Dr. Mike T Nelson
Hey, what’s going on Dr. Mike T. Nelson, welcome back to the Flex Diet podcast, where we talk about all things to increase lean muscle hypertrophy, better body composition, and doing it without destroying your health in the process.
And speaking of the process itself, I was recently with the Special Forces experience, which I’m a member of, and they conducted their eight day process in northern Idaho. This is a very high stress event, both physically and mentally, where you would be challenged very much in different ways. But the goal, unlike other, I would say similar military experience programs that anybody can sign up for, you don’t necessarily have to be in the military.
A lot of other programs I’ve seen, it just looks like it’s extremely difficult, throw you in the ocean, dumped some sand in your crack and yell at you for a couple days. And if you pass it great, you did something hard, which there’s definitely value in that. But this is different in that it is designed to enhance your ability to recover from stress at the end, they’re using a high stress event to hopefully facilitate PT G or post traumatic growth.
So the goal of the process by the Special Forces experience is to make you physically and mentally much better as a human being once you are done, not just to have you do something difficult, but I think makes it really different from other programs that I’ve seen so far.
On the podcast today, this is also an excerpt from the iron radio podcast I did this past Saturday, on my experience, helping the SFE with their process in northern Idaho. Then we also talk about how this transfers to your lifting, how you can learn from these periods of high stress, when should you consider doing them? What are some caveats to watch out for? Like, do you want to do this all the time?
So I’m sure your answer you already figured out is, hell no, there is a time to add stress, there’s a time to add periods of very high stress. But we have to keep in mind that these need to be controlled and also limited by the example of the process.
This is something like my biased opinion that most people would probably only do once in their life. You know, maybe if you signed up and didn’t make it as far as you’d like, maybe you would come back again. But I would not view that as something you would do repeatedly, time and time again. And this show is sponsored by two different groups today.
One is the Iron Radio podcast, I realized that this is the Flex Diet Podcast here, we’ve gotten a lot of new listeners in the past six months. So thank you so much for everybody tuning in, really greatly appreciate it. And you may not realize that I’m also on the Iron Radio Podcast each week. So this one here, as I said is an excerpt from the iron radio podcast. So if you already heard it on there, it’s going to be the same show here sans any commercials or anything else. So check it out. If you haven’t, and you want more podcasts, check out ironradio.org.
Also brought to you today by these special forces experience, go to the Special Forces experience.com. And on the top, you can check out all the different things that they have. They have a really great course on long range shooting. If that’s something that you’re interested in, I would highly recommend that Jeff is a lead instructor there was a Canadian Special Forces sniper, awesome guy does a really good job of instruction on it.
You can find out more about the process. Right now that is happening twice per year, once in the spring in the US, and then once in the fall in Canada, you can go to either one. Not sure if they’ll continue to still have to. But a heads up the average preparation for it is at least nine months. So if you’re interested, check that out.
They also have some other things there. One of them is a pilgrimage. So if you’re interested I’m doing some work with plant medicine. You can get more information there.
You can check out my other podcasts that I’ve done on that with my experience with Ayahuasca combo and other things in Costa Rica. So I actually was down there with some of the people from Special Forces experience. And coming up, they also have a great documentary on post traumatic growth, called the dark night of the soul. That is almost all entirely done and filmed.
A good buddy Luke is working on editing it right now. So that’ll be out probably this summer or later this year. So check out special forces experience. Neither ion radio nor Special Forces experience asked me to do this. They did not pay me anything.
For this. I just wanted to spread the good word about them. So enjoy this podcast hear from iron radio, talking with Coach Terrell and Coach Phil Stevens, about my experience with the process in northern Idaho, and how this relates to your training in terms of stress management.
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to iron radio. This is Phil Stevens. I’m a strength coach. I run strength killed I’m a powerlifter and I can call myself a Highland Games athlete again, so yeah, good.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
I am Associate Professor of the Carrick Institute creator of the flex diet cert opens again in June and I’m back from Idaho, which we’ll talk about helping the Special Forces experience and we are down here in South Padre Texas doing a little kiteboarding got three sessions in yesterday until my harness and Safety Line exploded last night and so luckily nothing happened to me per se buddies of mine chased my kite down with the lines and board and I got a free ride to shore a little bit so was only an hour and 10 minute experience instead of what could have been about a four hour experience and coming back with no equipment.
So now you gotta find replacements for that.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
I have a replacement for that so luckily that was the only thing I lost so yeah when they when they both explode and fail at the same time your cake goes flying down when unhinged
I’m coach Jerell and I’m in the great city of Salt Lake and doing Masters weightlifting nationals this weekend. Girls are wandering around trying to find the scale which is this is every time every time the Masters is so goofy.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
It’s hard to find a scale.
Yeah, like Texas. So usually in a weight class. Well, so if you go to the venue, the main venue has a has the official scale, right? But then like so people are trying to sneak in there it’s like there’s me there’s competition pretty much throughout the whole day.
But normally it’s actually supposed to be there but it’s at a separate Hotel. Oh Jesus like and then the other part about it is sometimes in these hotels it’s kind of tough because not every employee is up to speed on it. Yeah. So we went yesterday and got lucky but because it’s so the scales like on the seventh floor in this in this like conference room. But sometimes it’s like I don’t know I haven’t heard of that. Anyway okay, so there’s no tricks you’ll hear what’s going on and information is all over the place have
you got to have a Secret Knock
Yeah, no so the other part about Masters is you got to pay like masters cost more than any of the other ones because you have to say yes aw has they’re only like loosely associated with USA W and then there’s an extra fee for the actual masters organization which I personally disagree with. Just plug it all in USAW and then put it on like like they had the EO series at their Arnold you have all the good equipment there you know what I mean the the attorney Hall and clearing house is embarrassing like the wood is the wood is breaking up and it’s like the first day there’s like wood shillings all over the ground. It’s like directly across from the knee platform so you can actually see the trading Hall from the competition stage. Yes,
At least you’re in the beautiful, Utah, you know? Oh, yeah, I’d love to hear you can’t really drink or do you have any wives then then fine? Yeah. Ah, well, we’re gonna talk about, essentially, you know, Mike’s gonna talk about the experience he just had a bit of what he can and then that ties into basically brief periods of extreme stressors. And are they beneficial or are they not? So, what did you go to? I saw you post something on some stuff about it on the social media split?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah. So I’m involved with the Special Forces experience. I believe Jeff Depop. Day was on an older episode of iron radio. So you can pry hold that up quite a few years ago now? I think. So he’s kind of the main guy who started it with a bunch of other of us, I think. I think Jeff’s still holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper killshot, which was in Iraq. I believe the bullet flight time was almost 10 seconds. That sounds crazy.
Just, you know, not at a range, you know, not set up under pristine conditions, you know, just crazy. Canadian guy, right? Yeah. Canadian. Yeah, basically, basically, Canadian Special Forces. I mean, they have different names and stuff for it and everything. But yeah, so I was there helping out with with that, and it was their process. So the concept is, most people have heard of PTSD, or PTS or whatever word you want us associated with it.
But there’s also the flip side of that, which is PT, G or post traumatic growth. So for me, it was always been interesting, like, you’ve been working with clients and some people in the stuff who, you know, are working with their physician and their, you know, Doc’s on this, you’ll hear of, you know, two people in almost the same, you know, battle conditions or experienced the same stressor.
But, you know, one of them has significantly more effects, the other one doesn’t, like, well, how is that possible? Granted, everyone’s experience is going to be a little bit different. And if you look into some of the literature, you can have a traumatic or a high stress period of time, which we’ll talk about. And then from that some people do develop PTSD, which is very real, and definitely needs to be addressed, for sure. And we’re getting more resources that way, which is awesome.
But some people will have a period of post traumatic growth, or they’ll have an exponential increase. So I was interested in you know, kind of what, what are some of the things you can help with that? That’s part of the reason why I created the physiologic flexibility course. So can you precondition yourself with exposure to temperature changes, pH changes, breathing, etc.
So that if you do have exposure to a large stressor, and we try to bias the system a little bit more towards growth, again, that right now is still hypothetical kind of based on what we know the literature. So their thought here is that if can we take an experience, which currently to date is only men and expose them to a huge amount of stress in various capacities.
This could be movement, mental, all aspects of performance, over a long period of time, and we can give them coursework ahead of time, and obviously, you need to physically train for it. Can we bias them towards post traumatic growth at that point? So it’s kinda like, you know, fighting fire with fire, right?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah. Potentially. Yeah. Which, it’s a super interesting concept, right? Because, you know, usually you hear Special Forces experience programs, and I looked at some of the other ones, and, you know, hey, if guys want to go, you know, do that and test themselves. I’m all for it. I’m not against it. But most of them were just super hard stuff for a few days, right.
There was no intention or thought process, as far as I can tell, put into it beyond that. It’s like, yeah, we throw it in the ocean, and we kick sand in your ass crack and didn’t feed you for a while, and you live cool. Yeah. And if people get benefit out of that, then that’s great.
But, you know, this is designed with the intention of not making everybody quit, or just make it stupid hard, even though it was extremely hard, was can we have it facilitate more growth on the back end? Which is a very different process, but I think it’s actually much more difficult. Right? So just like training, you know, you know, anyone, any poor trainer can make you sweat and make stuff hard, right?
But can you have progress over time. So we had about four people that signed up, we had 11 that showed up. And then it goes for eight days, we were in may see the mountains of Idaho. So the people who sign up are outside the whole time. They have their, their rucksack that’s provided to them with, you know, tents and everything else.
And it’s, it is kind of, in some aspects looks like an old school military boot camp, you know, lots of physical exercise with instructors, you know, yelling at you the whole time. Because it’s the eight day process is designed to kind of strip away everything that any motivation you would have from the external world, so that it has to be 100% internal, right, and we’re trying to strip away a lot of your common defenses you would have just due to sheer accumulated fatigue, both physical and mental.
So when you get there, like you get a little penny that just has a number on it, right? So you’re called your number the entire time, not even your name. Gotcha. And so helping out with it, like we don’t necessarily know the background per se of people initially. So I was there just helping with some logistics and you know, whatever they needed, which for my experience was relatively easy compared to the people doing it. But it was in a new location. And we used vans to move people around to different spots. So just a lot of lot of logistics of, you know, you ended up with hurry up and wait, okay, we’re gonna do this.
And then, oh, wow, this last thing took us longer than we thought. So now we have to just rearrange the schedule a little bit. So I slept outside only one night, which was not as much as other people. And it just happened to be stupid cold there. Like it got down to 18 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Yeah, that’s chilly. The window was probably around 10 At least.
And the tent they had, which was more of a summer tent. And we didn’t realize there’s a door you can put on it. So the screen doors not open all night. We found that after the third night, but But yeah, overall, it was very cool experience. Definitely glad to help did some RPR resets on people at the end to make sure they were still good. And then they’ll go through coursework at the end to kind of help them integrate their experience and make sense of it.
Pretty wide variety of people that showed up. Yeah, it was, it was good. It was definitely something that people are interested in. You can look up Special Forces experience all the stuff they have there. Again, if you sign up, I don’t make any money. I don’t do any affiliate work for them. But it’s Yeah, excruciatingly difficult, then it’s designed in general. So only like about 20% of people pass. And they’ve had times were more than that a pass and the bad times were nobody passed. And that’s just, you know, so there’s a standard and you make it. Yeah, you definitely earned it.
So there’s some kind of set standard, like Pass Fail. Yeah, like reach this?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah. So the trick is trying to make it similar enough so that the standard is held. And they had one guy who was helping who actually completed it. And the first round they did. So this is serial four. And obviously other people have been there each time.
So it’s good to have the experience of people from day one. Because I’ll say some stuff. I’ve been involved with other organizations, once they realized, oh, yeah, we can get money. And we just tell people, this is hard. And we pass more people than they’re happy.
And we get more people like, Yeah, well, within three iterations of that you’ve completely eroded the whole, you know, thing that you said process. Yeah. Or this is very much like, Yeah, there’s definitely a standard. And if you make it great, it’s definitely well earned. If you didn’t, then we’re fine. Not passing anyone if you didn’t make it, make it, you know, which I think is the only fair way
if people have to fail, like, oh, yeah, like there has to be a failure rate. Either mean, like, yeah, that that sweet spot. It’s hard to find out for you. You start choosing the money first. It’s like, yeah, it becomes like, here’s your here’s your you know, sticker or whatever.
Yeah, do you get it participation ribbon at the very least.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
No. What’s interesting is that like, it’s not a real public thing. I don’t know they might release I think they’ve maybe released the one guy who passed but other than that, like, you don’t really get many, even once you’re done and you complete it, like you don’t really get a lot of recognition. It’s like it. It’s interesting to see how difficult it is and the second somebody quits or you finish and pass, then it completely flips, like instantly to.
Okay, how can we help you? How can we get you, you know, better? And, you know, it’s like, wait a minute, like, two minutes ago, you were the guy just yelling at me and my face. And now you’re like my best friend. It’s like, Yeah, but you’re done. Like, you’re out of it. Right? So now it’s, you know, how do we help you, you know, in a different way?
So, my question is, so you’re talking, we’re talking long term growth over an extreme experience? Do they gauge this still now, like, with these people that are done after eight days? Like, maybe that growth doesn’t happen for a month?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah. No. Yeah.
Is there a gauge for that? Or?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah, so there’s a whole follow up, integration and everything they go through. And then one of the things I’m helping them with to some more physiologic markers before and after a series of, you know, surveys, and, you know, the eventual goal would be to hopefully publish some stuff, I think in that area, you know, it would be who knows if it’ll be a qualitative or quantitative type study? Ideally, I’d like to have both. I’m not a qualitative researcher.
So I’d have to pull someone in on that. But yeah, that’s the hard part is that and even it was just fascinating, like, stayed in the house a couple of nights, like talking to the people who had, you know, quit and did some RPO and stuff on them, and just getting their, their take on it. And I would say most of them, were like, wow, that was, you know, super impactful, like, they came up with some ways they can incorporate it.
And, you know, one or two were kind of like, you know, you kind of wonder in your head, you’re like, I wonder how that person will do in a couple of months, you know, they might reflect back on it and be like, Oh, wow, yeah, that was more difficult than I thought, here’s what I learned, or how No, it’s like one of those things that take no matter what you do, you’re not going to reach everyone. Yeah, that’s, that’s the hardest part, you know, I think for all the people involved is, you know, we’re doing everything we can to try to make it the best experience.
But by nature, you don’t control who signs up. And yeah, there’s a long process, it’s very expensive, you got to get there’s a lot of unknowns, which are done on purpose. But if everyone goes through all those hoops, then, you know, hey, you know, the, you can’t control who thinks they’re ready or not. And one of my favorite phrases I like, and I don’t know, where I got this from, is that the hardest thing you’ve ever done is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
Yeah. And that’s completely different for, you know, one person versus the next, you may have one person that makes it a few hours, and they leave. And they’re like, Wow, that was like super impactful, like, no interested, and you’ve got other people who make it many days, and just huge variety. And then I’m also reminded that life in general is pretty easy. And that might mean my life in general is very easy. Which is why I like doing cold water exposure and training and other things to try to make it a little bit more difficult. Both both mentally and physically. But yeah, not. Not everybody does that.
Yeah, I think quite a bit about sometimes just the value of it not to these experiences are not even close to each other. So if in your mind, this do not listen to this and think, oh, CrossFit is pretty much special forces training, but the idea of like intermittent like very hard workouts you normally like very grueling in like in how, how much people like that, just because of the after, right? Like they carried it. In the after, like it was the true value of like, physically, probably nothing negligible, right?
But like truly understanding the true value of like, just the mental aspects, and they will host people through CrossFit, who even went into like weightlifting, like those types of experience helped them with weightlifting to like it for powerlifting. And whatever they go into, you know, and it’s like, you don’t have to coach as much people who have been in CrossFit for a while, or something difficult, I should say. There’s something very difficult, you know, voluntarily or whatever.
And like how much it helps them approach. Another thing from the toughness standpoint. I mean, in just for a civilian, it’s almost like you have people who haven’t done anything really tough, and they get into something like CrossFit. And it’s very tough. And like the people who thrive and it’s like they feel very proud of themselves every single time they do whatever workout right? Now the dark side of that is like sometimes they just chase that all the time.
Like, I got to do the hard work all the time, he will say, with you.
Yeah, that intermittent hard thing
that’s bringing up CrossFit. It’s a perfect example of this. And it’s kind of the perfect example of this gone wrong. Because they built a brand, totally around that. Like, this is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And then they champion that, you know, they champion the puking and, yeah, long term. Yes, you know, not for two weeks, not for eight days, but for every day.
And that’s why, you know, that’s a big part of the reason why in CrossFit, we see a lot of these people, they make drastic progress early. And then they stagnate. Because they’re constantly under this massive stressor that just, eventually you get to that point where you’re okay, I’ve gained this much amount of strength and you’re never getting a break.
You’re always throttling. You’re redlining, every workout. And so and I think that’s where we see the the things go bad, you know, you start seeing injuries and non non progress, maybe regression, and things like that. And that’s the tough part is, you know, how we relate this back to the training world. And it’s short stints of such things can make you better. And like you said, a lot of it is maybe it’s just making you mentally better. For progress later, in a more relaxed or controlled environment. So,
I mean, the psychological like, in terms of the qualitative versus quantitative, like, what you get out of it, like, science and psychology stuff is, I mean, that’s the human side of ourselves, it’s hard to kind of connect with, I mean, Exercise Science is one thing, but usually, there’s like physiological stuff, that’s easy to connect with.
Like, you start getting into, like psychological stuff in terms of just like actual trying to find data and like, you know, either whether you’re doing scans for like brain growth and all that stuff. I mean, that’s, that’s a tough field of science, particularly, because it’s like questionnaires and stuff, too. So you’re dealing with people’s perceptions, and all that. But I mean, how interesting would that be? Like, just the idea, the concept of, you know, PCs, G vs. D. I mean, that. I would say, like, crazy, but what a groundbreaking type of thing, right? Can you intermittently use extreme stressors for positive experiences versus negative ones?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah, I think it’s a concept that just most people are, are not even aware of. And, you know, up until maybe four years ago, I wasn’t aware of it. I had heard something about it. But I was like, I don’t know. And I’m not a psychologist. But sometimes the popular positive psychology stuff seems a little bit weird to me. But I know there’s a subset of the field that actually has very positive data associated with it.
But like most things, I hear something and I’m like, I don’t know if I really trust that. But then when you look into it, you’re like, oh, no, there’s some pretty good data there. I’d say it’s still definitely in the preliminary stages. But even having people be aware that that is a possibility.
I wonder how much that may even actually potentially change their outcome. Right? Because you’re changing the reticular activating system of the brain. And if the only thing they’re ever heard of their whole life is, yeah, if you have a huge amount of stress, you’re going to potentially get PTSD. It’s like, Oh, are you already pre biasing people just by that to a potential downside that may not necessarily be needed?
And it’s figuring out, like, I’d be interested in knowing and talking more. Like, how did they pick eight days? You know, yeah, so my understanding days be too much. You know, how do you find that fine line?
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah, a, I don’t know for sure. My guess is that it also has to do with logistics. You know, if you start getting super long, then no one’s probably going to make it through. If it’s too short. You just don’t have enough room to have enough fatigue and start stripping away all these kinds of defenses from somebody.
You’re kind of looking for this sweet spot of Okay, if you make it this far, then we can start to do more, say mental work later in once you’ve kind of accumulated this amount of fatigue. And one of the guys there, Rick, awesome, dude, Rick Alexander, he used to be a medic, Navy SEAL medic, he was a buds instructor for like, two and a half years. And he’s doing crazy stuff.
Like, I think he ran 240 or 270 miles with like, you know, a weighted vest to some like battle armor on for like an ultra marathon and just crazy stuff. But he was saying, we kind of saw this in some of the people that after just a huge amount of fatigue, at some point, you start getting a little bit better with it, you know, like day three for you, it’s almost like you get a little bit used to it, you’re still I mean, fatigued.
But a lot of the high amounts of it is such a change from baseline as the first couple of days to so and you talk to people to do ultra marathons and things like that they, like kind of mentioned that to like the, because people assume that fatigue is going to be completely linear. And it’s not, or at least the perception of it isn’t in the short term. So then you can allow someone to maybe get a little bit better with some physical tasks, and then do other things, too.
And part of this was to expose people and try to find, you know, whatever their potential weakness would be, right, whether that’s even just communication type side, interaction with other people to, you know, heights and anything else that people would generally have some some phobias to small spaces. Yeah, so I can’t say what the events are. Yeah.
But it’s definitely looking at multiple angles of how do you provide that amount of stress and thought out area? And, yeah, in the past, we’ve had, they’ve had a couple people who have had Rhabdo, who had had to leave early. And yeah, all sorts of other things when you’re adding that much exercise to people?
Well, and then, you know, one has to think, essentially, at some point, they want at least a small percentage of people to bend and not break. Exactly, you extend too many days, and you just have, you have a 100% break model,
Dr. Mike T Nelson
right? Then it’s like, oh, well, what did you really do to help?
no matter what everybody’s gonna have a breaking point. Like, I know, numerous people that have done been through buds or been through various special forces things. And, you know, I know numerous people who have failed. And the resounding theme from them all is no matter how strong they are, and this and that, and it’s like you said it was after a certain amount of days, you just realize it’s 100%. Mental? Yes. It’s just keep going.
It’s the mental stuff side that gets people through it, it’s like, doesn’t matter how big and strong you are, at that certain point, you’ve got, you know, you’re freezing, you’re sitting in a mud puddle. You know, okay, you just got to sit there for 10 hours, or whatever it is, yeah, it’s like, when it’s 100%, just be strong mentally. And, like you’re I was alluding to with the CrossFit things, and a lot that can feed greatly later on into more simple physical tasks.
And it goes back to the whole thing that we talked about before with, like, if you’re going to, let’s say you’re going for a PR on something, if you can come into that mentally confident, you’ve got a real good chance of making it. Whereas if you’re on that weaker mind side of things, and you’re doubting it, like I’ve seen 1000 people over the years, that are physically capable of doing something, but they aren’t mentally Oh, for sure. They don’t.
Their mind is not wrapped around their body’s ability yet. Yeah, and that’s, you know, that’s where tests like these, and I think that’s the big, but come and bring this back into the training field. That’s where short stints of this type of thing, like a squat program or you know, I have a squat program, I have people doing things like that. And really the biggest part of that is making them mentally strong and tough. Like, see you can do it.
The fact that it’s hard, yeah,
it’s just getting through this hard thing. And that bleeds into the rest of their life and the rest of their training like hell, that’s let’s be honest. That’s how it’s that part of training that bleeds into the rest of your life more than the physical side of it.
The, like Dave Tate has talked about it a lot and things like that how, you know, the gym can bleed into the rest of your life. And the lessons learned under the bar can give you strength in the rest of your life, aside from the physical aspect of it, you know, it’s just the enduring part of that, okay, I’m showing up, I don’t feel it today, but I gotta fucking, I gotta go in there and get this done. And, you know, that can bleed in the rest of your life.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Which is why I like using the rower for a lot of clients. Because yes, it’s a physically demanding thing. But it’s really 10 vegans that just to me, it’s just mostly mental, right? Because if you’re trying to hit a certain pace, and you have to stare, where your stare at where you’re at all the time, you can’t really just take a couple of strokes off, right?
And the shorter the event even less, right? If you’re doing a 5k. And you’re trying to finish and say, under 20 minutes, it’s literally 20 minutes of you having to pay attention. And like 100% of the time, if you’re going to improve at some point, like, yeah, first year, you will make some easy progress, just because you haven’t done it and efficiency and everything else.
But at some point, you’re going to have to pay attention 100%. And every part of your body is going to be like, no, just do the next one a little easier. It’ll be okay.
No, I think that’s a lot of what you get from it, that is the thing that you can get from more endurance based things than you can from strength. This goes to the time. Yeah. And that’s like, like Matt Vincent, he did that running thing. So Matt comes from, he’s been on the show numerous times.
And he comes from, like a strength sports background, where the events lasted two and a half seconds. And, you know, he got he wrecked himself after years and years of being a world championship. And so what he did was looked for a different way, after total knee replacement, all that looked okay, I need a new way to challenge myself.
And so he took up endurance sports, because it was something he had never done, and so far out of his wheel house. And that’s what he talks about a lot in there. So he learned how to that long fight. It’s different than the short fight, the short fight is, you know, having confidence to do that thing in three and a half seconds. Whereas that, like the endurance stuff is just at a certain point, you know, hour two, or whatever, it’s literally just just don’t fucking stop, just don’t fucking stop, keep going, keep going, keep going, you know, and it leans more heavily on that side of things.
And that can bleed into to all that it just, it just helps in all aspects of life. Now, if you take that too far, you know, then you’re well dead. Know, if we bring it to the extreme, you know, everyone’s gonna break at a certain point. But you know, on something like this, then do they teach people then? Like, What’s the timeframe between something like this, like, we know, like, look at the NFL, like, if we use the CrossFit model, then all the teams would just basically play a full contact, full feed full speed game four times a week to get better? Yeah, we know, that would be stupid. But how often is something like this good. You know what I’m saying?
I also, I also would question like, the preparation for it, like part of it is like not being prepared. Yeah, like, not like not seeing it come in not being prepared, and then having to deal with it anyway. Like, not training for it? And just, you know, being in it.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yeah. Yeah, for the process, like, my bias is, I think you can be more physically prepared is obviously going to be better, right, the more preparation you can do, to me, it’s like a once in a lifetime thing. I know some people have, you know, gone through and said, they’re gonna come back again, which, you know, each to their own. I talked to the one guy who made it through and I was like, Hey, would you ever do this again, he’s like, not in a million years. You know, when he started it, he’s like, I’m gonna finish this. He’s like, the going to take me out in the body bag.
Otherwise, you know, and his feet were just got destroyed from all the marching and everything else. And you know, that he made it and in his case, I won’t say his name, but he was a former NHL hockey player, so very high level athlete, and I don’t in talking to him my guess is that but more of that, like you guys were saying is just the mental aspect of that, right?
You’re used to having to perform when it counts training, when you don’t want to putting up with, you know, whatever system, you’re in different coaches, and you know, all that kind of stuff, too. Yeah, so for this, I would view it as a high enough amount of distress, to try to jar you out from the position that you’re in, and hopefully to, you know, facilitate post traumatic growth. I know they’re potentially working on other programs to using like ayahuasca and potentially some plant medicines to which I’ve done with him down in Costa Rica.
So there’s definitely other venues and different ways to facilitate post traumatic growth. But most of them involve doing things that are quite hard. But I agree with your point that you have to be careful with the stress that’s involved, because you want enough stress to make an impact. But you don’t want to break a whole bunch of people either. And yeah, and the hard part,
and the one off thing makes sense in a position in an event like this, yes. Because if not, it’d be like, like, soldiers have to do buds to become a Navy SEAL. Yes. But it’s not like once you’re a Navy Seal, okay, we do buds every three months, right? They don’t fucking ever do it, you know? And people look at things like that, and I’m gonna train like a Navy SEAL. So they do this extremely dumb shit all the time. Yes. And it’s not a good thing.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
No, and even then the selection process like toxic people would do it. And they’ve spent, I mean, millions and millions of dollars to try to figure out like, is there a better method we can do? Because it’s expensive. It’s time intensive. A lot of people don’t pass. Yeah. And so far to date. They haven’t come up with anything. Right? It’s like, we were not really sure why this works. But we know that if you pass this series of events in our dropout, or attrition rate post, pretty low. So we know it works. But you know, trying to figure out why is why? Who knows.
I don’t know. I mean, I’m always trying to relate this back to the training field, because this is, yeah, well, essentially what our podcast is about and what we do for a living. And that comes back to like we were talking about before the show, you see a lot of people. There are a lot of well designed programs out there that do things like this that are short term, very intense. And they work.
But then you have a whole stream of people that if a little bit good, more is better, and they’ll bastardize things. And that’s like we talked about with Cal Dietz and stuff, right before the show, like he have areas of, you know, extreme eccentric work with 125% or whatever. But it’s for a very short period of time, and then, you know, me and a colleague last night we’re talking about it. Like, then you have people doing that while we’re gonna stretch that out to 10 weeks.
And it’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. It’s just like anything. It’s like a little bit of testosterone is good five grams is probably not Yeah, you know, there’s a there’s a drawback at all times for this so that’s fine in that sweet spot to where again, Ben don’t break like we don’t want to break you want some people to make it through it? And the the broken part we’re looking for like, I’m sure that Special Forces experienced thing isn’t literally looking to ruin someone.
You know, they want to the breaking to be a growth break. Not a Oh, he’s fucking in a stretch on a stretcher. Yeah. Yeah, that’s the tough part. And then the fight those people that take this overboard, and it’s not within the organization, like I’m sure there’s somebody that that will leave this and like, oh, we could do that and do it even more, you know, on somebody who’s going to do an offshoot that’s going to be horrible. Yes, it always happens. Oh, yeah.
Yeah, the other negative side of the coin is coaching and training. That’s, that’s, I would just describe it as like always perfect. Like, has to always be within this percentage. Yes. should never feel anything, you know, you should Oh, discomfort. You feel discomfort if we got to stop and do you know, an hour of foam rolling and PT stuff like, like, you know, I mean, there’s there’s conditions for both. Yes.
And, you know, obviously the duration like trying to find that sweet spot. I mean, I think I would say probably all of us are searching for that at all times. Like, your mental growth. Fear of physical stress, how far can it push before we have to pull back some? And then each time it’s different, right? Like so. After you are conditioned for this, like, what’s the next growth point look like? Yes.
No, I mean, the athlete thing is interesting actually, with this, because being inside of a sport that I would say it’s probably as grueling as it can be, right? Like NHL, hockey is probably it’s as physical as football. Right? Again, NFL, football, the collisions are probably can get a little bit higher, to sit in your own eyes glide around speed.
But the idea of like, being in a sport where you, you know how much you know, when you’re in a sport, and you have to go through a whole season’s worth of practice, how often you just do physical stuff you don’t want to do? Yeah, like you just like up in even you might even hate it, but you’re not like consciously in the moment hating it, you’re just doing stuff. So that that precondition could be in, I’ve just noticed that just training people who’ve done sports before any kind of sports, high school call whatever, wondered, like, they just have better training process in general.
Because it’s almost just like that letter like, Yeah, I know, this is supposed to suck, whatever. And but um, you know, they just didn’t. Yeah, yeah. It’s like, it doesn’t feel good, but I still go. Yeah, like how intensely you can get to that point? You know, because at the highest level, that’s, it feels what that’s like an NBA season with high collisions. Yeah, it’s like, a pleasant game, to play off and all that.
So well, and that’s with training, I’d say a lot of that. We’ve talked about this a lot before, it’s a lot of this needs to be learned early on. Like one of the benefits about the dumb shit we do early in our training careers, is just that, it’s just finding your limits.
And doing it early in training, like if I was trying to find my limits now, as an athlete. The problem is, is I’m strong enough to break myself. Literally, like I’ve heard, it told me numerous times, it’s not bragging or anything, but it’s like you’re mentally stronger than you are physically. And like I’ve literally broke myself numerous times.
So it’s, it’s hard to do that. It’s more unsafe to do that with somebody who is already physically well past the mediocre range, because they have that ability to Okay, now we’re trying to find your limits. Okay, well, I’m finding my limits with 800 pounds. Yeah, whereas I find somebody’s limits with 225. early on. And that’s a big one. It’s, you know, a lot of that weird craziness, at least what I try to do, I try and do that early on with people to make them mentally stronger. That way, once they’re getting crazy, strong, they already know their limits. Like I can tell the day I gotta go in and squat and I got to do a heavy, hard single with, with against bands. I won’t be shutting down at actual failure point. I’ll be shutting down at a nine or something.
But I have the vocabulary in my head. I know that from training 20 years ago, if that makes sense. You know, and that’s the hard part is like, we need to get people to know their breaking point so we can get on the edge of it. And not to it later on in life. Like I don’t want to and that’s hell in all sports and football. You don’t want to you don’t want your $500 million dollar quarterback. Redlining all the time. Yeah. Well, you want him to know that boundary. Because if not, his career is going to be two years long, and then you’ve wasted half a billion dollars.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
But they see that in the NFL with new quarterbacks who kind of show up who do a lot of scrambling and running. And at first I was like, Oh, well, that’s a good thing to have. But then you see them do it more often. And then then you see older quarterbacks do it on occasion, and you’re like, I get it because the athlete is just thinking I want to do whatever it is to win. They’re not thinking anything past that. But I would have to imagine if you’re a coach seeing your you know, top, you know, most paid player like taking off to run full speed into someone twice the size. Yeah, it’s got to just make you pissed yourself.
Exactly. I mean, it’s good. A good analogy for that is is like John Elway. Yes. When he won the Super Bowl like dude could scramble, but he reserved it, but when it was on the line and like, I want to win this fucking trophy in this ring That’s the time to break out and jump headfirst into 14 guys. Yeah, you know, the risk was worth it at that point. But yeah, like you said, younger guys, I’ll do that, like, on game two of the season and it’s meaningless, really, right?
Like it’s worth for that sport, that risk of injury is worth it to get the Lombardi trophy. It’s not worth it to beat the lions in week two. And that’s yet something to learn. I mean, you got it, you can’t read line all the time, you have to reserve those red lines for very specific occasions. If not, you’re gonna blow up, like, like everyone talks about he he hypothesizes that everybody has so many true max effort attempts in them over a lifespan. So save those for the platform.
You know, save those for when it counts, you don’t need to read line all the time in the gym. And it’s probably less than benefit, the opposite of beneficial, you know, early on, you need to test for that. But then okay, now I know where that red line situation is. And that’s the problem. The problem is, is that nobody knows where their red line is, you don’t know your red line until you get there. So we at some point in your life, we need to get there.
So we have a vocabulary with our body to know. But and that’s where events like these, basically what I’m getting at some kind of event like this. I mean, essentially, that’s what the benefit for me looks like. It’s like, okay, I did that once. Now I don’t need to do it, do it again. But I know my limits. You know, I just learned my limits. And if that was day four of this event, okay, well, I know where my limits are at. And let’s not right or wrong. No, it’s just yours. That’s yours. You know, now own it. Now, if that needs to get better, okay, I have work to do. Or like the guy who want it, I’ve okay, I’m never fucking doing that again. But I can grow from that, because I know I have that ability. You know, I know that I can push it that far. If I have to.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
type of thing. Yeah, I think that expands other realms too. Like, I know, just from having trained that when I was finishing my PhD, which ended up taking seven years and was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done my entire life more just from a good Natl fortitude at the end, and it wasn’t anything else was. It was like, Okay, I just needed to go one more day or do this next thing, like trying to be very short sighted about it.
And then at some point four years in, I just kind of did the, you know, the Cortes thing where it’s like, okay, I’m just going to burn all the ships. And if I don’t make it through this program, I talked to my wife about, you know, enrolling somewhere else and flying home on the weekend leaving our house here, you know, because I had reached the point where I felt like if I didn’t do it, it was something that I would regret for no other reason other than it was just something that I personally wanted to do.
Yeah, it wasn’t for a job. It wasn’t for to impress anyone else, because nobody really gives a crap anyway. And then at that point, it’s like, okay, the only way to go is forward. Right? Yeah. And then, you know, I have bloodwork done. My testosterone was like, 180, I wasn’t sleeping. And my whole point was, like, if I long as I finish without permanently doing any damage, I’m okay.
And, yeah, it took me about three years to fix myself once. That was the walking Trashman fire. But I did it, you know, and I don’t necessarily regret it. And I think there’s probably other things that could have done better, like pick a different advisor, but whatever, you know, once you’re in it, you kind of have to decide at some point, okay, here’s my absolute limit. Here’s the cost I’m not willing to pay. Up until that point, I’m gonna just keep going forward.
Yeah. Well, that’s a good point you reach I mean, and that’s, that’s one that I preach to everybody. And it’s the one that you use most easily missed, is coming to that agreement with yourself. Of the cost versus benefit. Yes. And most people never do that.
They only see the end game. Like they look at that PhD. And they think that’s cool. And so you have this huge drive to start. But then you get in it and you realize, fuck, I never really looked at what this is going to take.
And they never came to terms with it within their own mind. Like and that’s the same thing is like, How many times have we had somebody come contact any of us and say I want to be the next Olympian or I want to be the next World’s Strongest Man. And then you as a coach are like, Okay, you realize what that takes, because you’re going to need to this this, this, this, this this, you’re gonna have to not see your family on blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, you’re gonna give up all this shit. Are you ready for that? Joe and I really I got to do that. Well, yeah, that’s part of the game, bro. And that’s the part most people miss.
I’ve had a few people. Last kid I had, he was the kid who came in and said, like, with the utmost confidence, like he’s, I mean, he maybe weighed 125 pounds, maybe, maybe. He’s like, I’m gonna break Eddie Hall’s deadlift record. And I say, Okay. I was like, fuck 500 kilos, right? I mean, you’re a lot of food and a lot of drugs away from that, right? You did a workout and I never saw him again. That usually happens. Yeah, exactly. That happens quite often.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Yep. Yeah, a couple of years ago, I started working with a few more mixed martial artists. And it was just local as probably six years ago now. And I quickly stopped doing it because I realized the the younger kids who were so enthusiastic about doing it, like didn’t even make it through like one session. Yeah, you know, and then I, so then I got wise at the place that I was talking to the guy was sending me some people is awesome, dude.
I’m like, hey, what do you think about this, this kid who talked to me, and he looked at me. And so I then sort of asked him, like, has he paid his membership here to do his skills practice? And like, 90% of the time, he’s like, No, he owes us like, three months. I’m like, You’re not going to talk to him. Right? It’s like, if you can’t even figure out a way and the guy is way under charge. He’s only entitled like 50 bucks a month or something stupid, ridiculously cheap.
It’s like, well, and you’re not gonna afford to pay me to you can’t even afford to pay for your skills practice nonetheless, show up for that. So what what do you think that I’m going to do for strengthen conditioning? Did you even to be compliant? That yeah, that it was normally not always, but it was normally the people who were like extremely vocal, you know, I’m going to be the next you know, UFC champion. It’s like, bro, you didn’t even make it to two sessions at your local gym in a row.
You just see all the time, like, Oh, I’m sure. I can’t tell you how many people in the white belt range who are going to be the next, you know, Gordon Ryan. They don’t even make it to like the first strike or something. And this experience for me as far as jujitsu goes just, like, hard, but kind of play for me. It’s not like a competitive outlet sort of thing. For the people who think like, oh, this is Oh, this is the thing.
Now listen to Joe Rogan a few times. And he said, jujitsu is magical. And it’s like, yeah, he does. But it’s magical. Because it’s painful. Yeah, or, and difficult. And like, you see the light just leave their eyes. They learn. Like what the true scope of jujitsu is right? Like, like, When will I get my blue belt? They’re like, well, probably two, two and a half years, maybe? No, I know. What that that much. No. Yeah, you know, and it’s, they just disappear.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Well, it’s, it’s fascinating to me, like how many things people could probably do, if it’s time put in over years to decades, right. So obviously, I do a lot of grip stuff. So I’m biased in that direction. I think most people could do pretty decent in it with the right instructions. So they’re doing the right things. But even like, you know, talking to my buddy, Adam laughs He’s like, Yeah, it’s, you know, decades of work. Yeah. And some people are freaks, and they start out at a much higher level, for sure. Like, you’re always gonna have those people.
But even if you’re, you know, like, where I started, like, below average, you can make progress, but it’s doing intelligent things day in, day out, you know, for months, years, decades to do things that then look very difficult to most people. But it’s, I think a lot of things are more doable than we realize, if we’re just given good instruction and a long enough timeframe.
Then the timeframe is usually where most people lack,
Dr. Mike T Nelson
right? You tell someone it’s gonna be like, 15 years to pick up an inch dumbbell. They’re like, I’m out.
Yeah, exactly. And, or even, I mean, that goes into all athletic stuff, but relating to what you talked about. Let’s like the Denny stones. Yeah, it’s a very popular thing right now. But if you look over the history of them, and I were doing the other day, because one of my guys got invited to go to the big Danny stone thing this year. Nice. And to lift him. There’s like 183 people or some shit. I think it’s less than that. But yeah, not many have ever done it. No. And you know, it’s, it takes takes years to reach greatness. I mean, in anything. So
it takes six years to reach goodness. Yeah. Another another heavy chunky years to reach great. Yeah,
exactly. I mean, and that’s like everybody sees Michael Jordan and wants to be Michael Jordan, what they don’t see is how he got there. Yeah, well, they don’t see the endless work behind the scenes. You know, there’s a reason why, I don’t know if you looked at it. Like, what percentage of people that played a competitive sport in like, junior high, make it to the professional level? Point 01.
I mean, there’s a reason. And the biggest reason is, I would argue the biggest reason is just time, commitment and time. Like, almost everybody has the basic attributes to do it. Essential, Hamam maybe that NBA like not everybody’s six, four, or whatever, the baseline, but at some level in most sports, you know, you could do it. Because there’s always outliers like Spud Webb, and things like that. And if you’re willing to put in the time and work,
you can also say, you’re trying some creativity too, right? Yeah. So with people who are outliers on, like, they’ll say, the MBA and being short. You know, it’s like, they have to be creative. Like they have to open their mind to okay, you know, there’s a task that needs to be done. You know, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this type of title. It doesn’t have to be done this way. But I have to I have the ability to figure out how to do it myself. Yes. Like, that’s a quite a big thing.
Yeah. Which then again, takes time, because you have nobody before you to learn from, you have to learn a way to do that. But that’s different from everybody else that has the prototypical body type.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
If you watch the last dance documentary, most people probably seen it by now with Michael Jordan, which I loved it, I thought it was amazing. Because I grew up watching Michael Jordan, I was not a huge basketball fan, but a big fan of his. Yeah. And one of the criticisms of all the time was like, wow, he can be kind of such a dick and never and but then you watch that series.
And, you know, for better or worse, that was just kind of the way he was wired. Like he didn’t care about anything else other than winning, didn’t care about the cost and care about anything else that went into it. His whole goal was just to win games, whether you can say that’s good, bad, indifferent, whatever. Yeah, it was really interesting to watch that.
And then also, knowing that that obviously, he had full, you know, edit ability on it. So he wasn’t going to put anything on film that he didn’t agree with. You know, some of the things that he did say you’re like, oh, wow, wow, that’s fascinating.
Yeah, I think everyone I’ve had conversations about this recently, I think every every truly great person, like, not just made it to the pros, but like, was a pro’s Pro. You hear like, Oh, they’re cocky, they’re this and that? I would argue they have to be yes.
To reach that level. Because you have to have a level of internal confidence. Like we talked about with approaching the bar, like Mike again, T and Michael Jordan never entered a game thinking, well, we’re probably going to lose, he came in like we’re about to beat you know, no matter who it was, and you have to have that. You have to have that attitude. To to reach that level, you have to truly believe you’re gonna do it. Before you can do it.
That’s like, the game mandro went to, like everybody, the chiefs and Bill’s everybody 13 seconds left. There, done. That whole fucking team was like, No, we’re not done. And how easy would it be? Yeah, how easy would it be to just fuck, we lost it. They came out there. And they had to believe first that they could go down in 13 seconds and tie the son of a bitch up and then they did it. You know? And you have to be a little cocky, a lot cocky, really. to even think you can do that. And not only
lose, but they would have been able to lose and kind of get off the emotional hook. Like what a great game that was. Yes. You know, I mean, like you would open down as a great game whether they no matter what. Yes.
Yeah. And then you went from a great game to potentially the greatest game ever play. That was a back and forth shoot out of just holy crap and but to do that, you have to be cocky. You have to want to represent believe in yourself. And that’s not being a dick. That’s just self confidence that you have to have to be truly great. I would say you just have to be self confident at a At a very high degree. So
Dr. Mike T Nelson
I think it’s another thing to, to back it up. Right. So I remember growing up doing snowboarding and you know, one point Shawn Palmer was like one of the top, you know, snowboarders in the world. And he was very brash, you know, very kind of cocky. And people used to give them so much crap for it. And then one guy is like, oh, but he actually has won almost every single event. So he’s not really cocky, because he he’s actually doing
exactly the same thing could be said about Jordan. Yeah. Did that but then he literally stuffed the ball in your face, right? He was gonna do it. And then he did it. You know?
I think the biggest I mean, the the documentary for Michael Jordan was big, but I think probably the biggest thing is how other players you played against them, like the stories they have against like, the stories they have where they, you know, almost, it sounds like insane.
You know, I mean, like, not something made up. Like Kevin. Kevin Durant always tells a story about you know, his rookie season. And they’re like playing like him and Isaiah Ryder are playing pretty good against the bulls on the tables. And so Kevin Garnett just starts talking trash and all this.
And then they like, buried him in the fourth quarter. Like, just like, Okay, there’s like, Okay, we don’t talk to him like, yeah. Just be nice to him. He say. He say, Hey, man, gates. Oh, that was a good shot. Like, you’re trying to keep them docile. Like, that’s your hold? On? Yeah. To keep them on interested in the game. That’s it. Yep. And that
bleeds right back to this special forces thing like in the stressor? Most truly elite athletes are at their best when you back them into a corner. Yes. You know, those are the ones that are truly great. Like, in just like the game we just talked about, they back them into a 13 second corner, like, I bitch, here it is. And that’s what separates those people that are just outstanding.
Because everybody can win when it’s easy. You know, when you’re having an easy game, and everything’s going right, but when shit is against you, and you’re back up against the wall. That’s when the greats turn out. You know, it’s those combat games, it’s the victories like that.
So, and you see the lifting, like you missed one and two. Yeah, I would say 90% of the time, and like, let’s say, weightlifting, somebody misses the first and second snatch 90% of time, they’re missing the third. If you’re a if you have the mental fortitude and the Kohonen to come out and still have confidence and nail that third, you just did something.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
So, or how fast you can recover from big mistake, right? So think of like, you know, guarding the top receiver in the NFL, right, and all of a sudden, oh, he gets a touchdown pass. And if you were the defensive person guarding them, I asked a good buddy of mine who trains a lot of the Vikings and other NFL guys.
He’s like, Yeah, they’ll have short attention spans and very short memories is like, they have to do this. You dwell on that one mistake like you’re done like new. Like in the NFL. Right? You see that? I think in kickers, right. So the Vikings had a kicker was Atlanta last year, the year before.
And huge performance, like really good for many years. And he just got stuck in a rut where he was missing, you know, extra points and everything. Yeah. And you’re just thinking that it’s all mental at that point, right. You didn’t suddenly physically get worse.
But I think if you can’t let those things go, you’re rehearsing the negative thing. And you’re getting better at getting worse. Yes, right. So I think it’s a separate skill to care a lot about what you’re trying to do. But if something goes awry, learn from it. Keep the lesson and then forget everything else.
Yeah. And that’s what you’re talking about. I think there’s a lot of reasons why people quit. Yes, that’s what we’ve talked about before. It’s like once it gets hard, they quit. Like if you make it to the NFL. And you’re you were the best quarterback in college. Like there’s one coming up that what sauce Gardner has never had a touchdown on.
So the end he’s about to get drafted. The interesting thing for me will be to see what happens when he does get a touchdown. Yes. How does he handle that? Because you’re at the NFL now. It’s gonna happen. Like, and you have to be ready for that because you ain’t gonna like you’re not gonna go through an NFL career and never have a touchdown you like it’s gonna happen in probably week one. So how are you going to handle that shit?
Because now you’re playing against the big boys, and they’re gonna get there, no matter how good you are. You know, they’re gonna get theirs. Yeah, so, and that’s how you handle that shit. And I almost say it could be You’ve potentially seen as a negative that the kid has never had a cut down on it.
Yeah, it’s a no, no, because it is going to happen and you don’t know how he’s gonna handle that struggle. Yeah, he might might be a huge mental struggle bus, because like, oh, fuck, I’m not that good. You know, he thought he was he was the biggest fish in a small pond. Now you’re about to be an average sized fish in the biggest fucking ocean there is.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
So I wonder if that’s why some top draft picks just never pan out in the NFL to be like, I can’t imagine that they physically got that much worse. And yes, the game is a lot faster and everything else, I guess. But I think it’s just how do you deal with the mental aspect of it being challenged in a new way?
Yep. Yeah. So well, we went long, but it was good show.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
The fun one different things to talk about that we don’t talk about a lot. So yeah. Everybody have a wonderful weekend.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Sounds good. See you later. Thank you so much for listening to the flex diet podcast, really, really appreciate it. If you want more information, just from a different area, check out iron radio user. We have a new podcast every week.
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