In this episode you’ll learn… about Danny Holzman and Halo Sport, plus…
- How Halo Neurosciences came to be.
- What the technology behind the Halo Sport is.
- Who’s using the product.
- How the Halo Sport can help you get better faster.
- How to get a big discount.
- And much, much more.
Here’s the video if you’d prefer to watch :-).
The Halo Sport has been technology that I’ve wanted to try for many years, so I’m incredibly excited to be using the Halo Sport myself, and get to interview Danny Holzman of Halo Neurosciences about how all of this crazy tech works.
Get $250 off the Halo Sport with code ALLAROUNDJOE
Here’s the full interview transcript
Joe Bauer: Hey, Danny. How’s it going today?
Danny Holzman: Good. Good. Thanks for having me, Joe.
Joe Bauer: Yeah. I’m excited to have you on the podcast here. I’ve been interested with the Halo products for a long time and I’m excited to dive into it with you. But before we even get into the product, man, I want to know about you a little bit. Like, what’s your story? What’s your background?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. So, I grew up in Chicago suburbs. You know, I was always fascinated in science all throughout school. It wasn’t until I got to Cal Berkeley for college where I really fell in love with studying the brain, pretty early into my college career. And as I kind of went through college, I got more and more fascinated with specifically ways in which we can help the brain function better.
Joe Bauer: Nice.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, I joined the Halo team three years ago on the research team. So, when I joined Halo, it was very much a research lab, testing, brain stimulation, and then once we actually developed a product for the world to see, I have transitioned to more of the partnership side. So, I get to work with the elite level athletes and organizations and teams and military and help them get the most out of the product.
Joe Bauer: Very cool. Are you an athlete? Or how did that connect with the brain science? Like, what made you so interested in it?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Always a huge fan of sports.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: I still play a lot of sports myself. I never played at the professional or collegiate level, but yeah. Always been a huge fan and a very active person to myself.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Very cool. So, what is Halo Neuroscience, first? Even before the product, like, what is Halo Neuroscience?
Danny Holzman: Yes. So, Halo, broadly speaking, is a neurostimulation company.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: So, I guess I’ll give you a little bit of background on the company. It was founded in 2013 by Dr. Daniel Chao and Brett Wingeier, and this is actually their second neurostimulation company. So, their first is called NeuroPace, and it’s a pretty heavy duty medical device. So, it requires brain surgery implanting an electrode into the brain of epileptic patients, and what it can do is actually detect and stop a seizure from happening.
Joe Bauer: Wow.
Danny Holzman: So, yeah, incredibly, incredibly powerful stuff. And for them, they really saw how powerful brain stimulation can really be.
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Danny Holzman: The problem being, the whole invasive part of it. That it required brain surgery, it required implanting this electrode into a brain, which you know, most people don’t want to do and all of the healthy population isn’t gonna do.
Joe Bauer: Right.
Danny Holzman: So, that was really the goal in mind with starting Halo Neuroscience is how can we bring the powers of brain stimulation to the entire world, to healthy and impaired. So, in 2013, they started this company specifically around non-invasive brain stimulation. And it again was very much a research lab at the start. So, no product in mind, just testing this technology and seeing where the benefits could be, and it wasn’t until we saw very, very strong results in helping people acquire movements that we developed the product Halo Sport, the one that you see today.
Joe Bauer: Okay. So, you guys didn’t necessarily know or Halo Neuroscience didn’t necessarily know what they were going to be doing with the technology, necessarily.
Danny Holzman: Exactly. Yeah. I think that’s pretty different from most companies, that this company was actually founded without a product in mind. If you asked Dan and Brett when they started this company, and I think there’s no way they would have said that we would’ve been in the world of athletics. So, yeah. It kind of just turned out that way based on the data that we were seeing and the research.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And then, how did that tipping point happen where it was like, alright. You know, this could be really cool for being able to shoot a basketball better or whatnot and then, let’s test that.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, you know, looking back on the research we were doing was much more like, in the weeds kind of scientific research. You know, looking at muscle activity and things as simple as improving someone’s pitch strength. But for us, we were like, “Okay. What we’re doing is helping people learn movements faster. Who are the people that care about movement the most?” And that’s really the people that we created a product for. You know, the athletes of the world, military personnel, musicians, again everyone who’s gonna care about improving movement.
Joe Bauer: Sure. And did the founders have a passion for that? Like, I’m still trying to figure out how that really connected in. Was it just like, “Hey. What are we gonna do with this research and A it goes to sport or movement.” Or, “We really like this and it would be cool to have a product that makes us better at what we’re doing.” You know?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. They’re both definitely enthusiastic about sports themselves. So, both Dan and Brett are big time cyclists. So, yeah. I don’t think it’s totally a coincidence that that’s the route that it went at first. But again, more than anything, it was just, we were seeing very strong and reliable data with stimulation the part of the brain that’s responsible for movements. So, it made sense for the place to start. It was, we keep seeing good results, so why not create a product around that?
Joe Bauer: Yeah. Absolutely. And that leads us into, what is the product? Tell me about that.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. So, Halo Sport looks like a pair of headphones. It is a pair of headphones. You know, it kind of looks like Beats by Dre would look.
Joe Bauer: Sure.
Danny Holzman: Really, the reason for that is because we need to get electrodes to the top of the head because the part of the brain that is there is the motor cortex. The motor cortex is the strip of the brain that’s gonna go right in between your ears, right at the top of your head. And it’s the part of the brain that controls your movements. It’s the part that is responsible for both learning movement as well as executing movement and sends signals down through your spinal cord. The spinal cord then sends signals to your muscles and tells your body how to move.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: So, yeah. You know, people see the headphones, they often ask, like, “Why the headphones?” And honestly, it’s because it’s the best vehicle to get electrodes right on the top of your head here.
Joe Bauer: Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. And a little bit further, what would happen if somebody had a dysfunctional motor cortex? Or like, what is the motor cortex a little bit more and how does that actually stimulate? Let’s get into the science of it a little bit, if you’re cool with that.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. No. Definitely. So, yeah. So again, the motor cortex is a pretty physical part of your brain. People think the brain and they often think about like, focus and attention and getting pumped up and in the zone. The motor cortex actually has very little to do with that. It’s much more about building circuitry that’s gonna teach your body how to move. And everything from very complex movements to something as simple as just gripping your hand … everything having to do with your muscles starts with the motor cortex and it signals down.
Danny Holzman: So, to get into the science of what Halo’s actually doing, so the technology that we employ is called transcranial direct current stimulation, TDCS for short ’cause it’s a mouthful. And that’s been a research tool for quite some time, for about 20 years or so, it’s been really picking up in the research world. And what it does is it’s basically just sending a small amount of electric currents, direct electric currents, to the brain. So, it is a very small amount of electric current, but enough that can actually get past the skin and past the skull and place an electric field over the part of the brain that you’re trying to improve. What’s really cool about using stimulation is it can be very specific on the type of behavior, the type of perception, the type of movement that we’re trying to control.
Joe Bauer: Sure. And so, why does electrical stimulation on that part of the brain actually make my motor cortex work better?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, your brain is electric itself. It’s the language of the brain; it’s how the brain communicates and builds connections is through electricity, which means it’s also quite sensitive to electricity. So, a small electric field actually allows neurons to fire more easily. Basically, it’s exciting the neurons of the part of the brain that you’re stimulating, and then what that’s able to do is allow neurons to then build circuitry with each other more easily and that is the whole process of learning.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And is there a specific signal rate or something that’s going on there? I know I’m saying this wrong, but you know, or could we just take some electrical charge and just put in on our head and it would stimulate … you know what I mean?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. So, it is a specific current, so it’s on the upper end of what Halo Sports can output. It’s slightly over two milliamps of electricity, which probably doesn’t mean that much to people, but it is a very small amount, but it has been found to be a very safe and very effective amount to actually get to the brain.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. And as I’m reading through this, and I’ve been using the product myself obviously and I’m a huge nerd as it comes to technology and trying to improve and get the most out of my training. And so, I’m hanging out at the gym wearing the product and having other athletes asking, “What’s it doing to you?” And I’m like, “Well, they say that it creates this hyperplasticity.”
Danny Holzman: Yeah.
Joe Bauer: And they’re like, “Plastic?” And I’m like, “Yeah.”
Danny Holzman: Right.
Joe Bauer: So, what is hyperplasticity, exactly?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. So, I’ll back up a little bit and first just talk about neuroplasticity.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: So, this has been a topic that you know, it’s pretty hot right now. I think people often talk about this idea that your brain is plastic and basically what it means is that your brain has this awesome ability to change and adapt and to learn new things based on its experiences in the world. So, this is the basis of learning anything: from learning a Math formula to learning a foreign language to learning movements is all because your brain has this ability to change and adapt. So, every time that we’re training, we’re always doing that to teach our brain the movements that we want to learn. Hyperplasticity is this state that’s gonna be this heightened level of ability to change and adapt. So, that’s really what Halo is doing: it’s allowing neurons to fire more easily, which means that the circuitry that the brain needs to build can actually build easier in a faster rate.
Joe Bauer: Okay. I don’t know if you know the answer to this, but like, what is actually happening when the brain is changing itself? It is just that it’s making more interesting connections, or is there actually tissue being built in the brain? What’s going on in there? Do you know?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, this can get pretty complicated, but so, I guess, there’s two parts to it. One is building new connections. So, I guess, this is a metaphor to use and it definitely simplifies things a little bit, but let’s say that you’re learning a new movement, so one I like to always think of is riding a bike ’cause everyone can think back to that moment of riding a bike. And that movement felt so impossible at first and the reason for that is there was no connection between the neurons that needed a connection. And so, basically, the way I think of it is that there’s basically a forest in between these two neurons. And in order to learn the movement, we need to create some sort of path between those neurons. So, as we continue to practice that skill, continue to practice riding the bike, we start to build this connection between those neurons until all of a sudden, it clicks, and that’s when there’s that connection that’s being built. And as we get better and better at it, that connection gets stronger and stronger. So, that’s a very roundabout way of explaining this idea of learning plasticity.
Danny Holzman: But what’s actually happening is what’s called … it’s at the synapse of the neurons. So, neurons talk to each other by sending signals through a synapse, which is basically just a little gap between neurons. And so, the actual process of learning all happens through this synapse, is that one neuron is sending signals to the the neuron and that neuron then needs to be able to recognize that signal and then do its own thing.
Joe Bauer: Cool. Cool. I’m jumping back into my kinesthesiology degree here with all of these terms. It’s awesome. I love it. Let’s step into how the product is actually used. So like, let’s say you walk into the gym. A lot of my listeners are crossfit athletes or triathletes or something like that. What do they do?
Danny Holzman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- Yeah. So, a neurostimulation session, or we call it a neuro priming session, is just for 20 minutes long. So, most athletes will use this as a warm-up tool. They’ll use it for 20 minutes right before their training session. So maybe they’re stretching, they’re doing some light agilities, they’re using a foam roller or something like that. And the key is that that 20 minutes is gonna put your brain in this hyperplastic state for a one-hour window afterwards. So, after the 20 minute session, you can take the headset off, and your brain’s gonna stay in this state for one hour after. So, that’s really they key is that we need to take advantage of that hour window and really feed our brain quality repetitions right afterwards.
Joe Bauer: Okay. So, quality repetitions … I guess we need to do a couple things. First, you don’t necessarily have to have the headset on when you’re doing the important stuff. It’s-
Danny Holzman: Exactly.
Joe Bauer: … essentially turning it on so that you can take off the headset and then do the muscle up practice or do the snatch practice or the metcon even. Right?
Danny Holzman: Exactly. Yeah. Which is great because a lot of movements are uncomfortable to be wearing a headset during, because some are impossible. We work with swimmers who can’t go in the pool with a headset on. But, yeah. As long as you’re wearing it right before your training session, you’re still gonna get the effects during.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And is there any benefit to, like, let’s say, if you have … your day starts off and you’re doing a whole bunch of snatches or muscle extra complicated movements and it’s gonna be, man, let’s say you do it for an hour and you start off with ramping up your training with the headset on and then, as the 20 minutes pass, you take it off. And is there any benefit to actually having that on as you’re starting to move? Or should it be like, “Oh. I walked in the gym. I’m gonna take it really easy as I’m doing that.”
Danny Holzman: Yeah. That’s a really good question. So, your brain does get into the hyperplastic state relatively quickly, about three minutes into the stimulation session.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: So, it’s not that important to be doing movements. Again, the key is just that you want to be able to get right into training right when the 20 minutes is up. So, if you have a normal kind of warm-up routine, that’s perfect to be doing while wearing the headset, so that way, you don’t have to do your warm-up routine when you take the headset off. But, yeah. Again, most of the athletes I work with are doing more of their warm-up routine and not really working too much on the repetitions they’re really focused on for the day.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. And then, that brings me to the second part of the question that I was thinking of, is how clean does the movement have to be in order for this to work properly? I mean, you give the picture for us of like, creating the trail through the trees. What happens if my movement is crap? Then, does it create the wrong path through the trees, a really long way?
Danny Holzman: Right. No. It’s a great question. That’s absolutely right. Like, what we’re doing is not magic. We’re not just magically making these movements better. All we’re doing is allowing your brain to learn the repetitions faster, which means it’s even more important that the repetitions you’re doing are quality repetitions.
Joe Bauer: Right.
Danny Holzman: So, yeah. I mean, you know, people need to keep that in mind and really make sure that when they’re using Halo Sport, they’re gonna be really focused during that training session and really thoughtful about their movements.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Interesting. So, that means that, really got to be careful with that as well. Yeah.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. The way I think about it too though is, that’s true about training anyways. If you go into training and you’re practicing something incorrectly, you’re gonna be learning that incorrectly. So, no one should be doing that anyways, but you are right that we’re just accelerating the rate at which you learn these movements. And so, if you’re not thoughtful about them, we’re ingraining improper movement as well.
Joe Bauer: Awesome. Yeah. So essentially, get really good coaching, then apply the technology, and then that should hopefully move you in the right direction.
Danny Holzman: Exactly.
Joe Bauer: Cool. What kind of results are crossfit athletes seeing with this that you can share?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So for me, crossfit’s such a cool sport to be involved in just because it requires being a full athlete, which means strength and explosiveness and endurance and flexibility. And it just, across the board, it’s everything that has to do with an athlete. And what’s cool about that is Halo can help just about all of those aspects of an athlete.
Joe Bauer: Cool.
Danny Holzman: So, it really does depend a lot on what the person is trying to improve. You know, I think I always go to the strength gain just because you can put them into a number and it’s very easy to track, but we’ve seen incredible results in improving people’s strength and power, really across the board whether that’s through squats or through snatch, whatever it might be. Our athletes have been … they claim that they’ve been PR-ing at a much faster rate than they’ve been expecting.
Joe Bauer: Cool. And let’s say for example that I am good at strength, but my endurance component or my quote unquote metcon as we call it in crossfit isn’t as good, so I’m still gonna do my strength component, but it might be over, you know, that’s the first 30 minutes and then I’m going to set myself up for … actually, let’s call the strength an hour just so that it elongates it a little bit. But then, I’m gonna be doing a 30 minute metcon after that, and that’s the point or the component that I really want to improve upon because maybe my endurance sucks or just something about it, I’m not as good in that component of crossfit. Would you then recommend that I waited to do the Halo work before the metcon?
Danny Holzman: Exactly. Exactly.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, we work with a ton of athletes who are doing just that, right? That their day is not simply one strength session. And so, that’s right. So, the only limitation is you can use Halo once a day. So, you have to figure at which part of the day are you really focused on improving most.
Joe Bauer: Interesting.
Danny Holzman: And so, what you just said is exactly how people are using it, is they are thinking about what they really want to improve. Maybe it’s what they’re weakest at right now, they really need to get over this hump, and they’re figuring out when to incorporate it in their day that way.
Joe Bauer: Interesting. Okay. And then, I guess, the next question is, when you’re looking at the app and you’re setting up what you’re gonna do for the day, it says … refresh my memory. There’s like, legs and arms, and then there’s some more hands and fingers. Is that what it is?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, the consumer app is broken up into … there’s three different options. There’s a hands and fingers option, and then there’s more of a full body. We call it the legs, core and arms session. And yeah, I guess to explain this a little bit more, your motor cortex is basically a map of your body. So, depending on where we send the stimulation, we can improve different areas of training. So, for most athletes, they’ll use the legs, core and arm session which means we’re sending stimulation right to the very center of your brain. For the hands and fingers option, that’s used mostly by musicians. You know, some athletes that are really working on grip strength, or you know, maybe a pitcher working on specific finger movements to hold a ball. But we’re just changing the location of the stimulation. So, the hands and fingers area of the brain is gonna be more here so we can change the stimulation.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Yeah. So, you said that you should only be using it once a day, and I was watching some videos as I was doing research for talking with you, and there was a guy on there that was doing some strength training, but he also said he used it for using this keyboard. And I know a lot of people that are still hunting and pecking or whatever they call it, and I’m like, “Man. That would be cool if I could type faster, then I could put it on there. But, I’d have to prioritize that on a day that I wasn’t necessarily gonna do my workout, ’cause that would be the priority.”
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. And we say, wait, like, eight hours. The app will actually give you a soft lockout and will tell you to wait for eight hours in between simulation sessions.
Joe Bauer: Interesting.
Danny Holzman: And the reason really just being, you get diminishing returns, so you know, similar to why you wouldn’t lift weights three times in day is just because you’re not gonna get much out of it in the second and third session. It’s a similar idea here is that simulating your brain within that eight hour window actually won’t alter, it won’t modulate the neuron activity.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. And jumping into a thought that came up is that how long has the research been going on? And I know that obviously, some people are gonna ask, “Well, is there anything that I have to worry about as far as safety of the unit goes?” So, can you explain that a little bit?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, I know I’ve mentioned this quickly earlier, but TDCS has been studied pretty robustly now for a little over 20 years. So, yeah. I mean, I guess I’ll first answer the kind of research that’s being done. And yeah. You can look back in like, 20 years when the research really started to pick up, and also really like, high quality research being done, too. So, the US Military was very early on to testing this and improving sniper training and pilot training. So, yeah. The research that’s being done is kind of all over the board. It’s definitely improving the motor stuff that I think Halo is doing a really good job at driving, but also testing things about improving cognition and helping more general aspects of learning and memory. And that just means stimulating different parts of the brain. So, there’s a whole bunch of research, a bunch really awesome results.
Danny Holzman: The other side of it is on the medical space, so TDCS actually initially was developed to treat depression and mood disorders as well as improve things like stroke rehab, helping people re-learn how to move after some drastic injuries. So, that’s where a lot of the research is heading right now. I think that’s where Halo is definitely hoping to go as well. And I think that also kind of leads into the safety stuff.
Danny Holzman: So, this has been tested on thousands and thousands of subjects at this point with no safety concerns. You know, more conceptually speaking, your brain, as I mentioned before, is an electric organ itself. The amount of electricity that Halo is delivering to the brain is tiny compared to what it produces on its own. So, there’s no reason to think that it would be harmful in any way and the results would agree with that.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. And so, you mentioned that you would use it once a day, pretty much in an eight hour period. I know that a lot of things that we do, including like, when we stimulate the body to gain strength and things like that, we go on and off cycles of it. Is there such a thing with this type of stimulation where you’re like, “Man. It works the best if you’re always doing it, or if you’re doing it like three months on, one month off.” Or, is there any kind of research that shows that kind of data?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, I can’t really point to research that’s showing that, but that is exactly what I recommend people to do is phase this in and out of training like you would normally phase your training. So, if you’re really ramping up and really pushing on strength gains, perfect time to be using Halo. If it’s more about recovery an resting and this cycle, then you’re not gonna get so much out of Halo, so it’s okay to take it off. I think what most crossfit athletes find is that there’s always something that they’re working on. So, if they’re not pushing their strength gains, then they’re working on something on the gymnastics side or something on the endurance side. I feel like that’s a group that is pretty much always using Halo, just because even when they back off on one side, there’s this other area they keep working on.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And would that work, or would it be more advantageous to take the three months on, one month off or whatever your cycle is if you’re switching up what you’re doing, right? You know, like you said with the crossfitter, it could be like, “Yeah. I want to spend three months or even two months or whatever focusing on improving my back squat and deadlift, like, my overall pulling strength or whatever it may be, and then I’m going to switch into more metcon stimulation or gymnastics.” Would that change in the style of training actually do for kind of the off period? Does that make sense?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, I think what you’re kind of getting at here is like, does your brain get used to stimulation and do you require-
Joe Bauer: Exactly.
Danny Holzman: … more stimulation to keep up? And that’s not actually the case. Your brain stays sensitive to the stimulation. So, in that sense, then there’s no reason to take off for three months.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Gotcha.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. I guess what I was saying before is more so, like, if you’re really not working on pushing gains, if it’s more about recovering before a competition, not so much of a reason to use Halo there. You’re not really working on learning new things, not really working on pushing strength gains, then take the time off there.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Got it. Very cool. Well, that’s cool then that you can continue to stimulate your brain and it just stays sensitive to that. Gotcha. Do you have any athletes that are in crossfit that are big names that have had cool results with this and that are thinking that this is technology everybody should be using?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. So, Kari Pearce, Camille Leblanc, Sam Dancer, Kristin Holte, are some of the bigger athletes that are using Halo. I think they would all swear by the results that they have seen kind of across the board. So, you know, I think we’ve been talking about this a lot, but one of my favorite use cases is what Kristin does. And this is more just about like, how she goes about training in general, but she’ll look at what she’s weakest at in the moment and make it a point to make that a strength of hers. So, the example that she gives me is like, she really struggled with muscle ups, so then, for her, she was like, “I need to make muscle ups one of my strengths.” That’s just kind of how she goes about training, which is a perfect use case for Halo, right? Find what you’re stuck on, you just can’t figure out a movement somehow, and let’s teach the brain to learn that movement faster.
Joe Bauer: Right. Very cool. Very cool. Let’s see. I’ve noticed that when I’m using it and I actually just thought of this, does the amplitude matter?
Danny Holzman: Very slightly. So, the app, as you’ve probably noticed, there’s a range from a one to a 10 in amplitude.
Joe Bauer: Yeah.
Danny Holzman: What that actually is is about one milliamp to two milliamps of electric current. That whole range is functional. We give people the choice of where they want to put it more so for comfort because it does feel different at different levels. The higher you go, the slightly more you get out of it, but it’s not very drastic. That whole range is functional.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Interesting. Yeah. ‘Cause I’ve been … so people know, when you get up and you start the 20 minutes, it puts it on five, right, is the default setting.
Danny Holzman: Yeah.
Joe Bauer: And I don’t know. I’m like, “Well, it’s cool if I can feel it more”, so I always jack up the amplitude ’cause you know, if I can feel something, then maybe I’m convincing my brain that it’s working more. So, I’m getting more of a placebo effect.
Danny Holzman: Totally. We hear that all the time. Yeah. It’s like, people want to feel something. It’s part of the reason they do … I’d say 80% of our athletes ramp it up to a 10. I hear that all the time.
Joe Bauer: Really?
Danny Holzman: Yeah.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. So, not so weird then, I guess.
Danny Holzman: Yeah.
Joe Bauer: Do you have a … you know, we’ve got these top athletes we’ve talked about that are awesome that are using it. I’ve been using it; I’ve seen some strength gains in the first few weeks that I’ve been using it. I think I came across in my research that it said that you might see more or less depending how trained you are. Is there any truth to that?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Definitely. So, especially looking at like, how … we often get the question like, “How often do I have to use this until I see results?” And that depends a lot on the level of expertise. So, we’ve actually seen improvements in a single session with more the average Joe.
Joe Bauer: Sure.
Danny Holzman: If you’re an elite athlete, you just have less room to grow. You’re already closer to your athletic potential, so it’s gonna take a little bit longer until you really notice a difference or see a difference. So, for elite level athletes, we would say give it about two weeks’ time until we would be confident that you would notice a difference.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And let’s say, for example, you say, two weeks’ time and they’re trying to improve their muscle up. Like, let’s say, Kristin is trying to improve her muscle up. Do you recommend like, “Hey. Do this three times a week for that muscle up for two weeks?” ‘Cause sometimes in crossfit, you might see a muscle up in your training program maybe once a week, maybe less, but if you’re really trying to improve that, have you seen any kind of repetition that should happen?
Danny Holzman: Definitely. So, that’s the key really, is like, repetition-based training is the key to what we can improve. So, I would say that is important. If you’re really focused on improving a specific exercise, you should make it a point to practice that exercise pretty often. That’s more for like, specific movements. If we’re talking about like, let’s improve our lower body strength, as a broad statement, I think it changes a little bit and then we can use it in really any type of session that we’re going about that’s going to be working on lower body strength. But, yeah. I think you’re right. They key is repetition, so you should make it a point to really do that repetition over and over.
Joe Bauer: Okay. Cool. And do you guys have any kind of tests that you’ve told people to do? I know that this is not necessarily a cheap product, but it’s something that can work and people want to see that it works, you know? And I know that like, when I’ve done certain things before certain testing with even supplements, they’ll be like, “Alright. I want you to do 500 meter row and then I want you to practice this X many amount of times and then this is where we’re gonna see the result.” So, if you had somebody that’s like, super skeptical, what would you tell them to test and how would you set that up?
Danny Holzman: Right. Right. I mean, to back up a little, like, what we do in our research lab is like, very rigorous science, right? Like, we’ll take large groups of people, give half of them the placebo stimulation, half of them the real stimulation, and look at improvements over two to three weeks’ time and that’s how we orally prove out that what we’re doing is working. But, you’re absolutely right. The challenge when we get to the real world is that people want to see these improvements and it becomes sometimes challenging when we’re talking about a quote unquote study with one person.
Joe Bauer: Sure.
Danny Holzman: Not like an ad equals one study, so how do we really see improvements that are more than the improvements that we’d expect to see anyways.
Joe Bauer: Yup. Yup.
Danny Holzman: So, I think the biggest things that I always recommend is number one, is just have a baseline. Know where you are before you start using a product like Halo. And two, is like, look at some historical data on yourself. See how much you’ve improved over the last three weeks or maybe, if you’re more of an elite athlete, you can look like, a year ago from today, when I was in a very similar cycle, how much was I improving?
Joe Bauer: Sure.
Danny Holzman: And then, changing nothing except for adding Halo to your routine, what am I now improving? So, what we’re really looking for is acceleration in learning movement or strength. So, yeah. So, we definitely ask people to look back on their progress over time and compare their current progress to that.
Joe Bauer: Okay. And is there any kind of like, I know that training is a lot of your mindset going into the training. Does the stimulation of the motor cortex have anything … is there anything going on there? Does that make sense?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Not so much. So, I’ll be honest and say that we’ll hear all the time that people feel focused and more alert and more attentive to what they’re doing. Maybe there is something there. We don’t really think so because again, the motor cortex isn’t really the part of the brain that’s gonna be responsible for that kind of thought. So, yeah. Whether that’s something really there or whether it’s some placebo effect there, I think what is real is that, you know, especially with our more elite level athletes, they have a very, very good sense of their body. You know, their career has been built around their body, so they have a very good sense of where they’re at. So, we hear things from them, and as soon as one session, saying that it felt different. They felt like they had more control over their muscles. They felt like they were getting through their warm up more quickly. And what I believe is, it’s that kind of stuff that then people associate with more focus and more attentiveness when it’s really more so of this physical effect that we’re having.
Joe Bauer: Yeah. Absolutely. And I find that like, even if it’s placebo, you know, I’m watching people that have gotten results with the Halo Sport and I’m thinking, “Alright. I should be getting results as well.” So now that I’m using it, I’m getting this placebo effect or even like, I’m stimulating my own intensity for that because of what I’ve seen other people do. So, if the science is there that it’s actually working and then I’m convincing myself that it should be working, and then you go into a workout, then it ends up working. And like, an example that just yesterday, I PR-ed my front squat and I’ve been training for a long time. So, that doesn’t happen very often. And I believe that I had worn the Halo in my warm up, and part of it was that I did think, “Oh. Well, I’m using this, so I should be getting better.” And then, I went into it expecting to be better and basically it helps the planets align a little bit.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. Yeah. I mean no doubt that placebo effect is working in our favor. But again, that’s the exact stuff that we’re controlling for in our own studies. So, all of the studies that we run, again, we give half the population something that’s called sham stimulation, so it tickles the head similar to what TDCS feels like, but it doesn’t actually send enough stimulation to get through the skull. So, those people think they’re getting the real thing. So, in a similar way that you just said, they kind of pump themselves up. They’re expecting these improvements, but that’s exactly what we’re controlling for.
Joe Bauer: Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, very cool stuff, Danny. Is there anything else that we haven’t really talked about that you talk about with athletes or whatever on a regular basis that you think that we missed that we should bring up?
Danny Holzman: Not so much. I think the way that I like to frame like, largely speaking, what Halo is doing is just addressing building in athletes through the neurological perspective. So, when we think that everything that an athlete does, you know, they’re eating correctly, they’re sleeping right, they’re thinking about their muscles, there’s like the psychological component where they know they need to be focused and getting pumped up before competition and all that. But, neurologically speaking, like, how the brain is learning movements is something that’s often just ignored, I think. I think people understand that it’s really important, but they’re not talking about how to optimize it. So, I guess, just again, just broadly speaking, that’s where we see Halo fitting into this big picture of building an athlete is through the neurological aspect of the brain.
Joe Bauer: Yeah. It seems like it’s impossible for us to think that we can do anything without getting our brain involved in the whole process.
Danny Holzman: Right.
Joe Bauer: Last question here: is there a specific athlete or range of experience level that you think the Halo sport is better for? So, if someone’s like, listening or watching this do, and they’ve been doing crossfit or some sort of sport for a couple of months versus a few years versus are they intermediate, advanced … does that matter at all? Or like, who are you targeting?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. It’s a great question and I get it all the time. You know, I think there’s kind of two different areas here. Like, one is where we can really help people improve a lot quicker and a lot better is the amateur athletes. So, if people really care about still improving and they have a lot of room to improve, we can help accelerate that very quickly. So, I think that’s one area that we can help very largely. The other side of it is that elite athletes probably care more about their movements. Like, they’re doing this for a profession. So, even though they have a smaller gap, closing that gap between where they are in their athletic potential is much more important to them. So, I think you can kind of look at it in both ways, both your average person and your elite person would definitely see benefits.
Joe Bauer: Sure. And I said one more question, but something else just popped into my head here: what’s the age? Like, is there … 18 and over, or has it been tested on younger populations? Because you mentioned that if you can get this to somebody who’s still developing or like, in the novice stage, they’re gonna improve or get into that next step faster. But, can it be used on the younger population?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. So, it’s 18 years and up.
Joe Bauer: Okay.
Danny Holzman: The reason being is just that there’s not that much research being done under 18. It’s starting to move in that direction slightly, so there’s been a few studies this year that came out looking at 16 year olds also seeing good results. Yeah. We would say 18 and up for Halo. I guess, going one level deeper than that though, really what we’re doing, you can think of it as like, making your brain a little bit more child-like, temporarily. If you look at like, an eight year old’s brain, and it is so plastic as it is. That’s why kids can learn languages so quickly; they can learn movements even quickly, and people always say it gets so hard to pick up an instrument as you get older and learn new languages as you get older, and that’s true. Your brain becomes less and less plastic. So, really, what we’re doing is putting your brain into more of this sticky, child-like state for a temporary amount of time.
Joe Bauer: Very cool. I’m sold. I want to be a child and learn things really fast. So, how can people get their hands on a Halo Sport if they want to try this out?
Danny Holzman: Yeah. On our website. Our website has a lot more information too, so haloneuroscience.com. You know, read more about our studies there, see more about the athletes that we work with.
Joe Bauer: Very cool. Very cool. Danny, I’ve really enjoyed this. I think that it’s definitely fun getting to learn from somebody like you that’s way smarter than me on this subject. So, thank you for sharing that with me and indulging my silly questions and not knowing as much as you know.
Danny Holzman: Yeah. No. It was great. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for having me.
Joe Bauer: Yup. I really appreciate it and I hope that people go and check out the Halo Sport because I’ve been using it, it’s definitely something that I’ve been throwing into my training routine, and if you want to even hear more about it or ask me questions about how I’ve had results, then definitely shoot me an email at [email protected] So, Danny, again, thanks so much, and I will talk to you soon.
Danny Holzman: Thanks, Joe.
Resources and links mentioned in this podcast
Partners mentioned in this podcast
– Halo Sport – Go to haloneuro.com/audible and use code ALLAROUNDJOE to get $250 off the Halo Sport
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