Fancy looking at some seriously big muscles and well-proportioned bodies? Or maybe testing your own strength against that of the pros?
Humble as we are, we’re not talking about the BfR crew here – although we will be playing a part. On 31 March and 1 April, BfR Professional is to be found at Newcomers 2018 in Herning. In case you don’t know, this is the annual fitness fair for all upcoming athletes and bodybuilders in Denmark.
Try out our BfR Pro gear or ask us about training hacks
At BfR, we’ve dedicated every minute of our time to help you discover your potential and reach your personal fitness goals. And 2018 is no exception!
Last year's Newcomers proved a big success for us: At our stand, we had loads of curious people asking about what occlusion training - the latest fitness trend - could do for their workout. The extra bold ones even volunteered for our squats and biceps contests.
So don’t miss out on the chance to talk to us in person, learn about occlusion training (aka. BFR training) or try out our exclusive BfR Pro straps for arms or legs. Just like last year, you’ll get the chance to win some of our BFR products. Male or female, fit or fighting to be so – you can benefit from occlusion training. Simple concept, intelligent training, as we put it.
Bring a friend or two and go seek us out at Newcomers in Herning.
Go grab 2018 by the throat!
Team BfR Professional
Curious for a look backstage at BfR Professional? Well, here’s your chance…
Almost one year ago, our New Year’s resolution was to make BfR Professional happen – for real. As founders of BfR, we (Lars and Martin) had already spent over one year meticulously planning and testing prototypes for our occlusion straps. Now a Kickstarter campaign starting in December 2016 would demonstrate to us whether there was any interest out there. After all, not that many people knew about blood flow restriction training then.
Off to a flying start
Fortunately, you guys were curious about this totally new way of working out – and about us. Our Kickstarter left us 125% funded, and in January and February 2017 we sent out our first products: the BfR Pro ARMS straps and the BfR Pro Elastic Training Tube. By then, our website and newsletter were also up and running. Things were quickly picking up speed, and in April we got our first interns in order to increase our efforts within sales and market research.
Bumpy road ahead?
Creating and launching new products can get rather addictive, and over the summer we decided to up our game and start developing the prototype for a digital product. Second generation BfR equipment, enabling you to take your training to the next level. We’d just received a grant from The Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship, so we knew we had the money as well as the vision.
However, no pain, no gain; things got a bit uphill for a while... Imagine dozens of meetings with potential business partners, redesigning packaging, insane amounts of coffee and equally insane hours. And ordering a thousand new product manuals, only to find out that you’ve managed to turn the text upside down, doesn’t exactly help! But the point of mistakes is that you learn from them. That’s always been our philosophy.
For example, we learned that always doing things at the very last minute isn’t a sensible idea. Unless you like high blood pressure, that is. After having to speed build a wooden promo stand minutes before a crowd of eager bodybuilders and athletes would come surging through the doors of the Newcomers 2017 in Herning, we’ve solemnly made each other a promise to at least try to be in good time.
The Newcomers fair turned out to be a huge success, though, and our digital dreams are well on their way, so basically we haven’t looked back. Another philosophy of ours is that success isn’t something you get – it’s something you create.
In the second part of 2017, we brought in graphics and communications interns because we wanted to boost the visual identity of BfR and give our communication an overhaul. After all, everybody wants to look and sound good, right?
At BfR, we’re always eager to improve not just our muscles but also our minds, so in August we attended Inspire Convention 2017 in Denmark where one of the world’s leading BFR researchers, Prof. Jeremy Loenneke, spoke. And in November we flew to Portugal to join Web Summit 2017 in order to show off our digital prototype and do some serious business dating.
On Black Friday we were lavishing discounts on you guys, which you generously rewarded. Now it’s December, and we’re finishing off 2017 with an Advent Calendar on Facebook and Instagram. So swing by our page and profile if you feel like getting your hands on our products, body boosting supplements and a unique Christmas discount.
One big BfR family
All in all, it’s been an amazing year, and although we’ve learned a few lessons, getting enthusiastic feedback from you guys makes it all worthwhile. Lots of exciting things are in the pipeline for 2018, probably including our digital BfR product, an app and more youtubing.
So, the humble wish we want to make for Christmas this year is that you will keep following us and share your personal BfR stories with us and the rest of the BfR family. We’re together on this one.
Thank you for making 2017 an awesome BfR year!
Lars and Martin
Team BfR Professional
On a gloomy November morning, at a truly ungodly time of day, three guys got on a plane in Billund Airport. They were sleepy and had barely had the time to grab some breakfast or do their hair. And then there was that slightly nervous sensation in their stomachs. All in all, not the best basis when going on a date.
Pleased to meet you, Web Summit
Fortunately, a case of the jitters tends to go away once you’re on a roll, and we’re proud to say that that was exactly what happened. You see, those three Danish guys were us: Lars and Martin, the BfR founders, and Peter, our new tech consultant. As announced in our November newsletter, we were headed for Lisbon, Portugal to attend the world’s largest tech summit as part of its ALPHA programme. The goal: to promote ourselves, do some sweet talking and make new acquaintances. (Basically, everything you do on a standard date, right?).
Being a small Danish start-up at an international summit boasting 60,000 participants can be a bit daunting, but people there proved very open and curious. The opening ceremony on Monday with top speakers like Stephen Hawking and Margrethe Vestager dazzled everybody.
Abu Dhabi living
On Tuesday, we were busy at our BfR Professional stand promoting our occlusion training equipment, getting feedback on our digital prototype for the next BfR generation and connecting with potential investors. (This was when we got a memorable offer to move our business to Abu Dhabi!).
Wednesday was just as busy and exciting: Various business people from China, Hungary and Chile requested meetings with us, and we even managed to get roped in for two interviews for Portuguese television. On Thursday, we wrapped up our summit adventure by going to heaps of workshops and talks to gather inspiration.
The end of single life?
Now we’re back in Aarhus, processing our experience. Was it worth the time and money for us to go to Web Summit 2017? Absolutely. We may be a young company, but we’ve come home with international inspiration as well as a number of potential sales leads and partners. And let’s face it: Everybody likes being liked. That’s what dating is all about. So, motivated as ever, we’re going to transform all of this into value for you.
Whether we end up pursuing high living in Abu Dhabi, sipping cocktails in rooftop bars, remains to be seen..! But for now, we're staying put here in Aarhus.
Team BfR Professional
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
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, Japanese 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 bio-physiological chemistry of the muscles. BFR training should never impede the artery.
Tools for occlusion/BFR
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 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, the BfR Pro products 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'll only appreciate once you've trained this way!
The origin of BFR training
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 about 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's 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 it's now being used by many elite athletes and their coaches.
The slightly physio nerdy explanation of what's going on
Okay, here goes: 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 fibre acting in the short term to increase strength. These already swollen fibres 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's 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 fibre types. There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibre: Slow Twitch fibres (Type 1) are utilised 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 utilise the oxidation of O2 to produce energy resulting in an explosive fibre with a resistance to fatigue in the medium term. The final fibre is Fast Twitch Glycolytic (Type 2b) which is only able to metabolise 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 fibres are starved of oxygen decreasing their work capacity. This increases a neural stimulation to other fibres 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 fibres. 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 fibres.
By activating more fibres 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 standardised training alone. Once the Type 1 and 2a fibres are depleted and fatigued, we recruit Type 2b fibres 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), the applications of occlusion training 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.
To sum up the benefits of BFR
With all that considered, it's 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 enables it to be used in rehabilitation or through minor injuries.
BFR training has been shown in research to effect:
Can you really afford to ignore it?
*This is a slightly altered version for BfR readers. Read the full article and find the resources used at James's personal blog here.
We hope you found this useful,
Team BfR Professional
The idea behind BfR Professional all began more than two years back when one of our founders, Martin, first heard about the concept of blood flow restriction training and how it has the potential to revolutionise the way people do fitness today.
He enthusiastically shared this knowledge with his longtime friend Lars, who would later become the other founder, and thus the seeds of what would eventually become BfR Professional were sown.
Want something? Go create it yourself!
The scientifically proven training method of blood flow restriction (BFR) has been rather extensively researched and especially within the recent decade. The idea of training with lower weights, while still gaining significant muscle strength and growth, is appealing to many of us.
However, we became increasingly frustrated about not being able to find any customised equipment for this new training method, so we decided to create our own product.
After many months of product development, tests and redesigning, we're now ready to introduce and share with you the first generation of our blood flow restriction gear. The product is named BfR Pro ARMS, which is essentially a custom-made elastic anti-slip band designed to be used on your upper arms for blood flow restriction training, which is also popularly known as occlusion training.
ARMS will come in four different sizes suitable for more or less everyone who wants to take on this new and upcoming way of training to complement their existing workout routine. Furthermore, we are already now planning to introduce the LEGS version specifically designed for blood flow restriction training, so stay tuned here on our blog and social media. Also don't forget to sign up to our newsletter on our website!
Come cheer us on
We'ill be launching our product and opening for sales this coming October through an online campaign using the world’s largest crowdfunding platform: www.kickstarter.com. Naturally, we will be posting and keeping you updated about our progress and details concerning the campaign continuously, and we urge you to stay tuned if this new and scientifically proven training method is something which you would like to try out for yourself. Obviously, we would love your support on kickstarter.com!
After all this time, we are more than keen to share our knowledge and our products with the world. We promise that we'll aim to give all the guidance necessary both here on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook, where we'll be talking about not only how our specific product can help you in connection with blood flow restriction training and reaching your physical goals, but also more generally how blood flow restriction training can benefit you. We simply want you to train smarter and better. We believe in your potential.
Take it to the next level
Lars & Martin
Team BfR Professional