Health and Performance Optimization with Brandin Cooks
For Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver for the Houston Texans, talent isn’t what sets one athlete apart from another. Rather, discipline is what differentiates greatness. And his definition of discipline is rather broad, encompassing what we eat, how we sleep, what we put into our bodies, how we treat others, when and how we show up for work... In a word, it’s everything. He believes you need discipline in all these categories to become truly great. Is Brandin Cooks disciplined? Yes. Does he feel he’s reached his peak? Not yet. He’s working on it.
How to Cultivate a Higher Level of Motivation
Motivation is one of those things that just doesn’t come naturally; we discover it, muster it, cultivate it. For Cooks, his motivation comes from two distinct sources: first and foremost, the examples that were set by his mother – who single-handedly raised Brandin and his three brothers after his fathers’ passing – and other father-figures in his life. Secondly, from within. Knowing full well that every player around him was (and is) talented, but not everyone is willing to go through the pain of working really, really hard year-in and year-out. That’s where he gets his edge.
The Importance of Viewing Failure as Opportunity
Failure is inevitable. It’s how we view failure that is a choice. Cooks is incredibly constructive about failure – learning from and bettering himself as a result. He accredits this largely to having observed his mother handle everything without complaining or victimizing herself, never making excuses. To become great, you must view ‘failures’ as learning opportunities. Good news is, there’s always something to glean from the experience; failure is merely a checkpoint, rather than a reason to stop progressing.
Questioning the ‘Why’ Behind Health Care Decisions
Brandin believes he truly started gaining a grasp on his health when he began working with Wild Health a year and a half ago. That’s when he began questioning everything, wanting to know the ‘why’ behind each health-related decision. Since joining Wild Health, he says, his education has grown every day – knowledge he shares, in turn, with friends and family.
Our main focus for Brandin is on nutrition, supplements, and recovery. He recounts the traditional ‘recovery’ methods for football players, which generally rely on pills or injections to patch over pain and keep players on the field, oftentimes with disregard for long-term effects. He knows now to question conventional methods, in favor of exploring and implementing more holistic alternatives.
How Precision Medicine Takes Effect
Since working with Wild Health, Brandin has cultivated a team of experts around him, all on the same page, talking to one another, constantly adjusting and modifying his regime. He trusts that this team knows what’s best for him even before he does, so when he sees a slight shift in supplements or nutrition, he trusts the process because his results have been significant. We’re able to tailor and tweak his health plan around specific seasons or workouts – even minor injuries. In effect, Brandin has experienced better outputs, higher energy levels, quicker recovery times, and stronger focus. This is Precision Medicine: personalized health plans resulting in optimized performance.
Brandin challenges us as much as we challenge him, working towards his ultimate goal of being able to walk away from the game of football on his own terms – not on account of injury or someone else’s dictation. In order to do that, to build longevity into his career and health span, there needs to be an alignment of all factors affecting his health: physical, mental, and emotional. We, at Wild Health, are working with Brandin towards this level of synergy to optimize his health and watch him excel even after a decade playing in the NFL.
The Role of Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health in Overall Wellbeing
For Cooks, this aspect is huge. The very first time we – the Wild Health team, that is – connected with Brandin, we talked about brain health. For Cooks, this aspect of wellbeing really clicked a few years ago. Early in his career, he sustained a number of concussions. Many people think concussions are simply trauma or structural damage, but for Brandin, fortunately but unfortunately, they resulted in anxiety. As a result, he sought out a mental coach, who he accredits for not only helping him work through the anxiety to gain an incredible sense of confidence with which he now enters a game, but also to help him in the long run. Improving our brain functionality only serves us in positive ways – on or off the (literal or figurative) field. On a solid foundation of sound mental health, everything else in our lives is built.
Case in point: health is not one-size-fits-all and health is much more than one thing. Whether you’re a professional athlete or any human with a health goal in mind, Precision Medicine is a means for achieving optimal wellbeing.
Listen to the full interview with Brandin Cooks on the Wild Health Podcast here.
Learn more about Wild Health’s approach to Precision Medicine here.