How Earthing Balances Immune Response

I love earthing. It calms me down and helps me recover from exercise, infection, and anxiety. Here’s a scientific stance on earthing as it relates to inflammation. Read this great research paper for the nitty gritty.

Our bodies respond to exercise, infection, or injury damage by immune response. The immune response sends oxidative bursts that clear damaged tissue at the site of injury. This makes room for building healthy tissue. Think muscles getting bigger after training. Or you feeling amazing after all the coughing, sneezing, green yellow snot, and fevers from an infection. There’s a breakdown, then a buildup. Same response, different concentrations.

It’s called “oxidative burst” because agents are produced that have reactive oxygen molecules. The molecules have open-ended electrons that react with other molecules that make up the cells in our bodies. A common one made by our immune systems is superoxide. Contact with these molecules is called oxidation, and it leads to cell death. That’s why you don’t want to eat “oxidized fats”. They’re damaged by oxygen in the air, UV, and overcooking. The damaged fat’s free radicals will react with your body if you eat them.

The problem with the oxidative burst cell clearing process is that it affects surrounding healthy tissue. Oxidative bursts are not sniper shots. They are more like shotgun sprays in the general area. So what should have been protection for a tiny cut can become a whole swollen limb, if your immune system is not held in check. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

Now for the experiment from the research paper. A group of people were subjected to soreness from calf raises. They were divided into earthed and non-earthed groups for the recovery period. Half of the subjects were given earthing mats and patches on their calves, and the other half were given placebo treatment. According to this research, swelling and muscle pain lasted longer for those who were not grounded. The subjects who were grounded experienced quicker resolution of swelling and pain. They also saw quicker white blood cell clearing from the repair areas. The ungrounded subjects had white blood cells lingering much longer.

So what’s the connection? Grounded means Earthed. Earthed means connected by bare skin to the surface of the Earth. The studies conducted regarding tissue inflammation and Earthing used grounding mats (example). These are semi conductive mats or patches that are attached to a person’s skin and plugged into the ground. The electrical connection to the ground brings the person to about the same voltage as the Earth.

That’s because they are connected to the earth’s electron supply. And electrons are antioxidants. Antioxidants diffuse oxidation within tissue. Remember that an oxidized molecule has a free electron, or free radical that makes it harmful. So a free electron from the earth or a donated one from vitamin C can stabilize the oxidant and stop the killing process.

So when you’re hurt, your body sends the immune response. White blood cells go there, and start clearing out dead tissue or killing off pathogens with free radicals like superoxide. The oxidative products from this cause inflammation at and around the injury. If you’re earthed, the balance comes from free electrons from the earth. They quickly subdue the killing, swelling, and pain. It’s nature’s balance.

If you’re making contact with the ground, an unlimited supply of free electrons from the earth are passing into your body. They are stored throughout your tissue and can eventually be used at the site of an injury, to resolve an inflammatory immune response.

If you’re not grounded, you don’t get that influx of electrons. Sure, there are antioxidants from foods and chemicals like bilirubin and vitamin C. But these are limited supplies, especially if we are not feeding ourselves with antioxidant-rich foods. Not only are we not eating enough nutritious foods, we are also eating oxidized fats and keeping the balance tipped toward inflammation.

When earthing, think electrically. Anything that doesn’t conduct electricity between you and the ground blocks that flow of free electrons. Rubber, wood, plastic, floor finish, glass, you name it. Dirt, grass, water, wet sand, and even concrete, with water molecules throughout it’s structure, are conductors and semiconductors that will allow earth’s electrons to flow into you. You don’t need much. Our bodies are hyper sensitive to electricity. The minuscule flow of electrons from the ground is enough to help us.

Without free and mobile electrons from the earth, inflammation lasts longer than it needs to. Swelling gets bigger than necessary. And sometimes, even if the initial hurt subsides, the inflammation never really goes away. Not only are we experiencing inflammation from injury, exercise, and infection, we are also getting it from environmental toxins and the food we eat.

The key is to keep the balance tipped in favor of quick healing and minimal inflammation. Earthing will keep your supply of electrons full and push you toward thriving.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Jet Lag Recovery

I am tired.

We flew in from Taipei last night. It was a full day of plane rides, bus station exploration, hot spring bathing, and more plane riding. I’m fatigued, jet lagged, and sore throated.

I stayed up for most of the overnight flight. In Pacific time, it was morning when we took off. But since it was 11:30 p.m. in Taipei, I had to pull two full days of wakefulness. Even with the exhaustion, sleep didn’t last too long last night. I meditated and had magnesium before bed, which helped. But I woke up around 5:30 a.m.

Although I was tired, I didn’t want to struggle back to sleep to wake up late in the afternoon. So I stayed up and slowly awoke. I made butter coffee with a blender for the first time in weeks. I was also able to add cacao butter and vanilla powder, two ingredients I sorely missed during travel. The resulting concoction was heavenly.

My game plan is to take vitamin C throughout the day, stay up until bed time, exercise, and take a good dose of magnesium at night. The C is going to help with my throat and also with my general well being. After all that traveling, with sweets on the plane, and lack of sleep, my body really needs the extra antioxidant boost. Now that I’m home, I have my powder form of vitamin C. Just mix into a glass of water. It’s my favorite way to take it.

Earthing is also key to recovery from jet lag. I got outside as soon as I woke and spent some time with the dogs, barefoot on the concrete. Later in the afternoon, I had a barefoot squat session. Reconnecting with the Earth’s electromagnetic field is essential to healing. Getting good sun time also feels magnificent.

I can’t wait to get up refreshed tomorrow morning.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

What We’re Doing

Brilliant Friends,

I just wanted you to know, last Saturday I wrote my 100th newsletter to you. When I started these letters, I wanted it to be a way to teach powerlifting and strength training in a simple way. I wanted to share with you how I got strong and mobile. And I wanted to share secrets about nutrition that shouldn’t be hidden. But my newsletter turned into something else.

It became more, because to be honest with myself, I had to write about the other things I’ve been exploring. More than strength, I was looking into mind cultivation. I wanted to become more deeply in sync with myself. I wanted to control my negative emotions, and downward spiral thinking. I was stressed out at work, I worked harder, and I tried to make things better by fixing things.

But I realized I had to stop and dig down within myself. I needed to recover on a daily basis. I needed to heal my mind. This led to meditation and heart rate variability (HRV) practices. I learn from Pema Chodron and Tara Brach.

Much of my exploration into meditating happened at a park near my home. I loved being outside on the grass, with trees all around, and birds singing from those trees. The sun gave me a kind of energy I had forgotten about since childhood. I had already known about earthing, but spending time regularly outside, barefoot, etched the benefits in stone for me.

My goal is to make known some of the basic things about human well-being that, as a race, we’ve forgotten. I want to reconnect us to the earth and bring us into a real understanding of our relationship to this planet and the universe. In addition to spending time outside barefoot, I believe earthing mats are part of the answer.

We’ve let our bodies become twisted and gnarled in pain, immobility, and incapability through sitting. Sitting in classroom and office chairs, sitting in cars, sitting on couches. That’s not how our bodies are designed to exist. I see Kelly Starrett as one of the leaders of the physiological revolution.

Food was engineered and production amplified to feed the exponentially growing population of the world. And it worked. And now we need to get the quality of food back. We just are not getting nutrients that we need. We aren’t eating the right stuff. We need to look for the good stuff. We need tons more green leafy veggies and fat and meat from animals that are raised right. We need food that is free of herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. There are countless leaders bringing us solutions today. Look at Terry Wahls, William Davis, Mark Sisson, and Dr. Mercola.

Life is great, and keeps getting better in many ways. But these are some fundamental things that we’ve left behind in the search for higher answers.

The more we try and the more we explore, the more we’ll be what we were meant to be. I believe we’re inclined to be good when we’re well nourished, rested, and finely tuned in every way. We’ve restricted ourselves as a race to reach specific goals. Now that humans have reached those goals, it’s time to take care of ourselves again. There’s a lot to reverse. Just take a look at epigenetics to see that the lives of our ancestors are written into us.

What I find I share with you, and it gives me satisfaction to write to you. You’ve intentionally signed up for my newsletter. You search, dig, read, and act to make life good. If my letter resonates with someone else you know, please forward it. You never know how far they may go with it. There’s a lot to work on with ourselves, but you’ll find that the more you tell people about things, the better you understand them.

So connect with the ground, eat well, get strong and get mobile, and cultivate your mind. When you find what is good within you, let it thrive. Simply doing good is the easiest way to share it with the world.

Thanks for being with me.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

Evolution of a Barefoot Walker

You walk out into the warm evening breeze. The urban air reaches your nose, scents of frying food, smog, and asphalt dancing with your senses. You examine the concrete savannah that is home, and take a few steps along the pale, neatly sectioned squares of sidewalk. Rubber sandal meets ground and you slowly stride forward. You’ve been wearing shoes your whole life. It’s just an extension of your postmodern body.

Suddenly, you have a desire to know what it’s like to shed the secondary skins of your feet. You slip your feet out of your sandals, bend to pick them up, and proceed to walk. The gritty texture of cement sparks millions of tingling sensations through your foot to your brain. Your ankles satisfyingly stretch. The back of your head tickles with the burst of sensation washing over your mind. And with the first few steps you realize that there are a few things to figure out.

First of all, what to do about your heels? Suddenly there’s so much stimulation and impact. The way you walk with shoes is to stomp on them, because that big cushion lets you. Bare, your heels don’t want that stomping. Neither does your ringing skull or jarred knees.

Okay, so you start to go lighter on the heels. Then you start to feel your insoles uncomfortably contacting the ground, which makes your feet turn inwards. That in turn causes your knees to buckle slightly, which just doesn’t seem right. Now you consciously put effort into keeping the contact outwards toward the blades of your feet. Oh, that’s a lot of foot mechanics right there.

And now that your steps are starting to roll on the outward edges of your feet, the ball and toes get the ground in a specific order. The side of your pinky toe gets a very small, but significant, head start on the ground ahead of your big toe side. How interesting. Who would’ve thought that toes touch the ground at different times?

Are your feet pointing forward now? If they aren’t, if they’re splayed out to the sides, it gets difficult to walk efficiently barefoot. Because your feet want to roll the ground out to the edges, and angled outward your insoles keep rolling down instead. Eventually, you figure it’s easier to point the toes forward.

And when your big toes touch down, the biggest surprise of all. There’s an irresistible reflex to grip down on the floor with that end of your foot, give a good push, and propel yourself forward. You get so into this natural feeling of springiness, locomotion, the ground, that you go further than you planned. And suddenly your feet start to get sore. You realize you now have to go back the same distance you came. And that’s going to hurt.

You’ve come to realize your current physical limit of walking. But you’re smart, and you brought your sandals along just in case. It’s gonna take a couple of days to recover from the soreness, but there’s no turning back. Barefoot, you are something else.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Things to read:

We stomp a lot harder in shoes than we would barefoot.

The forces on our joints is altered and magnified with shoes.

The heel and toe designs of dress shoes and heels completely disfigured our feet and posture.

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

From the Feet Up

My feet continue to get better. Huarache sandals made by Earthrunners have helped for the past couple of years. A flat surface is all my feet needed to develop their structure on their own. However, nothing has been more effective than simply walking around barefoot.

Whether it’s long walks outside, or a gym training session, having my feet on the ground makes the most pronounced difference in arch and toe alignment. There’s something about direct tactile interaction that stimulates my feet to the point of change. There are landmark improvements in my foot structure, and these are times when I’ve been barefoot. No amount of walking or running in sandals has compared yet.

It’s been a few years since I started looking into barefoot walking as a solution to my flattened arches. I’ve had flat feet most of my life. Neither of my parents had very high arches, and lots of running in typical tennis shoes caused problems. The favorable setting for developing or maintaining good foot structure and function are a free standing arch, room for toe splay in all directions, and the heel being level with the rest of the foot. Most shoes allow for none of these, but it is possible to obtain this with flat sandals or barefoot time.

I’ve been athletic my entire life and most of my steps were pounded out through the deforming tennis shoe. When I worked a day job I wore even more constrictive “dress shoes” all day. So I’m grateful to be able to walk barefoot or in flat sandals and to see marked improvement in my feet. The change in footwear and foot structure has affected the rest of my body as well. Knees, hips, back, shoulders, and head are relieved of pain with a strong foundation.

If you haven’t tried walking around barefoot for an extended period of time, meaning at least half an hour, try it. Sidewalks are much safer than you’d think. The effect of letting your feet do what they want, freely, can be startling. I exaggerate not. Also, to touch down on the concrete or grass or dirt will neutralize positive charge in your body. Both of these things can be life changing. Barefoot walking and earthing.

Live powerfully,

Steve

Earthing on the road

NL 88 Squat Beach Bali The Brilliant Beast Blog.JPG

One great motivation for me while traveling is to find good places for me to take my shoes off and touch down with the ground. Poolsides are great, as they tend to have unfinished tiling or paving around them. Trails of dirt or concrete are wonderful because they often give magnificent views of the jungle and mountains. The best are beaches. Salt water with extra conductivity and sand to comfortably walk on barefoot, what more could I ask for?

I haven’t been near the beach as much as I wanted, but the few times we’ve been near or in the ocean have been nirvana. There’s nothing like soaking in the sun and the energy of the earth at a beach. My tensions release and I get down to a level of calm that I don’t often reach in the city environment. It’s easier to take full breaths, easier to feel my heart’s activity, and easier to be in touch with all that’s around me. That’s what earthing is about mostly, for me: to connect with the earth so that I can connect with all that is also in connection with it.

When I pass by someone on the beach who is also barefoot, there’s a connection with them. The same goes with animals; I am much more calm and connected with dogs when I pet them while I’m barefoot. If you’ve ever walked past dogs barefoot, you may have noticed that they feel differently about you. They are just calmer around me, bark less if at all, and look at me differently. As funny as this may be, I’ve felt it time and time again.

Back to the beach, walking past someone who has their shoes on is a different experience. That level of connection just isn’t there. We are on a different level of energy, not just in a cultural sense but I believe in a physiological and electromagnetic sense. I haven’t tried testing this with gauges. It sounds like a great project though, one that I will strive for one day.

So, if it’s not the beach most days, then what do I do? Well, if there’s a courtyard or a pool or a restaurant that I’m stopping by, I will cast away my sandals as soon as appropriate and get my feet on the ground. Most of the time at restaurants I can be sneaky and get away with this. Especially in Southeast Asia, where it’s hot and many people drop their sandals anyway while sitting.

It will get tricky in Thailand, where there is a taboo against the bottom of feet showing. I’ll have to figure out how I’m going to go around barefoot in public places. Shouldn’t be a big problem.

It’s funny, because if you have an electric vehicle, you charge when you bring it home to your garage. The battery gets that influx of current when you plug in the cord. For me, I get the charge more when I’m away from “home”. The moment I touch down on ground I feel the influx of current, a calming sensation, a feeling that I’ve reconnected with my battery.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

NL 88 Earthing Jakarta The Brilliant Beast Blog.JPG

Iron Cage

Imprisonment. 

The greatest form of punishment other than death, perhaps even greater to some. To place a human in a locked cell. To restrict free movement. To take his time away from him. The iron cage is the ultimate form of hampering the human spirit. 

There are lesser forms of the iron cage that we subject ourselves to: aluminum capsules (car), rubber bondage (shoes), wooden frames (chairs). We imprison ourselves from connecting with the earth’s energy.

Of course, no one is actually making us stay in these cages. It’s just ourselves. Well, a bit of societal pressure does help to keep us confined. An occasional comment here, a spineless reprimand there, for going outside the box.

I traversed barefooted about the neighborhood one day and came upon a pleasant-looking lady. She was pushing her grandson in a stroller, a little well-groomed dog in tow. The sky had grown dark and it began to drizzle, wetting the path. As we passed, I smiled and began to give a greeting. She interrupted me, telling me to put my shoes on as it was raining. I was taken aback by her condescending tone, to be honest. I was minding my own business, and here this person felt inclined to tell me what to do.

However, a slight hesitation in her demeanor stopped me from addressing her abruptness. It was as if she were not fully sure of her own motive for telling this man how to carry himself about his way. As if she had spoken sooner than she would have liked. I sensed some fear. She seemed uncomfortable near a person so obviously outside of her familiar boxes. She was probably more concerned about herself and the baby than me.

Understandably. I managed a chuckle of appreciation for her concern, though it be faux. After all, we each deal with our own fears. I proceeded, you’ll be pleased to know, barefooted through the rain. 

And a wondrous, cloudy day it was. The best sort of day for connecting with mother earth’s energy, conductivity increased by water soaking the ground. Of course I’d stroll with sandals in hand.

Aside from happenstance pushes toward norms, confinement is mostly by my own design. I keep myself indoors to finish a task, I drive somewhere rather than walk, I choose to go places that require driving. In a world where comforts are unfortunately separated from nature, it takes a bit of effort to remain connected. Without mindfulness, we remain in our iron cages.

Until homes have grounded floors, shoes have conductive materials, and cars have seats connected to the battery, I’ll need to be creative, proactive, and perhaps develop callouses against the bumps along the road.

My feet are getting there, anyway.

Live powerfully,

Steve

The Brilliant Beast Blog Daily

The Secret to Effective Running is Torque

Brilliant Friends,
I totally rediscovered the joy of sprinting, thanks to an old buddy of mine.
My friend had asked me the other day if I could still run at a sprint. We had been talking about mobility the past couple days so it wasn’t as random a question as it might seem.
I said, “Yeah”, but with a little hesitation. It had been a long time since I did a full on sprint, and I don’t jog at all. Jogging doesn’t help with my performance in any way except for when jogging, in my experience. So I don’t do it, even though it does give a great “high”. Sprinting, on the other hand, has always proven to be beneficial.
So I went for a testing session two days ago to see if I really could still run at a sprint. I went out with my Earthrunner sandals and gave a couple tries on the sidewalk and street. Sure enough, it felt awkward and I got some stabbing knee pain. I knew I wasn’t doing something right.
I went on a stretch of grass and took my sandals off. I took a few easy strides back and forth, feeling out my alignment between my feet, ankles, knees, hips, head, and shoulders.
Eventually I got the sweet spots and graduated to several very good sprints back and forth. No joint pain at all, just fast, quiet, agile running.
Key Elements of Effective Sprint Running
The core of the running motion is that it is a continuous series of twisting. We propel ourselves forward by cranking up the torque in our abdomen and torso, swinging our elbows in opposition to our legs.
  1. Arms are rotating torso counterclockwise, legs are rotating hips clockwise. These opposing forces create torque in the abdomen. Running Secret Torque 1
  2. Torque in abdomen is released through the left leg into the ground and propels a brilliant beast forward. Rotation begins in the opposite direction for both torso and hips.Running Secret Torque 2
  3. Arms and shoulders rotate torso clockwise, and legs rotate the hips counterclockwise. Torque is again created in the abdomen, this time in reverse. Running Secret Torque 3
  4. Full twist acting on the abs. The right foot is about to touch ground and translate force into the ground again, continuing forward locomotion of a brilliant beast. Running Secret Torque 4
It’s an ingenious product of evolution that we two-footed creatures have mastered. Here is the breakdown:
  1. Absorb and release twisting power from your abs. Run with your abs, not your legs. Running is powered by the twisting mechanism of your shoulders and arms in opposition to your legs and hips. The center of that twisting torsion is your abs. Your midsection builds up torque from that twist, then releases it into the ground when your foot touches down. The mechanism then repeats in the opposite direction.
  2. Pillar Torso. If you follow my powerlifting newsletter, yes, this is the same concept as with squatting and deadlifting. A solid, quiet torso locked down by tight abs. I found this to increase the amount of torque in my abs. The more torque, the more power you can put out with each stride.
    • Flex the lats
    • Keep your shoulder blades down and back
    • Pull back your pectorals taut, and keep your ribcage down.
  3. Fists. Keep hands gripped tight into fists. This generates radiating power up to the shoulders and into the tension of your abs. Principle of kettle bell godfather Pavel Tsastouline applied to the sprint!
  4. Minimal movement of the elbows. No wild swinging. Just enough backward pumping to generate torque through the shoulders into the torso down to the hips.
  5. Knees forward. Pull your knees forward so that you are touching the ground with your feet directly under your center of mass on every step.
  6. Springy feet. Your forefoot should touch the ground first, not your heels. If your heels touch down afterwards, usually during slower pace running, then so be it, but the initial ground contact should be with your forefoot (the balls of your feet).
  7. Head in line. Notice when your head bends down too far to look at the ground, or tilts up when you are tired. Keep it in line with your spine, straight so that you can see ahead and slightly down when you need to track the path in front.
  8. Landing foot places directly beneath your center of mass. This is the tricky one. In the third frame below, you can see my foot actually lands just in front of my center. This is something I’m going to try to improve.

Running Form Landing Foot 1 Running Form Landing Foot 2 Running Form Landing Foot 3 Running Form Landing Foot 4

Depending on how f’d your running form is, start super slow. Barefoot in good flat grass is ideal. You will be amazed at how quickly your body picks it up from there. And if anything hurts, stop, study, adjust, and retest. Don’t keep hurting yourself.
You may need to do some mobility work to straighten your torso out, get your shoulders functioning, and hips and knees loose. I recommend using techniques laid out by Kelly Starrett in his book Becoming a Supple Leopard. Test out very slow running first and then put some work in where needed.
Do you run? How? When? How often? What does it do for you? Let me know, because I’m trying to build this into my life now that I’ve rediscovered it.
Thanks Eliot for the inspiration.
To powerful living,
Steve

Barefoot Powerlifting

Brilliant Friends,

I had a great session of strength training this past weekend and I did it all barefoot. Try it! Some things to note when powerlifting barefoot:

  • Have fun! That’s what it’s all about.
  • It’s building the arches back into my flat feet. Don’t let the fact that you have flat feet keep you from trying this, if you have the same problem I do. I have noticed an improvement from just three sessions of barefoot squats.
  • You will realize that your feet are like specialized hands to stabilize you. Use them to grip the ground.
  • If it’s not a barefoot-friendly gym, try gathering the big weights close to your squat rack before taking off your shoes. Don’t want to be wandering the gym without shoes.
  • Minimize the number of steps back you take when unracking the bar for a squat. Doing it barefoot will make you realize how important it is to plan the position of your feet. You don’t want to overdo the backwards steps with all that weight on you. I was able to take just one step back for each foot, without hitting the rack during the squats.
  • Start light. Like any major change in your strength training routine, you want to build up to it, not crash into it. I have been practicing barefoot walking outside for the past six months, and have been very careful with my form when lifting barefoot. I do my mobility and warmups barefoot as well, to get my feet accustomed. So far, so good!

Have you tried this? What differences do you find, if any, between lifting barefoot and lifting with shoes. And, what shoes do you wear for lifting?

To powerful living,

Steve

Flatfeet Arches 1

On Being Recovered

How do I know if I’m ready to train again? Recovery can be a difficult thing to measure. Rather than focus on the doing, I focus on the being. No matter how well I eat, how much sleep I get, and how hard my last training session was, I measure my recovery based on Symptoms. This is how I feel upon waking. After reading this you might think these are soft and subjective measures, and they totally are. But I trust these signs because my mind and body are connected, and I have noticed that I benefit most from training when I feel all these symptoms.

Symptoms of being recovered:

1. Waking up fresh in the morning. You open your eyes and feel

  • Calm.
  • Positive energy.
  • Positive excitement.

2. Heart Rate Variability is high with minimal effort.

  • During breathing awareness practice, or meditation, you are able to focus quickly.
  • If you have the EmWave or other HRV measuring tool: You are able to get to Green or high HRV relatively quickly and you are able to stay there relatively easily. Compare this to any other day’s mental performance.
  • You have high control of your mind, and your mind is quiet. You are excited and thinking of what you can do or accomplish as you wake up and get your day started.
  • You have easy control of your breath, and breathing feels good and your lungs feel strong. You can breathe deep, both in and out.

    Taking a quiet moment in my car to breathe and get my HRV higher before my powerlifting meet. This helped me to stay focused throughout that tense, crazy day and hit two PR's.
    Taking a quiet moment in my car to breathe and get my HRV higher before my powerlifting meet. This helped me to stay focused throughout that tense, crazy day and hit two PR’s.

3. Joints and muscles are happy

  • You have good control of your body and legs feel strong under you as you get up and take your first steps.
  • They are willing to do the work you want them to do.
  • Your body may still feel a little tight or crusty from previous training, but it is quite responsive and good to go.

That’s it.

If I wake up and feel these symptoms, I train.

Symptoms of not being recovered:

1. Waking up stale in the morning. You open your eyes and feel

  • Tender
  • Low Energy
  • Negative

2. Heart Rate Variability is low and takes a lot of effort to raise.

  • Or just never gets to a high state, if you are using a device to measure it.
  • You have trouble taking deep breaths in and out.
  • You cannot get negative, repeating thoughts and emotions out of your head – even when you sit down to meditate.
  • You cannot focus.

3. Joints and muscles are like cement that hasn’t dried.

  • They feel like yesterday’s joints.
  • Rather than sore, you feel achy.
  • They don’t want to work for you.

If I wake up and have these symptoms, I know I’m not recovered. I refrain from training, even if it’s been two days, even if it’s been two weeks. I don’t care, I know that no good will come of it.

If you’re not recovered, don’t worry. Just realize that you are in a state of getting stronger or more resilient, and you just need to take more time to get there. Don’t push it. Look into meditating or deep breathing upon waking, journaling, getting some sun, and eating well. Supplements help too. Above all else, sleep until you awake fresh and feeling the positive symptoms described above.

I don’t have much time now to lift, and have been taking up to two weeks off between training sessions. That’s why I make the most of each session. I don’t go unless I know I am ready to take on the cost of growth. Nutrition helps to maintain muscle mass and strength, and allows me to go on these long stretches and still come back to train at where I left off. With late nights at work and then early mornings the following days, I refrain from training even if I had the two or three hours free. There is a biological cost to training that we must pay in order to benefit. Training while not fully recovered is like taking out a loan while already deep in debt. You just end up deeper in biological debt.

Stay wealthy. Cook while the frying pan is hot, let your body and mind tell you when that is, and do everything you can to recover.

To powerful recovery,

Steve