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Become Strong & Successful with Tom Hibbert

Winning Performance Articles

Base Brain Protocol

Why would you consider these nutrients?

Optimising Brain Function is a great idea for anyone, not just those that might suffer with lack of motivation, depression or anxiety. The below list is in order of priority from Top-Down, of where I would start if you don’t have a practitioner to help guide you based on an individualised process. My recommendation is to add in only 1 option per week to see which one, or combination is giving you the best results.

Inositol (1-10g with PM Meal)

  • Found in large concentrations within the brain and is a cofactor for all of the major neurotransmitters. Without inositol, the neurotransmitters wouldn’t be able to do much as it directly influences the brain cell signalling process. It is also involved in protecting your blood brain barrier from allowing toxins to enter.
  • Inositol also has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity which again aids brain health as sugar supresses BDNF. Insulin resistance often means dopamine resistance whilst also activating your glial cells causing a negative cascade
  • It is very bang for your buck and very cost effective.

DHA (2-5 capsules, 2-3 x a day with meals)

  • An omega 3 that constitutes the majority of the brain’s weight, that is crucial for brain and vision development. Good DHA levels correlate with learning and memory and also mood and behaviour. DHA is important for building cell membranes and synapses, but also regulates inflammation whilst improving BDNF.
  • Healthy fats like DHA build glial cells, increase myelination & improve neuronal communication. This means new brain cells and pathways & protection for existing ones

Phosphatidylserine (400-800mg with PM meal or post workout, no more than 2,400mg/week)

  • Supports learning, memory, mood and coping with stress. A universal building block for cell membranes whilst also supporting the electrical currents in the nerve cells. It will help build mitochondria which make ATP/energy, and renew nerve circuits by promoting nerve growth factor (NGF). It builds new brain cells & supports neurotransmitters and works synergistically with DHA.
  • As a bonus it is also a fantastic cortisol support agent. Lowering excess cortisol is crucial for brain health especially regarding learning & memory. Your hippocampus is responsible for learning & memory and it is rich with cortisol receptor sites. When over loaded it struggles and this affects cognition. Cortisol and BDNF aren’t friends and your brain shrinks when under stress. Nothing is worse for the brain than a plasticity for stress

Melatonin (1 x Spray Right before Bed)

  • It is a potent anti-oxidant that also protects your mitochondria. It has the ability to reduce inflammation inside the brain, activate BDNF whilst also strengthening the brain blood barrier to minimise toxicity.
  • I’ve seen it drastically improve sleep and therefore a whole host of other benefits occur besides brain health. Sleep is free and improving it should be top of anyone’s list!
  • I prefer Liposomal Melatonin due to increased efficiency

Magnesium Threonate (Magtein) (2-5 capsules with PM Meal)

  • When you sleep your body activates a detoxification process within the brain called the glymphatic system. Cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) is sent north where it makes the brain ‘float’. It is during this that waste products are removed from the brain. Threonate is, or should be if your levels are high enough, present in the CSF for when this happens.
  • Threonate has the ability to boost mitochondria membrane potential and increase synapse density. Increase brain Magnesium Threonate levels support restful sleep and also balanced mood.

Fruits & Greens Drink (1-2 scoops, 1-3 x a day)

  • Your Brain has a high metabolic rate and requires 30% of your glucose to function, which means an increased demand for anti-oxidants. Antioxidants can also help deal with neuro-inflammation by suppressing your brain’s immune response from essentially attacking itself.
  • Some with the best research for brain health include: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Resveratrol, Curcumin, Blueberries, N-Acetyl Cysteine & more.

Probiotic

  • Consider the gut your 2nd Your levels of healthy gut flora directly influences brain behaviour, stress, anxiety and depression. Their role is also heavily involved in producing, absorbing and transporting neurotransmitters that influence nerve and brain function.

Conclusion

As you can see, many bases have been covered regarding general Brain Health. To individualise further I would delve into your neurotransmitter deficiencies and adjust accordingly. Without the basics though, neurotransmitter support can fall flat on its face…

Norwegian Method (Multi-Frequency Squat)

The Multi-Frequency approach has been around for some time now, and with good reason, as it produces results. It was first brought to my attention from the data & program by Dietmar Wolf, who was the Powerlifting Coach of Carl Yngvar Christensen and Head Coach of the Norwegian Powerlifting Team. Those that are unware, Carl Yngvar achieved a 1,230kg Total (490/350/390) in November 2014. This was a World Record at the time in the IPF 120kg+ Equipped category.

The Premise of the System is Simple: Squat more, to Squat more!

The Squat can be trained like a skill. Take juggling for instance, if you wanted to improve your juggling would juggle once a week? Probably not, and if done correctly the squat can be utilised multiple times a week. As I say often, Success Leaves Clues, and I find more clues within the systems of Olympic Weightlifting.

By checking the data of many Olympic Weightlifters, the frequency at which they squat, and the end results, you see a correlation of squatting frequency and 1RM’s. Other benefits of this system are the sub-maximal nature of the squats. Squatting sub-maximally would reduce the chance of injury, allow a greater pool of squats to ensure development through the full strength curve, enable increased focused on your weakness and increase your work capacity. It is most certainly a system based on patience. Adhering to the proper RPE or % of 1RM will lead to sustained results and less issues walking down hills.

Weekly Overview

  • 1: Low Volume & Intensity
  • 2: Average Volume & Intensity
  • 3: Correct % to Weight
  • 4: All Out

Weekly RPE Overview

  • 1: 6 out of 10
  • 2: 7 out of 10
  • 3: 8 out of 10
  • 4: 9-10 out of 10

Back Squat

  • Week 1: 3 x 8 reps @ 60%
  • Week 2: 4 x 7 reps @ 65%
  • Week 3: 5 x 6 reps @ 70%
  • Week 4: 2 x 5 reps @ 75%
  • Week 5: 3 x 8 reps @ 70%
  • Week 6: 4 x 7 reps @ 75%
  • Week 7: 5 x 6 reps @ 80%
  • Week 8: 2 x 5 reps @ 85%
  • Week 9: 5,3,2 reps (Squat Twice)

Front Squat

  • Week 1: 3 x 6 reps @ 62%
  • Week 2: 4 x 5 reps @ 69%
  • Week 3: 5 x 4 reps @ 76%
  • Week 4: 2 x 3 reps @ 83%
  • Week 5: 3 x 5 reps @ 72%
  • Week 6: 4 x 4 reps @ 79%
  • Week 7: 5 x 3 reps @ 86%
  • Week 8: 2 x 2 reps @ 93%
  • Week 9: 5,3,2 reps (Squat Twice)

Looking at the original program above you’ll notice a few things. Each week we drop a rep & add a set, slowly increasing intensity, and on the 4th week we have a de-load in volume. The Front Squat starts at a higher percentage and also increases by a larger amount week to week. This is how it best responds to loading. Now the original program also calls for squatting 5 times a week & twice a day. It is best advised to titrate up the dosage. If you’re only used to squatting twice a week then just go to 3.

Learning patience both with increasing the frequency & upping the weights will see better results in the long term. With frequency, the ability to tolerate is the key principle. You’ll notice on the repetitions if you compare them to the %’s that’s there’s a big gap. Meaning reps will be left in the tank. That is key. When it comes to the second cycle (week 5-8), you’ll pick different squats and switch the order up completely. Constantly working in these %’s will ensure it’s light enough for you to work on your technique. Remember, co-ordination is the first part of strength.

When it comes to adding assistance gear, I adhere to the principle of ‘Strong without, Stronger with’. So, why not got through a period of no-no-no squats? Your joints will actually thank you, contrary to popular belief. Worst case, only add in belt & wraps in the 4th week of each cycle which calls for you to go all out. Also ensure you’re picking squats with a variety of strength curves and according to your weakness. It may change each cycle but you’ll experience the ability to be strong throughout a full strength with no sticking points.

Conclusion

The biggest battle and also the biggest reward are one and the same. You need to get used to squatting lighter weights, but stay calm & at ease in the fact that it will transfer to a bigger squat at the end of it. Here’s a personal example: I had a 225kg squat for reps in competition. During the build up I didn’t use wraps once nor did I squat over 200kg. Come the competition I hit 9 reps in wraps for a joint event win.

I could have & nearly did put in some program examples and written for a lot longer than my allocated time for this article…but then you’re not going to experience the full learning effect and I’d rather teach you the principles and how than simply roll out a program. I look forward to hearing about your results!

Bonus Tip: For Increased Success, consider what you’re doing for neurotransmitter control

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