The nr 1 scientific reason you should never do 30-day challenges

You always have a final spurt left in you

You know how you can be absolutely dead tired, but still manage to summon the strength for an all out sprint finish?

Adenosine-3D-balls

That peculiar phenomenon helped early man conserve energy, and thus always have a buffer for unexpected dangers.

For you, unfortunately, it means you’ll quit long before you actually have to, no matter if exerting yourself physically or mentally. Blame it on the above molecule, adenosine.

 

Adenosine protects you from overreaching

What happens is this:

Adenosine builds up in the brain when you are awake. It’s probably to make sure you go to sleep when the day is over in order for the brain to work on the day’s impressions.

The process speeds up during hard work – physical as well as intellectual.

Adenosine molecules attach to the surface of brain cells and tell them to “cool it”, to relax and recover. This adenosine effect kicks in well before the body is in any danger, saving a hidden reserve. We are not supposed to be fully spent. Ever. In case a lion were to suddenly show up and charge you. 

Being mentally tired translates to lower physical performance and vice versa. Studying hard for a test thus means you’ll perform less good at the gym or on the track afterward. Running hard the day before an important test is equally debilitating.

There is a similar aerobic/hypertrophy trade off, albeit for completely different reasons. Tough aerobic work stops muscle strength development and hypertrophy processes, and vice versa. Hence, keep your running and weight lifting far apart if possible. That’s a whole different article though.

If the motivation for a “final” spurt is strong enough, the adenosine effect can be overcome. Actually seeing the finish line or the charging lion are highly motivating factors.

It’s in this context you should view my “Just The One” and “Just One More” mantras.

By telling yourself “it’s only just this one”, or “just one more left” to do, the hurdle to get going or continuing is reduced significantly. It’s like spurting from one lion after the other. Before you know it’ you’ll have set a new Personal Best for 10 km. One caveat; you need to fully believe you’re (almost) done and then “just” spurt the rest (or rather, what you fool yourself into thinking is the rest). Repeat.

The opposite occurs if you constantly visualize the entire 10km race or your entire 4 year college education. Then every step feels like hundreds, instead of the one step it actually is.

 

Take control of your adenosine to get more out of your body

Train on moving the limit, decrease the reserve buffer, become adenosine tolerant: Sit a little longer with your tasks or run a little faster or longer. Ten seconds more is all I’m asking. And then another ten.

I, e.g., used to study natural sciences in the sauna during high school (age 16-18) to get an edge vs. my competition.

I typically challenged myself to finish a certain number of problems before being allowed to shower and go again. I reckoned that, if I could complete certain tasks at three times the required speed, while burdened by 80-100 degrees Celsius (176-212 F), a real test in an air conditioned room with 3 hours available should be a walk in the park. It was.

At the time I had no idea about the inner workings of the brain, nor did I realize that one of the best cross country skiers of all time, Gunde Svan, at the very same time (1987-1990) practiced exercising on days with bad weather for the same reason. He later told that story at a company event we had ca. 1998.

 

Why coffee makes you more alert

Caffeine looks like adenosine for the relevant brain cell receptors. Therefore, the caffeine molecules attach to the receptors and prevent the adenosine from getting through. That means the tiredness message the body is trying to convey to the brain never gets heard.

Caffeine_and_adenosine.svg

 

(K) caffeine molecules attach to brain cell receptors and block (A)denosine molecules from getting through, thus preventing the brain from getting the message of how tired the body is.

adenosin Koffein blockerar adenosin

The hypophysis then interprets the increased brain activity (resulting from blocking the adenosine receptors) as stress, and releases hormones that stimulate adrenaline production, making the body ready for fight or flight. Dopamine is also released, creating a feeling of well-being. From tired to alert and feeling good. Get ready to do awesome work.

Just by knowing this, by understanding it’s your brain that’s tired, not the body, it’s easier to make that extra effort. What’s even better, you can start to consciously work on your adenosine tolerance by challenging your comfort zone systematically, and little by little move the level where you feel spent closer to where the body would actually be exhausted.

A chronopharmacological coffee break

If you’re interested in optimizing the power of caffeine, while protecting your sleep, you should take into account research on chronopharmacology.

In short, limit your coffee intake to times when your cortisol levels, and alertness, aren’t naturally high anyway. The typical person that rises at 7 am, should hold off having their morning coffee until at least around 9:30-10:30 am, or even 11:30 am if you are a late luncher, and have time to take advantage of the caffeine effect before leaving your desk.

I personally stop at that one cup – and only every second day (before my workout), but if you want a second cup, schedule it for between 2-5 pm, which corresponds to a circadian natural dip in cortisol levels.

Drinking coffee this way maximizes your alertness during the day, while increasing your caffeine response and limiting your caffeine desensitizing and addiction. If you constantly drink coffee the number of caffeine receptors increase, which reduces your sensitivity. The insecticide side of caffeine may not be that relevant to humans, but why drink more than you have to?

As a mindfulness side note, remember to savor every cup, let the aroma engulf your senses, and pay attention to the texture and taste, rather than absent-mindedly gulping it down while reading and then getting another one.

 

 

Indulgence cum discipline in a nutshell

The Just One More” principle isn’t just a personal preference. There is scientific underpinning connected to the reason you can always spurt when attacked or seeing the finish line, no matter how spent you thought you were the second before.

Improve your adenosine tolerance a small step at a time, by systematically going a little further in whatever you’re doing – at the gym or at work.

Use the knowledge that you are actually not that spent for getting more done, for running faster and longer or lifting more in the gym.

Take it easy with tough mental tasks the day before an athletic challenge, and avoid marathons the day before an important intellectual challenge, a  test, a job interview, a client meeting etc.

Hold off on that morning coffee. Make it a reward to savor after a cortisol induced work spurt first thing in the morning.

Whatever you do, if you want to get further in your area, don’t do a 30 day challenge. Chances are you’ll either not even get started, due to taking in the daunting prospect of 30 days of hard work, or you’ll quit right after those 30 days, with no habit to show for it.

Instead, keep telling yourself you’ll just do one more, and then you’ll get to quit. Then do just one more. You can quit at any time,… just after this last one…

That way you’ll always be improving, always investing, always pulling ahead from the pack. Indulgence cum discipline in a nutshell. And it’s based on an actual brain molecule (and serious research). This one:

Adenosine-3D-balls

Now what?

Try this the next time you’re in the gym or going running. Tell yourself you’ll quit after “this minute” or “this set or exercise” and give it your best. Then right at the point where you’re getting your reward (quitting), do just one more. Also remember to hold off your first coffee tomorrow until 10 am or so.

Please, do me just this one little favor, share this article in your network, with a friend, a quitter, a 30-day challenge junkie, a coffee drinker or somebody else that would benefit from artificial spurting and enhanced adenosine tolerance.

Subscribe if you liked the article, and could imagine more (spam free) weekly tips, tricks and inspirations for a wealthy and healthy life.

The one best cold prevention that keeps getting ignored

Just One More (drop of oil)

-or how I stopped getting colds 9 years ago, and increased my bench press by over 25% to 310 lbs

 

“Just one more” -That’s my mantra, my “indulgence cum discipline” maxim, my reminder of just getting going, always prototyping, always improving & growing, one of the pillars of my Always Be Investing way of life.

 

The one thing that matters above all else is your health

Please note before reading this article that you will be exposed to a lot of semi nude pictures of yours truly, not to mention completely unabashed plugging of my affiliate link to an Omega-3 supplement outfit.

 

There is one thing that stands out among my self improvement and investing life hacks, in terms of bang for the buck (yes, there is actual banging, but also bucks – about one a day): Omega-3 Oil from ArcticMed.

It will make you stronger, prettier, smarter, healthier, prevent cancer, live longer and not least prevent inflammations and common colds. The reason it has all these effects is that Omega-3 oil optimizes and strengthens every single cell in the body.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

 

When did you get a cold?

Last winter? The year before that? The average person gets a cold every second year, so you’re not that different. But is average enough for you, if there is a simple solution?

I had a sore throat in 2006. That’s 9 years ago. And it’s me in the pic below…

 

Omega3 oil from ArcticMed

40+ managing director on liquid oil Omega-3

Got your attention yet?

 

Nothing magical here, just science

I’m actually not an anomaly, I used to get 2-3 colds a year like everybody else (probably more so, due to leading a life on the edge with travelling, partying, working out etc.), but now it’s been almost a decade since I last had a fever or a sore throat.

Before 2006, every time I upped my workout sessions a cold would follow. Every time I had a few too many nights out, I would get the sniffles and shivers for a week.

Yep, that’s right, during 14-21 days a year I had a fever, a sore throat, felt cold and weak and missed workouts. I thought that was the way life was – at least for a finance worker (long hours, lots of wine and champagne, and then hard partying during the short vacations to wind down).

To make bad things worse, between 2000 and 2006 I was slowly getting weaker (inevitably due to old age, I thought), and even had to cut down on the number of workout sessions per week from 5 to 4 to 3 one-hour sessions, and was just about to go down to just 2 workouts per week, as I was constantly feeling over trained.

Once I started drinking Omega-3 oil, I soon gave up the idea of reducing to 2 workouts/week, and after 6 months I felt an urge to increase my load to 4 times/week instead. Now, for social reasons, I’m down at 3.5/week but 2 hours per session instead of 1h/session, meaning I’m working out more than double the amount I used to before oil.

 

The turning point, natural bottled Omega-3 oil supplement

Then I made three changes, instead of 100% meat, I switched to 50% fish. I started chewing probiotics, and a little later, I commenced drinking Omega-3 oil from ArcticMed (affiliate link, I don’t get paid but I get reduced prices on oil, if you order enough)

All the advice on the internet touts the same remedies: vitamin-C, wash your hands, sleep, don’t drink alcohol, zinc, vitamin-D, and what have you, but hardly ever a word about Omega-3 oil (maybe, just maybe a mention of capsules, which I’ll show are inferior to oil)

 

ArcticMed logo

 

What does Omega-3 actually do?

To start with, you can’t cure the common cold. Once the virus gets access to the cell’s nano machinery in the core, it’s game over and you have to ride it out. No vitamins, minerals, supplements, witchcraft or saunas will help at that point.

If you had taken Omega-3 oil regularly before, the fight against the virus infection will probably be shorter and easier, and many times the infection would never have happened at all. This is how it works:

cell membrane cellmembran omega3 

The cell membrane is like a bag with transportation holes in it, “channels”. The bag is made of Omega-3 and Omega-6 molecules, among other things. The right balance between the two gives the bag just the right properties for the channels to work optimally, i.e., only letting the pre-approved materials pass in and out of the cell. A virus will find it hard to get up close to a cell at all in an Omega-3-balanced body, and even if it does, it will find it more difficult to bore a hole in the membrane and actually infect the cell once there.

All else regarding supplements is more or less noise. The Omega-3-balance really is the alpha and omega of infections, of a strong immune system, of insulin sensitivity, of healthy brain neurons etc.

If you can just get this one thing right, making the cell bags as supple and strong as possible with the right Omega-3 balance, you will have taken a giant leap for bodily (including recovery from injury, DOMS or exhaustion) and mental health. Yes, you heard me right there – it helps against Alzheimers, stroke, ADD and other neurological diseases as well.

Everything else from cinnamon to garlic and breathing techniques when moving in crowded areas etc. affect the junior part of the 80/20 ratio when it comes to preventing infections.

 

Note 1: Fix those cell membranes, the “bags”. These guys:

cellmembran

 

Optimize your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio

In Europe, people typically have 10 times or more as much Omega-6 as Omega-3. In the US it’s over 20 (and of course much higher for certain areas, levels of education, social groups etc). Indian cities show levels over 40 (!) while the country side is way healthier at 5x. Eskimos, however, are down at 2 or below.

Historically, just a few generations ago, the average human had just 2x as much Omega-6 as Omega-3. And that’s where we find wild animals today. And coincidentally, yours truly (2.0).

ArcticMed has distilled the profile of a kind of “ideal” average person from the very best blood samples among several thousand tested persons. That ideal* person has an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 2.4.

* The average of the 5%, of 9000 tested people, with over 8% Omega-3 index, less than 3:1 in ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3, and less than 1% trans fat 

ArcticMed has yet to find anybody having too low a 6:3 ratio or too much Omega-3 in their bodies (though I’m pretty close, since I have, e.g., 1.5x the level of DHA than even the “ideal” top 5%), but theoretically, if you have (much) more Omega-3 than Omega-6 (a ratio of less than 1) the cell “bag” might get too loose and floppy.

For simplicity, ArcticMed concludes that a ratio of between 1 and 3 is desirable, 2.0 is optimal, 2.4 is the average of the very best (the 5% of 9000 tested). Any level above 5 should be corrected by changing the diet.

Did I mention I’m at 2.0?

And, I have not had a cold in 9 years, remember? Typically, I would have suffered through 20-30 harsh colds during that interval.

 

It’s not just colds, it’s everything that involves cells. Duh!

The right Omega-3 balance makes every cell in the body work better, communicate better, protect itself better and so on.

The right balance has been associated with (partial) remedies for allergy, asthma, ADHD, ADD, obesity, diabetes, migraine, insomnia, stress related diseases, schizophrenia, lung cancer, stress, serotonin, blood pressure, body temperature, sex, appetite, learning, memory, breast cancer, menopause issues, shortening of telomeres (and thus increased longevity) and restless legs.

And, yes, you’ll become smarter too, not to mention get better skin quality. 

Omega3 oil from ArcticMed

40+ managing director on Omega-3

Please note, that I’m not a medical doctor and can’t be held responsible for any of the above. It’s supposed to be reliable though. Check this link, e.g.

 

Liquid natural fish oil is so much better than capsules

Capsules are for convenience; they don’t taste oil or fish and they are easy to bring on vacations. However, they contain only minuscule amounts of the active components. In many cases you would have to eat 20 capsules a day to reach the same dosage as less than one table spoon of fish oil.

In addition, capsules are sometimes “concentrated”, which means important parts of the wide complex of fatty acids in fish oil has been cut out to make room for more of the two famous key components EPA and DHA. Without the entire complex of fatty acids present, actual delivery to the cells of the key components becomes much less efficient. hence you should eat even more capsules to achieve the same effect.

johannesparken

I like my life convenient

At 40 capsules a day, it’s starting to get quite inconvenient, not to mention expensive.

It’s not only the dosage per se that is an issue. There are other fish oils, apart from ArcticMed’s, on the market which contain the whole FA complex and provide the same dosage as ArcticMed. However, the fatty acids oxidize easier both in the bottle and in the body without extra protection.

ArcticMed scouts Europe every year for the optimal fat soluble anti oxidant rich extra virgin olive oil to mix with its Friend Of The Sea approved fish oil from the south Atlantic to protect it against oxidization. ArcticMed’s fish and olive oil mix withstands 27 hours at 70 degrees Celsius before oxidizing, whereas natural fish oil only lasts a tenth as long (3-4 hours) and the contents of the concentrated capsules less than an hour.

 

Flax seed oil you say? Don’t get me started

In theory the ALA contents of flax seed oil can be converted to Omega-3 in the body. In practice, however, if there isn’t enough Omega-3 to start with, if the balance is off, then the conversion chain is disrupted and more Omega-6 is produced instead! Or something like that, I didn’t quite get all the details down on paper during the seminar.  

 

ArcticMed’s Omega-3 oil is superior in all respects

Hence, all in all, ArcticMed’s Omega-3 oil is actually both cheaper and more convenient than capsules, when focusing on actual cell delivery and end effect on the Omega-3 balance in the body. As an added bonus, the particular olive oil ArcticMed uses protects against LDL cholesterol oxidization and neurological diseases such as ALS, & MS and the high content of oleocanthal has been shown to kill cancer cells in less than an hour in lab tests.

 omega3 brain neurons    

 

The ArcticMed olive oil has a fascinating story itself

To make the right olive oil for use in ArcticMed’s products you need among other things the right type of olive, the right elevation above sea level, the right harvest temperature (the levels and composition of of anti oxidants can change within hours), and harvest timing (he only uses olive oil from the first week of harvest every year!)​

The founder and Managing Director, Mikael Marcko, starts with screening this year’s olive oils according to industry standard tests. Then he proceeds with more nuanced, and expensive, tests for the 3-4 prospects that met the basic “hygiene” levels.

He’s hunting for a handful of important antioxidants (including the cancer killing oleocanthal that gives you that dry cough, burning throat feeling and tears up your eyes, and hydroxytyrosol which can prevent blood cell oxidization, in other words atherosclerosis) with documented health effects. The lengths he goes to actually make other producers and purchasers shake their heads in disbelief.

He only accepts the very best health effect and oxidization protection, even if consumers don’t yet appreciate it fully. Starting this year, Mikael Marcko has offered for sale, separately, whatever surplus olive oil he can spare after mixing and bottling the fish oil. This year it’s only 1100 numbered 500ml bottles of olive oil.  If you start buying regularly from ArcticMed, I guess I can forget getting any olive oil for myself in the future. 

Omega3 oil from ArcticMed

40+ managing director on Omega3

 

SUMMARY – Faster, Harder, Omega3 Oiler

I’ve dodged 2-3 colds a year for almost a decade, I’ve increased my workout sessions from falling toward 2/week to my current regime of 3.5/week  and they are twice as long as they used to be.

Not only can I train more than twice as much, and harder, I stopped my strength from falling, and increased my bench press from 110kg to 140kg in a few years (+27% from 240lbs to 310lbs). In my very late thirties and early forties!

I’m over 40 in all pictures in this post (42-43 in the majority), after 20+ years of high finance

sauna too  

I think you could achieve something similar, if you currently have a poor Omega-3 balance (most likely) and you choose to correct it with Omega-3 supplements (preferably with extra protection against oxidization), or lots and lots of fatty fish (mackerel, herring and salmon every day).

balkongbild

Coming clean: Just to be perfectly clear about my medical history the last decade, after my sore throat and six days in a row without working out in 2006, I’ve actually had a few small skirmishes with possible infections:

At four different occasions during the four years 2009-2012, I felt ill and had an itchy throat for 1-2 days after really heavy binge drinking and generally bad behavior during travels. In addition, I was home from work (!) during two days, January 24-25, 2013, in what probably was a cold, but it passed quickly and I didn’t miss any workouts.

 

So what should you do now?

1. buy Omega-3 oil from ArcticMed, and start downing 10-15 ml a day if you are a big guy (200 lbs, like I am). I just learned today (August 25, 2015) that ArcticMed’s products can be bought through amazon.co.uk, but still no shipping to the U.S.

2. or eat lots and lots of fatty fish (150g of mackerel or salmon a day, every day) and reduce your intake of land-living animals, in particular if they aren’t certified grass fed

3. perhaps check your Omega-3 index (recommended over 8%) and Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio to see what your starting point is. Anything above 5:1 should be corrected – with higher levels than that, your body is a bug waiting for a windshield.

4. get fish oil; if you can’t get hold of ArcticMed’s Omega-3 oil, get the best non concentrated natural fish oil you can find, treat it gently and keep it cold and dark and finish it quickly. And, a wild guess, perhaps mix it at home with a high quality olive oil and store it like that. In the fridge.

5. If you have Omega-3 capsules at home, stop taking 1-3 a day and start taking 15/day or more (check the label; you want to get 2000-3000 mg Omega3 a day – more if the capsules are concentrated and thus less effective). 12ml of ArcticMed’s natural fish/olive oil mix gives you 2900 mg polyunsaturated fats of which 2600mg Omega3, of which 1270mg EPA, 210mg DPA and 840mg DHA, plus 2.1 mg polyphenols.

Trial and error built this 40+ year old body

OMG 6 like a beast (Omg-6 to Omg-3 ratio =2.0)

 

Stocks and health… can it get any better? I don’t think so, so hurry up and subscribe to my newsletter and read the “Retarded” eBook about my career and the coming stock crash

 

Note about my affiliation with ArcticMed

I don’t get any cash money for writing this or advocating ArcticMed’s products. I just like the stuff and want to share my positive experiences. I do get better prices, though, if you buy enough through my affiliate link.

Last Friday, I finally listened to a lecture by the founder, and actually took notes (!). That’s why I’m writing this, to make sure I and you have a reference article in the future for why we became AM oilers.

I’ve heard bits and pieces of it informally, since I began taking the oil, but this is the first time in a more structured form.

 

My unedited notes in Swedish from the seminar (and some pics to drive the message home):

omega-3 has got my back

Omega-3 has got my back, but the squat bar not so much

Omega3

Omega 3 gives you bang for the buck Omega 3 gives you bang for the buck

omega3 I Omega3 II

Dare to fail and you will avoid just that

This is a story of how I failed to increase my bench press this spring, but nevertheless gained physically and mentally

Takeaways:

  • A quick run through of what should be a very good strength training regime
  • A rare glimpse of me failing
  • A lesson on why you never truly fail if at least you try
Trial and error built this 40+ year old body

Trial and error built this 40+ year old body

The perfect peak strength plan

I tried to become stronger this spring.

I had a plan and I followed it. In addition, I was being (informally) coached by Sweden’s best weight lifting blogger.

I powered on with high volume (5-8 sets of 3-4 reps at 80-85% of my assumed 1 rep maximum; a little more than 2 times a week on average for the bench press) during two months. Around week 9-11, I progressed to pyramids: a base of 4-7 sets of 2s-5s at 85-89% of my 1RM plus a peak of a few singles at 93-96% of 1RM).

I de-loaded during week 12 by approximately halving my volume but keeping 1-3 heavy singles of 93-96%. After that, during week 13, six days before today’s all out effort, I did my last two singles on respectively 120kg and 125kg (264.5/275.5 lbs), or 93/96% of my 1RM before the program.

The last five days I cut out the heavy singles and reduced both intensity and volume of what little was left, as well as cut out other exercises, to enable my muscles to bounce back and super compensate for the heavy volume and intensity the weeks and months before. On T-4 days, I benched only 85kg x4x3 (65%) and 70kg x3x4 (54%), and on T-2 just 70kg x4x3, with as much explosivity I could muster.

Maximum effort

Today I warmed up with 8 minutes of easy jogging on a tread mill, then carefully mobilized all my joints, as well as my upper and lower back. I couldn’t have prepared any better; I was well rested, well prepared, had overreached and then rested to bounce back. I felt confident.

I worked myself up through the weights on the bench, gradually increasing the intensity of my arc and eventually slapped on some chalk on my hands when I reached 120kg (265 lbs). 130kg x1 (286.5 lbs) was fine, but it’d better be, since that was what I was supposed to handle before the program.

And then, five minutes later, just like that, I missed (albeit marginally) my attempt on 132.5kg (+safety springs, so approximately 132.75kg = 292.5lbs).

 

I don’t consider it 3 months down the drain, although I am quite disappointed. I have learned a lot during this program and I have an idea how to improve going forward. What is annoying, however, is that I benched 140kg (308 lbs) three years ago, without an elaborate program or peak plan.

Sure, I’ve had knee surgery, a wrist injury and several hamstring tears since then, of which last November’s hamstring tear was quite serious.
 
Hamstring tear

A failure isn’t always a failure
As failures go, this one wasn’t too bad: I still worked out, I went through the motions and exposed myself to more exercise volume than usual. Something good has definitely happened, even if it didn’t show up in peak strength right this day.
I can still try 132.5kg or even 135kg (297.5 lbs) in a couple of days or a week. Not least, going forward, I can build on my training capacity that most likely increased during the period.
So, all in all, this wasn’t just a failure: I tried something new, I trained more than usual, I learned new hypertrophy and strength training theories and I put myself out there. Now I really know my body holds up for a maximum effort, after all my recent injuries – and I know exactly where that maximum is per this date. That is something to build on; and building layer upon layer is all this website is about.