Work Smarter, Not Harder: Neuro-Optimization + Peak Performance with Nick Bolhuis
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Nick Bolhuis, VP of Performance Programs at Neuropeak Pro
Nick Bolhuis is the VP of Performance Programs at Neuropeak Pro. He works with the world’s top athletes, executives, and high level performers to gain a mental edge through state of the art brain performance training, helping people improve sleep, cognition, mental acuity, focus and stress management. Nick directs diagnostic and clinical operations for Neurocore, managing the company’s growing team of licensed clinical specialists and specifically trained client advocates across all Brain Performance Centers. He has served in a variety of roles in the past decade — among them, peak performance training with business executives and professional athletes. Nick holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University.
Episode Resources and Links
In This Episode
This week, Jason chats with Nick Bolhuis, peak performance expert to the world’s top athletes and executives. Tune in as they discuss how measuring your neurological function can improve your mental and physical health and performance.
00:22: Welcome Nick Bolhuis
01:27: How did the Neuropeak Pro business develop?
04:19: A clinical and performance based approach to neurological function
06:58: QEEG: neurologically, how is this person wired?
09:20: EEG and HRV
12:23: Performance and breathing
14:33: Optimization for golfers
18:52: From Pro-Athletes to Executives: what techniques are similar?
24:18: Working smarter, not harder
28:11: Is there a secret sauce to breathwork?
29:54: Stress recovery tests
36:55: Breathing and sleep techniques for parents
40:36: Biofeedback/neuro-feedback programs
43:18: Thank you/farewells
Welcome to the Elite HRV podcast where experts share their experience. You’ve seen heart rate variability and other biomarkers to optimize health and human performance.
Jason Moore (00:22):
Welcome back to the Elite HRV podcast. This is your host, Jason Moore. And today we’ve got Nick Bolhuis. How do I say your last name, Nick? I just realized I should have practiced that…
Yes, you should have! It’s “Bowl-Heiss,” Good Dutch name. You don’t have too many Dutch people, probably, in North Carolina,
Nick Bolhuis from Neuropeak Pro. And I’m excited because this is shifting gears a little bit from a lot of recent conversations we’ve been having around, you know, some of the things that are on the mind of everybody around the globe with health issues and things like that. And today we’re going to be digging a little bit more into neuro-optimization, which is pretty awesome because everybody listening to this right now is in some form or another wanting to improve, or at least not a backslide and how well their brain functions and whether that’s day to day tasks or high performance in business or sports.
Nick and the team at Neuropeak have a lot of experience with optimizing neurological function and human performance. And Nick, we’re excited to talk to you today,
Jason, glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Yeah, thanks. And you know you know, our organizations have a lot of interaction, you all use our products and we really like the work that y’all do with all of your customers. But you know, Neuropeak has a lot of experience with what I just said, neuro optimization, peak performance, and all of that. What kind of brought you guys around that mission? Like how did that kind of business develop?
You know, it’s a great question. And so I’ve been with the team here for a little over 13 years, and I’m always very quick to tell people we have a clinical background. My background is working with adolescent youths with ADHD anxiety, and organically over time, we started to get exposed to athletes and business executives. So it wasn’t something we necessarily set out to do, but a lot of what we’re doing in a clinical setting lends itself to peak performance. So several years ago now we actually split the company into two different divisions and we continue to operate clinical setting, how we have brick and mortar facilities, where people come in, they’re diagnosed with different conditions and we treat them. But then we also have the peak performance lane where we travel all over the place. And we work with teams and organizations to improve their brain health and performance as well.
That’s huge. And the, you know, having that clinical background, I think is probably what ended up making, you know, our roads kind of so parallel, so to speak because we like to take a very scientific and kind of clinical approach to how we look at our products and how we handle data and things like that. But, you know, the executives and business leaders and people on the sports and athletes side as well, those types of people influence a lot of other people in the world. And so it’s kind of interesting to be able to create, be like really close to the center on that ripple effect in a sense, and this is just me sort of riffing off on a tangent here, but I’m just kind of fascinated by how you’ve made that evolution from the clinical side to this kind of, you know, neuro-optimization side.
Yeah, no, you’re hitting it. I think the two, the different divisions really support each other. So like you said, if I have a teenager that’s coming into our office, who’s dealing with academic issues, but he finds out this really famous athlete is doing the program, he’s probably more inclined to do it because like, “Oh, he’s doing it. I should do it.” Or “if my friends find out I’m going to do this program,” he’s probably less concerned if he can say “well, yeah. So and so,” or “this team does it.” And the flip side, when I go meet with a new athlete or a new team or an organization that they’re used to getting pitched stuff all the time, you know, what’s the next wearable that somebody is, you know, bringing them in. I’m sure you’ve experienced that. So I can say, well, Hey, we actually have deep clinical roots. We have a whole division of our company that is solely focused on research and publishing outcomes and all of the things that come out of that division inform the program that we would like to implement for your team. So the clinical side gives a huge credibility for the peak side. So it’s a great symbiotic relationship there.
That’s awesome. And so let’s kind of dig into the weeds a little bit. Obviously, like I said, y’all use some of our tools and we can talk more about that too, but maybe at the high level, what’s the general breakdown of your approach when somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, you know, either I’m an executive or I’m like just a person trying to optimize my you know, cognition or I’m an athlete,” what’s the general kind of approach that y’all take?
That’s the cool thing: we’re working with these folks that are already high functioning and achieving right things. But if they have that mindset of “I can get better.” I love to work with those folks. So we’ll, we’ll evaluate, “Hey, where are you at that you’re coming to us for a reason? You probably, you thought about it, have some area that you’d like to see improved,” whether it could be decision-making or focus or a big one for a lot of our high functioning people asleep.That’s maybe like the one thing where even the best folks, they feel like they can get a little bit better recovery. So we’ll talk with them for a bit and we’re going to do some baseline evaluations. We’re never going to just recommend some training program for folks. So everything always starts with two things, no matter who we’re working with, we’re going to look at their heart rate variability, and we’re going to look at their brain.
I want to get some baseline measures as to how those things are looking. So you’re obviously very familiar with HRV. It’s a huge part of what we do, but then we do, what’s called a QEEG. And I know you’ve talked with your audience before about QEEG. We want to map out the brain. Neurologically, how is this person wired? Where are their areas where they’re functioning well, but where are the areas that there may be not optimized? And then we can develop some training plans for them to optimize their brain performance and or how their heart and lungs are functioning as well. So everything always starts with that baseline eval.
Right. And that’s an interesting point to make too, is that rather than kind of just, obviously you guys have a lot of experience combined going into this, but you’re not taking a cookie cutter approach to making recommendations. It starts with individual assessments.
Yeah. And, and, and just like, if you go to see your athletic trainer, you know, you’re gonna set up a personal physical training plan. Yeah. There’s some general things that are good for all of us to be doing, but if you’re that peak performance individual you’re going to want to spend a little bit more time with the expert to say, “what’s my specific plan?” “What muscle groups am I working at?” “What is my health goal here?” So we take that same approach with the brain and say, “if you’re going to do this, let’s do it right.” “Let’s get the most out of this program and make it, make it precise and have that precision for you.”
And what are some of the things you’re looking at in those… (apologies, if anyone can hear this it’s my baby in the background.)
This is a par for the course, these days during quarantine. I’m in my spare bedroom, that’s turned into an office. So it’s kind of nice. I have a bed. I can just go lay on it if I get tired during my Workday. So, perfect, we’re all in this boat. Yeah. Don’t tell my boss, so we might be listening, but I can take a nap now…
Awesome. Yeah. So when you’re, when you’re digging into HRV and an EEG and brain analysis, you know, what are some of the things that you’re looking for?
NB 3 (09:20):
Yeah. So just to hit briefly on HRV a little bit, you know, the whole breathing piece is something we’re not the only people that do neurofeedback training by any means, but I think a lot of folks in our field, they get so hyper focused on the neurofeedback piece that they don’t look at breathing. They don’t look at HRV don’t, don’t do the bottom up approach. And we’ve just found over the years, really years ago, it started with our folks dealing with depression and anxiety, or you’re even just peak performance with stress individuals. If we just get them to breathe a little bit different and change their HRV, they can see some pretty significant impact very quickly that when we get to the brain performance piece, the neuro side, that takes a little bit more time. So we’re looking for quick victories for people. So if we find that their HRV is not good, then there’s some very simple tools even built into the apps these days with some very great feedback that we can get a quick victory for somebody that encourages them to continue on with a training plan that might take several weeks or months.
But in the course of maybe just even a few days, like, okay, I can do this and I can see these, these gains. And then that allows us then to dig deeper on the neuro side. And I look at, when we’re looking at a QEG, we’re looking very simplistically at two different things. We’re looking at locations and speeds of the brand. We’ve got different brainwaves that run at different speeds. So I’m looking for areas of the brain that are going too fast or too slow. And when we have those imbalances as those irregularities, those are the things that could be leading to a lack of optimal performance. So in the simplest way, it’s like, okay, let’s find those areas of the brain that we either need to speed up or slow down to change how we’re going to function and feel in different environments.
So that’s pretty neat to kind of be able to break it down locations and speeds, and interesting too. I’ve found actually the same kind of phenomenon that when people start to think about neurofeedback, obviously as humans, our brains are pretty important and people get really excited about the brain and often kind of overlook the importance of the rest of the body and how the heart and interacts with the nervous system and how the nervous system is more than just in your head and all of that stuff. So it’s neat to see how you’ve kind of evolved and seeing those different pieces fit together. And when you’re, you know, if we can unpack a little bit about breathing when you look at somebody’s breathing, is that just part of your assessment or is that also part of your protocol for how to kind of work with people over time?
Yeah, no, we spent a lot of time teaching people how to breathe differently. Again, we know most people are fairly shallow chest breathers, so it’s, it’s teaching them a lot of diaphragmatic breathing. And then depending on the situation or the, the environment that we’re working in, yeah. There’s going to be different breathing exercises. We’ll give, it can be as simple as like box breathing or different paces for different situations. One of the things I’m always trying to do, Jason is trying to make it really simple for people. And quite honestly, I think talking about HRV for people is almost harder than EEG in some cases. So it’s trying to make, make things very simple. So I can have a conversation with a 12 year old about it or, or a high functioning world class athlete. I think that’s, that’s the real key that our team tries to always remember is how can I make this simple for them to understand so that they can go apply it.
We see, we spend a ton of time on breathing with our pro-golfers. We actually have seven pretty large roster of PGA tour players. And what we’ve found over time is that if we can focus at the beginning with them on slowing their breathing down and helping them with visualization out of the course, we see significant changes in their scores and then in how much money they win. And we’re talking over the course of just a few weeks with starting our program and focusing on these things, that’s the cool thing about golf at that level. You know, it’s like, you’re, you’re rated based upon how low you score and how much money you make. And so it’s kind of awesome for our biostatisticians to be able to track their scoring averages, go down and their money winnings go off. It’s a great sales tool.
Yeah. That’s huge. That’s huge. It’s, you know, there’s few sports that are so directly measurable and also that you can impact so quickly. You know what I mean?
It’s really fun. It’s really fun to watch these golfers.
That’s awesome. Do you know, this is, I’ve actually talked to some folks who have done some of this type of optimization for golf and heard different techniques and focuses on it. And this is just sort of my, kind of out on the subject is do you all kind of walk the course and follow them around and give them coaching in live settings? Or is it mostly kind of like practicing these exercises with us either, you know, or do them at home or something like that. And then that kind of carries out into the game.
It’s kind of fun. We’ve got an awesome team, awesome staff. So one of our guys is actually our director of golf performance and is a retired professional golfer. His name is Andy Matthews. So not only does he have our resources from a clinical side, but he played the game at the highest level. So yeah, he’s walking the course with these players. That’s great. And so I’ve had the chance to follow them around and I’m a horrible golfer. So I just, I just love taking it all in, but like Andy’s walking alongside these guys and they’re talking, okay, how am I going to be breathing on the tee box versus an approach shot to the green or as I’m putting. And so it’s really fun to have to listen in on those conversations with Andy and the golfer, Oregon, more so Andy in the caddy, because we’ve got to get the caddy to buy into and understand what we’re working on because they’re the only ones during the match play that can coach and guide this golfer when it’s getting stressful. So we spend a lot of time with the caddies as well.
Interesting. And, you know, for folks listening: golf is you know, people may have different levels of interesting golf, but one thing that’s really interesting about it for everyone is that there are moments there it’s one of those sports that really highlights a very few moments of precision making a huge impact on the overall outcome and the also the ability to be extremely precise consistently over and over again. Right. And so like those things that we can learn from in this scenario, what you’re saying is that by becoming aware of the breath, by optimizing the breath and kind of optimizing some of that nervous system function, you’re seeing at an extremely high level where people are already refined with years and years, and years of practice are seeing measurable results in a pretty short period of time. And you’re able to quantify that, but then that can translate to other people trying to do other tasks that require precision and good decision making and things like that. And it may not be as quite as easy to measure as it might be in golf, but that’s the power that I’m trying to highlight here is that we can all sort of take advantage of this concept and learn from the situation.
Exactly. Yeah. Golf is great. And we’re talking if, if we can get a pro-golfer, one less stroke per round, over the course of a tournament’s four shots, that’s huge right there. So I’m sure there’s a lot of amateur golfers out here and all of us would be like, yeah, I could get, you know, a couple of extra shots, lower per round. That’d be great for when I’m out there playing with my buddies. But but yeah, you just think about how powerful that is to, to be in control of an aspect of the autonomic nervous system that allows you to be completely dialed in, you know, there’s, there are other professions that I think you can measure, like even think of like stock trading or other like high pressure jobs. I think of all of our first responders right now and our medical professionals, the high level of stress they’re under. So do we equip them with some tools that they can utilize in the moment you can have a profound impact on just allowing them to get through the day some days?
Yeah, no, that’s huge. And I know too, like, you know, your background in peak performance and you’ve worked with the NBA, the NFL and HL and also the whole golf scene and Olympic athletes and professionals. How has it been for you? What’s been the experience like working with the business executives and the cognitive athletes and the people who, you know, like you mentioned, stock traders and things like that? How has that, do you find similarities or differences between those different groups?
I think a common thing you have to get over the hurdle first is they don’t want to change who they are. That’s one of the things, Hey, this, isn’t going to change who I am because, because part of this has allowed me to achieve this level of success. I see that a lot in the corporate setting and I always remind them of why can’t you, you probably have refined this habit that you’re in over time. If you think back 15 or 20 years ago, you probably weren’t going at the pace you are right now. It’s kind of accumulated in that, that environmental stress has gotten you to the point where, yeah, maybe you’re a little wobbly in your sleep or that you’re, you have the impacts of stress a little bit more apparent. So what we’re doing with the neurofeedback and the biofeedback, we’re not going to change your personality, the underlying who you are, but it’s, it’s going back in and kind of reworking the alignment.
If you will, in your brain. You know, we kind of have that in our cars sometimes, you know, if you, if your alignment is a little off and you just keep driving for months and months, the alignment gets a little bit more wobbly, a little bit more wobbly to the point where you’re noticing it. Now I’ve got to go again and get it fixed. That’s the analogy we’ll use for our brain and say, there is you’re able to get by with a slight misalignment, but now you’ve been riding in that pattern long enough. Now we’ve got to take it in for a little tune up here, get that alignment back in check, and we’re gonna be functioning on all cylinders again, once you can kind of personalize it for them and explain to them that you’re not fundamentally changing who your harvest refining then, then they’re all in on improving.
That’s awesome. That’s, that’s a great way to approach that conversation because you know, I can totally see, I used to work one on one with fitness and wellness clients and years ago now. And, you know, I think in a sense, like I found like identity is something that people really, you know, they protect because it’s something they’ve developed and it’s something we all kind of develop. But there’s subtle changes in our identities that, and in our habits that may not be helping us over the long term, but may have helped us through some short term situations. Right. And so that’s a great way to unpack that. So I appreciate you sharing that with us.
Yeah. Sometimes it’s just having that conversation with somebody on the front end, hearing them out, listening, and even our folks that are at the top of their profession, we all have something that we want to improve upon. So if we can just unpack that a little bit, and we’re talking about just trying to get you two or 3% better in some cases, not wholesale changes, but just if we can get you just a little bit better, how would that feel for you? And I go back to sleep a lot. I talk so much to people about sleep. I tell people all the time, if, if the only thing that improves for you after working with us is your sleep. That’s a huge victory right there, regardless of, of the profession that you’re in. So usually we can find something that somebody would like to improve upon.
Speaker 2 (23:01):
Yeah, that’s yeah, sleep. You know, I made a joke a few minutes ago about hearing my baby in the background and I love her so much, but sleep has been one of those things that’s definitely suffered over the past year. She’s, she’s 11 months old now. And I have to say, it’s definitely, you know, I feel grateful that I built a reserve of, of health and resilience and things before this. Because wow, when sleep gets impacted, it really impacts everything.
Yeah. Our kids think we are old enough now that we can go to bed at night and not worry about them waking us up. So I don’t envy you, but it will pass. It will get better. But I’m sure she’s totally worth it. You will gladly sacrifice those nights, but when you get to a stage where you can sleep through the night man, every night, it’s awesome.
We’re getting there.
Those are the most worst though. Cause you’re like, Oh, maybe we’re maybe we’re there and then you’re back to square one.
Well, you know, that’s funny because it kind of comes back to that consistency thing with the golf that we were talking about earlier is like, and you’re, you’re hinting like that, you know, an amateur golfer might be like, Oh yeah, it’s great. It’d be great. If I could knock a few points off with, when I go out with my friends for around and the amateur, the thing that really differentiates amateurs and top professionals, or even kind of like bottom tier professionals and top professionals in many sports and in business and other things is consistency. I feel like, you know, because in today’s company, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s in today’s competitive environment, you know, natural talent is sort of like table stakes, like everybody’s talented. Right. And everyone’s got access to tons of information with the internet and with, you know, the spread of, of, of that. So, you know, it basically comes down to working smarter, not harder, you know, because everybody’s working hard too, so you gotta really kind of work smarter and then figuring out how you can be consistently. Awesome.
Yeah. And so when we look at the EEG of an individual, there are certain brainwaves that we’re looking for that I would say are more stable and consistent brainwaves. So certain folks just naturally are born with more of those for the other individuals that’s that’s could be a main focus of the neurofeedback protocol is increasing the amount of those waves that are producing to lead to more consistency. You know, we see that at work. We have certain coworkers that man they’re just consistent. They’re just steady every day, doing their thing. You’d much rather have that than working alongside somebody who produces world-class effort one day and is like a no show. The next that makes life really difficult. So a lot can be said about just having that steady consistency and we can quantify it’s cool. Then we can quantify that in the brain now.
Wow. And then, and then, you know, the sleep optimizations and other guidance, and we kind of come back around to breathing again. Is there some specific breathing techniques that you wouldn’t mind kind of sharing as being some of the ones that really seem to stand out as helpful?
Yeah. So when we talk about breathing again, there’s, there’s two different ways I look at breathing. One: try to make it simple and repeatable for people. So again, we can teach some very elaborate, you know, types of protocols, but we work with a lot of kids. So what I’ll do is I’ll kind of just try to analyze what their normal patterns look like, and then let’s try to find a rhythm and a rate that works well for them. So quite honestly, I’m very pragmatic about the breathing and that’s where having, you know, the finger sensors and those types of things that tell us how the hardest functioning that’s really gonna guide a lot of the training. So again, there’s that tool box, you can go to different breeding techniques, but I want to find what feels good to the individual that they can go home in practice and repeat that also is providing good autonomic nervous system balance for them. So it’s maybe not the specific answer you’re looking for, but again, I’m always trying to find what works for the individual that they can go home and repeat and not have to work so hard at.
Actually, I appreciate that answer because I think in a sense, you know, one reason why I ask a question like that is because I know myself included, we all kind of like to get hung up on like, well, what’s the optimal ratio of inhales to exhales, right? Like Nick, just tell me what are, what are the top executives breathing like so that I can breathe exactly like them? And you know, that’s exciting. And maybe in some cases there is something to learn there, but I think it kind of is refreshing in a way to step back and say, well, what works? Where are you at? Right. What works for you? Like maybe somebody who practices breathing for, you know, a few minutes a day for several years or something can end up getting their breath. So dialed in that they have like a eight second exhale and a four second inhale or something like that.
And you know, maybe some pauses or some alternating nostrils or something like that. But then if you talk to somebody who’s just starting out on this journey, if you got down into those weeds, it might sound exciting and they might be able to do it for like 30 seconds or something like that. And then the amount of effort and attention that it will take to maintain, that will pretty much, I think, erase the immediate benefit, so to speak versus kind of finding a pattern that is just like, Hey, you know what, you’re breathing up in your upper chest. Let’s try to like move your belly a little bit more and just try to exhale a little slower. Right?
Yeah. My goal is to figure out a training program. That’s going to provide the best value to the client. So if I get too hung up on, well, this is what works for everybody or so, and so does this, if that’s not right for the individual, they’re not going to get the most out of it. By the, the coolest example I can think of is for a lot of our athletes, we do what’s called a stress recovery test. So we’re looking at body temperature, skin conductance, heart rate, both chest and stomach breathing. They’ve got sensors on both their stomach and their chest, and they also have EMG sensors on their traps to look at muscle tension in their shoulders. So they’re all wired up and we just do a two minute breathing baseline. So there’s, we’re just measuring all of these metrics while they sit there and breathe.
And then I give them a series of three mental tasks to perform with rest built in between to see how, how stressed they get, but then also how quickly they can recover and a really fun test. And there is this one of our majorly baseball players. He started out, it would take him about 30 seconds of slow diaphragmatic breathing to bring the nervous system back to baseline, which is actually pretty good compared to a lot of people said, well, you don’t have 30 seconds in between each pitch. Can we, can we really work on this to get your recovery period, maybe down to like 10 or 15 seconds, which still isn’t enough to like do it in between every pitch. But if he can decrease that recovery time, he’s going to get into the zone a whole lot quicker and not have to wait until in between any.
So we practiced really hard for about a month and a half in redid this testing and sure enough, his body was so accustomed to, again, it was about a five breaths per minute rate. It wasn’t crazy or anything like that. It wasn’t too elaborate. Just five breaths per minute, fairly balanced, inhale, exhale, a little bit slower on the exhale, pretty basic stuff. But as the system was so accustomed, because he was practicing it for like 20 minutes every day, his recovery went from like 30 seconds down to about 10. Wow. So for him that’s like tangible, wow. Look at how much quicker my body’s responding to this breathing just because I’ve practiced it. That’s when it really starts to hit home. If you can show them other aspects of the autonomic nervous system and the only thing he changed was breathing and it impacted his heart rate, his skin, body temperature, all of these things, that’s when it really hits home.
Yeah. You know, and I, I heard that’s, that’s a fantastic example. And I recently somebody kind of said this nice phrase that resonated with me and seems to fit here: breathing is one of the only things that you can consciously control that has a direct influence on the autonomic nervous system. And so it’s such a powerful tool and you know, immediately my brain thinks like, Oh, well you could like do something really dangerous. And then that would also activate your ANS and the other direction. But yeah, but for, for the types of purposes we’re talking about like, you know, simple actions that are in everyone’s toolkit and that, that great example shows you right there with a month or so of practice and being, you know, relatively diligent about it. But it’s as simple, a practice is like decreasing the recovery times by a third or creating a third you know, that’s, that’s powerful, it’s significant. And it will have a very tangible correlation to performance on the field if you’re able to keep your nervous system in check like that.
And that’s also where, you know, not everybody has the opportunity to be hooked up to all these really awesome devices, which by the way, I’m now kind of thinking how can I get myself to be analyzed by Nick and his team?
As of right now, we’re all stuck at home.
Right. True. Right. Yeah. That’s an interesting situation. But I guess in the sense too, like your, you said before we hit record, there are some mobile tools that people can kind of get, get started with this stuff on, which is obviously where we live.
Yeah. So that’s the cool thing. Yeah. We’re obviously impacted, we have our brick and mortar facilities that in Michigan we’ve been shut down for going on a month now. But you know, you’ve mentioned we, we use your equipment for our HRV training for all of our mobile clients. Cause we work not only with, you know, pro sports teams and corporations, but just a lot of individuals that are trying to get better. So when we look at mobile applications, we always compare them to our medical grade equipment we use in our facilities. And so we were really encouraged by your equipment from an HRV standpoint. So there’s a lot of other stuff on the market, but we like your stuff the most. So we use all that for HRV. We also offer remote neurofeedback and the big thing neurofeedback is signal quality. If you’re using an EEG sensor, it has to have good signal quality.
And so often all of these wearable devices, that’s where it breaks down. And so then you just can’t provide the quality feedback. So thankfully we were able to launch a platform about a year and a half ago that yeah, now all of our athletes are using. And, but again, a lot of just regular folks, families that have a child with an attention issue or an adult who just deals with stress or sleep, we’re able to ship out the small little case. They download your app and another app and boom, they’re able to do nearly everything we do in our centers right. At home. So thankfully we’ve had that as we’ve had to really alter how we do everything else here the last several weeks.
That is definitely fortunate. And yeah, I mean, that’s really neat too, to think that people all around are able to sort of take advantage of some of this, this like really well thought out and scientific approach to uproot improving cognition and, and everything.
You know, this is just, again, me kind of out of curiosity. Do you find that people who are working with children and kind of you know, having some of the more, you know, kind of “normal” people type improvements that they’re wanting to make, that they also find breathing and sleep and those activities being impactful meaningfully?
Oh yeah. I think again, breathing is one of the things that you can feel changing very quickly and we all have those moments, you know, probably everybody to a certain degree in the last month has had some moment of uncertainty or stress, how this is all gonna play out. So having some knowledge about proper breathing and being able to, to practice that for a few minutes is just a great comfort and a relief to have in times of uncertainty and stress. So, I think anybody can benefit from that. And then, yeah we do a lot of the neurological work with the neurofeedback to help people to sleep better, but we know that proper breathing as you’re working to calm the nervous system down while you’re laying there in bed, that’s a huge tool for people for that time and time again, as people are exiting our program, they just talk about how the combination of the breathing and the neurofeedback allowed them to sleep so much more soundly than they did before it made a lot of them didn’t even realize they a sleep issue or that they could sleep better. It was just one of those like added benefits that they saw.
Wow, those are the, those are the best sometimes, you know, it’s I also kind of creating an analogy to, when I talk about nutrition with people, a lot of times they’ll have some type of goal. That’s like, I want to lose 10 pounds or I want to, you know, put on a little muscle or do something like that. And then when the approach that I like to take and that others in our network like to take is to, you know, cut out inflammatory foods, try to get more micronutrient, dense, and whole food sources of nutrition. And that will help you achieve those goals. But there’s always these side benefits that people report like, Oh, wow. Like my brain fog kind of got reduced and you know, things like that. So then, or my sleep got better or you know, maybe my, you know, had fewer stomach aches and I didn’t even realize that I had so many.
No, exactly. That’s why like at the, that’s what we do that baseline evaluation too, and have a conversation with somebody kind of have them fill out a couple of checklists too, cause yeah. Sometimes people are so laser focused on the one thing they’re coming to us for that I want them to see the greater benefit, the big picture view, and being able to compare back to that as well.
And what are some, so we’ve talked a lot about actually breathing and neurofeedback and things and those subjects by the way are very near and dear to our heart, of course. But are there any other types of activities that you tell people to focus on? Like I, since I brought up nutrition, do y’all do nutrition with your clients and exercise and other types of activities.
Speaker 3 (40:36):
Yeah. We really several years back, you know, as we looked at our program, we were delivering the biofeedback and the neurofeedback. It’s about a three month program, whether you’re coming to one of our offices or you’re doing our mobile platform to figure, Hey, we’ve got a relationship with you for at least three months, let’s develop a curriculum of things that we can augment that training with. So it’s primarily focused on nutrition, exercise and sleep hygiene. So we’ve got a ton of great content based upon where the individual is at kind of what track they’re on that will provide those resources. You know, some folks they’re already doing great exercise work. So we’re just not going to focus on that too much because they’re already doing that for the folks that need some guidance or help in those areas. We’ve got a very well built curriculum for them now for the pro sports team, where they’ve got all of their nutritionists exercise on staff. Again, we’re not going in and trying to step on those toes by any means. If anything, what we do with the team is just help to reinforce to the athletes, Hey, all of the work that you’re doing from a nutrition standpoint, here’s how that’s impacting your brain. Because usually the team they’re just talking about nutrition in terms of physical recovery and growth and all of that. So we try to look for those opportunities to teach the athletes how the things are already doing in those areas will also help their brain performance.
That’s huge. Yeah. It helps to have some, some of those other, you know, building blocks in place. And, but then, you know, like the, the real time kind of experience that you can get from the breathing is so powerful too. You know, and I think for me, when, when we look at sort of the holistic picture, it’s kind of like you said it takes a while for you to really feel differences in nutrition or you know, general kind of changes to exercise or stress management. Sometimes you can see pretty overnight like, or feel overnight change with that, but with the breathing and the sleep, those two are really the ones I think that, you know, if you’re doing it right, you experience it really rapid changes that you’re, that you can notice and then that’s pretty motivating. And then you can stick with kind of sustaining those changes over time.
It’s back to those, those quick victories. We’ve got a few quick victories for somebody that’s going to encourage them to keep going.
Awesome. Well, Nick you know, you’ve got, I feel like so much experience with this that you’re able to communicate it so effectively. So we slammed through a bunch of topics there. Is there anything that you have in mind that y’all are working on that you want to share with people and anything exciting to share?
I appreciate you having me on here. It’s been fun, amazing how quickly we blow through all that stuff. But yeah. I encourage people to check out our websites, we’re always updating different things there, obviously with where we’re at in the world today, we’ve been putting out a ton of content related to stress management and mindfulness. I’ve been doing a lot of a lot of content, a lot of webinars around that to the, to the public. We also in our clinical wing, we do a lot with tele-health. So we’ve been offering free tele-health counseling to first responders and medical professionals. And that’s really starting to take off. We just feel like, Hey, in the uncertain times that we’re in beyond the neurofeedback and the biofeedback that we deliver, we’ve got a great support network that we want to, we want to help those people on the front lines. So I’m pretty proud of the work that our clinical team is doing with that.
That’s huge. And yeah, it’s, it’s a time now more than ever for many of us to really kind of take these things sort of seriously, because like you said we’ve seen in our, in our network as well, that whether from a health perspective, somebody is actually concerned or not about what’s going on in general, everyone’s been impacted from a stress and lifestyle and kind of uncertainty perspective. And so especially when you’re missing certain things like social interactions that you’re used to, or your routines that you’re used to, of being able to go out and interact and do things, is that when we’re stuck at home and you know, it’s the temptation is that we are going to eat more junk food, maybe drink more alcohol, kind of exercise, less and make sacrifices to our health for, for comfort in some ways there’s it’s important is as important as any time, if not more, to pay attention to your breath go get outside and and check out Neuropeakpro.com. Right?
Exactly good point. You know, we never want to downplay what’s going on in the world. It’s very serious, but in some ways, this, this gift of time is a gift to all of us. We, we, we live such fast paced lifestyles for those of us that are fortunate to have jobs or all that, or the people that are just at home wanting to be out and doing things take advantage of this time. And if you, if we go back to our normal lives and you haven’t improved your life in some way, that’s really unfortunate. It’s a waste in my opinion. So like you said, get out, get active. We’ve seen significant usage in our program over the last three weeks. People signing up saying, Hey, I want to be intentional about this time. I want to take care of myself and be at a, be a better version at the end of it. And that’s just the mindset we all need to have during these times.
That’s huge. And, you know, I think definitely, you know, for the folks who are high performers and wanting to keep up with that, this is a time to look into this, but also for the everybody else too. It’s it’s, you know somebody actually said this jokingly to me was they’re like, well, you know, I guess I’ll cancel my online dating subscription and just focus on myself for awhile. And you know, they were saying it jokingly, but it’s kind of echoes a little bit what you’re saying there, Nick is, it’s an opportunity to just, you know, everyone’s got a culturally acceptable excuse right now to do a little self-improvement exactly take advantage of this time we’ve been given well, thanks, Nick. And so Neuropeak pro.com. You know, if you go to that website, what you’ll see is you’ll see more about the science of Neuropeak pro.
Some of the topics that we talked about today are broken down a little bit more with graphics and information. And Nick, like you said, you’re hosting webinars and producing content. And you know, this is a really, as we kind of look forward at the future, this is sort of the future, what I see of, of competitive advantage in business and sports and all that, but also in just dealing with the kind of inundation of stress and expectations that life is putting on us, all of us in modern times. And so to me, it’s really fascinating stuff. And I’m, I’m really appreciate you sharing this information with us today.
Likewise, Jason, it was great chatting with you today. And if women, when we’re able to travel again and we’ll get you that stress test. Oh yeah, that’d be great. Yep. I’m looking forward to that. And thanks again, Nick. And we’ll everybody, we will be linking to these at elitehrv.com/podcast, just as usual in the show notes and that’s Neuropeakpro.com and Nick, thanks again.
Jef Fry (49:13):
Hey everyone. This is Jef Fry, Research Director and course instructor here at Elite HRV. So many of us struggle with meditation. We know we should do it, but when we do, we wonder, is this even working or we question, am I doing this right at Elite HRV, we take a data driven approach to meditation by measuring our mindfulness, using HRV biofeedback, a practice proven to improve HRV mood, sleep, quality, athletic recovery, and blood pressure, as well as reduced stress and anxiety levels. Just as we build muscular strength in the gym by lifting weights, we can strengthen and balance our autonomic nervous system through HRV biofeedback training. If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to check out our course entitled biofeedback training for HRV optimization, by going to elite hrv.com/HRVbiofeedback.