BFR training is getting positive results from those who have tried it. But for those who haven’t you might want to give this a try if your goal is to gain muscle mass. To know more about BFR training, join me and my guest, Kusha Karvandi on this episode.
There are so many ways to lose weight. It doesn’t have to mean lifting weights all the time. Even walking is a form of effective exercise if you do it consistently. It’s the micro-habits that can help change our body. I was pleased to find out that Kusha Karvandi also has a Sunlighten Sauna, although it shouldn’t be a surprise since he says he’s a fan of heat therapy in general.
Kusha Karvandi first worked as a part-time membership sales guy at a gym in San Diego. When Kusha Karvandi was in school, he initially thought he was going to take the medical route because he wanted to become a doctor. But then he soon realized that he was not cut out for sales. Instead, he was always passionate about health fitness and working out.
“I found a passion for it during the first three to six months doing personal training, and I did it for several years. Apart from that, I also had a big boxing gym in San Diego,” shared Kusha Karvandi.
He adds, “I started managing gyms and teams, hired and developed hundreds of trainers and I had different certifications. They all speak through the lens of biomechanics. And they all look at the human body as being a biomechanical machine. To a certain extent, it’s true.
By accident, Kusha Karvandi stumbled upon this science called Functional Neurology. It’s like neurology but more of an Applied Neurology. It looked at how does an exercise program influence the brain, or how can we get the brain to influence the goal of fat loss or muscle gain.
“But there are things like visual skills you need to have to have optimal performance. And that includes strength,” said Kusha Karvandi. “I also realized that traditional medicine is good for emergencies. But regarding improving quality of life and optimal performance, traditional medicine has many pitfalls.”
One pitfall of traditional medicine is the fact that it is impersonal. There is no diving into a patient’s deep health history. Often, patients are hardly analyzed, and the solution is usually either surgery or prescribing medication.
BFR stands for blood flow restriction. According to Kusha Karvandi, BFR training helps people gain muscle and strength without having to lift heavy weight. Kusha Karvandi first learned about BFR training when he read about it in a journal around six or seven years ago.
For those who are not aware, BFR is not new. It has been around for decades with over 25 years of research and the subject of approximately 200 studies. It was initially developed by a Japanese doctor to help his patients prevent atrophy.
“It made its way into the bodybuilding world because they wanted to use this to gain size and strength,” shares Kusha Karvandi. “In the 90s or before that, the bodybuilding community adopted this to use it as a tool to gain size and strength, without lifting heavy weights. If you lift heavy weights all the time, it takes a toll on the body and brain.”
Benefits of BFR
Kusha Karvandi believes that a good workout gives the body more than it takes. With exercise, most people immediately think they need to do more, lift heavier, workout harder – when in reality they need to trainer smarter and more efficiently.
“I realized how valuable BFR could be too pretty much anybody who wanted to look and feel better. If somebody is trying to strengthen an area that’s weak and can’t do a whole lot of load, this is a great tool,” said Kusha Karvandi.
Kusha Karvandi also says that the goal is keeping workout efficient. And also remember that the recommended weight is 20% of your max in terms of load. Because apparently, it is easier to fatigue with heavy loads so start lighter.
Things To Remember
Kusha Karvandi also advises everyone to maintain technique before increasing loads. Genetics, nutrition and hormonal factors all have a role in building muscle, so it is essential to pay attention to those factors as well.
“As for fat loss, it has more to do with the hormone influence on IGF 1 and growth hormone as well as the metabolic stimulation and metabolic stress,” said Kusha Karvandi. “It’s almost like high-intensity interval training workout. Also, remember to change things every so often.”
He also advises to pay attention to recovery and get some hot sauna therapy as well. Because ideally, you have to have a planned recovery if you want to see continued progress.
“Research showed that doing lightweight BFR training has been equally as effective. In some cases, more effective than doing traditional weight training with moderate to heavy weight without the band,” Kusha Karvandi said.
He adds, “Many people think that because of where the bands are placed, that the only benefit is to the muscles directly near the side of the cushion. But it’s creating a systemic effect. In fact, because of metabolic change, you’re building a shift in homeostasis.
Choosing A Trainer
In any diet or exercise, it is always best to get professional help. But not all trainers or health practitioners are good, so you still have to be alert on how to choose the best one.
For choosing trainers, in particular, Kusha Karvandi suggests looking for trainers who jot down your progress. Observed if they are engaged in your workout and gauge how are they facilitating.
Kusha Karvandi recommends that doing BFR training for two to three weeks is best. He also dismisses rumors that BFR training is unsafe.
“There is no increase in coagulation with BFR training and no added risk. In a Scandinavian study, it stated that BFR training is safer than traditional training,” said Kusha Karvandi.
He adds, “I’m not a big fan of CrossFit. They are using traditional training. In many cases, heavyweight training like Olympic lifting and combining it with high-intensity and high reps. It’s a recipe for disaster like muscle damage as well as a breakdown of muscle cells and leaking toxicity into the body which can kill you.”
Diet is not complicated in BFR training. Kusha Karvandi says to make sure you get adequate protein intake from a natural source. Supplements are also useful for muscle gain, and creatine has been proven to help gain size and strength.
A right amount of fish oil intake is also recommended as well as eating enough saturated fats. Kusha Karvandi also reminds everyone to have enough electrolytes to replace minerals for proper muscle contract and recovery. Magnesium and vitamin B12 complex can also work wonders for your muscle progress.
“When you gain muscle mass, it burns more calories. You have a higher energy demand. You’re going to be hungrier. Gaining muscle mass is important if your goal is permanent weight loss,” said Kusha Karvandi. “How you train and the genetics you have, the supplements you take, physically dictate how big you get. It helps to burn more calories at rest and be more efficient.”
He adds, “I’m also not a fan of fat burners. The best fat burner is eating better, sleeping better and exercising better. It’s all about finding what works for you.”
BFR Bands Online Store
You can buy BFR bands at Kusha Karvandi’s online store. There are several bands to choose from, and very affordable, too! You don’t need to worry about the bands pinching your skin because it has been tested and proven to aid your workout in the most comfortable way possible.
Apart from the bands, there are also several supplement products, accessories, books, and apparel on his website. There’s even an app and a BFR course to guide you through the workout.
As an added incentive, Kusha Karvandi threw in something nice for Learn True Health listeners. Just type in LTH at checkout to avail of the discount so do check out the website.
As a personal trainer, Kusha Karvandi has trained over 10,000 hours of one-on-one sessions. With over 20 nationally-recognized certifications and a unique specialty in neuroscience, Kusha Karvandi’s ability to transform his clients is unlike any other coach in the fitness industry.
Although considered the eternal student, Kusha Karvandi describes his coaching philosophy by the Latin word “docere” which implies ‘coach as teacher.’ Kusha Karvandi is the creator of the BFR Bands, designed for the research-backed form of training known as blood flow restriction training which helps you gain muscle and strength without lifting heavy weight.