Performance Enhancement

"Another schnazzy subject line for you. Pretty much you are officially godlike to me. Every single exercise I do goes up by about 10-20 pounds each week. I am nearly benching 300 pounds. Whatever you say I will do.

"Here is my question, but it isn't really related to strength training. I want to push myself to the limit and mentally thrive without sleep and just keep working. I am a medical student. Do you know of any program for this, or any underground book for this? Should I fast? Stop drinking water? Take any supplements?

"I ask you, because I believe your methods can be construed as underground-esque (I don't know of anyone or seen anyone using your methods and that's why they don't increase their bench as dramatically). I guess I believe in extreme training as Tom Platz did with his 10 minute squat routines.

"I just want to find that corollary in other areas, such as mental training. Of course I would do this for only one week, as I believe that this isn't really healthy, and I'm sure I'd lose some muscle mass along the way. Of course, please feel free to dismiss this idea if you think getting regular sleep is absolutely essential, or if you think my ideas are just insane."


My Answer: I've had some crazy ass readers and fans, but you Larry are scaring me. As a cop who's done graveyard shifts, I can say that you are insane for trying to work and perform without sleep. The key question to ask is: do you want more work done or do you want quality work done?

Let me tell you something. I'm smart, but I'm also lazy. If I can outperform someone else with less effort and less time invested, then isn't that what counts? Nobody gives a crap how many hours you studied. What counts is that you aced the freakin' test. Minimal effort, maximum effect is what I strive for all the time, because I maintain a variety of interests.

People think that if they had more time, they'd get more done. That's just an excuse. You need to use your time more efficiently. This requires a mindset that prioritizes what is relevant and what is irrelevant. It also requires that you be strategic in your thoughts, pragmatic in your actions.

You're a med student. I don't know what kind of medicine you're going into, but to use a medical field analogy, you need to triage what activities are meaningful and what is chewing up your time.

Sleep is really important, because you can't retain information unless you sleep. When you study knowledge or practice a skill, you don't fully retain it in your long term memory until you get a good night's rest. Your recall of the information or your performance of the skill is better the next day.

You'll also notice that mentally you're more focused and creative in the morning hours, after you gotten a good night's sleep. In the afternoon, mentally you're not as focused. If you have menial, mindless tasks to do, then do them in the afternoon.

Mental performance is much like strength training. I go over the concepts of density and decompression in Neo-Classical Bodybuilding. You train hard, then you pull back and reap the benefits. That is the Way of the Universe.

With mental performance, it works the same way. There is a time to fire up the mental circuitry at full speed (morning hours before lunch), and there is a time to decompress, relax and not worry about anything (evening hours).

As a med student, I'm surprised you're not using supplemental nootropics. Acetyl L-carnitine, tyrosine and phosphatidylserine are nootropics that also have bodybuilding applications. Fish oil and green tea help with mental acuity and mood stabilization.  Black tea helps with mental acuity and increases your testosterone.
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