THE BULLETPROOF COACH PROGRAM - A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

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Often I get enquiries from prospective students about the Bulletproof Coach training program. They want to know if the program is for them.  The short answer is, YES. However different elements of the program appeal to different people. Everyone has different goals. So give some thought to what aspect of the curriculum most appeals to you.

I was initially drawn by the holistic approach the Bulletproof brand represents. I had been following Bulletproof for about a year at that point and have implemented some of the recommendations and quickly found it made such a difference in my mood, attitude and life.  So when I learnt of the opportunity to be trained as a certified Bulletproof Coach, I felt compelled to join unlike anything before.

The prospect of gaining Coaching credentials could lead to a more meaningful career transition, I thought to my self. I was so excited! But that’s not what drove me to do this work I realised. That was just the icing on the sugar-free Bulletproof cup cake.  What really drove me to do this work was the difference it made to me and the prospect to give that to others.  At the same time, I approached it with an open mind, and the possibilities this program could offer.

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I signed up for the next available intake which was February 2016. It was a daunting journey. I took the 30-hour trip from Melbourne to the Big Apple.  As the aircraft took off I was feeling a sense of anticipation. “What the hell am I doing”, I thought to my self not knowing what to expect for my future.  I looked out the window and thought “$#%!, Here we go!” and never looked back.

 

THE WORKSHOP

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I had already experienced a huge shift in my life and wasn’t sure what the coaching could bring. But I was blown away by what I experienced at the two-day workshop in Brooklyn, NY.  It was designed to be interactive and very practical with the intent of giving students a chance to practice using new tools and skills and engage with the fellow coaches-in-training. Giving us a strong sense of community where we’re able to bounce ideas off each other and hone our new found skills.  That’s when I realised Dr Mark Atkinson was an extraordinary teacher and thought leader in the field of human potential development. 

We were presented with insightful tools on how to remove mental and emotional blockages to support ourselves and others to live a more skilful, efficient, high performance life!  The materials presented at this workshop continued to be broken down and cemented within the program that followed. Which is great as we get to develop even further!

Somewhere between Dr Mark’s enlightening talks and too many cups of Bulletproof coffee, I mused upon a couple of existential questions. What experiences do I want to have in this life?  How do I want to grow as a person?  They say that you’re either expanding or contracting, nothing stays the same; it’s the nature of impermanence a fundamental Buddhist teaching.  Deep I know right?!

Among the deep altruistic thoughts that surfaced, I was moved by the notion of doing my part to drive positive change and help alleviate some of the unnecessary suffering in this world.  We all love to be identified with a noble cause and I found mine.  Suddenly I felt a renewed sense of purpose, and couldn’t wait to go out and pursue my new found goal. 

High performance is about being able to inhabit the present moment in a way that responds perfectly to what’s being asked of you.”
— Dr. Mark Atkinson
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PRESENCE IS POWER

A large portion of the curriculum was dedicated to developing practical coaching skills.  Because at the end of the day, nobody cares about how much you knowBut how you can relate to them on a personal level.  Really get their problems, meet their needs, and take them to their desired outcome.  A skilled coach will guide clients. Not push them forcefully (unless that’s what they want). Empower them to awaken to their own true potential. Which is already there.

Take weight-loss for instance; it’s one of the most commonly requested coaching issues for a vast majority of clients.  We don’t give client’s a bunch of diet advice right away. Instead we use a compassionate approach to coaching. We may help the client uncover the roots of their weight problem by looking at their eating habits and suggest mindful eating. By practicing calm focus on the activity of eating. Without distractions and paying close attention to the food.  This simple mindfulness hack often allows clients to uncover insights into their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Which enables them to take control of their own actions, creating a vastly more sustainable desired result with less effort

This kind of work is nothing new, yet revolutionary and radically different from the conventional paradigm.  Since many of us live in a highly inefficient state of mind, and are often caught up in our own stories that don’t serve us.  The presence-based technique that forms the backbone of the coaching model taught in the program encourages us to break destructive habits. Tell ourselves new stories, and wake up to health and vitality that’s already within us.  

 

WHAT’S COFFEE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Most people will recognise Dave Asprey and the Bulletproof marque as synonymous with the world of biohacking. The forefront of the latest nutritional science research and endless hacks to enhance life as much as possible, and not settling for feeling mediocre.

The theme of the program in my opinion, is centred around fulfilling our human potential.  We examined the importance of defining personal values, understanding and finding life purpose.  I think the coolest breakthrough is when I was able to get clarity on my personal vision and inspire others. 

The 6 week mindfulness training led by Rod Francis paid specific attention to the contemplative technique and the neurological findings that supports it.  Thanks to this I was finally able to carve out time in my day to implement a simple meditation practice.  It gave me tools and skills to cut through some of the noise of my everyday life. Often that manifests as my repetitive excuses. But these tools help illuminate what’s really important to me and in turn this leads to insights and motivation to take the right actions.

Applying this thinking allows me to gain better control over my mind, body and emotions.  This is how I started to move towards self-mastery and personal freedom.  It is a journey that requires consistent work and effort. It’s certainly more sophisticated than an upgraded cup of coffee! 

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
— Dale Partridge

DID I TRANSITION TO MY DREAM CAREER AND MAKE A MASSIVE IMPACT ON HUMANITY?

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No, not quite.  But I’m happy, very happy. The program provided me with tools and techniques for my own development as well as the skills to help others unlock their potential whatever that may be for them. For me that is strength, love, ease and inner peace in my daily life. 

Another great result is that I have formed new friendships. With people like me.  Right now we’re building a local community of biohackers; obsessed with sharpening performance and enhancing quality of life. 

The main thing I got out of the course was that when I affect other people’s happiness, I become more fulfilled as a result. This has enriched my life immensely.

I’ll continue with consistently learning and developing in this area.  As it’s made such a difference to me. I can maintain a competitive edge with insights on future trends.  And consequently witness wholesome changes to my own character and life and those I coach.

 

Article originally published on Medium.com

LESS PAIN — MORE GAIN: HOW I REDUCED MY WORKOUT TIME BY 93.3% AND BUILT MORE MUSCLE

It’s no revelation that when we exercise, our bodies are healthier as a result. What might be a little less known is that not only does our physical health improve, but so too does our mental health. Exercise generates powerful growth hormones and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which actually make you learn faster and support healthy ageing. When you move your body, not only do you feel better, but you also think more effectively. But like all practices that are good for you, you can also go too far.

As an avid lifehacker, efficiency is the cornerstone of my life philosophy. When it comes to exercise, the goal is to maximize my capacity to be lean, strong, and healthy with the least amount of pain and suffering possible. This led me to discovering the concept of minimum effective dose for exercise and subsequently reducing my workout routine from 45 minutes, 5 times a week, to just 15mins once a week — a 93.3% reduction. Shifting to this routine for the last two years has saved me precisely 364 hours grinding it out in the gym.

By now, I’m likely getting raised eyebrows from skeptical readers. Don’t fret, I’m not trying to convince you, and I have nothing to sell. This is not a how-to article but rather a why-to: why I did it, and how and why it works.

Where I Went Wrong, And Perhaps You Are Too…

For a very long time, I would muster up my finite daily will-power to grind it out at the gym, so I can be a good person. I would also convince myself that I love working out from the aftermath of the endorphin release after each gym session, but then I would hit a wall and crash a few hours later, leaving me without any energy to do anything else useful. My life was a cycle of going to work, working out, and episodes of South Park.

It should be no surprise that working out stresses the body. Known as homedic stress, our training produces micro tears to the muscle fibres, which then triggers the body’s repair and healing mechanism prompting muscle growth. If the training intensity is high enough, it takes on average 5–10 days for this process to occur, producing a positive adaptation. Continually adding more stress to an already injured body, by performing workouts, day after day — essentially feeds the furnace creating inflammation throughout the entire body, resulting in a weakened immune system. I found I was sick often, while concurrently battling constant energy fluctuations and mood swings. And coping with chronic aches and pains, which I thought was normal at the time. After all — no pain no gain right? Well, being in shape and looking fit doesn’t necessarily equal health and resilience. Similarly, fruits and vegetables are not typically comparable, but I digress.

Only Fifteen Minutes A Week?

As I made the transition into the Bulletproof lifestyle and taking a deeper dive into the world of biohacking, I discovered that the High Intensity Super-Slow Training method detailed in the book Body By Science is the most scientifically validated and efficient training method I’ve come across. It’s a brief, extremely intense, one set to failure resistance training protocol using weight machines. All repetitions have to be made slowly — no faster than 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down to progressively load the various muscle groups to total fatigue. A typical session lasts approximately 15 minutes, and only involves 3–5 sets with no rest between sets. That’s it.

Your goal is not simply moving a weight from point A to point B, but rather the inroading, or weakening, of muscle.

Unlike medium intensity steady-state exercises such as running, the level of intensity exerted during this work out boosts both metabolism as well as efficiently stimulating the cardiovascular capacity for the heart and lungs. It’s a truly effective way to build muscular strength and endurance in a short period of time, that most people only need to do it once per week. This can be measured by your readiness score from various tracking devices available on the market today.

Don’t be fooled by the briefness of this form of training however, it’s far cry from a walk in the park, as it involves taking one set to absolute failure for the desirable adaptation to occur. It will be the toughest and most painful 15-minutes of your week. But transient discomfort is a fundamental part of life, and exposing myself to short-lived meaningful pain for worthwhile gains fits in with the concept of strategic laziness, giving you more time and energy to do more of the things you deeply care about.

The mandatory bathroom selfie

The mandatory bathroom selfie

Enough Is Enough

One of the most powerful insights of the book is the notion of the dose-response relationship —  as with drugs, training requires an optimal concentration and frequency. The concentration in this case is the intensity of the actual workout and the dosing frequency is how often the workout needs to be performed. If you train too much too often, you can reach a point of diminishing returns and even toxicity. More is not always better.

You can get a hammer and pound the shit out of the nail, but if you really tune the recovery side of the equation — the training becomes a nail gun
— Dr Doug McGuff

Another side benefit derived from the slow movements and the act of counting double up as a mindfulness practice, because it forces your focus and attention on the muscles’ contraction and detraction, making it a great tool for training your mind. Contrary to what we often see in the gym, a person sitting on a reclining exercise bike, reading a magazine and just going through the motions, totally disconnected to what they’re doing. It is vastly more impactful when we fully inhabit the present moment and ensuring the body and mind are in tune. Training this way is immensely meditative and gives me zero chance of risking an injury, and even helps me to be more calm and tranquil.

People in the gym often stare with curiosity and wonder, since it’s so different from the norm. Just remember, societal progress was never achieved by people following the crowd and accepting the status quo.

What If You Could Free Up An Extra 3 Hours A Week And Get The Same Results?

What is your time worth? This training protocol is all about how to get the most benefit in the least amount of time. It’s not for hardcore body builders or people who go to the gym to socialise. It’s for regular people who want to maintain a high level of athletic ability, and look and feel great.

I’d personally rather have the extra time to incorporate additional movements with physical activities that I’m deeply passionate about; such as chasing better lap times on the racetrack, and learning to dance salsa. What new skills do you think you’d like to learn if you had a few extra hours each week?

Conclusion

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, most of which is influenced by certain political and economic agendas. It’s highly unlikely for the fitness and personal training industry to advocate clients spending only 15 minutes per week training with them.

‘As someone who has experimented with different training methods over the years, I’ve come to realise that the extra training I was doing didn’t make much of a difference.’ The biggest change to my body composition came from switching to a HFLC diet and by extension intermittent fasting, streamlining my training and paying close attention to my recovery period.

‘When you separate all the emotion and the positive feedback commonly associated with the training experience — solid biological data suggests that following a well-designed strength conditioning system, an optimal training frequency for most people is much less than they thought.’ It’s a total paradigm shift in how we view exercise, where scientific evidence supporting this claim continues to grow.

 

Article originally published on Medium.com

MY PATH TO BULLETPROOF

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

I created a monthly Meetup group in Melbourne back in March 2016 for like minded people to connect in person, share their knowledge and experiences, support one another and strengthen the Bulletproof® community in the pursuit of living a positively healthy, and optimal life.

Being Bulletproof® is more than just eating a nutritious diet; it’s an all-encompassing approach to a lifestyle engaging in self–care practices, surrounding ourselves with meaningful work and supportive relationships.  When we take care of and energise our body and mind, fulfilment becomes the dominant state of being. 

Bulletproof® as a company is quickly becoming a worldwide, leading authority in high performance and human potential development.  The coaching and training program integrates new scientifically proven methodologies, which improves different aspects of our state of being.  These range from the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.  The ultimate objective is for coaches to support their clients in upgrading their body, mind, and life.  Bulletproof coaches are professionally accredited and must adhere to the core competencies and guidelines set forth by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

October 7th, 2014 was a pivotal moment in my life.  It was while I was hanging out in my hotel room listening to a personal development podcast, recovering from YOLOing on a tropical island in Thailand.  I don’t actually remember who or what the podcast was, but the interviewee talked about the important changes he made to his health and diet in a way that differed from conventional methods.  He was advocating everything completely opposite to what I’d read and heard about eating carbs for energy and avoiding saturated fats.  Having a fascination for fringe science and esoteric ideas, a new approach naturally piqued my interest and I began to dig deeper.  This exploration eventually led me to Dave Asprey’s work and the Bulletproof® approach to living.

With the Bulletproof Executive - Dave Asprey

With the Bulletproof Executive - Dave Asprey

Prior to discovering Dave Asprey’s guide to Bulletproof® living, I was doing everything wrong by following conventional wisdom.  I’d work out 4-5 times a week, lifting weights or doing cross-fit in an effort to stay in shape.  My body was falling apart from excessive training and eating a pro-inflammatory diet.  I experienced gastrointestinal issues daily and constantly was hungry. I even got called ‘Hungry Hong.’  Most days, I could barely hold myself together at work after 2pm.  Sure, I looked fit to most people but my energy levels were sub-optimal with a low libido, not to mention regularly suffering from muscle and joint pain.

It was very counter-intuitive for me at the beginning to change from the idea that we can eat a lot of butter and not die instantly from a heart attack.  But I started experimenting with the Bulletproof® eating recommendations and I found I got leaner, could think better, was less tired, and I got my mojo back.  I cut back on my exhausting and lengthy gym routines and began to flourish at my corporate job as a sales professional. 

Now I work out on average only 15 minutes once a week, doing high-intensity training, loosely following the program outlined in the book ‘Body by Science.’  They say that “effectiveness” is doing the right things and “efficiency” is doing things the best way.  On top of feeling amazing, making these simple changes has also given me time back that I would have otherwise have spent at the gym practically killing myself.

In addition to working on being a first-class Bulletproof® Coach, my other life passion is spending my weekends during the warmer months on the race track, pushing the limits of myself and my motorcycle to improve my best lap times.  Wrestling a high-powered machine at speeds frequently exceeding 300km/h is physically and mentally taxing requiring unparalleled focus and concentration.  Track days typically start at 7am and the first session kicks off around 9am.  It’s not uncommon to witness seemingly fitter and younger amateur riders pack up their gear and call it a day soon after lunch as the fatigue from the activity sets in.  I used to also suffer the same condition where there’s just not enough energy and stamina to endure the intensity of this type of sport till 5pm.  Thanks to Bulletproof®, I now hacked this with the right diet, sleep and supplements to easily allow me to last until the end of the day to get the most out of my track time.  

I’ve found that optimal health not only enhances my athletic performance but the healthier I become, the more successful I feel in all aspects of my life.  My mission now is to constantly learn and evolve as a person to become the best version of myself I can be.  Armed with my knowledge of the Bulletproof®approach to life, my goal is to share these principles with others to help them see the world differently and make the necessary changes to optimise their life.  I believe when people feel their best, are energised and in a state of high performance, everyone will become a more valuable member of our global community and together we can each add our own unique contribution to make the world a better place. 

If you’re in Melbourne, I welcome you to join our Meetup group and connect with others interested in the Bulletproof® approach to living.

 

This article first appeared on the Living Bulletproof in Australia website titled - The Organiser of Bulletproof® Living Melbourne Shares His Story.