By Laanna Carrasco
If you're going to Biosignature for the first time you need a strategy for getting the most out of the enormous wealth of information presented by Charles. At Biosignature, both the basics and the intricate details of how to get a biological signature of a client is packed into forty hours over five days, and you can imagine that it is easy to become overwhelmed or miss out on key points. All the principle elements of the Biosignature program are interrelated and have a direct affect on each other, meaning that if you get one part wrong or miss out on a key element, you won't have the tools you need to make the greatest impact on your clients health and body composition. Don't be scared off by this!
You don't need to remember and be able to apply every single thing Charles touches on, but you do need to have a strong understanding of the larger principles that shape Biosignature. Think of the Biosignature learning process as happening in layers. You need to acquire the first layer of information made up of overall principles before you can understand layer two. This way, when you do get to layers two and three you’ll be that much better equipped to use Biosignature to change people’s lives.
Be aware that the most important principles will be presented in the PowerPoints during the lecture and summarized in the material given to you at Biosignature. You don’t need to write the PowerPoint down because it’s in the binder you get. Charles will also discuss these key principles in detail in the lectures. It is valuable to have some strategies for approaching your first class in order to successfully acquire that first layer of information and be able to apply those principles. Here are ten tips for getting the very most out of Biosignature, written by a first time attendee. If you follow and apply these strategies you'll be on the road to making your clients leaner, happier, and yourself wealthier (and hopefully leaner and happier too).
1. Listen and apply all instructions related to taking body fat measurements with the calipers.
Taking body fat is the most important skill you can learn at Biosignature, and it is definitely critical if you want to apply the overall Biosignature model with clients and use the software. Don't slack when Charles gives you time to practice measuring body fat. Pay attention and try to improve every time. Don't ask your partners personal questions or chit chat. Yes, it may be awkward to be in a room with half naked people you don't know grabbing their skin and body fat, but don't worry. Everyone is doing it. Learning to measure body fat correctly will shape every successful diagnosis and protocol you will perform.
Make sure you order the best calipers available—Charles highly recommends Harpenden Calipers, which can be ordered in the U.S. from Mediflex and other companies internationally. Just do an internet search for “Harpenden” or order them from Mediflex
. Yes, these calipers are pricy, but they are essential for making Biosignature work, and Charles will tell you at class that all others are a waste of money.
I can't stress the importance enough of learning to take body fat correctly. Charles says it takes 4000 practice measurements to really perfect the technique, but he also says that after five days, you will be 90 percent better.
Takeaway: Be on your game when it comes to learning to take body fat measurements.
2. Read as much as you can in advance about nutrition and supplements from Charles's web site.
The web site is an excellent tool to prepare you for Biosignature because the majority of the principles covered in the class have an article about them on the site. This doesn't mean that you'll be effective at Biosignature by reading everything on his site. Rather, you'll have a general understanding going into Biosignature about the key supplements and how they interact with the neuroendocrine system to affect your cells, hormone receptors, your brain, and every single part of your body.
Another reason attending Biosignature is critical to apply the system is that if you don't attend, you won't learn how to take body fat Charles's way. He has developed his protocols based on his ability to measure body fat correctly, meaning that if you are doing it wrong, your measurements will be off, and Biosignature will be useless to you.
Charles will tell you in class that he is a consultant for several federal organizations because the honchos over there know that his ability to test body fat with calipers is one of the best in the world. He's actually had his ability to take body fat measured by comparing his readings to DEXA scans, and he’s right on.
Takeaway: Read everything you can from the web site to prepare for Biosignature and to begin to acquire that first layer of knowledge.
3. Identify a target a population to which you hope to apply Biosignature.
Be clear about what part of your client base Biosignature may be helpful for. If you're not attending for professional reasons, have an understanding of what you might like to do with the protocols and material. Are you interested in applying them to yourself, your kids, your, parents and grandparents, someone who is pregnant, men, women?
Identifying a target population can be helpful because although Charles teaches to a general audience, protocols do vary based on sex, ethnicity, where you live, whether you're pregnant, and children versus adults and the elderly. Having an idea of your target population can help you begin to integrate and apply the information you are learning. For example, there will be a lecture on topical creams, which can be beneficial for everyone but are particularly important for athletes, especially professionals. Or, Charles will talk about protocols for kids, with examples or case studies from his own life, which can be helpful because you know he's actually used them with good results.
Takeaway: Identify a target population to guide your attention and learning in class.
4. Pay attention to the Top Ten and be prepared for a long day.
Eight hours (or six-and-a-half minus lunch) is a long day. It's so much information that you will get tired and need water and food for breaks. Take note that there are breaks every hour. Actually, about every 40 to 55 minutes, Charles will give a brief break. Get up and walk around. Extended sitting leads to less glucose uptake and poorer insulin health and Charles lives by this. He knows the brain works better when you move.
Also, Charles will do a top ten recap before each break in which he will ask the class to list the ten most important points from the recently covered principles. Listen to the top ten! It is provided by volunteers in class so it may not be right on in terms of the most important points of the last hour, but it will usually encompass critical issues to focus on.
Charles says that we only retain about 10 percent of information presented in a class, which is why summaries and recaps are helpful and critical. They help you identify the essential points, and when a recap is done in an open forum like a class, you get to hear points you missed but other people picked up on.
Takeaway: Pay attention to the top ten recaps and be prepared for a long day.
5. Review notes and key points with classmates each day.
Make friends, or at least first-timer buddies with classmates, and review notes and top ten recaps. Reviewing with colleagues is an excellent place to ask questions and discuss topics you don’t completely understand because undoubtedly your classmates will pick up on things you missed. Or they may have a background in an area that you are not familiar with.
Making friends with repeat Biosignature attendees is a great strategy as well because they will have attended the course and applied it in their business or life and can provide valuable insight. Of course every class may not have repeat attendees so this tip is harder to execute.
Takeaway: Review material with and ask questions of colleagues in class.
6. Don't argue with Charles.
Charles knows what he is talking about—if he doesn’t' feel 100 percent confident about a topic he won't talk about it. He has research and experience to back everything up. By the middle of day two you will believe that this man knows what he's talking about, not only from extensive professional experience but from research that supports his principles.
There will always be another opinion out there that contradicts Charles's protocols, and it will probably be accepted by the mainstream health and fitness community and perpetuated by the media. That doesn’t matter. That is why you are attending Biosignature. You know that the media and mainstream are wrong and misguided and you want to know the truth. If you want to argue with Charles don't come to Biosignature.
Takeaway: Don’t waste time arguing. If you don’t agree, do your own research and apply that to help yourself be a better Biosignature practitioner. Charles may even be interested if you’ve done your research.
7. Try to only ask questions that are on topic.
Charles will announce this at the beginning of class, and he doesn’t answer off topic questions. If you ask an off topic question he will tell you when it is going to be discussed (as in how wearing sunglasses affects the body's ability to make vitamin D will be covered on Friday), or that your question doesn't relate to Biosignature but is covered in PICP 2, for example.
If Charles doesn’t know something he will tell you that too. He doesn’t make up crap.
Takeaway: Stay on topic when you ask questions.
8. Don't ask questions for the sake of asking questions.
Charles will probably not answer your question if it's not well thought out and related to the topic at hand. Don't be scared off by this because there are great questions you can ask and not nearly everything is covered in the classes. And, yes, if you ask a dumb question, Charles will tell you. But it will pass and you'll probably learn something in the process—how to organize your thoughts better to get to the root of what you really need to know.
To illustrate, here’s a quote from the New York Biosignature following a nervous student asking a question: “If you ask a dumb question, I will fed-ex you some bananas. That is not a fed-exing bananas question.”
Takeaway: Don't ask questions for the sake of asking questions.
9. Don't get distracted from the facts by Charles's stories and jokes.
Charles tells great stories and the class will laugh a lot because he has fun when teaching. Enjoy these parts of class, but don't get distracted from the content at hand. When he's talking about insulin—focus on the facts and write down the points that will help you apply the principles. Don't write down the jokes or stories unless you think they will help you utilize the information. DO make the connection between the point of the story and the topic at hand because it will help you use the concept to a better degree.
Don't take the jokes seriously. Charles tells jokes to make you laugh, make you feel good and target your happy brain receptors. Everything is meant in fun. Don't take it personally.
Takeaway: Laugh at the jokes but keep your mind on the principles. Don’t get distracted.
10. Don't get discouraged.
Even if you have read everything on Charles's web site and are somewhat familiar with Biosignature, you may feel discouraged by your lack of knowledge and own diet and supplement habits. Relax, nobody’s perfect and you are in class to learn. It's not too late to make changes. Yes, you may have been exposing yourself to parabens in your shampoo and sun screen, and you may always go for fat-free milk and yogurt, or you may be a vegetarian and live off of tofu. Or you may be horribly deficient in vitamin D, or you may be taking Centrum or Walmart brand fish oil. Dumbass!
But don't worry, now's the time to change. Now's the time to start from the beginning and clean up your diet to Poliquin standards (yeah, I know you may already be "clean", but after you come to Biosignature for the first time you'll probably feel like a toxic swamp).
Takeaway: Don't get discouraged by the wealth of information or the poor state of your own health and diet. Charles's goal is to have you in optimal condition so that you have the body of an elite athlete, if not the skill.