Chapter Five - Supercompensation

“We all want to be that friend that can lift the heavy end of the fridge”
Charlie turned on the TV to catch the morning news.

The morning show had a guest on their usual slot. A man named Dean Chaplan. 
Dean Chaplan introduced himself as a Nutrition expert and Food therapist. Dean went on to explain his formula for weight loss and how to increase your energy by “150 percent every day!”.
“What’s a horny goat extract?” Charlie wasn’t sure but it sounded good.
Dean went on to tell the TV presenter that his method was used by thousands across the globe and how it was an easy process backed by science.
"Horny goat weed, science backed, please continue Dean!"
“All you need to do is follow my 4 step breathing program assisted with our nutritionist approved supplement.”
“LIFE FORCE, your body’s weight loss assistant” Dean finished his interview holding up a tub of some green powder.
Charlie was 90% convinced. This was the thing he needed. He wondered if Riley knew about this program and supplement routine. Breathing and a few powders 3x per day, it must work!”
Charlie was nearly on the band-wagon, but something inside him told him to wait before jumping on his phone and ordering a packet of “Life Force ignite”.
——
Charlie arrived at his session with Riley early and began his warm up. It had been two weeks of him completing his mobility and stability program, two more weeks to go and then he’d be onto his “strength endurance” program. 
“Long range vehicle conditioning here I come!”
“Nice to see you getting into it early Charlie!” 

Riley had her tablet in one hand and a water bottle in another.
"I’ve got to say, its only been two weeks but I definitely feel, um different to two weeks ago” Charlie told her
"Great to hear, it's definitely enough time for you to start to feel a little different; slightly looser, a little better balanced and maybe slightly calmer."
“But no weight loss” Charlie added
“That will come” 
"Speaking of weight shift and feeling different, I’ve got two questions.” 
“Ok, shoot” Riley said.
“Question one, I saw an interview on TV this morning with a guy named Dean Chaplan.”
“Yup” Riley nodded straight away
“Oh, did you see it too?!” He sounded hopeful
“No but I know the name, but please continue” 
"Ok, well he was advertising this product called Life Force, some sort of revolutionary weight loss product compounded with some kind of hyperventilating breathing exercises to complete over the course of 30 days. Helps to loose weight really fast apparently” Charlie explained with a mixture of confidence and uncertainty.
Riley smiled. Not in a “you’re an idiot” kind of way, more of a “seen there been that, bought the product”… If there was a smile that conveyed that, Riley had just done it.
“It’s a load of bull shit isn’t it?” Charlie felt deflated but still curious to what Riley had to say.
“Happy to unpack this whole topic, first though, what’s your second question?”
“Yes, secondly. What the heck were you and your friends doing the other day, looking like you were either training to become a mixture of acrobats and strongmen or deliberately trying to hurt yourself?”
“That’s not too far off, in a funny way!”
"The dude throwing the weight from the ground to above his head?" Charlie began interrogating
“Propulsive strength, done via Olympic lifting” Riley quickly responded.
"The lady carrying the bar with a weight on one side?"
“Barbell off-set carry, great for trunk stability”
“Ah, the trunk, goes nicely with the car analogy.” Charlie joked
“The trunk is a name used to describe all of the muscles that help to move and stabilise the spine" Riley added.
“Good to know… And you who was jumping off the box, my knees quivered at the sight”
"Oh yup, high impact conditioning and force acceptance” Riley didn't blink an eye lid.
“What’s that good for? If anything?”
"Well, keeping with our car analogy here. I’m creating better suspension by strengthening my tendons."
“So tough sports suspension that doesn’t allow much body roll”
“Precisely. The faster my body can ‘accept’ the force, the faster it can do something else”
"So you guys do that stuff for fun?" Charlie wondered
"For fun yes. And because we want to condition our bodies to be bullet proof and athletic."
“Well above what I’ll be capable I’m sure”
"Charlie, what if I told you that everyone in that group has dealt with back injuries, knee troubles, shoulder pain and more in the past?”
“I’d say join the club”
“We all joined the club. Then we left because we realised we were better off getting stronger, faster and more coordinated rather than purely managing pain. I’ve got a term for you Charlie, its called super compensation”
“We're not going to turn our car analogy into a guy thats drives a car with a big engine because he has a small -“ Charlie decided not to end his sentence there.
“No not over compensation. Super compensation is a way to describe a body that is conditioned to handle many different things, over and above what is required of it. When an athlete squats 300kg on their back, that is not something they will do on the sports field during a match. However they have prepared their bodies for far more force than what they will experience in their sport. And through doing those heavy and outrageous things, their body is highly conditioned and they can do so much more with it as well as being much less injury prone.
“Like a runner that does interval training?” Charlie asked
“Right, running faster than their usual running pace to improve at their usual running pace. 
 
The reason I was jumping off a box was to expose my body to handle the impacts running will create. Every step we take when we run our body needs to absorb 7x our bodyweight.
Super compensation is a way to describe a body that is capable of handling much more than what life, or even the persons sports demand. Being healthy, strong and fit means that life is easier, exercise is more fun and we are more helpful as a human being! And also, in my experience I’ve found people have better control over their stress."
“What because they know they can throw a weight through a ceiling nothing bothers them anymore?” Charlie asked.
"Or at least small movements in life that requires us to walk, run, lift something or do anything that’s above sitting on the couch is not as hard."
“You’d rather lift the couch than sit on it?”
"Let my try another example with you. Imagine two people walking up 40 flights of stairs. One is a firefighter who has trained to be able to do this whilst being dressed in his full firefighters gear.
The second is someone who has not trained, is not aerobically fit and struggles to get up 10 flights of stairs without becoming breathless. Now for the purposes of this explanation, let us say they both walk up the flight of stairs next to each other non-stop until the reach the top. Same event, same scenario. Then once they reach the top they have to give someone CPR.
"Could you imagine the high levels of stress one of those people might be feeling?"
“I’d imagine the firefighter would be right onto the job. They other guy would be struggle city"
“Right! So why is it some people get stressed over the smallest physical task, or even mental challenge?”
“They haven’t prepared themselves”
“Correct, or even worse, they thought they had prepared themselves. 
When life throws us challenges, we are reliant on what we have done in the past. If we're not prepared for what’s to come, we are merely a slave to the tools we have. If your back is weak, chances of being able to rely on it to be strong when we need it to are small.”
“Fight, flight or freeze right?”
“There’s maybe even a fourth F but perhaps we get to your next question after you’ve completed this next set”
Charlie completed his second set of shoulder exercises. External and internal rotations of the rotator cuff. Sounds like a heavy metal song.
“Riley started her timer and promptly said CHECK.
Check? Or Cheque?”
“CHEQ, C.H.E.Q. Controversial, Health, Expert and Qualification. In response to your second question about Dean Chaplan the food therapist and nutrition guru.”
“Is he a guru?”
“I’d rather arm you with the tools to decide yourself rather than tell you my opinion.”
“You guys got beef?” Charlie asked
“I prefer fish. 

Whenever I see the latest advocate for a new way of eating, exercise or heck even something like investing; I put them through the filter of the “CHEQ” process. 
“Like a bullshit detector?” Charlie asked
“Yup, or a rigours form of the sniff test” Riley added 
The first is CONTRIVERSIAL.
The first is quite a subjective one because it only takes one journalist to decide that a person is “controversial”. I look at it in the sense as someone who is making an outrageous claim to be heard. '99% percent of people lose weight using our product' for example. 'Hollywood actors swear by this one supplement', 'all you need is this one piece of exercise equipment' If any of the worked, I'd be out of a job today.

“The world is flat”
Ha! If you’re from The Netherlands that might not be too controversial. But exactly. Where there’s controversy, there’s publicity.
Second, HEALTH. If the person does not look healthy themselves, how can I possibly trust what they are talking about works? There’s obviously room for understanding here. I know of people who have lost 75kg of body fat but would still be considered overweight. They have advice to burn around the topic. But if I’m being told by someone that a certain meditation technique helps manage angry outbursts and then I see the guy lose it in the parking lot, I’m going to be skeptical”
“E?”
Are they an EXPERT in the field? This doesn’t mean they have the qualifications but more boots on the ground expertise. A farmer may have spent their whole life farming without ever officially studying and if you want an opinion on how to rear a calf, he’s probably your guy. A dancer can move better than most and could talk about movement all day whether or not they've got a degree in neuroscience. Practical experience. There are some things you just can’t understand by study alone. 
“And lastly, QUALIFICATIONS. Does this person have any qualifications to put next to their opinion? This still matters in so many areas. If you’re a psychologist, epidemiologist, neuroscientists, heart surgeon. If you’ve dedicated that amount of your life to learning about a specific topic, then that tells me that your opinion likely has more weight. That being said, not everyone with a PHD is a bonafide genius. But most probably are!”
Charlie completed his final set of shoulder exercises and they finished up their session with a high five.
“We’ll done Charlie, I’m really happy with the way your first few weeks have gone. We did some great work today and unpacked a few interesting topics”
“Thanks Riley”
“Thank you Charlie.
“Hey Charlie, have I told you about the pills I take to increase my enigmaticism by 500%?” Riley quipped
“No you haven’t, but I’ll be sure to C.H.E.Q them out!”