HUMAN PERFORMANCE PROJECT
the BIG idea
OUR MISSION has always been to support veteran and first responder charities. But it’s time to lay it all on the line:
Introducing the Human Performance Project! An adrenaline-fueled journey following Former Navy SEAL sniper, Ryan “Birdman” Parrott, along with hand selected Special Operations Veterans seeking outcomes research on true human performance:
Focusing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth for our combat Veterans, First Responders, and those dealing with trauma
Research and data driven by medical professionals to include: MDs, PhDs, Dietitians, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Sport Physiologists
Provide a manual from all data collected to the active duty military, Veteran and First Responder communities in America and our allies.
Producing a full length documentary on the journey and how the outcomes research was collected.
Raise funding and awareness for veteran & first responder charities.
Mission #1: 7X Tour
Our first mission with “HPP”, is the 7X TOUR. This will be an epic journey around the world; 7 Continents, 7 Days, 7 Jumps, 7 Marathons, 7 Swims. SEAL Team Seven! This mission will be the most aggressive one to date and has one overarching goal – to help solve for suicide.
We have assembled a team of like-minded subject matter experts from various careers to all focus on one mission. The aim for this project is twofold. First, can we train and gain outcomes research from our training to simplify what is needed for a young person to train with longevity in mind. Second, can we undo all that we just created to develop a curriculum for the 20-year war fighter, firefighter, police officer, civilian, or someone with past trauma to reboot their systems, once fractured. Lastly, can we compile all this into a simple manual that is offered to the public that focuses on a cost-effective process vs. an expensive short-term solution. We are also documenting all this training, testing and research on film to share with the public on how the science backs our findings.
Our focus is on Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual healing by working with experts in exercise; physiologists, phycologists, physiatrists, dietitians, and rehabilitation specialists, using special operators as test subjects who have all traveled the same roads through their careers. This mission has already begun and will continue through 2023.
Stay tuned as and mark your calendars for Feb 12, 2023 as we are going to attempt this very difficult mission to gain excitement for what is to become of this overarching goal and to gain a larger audience from our next generation of adults to want to live a long and healthy life.
Human Performance Project
By: Ryan "Birdman" Parrott
This project has been in the works long before I was alive and will continue long after I am gone. When thinking about Human Performance, I have always had this idea that it was only for the gifted, like the Olympians, Tour Cyclists and Professional Athletes. What I would come to find is that this idea of human performance is not just a gift to those who chose to seek it, but a requirement of all humanity. While it may seem hard to figure out what plan or steps to take when beginning your journey towards health and wellness, it can become insanely confusing as there are so many products on the market, so much content on the web and a wild amount of fitness establishments all talking differently and debating their creative designs. I am not here to discuss what is right and wrong, but more so to talk about balance/rebalance.
I was born and raised in Michigan with seasonal changes and lots of sporting activities around the clock. My childhood was a normal one and I was a very happy kid. Things I recently notice is that during all the years of sports and practices, I never once learned how to exercise correctly, had zero understanding of what clean eating looked like and what’s truly on those labels. I never knew growing up that there was such a thing as supplementation, sleep didn’t exist to a kid under 18 and this was in fact the beginning of the downward spiral of my physiology. Most of us in the world never received any of this information as a kid and more importantly, most people still don’t know or don’t choose to learn more. This is a major factor in why America has major health issues.
Fast forwarding to the military. I was failing multiple subjects in school as I didn’t care for the curriculums and had no idea of what I was to become after graduation. My teacher who was a Marine in Vietnam talked about this elite group in the military called Navy SEALs. When I heard him talk, I immediately found this motivation I had never felt before. On the day of 9/11, I ran to the recruiter’s office to enlist, yet I was too young. In the months following I would get my opportunity to join the Navy and after graduating High School, depart for Boot Camp.
While in Boot Camp you do various activities of Physical Training, you learn what it means to have discipline and why it’s so important to be the best sailor you can be and a good history lesson on the Navy and our traditions. These are all important things to learn. From when you wake in the morning to racking out, you are constantly on the go with 3 meals a day and a bit of marching. After 9 weeks of this you become accustomed to the daily schedule and what you need to do to excel.
Upon graduating Boot Camp, you would follow with an “A” school which is a prep school to learning the actual job you signed up for. These can last from 4 weeks to a year depending on which field you are pursuing and for me, I chose the 4-week school so I could get to SEAL Training as fast as I could.
SEAL Training or Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training (BUD/s) would commence and last an average student 6 months to complete. During this training you are doing some of the most physically and mentally daunting tasks any of us have ever been challenged with. There are statistics on the internet that state that during “Hell Week” which is either the 4th or 5th week in training, you can burn anywhere from 20-25k calories a day. We eat every 6 hours to refuel. Only water and Gatorade during training, as energy drinks are a no-go. We constantly get put through the ringer to see what each of us has inside and how far we are willing to go to prove you have met and exceeded the standard they have presented us with. This was some of the most fun I have ever had in my life and don’t regret a minute of my time in the service.
Being a SEAL, it’s an extraordinarily high paced profession with little room for error and we constantly are thinking about how to improve our mission readiness and capabilities. After joining a Team, you are tasked with keeping yourself healthy, happy and focused ensuring that you are not a weak link to the team. We do multiple combat deployments that are very demanding and the training leading up to those deployments is equally if not harder than our tours and this puts a real demand on our bodies amongst other things.
Why I share a little of the buildup to what we go through to become special operators is to help you better understand what it takes, so you can better understand where I am about to take this.
I served 8 years in the Navy and minus initial training, most of my time was spent as a SEAL and there is so much that is brilliant about our community. I don’t blame the special operations community for anything with my health, happiness or mental wellness. I blame myself and the government for some of the most important missing links. Never once during my time in any of this, was I trained in correct exercise, diet, supplementation, sleep and overall wellness. We are tasked to conduct some of the most dangerous operations back-to-back, year after year and for some through an entire career 20 years + without putting attention towards the one thing making the operator, operate well. I have heard that in the recent years, special operations have been pushing harder to get human performance into their curriculums which is a huge step in the right direction and am very hopeful for our operator’s future.
This all goes back to training vs. no training. I have never been raised to understand why it was important to exercise a certain way or what proper form even looked like. So, I would watch others who could lift more than me and try to emulate them. Over time, I would start to damage my body by poor form and ego. I have never been trained to understand diet and supplementation. After a hard work out, I was not doing anything to recover but drinking water and once I started watching what others were doing, I followed and would later find out that the supplements I was taking had a bunch of fillers, additives and was garbage for my system. But I was dumb and a follower and thought if it was good enough for others, it was perfect for me.
A few years after getting out of the service, I started to feel horrible, I had quit working out and had become physically lazy and felt my body starting to shut down in different places at different times. From this point, I would start to feel foggy, and my brain was having a difficult time firing up in the morning, yet I couldn’t get it to turn off in the evening. It was basically saying, start taking care of yourself and looking into those things you don’t know about. Luckily for me, I had just started to date this amazing woman Vlada, who fully understood health and wellness from eating clean, supplementation, hydration, sleep and correct form exercise. She must have thought I was a very interesting test subject as she would later become my wife and I am so lucky. Without her, I would have no idea on where to begin. There is so much content on the internet, and everyone is selling their best-selling supplement. Every gym has their own experts with their own regiments and there is just too much information out there to weed through. So where do I begin, how do I know I am choosing the correct path and what am I trying to achieve. I always say to people that tell me they are getting into shape, “are you training for a body building competition?” They always come back and say no so then I state, “Oh, so you mean you want to improve your health?”
On Jan 2nd, 2019, I receive a phone call from a dear friend and teammate that my sniper partner would succumb to his war wounds and went home to our lord and savior, by his own hand. This was a devastating blow to me and the rest of our team as he was our true North. I would sit around for weeks and think about what is going wrong and why men and women are struggling so hard that we have this staggering statistic of suicides. What are we missing? Where have we not looked yet? Are the answers right in front of us?
When I started searching for the answers, my brain would always go back to fitness and everything that surrounds it. I wasn’t doing anything to help my body over the years and most like me were doing the same thing. So, this led me to kick off what we call the Human Performance Project.
Starting this project in 2021, I aimed to assemble a team of like-minded subject matter experts from various careers to all focus on one mission. The aim for this project is twofold. First, can we train and gain outcomes research from our training to simplify what is needed for a young person to train with longevity in mind. Second, can we undo all that we just created to develop a curriculum for the 20-year war fighter, firefighter, police officer or someone with past trauma to reboot their systems, once fractured. Lastly, can we compile all this into a simple manual that is offered to the public that focuses on a cost-effective process vs. an expensive short-term solution. We are also documenting all this training, testing and research on film to share with the public on how the science backs our findings.
Our focus is on Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual healing by working with experts in exercise; physiologists, phycologists, physiatrists, dietitians, and rehabilitation specialists, using special operators as test subjects who have all traveled the same roads through their careers. This project has already begun and will continue though 2023 currently aiming at a 3rd – 4th quarter 2023 release of our findings. Stay tuned as and mark your calendars for Feb 12th, 2023 as we are going to attempt something so difficult as a function of this project to gain excitement for what is to become of this overarching mission and to gain a larger audience from our next generation of adults to want to live a long and healthy life. I truly believe that we can reboot a lot of people that are struggling post trauma with focusing on their physiology as this is just one area that I believe gets overlooked time and time again.
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