It’s pissing down rain; has been all night. I can’t see anything yet but the velocity of splattering sky water is very high. It’s a “cool” morning, for here, meaning I can feel a little something besides room temperature against my skin.
I keep forgetting to mention the geckos, like in the Geico commercials? They are quite gregarious little people, and much more brilliantly beautiful than I’d realized. Acid green with vivid blue and red markings. They come in all sizes, from as small as my pinkie joint to, you know, six or eight inches long, with the tail. Anyway, they’re everywhere. Ev.Ry.Where. We co-exist with them. They don’t bother us much, thank god, but they’re always skittering across the walls and around the backs of mirrors and along the banisters, across the windowsills. Nick and I were driving to town the other day and one little guy was scurrying with some confusion back and forth across the hood. Then on the way back he’d gotten inside, and was antagonizing Buffy. Anyway, that bad news about the geckos is they leave little poops here and there, but the good news is that these poops consist of all the flies and mosquitos they ate, that we don’t have to then deal with, so we’re sanguine about them overall.
We have all of our vehicles now, and will have our U-Box by this evening. Apparently it arrived in the port almost two weeks ago and they never notified me — kind of obnoxious. Anyway, the influx of Stuff is very welcome, obviously, but also the end of an era of necessary simplicity. I’ve held off on starting a new audiobook, since the acoustic sound panels are in the U-Box.
In fact Nick and I have a new tentative plan for our schedule, and it is this: a 4 day cycle, with 3 days “on” with both lifting and audiobook narrating; one day off, repeat. There’s no need for us to align with weekdays or weekends or any of that. We’ve done two days of our squat/push/pull workout, and frankly I’m really enjoying it. But I told him 5 days a week is going to be too much for me, which was his original idea. The best part is, working together, we can basically crank out one entire book within that timeframe, so we’ll be putting one more audiobook in the pipeline each four day cycle, plus that trio of S/P/P workouts. We’re thinking we’ll keep work weights the same within each individual cycle, but decrease sets each day (ie 4 sets of ten of each, then 3 sets of ten of each, then 2 sets of ten of each), then rest day, THEN a small jump in weight for the next trio of workouts. That’s what we’ll try, starting Tuesday, anyhow, after we process all our belongings in this U-Box finally.
I realize this is crushingly boring to the average bear but this is the factory where the sausage is made, you know? And by that I mean — have you ever looked at someone and been like GODDAMN you have a nice body — like, how are there people just walking around with bodies that nice. What do they do. What are their lives like? Is that genetic? They’re like an alien species, almost.
And although they trend younger, they are of all ages. And there aren’t many of them, relatively speaking. Most people are living the collective middle of the bell curve, because that’s how statistics work, and the middle of the bell curve is Undermuscled America. I know it’s tempting to define them by overweight or BMI, but BMI is a measuring tool literally designed for fat people, which doesn’t work for fit people, so it’s not a good tool. Nick’s BMI shows him to be obese. My BMI shows me to be underweight. We’re both just fine, and strong as shit incidentally, and BMI is stupid, unless you’re in the undermuscled, overweight bell curve, which most people are. Like I’ve said before, it’s tough to be adequately muscled and problematically overweight at the same time.
So Nick’s been fiercely advancing the idea, for a long time — and I’ve come to agree with him — that people need to stop worrying about losing fat and start doing something to gain muscle. I know we have this idea that these are two ways of saying the same thing, but they’re not. Nick feels so strongly about this because he was rather fluffy, for all of his childhood and most of his adult life, and really no amount of “fat loss” mindset fixed it. The “get more muscle” mindset is what fixed it, and if you look at him now, he is indeed one of those people prompting us to ask the big questions: what the heck does that guy do?
And of course every area of expertise owes its existence to infinite tributaries of nuance, instinct, creativity, and vision. Nothing masterfully done is “easy”, but getting onto the right basic interstate certainly helps.
So long story short, whatever else you wanna say about Nick, he’s this raging physical specimen of a person, and he’s always (I mean always) fussing around with his own variables there to advance the vision even further. I’ll see him have this really thoughtful look on his face sometimes and I’ll go “What are you thinking.”
He’ll say “I was just thinking that, for people who are satisfied with the muscle they’ve put on and don’t want to have to get sort of fat in order to create reserves for adding more, they can re-work their programming relative to total tonnage. So let’s say you want to move 2500 pounds. You can squat 250 ten times a lot more easily than you can squat 400 six or seven times, right?”
And I’ll be like “Okay. I thought maybe you were admiring my dress or something.”
Anyway, what I’ve discovered is that having an outrageously good physique, such that admirers are prompted to ask themselves gripping, existential questions, is not a matter of spending more time exercising or eating carefully — not past a certain point, anyway. Just as wealth acquisition isn’t a matter of working longer hours, past a certain point. It’s a mindset, in both cases, a sort of 1% mindset.
So I like being around this mindset, ambiently, and sharing what might otherwise seem boring or trivial details of how it’s going. I’m basically an embedded journalist, on the front lines of learning how to exercise and eat so that you get a really fucking good body.
But the main thing is, it’s just a lot of fun. Now that I’ve made the mental switch to accepting that barbell is a practice that’s going to occupy a chunk of most of my days, and I plan for that in advance, it’s something I really look forward to. And I should mention, I was always a very solitary exercise-er. My background was in cross country and long distance running, growing up on the Rez like I did, and I often met people that offered to be my running partner, over the years. I avoided this like the plague — ugh, the last thing I want to do is run with someone. But barbell is rather social, even for raging introverts like me. I have my little family now, of course, with my brother Abe catching the bug, and Nick constantly being on his grind. My dad will probably get involved at some point — he’s still mad that we threw away all his resin art in the move. I keep telling him over and over, no we didn’t, but he thinks we did for some reason. When we unpack the U-Box, he’ll see. It’s raining so hard right now I can’t even think, so I don’t know about getting on the road to grab the U-box from Kona yet, but anyway — my dad has been distracted by inner demons.
But yes, barbell has proved quite social even for me, and certainly in a gym setting. We worked out a the same warehouse gym in Hilo where we originally ordered our 400 kilos of kg plates, and they din’t require us to wear masks! No one in the gym had a mask. It was fantastic. We exchanged pleasantries, like normal times, and Nick had a handstand show down with a random nice guy, and we got to BENCH PRESS, which we’ve been missing so much, since the benches are in the U-Box. Sorry this blog is so circuitous — the basic point is that all roads lead to barbell, except for the roads that lead to U-Box. Oh, it was so so so nice to be in a gym, with people, not masked and muzzled. I’ll never take that for granted again.
Anyway, as I’ve said before, I’m an ectomorph so that’s how I look almost no matter what, but that’s the thing about this whole mindset: you don’t have to be overweight to be undermuscled. And being adequately muscled makes your proportions look right, no matter how much fat you have on board. What we think we’re disliking about our own bodies and other people’s bodies, using terms like “overweight” or “skin and bones”, isn’t really about fat presence or absence, it’s about being undermuscled.
Anyway, brilliantly simple aesthetics hack. Hard to convince people it’s true, but that’s okay. Somebody’s got to live in the bell curve, right?
So, back to the point I was making a million years ago, we’re both feeling really excited to try this 4 day cycle. We’ll probably travel and explore the island, on the 4th rest day, and hit it pretty hard the other three, with the workout and the audiobook narrating sessions. And of course, my blog is an every day thing, for me.
Whelp! We gotta go. The U-Box awaits, in Kona, and the rain is kind of pulsing ferocious with little respites, so there’s no point stalling any longer. If anyone is interested in getting set up with some basic equipment and having help getting on their own little barbell plan, of course drop a comment and we can help you out, and also your best resource is gonna always be startingstrength.com. It’s super fun. Have a great day, everyone!