How I Clear My Mind

 In 1999 I found out about freewriting from a writing professor whose name I don’t remember anymore. I’m not sure it matters. The thing that mattered more was a book called “Writing Down the Bones” and it was this weird, Zen-ist manifesto on writing, where the important thing wasn’t what you said, it was moving your hand across the pages, for time. I learned a lot about myself somehow in that class, even though a lot of the writing I did I don’t remember at all. I was at some stupid community college and I thought I already knew everything after coming out of a private school. Like a lot of things that work, it got me past the rough spot I was in and then I stopped doing it.

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How to get Ripped in Six Months

I’m finally going to do it: I’m going to get in shape. A friend of mine — let’s call him “Billy” — offers to work with me at his gym. He was a competitive powerlifter in high school and today we’re going to squat. So we squat front and back squats, do some other assistance work: hack squats, hamstring curls, quad extensions. I feel good. My legs feel like they might explode. I wobble home, somehow managing to operate the pedals of my car.

The next morning I wake up, kick my legs over the side of the bed and try to stand up. I collapse in a heap next to the bed. I yell “Billy!” at the top of my lungs and I hear my housemate burst into laughter in the next room over. He proceeds to yell “Billy!” at me every time he sees me gimping around that day.

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Building a Home Gym

I was going to write a post on how to build a home gym, but I realized that Jocko Willink basically put together a nearly identical list to purchase.

Here are the places where I’ve moved from his recommendations:

  1. Instead of the Concept 2 rower I went with an AirDyne AD6. These are in the same family: the crucial thing is the whole-body movement with fan-driven resistance.
  2. I don’t have medicine balls in my current gym: I have in the past. Right now I’m focused on the “Loaded Carry” family that Dan John talks about so I have farmer’s bars and a Rep-Fitness sled (prowler-like) in the backyard.

The basics are the basics for a reason – and if you want to build effective workouts, stick with the basics.


Why I Make My Bed

More on Keystone Habits

In my discussion of the Tesla Technique, I talked about the importance of your environment in shaping your behavior. Right now I’m re-reading a business book called Switch: how to change when change is hard and that’s figuring strongly in my thinking. The authors, Dan and Chip Heath, describe three components of human behavioral change: the Elephant, the Rider, and the Path. The Elephant is your emotional side: powerful but not very good at planning ahead. The Rider is your cognitive side: weaker than the Elephant, better at planning, but with a tendency to overthink things. The Path is the environment. If you clear the Path it’s easier for the Rider to guide the Elephant to his destination. So which are you? Are you the Rider or the Elephant? Or are you, in some weird way, the Path?

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Dogs, Exercise, and You

Having dogs is tremendously beneficial to well-being. Having pets has been shown to reduce depression, increase happiness, and improve your stress response in a variety of different situations.  They increase oxytocin, lower blood pressure, and improve your blood lipid profile. Beyond all of these notable benefits, I want to focus on one thing here: owning dogs gives you the opportunity to exercise outside every day.

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