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Anthony Mychal | Evolutionary Athletics

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

    → Click here to signup


    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.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 5:17 pm on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Why counting calories is a game for idiots that are… idiotic. Pretend this sentence is a yo mamma joke, I’m out to offend. 

    If you're trying to lose fat and build muscle, you probably know a thing or two about energy and calories. Or maybe you don't, in which case you need to read Part 1.

    If you're too lazy to read Part 1, the following recap'll have to do.

    • Your body needs energy.
    • You're using energy 24/7.
    • You get energy from food.
    • Energy is measured in calories.
    • There's intake and output.
    • Output > Intake = Deficit/Loss
    • Intake > Output = Surplus/Gain

    Sounds good.

    But its shit.

    For two reasons.

    The first reason is the sexier of the two, which is exactly why I'm saving it for later. Grandma's rule. So let's start with the second reason. (I hate myself.)

    Introducing: counting calories

    Energy balance dictates body composition through the “rules” listed above.

    • Output > Intake = Deficit/Loss
    • Intake > Output = Surplus/Gain

    For all intents and purposes, we can say that, if you're using the “rules” above, you're using a strategy known as “counting calories.”

    Counting calories entails (a) finding out how many calories you burn in a given day, and then (b) finding out how many calories you eat in a given day.

    You then use the “rules” above to hack the system.

    • If you want to gain weight, you make sure you're eating more than what you need.
    • If you want to lose weight, you make sure you're eating less than what you need.

    This is the same concept I established at the end of Part 1, I'm just giving the art itself a name for easy reference.

    Counting calories: truth versus practicality

    Forget about the “rules” supporting the calorie counting infrastructure. Instead, look at the practicality. Counting calories is only a viable strategy if you can do two things:

    • Reliably calculate daily energy output.
    • Reliably calculate daily energy intake.

    You HAVE to be able to do these two things and get reliable values for each, otherwise you're playing a game of chess against an opponent using invisible pieces.

    If you think you're eating 2000 calories per day, but you're actually eating 3000 calories per day, you've got some problems. Likewise, if you think you're burning 3000 calories per day, but you're actually burning 2000 calories per day, you've got some problems. So this whole “data reliability” issue is something to look into.

    No big deal. Lots of people would say you can reliably calculate your daily energy intake and your daily energy output. People do it all the time. Right?

    Wrong.

    I mean, you can.

    But you can't.

    I mean, here's what I mean.

    The LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    Let's start here: calculating daily energy output. In other words, finding out how many calories your body uses every day — your average daily metabolic rate.

    Most people use calculators on the Internet to find their average daily metabolic rate. Google search ‘metabolic rate calculator’, and you’ll find hundreds of different calculators.

    Some of them estimate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy you’d output if you did nothing but rest in bed all day. Most of us do more than rest in bed, which is why there are total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculators.

    (I'm going to assume you aren't sinking in a confusing sea of acronyms even though I realize the possibility.)

    So check it out. I want to count calories. I need to know my daily energy output (metabolic rate). I do some Googling. I find three different BMR calculators.

    I give each website the same pieces of information (height, weight, age) and here's what happens:

    • active.com: 2,123 calories per day
    • calculator.net: 1,998 calories per day
    • bmrcalculator.org: 2000 calories per day

    How can each calculator poop out different results despite using the same information? Gah. Oh well. The variance between each result isn't huge. I'm fine. Right?

    Part dos of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    I have my BMR. Or what I believe to be my BMR. But I do more than watch Netflix in bed every second of every day. And, hey, I'm smarter than the average sasquatch. I know a bunch of things influence my daily metabolic rate.

    I know that my physical activity is a factor; if I move around more, I'll use more energy. I know that my body composition is a factor; muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which means a 200 pound person with 10% body fat will have a higher metabolic rate than a 200 pound person with 30% body fat.

    I don't want to ignore these things, so I look for a TDEE calculator. Google takes me to tdeecalculator.net. I punch in my activity level and body fat percentage. I’m told that my TDEE is a whopping 3,691 calories per day.

    lolwut.

    Not long ago, I was working with a 2000 calorie per day BMR. Now I'm being told I can house 3,691 calories per day. In other words, every day I can eat six more Snickers® bars than I originally thought I could.

    TDEE, BMR, and LOL

    Considering my BMR is the amount of calories I'd burn if I were decomposing in a nursing home, I'm going to use my TDEE estimation for calorie counting purposes. (Because, uhhh, I'm not dying. I mean, I am dying. We're all dying, but…)

    VOMIT.

    Here's the deal…

    Although many things do influence your metabolic rate, more often than not, accounting for every known variable gives you an illusion of control more than actual control.

    BODY COMPOSITION

    Your body composition does influence your metabolic rate. But, chances are, the body fat percentage you think you have isn't accurate.

    Home body fat measurement tools like bioelectric impedance scales are terrible. They’re overly sensitive to hydration. Drink a glass of water, your body fat goes up five percent. Wait, what? Body fat calipers also have big error in untrained hands.

    In general, most ways to measure your body fat percentage in the comfort of your own home are bogus. If you want a real estimate, you have to be getting results via hydrostatic weighing, BodPod, or DEXA.

    PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

    Physical activity also influences your metabolic rate. But, often times, defining your physical activity is a crap shoot. For instance, the TDEE calculator mentioned above gives five different activity categories:

    • Sedentary (office job)
    • Light exercise (1-2 days/week)
    • Moderate exercise (3-5 days/week)
    • Heavy exercise (6-7 days/week)
    • Athlete (2x/day)

    But these categories don’t even define the type of exercise being done. And, to make matters worse, us humans suffer from all sorts of cognitive biases that make us overestimate just how active we really are.

    Meaning I'm going to report (I did report) that I exercise vigorously, when, really, REALLY REALLY, I probably only exercise moderately.

    Part w/e of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    Let's hop back to the TDEE calculation. I was estimated to have a TDEE of 3,691 calories. But, well, I was using estimates to get this estimate. If using estimates in order to estimate something sounds like a recipe for estimation error, that's because it is.

    I plugged in values for both body composition and physical activity, neither of which were 100% accurate. In other words, the likelihood of my TDEE being 3,691 calories isn't great.

    To make matters worse, things get hairier than an Italian man's arms. For instance, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) also impacts your metabolic rate. NEAT is the energy you use when you're macromoving, but not exercising.

    Are you sitting upright, or are you slouching? (Sitting upright uses more energy.) Are you shivering right now? (Uses more energy.) Picking your nose? (Uses energy, unless you eat the booger.)

    No metabolic rate calculator overtly accounts for NEAT. In other words, the likelihood of my TDEE being 3,691 calories is even less great than it was two paragraphs ago, before I mentioned hairy Italians and boogers.

    Part finito of the LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) output

    The only way to know your true metabolic rate is to lock yourself into a vacuum sealed room that's able to measure all of the heat that escapes from your body.

    You don’t have access to one of these rooms. Gaining access to one of these rooms is useless unless you also plan on abandoning your life and living inside for a few days.

    Point being: any quantification you have of your energy output — your daily metabolic rate — is a baby born from a soupy estimation orgy.

    I'm going to press pause and shift focus. Before I get to the implications, I have to break down the flip side of counting calories: measuring energy intake.

    The LOLWTFBBQ of estimating calorie (energy) intake

    Calculating energy intake is a two-step process. First, you measure how much food you eat. Second, you find out how many calories are in said quantity of food. There are two ways to find out how many calories are in any given food: food labels and the Internet.

    Do you hear it coming?

    The shit storm?

    Unfortunately, calculating energy intake is just as flawed as calculating output. Because, uhhh, bacon.

    Yes.

    Bacon.

    You find out there 80 calories in two cooked strips of bacon. This is what the bacon package says. So you put two strips of bacon in a pan. You cook 'em up.

    From experience, you know that grease yield is correlated to bacon crispiness. In other words, the longer you cook the bacon, the more grease cooks off.

    How does this factor into the 80 calorie estimate? If you like under-cooked chewy rubbery bacon is there more calories in those two slices?

    Good question.

    I don't know the answer.

    The calories you eat aren't the calories you absorb

    Nutrition labels are vague by necessity. They are based on averages. Perhaps you ate 100 calories worth of bacon instead of 80 calories.

    Seems trivial, but imagine if this margin of error replicated. For every 80 calories you thought you ate, you actually ate 100 calories. At the end of the day, you'd sleep thinking you ate 2000 calories when, really, you ate 2500 calories.

    According to an article in The New York Times, food labels can be wrong by up to 25%. Not because of bacon blunders, but, rather, because the amount of calories you pour down your gullet isn't necessarily the amount of calories your body absorbs.

    Here's an explanation. Or three.

    ONE

    Each macronutrient requires a different amount of energy to break down and digest. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).

    For instance, it takes more energy to break down proteins than it does fats. So eating 100 calories of fats yields more energy than eating 100 calories of proteins.

    TWO

    Cooking and processing make foods easier to absorb, which means we expend less energy in an attempt to digest them. Its like the difference between hammering down a brick wall and blowing over a tepee.

    So if you eat a 100 calorie non-processed food, your body will spend more energy to digest it as compared a 100 calorie processed food. In other words, your body absorbs more of the processed food's calories.

    Or two.

    Headlines get your attention

    I could go on. There are more reasons why counting calories and measuring food intake is a crap shoot. Bottom line of all this being:

    • We don't really know our energy output, and estimating it is tough.
    • We don't really know our energy intake, and measuring it is tough.

    In other words, despite energy balance and thermodynamics ruling the world of body composition, hacking the system is impossible.

    But…

    BUT…

    I'm a piece of shit.

    Piece of shit is me

    I'm a piece of shit because I'm nitpicking. On purpose. Putting the appropriate spin on things because headlines are everything… or something. Pretending to be smarter than I really am.

    Because, despite it being impossible to “hack the system,” the only way to navigate this alphabet soup is to… hack the system.

    Calculating your energy output is flawed. Measuring energy intake is flawed. Counting calories as a strategy is imperfect. Very imperfect.

    But you still need to do it.

    Why you need to count calories

    Counting calories is the only hand you have to play with the cards you've been dealt. You just have to understand one thing (that most people don't): everything is a shitty imperfect estimate.

    Too many people approach calorie counting as if they are holding the law in their hands, which turns things into one shitty game of cops and robbers. You do the work, you have the numbers in front of you, you go HAM, and things don't work as expected.

    What's wrong? Why isn't this working? I'm eating less than I'm burning. Why can't I lose weight? Must be my genetics. I knew I wasn't built for this.

    But that's not the case. You're just getting duped by the world; you weren't equipped with the proper expectations and mindset, which is that (a) everything is an estimate, and (b) we know less than we think we do.

    The answer isn't to get more specific and detailed in an attempt to gain control over the situation. That just screws things up. The answer is to zoom out. To go broad. To not be as anal with calorie counting (because there is error all over the place anyways). To embrace trial and error. To use real feedback to guide the process.

    The first, sexier

     

    You might now be wondering… How? How do you take the last paragraph and put it into practice? I'll get to this sooner or later. I want to stay focused and connect with something I mentioned earlier.

    I said there were two reasons why all of this energy balance talk is shit. Above is the second reason. Thermodynamics (and energy balance) is true, but hacking its source code isn't as easy as it appears. A lot of people get duped by the numbers because they associate them with certainty. But there is none, initially.

    Now its time for the first reason. The sexier reason. The reason why the people that say “I want to lose weight” are doomed.


    This is the end of Part 2. Part 3 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post Why counting calories is a game for idiots that are… idiotic. Pretend this sentence is a yo mamma joke, I’m out to offend. appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 2:33 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    An incredibly long and somewhat useful guide to understanding energy balance and body composition 

    A lot of dudes trying to get ripped and jacked anchor their ships in the energy balance model of body composition.

    If you don't know what energy balance is or why its important, don't panic. This guide will teach you everything you need to know.

    Including the fact that 95.9% of the people anchoring their ships in the energy balance model are going to end up swimming with the sharks.

    Part one

    How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight

    Haub. Energy use and exercise. Cost of living. Eating and Birdman. Calories and capitalization. Vacuum cleaners and cords. Intake and output. 

    → Click here to read Part 1

    Part two

    Coming soon…

    If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    → Click here to signup

    The post An incredibly long and somewhat useful guide to understanding energy balance and body composition appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 2:31 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight 

    On Sunday nights, you'll find me shoving a bunch of junk food down my esophagus to ignite an insulin induced coma.

    All of my (First World) problems fade. My body can't give my brain the blood it needs to feed my anxiety. My blood, instead, is diverted towards my intestines in a feeble attempt to deal with the bolus of food crashing towards my colon.

    dodgeball movie junk food

    A nutrition professor at Kansas State University named Mark Haub ate nothing but junk food for ten weeks, but for an entirely different and even more outlandish reason: to lose weight.

    And he did.

    Haub lost a total of 27 pounds over those 10 weeks.

    His specific strategy went something like this: eat assorted Hostess and Little Debbie pre-packaged cream filled somehow stay fresh forever snack cakes every three hours. He mixed in Doritos and other junk food.

    Because, variety.

    Haub was out to prove that weight gain and weight loss wasn't about eating healthy. It wasn't about how many meals you ate, or how frequently you ate. Nor was it about when you ate what.

    It was about one thing. And this one thing allowed him to eat junk food and lose weight.

    Sounds too good to be true. What is this one thing? SORCERY? CHEAT CODES? WIZARDRY? MANA? And can anyone use it to lose weight?

    Let's find out.

    This is Part 1 of the Energy Balance Blueprint. Click here to go to the table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    You aren't special

    There's a car parked in your driveway. This car is energy because all matter is energy. Oh the wonders of physics. This car’s parts can (and will) be broken down and transformed into other sorts of energy by Mother Nature and Father Time.

    You're no different. You are a living breathing biological organism, but, realistically, you're just a molecular mess of energy trapped inside of a skin bag. When you die, your skin, bones, and reproductive organs will undergo a magnificent feat of cosmic recycling.

    Your eyeball could very well be recycled matter from Plato’s penis. And your penis could very well be recycled cosmic matter from Plato's brain, which would make you one smart dickhead.

    You need this, or else you die

    It’s one thing to be energy. It’s another thing to need energy. A parked car is energy, but it doesn’t need energy until you turn the key in the ignition. The car needs a certain amount of energy to turn on and stay on.

    Humans are no different. But your relationship with energy intake and energy output is probably broken because of McFitness propaganda. A lot of people think that, when they are in the gym exercising, their engine is on. Oppositely, when they aren’t in the gym exercising, their engine is off.

    • Exercise, on.
    • Non-exercise, off.

    BzzzZzzZzzzZ. Gringo buzz. Wrong. Because according to Dr. Peter Attia, if your body stops recycling energy for just one second, you die. That's all. Just one second. Death.

    So, right now, you're using and recycling energy. Unless you're dead. You’re obviously not dead. At least, I hope you aren't dead. Because then I’m dead, too. Is this a parallel universe?

    Mom…?

    Dad…?

    They’re here.

    poltergeist girl

    You never stop exercising

    Your body is always doing things you don’t consciously think about doing. But now I’m asking you to consciously think about the things that your body unconsciously does that you don’t consciously think about doing. (I’m more confused now than when I tried to read Gödel, Escher, Bach.)

    • Your heart beating.
    • Your brain thinking.
    • Your kidneys filtering.
    • Your intestines digesting.

    These processes aren’t free. Your brain accounts for 20–25% of the energy you use at rest. Digesting food? Another 10–15% of your energy use. These processes not only require energy, but they’re also essential processes. Meaning: without them, you die.

    You may not always be macromoving, which is to say: moving to the visible eye. But you are very much micromoving. Take a look at yourself under a microscope. You cells are partying like it’s 1999.

    So even if you've been watching TV for so long that the fabric of your couch is now one with your body, you're still “on” and using energy. You're just not “on” to a high level. You're idling in the driveway.

    When you enter the world of macromovement, you output more. You're taking joyrides. You're cruising the Autobahn.

    I can't think of a clever headline

    You always output. And output demands intake. Doesn’t matter if you’re parking in a driveway, or driving on a parkway. Something needs to support your output, otherwise you run out of energy, die, and become food for the raccoon living in the backyard.

    And thus, you feast.

    For millions of years, humans knew they had to eat. They probably didn’t understand much about the who, what, when, or why. But they were smart enough to listen to their gut.

    Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe they thought they were BirdDddDddmMmaAan and they sat in the sun to satisfy their hunger. And then they died. Natural selection at its finest.

    Cavemen were able to handle the relationship between intake and output by using wonderful internal feedback mechanisms, like hunger pangs, food cravings, and satiety loops.

    But science has pushed us beyond the primitive reality. Food isn’t a magic unknown anymore. Food is a number. Food is calories.

    Calories aren't fattening

    Many people think calories are “fattening” or “sugar,” or so it would appear based on those hidden camera TV shows.

    Guy asks, “Do you count calories?”
    Person replies, “Absolutely.”
    Guy asks, “What’s a calorie?”
    Person replies, “Me like for you to cheese unicorn turtle.”

    The same thing happens if you ask someone about gluten. Don't take my word for it. Try it out.

    Calories are measurement of energy, much like a degree is a measurement of temperature. They weaseled their way into the food industry when some totally (in)sane person put food inside of a contraption known as a bomb calorimeter.

    The calorimeter lit the food on fire (or something), which allowed said (in)sane person to calculate the energy content within foods. The discovery: each of the thee primary macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) always had a certain caloric value.

    • Protein = 4 calories per gram.
    • Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram.
    • Fat = 9 calories per gram.

    (One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. If you’re in the paleo crowd, I’m sure there’s something worth mentioning here about exogenous ketones here, but I’m not going there because I don't know how to go there.)

    Calorie capitalization

    I should mention the difference between “calories” and “Calories” to prevent trolls from coming of their troll hole and asking for the troll toll so they are able to pay their way into the boy’s soul.

    troll toll boy's soul

    The “calories” you’re familiar with are big c Calories. Technically big c Calories are kilocalories, or 1000 small c calories.

    For practical purposes, you can ignore everything written in the last paragraph. And, if you’re not American, you might measure food energy in joules. But I’m going to do the American thing and pretend like the world revolves around me and not talk about joules.

    Quick summary before more confusion

    I'm going to bring together the ideas mentioned thus far before spewing new ones into your cerebrum.

    Your body uses energy (output).

    Your output is made up of both macromovement and micromovement. You can also think of output as a combination of deliberate energy use and non-deliberate energy use.

    • When you go to the gym and move your body, you're deliberately deciding to use energy.
    • When your intestines are tearing down the six bean burrito you just muscled down your esophagus, not so much.

    But what if, like, you get up and walk to the bathroom right now? You're, like, moving and stuff and you're choosing to get up, but, like is that deliberate or, like, non-deliberate?

    I, like, hate, like, everything.

    On the flip side, your body requires energy (intake).

    Your intake consists of the food you eat.

    Life is a delicate juggle between performing actions and functions needed to sustain life, and also getting the materials needed to perform those actions and functions.

    If I had the confidence of Nietzsche, I'd spend paragraph upon paragraph talking about the ouroboros and the fact that, in order to get the energy you need to sustain life, you have to expend energy. What a fooooiiiine paradox. I'd take that paradox and do nasty things to it MmmhhmMhhMmhMmhhm.

    Let's talk vacuum cleaners

    I own a Shark vacuum cleaner. Thing is a monster. Sucks the cat hair out the carpet fibers like its turning tricks.

    This vacuum works via the same process I've been describing. There's energy intake, there's there's energy output. Just like a car. But there's one big difference: the vacuum needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet in order to get the energy it needs.

    Imagine if cars were built the same way. Bitches be trippin', yo. No, seriously. Everyone would be tripping over the electrical cords. They'd be everywhere.

    Fortunately, cars have a gas tank. They are able take in more energy than they immediately need and store the excess for later use.

    Humans are similar. You don't have to eat 24/7. You eat a bunch of food, then go about your day. Your intake is sporadic because you're able to store energy.

    Car analogy getting into car wreck

    This car analogy has treated us nicely thus far, but, as you'll see, it'll eventually go to shit. I need to add a few remaining details to it, for it to serve the temporary goal at hand. The implications of these details will be more important later rather than sooner.

    Your car has its immediate gas tank. Okay. Wonderful. Now pretend there's a bunch of red fuel canisters in the trunk. These red fuel canisters are hot wired into the car's main fuel line, and they abide by following automation rule: once the immediate fuel tank goes empty, begin dispensing fuel into the main line.

    On the flip side, for this analogy to do its eventual job, you also have to pretend that gas stations aren't predictable from both a location and yield standpoint.

    You don't know when you're going to reach the next gas station, and you don't know how much fuel the gas station will have available.

    Given this, when you reach a gas station, you tend to extract as much fuel from the gas station as you possibly can. Makes sense, right? You don't want to run out of fuel. If you never know when you're going to stumble across another gas station, you better extract as much fuel as you can when you can.

    So say you have a 10 gallon immediate fuel tank. You have 5 gallons of fuel remaining, but you reach a gas station that has 7 total gallons of fuel. You'd fill up your immediate tank with 5 gallons, and then put the remaining 2 gallons in the red canisters.

    How about an example?

    Now you have all the details necessary to push forward with an example that'll conclude this car craziness.

    You have a 10 gallon gas tank in your car. It's filled with 5 gallons of fuel. You have 200 gallons of backup fuel in the red canisters in your trunk.This is your baseline. your frame of reference.

    5/10 – 200/?

    From here, we can ask: how many gallons of fuel are in your tank 24 hours from now? Ignore the specifics. Forget about how many trips you took. Forget about how often you fueled up. Look solely at a snapshot.

    Imagine the snapshot says, over the past 24 hours, you used a total of 10 gallons of fuel and filled up with 11 total gallons of fuel. So you have now have 6 gallons of fuel in your tank and 200 gallons of fuel in backup.

    6/10 – 200/?

    Again, ignore the specifics. It's totally possible you drove 10 miles without filling up, meaning you dipped into your red canisters for a brief period of time. But that doesn't matter because, at the end of the day, you replenished what was used… and then some.

    So, relative to the starting point, you're in an energy surplus. You have more fuel in the tank than what you started the day with.

    If, perchance, the snapshot revealed you had 1 gallon of fuel in your immediate tank and 200 gallons in reserve, you'd be in an energy deficit because you have less fuel than what you started the day with.

    The energy balance backbone

    Instead of thinking about cars and fuel, think about human and energy. The relationship between intake-output and surplus-deficit remains the same.

    If your daily energy intake exceeds your daily energy output, then, at the end of the day, you have a surplus of energy. You have more energy than you started the day with, meaning you're prone to weight gain.

    If your daily energy output exceeds your daily energy intake, then, at the end of the day, you have a deficit of energy. You have less energy than you started the day with, meaning you're prone to weight loss.

    Using this logic, the keys to weight loss are as follows:

    • move around more
    • eat less energy

    This can be fleshed out further with a specific example. Assume you normally output 2000 calories per day and intake 2000 calories per day. (This is arbitrary, but it works.) At this rate, you break even.

    Now consider two different scenarios.

    Moving more and weight loss

    Say, you move around more. This raises your daily energy output. Instead of burning 2000 calories, you burn 2500 calories. If you keep your food intake the same, you're mismatched.

    You need 2500, but you only feed 2000. your body has to compensate for that fuel. Lucky for you, your body has internal energy stores (otherwise, you'd be dead), which it uses to cover the deficit. A byproduct of this: weight loss

    Eating less and weight loss

    Go back to the original situation. Need 2000. Feed 2000. Now say you eat less. Eating less energy lowers your daily energy intake. Instead of eating 2000 calories, you eat 1500 calories. This means you're -500.

    Your body has to compensate for the fuel. Lucky for you, your body has internal energy stores (otherwise, you'd be dead), which it uses to cover the deficit. A byproduct of this: weight loss

    Haub's little secret ain't so secret no mo

    How was Haub able to eat shit food and lose weight? Simple. He adjusted his energy intake and made it less than his energy output. He ate shit food, but he ate less energy than what his body needed.

    Sure, he could have added exercise. He could have moved more. But didn't need to, because he was able to tip the scales in his favor simply with the food factor.

    Of course, this makes “energy” and energy balance the king of weight control. Doesn't matter when you eat. Quality of food doesn't matter, either. The only thing that matters is energy balance.

    And with an anecdote like this, it no surprise the vast majority of people see fat loss, muscle building, and physique transformation through this Haubian energy balance lens.

    But it's shit.


    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

    The post How to eat Twinkies and Doritos and lose weight appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 1:59 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    These two things are preventing you from building more muscleeeeee ahhhhhh (insert more fear tactics here) 

    If you're trying to build muscle, you HAVE to believe that muscularity is a malleable characteristic. If you didn't, you wouldn't be here.

    You don't go to church unless you believe in God (and are trying to shield yourself from the fact that, in the end, you will be nothing but mud).

    This seems like semantic suicide. Like I'm establishing an obvious truth for the sake of nothing. Well, I got news for you. Everything is for the sake of nothing. Existence is meaningless. I wasn't kidding about that mud stuff.

    Lucky for you, I surf the wave of absurdity, which means I'm able to find meaning within the meaningless, of which muscle mass is included. And thus, establishing the malleability of muscle mass is important because logic then tells us that:

    My name is Logic, if you don't know by now, I'm always on my grind; And at this moment in time, I’m on a road when I write this rhyme; Sitting behind Raheem Devaughn while he’s passed out…

    Oh, my bad. That was Logic, not logic. Here's what logic was supposed to tell us:

    If muscularity is a malleable trait, then our bodies have the option, at any point in time, to build more muscle.

    Obviously, you don't expect your body to spontaneously COMBUST-A-MUSS (my new supplement made from organic koala nose). If you thought your body was going to get jacked void of external input, you wouldn't be here.

    You're here because, whether you've consciously thought of things the following way or not, you know you have to CONVINCE your body to build more muscle.

    “Convince” is an important word. I like that word. It's rugged. HARSH. It implies effort. And forethought.

    For instance, I know my lady-friend won't give me a foot massage unless she's happy. I also know my lady-friend hates cleaning the kitchen. But she almost always has to clean the kitchen because I cook — an unwritten relationship rule, and one of the few things humans got right.

    But if I want a foot massage, I'll clean the kitchen. Unannounced. SURPRISE! This gives me appropriate leverage to convince her for a foot massage later in the day. I win.

    Just think of your body as a lady-friend. You can't go in dumb and blind. I LIKE YOU I SENT YOU THIS STRAND OF YOUR OWN HAIR IN THE MAIL TO DEMONSTRATE MY LIKE FOR YOU PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME.

    In order to be a good convincer you have to get inside the mind of the convincee. You have to understand the variables involved in their decision making process. This isn't about you and your ego. Set that shit aside.

    You're trying to convince your body to build more muscle, so what are the variables involved in its muscular decision making process? If you don't know, you need to know. If you need to know, you're in the right place.

    This is Part 1 of Muscle: A Model. Click here to go to the table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    The super duper important energetic implications of muscle mass

    Your body is using energy every second of every day. The moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud. (If your cranium cracked into crumbs because you don't know dick about energy balance, click here and double fist my energy balance guide with what you're reading now.)

    Your body uses energy for a bunch of things. Beating your heart. Digesting food. Picking your nose. All of these things require energy. So let's compartmentalize things and say that your daily energy expenditure is always a totally inaccurate and imaginary (BWx10).

    You weigh 160 pounds, which means your metabolic rate is 1600 calories. But you aren't satisfied with your physique. You want to build muscle and get to 180 pounds. Alright. Cool. But there are two implications.

    First, it takes energy to build the muscle. Think of the aforementioned (BWx10) as the amount of energy you needed to stay alive given your former lifestyle. Building muscle requires energy on top of that, so you'd need more than (BWx10).

    If your monthly mortgage is $2000 and you want to build an addition onto your house, you need to be making more than $2000. You need buy the tools and materials, and pay the people like me (Mexicans that reinforce stereotypes by dressing up as tacos) that are working for you.

    anthony mychal taco

    Second, it takes energy to maintain and use muscle. If your metabolic rate is (BWx10), then, when you gain muscle and weigh 180 pounds, your daily metabolic rate would jump to 1800 calories. Bigger creatures require more energy.

    Once you have the addition, your electric bill goes up. So does your gas bill. Property taxes, too.

    So muscle mass isn't a one time purchase. There's a down payment and a recurring monthly financial impact.

    Muscle is expensive, who cares?

    You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this. You're smart to wonder. Just kidding. I'm the smart one. I'm the one that's force-feeding these thoughts into your head via your eye sockets. You're just a pawn.

    Understanding metabolic impact of building more muscle is important because of the way your body balances its energetic checkbook. And the only way I know how to explain your body's financial tendencies is through the backdoor.

    (Not anal.)

    I'm going to start with something related to what I wrote earlier: the moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud.

    Say hello to Emo Sapiens

    Humans have been around for 200,000 years. A species wouldn't stick around that long unless it had some sort of inkling to not only survive, but also reproduce.

    Imagine about a group of human things that wanted to kill themselves and despised the act of sexy time. Let’s call this species Emo sapiens.

    Emo sapiens wouldn’t last long. There’s be no babies. Everyone would be dead. Unless, of course, Emo sapiens struggled with motivation for suicide the same way Homo sapiens struggle with motivation for fitness. If that were the case, Emo sapiens would never die.

    But let's assume Emo sapiens didn't struggle with motivation. It wouldn't take long for Emo Sapiens to go the way of Dinosaurs. I mean, seriously, why did that show get cancelled? It was a classic. NOT DA MAMMA!

    Dinosaurs Baby Sinclair

    Why life is terrifying and even the amazing keeps me up at night

    The cosmic joke undermining our inkling to survive is the fact that we can't sustain life by our lonesome. We need shit that we can't produce, like food, water, and oxygen. Corn isn't growing out of the pores of your skin.

    Resources, for the most part, come from the world yonder. We just happen to be rocketing through the infinite universe on microscopic rock with all of the ingredients necessary to support human life.

    WOW. AMAZING. HOW COOL. LIFE IS AMAZING. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING. WE'RE SO LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.

    Life is amazeballs, but there's nothing warm and fuzzy about realizing that, any moment now, Earth can murder every last one of us.

    Imagine if oxygen deleted itself from the air for five straight minutes tomorrow. That's all. Five minutes of non-oxygen. 93.75% of humans, myself included, would become mud.

    It's natural so it must be good

    Oxygen pulling a Houdidi sounds absurd, but animals die by the thousands on a regular basis because of changes in the ecosystem. National geographic said so.

    In nature, mass mortality sometimes happens. More than 200,000 saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan drop dead in a matter of weeks; 337 dead whaleswash up in a remote fjord in southern Chile; some 300 reindeer in Norway are felled by a single bolt of lightning— all that has happened since 2015. There’s evidence such spectacular displays of death are increasing in frequency due to climate change.

    National Geographic

    Suffice to say, the environment of generations past has influenced how us smelly ooze discharging humans behave today. For instance, if oxygen did pull a Houdini for five, not everyone would die. Those with superior lung capacity (or something) would survive.

    They would go on to reproduce and pass their iron lung genes into the next generation, and then from that point on not having iron lungs would be weird.

    This is an example of natural selection, which is to say: some creatures have traits and adaptations which allow them to better survive a certain environments. Those with said traits and adaptions live and pass their genes (which contain said traits and adaptions) into the next generation.

    Those without said become mud. Their genes do, too. MUD jeans. I'm teaching you the meaning of life, are you paying attention?

    Your body's gollumness towards energy

    Now that you understand natural selection like a sage understands how to add a fragrant, woodsy aroma to food, I can reconnect to where I left off earlier.

    You use energy. But you can't produce energy yourself. You need to get it from the world yonder, which you do via food. Food contains the energy your needs to stay alive. If you stop eating, you'll eventually die.

    In today's world, you have to make a conscious decision to not eat if you were to die from starvation because food is hyper available. But, in reality, food is a finite resource. Not eating wasn't always a choice.

    History books are filled with droughts and famines. And not the “I can’t take a shower today” kind of drought, or the “supermarket was closed at 4AM so I couldn’t get eat my hangover curing empanada” kind of famine. I’m talking about the “CHARLIE AND SUZY DIED YESTERDAY” kind of droughts and famines.

    Given this (and natural selection), you now have a backboard for understanding your body's financial abilities, tendencies, and one last word that ends in ies.

    STORAGE

    First, you're able to store and stockpile excess. The fact that you're able to do this is a miracle when you think about the oxygenated Houdini hypothetical mentioned before.

    Being able to store energy allows you to survive a longer time without an immediate food intake. In general, humans can survive three weeks without food. (Compared to three minutes without oxygen.)

    EFFICIENCY

    The ability to store is one thing. The propensity to store is another thing. And, boy, does your body have said propensity. When your body is given excess, it'll store the excess.

    This is a microcosm of being an all around metabolic miser. You don't waste energy. You're efficient with what you have. You take energetic shortcuts when possible. In other words, your body has a certain gollumness towards energy. It's preeccciouuussss.

    gollum

    The muscular wildcard

    I don't know if you've been paying attention (probably not, this shit is boring and I'm making most of it up), but the situation isn't looking good. On one hand, muscle mass is metabolically expensive. On the other hand, your body is a metabolic miser.

    These ends oppose each other, which is why you're here. This shit isn't easy. If you're trying to build more muscle, you're fighting an uphill biological battle.

    But don't quit on me now. You aren't Anakin Skywalker, so don't listen to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Having the high ground doesn't mean shit because there's a wildcard.

    Your body is a metabolic miser, but it doesn't have a hoarding disorder. Your body is using energy every second of every day. It's not afraid to spend, so long as the juice is worth the squeeze.

    Beating your heart. Digesting your food. These things require energy, and your body gladly fronts the cost. But why?

    Because we aren't Emo sapiens

    Remember that whole survival inkling? Your body knows the difference between investments and wastes. Investments cost money up front, but there's a greater return on the back end. Wastes, however, are expenses without utility.

    The prospect of staying alive another day versus not staying alive another day is one way to turn a waste expense into an investment.

    The two variables in control of your muscularity 

    You have all of the information you need to start making sense of things.

    • Muscle is metabolically expensive.
    • Your body is a metabolic miser.
    • Continued survival justifies spending.

    Throw these three factoids into a pot, and you cook up the two variables in control of your body's muscular decision making process.

    The first variable is <NEED>. Your body has to feel that building more muscle mass is a necessary expense. An investment, rather than a waste. Otherwise, it won't willingly raise its monthly metabolic bill.

    The second variable is <FEED>. Your body needs to have the shit necessary build more muscle mass. If you don't have the materials, tools, and (wo)(man)power, the job won't get done. Your body also needs to know it'll have the shit necessary to maintain and use what's being built. Your body won't build itself into something that it can't sustain.

    These two variables are always working in tandem, but <NEED> comes first. If you <FEED> without <NEED>, then you won't gain muscle. You'll just get fat, for reasons I won't get into now.

    What you need to know about <FEED>

    If you're trying to gain more muscle you can work through the following flowchart.

    • First, ask: are you in a state of need?
    • Second, ask: are you handling feed?

    Although both of these variables are important, I'm going to ditch <FEED>. I've written about it many times before.

    The cliffnotes: you have to continually assure your body that it'll have enough resources to support the investment. In other words, you need to eat enough food. I know “eating enough food” is vague. You shouldn't necessarily eat everything in sight. You shouldn't necessarily shove your face with shit food.

    If you're in the dark with <FEED> and want more direction, click here to buy a thing I made that tells you what to eat if you want to be ripped, lean, and jacked.

    This leaves us with <NEED>. And the big question with <NEED> is: how do you convince your body that it needs to build more muscle mass?

    In order to answer that question, you have to know what purpose muscle mass serves. And that's exactly what I'm going to dive into next.


    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

    The post These two things are preventing you from building more muscleeeeee ahhhhhh (insert more fear tactics here) appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 3:09 pm on July 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 5: Volume 

    This is Part 5 of an ongoing series. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    Strong enough

    I've done enough work to comfortable use the word “strength” and the idea of “getting stronger” in place of load, scaling load, and sticky load. (Definitely shouldn't have used the word “load.”)

    The premise we've been operating under has been: if you're interested in building muscle, you need to get stronger. But getting stronger may not be enough. Before I tell you why, a quick clarification.

    Max-effort

    Increasing maximal strength — getting stronger — shouldn't be confused with maximal-effort strength training (or maxing out).

    Increasing your maximal strength is pushing your load CEILING higher. It's your ability to move through the highest load (gravity) possible, which is usually a product of additional external resistance — weight attached to your body in some way, shape, or form.

    If you're using more weight (assuming good technique), you're expressing more strength. Lifting 210 pounds is an expression of greater strength than lifting 200 pounds.

    But increasing maximal strength isn't (necessarily) maximal-effort strength training. Here are some definitions from Westside methodology to help explain this:

    1. Maximal effort method: lifting a maximal load against a maximal resistance.

    2. Repetition method: lifting a nonmaximal load to failure; during the final repetitions, the muscles develop the maximum force possible in a fatigued state.

    3. Dynamic effort: lifting a nonmaximal load with maximal speed.

    Say you're doing bench presses. You go in and you lift as much weight as you can for one repetition. This is your one repetition maximum (one rep max, 1RM).

    The max-effort method entails lifting weights at 90% or above your 1RM. This is essentially training with your three rep max (3RM), your two rep max (2RM), or your 1RM.

    Most people shouldn't (initially) use the max-effort method to increase strength; you don't need to use max-effort method to increase strength. Most people are better off using a strategy not included in the Westside system: the submaximal-effort method.

    Zatsiorsky, in Science and Practice of Strength Training, describes the submaximal-effort method as lifting a load lighter than maximum (90-100% 1RM) for submaximal number of repetitions (not going to failure).

    “About 70% of strength work should be in the 70-85% range, which actually allows you to develop greater strength than when you lift only in the 90-100% zone.”

    – Dr. Yessis

    Which sounds confusing, so let's unpack this by first establishing: anytime you're doing more than three reps per set, you're automatically using a submaximal load.

    Below is an extremely crude and non-scientific way to remember how reps correlate to a percentage of your 1RM: subtract 5% for every repetition beyond your 1RM.

    • 1RM = 100%
    • 2RM = 95%
    • 3RM = 90%
    • 4RM = 85%
    • 5RM = 80%
    • 6RM = 75-80%
    • 7RM = 70-75%
    • 8RM = 65-70%

    So if you're doing 4, 5, 6+ reps per set, you're training below 90% of your 1RM and thus not training with a maximal load, and this not using the maximal-effort method.

    You don't have to max out or train at your real maximum every day in order to increase max strength.

    If all this technical jargon is offsetting, here's a more straightforward example: if your 1RM is 200 pounds, you don't have to go into the gym and (try to) lift 200 pounds every week. You can lift 70-85% of 200 pounds and still see maximal strength improvements over time.

    Rowers

    To this point, I've operated under the assumption that getting stronger is synonymous with gaining muscle. But that's not necessarily true.

    Envision rowers in a boat. The oars connecting with the water. Water is a sticky medium, which helps move the boat.

    When you get stronger, the rowers in the boat are doing their job better. Somehow. That's strength, in a nutshell. Your system is improving…somehow. You're increasing your output.

    One way to increase output is to get more out of what’s already there.

    When you’re a noob, it’s like having a brand new rowing crew. No one knows anyone else in the boat. They get in the water and row. Billy is rowing at his leisure and Bobby is rowing to the tune of Disarmonia Mundi and Ben is rowing to Macklemore. No one is in sync. The boat goes nowhere.

    But then the rowers practice. And practice. And practice. Suddenly, they’re rowing more efficiently. Everyone is working as a team. Output increases.

    When your rowers get better at rowing (firing in sync, etc.), you get stronger. This skill-learning mechanism behind strength happens (primarily) via neural and technical improvements. Your inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination improves. Rate coding improves. More things happen that I’m sure a physiology book would do a better job explaining because I'm talking out of my ass right now.

    Another way to increase output?

    Continue working at a reduced (inefficient) capacity, but add some beef to the rowers. You replace 100-pound pipsqueak rowers with 200-pound muscular brick houses.

    Getting bigger rowers is like building muscle mass.

    Bottleneck

    A lot of people trying to maximize strength to bodyweight ratio (relative strength) are afraid of gaining muscle. They starve themselves in order to stay lean. They're afraid of gaining weight, even if they don't have a lot of muscle mass.

    But you'll eventually hit a bottleneck with neural and technical adaptations, at which point you'll need to gain muscle to improve output. Once your rowers have their timing and technique perfect. The only thing they can do to increase output from there is beef up.

    Imagine a natural 160 pounder at 5% body fat trying to stay 160 pounds. He doesn't have a lot of muscle mass, so he doesn't have a high strength potential. Compare him to a natural 140 pounder that added 20 pounds of muscle to get to 160 pounds (still at 5% body fat).

    So you have a lanky and spindly 160 pounder versus a solid and robust 160 pounder. Who do you think has the upper hand?

    Food

    Back to the rowers…

    Under most circumstances, both neural and muscular adaptations happen in tandem. Your nervous system improves, and your musculoskeletal system improves as you increase your ceiling.

    But things aren't that simple. One of the things that can sway how your body adapts: resources. I wrote about resources back in Part 1. Suffice to say, if you lack resources your body will upgrade the system as much as it can without adding extra mass.

    Meaning, if you aren't eating, you won't be adding a lot of muscle mass. But your strength will still improve. This is why sometimes people gain strength without gaining muscle mass.

    Volume

    The biggest variable correlated to muscle mass (eliminating food from the equation) is strength training VOLUME. Training volume is often misunderstood. Trivia question:

    Five sets of ten reps (5×10) is more volume than four sets of six reps (4×6) — true or false?

    Answer:

    What's twelve divided by zero?

    There's no solution because “load” is also a variable in the volume equation. Load is gravity plus external resistance. Considering we all deal with the same gravity, load (simplified) is simply an external resistance.

    VOLUME = SETS x REPS x LOAD

    Which is why 3 sets of 10 at 100 pounds (3×10@100) is less volume than 10 sets of 3 at 150 pounds (10×3@150).

    • 3x10x100=3000
    • 10x3x150=4500

    Math

    Let's look at a simple (3×10@100=3000) and play a game of doubles.

    • Double the sets: 6×10@100=6000
    • Double the reps: 3x20x100=6000
    • Double the weight: 3x10x200=6000

    It appears that sets, reps, and load all carry the same impact on volume. But that's not necessarily true. Hopefully you're subconsciously connecting some dots as to why because, if you've read every Part, you know why. Goes back to nonlinearity, the Golidlocks principle, and sticky stress.

    Doing more reps doesn't always carry the same impact because, in order to do higher reps, you have to lighten the load. And when you lighten the load, you fall out of the just right “sticky” zone.

    So an initial caveat to volume would be assuring that the “volume” you're calculating (if you're calculating it) includes the more emotional gooey sticky qualification. Doubling and tripling the reps doesn't always mean what it mathematically says. Nonlinearity prevails in biological entities.

    Leverage

    Clearly this volume business is trickier than it appears, but it's really simply when you think of it like this…

    Volume is a product of LOAD and TIME. The higher the LOAD, the bigger of an impact it'll have on volume.

    • 3x5x100= 1500
    • 3x5x200= 3000

    Higher load, higher volume. Simple.

    The second variable here is TIME. And time is a product, mostly, of sets and reps. More sets makes for more time. More reps makes for more time.

    It's like living in a supergravity chamber. The higher you can increase the gravity, the better. The longer you can sustain yourself in the higher gravity, the better.

    Importance of strength

    There's another reason why a game of doubles doesn't hold up in the real world: a doubling of reps wouldn't happen unless maximal strength was also improved.

    You usually can't accrue a ton of volume unless you're strong.

    Performing higher reps is more along the lines of strength-endurance. And strength-endurance (to a certain degree) is at the mercy of maximal strength.

    • Ted can bench 300 pounds.
    • Sam can bench 200 pounds.

    Throw 150 pounds on the bar. Who is going to do more repetitions?

    You can't really increase reps per set unless you also increase maximal strength. So if you're thinking about upping repetitions to increase volume, a more realistic example has to account for a commensurate drop in load. Meaning if you can do 3x10x100 and you want to do sets with 20 reps, you'll probably have to drop to 3x20x70.

    Of course, you can compensate by doing a billion sets. Sets are less dependent on maximal strength. But, at some point doing sets ad infinitum becomes impractical, boring, and time consuming.

    There's a reason I put a huge emphasis on strength. Without a doubt, it's the biggest leverage variable you can manipulate in order to build muscle. More strength is always better…

    but there is a strong enough.

    No doubt strength is a valuable lever if you want to build muscle. But some people can get rather strong without gaining a lot of muscle mass. When this happens, you should think about volume and time.

    Tempo

    As I said before, volume and time is mostly a game of sets and reps. Tempo (how many seconds you take to lift and lower the weight) is also a factor, but imposing a long tempo means you have to drop the amount of weight lifted. And dropping the weight in order to move super slow might take you out of the sticky sweet spot.

    Rethinking volume

    Volume is a cumulative phenomenon, not a daily phenomenon. Let's say you're already strong, and now you're trying to accumulate more volume.

    One way is to train, more or less, like a bodybuilder. You take one day of the week, pick one muscle group, and do a bunch of exercises, sets, and reps. All of your volume is jammed into one single training day.

    But this is a narrow look at volume.

    Take, for instance, someone trying to accumulate a lot of volume with chin-ups.  You can do the typical spiel and try to get 100 in one session.  That's a lot of reps and, for most people it'll take a good bit of time. But you have to do it because you only do chin-ups once per week.

    But let's say you, instead, do twenty chin-ups every day. Doing twenty chin-ups isn't that difficult. It takes you less than five minutes. Suddenly, with this strategy, you've done a total of 140 chin-ups in one week. Much more than the aforementioned 100 reps.

    High frequency volume

    Most people don't think of accumulating volume via high frequency training methods because they violate most people's model of stress and recovery, which goes to show you: most people's model of stress and recovery is shit.

    I'm a huge fan of high frequency training, and I've come up with my own little term for such ability: hyperbolic strength.

    In prep for the fight against Cell, Goku and Gohan go into the hyberbolic time chamber. While inside they come across a funky idea: transforming into a Super Saiyan is rough business, and too much energy is lost in the transformation itself.

    The fix?

    Learn how to stay in Super Saiyan all the time. That way, the mondo amount of energy loss doesn't happen.

    Most everyone tries to push their ceiling — it's all about pushing the max. Go Super Saiyan 1, then Super Saiyan 2, then Super Saiyan 3 . . .

    Consider this pinnacle. You have a certain absolute power level and it's all about ticking on another number.

    Some food for thought though, especially if you have a decent power level: instead of constantly trying to increase your power level, think about whether it might be worth it to learn how to train at a higher % of your current max with less emotional investment.

    It's nice to be able to ramp up to a high level, but there's a difference between being able to do that once in a millennium and once . . . every day. 

    (Just saiyan: Super Saiyan 2 was right around the corner after implementing this strategy.)

    Hyperbolic strength

    Hyperbolic strength is your ability to output a high performance on a regular basis. Of course, have to build into this. It's not something that just happens. It's a slow and steady build, allowing your body to adapt..

    But once you build hyperbolic strength, once you have the tolerance to perform on a daily basis, you can output a lot of volume.

    How much volume

    All of this is just to say: there is a strong enough. And, at some point, if you're strong, you need to think about volume.

    How much volume?

    Enough volume.

    That's my shit stock answer. Because everyone is different and everyone will respond to different interventions differently. I, for one, am a high frequency guy. Others might not be.

    So the answer is simple:

    • If you feel like you're strong, do more volume.
    • If you feel like you're doing enough volume, get stronger.

    Range of motion

    So there's load. There's max load. There's food. There's volume. Perhaps the last variable to mention in the muscle equation is range of motion.

    Full squats will build bigger quads than 1/4 squats.  Alas, there's some ambiguity here, too. How much range of motionEnough range of motion.

    It's impossible to always say: use full range of motion. Consider that a barbell bench press artificially stops when the bar touches your chest (but it isn't full range of motion because your arms could go lower if you were using dumbbells) —

    In general, you want to train through as full of a range of motion as possible. Shitty answer, but I'm a shitty person.

    Conclueshun

    In this Part, I talked about a lot of things vaguely. It sucks. But there aren't many hard and fast rules. Context is important. In Part 6 (coming soon), I'll wrap up this guide on muscle mass.

    The post A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 5: Volume appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:25 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    WYSIATI 

    I was prepared to punch him in the face.

    I didn’t know who “he” was, exactly. “He” was someone. Anyone. It could have been a “she” for all I knew.

    I wouldn’t punch a girl. Maybe I should though. I’m all for equal rights. The moral of feminism: girls want to be punched in the face. Did I pass the test, Lena?

    I can’t lift my arm overhead right now. Grade 3 shoulder separation. My range of motion would be perfect if I were in the Schutzstaffel. So I had the following scenario running on repeat in my head.

    Someone was going to give me flak for not being able to perform an overhead physical task. Maybe it’d be an old lady in the supermarket asking me to get something down from the top shelf and I’d be all, “I’m sorry my 6’4” physically capable looking frame can’t accomplish this task for you. Good luck. Don’t slip and fall in the bathtub anytime soon. Bye.”

    And then she'd be all, “Oh for Pete's sake, this younger generation is a bunch of hairless sissies.”

    And I'd be all, “No, you don't understand. I really can't grow a beard. I've tried. I'm really insecure about it, and you just hurt my feelings. I'm redacting what I said earlier. I hope you slip and fall in the bath tub. And break your hip.”

    Someone was going to make a snarky comment about me on account of my (current) disability.

    (Ha! Disability. I’m mashing all sorts of politically correct buttons right now. I might as well be playing Tekken as Eddy Gordo.)

    Whoever this snarky commentator would be — that's who I was prepared to punch.

    And I got my chance.

    I was boarding an airplane, unable to lift my carry on luggage into the overhead bin. So I did the sensible thing: I forced my lady-friend to lift it for me. (She’s only 5’2”, har har.)

    I’m coaching (yelling at) her. “Use those muscles! Get that thing up there!”

    And that’s when it happened.

    An older man behind us said, “It’s nice that you’re helping.”

    WHY SO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, BATMAN?

    Despite my original face punching intentions, I kept my cool. I turned his way, pointed at my sling, and said, “I can barely move my arm.”

    His snark laden superiority complex laced face melted into one of apologetic regret. Witnessing this 180 felt good. I'm a shitty human. Whatever. I already hate myself, might as well add a few more pancakes and make it a tall stack.

    When we landed, he helped me put my book bag on. Because when you only have one arm, putting a book bag is like solving a Rubik's cube. He also helped us get our luggage down.

    He was obviously a kind man, but he got owned by the WYSIATI heuristic. “WYSIATI” is an acronym created by Daniel Kahneman that stands for What You See Is All There Is

    We make decisions and judgments using information available to us — no matter how limited (it’s usually always limited) — as if it were the only information out there. We rarely step back and ask ourselves, “What information don't I have?”

    The man on the plane fell for WYSIATI, but he’s not alone. You fall for it. I fall for it. I’m in the lobby of a hotel right now making snap judgments about everyone I see.

    That guy is wearing white rimmed sunglasses? He must be a douche bag. OH. WAIT. That’s just my reflection in the mirror.

    90% of that chick’s butt cheek mass is hanging out of her bikini. She must be a slu…gift from God put on this earth for the sole purpose of my eyeballs right now; I’d be a fool not to stare.

    The moral WYSIATI, given the stories above, appears to be: don't be a dick. Don't be so quick to judge others.

    True.

    But how we feel about (and treat) others is only one facet of WYSIATI. It also affects how we feel about ourselves.

    Because most of us engage in the following serial killerish behavior: comparing ourselves to other people.

    But we never really compare ourselves to other people. We compare to the parts of other people we can see. And, usually, the parts of other people we can see are the parts they want us to see. In other words, just browse fucking Instagram.

    Although a diatribe on social media would be heavily relevant right now, I won't go there. Perhaps another day. Just know, for now, that social media is a cesspool for WYSIATI.

    WYSIATI is a bitch. Right? An entire book could be written about WYSIATI. It affects…everything.

    Consider that WYSIATI has been a background programming running in your mind ever since you've been able to think. A lot of thoughts and judgments you already have (and will continue to have) about how the world works are a product of WYSIATI.

    Meaning a lot of the things you think you know and understand are just that: things formulated with LIMITED INFORMATION that you THINK you know and understand…but DON'T.

    The moral of all of this is, of course: WYSI(SN'T)ATI. But there's something else to keep in mind.

    You know about WYSIATI, so you won't fall for it anymore. You have the antidote. Right?

    Wrong. You'll fall for it. Often. 97.3% of the time, to be as exact as something not trying to be exact at all. Because WYSIATI isn't under your conscious control.

    The you that you think about when you consciously think about the you that you are isn't always in charge of your thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.

    You can consciously acknowledge that people aren't 100% defined by their clothes and physical appearance. Yet it's been shown that we form impressions of people within (ready for this?) less than one second of meeting them.

    Your subconscious is the true protagonist of your thoughts, whether you realize it or not. (Hint: you don't.)

    Overriding WYSIATI takes conscious effort.

    It's not easy.

    Which is why you rarely do it.

    Talk about a happy ending.

    Actionable advice is for idiots, anyway.

    The post WYSIATI appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:25 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    WYSIATI 

    I was prepared to punch him in the face.

    I didn’t know who “he” was, exactly. “He” was someone. Anyone. It could have been a “she” for all I knew.

    I wouldn’t punch a girl. Maybe I should though. I’m all for equal rights. The moral of feminism: girls want to be punched in the face. Did I pass the test, Lena?

    I can’t lift my arm overhead right now. Grade 3 shoulder separation. My range of motion would be perfect if I were in the Schutzstaffel. So I had the following scenario running on repeat in my head.

    Someone was going to give me flak for not being able to perform an overhead physical task. Maybe it’d be an old lady in the supermarket asking me to get something down from the top shelf and I’d be all, “I’m sorry my 6’4” physically capable looking frame can’t accomplish this task for you. Good luck. Don’t slip and fall in the bathtub anytime soon. Bye.”

    And then she'd be all, “Oh for Pete's sake, this younger generation is a bunch of hairless sissies.”

    And I'd be all, “No, you don't understand. I really can't grow a beard. I've tried. I'm really insecure about it, and you just hurt my feelings. I'm redacting what I said earlier. I hope you slip and fall in the bath tub. And break your hip.”

    Someone was going to make a snarky comment about me on account of my (current) disability.

    (Ha! Disability. I’m mashing all sorts of politically correct buttons right now. I might as well be playing Tekken as Eddy Gordo.)

    Whoever this snarky commentator would be — that's who I was prepared to punch.

    And I got my chance.

    I was boarding an airplane, unable to lift my carry on luggage into the overhead bin. So I did the sensible thing: I forced my lady-friend to lift it for me. (She’s only 5’2”, har har.)

    I’m coaching (yelling at) her. “Use those muscles! Get that thing up there!”

    And that’s when it happened.

    An older man behind us said, “It’s nice that you’re helping.”

    WHY SO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, BATMAN?

    Despite my original face punching intentions, I kept my cool. I turned his way, pointed at my sling, and said, “I can barely move my arm.”

    His snark laden superiority complex laced face melted into one of apologetic regret. Witnessing this 180 felt good. I'm a shitty human. Whatever. I already hate myself, might as well add a few more pancakes and make it a tall stack.

    When we landed, he helped me put my book bag on. Because when you only have one arm, putting a book bag is like solving a Rubik's cube. He also helped us get our luggage down.

    He was obviously a kind man, but he got owned by the WYSIATI heuristic. “WYSIATI” is an acronym created by Daniel Kahneman that stands for What You See Is All There Is

    We make decisions and judgments using information available to us — no matter how limited (it’s usually always limited) — as if it were the only information out there. We rarely step back and ask ourselves, “What information don't I have?”

    The man on the plane fell for WYSIATI, but he’s not alone. You fall for it. I fall for it. I’m in the lobby of a hotel right now making snap judgments about everyone I see.

    That guy is wearing white rimmed sunglasses? He must be a douche bag. OH. WAIT. That’s just my reflection in the mirror.

    90% of that chick’s butt cheek mass is hanging out of her bikini. She must be a slu…gift from God put on this earth for the sole purpose of my eyeballs right now; I’d be a fool not to stare.

    The moral WYSIATI, given the stories above, appears to be: don't be a dick. Don't be so quick to judge others.

    True.

    But how we feel about (and treat) others is only one facet of WYSIATI. It also affects how we feel about ourselves.

    Because most of us engage in the following serial killerish behavior: comparing ourselves to other people.

    But we never really compare ourselves to other people. We compare to the parts of other people we can see. And, usually, the parts of other people we can see are the parts they want us to see. In other words, just browse fucking Instagram.

    Although a diatribe on social media would be heavily relevant right now, I won't go there. Perhaps another day. Just know, for now, that social media is a cesspool for WYSIATI.

    WYSIATI is a bitch. Right? An entire book could be written about WYSIATI. It affects…everything.

    Consider that WYSIATI has been a background programming running in your mind ever since you've been able to think. A lot of thoughts and judgments you already have (and will continue to have) about how the world works are a product of WYSIATI.

    Meaning a lot of the things you think you know and understand are just that: things formulated with LIMITED INFORMATION that you THINK you know and understand…but DON'T.

    The moral of all of this is, of course: WYSI(SN'T)ATI. But there's something else to keep in mind.

    You know about WYSIATI, so you won't fall for it anymore. You have the antidote. Right?

    Wrong. You'll fall for it. Often. 97.3% of the time, to be as exact as something not trying to be exact at all. Because WYSIATI isn't under your conscious control.

    The you that you think about when you consciously think about the you that you are isn't always in charge of your thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.

    You can consciously acknowledge that people aren't 100% defined by their clothes and physical appearance. Yet it's been shown that we form impressions of people within (ready for this?) less than one second of meeting them.

    Your subconscious is the true protagonist of your thoughts, whether you realize it or not. (Hint: you don't.)

    Overriding WYSIATI takes conscious effort.

    It's not easy.

    Which is why you rarely do it.

    Talk about a happy ending.

    Actionable advice is for idiots, anyway.

    The post WYSIATI appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 2:44 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 4: Exercises, Patterns, and Stickiness 

    This is Part 4 of an ongoing series. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    Movement

    You can move lots of ways. You can pick your nose. You can wiggle your toes. You can do the eyebrow thing that The Rock used to do. Human movement is vast.

    “Exercise” is subset of “movement,” really. “Exercises” don't really exist. They are man made constructs. The !Kung aren't squatting for “exercise” purposes. They are squatting because they don't have couches, and the deep squat just so happens to be a comfortable resting position…unless you've lived a First World life.

    Because there's no reason to get into a deep squat position when you live a First World life, and your body doesn't keep abilities it doesn't need. The deep squat, for a First Worlder, isn't even a readily obtainable position, let alone comfortable. And it's not because First Worlders are inherently inflexible; it's not genetics. It's neglect.

    Alas, the vexing vast world of movement and “exercise” simplifies because we have a dogma: max load. And “max load” requires simplicity. Things go up and down. Back and forth. Lots of straight lines. Deviation from said simplicity introduces torque, and torque takes a big ol' shit on max load potential.

    Joints

    Looking at the body as a system of joints, assuming simple linear movement, two things can happen:

    • Joints can open (peel apart).
    • Joints can close (pancake together).

    (This is a super simplification of something crazy complex, but it work…for now.) When you apply this filter to human movement, patterns emerge. Useful exercises mirror each other. For instance, look at the bench press and the push-up.

    (A quick heads up on terminology. Concentric is the positive overcoming portion of an exercise. Eccentric is the negative yielding portion of an exercise.)

    • The starting position for each exercise: stabilize an object (bar, floor) at arm’s length with a concentric force.
    • The middle position for each exercise: stabilize the object close(er) to your body with an eccentric force as elbows and shoulders pancake.
    • The finish position for each exercise: stabilize the object at arm’s length after peeling open elbows and shoulders with concentric force.

    Even though the push-up and the bench press are different exercises, they make the body move in the same pattern.

    Patterns

    There are four patterns that emerge when chasing max load (basic barbell and bodyweight strength training).

    The squat, which is best defined as moving the hips in a vertical line. The squat pancakes on the eccentric

    • Lower leg into foot
    • Thigh into lower leg
    • Torso into thigh

    and peels on the concentric. Think: hips up and down. 

    The hump, which is best defined as moving the hips back and forth horizontally. The hinge pancakes on the eccentric

    • Torso into thigh

    and peels on the concentric. Think: hips back and forth.

    Before I show you the remaining two patterns, I want to clear up the difference between the squat and the hump.

    It's all in the hips.

    In a squat, the hips go down to the ground in as vertical of a line as possible, which forces a more compact (pancaked) ankle joint and a more forward knee position. The torso will be more vertical.

    In a hump, the hips go back behind you in a straight line horizontally, which creates a more open ankle joint and a more vertical lower leg position. The torso will be more horizontal.

    The push, which is best defined as using your arms to move an object further away from you (or moving yourself further away from an object). The push peels on the concentric

    • Upper arm away from torso
    • Forearm away from upper arm
    • Shoulder-blades away from each other

    and pancakes on the eccentric. Think: moving something away from your body with your arms. 

    The pull, which is best defined as using your arms to hug an object closer to you (or moving yourself closer to an object). The pull pancakes on the concentric

    • Upper arm into torso
    • Forearm into upper arm
    • Shoulder-blades into each other

    and peels on the eccentric. Think: hugging something into your body with your arms.

    Colors

    Return to the morph suit and the Lite-Brite idea of muscles glowing a certain colors when activated. Imagine if every single muscle were represented by its own unique color. Muscles responsible for similar movements share complimentary colors. For instance, the anterior deltoid (front shoulder) is red and the pectoralis major (chest) is orange. Both are involved in similar movements, so they are similar in color.  (I’m just making these colors up. They won’t apply later. Take a deep breath. There is no quiz for you to fail.)

    Exercises within each pattern share similar local stimulation signatures. In other words, exercises within a pattern tend to make the same colors glow.

    • The overhead press is just red. It hits primarily the shoulders and triceps. There’s a little chest, but not much.
    • The incline bench press is red-orange in color. It hits the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
    • A flat bench press would be orange-red. Very similar to the incline bench press, but the angle makes it more of a lower chest exercise.
    • A decline bench press would be orange. It hits the chest and triceps, mostly.

    Each of the above exercises is a push. They activate similar muscles because they share the same pattern of movement.

    The common muscular breakdown across the patterns:

    • Squatting = quadriceps, glutes, ankle flexion, hip-extension and knee-extension based things.
    • Hinging = hamstrings, glutes, ankle extension, hip-extension and knee-flexion based things.
    • Pushing = chest, front shoulders, triceps, shoulder-flexion and elbow-extension based things.
    • Pulling = back, rear shoulders, biceps, shoulder-extension and elbow-flexion based things.

    Exceptions

    These patterns are common to load based training (basic barbell and bodyweight strength training). But the premise of having “patterns” isn't an exact science.

    The patterns listed above…

    (A) Are incomplete

    I didn't mention anything about the wrists, the ankles, or the midsection. I could have included the following movements:

    The hollowbody, which is a pancake position. When on your back, the lower and upper spine curl up towards the sky, making your spine have a “C” curve shape to it. (Cat butt hole optional.) Think: curling into a fetal position.

    The archbody, which is a peel position. When on your your stomach, the lower and upper spine curl up towards the sky, making your spine have a “C” curve shape to it. Think: Leo on the Titanic, “I’m the king of the world!”

    But I didn't because these typically aren't done with load scaling intentions. Same goes for the wrist and the ankles insofar as my training philosophy is concerned).

    (B) Don’t apply to every style of training

    With gymnastics strength training, for instance, there are straight-arm strength movements, which throw the pancake-peel (and color blueprint) into the trash.

    For instance, planche-esque straight arm exercises are similar to upper body pushes, but they stimulate the biceps more than bent arm pushes. Likewise, front lever-esque straight arm exercises are similar to upper body pulls, but they stimulate the triceps more than bent arm pulls.

    (C) Don’t apply at the extremes

    “Regular” arm extension is typically a movement driven by the muscles of the back. But arm hyperextension involves the chest. The opposite goes for arm flexion and hyperflexion; the back is more involved at the extreme.

    (D) Don’t represent “balanced” training

    Both the squat and the hump are more similar than different. Both pancake the hip joint during the eccentric (and peel the hip during the concentric). A true opposite to either of these would peel the hip during the concentric.

    Stand upright. Keep your left leg straight; don’t bend at the knee. Now bring your right knee to your chest without leaning forwards or backwards. This is the true opposite to the squat.

    This sort of movement isn’t typical of load based training (basic barbell and bodyweight exercise), even though it’s a pretty important movement. (Try sprinting without lifting your knee.)

    (E) Don’t scale perfectly to the real world

    The differences between the patterns show up most in controlled “laboratory” situations, like in the weight room. But on the field of play or in the real world (a horrifying place), the clean cuts between each pattern is a crap shoot.

    If you hug a bag of dirt into your torso in order to carry it, you'll be squeezing your chest together (press) and bending at the elbow (pull). If you lift something from the floor, you'll use a combination of squatting and humping. If you are on top in the missionary position, you’ll be humping and pressing.

    (F) Don't predict your neural pathway

    The patterns have a muscular stimulation blueprint, but everyone is wired differently. Two different people doing the same movement can use different structures to power the movement. Some people might use the quads more to finish a squat, others might use the hips more.

    In this respect, moving (in any way) is kind of like cutting a path through a thick forest. Whichever path you've cut over time is the one that becomes the default one — it gets stronger over time. But there are many other possible paths available if you break the subconscious (default) wiring.

    (G) Don’t pretend to be perfect

    And it's time for a new subheading.

    Flawed

    Even though this pattern-muscle categorization isn’t 100% accurate, it works. Some things just need to be good enough. This is good enough.

    Training to scale load isn't isn’t complete “human” training. It's a good idea to scale load (via weighted squats), especially if you want to build muscle. It's also a good idea to explore other movement pathways that have nothing to do with load. Like this.

    It's important to understand what you're trying to accomplish with your training and accepting that focus inherently narrows your vision. Everyone decent Internetter learned this the hard way.

    Specializing has a price tag. If you want to build muscle, you need to scale load. If you want to move in different funky ways, you need to move in different funky ways. The good programmer knows how to juggle goals without being all…

    …SQUIRREL!

    M(a)(i)rcro

    We've done enough grunt work to enter my exercise classification system, which is a function of (a) load-global stimulation, and (b) local-muscular stimulation.

    MACRO-EXERCISES

    Macro-exercises have the highest load potential. They tend to be compound multi-joint exercises done with a barbell.

    Macro-squat = back squat, front squat, barbell split squats, most squatting with a barbell (or specialty powerlifting bar).

    Macro-hump = conventional deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, snatch grip deadlifts, weighted hip thrusts, most pulling from the floor with a barbell.

    Macro-push = bench press, overhead press, parallel bar dips, most pressing with a barbell or pushing your body away from a fixed object.

    Macro-pull = chin-ups, pull-ups, barbell rows, most things that have you hugging a barbell or moving towards a fixed object.

    I specify the use of the barbell because barbell exercises tend to have the highest load potential. Say you work up to a 225 pound barbell bench press. Cool. If you wanted to use dumbbells to match the 225 pound barbell load, you'd need to be using 100+ pound dumbbells in each hand.

    MICRO-EXERCISES

    Micro-exercises match their macro category in color (local-muscular stimulation), but typically either (a) don't have high load potential, or (b) only hit a piece of the full pattern (think isolation [single joint] exercises).

    Micro-squat = pistol squats, dumbbell squats, dumbbell split squats, most squats without a barbell, leg extensions, etc…

    Micro-hump = harop curls, back extensions, reverse hyperextensions, hamstring curls, pull throughs, etc…

    Micro-push = push-ups, dumbbell pressing, triceps isolation exercises, etc…

    Micro-pull = bodyweight rows, dumbbell pulling, biceps isolation exercises, etc…

    A biceps curl is a single joint isolation exercise that hits mostly the biceps. And bicep activation is a product of the pull pattern, so it’s a micro-pull. A leg curl hits the hamstrings. Hamstring activation fall under the hump pattern, so it’s a micro-hump.

    (Shoulder isolation exercises can be either the push or pull depending on which pattern it resembles more. For instance, an upright row is more of a pull. A lateral raise is more of a push. Yet both target the shoulders.)

    Confusion

    Let's clear up some confusion bound to be careening throughout your cranium because this my system and not some universal constant.

    First, don't confuse micro exercise with ease. Some micro exercises are VERY demanding. For instance, the harop curl is a humbling exercise, but it's still “micro” in my book. The term “micro” simply means that the exercise (probably) doesn't practically or easily scale load.

    Second, micro exercises can also be compound multi-joint movements done at a lesser intensity. The push-up (once mastered) is a great example.

    The push-up is initially a macro-esque exercise. It's a compound multi-joint exercise that subjects your body to a high load. But, once you get good at push-ups, they shifts from macro to micro because the load doesn't scale.

    • When you can only do five push-ups, then push-ups are a macro exercise.
    • When you can do thirty push-ups, then push-ups are a micro exercise .

    If you wanted to take push-ups back to the macro side, you’d have to find a way to add weight to your body while doing them.

    Third, the lack of load potential that accompanies certain exercises is worth your attention. For instance, the overhead squat is a difficult exercise. But you (typically) can't load up the overhead squat because you're limited by the upper body's ability to stabilize a weight overhead.

    You're trying to strengthen your legs with a squat, yet you're held back by your…shoulders? That doesn't make much sense.

    Even though an overhead squat seems like a macro exercise, it floats towards the micro side because there are alternative exercises that you can do (without extra equipment) that have a much higher load potential (like front squats and back squats).

    Fourth, remember that whole “good enough” thing? This isn't an exact science. The lines bleed together. Boo.

    Gray

    I mentioned the Goldilocks principle in Part 2. The Goldilocks principle symbolizes the nonlinear aspect of stress, the manifestation of which can be seen with the push-up example above.

    When you can only do five push-ups, push-ups are a macro exercise; when you can do thirty push-ups, push-ups are a micro exercise .

    The elephant in the room, with regards to exposing your body to higher load, deals with how much load you need to expose your body to.

    Most people play a game of percents based off a one repetition max (1RM). Your 1RM is, not surprisingly, the amount of weight you can lift during any given exercises for one single repetition.

    But I think there's an easier way…

    Sticky

    You can contract your muscles. You can relax your muscles. These are the extremes, but 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 certain movements being biased towards an extreme.

    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 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.

    Honest

    Go through litany of things do in every day life. Most of them are on the honest spring side. And 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), you're probably in an honest sticky zone.

    Spectrum

    This SPRING – STICK quality exists on a spectrum. For all intents and purposes, you can overlap this spectrum with the Level spectrum I taught you in Part 2.

    Your current Level, the maximum load you're able to (consciously) overcome, is inherently sticky. Consider this your 1RM. As you reduce the load, you're reducing the Level. You become less contraction based. You're able to relax and spring.

    When inquiring about the amount of load needed to increase your ceiling, we're back to nonlinearity and the Goldilocks principle. When are things just right?

    The answer: when you're exposing your body to a load that forces you to be sticky. If you wanted to play a game of numbers, this would likely be around 60% of your 1RM.

    Elephants and shocks

    The entire premise of this guide is such that muscle mass is correlated with your ability to overcome load, meaning muscle mass is a byproduct (adaptation) of sticky-friction stress.

    Springy movements (probably) don't trigger the need for more muscle mass because, typically, springy movements shock the system (and allow you to expose your body to higher shocks).

    Big creatures don’t handle shocks well. An elephant won’t survive a fall of half it’s height, but an ant can survive a fall from the moon. The biggest cats aren’t the most nimble cats.

    elephant skydive

    Fear the trunk

    A lot of people that want to build athleticism alongside muscle are afraid of turning into an elephant. But this fear is almost always overblown because, in adults, stickiness precedes springiness.

    A total noob that wants to do clapping handstand push-ups has to first build the strength to hold a handstand, and then build the strength to do controlled handstand push-ups, then…

    Sticky training encourages muscular adaptions that support the (eventual) springiness. The exception to this rule: newborns. Babies are mostly spring with little stick, which is why they bounce around like a pinball.

    springy baby

    Your body wants to be comfortable. Your body wants stasis. This is exactly why most of the things you do on a regular basis can be done with spring. Springing is much more energy efficient (which is perhaps why babies are mostly spring).

    Onto the next

    We're now able to piece together a vague training approach.

    First, appreciate max load. Second, within the parts of your body you want to grow, find exercises with a high max load. Third, increase max load over time by existing within “sticky” stress environment.

     

    There's one more concern though. And that concern is what Part 5 (coming soon) is dedicated to.

    The post A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 4: Exercises, Patterns, and Stickiness appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
  • Anthony Mychal 4:15 pm on July 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 3: Strength and Max Load 

    This is Part 3 of an ongoing series. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    Semantics of strong

    If you're still reading this (doubtful), you might be wondering something (even more doubtful):

    Isn't scaling load synonymous with getting stronger? Why aren't you just using the concept of “strength” then? What's this “load” shtick all about?

    Strength is your ability to create tension and produce force. When you scale load, your body is finding ways to create more tension and produce more force. So, yes, scaling load is synonymous with strength.

    But the word “strong” (and “strength”) can be confusing.

    • Stan can open a pickle jar, but can't squat 100 pounds.
    • Ken can't open a pickle jar, but can squat 100 pounds.
    • Fred doesn't cry when he watches The Notebook.
    • Judd does cry when he watches The Notebook.

    Who is the strongest man?

    Likewise, if I tell you to “strength” train, and you do clapping push-ups, then, well, fuck. That's no bueno. Just like if I told you to “love” someone, and you punched said someone in the face.

    There is no universally accepted definition (or context of use) of “strength.” And, to make matters worse, everyone already has a scotched taped idea of “strength” in their head. Mr. Clapping Push-Up hears the word “strength” and he thinks about clapping push-ups, but that's not an ideal thought to have.

    More importantly than the semantics strength: there are ways to increase tension and produce more force without scaling load. Which is muy importante because I have a hunch: scaling load (not necessarily scaling tension) is the magic for muscle mass.

    Tricky tricky torque

    There's a gymnastics exercise called the planche. One of the early planche progressions is a position called the tuck planche (the picture to the left below). You put your palms on the ground, tuck your knees to your chest, and lean forward so that your body is being supported by your arms. So the load for the tuck planche is your bodyweight minus your arms.

    Compare this to the load for the actual planche (picture to the right above). The actual planche is infinitely more difficult, but the load is…exactly the same! It's still your bodyweight minus your arms. (In this respect, the load to bear for the planche is the same as the load to bear for the handstand. Starting to get a hang of this?)

    The planche scales tension (and force) via complexity and torque. And torque is ruthless. Torque is why unscrewing a nut from a bolt is easier with a longer wrench.

    torque gymnastics exercises

    I'm not saying that the planche is useless, stupid, and easy because it doesn't scale load. I'm simply saying that it doesn't scale via load; the tension and force production isn't commensurate with the load.

    Look at the bench press. When you're getting better, you're scaling load. You bench 100 pounds, then you bench 110 pounds, then you bench 120 pounds — you're always scaling load as you improve.

    Look at the planche. When you're getting better, you're scaling positions. You go from the tuck planche, to the advanced tuck planche, to the straddle planche…but the load in all of these positions is the same.

    Both scale “tension.” Both scale “strength.”

    The difference is load.

    Why does it matter?

    Max load

    Scaling load is important for reasons you'll know soon. But I'm taking it one more step further by adding a second tier to the idea of “load,” and that is: finding max load.

    Look at an exercise like, say, dumbbell lateral raises. Assume using a ten pound weight is difficult for ten repetitions. The overall load for the shoulders is (weight of the upper-arm, forearm, hand, fingers) + (ten pounds).

    You're using added load (via the weight), but, all things considered, it's not a ton of extra load because the lateral raise involves a lot of torque. The load, the added weight, is far away from the fulcrum (your shoulder).

    But imagine bringing those dumbbells in closer to your body and pressing them overhead. You’re using similar structures (shoulders, upper-back), but the overhead press is OVER 9000!!!!! times easier with the same load.

    If you wanted to make ten reps a challenge on overhead presses, you'd need to pick up, say, thirty pound dumbbells.

    Forget EFFORT and TENSION for a second and look purely at these two exercises from load standpoint.

    Even though the dumbbell lateral raise is a challenging exercise, you're using a smaller load. The lateral raise is difficult when you're using 10 pounds. The overhead press is difficult when you're using 30 pounds. The overhead press allows you to expose your body to a higher load.

    Load characteristics

    Because of torque, exercises that allow you to scale load the most:

    • Resist (move against) gravity itself, which means they move in a relatively straightish vertical line.
    • Keep the load that's being overcome closeish to your center of gravity (to minimize torque)

    Look at the bodyweight squat. You stand up, drop your hips to the floor, then return to the starting position. You want to scale load, so you throw a barbell on your back. This artificially makes your torso heavier, which increases the load you have to overcome.

    Since you're able to rest the bar on your upper back, the load can be kept close in line with your center of gravity; as you move your hips down and up, the bar travels in a relatively straight line.

    Look at the bench press. You hold a bar in your hands, which artificially makes your hands heavier. As you move the bar towards your chest and back to the ceiling, the bar travels in a relatively straight line.

    basic barbell and bodyweight exercises

    Look at the weighted chin-up. You add weight around your waist, which artificially makes your lower body heavier. You pull towards the bar in a relatively straight line.

    Muscular bifocals

    Now it's time to answer WHY load (and max load) are such a big deal. Because of culture, we try to understand “fitness” and “exercise” using muscular bifocals.

    Imagine wearing a morph suit. The suit is completely black…until you move. When you move, the muscles stimulated during an exercise light up. Consider this Lite-Brite blueprint to be the local stimulation signature of an exercise.

    This is the muscular stimulation pattern, a product of the muscular bifocals. But check this out…

    1. Training an uninjured limb can preserve strength in an injured limb. Meaning, if you hurt your right arm, you should train your left arm.
    2. Pavel Tsatsouline recommends training your midsection and your grip to maintain total body strength. So, if you travel a lot and can't get to the gym, you can do grip training in your hotel room to avoid getting weaker.
    3. Charlie Francis had his sprinters do heavy bench pressing a few days prior to race day to keep their legs strong without directly fatiguing their legs. In other words, the bench press preserved leg strength.

    Umm…

    WTF IS GOING ON

    …this all seems kind of screwy, no?

    If you only see the body as a conglomerate of muscles, then, yes, things are very screwy. But these “screwy” things are real phenomenons because exercise also stimulates your body globally.

    No matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, you’re doing more than contracting your muscles. As Buddy Morris, former mentor of mine, once said:

    The stress of training is greater than that of a broken bone because it encompasses the entire system. It encompasses the cardiac, cardiopulmonary, detoxification, hormonal, metabolic, central nervous system, neuromuscular, and […] immune system.

    That’s all affected by training. And those systems do not recover at the same time.

    You can look at the act of sprinting and say, “It works the leg muscles, right?” Maybe you dig a rung deeper and say, “It makes you breathe harder, right?”

    Right.

    But it also “works” the connective tissue in the legs, the bones in the legs, the nervous system, the endocrine system, the…

    And the nervous system that contracts your biceps is the same nervous system that controls your hand when you use a pencil, which is why doing sprints on Monday can hurt your bench press strength (or reaction time) on Tuesday.

    I know this global stuff seems like hoodoo voodoo, but here's a good way to think about things…

    Ever have someone put an ice cube down the back of your shirt? You don't stoically announce, “My back is cold.” The cold feeling causes your entire body to freak out. You flinch. You get goosebumps. You breathe quicker.

    • Local response: cold skin.
    • Global response: see above.

    The cultural inkling is to compartmentalize the body, but nothing is really compartmentalized. This is why using one limb effects the other limb, why grip training maintains strength elsewhere, and why bench pressing can preserve leg strength.

    Convincing

    The breadth of global stimulation varies. For instance, activation areas of great neurological density (like the hands) makes for more global stimulation.

    This is a deep (and interesting) subject, but I'm going to avoid spelunking. I'd rather focus on the facet of global stimulation that matters most right now: load.

    The global impact matters because it stresses your body more. And, in the end, if you want your body to adapt, you have to convince yourself that upgrading is worth the investment. Your body is always sorting signal from noise. Higher load is more signal; it's something worth paying attention to.

    Astronaut and Gertrude

    Perhaps, to really appreciate load, you have to look via negativa. In other words, what happens to your body when load disappears?

    An astronaut’s body melts like fondue. Gertrude in hospice care is also whiz cheese. You break your leg, you get put in a cast, and the structures around the immobile joints practically die.

    In each of these situations, you can still contract your muscles. But you're not working against the load of gravity.

    In other words, take two people.

    Human One is an astronaut in zero gravity voluntarily contracting his muscles. Human Two is a person existing on Earth that's regularly moving through gravity (which requires him to contract his muscles on a less conscious level).

    At the end of the day, Human Two will be more physically capable.

    You can now play the same game in the positive. Human One on Earth contracting his muscles won't be as capable as Human Two on Earth exposing his body to a higher load.

    In fact, Charles Atlas tried to popularize a form of training known as dynamic tension, which was nothing more than contracting your muscles. It didn't work out too well. Exposing your body to a higher load seems to trigger something I'm not smart enough to describe.

    Perhaps it's the fact that load reduces the subjective voluntary component of creating tension. When you're moving 500 pounds, you have to be creating tension, whether you like it or not. But if you're asked to contract as if you were moving 500 pounds, you'd never reach the same intensity.

    Or perhaps its the holistic stress that load bearing exercise has. Most load scaling exercises put a lot of downward compression stress on the bones themselves, and bones are important. Your bones remodel under stress, just like your muscles. And, even more, your muscles funnel into tendons, and those tendons attach to bones. Doesn't make sense for your body to build up a musculotendon structure so strong that it can rip from the bone.

    I don't know. I really don't. I'm not afraid to admit it, either. But my hunch is that there's something here.

    Exceptions and orbit

    This isn't to dismiss exercises that don't scale load. And there is a BIG difference between scaling tension in the absence of extra load and scaling tension with a constant (but non-scale-able) added load.

    Scaling tension in the absence of extra load is like contracting your biceps as you read this. Scaling tension with constant (but non-scale-able) added load is like the planche.

    Although load doesn't scale during the planche, you're still exposing your body to quite a bit of added load, almost the entirety of your bodyweight.

    Alas, if you're interest is more muscular, I prefer exercises that are more simple and straightforward that DO scale load. This is the point of orbit that my entire training universe revolves around. In Part 4 (coming soon) I apply this filter to exercises.

     

    The post A Mental Model of Muscle Mass, Part 3: Strength and Max Load appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

     
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