High Performance Academy February 2016 – The Field Report

As I write this, it’s March 2016, approximately 4 weeks since 1400 of us descended upon San Diego Bayside Hilton to officially hit the Brendan Burchard High Performance Academy.

 

hilton-waterfront

(Hilton Bayside, San Diego)

 

 

It’s been just over two years since I was first fortunate enough to experience the expert Academy in London, for what I believe was Brendan’s first and only appearance at a seminar outside of the US. I had three main reasons for wanting to attend this event. Firstly I was very excited to see how Brendan performed in his native country and whether there were any particular differences in front of an American audience. Secondly I’ve been back following Brendan’s material over the last six months and I had a real feeling that to get to the next level wanted to explore how high performance could help me. And thirdly, San Diego is an excellent place to be in February.

 

For my readers in the UK, should you ever feel like attending this event in the future, I highly recommend taking the direct flight from Heathrow if you possibly can. The British Airways flight lands in San Diego’s little airport at around 4 PM which gives you plenty of time to go find some dinner and tackle the jetlag a little. Also the airport is literally five minutes away from the city, you could actually walk it. (In fact several days I went for a run from my hotel and was cross from the airport within about 10 minutes.)

 

Also the San Diego airport is very compact and easy to navigate, and as they do not have very many international flights getting through customs took very little time. It’s been about 11 years since I visited San Diego last and that was for the famous comic convention. Where I was staying was right on the waterfront and I have to say that something delightful about waking up with the sea front about 10 yards from your hotel window.

 

wrr-san-diego

 

(early morning run down the marina)

 

So what is HPA about?

 

Strangely in all the years I’ve been a doctor, the basic concept of keeping mind and body as fit as possible to be able to carry out my duties activities and leisure on a day-to-day basis had never really occurred to me until now. In fact I do recall on the first morning as everyone slowly filled the ballroom at the Hilton that the energy level was fairly low at that point and I suspect a lot of people were also in a somewhat tired state.

 

Naturally that all disappeared when Brendan took to the stage. He has clearly lost none of his energy and soon going to everyone up and clapping out of their seats. He explained that the concept of high-performance was all about the maintenance of a consistent good energy state can be maintained throughout the day and continued with daily practice, rather than with the kind of peaks and troughs that normally occur during the day.

 

He took a moment to honour those in the room were travelled from outside of the US, and I was very gratified to note that I was one of about 50 delegates would come in from abroad. As fortunate to meet quite a few of these people during the weekend and there were fairly large contingents from Canada and a few from Mexico. I even met a lady from Yorkshire.

 

So the basic framework the Brendan covered in the morning session was regarding the key aspects of high-performance and the factors that we needed to address and get under control. These were regarding physiology psychology nutrition rest levels and purpose driven activities. It became clear that there will be lots of practical demonstrations of this throughout the weekend which was very good to know because his point quite difficult to remain concentrated and focused when suited for a long period of time, a factor should be evident to me quite some time ago as somebody who was basically office-based for a long time and that my energy levels are suffering as a result.

 

Was recording to the framework and has established many of our personal goals and desires for the coming months we took the usual opportunities of breaking into groups of four and five and chatting about these goals, specifically why we have chosen them and what were our passions that drove these goals. Needless to say I knew was quickly introduced to a great number of very intelligent very driven and very talkative people who came from all sorts of backgrounds. Most of them were on their first-ever seminar and you could tell that there was a lot of energy in the room.

 

On our first break for lunch I joined some of the locals for lunch and was impressed how most of the group were already very keen on good nutrition. In fact salads were very much the order of the day for most people although friend and eyes soon discovered the local clam chowder and demolished some of that. But we were to learn a lot about nutrition over the coming days and as a result I have made some quite significant changes in my own intake and generally do feel much better for it.

 

On the subject of whether the material and presentation changes slightly for an American audience I would say that is definitely the case. As we know Brendan has been working with Oprah for the last few months and I don’t think it a coincidence that some of the presentation takes on an almost evangelical tone at times. (Lots of ‘Amens’!) This works extremely well with a lot of the audience who wear their religious hearts on their sleeves. It could well be that this is how he has always presented his material in America.

 

I think an area where he’s become even stronger is in his storytelling abilities. I know some of you reading this also conduct seminars and give speeches professionally and I would absolutely recommend that you would benefit attending HPA just to get an idea of how to run a seminar of four days and keep audience attention throughout that period. I myself am aware of how much effort and energy goes into presentations of even 60 or 90 minutes in length, and this was a masterclass in how to use the energy of a room, how to maintain peaks and troughs of interest in a story that allows audience to remain engaged. Certainly in a room of this size I was quite amazed at how few times I heard a telephone ring. I’ve tried practising doing a seminar at his kind of energy level for just 30 minutes my hotel room and I found it to be absolutely exhausting. So when he talks about how to maintain high energy levels I was certainly paying attention.

 

On day one Brendan laid out his main frameworks. The first one was based upon the book “The Charge” and those of you who’ve read it will recognise the three types of life i.e. the caged, comfortable, and charged life. The key points to take away from this part was that great deal of effort and discipline is required to develop the charged life and the theme of discipline was touched upon repeatedly throughout the weekend and was certainly one of my main takeaways.

 

He then went into discussing his ‘6P’ framework i.e. productivity persuasion psychology and physiology, presence and purpose. These formed the cornerstone of the group discussions that we would have throughout the next few days so that we could grade our starting scores and how those scores would improve throughout the seminar as we gained more clarity. The idea of course was to get down to being very specific about our “why”, which of course is critical before moving on to the “how”. The most important point here was whether we give a damn about the result, to paraphrase, because only when we have a real desire do have any chance of achieving a result.

 

(Frequent quoted the weekend was from the incomparable Les Brown, “you gotta be hungry!”) Brendan also pointed out that ordinary people get diminished desire from failures whereas effective people, as we aspire to be, only get augmented desire following failure.

 

To get us into the mindset of maintaining activity during the day Brendan showed his routines are getting up and moving around every hour to prevent the circulation getting sluggish, as well as his considerable consumption of water. This was one of the big eye openers for me during the weekend and something I have implemented immediately into my practice.

 

On the second day Brendan brought out his first guest speaker to rapturous applause, none other than the author of “Change your brain, change your life” Dr Daniel amen, who has his own show on a US cable channel and is clearly a very accomplished speaker himself. He presented a one-hour talk about how the brain is the master of the body and how we should be doing everything in our power to maintain and enhance its abilities, which on the face of it seems really obvious but was quite superbly presented and a real highlight of the weekend for me.

 

The next speaker was the owner and inventor of the bullet-proof coffee concept, Mike Asprey. (Bullet-proof coffee is basically black coffee plus butter, you can look it up here https://www.bulletproofexec.com/.

 

I felt that a lot of his ideas were somewhat “out there”, but then the guy’s a millionaire and I’m not so I’m not really one to judge. He did however mention an interesting concept, when he was talking about “decision fatigue”.

 

This is something I became aware of earlier in the year which relates to the fact that the brain can only make a certain number of good decisions throughout the 24-hour period, following which all of the decisions are likely to be poor. Unfortunately the brain is generally unable to distinguish between small and big decisions, and uses a similar amount of energy in both cases.

 

Therefore, and this has been shown with brain scans, using brain energy to make lots of small decisions will tire you out very quickly. Mike then went on to point out, using obesity as an example, that overweight people and people binge eat obviously have cravings for food, which means that they are constantly making a decision whether or not to eat, therefore depleting their “decision quota” for the day very quickly and this is one the reasons that they get tired very quickly and make poor decisions. I think the takeaway of this is not that overweight people make poor decisions, but anybody who has some form of craving will exhaust their decision-making far earlier in the day than others and this makes perfect sense to me. I’m working on a solution to this.

 

Throughout the Saturday Brendan talked about the difference between positive thinking and positive planning and re-emphasised trusting the process rather than the destination. We also deep- dived to motivation and how while it is important how high ambition, we also need expectancy in our lives i.e. the belief that we can achieve our ambition.

 

It was also during the Saturday that we did a high-intensity physical exercise that shook the ballroom so much, the floor below actually thought that there was an earthquake and evacuated everyone!

 

We also had our third guest speaker on, gentleman by the name of Tim Adams who was responsible for training the very best NFL players. He showed us some stretching techniques which within five minutes changed our body’s physical mobility in a way that is impossible to describe but which blew the mind of pretty much everyone in the room. I had a chance to meet the gentleman later on during his Q&A, which was great!

tim-adams

Tim Adams at HPA

 

 

It was also during Saturday the Brendan had an epiphany live on stage, when he was discussing the software tools which speed-up productivity 10 times, and then realised that nobody in the room knew what he was talking about, so he added an extra 30 minute section the next day to discuss these particular apps (I’ve mentioned a few below, suffice to say that I can get through my emails way faster since coming back!)

 

We finished off our weekend on the Sunday talking about how to evaluate an opportunity, and most importantly how to say no to opportunities which do not fit our agenda. And finally, the Brendan motivation meditation which I remember before from EA 2014, but which seemed much more effective this time and had a big effect on everyone around me.

 

In summary, Brendan is getting even better at seminars than ever before, and I highly recommend for those of you haven’t seen him live for a long time to get onto one of his seminars either in April or towards the end of the year. I was motivated enough to sign up for his high-performance coaching, a programme which consists of coaching over the phone has several sessions followed by group coaching sessions. As I write I have completed two sessions so far, and as someone who has lacked accountability in his projects over the last year or so I found this to be very effective, and I will update you all as I go along. San Diego is a brilliant place to have a motivational weekend and the people I met have been absolutely wonderful and inspirational.

 

So my main takeaways from San Diego were

  • I need to cut out the distractions
  • I need to focus on putting healthy food and water into my body daily
  • I should embrace every failure as a ‘teaching session’
  • I have faith in my ability to get things done

 

The app resources that I am now using

Sanebox

PhraseExpress

Evernote

Any.do

And without a doubt I am way more motivated by 2016 than I was in January!

 

I’ll sign off with something that someone told me on Sunday,

“Go out there and live your truth everyday come what may.” Nuff said.

group-photo-sandiego

Detox 2015 – The 5 things you need to know this year to look and feel great

 

[photo wtf weigh scales]

So here’s 2015 – and I’m betting you couldn’t avoid over-indulging over the party season, right? Lots of puddings and other treats, alcohol, massive portions of everything and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for physical activity.

Paying for it now? How do you get back on track, ASAP? Don’t worry, here are the 5 top tips to get you back shipshape.

 

1) Get your filtered water in!

 

[photo pouring water]

You need at least 1 litre on an average day to flush the system through, more if you’re on a restriction diet. For your detox, make this 2 litres. 8 glasses a day. I won’t go into the whys and wherefores of the benefits of water, it’s been done to death, and you can follow it up in this excellent article http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water. But there is an important issue that you may not have considered, and it is that if you are drinking hard water, you are are filling up on loads of residue and contaminants that are being absorbed directly into your system. It’s doing you no good and will ruin your detox if you are simply ‘re-toxing’ with other stuff. You don’t need any specialist equipment to test your tap water either – just pour a few teaspoons into a clear glass, leave it out overnight and have a look at what’s left at the bottom of the glass once the water has evaporated. If there’s a whole load of chalky residue that you need to scrape off, then that’s hard water. Unfortunately, what you see is the remnants of a few teaspoons, now imagine you drank a whole glass of that. Now 8 glasses, the recommended amount for effective detox. Best advice – get a filter jug and drink your fill from there.
2) Goji berries are the go-to anti-oxidant superfruit of the year.

 

[photo goji berries]

They are full of beta-carotene vitamin C which help promote healthy skin and improve iron absorption, so if you anaemic you’re in luck here too! Plus they are high in fibre and low in calories so it’s all good. Can be eaten raw or mixed in with other foods. I recommend make into a berry smoothie. Yum.
3) Cardio is king.

[photo woman doing situps]

 

You can’t ignore it. If you want to boost your immune system and force out those lurking poisons, you’ve got to get the blood flowing. All the gyms are doing new year discount packages so the weather should be no excuse. 30 minutes should be the minimum, but most importantly, you need to eat carbs no less than 2 hours before (otherwise you have no fuel for your muscles), and protein as soon after your session as possible to repair those muscles. Ignore this basic rule, and you cannot get anywhere the levels of calorie burning needed to get that waistline back down. Your body is a temple. Do you want others to worship it? Then start doing so yourself! By the way, if the thought of gyms horrify you (I get it, they aren’t everyone’s bag) then here’s a quick tip to get started. Go on youtube and look for the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell, and just do what they’re doing in that video – it’s just 4 minutes, you can definitely do that!
4) Probiotics.

[photo blue bacteria]

 

Research is growing in this field of examining not which bacteria are good or bad, but how best to balance the body’s bacteria of all types to keep things at an optimum level in the body. Most probiotic supplements include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium so these are the foods to look out for, or one yogurt drink a day has the kind of levels you are looking for. For more notes on this have a look at http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/best-probiotics.
5) Finally, 2015 will see a big comeback for caffeine.

[photo woman drinking coffee]

 

Ongoing research is showing the benefits of caffeine for reducing the risks of neurodegenerative (brain tissue disruption) diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is also known to boost calorie burn during exercise, increase metabolism to improve chances of weight loss, and there are studies showing benefits for the liver, if taken as a colonic irrigation (admittedly in regard to the last claim, these studies are only in animal models and I cannot locate any human trials that I would classify as good evidence). The other problem is knowing how much is enough or too much, as it is very difficult to know precisely how much coffee is in your cup, even if you use the same source regularly. The current wisdom is 2 cups of tea or coffee per day should do the trick. That doesn’t mean I advise chugging down on lattes though, there’s generally a lot more sugar and cream in those things than I’d recommend.

 

So what are you waiting for? Now your all clued up, it’s your opportunity to clean your act up for 2015 and get vibrant again. After all, no-one will do it for you!

Wishing you health, energy, and a very happy 2015.