Written by: Adam Ticknor
A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Robb and hearing him speak. Of course it was awesome. I sent him an email about a rest recovery method I use for clients and he asked me to write up a blogpost on the subject. So, I cleaned up the email and here you go.
I will start with 2 examples of different types of people that now use this method of rest recovery. Obviously these are anecdotal and I have not found any good hard science to back up what I am saying, but like all things, try it and if it works hop on board, if not send me a dirty email.
First let me tell you who I am and what I do. I was a sniper in the Marine Corps and began looking how to perform better as well as fix myself in the field. Running 2 man teams in the middle of nowhere with 120# on you and sneaking around for a long time = injuries. (Especially with no sleep and MREs).
After getting out of the Marines I did some government stuff and went to massage school. Massage school was a joke and I went back to the gun fighting stuff. Later, I ran into, and apprenticed for four years, with the premier bodylanguage reader in the world at the time. Patrick Collard was also a body worker doing a system of bodywork that he learned from his grandfather. Grandpa was a Navajo Shaman, and Patrick combined it with bodylanguage. So, from there, I went and studied and apprenticed or traded information with DC’s, Doe’s and PT’s. Okay enough of that, lets talk about some clients.
We as a community know there are 3 things that keep us physically healthy:
- Gut Permeability
- Glucose Control
- Systemic Inflammation
We also know that we have 2 major ways to control those 3 key items:
- Stress/Sleep, Rest, Recovery
Nutrition we have dialed via Paleo. The whole “Lights Out” stuff, completely dark room, no light before bed, and be lazy before bed sets up good sleep patterns. What do we as a community do when someone is so deranged that they cannot sleep or recover?
I have a list of protocols that I have used with good success, however there are still some hard cases. I know that most people do not comply at 100%. However, there are a few that when they do comply 100% it doesn’t work fast enough or it doesn’t tip into health. The following is the standard protocol for a new client that is metabolically deranged:
- Licorice Tea when you wake up
- The licorice keeps Cortisol in the blood stream longer, by keeping the liver from clearing it.
- Cool shower
- It wakes people up, my guess is that it stimulates a Cortisol response but maybe someone should ask Dr. Kruse
- Go for a long, lazy loaded walk.
- This should last between 40 min to an hour
- Wear a weight vest at about 10% of bodyweight
- Once home eat a meal high in protein and fat
- No absolute proof yet that I know of but the theory is that it resets Leptin and Ghrelin.
Regardless, I see that this protocol begins to reset the tired and wired stuff.
- Eat at least 2 meals a day no more than 3
- Keep the snacks down, but if you snack have dense protein with it and avoid snacking on nuts
- Do some sort of training
- On days are a linear strength, and not max effort, with at least 30 min off and a SHORT metcon again not anywhere near your max. Short is sub 5 min., and it has to have a full hip extension, push, pull, and transit.
- Off day is a neuro day and mobility day. Roll out and a Pavel style GTG well within your limits
Evening Protocol typical lights out stuff
- Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed
- Low-level excitement stuff. Be “boring”
- Completely dark room
- Slightly cool room
- I also like people to take a tepid to warm, not hot, bath with very low light about 40 min before bed and magnesium before bed.
Now, this tends to work for most people. I have found a few that either can not comply because of life reasons, single moms, jobs, school, etc. but they should have tools that help them recover faster. There needs to be a set of tools that can help those that are not yet able to step out of the pattern that they are in.
Two different clients:
My Woman and Mrs. Hips:
The easiest to explain is My Woman; she is in her early 40’s and has been a part time, night shift nurse for 20 years. Her choice in profession was designed to fund a successful modern dance career. She was, and had been, a vegetarian for about 20 years until 2009. When we started training together her goal was to develop some jumping skill. However, with the addition of proper nutrition we saw a slew of long-term health issues get better, and we began to look at her sleep stuff. We needed to figure out how we could assist the body in recovery even after having to stay up all night, 3 times every two weeks. In the beginning the protocol was:
- Sleep the afternoon before and the next day if she could.
- Eat protein during her night shift.
- Wear compression tights or leggings
- Do some sort of movement while at work.
- Double unders
- Do some sort of movement when you get home.
- Long, lazy, loaded walk
- Some strength work
- Pull ups
When she started Paleo, there were major improvements in her moods, and health. Then with the addition of compression tights there was another jump. She was often third spacing, which is what you see in your ankles when you have made a long flight. That low level swelling that gives you Cankles and Vienna sausage toes. This is fluid that is in places that it shouldn’t be.
All of this was an improvement but there was a missing piece. We will get to that piece after the next N=1.
Mrs. Hips is a client in her late 30’s that I have worked with for about 6 years. When I first met her I was living in Jackson Hole WY, working as a rehab specialist and a trainer. She was spending 23 hours a day horizontal, and had been for the last 2 years. Prior to that she had a spinal fusion (L4, L5, S1) and two new hips. Her natural hips had to be replaced because of degeneration, and the shape of the ball began to oval. Her spinal fusion was just bad advice, and halfway through her rehab she was in a car wreck where her progress stopped. Prior to being injured she was an athlete. She was a mountain biker, paraglider, paddler and a snowboarder. Remember, I mentioned Jackson Hole, and know that Jackson is the hardest inbound skiing in the country. If you plan to ski or snowboard there you better bring your big girl panties because it is no joke.
Mrs. Hips was extremely frustrated going from being an athlete to being an invalid, laying down for 23 hours a day. It took 2 years of hard work to get her mobile again. When I mean mobile I mean being able to live a comfortable life in the manner that she saw herself, an athlete. She was mountain biking, paragliding and snowboarding again. Then the 2nd curve ball was thrown her way, her new hips failed. At first I thought it was a bad movement pattern or maybe we moved too quickly but, the hips failed all across the country. The FDA had not approved these hips because they were close enough to existing products that they skipped that procedure. Metal began to shear off the hip, which is bad, one, because the body has to deal with metal shaving inside itself, two the hip is now deforming and creating bad movement patterns and lastly because she had to get both hips done again. One of the hips was horrible so she opted to do one at a time. Curve ball 3 is that the doctor made some bad decisions when replacing the hip and within six weeks it failed. EEESH!
After the third revision and 2 within one year, which means she was not able to get strong again before the surgery, she came to hang out for a month and rehab.
She gets here and I realize it is not just rehab she needs but an intervention. She is on a lot of narcotics. First, a Fetanyl patch and 4 – 6 vicadin a day as well as 2 Ambian and multiple NSAIDS. The patch is a serious thing, it is usually given to stage 3 cancer patients or patient’s doctors don’t expect to ever be out of pain again. This is one thing her strict Paleo can’t fix by itself. She couldn’t sleep and everything hurt even with all those narcotics. We needed a way to train her body to rest and give her tools that would show her movement doesn’t hurt and narcotics aren’t helping anymore.
At first I was not concerned with her sleeping through the night as much as I was concerned with her sleeping. Sleeping is when your body can recover and it clears cortisol, which will help bring down systemic inflammation and rehab. Towards the end we began setting up sleeping at night and not throughout the day, but first we just had to get her to sleep.
Mrs. Hips needed an intervention more than she needed rehab. She has good movement patterns and she knows how to rehab herself. So what I thought she was coming out for was not what we ended up working towards. She needed tools. She needed tools to help her get back on the healing track. Once you get on the wrong side of pain it is exhausting and it is hard to catch up. Her being here helped because she and her family/support team trust me and know that I have her best interest at heart. So she feels safe. That is a huge part, but even that did not help right away. The protocol we began to establish was the same that you read above. For me the tipping point was…
Float tanks. I have put multiple people into these tanks. They are completely dark, body temp water with enough medical grade salt/magnesium to float. Put in some earplugs and there it is.
Now, what I see it doing is a number of things. First, it helps de-excite the nervous system. With someone like Mrs. Hips, their nervous system is so pissed off and flared up that normal things hurt. This causes everything to be a stress response etc. I don’t want to get all techie and nerd out on this (that’s what the podcast is for, which I want to say thanks for doing by the way Robb). I see it as a tool to teach someone to de-stress and to find a way to relearn how to rest and recover/sleep.
The next thing I see it do is retrain the body in how to rest. My woman nor Mrs. Hips had the ability to rest. They would get all spun up in their heads about all sorts of stuff. I have watched my woman third space less, diurese more efficiently after a full night of being awake, sleep better the next day, and have fewer off night sleep cycles (meaning going to bed too late). I have also witnessed a better mood about life. So has the youngin’. After about 2 floats the youngin’ had done something to piss mama off and mama handled it differently. The youngin’ said, “Mama, I know your angry but you are not as mad, so whatever you are doing keep doing it!”
I have seen the equivalent with Mrs. Hips.
Also premenstrual stuff is so MUCH BETTER! So that alone should get everyone to hop on board.
What I would like to hear is if other people have had the same or similar experiences, or if you try it, what you see.
The last thing I want to say in this incredibly long post is, it is not one of those BANG kinds of things like shooting up with heroin. It is a subtle thing that hits you later in the day. Like, “Holy shit, I feel mellow.”
Give it a whirl and if you like it, great, if you don’t, cuss my name and send me a grumpy email!
Adam currently works in Austin Texas, where he works with individuals and small groups that want to achieve their physical goals. If your broken, healthy, fit, and are looking for someone to help you reach those goals you can contact him at AdamTicknor@gmail.com or 307 699 1951.