Budgeting Your Recovery
“We have so many limits and obstacles to overcome daily! So this is your cheat sheet to longevity! Follow my lead and you will make it longer and farther than the rest.”
To stay in “this game” of bodybuilding and making money while at it, you are going to have to really budget everything in your life so that no matter what, you can eat and train the way you need to, so that you can look and feel the way you need and more importantly, want to. This means maximizing your “RECOVERY” budget that I have broken down into eight specific categories to help you!
1. Food is first and foremost the key to all your success, not the drugs and supplements although they certainly fall into this category. You need a Costco, BJ’s or any wholesale spot to load up on all the basics. When I was a kid I would look every weekend in the newspaper for where the specials on chicken and meat were! Every week I was traveling to a different store to follow the specials on things like chicken breast for $1.79 a pound! This makes a tremendous difference! Follow the sales and it’s very easy to save $100 a week to put toward the other categories!
2. Grooming! Make friends with a barber! I have always had a connection with a barber because I have been getting my hair cut weekly since I was a teen. Why is grooming so important now? If you are marketing yourself properly like I have been teaching, then you realize appearance and first impressions are huge! Don’t be lazy about it; this is how you attract sponsors, clients, even photographers and Hollywood producers have reached out me over my appearance. And that’s going to bring in more money and opportunity for you to reach your goals.
3. Massage therapy. And I mean a real massage therapist who can help heal your injuries and keep you training hard, not the “rub and tug” spa joints! I have been getting weekly massage since I was 20 years old. In school I made friends with massage therapists who needed test subjects for their hours so not only did I get a lot for free, I found out a lot about what really helps and what does not. A good massage therapist can be anywhere from $80 to $150 per session, but I promise you can find someone outstanding that you can build a bond with so they learn your body. If you go to the big chains you are not going to get good massage therapy. You need real sports massage. Deep-tissue treatments and if you are lucky enough, someone who is certified in Active Release Treatment (ART) who understands true myofascial work. This not only helps you heal and prevent injuries, it also helps your physique stay balanced, which brings me to the next key element.
4. Chiropractic treatment. I found out about Active Release Treatment from a Connecticut-based doctor named Dr. Mike Troknya, and if it weren’t for him, I never would have made it as long as I did. This is not just about 15-minute adjustments. Sure, an adjustment can make you feel better, but this is a lifetime commitment so you want someone like I had working on everything from balance to proper movement. A good chiropractic treatment should take an hour, focused on things like electromagnetic stimulation, moist heat treatments, total body adjustments, traction, joint mobility and total range of motion. I learned most of this because I trained so foolishly hard and heavy when I was young, that I was constantly injuring myself until finally I ended my own career. When I retired at 30 and moved to Florida I could not even think about competing; shit, I couldn’t even pose! My shoulders were torn apart and ruined, the pain was intense and I had not only multiple rotator cuff injuries and tears, but destroyed labrum in both joints causing deformities and dysplasia. This is when my old buddy, Mr. Olympia James “flex” Lewis, introduced me to a true healer, Dr. Nick Ruggiero, who is a true medical marvel and a freaking incredible genius with the body! He is also now one of my VERY FEW True and Loyal friends. You will learn more and more how rare loyalty is in life the older you get. In fact, this is something Dr. Nick taught me quick, but that’s a story for another time … LOL.
When I walked into Dr. Nick’s office with my MRIs, he read them and said very simply, “Well, you’re pretty messed up … but we’ll get you training hard again.” At this point I had medical insurance so office visits were not expensive and I committed to three times a week, and this was when I experienced the most miraculous treatment and relief of my life. Dr. Nick will tell anyone, “PJ Braun has the highest pain tolerance of any human I have ever encountered.” However, I did not even mind the pain! The pain was so bad I could not lift my arm over my head; I just missed working out! In just six weeks I was shoulder pressing 120-pound dumbbells for 10 reps again. Dr. Nick was working full time with the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers and a lot of people who are way bigger deals than me for sure, haha, but he never gave me less then 100% somehow! I don’t know how he does it all. What he did, and what I learned changed my life forever. He may be one in a million, but I promise you can find other “healing angels” if you look hard! I hope both Flex and Dr. Nick see this. Thank you, and I love you.
5. Cryotherapy, ice baths and infrared sauna. Some places have all these in one spot, and some of you will think this is a bullshit budget buster, but three minutes in cryotherapy post-workout dramatically reduces recovery time! Translation: you’re back training harder and less sore! Want to build your own ice bath? Go right ahead but you really need to be in there as soon as you’re done training. And by the way, those three minutes in cryotherapy not only boost your metabolism but can also burn up to 800 calories. A few years ago I did my own study, going five days a week with no caloric changes, and I got considerably leaner! To be able to go to the same place for infrared sauna is key because infrared sauna not only is great for your heart, muscle recovery, immunity, etc. … it’s amazing for detoxifying your body, which brings me to points 6, 7 and 8 that will be the subjects of future columns in great detail.
6. Donate blood. It’s freaking free and not only can you save lives … you may end up saving your own, especially if you suffer from extremely elevated hematocrit and high blood pressure, which is very common in men in general, but more so with heavy bodyweight even if it’s all muscle! And guess what?! This one is free so you have no reason to not do it. Some bodybuilders will have to donate as much as every eight weeks. I even know people with prescriptions to go every four to six weeks because eight is the usual legal minimum. However, these people must get that blood out or their blood gets as thick as your grandma’s rag meat sauce! The silent killer … it’s free and can save your life. PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS.
7. Before and or after you donate blood, you really need to be getting regular lab work done. If you are completely natural and in the prime of your life, a yearly checkup with a complete extensive set of panels is the minimum, but if you are doing this to the max, with gear and everything else, then you need to be getting labs at least twice a year. I now go monthly, but it’s because of all my health issues. In my next column I’m going to explain everything in full detail so you know what to get tested for and what the numbers should look like, so then you can implement it with my final key element to longevity, budget or not.
8. IV therapy, specifically with glutathione. Yes, there are so many benefits to IV fluids and vitamins, but for the bodybuilding community going hard, glutathione is a must! Glutathione is the master of all antioxidants and we all should be utilizing it. I have done numerous videos on this subject, and I encourage you to research my videos and learn for yourself but I will do a whole article on this as well.
There you have it! The title of my column is Limitless Bodybuilding, but we have so many limits and obstacles to overcome daily! So this is your cheat sheet to longevity! Follow my lead and you will make it longer and farther than the rest. Like one of my ultimate heroes, Michael Jordan once said, “Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
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