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  • Anthony Mychal 3:47 pm on February 13, 2018 Permalink  

    The ONE single UNO sole MAMMOTH super MASSIVE reason I wouldn’t be caught DEAD doing Starting Strength (again)… and what I’d do instead 

    Starting Strength is a book, but most people know it as a program — one often recommended to confused noobs that wanna get stronger and build muscle.

    I would know. My old mentor referred it to me back in 2007. I used to pepper him with T-R-B-L turrable questions.

    Five reps or four reps? How many sets? What’s the best program? What’s your experience with butt secks? Should I have a 401(k) or a Roth IRA?

    He gave me personalized answers to every question I asked… for the first few weeks. Alas, my hyperactive forebrain eventually sunk his titanic morale. Too many questions on board, not enough towing capacity.

    “Just buy Starting Strength,” he said.

    So I did.

    And my life was never the same.

    After buying Starting Strength

    Starting Strength transformed my approach to strength training. In hindsight, this might not have been that big of an accomplishment because, at the time, my approach to strength training was akin to teaching abstinence for birth control.

    Alas, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Starting Strength backbone. I owe many beers to Rippetoe and Kilgore. They're welcome to cash in whenever they please.

    And yet.

    And yet.

    If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do Starting Strength. And, if you’re reading this, there’s an above average chance you shouldn’t do Starting Strength, either.

    The Starting Strength program

    In order to understand why I wouldn't do Starting Strength again, let's take a superficial look at the program itself to anchor what follows. Below comes from StartingStrength.com.

    Day A

    • Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
    • Press/Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
    • Deadlift 5 reps x 1 set

    Day B

    • Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
    • Press/Bench Press 5 reps x 3 sets
    • Deadlift 5 reps x 1 set

    This is considered phase one. You train three non-consecutive days per week, you alternate between Day A and Day B, and you add weight to the bar for every single exercise every single training session. This is all you need to know about the program for now.

    Where's the beef?

    Are the exercises dangerous? Will they injure you? Will they give you hemorrhoids? Will they turn your firstborn into a flat earth theorist?

    No. No. No. MAYBE.

    My hatred of Starting Strength is (admittedly) superficial and shitty. In other words, how every girl treated me in high school — that’s how I’m treating Starting Strength.

    I’m not bashing Starting Strength on the whole. There is a large group of people for which Starting Strength is nothing but unicorns, marshmallows, and Preparation H.

    But, for me, it wasn’t. And isn’t.

    Because it’s easy to see (unless you have a potato for a brain) that Starting Strength is a powerlifting program. And this makes all the difference.

    Powerlifting for sport

    Powerlifting is a sport. Powerlifting athletes compete across three different exercises: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. These three lifts are often referred to as the “big three.” The athlete that totals the most weight across all three lifts wins the powerlifting competition.

    The stock Starting Strength program contains four total exercises: the back squat, the bench press, the overhead press, and the conventional deadlift. Three of these four lifts are the big three, which is all the evidence I need to support my claim of Starting Strength being a powerlifting program.

    It should also be all the evidence you need to believe me, unless you're of the aforementioned potato brained ilk. And we're not talking about those cool purple Hawaiian potatoes. We're talking about shriveled, shitty, sprouting Idaho baking potatos.

    Why does powerlifting matter?

    This whole “powerlifting” detail matters for one supremely simple reason: I'm not a powerlifter. The only thing a powerlifter cares about is squatting, benching, and deadlifting more weight. That's the life they sign up for. That's the problem they choose to solve.

    The only thing LeBron James cares about is basketball. You'd only live in LeBron's shoes if you wanted to ball, right? Well, I mean, I guess you'd also wanna live in his shoes if you wanted to be a multimillionaire and a celebrity.

    My point is that, if you wanted to be a powerlifter, you wouldn't do what LeBron does. Just like LeBron wouldn't do what a powerlifter does. Different problems requires different solutions.

    Logic says the only reason to go on a powerlifting program is if you (a) share the same powerlifting “problem,” or (b) have a problem that will be solved as side-effect of solving the powerlifting “problem.”

    The problem(s)

    I suppose now would be a good time to talk about the problem I was trying to solve. Back when I was referred to Starting Strength, I was skinny-fat. I hated my body. I hated my narrow shoulders. I hated my toothpick arms. I hated my wide chubby belly.

    It was built opposite of the way I wanted to be built. I wanted comically broad shoulders that funneled into a narrow waist. (What can I say, I watched a lot of anime.) I never wanted to be bodybuilder, or random blobs of muscle.

    I didn't know it at the time, but building an x-physique (as I now call it) was my problem. I looked like Spielberg's E.T., and I didn't want to. I would have done anything to solve my problem. I was solution apathetic. If there was a pill that would have changed my body overnight, I would have taken the pill.

    Powerlifting and x-physiques

    Let's return to something I mentioned earlier.

    Logic says the only reason to go on a powerlifting program is if you (a) share the same powerlifting “problem,” or (b) have a problem that will be solved as side-effect of solving the powerlifting “problem.”

    Do I share the same problem as powerlifters? No. As mentioned, I didn't care about squatting, benching, and deadlifting. To me, it didn't matter how I fixed my body, as long as I fixed my body.

    Onto the second part… Would my problem be solved as a side-effect of chasing the solution to the powerlifting problem? In other words, if I set my inner Death Star towards getting as strong as possible on the squat, bench, and dead, would I end up with an x-physique?

    The answer is no. Not many x-physiques are built as a byproduct of bettering the big three and only the big three, especially if you have a skinny-fat body as a starting point.

    Two problems with Starting Strength

    I have to take a few steps back, for context. Starting Strength is the frame of reference, more so than “bettering the big three.” But my point still stands. Starting Strength won't build many x-physiques.

    Having a broad, thick, and muscular back is arguably the most important aspect of an x-physique. The back responds best to upper-body pulling exercises (like chin-ups and rows), but there isn't even one single upper-body pulling exercise in Starting Strength.

    Also, most skinny-fat dudes have whack chest proportions. Their lower-chest holds most of their muscle mass, as opposed to their upper-chest. Given this, most skinny-fat dudes need to focus on growing their upper-chest. Unfortunately, the flat bench press prioritizes the lower chest. (Read more on this here.)

    Why I wouldn't do Starting Strength

    The one mega super awesome unfathomable reason I wouldn't do Starting Strength again (nor would I recommend Starting Strength to skinny-fat noobs) is because the problem Starting Strength is designed to solve is NOT our problem.

    Doing Starting Strength if you want to build an x-physique is sort of like saying, “You want to be good at baseball? Sweet. Well, here, grab this golf club. Go to the driving range every day for the next six months. Work on your swing. I'm sure you'll be able to hit Blyleven's curve afterwards.”

    Only minor differences

    Starting Strength is a flat-blade screwdriver. Works excellent for slotted screws. But I'm a crosshead screw, which means I need a cross-recess screwdriver. They are different, but, In the end, there are more similarities between the two than there are differences.

    The solution to my problem is similar to the solution to the powerlifting problem.

    Half (more than half, really) of Starting Strength is exactly what you need if you wanna build an x-physique: you need to get strong, especially if you're a noob. You just have to get strong on the exercises that'll increase the odds of an x-physique output.

    Farting Strength

    I'm not creating this divide between me and Starting Strength for publicity, nor am I trying to be a genius and reinvent the wheel. In other words, I'm ssooooooo not afraid to steal the  programming principles that create Starting Strength‘s infrastructure for my own diabolical use.

    If you happen to be a skinny-fat noob and you were thinking of going on Starting Strength, here's something you should know.

    I'm creating a mod of Starting Strength. A program that's designed to be a little more skinny-fat (and x-physique) friendly. I'm releasing it on the site, for free. If you want to know when it drops, make sure you're signed up for my weekly email column.

    The post The ONE single UNO sole MAMMOTH super MASSIVE reason I wouldn’t be caught DEAD doing Starting Strength (again)… and what I’d do instead appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:34 pm on February 7, 2018 Permalink  

    The second important (but boring) nutrition principle every skinny-fat noob should know: drink water 

    Drink water.

    When you get thirsty, your body is asking to be hydrated, not fed an emulsified rum ham.

    Most commercial beverages are emulsified “somethings” that don't hydrate better than water. And, to make matters worse, they bully your satiety.

    always sunny rum ham

    Green Warrior Smoothie

    Here's a list of ingredients for a “Green Warrior Smoothie” (compliments of ohsheglows.com).

    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh red grapefruit juice
    • 1 cup (25 g) destemmed dinosaur/lacinato kale or baby spinach
    • 1 large sweet apple (200 g), cored and roughly chopped
    • 1 cup (130 g) chopped cucumber
    • 1 medium/large stalk celery (85 g), chopped (about 3/4 cup)
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 40 g) hemp hearts, to taste
    • 1/3 cup (55 g) frozen mango
    • 2 tablespoons (4 g) packed fresh mint leaves
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil (optional)
    • 4 ice cubes, or as needed

    The fact that one ingredient is of the “dinosaur” variety makes me shit my pants. But that's neither here nor there.

    You blend all of these “Green Warrior Smoothie” ingredients together, you drink the resultant paste, and then you become a warrior. Yum! You can feel the vigor throttling through your arteries! Becoming a warrior never tasted so delicious! Sparta really dropped the ball!

    But let's play a game.

    Eating a smoothie

    Rewind time. Don't blend the ingredients. Spread them out on a table in front of you. Look at them. Appreciate them. There's a lot of food there, right? Right. Now imagine eating all of these ingredients as they are. Raw. Quite a different experience than slurping them down in smoothie form, no?

    Despite having the same amount of food in your belly, drinking emulsified ingredients is different than eating solid ingredients because liquids bypass most of our satiety circuitry.

    • There's chewing.
    • There's ingestion time.
    • There's volume.
    • There's visual presentation.

    All of these things influence how we feel about what we eat. (You wanna know what doesn't influence how we feel about what we eat? Calories.)

    Wonderful water

    If you're trying to keep your energy intake under control, you have to feel satiated. Drinking liquid energy is like taking a painkiller exactly when you want to feel pain. Please take this Vicodin before you enter our BDSM room.

    If it doesn't make sense, that's because it doesn't.

    Water has no energy, so the fact that it bypasses your satiety circuitry doesn't matter. This means water is two for two.

    • It hydrates.
    • It has no energy.

    It also keeps your skin smooth, flushes waste, and helps your body absorb vitamins. It does everything need a liquid to do with no downside.

    Drink water.

    Questions

    Questions are afoot, no doubt. I'm going to write about other acceptable beverages and address some things bound to be crashing through your cranial walls. But I'm going to swing to the opposite extreme first.

    Drink whatever you want

    Regardless of what's better or worse, you can drink whatever you want to drink, just like you can jump off a bridge (if you wanted to). But every choice has consequences.

    If you drink something beyond water, you have to reverse engineer it into a solid. This isn't easy to do. If an ice cube melts into a puddle, and you only see the puddle, you can't know the shape of the ice cube.

    The ingredients inside of a “Green Warrior Smoothie” spread across an entire table before they are blended. But, once blended, they fit into a small container.

    Reverse engineer liquids 

    In order to reverse engineer a liquid into a solid, you have to find the ingredients. Just about anything you buy should have a nutrition label. You're looking for two things:

    • Does this have ingredients?
      • If so, what are they?
    • Does this food have macronutrients?
      • If so, what are they?

    A 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew contains 46 grams of sugar. A no fat Starbucks venti latte, around 25 grams of sugar. Great. But, guess what? Food companies know we don’t know what the fuck this means, which is why you have to take these nebulous metrics and turn them into something with a heart beat.

    A common spoonful of sugar holds around five grams of sugar, which turns a no fat Starbucks latte into (water + 5 spoonfuls of sugar). A small Mountain Dew becomes (water + 14 spoonfuls of sugar).

    Think about what this means.

    What drinking energy actually is

    If you drink a small bottle of Mountain Dew with dinner, you're shoveling fourteen spoonfuls of sugar down your throat alongside your meal. You can go further: what the heck does fourteen spoons of sugar look like as a different food? It’s like eating two potatoes!

    When solid foods become liquid foods, you shove things into your body that you otherwise wouldn’t. This is why liquids, for my money, are the at the heart of the obesity epidemic.

    It's hard to chow down 10,000+ calories of solid food day in and day out. But if you liquefy most of those calories…

    Question time

    There's still a lot I want to cover, but I don't know how to do it in a sexy way, so I'm doing it in a question and an(t)swer format. YOLO.

    Q: How much water should I drink?

    I never understood the question: “How much water should I drink?” It's simple, really. When you're thirsty, drink water.

    I suppose people ask this question because their default beverage is something not water. They want to know much water to drink as a side quest, as a supplement to their normal beverage intake.

    Dumb.

    Water is the main quest. Water is your normal beverage intake. Anyone trying to lose fat that's drinking mostly non-water should be locked inside of a torture chamber.

    The old standard is eight cups of water per day. Why? I don’t know. I don’t care to know why, either, because this is very low recommendation. You won’t find many muscular or lean people that only drink eight cups of water per day. Try drinking at least a gallon of water every day.

    If you’re peeing neon yellow, you’re not drinking enough water. Your pee should be clear(er). More white than yellow.

    You can drink too much water, but drinking too much water is a unicorn. You have to be forcing a lot of liquid down in a short period of time and resisting urination. Liquids are about hydration. Don’t drink until you feel bloated or full. Drink to quench your thirst.

    Q: What can I drink besides water?

    Like I wrote earlier, you can drink whatever you want. But if you want to stick to my recommendations, the two most sensible beverages options besides water are black coffee and plain tea. Not for any particular reason beyond the fact that they contain next to no energy.

    Note the black and plain recommendation. Cream and sugar aren't deadly. They simply add calories, which isn't terribly desirable. Budget for them or pay the price.

    And then you should drink more water. Always. Both coffee and tea are diuretics. (They make you go pee pee.) If you have a cup of coffee or tea, have a cup of water before going for your second cup.

    Also, if you’re drinking coffee, tea, or any caffeinated beverage, be aware of how much you consume past 12PM. Caffeine can interrupt sleep. Sleep is important.

    Q: What about milk?

    Milk isn't a superfood. Everything milk provides can be had through other means. Strength training will build strong resilient bones better than milk will.

    But you can drink milk. You just have to reverse engineer it into a solid food. Milk is a combination of protein, sugar, and fat. There's energetic baggage.

    Some people, usually the thinner crowd, can benefit from drinking milk when they’re trying to gain muscle. This crowd typically has a small appetite, so they struggle eating enough calories. Because milk is a liquid, it goes down easy. They can accumulate solid food energy without having to shove mounds of food down their throat.

    In other words, these skinny “hardgainer” types drink milk for the exact opposite reason why most people need to be conscious of their liquid intake.

    Q: What about sugar free drinks?

    The ten thousand food rule: don't drink calories. And this brings us to the land of sugar free sodas and artificial sweeteners, which is a sticky place.

    Most people that use artificial sweeteners are obese. This is a fact. The question is whether (a) obese people are using artificial sweeteners because they are obese, or (b) obese people are obese because they are using artificial sweeteners.

    I’m not going to comment too hard on artificial sweeteners because, as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on them. Are they harmful? Most studies say no. Are they helpful? Ehh. Maybe?

    Here's something to think about. (What I'm about to write is totally speculation, so keep that in mind.) Your body might build an association between zero energy yield and sweet tastes. In other words, your body will begin to think sweet tasting things have no energy.

    This doesn't mean that drinking no calorie beverages will make you fat. But, but, it might create a bottomless sweet tooth. Just a thought. And why, in my eyes, the jury is out on artificial sweeteners. But that's not the worst news in the world. Because the jury isn’t out on water.

    Q: What about Gatorade and sports drinks?

    The amount of people drinking Gatorade makes me want to kill a cat. And that's saying something because I love cats. The ocelot is my spirit animal.

    If you aren't sweating (from exercise) and you are drinking Gatorade, you deserve to have wood splinters driven into the skin underneath your fingernails. Even if you are sweating, there's a good chance you don't need Gatorade.

    Gatorade and sports drinks take root in this idea: when you’re exercising, you’re (a) using energy and (b) losing water. Therefore, to maintain performance, you need to replenish both.

    Water hydrates, but it doesn't energize. Gatorade hydrates (with the help of water and electrolytes) and energizes (with the help of sugar).

    Contrary to popular wisdom, replenishing energy isn't a huge deal during casual exercise. The much more important need is hydration, which can be kept under control with water. (For perspective, your body can survive around three weeks without food, but only one week without water.)

    Chances are, you won't notice much of a performance difference between drinking 1L of Gatorade or 1L of water unless you are an edge case HARDCORE athlete training and sweating for hours upon hours doing lots of huffing and puffing, under constant duress. Like one of those nut-job marathon runners. Perhaps then it'd be a good idea drink one of ‘dem ‘dere emulsified potato smoothies.

    If you are doing some kind of hardcore exercise and losing a lot of fluids, an energy drink is preferred because they're easy to digest.

    Blood gets shunted to the intestines to help digest food. Blood to the intestines means less blood to the muscles, which means bad performance. Chucking back a plate of pasta as you cruise past mile twenty is a recipe for chucking up a plate of pasta as you cruise past mile twenty-one.

    QWhat about peri-workout drinks?

    Similar to sports drinks, a lot of people recommend sugary pre post-workout drinks for strength training sessions in order to spike insulin, maximize muscle growth, and blah blah blah.

    You don’t need sugary post-workout drinks, nor do you need sugary pre-workout drinks. Much more important than sugary peri-training shakes is the rest of what you put into your body across the entire day.

    The post-workout window of opportunity is an overblown marketing concept, designed to get you to buy supplements. Alas, supplements supplement your base food intake. Before you have to solidify the base before you supplement. And, even then, there are only a few supplements worth your money.

    Q: What about alcohol?

    I like alcohol. I like beer. But getting smashed hammered faced isn’t exactly symbiotic with looking good naked. Alcohol is an energy nutrient. There are calories alcohol. There are calories in the shit that gets mixed with alcohol (namely sugar).

    You want to limit your alcohol consumption for reasons already explained: drinking energy isn’t ideal.

    If you insist on drinking…

    Any non-sweetened hard liquor (vodka, whiskey) on the rocks or mixed with club soda is ideal. Diet soda works, too. Dry red wines are good. Pinot noir, cabernet, merlot. Tequila will also do the job. (Kah, my friends. Kah.)

    Beer is the worst. But I love me some beer. I drink it often. More often than I should. But I treat it as solid food. I budget for it. You should, too.

    The non-Hyrule blue potion

    Ever wonder why the blue potion in Zelda was a rock star that filled both hearts and magic? Blue. Water is blue. I rest my case.

    water zelda blue potion

    P.S.

    If you wanna check out the first important (but boring) nutrition principle every skinny-fat noob should know, click here.

    The post The second important (but boring) nutrition principle every skinny-fat noob should know: drink water appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:18 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink  

    The first important (but boring) nutrition principle every skinny-fat noob should know: eat Mother Nature’s food 

    Eat Mother Nature's food.

    (And lesser processed variants of Mother Nature's food.)

    If you think I'm talking about CLIF bars, then you need to keep reading. Or burn in hell. Either one works. Because I'm not talking about CLIF bars. I'm talking about something much more raw. Something much more wholesome.

    When your dog takes a big ‘ol shit, pick up the turd logs and eat them. On the spot. While they're hot. That's what I'm talking about. PureUnfiltered.

    Wait. No. That's not right, either.

    Guess I got a little overzealous. I'm not myself. I'm a little nervous, because… well, okay. I'll tell you why I'm nervous, even though it's embarrassing.

    I fully endorse eating mostly Mother Nature's food and its limited processed variants. But I don't have a fucking clue as to what either of these things are.

    Handy heuristics for Mother Nature

    I'm compelled to throw some heuristics your way in an attempt to better explain what Mother Nature's food is and isn't. These heuristics go down smooth… until TROLLTHONY takes over.

    Mother Nature's food is in nature

    Things that run, hop, jump, and fly. Things that once had a heartbeat. Things sprouting from the ground. Things growing from trees. Things like: fruits, meats, organs, eggs, fish, berries, nuts, seeds, roots, grains, and vegetables.

    OH YEAH. LIKE PSYCHEDELIC MUSHROOMS. COOL MAN. LET'S GO DO SOME ‘SHROOMS. ANTHONY MYCHAL IS TELLING EVERYONE TO DO PSYCHEDELIC DRUGGGSSSSSSS. YESSSSSSSS!

    Mother Nature's food doesn't have ingredients

    What are the ingredients of a chicken pot pie? Chicken is one of them, but there are more. What about a peach pie? Peaches are one of them, but there are more. What are the ingredients of a peach? Of a hunk of chicken? There are none, save for the food itself.

    OH YEAH. LIKE SUGAR. OKAY. TIME TO GO BALLS DEEP IN THAT WHITE SUGAAAAAAAA. ANTHONY MYCHAL SAID IT WAS COOL, LET'S SWEETEN THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYTHING. COCAINE IS WHITE, TOO. GIMME SOME OF DAT BOOGA SHOOGA. 

    Mother Nature's food was around 1000 years ago

    DON'T EVEN TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS ONE. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT FOODS WERE AROUND 1000 YEARS AGO, YOU LITTLE SHIT. BUT I DO. THE EGYPTIANS DRANK BEER! BEER WAS AROUND 1000 YEARS AGO! DRINK TO FORGET, EVERYONE! ANTHONY MYCHAL SAID IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THE PATH TO SALVATION, YOU DID IT WRONG.

    Moving to processed foods

    I regret every second of wanting to write this. I can't explain what Mother Nature's food is, so I guess I'll try to explain what it isn't. And in order to understand what Mother Nature's food isn't, we have to enter the world of food processing.

    Food processing is the transformation of raw ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms. Food processing combines raw food ingredients to produce marketable food products that can be easily prepared and served by the consumer.

    ~ Wikipedia

    As much as I wanna say that the “purest” forms of Mother Nature's food require no processing, TROLLTHONY wants to collect his toll.

    OH YEAH? IS THAT SO. WELL, FUCKFACE. COOKING IS A FORM OF FOOD PROCESSING. SO DOES THAT MEAN CHICKEN ISN'T MOTHER NATURE'S FOOD? HUH?

    Processing isn't evil

    Luckily, I'm not here to debate the “purest” forms of Mother Nature's food because processing isn't inherently evil. There are plenty of processed foods that are fine to eat. To which you might be wondering: O RLY, LIEK WAT?

    My gut says: most “okay” processed foods tend to be (a) minimally processed, and (b) rooted in Mother Nature's food. These foods tend to have only a few ingredients, most of which are Mother Nature's food.

    I'd get more detailed if I knew what I was talking about, but it should be obvious by now: I don't. And if I keep it as vague as I just did, TROLLTHONY stays in his hole.

    Introducing junk food

    Processing isn't inherently evil, but it can turn sour. It's one thing to char salmonella off a turkey leg, or turn a cow's titty juice into cheese. It's another thing to create a somehow stay fresh forever puff pastry designed to deliver an intense dopaminergic spike in an attempt foster consumer addiction.

    Perhaps that sounds extreme, but that's junk food in a nutshell.

    In general, as a category, junk food, is dominated by the “c” words: chips, candies, crackers, cookies, and cakes. And, well, you might as well add protein bars to the list.

    Protein bars are junk food

    Have you ever looked at the ingredients of a protein bar? Protein bars, for the most part, are junk food. Below is the label for a protein bar. There are two things to note.

    protein bar junk food

    First, look at all the ingredients. In general, having more ingredients hints of being more processed, and being more processed hints of junk food.

    Second, look at the order of the ingredients. Some of the earliest ingredients are flour and sugar, meaning this isn't really a protein bar. It's actually a carbohydrate bar. (On nutrition facts labels, ingredients are listed by their percent contribution. The first ingredient makes up most of the food.)

    Why Mother Nature's food?

    Junk food is definitely not Mother Nature's food, so I'm gonna take a squat and tell you why I recommend opting for the (thus far) vaguely defined combination of Mother Nature and its limited processed variants, as opposed to junk food.

    More proof

    Mother Nature's food sustained life for millions of years, before the advent of hardcore processing techniques. We have a long history with Mother Nature's food, so we know what's good (eat broccoli) and what's bad (don't eat poison ivy).

    We don't have the same empirical wherewithal with newer processed foods, with the story of trans fat being all the evidence anyone could need.

    The trans fat TL;DR is such that humans thought they could make a fat better than one that occurred naturally in Mother Nature's food (saturated fat). This new fat was named trans fat. Trans fat is now being banned. From all food. So, uhh, yeah. It was a flop. A big one.

    More nutrients

    If you don't know why nutrients are important, ask the pirates that crossed the Atlantic for the first time. We need nutrients. If we don't get them, we die. Or, even worse, we grow a fucking goiter.

    Most highly processed junk foods aren't as nutritious as Mother Nature's food. Companies often try to fortify their junk food with vitamins and minerals, but this misses the mark. Sure, it stops us from growing goiters. But there's more to “nutrition” than vitamins and minerals. What about phytochemicals? Bacteria?

    Less consumerized

    (I'm wearing my tinfoil hat for this one.) When I said that junk food was designed to hack human taste buds, I wasn't kidding. Do me a favor. Walk up and down the aisles of your supermarket. Look at how many products there are.

    These products have one goal in mind: your repeat consumption. That's the only way these companies stay in business. Thousands and thousands of products want you to want them. That's crazy, isn't it?

    Even Mother Nature's food gets doctored up. Apples and peppers are given wax coats to make them look shinier because they know we don't buy downtrodden produce. MY TINFOIL HAT IS ONE FIRE.

    Junk food is a death sentence

    Although nutrient-void-taste-bud-hacking junk food is less ideal than nutrient rich food from Mother Nature, junk food is not Mother Nature's binary.

    Mother Nature's binary is poison, not a god damn whoopie pie.

    The most heinous processing mistake of this age is, arguably, the aforementioned trans fat debacle. And although trans fat isn't good for you, it's not an immediate death sentence.

    I grew up in the golden age of trans fat. I don't even wanna know how much my body has digested (or tried to) since I was a kid. I didn't have the willpower to resist Ritz Crackers covered in aerosol can cheese whiz.

    The 90-10 split

    No food (to my knowledge) will permanently halt fat burning or muscle building. But that doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want. Your food intake is finite. If you're eating for body composition purposes (or better human purposes), you need to nourish your body. Some foods do this better than others.

    Think 90% Mother Nature's food (and its limited processed variants). The other 10% can creep into processed world if needed, in whatever way best suits your personality.

    If you can't stop eating the pint of ice cream once you start, you should cap how often you eat it. Maybe you need to do the once per week cheat meal thing. If you're a good self-limiter, maybe you're the type of person that'll thrive on having one small portion every day.

    This isn't an easy thicket to navigate. And I hope I'm not giving you more leeway than you can handle. You can't eat a bunch of shit and look great naked if you aren't genetically predisposed to look great naked. That's just how it goes.

    On needing the 10%

    This 10% leeway isn't necessary. I make room for it because behavior change is messy. You're coming into this with decades of experiences, feelings, and emotions under your belt. If you have strong ties to certain foods, then cutting them out cold turkey can sabotage your efforts.

    For example, try not to think of a pink elephant for ten seconds. Seriously. Try. After five seconds, you'll realize that the only thing you've been able to think about is a pink elephant.

    This is what happens (sometimes) when you classify a food as “forbidden.” It’s the only thing you think about, which makes it nearly impossible to resist.

    In other words, if you absolutely love an overly processed junk food and you put it on the naughty list, you're going to be thinking about it. All. The. Time. And that's behavior change suicide; the prospect of never again eating a food you love is terrifying.

    Eat Mother Nature's food

    Even after everything we've been through, you might still be wondering, “I get it. You want me to eat Mother Nature's food. But what the heck is it?”

    The best definition for Mother Nature's food: nutrient rich foods that have been proven — over a long stretch of time — to support human life.

    That's sounds about right.

    Take this definition and use it to figure out which… wait. No. Wait. Lists. There are lists. Fuck. We could have ended this a long time ago. My bad.

     

    P.S.

    You have a better idea of what Mother Nature's food is (and isn't). The hard work is done. Eat mostly Mother Nature's foods and its lesser processed variants. You can leave now.

    Below I expand on the three reasons why eating Mother Nature's food is the tits. I don't want you to get too excited, but stories of pirates and goats are afoot. Okay. Fuck it. Get excited.

    It's the tits, reason one: nutrients

    Calories (energy) get a lot of press. People say, “We eat because our body needs energy.” And while that's true, it's also negligent. The OG pirates crossing the Atlantic for the first time weren't dying from starvation (an energy deficiency). They were dying of scurvy (a micronutrient deficiency).

    The world of food below calories: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, bacteria (bacteria isn’t always bad), and so many other things that we don't yet know about. (I'm going to refer to this collective world simply as “micronutrients.”)

    Here’s a list, straight outta’ Harvard. Tells you what vitamins and minerals do for your body. Here’s a neat infographic about phytonutrients and food color. Here’s an interesting article about hunter-gatherer gut bacteria compared to our modernized gut bacteria.

    Micronutrients are what create you. The hairs on your head are micronutrients. Your fingernails are micronutrients. Your blood cells are micronutrients. In some sense, micronutrients are like materials, whereas calories are like workers. You need both to build a house.

    Micronutrient importance

    If you aren't getting enough micronutrients, you might be tired, lethargic, and unmotivated. But, fuck. That's nothing. If you don't get enough vitamin C, you die of scurvy. If you don't get enough iodine, you grow a goiter. A FUCKING GOITER.

    You need micronutrients to keep your body running smoothly, which means now is the perfect time to shrivel into a ball of paranoia about micronutrients. Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.

    If you are paranoid about your micronutrient situation, you can get it tested via hair sample. (I’m looking into credible companies that do this.) But you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to get tested. You can, instead:

    1. Eat mostly Mother Nature’s food.
    2. Eat a variety of Mother Nature’s food.

    Because somehow (magically) most of Mother Nature’s foods are nutrient plentiful. If you Google “best sources of <specific nutrient>”, you're almost always going to get a list of Mother Nature's food in return.

    Then again, the fact that Mother Nature's food is nutrient dense may not be very magical when you think about the alternative: if Mother Nature’s food wasn’t nutrient plentiful, the human race would have died long ago. Because, long ago, the only thing they were able to eat was Mother Nature's food.

    Goats galore

    Just in case staving off Kwashiorkor wasn't reason enough to care about micronutrients, there might be another big one. I'm not 100% sold on what I'm about to tell you, but it's interesting enough to make me sound smart by association pass along.

    In The Dorito Effect, the author (Mark Schatzker) writes that goats stop eating sooner when fed vitamin fortified feed (as compared to goats fed non-vitamin fortified feed). In other words — actually, fuck that. Let's use an example.

    There's an infinite amount of Granny Smith apples in front of you. These are regular Granny Smith apples. Mother Nature's food, full of nutrients.

    A clone of you is in an identical adjacent room. He, too, has an infinite amount of Granny Smith apples in front of him. But there's one difference: these apples have been stripped of their nutrients.

    If both you and your clone went H.A.M. on these apples, eating as many as you could, you would hit a point of satiety before your clone would.

    Why?

    Everything in excess is toxic, or so the theory goes. Water and oxygen are fantastic. You need both of them to survive. But too much of either will kill you. Same goes for nutrients.

    So you (and the goat eating vitamin fortified feed) stop eating sooner in an effort to avoid nutrient toxicity. Your clone (and the goat eating non-fortified feed) doesn't know when to stop.

    If this phenomenon really applies to humans, then Mother Nature's food could help regulate your satiety (because Mother Nature's food is typically more nutrient dense than its overly processed counterparts).

    IT'S THE TITS, REASON ONE

    The first reason Mother Nature's food is the tits: it tends to have more nutrients in comparison to overly processed junk food. And we need nutrients, otherwise we die. Or, even worse, we grow a fucking goiter.

    It's the tits, reason two: fuckery

    Obesity is an epidemic. Humans can't stop eating. Smart people say that we're addicted to energy. As a species, we grew up in an environment that wasn't energy abundant. Those that had the biggest desire (addiction?) to consume energy fought hardest to get it. They were the ones that lived, and they passed on their genes.

    So when you see someone that craves sweets, it makes sense. They crave the sugar because the energy within sugar is preciiioussssss. But do people REALLY crave sugar? When people get “sugar cravings,” do they reach into a jar of white sugar and shove a handful down their throat? Do kids get a hankering for a glass of sugar water?

    No.

    Kids don't drink sugar water. They drink Kool-Aid. They drink Tang. (Do they still drink Tang? I don't know. I used to slay some Tang.) They drink Little Hugs. All of these drinks are more than sugar water. They're flavored sugar water.

    Fucking with flavor

    Humans crave flavor. And, if you’re just learning this, you’re late to the party. Food manufacturers have known this for a long time. They inject bodacious flavor into slop food, turning us into mindless goats. Don’t believe me? Become your own private investigator. Take a gander at the ingredients portion of the food label.

    • natural flavor(s)
    • artiticial flavor(s)
    • flavor(ing)
    • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    • disodium guanlyate
    • disodium inosinate
    • torula yeast
    • hydrolyzed protein
    • autolyzsed yeast
    • saccharin
    • aspartame
    • acesulfame potassium
    • sucralose
    • neotame
    • advantame
    • stevia

    This is a list of flavor enhancers, compliments of The Dorito Effect. These ingredients are all signs that the food is being pumped with added flavor.

    Money, money, money

    What's the point? Are flavor enhancers deadly? No. Not to my knowledge. But, when you peruse the supermarket, you have to come to grips with a harrowing reality: every single company that's selling food wants you to buy their food. And not just once. But over and over and over and over.

    Companies are only companies because they make enough money to continue being companies. In other words, money is king. Altruism isn't.

    This is why Mother Nature's food often gets processed. Salt is added to meats to preserve their shelf life. Wax coating is added to vegetables to make them look shiny and pretty. But overly processed junk food usually takes it one step (or twelve) further.

    Junk food is designed to hack your brain. It's designed to give you pleasure. It's designed to make you a repeat customer.

    Have you seen my tinfoil hat?

    IT'S THE TITS, REASON TWO

    The second Mother Nature's food is the tits: there's less fuckery. Overly processed junk food, for the most part, is designed to hack your brain in the name of repeat consumption. Yes, yes. I know they should add some of this flavoring to broccoli, but, until they do, treat junk food as you were taught to treat Mos Eisley spaceport.

    It's the tits, reason three: proof

    Years ago, a bunch of (supposedly) smart humans concluded that saturated fat caused heart disease. Saturated fat is found naturally (lol) in both animal-based foods and plant-based foods. So the supposedly smart humans made their own fat, which is now commonly known as trans fat.

    Trans fat was (and still is) an ingredient in many different foods, but margarine — the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter substitute for butter — was the trans fat poster boy.

    For a long time, people avoided “regular” butter (saturated fat) in favor of margarine (trans fat) because the smart lab guys said it was a healthier alternative.

    But it wasn’t. And it isn’t.

    Time has shown us two things.

    First, the link between saturated fat intake and heart disease isn’t as clear as it was once thought to be. Meaning the assault on saturated fat might have been unjustified.

    Second, trans fat destroys our bodies. Seriously. Trans fat is so bad for us, there’s a nationwide ban starting in 2018.

    Finding trans fat

    Since I dropped the bomb, I might as well give you a heads up. These days, companies have to list trans fat overtly on the nutrition facts label. But you can't trust the label. For two reasons.

    trans fat label nutrition facts

    First, nutrition labels go by a “per serving” basis. But servings are totally arbitrary. You can make a can of soda have 2.5 servings. But everyone knows you don’t drink 33% of a can of soda, you drink the whole can.

    Second, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of a macronutrient per serving, it can be listed as containing 0 grams per serving. In other words, a food with 0.4 grams of trans fat per serving can be listed as having 0 grams of trans fat per serving.

    Companies purposefully fracture their serving sizes so that they're able to list their food as having 0 grams of trans fat per serving. So if you want to really find trans fat, you have to read through the ingredients. The word “hydrogenated” was (and still is) the red flag. Fully hydrogenated. Partially hydrogenated. Whatever hydrogenated. The word “hydrogenated” is all that matters.

    hydrogenated ingredients

    Naturalistic fallacy

    Trans fat showcases human hubris, but I want to make sure you understand the point I'm driving home. I'm not raging against trans fat because it's not “natural” (lol).

    Whether or not a food is found in nature has nothing to do with my argument at all; I'm not tripping over the naturalistic fallacy.

    The naturalistic fallacy, in a nutshell, is the assumption that “natural” is “right” (or better). This fallacy initially had moral implications. For instance, chimps kill other chimps. Therefore, murder is “natural.” And if murder is “natural,” then should it punishable?

    As it relates to food, the naturalistic fallacy is simply the assumption that “natural” food is inherently better than processed foods. But the problem isn't processing. I have nothing against processing. The problem is proof.

    Proof isn't in trans fat pudding

    Humans survived eating a subset of food that’s been around for a long time (it existed before the advent of advanced processing techniques). And there is empirical wherewithal to know what’s good and bad within this subset of food.

    • Don't eat chicken medium rare.
    • Don't use poison ivy to make tea.
    • Don't eat random forest mushrooms.

    Although I always wonder about the first guy (or gal) that chomped into a raw onion. Must have thought death was imminent. I don’t know who woulda' had the cojones to go in for a second bite.

    Anything new introduced (fuck you, Soylent) into normal “human” feeding patterns should be approached with skepticism. In other words, when it comes to food, look towards Lindy.

    IT'S THE TITS, REASON THREE

    The third reason Mother Nature's food is the tits: there's more proof behind its consumption. Processing changes the proven. It's like a game of telephone. You tell one person a sentence, that person tells another person, that person tells another person, that person tells another person, and on and on it goes. By the time the game of telephone ends, you're left a different sentence. We know the first sentence was good. We don't know if the new (altered) sentence will be good. Until its too late.

    The post The first important (but boring) nutrition principle every skinny-fat noob should know: eat Mother Nature’s food appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:12 pm on January 11, 2018 Permalink  

    Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy 

    My eyelids are closing as I type this. I got two hours of sleep last night. My body is telling me to go to sleep. I should listen to my body.

    “Listen to your body.”

    You hear that phrase all the time. It sounds… right. It feels right, too. After all, the human body has doing it's thang for millions of years now. It has to know a thing or two…

    …right?

    Maybe not.

    YOUR BODY WHISPERS

    The premise behind “listening to your body” is such that your body has some sort of knowledge that your conscious mind doesn't have. The only way to access said knowledge is by listening to your body's whispers. But there are a few problems with this…

    FIRST: SIGNAL AND NOISE

    What if your body isn't trying to tell anything? Put your head up to your stomach as it digests food and you'll probably hear some gurgling and swishing. But that doesn't mean those noises are but… noises. DON'T CRACK YOUR KNUCKLES, SONNY.

    Problem: if you try to listen to your body too deeply, you're likely to turn noise into signal and risk misinterpretation.

    SECOND: DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

    Assume your body is trying to tell you something. What makes you think you can understand your body's language? How do you know you have the right translation?

    Pain is a negative, right? A sign you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. Wait. What about that whole “pain is weakness leaving the body” thing? What's the difference between discomfort and pain? I'm confused already.

    Problem: the translation you have for what your body is trying to tell you isn't universal. You're likely to rely on what you think your body is telling you, and, quite frankly, what you think might be wrong. 

    THIRD: PLACEBOS

    Listening to your body insinuates that your body works from inside of a vacuum. But your expectations greatly influence how your body functions. If you're used to eating lunch at 12PM every day, you'll probably be hungry at 12PM even though your body, deep down, might not ACTUALLY be hungry.

    This is where the placebo effect lives. The placebo effect, in a nutshell: your body feels how you expect it to feel.

    Problem: humans are creatures of habit and expectation, and sometimes those aren't helpful to an end goal. 

    FOURTH: EVOLUTION

    If you believe current evolutionary theory, then humans are pain and risk averse, meaning we're always going to be pushed towards comfort.

    What if comfort isn't ideal?

    If you're trying to stop smoking, your body doesn't really want you to stop smoking. If you listen to your body, you're gonna grab a smoke.

    Also, our primitive software isn't terribly suited to the modern world. We're afraid to take risks because our body codes stressors as ZOMG I'M BEING CHASED BY A LION, but, in reality, you're not being chased by a lion. You're just deciding whether or not to dump your shitty girlfriend that cheated on you.

    Problem: the way the body functions is a matter of context. We evolved in a world different than ours, which means what our body tells us might not match reality.

    FLACCID PLATITUDES

    I could continue with more examples. Continuing with the thread above, evolutionary theory also says that humans are misers. We conserve and hoard energy. If you listen to your body, you're going to die of Pizza the Hutt Syndrome and eat yourself to death.

    pizza the hutt

    Look –

    I get the sentiment. Listen to your body. I'm not saying you should ALWAYS ignore your body, just like I'm saying you should ALWAYS listen to your body. And because the door swings both ways, the phrase “listen to your body” is just another fancy yet flaccid fitness platitude.

    The post Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:12 pm on January 11, 2018 Permalink  

    Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy 

    My eyelids are closing as I type this. I got two hours of sleep last night. My body is telling me to go to sleep. I should listen to my body.

    “Listen to your body.”

    You hear that phrase all the time. It sounds… right. It feels right, too. After all, the human body has doing it's thang for millions of years now. It has to know a thing or two…

    …right?

    Maybe not.

    YOUR BODY WHISPERS

    The premise behind “listening to your body” is such that your body has some sort of knowledge that your conscious mind doesn't have. The only way to access said knowledge is by listening to your body's whispers. But there are a few problems with this…

    FIRST: SIGNAL AND NOISE

    What if your body isn't trying to tell anything? Put your head up to your stomach as it digests food and you'll probably hear some gurgling and swishing. But that doesn't mean those noises are but… noises. DON'T CRACK YOUR KNUCKLES, SONNY.

    Problem: if you try to listen to your body too deeply, you're likely to turn noise into signal and risk misinterpretation.

    SECOND: DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

    Assume your body is trying to tell you something. What makes you think you can understand your body's language? How do you know you have the right translation?

    Pain is a negative, right? A sign you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. Wait. What about that whole “pain is weakness leaving the body” thing? What's the difference between discomfort and pain? I'm confused already.

    Problem: the translation you have for what your body is trying to tell you isn't universal. You're likely to rely on what you think your body is telling you, and, quite frankly, what you think might be wrong. 

    THIRD: PLACEBOS

    Listening to your body insinuates that your body works from inside of a vacuum. But your expectations greatly influence how your body functions. If you're used to eating lunch at 12PM every day, you'll probably be hungry at 12PM even though your body, deep down, might not ACTUALLY be hungry.

    This is where the placebo effect lives. The placebo effect, in a nutshell: your body feels how you expect it to feel.

    Problem: humans are creatures of habit and expectation, and sometimes those aren't helpful to an end goal. 

    FOURTH: EVOLUTION

    If you believe current evolutionary theory, then humans are pain and risk averse, meaning we're always going to be pushed towards comfort.

    What if comfort isn't ideal?

    If you're trying to stop smoking, your body doesn't really want you to stop smoking. If you listen to your body, you're gonna grab a smoke.

    Also, our primitive software isn't terribly suited to the modern world. We're afraid to take risks because our body codes stressors as ZOMG I'M BEING CHASED BY A LION, but, in reality, you're not being chased by a lion. You're just deciding whether or not to dump your shitty girlfriend that cheated on you.

    Problem: the way the body functions is a matter of context. We evolved in a world different than ours, which means what our body tells us might not match reality.

    FLACCID PLATITUDES

    I could continue with more examples. Continuing with the thread above, evolutionary theory also says that humans are misers. We conserve and hoard energy. If you listen to your body, you're going to die of Pizza the Hutt Syndrome and eat yourself to death.

    pizza the hutt

    Look –

    I get the sentiment. Listen to your body. I'm not saying you should ALWAYS ignore your body, just like I'm saying you should ALWAYS listen to your body. And because the door swings both ways, the phrase “listen to your body” is just another fancy yet flaccid fitness platitude.

    The post Why “listen to your body” is stupid advice that’ll make you fat and lazy appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 5:51 pm on November 28, 2017 Permalink  

    the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) 

    You're here because there's a spark in your brain that bursts when you see the words “skinny” and “fat” sexed together as one. “Skinny-fat.” But, really, what is skinny-fat syndrome? What does it mean to be skinny-fat?

    I could get specific, citing my own feelings: I had cheerio sized wrists, chunky love handles, string bean arms, a sunken upper chest, and, uhhh, oh, yeah, them there moob thingies.

    (By the way, I still have cheerio wrists. I can wrap my hand around my wrist and touch pinky finger to thumb. I also like to take pictures of myself during awkward hair phases, terrible tan lines included.)

    skinny fat thin wrists anthony mychal

    I felt like a combination so unique that only Emeril Lagasse could have cooked up such a magnificent blend of lanky and muffin top.

    But there's no need to continually gouge my ego with an ice pick in order to describe skinny-fat syndrome. Skinny-fat syndrome is a product of two things. And if you tame these two things, you win.

    Skinny-fat syndrome is a byproduct of these two things

    If you set aside all the superfluous shit — genetics, body type, somatotypes, waffles, gords — skinny-fat syndrome is simple. It's a tug-of-war between two physical entities: muscle mass and body fat.

    If you don't want to be skinny-fat anymore, you need to do two things.

    • Lose fat
    • Build muscle (in the right places)

    Most skinny-fat dudes own up to needing to lose fat. But I know some of you are thinking, “I don't think I need to build muscle. I just need to be a little more toned and defined. I don't want to be a bodybuilder or anything.”

    If that's a thought ricocheting in your cranium, here's what you need to do: throw any idea of “muscle tone” or “muscle definition” you have into the toilet and flush.

    Don't be afraid to let your ego join the ride, because you can't train for muscle tone or definition. I wrote about this before here.

    Why skinny-fat dudes need to build muscle 

    Perhaps you're not sold. Good. Because I'm selling. Pretend — relative to your current state, assuming no other changes — you suddenly have 5% body fat. What do you look like?

    You might think you look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. But you don't. You look more like Christian Bale in The Machinist.

    skinny fat lose fat no muscle

    Not bad if you want a Halloween costume that delivers shock value. But something tells me the whole I MIGHT DIE TOMORROW look look isn't exactly kitsch otherwise. (I just used the word “kitsch” in a sentence. You know I mean business, now.)

    Skinny-fat Dudes estimating his muscularity (and fat)

    Skinny-fat dudes tend to overestimate how much muscle mass they have. And, on the flip side, they underestimate how much fat they have. I see it all the time.

    Skinny-Fat Dude weighs 180 pounds. Skinny-Fat Dude thinks that, at 160 pounds, he'll be ripped and jacked. He loses weight. Gets down to 160 pounds. Still has a little stomach pudge. Gets self-conscious. Doesn't want to lose more weight because he'll then weigh as much as a prepubescent boy.

    To make matters worse, every family member tells him he looks ghastly enough to drop dead any second — a sentiment that is reinforced by Skinny-Fat Dude feeling as shapely as a dry towel on a clothes line.

    Skinny-fat dudes afraid of losing weight

    Skinny-Fat Dude feels like he'll turn into a pile of sawdust if he loses any more weight, so he concludes that he must have been losing muscle instead of fat. While that's possible, the odds are that Skinny-Fat Dude never had much muscle to begin with.

    As the great Scotty Smalls once said, “I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?”

    sandlot-smalls

    Skinny-Fat Dude is simply revealing the truth of his body, which is: a bunch of bones that were formerly covered in body fat. Now, with the body fat gone, he's just a bunch of bones.

    His ego made him think he was more muscular at his previous weight, but he confused Taking up more space with Being more muscular. Or, even worse, he confused Weighing a certain amount with Looking good naked.

    Building muscle in the right places

    Alright. I'm done selling. Muscle is important. But I'll concede… slightly. Because I'm not talking about becoming a bodybuilder or anything. Ten to twenty pounds of muscle goes a long way, especially if it's built in the right places.

    For instance, I look at a guy like Noah Kagan and think, Wow. Great transformation. You did good. But you fucked up, too. You should have done more pull-ups or something because you upper-body is still shaped like a pyramid.

    noah kagan skinny fat

    But I'm no one to judge Mr. Kagan. Maybe he loves his ‘△' framed upper-body. Not everyone shares my penchant for an x-physique and its inherent ‘▽' framed upper-body.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll write about this x-physique thing (and how to create an illusion with your physique) later. Don't wanna let the horse assfuck the cart, or something.

    Back to the two things

    We've ended up back where we started. I has to take the detour above to weed out those that are going to fail anyways don't jive with what I have to say.

    Tug-of-war. Muscle and fat. If you're skinny-fat, then fat is winning the tug-of-war. No bueno. If you want to shift the power dynamic, you need to keep reading.

    Coming soon…

    This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup


    P.S.

    My love for building muscle extends beyond aesthetics. It's also the reason (probably) I'm able to drink more craft beer than any person touting “fitness” probably should. But this'll unravel in time…

    The post the 2 things (and only 2 things) a skinny-fat dude needs to do in order to build a better body… (NUMBER TWO WON’T GO DOWN EASYLLOLOLL) appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 10:23 pm on November 27, 2017 Permalink  

    if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself 

    you know a lot less than you think you do when it comes to energy, intake, energy output, deficits, surpluses, and all of the thermodynamic shit related to weight gain and weight loss.

    don't worry. i'm just as dumb as you are. to light this bouquet of roses ablaze, read Part 2. if Part 2 doesn't make sense, then read Part 1. i'm not feeling clever enough for a more spunky introduction. this is Part 3 and thus a fetus of the first two Parts. eat the placenta.

    this here Part 3 starts with an argument of semantics that makes me want to scoop the corneas out of my eyeballs with a gardening spade.

    a lot of people say they want to lose weight.

    fuggggg.

    why “weight” is bogus

    “i want to lose weight.”

    using the word “weight” allows persnickety punks like me to crawl outta' our caverns, slowly slide sun shades up our septums, click our tongues, and then (intelligently) declare:

    No, sire. You do not want to loseth weight. if that was alleth you wur concerned aboot, simply chop off thine arm. now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to get my butt hole waxed. thanketh.

    alas, i know what the phrase “lose weight” means. when someone says they want to ‘lose weight', they want to lose fat. duh. it is known.

    so persnickety punks like myself are out here majoring in the minutiae… or so it would seem. but, well, sometimes words matter. actually, most times, words matter.

    otherwise, language would be retarded.

    (C WAT I DID THUR?)

    you don't want to lose weight

    perhaps the biggest point persnickety punks like me try to make when qualifying this “weight” thing isn't about chopping off limbs, but, rather, clarifying the fate of muscle mass.

    cue stage right, to the Instagram chick with a before and after picture to showcase the bat shit world of “weight” in relation to body composition.

    • the before picture, 150 pounds and fat.
    • the after picture, 150 pounds and ripped.

    the difference? in the before picture, the weight was fat. in the after picture, the weight was muscle.

    (true story: in order to bolster my Instagram chick claim, I Google searched ‘Instagram muscle versus fat‘ and, no surprise, most of the search results were chick pictures.)

    “weight” can be muscle or fat. if your sole focus is on scale weight, you won't be able to tell which biological mush you're losing. as the Instagram chick clan can tell you, this is certainly no bueno.

    smaller problems with weight loss

    this phenomenon, your body being able to melt muscle instead of burn fat, shouldn't make much sense.

    we have to return to the car analogy i created oh so long ago in Part 1, because the car analogy tells us how surpluses and deficits are handled.

    intake more than your immediate tank can store? fuel goes inside of the red canisters in the trunk, our backup fuel cells. need 2000 calories, eat 3000 calories, then 1000 calories go into storage.

    output more than what your immediate tank has? the red canisters feed the fuel lineneed 3000 calories, eat 2000 calories, then 1000 calories get taken outta' storage.

    hihihihi

    you've probably took the intellectual leap (long ago) and paralleled the red canisters to body fat, even though I never made the connection. in fact, i went out of my way to avoid that connection, which is why, in Part 1, i only mention “weight” and not body fat.

    although body fat is like fuel inside of red fuel canisters, so are other bits of your bytes. muscle, too, can also be fuel inside of the red canisters. and, while we're at it, why not mention bone and organs?

    although the red canisters do represent body fat, they, in total, represent all of your “body stores” — tissues available for breakdown in times of need.

    hihihihi

    the initial logic unlocked by the car analogy was very… homeostatic. meaning, there was one variable regulating the system.

    TEMPERATURE DROPS, THERMOSTAT FEELS, HEAT KICKS ON; ENERGY DROPS, BODY FEELS, FAT IS UNLOCKED.

    this makes things nice and easy to understand, but, well… nah bruh. things don't work that way. your body is much more allostatic. meaning, there's a host of variables that can be manipulated to deal with the situation at hand.

    the heat doesn't have to turn on if you're cold. you can change into warmer clothes. you can throw a blanket over yourself. do a shot of tequila. drink hot chocolate.

    there's rarely one option.

    and, truth be told, this whole “body stores” thing is just the tip of the smirnoffberg.

    hihihihi

    i'm going press pause on current train of thought because it leads down a dark alley i'm not sure you're ready for. just kidding, i'm not ready for it. because it'll take us off the topic at hand, which is the downsides of focusing on “weight.”

    and i'm not done with that. here are some other things to think about…

    A. People have weight goals, but don't have weight ambitions.

    People want to lose weight and gain weight. That's what they decide to focus on, as a goal. Lose ten pounds, or whatever. But no one looks at the number 140 and says, “I want to look like that number.” They look at people and say, “I want to look like that.”

    cc: BradPitt@FightClub.com

    People want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club because of the way he looked, not because of how much he weighed. I know this because 99% of the people that say, “I want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club,” will not know how much Pitt weighed when filming the movie.

    well…

    do you?

    so there's a disconnect. you want to look a certain way, but your metric for success isn't looks. it's a number.

    B. People aren't equipped with the right numerical expectations.

    Just about anyone that wants to lose ten pounds probably really actually just about needs to lose thirty pounds… of fat, of course.

    unless you've dieted down to a low body fat before, there's a good chance you're underestimating how much weight you really need to lose in order to be lean. this fucks with expectations. and expectations are everything.

    if you think you only need to lose ten pounds to get shredded, and, after losing ten pounds, you aren't shredded, maybe five of those pounds were from muscle..?!?1?!?1?1?!1 WHAT ILLUMINATI IS IN CONTROL OF MY BAWDI?

    or maybe they weren't. maybe you were just fatter than you thought you were. don't be upset. happens to all of us.

    C. People attach an irrational emotional connection to certain weights.

    I see this all the time. People say, “I'm losing fat, but I'm afraid to keep going because I don't want to drop below 150 pounds.” (Or whatever weight.)

    why?

    you're holding two conflicting ideas. on one hand, you want to be lean. on the other hand, you don't want to weigh less. it doesn't make sense.

    if you're afraid of dropping below a certain weight, its likely because you feel like you're too thi,n (read: non-muscular). and you're probably non-muscular because you're focusing on WEIGHT LOSS as opposed to… well, just keep reading!

    i exclaimed that last sentence. did you see that? exclaim. i never exclaim. John Romaniello would be so upset.

    zee Mathematization of Humanity!

    weight is a number. usually measured by a bathroom scale caked in one too many pubic hairs. don't worry, the inch of dust expertly preserved atop the scale garners more attention.

    you are a human. not a number. yet many people choose to see themselves as a number, for body composition purposes. I get the sentiment. but this is a Mathematization of Humanity. it seems innocent, but it's not.

    combine the three things above and your body becomes mayhem and mystery. people want to look a certain way, but use numbers as their sole success metric. it just doesn't make sense.

    why care about how much you weigh when you don't have a fucking clue how much the people you want to look like weigh?

    now, to clarify…

    i'm not anti-weight checking. weight is a powerful metric to use, a great source of fast feedback. but it shouldn't be the SOLE success metric. it should be one of many.

    unum e pluribus

    okay, so that's round one

    the Mathematization of Humanity causes some problems. and here's where we can link back to the BIG issue I started this on: “weight” versus body stores.

    I said that when regulating, body has options. fat isn't an absolute guarantee. and, to make matters worse, this goes much deeper than body stores.

    suppose now is the time to cut the umbilical cord and let a new life begin.


    This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post if you’re trying to “Lose Weight” then you’re going to wreck yourself before you check yourself appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 3:29 am on November 23, 2017 Permalink  

    How to “slim down” your holiday dinner to avoid unwanted fat gain 

    You don't wanna be mistaken for one of the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the days following holiday festivities. You want to know holiday season diet secrets like:

    Serve steamed green beans instead of green bean casserole, ohhhh!

    Serve butternut squash instead of pasta, aaaahhhhhhhh!

    Serve smashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, woooaaaahhhh!

    Your corneas are already overflowing with cheat codes! But I'm just getting started. Ready for the real secret?

    The best way to slim down holiday dinners

    The real secret — the absolute best way to slim down your holiday dinner, eat guilt free, and prevent unwanted fat gain, is as follows:

    Don't fuck up what you eat the other 300 days of the year so that you can eat thirty sticks of butter (or whatever the hell else you want) during your holiday feasts without consequence. 

    Because here's the deal:

    One day (even an entire weekend) of feasting won't make you fat. It just won't. If you want a lackluster explanation as to why, click here. What'll make you fat is treating every weekend (weekday?) as if it were a holiday.

    So I have an idea for you. But before I tell you this idea, lemme drive my point home a little further.

    The low down on holiday feasting

    Obsessing over the healthiness of your holiday dinner doesn't make sense because…

    If you eat like you're supposed to most days of the year, you can eat whatever you want for the 1-3 day long holiday stretch without consequence. Won't affect your fat loss or muscle building ambitions.

    If you accept this, then…

    The only reason to care about what you eat during the holidays hinges on not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year.

    And if you're not eating like you're supposed to eat most days of the year, then…

    You're already fucked.

    Therefore…

    You should eat whatever the fuck you want during the 1-3 day holiday stretch.

     

    Here's an idea

    Given that the only way your holiday behaviors will matter is if you're fucking up most other days of the year (and fucking up most other days of the year means your holiday behaviors won't matter anyways), here's my idea.

    Instead of looking for ways to slim down your holiday dinner, do this instead:

    Capture the vigor with which you're finding ways to slim down your holiday dinner. Use it, instead, to find out how to “slim down” the 300 other mundane days of the year so that you can apologetically drink, eat, and be merry when its time to drink, eat, and be merry.

    Because if you're slimming down your holiday feasts, your shit is backwards. Your “diet” and your mindset are broken.

    holiday dinner anthony mychal

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  • Anthony Mychal 4:54 pm on November 22, 2017 Permalink  

    What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition 

    i used to be afraid of getting too muscular. i didn't want to be a lump of bodybuilding sludge, unable to scratch my back.

    i always wanted to be sleeker. probably because, as a skinny-fat nerd turd, i always felt like the Cartman of the group.

    so when my friends (all four of them) and i played multiplayer video games, i always wanted to be the small quick dude. GAUNTLET. the elf. i was never the slow clunky barbarian.

    gauntlet nes

    funny. the dude that always was the clunky barbarian is huge now (muscularly). pretty sure he does steroids, too.

    people share similar thoughts, only they take them one step further.

    i don't want to get too muscular… OVERNIGHT.

    the same “overnight” concept bleeds into muscle loss and fat gain, too.

    I didn't train — oh no! — I don't want to lose all all my muscle overnight!

    I need to slim down my holiday dinner, I don't want to get fat overnight! 

    common thoughts.

    that need smeared with shit.

    brushing up on energy balance

    in order to put these short-term body composition changes into perspective, let's talk about energy. specifically, energy balance.

    if you haven't read my collection of farticles on energy balance, click here. the TL;DR being: your body uses energy every second of every day, and you eat energy every day to stay alive.

    the amount of energy you eat is measured via calories. The standard example, the reference point, always seems to be 2000 calories. in other words, you need to eat 2000 calories every day to maintain your current weight.

    the 2000 calorie thing is 100% not accurate for 99.9% of humans, but, for the sake of this conversation, and to avoid more percentages, and commas, let's assume that it is. you need 2000 calories every day. if you eat this amount, you stay the same weight.

    Mediocristan and Extremistan

    this 2000 calories, the energy you need in order to maintain yourself, exists within a Mediocristan domain. perhaps the best way to understand a Mediocristan domain is to first understand an Extremistan domain.

    (FYI, I'm stealing the concepts of Mediocristan and Extremistan from Nassim Taleb. Consider this a paralagiarismphrase of ideas that appear in The Black Swan.)

    EXTREMISTAN

    in an Extremistan domain, one instance or output can greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 middle class people and finding their average income.

    chances are, the largest deviation from the average won't be HUGE. and, if you added another middle class person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but now imagine throwing Bill Gates into the lineup. suddenly, with Gates, the largest income deviation from the average IS huge. and thus, the average changes immensely.

    this is Extremistan in a nutshell.

    MEDIOCRISTAN

    in a Mediocristan domain, one instance or output can't greatly unbalance the average. so imagine lining up 1000 people and finding their average body weight.

    just as before, the largest deviation from the average won't be huge. and, if you added another person into the lineup, the average wouldn't change much.

    but here's the difference…

    even if you now add the largest living human into the lineup, the new adjusted average still won't change that much… even if s/he weighs three or four times the initial average.

    this is Mediocristan in a nutshell.

    what WON'T happen overnight

    as mentioned, your energy intake exists largely in a Mediocristan domain, meaning one single input (day) won't have a devastating consequences on the extended average.

    meaning none of these things

    • losing a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of fat
    • building a meaningful amount of muscle
    • losing a meaningful amount of muscle

    will happen overnight, even if you use the most EXTREME measures possible. you can play this out with numbers.

    you can't lose fat overnight

    assuming you need 2000 calories every day to maintain your weight, that means you'd eat 60,000 calories in one month.

    even if you starved yourself and ate nothing in one day, you're not greatly affecting the overall monthly average intake.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 0 = 1933 daily average

    to put these numbers into some perspective, the rule of thumb is that one pound of body fat “contains” 3500 calories. in other words, even if you did the most extreme thing possible (starved yourself for the day), you wouldn't lose one pound of fat.

    you can't get fat overnight

    likewise, even if you ate as much as you could in one day, you (probably) wouldn't greatly affect the monthly average calorie intake.

    “probably” is in parenthesis because there's greater deviation potential when it comes to overeating.

    when you starve yourself, there's a bottleneck: zero calories. when you gorge, the bottleneck is your stomach's capacity to hold food.

    in today's age, food is hyper palatable, flavor enhanced, and calorie dense — designed to hack your satiety circuitry. you might be able to eat, say, 10000 calories in one day.

    • all days @ 2000 = 2000 daily average
    • one day @ 10000 = 2266 daily average

    this has a bigger affect on the monthly average calorie intake. given a pound of fat “contains” 3500 calories, it would seem as if you gained two pounds of fat overnight.

    but the body isn't a nematode.

    the meat sweats

    if you slurped up 10000 calories in one day when, usually, you only eat 2000 calories, it seems as if you've consumed +8000 calories. but the body isn't static and linear. the numbers wouldn't shake out like that.

    ever have the meat sweats? you eat so much food, your body temperature jacks through the roof? when you eat more food, your body burns more calories.

    in other words, you wouldn't really be +8000. granted, you'd still end up with a calorie surplus. but it wouldn't be as severe as +8000.

    numbers dawg

    you might still be wondering… “Well, even if it is +5000, I've still gained a pound of fat though, right?” meh. maybe. probably not though.

    this world of numbers we've created in regards to how our body functions is nice and all, but there are a lot of things we have no quantifiable frame of reference for.

    for instance, your daily metabolic rate is tied to your bodyweight. so if you did gain a pound of fat, you also have to assume your metabolic rate changed ever so slightly which BUTTERFLY EFFECTS OMFG I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TGALKINGB BOUt

    feelings, undereating and overeating

    screw the numbers. what about feelings? if you chucked back 10000 calories in one day, you'd certainly wake up the next day feeling fatter, right?

    absolutely. but the feeling wouldn't actually be a byproduct of gaining body fat. most short-term feasts make you feel fat because:

    1. You have a bunch of food sitting in your stomach, which makes you feel bloated.
    2. Your feasts also contain high sodium foods, which means you're retaining more water than you normally do.

    Both of these make you feel (and look) softer and puffier. typically, a day of two of “regular” eating will autocorrect this feeling.

    similarly, when most people don't train for a day (or a week) and feel less muscular, they aren't really losing muscle. the feeling is a byproduct of short-term adaptations, like your body carrying less muscle glycogen — something that will also autocorrect after one or two training sessions.

    conclusion

    in the end, your body won't make meaningful metabolic adaptions in 24-hours. it just so happens that both body fat and muscle mass fall under the “meaningful metabolic adaptations” umbrella.

    if you want to lose fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STARVE YOURSELF; if you're afraid of gaining fat, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND GORGE YOURSELF.

    if you want to gain muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DO THE MOST EXTREME THING POSSIBLE AND STRENGTH TRAIN NON-STOP; if you're afraid of losing muscle, it takes more than a day EVEN IF YOU DON'T MOVE A SINGLE JOINT. 

    your body composition is a product of trends, not fads.

    your body isn't Yikes pencil, is what i'm saying.

    The post What you need to know about “overnight” (short-term) changes in body composition appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 1:16 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink  

    How much WEIGHT do you have to LIFT in order to BUILD muscle? 

    You have what little muscle you have (HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY OR SO I HEAR) thanks to gravity. If you want to be more muscular, you need to hop into a hyperbolic time chamber and overcome supergravity.

    In other words, you need to create and move against more resistance than what Earth's gravity already provides. Wrote about this in Part 2. I'll add to it in the future, but you're sitting pretty now because you know enough to face the question at hand:

    How much resistance (weight) do you have to move (lift) in order to build muscle?

    I could be blunt.

    Likely, at minimum, 60% of your one-repetition max (1RM). Or, if numbers scare you, just think: sticky movements.

    But, well, you know me. I like to explain things, which is why I'm going to undo my bluntness and dive into the deep. If my blunt answers weren't enough (or were confusing), you're welcome to suffer along with me.

    The RPG analogy to end all analogies (or my sanity, haven't decided)

    Imagine that you're a character in an RPG. Your ability to overcome “load” (established in Part 2) exists on a spectrum that goes from Level 0 to Level 99.

    overcome load level spectrum

    When you're Level 1, you can barely overcome Earth's gravity. Level 99 represents your biological ceiling. The maximum load you've ever be able to overcome.

    (You aren't at your biological ceiling. Even the greatest athletes in the world improve slightly from year to year. Don't worked up about where you are in relation to your ceiling. You just need to know that one exists.)

    For gits and shiggles, let's assume you're Level 20. (You're obviously not Level 1. If you were, you wouldn't be able to move.) With this Level, and every Level, comes certain realities dictated by the rules of the RPG.

    First, you have a magic spell for every Level. So you have a Level 1 magic spell, a Level 2 magic spell, a Level 3… all the way up to Level 20.

    Second, your maximum magic capacity is your Level. Since you're Level 20, you have 20 magic points available.

    Third, each spell uses an amount of magic commensurate with its Level. If you use a Level 5 spell, you use 5 magic points.

    Fourth, after you use a magic spell, your magic points slowly regenerate over time.

    Fifth, the higher Level you are — the more robust and powerful you are — the more resources it takes to keep yourself afloat. You have more everything so you need more everything to accommodate for said everything.

    If you aren't a video game nerd, the above analogy won't stick well. Sorry I'm not sorry. Consider this the wedgie you always deserved but never got.

    How your spells influence you

    You're Level 20. You use your Level 1 magic spell. It only requires 1 magic point. Considering you have 20 magic points available, the overall impact on you isn’t huge. You still have 19 points available.

    But say you use a Level 18 spell. You now only have 2 magic points left, which means the overall impact on you is huge. The fact that you only have 2 magic points left makes you vulnerable. Even a peon enemy can beat you because you can’t use stronger spells (until you recover).

    So a Level 18 spell is stressful on a Level 20 character. It’s stressful from a resource standpoint (it uses up a lot of magic points relative to your overall capacity). It’s also stressful from an impact standpoint (after you use it, you’re vulnerable because you can't use higher spells).

    You are a moist machine

    The not so general rule of thumb: higher Level spells are more stressful than lower Level spells — an important factoid because your body isn't a huge fan of stress. Your body is a much bigger fan of stasis, which is to say: equilibrium and balance. When you're stressed, your survival is compromised.

    So say you're Level 20. You constantly find yourself throwing Level 15 spells. In other words, you're undergoing chronic stress. You're always in a weakened state.

    If your body were a regular machine, the only thing it'd be able to do is recover and repair as much (and as quickly) as possible in between spells.

    Fortunately, your body isn't a regular machine. Your body is a moist biological machine with… abilities. It can adapt, change, and become a creature better able to survive certain situations. In other words, your body can Level Up.

    How to Level Up

    When you're Level 20, throwing Level 15 spells is stressful. But what if you are Level 30? Or Level 40? Throwing those same Level 15 becomes a much less stressful experience.

    So if you're Level 20 and you find yourself going through the chronic charade of throwing Level 15 spells, your body can make a calculated decision to Level Up.

    Leveling Up might not seem like a difficult decision to make. Your body doesn't like to be stressed, and, by Leveling Up, your body won't be as stressed.

    But there are downsides to Leveling Up. Remember, being a higher Level requires more resources. Requiring more resources is also a “vulnerability” because you become less energy efficient. As mentioned, in Part 1, your body doesn't fuck around when it comes to energy.

    The big juicy RPG analogy flaw

    If your body is stressed from chronically throwing high Level spells, it can Level Up. This is the nugget nectar, the reason we're here. But before we eat the nectar, I have to first mention a big juicy flaw in this RPG analogy.

    I created the flaw on purpose to make things less complicated, but now it's time to undo it and make things more complicated.

    Initially, I established linear rules for the RPG. Your magic spell uses an amount of magic commensurate with your Level. In other words:

    • Level 1 spell uses 1 magic point
    • Level 6 spell uses 6 magic points
    • Level 18 spell uses 18 magic points

    If you plot this out on a graph (magic points vs. Level), you get a nice straight line. One step east takes you one step north. The stress of your spells increases linearly; a Level 2 spell is twice as taxing as a Level 1 spell.

    linear level spectrum

    But, in reality, there's a nonlinearity to stress. In other words, one step to the east won't always take you one step to the north.

    How to break your leg in style

    You stand on a one foot high wall and jump off. Then you stand on a two foot high wall and jump off. Then you stand on a three foot high wall and jump off. The idea: the higher the wall, the rougher the landing.

    In this sense, it seems that jumping off a wall plays by the same linear rules established five seconds ago. But it doesn't. Here's why.

    Imagine jumping off a one foot wall twenty times. You can calculate the impact as (ten impacts @ 1 foot = ten feet worth of impact).

    Imagine jumping off a ten foot wall one time. You can calculate the impact as (one impact @ ten feet = ten feet worth of impact).

    Despite both situations adding up to ten feet worth of impact, you know, intuitively, that each situation is a lot different, which is why you'd rather jump off a one foot wall ten times.

    Say hello to my little nonlinear friend

    The increased severity that comes with jumping off the ten foot wall is a product of nonlinearity. When you plot nonlinearity on a graph, you end up with a curve instead of a straight line. This curve has an inflection point —  a point where the line heads north at a more rapid rate.

    nonlinear level spectrum

    Establishing nonlinearity is important because it gives you a more accurate depiction of how stress correlates to certain Level spells.

    Earlier, you might have concluded that twenty consecutive Level 1 spells was “equal” to one Level 20 spell. But now, if you overlap this nonlinear curve atop the Level spectrum, you can see that a Level 1 spell might only use fractions of one magic point.

    Ceiling versus comfort 

    The presence of nonlinearity enables a comfort zone on the Level spectrum in relation to your ceiling. (Your ceiling is simply your current Level.) Given your current Level, there's a cluster of spells you can use regularly without excessive stress baggage.

    ceiling versus comfort level spectrum

    At some point, however, the comfort zone fizzles, and the spells get exponentially more stressful… which is exactly where you want to be. In case you fell asleep, let me tell you why.

    Leveling Up and building muscle

    If you want to build muscle, you have to Level Up. Making your body Level Up is the point; muscle mass is a byproduct of Leveling Up.

    In order for you to Level Up, you have to throw spells beyond your comfort zone. You have to stress your body, otherwise, you body will have no reason to upgrade.

    This brings us to the question we've been mining from the start. At what point does the comfort zone break down? At what point do the spells become stressful enough to get the body thinking about Leveling Up?

    Gravity as an enemy

    Time to shift from RPG to reality. Hopefully the transition'll be smooth. We're all fighting the same enemy (same load): Earth’s gravity. This is like always fighting a Level 3 enemy.

    If we were Level 3, we'd be constantly stressed out bonkers. In order for us to face a Level 3 enemy on the regular, our body has to adapt to a point where a Level 3 enemy is safe and comfortable.

    In other words, our ceiling — our real Level — has to be higher than Level 3. When you’re Level 20, Level 3 enemies aren’t a big deal. And that’s what your body wants; your body wants stasis. Balance. Ease.

    The, uhh, Nazi salute…?

    Take any single movement you can think of. Let's use the Nazi salute as an example, just because it's offensive and I was told that offending people would get me more followers.

    This Nazi salute, without weight, is a Level 3 spell according to our analogy. In other words, we're coasting in the comfort zone.

    Now, slowly add weight to the movement by the pound. You're making your hand heavier and heavier. Eventually, you'll hit a point where you'll be unable to lift your arm in the air. This weight represents your one-repetition max (1RM) — the amount of weight you can lift one single time.

    This 1RM represents your current max Level, which anchors the nonlinear curve. The sweet spot, the point at which you comfort zone fizzles, is somewhere around 60% of your 1RM.

    So if you want to build muscle, if you want to stress yourself, you should be lifting at least 60% of your 1RM on a regular basis.

    Another analogy!

    If you want to build muscle, you need to go beyond your load comfort zone. There's now a number attached to this concept. Hurrah! Everyone can go home now.

    Just kidding.

    I'm going to take things one step further and explain something I've already explained… a slightly different way. Surprising, right? Who would have expected such a thing?

    Me.

    I would have expected such a thing.

    Because I know me.

    Atop this Level spectrum, we can consider yet another spectrum. The SPRING – STICK spectrum.

    Springing and sticking

    You can contract your muscles. You can relax your muscles. In the end, this is what every movement boils down to. But, funnily enough, you can't move when you're 100% in either extreme.

    • Total relaxation, you can’t move.
    • Total contraction, you can’t move.

    Overcoming load is a combination of contraction and relaxation, with movement being biased towards an extreme.

    CONTRACTION

    Contraction based movements are sticky. Grindy. Friction. In order to be sticky, you have to contract. If your car breaks down on the side of the road and you have to push it, chances are you’re going to be all sorts of sticky moving.

    RELAXATION

    Relaxation based movements are springy. Bouncy. Ballistic. In order to be springy, you have to relax. If I ask you to throw a baseball as far as you can, chances are you're going to be all sorts of springy moving.

    Stick stick sticky

    On the Level spectrum, there's an inherent flow from SPRING to STICK. In other words, the maximum load you're able to (consciously) overcome is inherently sticky. Consider this your aforementioned 1RM, your ceiling.

    As you reduce the load, you become less contraction based. Eventually, you'll reach a point where you're able to comfortably relax and spring under a given load.

    Surprise, surprise…

    This transition from stick to spring is likely somewhere around 60% of your 1RM.

    In other words, if wondering how much resistance you need to overcome in order to build muscle and you don't want to drown in calculus, simply ask yourself: are you performing an honest sticky movement?

    Honest sticky movements

    It's worth qualifying the “honest” adjective I used. Be honest: did you cheat on me? I need to know. Was it me? Was it my fault? I can't change, baby, but I can sure as hell put on a façade and make it seem like I can (and will) even though I won't; we'll be back in the same spot two years from now; it'll be a recurring loop and we'll die unhappily ever after.

    You decide to walk slow and sticky up the steps, but you could leap and bound quickly up those same steps. So walking up the steps, no matter how you do it, isn’t an “honest” sticky movement.

    A good marker to judge honest sticky movements: if you tried your hardest, could you be springy or leave the surface of the earth? If you can't (to a huge degree, or for a long time), you're probably in an honest sticky zone.

    How to not build muscle

    So. Finally. We've made it. Muscle growth is a byproduct of Leveling Up. Leveling Up is an adaptation in response to chronic stress. Otherwise said, constantly facing 60% 1RM. Or, constantly overcoming a sticky load.

    I realize how lol that last sentence sounds, and it's a bit too lol for me to care.

    But as one door closes, another opens.

    You can train at 60% of your 1RM, be sticky as all hell, and struggle to build muscle… for a few reasons. The one I want to tackle next: exercise selection.

    There are better and worse exercises. Not surprisingly, a lot of people tend to do the worse ones.

    Coming soon…

    This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

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    P.S.

    I realize there are flaws aplenty within this analogy. My use of “stress” only occurring at 60% of your 1RM is sketchy because it neglects load load explosive work that can be immensely stressful.

    The post How much WEIGHT do you have to LIFT in order to BUILD muscle? appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
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