Category Archives: EVOsport

ARPWave Search and Destroy for Left Shoulder Part II

After I finished Search and Destroy on my left knee, I started working on left shoulder.
My left shoulder has been plagued with soreness in the pec minor area. The pec minor feels always tight and sore, and I can feel it pull my shoulder forward and out of position. This results in compensations in which muscles activate whenever I swim or do pull-ups and I get sore there. In my search for a solution, I decided to turn ARPWave therapy on it to see what would come out.
I setup the machine and started the Search protocol all around my left shoulder. I used an electrode and scanned my left shoulder, my left chest, my left shoulder blade, and also down the left arm. I didn’t find any hotspots except down my arm where I found a problematic medial head of the tricep, and on the bottom edge of the upper forearm.
These two hotspots were pretty “hot” – they caused my ring finger and pinky to contract strongly and convulsely without my control. My hand turned into a claw! There was no way to straighten them out and I could feel the power buzzing all around the electrode in my muscles. In many ways, I was not looking forward to this!
After the Search phase, I put stim pads on my hotspots and prepared for Destroy. The movement was 5 wide grip pull up motions, and then 5 freestyle strokes on each side, and the total time was 7 minutes. I then turned on the ARP Trainer and turned it up as high as I could take it. My left hand immediately turned into a claw and I turned it into a fist to stop it from hurting. Then I did the movements, first pull up movements and then swimming with firsts instead of open hands. It was extremely difficult as the stim power tried to prevent my arms from extending. I did 5 of each, then tried to turn the power higher. The contractions got stronger and my hands were harder to control. I did 5 more of each movement and then turned up the power more, and repeated until 7 minutes were up. By the end of 7 minutes, the power was causing my hands to move of their own volition! It was very disconcerting – my ARP therapist reassured me that no one ever got hurt doing this, even if my hand was moving around like it was possessed and was cracking as it moved!
After turning off the power, my fingers and hand were still buzzing from the strength and high frequency of the electricity. I couldn’t yet move my fingers yet, and they seemed to wiggle on their own.
As soon as they calmed down, I downed 37g of protein (to match the 37g I took before the session) to prevent undue soreness from the treatment.
This continued for 7 sessions at which time I plateaued on power. With these muscles, I was struggling to reach max power which came a lot easier with my bigger leg muscles. Increases came in inches so we decided to move on to the strengthening phase.
For this strengthening phase, I mirrored the pad placements on my left arm on my right arm. I would use a move called the Statue of Liberty. It involves holding a light 1lb dumbbell, and placing it across my waist with thumb turned down, and then raising it across the body while turning my thumb upright to the finish overhead position, as if I were holding the torch like the Statue of Liberty. I would do 1 min with the left hand, then 1 min with the right hand. After this, I would attempt to increase power, and then repeat the Statue of Liberty on both hands. This would go on for 5 intervals for 10 minutes of work, with power increases in between.
The first session was incredibly tough. My left arm was already adapted somewhat to the stim, but my right arm was first encountering it. So while it was relatively easy for my left arm to the do the movement, the right arm was having a ton of trouble as it caught up with the power of the stim. I strengthened for 11 sessions and by the end I reached max power. But it would a tough ride. There were a few times where my right hand was stimmed so hard that I could not even hold onto the dumbbell. I would drop it and then my right hand would turn into an uncontrollable claw! I would then quickly turn off the power and stop for the day.
The test at the end of this therapy was either to swim 10 lengths at 50%, 75% and 100% effort or to do 10 pull ups at 50%, 75%, and 100% load as fast as possible. I did the swim test and there were no issues, only that my endurance was severely lacking and keeping up at the end was tough.
I am unfortunately not optimistic with pull ups. A few tests with a band to assist still left me with a little bit of soreness. So something else must be wrong or missing.
What I learned:
1. A proper mindset is required to able to achieve high power at high frequencies. You must relax and let the energy course through your muscles. To react to it will cause instant seizing up of the muscles for sure, which is not what you want and VERY uncomfortable. It is better to think of it as an irritant and relax into it. That is the first phase.
The second phase is, in order to achieve movement in the presence of the powerful stim, you can’t force the movement. Compensations will occur as will contractions that will resist the movement. Instead, try to send the mental command strongly to move the limb and I think you will find that the limb will move.
2. If you are training with the POV, Search and Destroy can help you adapt faster and reach POV max power. This happened on my VMOs which were, before S&D, very resistant to high power. Now I can turn up the machine to max power on the VMOs every time.
In seeing the differences between S&D and POV training, I spent a focused time with the ARP Trainer on one thing. I find that my POV programs don’t allow me to spend enough time often enough to get to adaptation faster. I am wondering what would happen if I took each of my protocols and just did them nearly every day – wouldn’t I adapt faster and get to max power quicker?
3. I think that the therapy, while it does create benefits, is not a total cure just because you did it. You still have to pay attention to proper positioning and imprint proper movement. If you fall back into poor movement patterns, the problems will come back. In the case of my shoulder, I was still feeling soreness if I did particular movements. On the other hand, I do not think we properly duplicated the stress and movement pattern of the pullup to really have addressed the pullup issue. Doing air pull ups really didn’t have the same effect on muscles and the CNS as hanging from a bar and pulling upward.
I am working on imprinting the proper movement patterns so that the soreness won’t come back. However, in working on the tricep and forearm, now they are turning on whereas before they were not functioning correctly.
4. Again, I think that if you do ARP therapy, you should live with a machine for an extended period of time. Going once or twice isn’t a guarantee of a longer cure for problems. Make sure that the movement patterns you use during treatment closely mimic the movement pattern(s) that give you problems. Use perfect movement when you do the movements. Execute them flawlessly. This may require a good coach or movement specialist to watch you VERY carefully and correct you.

ARPWave Search and Destroy for Knee Tweak Part I

About 3 weeks back, I tweaked my left knee. I was practicing some medicine ball cleans after I took a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer weekend seminar and on one of rise ups from the clean, my left knee must have drifted inward and I got a twinge of pain on the outside of the knee. I was hoping it would go away, but it didn’t. It lingered and was making my leg not feel correct.
I then remembered reading about how therapists were using the ARPwave electrostim machines to help people heal faster from knee injuries. I had already tried out their Search & Destroy (S&D). But going for only a session or two on a given problem didn’t give me longevity on the solution. The problem seemed to get better for a while and then it came back.
Also since I train with an ARPwave POV, we often talk about how to reinforce a training state for a long period of time. If an athlete can get to max power on the ARPwave POV and complete 40 sessions at this power with no compensation, they can maintain this heightened training state for as long as a sports season, maybe longer.
With this in mind, I thought back to the fact that my previous S&D sessions seemed to provide a solution to the physical problems I had, but it was short lived. I also thought to the fact that some people will rent one of their therapeutic machines, the RX100 or Trainer, and live with it for many weeks. Putting two and two together, I figured that if I were to rent a machine and use it nearly every day for many days until the problem was solved, then I could get more completeness in the treatment and longevity in the results.
I rented a Trainer from ARPwave Austin. Via a Skype video call, they led me through In-Balance technique (mimicking a technique that chiropractors do with physical manipulation), then S&D on the left leg. S&D found some “hotspots” on the top of my rectus femoris, and along my vastus lateralis, and another lesser “hot” spot on my vastus medialis (VMO). Choosing the two hotter spots, I put stim pads on them:

Now came the fun part. My movement was to squat 5 times, and then increase power, over a period of 5 minutes on one polarity and then repeat with reverse polarity. At maximum frequency of 500 pulses per second (PPS), my muscles quickly contracted into big knots as I increased power! When I reached my current tolerance, I would then perform 5 squats. Adaptation (amazingly) occurs within the 5 squats, and now it doesn’t feel so bad any more. I crank the power again and once again my leg muscles seize up. Then I force my way through 5 squats, finding that it gets easier with each rep. I adapt once again! I crank the power again, grimacing at the new higher level. I repeat the squat reps, and adding power in between sets.
I should also say I learned my lesson from my first times with S&D – if you don’t eat enough, you’ll be horribly sore for days after. So now whenever I do S&D, I drink a protein drink of about 37g of protein (2 scoops BCAAs 10g, 3 scoops Muscle Synthesis 22g, 2 Tbsp Upgraded Collagen) before and after the S&D. Then I also try to eat .75lb – 1lb of beef or lamb in the meals following. By doing this, I manage to stay soreness-free and am able to be recovered enough to do S&D the next day.
I did this on as many days as possible following. There were definitely days off in between, but I tried to do it every day. Each day, I managed to reach max power a little earlier until I could just put it up to max power on the first try. The rectus femoris hotspot disappeared very quickly, and I switched to working the VMO instead.
My VMOs deserve some further discussion. The first inkling I had there was trouble with them was running the NYC Marathon and then the LA Marathon. In both times, I was pushing hard but miles before the finish, my right VMO cramped out on me. Then, during training with EVOultrafit and my POV, I always found that my VMOs, if they were part of an electrostim pad placement, limited my ability to take high power. As soon as I reached a certain level, they would seize up and prevent me from moving.
It turns out that as a training tool, the POV tries to get your muscles to be used to firing at a higher rate and with stronger contractions, thereby allowing it to perform at a higher level.
I was not surprised that a hotspot was also found on the left VMO, and so after my rectus femurs hotspot disappeared, I switched to working on my VMO. Sure enough it seized up, but going through the S&D protocol, I was able to more quickly increase power and adaptation to high rates of contraction and contraction strength.
After reaching max power on the ARP Trainer on the first interval of movements, I moved onto the strengthening phase.
This involved putting the pads on both sides of my body, first putting them on the original hotspots on the left leg, and then mirroring them on the right leg. So now, I was going to hit up my right VMO but without having the benefit of going through some days of Trainer work on it. As soon as I powered up my first strengthening phase, I marveled at the difference in feeling between my left VMO, which was just sitting there taking the power, and my right VMO, which had seized up but was adapting quickly.
Strengthening involved three movements:
1. Stomp Squat – you are sitting, then stomp both feet on the ground to shoot yourself to standing.
2. Isometric Hamstring Curls – you are sitting, then try to pull your feet into the ground via your hamstrings as well as curl the heels back.
I did 1 and 2 alternating for about 10 minutes. In between each pair of movements, I would attempt to increase power a little more until I was at maxa power. After the 10 minutes, I would jump into:
3. Standing Leg Extensions – stand on one leg, bring other leg up to horizontal. Kick out foot, pause for 1 count, then bring back. Repeat on both sides.
This I did for 5 minutes. Once again, I was supposed to increase power, but by this time I had already adapted to max power and just did these straight through.
I did strengthening until I could achieve max power on the first interval. The limiting factor was my right VMO which had to come up the adaptation curve.
The last piece was a sprint test, to make sure there was no more pain at all. I was to run sprints, 10 at 50% effort, 10 at 75% effort, and then 10 at 100% effort. If there was any pain of about 2 out of 10 or above, I was to stop and keep going at strengthening.
So I got on my old running shoes, not looking forward to this as I had not run at all since 2012! I managed to get up to 100% for 6 reps, at which time my right groin was getting super tight. Not wanting to risk a groin pull, I stopped (and also because my times were starting to rise and I could not keep up 100% effort). It was, however, good enough evidence that the process was completed and that I could be back in action.
My thinking now is that while some issues can be resolved with only one session of S&D, there are some issues that require more regular time with the protocol. It was definitely worth it to rent the machine first to address my left knee tweak, and then get my VMOs to a higher level of performance.
I am really curious, however, on whether or not my right VMO will cramp out again during a marathon. This will have to wait – too busy to train for such a long event, and I hope I can maintain its level of performance until I get time to train again.
Now that I had this ARP Trainer here, I decided to keep it for a few more weeks and address another nagging problem: my left shoulder which gets sore during wide grip pullups and swimming. Stay tuned for part II.

12 Months Training with EVOUltrafit and the ARPWave POV

I’ve managed to cross a year of training with the EVOUltrafit guys in Arizona. It’s been an interesting year full of challenges and learning. Some notes on my progress:
1. Back in October, I got a program that was to be done while I worked out with kettlebells. This made time commitments a lot better as my workouts were approaching 3 hours from doing KBs, and then a EVO/POV workout afterwards!
2. Dialing in my nutrition has been key. I wrote about this in Eating as Training and a Discipline. But as I wrote, I am also attempting to self regulate food so that I do not overeat on days I do not train.
3. Listening to the webinars has been very helpful. It’s a slow process of piecing together the hows and whys. Lots to learn still and over time I am being more observant to the results I get and do not get via training.
4. Managing variables has been tough with all these life changes I’m going through. But I also know that if I cannot hold as many of them constant as possible, I cannot know for sure why something happens, or doesn’t happen.
I’m buying up gadgets to help with data collection. My Beddit is helping a lot, and I just bought an Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer. Most of the ones I got from the pharmacy were total crap – they would read temps in the low 90s – I think it thinks I’m cold dead! But this one works awesomely and consistently. I still have my Withings scale which is good.
One that I am hoping Beddit will solve is knowing how many sleep cycles I had. Since Zeo’s demise, there has not been another good sleep tracking device.
5. The last program I tried to do for about 3 months. One goal of mine was to see if I could attain a power of 100 on the POV with each protocol. I managed to get to 100 on 2 out of the 4 – the other 2 still remain out of reach and would love to find out more on why and how to have gotten there.
6. I did find out that doing overhead movements with load, and getting stimmed on my arms during those movements were exceedingly dangerous! The vibrations induced by the fast flexing of my muscles challenged my control of weight overhead. On days where I stimmed, I had to concentrate doubly on the movement, and sometimes I had to back off on weight if it was more of an endurance move, like overhead carry of a KB for 100 ft.
I suppose that Jay and Charles would have said that the POV provides an irritant and that blasting through the irritant provides for improved results. This may be true, but I have found that probably it would have been a lot safer with a spotter, and also I could not lift as many reps as without the stim. I think the stim also used up resources in the rapid contractions and made for less movements possible, when compared to movements without stim.
However, I have a program now that removes stim from my KB workouts. In the few days of this new program, I have found improved results with my usual workouts. I hope that these displays of performance continue.
7. Some other cool results:
a. These last few weeks were filled with sick family members and children and made for stressful days and sleepless nights. A protocol involving my thymus and feet really helped me recover from these weeks.
b. I was messing around with a particular foot protocol with the cables crossing from left to right sides and found that after finishing the protocol, my walking pattern firmed up! My gait was very good, and the correct muscles fired. Just recently, I tried a variant of the foot protocol where the cables were on the same side and found that this version didn’t improve my walking pattern. How fascinating. I need to dig more into the various effects of the protocols even on the same body parts.
Just the other day, I had different results from a bicep/pec pad combination. In the crossover configuration, the stim was equally felt. However, in the same side configuration, the left bicep pad lit up well before the other 3 pads!
I definitely want to dig more into the difference in results between the crossover and same side configurations in any pad placement.
c. This is less a POV result but definitely an EVO result. After a ton of KB swings and snatches, I managed to wreck my right elbow. It started as a forearm problem but then moved to my elbow where it became chronic and not go away. I would take a week off from any working out, and the whole week it would still be the same soreness. Then the week after, I’d get back to working out, which was probably a mistake in terms of my elbow, but being an athlete I was unwilling to stop training. Ultimately, it took a Somapulse to bring my elbow back to health and no pain, but it couldn’t do it alone because I needed to fix something in the form of the swing to stop it from coming back.
After much experimentation, I figured out that it was the lack of ability of my triceps to flex strongly during the swing. Taking the tricep out of the force absorption chain meant transferring that force to the forearm, and then to the structures of the elbow. How was EVO involved? I started doing the Preacher Curl Isoextreme which trains the tricep to flex strongly in a raised position at 90 degrees out from the body. This was extremely hard for me – I found that if I started in the raised position, my triceps were totally soft no matter how hard I concentrated! So I had to lower my arms to a point where I could get and maintain a strong contraction of the tricep, and then raise it to as high as I could where I could still maintain contraction. I also started doing it one arm at a time, using my other arm to poke at the other tricep to make sure it was still contracted. Over the last few times of doing this, I could slowly raise my arm higher each time a little bit more, while maintaining a contraction of the triceps.
Going back to swings, I would now forcefully and consciously contract the triceps and the combination of isoextreme and conscious tricep contraction during swings allowed me to get back to pain free swings, as my Somapulse helped heal the damage that was there.
8. In thinking about how I started, I think that remote training and management is really tough. Jay/Charles set me on a good program, but in examining how I adapted to their training programs, I think I was completely unprepared. I sent them videos, yes, but I think that is only the tip of the iceberg. They like to talk about variables and there were plenty that I’m sure weren’t considered in the creation of my programs. Some of them simply were not visible in the initial tests that I submitted via videos. These were things like my ability to recover, or what were barriers to my training like work and family.
I think that I should have talked to them about being totally unprepared and to take me up the training curve from rock bottom. I think I would have learned more and adjusted better to the process versus jumping in mid-stream.
But now after a year of working with them, I’ve come to know my body even better and think I can adapt better to their programs, and also know more about how to approach them.
9. I’m currently dealing with a family member with a serious illness. It is taking up an incredible amount of time in the short term, wreaking havoc with my schedule. I asked the EVO guys for some help with this and they came back with a program that has a maintenance day workout, and also protocols that train me overnight! I am very curious to see the effects of this overnight training. Will report back in a few weeks hopefully on how that goes!

Eating as Training and a Discipline

My coach Charles Maka at EVOUltrafit likes to say that most humans can’t do the most basic things. The basic things like breathing and, the topic of this post, eating properly are things that somehow most people can’t do the right way and have lost the ability over the years.
A few months back, I posted about my discovery in Eating for Recovery, where I figured out I was not eating nearly enough to recover properly, and that through eating more, I could recover overnight from a tough workout.
Along with that revelation, I learned a bunch of other things:
1. Eating is TRAINING.
I used to be more cavalier about my eating. I read about other athletes attempting to optimize their food intake but I never tried it myself until my discovery. So at the very least, eating is a part of training along with other stuff I never really paid enough attention to, like stress, sleep, etc.
But as I got deeper into my discovery, I also figured out that eating itself is training. It takes a lot of work to eat in a way to optimize your goals. You can think of it as training an additional 3 times a day (assuming you eat 3 times a day). What if you miss an “eating workout”? What if you workout too much, as in eat too much? Or too little? What if you do the the wrong thing in your eating workout, as in eating the wrong thing? What does that do to how well you achieve your goals?
2. Eating as DISCIPLINE.
Every day, my wife asks me, “what shall we eat tonight?” My answer is always, “I don’t care as long as I can get a 1lb of beef.”
Eating takes discipline to execute in a way that is supportive of your goals. On many days, I am running around stressed looking for someplace where I can get a decent 14-16oz of beef! It takes a ton of discipline to keep eating with a pattern and a plan, when you are running around all day doing the normal things people do.
Then all day, I practice keeping a running total in my head of how many grams of protein I have eaten so far, and then work like hell to make it up in case I don’t get close to my goal at lunch time. I have a strong motivator – if I do not eat enough, inevitably the next day I wake up sore and unsure if I can complete a normal workout.
3. Tracking progress is a pain so simplify.
I have tried food tracking apps but nothing really works for me. I now just have a Google Docs spreadsheet where i type in all my daily data: workouts, stool, sleep, and food. In this way, I can see everything in one screen and not in several places where I don’t have an easy way to connect it when I need to analyze.
But then, do I track each food and also their exact amounts? I do write down the composition of my meals. But it was too hard to deal with every part of the meal. How do you estimate the weight of a pile of string beans? Or a filet of salmon? Tim Ferriss wrote in 4 Hour Body that he used to bring a small scale with him and ended up weighing everything before he ate it. I thought this was too unwieldy and I deemed it unnecessary. So I settled on getting good at tracking only meats, fish, and poultry and their associated protein content.
I memorized the typical protein content for beef (1oz=6g protein) and fish (3oz=17g protein) although many sources cite varying conversion factors. That’s too complicated, so I simplified by memorizing just those two. For chicken, I look it up since I don’t eat chicken very often. I also memorized the protein content of my protein powder and collagen supplements.
Then I familiarized myself with cuts of meat and fish and approximately how much they weigh, in case I went to a restaurant and didn’t know the exact weight of the meat on the meal. Most of the time, I would just asked the waiter and sometimes they would know and sometimes not.
Then I tracked mentally only the protein intake of meats and protein/collagen supplements. It was too difficult to figure out how much broccoli or other vegetables I ate alongside my meats so I passed on that. Once I crossed 1.5 times my body weight in grams of protein of only meats and supplements, I was OK.
4. What you eat is pretty important.
Eating the right things is also super important. So eating enough protein is my primary aim; the other goal is to not eat crap or undesirable things. For example, I am on a low/no carb diet with high protein and high fats, so eating in this fashion works for me to keep me from putting on pounds in an inappropriate manner. It is a shame that this also means that most restaurants don’t have much to offer when I am eating to this plan.
This also requires discipline, although for me it has become a standard part of my life now and is not hard to execute.
5. Timing of meals is important.
Experimentally, I found that eating the bulk of my protein as close to my workout, or generally by lunch time, creates better recovery results than if I complete the bulk of my protein intake by later in the day.
intake before/after workout
eat as soon as possible after. found out recovery is better by a bit, less tight in the mornings.
if morning workout, dinner is too long time but better than not eating it at all.
6. Create the ability to regulate eating from day to day.
Overeating is always on my mind. Do I really need to take in 1.5x my body weight in grams of protein every day? Probably not. Thankfully I do not have some innate attraction to food where I cannot get enough of it regardless of whether I’m full or not. Taking in 1.5x my body weight in grams is definitely taxing the limits of what I could eat in a given meal! So I had to build up the ability to eat that much protein per day AND down-regulate that back to about 1x body weight in grams protein on days I do not workout.
6. What is the goal with your body weight and composition?
At the moment, I am attempting to put on weight to be able to handle heavier kettlebells. So eating this much has put on 10+ lbs of weight, mostly muscle since I can still wear most of my regular pants. If I ever get back into a sport where lower weight is more desirable like Ironman racing, I will see what kind of adjustments to make on this kind of eating plan. Is it still 1.5x my bodyweight in grams protein or less?
9. Getting sick of eating beef is a challenge.
I was eating grass fed beef exclusively, about 1 lb at lunch time on workout days. Then I found it was harder and harder to eat that. Some of it was because I haven’t perfected quick cooking of beef yet using a pan. But I think the other difficulty was that I was simply eating so much of it that I was getting tired of eating it. So now I’m working in grass fed lamb, which seems to be a lot juicy (fatter?) than beef and by the way it’s half the price!
10. Monitor your body as much as possible.
As a new biohacker, I am working with a functional medicine doctor on making sure my blood numbers are all in range and that nothing bad is happening due to this diet and the heavy demands I’m placing on my body.
11. Old guys like me need more protein than younger guys, according to this article from T-Nation, Protein Pulsing for Muscle.
Fine tuning my eating and nutrition has definitely helped my training in ways I never imagined. Now I can’t help but look back at my early years of triathlon and wonder how I could have progressed, had I been eating properly.

Eating for Recovery

A while back when I was still racing Ironman, I figured out that taking protein powder mixed in sports drink for the days after my long training day could bring in recovery by one whole day. Still, my recovery was up to 3 days after, meaning it was really tough to do a decent workout until 2-3 days after that long day of swimming 4000m, biking 6 hours, and then running 30 min. I was elated to discover that protein powder could accelerate recovery by a whole day, but I just chalked the slowness of recovery to my age.
Little did I know….
Fast forward to today. Over the last seven months, I’ve been doing dual kettlebell and EVO/POV workouts (EVOultrafit training with an ARPWave POV electrostim machine). Since both were completely new training stimuli to my body, I knew there would have to be some fine tuning on how much I could do. For many months, I tried to figure out how to be ready and train for as many workouts as possible in a week. For kettlebells, I was building muscle and strength to handle heavy weights in a ballistic manner; for EVO/POV training, I was using a ton of resources through neurological training.
I tried varying the number of workouts per week and also what workouts I was doing each day. I tried EVO first and then KBs, but that made me too tired for a good (and safe) KB workout. So I ended up with KBs first and the EVO/POV next. But still, I would wake up the next day sore from yesterday’s workout. This wasn’t good – I felt like I couldn’t put enough time into training technique for KBs each week. I tried doing 2 days of KB/EVO workouts one after another but sometimes that would wipe me out for 2 days straight! At this point I ended up doing 1 day of KBs/EVO-POV and 1 day off.
The EVO guys told me that I should be eating 1g of protein per pound of body weight to enable good recovery. I started doing some calculations on how much I was eating and I was coming up short! So I upped my protein intake to about 150g (I weigh about 150 lbs), and started taking protein powder before and after my workout to help with recovery. Still, while eating this much, I was not recovering overnight but needing an extra day or two.
About a week ago, I decided on a whim to eat more. Every day I started eating one meal where I would eat a pound of beef. I also added more protein powder across the day. What a difference that made! One the first day I did this, and did a KB/EVO-POV workout that day, the next morning I was completely not sore but only tight in a few places, which I addressed during warmup! Amazing! I went back to my notes and did a calculation on protein intake and I was up well over 200g of protein! Apparently the rule of 1g per 1 lb body weight wasn’t right for me!
I asked Garrett Salpeter of ARPWave Austin what his experience with eating was and he said that in many instances, the ratio was more like 1.5g to 2.0g per lb of body weight, sometimes even more, depending on the circumstances and how heavy they were training.
It seems to me that the 1g protein per pound body weight is a good starting guideline and that you have to experiment to get the correct ratio, sometimes upwards of 1.5 to 2g or more protein per pound body weight! You try 1g/lb first and see if you recover by the next morning; if not, eat more!
Looking back to my Ironman training days, I was clearly not eating enough to fuel recovery. Potentially it was also a reason why I was healing so slowly too. Yes, age is a factor but when I am burning through resources through heavy training, there may be not enough left for other things. But age clearly isn’t as much a factor as I thought as after eating a ton more, I could recover from a tough workout overnight!
Other related items to note – having regular stool is a sign that my body is processing food and expelling waste well. Not having regular stool is a sign that something isn’t working right. This was another sign that something was amiss but I did not know how to read it, as I was not having regular stools for years! However, to fix this, it took Dr. Justin Marchegiani of JustInHealth. I did a series of blood tests: adrenals, thyroid, iron, cholesterol – to see what was wrong with me that I could not see through non-chemical means. The test result that was problematic was my ferritin; it was off the charts! As Dr. Justin put it, I was rusting from the inside out!
I took some supplements to help absorb iron and also stopped taking an iron supplement plus the multivitamin with iron in it. Then I gave blood which was the fastest way to remove iron from your system. After my first blood donation, magically my stool became regular! A month later, I gave blood again and my stool became not only more regular, but more than once a day. This showed that my digestive system had come back to better and proper function and somehow the excess iron was causing this problem. Doing some detective work like this on my blood composition was definitely helpful in putting me back on track.
One more comment – eating more is a training effort in itself. I had to adapt to stuffing myself with more food every day. I am not sure about reports about the stomach needing to stretch but it did take a day or two to get used to eating this much food. But now that my digestion was back on track, and the fact that my training uses up so many resources, I find that eating so much isn’t so bad and that my processing of the food is fast and good.

6.5 Month Update on my EVOUltrafit and POV Training

It’s been about 6.5 months since I started training with EVOUltrafit. Here’s the update:
1. Whenever I start a new training system, I need to learn and internalize the vocabulary of the system. In order to solicit the correct training responses, Charles Maka, my coach at EVOUltrafit, will often give seemingly vague or convoluted answers. I take copious notes and need to re-read them over and over again to internalize what he actually means and what he is trying to achieve by saying things in that way. So far, I think I’m finally able to understand some of the language used and be able to apply what they say. Still, there is a lot to learn as I work in the system, hear them talk, and try to encourage results in myself.
2. I’ve been attending their monthly webinars. This is where I can regularly listen to Jay Schroeder, the leader of the system, and Charles talk a lot about training in the EVO system and with the POV. They started by giving us POV protocols to try (ie. pad placements, POV settings, duration of treatments) and we would spend the month executing the protocol, and then the following month we would get together to discuss our observations and results. They have since changed the webinars to focus on training with the POV.
Recently I’ve learned a lot about how the mind’s end picture or goals are strongly correlated with how well/fast you master movements. Now when I train, I will spend some moments placing that end picture in my mind and focus on it as I go through my normal workout and then following up with a POV workout.
3. The EVO folks recommend eating about 1g protein per 1 lb body weight. Given how hard it is to achieve this much eating, I also have realized that in the past I was not eating nowhere nearly enough to recover effectively from my intense workouts, especially during my Ironman triathlon days. Once I reached about 150g of protein (I weigh about 150lbs now), I was recovering a lot better. Still, I felt there was room for improvement. Just this last week I upped the protein by another 20-40g per day and THAT made a big difference. I am up to about 170-200g depending on the day and has allowed me to recover fully with virtually no muscle soreness the next morning! HOWEVER, eating does not take away muscle tightness which I’m addressing via MobilityWOD techniques (BTW everyone should be reading Becoming a Supple Leopard – it is THE definitive guide for athletes to take care of themselves. Subscribing to MobilityWOD Pro to watch the videos has also been worth every penny). I also still go weekly to my ART/Graston guy who is awesome.
4. The latest “end picture” that I sent them to derive a workout from was:
a. Get me through the SFG Level 1 Kettlebell Certification.
b. Improve my upper body’s ability to maintain shape and absorb force.
c. Improve my lower body’s ability to absorb force.
Has EVO/POV training had a positive effect?
It is hard to pin down as I have a tendency to throw the kitchen sink at my training, trying everything at once. Still, I believe there have been positive effects.
The Isoextremes that I do seem to have improved my lower body force absorption. I had to run impromptu the other week and found that my stride was subtly different, and that running had a different springy feel to it.
In my 2 arm kettlebell swings, I was having problems transitioning from a 60lb to a 70lb. For some reason, I was feeling some creaking in my sternum area and also was having problems with my left ribs. Then I asked for help in improving my upper body force absorption. It took a week or two, but then I blasted through 70lb and now am 2 arm swinging the 44kg/97 lb.
5. Wanting to put my POV to more uses, I tried some search and destroy which is a technique to ferret out neurological problems in muscle function and to treat them. I was having three problems, and here was what I found:
a. Persistent tight flexor hallicus upon waking in the morning.
Search and destroy found a hot spot on both my insteps. Apparently this is consistent with a “tib-fib problem” post ankle sprains, which I’ve had on both ankles in recent years. In the tibiofibular joint at the ankle has only ligaments to support it, and the ligaments can get stretched causing the tibula and fibula to separate from each other. If this happens, then the nervous system’s joint receptors don’t function right, and after an ankle sprain this doesn’t heal properly causing further problems down the line.
When I figured this out, I didn’t immediately think it would affect my flexor hallicus. Thinking that it was a problem generally in leg force absorption, I began taping it (need to tape it for 8 weeks straight) and on the first day, the flexor hallicus problem was magically gone! I have another 3 weeks of taping to go and need to see if the taping has fully healed the problem after the full 8 weeks.
b. Abnormal, excessive tightness in the right high hamstring/glute junction.
Search and destroy revealed that my rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, and both glute/hamstring junctions had hot spots. Trying the S&D protocol on these areas unfortunately didn’t seem to have a positive effect. It is possible that this treatment method is not appropriate for clearing this up, or the POV isn’t the right tool for this. More on this in a bit.
c. Activation and soreness in the stabilizing muscles of the left shoulder during swimming and pressing movements. For some reason, my subscapularis, pec minor, and supraspinatis get really sore.
Search and destroy revealed hot spots on my front delt, high tricep, high bicep, and inner forearm. For this the POV worked great. I did several sessions, first doing overhead pressing movements and then some sessions doing swim stroking movements. This worked great and my left shoulder is quickly getting back to doing the right thing.
Having said all that above, apparently the POV shouldn’t be used for search and destroy but rather its clinical cousin the RX100. The RX100 is different than the POV in that supposedly it flushes inflammation and is more appropriate for such neurological treatments, whereas the POV leaves inflammation around longer to produce a training effect. Still, anecdotally, it seems that the POV is used on occasion for therapeutic applications but there seems to be some cases where if you’re not careful, you could really throw yourself into some bad place neurologically with the POV.
“Searching” apparently reveals the muscle problems that are connected neurologically. I went to my ART guy and told him about what I found, with respect to my right glute/hamstring junction problem, and he went and cleared up some of the muscle stickiness and tightness in those areas, which improved the problem greatly. So perhaps the POV may be risky in “Destroy” mode, it definitely seems to provide a more definitive guide as to what to target with other treatments.
6. Loosening the body’s muscles with the POV is fantastic. I try to do it every day. Loosening reduces tightness in the muscles and better prepares them for absorbing force. It’s about a 10 minute protocol, placing pads around the body from feet to head, and performing some movements. After loosening, I feel so much better and a lot of my tightness has gone away. Loosening with the POV is much more effective than just warming up!
7. The go-to healing and “remove pain” protocol seems to be background mode on the POV. You sandwich the area that is sore, put the POV in background mode, crank the power to the max, and leave it there for 20 minutes or more. It is amazing how well it works as I don’t perceive any kind of muscle contraction while using this mode.
In about 3 weeks, I am updating my “end pictures” slightly and will ask for a new program. I actually spent 3 months on the current program instead of the single month that it called for as summer proved to be highly interruptive in my workout time. Lots of interesting things to see and learn with this kind of neurological training.

ARPWave and EVOUltrafit: Rehab and Training via Electrostim

In my journey to find the ultimate and most efficient training methods, I came across the next stop in my quest at Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Conference back in January. There I met Dr. Justin Marchegiani of Just In Health and Jay Schroeder and Charles Maka of EVOultrafit.
Both of them specialize in using electrostim devices made by ARPWave to enhance treatment of muscle and movement issues and results in training. Yes, think Rocky IV where they had shots of Dolph Lundgren training with electrostim pads stuck to his chest! This is, of course, the real thing. Apparently, the Russians had pioneered the use of electrostim in training many years back. Now here with ARPWave, they have brought this to the public here in the US and it works great. Rather than attempting the long explanation of how it works, see the ARPWave How It Works description.
Dr. Justin is a chiropractor and nutritionist and he trained under Dr. Jay Pietila in his In-Balance system which uses the ARP devices to first determine where muscle imbalances are, and, then, to treat them. The In-Balance Technique can evaluate “neurological signaling from the brain to the body” and determine if they are balanced via strategic placement of the electrodes and moving them around the body. Injuries and rehabilitation can both also be done with similar methods.
I went to Dr. Justin for several treatments and it was fascinating to see him probe my body with the electrodes, sometimes seeing myself jump in reaction. These were areas of concern and showed dysfunction and imbalances. He then stuck electrodes on those areas, turned up the power, and then had me do movements. With the power cranked, compensation patterns appear and I was forced to do the movements correctly, without compensation patterns and fighting through the intensity of the electrostimulation (see more info on ARP Therapy). The sessions were so intense that I had delayed onset muscle soreness for days after! Not sleeping enough, nor eating enough didn’t help my recovery. But after about the 3rd visit, I started seeing some great results.
For example, I had a nagging problem with my TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae) muscle, a small muscle on my hip. It always seemed to be firing and was taut all day long, which is pretty annoying. I tried everything to get it to calm down but nothing really worked. With Dr. Justin’s probing, we figured out that it was not the TFL but my Sartorius muscle, which attaches in the same place as the TFL. He hooked that muscle up, stimmed the hell out of it while forcing me to walk in place and do squats. Soon after (well, after the soreness went away!) I didn’t feel my TFL/Sartorius any more!
Around the same time, I began a training program with Jay and Charles at EVOUltrafit. And of course I had to own one of these electrostim bad boys myself – so I plunked down some cash to get one and wanted to see if training the EVO way would help rid myself of some nagging problems I’ve had, like cramping out in the last half of marathons. But also, according to Jay and Charles, the use of the electrostim machine not only prepares me physically for athletic pursuits, it also stimulates my CNS (central nervous system) and all sorts of other things start to work better, like my glands, hormones, digestion, cognition, and thinking. I didn’t care about the cost – this sounded like the answer to all my problems all at once! I bought one of their POVsport devices, which is the consumer version of the electrostim devices.

Jay Schroeder

A table full of POVs!

Charles Maka hooking me up

Compensatory action!

I submitted a thorough evaluation. I ran set distances, and did some physical tests. I also submitted videos of me doing some typical workouts. It wasn’t pretty. They wanted to see me hop on one leg, on two legs, sprint some distances – pretty bad since I hadn’t done anything for months!
They came back with a program that uses what they call “isoextremes” which are isometric hold type exercises. The four I started with are:
1. Standing Push Up
2. Wall Squat
3. Scapular Pull Up
4. Lunge

Me doing a wall squat hooked up with electrodes

The way these exercises are done aren’t probably the way most people think they are done. For example, the lunge is not an exercise which works the quads; instead, you are supposed to pull the lead leg into a leg curl via the hamstrings, and the rear leg is supposed to have tension pulling it back and upwards. Many of these isoextremes seek to teach the body how to lengthen muscles which may normally think we’d want to tense up in order to do the isometric exercises. It also seems that these isoextremes also train the nervous system to react in the proper way to movements and absorbing force – somehow they have found that holding static positions can train the nervous system to act while moving. Pretty cool stuff!
They gave me specific electrode placements based on issues they saw in the videos. Being experienced coaches/trainers/therapists, they didn’t need to see me live; they could pick out all my problems just by looking at my doing some movements. While the isoextremes can train me by doing them alone, they are more effective when combined with a POVsport unit and proper electrostimulation of the right muscles.
I then proceeded to train on their protocols. Before each workout, I would “loosen” using the POVsport. Depending on the settings, the POVsport can cause muscles to be conditioned or loosened – the waveform it generates is patented and is not like other electrostim units. I was skeptical at first but loosening works pretty well. The stim magnifies your normal loosening movements and helps warm up the body while causing muscles to release their tightness.
Each movement is about 8 minutes in duration, doing 1 minute of work with a minute of rest. At first, they were pretty unfamiliar and difficult. Adding the electrostim coursing through various muscles didn’t help as my muscles were thrumming at many many times per second. In the power output of the POVsport, level 100 is the level at which the body, it it can tolerate it, will experience no compensatory patterns at all. So a goal is to get to power level 100 at some point.
I also joined up with their monthly webinar series. The first one was interesting – it’s an hour of discussion and teaching through personal experiences with the POV via protocols that Jay/Charles give us, and then we observe the results after about a month. Fascinating stuff and I think necessary to really learn how to get the most out of my POV. Hooking electrodes up yourself without direction is a pretty dangerous thing – there are stories of people overloading their CNS accidentally and throwing them into a state of “restoration” which means they are mimicking a state of severe sickness and weakness! Bad news. Think I’ll walk slowly and with lots of direction….
What results after about a month of EVO training?
Some tightness – my body has a “fear” reaction to this foreign stimulus of electrostim and seems to cause some tightness in their overnight protocols while sleeping. But I switched to another one they gave us during the webinar and the tightness went away!
Some of the results were masked by me getting conjunctivitis and a spring time allergy attack. Also lack of sleep from new young kids in the house doesn’t help. But on days when I do get a good sleep, I can see a marked increase in ability – I think my resources get too tied up with managing the lack of sleep mostly and also the occasional malady that has hit over the last few weeks.
Interestingly enough, my deadlift movement has a new feeling. Before EVO workouts, I would deadlift my kids off the ground for practice, or my kettlebells or barbells and have to clench my glutes or “close off my sphincter” to make sure I am getting proper posterior chain activation. But after I started EVO training, all of a sudden I was feeling both glutes AND hamstring activation, which is better and exactly what I want! This is an awesome result.
Some of the lengthening aspects of the isoextremes have also worked well. On the standing push up, I can nearly relax my pecs so much and get them to lengthen upon contraction of my lats so much that I can nearly pull myself through a doorway. The wall squat seems to have gotten easier but it’s still a willpower challenge. Hanging from the scapular pull up, I can lengthen my lats quite a bit, but my grip suffers a ton. Charles tells me this is natural although I wish my grip were better. The lunge seems to be working on one side better. I can really flex my glutes/hams on my left side (left leg back, right leg forward) to lengthen my hip flexor and quads, but not so well with my right leg back.
The whole thing is fascinating as an experiment in using an external device to help with my training and improving aspects of my physical condition. I am looking forward to further training with the POV unit to accelerate training and fitness, and to run a marathon without cramping!