Blog Archives

Why Is It Always the Same New Year’s Resolutions?

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By Eugene Y. Chan, MD

First, Happy New Year!  But what is it about our New Year’s Resolutions?

Are we always stuck on this endless treadmill of making the same ones?

How can it be the same one as last year?

Weight loss, exercise, love, friendship, success, money.  We seem to yearn for the same things, that gives us hope.  To hope is to be human.  We may never seem to reach them, they are ideals that we hold in our heads.  That is what is so powerful about it.

Size 2, no size 0 is better.  Grade A, no A+.  2000 sq. ft, no 3000.  Part of this is an inner thirst for the betterment of ourselves.  It  is what makes us build cities, send rockets to Mars, and to understand DNA.  But what is it that makes some of us able to do it and other not?

Someone once said to me, “Your life is made up of the sum of all the little decisions that you make from day to day.”  Likewise, the amount of willpower and mental focus that you give each minute, of each meal, each rep, or each hug, creates who you are.  A businessman who greets someone with a half-hearted smile will not be as successful as the one who remembers your name, dog, and the color of your tie.  An artist who paints only when told to will only see his works on his desk.  Don’t be that.

Send your spaceship to Mars,

See your art in the MoMA,

Find your inner DNA,

Live each minute of your life with gusto.

Be well and stay focused.

Happy 2014.

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Quick Ways to Improve Your Attention

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by Eugene Y. Chan, MD

Ever wonder why you can’t sit still and finish your work?  This is a general problem with the population at large these days.  The quick answer is that there are too many distractions:  smart phones, the internet, kids, and television.  Yes, these are things that can ultimately cause you to be unfocused, unproductive, and unnerved.  This decrease in attention has indeed been studied by numerous groups out there.  For instance, Higginbotham et al. 1993 showed that both normal and diagnosed children with ADHD, when subject to active and passive distractions, led to decrease in performance.  It is no question that distractions, especially sensory ones related to visual and auditory, are undesirable.  On the other hand, this is not the only reason.  For instance, Booth et al., 2005 demonstrated that there is a decreased inhibitory network in those with ADHD, suggesting that there is an underlying physical basis for decreased attention. What should you do about it?

  • Unplug!  Have dedicated periods of time in your day where you are free from your phone, TV, internet, and any electronics.
  • Practice focusing.  This can be done by reading, writing, or some other active form of concentration.  This forces your mind to exercise its inhibitory neurons.
  • Eat carefully.  See previous post, avoid any refined sugars, avoid stimulants, go for small meals, and wisely supplement.

Take care and stay focused.   Booth, JR et al.  Larger deficits in brain networks for response inhibition than for visual selective attention in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  2005.  J. of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.  46:1, pp 94-111. Higginbotham, P. and Bartling, C.  1993.  The effects of sensory distractions on short-term recall of children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder versus normally achieving children.  Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, Vol 31(6), Nov 1993, 507-510.

Gym Etiquette by Captain Clarex, aka Eric Ballenger

Gym etiquette-2 words that usually don’t go in the same sentence. Whether its cross fit, boot camps, the freeweight gym, or a chain style gym, etiquette seems to be a lost art form in today’s fitness settings. When we discuss gym etiquette, not only are we talking about hygiene and the cleanliness of a facility, but for many it is just common courtesy. here are some examples of ways to not become “that guy” or girl at the gym.

1. Handling of weights

When lifting weights, especially free weights, be sure that you either have a spotter or can comfortably handle the weight that you have chosen. Nothing is more expensive or irritating to gym owners or personnel than someone who is constantly slamming dumbbells to the floor. The old saying was if you have to drop the weight you probably shouldn’t be lifting it in the first place. So if at any point during your workout, you find yourself “dumping the weight,” then either up your reps with a lower weight or find someone to spot you. (You know who you are.)

2. Stripping the weights

Is there anything more irritating then going through your full pre-workout routine, dragging yourself to the gym, and finding your favorite machine already racked up with multiple rows of plates? Not only does this take away from your time in the gym, but also puts you in the wrong mindset for an effective workout. So the next time you are on a machine, whether it’s a flat bench, hammer strength, or a squat rack, have some common courtesy and put the weights back where you found them. This will go a long way in building long lasting relationships with not only gym personnel, but your fellow fitness enthusiasts. You might even make a friend or two in the process. (Again, you know who you are.)

3. Wiping the bench.

This may be the most disgusting element of gym etiquette that you will ever encounter. Nothing is worse then watching someone push themselves to their personal limit and watching them walk away from their machine without the common courtesy of wiping down the machine. All gyms now have “sanitation stations” with either wet wipes or a spray bottle and paper towel. The two minutes that it takes for you to clean off the apparatus that you have just used. can be the difference between being a valued member of your gym or “that guy” that suddenly gets his membership cancelled without notice. Yes, this is an act of courtesy, but more importantly, eliminates many of the health risks commonly found in a gym setting including bacteria, staph infection, and other health concerns that can be eliminated by taking this one simple step.

This will be an ongoing series. Gym etiquette is something we can all work on to some degree. A few simple acts of kindness and common courtesy can go a long way in developing and maintaining the positive fitness experience. We at Clarex are here to promote good health and good will. Stay tuned-more to come. Be good to others-you’ll be surprised how far it might go!

Have a healthy day,

Captain Clarex

A Lethal Dose of Caffeine

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By Eugene Y. Chan, M.D.

Recent news about tragic death of Anais Fournier hit the web.  She was 14 and she died after consuming two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks over a 24-hour period.  She had an underlying heart arrhythmia that may have predisposed her to the adverse effects of caffeine.

Caffeine is a small molecule alkaloid that is found in many different types of plants.  It has a receptor-based mechanism of action that antagonizes the action of adenosine.  In clinical medicine, adenosine is sometimes utilized to treat certain irregular heartbeats, including some supraventricular tachycardias.  Decreasing the action of adenosine can therefore lead to a faster heart rate and can also predispose the heart to irregular heartbeats.  In the case of the very unfortunate 14-year old, she consumed caffeine which decreased action of the adenosine, thus increasing her likelihood of a fatal arrhythmia.

How much is too much?  One may say, “Let us calculate the lethal dose.”  The LD50, or lethal dose for killing 50% of tested animals, for rats is 192 mg/kg.  Extrapolating this to a 14-year old weighing 50 kg, this LD50 is 9.6 grams of caffeine.  Of course, these studies were not conducted in humans so this is only a ballpark estimate.  In a typical energy drink, there is approximately 200 – 300 mg of caffeine, although in some energy drinks, the actual amount is unclear, based on how the products are labeled.  We can assume that Anais probably consumed < 1 gram of caffeine from her two energy drinks, yet this was a fatal dose for her.  What the LD50 calculation is missing is both an understanding of both statistics as well as pharmacogenomics.  Statistics tells us that some individuals may very well have adverse events at a much lower dose of caffeine.  Part of this is based on a genetic makeup and how we react to certain molecules.  This is called pharmacogenomics.  In the case of Anais, she likely had a genetic cause of her underlying cardiac arrhythmia.  She may very well have been a slow metabolizer of caffeine, also based on her genetic makeup, leading this molecule to linger in her system much longer than that of her counterparts.  Without a whole genome study, of course, we would never know.

Overall, the lesson here is that receptor-based molecules, such as caffeine, can be extremely dangerous, depending on the specifics of your medical and genetic background.  For most people it may be fine, for others, it can unfortunately take push you over the threshold of safety.

Why you need mental clarity

By Eugene Y. Chan, MD

Somewhere around 3 AM in the morning at the Massachusetts General Hospital one day, I remember a particular instance of having to draw blood from a very ill patient.  By that time, I had already worked for 20 hours straight, with my beeper ringing every few minutes.  What is so urgent that requires a blood draw at this hour?  I looked at the patient’s medical record and saw a history of HIV and HCV.  This patient was in renal and liver failure.  I looked for a suitable vein in the antecubital fossa but could not find any.  I look elsewhere on the arm, but still no.  My eyes were feeling heavy from my day and also staring closely in the dark to look for a thin blue vein that I could target.  Finally, I found a potential vein, on the dorsal surface of the foot.  It was so thin and collapsed, but it was my only hope.  I knew that if I were not careful, I could indeed inadvertently stick myself, which could put me at risk for both HIV and HCV.  I also knew that I did not draw the patient’s blood, she would have a high likelihood of not making it through the night.  It is in times like this, where if your mind wanders, even for a brief moment, the outcome would be highly undesirable.  This is when you need mental clarity, this is when you need that moment of unwavering focus.  Have you been in a circumstance like this?  Maybe not treating a patient, but interviewing for a most coveted job, giving the most important sales presentation, or pushing yourself to win that race?  Fortunately, the outcome that morning was positive, the important medical tests were highly informative for the course of her care and the patient made it through the night.  There are situations like that that arise often, and often unexpected, and you have to be prepared to make those yours.  Stay focused and be at your best, always.

Clarex’s Busy Weekend!

Clarex was all over the place this past weekend. We were at the Whole Foods in Cambridge and Newton, cheering on bicycle riders as they began a trip from Boston to Raleigh, handing out samples with HubHelmet and even at Fenway Park! Clarex was stocked on the shelves, and great times were had by all.

The day began as early as 8 for our Street Team, who were up bright and early to attend the The Pablove Foundation’s long-distance bike ride.It funds pediatric cancer research and programs to improve the quality of life for children living with cancer.The 1000-mile bike ride from Boston to Raleigh began with a nice breakfast for riders, family, and supporters to chat and enjoy at the Whole Foods on Prospect St. in Cambridge. Not to mention we had our team there handing out samples and taking photos of the event, which you can view here. The kickoff also had another perk for Clarex-our product was officially on the shelves! What an accomplishment! So be sure to visit the Whole Foods on Prospect St. to buy Clarex directly along with your other groceries.

Meanwhile, Captain Clarex was at the Whole Foods in Newton, setting up his demo. Clarex is also now sold at the Whole Foods in Newton, and many people got to learn about eliminating mental limits with Clarex. There were trial sizes to test out, and the product being sold right there in the store for those who wanted to continue to increase their focus. After all, Clarex is all natural and caffeine-free!

We also had some samples to give away with HubHelmet, a new service that allows Hubway users access to helmets for safe riding. Be sure to look out for HubHelmet available with all Hubway stations soon! Clarex was a big hit, and it’s great for bike riding so you can focus more on your ride and enjoy it.

Clarex was also at Fenway Park this Saturday as well! After attending teh Pablove Foundation’s kickoff event, Team Clarex attended College Day @ Fenway. where lots of college students received samples. Everyone there had a fantastic time, especially our street team members who got to pose with the World Series trophies! Check out the photos here.

And to think this is just the beginning! Keep on the lookout for Clarex on our Facebook page to learn where we will be next. Comment with any suggestions or feedback-we love to hear from our fans!

-Team CLAREX

Breaking Down the Intelligent Workout with Eric Ballenger

Eric Ballenger

Welcome to the Clarity Corner! I’m Eric Ballener, and a daily Clarex user. As a fitness enthusiast, my background includes ISSA, ACE, NFPT certified, certified personal trainer, former NPC competitor, and a Pre-Contest Prep Coach. I’ll be posting regularly with all things fitness, so check back often! Feel free to comment with any questions to answer in future posts.

What we do before we work out can be just as important as any exercise we do during our workout. Pre-workout preparation has been studied, dissected, and argued about since before Arnold lifted his first barbell. .Let me back up here for a second, we’re not just talking about the gym rats. (You know who you are, because I’m one too!) I’m talking about the triathlete, the cyclist, the runner, the CrossFit enthusiasts, the powerlifter, and even the bodybuilder. We are all familiar with the term “muscle memory.” Muscle memory has been used along simultaneously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.

In other words, every Monday, we wake up thinking today is chest day and our mind prepares our body for the trauma that it will endure during a typical workout. We have all been there. We take the thermogenic gotten the jitters the heart palpations the sweats but what did we really accomplish? We have once again attacked our receptor sites and overstimulated our adrenal glands.  Through the use of Clarex, I have personally found a new form of laser focus while in the gym. Though I still enjoy my heavily caffeinated and synephrine based pre-workout RTD, I have now added Clarex as a complement to my regimen.

This is where “The Intelligent Workout” begins. I take my Clarex with my thermo 30-45 minutes pre-workout. The most profound and lasting impact of Clarex on my workout is found in the level of clarity that did not exist before, I no longer find myself asking what exercise is next. Rather, I find myself with that feeling of complete focus and concentration.

As a result, my workouts have become more intense, and shorter in duration. Let me reiterate. CLAREX IS NOT A THERMOGENIC! Clarex is a stimulant-free complement to any pre-workout regimen. Clarex, when taken as directed, can help you get the most out of every workout no matter what hurdles life has thrown at you before you step through the gym doors. So try Clarex today, “Eliminate YOUR Mental Limits” and unlock your body’s full potential with no side effects and no crash.

-Team CLAREX

Jon Chafe

Jon Chafe

Meet Jon Chafe, our CLAREX representative in Canada. We are very excited to have Jon as part of our team here at CLAREX. An avid user, Jon has improved his focus and gotten the most out of his workouts.

-Team CLAREX

Welcome to the Clarity Corner!

Here at Clarex, we are all about eliminating mental limits. With no caffeine or side effects, our all natural product promotes “the intelligent workout” or the perfect hangover relief.

 

Our blog will be featuring posts from Dr. Eugene Chan, Harvard MD and scientific innovator. Dr. Chan was voted one of the top 10 minds under 35 in the world by Esquire magazine. He is the innovative mind behind Clarex. There will also be posts from Eric Ballenger, fitness enthusiast and former competitor bodybuilder. They will both have weekly posts discussing their areas of expertise, and how Clarex should become a part of your daily routine.

Check back often, there’s always new content being posted.

You can reach us online at  www.clarexonline.com.

Check us out at:

Our next post will introduce each team member and allow you to ask questions about how Clarex can help you in your daily life.

Have a day filled with focus, and eliminate mental limits with Clarex!

-Team CLAREX

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