Nature has an answer for everything – Fenugreek

If you have spent anytime pursuing any kind of sport you will have definitely been exposed to the myriad of pills and potions to help enhance physical performance, from sports drinks laced with sugar for running all the way through to steroids and growth hormone for bodybuilding, the supplement industry is a multi billion dollar industry and it is not difficult to see the motivation behind the glossy advertising campaigns and influencer posts.

Meanwhile for the vast majority of us the availability of the base ingredients of these hyped products never crosses our radar, sitting anonymously on a shelf in a health food store waiting for the inquisitive and informed person to notice just how much cheaper they are compared to the big company names pushed on us from any chosen publication as we pursue our sport.

One of the things I and men all over the world have to deal with is the decline of testosterone from the age of 30 and all the negative symptoms this brings, lack of energy, lack of sex drive, lack of intensity, and as a consequence lack of activity can increase bodyfat and without testosterone to keep the levels down estrogen will rise and cause more weight gain, this is a cycle that many men find themselves in and are looking for a way to increase testosterone without going down the slightly risky route of testosterone replacement therapy or even worse trusting the local dealer to sell good quality steriods.

So while researching testosterone boosting supplements I noticed Fenugreek came up over and over again and so I looked into it further, there is a plethora of information out there and lots of scientific studies proving the effectiveness of this herb (1) and the thing that caught my eye again was the dosage levels, this particular study cites 500mg of Fenugreek as an optimal dosage, most of the supplements I had seen were around 350mg, so far below, it is also widely accepted and shown in this study (2) that the combination of Fenugreek and protodioscin (Tribulus Terrestris) had a significant effect on testosterone, libido, strength and mental alertness.

So rather than purchase the sports manufacturer product that contained only one of the ingredients required and at a lower dosage level than is effective, I set out to buy them separately and see if I could get the results that the study showed.

I began with 600mg of Fenugreek and 300mg of Tribulus as these were the strengths that the tablets came in, and I have been doing this for nearly a week now, I can report with some confidence that my strength has increased and my focus at work has very much improved, one of the effects of higher testosterone is the reduction of bodyfat in general and I think I am seeing some changes but in fairness it is too early to really tell and as far as timelines is concerned I have only just started, I did go up to 600mg of Tribulus but I am not sure if i will continue this as I did start to feel a little odd but this could be just the body getting used to the new substance.

I will monitor my progress for 12 weeks and report my findings as I go, but it is looking really positive so far…

Nature truly does provide for nearly all our requirements, sure it takes more looking and the results are rarely instantaneous, this doesn’t sit well in our on demand society and so natural products often get overlooked in favour of synthetic drugs that hit the system like a steam hammer, but you should always balance the benefit you are looking to achieve, as there is nearly always a detriment to drugs and very rarely to normal dosages of natural products.

As always I will provide links to the products I am writing about, if you are interested and would like to buy through my link please do so, but if not simply google Fenugreek or Tribulus and you will find a whole load of places where these are available.

Picking up the cardio pace

Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/vqFsfyjkeY

I do cardio first thing in the morning so it is time limited, as the 5k walks were getting easier I had to find a way to increase my output, so went faster! But initially for less time and distance, however this will pick up and I will pass my previous calorie expenditure in no time, proving that sometimes to move forward you have to take a little step back.

Holiday Challenge

In September we are going to Dubai for what amounts to a long weekend, now, I have lost a considerable amount of bodyfat since starting and along the way my research has taught me a lot about how the body works and how if we work in tune with it and support it during the changes we want to make we can achieve some truly amazing things, there are some challenges coming up in my life over the next six to twelve months that will restrict any travel we may have done so I would like to go out with a bang so as to speak on this trip at the end of the year, the aim is to get as close to having visible Abs and good muscle tone and definition as possible before we depart.

As a way to share what is possible and also to keep me on the straight and narrow ( I have found that an audience no matter how small tends to do this ) I will be documenting my progress weekly until we go, starting today ( I have always traditionally weighed myself on a Sunday for some reason ) and for the following 12 weeks.

Week weight
1 17st 13.2lbs

To achieve this I will be following my own routine that has been working for the past year with just a couple of minor tweaks as I have found that despite the internet message of “just go for it” practicalities have to be considered as well, and nearly falling asleep at work is not a good look, believe me!

So here is the program that I will be starting with initially.

  1. Weight Training – every other day, this has always worked for me and I see no reason to change it, it is easily sustainable as I have no issue with training first thing in the morning or last thing at night, I know some people are precious about when they train but in today’s world unless you are a paid fitness star, a professional athlete or just happen to be a millionaire you have to fit training in around work, no point being muscular and sleeping on a park bench.
  2. Yoga – on the opposite days to the Weight Training, this is to continue the work I did to get flexible and to improve my static strength, I find Yoga very productive and have continued to practice it sometimes just because of the mindset and distraction it provides from the chaos of the rat race.
  3. Diet – This will not change from the low Carb high Protein and fibre diet I converted to all those months ago, save for adding in casein protein at night time to assist my protein synthesis as I am now marching on in years.
  4. Coconut Oil – this seems to have worked wonders, I have been using it now first thing in the morning as my first intake of nutrition, remember that anecdotal research tended to suggest that this sets your body up to burn Fat for energy and provides focus, and I have been having the black coffee and Coconut Oil before going to the gym, I have noticed huge differences in focus, strength and endurance from following this.
  5. 5k a Day – this was the routine I started a few weeks ago and it has appeared to bear fruit, while away two weeks ago I put on 2lbs and this weigh in I have lost that and a further 4.8lbs this is good going in my book and probably right at the upper end of how much I want to lose a week, I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anybody try and lose more a week unless the medical benefits outweighed the possible drawbacks, I may however increase this to 7k as you need to adapt your exercise as the body becomes more capable.

And that really is it, any changes to the routine and I will outline why this has been done and what they are, and hopefully it will be “Abs for Dubai”

Fat Burner V’s Bio Hacking

A healthy cynicism is required today as more and more people vy for your time and your Dollar, this is no more evident anywhere than in my two chosen points of focus currently,

Both the weightloss industry, or fitness industry as it also known and the financial freedom industry are absolutely overrun with what would have been referred to as “snake oil salesmen” back in the wild west.

And it is not difficult to see why as the fitness and weightloss industry is worth and estimated $18 Billion in the US and $5 Billion in the UK (which I personally struggle with because most UK gyms are, shall we say, lacking a little) and that kind of money attracts a lot of people just looking to turn a quick buck.

It isn’t necessarily just the odd cynical individual either big companies and businesses are doing the same thing, most Fat burners on the market today contain the same ingredients in greater or lesser amounts and there are food producers as well as dedicated supplement producers that will, for a price provide you with a white label, protein powder, or fat burner or vitamin supplement as well as all the other plethora of products available to buy.

But, should you use these products? and indeed should I ever advocate them? well the latter is easy to answer, I will never advocate anything that I have not tried and found to be of benefit, and of course the former is what this site / blog is all about.

In my experience there has been a few Fat Burners over the years that have felt like they are working, but this is because (and solely because) of the stimulant effect we assume that because we are warm it is thermogenisis and because we are feeling a bit frantic and like we cannot sit still that we have lots of energy and that this is coming from fat, but sadly this is more likely to be coming from the high dosage of caffeine than anything else.

You are much better off leaving the fat burners on the shelf in my opinion, or at the very least understand why a certain one should or should not work, in the book I read recently there was a parallel drawn between a VCR manual and life, the point being that anybody can buy a VCR and play videos, maybe record the odd thing or two, but only somebody who has read the manual and has digested it thoroughly can record a series at will, or have the TV turning over to the right channel when you switch the thing on, your VCR becomes much more powerful, and when you move onto DVD or Digital Recorders you are able to adapt almost immediately because you understand the nature of the thing.

Bio Hacking gives you the opportunity to do this, to look deep into your body and it’s chemistry, start to put on muscle at will and lose fat when you desire it rather than sitting wishing, and through that knowledge of how things work you can and will start picking supplements that you require.

Take the time to get to know yourself before blindly handing over money to somebody offering you the world in a minute, social media has given us all the impression that success and change is achievable overnight and people have pushed this message in order to turn a profit, it is rubbish, but you learn how the system works, any system and once you know it inside and out you can make it sing and dance to your tune.

Just to indicate that this was not merely a rant for the sake of a post, I did try taking a fat burner from one of the big supplement companies, one that manages to get it’s name in front of millions of people everyday, and after following the directions for 4 weeks exactly as directed with no deviation the results looked like this.

Fat BurnerIntermittent Fasting
Week 1 -0 -4
Week 2 -4 -3
Week 3 -1 -4
Week 4 -0Not yet weighed

It is important to know that my eating did not change other then to fast of course between the two and there was not a significant increase in exercise, simply a greater understanding of what to do in order to make my body respond how I wanted it too.

End of fasting day 2

So my second day is drawing to a close and I can eat in about 20 minutes, all went well but according to the keto strips, I didn’t actually make it to any meaningful ketosis, although the level did rise, I will look to try and hack that further and see if the myriad of keto supplements on the market work.

Practice the Preaching ep12

I had a setback today, or at least it felt like one, despite not going outside my diet and following my exercise schedule to the letter (very nearly) I had only a 1.4lb loss when weigh in day came round this morning.

To some that would seem perfectly acceptable but I have been striving for more of a loss as I am still at the stage where no matter how much effort I put in at the gym I will not put enough muscle on during a week to cancel out any substantial proportion of fat loss,

If I do however find the magic bullet for fat loss I will share it with you all right after I share it with the copyright office!

Now the reason for the long story about how I was gutted at my weight loss is actually to lead into an example of how much I have changed since taking my health and well being seriously, prior to this the response to this morning would have been to have a day off doing any activities “To re-centre myself” then promise that when I begin again tomorrow I will work harder, now I see these events as triggers rather than failures, and anything that doesn’t have the desired result in your journey should do the same.

Failure (noun)

A failure has happened, it is an event from which there is no recovery, it is a noun and it has no part in anybodies vocabulary when talking about their life, or life goals, once uttered the event that gets labelled as a failure acts as a wall, a barrier between you on one side and what you were looking to achieve on the other, if you are lucky you can push through the wall should a random act provide a resolution to the failure, but you don’t want to trust your life and happiness to luck now do you ?

Trigger (verb)

In contrast a trigger is a reaction to an event that might not have played out as you expected, it is the response to a situation good or bad, and it forces us to react, in this respect it is a continuation to a destination even if the path has changed, it is not stopping, there is no lack of momentum or stalling of drive and purpose, you have a situation or result and that triggers you to shape your actions to either avoid the current situation and change it or to move further along the same path but with more or less effort depending on the reaction required.

Response

Well your response is your response and it will be a reaction to whatever events you are evaluating, but in order to qualify that I am not simply trying to think up inspirational stories for followers and page views, I will explain my response to this trigger, I started to react predictably with some negative internal dialogue along the lines of, “this is it I have lost as much as I am going to” and “well bit of a setback I will have a day off and change something for next week” but this did not last, I reminded myself that I have had that conversation many times and it has never improved my life, ever, it is solely responsible for the state I found myself in leading to having to ask a shop assistant if they had any jeans bigger than a 56 inch waist,

Instead I looked at the result, and evaluated the parameters, effort in Vs results out, and in this case there had been some return but just not enough, so my response to this trigger ?, instead of walking 5k this morning I walked 7.89 and it took me 1hr 21min, when I got back to the house everything was hurting but I felt good, and the feeling wasn’t just physical, there is a huge mental boost to having a disappointment and answering that not by shrinking away but by literally expanding to be bigger than it and steam-rolling over it.

My opinion is that there are always going to be events in our lives that will floor us, and I mean all the inspirational memes and pep talks and jumping up and down clapping will have no effect at all, fortunately these are usually very very few and far between, the vast majority of events that we deal with are not like that, although it may seem like it at first, normally if you stop and look around you and the world looks the same as it did a minute previously you are all good.

Little Superhuman update

When I set out with this part of the goal was to secure financial freedom as well, and I am currently working on an article about that very thing, but I have got to make just this one comment before that really to justify why it hasn’t been touched on before, so far I have spent on average 6 hours a week looking at different schemes and businesses online, and while I believe 100% that there is gold them wires, the process to extract is NEVER as easy as 99.99999% of these advertisers claim, as harsh as that is the vast majority of these “millionaires” that are going to share their secrets with you for free are either some douche recruiting affiliates to funnel people into a scheme that recruits affiliates into a scheme that sells the scheme, remnants of these schemes either still be flogged by desperate 100th level recruits trying to wring the last nuts out of the thing or simply videos and single landing pages put up and waiting for their hosting money or view credits for “live webinars” to run out before going all 404 on everyone and at worst just straight out scams, but I am looking at real plans for real people to change their financial position and future, I have many issues that we discuss at length with the current global financial suppression of humans, where we are taught from an early age that we need a job and a mortgage that we can pay off before we retire so we don’t owe any money when we die, apparently this means we have won and we have been good citizens, the reality however, is that if I work when I want and I own a house with no mortgage, follow the pursuits in life that make me happy and can facilitate the same fate for my children, then I have won.

Honestly I am not some crazed revolutionist that believes in world without law and responsibility, that would be chaos and very very dangerous, as I have said before I am a humanist and I believe in humans being able to live their lives free from oppression and conscripted debt.

Main Photo by Abhiram Prakash from Pexels

Practice the Preaching ep11

Appreciation through Contrast

So there was a small issue this morning when embarking for my 5k walk, due to an oversight on my part my headphones were flat, I have to admit that I cannot actually remember when I last charged them and being a gadget freak of course I do not own a wired pair that I could have used in their place.

I decided to set off without the aid of music ( I sometimes listen to podcasts and audio books as well ) resigning myself to a walk that would feel longer and more arduous due to the lack of audio input.

The exact opposite happened and I found that without my normal distraction my mind was looking for other ways to stop thinking about the pain in my quads ( I trained legs the day before yesterday and they are sore, I am in agony ) and I was able to take in the scenery around me, I noticed Deer in a field and Rabbits started to cross the path in front of me, what with the birds singing in the trees it would only have taken a brief glimpse of a Disney princess to convince me I was still asleep and I should get up to go for my walk!

The Silence of an empty road

My point is this, I am a materialistic person, I like things, I like stuff, gadgets and watches, computers and cars, but they are hectic, they are thrilling in some cases and high maintenance in others, but without contrast they become noise, just faceless ordinary white noise, we get used to things too quickly and they lose their lustre, so we start looking for new things, shinier and in most cases more expensive, because there is lack of contrast, if we compare like for like we can only look to increase the value of what we have to effect change, if on the other hand you look to balance experiences with polar opposites your appreciation of both sides becomes exponentially heightened, and you will start to see the added value in each with a fresh prospective,

As an example take a concert, you go and see your favourite artist / band and it is loud and busy, you probably get bumped into frequently, and spend what seems like 90 percent of the time with somebody stood on your foot but I bet you still can’t get the smile off your face, you enjoy it and when it comes to an end you are gutted, it is over and you are on your way home, but when you reach home and sit down with the beverage of your choice you really appreciate the quiet and the stillness, it provides the same pleasure as the concert but in a polar opposite way, the same can be said for pretty much anything in life.

Sorry for the quality, digital zoom

The walk this morning, although it actually took longer, as I say my legs are less than optimal, felt like it went by quicker, it was easier somehow as I had been forced out of wireless headphones and the ability to choose which particular rabbit hole I put my consciousness into and I was forced to look at the world outside my front door at arguably one the most peaceful and beautiful times of the day, so if you are feeling tired or bored with your immediate surroundings my suggestion is to get up and pursue if only for a brief moment the exact opposite of your current environment rather than look to increase your experience of the norm, we grow and thrive on change and adaptation, and popping out to the countryside rather than going on the internet to look for a bigger TV will also help you to achieve financial goals, as it is a lot cheaper.

Again, smash it each day 100%, invest in yourself and before you know it you will wake up where you want to be.

Main Photo by sergio souza from Pexels.