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Book Review: Kokoro Yoga by Mark Divine

Kokoro Yoga

Comes in print or E version!

First things first: This is not actually a book about Yoga per se but a book about life and how to develop a “personal ethos” that will serve readers well in all aspects of their lives. That’s what Mark Divine – with Catherine Divine – sets out to do in his latest book Kokoro Yoga. People often stumble through life without a personal ethos they can depend on to keep them on track on their journey, especially during these often confusing and trying times.

What Mark has done in this book is no less than give readers a way to develop – or strengthen – their own personal ethos through the use of mental and physical approaches, that yes, includes yoga! This not your sisters hippie dippie yoga book…

Unlike so many who attempt to offer such grand advice – who frankly have no business doing so other than their own delusions of grandeur – Mark is what’s referred to in the military as a been-there-done-that guy. To my mind, that makes it far easier to take his excellent advice as found in Kokoro Yoga. Mark spent years as a Navy SEAL, decades learning various martial arts, and yet more years in the study of various forms of yoga honing his views and approach. Contrary to what many westerners may understand, yoga, like martial arts, takes on many different forms and focus often quite different from each other.

Mark tells the story of his first time flying into a combat zone, and doing a full yoga session, wearing combat kit and all, on the deck of a C-130 military transport plane coming into Iraq. Quite possibly the first yoga session ever done on a military transport plane! That early experience demonstrated to him just how much yoga could assist in settling and focusing his mind in the most potentially stressful situations for a green (to combat zones) officer, and it stuck with him as a way to keep his mind and body settled and focused on the dangerous missions he’d experience.

After many years of diligently working in various systems of martial arts, yoga, physical training, and the special operations community, he developed his own approach to physical and mental well-being called Kokoro Yoga.

As a rule, one will find those “systems” that endure, be they martial arts, yoga, business, or battle, find the developer of the approach usually has a wide ranging and extensive background, which Mark has in spades. In my view, that gives him the “creds” to offer such advice, and this book is full of damn good advice too. Continue reading..

Does Cardio Suppress Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

I cover that topic in this latest vid, with more information, studies, etc via Dr Antonio’s blog on the ISSN


Article referenced in vid:

Cardio Lowers RMR – A Fairy Tale

by Jose Antonio PhD FNSCA FISSN.

Key Points to Remember

  • There is a plethora of scientific evidence, which demonstrates that regular aerobic training has no effect on RMR. Some studies actually find an increase.
  • Resting energy expenditure is largely a function of body weight and FFM.[1, 2]
  • Cardio has become the “carbs of the fitness world.” – Shawn Arent PhD, Rutgers University
  • If you like doing cardio, don’t let some fitness guru talk you out of it.
  • If you hate doing cardio, then for Pete’s sake, don’t bitch about those who do it.
  • If you want to elevate your RMR, gain weight, especially skeletal muscle weight.
  • RMR is by itself a meaningless measure for the performance sports.
  • If you compete in football, baseball, basketball, cycling, volleyball, rowing, surfing, paddling, gymnastics, soccer, hockey, track and field (pick one) or frickin’ tiddlywinks, measuring RMR is about as useful as selling bikinis to Russian women in Siberia.

Read Full article HERE

D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) and “Test Boosters”

In this vid, I discuss the popular “Testosterone booster” supplement D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) and update my opinions of this general category of supplements. Note the 2015 study below  published  found at higher doses, it actually lowered testosterone. The 2016 study, found no impact on T levels, but improvements in strength on squats and a positive “trend” on the bench press.


Study mentioned in the vid:

D-Aspartic acid supplementation combined with 28 days of heavy resistance training has no effect on body composition, muscle strength, and serum hormones associated with the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in resistance-trained men


This new study found no impact on T or body composition, but did find a statistically significant effect on strength. The study was short and given more time, it’s possible there would be improvements  in body comp (as being able to lift more weight in a given lift usually leads to positive changes in body comp) but it was a short lived and small study, so no real conclusions can be made from the results, other than DAA appears to have increased lifts in the short time period. It’s also possible, especially when viewing it in the larger picture of other studies, the DAA was not responsible for the effects found in the study and it was due to some confounding variables they didn’t account for.

Effect of Aspartate Supplementation on Athletic Performance and Testosterone Levels in Young Men Continue reading..

USF Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory

With Dr. Campbell and crew at the USF lab

With Dr. Campbell and crew at the USF lab

I recently spoke at the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida (USF)  run Dr. Bill Campbell. He’s doing some very interesting research  there more people should be aware of. There’s plenty of strength and conditioning labs out there, but very few if any actually looking specifically at the “physique sciences” as his lab is. What is the optimal way to alter body comp in the direction of more muscle and less fat vs. say how to make a football player stronger or a sprinter faster for example. Those are very different goals that require different approaches.

I spoke to a graduate class which was part how to “make it” in the fitness industry, and part discussion on my review paper on supplements for the military. My focus was to stress that although education as an essential component to success in the fitness industry, being aggressive, being creative, and thinking outside the box others will always attempt to place you in, was key to success. Below is a short vid worth watching on Dr. Campbell and the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory and people can get more info  HERE.
Check out this short vid on the lab:

What’s ‘Functional Training’? [And What’s So Functional About It?]

My latest article for Breach Bang Clear (BBC) take a hard look at the current “functional” training craze which has become very popular with tactical athletes and non.

Warning: BBC is a no BS site focused on military and combat related topics, and is not for those easily offended by salty language, so if you’re easily offended by four letter words and such…

Just What the Hell is ‘Functional Training’?
[And What’s So Functional About It?]

As anyone not living in a cave the past few years knows, “functional training” is all the rage. On the surface, that’s a good thing. It’s a generally positive trend toward training that’s more functional, applicable, and “real world”. It’s found some acceptance with the military and law enforcement communities, plus the civilian market. Yup, everyone and his mother has jumped on the “functional fitness/functional training” bandwagon.


That’s all well and fine, but it’s also taken many people away from the importance of training specificity concepts. If you attempt to train for a marathon and a powerlifting meet simultaneously, you’ll likely fair poorly at both come competition day. I don’t think that comes as a shock to most.

That’s an extreme example, but it illustrates a point; one can only push the “functional” thing so far before it’s of little value. What does standing on a balance ball doing pistol squats holding a kettle bell (KB) overhead make you “functional” for? I’ll tell you: it makes you functional for standing on a balance ball doing pistol squats holding a KB overhead, and little else. Continue reading..

Supplement Use And The Military

I recently published  a review paper with Dr. Kyle Hoedebecke examining nutritional supplement in a military setting. Many are unaware that certain nutritional supplements may be of considerable benefits to war fighters. Dr. Hoedebecke and I also had an LTE in the The Journal Of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM) on a similar topic not long ago. Below is the abstract from our recent review with link to the full paper.

images 7.11.04 PM







Review Paper
Military-specific application of nutritional supplements: a brief overview
F1000Res. 2015 Mar 10;4:61. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.6187.1. eCollection 2015.
Kyle Hoedebecke1, Will Brink2


The Soldiers of America’s military endure numerous physical and mental challenges that demand strict physical fitness regimens, extreme mental agility, and a perpetual readiness to deploy at a moment’s notice. The chronicity of these stressors has the potential to dramatically reduce performance – both directly and indirectly.  Because of this risk, many Soldiers turn to nutritional supplements with hopes of optimizing performance. Increasing amounts of research have demonstrated that various supplements may enhance overall physical prowess, health, and offer quicker recovery in the face of corporal or psychological extremes. Most individuals, including many medical and nutrition professionals, possess only an elementary comprehension of nutritional supplements and their effect on Soldiers in training or combat environments. Nevertheless, a grasp of these details is required for safety and optimal benefits. Various compounds have been evaluated – to include evidence within the military setting – and found to augment endurance, increase cognitive function, decrease knee pain, or offer hearing or lung protection in the face of high-energy impulses. These efficacious outcomes may serve to augment the health and longevity of these Soldiers; however, continued research is needed for efficacy and long-term safety within specific environments.

Full Paper HERE

Indexed on PubMed HERE

The Science Of Bomb Proof Coffee

coffeeIn Part I of Bomb Proof Coffee, I cover what’s in it and why, as well as how to make it, doses, sources, etc in video form HERE. If you’re new to Bomb Proof Coffee you’ll want to watch those videos for all the info you need to get started. This article will add some of the supporting science on the ingredients in Bomb Proof Coffee.

The obvious first ingredient to cover is the coffee. Coffee just continues to show itself to a have a wide variety of health benefits for both the brain and body. Not surprisingly, not all coffee is created and the levels of beneficial compounds depends on the type of processing and other factors. As the coffee itself is not the main focus of Bomb Proof Coffee per se, the Life Extension has a good article HERE covering the topic and offers a coffee with especially high levels of beneficial compounds found in coffee that might make a good choice for the coffee used in Bomb Proof Coffee.


Cocoa (cacao) Beans On Natural Wooden TableCocoa (the main ingredients in chocolate),  is rich in various polyphenols (including flavonoids/flavanols) and other  bio active compounds such as  amines, alkaloids,   tyramine, magnesium, procyanidins, phenylethylamine, and N-acylethanolamines. Cocoa has been shown to  reduce blood pressure, improve insulin resistance and improved endothelial function. A meta analysis found that the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest level of intake, an that’s despite the sugar and fat content of chocolate; reduced insulin resistance and reduced serum insulin levels were associated with the chocolate consumption. There are various studies that also suggest direct cognitive benefit of cocoa ingestion as well as neruo protection. The flavanol epicatechin is believed to be the main source of benefit, but there’s a wide range of compounds in cocoa and it’s highly likely there’s synergism between epicatechin and other flavanols as well as other compounds found in cocoa, many of which are still being elucidated. As mentioned via the vids on Bomb Proof Coffee, not all cocoa is created equal and the highest levels of beneficial compounds is found in cocoa that has not been “Dutch Processed” which is exposed to alkalization. The vast majority of cocoa sold commercially has been Dutch Processed/exposed to alkalization. The exact dose for optimal effects is unclear at this time and research is ongoing, but the dose recommended in Bomb Proof Coffee – if you’re using high quality cocoa that has not been exposed to alkalization – should have you covered well. See videos for more information on that. Cocoa, similar to coffee, is a highly complex  ingredient, which may have synergism when ingested together. Continue reading..

Lactoferrin For Weight Loss

By Monica Mollica & Will Brink
As seen in The Life Extension Magazine May 2014  ©

Lactoferrin has been experiencing an increased interest by researchers and medical professionals, and rightly so: It’s shown an astounding array of potential benefits to human health and disease prevention. The wide range of potential health and disease fighting properties of lactoferrin are covered extensively in two prior articles “The Bioactive Peptide that Fights Disease” and a later update outlining recent research findings with additional research found . This article shows a recently discovered benefit of this unique peptide that were quite unexpected.Lactoferrin

What Is Lactoferrin?

In a nut shell, Lactoferrin is a multi-functional peptide, derived from whey protein; in bovine milk it’s present at approximately 0.5-1.5% of total whey proteins 1, and 0.1 g/liter 2. In addition to its known anti-bacterial 3, anti-viral 4), immune strengthening 5, antioxidant 6, 7, anti-inflammatory 7 and cancer-preventive potential 8, recent studies have discovered novel targets of lactoferrin that can help with fat loss and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose control, which are also essential components to weight loss and overall health.

Lactoferrin for fat loss

A role for lactoferrin in reducing adiposity was first discovered in fat cell culture studies. It was found that lactoferrin specifically inhibits fat accumulation in fat cells, as well as formation of new fat cells (a process called adipogenesis) 9, 10. Continue reading..

Ketones, A Potential Non-Toxic Cancer Treatement?

There appears to be a wide range of potential benefits to ketones, and one of the authors of the study below (Dr. D’Agostino) has many papers people can read on his professional page HERE if interested.

What’s the possible mechanism by which Ketones could help treat some cancers? Chemist Pat Arnold sums up what’s likely the basic mechanism via his blog which has additional discussion of this study below and the possible benefits of Ketone supplementation:

“The concept is relatively simple.  Cancer cells can generally only use glucose to energize their growth, while normal cells have the metabolic flexibility to use fatty acids and ketones in addition to glucose.  So by starving tumors of glucose via calorie and/or carbohydrate restriction – while simultaneously providing abundant alternative fuels for the body and brain (the ketogenic diet) – you may halt the cancer without side effects.

The concept may be quite bold, but it is not new.  A Nobel Prize physicist named Otto Warburg first conceived of the general idea back in the 1920s.  Unfortunately, after the discovery of the structure and function of DNA in 1953, the popular view of cancer was that it was a disease of purely genetic origin.  As a consequence, Warburg’s hypotheses were largely discarded.   Hopes were high that a cure for cancer was just around the corner back then, but as we all know that was not to be.   Luckily, within the last few decades some researchers have taken a second look at Warburg’s work and the “‘metabolic theory of cancer’”

Continue reading..

Can Daily “Power Posing” Increase Testosterone?

Can “power posing” held for a short time increase T, lower cortisol and improve your confidence in certain situations? Maybe. Will it alter your bodycomp or make you stronger? Unlikely, as short lived transient changes in hormones don’t tend to impact body comp or strength, and I cover that topic in my write-up on OTC “T booster” supplements HERE if interested.

However, your body language and how you carry yourself etc does have feedback to your brain and visa versa and these studies suggest elevated T and reduced cortisol as well as improved performance in those who “Power Posed.” I thought the results were interesting.

The study suggests you don't have to be as dramatic in your power pose as this guy!

The study suggests you don’t have to be as dramatic in your power pose as this guy!








Continue reading..

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