As we explained in our last blog post about how to hack your brain and never skip a workout then motivation in itself isn't enough to get you up and out of your door to the gym or put your running shoes on and get out into the fresh air.
No, it takes a lot more to build a habit of living healthy with regular physical activity which will get you from a should to a must when it comes to working out.
"Your life comes from your rituals" - Tony Robbins
You need to develop and harness that extraordinary psychology that will promote the right state of mind which in turn will take you from thinking and waiting into action mode.
And this is as true for getting yourself to the gym or do a home training session as it is for anything else in life be it a job, running a business, prioritizing family time or other meaningful relationships.
We are two founders of BfR Professional who has both been training and keeping fit for more than 10 years straight now. We know how it feels to take a "short" break but then regroup and recharge before getting back into the game where consistency is the absolute key to long-term health and well-being.
I think Fitness World created the tracking in the beginning of 2013 so you can add 9 years to this count where the longest break I ever took away from the gym was 3 months during a stay abroad.
Anyway, let's get to the point of this posts where we've gathered a top 5 of our favorite sources of motivation on Instagram which applies not only to fitness and training but life in general and how we like to view the world around us.
Because before a post with a lion or wolf on along with a "YOU CAN DO IT" caption there needs to be a foundation of positivity and optimism to make the motivation evolve into rituals and habits that will stick forever and always.
Dr. John Rusin is a strength and performance coach with years of experience with fitness and training sharing a mix of instructional videos with great exercise tips and tricks based on scientific research and years of practical experience. One of the main focus points is creating a balance between volume and intensity on the one side and injury prevention on the other.
Dr. Rusin has developed his own training programs called Functional Hypertrophy Training (FHT) which can be used by anyone. On top of that he is also an advocate for blood flow restriction (BFR) training which we of course like a lot!
Mateusz M is a millenial guy who has a simple mission in life: "I want the world to be better because, I was here." Simple, yes, but hard to achieve! Or, is it?
Nevertheless, Mateusz M is killing it especially on his YouTube channel with 954,470 subscribers creating video content for motivation and inspiration for all promoting us to take action in life and make a difference.
Most popular video "Dream" has almost 40 million views! Check it out here.
Joe Duncan is the man behind @before5am who is a firm believer that your day should start before 5 AM (DOH!). The potential we all have is predicated on the amount of hours we dedicate to work towards our goals and by starting early he believes this will give you a competitive edge on everyone else.
@before5am typically use long captions so you have to do a bit of reading but do yourself the favor to take the time to read and reflect on his message before scrolling on to the next "rah rah" motivation graphic.
Taking time to reflect is key - always remember to reflect.
Jay Shetty is a digital influencer and former monk (true story) who shares his world view of positivity and gratitude with the world daily either on his Instagram account or YouTube channel.
Jay Shetty went from being a monk to launching his own YouTube channel in early 2016 and later his own digital morning show for the Huffington Post in about 7 years. To underline his uprise to online fame he joined the Forbes 30under30 list with the 30 most influencial and innovative entrepreneurs in the Media category in Europe.
The final influencer and motivator on our list is the super entrepreneur and businessman Gary Vaynerchuck who embodies the word "hustle".
Since BfR Professional is a startup established back in 2015, it has been a constant motivator to follow the NYC based entrepreneur Gary Vee and how he operates his businesses sharing insane amounts of content both Instragram and his YouTube channel with extremely practical advise on how to run and scale a startup business.
However, @garyvee is in himself a motivational and inspirational character who shares his view on how he thinks we should look at the world and how blessed we are with our lives and the era that we live in with endless opportunities.
Check out one of our favorite videos here titled "One life".
There you have it! Our list of the top 5 motivators right now who you can start following today and hopefully become inspired and prepared for a better tomorrow.
To your success,
Lars & Martin
Team BfR Professional
In this short pitch, the team behind BfR Professional explains (in Danish) who we are and what our mission is.
Often times people think that blood flow restriction (BFR) training is only meant to be done by hardcore bodybuilders and fitness athletes but that is far from the truth.
BFR training also enables people who are not able or comfortable with lifting heavy weights to still obtain the same level of hypertrophy (muscle growth) as with traditional high-load workouts.
For this reason it is extremely effective for the purpose of rehabilitation and injury prevention for persons of all ages (+18).
The growing use of BFR or occlusion training, as it is also called, across the world and popularity of it is undeniable; however, we still come across many people who has never heard about this training method.
Stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter here to be sure not to miss anything from our world.
Translation of the video is done in English underneath - just scroll down a bit.
We are BfR Professional and have a question for you.
Did you know that if you strap on one of our products on your arms or legs, you can train faster and more effective?
Are you tired of the never ending training sessions and heavy weights or are you struggling with injuries as we done ourselves for the past many years? Or do you just need a great alternative to your current training routine? Then we have the solution for you.
We want to move your physique from A to B fastest possible in the most effective and gentle way by the use of occlusion training which is based on an old Japanese training method named “kaatsu”, which by the way means “increased pressure”.
It is simple and intelligent training for all so if you desire faster and more effective training sessions at home, while travelling or in the gym, then visit our website at www.bfrpro.dk.
We all know the feeling that tends to creep up on you when you are about to go to the gym as planned but realize that you just don’t feel like it today. All those heavy lifts suddenly seem a pretty bad deal compared to a chilled hour of Netflix on your sofa. You really want to stay in today, but your conscience is pricking you. You obviously know the consequences of skipping too many workouts, so what do you do to make sure you stick with your long-term goals for your training?
The main thing to realize is that you need to hack your brain or it will most likely get the better of you. And in order to do this, you first need a little basic knowledge about the biology of your brain. Actually, the modern human brain consists of three different layers or brains, and when it comes to classic struggles of conscience as the scenario mentioned above, particularly the second and third brains are of interest: The second brain is referred to as the limbic system, and this is where our emotions lie – in particular the ones that like things to be easy and fun. Because of this, humans are biologically wired to choose safe, well-known options and conserve energy. Consequently, Netflix seems a much better choice than sweating in the gym, muscles screaming and all. However, around the limbic system we have another, more modern brain called neocortex. This brain is unique to primates and humans and is where our thinking lies. And this is also your strongest weapon when trying to beat the carefree impulse to eat that bag of chips, stay in bed or watch Game of Thrones all day.
"Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting. It needs continual and regular top ups."
Basically, there are three things you should remember in your daily struggle against your baser instincts:
1: Stop waiting for motivation.
Any goal will inevitably contain a certain amount of suffering or sacrifice along the way. Too many people postpone the things they want to do because they just don’t feel motivated. Your limbic system is whispering to you that skipping one workout wouldn’t do any harm to your long-term goals because the limbic system would rather do something much more fun. This is when you must hack your own brain by using your neocortex instead. Simply remember the rational part of you that knows full well that skipping another workout will be bad for your long-term training goals and embrace the fact that in reality there is no such thing as motivation. You are more than capable of doing something even though you don’t feel like it – so do it.
2: Comfort yourself that with occlusion training you will be able to train with less weight and for a shorter period of time.
Your workout will be over before you know it, and then an hour of Netflix may be well-earned. Remember that the important thing is to build consistency: instead of skipping a workout entirely, it is better to train for a shorter period of time. Many BfR users also report a psychological rush that might best be described as elation or pride when seeing and feeling the unique pump which arises during occlusion workouts. No matter how you felt prior to your workout, you will surely leave the gym feeling content and relaxed, with endorphins swimming around your body.
3: Choose to do your workout at home.
If you can’t be bothered to make it to the gym, why not train in the comfort of your own home? It will enable you to ‘cheat’ your limbic system by simply choosing an easier option. (Remember that your brain prefers things to be easy and comfortable). With the BfR products, this is all possible. As an example, the new BfR Glute Builder enables you to perform a wide range of exercises for your legs and buttocks – and you don’t even need any weights.
Once you get the hang of catching yourself or hacking your own brain whenever it only wants to do what is easy, there is no stopping you. It is all a matter of understanding the psychology as well as the biology behind it all and exploiting that knowledge to your own advantage on a daily basis. And the more you do it, the easier it will become. Building the right mental state will enable you to take it to the next level!
Links for further inspiration:
The structure of your brain, read more here.
Mel Robbins on motivation, read more here.
Looking for inspiration for your next gym session?
You came to the right place. We found the exercise routine of the Romanian fitness champion - Adi Moldovan who has been a regular at the gym for the last six years, but he actually entered the sports world at the age of three with gymnastics continuing with football and with later martial arts for six years.
What is your exercise routine?*
Hammer curls with BfR Pro ARMS - set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 25 reps, set 3: 20 reps, set 4: 15 reps / 30 seconds break between sets.
Lying barbell triceps extension - 4 sets of 20 reps with BfR Pro ARMS.
Leg press calf raises - 5 sets of 12 reps with BfR Pro ARMS.
Two Arm High cable curls - 4 sets of 15 reps with BfR Pro ARMS
Rope push downs - set: 30 reps, set 2: 25 reps, set 3: 20 reps, set 4: 15 reps with BfR Pro ARMS
Standing calf raises - 4 sets of 15 reps with BfR Pro ARMS
What tips do you have for those that want to start going to the gym?
To be persistent and remember that the results will not always come fast, you have to know that you have to work hard, so a lot of work and patience is needed.
Also, it is a lifestyle, you cannot just go to the gym and eat right for a month and then stop. To move forward and stay ahead you need a plan.
It is necessary to have a plan, otherwise you will fail fast. At the same time, you also have to ask for help, always, because you never know it all. You always have to search for information.
Who did you ask for help?
My good friend and mentor Mihai that had been going to the gym for a long time. He helped me a lot with everything and another thing to bear in mind is that you should always try to have someone to push you in your training sessions, it is such a crucial thing you cannot imagine. On the other hand, I have searched a lot of information on the Internet.
Continuously you have to think “how do I get better and smarter”, e.g. which exercises would be better and how to execute those exercises.
Do you have any examples of websites that you read often?
I do not have any website that I visit often, but I am looking at famous persons in the bodybuilding industry and I am trying to follow their advice and do their exercises but adjusted for my needs.
How did you come across blood flow restriction (BFR) training?
I saw a guy called Anders at the gym using them and it caught my attention and afterwards he let me try his straps from BfR Professional. I saw a big difference in the pump and that was something I was always looking for.
Why do you like using BfR Pro ARMS in your training routine?
Especially for the pump that you get during training you always have to maintain yourself pumped and BfR Pro ARMS helps in achieving this in a great way. I have always associated pumping with muscle mass ratio and I had only to gain from it.
*See Adi’s complete weekly workout program here.
**This routine is only a recommendation, you should adjust it to your needs and current physical shape.
It is our joy to announce that Aktiv Træning has tested our BfR Pro ARMS, which is our customized straps for blood flow restriction (BFR) training and put together a product review for all their thousands of readers.
Aktiv Træning is a Danish magazine known for guiding readers to live a healthy lifestyle with everything from fitness and running to proper dieting and sleep in order to optimize your physical shape. At the same time, Aktiv Træning aims to test and review the best products on the market and in their April issue of the magazine our BfR Pro ARMS was put to the test and received 4.5/6 stars.
"Occlusion training is a new trend in the strength training world. Many are using knee wraps for this training method, but the special occlusion bands here are clearly a more practical choice. Plastic buckle, velcro closing, and anti-slip material make it super easy to strap on, close it and tighten it. Except for the edges of the velcro which can be a little sharp then they are comfortable during training. It is nice that the whole band is sitting close to the arm, and with a width of just 3 cm, you avoid that the band is disturbingly hitting the muscle when for example you are doing biceps curls."
"A simple and relatively cheap solution for occlusion training. The straps are easy to handle, and you get without problems the pressure that you want to be applied"
The product received 4.5 stars out of 6, which means that it’s a really good product according to their ranking system.
Below is the original review in Danish:
Order right now!
BFR training is a long-established training protocol combining the closing off a blood vessel and intense high rep training to alter the physiological environment in which a muscle is working. BFR is known by many names including occlusion training, vascular reduction (VR) and KAATSU training, so named by its ‘inventor’ Yoshiaki Sato. It involves obstructing the venous system by using a form of compression to partially close a vein, reducing venous blood return to the heart altering the vascular system and muscle’s bio-physiological chemistry. BFR training should not ever impede the artery. The most common forms of compression used include knee wraps and KAATSU Cuffs, with the latter being considerably more scientific but expensive, or even the use of cut floss band to save on costs. The latter here is however very uncomfortable, difficult to use and almost impossible to take off when your arms are weak and shivering. A fate I faced many times until BfR Professional came along and introduced their new velcro-based straps.
Easy to put on, comfortable and durable, they allow full range of movement without shifting or impeding on the muscle. Once the working set is complete, their velcro design allows quick removal; a feature you will only appreciate once you have trained this way.
A bit more about BFR. It was discovered in 1966 by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato as an 18-year-old while he was attending a Buddhist festival. While kneeling, he suffered a reduction in blood flow to his calves leading to a painful increase in pressure in his lower limb muscles. Massaging them out he noted the similarity to that of a ‘pump’ after an intense workout, including calf raises. He has since spent the next 50 years researching and perfecting his methods, tutoring and exploring new applications, gaining honorary degrees from the Medical Research Center at The University of Tokyo among others.
In that time, the training techniques and its application have developed rapidly, and it is now used in bodybuilding, rehab and medical interventions around the world. Similarly, the understanding of what mechanisms of change it creates within the body have developed in recent years allowing a more precise use of the technology and now being used by many elite athletes and their coaches.
By restricting the veins during muscular contraction, a number of changes happen. Blood is still able to enter the muscle supplied by the deeper laying arteries but unable to leave through the superficial veins. Because of this, an increase of pressure builds within the capillaries shunting hydrostatic fluids across endothelial membranes of the circulatory system and into the surrounding tissues, i.e. muscle fibers. This increase in fluids within the tissue draws nutrients from the blood vessel down a concentration gradient and into the tissue. Blood begins to pool in the veins while it backs up in the artery, decreasing flow as metabolites build up throughout the system. The muscle swells as you actively contract it with the increased volume of each muscle fiber acting in the short term to increase strength. These already swollen fibers will continue to increase in size due to the hydrostatic pressures exerted by the artery until you either remove the venous block forcing them to either adapt and grow in size or burst. Since the intention of a resistance training is to damage muscle cells forcing them to repair and grow larger and stronger than before, this is a useful tool to consider when training.
Within these blood vessels, the endothelial cells react to the changing PH levels of the blood releasing an increased amount of Nitric Oxide. This chemical is found in most pre-workout formulas and marketed alone as a supplement used to increase the vasodilation of the vessels transporting blood to and from the muscles as well as giving you that ‘pumped’ feeling. This is desirable for athletes as an increase in blood pressure directly raises the hydrostatic pressure and movement of fluids out of the blood and into the cells within the body. Similarly, Nitric Oxide has been shown to increase both permeability and elasticity of blood vessels when consumed or produced in higher quantities over extended periods of time maintaining vascular health.
With those extracellular changes occurring, it is no surprise to find that intracellular changes are abundant, too. Before we look into those, we must consider that muscle as a whole can be broken down into many levels with varying fiber types. There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fiber: Slow Twitch fibers (Type 1) are utilized by endurance athletes and can only function in the presence of oxygen. Fast Twitch Oxidative (Type 2a) are a much more explosive variety yet also utilize the oxidation of O2 to produce energy resulting in an explosive fiber with a resistance to fatigue in the medium term. The final fiber is Fast Twitch Glycolytic (Type 2b) which is only able to metabolize via the anaerobic glycolysis pathway without the use of O2. This drastically increases recovery time and reduces its ability to function beyond the most explosive of activities, i.e. intense weight lifting and sprinting.
During occlusion training, the Type 1 and 2a fibers are starved of oxygen decreasing their work capacity. This increases a neural stimulation to other fibers of the same type that may be inactive and increases motor recruitment. That is to say when we actively contract the muscle we only ever activate a percentage of its contained fibers. The percentage activated will vary from person to person but will never reach 100% of the muscle without external intervention from devices such as a Compex Muscle Stimulator which uses electrical impulses to stimulate 100% of motor units and in turn muscle fibers. By activating more fibers through occlusion training, we are better able to train more of the muscle to the demands of our sports than we would likely be able to through standardized training alone. Once the Type 1 and 2a fibers are depleted and fatigued, we recruit Type 2b fibers to continue the exercise in the absence of oxygen.
This lack of oxygen creates a hypoxic environment within the tissue causing the release of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). This signaling protein chemical is responsible for the creation of new blood vessels and their supporting networks. Blood vessels once complete will increase the surface area ratio of diffusion within the tissue allowing more oxygen and key nutrients to the tissue in the future along with increased lactate threshold.
With occlusion training reducing levels of oxygen available to working muscles, a lactic acid/lactate build-up occurs dramatically quicker than expected. This chemical soup build-up is counteracted by the body converting it back to pyruvate as previously mentioned, but with training, the body is better able to hold off and endure this acidic state for longer periods of time. While more applicable for those completing High-Intensity Endurance Exercise (HIEE) its applications are useful for a variety of sports. Studies have shown that the change of intramuscular environment to an acidic state causes a vast increase in the release of Growth Hormones (GH), Myostatin (GD8), Heat Shock Protein (HSP) and Nitric Oxide Synthase-1, all of which are key regulators of hypertrophy and protein synthesis.
With all that considered, it is clear that occlusion training should be a key technique in any athlete’s armory. However, it has one final trick up its sleeve. Occlusion training should be completed using only 20% of an individual’s 1 rep max and complete more repetitions per set, usually until failure. This reduced weight dramatically reduces the stress placed on joints which enable it to be used in rehabilitation or through minor injuries.
In summary, BFR training has been shown in research to effect:
Read the full article and find the resources used at James' personal blog here.
Since we launched BfR Professional using the world’s largest crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter to distribute our premium product for blood flow restriction (BFR)/occlusion/kaatsu training, we’ve been asked quite a few times about why you can’t just use a rope or regular elastic band?
Of course, it all comes down to preferences, but we have tried a lot of different alternatives ourselves over the past two years and the design and comfort of the strap/band/cuff matters!
Below are some of the things we have taken into consideration as we designed the BfR Pro ARMS for ourselves and you…
As BFR training becomes increasingly popular within the fitness and for rehabilitation more products will naturally hit the market, but the quality of them varies greatly. Most of the current products come in a “one-size fits all” mentality which may be fine for you.
However, we decided to focus on offering a product in different sizes to match the needs of the individual which makes it not only more comfortable to wear but also a lot nicer to look at from an aesthetic point of view without half of the band flapping around your arm as you work out.
To find the correct size remember to measure the area below your shoulder but above your biceps and triceps – not the area around the middle of your biceps where the circumference is naturally larger.
Question: “I’m borderline between two different sizes, so which one should I choose?” We always recommend the largest size since it is better to apply a lower pressure than too hard of a pressure which can have a negative effect on your muscle-building and in worst cases cause an injury.
One of the major challenges using knee wraps or other one-size occlusion bands can be to even strap it on without the assistance of a buddy since the product is so long and unhandy.
Often this can cause an uneven pressure to be applied which may decrease the actual physiological effect of your training.
We solved this by designing a product that you can strap on and release with one hand making it even more simple to use leaving you to focus on finding and applying the right pressure for you.
In doubt about how to apply the correct pressure? Read this post with 4 tips that can help you.
The white anti-slip stripes embedded in the specialized elastic band support the single-handed fitting as it grabs on to your skin once you tighten the strap the first time around your arm.
This eases the use and comfort of conducting BFR training which should push you and take your training to the next level, but avoid the hassle of even strapping on the product.
Unlike most other products available for occlusion training on your upper-body, we decided to make our strap with a width of 3 cm. According to the latest scientific research done on the practical application of BFR training, it is recommended that the straps used on your upper-body extremities (meaning your arms) should be between 3-5 cm wide.
After hours of testing ourselves in the gym and outside doing functional training, we found that applying a wider strap was less comfortable and often annoyed, especially your biceps, during sets.
To see our product BfR Pro ARMS in action visit our 3 min long Kickstarter campaign video here.
All the best,
Team BfR Professional
In a featured article written by BfR Professional in November, we outlined how practical blood flow restriction (BFR) or occlusion training works in simplified terms and what effects this training method can have and what results this might bring to your body.
Moreover, we also talk about how to perform practical BFR training with our 4 tips on how to apply the correct pressure, which we have outlined here on our own blog as well not long ago – read more here.
All our recommendations are made based on our own practical experience over the past two and a half years doing occlusion training combined with studying the scientific research within this topic globally, which is a body of work increasing continuously.
We view BFR training as a healthy complementary training method to your traditional training routine – not as a replacement for more heavy load oriented training as this too has its merits on improving your physical shape.
The key is to be smart about your training and bring variation to the table while being consistent over long periods of time. Preferably forever.
Read the full featured article on below link [article in Danish]:
To perform practical BFR training one need to adjust the pressure from a subjective standpoint, but we recommend following the below tips based on up-to-date scientific research on the topic of BFR/occlusion training.
The alternative to practical BFR training is to apply air pressure controlled equipment such as the patented KAATSU machinery. However, this very expensive equipment is not easily accessible or affordable for normal people, which makes this training method nearly impossible to reap the benefits from. Moreover, the people using this machinery still use the 4 tips described here to control for correct pressure.
As with any type of physical activity remember to listen to your body and keep a “trial and error” mindset to find out what really works for you.
Have a great week!
All the best,
Team BfR Pro
Most of us view our workouts as a break from our busy daily lives; a place where we can let go and work on ourselves.
At the same time, we want to see results faster and more efficiently – but how?
BFR training may certainly be the answer to many prayers as studies have now been carried out widely on an international scale leading sports scientists and highly respected Ph.D.’s to be more conclusive with regards to the benefits and overall potential of this new and upcoming way of training.
Meanwhile, the idea behind BFR training or occlusion training is actually not new but was first discovered in Japan back in the 1960’s by a man named Yoshiaki Sato, who later became the inventor of the KAATSU training principle. Often these three names are used interchangeably to describe this form of training, but there are some variations.
The main idea is that by restricting part of the blood flow from your extremity like your arm or leg back to your heart, it will cause a pooling of blood to occur in your muscles along with increased levels of lactide acid triggering a state of hypertrophy (muscle growth) by increasing the level of growth hormone from your brain.
The muscles react to the decrease in oxygen level caused by the restricted blood flow forcing them to work harder and fatiguing also the fast twitch (Type II) muscle fibers, which are the ones with the highest growth potential compared to the slow twitch (Type I).
The best part is that you should only do your sets using between 20-50% of your 1RM (meaning 20-50% of what you can lift one time only) in weights.
This means that your joints and ligaments - well, your whole body in the long run – will thank you for taking away large parts of the stress that traditional heavy lifting causes.
Therefore, BFR training is an awesome compliment to traditional training, but have also proven to be a very powerful tool in injury prevention and during rehabilitation.
In other words, BFR training is intelligent training where you trigger your body to naturally produce more out of less.
We can’t wait to be a part of your journey as you reach your physical goals and escape the plateau that you might find yourself on.
Take it to the next level with,
The BfR Pro Team