This is a presentation I held at Annual European Omegawave Expert Roundtable in Bonn, Germany.
In this presentation I share :
- our experiences of the last 6 years working with the Omegawave technology
- how to address the topic of monitoring to players, coaches, doctors, and stakeholders
- the practical applications and limitations of Omegawave monitoring
- Linear vs. Dynamic Periodization models
- Why you should never tell a doctor what to do and how to communicate with medical professionals
- How Data is NOT more important than intuition
- therapeutic strategies to support central nervous fatigue
- Current and Further research
Gerrit Keferstein: First of all, I’d like to welcome all of you here. I’m pretty happy. I know almost everybody but one of you, either from the last seminar or from even way before. So, it’s a good group. And what I want to focus on today is basically four years ago or five years ago when I really started intensely working with Omegawave, I had tons of questions and what I want to focus on is addressing this thing to my past self five years ago because when there’s German coaches who want to use Omegawave, usually Michel will really refer them to me saying “Hey, call Gerrit” and basically all those questions that come, I try to really give my practical implications. It’s an inside look on how I approach things.
Let me give you a little short introduction about me. Right now I work in ice hockey or we work an ice hockey but I can’t play ice hockey. When I when I’m on the ice, I look like a newborn giraffe. I don’t know how to skate. I came originally from American football. I started playing in Germany, went to college, played for the University of Wisconsin, came back and I started an agency basically, an agency for consulting in pro sport and since then we’ve worked for ice hockey teams and basketball teams and for the past four years we’ve been focusing on ice hockey.
And when we work with teams, basically there’s four types of people, types of persons we got to dress when we talk to them about a philosophy, the way we want to train the athletes and that’s basically the guys that own the club, the guys that pay our bills, the guys that manage the club, those are the stakeholders, let’s say, and then the guys that coach the athletes, the coaches, the whole medical team be it physical therapists or doctors and then there’s the athletes. And I think there’s four completely different ways we talk about the similar things and that’s what I’d like to address.
First off, I don’t believe in luck. When we carefully choose which type of coaches we want to work with for the next years, we always talk to them in the first talk about how he sees the whole thing of luck in sports. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in probability and responsibility. I think that’s the big difference. When a coach says or I say “Ah, we just lost the game because we weren’t lucky enough,” I give the responsibility to the universe instead of thinking “Okay, what do we have to do better?” And I think the first thing when approaching things like Omegawave is to identify the group of people that you work with, do they share the same philosophy especially in terms of me, do they share the same philosophy in terms of luck because at the end Omegawave is just one piece of the puzzle to improve the probability of winning.
There’s a lot of things and I want to talk to you about some of the applications of Omegawave. So, first, stakeholders. I don’t talk to managers or investors a lot about the specifics of what we do and the business specifics of training. I would like to talk to them about numbers. They like to know numbers about their athletes and basically they like to know numbers about their investment because they pay a lot of money to somebody to manage a team or manage some players and they’re one kind of return of investment. For some it’s a hobby. For example, I worked in Cologne for a big ice hockey team there and there’s an investor that doesn’t really want results in terms of money but he wants results in terms of performance because he goes there every weekend and he wants to bring family and friends.
So, in terms of numbers, I got to talk to them that there’s an investment and our job, my role is to give you a return on the investment. And there’s two things we like to talk about. One is wins above budget. For example, if you look at the German ice hockey league, there’s 14 teams in that league and everybody has way different budgets. Look at German soccer. There’s Bayern Munich and there’s teams way down the bottom and it’s not a level playing field. When I played college football, it’s similar playing field. I mean, when you look at the NFL, similar playing field. They get kind of the same money. In Germany, different story. So, when I talk to them, I say “I see my responsibility in helping you have the team score wins above budget. So when we have a team like Wolfsburg, this is the team we currently work for, one of the teams we currently work for, they’re number eight in the league in terms of budget. Last year we finished second. So, this is the thing we really want to focus on. This year one thing we talked to them about is “How much money each point in the leagues costs you?” and that’s really, really important for them and we look at a team like Wolfsburg, we pay a lot less money for each point. So, that’s the first thing when talking about Omegawave and things like Omegawave. It’s not only regarding Omegawave.
How can we help them to save money? And Omegawave is one thing where it doesn’t cost 10,000 Euros. It’s an investment of 10,000 Euros which possibly, if I keep to my responsibility, helps you save more than 10,000 and that’s the only thing I focus on. I don’t talk to them about physiology. I don’t talk to them about how “Oh, well, it helps us make more decisions in terms of what exercise we use or how intense we’re going to use it.” They don’t care about this. So, this is what we focus on with stakeholders. This year we’re number 11 in terms of budgets right now and we’re in place three. So, our part of the promise at this point, we’re keeping. We’re just one piece of the puzzle just as Omegawave is one piece of the puzzle.
The second thing, talking to stakeholders, is time lost through injury. I don’t have to cite all the data, especially in football that says like “Time lost through injure correlates really, really well with the outcome at the end.” It’s obvious. So, we just focus on giving them really the numbers saying “This is our promise.” Your promise has to be give us all the tools we need to keep our promise and our promise will be we will do our best of our ability to give you these numbers. Last year we had like 50% less injuries than the rest of the league on average and that’s what I want to focus on.
Looking at each individual athlete to really make the best out of age and ability of the athlete to have in the end winning, we need good tactical development where the manager invests money in and a great tactical coach. We need good technical ability where the investor invests money in either athletes that bring great technical ability and also technical coaches. What the movement right now is a lot of teams invest a lot more also in movement output – looking at strength, speed – and a lot of teams invest in that. They bring strength coaches. They bring performance coaches. Also looking at movement efficiency, they invest in that. And the way we approach it with, in terms of Omegawave, is when they ask us “Why do we need this?”, well, we tell them the base of everything though is can they use all of those things in their packed schedule. Do they have the ability to adapt to their investments? They pay a lot of money for a strength coach but does he have the ability to adapt to that? And Omegawave is one piece of the puzzle. I mean, if you look at lab test that the doctor does in the beginning of the season, looking at ferritin levels, looking at hormonal levels, it’s nothing different. He looks at just what’s the base that this athlete brings. And if you’re a stakeholder, you’re buying or about to buy an athlete, you look at hormone levels and if the candle is almost burned out, you think about “Do I invest in this guy?” And this is just one piece of the puzzle.
Okay. So, looking at the quantified athlete, we’re given data about each athlete, obviously. A lot of coaches do that. Test can lead us to testing them on each and every level and just the bottom level, it’s the test of the Omegawave. We just tell them that this is the situation at this point in time. No predictions from that but just the situation at this point in time. So, one thing, the key thing, the key term I like to use when I talk to managers is, it’s a business term, Key Performance Indicator. Everybody who manages a business, he has key performance indicators. He knows like “What is our gross annual income at the end of the year?” From this they break it down – “What’s our quarterly income, gross?” They break it down – “What are our costs?” They like to use numbers and when looking at athletes, it’s a similar thing. At the end we have an ice hockey player who hopefully scores a lot of goals. For that he needs performance abilities to score a lot of goals. And when we look at numbers like countermovement jump, strength and abilities, there’s a certain correlation. For example, we use an index, it’s basically a cumulative index of a lot of strength numbers which predicts from the data we have 25% of their performance on the ice, looking at ice hockey specific statistics. And that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Breaking the athlete down, breaking the investment down, key performance indicator in terms of adaptational efficiency – how well can the athlete adapt to what we do.
So, finalizing our thoughts around how we talk to managers, we always try to argue in numbers. If there’s anything we say but we can’t back it up with solid numbers, we know it’s not going to fall in good nutritional ground to have a thought that grows big but if they get the numbers, they have a thought that starts to grow. We focus on talking about key performance indicators where we exactly tell the managers that we’ve been working on more intensely over the last years, we even go into the contracts where we say “These are key performance indicators we expect of a certain player material.” Also, when they go back to the United States and train for three months, what’s the expectation they bring back when they comeback like what’s the key performance indicator in terms of strength levels and endurance levels and everything. So, it’s a key performance indicator language.
And Omegawave, and I think that’s the most important thing, is one piece of the puzzle for us to keep our promise. He pays us a lot of money to keep the promise of wins above budget and keep the promise of injury reduction or keeping below league average at least. It’s not about the training but it’s our job to also manage the people to keep that promise. And also, we say there are certain technical devices we need to keep our promise and Omegawave is one piece of this. So, that’s how we talk to the stakeholders.
Medical team. I studied medicine myself. I’m going to be a doctor in April. So, there is still a little bit to go but it certainly helped me talk to doctors. And in the past years I’ve made a lot of mistakes talking to doctors and I’ve made a lot of mistakes talking to doctors about Omegawave because doctors, they’re like a really special kind of breed. I have high respect for the responsibility that doctors have and the amount of time they have to keep that responsibility. So, that defines the way we have to approach them and talk to them.
Basically what I tell them when the discussion comes to how we manage the training process and maybe the field device or a player told them about it or we bring up the topic, what we basically tell them is “Hey, it’s nothing else basically then what you know from HRV.” HRV is a concept that’s really established in medicine, in German medicine and worldwide medicine. It’s like that since the 1960s medical doctors used HRV to predict infant mortality in newborn babies. So, it’s not a new concept. So, what we basically tell them is “Hey, it’s like HRV but you do it maybe once a year or twice a year and we have the ability to do it every day. And it’s also like ECG.” At the beginning of the of the year the doctors do a medical test to see if everybody is fit to play the game of ice hockey, to make sure there’s nobody on the ice that has a high probability of dying a sudden cardiac death. And this is what we do in the beginning of the year. And basically what we tell them is it’s extended cardiac monitoring. We do it year round and there’s two key advantages here I’m going to show you through examples.
One example is they have an athlete, they did their ECG and it came back normal. Same athlete does the Omegawave test and what we see is we see a cardiac arrhythmia. So, it jumps from one cardiac pattern to another to another and the w terminology would be nonfunctional adaptation of the heart. And this is something we’d like to discuss then with the doctors in terms of question “Hey, have you seen this? What do you think of this? Do we have to address this?” And it’s for us just an extra level to make sure. We have a long discussion about this with this athlete, we approach the doctors – “Do we have to worry about this?” – and the doctors said “No, we don’t have to worry about this. This might be problematic in terms of performance but not medically problematic. So, we don’t have an increased risk of complications there” but it’s something we’re we’re going to keep in mind and I’m going to come back to that example later.
But also the other side where one athlete came back from the doctor and the doctor said “It’s not normal. Without changing anything, this athlete can’t play.” This is something that’s called atrial fibrillation. So, the upper part of the heart which pumps blood in the chamber goes like … So, instead of pumping like this, it goes … So, blood doesn’t flow really nicely. So, this athlete would have to take lifelong medication at least or maybe even have surgery to cut a nerve in the heart to improve this but what helped us is by having continuous monitoring, it was finding out “Hey, some days he has it, some days he doesn’t. He doesn’t have atrial fibrillation every day. This is an example where he doesn’t have it.” And this changes the diagnosis and this changes the treatment. He doesn’t have to take lifelong medication now. He can use different strategies to have more days where he doesn’t have atrial fibrillation. So, this improves life quality of the athlete by having this extra information and this is the medical part. So, that really helped us.
Going back to that one athlete, we had the different patterns in the beginning of April, we’d had a lot of discussions, we talked to Val, we talked to Roman and we were trying to find strategies to improve that. And there were many strategies – nutritional strategies, training strategies, and also sending them to an osteopath who would work on energy meridians with them, to use that term. And at the end of November he didn’t have those heart rhythms anymore. He has normal heart rhythm at the end of November. Do I know that that improves his performance? I don’t. Maybe Val and Roman can talk a lot more about this. What I feel though is that this is lot to safer situation now that he doesn’t have heart arrhythmias. We showed it to the doctors and they said “Well, this is a good thing.”
So, discussing the physiology of the Omegawave now, I don’t get in too deep and I don’t want to get into any discussions with doctors. I don’t use the term DC Potential because that’s going to get me, not into trouble, but it’s going to make my life harder than it should be. So, I use three things, the three technologies of the Omegawave. HRV is pretty straightforward. Every doctor knows that. Every physical therapist knows that. The second thing, not a lot of people are going to be familiar with, differential ECG. So, on your Omegawave where it says things about the aerobic index, the anaerobic index, it’s nothing else but differential ECG. It looks at the ECG pattern and tries to identify small changes that could tell us something about the energy and metabolism of the heart and the doctor’s going to be like “What that fuck? What is this?” And I have an example, I think I have it from Hank and I think it’s a great example.
Well, it’s pretty straight forward. This hear, this heart pattern, that’s a heart attack. Every doctor knows that. That’s a heart attack like when this wave doesn’t normalize to zero but stays up for a while and then comes back, it’s a heart attack. You see this on your guys, send them to the doctor right away. But what does it tell us? We see when the heart has the heart attack, so an artery in the heart is blocked and the heart tissue doesn’t get enough oxygen, the electrical activity of the heart changes. Every doctor knows that. So, thinking that the ECG can tell us something about the metabolic activity of an heart is not too far off, the thought of this, and this is the point where the doctor opens up and says “Well, sounds cool,” okay? So, I don’t get in too big a discussion like “Oh, they researched this and this, they showed this and they …”, just give them an example they can work with because one thing with doctors is time. You don’t have a lot of time. You need to have your arguments squeezed down in one sentence in 15 seconds max.
So, working with the medical team. First off, working with a medical team, it’s best to really choose the doctors to work with. We had the luxury in [inaudible][18:18] to do that because the assistant coach from Wolfsburg became head coach in [inaudible][18:22] and said “We want you guys to come with me” and we were able to choose the guys. We choose them in terms of personality like are they open personality that are able to work within a great team. So, when you work with a doctor, they are smart as hell, they are, they really are, they know a lot of stuff and they’ve been trained really well in the field they’ve been trained at. We sometimes expect out of them to know stuff that’s out of the field that we are trained at. We shouldn’t do that. We run through the whole medical experience. It’s a way different thought process although a very important thought process if you try to save people from dying but maybe not the right process if you have people that are not dying but you want to make them better. That’s just a different thought process. So, ask questions to doctors like show them this and say “Now, what do you think of this? What would your approach be? What should our approach be?” They know what they’re doing when it comes to keeping people alive. Never tell a doctor what to do until you have them at that point where you’ve have asked a lot of questions…
When he is at the point where he trusts you enough to say “I don’t know” to you, at this point you might be able to tell him what to do but doctors are not used to having anybody to tell them what to do, not a patient – and that’s good – not a patient, not a different doctor. They have to carry their own asses and their own responsibility and they make their own decisions and there’s not a strength coach or performance coach come and tell them what to do. Ask them questions until they open up and then you can discuss what we need to do or might need to do.
Keep all the messages short and on point. Don’t expect him read a long email. I made those mistakes in the beginning like shooting him long emails and explaining what we’re doing and months after, “I didn’t read at that time.” Keep all the messages short and on point. Focus on established physiological concepts. Let’s be honest here. There might be a lot of things to DC potential, there might be a lot of things to differential ECG do different solutions but we shouldn’t argue with a German or a European doctor too much about this. Tell them “This is part of what we do in our practical work.” We don’t question any diagnostic that he does. Of course, there’s something that does not work really well.
And focus on being the extended diagnostic arm when it comes to cardiac monitoring, a term that has a really good value. Coaches – Coaches don’t care about physiology. Doctors do, coaches don’t. What coaches care about is “How are the guys?” This is important for them – “How are the guys?” – and the first message we try to transport when working with coaches is “Well, look, we might have a great team. We might have done a great job in getting the right people on board, the right athletes on board. We might have done a great job in the preparation to really get them on point but, look, there’s a long season and it’s not about what they can do or could do. It’s about what they can do in every single day. So, if you look at the performance we might be the better team when compared to a rival but that doesn’t count on game day. The only thing on game day that counts is “What can you do today?” and that’s the biggest message you’re trying to transport. With coaches, I mean, we have terminology, there is a readiness and performance, there’s a big difference. We try to use the word ‘freshness’. For German guys it’s [inaudible][22:02] basically. That’s the term that’s in full [inaudible][22:04] in soccer, very well established. We tell them like “There’s certain aspects of physiology we can manipulate to have a more [inaudible][22:14] during game, to have more fresh on game day. The picture we use with coaches is this.
Look, we might have done a great job in the preparation and we might have great player potential but this is like this here. If this one down there isn’t open, it doesn’t matter much to the guys don’t hear or to what happens on game day. We need to have the gates open on game day and that’s what’s important. That’s the general broad concept in terms of winning. When we’re looking at things like DC Potential, we tell them “When we measure the guys, it’s for us, one part to know where are they right now in terms of their [inaudible][22:50], in terms of their mental freshness, in terms of the readiness to do something great and not in terms of power or strength or muscles. From my feeling, I don’t have the data to back it up but from my feeling I think it has a lot to do with sensing awareness and ability to react to stimuli and a decision making process, just the mind being more open to make good decisions when we’re on a good value in terms of freshness. And I don’t mean only Omegawave. The tools we use aside from Omegawave, there’s, for example, jumping ability, to have that on optimal levels come game day. When you’re below your average on game day, I have the feeling that the nervous system doesn’t really give you all the tools to have the highest performance on that day. Grip strength, [inaudible][23:40] is really well established. Grip strength is one thing and also I think the DC Potential.
The other thing besides being ready on game day is the aspect of individualized training. All the coaches want their athletes to be in good individualized hands. So, the option would be to have them really train individually. And one thing we approach within this, the idea of dynamically using the training programs and everybody of you know that. If you have four different athletes and you go through a linear type of program where we say “Okay, let’s do max on the strength for four weeks. Let’s do aerobic for four weeks or maybe power for four weeks, maybe recovery a week or two weeks in there,” you have a really different adaptations. Only looking at, for example, jumping ability, you might have some athletes who go through the maximum strength phase and they adapt really well and you might have some athletes that go through max strength and nothing happens. You might have some athletes that goes to max strength, they improve a little bit, explosive power, they stay, recovery, boom! They go up and improve. What sense does it make for us to have players like 24 players and all having to do like this and this and this and this? I think the idea that we as coaches have the magic ball and know what’s best for our athletes like weeks from now is kind of outdated. So, we try to go away from the calendar thinking as much as infrastructure allows.
So, this is an off-season model. Bear in mind this is the off-season model. We try to go away from calendar thinking to make “training program sack” thinking like we don’t give you a calendar and we say “This is what you do Tuesday. This is what you do Wednesday. This is what you do Thursday” but rather we’re giving the sack of workouts. We work in three-week blocks or we’ll give them a sack of workouts for three weeks. An example of this you have in your hand outs at the end where in this three-week sack there might be six strength sessions, there might be eight endurance sessions, there might be five power sessions. What the athlete does is he measures in the morning. Bear in mind this is off-season. They measure in the morning, they look “Okay, what’s my most open window of adaptability?” where your body’s ability to adapt to this stimulus is best on that day. “What’s my most open?” I pick that workout and I do that on that day. Bear in mind this off-season. This does not work for us in the in season. So, at the end of three weeks, the sack is empty, we give them a new sack of new programs depending on how the output changed during that phase. So, after three weeks we have a quick look at – “Okay, what happened to mobility, endurance, value source, strength levels, power levels?” That will be really fairly easily done. And from there give them a new stack of workouts that he empties over the next three weeks.
We’ve been doing that for two off-seasons now and we’ve had good success with the athletes that work with us in the off-season. In-season we’re slaves to the infrastructure. I mean, when we have an endurance session, we need way different equipment than you need for a strength session and that’s “Maybe at 2 o’clock tonight I have the strength room” and that’s what you’ve got to react to. So, we haven’t been using this in the in-season, this model.
And the data catches up to that or the science catches up to that idea that thinking dynamically also on the training programs. There’s been research done on HRV, looking at HRV with mid-level runners. Instead of having them do a linear program where they predict kind of what the volumes are going to be, they measured the HRV and basically had the options of no training, medium training or high-intensity training and they did it according to HRB and the results of the dynamic group were better than a static or linear group.
Also, in American football, the effects of this type of periodization has been shown by Morris in Kentucky who looked at the American football and he did … Was that in-season or pre-season? Pre-season, right?
Off-season as well? Yes. So, yeah, off-season, looking at American football, a lot of players on that football team, I can tell you and it’s really hard to manage the infrastructure, let alone, but he manage to divide them in two groups basically, one group who did the static programming and one group who did the dynamic program depending on their Omegawave of readings. The dynamic group had better results in terms of jumping power and speed and endurance as well. Yes, endurance as well.
So, basically, this is the training program we work during off season and during in-season. You have one in your handout to look at that if you need. What we basically do is we assign those programs two things. It’s a letter and it’s a window. Now, we have the option. Now, we can say “Letter B on Friday morning” or we can tell him “Well, there’s no calendar.” So, this gives us the flexibility to when we are fixed through certain infrastructure because there’s times in the off-season where we still are, we say “Hey, it doesn’t matter what your window is. You guys do B on Friday morning” or “You do B and you do C” and they get the idea. It gives us a really good nice amount of flexibility there.
So, coaches, it’s the idea of having our players as fresh as possible on game day and it’s the idea of individualizing training where we say Omegawave is one part of this where we use this and implement this. It does not mean that we make decisions only on Omegawave, obviously. I’ve had one coach in Cologne ice hokey, great coach who won the Stanley Cup. First week what he told me is “Gerrit, at the end of the day, all decisions you make in coaching is from here.” And I think he’s right. The data helps us to evaluate more and maybe have the decision on a higher level but at the end there’s always going to be a lack of information and you’ve got to make a decision from here.
Fergus Connelly had a great metaphor for the role we have and it’s the role of the dashboard in the car like the coach is driving and he’s driving fast and he knows where to go and we’re just the dashboard that tells him you how fast we’re going, how much gas in the tank or maybe when you look at the rally where they go at 150 meters to right corner, just give him advice, but he has to make the tough decisions in the field.
It’s about maximizing probability for. By using Omegawave, we don’t know are we going to win those games but I fairly believe that we are improving the probability of us winning games. And one thing, I’ve heard many anecdotes of this, I would never ever make a decision solely on Omegawave especially when it’s about taking away stuff from athletes or coaches. So, the thing we do when we see across the board bad Omegawave readings in a team, we reduce the training time for the team by 15 minutes, for example. We try to use things that players don’t realize it happened because I think as soon as they realize we make a hard decision because of … I think it’s just stupid to really rely on just one thing to make a decision. It’s the whole, the big picture, everything that comes together. So, we reduce the training time by total.
What we also do when we have bad readings across the board is work with the coach to vary the setup of drills. So, they might have a drill where there are four groups of six players and we might vary that drill to two groups of 12 players so they have more rest and they can do each exercise with high intensity. This is pretty straightforward.
So, this is the most important part of the athletes – how to communicate with the athletes. We don’t try to get in their heads. I hear a lot of coaches that say “We’re trying to have them understand.” I don’t try to have them understand. I think being fast and being powerful comes from here, not from here. And the more we can get away from here and to here, the better the improvement of the athlete. So, we try to talk to them that attracts more of the emotion than their brains and I see a lot of the things as marketing. So, for example, when we talk about performance improvement for athletes in terms of adaptation levels and stress and recovery, we talk to them about Wolverine. Everybody knows Wolverine now, even the young athletes now that the movie came out. He’s the superhero that doesn’t fly, he’s not made of steel, he doesn’t have laser vision or anything but what he can do is he can recover really, really fast. He gets shot and he just recovers.
So, what we’re basically telling is “Hey, when you want to be the best you can be, look at Wolverine, try to be like Wolverine.” And we give them like steps to be like Wolverine. For example, start with a 10-point list, 10 points each for each point. For example, 9ine hours of sleep – 10 points. Have a breakfast – 10 points. Drink fluid – 10 points. That’s the basis. So, all of this and also where we introduce Omegawave is under the umbrella of Project Wolverine and also Project 168 – the week has 168 hours – and it’s not about the 20 hours that you’re on the ice or in the strength room. It’s about the time away from that.
So, we talk to them about four systems they can use to improve their performance. We try to not talk too much about recovery or injury prevention. They don’t care too much about this but about improving performance. And that’s the four vitamins, also learned from Fergus Connelly – vitamin R for restoration methods. For example, using the ice bath. It’s part of concept of Vitamin R. Vitamin S – everything that falls of the umbrella of Sleep. Vitamin M – everything that falls under the umbrella of micronutrients. And Vitamin F – food. So, what we developed is with help from the guys from Omegawave … it’s a really straightforward system for us, when an athlete is kind of in a dump, to have a system to get him out of there. So, when we see the jump values or his ability on the ice or we can’t approach us, he says “I don’t feel great,” that’s the latest point where we do a measurement with them and according to that measurement, we give them strategies like really concrete strategies. The more concrete the strategies are, the higher the chance the athlete’s really going to do it.
So, what I gave you in the handout is what are our food strategies, sleep strategies, restorative strategies or micronutrient strategies to shift them from a certain point to another. So, for example, if you have a sympathetically overdriven athlete, for this example, sympathetically overdriven, use things that activate his parasympathetic. All those strategies on there are things that are said to reduce parasympathetic. And so far from the measurements we’ve done, except for some things where it didn’t show like this, this all works like magnesium increases serotonin in the brain, activates parasympathetic. So, all those strategies activate parasympathetic.
And also for sympathetic and also different DC situations, what is it we can do? We have heard Fergus Connelly talk about osteopathic treatments or manual therapy in certainly DC situations. I think you should find that on there as well.
Well, one thing with the athletes, in the beginning we tried to introduce the Omegawave to you as “Hey, look at our data and the big graph.” They don’t care about this. They don’t. And also to improve recovery, they don’t. Reduce injury, they don’t, but if you show them that this is a tool that helps them to improve performance, they’re listening. And the less we try to talk about it, the more success we’ve had with it.
Question: Have you seen any difference when you then compared different age group because of their choice, being less susceptible to injury, prevention [inaudible]?
Gerrit Keferstein: Definitely. Guys over 30, when you talk about sleep improvement and when they have kids and you tell them what they can do to sleep through and everything, they love it but, yeah, guys in their 20s, the girls love them. They have super power. They’re superheroes. I think that’s great because that’s what makes them great athletes. And I don’t want to be the guy who tells them “Well, you could look at this.” I’m not. So, definitely. As soon as an athlete has an injury, you’re his best friend. And the soon as the athlete is in the rut, you’re his best friend. We had one guy in Cologne, great player, national team player. He was shitty because – that’s my reasoning – after seeing him only play in-land hockey world championships, then he trained right away, running all those hills in his hometown in Bavaria, he didn’t have a week off, coming to season, hard camp, maybe the hardest camp, those players I’ve seen in ice hockey and some of them played in the NHL. Well, here they have shitty, shitty season and that’s when he opened up. Before he was king of the world but then he opened up. We helped him reduce some of the things, cut something out, improved the sleep patterns. His game scores went up, he shot goals and ultimately from there like… what we need to do. You guys know that.
So, what I focus on is not talk too much about recovery or injury prevention to people that haven’t experienced under recovery or injuries. It’s like a foreign concept to them. Focus on the individual aspect. I think that Omegawave is a great tool to tell the athlete “I’m here to help you as an individual” like “We have the team things we do as a team but then we have the time where you and I do the measurement and we discuss after this, not the physiology but what do we need to do to help you as an individual.” Those recovery strategies or improved adaptation strategies are one piece of the puzzle.
It’s about maximizing performance. When we look at the windows, the windows of opportunity, first thing that comes up is “Well, it’s red. That’s shit, right?” Well, it’s not optimal for you to do work today but it doesn’t mean you can’t jump your record. I’ve seen people jump new records where two of the four were red. I don’t think it has anything to do with this but it’s more about where can you maximize the time that you do. We’ve talked a little bit about a good program being doing as little as possible for the maximum result and I think this is where it comes in. When you have the choice, bear in mind, when you have the choice to do the strength program or the aerobic program, do the program that your fundamental stress reservoir has the most open ears to. And that’s about it. It doesn’t mean you’re shit on that day. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to perform well. It’s just that it costs you more. I try to talk to them, I really love the term, this is probably one of the things in the past two years that I’ve loved learning, is the idea of cost of adaptation or cost of performance.
You might jump really high but it’s costing more. It’s like when I talk to you about financials, when you have money in your bank, you take 100 dollars out, that’s fine. When you don’t have money in your bank, you take 100 dollars out, you’re going to pay 105 back because the bank wants interest. And it’s the same thing with stress reservoir. You have a stress reservoir, you can perform and you only get to recover the way you perform. Your stress reservoir is limited, you try to perform on that day, you might perform really well but you take more out than if you had the reservoir, so the cost of what you did to perform.
All the data we use, all the data we get from systems like Omegawave, I think, are just a catalyst for communication. So, at this point when we use the Omegawave data, it’s a possibility to discuss with the head coach “Okay, why do we have the situation that 8 out of 12 players of our starting lineups are in the rut right now? Why is that? What is it we can do?” And Omegawave, I think, doesn’t give us the answers for that. And part of the philosophy of Omegawave is also they don’t want to give us the answers, I think, because it’s on us to find the answers but it’s a catalyst of communication to discuss those things, also with the athletes.
Finally, the biggest takeaways for me in the last years of using the tool like Omegawave are some do’s and don’ts. When you try to measure more, you should know in advance what kind of the decision it’s going to help you with. I had some coaches in the Bundesliga that contacted me and asked me about Omegawave and they said they wanted to test it and they just wanted to try a project on it for three months and I said “It’s not going to work. It’s not going to work for you. You’ve got to know what decision it’s going to help you on.” For example, if you are in front of the decision, an athlete doesn’t feel well and you don’t know what’s best for him, be it ice or sauna, I think that’s where Omegawave comes in handy as a decision helping tool. When you’re in front of the decision “Do I have to practice more or do I have to practice less to achieve a certain result?”, I think that’s Omegawave can come in handy because sometimes results go down, for example, jumping ability goes down, it’s going to have two reasons – too much training or little training for the basic perspective – and the Omegawave comes in handy to decide “Why? What do we have to do?” And if you don’t have this setup of “Which decision is going to help me to go either left or right?”, it’s just going to fall in empty space. It’s going to be measurement. It’s going to be a lot of questions like “What does it tell us? Where is the science on it?” It’s going to be a lot of trouble. And I’ve seen it a lot of times. Basically all the guys have called me, they wanted to do a project and I said “It’s not going to work like this” and it didn’t work. So, I think you’ve got to know what decision you’re going to make with this.
Take a really, really tiny, tiny, tiny and a lot of guys have started with it, they think it’s a tiny step and it’s actually a really big step really. They tell take really, really tiny steps and reevaluate after at least three months and I suggest for all the guys that start out with Omegawave, and that’s my perspective, I think Val might have a different opinion, my perspective is to start with the individualized recovery, that’s the sheets I gave, because it’s a power vacuum. Nobody knows what to do in recovery. It’s a power vacuum. I think Omegawave can for certain period fill that power vacuum where it can help us to say “Hey, nobody knows what’s best to do. Here’s something that might help us to know what’s best to do.” And then you start individualized recovery. Everybody might have set up a monitoring system where they do countermovement jumps over weeks and see how they react over the season. They might do training stress balance and work with RPEs or anything. But what do you do when somebody is in a rut? Yeah, you can work on training strategies but what are the recovery strategies you’re doing at this point? And I think this is a power vacuum. I think this is where Omegawave comes in. And when somebody in the Bundesliga wants to try something, I say “Just work with that because that’s going to fall on the ground as very nutritional” and a lot of people are going to be very thankful and saying “Oh, this is great. We didn’t know it before.” And from there you can work different areas.
If it worked after a few months, the opposition was too strong, drop it. Come back after a year or don’t but don’t try to force it. Only implement what feels right for you. You might have a great logical argument but if you don’t feel comfortable talking to the guys that make the big decisions, don’t do it because there might be something, some piece missing for you. There might be some information missing for you, some skill set that you don’t have. There’s a lot of things in terms of Omegawave that we don’t use Omegawave with because I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to the coaches about it. I don’t feel comfortable talking to coaches about using Omegawave to modifying in-season training loads to a high degree. To a little degree it’d do but I don’t feel comfortable, so I don’t do it. I might feel comfortable when I learn more from you guys also but at this point I don’t. So, I don’t do it. I might have all the arguments set up. If I write an argument about it, I may write everything’s perfectly set up but I don’t feel comfortable.
Transport the understanding. I mean, we all do this. Basically, we are in an environment where there is no information. We can’t rely on research. Research is usually a lot of years behind what’s going on and on a daily situation, you got to make a lot of decisions – “Do I play this player? How much do I play him? What’s the load going to be? Do we train today or should we give him a day off? If we travel, should be stay there at night or [inaudible][46:46] we travel earlier?” We don’t know anything. And I think coaching is a lot about making decisions where there are no information. And there’s a certain point where we try to argue differently like where we try to argue with scientists and tell “Yeah, well, this is because this and this.” We don’t have the because. I don’t. As a coach, I think, I don’t have the because. I have “I do this and I reevaluate it afterwards.” And this goes back to the last point. I’ve tried to do it for a lot of years, don’t try to argue with the tool of science. When working with Omegawave, I found to sending one a paper or argue like “Look what this showed,” for every paper you send them, they send two arguments back and it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t work. Don’t ever argue with science, with a doctor or a coach or a player, don’t. If you’re at this point where you have to argue with science, you’re already out of position. They don’t trust you. And I’ve had this experience right now that the less I do this, the more I feel they trust me.
Gerrit Keferstein: In general not because there can be individual science as well but if you look at the established science that there is, most of it is generalized, yeah, and that’s where a lot of things get dropped. I think there’s a case in recent scientific developments for the N-1 science where they just look at one single individual and look at it more longitudinally. And there’s more research coming out of this but in general, yes, you’re right, a lot of it get lost in the averages, yes.
Gerrit Keferstein: So, you’re arguing on different foundations. I don’t try to argue on the science anymore.
Any other questions?
Question: Maybe one comment but I think it has great value [inaudible][49:09].
Gerrit Keferstein: Of course, of course. You’re on point. You’re on point. Everybody here believes in the scientific method. We just got to agree on this, I think, because the scientific method is we do something, we look at did it work, if it worked we keep doing it; if it didn’t work, we drop doing it. And I totally believe in the scientific method. I believe in science to a big degree as well. I just don’t try to argue with science because especially in this field, the science we need to argue has just not developed. The German Institute of Sport, they funded a big project on regeneration management and a lot of people that know where the project is going know we are this much closer but we’re way far off knowing what regeneration is, how we measure it. It’s very far away. So, we are in a field where there is no information. We’ve got to take all the tools we can to increase probability.
Any other comments?
If not, I have a couple comments for Omegawave. So, I’m going to requests kind of, this is what I wish. This is my wish to Omegawave. What I wish for is some reliability studies, easy things like “Hey, if we have this athlete, we measure him 10 times in a row, what values have is certain degree of not showing us the same every time because only if we have this and I like what you did. You looked at like what happens after massage and everything but if we know that DC potential has an inherent variation of maybe 4 or 4 millivolts, how big is the effect of 5 millivolts increase after manual therapy?” And this doesn’t have to do with averaging out everything. Just really simple thing like what’s the inherent variability and looking at all interventions as a measure to that inherent variability, basically effect sizing it. So, that’s what we need, I think, when we want to argue on the scientific spot to make the next progress there.
And pre and post-interventions, I think, that’s going to be really important. We talked about this, I think, when I was in Finland and I talk you a lot about this. This is what I need as a coach kind of. I as a coach would wish if there’s a handbook maybe of Omegawave, what do certain interventions do and looking at training methods, for example, what does a defined protocol like [inaudible][51:45], for example, do to my athletes. We might need this, to have handbook, and then from there the restoration user manual that gives us if-then strategies. I think, we as the Omegawave community, everybody can contribute to things like this. [Inaudible][52:00] have experiences with this. I have experience with this. Omegawave has a lot of knowledge about this. When an athlete is in a certain Omegawave corner, how do we get them out of there?. What’s the thing we can do to drive them more in the corner we don’t want to go or get them out of the corner? For example, DC is really, really low, what are the five things we can do to improve them what are the five things we really shouldn’t do? And I think that’s the knowledge we need to progress as a as a community who uses this technology.
I’m finished. Thank you.
Any final comment on the discussions.
Comment: When you started off in [inaudible][52:48] and American football and [inaudible][52:55].
Gerrit Keferstein: Less training.
Comment: [Inaudible][53:04] less training. [Inaudible][53:07].
Gerrit Keferstein: Yes, it is. Before you arrived, Val, [Inaudible][53:40] asked the question in the group like what makes a good program. We talked a little bit about like, well, if you have that result but you need less time for that or you have less things you need to do for that, exactly, that’s [inaudible][53:54].
Comment: [Inaudible][53:55]. And in my opinion, they came to a conclusion that there is no perfect program [inaudible][54:10] perfect approach. The program is constantly evolving and changing. So, there really is no perfect program. The program will be changed all the time but there has to be an approach that how people change it and try and [inaudible][54:32] can be created which [inaudible][54:36] but there are not going to be perfect programs. So, all this doesn’t really [inaudible][54:40].
Gerrit Keferstein: Yeah, exactly. Same in the nutritional studies – they look at what’s best, meat or no meat. And what when you look at individuals, there’s good studies that say “Hey, well, look in just like anatomy of the stomach and everything, that’s one thing, but also the biochemical individuality.” For example, you might have a 15,000 times higher amount of the enzyme that they just need in you and maybe you could tell us a little bit more about can we like subcategorize. For example, in nutritional studies, looking at the guys with high pepsin and look at how meat works for them or not and low pepsin, is their way the Omegawave it can be sub-grouping athletes and then you really validate it.
Comment: Evolve. And actually you brought up an important point because [inaudible][55:39] is very important, right? And people go [inaudible][55:44]. And that’s what I always ask – “Do you know the body chemical profile?” So, [inaudible][55:54], right? So, it’s not enough [inaudible][55:57].
Comment 2: I think at one stage DNA [inaudible][56:21].
Gerrit Keferstein: That’s what he said like the biome, like the bacterial side of your stomach changes according to your lifestyle and that’s where it says at this point it might be good to eat meat but if you change your lifestyle and you change your biome, it might not be good anymore.
Comment: And for somebody ice cream is best. For somebody it’s [inaudible][56:42] the best thing. I mean, it depends, but it is never a simple questions.
Gerrit Keferstein: That’s also when we come to the scientific method. You give somebody ice cream and you see how he reacts to it. That’s scientific thinking, scientific working and it’s just you can use something that’s been tested five years with different people and apply here. Also with the Omegawave, that’s a good thing to do and we’ve had it with people that had nutritional insensitivities or at least suspected it and a good thing that’s established also in science is having Atrial-V measured half hour after he eats a certain type of food. If Atrial-V shows them a stress reaction, you might not optimally react to that type of food.
Comment: That’s another [inaudible][57:24]. That will change as well. Whenever [inaudible][57:28], it might not be [inaudible][57:30] enough. [Inaudible][57:40]. There is no optimal solution – eat this and you’ll be fine – but there’s optimal approach that can tell you – Now you eat this, now you change this, now you do this, now you do that. [Inaudible][58:00].
Gerrit Keferstein: I know one thing for sure. This food is at least tasty and we can have a short break and have some food now, okay?
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.