Archive for the ‘fun’ Category

Okay, since we’re being honest here, it is the audiobook I’m reviewing which is unabridged anyway.

I had to restart the book a couple of times because the author lost me at one crucial point – after discussing a plethora of nutritional supplements that can be helpful, he adds in the shameless plug of his own brand.

Maybe I’m extra sensitive to this kind of marketing within a product, because I was disillusioned when starting out a fitness program for the first time. It was Bill Phillips’ Body-For-Life, a hugely motivational and successful book that came out when I was about 18. I loved it, until I realized that this book – that I bought under the assumption that it had the answers to my questions – was really just a marketing gimmick, and to add insult to injury, I had paid thirty bucks to be advertised to.

This is one of the reasons that I was initially drawn to Tom Venuto who very deliberately disassociates himself from any supplement brand.

Aubrey, here uses some slick salesmanship teaching you that “you are worth” investing in his supplements which kind of pisses me off a lot and undermined virtually everything he said leading up to that point – especially his supplement suggestions.

Just as I was getting back into it… he started marketing his own podcast and I was ready to strangle the bastard.

Enough about that, on to the rest of the book.

Here are a few of the ideas in the book…

  • Start the day with salted lemon water for hydration – probably a good idea
  • Use cold showers in conjunction with Wim Hof breathing – cold exposure is an interesting idea, although to be honest I’m not sold on the breathing
  • The joys of using plants – most of which can’t be obtained legally anyway
  • Pitches for bulletproof coffee
  • Don’t over cook meat – this was an interesting recommendation I’ll have to look into further
  • Embrace challenges – I think this is a great philosophy
  • Calories are bogus, it’s macronutrients that matter – I partly agree with him here. I think he’s right, but calories are something of a common denominator that makes portion control easier for most people; that said, his book is about taking things above “good enough”, so it is definitely good information
  • Taking 30 min naps midday
  • Brainwave states and binaural beats – again, an intriguing idea I have more to learn about
  • Use small amounts of drugs and alcohol post training to enhance their effects

Now onto the training portion… the exercise portion of the book aims to give an “unconventional” program to provide unconventional results. For the most part it is CrossFit training, with a dash of strength training. He also throws in some “animal walks” – which very well might be effective, but I can’t bring myself to trying them as they make me feel ridiculous.

Once he lays out the protocols for training he then (big surprise) tells you that if you are serious about training you should visit his site to buy his coaching services. Once again he has shamelessly plugged himself out of any respect he might have earned up to this point.

He does something interesting but somewhat perplexing at the end of the training section… he tells about how researchers found that just thinking about exercising made people stronger and fitter – interesting for sure, but a strange thing to say when you are trying to convince people to actually train. Perhaps this would be better in a different part of the book.

The next section of his book is about connecting with other people, which is a fine suggestion, but unfortunately people like myself who have social anxiety will not find any tools in here about HOW to connect with others aside from playing music in the home – which is an interesting idea, and stepping away from social media – which is also a great idea that no one will listen to.

There is further discussion of nutrition where he mentions some common foods along with obscure minerals. One excellent point he makes is to eat slower and mentions a study that demonstrated that found that people who struggle with fat loss tend to eat faster. While the science on this is probably lacking, anecdotally I can attest to the fact that the people I know who are overweight tend to be fast eaters, and the ones who are lean tend to eat slower… especially in women.

Just like in the 4-hour body, which this book has been compared to, there is a section on sex. Now I do take issue with his assessment of the current sexual culture – at least in part. He begins by stating that data suggests we are having less sex now despite the fact that it is theoretically easier to have now with things like tinder and less social stigma. He said that the reason for this is that we are just not that good at it. This makes absolutely no sense. Why? Because if it was bad across the board we would have no standard of what “good” means. The problem would rather be that since there is no sexual stigma, women now tend to have experience with more partners so as they learn what they like and what they don’t, their expectations rise.

There’s another aspect that compounds this problem, which is the fact that as our society idiotically encourages entitlement young men likely aren’t as concerned with pleasing women as they were in days gone by.

He also claims that sex Ed spends too much time focusing on STDs rather than teaching boys how to please women. Again, I think he’s somewhat off base, firstly because the tendencies of sexual education right now is leaning towards the politically correct doctrine of teaching kids that gender doesn’t matter, that gender identification doesn’t dictate sexuality and yet it is simultaneously linked to sexual education. It also seems to me a bad idea to teach curious young men how to get a woman off unless what you want is a promiscuous society.

But all that being said, the idea of becoming properly sexually educated seems to make sense from a male perspective – if you want your partner satisfied that is. The author wisely chooses not to go into depth on technique but rather talks about ways to communicate your way to a better sex life with your partner. Again, nothing novel here, in fact it feels almost like he put it in as a mandatory afterthought, but overall not bad.

The next leg of the book talks about what she suggests to do and not to in your downtime. Ironically, he say he doesn’t like reading books that take simple ideas and stretch them out unnecessarily long. He then tells you to brush your teeth.

In the final chapter he talks about sleep… and I couldn’t believe this the first time I heard it, but he actually has the cheekiness to quote himself. If it was a silly quote I would pass it off as self-deprecating humour, but instead it comes off as a bit pretentious. This chapter is what he calls the antidote to poor sleep. Sounds promising. One of the suggestions was to sleep multiple times a day – this is similar to Tim Ferris’s suggestion of having 30 minute power naps. The suggestion of breaking up your sleep cycles sounds interesting but also sounds contradictory to his previous comments on the circadian rhythm. The suggestion is to track your sleep using an oura ring – which I suspect he has stock in. He also suggests controlling the temperature while you sleep, which is another suggestion also found in the 4-hour body. He also suggests sleeping with plants in the room, specifically English Ivy. In the end there was not a lot of practical advice but the occasional interesting tidbit.

In conclusion… I wouldn’t consider this a “must read”, but I do think that the author has knowledge in his field and something to say to those who would find it helpful. I think a lot of people could find one or two helpful suggestions, but I don’t know anyone who would benefit from the book in its entirety. Personally I found 4-hour Body to be more practice and to-the-point. Still, it is entertaining if nothing else.

This might sound foolishly obvious, but Jason Momoa wasn’t always the titan he currently is. Having built himself large enough to follow up Arnold in a Conan film that no one saw, he has reached an incredible level of fitness so I did some research into how he accomplished this.

He claims to have never lifted weights prior to the role of Conan – If this is true, he, at the very least, set up the foundation for growth.

As a young actor he was certainly in athletic shape, which seems quite common in a lot of bigger guys. Their struggle is generally not getting lean but rather packing on size. They need to eat big. But guys like me who do that just get fat.

I spent years going through a cycle like this: spend 6 months “bulking” then 6 months cutting – I would get lean, but my muscle mass was not significantly improved. For that reason I spent several years chasing the elusive “recomp” – the attempt to get both lean and muscular at the same time. The result for the most part was sitting in a perpetual state of physical mediocrity – at least by my standards.

This is why I decided to try something radical – a new approach to get big and lean. No not roids. It is actually based on a study that was brought to my attention – where quails had weights attached to their wings for 28 days resulted in an increase of the actual number of muscle fibres as well as muscle size and length. It stands to reason that if you increase the number of muscle cells available, you will get bigger – and then by hypertrophying them you will get bigger still. Yes this was done with birds, and the truth is that there does not seem to be conclusive consensus as to whether this was due to the muscles being stretched, or the nearly continuous load placed on them – which was began at 10% of their body weight and progressed to 35%. To my knowledge, the diet was not disclosed.

My attempt meant a combination of high frequency training with weighted stretching incorporated. I wanted to focus on a specific muscle group for this style of training. I chose to do chest because that meant I would also get additional work on my delts and triceps.

From a dietary perspective the goal was to have enough material to feed my muscles, but few enough calories that I would burn fat. This meant a moderate deficits with protein and fat sources making up the bulk of my diet with vegetables added in for their vitamins, minerals and fibre.

I knew this would push my recovery to a new extent so to help with the adaptation I first made sure to supplement with adaptogens, and used cold showers after chest training. The cold shower also has a calorie burning affect – albeit relatively small.

So my results? Well still being early in the process I can’t tell you yet, but once I have results I will post them (so if you’re interested make sure to follow).

However I think Momoa has mastered the inner game of being an Alpha – at least that’s how he carries his public persona. Look at him in interviews and you see a guy casually leaning back, owning his surroundings, very light-hearted and easygoing. What’s refreshing to me about his persona is that he is embracing his masculinity in a day and age when manliness is being vilified by the politically correct types. It is a lot harder than it sounds to be a chivalrous man when you are attacked for it. But when something virtuous becomes rare in society I think it is natural to admire those who demonstrate it.

I only recently heard this term, and it was in the context of learning about a program called “Rethink Masculinity” where men are taught how to get in touch with their feelings as well as other helpful things like being sensitive towards others and crying in public.

Go to the page (which I will not link) and you will see four men – who are probably the last people I would think of when I think of the term “manly” – and you’ll see what I mean, these people mean to teach you how to get rid of what they call “toxic masculinity”.

Now “Toxic masculinity” can mean different things to different groups… as per wikipedia the definition is “traditional norms of behavior among men” – so does this mean standing to pee?

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that this is largely a group of effeminate men who are intimidated by testosterone-filled, angry dudes.

If that’s the case I can sympathize, but I will suggest that a man who is not in control of his temper is merely a child and does not deserve the title “man”.

Our world is trying so viciously to be nice that we are seeing more separation and contempt for one another than ever. Just look at the political landscape in the US right now. An educated society should be able to embrace their own uniqueness while understanding the necessity for people with differing qualities. But instead of uniting we make our neighbors into villains.

Similarly, claiming that men behaving like men constitutes “toxic behaviour” does the exact same thing. And unfortunately it is becoming more and more uncommon for men to have the qualities that are natural. If the word natural pisses you off, I would ask how it is that our species has survived so long… the clear answer is that in the beginning of time we had a social construct that supported our evolutionary means of survival and reproduction… in other words: men were men and women were women.

Both are equal in importance and yet both are different in design AND purpose.

I began a video series on the topic, let me know what you think…

I’ve seen a bunch of articles popping up today citing a study from Birzeit University that suggests fizzy/sparkly/carbonated water can lead to fat gain…

The reasoning is that they feel it leads to a release in ghrelin – the hunger hormone.

Now there are a few details that I think are important to note here…

According to the information provided They tested both diet sodas and carbonated water on rats and found they ate more than the taking non-carbonated drinks.

What this information seems to leave out is the minor detail of artificial sweeteners… sucralose and aspertame do a lot of nasty business to your body and are obviously in abundance in the diet sodas, but how about the fizzy “water”? Just look on the labels at a grocery store and you’ll notice that the vast majority have some form of artificial sweeteners.

I know this is purely anecdotal, but when I drink a carbonated drink I don’t feel hungry but rather I feel full. I also tend to get sparkling water sweetened only from natural sources.

So from what I can tell – and I stand to be corrected – this study was greatly flawed from the outset. That being said I would certainly avoid artificial sweeteners and sugary sodas.

douche

Okay in fairness, much of this is not from Greg himself but rather his minions, but since they view him as a god I give myself licence here. I used to be a member on the “Project Beach Body” facebook group (if I recall the name right), and it was usually good for a laugh, but eventually it became less entertaining and more frustrating, so I had to separate myself from the rampant stupidity that people want to believe.

Regardless, here are some of the gems they taught me…

1. Greg is God!

2. Intermittent Fasting is the only effective way to burn fat.

3. Exercise form is unimportant (unless you’re taking steroids).

4. It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as your calories meet your goals, the Twinkie is evidence of this.

5. Getting high before lifting heavy weights is not just safe and intelligent, it’s downright awesome!

6. The whole point of making progress is so that you can post selfies and lifting videos to show how awesome you are.

7. Diet soda is good for you.

8. The more education someone has the less they know (after all, grand master Greg has no qualifications and no education yet knows everything).

9. Sugar has no impact on insulin.

10. The only way to build muscle is by lifting heavy with poor form.

11. Adrenal fatigue is a myth. The more stimulants you can take the better!

Okay I gave you eleven instead of ten. Don’t you feel enriched!

And here’s the video version:

When Man of Steel hit the screen I wrote some of my most popular blogs:

  • Man of Steel: Building a physique like Henry Cavill’s Superman
  • Man of Steel Cannon Ball Shoulders
  • Building a Man of Steel Chest with “SUPER DROPS”

    Now That Batman V Superman is on the way I’ve taken it one step further by making an interactive video-based program, starting with: Man of Steel training program Part 1

  • Two little words when put together may be the things holding you back… I learned this because I saw it in myself first and then began observing it in others.

    Those two words are: I Know

    The problem with these words are that they take on an assumption of knowing things and therefore closing your mind to all other possibilities. Ironically some very bright people fall prey to this, and then limit what they are capable of learning.

    Of course there is a difference between being open-minded and being gullible, but that’s a whole other matter.