Success Stories: Practicing What You Preach…

Experiments With Stress Management & Performance

I have been training for close to 14 years. In that period I have learned a thing or two about performance, cognition and wellness…

What I can tell you is there is a massive difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. My industry is saturated with people who have not a single transformation behind them. It’s pretty scary.

As most of you know I divide my ability to perform into 2 categories or forms of training.

Climbing/Cognition and Strength Training/Wellness:

I group these according to the area’s I feel they benefit me most.

Since I have enjoyed climbing from a young age I’ve found that although certain supplements, forms of meditation & eating can improve my ability to move on the rock. Just being out in the mountain is extremely good for my head space.

Read More Here: Improve Cognition & Mood With These Foods & Supplements

High performance Strength training which includes ‘blocks’ or pre-determined periods of training for a specific goal such as Fat-loss or Hypertrophy obviously improve quality of life.

Below you will find information pertaining to my success’s and failure with body composition manipulation.

In 2007 when I was still working full-time at the Renaissance Body Science Institute I was cooking over a weeks worth of meals and freezing them every Sunday. This was what I had to do to eat a very specific amount of calories for my first shoot! In case you were wondering this was the result.

Transform! [1600x1200]

I was fairly pleased with the outcome but I ultimately failed to achieve a few things. The long term sustainability of the program was simply too time restrictive & it would be impossible to train, travel and maintain this kind of shape.

While utilizing most of the common bodybuilding techniques such as extended steady state cardio and a basic body part split I tried to maximize the benefits of the most common bodybuilding routines.

The methods worked but simply not to the degree that I expected.

I have tried a variety of approaches over the years to get into the shape of my life, in the image you see above I completed my first ‘bulking’ phase of training at the age of 18. Yes I was a fatty once 🙂

Shoot 2

To learn more about how I continued to develop and implement new strategies for fat-loss and hypertrophy have a look at Josh Jansen’s transformation… This is a good example of how preventative care can help you achieve your goals faster. Not all of us have it easy in the Fat-loss department.

Stress & Cortisol Were The Real Enemies For Me:

Nothing about changing your body is easy. No specific method or style of training can replace high quality exercise & nutrition strategies,yet I struggled to burn the excess fat on my abdomen for years. Here are some of the key strategies that helped me the most:



Most individuals  just don’t get enough sleep, it’s accepted that 8 hours per night is considered a normal sleep reference point. This however has been shown to be more complex as we determine the unique stressors apparent in each person’s life.

Inflamed & stressed individuals are generally fatigued people who need more sleep than average, even getting to bed too late can have disastrous consequences if you already have accumulated oxidative stress and an inability to effectively detox your body.


3 Easy Interventions

You Need To Train

Stress related disease is estimated to make up at least 30% of heart and degenerative related disease in the world today. It is a real problem that is only coming to be understood as research continues to expand. Stress galvanizes your immune system into the common ‘fight or flight’ syndrome exhausting your adrenal glands.

This makes it difficult to determine just how anxious or frustrated you are if you cannot identify the specific stressors affecting you. If we combine that problem with the relatively skew ideas that most people have about food intolerance’s, micro-nutrient deficiencies or how much or how little they should eat. It’s no wonder we are on a collision course with disease.

The solution does not need to be complicated, get to the gym.

The benefits of training are numerous especially regarding stress relief. I make a point of differentiating between exercise and training. Often people think that exercise should be like flapping around in a Zumba class.

It is preferential for you to lift some heavy stuff and enjoy a good workout that emphasizes good technique and the ‘bang for buck’ compound exercises. Strength is the foundation of a healthy a healthy body so it’s groundwork of everything else you want to achieve.

When Is The Best Time To Train?

Having trouble getting out of bed in the morning? You should train as early as possible, specifically because this will help to reset your circadian rhythms by forcing you to get to bed earlier.

Cortisol is a hormone responsible for controlling Inflammation in your body and it reaches it’s peak concentration in the mornings so getting up earlier and training gives your body the opportunity to manage this from earlier in the day.

The Body-Part Split:

My suggestion is that alternate upper and lower body workouts in a 4 day rotation. That would be Monday, upperbody (chins, presses, rows) & Tuesday, lower body (squats, deadlifts & sprints). This should be completed for 3 weeks if your goal is to simply get back on the wagon (one wave) or you can stay on it continuously. I highly recommend German Body Conditioning By Charles Poliquin

Improve Your Digestion:

  1. Take Glutamine to improve the thickness of your stomach lining. I recommend up to 120g (40g per meal )per day.
  2. Invest in a good Pro-biotic which has a minimum of 100 million live cultures per gram. If you don’t have access to this Goat’s cheese / organic Bulgarian yoghurt can be a cheaper alternative.
  3. I have also hear good things about Sauerkraut but have not tried this myself.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar is another great tool which I do not recommend using more than once a day after a meal (normally  after dinner). Since stomach acid is responsible for the digestion of your foods it is one of the first things directly inhibited by stress. Mix 25ml with a small amount of lukewarm water & honey.
  5. Digestive enzymes are a valuable investment & worthy of your hard earned money. While you can to an extent use Pawpaw, Ginger, Pineapple in your diet to great effect I cannot emphasize how good this product can be for you.
  6. Get tested for Helicobacter Pylori


Micro-Nutrient Deficiencies: Links to my favorite Poliquin articles

Micro-nutrient deficiencies are perhaps among the most systemic problems facing average people in our modern society. While on the one hand it seems that many high level corporate executives may pay no attention to their health they are clearly paying the price for this later in life. Here are 3 simple interventions that can significantly improve your overall state of well being.

My favorite Charles Poliquin Articles:

Serum Magnesium: How I Replenish Magnesium

Zinc: The Benefits Of Zinc

Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3: Best…Supplement…Ever!

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Why Fishoils Are The Most Important Supplement

B- Vitamin Complex’s: Top Five Supplementation Tips For Optimal Body Composition

Blood Tests & Lab Analysis:


The 5 Most Common Food Intolerance’s: Links to my favorite Mercola articles

Obviously it goes without saying that lethargy & fatigue should not be a part of everyday life but what if we are causing our own symptoms be consuming the wrong foods? This has to be one of the most common and avoidable  problems facing everyday people.

Cut Out Wheat: Why Wheat & Gluten Disorder Is On The Rise

Cut Out Sugar: Is Sugar Toxic? By Dr Joseph Mercola

Food Allergies: Why Are There So Many Food Allergies Now

Final Thoughts: Manage Your Blood Sugar, Insulin & Wellness

I know what you are thinking. How can I possibly integrate all of this information in my own life?

The truth is that the initial recommendations made for micro nutrient deficiencies above will have a major impact just on their own. Everything else in the article is about what you are willing to invest as far as time allows.

Do yourself a favor and start managing your blood sugar. Most individuals are Insulin Resistant to a greater or lesser degree. This has major implications for your mind long before it affects your body. You can book a Wellness Assessment with me here if you are interested in determining how you can do this.

I also strongly recommend that you watch the following presentation below and make up your own mind about brain nutrition and it’s impact on your own life. Training and nutrition and have personally impacted everything I have ever known. I really cannot begin to grateful enough for the opportunities both fields of study have given me.

Thank you for reading



David Robertson

I have dedicated my life to training and nutrition and I have traveled the world seeking the best tools available for the development of Strength, Cognition & Wellness. As somebody who has never had the luck of the draw regarding the ‘genetic lottery’ I created this blog to document the experiments and tools that have changed my life the most.