I have been on the quest for human optimization for a few years now. Once the quantified self movement started I really dived into what makes a human operate optimally. What are the main drivers of happiness and health? All these questions ultimately led me to CrossFit. I saw a lot of positives in CrossFit (and still do), but there was something missing. I started to always feel beat up. I couldn’t compute why I felt like shit all the time…that is when I found Ben House. Ben is one of those guys you meet and are immediately hooked.

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Ben House

He has this unique aura of authority mixed with encyclopedic knowledge. He also emanates this sincere energy to help and fix people. So I have latched on to this man like a toddler and his binky. Ultimately, this led me to meeting Aaron Davis and Pat Estes who are equally as impressive. However, the ultimate payoff of my relationship with Ben came last weekend when I attended his two day Optimizing Athleticism Seminar.

The seminar was titled Optimizing Athleticism • The Health and Performance Solution and it is unequivocally one of the best Human Optimization seminars out there. Optimizing Athleticism was two days long with Dr. Bob Rakowski keynoting the first day and finishing with a panel with Dr. Bob and Dr. Tom Culleton on Integrating Functional Medicine. Day 2 consisted of magnificent talks from Ben House, Aaron Davis and Pat Estes, as well as a Nutrition panel and Strength and Conditioning panel. The content was phenomenal and the presenters were impeccable.

Dr. Bob is a true professional. His presenting was like watching a director at the symphony. Every move, every emphasis, perfect. He shifted a lot of my paradigms and has so much knowledge it was a bit overwhelming at times. However, he has graciously made the audio available after the fact which is awesome!

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Dr. Bob Rakowski

Dr. Bob had a wonderful way of weaving different media into his presentation. He also had a great way of talking about theory and then show use cases of said theory in practice. This was uber effective. Another thing, I really enjoyed about Dr. Bob’s presentation was the way he would lecture for an hour then “review with everyone.” What I mean by that is he would ask each person in a row (there were three rows), what their goal was at the seminar and what was one pearl from the lecture. A pearl being a nugget of knowledge or fun fact. After everyone had a chance to give their answers then we went next level hippy. Grounding baby!

Everyone went outside to do some functional movement and ground. We had an embarrassment of riches when it came to the quality of Coaches in attendance, so every movement sesh was absolutely fantastic. This was actually one of my favorite parts of the seminar. I found this way of learning so impactful. I never felt groggy or tired during the presentations. One of the best quotes that came out of the weekend was, “The Brain is Movement.”

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Nutrition Panel

I also enjoyed the ability to randomly stand up and go to the side of the room for a lunge stretch or yogi squat. Very nice 😉 The combination of presenters and presentation technique was proper first class. Just really on point. However, it didn’t stop there. Ben and Aaron fed us as well!

Nutrition is such a key component if not the key component in bringing all the other systems online. So after stuffing my brain with knowledge and movement we needed to refuel. Ben and Aaron provided the most amazing food, which contributed to absurdly high energy levels. As good as the food was, it was not my favorite part of the meal breaks. The people were! It was so refreshing to be around people that value what you value, open-minded, and legit.

It sounds trivial, but to have such a stellar attendee list is so uncommon. We talked a lot about synergies (yes I know gross biz dev term) and it was evident that everyone was feeding off each other’s passion making this palpable energy field of positivity. It is difficult to describe, but everyone was firing on all cylinders. Every…literally every conversation I had with people there was transformative and humbling. They say you are average of the 7 people you hang around the most. After this weekend, I believe that even more.

In closing, this seminar was legitimately life changing. I have changed my view on so much. In experiences so dramatic and impactful I find it useful to distill them down to two or three words. The three words I would use to describe my experience are: Inspired, Humbled, and Thankful.

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Ben and Aaron

Way to much for this blog post, but here are the main highlights that really stuck with me from Optimizing Athleticism Seminar:

“People don’t eat grams or calories. They eat food.” – Ben House

“Once you believe you have it, you have lost it.” – Zen Proverb

You are either making stress hormones or sex hormones.

Insulin is not needed, but required to build muscle.

Learned about the Central Governor Theory

“If you don’t have fluctuation you dont have adaptation.” – Aaron Davis

Four tires on car analogy: Stress, Movement, Sleep, Nutrition – Ben House

I learned to draw the pregnenolone steal. Get Hype!

“Start and end with success” – Patrick Estes

“Find the lever that will move people. Leverage is everything” – Ben House

“Sustainable change must be pleasurable.” – Dr. Bob Rakowski

“The energy to repair from exercises is much greater than the exercise.” – Dr. Bob Rakowski

“Be thankful for everything.” – Dr. Bob Rakowski

That last one was huge! Thanks Dr. Bob, Dr. Tom, Ben, Aaron and everyone who attended. It was truly an honor to hangout, learn, move, eat and ground together 😉 . If you have any other Human Optimization seminars that you think could compete for the title drop them in the comments 😉

All the pictures from Optimizing Athleticism are here on flickr.

Train Adapt Evolve • Ben House & Aaron Davis

Dr. Bob Rakowski

Dr. Tom Culleton