We all know the feeling that tends to creep up on you when you're about to go to the gym as planned but realise 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?
How your brain basically works
The main thing to realise is that you need to hack your brain or it'll 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 crisps, stay in bed or watch Game of Thrones all day.
How to BEAT that brain of yours once and for all
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's no such thing as motivation. You are more than capable of doing something even though you don’t feel like it – so do it. And build consistency like a pro.
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's 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'll surely leave the gym feeling content and relaxed, with endorphins swimming around your body like happy little tadpoles.
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'll enable you to "trick" 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 Pro 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's easy, there's no stopping you. It is all a matter of understanding the psychology as well as the biology behind it and exploiting that knowledge to your own advantage on a daily basis. And the more you do it, the easier it'll 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.
Hope this got you all fired up!
Team BfR Professional
Looking for inspiration for your next gym session?
You came to the right place! We've interviewed Romanian fitness champion Adi Moldovan about his exercise routine. He 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 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 with BfR Pro ARMS - 4 sets of 20 reps.
Leg press calf raises with BfR Pro ARMS - 5 sets of 12 reps.
Two Arm High cable curls with BfR Pro ARMS - 4 sets of 15 reps.
Rope push downs with BfR Pro ARMS - set 1: 30 reps, set 2: 25 reps, set 3: 20 reps, set 4: 15 reps.
Standing calf raises with BfR Pro ARMS - 4 sets of 15 reps.
What tips do you have for those who want to start going to the gym?
To be persistent and remember that the results won't always come fast. You have to know that you have to work hard, so a lot of work and patience are necessary.
Also, it's a lifestyle; you can't 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's necessary to have a plan, otherwise you'll 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, so another thing to bear in mind is that you should always try to have someone to push you forward in your training sessions. It's such a crucial thing which I can't stress enough. Additionally, I've found a lot of information on the Internet.
Continuously ask yourself, “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 don't have any website that I visit often, but I'm looking at famous persons in the bodybuilding industry and I'm 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 then he let me try his straps from BfR Professional. I saw a big difference in the pump, and that was something I'd always been 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 that, and BfR Pro ARMS help in achieving this in a great way.
Are YOU our next fitness feature?
If you would like to be featured on our blog as our next "Meet the Users" individual and share your training routine and personal BfR success stories with the rest of the BfR family, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! Either via e-mail at email@example.com or on our Facebook page.
*Please note: This workout routine is only an example. You should adjust it according to your personal needs and current physical shape.
Take it to the next level with
Team BfR Professional
Here at BfR, we're proud to announce that the widely read Danish fitness magazine Aktiv Træning has tested our BfR Pro ARMS, which are our customised straps for blood flow restriction (BFR) training, and has put together a product review for all of their many readers.
Aktiv Træning is a fitness and health magazine known for guiding readers to a healthy lifestyle with everything from fitness and running to proper dieting and sleep in order to optimise 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 2017 our BfR Pro ARMS was put to the test and received 4.5/6 stars.
The review in English
Obviously, the review is in Danish (see below), but we're keen to share so we've translated it into English for all of you guys to read here:
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. Apart for the edges of the velcro which can be a little sharp, they are comfortable during training. It is nice that the whole band is sitting closely to the arm, and with a width of just 3 cm, you avoid the band disturbing 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 without problems you get the pressure that you want applied to your arm muscle.
A positive experience
The product received 4.5 stars out of 6, which means that it’s a really good product according to their ranking system. As regards their comment about the Velcro pinching a bit, we suggest using a T-shirt or similar under the straps if you feel like it's bothering you.
If this positive review makes you curious, go check out our selection of quality equipment for BFR training now!
Below is the original review in Danish:
We hope this has piqued your interest! If so, swing by our store and let us help you.
All the best,
Team BfR Professional
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 why you can’t just use a rope or regular elastic band when performing this new training hack?
Of course, it all comes down to preferences, but we've tried a lot of different alternatives ourselves over the past two years, and the conclusion is that the design and comfort of the strap/band/cuff absolutely matter! In fact, our British BfR Pro Ambassador and guest blogger James Ruckley has been through the same trying to find the perfect occlusion straps; read more about his experience here).
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 fitness and for rehabilitation, more products will naturally hit the market, but the quality of them already varies greatly. Most of the current products come with a “one-size fits all” mentality, which may be just fine for you. Indeed, our own BfR Pro LEGS is a one-size product as this made sense to us in the case of leg training.
However, we decided to focus on offering a customised arms product in different sizes to match the needs of the individual, and this is how our top teller BfR Pro ARMS came to be. This 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. (If you're as vain as we are from time to time, you'll surely appreciate this!).
Finding the right size for you
Our website has a size guide as well as instructions on how to measure your upper arm correctly in order to pick the right strap size. In short, you should 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.
You may ask, “I’m between two different sizes, so which one should I choose?” We always recommend going for the larger one since it's 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. Another advantage is that picking the larger of the two will allow you to grow - and believe us, you will!
One of the major challenges using knee wraps or other one-size occlusion bands can be to strap it on in the first place without the assistance of a buddy since this kind of product is typically long and unhandy.
And although you may be the type of person who welcomes any opportunity to interact with your fellow gym-goers, these makeshift bands may often also cause an uneven pressure to be applied to the muscle 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 find the correct pressure? Read this post with 4 easy tips that will enable you to take your workout to the next level.
Anti-slip technology: Don't worry, we got you
The white anti-slip stripes embedded in the specialised elastic band support the single-handed fitting as they grab on to your skin once you tighten the strap around your arm.
The anti-slip technology eases the use of this new and intelligent training method considerably. After all, BFR training should propel your workout forward and challenge you to break free of your routine - not be the cause of frustration because you can't even strap on the product to begin with.
Width; wider is not always better
Unlike most other products available for occlusion training on your upper body, we decided to create our strap with a width of 3 cm. According to the latest scientific research done on the practical application of BFR training, it's recommended that the straps used on your upper body extremities (meaning your arms) should be between 3-5 cm wide.
After hours of testing prototypes ourselves in the gym and outside doing functional training, we found that applying a wider strap was less comfortable and often annoying, especially to your biceps during sets.
Lastly, to see our BfR Pro ARMS straps in action, check out our 3 min Kickstarter campaign video here.
We hope you find this an inspiring read! If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to hit us up via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
All the best,
Team BfR Professional
In November 2016, we contributed to an online article about occlusion training on the Danish fitness website blivstor.dk. We're happy to do so since we're obviously enthusiastic about this new training method ourselves and want to share it with the world. The article is in Danish and can be found here.
BfR Professional on occlusion training
In some of our previous posts here on the BfR blog, we've outlined how practical blood flow restriction (BFR) or occlusion training works in simplified terms, what effects this training method can have and what results this might bring to your body.
In addition, we've gone through how to perform practical BFR training with our 4 tips on how to apply the correct pressure in another one of our blog posts recently, which you can check out here.
All our recommendations are made based on our own practical experience over the past two and a half years doing occlusion training in combination with studying the global scientific research within this topic, which is fortunately 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.
Simple and smart at the same time
The key is to be smart about your training and bring variation to the table using occlusion straps while being consistent over long periods of time. Preferably forever. This is basically why we've chosen "Simple concept, intelligent training" as our official slogan.
Take it to the next level with
Team BfR professional
When performing practical BFR training you need to adjust the pressure of your straps from a subjective standpoint. But we recommend following our tips below, which are based on up-to-date scientific research on the topic of BFR/occlusion training.
4 tips on how to apply the right pressure of your BfR Pro straps:
BfR Pro products versus alternatives?
The alternative to BFR training with straps is to apply air pressure controlled equipment such as the patented KAATSU machinery. However, this very expensive equipment is not easily accessible or affordable, which makes it nearly impossible for ordinary people to reap the benefits of this amazing training method. Moreover, the people using this machinery actually still use the 4 tips described here to check for correct pressure.
As with any type of physical activity, always remember to listen to your body and keep a “trial and error” mindset to find out what really works for you. Also check out the other posts on our blog here - they're packed with inspiration and tips just for you and your workout.
To your success!
Team BfR Professional
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 as fast and as efficiently as possible – but how?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training, also sometimes referred to as occlusion training, may certainly be the answer to this. 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.
Origins and terminology
Actually, the idea behind BFR training isn't new but was first discovered in Japan back in the 1960’s by a man named Yoshiaki Sato, who would later become the inventor of the KAATSU training principle. Often you'll see three terms - occlusion training, blood flow restriction training, KAATSU training - being used interchangeably to describe the same thing, and there are indeed many similarities between these three forms of training, but technically there are some (slightly nerdy) differences between them.
How it works
The main idea of what we try to teach you guys about here is that by restricting (occluding) part of the blood flow from your extremity like your arm or leg back to your heart you cause a pooling of blood in your muscles along with increased levels of lactide acid which triggers 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 fibres, which are the ones with the highest growth potential compared to the slow twitch ones (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 amazing supplement to traditional training but has also proven to be a very powerful tool in injury prevention and during rehabilitation. If you'd like to dig in to the physiological details about what goes on in your body during a BFR workout, check out this post by our guest blogger and BfR Pro ambassador James Ruckley. (Also, if you'd like to be an ambassador for us yourself, don't hesitate to contact us!).
In other words, BFR training is intelligent training where you trigger your body to naturally produce more out of less. "Simple concept, intelligent training", as we put it.
Here at BfR Professional, we want you to reach your physical goals faster and more efficiently, and we can’t wait to be part of your journey towards a fitter, stronger you.
Link on types of muscle fibres for further inspiration:
Take it to the next level!
Team BfR Professional