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Ebook Tools Of Titans (2016) By Timothy Ferriss | Epub

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  1. mukul
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    JOE DE SENA
    Joe De Sena (TW/FB/IG: @SPARTANRACE, SPARTAN.COM) is the co-founder of the Death Race, Spartan Race (more than 1 million competitors), and more. He has completed the famously grueling Iditarod dogsledding race . . . by foot. He also finished the Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles at over 120°F/49°C), Vermont 100, and Lake Placid Ironman—all in the same week. The man is a maniac, and he’s a very strategic businessman. I first met him through Summit Series (summit.co). He keeps inviting me to visit him in Vermont, and I refuse because I’m afraid.


    WHY HE STARTED TACKLING INSANE EVENTS WHILE WORKING ON WALL STREET

    “You make and lose $30K, $40K in minutes screwing up an order or having customers tell you that they are no longer going to deal with you. It was very stressful business. [I wanted] to get back to the core of life. . . . [A friend] said, ‘Well, you could die. There is this one—the Iditarod in Alaska. They do it in the middle of the winter, it is by foot, and it is 30 below. But, you have to —’ ‘Sign me up. I have to do it.’ I had to get back to this place where you just want water, food, and shelter. All the craziness of my life—this Wall Street life I had taken on—would go away, would melt away.”


    ON THE ORIGINS OF THE DEATH RACE

    “And what if I created—with a buddy of mine—this race that purposely broke these people? Not the way the races I had done or a marathon does, but where I would actually drive the participants crazy? Not tell them when it is starting, not tell them when it is ending, not giving them water, giving them buses during the middle of the race and saying, ‘You could quit here. Just get on the bus. This is not for you. You are too weak,’ . . . and that was the beginning of my race business.”

    TIM: “How do you break people?”

    JOE: “Well, I don’t think they knew what they were getting into, because we had never done it before. One guy—I remember specifically—started crying and he was like, ‘I am a really good runner. I just do not know how to chop wood.’ Broken. Because no one knew. We did not tell them. So, Doug Lewis, who is an Olympic-level downhill skier, is 15, 18 hours into this thing and he is cracking. He is broken and he turns to me and says, ‘I made the Olympics. I trained my whole life. I am a pretty tough guy.’ He goes, ‘This is fucking crazy.’ That moment, we knew we had a winner.”


    FUNNY ANECDOTE FROM AMELIA BOONE

    Amelia Boone (page 2) has finished the Death Race three times and sent this to me:

    “Hurricane Irene washed out a bridge on his property. A 1-ton metal I-beam had been stuck in the water for a few years, and the state was going to fine him some obscene amount if he didn’t remove it. It would have cost him tens of thousands of dollars to have it removed, so instead, he had his winter Death Racers get in the river in January and remove it for him. It took us probably 8 hours. I came away with second-degree frostbite in most of my toes, as did many others. And the hilarious part? People paid HIM to experience that (the race entrance fee) AND he avoided fines and the cost of removal. Fucking genius.”


    RANDOM TIDBITS FROM FOLLOW-UP CONVERSATIONS

    • Joe, like Jocko [Willink, page 412], believes that you shouldn’t need caffeine or alcohol. He also thinks, “You should sweat like you’re being chased by the police daily.”
    • When people tell Joe to stop and smell the roses, his first response is, “Who is maintaining the roses?”

    ✸ Do you have any quotes you live your life by or think of often?

    “It could always be worse.”
     
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    WIM “THE ICEMAN” HOF
    Wim Hof (TW/IG: @ICEMAN_HOF, ICEMANWIMHOF.COM) is a Dutch world record holder nicknamed “The Iceman.” He is the creator of the Wim Hof Method and holds more than 20 world records. Wim is an outlier of daredevils, as he routinely asks scientists to measure and validate his feats. Here are just a few examples:

    • In 2007, he climbed past the “death zone” altitude on Mount Everest (~7,500 meters) wearing nothing but shorts and shoes.
    • In 2009, Wim completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland, once again only in shorts, despite temperatures close to −20°C (−4°F).
    • Wim has set multiple records for ice bath endurance, with his best time at nearly 2 hours.
    • In 2011, he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. He can also run at altitude without suffering altitude sickness.

    WARNING: NEVER DO BREATHING EXERCISES IN WATER OR BEFORE TRAINING IN WATER. SHALLOW-WATER BLACKOUTS CAN BE FATAL, AND YOU WILL NOT FEEL THE ONSET UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE.

    Wim Hof breathing should never be done near water. Joshua Waitzkin (page 577), another podcast guest with decades of free-diving experience, suffered a shallow-water blackout at a public pool in New York City and was underwater for an additional 3 minutes before being pulled out by a lifeguard. He remained unconscious for an additional 20 minutes, and was then hospitalized for 3 days and subjected to a barrage of tests to assess the damage, including potential brain damage. He could have died extremely easily. So, to reiterate: Do not practice this type of breath work in combination with water immersion. There will be no warning sign before you lose consciousness. M’kay?


    A MIND-BLOWING EXPERIMENT

    Before I describe the exercise, I shall repeat my usual refrain: Don’t be stupid and hurt yourself, please. Use a very soft surface in case you face plant.

    1. Do a set of push-ups and end a few repetitions short of failure. Record the number.
    2. Rest at least 30 minutes.
    3. Do ~40 repetitions of the following breathing exercise: Max inhale (raise chest) and “let go” exhale (drop chest sharply). The let-go exhale can be thought of as a short “hah.” If you’re doing this correctly, after 20 to 30 reps you might feel loose, mild lightheadedness, and a little bit of tingling. The tingling is often felt in the hands first.
    4. On the last breathing cycle, breathe in completely, exhale completely, then do another set of push-ups. More often than not, people will experience a sharp increase in the max number of push-ups, even though their lungs are empty.

    COLD IS A GREAT PURIFYING FORCE

    Wim, surfing king Laird Hamilton (page 92), and Tony Robbins (page 210) all use cold exposure as a tool. It can improve immune function, increase fat loss (partially by increasing levels of the hormone adiponectin), and dramatically elevate mood. In fact, Van Gogh was prescribed cold baths twice daily in a psychiatric ward after severing his own ear.

    “All the problems I have in the daily world subside when I do [cold exposure]. Exposing myself to the worthy cold . . . it is a great cleaning purifying force.”

    Wim takes cold to terrifying extremes (his retinas froze once while swimming in a lake under sheets of ice), but you can start with a cold water “finish” to showers. Simply make the last 30 to 60 seconds of your shower pure cold. Among others in this book, Naval Ravikant (page 546), Joshua Waitzkin (page 577), and I now do this. Josh does it with his tiny son, Jack, who he’s trained to say “It’s so good!” when it feels unbearable.

    Below is my current cold regimen, often alternated with heat, which we covered on page 7. My full “workout” process then, is 1) pre-workout BCAA, 2) workout, 3) post-exercise whey protein, 4) immediate heat (~20 minutes) followed by 5) cold (5 to 10 minutes). I repeat the hot-cold cycle 2 to 4 times.

    My post-workout cold routine is as follows:

    • Put ~40 pounds of ice (this will depend on your bathtub size) into a bathtub, and then fill with water. That order avoids splashing and speeds things up. Instacart is helpful for ice delivery, or buy a garage freezer just for bags of ice, which is far easier than fancy ice-making or cooling contraptions.
    • 15 to 20 minutes later, when the water reaches ~45°F, it is ready for use. I drop a $5 immersion thermometer from Carolina Biological Supply Company in the water for tracking. Coach Sommer (page 9) uses the low 50s°F for his athletes.
    • After heat, I enter the ice bath, keeping my hands out of the water. This allows me to stay in for longer, as capillary density is high in the hands. Hands go under for the last 3 to 5 minutes.

    THE MAGIC DIET

    I expected a mutant such as Wim to have dietary tricks. When I asked him about his typical dinners, his answer made me laugh: “I like pasta, and I like a couple of beers, too. Yeah!” How can he function on this food? Genetics might play a role, but he also rarely eats before 6 p.m. and tends to eat one single meal per day. To use the lingo of the cool kids: He has practiced intermittent fasting for decades now.


    HEART-TO-HEART HUGS

    When I first trained with Wim in person in Malibu, California, I noticed he hugged differently than most people. He throws his left arm over the person’s shoulder, putting his head to the right of theirs. I asked someone on his team if he was left-handed.

    “No. He just wants to hug heart-to-heart with everyone.”

    I love this, and several friends in this book now do this on special occasions. Just be forewarned: It throws people off, just like offering someone your left hand to shake, so best to explain (just tap your heart and say “heart to heart”). This also helps to avoid headbutts.


    WIM + DOM = INTERESTING

    During that same training session, I went from my normal 45-second breath hold time to 4 minutes and 45 seconds with no perceptible side effects. Several months later, while in deep ketosis (6+ mmol) after 8 days of fasting, I did the same exercises in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at 2.4 ATA. The result? I held my breath for a staggering 7 minutes and 30 seconds before stopping in fear of my brain melting. In case you miraculously missed my warning at the beginning of this profile (page 42), read it. If you read it, please reread it. For more on ketosis and fasting, see Dominic D’Agostino on page 21.

    RICK RUBIN’S BARREL SAUNA
    Here are the specs for Rick Rubin’s (page 502) barrel sauna, which is a slightly smaller version of what Laird Hamilton (page 92) has. There are two long benches along the walls, and it can easily seat 6 to 8 people. It is about 7 feet in diameter and height.

    I have an exact duplicate in my backyard, which I often use 1 to 2 times daily, as it only takes 5 to 15 minutes to warm up. How on earth is it so fast? The heater is 3 to 4 times larger than it should be for the cubic footage. This is done on purpose, but it will freak out suppliers who are hesitant to combine a small sauna with a large heater. Put them together at your own risk!

    The sauna and heater components are typically sold separately. This book will likely give Dundalk, the sauna company I used, the “hug of death”—they’ll be overwhelmed with requests and cease to be a viable option. I’ve provided a few alternatives below. Prices obviously change over time.

    Sauna

    Dundalk 7' x 8' Red Cedar Barrel Sauna with Window and Heavy Duty Fold Up Benches and Extra Wood for Heater Guard (Door Hinged on Left)—Cost ~$6,500 (unassembled)

    dundalkleisurecraft.com

    Other suppliers with decent reviews worth considering:

    almostheaven.com

    barrel-sauna.com

    leisureliving.ca

    Heater

    Model NC-12 with SC-9 control and 1-phase relay box, plus 2 boxes of rocks (what I have)—Cost ~$2,000

    sauna.com/nordic-sauna-heaters

    leisureliving.ca
     
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    JASON NEMER
    Jason Nemer (IG: @JASONNEMER, ACROYOGA.ORG) is a cofounder of AcroYoga, which blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving-kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of acrobatics. Jason was a two-time U.S. Junior National champion in sports acrobatics and represented the U.S. at the World Championships in Beijing in 1991. He performed acrobatics in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics. AcroYoga now has certified teachers in more than 60 countries and hundreds of thousands of practitioners.


    BACK STORY

    In 2015, I sat next to Jason at a dinner party at a friend’s house in L.A. Somehow, my lower-back pain—which had been plaguing me—came up, and he offered to “fly” me on the spot. Having no idea what that was, I agreed and ended up getting spun around in the air on his feet for about 15 minutes. It was surreal and seemed to defy the laws of physics. Two things worth noting: I weighed ~180 pounds and he weighs ~160 (he’s done the same with someone ~280 and 6'7"), and my back no longer hurt after the upside-down traction.

    In the past, I’d always been repelled by yoga: too much mumbo-jumbo, too little excitement. AcroYoga is a different beast. You’ll endure the occasional Sanskrit, but it’s otherwise like a combination of body-weight strength training, dance (the “base” is the lead, and the “flier” follows), roughhousing (lots of wipeouts), and hip rehab (after ten sessions, my lower body felt 10 years younger).

    It’s also the ultimate movement-based Prozac. In a culture where physical touch is taboo, this allows you to experience sensual but not sexual connection, all while getting incredibly strong and flexible. Last but not least, I laugh at least 50% of the time in all training sessions. It’s a wonderful balance to all the “serious” training that I do. If you’d like to see me both basing and flying, as well as teaching some basic techniques, just search “acroyoga” on youtube.com/timferriss.


    ODDS AND ENDS

    Duck Shit Oolong Tea

    Jason brought this delicious tea for us to drink during recording. It’s sometimes called “duck shit fragrance tea.” Supposedly, long ago in a region in China, the local populace wanted to keep this amazing tea for themselves, so they nicknamed it “duck shit” tea. Smart move. It was played down for centuries, until being rediscovered as very much non–duck shit flavored. Jason gets his from Quantitea (quantitea.com).

    Jason has traveled the world for the last 6 years, never staying in one place more than 3 weeks. He travels with next to no luggage but insists on carrying a ukulele and a donkey’s load worth of tea.


    FeetUp (Shoulder Stand Device) or Substitutes

    The limiting factor for most people learning handstands is the wrists. This weakest link prevents you from getting enough upside-down practice. The FeetUp device addresses this—imagine a small padded toilet seat cushion mounted on a low stool. You stick your head through it, rest your shoulders on the padding, grab the two handles, and kick up into a headstand or handstand, with your shoulders supporting your weight. This allows you to work on alignment, tightness, positional drills (tuck, pike, straddle, etc.) in higher volume. The FeetUp is Jason’s preference, but it’s hard to find in the U.S. (en.feetup.eu). The BodyLift Yoga Headstand and Yogacise Bench are similar, or search for “yoga headstand bench.”


    A Saying from One of Jason’s Mentors, Chinese Master Acrobat Lu Yi

    “Mo’ extension!” (more extension). In a handstand, you should push your shoulders as near (or past) your ears as possible. If you’ve ever done shrugs with dumbbells, imagine doing that with your arms overhead, and avoid arching your back. Also, the first knuckle (fist knuckle) of the index finger is prone to lifting off the ground in handstand practice. Jason calls this “the naughty knuckle.”


    For Instagram inspiration, check out these profiles:

    @theacrobear

    @duo_die_acrobatics

    @acrospherics

    @cheeracro_

    @acropediaorg

    @mike.aidala

    @yogacro

    @lux_seattleacro


    To find AcroYoga classes, teachers, and movements:

    Acropedia.org

    Facebook—Search your city’s name and “acroyoga.” The AcroYoga Berlin page, for example, has 3,650 playmates and training partners ready for you.

    Acromaps.com

    Acropedia.org (techniques)


    ✸ What do you believe that other people think is insane?

    It’s Jason’s follow-up that I love the most, but this gives context:

    “That you can trust people. You can trust a lot of people. You don’t have to live in fear of strangers. Strangers are just people you haven’t flown yet. It seems crazy to me that, in many cultures, we teach our children to fear and not talk to strangers. I’ve been all over the world. My mom was not happy when I was going to go to the Middle East for the first time. I was actually in Boston, about to lead a teacher training, when the Boston Marathon bombing happened. I had 15 students who were on lockdown for 24 hours.

    “I got on the phone to my mom and I said ‘Look, Mom, you think Israel is dangerous. I’m in Boston. You cannot hide from danger.’ But I don’t think that’s a reason to not trust people. I’ve traveled the world in some very sketchy places and I’ve never had anything bad happen to me.

    “I assume the best in people. I assume that I can trust them until they prove me wrong. When you do this practice enough, trusting is like a muscle that you flex. It doesn’t mean that I’m a cowboy with it. I have really good credit assessment.”

    TIM: “Hold on—you said nothing bad has happened to you. How much of that is simply seeing things in the most positive light? Because you had your throwing knives [stolen by customs officers] in Panama. So shit happens, I’m imagining.”

    Jason laughed, was quiet for a second, then answered:

    “One of the things that happened to me that was really amazing—I had all of my objects liberated from me. . . . Basically, I didn’t want to work in restaurants [anymore], and I’m like, ‘I’m a yogi. I’m going to do this. I don’t care how hard it is. I love this.’ Boom. So I was living in my van.

    “My 30th birthday, my friend throws me a party. That night I got a book on Buddhism, a case of coconuts, and I hung out with my friends. The next day, my van’s gone. My home is gone. Everything is gone. So I go crack a coconut and start reading about Buddhism because . . . what the fuck else am I gonna do? And page 4 is talking about homelessness and wandering. I think, ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ And that started my nomadic traveling. If I had stayed in San Francisco and tried to make it as a yoga teacher, AcroYoga wouldn’t be a worldwide practice.

    “Let go of what’s not working and really assess what is working and ‘what can I be excited about?’ It’s not that bad things don’t happen to me. I don’t label a lot of things good/bad. [Instead, I ask] can I evolve from this? What do I want now? Where is my center now?”


    ✸ Most-gifted or recommended books

    The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: “I love really condensed, shakti [empowerment]-filled, energy-filled statements—something that you can read in a few minutes or you can read for your whole life.” [TF: This little tome is fewer than 100 pages long. Spend the extra $5 for the version with the author’s illustrations.]

    Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: Jason travels with this book. “Oftentimes before meditation, I’ll just open it randomly to a page. I read about something and then just have that be what I steep in as I sit.” (See Rick Rubin, page 502, and Joshua Waitzkin, page 577.) When I asked Jason via text which translation he liked, he joked “Tao de Chinga tu madre” (ah, my friends), and then specified: Stephen Mitchell.


    ✸ Jason’s best $100 or less purchase

    Jason loves disc (Frisbee) golf and travels with discs. In particular, Innova’s Roc mid-range disc and his “go-to driver,” the TeeBird. He plays the game, but he also, on rare occasions, lets a disc go:

    “I correct people when they get really serious because there are people who have caddies. For real. Those people think it’s a sport. It’s a pastime, no matter how hard you work at it. It’s a piece of plastic, and you’re throwing it around. . . .

    “But to watch a disc fly for about a minute, it’s magical. . . . In yoga, there’s this philosophy,svaha. I call it ‘Fuck it, let go.’ . . . I like to throw Frisbees off of really high objects. And when I’m in these very ceremonial places like Machu Picchu, it’s like, ‘What am I releasing?’ So it’s an intentional act.”


    ✸ What would you put on a billboard?

    “Play! Play more. I feel like people are so serious, and it doesn’t take much for people to drop back into the wisdom of a childlike playfulness. If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’d be movement and play. Because you can’t really play without moving, so they’re intertwined.

    “Treadmills kill your spirit. There are reasons and times to do treadmills, but if that is your only way of moving your body, you’re selling yourself short. There are much cooler ways to move your body, way more fun things, and I just happened to have the good fortune to learn a lot of these really cool things. So play.”


    PARTING THOUGHTS: DON’T OVERCOMPARTMENTALIZE

    On theoretical yoga versus applied yoga: “I also feel that there’s a ceiling on yoga, and the ceiling is: You have all this amazing knowledge and all this amazing practice, but how are you bringing that into the world? What happens when you’re in traffic? How are you with your mom? Do you talk to your mom? Do you tell her the truth?”
     
  4. mukul
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    ACROYOGA—THAI AND FLY
    AcroYoga is a blend of three complementary disciplines: yoga, acrobatics, and therapeutics.

    The therapeutics were brought into the fold by Jenny Sauer-Klein, the other cofounder of AcroYoga (along with Jason Nemer, page 46), and resemble suspended Thai massage. So much so that it’s often referred to as “Thai and fly.”

    I’ve seen Jason blow high-level acrobats’ minds (even those from Cirque du Soleil) with Folded Leaf (page 55), perhaps the easiest of all AcroYoga therapeutic poses. Be forewarned that it’s sometimes jokingly referred to as “Leaf Blower,” as it puts face close to groin. If your partner’s not ready to be inches from your crotch, Hippie Twist (page 54) is a Disney-friendly alternative.

    To intro you to the “Acro” world, I’ll share a few of my favorite moves from therapeutic flying. They are much safer than acrobatics, which require a teacher and spotters.

    In 5 minutes or so, I’ve used the following to fix lower-back pain in at least six of the people featured in this book. “I haven’t felt this type of release and relaxation in years . . . or ever” is a common response. Take it SLOW and enjoy! If it’s uncomfortable, you’re not doing it right. Do this on a mat or grass, and I suggest practicing the moves in the order listed.

    Anything in quotation marks is what I’d say as a base (the person on their back) teaching a first-time flyer (the person getting inverted). Good rule for Acro and for life: Tell people what you want, not what you don’t want, and keep it simple. In other words, say “Stronger elbows” and not “Don’t bend your arms.” Say “Softer feet” and not “Stop poking my abs with your toes.”

    There are a million ways to teach Acro basics well, of course. The following is my personal preference.

    Before Inverting Anyone

    FLYER: Practice on the ground what you’ll be doing in the air.

    1. Sit on the ground, legs straight and spread (90 degrees is fine), back as straight as possible. This is a “pike straddle” position. The angle between your torso and thighs should be 90 degrees. This bend at the hips is super critical, as it provides a “shelf” foothold for the base’s feet. Put your hands on top of your hip crease, including the first 1 to 2 inches below. I’ll say: “That is where my feet are going to be.”
    2. Now, bring your feet in, soles together, into “butterfly” stretch position. The space in between your legs should look something like a diamond. For you yoga people who love Sanskrit, it’s baddha-konasana. The asana suffix just means “pose.” This all meant nothing to me when I first started learning, so I called it “butter-kanasa” for months.
    3. Keeping that butterfly position, now reach behind your back and grab your elbows. If you can’t do that, grab your forearms.
    BASE: Load test your legs.

    1. Get on your back and put your legs straight up in the air. This is an “L-base” position.
    2. Have your flyer cross their arms so that their forearms are on their chest. Have them place their forearms across both of your feet and lean onto you, putting weight on your legs. How does it feel?
    3. Don’t let your toes drift toward your face, which will make things strenuous. Keep the hip angle at 90 degrees, if possible.
    4. If your hamstrings are very tight, you can fold a yoga mat or towel and put it under your lower back. The elevation will help.
    Hippie Twist


    [​IMG]

    1. BASE: Lie down. FLYER: Stand right by the base’s hips, feet twice shoulder width apart.
    2. BASE: Put your slightly turned-out feet on flyer’s hip creases.
    3. BASE: Tell flyer, “Put your hands on my knees.” (fig. A)
    4. “Look in my eyes, take a deep breath. As you exhale, bend forward and I’ll catch your shoulders. Keep your hands on my knees but let your arms bend.” And, if needed, “Aim to put the top of your head on my stomach.”
    5. BASE: Meet flyer’s shoulders with arms straight and fingers pointing up, and lift flyer into the air. (fig. B)
    6. “Keep your legs wide and your feet heavy. Toes to the ground.” FLYER: Keep a strong bend at your hips. Most flyers lift their legs, losing the “shelf,” which can lead to a fall. Another cue: “Keep your feet as close to the floor as possible.”
    7. “Let your upper body be heavy and legs be super heavy.”
    8. “Now, reach behind your back and grab your own elbows, if you can. Grabbing forearms or wrists is also fine.”
    9. “Bring the soles of your feet together to butterfly stretch. (fig. C) Now, bring your toes down enough that you can see them.” This ensures the proper “shelf.”
    10. BASE: Arms and legs should be straight. “Deep inhale, and exhale.” BASE: On the exhale, slowly bend one leg to twist the flyer at the waist. Return to all straight. Repeat the breath and twist to the other side. Repeat 4 to 6 reps total.
    Folded Leaf and Leaf Hugger

    Repeat steps 1 to 7 of Hippie Twist.


    [​IMG]

    8. BASE: Tell flyer, “Now, relax your arms completely and put the tops your hands on the floor. I’ll help.” Lightly grab flyer’s wrists and place their hands well behind their hips. (fig. D) Flyer should not be supporting any weight. Flyer’s legs should be wide and heavy, as close to the floor as possible without straining. This is Folded Leaf position.


    9. BASE: Reach your hands under the flyer’s armpits and underhook, landing your hands on the upper back. (see inset)


    10. BASE: Bend your legs to lightly rest the flyer’s ribcage on your shins. (fig. E) This creates a safer angle for the flyer’s shoulders.


    11. BASE and FLYER: Inhale together. BASE: Extend the flyer back with your bent legs as your arms traction the flyer’s upper body back in opposition. This is Leaf Hugger.


    12. BASE: Return to legs straight, releasing traction on the flyer’s back, then repeat for 2 to 4 reps.


    Leg Love—“Gravity Boots”

    At the end of an AcroYoga session, the base’s legs are typically fried. This is when “Leg Love” comes in—the flyer helping to decompress and restore the base’s legs and hips. There are dozens upon dozens of techniques (e.g., “Bus Driver”), but this one gives a fantastic bang for the buck. Since I’ve never heard a name for it, I’ll call it “Gravity Boots,” as the effect is similar.

    Even used independent of AcroYoga, this exercise has therapeutic value.

    [​IMG]
    1. BASE: Lie on your back, legs straight and spread a few feet.
    2. FLYER: Stand between base’s legs and pick up their feet, holding onto the lower Achilles and top of the heel. Base should completely relax and not help.
    3. FLYER: Stagger your stance, turn the base’s feet inward—like a pigeon-toe stance—behind your hips (see inset), and then lean back for 2 to 5 seconds. (fig. A) This will decompress the base’s hips and legs. Repeat for 3 to 5 reps.
     
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    DECONSTRUCTING SPORTS AND SKILLS WITH QUESTIONS

    As Tony Robbins would say, “The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.”
    When I was interviewing athletes and coaches from 2008 to 2010, digging up non-obvious tactics for The 4-Hour Body, I sent different combinations of the following questions to dozens of experts. These can be modified for any skill or topic, not just sports. Just replace [SPORT] with what you want to learn, and track down your mentors. You can often find past gold and silver medalists willing to answer these via Skype for $50 to $100 per hour, which is an incredible steal and could save you years of wasted effort.
    Who is good at [SPORT] despite being poorly built for it? Who’s good at this who shouldn’t be?
    Who are the most controversial or unorthodox athletes or trainers in [SPORT]? Why? What do you think of them?
    Who are the most impressive lesser-known teachers?
    What makes you different? Who trained you or influenced you?
    Have you trained others to do this? Have they replicated your results?
    What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in [SPORT] training? What are the biggest wastes of time?
    What are your favorite instructional books or resources on the subject? If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?
    If you were to train me for 12 weeks for a [FILL IN THE BLANK] competition and had a million dollars on the line, what would the training look like? What if I trained for 8 weeks?
    In the case of basketball, I added four more to the above. The following questions were emailed to Rick Torbett, the founder of Better Basketball:
    What are the biggest mistakes novices make when shooting or practicing shooting? What are the biggest misuses of time?
    What mistakes are most common, even at the pro level?
    What are your key principles for better, more consistent shooting? What are they for foul shots (free throws) vs. 3-pointers?
    What does the progression of exercises look like?
    I received his email responses and, 2 days later, hit 9 out of 10 free throws for the first time in my life. Then, on Christmas Eve, I went bowling and realized that many of the basketball principles (e.g., determining eye dominance to move your vertical “center line”) applied to the lane, too. I scored 124, my first time over 100 and an Everest above my usual 50 to 70. Upon returning home, I immediately went outside and sank the first two 3-pointers of my life. That’s a hell of a lot of fun. It all starts with good questions.
     
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    PETER ATTIA
    Peter Attia, MD (TW: @PETERATTIAMD, EATINGACADEMY.COM) is a former ultra-endurance athlete (e.g., swimming races of 25 miles), compulsive self-experimenter, and one of the most fascinating human beings I know. He is one of my go-to doctors for anything performance- or longevity-related. Peter earned his MD from Stanford University and holds a BSc in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He did his residency in general surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and conducted research at the National Cancer Institute under Dr. Steven Rosenberg, where Peter focused on the role of regulatory T cells in cancer regression and other immune-based therapies for cancer.

    PETER’S BREAKFAST

    “It usually starts with nothing, and then I usually do a second course—because I’m a little hungry—and I’ll have a little bit more nothing. I usually top it off with a bit of nothing.”
    Peter rarely eats breakfast and has experimented with many forms of intermittent fasting, ranging from one meal a day (i.e., 23 hours of fasting per day) to more typical 16/8 and 18/6 patterns of eating (i.e., 16 or 18 hours of fasting and only eating in an 8- or 6-hour window). Going 16 hours without eating generally provides the right balance of autophagy (look it up) and anabolism (muscle building).
     
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    RANDOM BITS
    Peter spent 3 straight years in nutritional ketosis, and maintained a high level of performance not only in ultra–long distance cycling and swimming, but also in strength (e.g., flipping a 450-pound tire 6 times in 16 seconds). He still enters ketosis at least once per week as a result of fasting (one primary meal per day at ~6 to 8 p.m.), and he feels he is at his best on a ketogenic diet. His main reason for moving away from it was a craving for more fruits and vegetables.
    Peter is obsessed with many things, including watches (like the Omega Speedmaster Professional, Caliber 321, which has been around since the 1950s) and professional-grade car racing simulators. The simulator Peter owns uses iRacing software, but the hardware (seated cockpit, steering wheel, hydraulics, etc.) is all custom-built, so it doesn’t have a name. His favorite car to drive is the Formula Renault 2000.

    WHY PETER AND I GET ALONG
    Peter explains the joy of drinking his first experimental batch of synthetic (exogenous) ketones:
    “The first one I tried was the beta-hydroxybutyrate ester, which a very good friend of mine sent me [Dominic D’Agostino, page 21], and I had been told these things taste horrible. I had talked to two people who had consumed them before, and these are stoic, military dudes. These weren’t 6-year-old kids. They said, ‘Oh, man, that’s the worst-tasting stuff on earth.’ So I knew that, but I think that piece of information was fleeting in the excitement when the box came. I tore open the box, and there was also a note in there that explained a somewhat palatable cocktail that you could mix—how you could mix this with ten other things. I just disregarded that and took out the 50-ml flask.
    “I chugged it, and I remember it was like 6:00 in the morning, because my wife was still sleeping. First of all, you drink it, and it tasted like how I imagine jet fuel or diesel would taste. If you’ve ever smelled distillate, it’s this horrible odor, and you can sort of imagine what it would taste like. This is what it tasted like, and so my first thought was, ‘Goddamn, what if I go blind? What if there’s methanol in here? What did I just do?’ And then my next thought was just, ‘Oh my god, you’re gagging. I mean, you’re really gagging. If you puke this stuff up, you’re gonna have to lick up your puke. It’s just gonna be a disaster.’ And so I’m retching and gagging and trying not to wake up the family and trying not to spew my ketone esters all over the kitchen. It took around 20 minutes for me to get out and do my bike ride, which was the whole purpose of that experiment.”
     
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    TOOLS OF THE TRADE
    Peter wears a Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor to track his glucose levels 24/7, which are displayed on his iPhone. His real goal, if he could wave a magic wand, is to keep his average glucose and glucose variability low. Outside of a lab, this approximates minimizing your insulin “area under the curve” (AUC). To accomplish this, Peter aims to keep his average glucose (per 24-hour period) at 84 to 88 mg/dl and his standard deviation below 15. The Dexcom displays all of this. Peter calibrates the Dexcom 2 to 3 times per day with a OneTouch Ultra 2 glucometer, which requires less blood and appears more accurate than the Precision Xtra that I use for ketone measurement.

    GLUTE MEDIUS WORKOUT
    “Modern man is weakest and most unstable in the lateral plane. Having a very strong gluteus medius, tensor fasciae latae, and vastus medialis is essential for complete knee-hip alignment and longevity of performance.”
    Peter once visited me in San Francisco and we went to the gym together. In between sets of deadlifts and various chalk-laden macho moves, I glanced over and saw Peter in a centerfold pose doing what looked like a Jane Fonda workout. Once I finished laughing, he explained that he avoided knee surgery thanks to this exercise set, taught to him by speed guru Ryan Flaherty and kinesiologist Brian Dorfman (Brian also helped him avoid shoulder surgery after a torn labrum).
    I tried his “reverse thighmaster” series and was dumbstruck by how weak my glute medius was. It was excruciating, and I felt and looked like an idiot. (See Coach Sommer’s quote, “If you want to be a stud . . .” on page 10.) For each of the following 7 moves, start with 10 to 15 reps each. Once you can do 20 reps for all 7 consecutively, consider adding weight to your ankles.
    You’ll likely feel quite smug and self-satisfied for the first few, but remember: No rest until all 7 are done and no rest in between exercises.
    For all of these—keep your big toe below your heel (think pigeon-toed) to ensure you’re targeting the right muscles, and perform this series 2 times per week.
     
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    #1—Up/Down

    Lie down on your side and use your arm to support your head. Keeping your legs straight, lift your top leg and lower it, keeping your foot internally rotated as described above. Don’t lift the foot very high. The max angle at your crotch should not exceed 30 degrees. Higher reduces the tension and defeats the purpose.
    For exercises #2–4, maintain a roughly 12-inch distance between your ankles at the bottom. Maximize tension on the glute medius and only move your leg in a horizontal plane. Ensure the ankle doesn’t dip when kicking behind you, for instance. In the first 1 or 2 workouts, aim to find the leg height that is *hardest* for you. It’s usually 12 to 18 inches from the lower ankle. Remember to keep toe below heel.

    #2—Front Kick/Swing
    Kick your top leg out to 45 degrees at the hip (as shown below). Think “cabaret.”

    #3—Back Swing
    Swing your leg back as far as possible without arching your back.

    #4—Full Front and Back Swing
    Swing your leg forward and then back (the previous two combined), with no pause at the midline.

    #5—Clockwise Circles
    Paint an 18-inch-diameter circle with your heel. Remember, at the bottom of the circle, your ankles should be roughly 12 inches apart. If you let the ankles get within inches of each other, you’re cheating.

    #6—Counterclockwise Circles
    Repeat in the other direction.

    #7—Bicycle Motion
    Pedal as if you were using a bicycle.
    Easy peasy, Japanesey? Switch sides and repeat.
     
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    PLANK CIRCLES ON SWISS BALL
    The goal of this separate exercise is to create scapular (shoulder blade) movement and rotation. Scapular mobility is one of the keys to upper-body function and longevity. The target muscles are the teres minor, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, and rhomboid.
    The setup is simple: Get into a plank position with your elbows propped on a Swiss ball, forearms pointing straight ahead. Don’t sag between the shoulder blades or at the lower back (keep the “hollow” and “protracted” positions described on page 19). Start with the legs wide for stability, and you can narrow the feet as you get stronger. Keeping your body in this position, use your forearms to move the ball as described below. One set consists of 10 to 15 reps of each of the following with no rest in between:
    Clockwise circles
    Counter-clockwise circles
    Forward and backward (i.e., sliding the elbows forward 6 to 12 inches and then back to your ribs)
    When you’re doing this correctly, you should feel your entire shoulder blades (scapulae) moving.
    Peter will do 3 total sets per workout, 2 times per week. He will superset these with “Wolverines” (Google it) on a cable machine. If done correctly, Wolverines target the rhomboids more than the deltoids.
     

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