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The 80/20 Principle- Nutrition

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The 80/20 Principle; are you familiar with it?

If not, I recommend looking into it beyond just reading the rest of this post. But, a quick explanation; this is a phenomenon seen across many fields of study, from economics to fitness. It states that typically 80% of the result comes from 20% of the work. This principle was most popularly brought to light by the work of Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. As I stated before, this is seen almost everywhere in our lives, whether we realize it or not!

Some fun examples (taken from Brian Johnson via Optimize.me):

  1. 80% of sales come from 20% of your clients.
  2. We typically wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time.
  3. 20% of beer drinkers drink 80% of the beer.
  4. 80% of healthcare in the United States is used by 20% of the patients.
  5. 20% of your carpet receives 80% of the wear.

This list could expand on almost infinitely, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll keep it down to five examples.

The particular application of Pareto’s Principle I want to bring to light today is the 80/20 of nutrition! 80% of our health benefits from dietary changes come from only 20% of the total changes we can make. So what is this 20% we should be focusing on? According to the research of Brian Johnson; the most important factors in our diet that make up this efficacious 20% are:

  1. Consuming enough water! To know how much you should get take your body weight and divide by two. That is how many ounces per day you should drink (on average).
  2. Eat less refined sugars and processed foods. A large amount of our modern nutritional problems can be chalked up to these foods. Cut down on them as much as possible to see some great results.
  3. Eat lots of fresh, organic fruits and veggies.

Focus on these things initially and I’d be surprised if you didn’t notice an immediate difference in energy levels and your health in general. Even better, you’re 80% of the way there. Once you’ve got this big portion taken care of, it becomes much easier to find what else needs work within your dietary needs and address each problem as they arise!

My hope is that this saves you some time, money, and frustration in simplifying your path to a healthier diet and healthier you!

Fit Tip- Principles of Putting On Muscle

One of the most common goals among gym goers is putting on lean muscle mass. Sometimes this is purely for aesthetics, sometimes for the sake of athletic performance. While it may seem a small distinction, having very specific goals along with a “why” to back them is critical in the realm of fitness and nutrition.

So what are the principles that will put you on the path to a transformation like that of Chris Pratt?

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Of course, Chris Pratt’s transformation began with weight loss, but we will save that for another post and stay focused on hypertrophy (bodybuilding).

These tips are based on research performed by the leading authority on muscle hypertrophy research, Brad Schoenfeld (you can find him at lookgreatnaked.com (I assure you, despite the title of the site, it is indeed safe for work)). The keys to hypertrophy are:

  1. Make sure you are eating enough food. If you are trying to bulk up, you are going to need to eat 20 calories/lb of your ideal body weight. So if you want to weigh 180lbs, you should be crushing around 3600 calories. Personally, I found jumping up to a crazy high-calorie intake difficult to do over the course of a week, so I added 200 calories a week until I hit my calorie goal.
  2.  Be sure you are getting enough of a COMPLETE protein. A complete protein means that it contains a full complement of essential amino acids (amino acids that our body cannot produce). Typically, animal-based proteins (such as whey) will contain this full complement of amino acids. As such, those who are vegan may need to mi and match plant-based proteins to get enough.
    1. How much is enough protein? Research has shown that 2.2 grams/kg of body weight (1g/lb) is the ideal intake per day for bodybuilding purposes.
  3. Ideally, you lift each muscle group 2x/week. While the typical “bro-split” of once per week per muscle group does work, it has not seen the same volume of muscle gains as hitting each group twice a week.
    1. Each muscle group should get around 10 sets worth of exercise per week. Compound movements and full body movements will make this less time-consuming.
  4. It is important to periodize your volume over time in order to avoid overtraining. You can and should adjust for this based on fatigue levels. If you are noticeably drained, take a week to back off and go lighter with a bit higher of a rep range. Also, be sure to take a rest week every 8-10 weeks. It will help!
  5. Be sure to get variation in your workouts. Doing the same lifts over and over for 10+ weeks is NOT the way to maximize muscle gains. Mix in different lifts every couple weeks and change things up. This will allow you to work different areas of the muscle and practice different movement patterns.

As with anything else in fitness (and in life) consistency is the biggest key here. The process of building a significant base of lean muscle takes consistent work over a long period of time. It can be an overwhelming task to look at as a whole, so it is important to set mini-goals along the way to help keep you motivated and inspired to keep working. Hiring a coach is also extremely helpful in the process, as we can help you to program in the variation and get clear on how to reach those goals!

Get active, get moving, and enjoy!

Chapluk Performance: Why We Need Fitness More Than Ever

What would you say has been the goal of humanity since we split from our upright ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago? The best argument I have heard on this subject came from Doctor Andy Galpin on Mark Bell’s podcast. Our goal as a species has continually been to defeat the stress of living. We grouped up into tribes to reduce the stress of finding food and protection. We built houses to reduce the stress of the outdoor environment around us. We eventually created incredible innovations such as the ability to harness electricity and use it to decrease stress in our day to day lives.

With the level of technology and automation in society, it is pretty apparent that we have defeated the stresses of trying to survive in the first world. No longer do we have to perform any form of physical activity to even get food. You can just order it directly to your door. Even more so, manual labor jobs have decreased greatly. Thus, it is no coincidence that society at large (pun very much intended) is getting more and more obese as we grow more sedentary. We have completely abandoned any form of stress; even that which presents itself in the form of necessary for our health.

The way I see it, we are on a fast track to look and act like this:

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The solution is very clear and can be split into two parts (that Doctor Galpin once again discussed in the same podcast I had mentioned):

  1. Create healthy stressors in the form of fitness. It is hugely important that we tax our bodies enough to create adaptations in the form of increased strength and cardiovascular health. Thus, everyone can benefit from a mixed program of strength and conditioning.
  2. Recreate nutritional scarcity through dieting. The whole mindset behind how we diet is incredibly flawed. People talk about diets as though they are life-long commitments, but in reality, they shouldn’t be. You wouldn’t rely on one type of lift for the rest of your life to stay fit, so why do the same with nutrition. With that said, it is hugely important to assess your personal needs at the time and either create a diet yourself, or hire a coach to help you out with your nutritional needs!

As much as we want to live 100% “stress-free” the fact of the matter is that our body needs both a degree of nutritional scarcity and stress in the form of physical challenges. It is key to a healthy body that we engage in these practices in order to avoid much, much worse stressors- obesity, unhealthy lifestyles, and the diseases and conditions associated with both!

Get moving, mix the diet up, and get closer to your health and fitness goals!

Chapluk Performance- Why YOU Should Lift Weights!

Meatheads, bodybuilders, athletes, or your general bro… those are the only people you can really see lifting weights, right? I’m going to explain to you exactly why this shouldn’t be the case. In fact, I would assert that the lack of participation in resistance training by the general populace is a huge part of why our society is sicker than ever, despite the technological advances of society.

That’s right, you read that correctly, there is a larger percentage of individuals suffering from chronic diseases right now than there ever have been before. Healthcare is one of the biggest businesses in the world: in the United States, 1 in 8 people work in healthcare in some way, shape or form. Yet still, we are (on average) sicker than ever… why is this?

There is no definitive answer to this question because it is a multifaceted issue with a large number of causes I’m sure, but I argue that the growing number of sedentary individuals is the biggest of these causes.

Movement is a must for humans to stay healthy, yet this does not mean that just doing cardio is enough. ACSM guidelines state that for general health, people should be performing strength training twice a week. Again, that is the prescription for general health.

Arnold-Schwarzenegger

Am I saying you have to look like Arnie in his prime? Not at all. I would even recommend making it a goal if we are being honest. What I am saying is that EVERYONE should be engaging in strength training at least twice a week. I’ll give you some big reasons as to why exactly this is the case.

It has been known for 50+ years that the four biggest predictors of all-cause mortality are as follows:

  1. VO2 Max (the maximum volume of oxygen that an individual can use at maximum levels of intense aerobic exercise)
  2. Leg Strength
  3. Muscle Mass
  4. Grip Strength

All four of these are directly impacted by the process of strength training, and all four aspects will make life much easier to maneuver through on a physical level.

Not only that but putting on more muscle mass has been proven to help with fat loss. Our skeletal muscle tissue is a metabolic tissue, meaning that it needs energy to function and be sustained. As such, (typically) the more muscle mass you have, the more your basal metabolic rate will increase, thus, increasing the calories you burn on average, making the fat loss that much easier!

Long story short; do you want to live longer and feel better while doing so? Find a good strength coach and get training! Develop healthy movement patterns and some routines that will work well for you!

Chapluk Performance: Holistic Training

For as long as I’ve known, those who don’t entirely understand holistic training principles give it a bad reputation. They label it as being hippie-dippie bullcrap that relies on magic wands, herbs, and other placebo effect driven crap. Don’t get me wrong, there are indeed individuals who perform this type of “therapy” and make money off of it by labeling themselves as holistic healthcare specialists.

I will clear this up right away; those people are full of crap and want nothing but your money. Their claims are based upon a complete lack of understanding in regards to the human body and how you can ACTUALLY treat someone in a holistic manner.

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Now, THIS is what I am talking about when I discuss holistic health care; the principle that my business is based around. It is simply the recognition that humans aren’t just defined as healthy based purely on their body composition or lack of physical disease. We are insanely complex organisms, each with our own genetic composition and life experiences that have shaped us into who we are today. As such, the needs of each individual vary from person to person.

Simply focusing on one aspect of well-being is not enough, which is why I assert that holistic care is the future of preventative medicine. Taking all factors into account to attempt to find the root of a problem, rather than simply treating surface level symptoms and claiming someone is cured because their pain is gone for the moment. As complex beings, we should be treated as such in regards to our health. Not just treated as cars going into the shop for a quick fix.

Chapluk Performance: Stay In Your Lane

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Please pardon my brief hiatus from writing on this blog.

It has been a long couple months of massive lessons learned. I was working harder than ever and getting absolutely nowhere, even more so than when I was just focused on 5 critical tasks each day. Sidebar: I was absolutely miserable too. Why though… why was I stagnated. Why was I so unhappy that I could hardly sleep at night?

I can tell you exactly why, now that I have removed myself from the issue. I was spread WAY too thin. A buddy of mine had hit me up to help him out with his business which is in the financial niche. My initial reaction was- “of course man! I’d love to help out and earn some extra money along the way… win-win!”

Intuitively, you’d think so! I had some free time in my days and I could use some extra capital for my own business so I invested my time into the financial gig. Within two weeks. TWO. I was absolutely miserable and I was unable to diagnose why, because I was too close to the problem. I’ll save you the details of the soul-searching that went down, but it led to me having to tell my friend that I needed to gracefully back out of the opportunity he had presented me with.

While my earning potential went down temporarily my overall happiness and excitement was back up again. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I hated my buddy’s business. Quite the opposite actually. The people were great and his business was hugely value driven. The problem was that it was not MY niche. In fact, it had taken my focus off of my passion resulting in self-inflicted misery and massive anxiety along with it.

Lesson learned- Stay in my lane! By focusing on becoming the expert in one field; health and fitness, which is a field I have fallen in love with and will remain my entire life, I feel as though I am back on track. My focus is back to how I can provide the most value for my clients through my expertise rather than being spread way too thin and doing the bare minimum to get by in everything I do.

So if you’re feeling burnt out, spread too thin, exhausted, or just unhappy, I recommend that you simplify your life and go back to your roots for a bit. Find where your happiness is and along with that will typically come your utmost productivity. Think of the old cliche, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Thanks, guys, looking forward to hitting you with much more consistent content! Let’s kick ass!

Wo(man) to Machine Project: Self Critisim

One of the traits all successful people/high performers have in common is being able to call themselves on their own bullshit. They are really good at always expecting more from themselves and never being satisfied. They are their own biggest critics.

 

Being your own biggest critic can be the trait that propels you to greatness but it can also be the one thing that is holding you back from saying what you want to say, doing what you want to do, and living the life you want to live. There is a line between constructive criticism and self-destructive and demoralizing internal dialogue. FIND THAT LINE AND DO NOT CROSS IT.

 

You should be your toughest coach or your most intense counselor, not a bully you can’t get away from. You should be hard on yourself because you know you can do better and you want the best for yourself. Trust me I have more than a few choice words for myself when I neglect the small details or when I don’t push as hard as I know I could have. I am hard on myself because I know what I am capable of and I expect nothing less than that at all times. If your inner dialogue is you shitting on yourself because you aren’t lifting as much weight as that girl on Instagram or because you’re not as good as you want to be after one week of class you’re not doing yourself any favors. You are just stripping away your confidence and any momentum you once had to move towards your goals.

 

Being your own biggest critic is essential to getting where you want to be. If you take your half ass work and high-five yourself for giving 75% you’re going to be nothing more than average. BUT make sure you’re internal dialogue is constructive, not destructive.

 

Blue skies and tailwinds,

Sierra (AKA Little Miss Gains)

Wo(man) to Machine Project- Back to Basics

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One of the mini goals that I really want to achieve is getting a bar muscle-up. It’s frustrating because I am strong enough to do one but the actual movement is very new. I know it’s just a matter of putting the time and reps in to get it down but my coach pointed out that I need to go back to the basics to perfect the movement.

 

My fitness background is in bodybuilding so strict pull-ups are my jam. Since switching over to CrossFit one of the hardest things for me to do is string together kipping pull-ups. Now it’s definitely my fault I am not better at kipping; for me, it’s more efficient to do them one at a time or strict, so that’s what I’ve been doing. This is another example of me ignoring a weakness and strengthening what I’m already better at. Now that I’ve gained the strength I need to actually do a muscle up, I am realizing not focusing on my weakness really bit me in the ass because kipping is the one part of the muscle-up I’m not grasping. GO FIGURE.

 

Now it’s time to go back to the basics.

 

I worked yesterday on kipping pull-ups. Not muscle ups, not even chest to bar pull-ups, just plain old pull-ups. At first, I was pretty frustrated, not going to lie. Not at my coach for making me go back and just work on pull ups but at myself for not working on kipping earlier. Although frustrating, I did get significantly better at stringing kips together just in the 20 minutes I worked on it. The game plan now is to go back to the basics, being kipping pull-ups, and create a solid foundation to build on and reach my real goal… MUSCLE UPS.

 

Going back to the basics can be applied to literally everything. If you don’t have a solid foundation to build upon you are going to be hard-pressed to reach your goal. It may not be as impressive or glamorous as your big goal but do yourself a favor and perfect the basics first.

 

Blue skies and tailwinds,

Sierra (aka, Little Miss Gains)

Wo(man) to Machine Project: Machine

Machine: an apparatus consisting of interrelated parts with separate functions, used in the performance of some kind of work:

 

The whole point of this Woman to Machine project is to turn me into a well-oiled machine and bring you on the journey . . . through my wins and fuck-ups along the way.

 

A machine is made up of a bunch of different parts that have their own functions but come together to make one device that performs a specific task. I like to think of myself as a machine; body, mind, business (production)  and relationships are all parts that make up a Little Miss Gains. I have learned recently that if one of these parts isn’t functioning properly it throws off the whole operation. If physically I’m doing what I’m supposed to, working out and feeding myself properly, and mentally I am taking time out for myself, learning new things, meditating, networking etc. . . but a relationship in my life is stressing me out or causing unnecessary drama, things just don’t run as smoothly. It’s like having an iPhone 6 with one of those recalled batteries. It still makes phone calls, sends texts, and checks Instagram but dragging around a phone charger everywhere you go is annoying (TRUST ME, I know).

 

If one part of your machine isn’t functioning properly it doesn’t matter how well the other parts are working, the task just isn’t going to get done the way it should. This is why I have recently started looking at myself as a machine. To reach my fullest potential and be the best Little Miss Gains I can be I have to make sure every individual part that makes up my machine is functioning optimally; Not just one part or even three, every part of my machine has to be doing its job in order for me to become the well-oiled machine I am striving to become. So not only am I striving for optimal performance in the gym, but in relationships, business, and mentally as well.

 

Blue skies and tailwinds,

Sierra (AKA Little Miss Gains)  

Chapluk Performance: Begin With the End in Mind

What’s up, guys? I’m going to hit you with a short bit of “Monday Mindfulness” today. The main idea: if you have an outcome you want to accomplish, get specific with your goals and work backward.

This concept seemed counter-intuitive to me when I was first introduced to it. I am a very process driven person and as such, my natural tendency for getting work done is to begin with the first part of the task and work up to the end, allowing my end result to change based upon whatever roadblocks arise in the meantime. While this was relatively effective for smaller scale tasks (things that could be accomplished in a span of a day to a week), it lacked applicability for my long-term goals. I would begin on step 1 and by step 5 I was on a completely different trajectory, feeling as though I had begun from square one again.

This very issue has led me to become a devout practitioner of beginning with the end in mind and essentially reverse engineering my long-term goals. Here is a quick step by step breakdown of what this looks like:

  1. Define the specific long-term goals that will lead to your utmost fulfillment (or what you think those are currently; your vision will stretch rapidly once you begin to see success).
  2. Identify all the defenders to your goals. What are the key factors preventing you from achieving them; the speed bumps or roadblocks if you will.
  3. Come up with a list of potential solutions for these roadblocks. If you are having trouble with this, seek someone who has gone through a similar process and ask how they did it for some inspiration.
  4. Reverse engineer the process of knocking those defenders off, one by one, with a timeframe for when you will achieve each of these small victories.
  5. Put your plan into action. There’s nothing to it, but to do it. Attack each defender with an unrelenting fervor and watch them fall in line.
  6. Reevaluate your goals and compare your actual progress with where you thought you would be. Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, making sure to improve where you see the most need to do so.

Beginning with the end in mind has proven to be a much more rewarding process for myself. While I have not yet achieved my long-term goals, it has been extremely rewarding to blow through roadblocks one at a time and have a finite timeline for when I can expect to arrive at my first “end-goal” and begin to pursue the next one.

Wo(man) to Machine Project: Passion (AKA Relationships)

Reading Sean Whalen’s book, How To Make SH*T Happen, introduced me to the “Core 4”. The Core 4 is a roadmap for your life. Basically, there are four core things areas you should focus on every single day, nothing more nothing less. One of the core values is Passion, aka relationships, which is what I want to talk to you about today.

 

When I say “relationships” I don’t just mean your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, I mean every relationship in your life. Goal oriented and ambitious people tend to put these on the back burner from time to time. Not because they don’t care to text back or they think they are too good to make time for people.  They just get so consumed in chipping away at their goals day after day they forget to make time for anything else. I know this is a problem I have been working on lately. I don’t necessarily think I am lacking when it comes to in-person interactions; my biggest weakness is communication when I’m not in the same vicinity as someone.

 

I tend to procrastinate texting people back or even opening my text messages (I have a reputation when it comes to being the worst texter on the planet).

 

“If you want to get ahold of her pick up the phone and call her. If you text her you won’t hear back, that’s just how she is.” – Everyone that knows me.

 

I’ve been owning that reputation for quite some time. I would always just reply with, “ I hate texting”, “I don’t have time”, “just call me”, . . . etc. A week or two ago Ethan, my partner in Third Eye Performance ( you already know that), and I started talking about focusing on our weaknesses. It hit the both of us pretty hard, we had been focusing on strengthening our strong points and running from or ignoring our weaknesses. We decided to take extreme ownership (thanks, Jocko) and pick a few weaknesses we have collectively as a company and person to work on. One of my weaknesses I’ve decided to work on is communication. More specifically communication when it comes to people I care about. “I’m too busy” and “ I hate texting” are bullshit excuses that allow me to neglect and accept my weakness as a defining character trait. In reality, all I have to do is pick up the phone and shoot a quick “Have a great day.” text to get rid of my reputation as a terrible communicator.

 

Now yes, I freaking love phone calls (If you want to make my day, pick up your phone and call me just to say hello), but I can take one minute out of my day to make sure the important people in my life know I care about them. It’s as simple as sending a quick text, even if you’re like me and have to put a reminder on your phone to do so. When you’re at the grocery store by your mom flowers, an extra $10 won’t break your bank and it will make her day. Just because you’re busy or you hate picking up your phone take the extra few minutes to make sure you take care of your relationships. Make sure the people you care about know that you care. I don’t care how much you have going on everyday put at least one thing into each of your core 4, relationships being one of them.

 

Blue Skies and tailwinds,

Sierra (AKA: Little Miss Gains)

Chapluk Performance: Live Longer and Better!

The title of this post may bring to mind some of those “HAS SCIENCE GONE TOO FAR?!?!” ads. But I assure you, I am not talking about some magical quick fix or some bullshit placebo pill or powder that will solve all your problems magically.

I am talking about a principle backed 100% by Nobel Prize-winning scientists and countless pages of research. This principle is the extension of your telomeres (pronounced TEE-LO-MEER). Now, what exactly does this mean?

To unwrap that question, I will begin by defining what a telomere is in layman’s words. You are likely aware that our genetic makeup is due to our chromosomes. Our genes are stored within 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 total chromosomes. On the edges of these chromosomes are the telomeres. Their purpose- imagine the little plastic nub on the end of shoelaces (the aglet). It is there so that your laces don’t rapidly fray and fall apart into nothingness (if you haven’t witnessed this phenomenon, pull an aglet off and see how long the lace survives). The telomere is the aglet of your chromosomes, keeping your genetic code intact.

Over time, your telomeres generally wear down, which contributes to the aging process. This is a one-way street, right? Wrong, recent research has indicated that there are many controllable factors that can lead to telomere elongation, telomere degradation, or telomere maintenance.

I’m assuming that you are interested in the elongation aspect of this research so we will dive right into five ways you can extend those telomeres, as presented in the book “The Telomere Effect” by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel.

  1. When you are faced with stress see it as a challenge rather than a threat. Telomere shortening has been seen in those who view every stressor as a personal threat to them. The best way to flip the script and do the opposite for your genetic aglets is to take on those stressors as a challenge that will help you grow and succeed. Try it! Next time you catch yourself feeling that anxiety and wanting to back down from the challenge of a stressor, face it head on and literally tell yourself some variation of “Bring it on Baby! I’m gonna crush this!”.
  2. Replace those nasty negative thinking patterns with some resilient thinking. This does not mean attempting to suppress any thought that is negative or gloomy. Thought suppression has been proven to not work due to the ironic effect (example: don’t you dare think of the statue of liberty! I know you damn well did, right away!) so don’t try it, let thoughts pass through and follow them up with positive thoughts and affirmations. The best way to really get this grasp on your mind; use daily mindfulness practices such as centering breaths followed by affirmations.
  3. Cut down on (or completely eliminate) processed foods and refined sugars. I know from first-hand experience that this is a pretty difficult one to get started on. Those processed foods are so damn convenient and generally pretty tasty. The problem with them is their overall effect on your metabolism and cravings. Refined sugars essentially trick your body into thinking you are starved for food and make you crave more and more food. Knock these out of the diet as much as possible and you will see huge metabolic differences that will lead to improved health overall, and healthier telomeres.
  4. Hand in hand with the last example, it is important to move consistently and stay fit! Not only will exercise allow you to have an overall higher level of fitness, but it also helps with the stress response, thus helping to eliminate stress-related telomere shortening.
  5. Lastly, but 100% not least; get your sleep. Most individuals need 7+ hours of sleep to fully allow the mind to recover from the tasks of the day as well as the body’s much-needed maintenance. Schedule your sleep and stick to it, you will be much healthier, happier, and more productive.

There you have it, 5 very practical solutions as to how you can elongate those telomeres and delay the onset of poor health related to aging!

Huge thank you to the sources of this information, first and foremost, the book cited earlier- “The Telomere Effect” by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel. Next, to Brian Johnson of Optimize who provided an in-depth summary of the book, helping with the condensation of the information. If you have not checked out Optimize and are someone who loves learning and developing; go get it now and thank me later.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please leave a comment below or email us at either thirdeyeperformance@gmail.com or chaplukperformance@gmail.com