Many have delved into the world of body building, and have experienced shortcomings from pain, exhaustion, and mental fatigue.
To those who realize this is not acceptable, I welcome you to join me in being strong and clear minded as you live the life you choose.
My story began with a change in the way I looked at training and exercise. I played football and rugby in school, did the prescribed workouts, religiously followed the men’s magazine lifting programs, and was a dedicated gym rat with a three day a week workout schedule. I looked good and was happy with that for a while.
The problem was I didn’t know if I was any stronger than the week, month, or year before. I had a hard time keeping on muscle, taking on that once popular label of “hard-gainer”. If I didn’t go to the gym every other day, my weight would drop, and my strength would decline. I tried changing sets and reps and exercise programs to keep my body guessing, as this was supposed to encourage growth. It was a lot to maintain with lessening reward.
I was also having a hard time beneath the facade of my muscular physique. I had constant pain from previous sports and training injuries. There were many mornings of excruciating back pain, and I could hardly walk straight with the nagging ankle, knee, and hip pains. My short term memory suffered from concussions during contact sports, and my mind continued to decline year by year. I had headaches, mood swings, and dropped into regular periods of depression. I was always angry.
I started looking for a training program that focused on real strength. This led me to powerlifting and progression philosophy. I adopted a 5×5 training method that focused on incremental strength gains, not drastic program switches. I decided to start from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, I jumped the gun. Before I started the 5×5 program, I wanted to finish my current workout program. But I thought I could just “try” the low bar back squat for one of my warm up sets. It was so exciting to have found out about powerlifting and the different technique for lifts. I had been doing squats with the bar on top of my shoulders up to this point.
I used too much weight. As I descended on the first rep, I felt a “pop” in one of my thoracic vertebra. It hurt immensely, so much so that I barely managed to bring the bar back to the rack. I stood there in the power rack, not able to move, hanging onto the barbell for support. I was humiliated and humbled. When the pain subsided enough for me to pick up my things and leave, I resolved to scrap everything I knew and rebuild myself.
A couple of weeks later, after my back had recovered somewhat, I found a gym that was suitable for true powerlifting training. I had practiced all the movements of the squat, deadlift, bench press, Pendlay row, and overhead press at home with a broomstick. My first session at the gym started with the unloaded barbell. It was refreshing to be a beginner, to be so low in the weights I was lifting that I didn’t have to compare with anyone else. It helped me to focus.
I felt better from the decreased stress on my body, and I saw a steady increase in my strength. Lifting lighter weight gave me the luxury of refining my form. Session by session, I increased the weight by increments. After one year of training this way, I entered a powerlifting meet, where I executed a 370lb. squat and 391lb. deadlift at 168lb. body weight. It was a massive success for me.
Near the beginning of my powerlifting training, I had met a buddy at the gym who happened to have started the same training program as I had, at almost the same time. We shared our common satisfaction with the progression philosophy, and the value of putting ego aside to learn proper form at lower weights. We spotted each other and gave tips on form and technique.
This is when he mentioned, almost in passing, something called BULLETPROOF® Coffee.
It was coffee with grass fed butter and MCT oil blended together. A strange concoction, but I was fascinated by the high level of focus my friend described. I went home and tried it.
With the first few sips of the coffee, I was amazed by the mental clarity and brain energy I had. It was delicious, too. I found better quality butter and MCT oil, and relished in the enhanced effects. Not only did I possess a higher degree of focus, but I was able to retain that mental energy for hours longer.
It changed the game for me. I was an overnight shift lead at a call center, and had dragged through the long nights in two hour spurts, jittery with sugar-filled coffee-machine drinks. Once I started my days with high quality butter and MCT oil, I was sharper and more resilient to fatigue by multiple factors. Cravings for sugar diminished, and I could go until dinner without food. I was taking lunch breaks for the break, not for the lunch.
I had always been an avid coffee drinker, and I used it to enhance my strength training sessions and overall performance. Naturally, I wanted to know what it would be like to strength train after drinking some of this powerful concoction.
I started to drink butter coffee before strength training sessions, and again I never turned back. The energy it gave me was different from that of traditional nutrition like carbs. Unlike carbs, the good fats provided me with a sustained high level of energy and mental focus. It lasted through the entire training session without any sort of energy crash.
I was so focused that I could control myself better, like not drinking water until after sets, breathing calmly under the bar, and paying absolute attention to form during my heaviest lifts. I was regularly in a flow state, and I tapped into the predator mode of mind and body that was only attainable with such nutrition as quality fat.
This was my intro to the world of eating good fat. I slowly added grass fed butter and MCT oil into everything I ate. Carbs weren’t needed until the end of the day. I learned how gluten affected me and significantly reduced it from my diet.
I started to experience better and more stable mood, and more consistent body fat and muscle levels. My joint pain from previous injuries faded. I was no longer pacing my kitchen ten minutes after waking up to shake off debilitating low back pain.
Being satiated with true nutrition freed me from cravings, mood swings, and exhaustion. Before I discovered good fats and progression training, I would work, work out, crash into exhausted sleep, and awake with rage, pain, and frustration.
Misery used to be normal life for me. The people I loved hated waking me up. I believe the research that connects certain substances to inflammation, and thus joint pain and brain impairment. When I started to avoid food that causes inflammation, I noticed these incredible improvements in my body and my mind.
This transformed the way I looked at eating and I started to learn what foods I really did and didn’t need. I tested my diet changes against my strength training and mental focus. I was surprised that even without tons of bread, protein shakes, and pounds of chicken breast every week, I was getting stronger and clearer than ever.
With these initial changes I felt the best and strongest I have ever felt in my life.
Today, I am a StrongFirst certified barbell coach (StrongFirst Lifter, SFL). Quitting my first day job and traveling abroad made barbell training less accessible. My exploration of other means of strength training led to kettlebell practice, in the doctrine of the StrongFirst School of Strength. It was here that I learned that kettlebell training could complement barbell training and tie up the loose ends of joint mobility and overall strength.
Five years since changing my life, the same principles of nutrition, mind cultivation, and strength give me power from day to day.
You want just as much as I do to be clear minded and strong. You want to be the best person you can be, making the sharpest decisions and acting in accordance with your values.
Engage your potential to become the brilliant beast that you were meant to be.