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Biohacking Conference Days One & Two: Neurological Conditioning with EvoUltraFit

 

Jay Schroeder & Charles Maka from EvoUltraFit took the lead for days 1 and 2 of the Bulletproof Biohacking conference. We're going to continue on from our first bulletproof conference post and give you guys the lowdown on our experience there.


The EvoUltraFit system is rooted in the idea that movement is the ultimate biohack and that learning how to move properly is the key to human performance and this is only possible when you maximise your neurological efficiency.

Neurological system performance is your ability to communicate information backward and forward between your body and brain.

We receive billions of pieces of information each day and your brain is aware of everything from your heart rate to your blood glucose levels. As an example, imagine how flustered you get from the volumes of emails you deal with everyday, any wasted emails mean wasted energy. To be at your peak performance you need to manage the efficiency of  your neurological system and every movement you make (even how you sit in your chair) makes a difference.

The principles are centred around correct movement to avoid compensation patterns. Compensation is wasted information that has to be processed by your nervous system. From a bio-hacking perspective this means your are wasting energy, from an athletic perspective (a.k.a human performance) compensation patterns will lead to non-optimal performance and injury. As Charles says: a display of strength, while an inefficient system is marked by compensation patterns which are a result of, or will lead to injury.


What does EvoUltraFit do?

Jay and Charles prepare professional athletes to achieve the highest level in their training centre.

“We prepare for the end result. It’s not important that you are at your best in a given moment, because they don’t give you a medal after the second half or after the first match. They give you the gold medal at the end of the last minute of the last match. You have to prepare to win the entire tournament" - Jay Schroeder

Goals are a relative thing though, your own gold medal might mean being the best parent to your kids rather than being an NFL quarterback but the idea of peak human performance is consistent. What we were particularly interested in at the conference was how Jay and Charles  use e-stim to supplement or replace various traditional training protocols to achieve these goals.


Where did the system come from and why was it created?

Jay went on to describe a horrific motorcycle accident in New Mexico that left him with a broken back, fused vertebrae and paralysed from the nipples down, but this is only where the story begins: “This is the way you are and you’re going to have to learn to live with it.” - the doctors told the 20 year old Jay. He was now spending his life in bed with a pile of books to read. The books he was given by his orthopedic surgeon were old russian olympic training journals.

Jay spent the next 18 months applying mind over matter and this is where is somewhat miraculous story begins. (skeptics be warned - we're sure there is more to the story, we just got the highlights.) Jay rewired his nervous system by "feeling" the movement again. Jay recovered from his accident went back to being a college football player and even went on to be a world champion powerlifter. With neurological damage, he says he just had to train himself to send the same electrical information along a different route.

The Evolutionary Ultra Fit System: P.I.P.E.S and Dreams

Jay's training framework is represented by the acronym PIPES

Physiology | Intellect | Psychology | Emotion | Spirit


Becoming neurologically efficient, parasympathetic dominant and attaining peak human performance is the culmination of all of these factors coming together. We’re not supposed to age and stop doing things. We’re supposed to get older and better at doing things because we gather more information over time.

To explain PIPES in practical terms, he broke down his training principles into the following categories:


THE END PICTURE

  • Keep your end goal in mind. Your body already knows what it needs to do, it just needs to be directed.
  • With the end picture in mind, you can prepare your brain to accept the end result when it happens.

MAINTAIN POSITION
  • In order to execute a movement efficiently, start and finish in the correct position.
  • When you are not training, remember that you are still sending billions of pieces of electrical information to your brain so it is important to do things like stand, sit or walk efficiently.

STIMULATE
  • Movement is the key. There's nothing the body can't do, it's all about how efficient you can make the body to do these things.
  • Start in the right position and this will result in ending the movement in the right position.
  • Contraction and flexion phases of movement should be identical in power. Same speed. Same force.
  • Jay contends that the true fountain of youth and the true biohacking principle we all need to live by is Movement. Movement necessitates being at a high velocity. If it’s too slow, we won’t do it properly. To move at high velocity, you have to be in the right position which means that you need to communicate your end picture to your brain, and then your body (your reflex patterns) will know what to do, because we were born knowing what to do.
  • Muscles atrophy at different rates. Some begin to atrophy after 3 hours. Others like the hamstrings can last 16 hours. This rate of change is overlooked in pretty much any modern day training program. Also, each person has individual needs. You can't write  a blanket program for everyone. Individual variables must be managed. Each person is able to maintain their end picture at a different level depending what their other lifestyle stresses are and how well these are managed.

STRESS/URGENCY
  • Without a sense of urgency, there is no stress, there is no stimulation, preparation or adaptation - there is no progress.

REFUEL
  • The key to achieving results is the time you're not training.
  • A key to achieving the results you seek is properly using the time you are not training. Refuel with good chemical (food) intake and ensure your body knows what to do with it (metabolic efficiency).
  • Biohack: Heart Rate (HR) before and after a meal can tell you if what you ate was good for you or not. A higher heart rate twenty minutes after a meal is indicative of an allergy or intolerance.

DREAM
  • QS tip: Jays metric for sleep quality is that how many times you dream is more important than how long you sleep

Our Practical Training

Following a break where we fuelled up on Bulletproof coffee to help with nerve myelination, we were taught how to stand and sit properly. This is when we got our first real experience with the e-stim devices that Jay and Charles had brought along. The training was designed to improve natural movement in a range of day to day movements/positions.

We all took a baseline measurement of nervous system plasticity. Everyone was given a score of 0 to 100 by having electrodes attached to the bicep and triceps of their dominant arm and asked to snap their fingers with the arm full extending downwards. The electrical stimulation eventually causes the muscles to contract involuntarily. The longer you can maintain control without the bicep or other body part contracting, the more control you have over your parasympathetic nervous system. The longer the stimulation is applied and the more complex the movements required, the harder it becomes to maintain control. Elite athletes are trained to the point where they can sustain perfect movement repeatedly for long periods of time while dealing with the e-stim interference to their nervous system.

While under the influence of e-stim we were taught correct movements for standing, sitting, squatting and given a protocol for core strengthening as per the below;



Leon hooked up and getting his 6 pack made


The second day was focused on individual goals and rehab application of the technology. The guys applied a range of motion protocol that 15s later had me touching my toes! Another demo was a speed test where they had Aubrey Marcus (the CEO of Onnit) do a tap test to count the amount of times he could tap his hand on a table in 10 seconds. First time around was ~70 reps, after a minute of being buzzed with the e-stim he had another go and got over 100.

It was a great experience to get to try these training techniques over the first couple days of the conference, definitely something that you should consider for the repertoire of a very serious bio-hacker (how serious? the units cost about $7.5k). From a cost benefit perspective it isn't the first thing that you'd do but it was fun to try and it seems to have a lot of potential!

We'll close out with a couple of interesting videos so that you guys can dig a bit deeper. Recommended further reading (listening?) is the Bulletproof radio episode with Jay as the guest.

In his own words, what Jay does

Dave Asprey talks Neuro-stim

 

There was a lot of information dispensed over the two days and we are considering putting together another post addressing more of the practical training biohacks that Jay and Charles shared that you can actually do without the assistance of e-stim. Let us know if that is of interest to you and we will put it together!


Further reading about Day 1 and 2 of the conference:
http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/01/my-personal-notes-from-the-bulletproof-biohacking-conference/

http://www.phase2minds.com/2013/02/part-i-recap-from-the-bulletproof-conference-biohack-your-life/


Kunal K
Kunal K

Author

Co-Founder, OptimOZ.com.au