Sunday, November 27, 2016

The road to happiness through suffering, surviving, thriving, and personal empowerment

Sorry for the overly feel-good almost "elitedaily" type title for this particular piece.  I ruminated for a while on what I would call it, but nothing snappy enough really came to mind.  So I just went with it.

The last few weeks I've read a lot about life improvement.  Mainly because the last few years doing so has been such a huge priority of mine, and I've taken a lot of steps and implement measures and habits that would improve the quality of my life.

By no means does implementing these measures mean you are going to avoid suffering, trials, struggles, and setbacks in life.  In fact, in a lot of ways, those are the very things you need and the stimulus that serves at a catalyst for pushing us forwards into making changes that can create a higher quality of life.  When the pain of staying the same ends up being greater than the fear of change is usually the crossover point where we often make dramatic life changes.  Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worst.  Or let me state this, sometimes the change feels like the worst choice initially, but usually we need to let enough pieces of the future puzzle fall into place before we can adequately judge the quality of our choices, or what they truly manifested in our life.  It's not like eating at Chipotle and realizing 90 minutes later that the outcome of doing so had negative consequences.

Possibly the worst choice we can make, is to avoid said pain and suffering because by doing so we end up with very fragmented lives that feel incomplete and unrewarding, sending us into a downwards spiral that we don't often recognize is even happening until we've landed at rock bottom.  Along the ride into that seventh circle of hell, we often develop coping mechanisms so that we can avoid fixing the very things that unstich us.  We love avoidance.  We love rationalizing.  These two things enable us to emotionally survive temporarily until doing so is no longer enough to make up for the "loss" we live with day in and day out.

Pharmaceutical companies make billions a year off of these mechanisms in the way of Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil.  As a society, better "living through chemistry" has become our life motto when adversity hits us the hardest, rather than using said adversity as a means for personal growth.

Our most difficult times in life are the ones we need the most as the stimulus for embracing change, conquering fears, and evolving into the very best version of who we want to become.  That can't happen if we numb ourselves down through drugs, rationalize the putting off of making choices, and allow these times to bring out the very worst parts of who we are.

Even worse, using SSRI drugs are eventually going to make our depression worse.

A recently released scientific study published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews claims that the entire theory behind the usage of SSRI’s is completely backwards, even going as far as to suggest that SSRI’s actually make overcoming depression more difficult, especially in the first weeks of taking antidepressants.

‘”Those serotonin-boosting medications actually make it harder for patients to recover, especially in the short term, says lead author Paul Andrews, an assistant professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster.’

This new research gives us an explanation as to why so many people do not improve once they begin taking SSRI’s, offering evidence that taking SSRI’s may actually make it more difficult for people to heal depression, as the medication interferes with the brain’s natural processes of recovery.

“When depressed patients on SSRI medication do show improvement, it appears that their brains are actually overcoming the effects of anti-depressant medications, rather than being assisted directly by them. Instead of helping, the medications appear to be interfering with the brain’s own mechanisms of recovery.”
The mental health industry is founded on prescribing mood-enhancing drugs rather than uncovering and confronting the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and environmental root causes of depression, anxiety and attention deficit ‘disorders.’

The other studies are just as alarming.  Linking a high rate of suicide to those on antidepressants, that often begin with shaking, consistent nightmares, withdrawing and isolating oneself from friends and loved ones.

There's a few things that really jump out at me there.  The first is that our brain, much like our body with training, has the ability to help us heal and become stronger through emotional, psychological, and environmental trauma.  And much like how stress in the gym serves as the catalyst for building us a stronger and more robust physique, going through times of stress and dealing with it appropriately gives us the emotional and mental ability to forge through future times of stress and discomfort far more easily.  We have the ability to tap into these measures with the proper help, the right support systems, the right attitude, and the right choices so that we can heal properly from the toll life often takes on us.

The second thing is much more obvious - Drugs aren't going to fix your problems because once you become numbed down, how on Earth are you going to be able to make logical decisions about changing your life when you feel nothing?  There is a hand shaking mechanism between logic and emotion that we need to use in order to arrive at a decision that we feel is best for our life, and offers us up the highest quality of it.  Even if that means we have to endure wave after wave of adversity for a while.  

To quote a close friend of mine who battled depression for a while and was using anti-depressants to cope, was told by the psychiatrist "you don't have clinical depression.  I'm taking you off of all anti-depressants because you need to FIX THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE!"

The truth is, it's hard to get good help these days.  Doctors numb people down and get them addicted to drugs because it lines their pockets.  Most therapists don't really push for people to make for life changing decisions because it behooves them to have them on their couch each week talking about "how they feel".  If they were good at their job, and forced people to move, rather than sit idle in their life, they don't have patients for years on end, helping to increase the size of their bank account.  

That's right.  The medical, big pharma, and the therapy community for the large part doesn't really have your best interests at heart.  People who are suffering from normal life problems and adversity (I'm talking outside the scope of legitimate chemical or physiological issues), don't need therapy for years on end.  They don't need drugs.  They need to embrace the small, uncomfortable confined space that life has put them in, and summon the strength to break free from it.  That is where personal growth happens.  That is the wellspring from where creating something anew begins.

I think that a good therapist can give you the tools to do this; but they also have to force you to examine your life and instead of asking you the question of "how does that make you feel?", and instead ask you "and what are you going to do to change it?" and hold you accountable.  More importantly, you need to hold yourself accountable for personal growth, and have a loving and sincere support system that does so as well.

As someone who suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks for years (at one time to the point of causing irregular heart patterns that landed me in the hospital) I was told by many to see a doctor about getting on "something" to help me.  

I refused.

I knew that dealing with it was within my control, and that I needed to learn how.  And over time, I did.  And I've had fewer anxiety attacks as I learned my own personal coping mechanisms to deal with them.  When they have happened again, I learned how to shorten the time span in which they lasted.  Not a single drug was ever taken in order for me deal with this.

I'm not a doctor, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night (I'm way too snobby for that), but I can write a little bit about how to find some personal empowerment, and some steps you can take that will eventually set you on the course to alleviating stress and personal grief.  Maybe you don't need this, but maybe someone you know does.  Maybe my advice doesn't help at all.  But if it helps one person, then writing this is worth it.

Seek happiness through positive selfishness -

The word selfishness has a very negative connotation.  It invokes the idealistic view of someone doing things that only serve themselves, at the expense of hurting others.  And that is a TYPE of selfishness.  It's negative selfishness.  But there's also a thing called positive selfishness that should be a part of your ideology if you actually want to be the best person you can be for the people you do love and care about.

Servitude can be exhausting.  Doing for others is a great thing, and is something I will expound on later.  However when your efforts are constantly centered around making everyone else happy, especially at the expense of your own happiness, it will leave you depleted.

There is a saying about training that goes "fatigue masks fitness."  In other words, if you are tired and/or exhausted then you will not be able to perform to the best of your abilities in the gym, or athletic field.  No one ever told an athlete that resting was selfish, or that it wasn't a part of an intelligent training program.  It's an integral part of becoming better.

Likewise, how do you expect to be at your best, when you don't take time out for personal recovery?

Treating yourself to the things that make you happy is something you should learn how to embrace without feeling guilty about it.  You need the things that exist outside of everyone and everything else that you can immerse yourself in, that invigorate you and restore your emotional energy.

I often refer back to my oxygen mask metaphor.  When you're on a plane and they talk about safety procedures, they tell you in the case of an emergency if you are with a child or someone who cannot take care of themselves (like an elderly or handicapped person), to put your oxygen mask on FIRST.

Is this selfish? YES!  It's a form of positive selfishness because unless you are of sound mind due to getting adequate oxygen, you cannot take care of the people that need you the most.

Put your mental, emotional, and spiritual well being first, and you will be at your best in regards to making choices that better your life, and those you intend to keep in it.

Treat your relationships like entities / Build a dynamic support system -

A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with someone who specializes in this area.  And he gave me a great way to look at the various relationships we have in our life, and how they either create a strong or weak support system in it.

To paraphrase.......

There is an identification process embedded in creating your relationships.  No different than running or owning a business.

"If you run a business, you hire the most qualified people, and eliminate those not qualified.  You don't keep unqualified people employed and then hate the job they do each day as the company loses money.  You identify they can no longer do the job or are not qualified for it, and let them go.  The company benefits and grows by replacing them with someone who can.  If you view  your love life or other relationships as an entity, which it is, then you only hire the most qualified persons so that it can prosper and grow.  If a company isn't growing, it can't serve its customers to the best of its ability.  It can't function efficiently.  People don't often think about how their romantic or personal relationships transcends into other parts of servitude in their life.  Fulfilling relationships will strengthen all the other facets of your life no different than a company works at a more efficient capacity for its customers when it has fantastic employees and managers."

This should lead you to some easy conclusions, and probably some hard questions to ask.

"Do the people I keep in my support system, and the ones I share intimacy and love with help our "business" to grow, or are they leading me into emotional bankruptcy?"

 If you know the answer to the bankruptcy question is "yes", then why are you keeping them "employed?"

Change or create a new support system.  The people in your life should make you feel empowered, strengthened, loved, supported, and cherished.

If they don't, then I can promise you they are robbing you of your ability to cultivate the life you're trying to carve out.  Your support system has momentum built into it.  And here's the thing about momentum; it goes both ways.  The wind is either at your back, or it's blasting you in the face.  Which one is your support system doing?

Give back -

A few weeks ago I decided on something that had been on my heart for a long time.  I have given to charity and participated in various outreach programs, but for quite some time I had wanted to create something that was genuinely part of me.  To give back to the community, and to those less fortunate.

And that's how the Strength Giving Project ended up happening.  I wanted to put my time and energy into giving to those less fortunate.  I wanted to do the work.  I still think giving money to great charities is exceptionally noble and worthwhile, however it's not quite the same as "getting your hands dirty" and putting your own personal time and efforts into making a difference.

I wanted to get out and talk to people that were suffering from being homeless, and hear their stories, and give them something to smile about or feel good about.  Even if only for a day.  That's one less day of their life that was spent in depression or sadness.  That was something I could help give them and I had the power to do that.

Putting in that time, money, and energy to do so was exceptionally rewarding and has given me an outlet for a passion I've had for a long time, but didn't enact upon.  Now it's something I will be making one of the priorities in my life, and something I hope grows into a program that helps people all over the world.

Which brings me to.....

Set powerful goals -

Let me preface this part with something about happiness as well.

Goal attainment should not ever be looked at, as something that will make you happy.  Yes, achieving goals will most certainly make you happy, but the problem is, that happiness is fleeting.  It's very impermanent.  And yes we can later reflect back on those achievements and be proud of them, but most of us have come to believe that attaining something or achieving something is where happiness lives at.  And then we spend all the time in between attaining that "thing" (whatever it may be) in a state of unhappiness, or a feeling of being inadequate.  We believe if we can squash the phrase "if I could only..." that suddenly personal completeness will arrive.

It won't.  After we attain whatever that thing is, there's assuredly something else we inevitably find we believe we are missing for "more happiness."

This doesn't mean you shouldn't set powerful and meaningful goals in your life.  You should.  But along the way the work to that achievement should be something that gives you happiness as well.  People often cite the phrase "live in the moment", then fail to do so because they are so focused on goal attainment.

Aerosmith wrote "life's a journey, not a destination."  Create a magnificent destination you are traveling towards.  But make sure you don't miss all of the wonderful things on the drive there that really make it worth while.

I have huge plans for the Strength Giving Project.  I hope more people want to get involved with me in this outreach program.

Empower others through your experiences -

Over the years, I've gotten asked by a lot of people how I ended up with...I guess...great insight to navigating through life or offering advice on how to improve..."things" (I hate writing this part because it feels arrogant and haughty and I don't want to come across that way) or themselves.

This all ties back into the previous part about using suffering and adversity as the most significant times in your life for personal growth.

I could never sit across from someone, and be able to identify with their struggles or suffering, if I had numbed myself down through drugs, or wasn't introspective enough to look back on my life and own my mistakes, do my best to make amends for them, and ultimately make positive selfish choices that helped me love and listen better.  I could never sit across from someone and possibly help them if I hadn't made a lot of the very difficult choices I had to make in order to improve the quality of my life.  Which is what all of us should be doing, in my opinion.

Yes, I've had a lot of people seek me out in previous years for advice on traversing through the worst parts of their life.  And I hope in those times, I was able to help them in some way.  If I did, it was only because I had walked down similar paths (not the exact ones, because everyone's struggle is uniquely their own), made a lot of really bad choices, and somehow....someway...I found myself searching out the best way(s) to let go of resentment, shame, and anger and learned how to replace them with patience, empathy, sincerity, and forgiveness.

I can almost bet, anyone reading this has a story.  You have your own story about your life, and the hardships it has bestowed upon you at times.  And I can also just about bet money, looking back on some of those times you are proud of how you responded and grew from them.  And there's also a good chance, you've shared that with someone at some point, that learned something from what you went through.  And that in itself, is empowering others through your own experiences.

Being able to do so requires the suffering of course, but it also meant you might have been able to give someone a few encouraging words that helped them get through a period where they weren't sure how to cope anymore.  Or how they would face another day of the personal pain they were experiencing.

I've had times in my life that felt so debilitating that it took all the energy I could muster up just to turn out of bed, and put my feet on the floor so I could stand up.  I've had plenty of days where I prayed to God that I had no idea how I would face another day of agony, and felt completely defeated in life.

If you've ever been there, in that place of loss and despair, and sat down on the cold, damp floor at rock bottom and felt like you'd never have a day in your life again where you woke up happy again, I promise you that when you sit across from someone in that exact'll see it in their eyes.

And if you found the strength to climb out of those places, you'll be a great source of strength and encouragement for the person you are sitting across from who is struggling with all of the same questions you had in those moments.

Make happiness and love your priority - 

In closing, I am going to reference the Grant study.

I have many times before, and will do so again, and probably will again at some point in the future because I think everyone should grasp and understand just how important love and a high quality of life is linked together.

Our life, from childhood to when we say goodbye to this world, the degree of happiness we  get to experience in it, is directly related to the amount of love we experience in it as well.

What is the Grant study?

The project, which began in 1938, has followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men for 75 years, measuring an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits—from personality type to IQ to drinking habits to family relationships to “hanging length of his scrotum”—in an effort to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing.
  • Financial success depends on warmth of relationships and, above a certain level, not on intelligence.
  • Those who scored highest on measurements of “warm relationships” earned an average of $141,000 a year more at their peak salaries (usually between ages 55 and 60).
  • No significant difference in maximum income earned by men with IQs in the 110–115 range and men with IQs higher than 150.

  • The warmth of childhood relationship with mothers matters long into adulthood:
  • Men who had “warm” childhood relationships with their mothers earned an average of $87,000 more a year than men whose mothers were uncaring.
  • Men who had poor childhood relationships with their mothers were much more likely to develop dementia when old.
  • Late in their professional lives, the men’s boyhood relationships with their mothers—but not with their fathers—were associated with effectiveness at work.
  • The warmth of childhood relationships with mothers had no significant bearing on "life satisfaction" at 75.
  • The warmth of childhood relationship with fathers correlated with:
    • Lower rates of adult anxiety.
    • Greater enjoyment of vacations.
    • Increased “life satisfaction” at age 75.
Vaillant's main conclusion is that "warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on 'life satisfaction'". Put differently, Vaillant says the study shows: "Happiness is love. Full stop."

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pain management - Get busy living.....

Injuries suck.  I love opening with a provocatively obvious statement right out of the gate.

Oh let me add, being sick also sucks.  I mean when you're really sick with the flu, or some type of bronchitis that makes daily living outright miserable.

None of this is news, of course.  I'm stating the obvious for a reason as a vehicle for the rest of this article.

What is it that we do when we are injured?  We train around it.  We rehab.  We compress it and elevate it, some people even still apply ice (groan).  In other words, we do all the things to manage dealing with it until said injury is healed.

When we are sick, we often medicate ourselves.  We take some off the shelf coma inducing elixir to help us manage the aches and pains, and numb us down as much as possible until it runs its course.

The commonality here is that we do things to manage illness and injury until it subsides, and we can resume feeling good again, or at least normal.  Because that's the goal.  Not to be in pain.  Not to feel sick.  Not to be injured.  And the best part of that, is once it does subside is that we are exceptionally appreciative to not be in pain anymore.  To not be coughing a lung out all day, each day.  To not feel like hammered shit.

I remember the night I drove myself to the emergency room in severe stomach pain that had been going on for a few days.  I had tried everything I could think of to relieve it.  Tums, ibuprofen, gas medicine, pepto.  Hell, I even made myself throw up, because I thought maybe I had something in my stomach that wouldn't come out either end and that if I "got it out", that I would feel better.  No such luck.

It was around 2 a.m. that it hit me, to test something out.  I pushed in on the lower right side of my abdomen, and then quickly let off and pain shot through my body like I had been hit by a lightening bolt.  Right then I realized the severity of my situation and I drove to the ER.

That night they wheeled me into emergency surgery and removed my appendix.

I awoke over a day later burning up with fever, that plagued me for a few days.  The pain was enervating.  On the third day my surgeon came in and told me that had I waited a few more hours that most likely I would have died.  I had obviously put my pain aside by "managing" and the infection from the rupture had spread into my body.

Luckily (probably to the dismay of some), I did survive.  But the experience did give me pause for thought, as my father called me while in the hospital and said "son, don't you think maybe you need to do a better job of assessing your pain management?"

His words weren't lost on me, as since then I've tried to not play the role of ultimate macho man, and understand that gutting everything out (in that case, literally) isn't always the best idea, and actually taking care of myself is kinda important.  Because I don't have an extra body lying around I can climb into if this one goes to hell in a hand basket.

All of this sort of hit me the other day as I was driving around running errands and rummaging through my thoughts.

I had gotten off the phone with my best friend and the conversation had left me feeling pretty awesome.  We laughed about a bunch of silly shit, and made fun of each other as we often do.  Then I set out to do my adulting for the day.

The levity from the conversation actually opened my eyes to the fact that, I realized I had mostly been "managing" a lot of shit in my life.  And management can be a good thing.  We are mostly required to manage shit throughout the day.  That's what adulting largely is.  You could easily interchange the terms coping with managing, I think.  You have a checklist of things to do, and you need to do them for the day.  Fair enough.

We get to infuse those moments of levity so infrequently because we spend so much time managing the uncomfortable life we live in.  It's our fault.  It really is.  After all, we created it.  We teach the people we hold closest to us how to treat us.  Because we allow it.  We tolerate it.  Then we develop coping mechanisms that enable us to become comfortable in the discontent of it all.  We emotionally medicate and numb ourselves down so we can "manage" our life.  And at that point, we're not really alive.  We're just breathing.

The awareness of such often happens in these epiphanies where levity removes our injuries, illnesses, having to perform pain management.  Our eyes become opened to just how much pain management we've been doing.  I've sat across tables from people I loved who I knew had immersed themselves so heavily in pain management that they had climbed the ladder to pain CEO levels.  Outwardly, to most people, they were doing just fine.  They had their shit together.  They knew how to smile through the pain and had a life that from all appearances, looked "normal".  And that word right there, normal, I don't even know what that means anymore because I don't really know of anyone that isn't consistently waging some battle in their life that incarcerates and shackles their joy in some way.

I'm not saying our life should be Disney land everyday.  Nor should it be.  How are you ever going to have periods of personal growth if you don't walk through some suffrage?

Pressure is the catalyst for growth.  Change doesn't often happen until the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of change.

My realization during that drive was that, most often something happens that gives us that moment of levity that provides contrast to just how much pain management we've been doing, or we hit a breaking point where we can no longer manage the discomfort, and something must change.

The worst part of this actualization is we see how much in our life we've been "managing".  You find yourself saying "I thought I was doing ok."  Then realize that well, you haven't been.  And those movements are either the launching pad for the initiation of change in our life, or we wake up everyday with far more clarity about just how much our life doesn't look like what we desire it to be, but succumb to simply "dealing with it".

Nothing like having it all come crashing down on you suddenly like that, eh?

I am totally down for adhering to the mantra that we should wake up each day and be thankful for so many of the things we do have in our life that are genuine blessings.  Somewhere this morning someone is praying over their child who is fighting a battle with cancer.  And you're not that person.

Somewhere this morning, someone is trying to figure out where their next meal will come from.  And  you're not that person.

Yes, it's true.  I could be labor on and on about this all day about how "someone else has it worse."  And as I was once told, as I minimized the problems in my own life to someone - "Yes Paul, someone else has it worse, and those people are dead."

The mindset of minimizing your own grief is an awesome way to make sure you don't seize a life you'd be much happier and more productive in.  Because then you rationalize with that old and tired cliche that "it could be worse."  Yes, and as noted, you could be dead.  But if you're reading this, you're not.

People bypass seizing the life they would rather have because doing so often takes work.  A lot of work.  A lot of change.  And change is often frightening.

It often requires overcoming fears that are rooted in the unknown.  So we don't change our life because we're afraid of change, and failure, and ridicule, and ostracizing, and thus we say "I CAN live this way."

And you can.  Truly, you can.

I CAN eat dog food and survive, but I probably won't be very fulfilled and happy in doing so.  Not only that, dog food is designed for dogs.  I'd probably be better off eating food humans should be eating.  Even more, I'd probably feel better making food selections that improve my quality of health and well being.

If your "life diet" has been Alpo, then after eating it day after day after day, you'd eventually just adjust to the fact that "hey, this is what I eat.  And you know what?  It could be worse.  I could be starving."

Yes, and starving people...if they keep starving, eventually die.  And at some point, you'll either grow tired of eating the dog food, and starve to death, or you'll get a taste of food that is fit for human consumption and decide that "I don't have to eat this dog food shit each day."

I know, that's really deep right there - dog food and all.  I'm like a modern day Socrates with this shit, but I think you probably understand the spirit of it all.

The actual real life newsflash here is this - moving out of the pain management zone often requires one change.  Just one.  Not four.  Not three.  Not twelve.  Not four hundred.  It's the one.

Yes that one often means a lot of decisions and changes that will domino afterwards, but I can tell you this - a huge part of excellence in our life is mustering up the courage to bring issues we need deal with to the forefront of our life, and make a choice about them.  When we don't, we are left with alternatives that we haven't chosen for ourselves.  Paraphrasing from Bonhoeffer.

And that is often the predicament that leaves us managing.  Because now we are coping with a life that has been created through situations that we didn't choose.  That we didn't really want.  That don't allow us to wake up with that overriding sense of consistent levity that truthfully, we all more or less desire.  So we cope.  And we say "I am doing ok.  Yes, that milkbone is just fine."

I wholly agree that our mindset of happiness requires us to be introspective about the things we should be thankful for in our life.  But it also means we should be introspective enough to identify when we are merely coping, or applying pain management to our life as well.

When my appendix ruptured, I had a choice.  To sit in my house and die a slow and agonizing death.  Or to drive to the emergency room and get help.  I chose to help myself.  That meant getting cut open, and having parts removed from me that were causing my pain, and would eventually lead to my demise.  I had to make one decision in order to live.  Drive myself to the hospital.

Life, for a lot of people can look a lot like that, but on a longer timeline.  They will suffer and live in pain, and find ways to manage.  All to avoid making a drive to a new destination where yes, they may get cut open, and have to recover from that on the other side of it all.  But afterwards can wake up each day without that nagging ache that doesn't require so much management.

"Get busy living, or get busy dying". -- Andy Dufresne

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Collection 1

Oh hey there.

Yes, I know my writing here has been fleeting and absent for weeks or months at a time.  I've had so many things going on in life that it's largely taken a backseat.  Not my writing, just writing on here.  In case you haven't been following most of my training articles have been going to t-nation and I'm also busy working on a new novel.

With that said, I realized the other night as I was swiping through my social media that there's so much good information in regards to training being distributed now that it might be a decent idea to grab some of the things I see and just collect them on here in blog posts now and then and throw in a few comments.

I titled this one "Collection 1" however don't expect me to keep the count in order.  When Jamie Lewis and I were doing the Chaos and Bang podcast we lost count on the episode number all the time and it became a mainstay of comedy to use a random number on purpose.

With all that said, let's get to it, shall we?

Conditioning - EPOC and steady state cardio

I happened across two pieces this week I read that were interesting.

The first one was from pubmed.

This is the second time I've read about EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) the last few weeks.  In case you didn't know, one of the supposed benefits of doing a lot of intervals or HIIT is that you're going to have the ol' metabolism revved for hours and hours post workout, burning calories at a blazing clip that will turn you into a real life Professor Klump (go to bed fat, wake up shredded).

Unfortunately, it's really not the case.  From the other studies I read basically EPOC values came out to around an additional 14% of calories burned from HIIT style training, with about 7% of calories burned EPOC when doing LISS.

Now you may say "hold on, that's twice the amount!".  However what actually matters the most is the total number of calories burned during AND after conditioning/cardio work.  200 calories burned from interval training with an additional 14% added on through EPOC is 228 calories.  If you burned 300 calories through some form of steady state with an additional 7% we don't need to do more math here.  You had a larger energy deficit through the steady state.

I didn't have to write all of this really.  I could have summed it up quickly and just written "total calories burned during cardio style exercise is more important than the type you use when striving for fat loss."  With that said, I still think doing intervals is a great idea for reasons outside of fat loss.  Mainly because getting in great shape helps to increase work capacity in the gym, i.e. you can recover faster between sets, thus allowing you to do more work, and volume has some direct correlations with muscle growth.

LISS gets a bad rap sometimes and I'm not sure why.  It serves a number of valuable purposes not only for fat loss, but stress reduction (if  used properly) and can help aid in recovery.  Where HIIT style training tends to be another form of training that detracts from it.

Which led me to end up reading this piece as well....

This was a great piece because he goes into inflammation, something I've covered a lot in the past, and the difference in good inflammation that does it's job, and chronic inflammation that speeds us to an early grave.  As noted above, HIIT is a high form of stress that tends to turn on the sympathetic nervous system and is another inflammation driver.  If you're already busting balls in the gym, and doing intervals, and you have a high level of stress in your personal life, then it's a good bet you're driving a high degree of chronic inflammation into your body.  Not good.

Take home note here - Use both steady state and intervals.  But balance it out so that fat loss goals are being met in conjunction with recovery needs.  For every HIIT/interval session you do, you should have around 5 sessions of steady state in between.

Driving down inflammation was also one of the reasons I became so interested in the exogenous ketones as well.  All you have to do is Google "BHB inflammation" and you'll find a metric ton of peer reviewed research on how well BHB fights inflammation.  I've covered at at length before, so just do some searching through here and you'll find it all.  If you are interested in using them, here is my link.

Training - Yeah, carbs are good

This one should be no surprise.

This study investigated the effect of three consecutive days of high CHO intake on CrossFit performance and corresponding metabolically -related variables in strength trained individuals.

This study was only 9 days long, but for serious I don't need a study that spans a century to know that a diet rich in carbs is going to promote a higher degree of performance for the athlete.

Basically this study showed that the longer training went on, the group that was eating more carbs started performing significantly better.  Thanks for that newsflash from the city.  Again, the study was short, but I think you'd see that trend continue even if it were much longer.  

If body recomp is your goal, then at some point you'll need a hypocaloric diet, which does often mean reducing carbs (and fats), but if you're after performance then using carbs is essential.  Yes I wrote essential because the evidence is fairly overwhelming that diets higher in carbs allow one to perform better than one low in carbs, or (God forbid) no carbs at all.  

Fat loss - 

For this one I want to give a shout out to Vince Dizenzo, who lost 100 pounds.  I've watched his transformation happen and he's been very candid about all the struggles that came with it, and I really appreciate that kind of transparency when someone sets off on a journey like that.

When you read this (and you should) take note of this part........

The long and short of the story, it's been a slow and steady process. The only exception was one time when I lost 40 lbs in 12 weeks. I ended up putting that all back on and then some. Since then, my weight loss actually averages out to just around 1.5 lbs a month.

1.5 pounds a month.  For those complaining during their fat loss or body recomp journey, think about that for a long time.  No seriously, think about a whole month of dieting and training for 1.5 pounds.  Most people complain when they don't see that each week.  Then they blame the diet coach or get discouraged, and quit and then later have to start all over again.  

As I've written before, if you walk 10 miles into the woods, it's a 10 mile walk back out.  Don't expect to undo 10 years of bad habits in a few weeks.  The struggle will be real.  Make a choice to dig deep and see the process through, or quit like the majority of new years resolution people do after 6 weeks or so.  

Vince is also candid in that fact that he believes he most likely developed an eating disorder while getting over 300 pounds.  And that it's something he will always struggle with.  I think it's great he brings up that point because eating disorders are usually just associated with females, but I've talked to plenty of males who do suffer from them, and I believe it's an issue that should be brought to the forefront more.  

Powerlifting drives the whole "get your weight up" mantra.  One that often leads strength athletes down the road of poor eating habits and consistent binge eating in order to put up higher numbers.  At some point, all of that is going to be gone, and the lifter is often left hating how they feel and look.  I've talked to enough of them to know this, and was one myself.  

It's also a reason why a lot of lifters struggle to break free of the mentality of "weight on the bar" when they do set down that path.  It's been ingrained in them so long to lift more and more and more that as soon as they see some dips in strength, they freak out, and go right back to shoveling in food in massive quantities.  

It's your life.  Do with it what you please, but also understand at some point there will be consequences for chasing numbers if your means to an end includes huge drug cycles and gaining a massive degree of bodyfat.  It's hard to kick ass or get on the platform when strapped to a kidney dialysis machine or are awaiting open heart surgery.  Nope, you don't have to set out to get shredded or get into single digit bodyfat, but I firmly believe that you can keep your body comp in check and still hit the numbers you are after.  It may take longer, but it will take a LOT longer to reverse all the damage done later if you throw caution to the wind in regards to your health.

Recovery - 

This ties in with the article above about steady state vs interval work.  I have no idea how I came across it but it's worth a read and echoes things I've covered in the past about recovery.

What I liked about this one is that she drives home the importance of implementing a recovery protocol.  That's something I don't think many people take into account.  People bark all the time about how important recovery is, then when you ask them what they do for recovery it's usually something about deloading.  That's just not enough.

When you start to take into account all of the things that drive stress and turn the sympathetic nervous system on, it's not enough to have a few days or even a week of less training intensity to spend more time allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to recover.

Think about the stress involved in something as simple as body recomp -

1.  Dieting - generally a stress
2.  Training - a stress
3.  Interval training - a stress
4.  Job - often a stress, usually is
5.  Kids - stress
6.  Relationship problems - stress
7.  Traffic - stress
8.  Finances - stress

We could keep going but I think you get the point.  There has to be some time where you decompress completely to allow systemic recovery to happen.  Localized recovery at the muscular level isn't that big of a deal.  Unless you trained so hard that you can't walk normally from the soreness, most of us don't need to balance that out.  However we do need to balance out meeting the demands for nervous system recovery.

1.  Massage
2.  Reducing intensity in training
3.  Steady state cardio
4.  Periodic breaks from dieting
5.  Creating healthy coping mechanisms for life and relationship stress
6.  Doing things that release more oxytocin and endorphins (cuddling, laughing, petting your dog or cat, etc).

Have a recovery protocol and be just as strict about it as you are about going for that bench PR.  The bench PR is going to come much faster if your recovery demands are being met.

Life and crap - 

I read this piece twice I loved it so much.  I can literally use "LOL" here because I did in fact laugh out loud several times in reading this piece.  I won't spoil it.  Just read it.

I'm not sure where this next article could fall under, or if it's even real as I did not want to research it to find out that it was false, because that would have ruined it for me.

Two things.......

1.  I know of no restaurants that serve vagina.  I obviously assume they meant performing cunnlingus.
2.  If that's the case then vegan and vegetarian men are clearly at a higher risk of cancer.  Because they don't perform cunnilingus.  They just lick the bush.

I'm out!

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thoughts about life, crap, and stuff - "Grab her by the...."

I usually wait a while if I am going to write about some social issue that is dominating the news.  I like to ruminate on it a bit because I like to read different opinions in regards to it, and not have a knee jerk reaction to things.

However some events in my life have unfolded in the last week that made me revisit this piece of prose, and rewrite a lot of it.

Yesterday morning, I found out my mother had a stroke.  And as I continued writing this article it took on a different turn due to being reflective about what she has meant in my life.  Something I will get to later in this.

But first, I wanted to address the comments from Trump that was dug up from 11 years ago in a "locker room" type conversation because it is relevant as to where I arrived at by the end of this post.
This isn't about the presidential race, or what a shit show it is.  It's about what it has brought to light.  And that is the cultural line of hypocrisy we live in.

As a father of three girls, I can tell you that me and their mother talk to them on a regular basis about they talk, and how they treat them.  And the main theme is this -

"You teach men how you will be treated."

That means I expect my girls to carry themselves with dignity, respect, and modesty in their own behavior.  Because if they do so, it's what they will command that people give back to them.

This seems like a simple concept, but it's one that has largely gotten lost in the proverbial social sewage tunnel that is modern day feminism, where they preach that men must respect them, regardless of how deplorable their own behavior is.  For example...

"Slut shaming is wrong."

This is based off the apparent double standard that, if a man sleeps around with lots of women, it's ok.  But if a woman sleeps around with a lot of men, she's a slut.  And that calling a woman a slut for the same behavior men get a pass for, is wrong.

Ok, so let's decide here which one is acceptable.

Should we call males "man whores" and tell them that sleeping around with all the women they want is wrong?  Because if so, then women doing the same thing should get judged by the same standard.

If men are sluts, then women are sluts for the same behavior.

Which one shall we have?

"I don't think people should be judged for..."

I really wish people would stop this nonsense.  As an adult, you are free to live your life as  you please.  That's  your right.  And it's absolutely my right to have an opinion about it if I am asked.  It's absolutely my right to judge you for your words and actions.  Should I judge you fairly?  Of course.  However people are in fact going to make a judgement about you based on what you say and what you do.  This is reality.  This is factual.  You don't have to like it.  But it's better to get pissed off, than pissed on, I suppose.

Femnazi's want women to be respected REGARDLESS of what they say or do, based on their gender alone.  Of course they hide behind the equality badge in all of this but it's not about equality at all.  We don't have social equality because women can get away with shit men can't, and vice versa.  All you need to do is watch some social experiment videos where women beat on men to the laughter of all who watch it, to understand we're never really going to live in a society of equality.  This doesn't make it right.  I'm just stating for obvious reasons what real life actually is.

As I've read all these opinions, and watched these videos of women literally crying over Trump's comments, all I could think was the state of social constructs we have right now in this country.

And I am going to write this - Women, you can't have it both ways.

You cannot run around half naked, having all the casual sex you want, and EXPECT good men to respect you.  You cannot put your hands on a man in anger and it be "ok".  Men should never put their hands on a woman in anger either.  But the reality of these situations are, men get a pass on casual sex, and women get a pass on violence towards men.  Maybe if we held each other to the same standards this would jolt people into reality, but again, I don't see that happening.  And I'm not fighting that battle because I have kids to raise, and I can't change the world.

I teach my girls to dress appropriately because I live in real life.  Not in some made up fem-nazi utopia where women can dress like street workers and still garner the respect of a good man.  And yes, I want my girls to marry good men.  But I can't expect them to gain the love, respect, and admiration of a good man if they don't carry themselves as respectable young women.

Women you cannot post videos of you twerking and expect good men to take you seriously and respect you.

Women you cannot post pic after pic after pic of your tits and ass, in order to get affirmation and validation from men, then complain about all of the "creepy" messages you get in your social media inbox.  When you objectify yourself by creating the persona that you WANT and DESIRE for men to look at your tits and ass, then they will reduce you to being nothing but tits and ass.  YOU DID THAT.  Not them.  You objectified yourself.

Do you understand that?

Women, you are the ones that bought a book about a man who dominates and objectives a young woman in the realm of S&M and got all hot and bothered by it.

Women, a large percentage of you watch porn.  Know anything about the porn industry?  It preys on the young, helpless, naive females who are often in horrible places in their life and it's an industry filled with abuse, drug addiction, disease, and objectification.  Why don't you do some research on all the women who have left porn and shared the same stories about how awful the industry is.

As a man, I've been very vocal in my stance on porn in that I don't watch it (no, I REALLY don't), and I think the whole industry is a shit pile and that any man sitting around the house, with a woman in it, who is watching porn and jacking off has serious issues.  So THIS MAN, has been vocal against porn.  Because there's not a damn thing respectful about the porn industry in regards to how it treats women.

"They aren't hurting anyone" blah blah blah.  I wonder if the people who say and write that nonsense have ever listened to the people who have exited the porn industry and exposed the horribleness of it all?

Young males, with such easy access to porn often end up seeing women as nothing more than sexual objects?  Yes.  And it possibly warps their ability to cultivate honorable and respectful relationships with women?  Yes to that too.

Male porn stars who participate in porn, often end up seeing women as nothing more than sexual objects.   So how could you expect young men who watch porn be left with anything but the same state of thinking?

Yet I've read plenty of times from progressive liberal minded women that we shouldn't judge women in porn because it's an "honorable" job.

I guess the word "honorable" has become extremely flexible in today's society.

I wonder if people who say or write that "they aren't hurting anyone" have been in the presence of a family who has a daughter or son whom they love and care about, and mourn daily over watching the state their life is in?

Life isn't lived in a vacuum where your actions don't affect anyone at all.  As someone who lived half of their life watching a sibling struggle with drug addiction I can tell you, it's an absolute lie that people who are addicted to drugs aren't "hurting anyone else."  And the same goes for porn.

Many teens never have the chance to learn what a healthy relationship is like before porn starts teaching them its version—which is typically filled with violence, domination, and abuse. [11] Since most people aren’t too excited about the idea of being in an abusive relationship, teens that have gotten their sex ed from porn often find that they struggle to connect with real romantic partners and that they don’t know how to be turned on by anything other than images on a screen. [12] As biologist Gary Wilson said, “Using porn is more than just training for the wrong sport. It’s replacing these guys’ ability to play the sport they really want to learn.” [13]

Erections are powered by chemicals in the brain’s reward center (See Porn Is Like a Drug] that are released when a guy sees, hears, smells, or feels something that turns him on. [18] The problem for porn users is that they’ve hijacked their reward center by using porn to get it to overload on these chemicals. [19] As a result, the user’s brain responds by cutting down on the amount of pleasure chemicals it produces and stops responding as well to the chemicals that are being released. [20] It’s like when you’re standing next to a fire alarm that goes off; it’s too much noise so you cover your ears. That’s what porn user’s brains are doing. When chemical levels are too high, the brain fights back by blocking some of the flood of chemicals released.

On top of that, porn users have wired their brain to get aroused by sitting alone in a room looking at virtual images rather than connecting arousal to being with a real person. [21]

There's plenty of studies that prove over and over again that relationships that involve porn are diminished in quality and commitment than ones that are porn free.  

"I watch it with my partner."

Again, this doesn't matter.  Nothing like disconnecting emotionally with the person lying next to you and eroding intimacy over time by staring at two actors and fantasizing about that, rather than spending that time being in that moment with the person you claim to care about.

So why aren't women, who believe that men should respect women, taking a hard stance against the sex industry which CLEARLY objectifies and abuses women and decimates young males ability to cultivate the proper social skills required to create nurturing sexual relationships?

You see, Trump's words don't have much of an effect on plenty of young men, because so many of them already see women just like Trump described them.  And plenty of women play a part in that by espousing that casual sex and flings are "perfectly ok".  By not holding themselves to a standard that commands respect.

Why all of my talk about porn?  Because it's become a sexual acceptance in today's society despite all the peer reviewed research going back decades documenting the damage it does to people's lives, and reducing both males and females to nothing more than a means to an end of sexual gratification (which really isn't anywhere near as gratifying as investing in intimacy with someone you love).  This is science.  Not your opinion.  Yet when the issue of Trump's statements come up, women are horrified that in this day and age so many men have reduced them to sexual objects.

So I will ask again, which one is it?  Do you want and command for men to respect you, or do you want to live a life of promiscuity and sexual liberation where men see you as nothing more than a piece of ass?

Do you desire for men to speak, act, and treat you in an honorable way?  If so, then speak, act, and cultivate a personality that others see from you that radiates these qualities.

I'm sorry, you have to pick one or the other.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.

I look at the road we're headed down, and have been headed down as a society, and it depresses me.  For my kids.

Marriage is on the decline.  And you know why?  Because women now see casual sex as perfectly ok, and men are tired.

Men are tired for being blamed by the modern day feminist movement for all that's wrong with society.  They are tired of being told that there's something fundamentally wrong with them.  They are tired for being blamed for everything that makes a woman unhappy.  If the man is the breadwinner, then somehow she's automatically put into a subservient role.  But if he's a stay at home dad, then he's a beta male with no ambition.

Men can't win.

Men used to court women, get to know them, figure out if they were the kind of woman he would want to marry.  Now, men don't have to go through all of that.  Because as a society women now shout from the rooftops that casual sex is perfectly ok, that "slut shaming" is wrong.

So now a man can get all the sex he wants, well...after signing some documents that shows she consents to it, and all the various positions and sexual actions that can or cannot happen after the invitation to sex has been granted.   And then he doesn't have to lose half of what he owns, because feminism has proclaimed that the nuclear family causes women to be submissive and is oppressive to them.

So men retreat into porn, and engage in too much casual sex, and become completely inept at developing quality relationships with women.  Women then say they can't find a good man, and blame men for all of it.  Round and round we go.

NO.  Decide on a standard for both genders.  Is it respectful and honorable to be selective about who you sleep with, or is it perfectly fine to engage in sex with on a casual basis with people you barely know?  To me, this seems fairly obvious.  

Women, you cannot control what men say.   You never will.  It's never going to happen.  What you can control is what you say, what you do, and what you will tolerate.  Who you will keep in your circle, who you will give your love to, and who you will be vulnerable to.

This isn't about rape culture.  This is about acceptance and rejection.

People don't accept or reject YOU.  They accept or reject what you offer them.  And if you reduce yourself to nothing but tits and ass and casual sex, like the hundreds of women that flock to a guy like Dan Bilzerian on the daily, then that's all you're ever going to be.  And you can't blame men for that.  Take a long hard look in the mirror and try some self reflective honesty.

Rape or sexual assault is deplorable.  Again, as a father, I'd gladly serve time in prison for killing any man that hurt my daughters in that way.

At the same time, I work diligently to teach my girls to carry themselves in a way that will attract a man that will love and respect them and that how they speak, act, and dress will determine the quality of man they attract.  And to reject behavior from men, and people in general, that isn't respectful towards them by walking away from it.

As their father, I do my best to behave in a way THEY are proud of.  When I have failed at that in the past, I have worked very hard to make amends for it, and tell them MY OWN BEHAVIOR WAS WRONG.  I didn't sit back and justify it because of gender or social acceptance.  I can't sit back and tell them to act in a way that will attract a good man, if I also don't work to be a good man as well.

You will attract what you give off.  Act like a lady, and you'll get a gentleman.

But don't write on social media about how appalled you are at the comments of men if you're supporting the sex industry, twerking, buying books that promote misogyny (ironically written by a woman), posting pics of yourself with the camera facing down into your tits or with your ass stuck out for all to see, then "like" the comments about how "sexy" you are.  Oh and then turn around and bitch about men objectifying women.  This just makes you a hypocrite.

Now I'm pretty sure there are probably some men who are clapping and blame all of these problems on the modern wave of feminism alone, but we're going to be real about this as well.

Men are a huge part of the problem as well.  Obviously.

One thing I have trouble getting my head around is men who have mother's they love and respect, or daughters or sisters they love, and would never tolerate another man talking about them in a disrespectful way, yet do so about females outside of that group.

You're all hypocrites too.  I have been at times as well.  So let's be real with each other about this.

Men, we don't often keep each other in check.  The "locker room talk" we deem acceptable wouldn't be acceptable around our mother, daughters, or the woman we love.  There isn't a man on the face of the planet that genuinely cares about his daughter(s) that would tell her that a man speaking to her in such a way is "guy talk" and that it's "perfectly ok".  If he did, then he's not a very good father or role model.  And being a great role model starts with your own behavior.

Living the life as an honorable man will often mean treating people with respect and courtesy even when they may not deserve it.  It may mean asking yourself "what is the role of an honorable man in a dishonorable world?"

As men, we have to be accountable for our words and actions, and the ramifications they can and will have.  I'm sure Trump now regrets his "locker room" talk from 11 years ago, no different than if I could have a talk with my younger self, I would tell him to consistently talk and behave in a way his mother and daughter's would be proud of.

Gandhi once said "be the change you want to see in the world."

As men, if you want other men to treat the women in your life that you love with respect and dignity, then it starts with you.  You have to set the example.  You can't complain about your daughter's picking dirtbag males when you yourself act like a dirtbag.

As men, we need to keep other men in check in regards to how they speak to and treat women.  And by doing so, hope they hold the other men in their circle to the same standards.

Women need to understand that some men aren't going to do this.  That some men are going to be ok with reducing females to sexual objects not worthy of respect.  But you can't lump ALL men into that proverbial basket.  There are plenty of good men in this world.  And if you're living your life through the words and actions of an honorable woman that commands respect, that the good men will reveal themselves to you.

I can't change the world.  A blog post can't change the world.  But it might make someone pause for reflection about these things and decide to make a change in their life about these things.  And that change may have a reverberating effect  throughout their inner circle of people they care about.  And that cascade effect may continue from there.  And one day down the road, one of my girls may meet a good man.  An honorable man.  A man that talks to her and treats her in a way that makes her feel loved, respected, and honored.  And it's possible that through some kind of positive degree of karma, that he was taught how to do this because he had a male role model talk to him about it.  And going back, that somehow this simple blog post or my words or actions played a part in that.

And despite my stance as a libertarian, I wholly understand that my words and actions aren't encapsulated inside an isolated world.

The smallest of gestures can set off a chain of enormous outcomes.  A phrase of few words can change a life.

In The Vocation of Man, Fichte says that "you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby ... changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole".  

The root of compassion, empathy, love, and consideration all start with respect.  Even when we feel as though we are being wronged.  That's when we find it most difficult to show love and respect.

But if there is one very hard lesson I learned over the past few years that I always "knew" but often failed to apply, is that if you keep showing someone respect and love, even when you aren't getting it back from them, love will win out in the end.  

I am thankful for all the great women in my life who have taught me so many valuable lessons about what it means to be an honorable man.  I've had many great men do so as well.  However I think as males, we don't often take a step back to be grateful for the women we've had in our life that teach us so many things that truly, we can't often learn from other men.  And maybe that's part of the problem we have that separates the genders at times.  As men, we need to acknowledge the influential women we've had in our lives that tried to help shape us into good men.  Because they can often offer a perspective that only a woman can.  And rather than be dismissive of that, open our minds to accepting that gift.  Because it's a priceless one that we should be incredibly thankful for.  

So many of the great parts of who I am, came from my mom.  And the older I get, the more cognizant I become of that.  She is one of the most incredible people I have ever known.  And I know that she would want me to treat women with the same degree of love and respect that I always did with her.  

The saying of "behind every great man is a great woman" is blatantly wrong.  Because I don't want my woman behind me.  I want her beside me.  Letting me know that if it means burning the soles off of her feet to be there, she'll walk through hell to do so.  Because I will for her.

And she'll know the only thing I reached out to grab, to make her want to be there beside me, was her heart.  

I think my mom would be proud of that.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

The toxicity level in your blood

I like to think I'm  fairly transparent individual.

I say what I mean, and mean what I say.  I still try (and sometimes fail) to adhere to doing and saying things I believe are the "right" things I should say and do.  After all, once you say something or do something, it becomes cemented in time.  You cannot rewrite history, and your past is indestructible.

Living in it can cause a great deal of angst, and anxiety.  Trust me, I've traversed that road and it's not one worth traveling down.  I'm not suggesting that you take on the attitude of "oh, who gives a shit what I did/said", I'm just saying that there's a better attitude to immerse yourself in that leads to a better version of yourself, than an attitude that keeps you muddled up in personal victimization.

I'd like to believe that the people who know me best can attest to the fact that I am transparent, and do my best to try and love and support them to the very best of my ability.  That's generally a goal of mine, and one I work towards each and everyday in order to make my own life better.

I think it's hard to be terribly unhappy doing your best to love people to the very best of your ability.  Because after all, if you squeeze and orange, what comes out of it?  Orange juice.  If what you're giving out each day to people closest to you is love, empathy, and kindness, then it kinda means those are the traits dwelling the strongest inside of you.  You can't give something to people you aren't in possession of, after all.

This doesn't mean there isn't a caveat to all of this.  Because there is.  And it's about what and whom you're giving those emotional investments to.

From a very pragmatic standpoint, if I have a million dollars, and I keep investing it into stocks that I clearly see are declining in worth, and spend time researching them, KNOWING that the chances of my investments being lost makes me well, kinda stupid.

I like to think of our positive virtues in a similar fashion.  We've only got so much love to give.  And we have different types of love investments as well.  The way I love cinnamon rolls is obviously vastly different than the way I love my kids.  I love training.  I love what it gives back to me in regards to health, how I look and how I feel.

So love itself cannot be encompassed into some singular idea because it's dynamic in nature.  There's different kinds of love, and different amounts of investments we have inside of us for the things we choose to give it to.

Just because I love cinnamon rolls doesn't mean I'm going to eat them everyday.  But I will wake up and choose to love my kids to the best of my ability all the time.

If I loved cinnamon rolls the way I love my kids, it would eventually detract from my quality of life.  I'd get fat, feel like shit, look like shit, and my quality of life would decline immensely.

Where if I love my kids, there will be times of disappointments and suffering, the return on that investment improves the quality of my life a million fold.

This last month of my life has been filled with tremendous adversity.  Possibly more than any other month of my life.  I've been open about that because as noted, I try to be transparent, and write about it because well, I'm an average dude.  And I think all us "average dudes" probably go through a lot of the same things, and suffer in a lot of the same ways, and search for answers and clues as to what to do with our life while mired in the mess of things.

I've worked exceptionally hard to try and keep a positive mindset despite all of this.  Because I've lived long enough to know that no matter how hard the path we're currently walking down is, at some point the road does clear, becomes smooth underneath our feet, least for a while...offers us a reprieve.

One of the greatest parts about arriving at the "smooth in the road" is our ability to appreciate it.  To really inhale how great it truly feels, and just how glad we are to have arrived there.  To turn and look back, and say goodbye to the road behind us.  That we survived, and that in doing so, learned something.  Whether that be all the things we know we want in our life, or don't want in our life, it probably served some purpose that, if we let it, can help us immensely.

But just like eating or not eating cinnamon rolls everyday, a huge part of actually getting off of the path that shreds the flesh from bone on the soles of our choice.  We simply decide not to eat cinnamon rolls all day long.  And we simply decide we no longer want to walk down that path.

This doesn't mean it immediately happens.  But it certainly won't ever happen if don't make a choice to stop walking down it.

And because my writing is long and drawn out most of the time, I will do my best to condense some of this and tell you that I actually am going someplace with the orange juice, emotional investments, and "roads we don't want to travel" metaphors here.

And that is this - often times, in fact maybe all the time, the reason we begin to fail in our efforts to find ourselves in the place we want to be, is because we refuse to actually remove others from that environment.

And that environment, is toxicity.

Have you ever known someone, who used to be something?

They used to be happy, or they used to be endearing, full of life and passion...or they used to be a friend that was there through any situation to help you.  They used to make you feel loved, or that you mattered in their life.

Notice I asked if you knew someone that "used" to be something?

Because now, they aren't those things anymore.

Maybe that person is you.  Maybe it's not.  I don't know.  I'm not all knowing.  Hell, I barely know where I put my car keys half the time.  That's always a fun time of day when I know I have to pick the girls up from school and I can't find my keys and I get this semi panicky feeling of "OMG my girls will be stuck at school for the rest of their life!"  Of course I find them, and manage to accomplish my goal.

The last few days, I happened to end up reading a lot about toxic people, toxic relationships, toxic families.  Toxic everything.

Funny enough, the fitness industry is loaded with "detox" methods for your physical body (which are all bullshit of course), but the one NON BULLSHIT version of detoxing, that really works, is the removal of toxic people, relationships, and toxic behavior in your own life.

If you want to find a higher quality of life, better health, a better sense of well being, and better "you" overall, then stop looking for pills or powders or diets that are going to do that.  And start with detoxing your life by spitting out the poison that is killing you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically (stress), on a daily basis.

The one that is causing you to sink all of those millions of dollars into stocks that are crashing, and will end up sucking you dry, and leaving you broke.  And that's most often the word you will find from people who have been stuck in suffering for too long because they refuse to rid themselves of these "bad investments".

"I just feel broken."

Because you are.  Emotionally, you become broke.  There's nothing left to give.

When your ability to invest in people with all of those dynamic versions of love and sincerity have been depleted, what is it that's left for people to squeeze out of you at that point?

Bitterness.  Apathy.  Discontent.  Anger.  Cynicism.

In all the articles I read about toxic relationships and such, only one addressed this very issue.  That the longer you stay in those toxic environments, the more toxic YOU BECOME.  I think this got lost in so many of the other articles because most often, people like to victimize themselves in bad situations without taking a long hard look at who they have become, and wonder if they too have simply "meshed" into the environment around them.  Because that really is most often the case.  And when you arrive at your own place of personal toxicity, there will be things that happen that should be obvious to you, that you have now become part of the very problem you're complaining about.

The friends you used to have, no longer want to be around you.

People tend to see you as unhappy all the time.

Your thoughts are consistently filled with negativity, and it becomes manifested in your words and actions.

Everything that happens to you, you take personally.

You consistently see yourself as being the victim, when in all reality you've made yourself one by refusing to make a choice not to be.

You've become toxic.  You're now part of all of those "toxic relationships" you read about, that is apparently, ruining your life.  Perhaps, some self accountability is in order here in that, the whole reason you "became someone else" is because you simply became just like the toxic people you kept within your circle.

That's generally how it works.  What's that saying........

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

Now this doesn't mean all five people are toxic.  The odds are that are well, pretty slim.  But it is likely, that the longer you keep the toxic people in your life, one of those five people will remove themselves from your circle, because they are aware of removing toxic attitudes, words, actions, and people in their life and don't want it.  In essence, they were the ones that made the choice NOT to stay confined within that toxic environment.

And upon reading through all of these articles, the most common place they all kept coming back to for most people....was family.

California psychologist Sherrie Campbell, author of the book “Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.” wrote about this, and the fact that cutting ties with family is often the hardest thing to do, but if they indeed are the root cause of the toxicity in your life, then it's imperative to do so in you actually want to start improving the quality of said life.

One thing I think often gets lost on people about "family" is this.  

They aren't special.  

That's right, I just wrote that.  Let it sink in.  Or let me rephrase that.  

They are just people.  I'm only "special" to my kids because of my efforts to be devoted to them.  Someone can adopt a child and become "special" to them because of the love, nurturing, and care they give in raising them.  Their biological parents are not special in that way.  Those things have to be earned.

And because "family" are just people, they too can be very unhealthy people to keep in your life.

Because of social ideologies and and phrases like "blood is thicker than water", most people grow up with this idea that family gets a pass on anything and everything they do to us, when there's no way in hell we'd allow anyone else to treat us that way and still remain in our life.

This doesn't mean to dishonor your family by being an asshole.  It simply means that creating space and boundaries in regards to them may have to be done if  you are to find yourself walking down the path of unhappiness, sorrow, and ridicule because of them.  Because while you are walking down that road, that's exactly what you're probably going to be giving out to the other people around you.  

As I said, now you too have become toxic.

Because I've already written enough, and I think that Dr. Campbell summed all of this up in a high level overview, I will just do a good ol copy and past with the link.  

Campbell's 7 reasons to terminate relationships with family:

1. When the relationship is based in any kind of abuse, mentally, physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally. When the relationship is based in manipulation, overt or covert, you can be sure you are being used and abused. When you are living in constant anxiety never knowing or being able to predict how any engagement is going to turn out, it is time to love yourself enough to let go.

2. It is time to terminate a relationship when the only contact you have with them is negative. The contact you have with them serves to bring you down, put you down and/or make you feel you are not good enough, or you haven't done enough for them.

3. When the relationship creates so much stress that it affects the important areas of your life at work, home or both. When your emotions are totally caught up in defending yourself and wanting to explain yourself and the chaos of your relationships with these people is all you talk about, it is time to let go.

4. If you find yourself obsessed with the gossip about you and trying to right wrong information, and you are constantly being ostracized to the point you are losing sleep over it, you are becoming poisoned with their toxicity. Gossip only serves one family member to get others to gang up on you and you are left defenseless against the false beliefs about you being thrown your way. There is usually a ring leader gathering the troops for the assault and because they are joined together, you begin to wonder whether it is you that is the problem.

5. When the relationship is completely all about the other person and there is no real reason why the other person cannot make any effort toward the health and maintenance of the relationship with you. One sided relationships are set up for your failure. When you realize there is never going to be an "enough" place for you to reach in the relationship, you need to let go and start to focus on your own healing.

6. When and whether the relationship is only about borrowing or needing money.

7. When crazy-making, no-win games dominate the relationship such as the silent treatment, blame-games, no-win arguments that spin around on you, there is no point in continuing in this battle. Verbal warfare is never the place you will convince them of anything and these kinds of verbal interactions are set up to be their way or the highway. If these are the negative consequences you receive each time this person or people don't get their way, it is time to let go.

To offer up my own story of what you just read, I too had a toxic family member in my youth/teenage years.  My sister.  Who became addicted to drugs, and I spent most of those years trying to save her from herself.  Her behavior, like most addicts, was destroying and wrecking the serenity of my and my family's life.

Once I left for the military, and had my first child, I would still get phone calls about what all my sister was doing and it would leave me angry and frustrated.  One day, my wife at the time finally told me what I needed to hear most.

"You have a daughter now.  Your sister isn't your problem anymore.  You need to let her do what she wants with her life, and whatever that is, it's not  your problem anymore.  Just let her go."

I remember that moment like it was yesterday.  And it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.

If you're at home, and still under the order of your parents, then you should still respect and honor them as truly, it's the right thing to do.  But all baby birds leave the nest.  And if your family is part of what is making you miserable, then creating space and boundaries so that you can breathe and find your own happiness is what you WILL HAVE TO DO.

There's no other option.  And the battle you will be faced with initially, is that they are going to fight even harder once you try to apply this resistance.  Because they have probably spent years bullying you into doing what they want you to do, instead of respecting that as an adult, the choices you make in your life should be your own.  Sometimes even if they are destructive.

Why do I write that?

Because ultimately we are the ones that are held accountable for our actions.  In every fashion, in the end, we are the ones that have ownership for our choices and decisions.

But that also means that if you truly want to be happy, and after reading this realize that you too may have become part of the toxicity in your life, then the only way to rid yourself of it, is to snuff out the root cause of it, and decide you won't allow it to exist in your life anymore.

If you find the courage to arrive at such a decision, don't expect it to be easy.  After all, you're the one who has spent all these years teaching people how to treat  you.  Yes, it is YOU who is responsible for it.  People treat us how we allow them to.  It's our fault if we keep bowing to it.  And when you decide to get off of your knees and rise, and proclaim that your life is your own, then be prepared for an emotional onslaught.  It WILL happen.

What also will happen, is the longer you stand your ground, and the longer you stop tolerating it, then you might expect, how they treat you will begin to change as well.

There's a very simple word to describe what that destination is.


And until you are strong enough to make these changes, then whoever it is in your life that keeps bringing you down, and bullying you emotionally, will continue to do so.  Until there's nothing left of "who you were".

And then there's going to be a group of people you used to call "friends" sitting around one day, and you know what they are going to talk about?

Who you used to be............

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ketones, TBI, and brain function

I'm not a doctor of any sorts.  Hell, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  In fact, on my trip back home to see my family we ended up staying at the Hampton Inn on two separate occasions (which promoted fat baybay to say on the drive home "we better not stay at another freaking Hampton Inn!").

Nevertheless, I read an enormous amount of studies and research articles to do my best at understanding the various facets of hypertrophy, nutrition, and of course as of late, all the benefits that come with the intake of exogenous ketones.

I've documented much of the success I've had with them in regards to physique competitors in the depleted stages of contest prep.  I've used them to help people get over nagging injuries, and even helped people overcome hypoglycemia with them.

But as of late, the one area I've spent the most time reading about in regards to them, is how they function in regards to those that have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

The reason for this is because it has become a serious issue with players in the NFL.  And from my outside view, the league has done very little to actually address the seriousness of the issue.

Let me be clear here about one of my biggest problems with the NFL before I delve into this.

I abhor the NFL's policies on performance enhancement drugs.  But all the while having no problem prescribing narcotic drugs to their players, some of who end up with serious addiction and dependency issues on them well after their careers are over.  I'm going to put on my tin foil hat here and just take a stab that the NFL somehow is in cahoots with big pharmacy from a financial perspective.  I mean it just makes too much sense to me.

We can't have players taking growth hormone, or peptides.  Which have been proven to speed up healing and would get them back on the field faster.  But it's fine to load them up with a various cocktail of drugs that numb them down but don't actually address the problem causing the pain.  Players know their livelihood depends on playing, and playing at a high level.  So they will do whatever it takes, and play through a litany of injuries to keep their jobs because they are all aware that their time in the league most likely, is going to be very short lived.  The average NFL career I believe, is a little less than three years.  So if a guy is always in the trainers room, he won't be on the roster for very long.

The NFL has made some rules now about players and concussions.  As they are required to leave the field and get clearance before they can return to play.  However, even if the doctor rules they can't return to play that day, it doesn't take away the fact that the player is going to deal with the aftermath of said concussion.

Even worse, by the time a guy reaches the NFL, it's very likely he's already suffered concussions all the way from high school, through college.

There's actually a list of former players who, upon post post-mortem inspection, were found to have suffered from something called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

From wiki..........

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), i.e. "punch-drunk", as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football,rugby, ice hockey, boxing, professional wrestling, stunt performing, bull riding, rodeo, and other contact sports who have experienced repeated concussions or other brain trauma.

This hits slightly home with me, because one of the players who was diagnosed with CTE was a friend of mine.  Jovan Belcher.  The middle linebacker for the Chiefs, who was involved in a murder-suicide.  He killed his girlfriend at the time, then drove to the Chiefs facility where he shot himself.

Junior Seau, the all time great for the San Diego Chargers, shot himself in the chest, so that his brain could be examined.  

On January 10, 2013, Seau's family released the NIH's findings that his brain showed definitive signs of CTE. Russell Lonser of the NIH coordinated with three independent neuropathologists, giving them unidentified tissue from three brains including Seau's. The three experts along with two government researchers arrived at the same conclusion. The NIH said the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people "with exposure to repetitive head injuries."

Seau had no prior reported history of concussions.  Junior was a football warrior.  Anyone that ever watched him play knew the kind of wreckless abandon he played with and he was admired and feared as a tenacious player.  But in the end, his brain just couldn't take the damage that had been caused by all the human car wrecks he had subjected himself to.  

Neither Jovan or Junior are alone in this regard.  All it takes is a google search to find all of the players whom, upon autopsy, suffered from CTE.  

Sports related concussions occur when there is a sudden acceleration or deceleration or rotational forces imparted to the brain.  The connection between TBI and CTE is clear.  CTE is caused by those who have suffered repeated concussions or traumatic brain injuries, such as those in contact sports, and even our military personnel.

The brain of an individual who suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy gradually deteriorates and will over time end up losing mass. Certain areas of the brain are particularly liable to atrophy, though other areas are prone to becoming enlarged.

The symptoms of CTE can be debilitating and may have life-changing effects for both the individual and for his or her family. Some of the most common include loss of memory, difficulty controlling impulsive or erratic behavior, impaired judgment, behavioral disturbances including aggression and depression, difficult with balance, and a gradual onset of dementia. An individual with CTE may mistakenly ascribe the symptoms to the normal process of aging, or might receive a wrong diagnosis due to the fact that many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. CTE has been diagnosed in several notable cases which received widespread media attention, including the suicide deaths of NFL player Junior Seau, and professional wrestler Chris Benoit who committed suicide after murdering his wife and son.

Obviously,  this is a very disheartening thing to read.  And it's one of the reasons I detest when people start talking about how "watered down" the NFL has become because they don't allow people to "spear" people anymore, or lead with their head in tackling.  I mean, I played ball.  At no one was I ever taught to lead with my head in tackling drills.  The guy sitting on the couch drinking his Coors Light on Sunday afternoon complaining about how "pussy" the league has become, will never ever sit in a trainers room after the game wondering what his name is, where he is, or deal with the incredible migraines that come in the post concussive state.  

With all that said, one of the things I happened across when I became involved in using exogenous ketones was the fact that the brain uses ketones in a very preferable way for fuel.  

So what's the tie in here, you ask? 

During a TBI, glucose metabolism is depressed.  

Mild traumatic brain injury results in depressed cerebral glucose uptake: An (18)FDG PET study.

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in humans and rats induces measurable metabolic changes, including a sustained depression in cerebral glucose uptake. However, the effect of a mild TBI on brain glucose uptake is unclear, particularly in rodent models. This study aimed to determine the glucose uptake pattern in the brain after a mild lateral fluid percussion (LFP) TBI. Briefly, adult male rats were subjected to a mild LFP and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)FDG), which was performed prior to injury and at 3 and 24 h and 5, 9, and 16 days post-injury. Locomotor function was assessed prior to injury and at 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 days after injury using modified beam walk tasks to confirm injury severity. Histology was performed at either 10 or 21 days post-injury. Analysis of function revealed a transient impairment in locomotor ability, which corresponds to a mild TBI. Using reference region normalization, PET imaging revealed that mild LFP-induced TBI depresses glucose uptake in both the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres in comparison with sham-injured and naïve controls from 3 h to 5 days post-injury. Further, areas of depressed glucose uptake were associated with regions of glial activation and axonal damage, but no measurable change in neuronal loss or gross tissue damage was observed. In conclusion, we show that mild TBI, which is characterized by transient impairments in function, axonal damage, and glial activation, results in an observable depression in overall brain glucose uptake using (18)FDG-PET.

In contrast to dietary approaches to re-establish TBI-induced deficiencies in brain metabolites, diets have also been used to replace or redirect essential brain substrates. TBI-induced impairments of the glucose metabolic machinery may make glucose a less favorable energy substrate. In fact, hyperglycemia has been long associated with poor outcome after TBI. Early administration of glucose after severe TBI suppresses ketogenesis, increases insulin and increases lactic acid production (Robertson et al., 1991). TBI patients who were fasted or maintained on a ketogenic-like diet to minimize hyperglycemia showed significantly lower plasma glucose and lactate concentrations, elevated ß-hydroxybutyrate levels and better urinary nitrogen balance compared to standard fed patients (Ritter et al., 1996). Similar plasma substrate changes were observed with 24-hr starvation in the adult rodent after controlled cortical impact injury. The fasted animals showed significant cortical tissue preservation, improved cognitive outcome and improved mitochondria bioenergetics (Davis et al., 2008).

As I've had to read through all of these very, very scientific/medical studies, what I learned was that post TBI there is an immediate but transient elevation in cerebral glucose metabolism, followed by a prolonged period of glucose metabolic depression. The brain is metabolically flexible. So it has to ability to tab into various fuels for different needs.

For example, during fasting (not starvation, but fasting!) two thirds of the brain fuel is derived from ketones. The rest come from lactate, pyruvate, amino-acids, glycerol and other gluconeogenic precursors.

Post TBI, we have seen in studies on rats (and humans) that there is a tremendous demand for energy to restore homeostasis. To repeat myself, there is a depression in glucose metabolism during this period. Meaning, the brain cannot use glucose as needed in order to meet the demands required for said repair. This is something seen in studies over and over again.  

So where does it try to derive fuel from? 

Apparently, lactate and ketones.

TBI-induced impairments of the glucose metabolic machinery may make glucose a less favorable energy substrate.

But what I found interesting, is that the brain had no problem using ketones and lactate as the fuel sources to help return it to homeostasis, and that the ketones also had neuroprotective effects after a TBI had occured.

Whether ketosis is achieved by starvation or administration of a ketogenic diet, the common underlying conditions of low plasma glucose in the presence of an alternative substrate (ketones) have consistently shown neuroprotective effects after various types of brain injury.

Allow me to lead you down a rabbit hole for just a second, but I promise I'll round you back to the main point in all of this eventually.  

A dietary therapy for pediatric epilepsy known as the ketogenic diet has seen a revival in its clinical use during the past decade. Although the underlying mechanism of the diet remains unknown, modern scientific approaches, such as the genetic disruption of glucose metabolism, are allowing for more detailed questions to be addressed. Recent work indicates that several mechanisms may exist for the ketogenic diet, including disruption of glutamatergic synaptic transmission, inhibition of glycolysis, and activation of ATP-sensitive potassium channels. Here, we describe on-going work in these areas that is providing a better understanding of metabolic influences on brain excitability and epilepsy.

I bolded that part for a reason.  Because it is related to the cascading issues that come with brain injuries.  

Glycolysis and TBI - 

The postinjury period of glucose metabolic depression is accompanied by adenosine triphosphate decreases, increased flux of glucose through the pentose phosphate pathway, free radical production, activation of poly-ADP ribose polymerase via DNA damage, and inhibition of glyceraldehyde dehydrogenase (a key glycolytic enzyme) via depletion of the cytosolic NAD pool. Under these post-brain injury conditions of impaired glycolytic metabolism, glucose becomes a less favorable energy substrate. Ketone bodies are the only known natural alternative substrate to glucose for cerebral energy metabolism. While it has been demonstrated that other fuels (pyruvate, lactate, and acetyl-L-carnitine) can be metabolized by the brain, ketones are the only endogenous fuel that can contribute significantly to cerebral metabolism.

ATP and TBI -

Glucose is the primary fuel source of the adult brain and its processing through the glycolytic pathway provides carbons for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle for energy production in the form of ATP. 

Comparison of glucose metabolic changes in TBI between different age groups within the pediatric population, or a comparison between adults and children, has not yet been made in humans. Regardless of age, the prolonged glucose metabolic depression reflects a period of time during which glucose uptake into the brain is compromised. This could cause downstream negative effects if the energy demands of the brain are not sufficiently met.

Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is the enzyme that connects the glycolytic pathway to the mitochondrial TCA cycle. Phosphorylation of the E1 subunit of PDH, which inhibits PDH function and therefore carbon entry into the mitochondria, has been shown to occur at a higher frequency than normal at 24 hours after CCI injury (Xing et al., 2009). These TBI-induced alterations in glycolytic enzyme functioning ultimately decrease the ability of glucose to be efficiently processed for oxidative metabolism, and thereby contribute to the post-TBI energy crisis, reflected by reductions in ATP production (see poster, panel D).

Free radicals and inflammation - 

The other issue involving TBI is the increase in both inflammation, and free radicals.  

In addition to increasing ATP production while reducing oxygen consumption, ketone body metabolism can also reduce production of damaging free radicals [14,16,48]. The semiquinone of Q, the half reduced form, spontaneously reacts with oxygen and is the major source of mitochondrial free radical generation [14,51]. Oxidation of the Q couple reduces the amount of the semiquinone form thus decreasing superoxide production [14]. Since the cytosolic free NADP+/NADPH concentration couple is in near equilibrium with the glutathione couple, ketone body metabolism will increase the reduced form of glutathione thus facilitating destruction of hydrogen peroxide [14]. The reduction of free radicals through ketone body metabolism will also reduce tissue inflammation provoked by reactive oxygen species. Thus, ketone bodies are not only a more efficient metabolic fuel than glucose, but also possess anti-inflammatory potential.

Ok so where am I going with all of this?

First off, despite the fact that death via TBI is a major issue in this country, and a major issue in contact sports, believe it or not it's not at the forefront of research in regards to finding the most effective therapeutic solutions for it.  

What we have, for the most part, is a lot of research done on rats, and some research done on humans.  This is quite puzzling to me because TBI is, once again, a major cause of death in the world.  

But even if someone doesn't die, the amount of damage done after repeated bouts of TBI like in Rugby, boxing, football, hockey, etc means that those athletes tend to live an exceptionally poor quality of life after sports. With many, such as Jovan and Seau actually resorting to suicide.  

I'm not saying that exogenous ketones will fix all the problems associated with TBIs.  But if you look at the fact that they reduce free radicals, reduce inflammation, and provide the brain with a more preferred fuel source while glucose metabolism is depressed, then I can't understand for the life of me why more people who are responsible for the health and well being of our pro athletes aren't at least including exogenous ketones as part of dietary therapy for their players who have or do suffer from brain injuries.  

What we're currently doing is not working.  And when you add up what evidence we do have, I do see promise in regards to the inclusion of exogenous ketones as part of therapy to help players suffer minimal damage in the post TBI stages.  

Or they can just keep feeding them prescription pills from big pharma.  That's clearly working.  /sarcasm.

If you want to learn more about exogenous ketones..........

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