly what it did, but when he flicked that switch we almost left the ground.  I don’t know enough about cars to tell you anything more than it was noisy, edgy, and exciting.  I don’t know exactly what changed, but something in the operation of that engine changed when Cory threw it into Hyperdrive.

Now you understand, in your brain is the Attention Demand HyperDrive Switch.  It changes the chemical makeup of your brain’s communication.  It’s incredibly powerful.

Does the ADHD Power switch really exist?  Yes, figuratively, and if you know how to flick that switch, you instantly summon up Attention Demand Hyperdrive Power, the cure for Attention Overwhelm Spin (my revisit of ADD).

How do you flick the switch?  You need two bits of information, information obtained using two tools, and in this case the tools that bring you the information you need are questions.  Let’s call them the ADHDP questions.

Let’s start with the hard question I want you to challenge your overworked busy brain with.

“What do I want?”

It isn’t an “I” as in what does Phil want . . . it’s about you!  Personal Trainers aren’t very well wired for the holding up of the mirror and asking what they really want.  The reasons run deep.  There’s fear, rationalization, justification, a quest for significance, guilt, a distaste for greed, a bit of insecurity, and the absence of the innate power that gets you out of AO Spin.

In the first 90 days of my 8 month Be Better program, we examine the mind, and why at first trainers have difficulty in identifying, not “the goals they’re supposed to have,” but those deep down wants that would bring them absolute joy.  Once, through a series of exercises, they can identify the true “want,” new beliefs, new power, and new potential emerge.

If you’re too distracted with stuff to know what you really want . . . you better find your toggle switch if you’re really going to get all the juice out of this life you deserve.

The second question is . . . . “what am I doing?”  It’s simple, but unless you’re presently living every aspect of your wildest dreams, ask it with a bit of disdain, a bit of sarcasm, a bit of disapproval.

If you’re downloading Apps so you can beat your buddy in San Diego in Doodle Jump or Chop Chop Ninja, or if you have seven browser windows open reading up about the best breeds of dogs, or if you’re flipping through the pages of Us Weekly . . . the question will put things in perspective.

“What am I doing??!”

Ask it forcefully, ask it to identify the absurdity of all of the actions you’re caught up in that will leave you spinning in that odd unintended circle, and if you’ve already answered the first question, something snaps.  You get in touch with your Creative Tension, the force that acts as a momentum-tensed band between the now and the dream.

With the Attention Demand Hyperdrive Power switched in to the on position, you’ll shut out distractions and make some better choices.  Is this in and of itself the answer to all of your dreams?  Not likely, but it’s an important tool in shutting down the AOS that’s sure to limit you.

Turn on your switch, and . . . let me (us) know what you want.  There’s power in a public statement!

(Creative Tension, The Force of the Public Statement, and a number of other mentions are all elements covered at length in the Be Better Project which will also be discussed on the Platform and in the Every Personal Trainer Needs to Know Facebook Group).

Be Better.  Alway Better.