Recovery

Articles about recuperation, healing, and recovery techniques.

6 months to live

Stardate: 16th January, 2017

“Ask him”, a woman’s voice said.
“Excuse me sir”, I heard a boy say. “Are you a trainer? Can you train us?”

I smiled, angling my head in the direction of those voices. A mother. Her three young boys. It was June of 2016… in a random carpark… at a random mid-morning hour.

“I have cancer”, the mother informed me. “I’ve been given 6 months to live. I’m going to beat it though. So, I’m going to hire you for 12 months.”

On July 7th, I pulled in to her driveway. Off and on for months, we trained hard. 6 months passed. She was still alive.

Last week, during month number 7, she messaged me. “I have bad news. The cancer’s spread to my bones. I am in SO much pain.”

She didn’t respond to any of my follow up messages. Her doctor had basically told her to say her goodbyes. I thought… Christ… that our last conversation, would be our last conversation.

Stage 3 cervical cancer.
Stage 3 lung cancer.
Silently, I stalked her social media… vicariously experiencing the days through her eyes.

This morning… Monday, 16th of January, she showed up at my door in workout gear.

img_20170116_094714

“I don’t know if this makes sense”, she said.

She’d given up.

I haven’t.

To date, she hasn’t documented her fitness journey.
Today, I’m sharing a snippet… without revealing her name or face.
Hopefully, your kind outpouring will encourage her to do the same.

…to know that she’s supported, loved, and admired.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

5 Supplements You SHOULD be using, that you’re probably not.

Stardate: 18th April, 2016

Greetings!!

supplements

As many of you would know, I’m not big on supplements. When asked “hey bro. Should I take [*inserts name of popular go-to fad*]”, my reply is always a blunt two-pronged one:

1: “I don’t take that stuff… I eat food. Lots of it.”
2: “Supplements… should supplement your diet. Novel idea. I know.”

The stuff I actually DO use isn’t fancy. It’s functional.

i.e. It’s the stuff nobody really cares about: the stuff that helps your gut et. al. work better. Why should YOU care about ’em though?

Simple: Gut health is everything. The gut impacts the immune system, the brain, our ability to gain muscle and mobilise fat stores, the quality of our sleep and skin. I mean, holy shit, why would you NOT be interested?

Let’s get down to it!

Here are my mainstays, and a couple notable mentions:

  1. ‘Colon Cleanse Powder’

…aka Psyllium Husk Powder. This product is usually sold as a laxative. But, that’s secondary. I don’t believe in the whole ‘colon cleansing’ notion… but I do recognise that most of the population suffers from a too-low fibre intake. Even dieters, who are eating loads of ‘bush’ (lol) often complain of constipation and the like. The average person, for one, severely underestimates the amount of fibre they eat and need… and it doesn’t help that shady companies represent the minuscule amounts of fibre in their products as something monumental. “Oh. Eat my cereal. It’s fiber enriched! 1 gram of fiber per serving (of 20 grams of sugar and other useless shit)!” What the fuck man?!

Guidelines indicate that we should be taking in 30 grams of fibre per day. i.e. 10-15 grams per 1000 calories. Most of us struggle to get in TEN grams per 2000-3000 calories. That’s crazy!

That. Is. Crazy.

Enter psyllium. One tablespoon gives you 5 grams of fibre. Personally, I blend 3 tablespoons in to my smoothie… and I’m currently up to 5 tablespoons per day.

Try 3 tablespoons per day, plus a couple servings of broccoli, kidney beans, and/or oatmeal spread over the day, and you’re set! 30 grams easy!

2. Probiotics

One of the things I’ve noticed about adulthood is the prevalence of digestive issues. And, it affects all of us… even the fitness personalities like myself. Stress is a major contributor. It absolutely wrecks the gut.  For one, it affects the balance of ‘good’ bacteria to ‘bad’. As this bacteria influences the immune system, we can generally say ‘Stress affects the immune system!’

If it were only stress though, this section of today’s article would be a lot shorter.

Unfortunately friends, our gut flora gets attacked from multiple other angles. Stress, the overconsumption of sugar and starch, wanton overprescription of antibiotics, the absence of prebiotics (i.e. fibre), Exercise (or its absence). Tonnes of stuff really.

A good probiotic is essential shit!

Pun.

3. Digestive enzymes (especially proteolytic ones like bromelain)

I’ve noticed, particularly in new clients, a lot of younger people are complaining about bloat, indigestion, gas… and generally feeling like their food just sits there. Some of them have that lower tummy pouch going on. But, upon pinching the skin there, one realises that it isn’t usually fat. It is legitimate bloat.

I mentioned the prevalence in younger people, because the above used to be an older person’s ailment: Usually an age-related decline in enzyme production, and quality (i.e. the elasticity of the actual enzyme’s protein – blah, blah, blah, science stuff). Nowadays, we’re living longer… but we seem to be aging faster. At least, our organs seem to be.

Fixing the diet, reducing stress, and adding digestive enzymes helps. Not just from the digesting of food standpoint (- which is pretty fucking major as a standalone). Naw… the addition of dietary enzymes can also reduce systemic inflammation. And, this means, enzymes can potential reduce our risk of diseases we shouldn’t even have been at risk for in the first place.

Anyhoo… That there is a rant for another time.

Back on topic: I like bromelain. I use a lot of it. I’ve used it to recover from injuries, swelling, soft tissue damage, and poor digestion.

If you try only one supplement. Try this.

And… while we’re on the topic of inflammation:

4. Quercetin

Quercetin, is basically a plant pigment…  a flavonoid, with SERIOUS antioxidative power, found in richly coloured fruits.

Being a great antioxidant aside, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory (which means it can potentially help mitigate inflammation-based diseases such as insulin resistance, heart disease, arthritis etc.). It’s also proven to help with allergies, pain, and boost endurance.

Holy shit right?!

I use 1000mg per day. I don’t know if I’ll live longer. But I sure as hell plan on doing everything I can to improve my quality of life!

*pops another cap*

5. Chromium Polynicotinate.

I’ve written about chromium EXTENSIVELY in the past. For about 2 decades, it’s been a mainstay in my supplement regime. I can’t say enough about it’s benefits. But, I’ll rehash anyway:

It may aide in longevity.

It may improve insulin/carbohydrate sensitivity.

It may improve body composition.

It may [blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, super-cool stuff!]!

Bottom line? Chromium is an awesome addition… especially in a population, like ours, whose diets are so starch heavy! I mean, who DOESN’T want to be leaner, healthier, and better able to process carbohydrates? AND it’s cheap. Who doesn’t like not breaking the bank?!

*pauses for dramatic effect*

That’s it!

Hit the health store!

I’ll see you at bootcamp tomorrow!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Don’t be a gym douche. Take a yoga class!

Stardate: 24th July 2014

Them: “What should I take to look like you?”
me: “Take a yoga class.”
Them: “wtf dude? This is a SERIOUS question!!”

…I’m always serious.

yoga-man-copy-1
Stretching and emphasizing impeccable posture are two of the most important things one should focus on, to support weight-training, fitness, and aesthetic development.

This post, by the way, is aimed at you:
-Guys with the too-big chest, forward-sloping shoulders, who walk around as if their back is so wide that their arms can’t go down (when, in reality, there’s no muscle there at all).
– Chicks who walk as if they’re swinging humongous legs around a 5lb vagina… when, in reality, their legs are tiny and lacking any semblance of tone.

Stop it. Stretch more. Focus on the upper back muscles… you know, the ones you can’t see or think you can’t show of in the club… the ones that help to maintain posture pulling the shoulder blades back without conscious effort on your part (were they firing optimally).

I recently had a discussion with highly-ranked Olympic lifter… who said that they never do direct bicep work, because (they believe) doing so will result in an inability to lock the arms out completely. She referenced the average gym guy, who walks around with his arms slightly bent at all time, because he works his arms so much. I pointed out a couple things to her:

– My arms are 2-4″ bigger than the average gym guy
– I don’t have that problem

I also pointed out that the reason that Olympic lifters have hypermobility isn’t their lack of direct bicep work… it is due to the extreme stretch position of their primary lifts. e.g. the snatch, which requires developing hypermobile wrists and biceps.

I also pointed out that the reason why I don’t suffer from ‘gym-guy syndrome’ is the same: extreme stretching… Either via the lifts I undertake, or active daily stretching and re-alignment.

Which brings me back to the core point: Stretch more.

Don’t be a gym douche.

Yours in fitness,
-Corey “Narkissos” Springer

http://www.getnarked.net
www.facebook.com/NarkSide

Thank you Lord

Stardate: 3rd July 2014

I’ve got to say thank you Lord.

You always make it work. Even for the undeserving such as i.

Even when I bite off more than I can chew and you grant me stronger jaws.

Even when, in my unwavering inability to sense my limits, I take up a burden heavier than I can bear, and you grant me broader shoulders.

Even when you allow me to fail spectacularly so the sapiosexual in me, and its infinite thirst for knowledge, through that resultant situational growth, can be satisfied… and my hubris checked.

Even when I hear your voice resonating in my head, heart, soul, and decision-making cortex, but decide: “SCREW YOU… I doing it my way”; and you continue to speak to me.

I’ve got to say thank you Lord.
…from the depths of my filthy, fragmented soul.

Thank you.
And, amen.

-Corey “Narkissos” Springer

http://www.getnarked.net
www.facebook.com/NarkSide

Drink Coffee. Get Shredded. Simple.

NarkSide: Captain’s log – May 13th 2013

Hi guys! Corey here, with a random fat-burning ‘secret brew’ that is more-or-less a fixture in my day-to-day life.

A secret? Yep.

Why am I sharing it right now you ask? To be honest, I’ve got to thank one of my peers whose BBM status this morning gave me moment to pause.

It read, in part: “cut da C.R.A.P.”…where the “C” stood for caffeine.

Hell, I almost spilled the contents of my cup at that point in time.

What’s in my cup you ask?

I’m glad you asked.

Right now, as I do each morning (and a couple times through-out the day if I’m cutting), I’m sipping on this: 1 tsp coffee, 1tsp Organic cocoa…plus, hemp (or almond) milk, Cinnamon, & stevia to taste. (NB: I also sprinkle in some chromium polynicotinate…brandname “ChromeMate” for good measure. Doesn’t affect the choco-cinnabun-caffeine goodness at all!)

Why should my chocolate-coffee indulgence matter to you?

I’ll tell you why!

Caffeine, Chromium, Cocoa polyphenols, Cinnamon Polyphenols = fat-loss essentials

“Wait… What?”

That’s right.

Coffee, Caffeine, & Health

Now I’ve long been convinced that caffeine is one of the most effective drugs for fat-loss known to man, and has positive health implictions where mediation of ailments like Parkinson’s disease [1] and Alzheimer’s [2] are concerned. Caffeine, as present in coffee, may reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma (the most common form of skin cancer). Coffee, a beverage with a high ORAC rating, may positively affects longevity as well[3].

img Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2012/January/what-is-it-about-coffee

However, in the face of endless pieces of new research on this beverage (and the myriads of polyphenols and other compounds inherent to it), I find myself constantly flabbergasted by the outdated balderdash which fitness/health/wellness snobs still spew.

Coffee, Caffeine, Fat-Loss & Exercise Capacity.

I’m sitting here, right now, sipping my post-workout meal with a cup of chocolate-coffee (that, from this point on, I will refer to as ‘Nark-ade’). “No Nark! Caffeine + Carbs = Blunted Glucose Sensitivity.” Maybe on the short-term (hours really)… on the long term however, chronic caffeine consumption may reverse age-induced insulin resistance, as well as improve body composition[4].

Furthermore, caffeine (when consumed along with a postexercise carbohydrate feeding) may increase recovery as well as positively affect exercise capacity on subsequent attempts[5].

Wait… What?

Exactly.

Addendum: Cocoa, Cinnamon… tasty fat-shredders

I’ll keep this section short, as I’ve been informed that “aint nobody gots time fuh” all this reading.

Long story cut short:

  • Cinnamon’s polyphenols may increase insulin sensitivity by activating enzymes which act on insulin receptors[6].
  • Cocoa(/high-polyphenol dark chocolate) may reduce oxidative stress and increase free-fatty acid mobilization in response to exercise[7].

Wrapping Up:

Let’s set the record straight. Coffee is fucking awesome. If your adrenals aren’t fried from lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and/or overdependence on stimulants, have a cup. Hell… have two. Send me the third while you’re at it.

Regards,

-C. “Narkissos” Springer

Owner of:
“The NarkSide” Fitness Forums
Apollo Fitness Barbados
NarkSide Apparel

References:

1. Prediger (2010). “Effects of caffeine in Parkinson’s disease: from neuroprotection to the management of motor and non-motor symptoms.” J Alzheimers Dis.

2. Eskelinen, Kivipelto (2010). “Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” J Alzheimers Dis.

3. Freedman et. al. (2012). “Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.” N Engl J Med.

4. Guarino et. al. (2012). “Chronic caffeine intake reverses age-induced insulin resistance in the rat: effect on skeletal muscle Glut4 transporters and AMPK

activity.” Age (Dordr).

5. Taylor et al (2011). “The Effect of Adding Caffeine to Post-exercise Carbohydrate Feeding on Subsequent High-Intensity Interval-Running Capacity Compared with

Carbohydrate Alone.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.

6. Anderson and Polansky (2004). “Insulin Imitators: Polyphenols Found in Cinnamon Mimic Job of Hormone.” http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/apr04/cinnam0404.htm.

Retrieved: 13th May 2013

7. Allgrove et. al. (2011). “Regular dark chocolate consumption’s reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid mobilization in response to prolonged cycling.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.

p.s. In case you do ‘gots time fuh dat’, here’s some additional reading on chromium (which I didn’t extrapolate on above, for brevity):

Longevity Effect of Chromium Picolinate – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41705&postcount=2

Chromium and other insulin sensitizers may enhance glucagon secretion – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41706&postcount=3

Effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41707&postcount=4

Chromium improves insulin response to glucose in rats – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41708&postcount=5

Enhancing central and peripheral insulin activity as a strategy for the treatment of endogenous depression – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?

p=41709&postcount=6

Chromium picolinate and life-long insulin sensitivity? – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41710&postcount=7

Chromium in human nutrition: a review – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41711&postcount=8

Effect of chromium supplementation in diabetic patients – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41712&postcount=9

Effects of dietary chromium picolinate supplementation on growth – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41713&postcount=10

Chromium picolinate in preservation of bone density – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41714&postcount=11

Effect of chromium picolinate on growth – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41715&postcount=12

Longevity effect of chromium picolinate–‘rejuvenation’ of hypothalamic function? – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41717&postcount=13

Effects of chromium picolinate on beginning weight training students – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41719&postcount=15

Nutritional ergogenic aids: chromium, exercise, and muscle mass – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41721&postcount=17

Efficacy of chromium supplementation in athletes: emphasis on anabolism – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41722&postcount=18

Chromium and other insulin sensitizers may enhance glucagon secretion – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41723&postcount=19

Fish oil and Chromium for treatment of congestive heart failure? – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41724&postcount=20

Implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41725&postcount=21

Chromium oligopeptide activates insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41726&postcount=22

Chromium nicotinic acid supplementation effects selected cardiovascular disease risk factors – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41727&postcount=23

Chromium picolinate supplementation improves cardiac metabolism – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41728&postcount=24

Chromium deficiency = predisposition to glucose intolerance in pregnancy? – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41729&postcount=25

The effect of chromium picolinate on the liver levels of trace elements – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41730&postcount=26

Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on serum triglyceride levels – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41731&postcount=27

Insulin resistance in Mexican Americans–a precursor to obesity and diabetes? – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41732&postcount=28

Supplementation favorably impacts many parameters which govern cardiovascular risk – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41733&postcount=29

Rationales for micronutrient supplementation in diabetes – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41734&postcount=30

Rat life span increase with chromium picolinate – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41736&postcount=31

Chromium Polynicotinate Favorably Influences Genes That Promote Muscle Development, Fat Burning – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41745&postcount=35

Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?

p=41748&postcount=37

Potential antioxidant effects of zinc and chromium supplementation in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?

p=41749&postcount=38

Influence of chromium-enriched yeast on blood glucose and insulin variables, blood lipids, and markers of oxidative stress in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. –

http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41750&postcount=39

Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improves glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes –

http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41752&postcount=41

Chromium, glucose intolerance and diabetes – http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41754&postcount=43

Chromium picolinate supplementation can be considered to improve carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients receiving corticosteroid treatment –

http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41755&postcount=44

The use of Glucose Disposal Aides (such as chromium) to control postprandial Blood Glucose levels, holds superior metabolic benefit:

http://www.getnarked.net/forum/showpost.php?p=41757&postcount=46