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Blog | Evolutionary Athletics

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  • Anthony Mychal 11:48 pm on February 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Let’s talk about Lady Gaga’s chub rolls at Super Bowl LI (and body shame) 

    I want to talk about the belly outfit Lady Gaga wore during the Super Bowl LI half-time show.

    In other words, I want to talk about body shaming.

    I knew the Internet wouldn’t let her flaunt her non-chiseled bare belly on stage.

    lady gaga super bowl fat

    I knew this because the first thought I had when I saw her on stage in the belly outfit was, “Why would she wear that?”

    I’m not proud to admit that’s what I thought, even though I didn’t think what I thought for the reasons you’re thinking.

    untwist your tongue, son

    You probably imagine me being on the verge of body shaming.






    But I’m not.

    Lady Gaga is not fat. Not at all. Calling her fat is stupid. I didn’t question her outfit because I thought she was fat, nor did I question her outfit because I thought she needed to change her body.

    Her body is “normal.”

    And, well, that’s the problem.

    By any and all first impressions, I’m a thoroughbred body shamer.

    I’m a tall white male. I’m not fat. I have muscle definition. If you saw me on the street, you’d peg me as a body shamer. No doubt.

    But my psyche has been simmering in body shame stew ever since I was eight years old.

    I used to lie to my friends in order to get out of going to pool parties. I was terrified of what they’d say about my body.

    My ego’s backbone was shimmed with shame for ten years…

    …and then I started eating better. I started deadlifting. I started doing things to change the parts of me I didn’t like.

    I went from a

    self-loathing skinny-fat nerd

    to a

    less self-loathing (but still pretty self-loathing) nerd with a lean, muscular, athletic physique.

    And as someone that’s rode the wave of body shame to shore (somewhat) safely, my feelings on body shaming are torn in two.

    Here’s why.

    Expectations are everything.

    Expectations are why a guy like Tiger Woods is doomed if he cheats on his wife, and why a guy like Charlie Sheen is doomed if he doesn’t cheat on his wife.

    Body shaming’s roots are twisting throughout our expectations.




    And our expectations of what a body should look like are informed by a variety of mediums (movies and magazines — anything and everything “media”) that I collective refer to as “beauty culture.”

    The idea of a “normal” body and the idea of a “perfect” body are subjective, especially in relation to beauty. People like different flavors for reasons not totally understood.

    But we can spiral into a vague idea of today’s “perfect” because beauty culture does an insane amount of market research in order to find out what we find attractive.

    They then use the data to advertise to us.



    and whether you’re willing to admit to it or not


    and that’s the Truth.

    This is how the capitalist world works. When there’s a demand for x, some people are smart enough to recognize (and supply) the demand.

    But here’s the problem:

    Beauty culture takes it one step further. They take what we like, and then make it even more “perfect” (read: less realistic) using a variety of tools, the most heinous one being Photoshop.

    zendaya photoshop

    (Google “magazine photoshop fails” and see more of the absurdity for yourself.)

    Photoshopping and computer enhancing in order to alter (hide) reality is a terrible thing to do. There’s no arguing that. But Photoshopping is just one of many rocks you’ll hit if you roll down the rabbit hole of beauty realism.

    What about makeup? What about good lighting? Nice scenery? What about picture angle? Posing? Color correcting?

    All of these things skew “reality.”

    Below are two pictures of me. They were taken within a two minute time span. The left uses a bad angle (on purpose). There’s no posing. Bad lighting. The right uses a better angle, better posing, and better lighting.

    skinny fat posing and lighting

    Of course, I’m going to post the better looking one on social media. Just like everyone does.

    We have the power to edit reality.

    And we do edit it regularly.


    Why does any of this matter?

    Our brain isn’t perfect. It’s not good at distinguishing between real and fake.

    For instance, if I asked you what America was like back in 1492 when Columbus was sailing the ocean blue, you’d probably tell me something…

    …even though you have absolutely no clue what America was really like. you weren’t alive back then. you didn’t experience it.

    You’d use what you’ve read in books and what you’ve seen movies to piece together your own version of reality, and you’d be pretty convinced this was how things really were.

    (I stole this thought exercise from Chuck Klosterman’s book, On Media And Culture. Klosterman stole it from Jerry Mander’s book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.)

    When we see magazines covers (or digitally enhanced scenes in movies) we don’t filter them through a fake funnel.

    fake funnel

    The story we end up telling ourselves about body shape and body size is informed by fantasy because a lot of what we see is computer generated.

    And we don’t consciously autocorrect for the fact that what we’re seeing is staged and, for all intents and purposes, “fake.”

    We end up comparing the things see in real life to things that don’t exist.

    In this respect, beauty culture is setting the bar insanely high — in the heavens.

    TV takes away our freedom to have whatever thoughts we want. So do photographs, movies, and the Internet. They provide us with more intellectual stimuli, but they construct a lower, harder intellectual ceiling.

    -Chuck Klosterman, On Media And Culture

    This is a problem.

    So let’s go ahead and recreate beauty culture. Let’s nix Photoshop and digital enhancements.

    You’re left with (a) models. The genetically elite, the right side of the bell curve. The people that won’t have cellulite. Ever.

    You’re left with (b) purposeful posing. An sculptor uses contrapposto to make a visual statement.

    You’re left with (c) professional photographers. An expert eye for framing the foreground with the background. People that understand and use the rule of thirds.

    You’re left with (d) awesome (or staged) lighting. Overhead lighting turns a stomach into a six pack set of abs.

    You’re left with (e) people that are willing to do things most people aren’t in order to build and maintain an above average body.

    You’re left with…

    Point being that, even with more ethical strategies, beauty culture sets still sets the beauty bar through the roof.

    our perception of “normal” would still be fucked sideways. Less sideways, yes. But, still, sideways.

    The question is this: do you still have beef with this more ethical beauty culture?

    A lot of people would. Because little changes. It still creates an unrealistic expectation of what females (and males) should look like.

    But here’s the deal:


    Do you see what I’m saying?

    No. You don’t.

    So hold onto your chair because






    We are all shamers, whether we realize it or not. (We don’t.)

    Lady Gaga isn’t stupid. She didn’t accidentally wear what she wore. She knew it would cause a shit storm. She wanted it to cause a shit storm.

    She knew Twitter would talk, and she knew she would be rewarded for being an “honest” woman. For not being afraid of showing the world what a “normal” woman looks like.

    Which is commendable.

    But confusing.

    Because it’s a sentiment unique to beauty and body. And this what makes body shaming so damn unique and impossible (did I give my conclusion away?) to fix.

    Imagine if Tom Brady was holding the Super Bowl MVP trophy and then burst into song, only to say, “I just wanted to let the world know what a real voice actually sounds like.”

    It wouldn’t make sense.

    We don’t listen to “regular” music or watch “regular” movies to keep our expectations in check.

    We don’t celebrate “decency” in any other art form, which is why we don’t remember 99% of the people that’ve been on American Idol.

    We even like it when (some) singers alter their voice (the Photoshopping of music!??!?!?!!!?) to make their tunes catchier.

    Because, by and large, when it comes to “art,” we EXPECT and (usually) accept nothing less than a Purple Cow.

    The term “Purple Cow” comes from Seth Godin and his book, Purple Cow. If you’re driving on the highway and you see a Purple Cow, you’re going to say something.

    And that’s what a Purple Cow symbolizes:

    Something worth remarking (talking) about.

    Purple Cows are remarkable.

    We want Purple Cows and we celebrate them in the art and entertainment industries.

    Lady Gaga is a Purple Cow, which is why no one was surprised to hear she got the Super Bowl gig. She’s “unrealistic” and few people can do what she does.

    So why are we surprised (and upset) when beauty culture showcases “unrealistic” bodies of males and females?

    “It’s not fair. It skews expectations.”

    Well, guess what?


    Lady Gaga sets the entertainment bar through the roof. Why is it okay for singers, actors, and artists to slave over their craft (and abuse drugs) in order to give us the ultimate entertainment experience?

    Why is it NOT okay for a model to do the same to give us the ultimate visual experience? Why are models unhealthy if they’re trying to create a certain “Purple Cow” aesthetic appeal?





    That’s why they are Purple Cows.

    I’m not saying this phenomenon is right or wrong or good or bad. I’m just saying that it IS…

    …and also pointing out some inconsistencies in our (domain dependent) logic.

    And it’s precisely our domain dependence that makes this really confusing.

    We don’t compare artists to non-artists in any domain, save for when it comes to the body and beauty.

    We understand that a singer practices and bleeds to sing better. We understand that the “joes” won’t be on the level of the “pros.”

    We understand “pros” take it to level most of us won’t and SHOULDN’T unless we’re IN the game.

    And if the pro-joe illusion isn’t enough, there’s no other world where “above averageness” is shat upon more than in beauty culture.

    Those forgotten American Idol singers? They’re forgotten, but they probably weren’t shamed.

    If Tom Brady DID burst out in song and and his singing was above average. Most people would be impressed.

    =+= news flash =+=

    Lady Gaga’s body IS above average. she has less body fat than MOST women.

    Yet she’s still flushed down the toilet.


    You ready for more reasons to hate me?

    I kicked this thing off by saying my feelings about body shaming are torn in two.


    Taking care of your body is an insanely difficult thing to do. Its an “art” and should be seen as an art.

    For us “joes” to rag on people in beauty culture because they are Purple Cows is just as illogical for us to rag on Lady Gaga for being good at what she does.


    Body shaming isn’t cool, and it’s rather nonsensical. You wouldn’t go up to someone on the street that’s never practiced singing and shame their musical ability…

    …unless, of course, they were out in public and subjecting others to their noise.

    In which case, we can say that, you increase your chances of cultural commentary if you “put yourself out there” on a public stage.

    If you walk around your neighborhood, singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re not a good singer, I hate to break it to you, but your neighbors are going to talk about you.

    Likewise, if you walk around in clothes (or without clothes) that show off your physique, and you aren’t a premier physical specimen, your neighbors are going to talk about you.

    The less Purple you are, the more vulnerable you are to cultural criticism ESPECIALLY if you voluntarily present yourself in a public format.

    Gaga opened the door the moment she wore what she wore.

    “She’s there to sing and dance. She’s not there for her looks. It’s not fair to judge her for her looks.”

    Then why did she have to change outfits a million times? Why were there fireworks, drones, and dancers? Why wasn’t Lady Gaga hiding in a box and singing a capella?

    The visual aspects of music entertainment are like the intellectual aspects of Miss America. They might not be the main course, but they’re certainly on the dinner plate.

    (Speaking of which, I remember everyone and their mother making fun of Lauren Kaitlin for her intellect during Miss Teen USA 2007. Why can we clown on intellect, but not beauty? Why is it satisfying when an attractive human is dumb?)

    This IS shitty of me to say because the implications are whack mack titty back give a cog a drone.

    (a) people that don’t have a Purple Cow body need to walk around in thick sweaters to save everyone’s eyeballs.

    (b) people that don’t have a Purple Cow face need to wear babushkas at all times.

    Not cool, right?

    I’m not saying that’s how things should be, but, rather, pointing out that that’s how they are in different domains.

    And we don’t bat an eye.

    Everyone and their mother made from of William Hung for his American Idol performance. But it’s the same thing.

    A guy took a chance, put himself out there on a public stage, and people talked because he didn’t meet our expectations. Our “subjective” cultural expectations. 

    Trying to conclude this, I swear. It’s not working, but I’m trying.

    So in an effort to begin concluding this rant of mine, we can say that:

    If you put yourself out there in a public format and “showcase” your “talent,” then you’re opening the doors for criticism and commentary.

    You might not think you’re “showcasing” your “talents” when you wear that one outfit, but that’s the cultural perception.

    A lot of people are upset that this has become the cultural perception, so they rage against culture itself.


    WE CAN and SHOULD create a more ethical beauty culture. Stop with the Photoshop shenanigans, yes.

    Show us what goes on behind the scenes. Because then we can SEE the dedication, the hard work. We can see level of commitment. We can see the stack of skunked pictures that didn’t make the cut. The crew of people telling the model how to pose. The sixteen lamps creating optimal shadowing.

    Maybe that’ll help our brain realize that modeling is akin to “acting” and an art in itself.

    But, even with those changes, the beauty bar will still be high. And that’s okay.

    Eliminating beauty culture all together is just a grandiose game of self-deception.

    Don’t highlight attractive males and females because it makes the rest of us look bad. Dismiss all of the hard work these people do stay in shape because it makes us look bad.

    While we’re at it, let’s ban Lady Gaga from being an entertainer because she makes other entertainers look bad.

    Let’s ban Louis C.K. from being a comedian because he makes other comedians look bad.

    Let’s ban anyone that’s good at anything because it makes everyone else look bad.

    People work really hard to get good at what they do, and that’s why they’re really good.

    The realities of reality are real things that we don’t like to reel in.

    Pinning the problem on beauty culture is the norm, and for good reason: it deserves some of the pins.

    But I don’t think the proposed changes will be implemented anytime soon because


    which is why movies and books are edited one million times to eliminate excess; they’re crafted to captivate our wonky attention spans.

    A true thing, poorly expressed, is a lie.

    – Stephen Fry (maybe)

    Hardcore social media users take thirty-five selfies before posting one, adjusting their hair, the lighting, and the angle with each subsequent shot.

    (I’m guessing you’ve done this before. Don’t get all pious on me now.)

    And the real problem with blaming beauty is this: it implies that the only way to overcome body shaming is by fixing beauty culture itself, which is an


    solution. “There’s something wrong with the world, the world needs to change.” But this is a terrible way to live because it insinuates that you have NO control.

    A better way to handle body shaming is with


    solutions. Because, in today’s world, everyone has a voice. Expressing opinions is easier than ever, which is both empowering and infuriating.

    Everyone should be free to share their opinions, but not everyone’s opinion should count.

    You have the choice to decide what’s signal and what’s noise.


    If someone makes fun of my drawings, I’m not going to get mad. I’m not an artist. I’ve never tried to be a professional artist.

    If you don’t care about how you look and you’ve never tried to change, then why get insulted?

    You can avoid putting yourself in a position where you’d be more subjected to cultural commentary.

    But if you think that’s a limiting way to live life, then you do have one weapon available to you: go numb.

    If you want to “showcase” your “talents” and your “talents” aren’t high (on a cultural grading system), you have to numb yourself to the commentary. Or, better yet, embrace the commentary.


    Talk is cheap. There are no consequences when you give an opinion, meaning you’re likely to give too many opinions about things you shouldn’t be giving opinions about.

    This is where Skin in the Game comes into play.

    Skin in the Game is a concept I stole from Nassim Taleb’s book, Antifragile. 

    In a nutshell, it means: put your money where your mouth is. So if you’re ready and willing to dish out an opinion about how someone looks, you need to be willing to subject yourself to the same criticism.

    This is enlightening.

    Remember William Hung? Lauren Kaitlin? Most of the people making fun of Hung never sung in front of an audience. Most of the people making fun of Kaitlin were never in her shoes.

    So you can use the SITG filer to say that, if someone is trying to shame you without also putting themselves into the public eye for scrutiny, then their commentary is empty and useless.

    When you use a SITG filter, you don’t get many haters. The people that are worth listening to have much more empathy.

    I know how difficult it is to keep a low body fat. I know what it’s like to tax my body. So when I see Lady Gaga doing a 10+ minute performance (that she had to memorize), where she’s simultaneously singing and dancing and not falling flat on her face in high heels, what comes to my head is,

    “She’s in incredible shape. And she’s doing amazing things. I can’t even get these Doritos into my mouth without turning 95% of my surface area orange.”

    By the way, a SITG filer can and should extend beyond one single domain. Meaning you can’t comment on her body unless you can also sing, dance, and perform like she can.

    This doesn’t limit what you can give an opinion on. But it does limit the amount of things you can give a valid opinion on.


    If these perceptual rewiring filters don’t work, you can also work on yourself. If you don’t like how you look, you can change.

    If you really, deep down, don’t like your body and you want to change for YOU, then don’t use body shaming as a veil.

    I think I found what’s most important.

    I didn’t know where this was going when I first started writing. I had some ideas floating in my head.

    Beauty culture is an art.

    The industry of beauty culture is broken.

    Beauty culture does need fixed, but that won’t inherently solve anything.

    The expectations won’t change.

    The best solutions are internal solutions.

    But there was one idea that came to me as I wrote this. An idea I never considered before.

    It reminds me of a Louis C.K. bit.

    I was on an airplane and there was Internet — high speed Internet — on the airplane. That’s the newest thing that I know exists. And I’m sitting on the plane and they go, “Open up your laptop you can go on the Internet.”

    And it’s fast. And I’m watching YouTube clips. It’s amazing. I’m in an airplane. And…then it breaks down. And they apologize the Internet’s not working.

    The guy next to me goes, “Pffft. This is bullshit.”

    Like how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only ten seconds ago.

    – Louis C.K.

    Body shamers believe the world owes them a visually stimulating experience.

    They believe they deserve something merely as a result of their existence, and only as a result of their existence. 

    And if that doesn’t sound shitty enough for you to reconsider any and all body shaming, well —

    Shame on you.

    (Did I do it right?)

    The post Let’s talk about Lady Gaga’s chub rolls at Super Bowl LI (and body shame) appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 6:31 pm on January 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    The first thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is set goals. The second thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is forget goals. 

    allow me to unzip my soul (in an attempt to appear more human) and admit to you that I loooovveee Alice in Wonderland, even though I haven’t really read the entire book or watched any of the movies.

    the random quotes make me tingle. like this one.


    “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

    “I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

    – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

    a particularly relevant quote because the first thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is set goals. if you don’t, you’re like Alice.

    you’re looking for directive, tips, tactics, strategies, but none of these things exist without a goal.


    What do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to be capable of? What do you want to accomplish? What is the reason for you wanting to do what you want to do?

    Goals are a big deal

    Which is why there’s a bunch of hoopla around goals and people not making them specific enough, which is a valid point.

    Most people have general goals.

    • Lose fat
    • Build muscle

    But how much fat do you want to lose? And by which date? And how much muscle do you want to build? And by which date?

    You can make goals really specific, and there’s (probably) a time and place to do so. But now isn’t the time, because, even though goals are necessary, they’re absofuckingloutely childish.

    Goals are wants

    Goals are nothing more than wants. And wanting is easy. Maybe too easy. Because setting goals can easily become a substitute for achieving goals.

    Guy says, “I’m going to lose ten pounds this month!”

    But he has no real intention on losing ten pounds. He might want to lose ten pounds, but he he’s just saying this as a magic trick. To show the world he’s aware (and ashamed) of his body, and that he’s ambitious enough to do something about it.

    But he’s not.

    That’s just what he wants people to think.

    The hard part

    Wanting stuff isn’t the hard part.

    I want a lot of stuff.

    I want one million dollars. An infinite supply of peanut butter. I want to drink the finest milk stouts in the land. To deadlift 600 pounds and move like a ghost cat. I WANT A BICYCLE. I JUST WANT A BICYCLE! WHATEVER, MAKE ME A BICYCLE, CLOWN.

    I got lots of goals.

    So what?

    The problem with goals

    Goals tell you where you want to go, but they don’t tell how to get there. They are inherently empty.

    • Construction worker: get rid of chronic back pain, lose fat, improve HDL cholesterol.
    • New father: build muscle, strength train in a time efficient way, maybe even from home.
    • First year college student: build real self-confidence, sleep around without getting STDs.

    What’s the plan? The strategy? The system? In other words, how are you going to accomplish your goals?

    I want to trick like Rasmus Ott. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?

    I want to be as mobile as Hunter Cook. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?

    I want to be as cool as Casey Niestat. That’s nice. How are you going to stop being such an introverted awkward nerd make this happen?

    What goals really mean

    When I see some designy thing I like on a website, I right click on the element and hit “view page source.” This shows me the code, the guts, behind the designy thing. So I can steal borrow it for my own use.

    When you right click and hit “view page source” on goals, you see SPECIFIC BEHAVIORS. The things you need TO DO in order to accomplish the goals.

    I want to lose fat. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?

    I am going to…

    …drink no calorie beverages.
    …eat a rich source of protein at every feeding.
    …replace 50% of my starch intake with vegetables.

    Find the roots

    Go ahead. Pick one goal floating inside of your pre-frontal cortex. (There’s something to be said about focus here and only picking one goal, but now’s not the time.)

    Now ask yourself, “What things do I need to do in order to accomplish this goal?”

    Keep your list smallish. Don’t go above five things.

    Re: focus.

    If you don’t know what behaviors are going to help you reach your goal(s), then you’re held back by knowledge.

    Go learn.

    Scour the web. Read an encyclopedia. Pay someone to show you the way. Buy Zero to Barbell or Big Win Fat Loss or The Skinny-Fat Solution or The Chaos Bulk or B3W. Whatever. I don’t care.

    The good news is that, for the moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re selecting bass ackwards behaviors that make no sense.

    Meaning if your goal is fat loss and your behavior list looks like this

    • Eliminate all carbohydrates
    • Avoid fatty foods
    • Go jogging every day

    then it works for the sake of continuing the conversation, even though it doesn’t work for the sake of actually achieving your fat loss goal(s).

    This is the real problem

    You have an idea of what you need to do (regardless of whether its a good idea of a bad idea), but you’re struggling to Get Shit Done.

    You don’t want to eat the chocolate bar, but you do anyways. You know you shouldn’t watch House of Cards all weekend and skip your training sessions, but you do anyways.

    The problem isn’t knowledge, the problem is action.

    This, my friends, is Shit Creek.

    The post The first thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is set goals. The second thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is forget goals. appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 1:11 am on January 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Anthony Mychal will help you build the body of your dreams. 2017-01-13 01:11:38 

    when i was a noob, i was thrown towards the throes of Starting Strength.

    and it was perfect.

    i was a self-conscious nerd, trying to do this thing, find my way through fitness (or whatever you want to call it), from my garage.

    i was a member of some online communities, my primary home being a tricking forum. there was a small “fitness” subset within the bigger tricking community and i sort of picked out one dude as a mentor.

    (hi Adam)

    and i peppered the shit out of him with TRBL questions.

    five reps or four? how many sets? what’s the best program? what’s your experience with butt secks? what’s the deal with your 401k?

    if someone were to email me and ask me these questions today, i’d reply with so many vulgarities. they’d probably quit “fitness.” so i got lucky; he was nice.

    but he must have seen i was a live wire, sparking every which direction. i needed to be grounded.

    “go buy, read, and then do Starting Strength.”

    he told me to do this.

    so I did.

    I bought it. i read it in one day. and then everything changed

    ss is common today, but, back then (2006ish), it was nothing (popularity-wise). my self-proclaimed mentor was cutting edge. and i was lucky to have picked him because i needed ss.

    it was a book.

    but it was my coach.

    i remember reading though the book and being blown away. not only did it help me from a technical perspective (with body position and exercise technique), but it also transformed my outlook on strength training.

    i had a standard barbell at the time, which oxford defines as “a shitty version of an Olympic barbell that’s about as sturdy as a string of toothpicks glued together”

    i had a cheap ass bench. third world countries have better benches, really. my shoulders didn’t fit through the uprights.

    considering i was a skinny-fat dude with narrow as piss shoulders, i’m starting to wonder if my bench was actually a toddler play toy made by Fisher-Price.

    reading ss was like realizing i wanted to take a road trip across the country, but my mode of transportation was a barbie jeep power wheels.

    so the first thing i did was upgrade. i bought an olympic barbell and a good squat stand. a better bench. it wasn’t a lot, but ss didn’t call for a lot.

    my parents were still able to park in the garage, is what i’m saying — a big deal for me because that was our deal.

    and then i did the thing.

    Starting Strength had a profound impact on me and pushed me in the right direction, a direction I’m not sure I would have went otherwise.

    which makes what i’m about to say rather confusing:

    if I had a chance to do it all again, I wouldn’t do SS. And, if you’re reading this, there’s an above average chance you shouldn’t be doing Starting Strength either.

    I intend on getting to WHY, eventually.

    I’m writing this to tell what I’d do if I had a chance to start over. the program i’d recommend to new newbs wearing shoes like my old ‘uns.

    I was a skinny-fat nerd that wanted to look better (more specifically, build an x-physique) and move better.

    But, in order to get what I would do if i had a second chance, have to trample through SS methodology.

    Because what I bring to the table is sort of a Jeet Kune Do-ing the shit out of SS. Taking what I found most useful, rejecting what I found useless, adding my own.


    but i’m glad opinions are like assholes.

    before i give you the chance to move along here, I guess I should also mention StrongLifts, as that’s a similar (but different) program thrown around for noobs.

    If you’ve never heard of either of these programs, you have two options: leave or learn. If you want to learn, then keep reading. If you want to leave, I got you covered, too.

    TO LEAVE .. TWO LEAF. TWO LEABEVSS lolllOLolZomgomominfillolollolololl i’m a genius


    StrongLifts is similar enough to Starting Strength for me to draw the (eventual) same conclusion about both of them — and yes, i said that. meaning the i need to lock my doors because the Starting Strengthians are going to be out for my blood.





    so after, bought all new equipment.

    hankered down, and things were never the same.




    Like most confused noobs wandering around the muscle building, fat loss, and fitness world, I was thrown towards the throes of Starting Strength (book, website).

    A lot of noobs are, and for good reason: it’s a coach in a book. And that’s exactly what I needed (and wanted).

    I was skinny-fat nerd w/ social issues. Going to gym? Nah. SS allowed me to self-teach myself.




    I was a nerd. I liked to draw and play video games. The extent of my Christmas list (most years) was thirty different sketchbooks, fancy pens or pencils, and Pokémon Yellow DON’T FORGET POKéMON YELLOW OR I’LL MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP PIKACHU CAN SURF I WANT TO SURF WITH PIKACHUUUUU

    pikachu surf pokemon yellow

    I didn’t have any self-confidence. I had major body image issues. I wanted to lose fat and build muscle, but going to the gym wasn’t an option.

    You mean I have to move my body in front of other people that I can barely communicate with on a good day? And they will be looking at me and judging me? HAHAhahahAHAHaHAhAh

    My only shot was building a garage gym and working alone, which is exactly what I did.

    It sounds like I made this decision way back when consciously and with the snap of a finger, but that’s not what happened.


    My garage gym started out as an old exercise bike that my Dad used to ride. I would ride it as soon as I got home from school because I didn’t want anyone to know.

    Like I said, I was weird.

    Just like wheat…

    But eventually scracthed through and asked for dumbbells.

    Credit to my parents. I woke up on December 25th and there were boxes of heavy iron things in my garage. Even though they had already contacted the local scrap yard to see how much money they’d be able to resell the iron for.

    Despite doing absolutely nothing with these dumbbells, I bought more equipment. I thought more stuff would solve my problems. How original.

    I bought a “standard barbell,” which Oxford defines as “a shitty version of an Olympic barbell that’s about as sturdy as a string of toothpicks glued together.”

    I bought a cheap bench. Worse than any you’d find in a Third World country. My shoulders didn’t even fit through the uprights. Considering I was a skinny-fat kid with narrow shoulders, I wonder if what I bought was actually a toddler play toy.

    So bought standard one.

    I pestered the shit out of him with questions that (now) make me want to find him on Facebook and apologize to him.


    Sorry, Adam.

    Adam hung with me for longer than he should have. But he eventually saw me for what I was: a frayed telephone wire, spewing my juice all over the place, whipping around in the wind.

    I needed to be grounded. He outsourced the job.

    And after pestering my mentor at the time, simply said:

    “Go buy, read, and then do Starting Strength,” he said.

    And I did.

    I bought Starting Strength. I read Starting Strength in one night. And then I did Starting Strength.

    And it changed everything.


    I rememebr reading through i remember reading through and thinking i was going about it all wrong. not only technical approach, but approach in general.

    not only from approach….POWER WHEELS.

    with the way I was training, I was like a kid acting all sorts of hardcore upon getting a drivers license, and then trying to look cool riding in a Power Wheels Barbie Jeep.


    Everything I learned prior was so…fragmented and disjointed. But SS brought everything. What, why, and the how. And I was in.

    So I bought Olympic sized plates and an Olympic sized bar. I got a squat stand and a decentish bench. My garage gym upgrade was complete…once I shimmed up sides of the rack and bench on account of the crooked floor, of course.

    not long after, bought Olympic bar, upgraded, and



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  • Anthony Mychal 6:44 pm on January 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Blog sticky post thingy with details or something 

    This is sandbox of things I’m thinking, reading, and doing — things that are helping me move, feel, think, and look better. It’s updated daily. Sometimes with just a quote. Sometimes with a full article.

    The heftier more robust articles can be found on the Best of the Blog page, which you can find by clicking here.

    You can get a weekly recap of what I post on the blog via email by clicking here.

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  • Anthony Mychal 5:03 pm on January 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Dont judge your insides by someone else’s outsides 

    Don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outsides.

    – Rob Lowe

    It’s only a small preview of their conversation, but this quote comes from here. Worth your three minutes.

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  • Anthony Mychal 12:45 am on January 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    When you don’t want to move is when you most need to move 

    There are some days when I don’t want to move. Alright. Most days. Most days, I don’t want to move.

    I do my work, which (often) leaves me less than fresh.

    If I’m having a good day, I’ll finish my work and stay fresh (mentally), which helps me jump into training.

    I try to do this. It’s the best option because, usually, if I work beyond fresh, it’s wasted non-productive work that doesn’t help.

    But some days I bash my head into the wall with work and I end up in a brain fog. I’m over caffeinated. I’m cognitively zapped. The last thing I want to do is move around.

    And I’m not talking about “training” necessarily. I’m talking about spending 30 minutes and moving my joints through their ranges of motion. Contracting muscles.

    It’s not something I always used to do, but I’ve made it a daily practice in recent days. It’s my warm-up on the days I train. On the days I don’t train, it’s just what I do. Another part of the day, like eating.

    But some days it’s hard.

    And yet


    I’ve found that when I least want to move is when I most need to move. When I’m cognitively zapped and overworked, I need to move. Get blood flowing through my body.

    “Flush” my system.

    When I’m sore and tired, I need to move. For the same reasons.


    The shower after, the way I feel…it’s sublime.

    And this is something I remind myself: just wait, just wait for how you’ll feel after the shower. You won’t regret it.

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  • Anthony Mychal 10:40 pm on January 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Doing a bunch of work for (maybe) savoring one moment 

    I’ve been doing a lot of mobility drills. I don’t take them as seriously as I should. But I do them. Because, despite training regularly, I feel my body tightening up in ranges I don’t use.

    A lot of days, I find myself going through the motions, not really in the drill, which defeats the purpose.

    Here’s an easy one: sit cross legged, grab a bar, lift the bar overhead, pull your torso through, pause for two seconds, then repeat. Don’t let your shoulders hunch forward.

    overhead thoracic extension anthony mychal

    I know the purpose of this drill: to work thoracic mobility. I know that if I’m to really get anything out of this drill, I need to work at my extreme range of motion, at the tip top, where things get hard. Where things feel more like a 1RM than a mobility drill.

    And I can feel when I’m doing this right. I don’t do it right all the time. I’m not at that level yet. But I can feel it.

    So I find myself doing halfhearted reps just to get to that one single repetition where something clicks. And I feel it. It triggers something. And then I’m in the zone.

    I wake up. I realize I’m doing a mobility drill and that I actually have to try. And then I hold that one single rep.

    Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe the fact that, sometimes, it feels like I need to do all of those lazy reps just to get to that one single rep in that one single set is something bad.

    But maybe not.

    Maybe there’s one single repetition in the entire training session that’s supposed to be “the one.” Maybe there’s one single sentence in the entire conversation that’s supposed to be “the one.” Maybe there’s one single second when you’re looking at the sunrise that’s supposed to be “the one.”

    Maybe you have to do a lot of (apparently) meaningless work before you get to “the one.”

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  • Anthony Mychal 5:24 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Recent thoughts on injury rehab techniques 

    I was on the phone with James Clear the other day. Just as we were about to hang up, he asked me how my training was going. I told him about the back injury I had back in October and how I rehabbed myself to functional in less than one week.

    I mentioned something during the call that I wanted to share. Maybe talk about more later.

    The importance of daily training when you’re injured. 

    Often times more than “daily.” Multiple times per day, as long as we’re talking about an acute injury.


    When you train the injury often, you’re getting frequent feedback on the recovery process. It’s a lot easier to know and respect your boundaries.

    So imagine I hurt my back. I rest for an entire week. I go back and try to deadlift. How much do I lift? What if the empty bar feels okay, but the normal jump to 135 isn’t okay?

    So what I did, first, was get my body back to working without load. I worked mobility of my entire spine obsessively for three to four days.

    A lot of people want to know what exercises I did, but that’s backwards logic. I moved in the ways that were uncomfortable to me. Lumbar spinal flexion was my death. Your injury might be different.

    I knew my max comfortable range of motion. So every day, I’d probe that boundary. What I found was that, almost every time I probed, I was able to go just a tiny bit further.

    I would push my limits of comfort, but I wouldn’t push my limits of pain.

    For instance, I couldn’t even do a bodyweight good morning. As soon as I would bend at the waist, the torque would destroy my lower back. This was my marker for healing. I would always return to, “Okay, well, how is my bodyweight good morning doing?”

    So I started with a lot of drills on the ground. And I found out, immediately after those ground drills, I could do bodyweight good mornings with mild discomfort (but without excessive pain). So I did them. Respecting my limits.

    Following this, I was able to return to full range of motion in about four days. I still had a lot of work to do, but for every day movements, I was good to go.

    The next question was, how can I handle added weight in a simple pattern? So as I was searching weird positions and such to fully rehab, I then started to add weight to movements I was able to do pain free without weight. Like the bodyweight good morning.

    So I moved to the barbell. Just a standard barbell (they weigh like 20 pounds). This is what I started with. Romanian deadlifts Did a bunch of repetitions.

    A bunch of repetitions is key for two reasons:

    1. Blood flow. Blood heals. High reps push blood through the area.

    2. Repeat inputs tell the body how to heal. It tells the body this range of motion is important and that, it needs to improve.

    These two reasons hold consistent for all of the mobility drills I did before, too. I was doing reps of 50-100 bodyweight good mornings. I’d say 20 reps is a minimum.

    And I did it every day. Sometimes multiple times per day.

    And this is easy to do because if you’re doing things right, the pain will decrease as the reps (and blood flow) increases. On almost any exercise. This is sort of the beacon…

    As the reps increase is the discomfort (a) going away, (b) staying the same, or © getting worse.

    If you answer ©, you’re doing something wrong.

    So the frequency and repetitions are invigorating because, you’re almost always seeing improvement and the pain decreases in the moment. It comes back as the blood dissipates and such, but, usually you’re ground floor pain level decreases as you follow this.

    What I mean.

    Say you rate you sedentary pain at an 8.

    You train and get blood flowing, you might improve to a 5.

    But when you stop training, go back to sitting in your chair, go back to your shortened and fixed ranges of motion, you go back to a 7.5.

    Then you train again, get blood flowing, you improve to a 4.5.

    It’s a slow process, but you almost always feel better.

    Back to the weight work…

    So once the high repetitions feel good with the empty bar, you slap on some weight, maybe 5-10 pounds, and you do them again. If you feel no discomfort, maybe a little more.

    The key is to always feel a little uncomfortable. Never painful. Just uncomfortable. And when you do this, your discomfort will decrease as the reps increase. You’ll unlock new ranges of motion when the discomfort decreases…

    Now that you have this system rolling for you, you can then tinker with lifting heavier things once or twice per week using exercises you’d normally do.

    Don’t stop the current system. Keep working weird ranges of motion for mobility purposes, and keep your high repetition work.

    But then go in and hit slow and controlled singles or doubles, slowly working up in weight. I like stopping at every new 25-45 increment and calling it a day.

    I’m now using conventional deadlifts…

    So the first day, I might go 2×45, 2×65, 2×75, 2×85, 2×95 and then quit. Then the next time, work to 135. This, of course, assumes you have a decent amount of strength. I’ve deadlifted 555 pounds before, so use that as a frame of reference and adjust.

    I keep the reps low to avoid technical breakdown. This phase is all about getting used to the intensity. Because when you lift heavier things, your technique changes in subtle ways.

    Then once you work back up to your old weight levels, you can add the volume you’d normally do.


    I have some ideas about this process and I’m not quite sure if this heals your injury. The way I see it (as of now) is this: when you get an injury, your body shuts down more than just the injured area. It also shuts down things that can potentially interfere with the injured area.

    So imagine the third floor of an apartment complex having ten rooms, ten doors. Say there’s something wrong in one room. Your body doesn’t want that one room to get used, so it decides it’s much safer to just shut the whole floor down.

    But when you do this sort of rehab, you’re walking to the third floor and slowly convincing your body to investigate and open up rooms that aren’t damaged.

    Meaning you’re secluding the injury to the injured spot, and freeing the surrounding area.

    This analogy works for something like the spine, where there’s so much going on, but, hey, who knows.

    But here’s the final touch:

    It takes a lot of convincing to open up doors and such. Which is why daily training and frequent input is important. When you rest, there’s nothing.

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  • Anthony Mychal 4:26 pm on January 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m starting a daily blog 

    Today is January 1, 2017. Yes, I wrote 2016 and had to delete the 6 and add a 7 because writing on the Internet is (apparently) no different than writing a check. Who even writes checks anymore?

    Plumbers. Electricians. Tradesmen. Those guys get a bunch of checks, I imagine. I write checks for those guys.

    I’ve decided to start a daily blog. I wanted to start this in December 2016, but here’s what happened: I tried writing a giant lengthy piece about why I was going to start a daily blog and I couldn’t finish it.

    I’ve come to learn that, when I can’t finish something I’m writing, it means I’m writing something I shouldn’t be writing.

    And in that why post, I was throwing around anecdotes and credentials. Like, hey, I’ve been published in some popular places. Look at my “As Seen In” graphic. Look how cool I am.

    anthony mychal publications

    And there was this one time, Dan John emailed me and said I was doing good work. That was cool. It didn’t make me feel as good as it should have, but, whatever. That’s the way the human brain works.

    dan john email to anthony mychal

    Those two books he mentioned, I’ve since scrapped. Because, well, I’m a headcase. Somewhere along the way, I stopped doing what I was doing. Which might seem strange considering what I was doing was working. And resonating with people.

    I got inside of my own head.

    I’m doing it again. Explaining myself. Why? Why do I always feel like I have to explain myself and the decisions I make? Is there an insecurity here? My head is a strange place that I can’t dissect. I tried doing it the entire month of December. It didn’t work.

    So I’m done with the why and moving forward…

    I’m doing this daily blog to absolve a second guessing habit I seem to have created for myself.

    It’s nothing fancy. I’m going to post things I’m thinking, reading, listening to — things that resonate with me in some way, things I notice in the world.

    Most of the things I post will revolve around looking, moving, feeling, and thinking better. But I’m going to let my fingers go where they want to go on any given day.

    There’s something about the ritual of doing something daily that appeals to me. So I’m leaning into it. I don’t know how long it will last. But I’m not worried about that now. Just taking it one day at a time.

    And hoping most posts don’t end up as whiny as this one did.

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  • Anthony Mychal 4:48 pm on December 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Riding the New Year resolution wave 

    It’s a New Year. It’s a time for resolutions, which everyone seems to have an opinion about these days. People who sell stuff to make you feel better usually use this time to get you to buy their shit.

    In recent news, you know, I sell shit.

    Other’s hate resolutions, and for a valid reason…

    But here’s the deal…

    Motivation and willpower are finite. Just about everyone feels a fire at the New Year. Why not use it to your advantage?

    Here’s where people go wrong…

    start small


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