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Anthony Mychal

Anthony Mychal is former skinny-fat dude on a philosophical-physical pilgrimage: flipping and freestyle acrobatics, flexing and physique training, thinking about and tinkering with physical freedom
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A silly story about gravity, adaptation

So…last letter. I tried to write cool follow ups. But I think it’s best if I show you this lonnnnnggg, insane, and silly story I wrote quite some time ago.

Warning: there are no headlines. There are no pictures. I’ve written quite a few letters to get to this point, most of which had entertainment within them. If you’ve liked what I’ve written so far, take the time to chomp through this. Make your own pictures in your mind as you read.

***

A portly alien fellow named Jupe hangs out on Jupiter. By “hangs out,” I mean that Jupiter’s gravity tacks him to the floor. He walks around and functions as if he has a barbell affixed to his spine, and as if his hands and feet were attached to cinder blocks. He moves slowly and clumsily.

Erth is another alien. Unfortunately for Erth, he was born to a lesser alien race. He had a bother named Zeal, but his parents made the unfortunate mistake of sending Zeal to Jupiter. When Zeal stepped out of his zero gravity enabled spaceship and onto the surface of the planet, the gravity of Jupiter exploded his guts on the spot.

After Zeal’s death, the parents did some research. They found out that Earth’s gravity was more tolerable for their kind, so they sent Erth down to do some testing.

Although Earth’s gravity is tolerable to Erth, he’s is in the same boat as Jupe. He’s tacked to the floor. Barbell on the spine, concrete blocks on his hands and his feet. It’s a tough life.

No matter how long Jupe and Erth spend on their respective planets, they’ll always struggle. Their physiology is calibrated upon birth. Like an android. Upgrade only comes via surgery, much like a car. Open the hood, replace old parts with new parts.

Hume is a human that was born on a spaceship in the vacuum of space. He’s a pretty gangly and fragile looking fellow. He is selected by his parents to check out planet Earth. (He’s an only child.)

Upon arriving, Hume is stricken with Earth’s gravity. It’s not forgiving. He’s used to space. Earth is giving him a tougher time than it did Erth. Hume is face down, stapled to the floor.

Erth sees Hume one day and laughs at him.

“Pitiful human,” Erth says. “I feel bad for you being born into such a weak race. I’ll show you mercy and keep you alive.” Erth vanishes to do the work his alien parents sent him to do.

Every day, Hume struggles against the Earth’s gravity. Every day, Hume makes microscopic progress. He’s able to wiggle his fingers. Toes. Then he’s able to slide to his hands and knees. Then he’s able to stand.

Then he’s on par with Erth; he’s mobile, but it’s a struggle. He keeps evolving. Adapting. And Erth crosses Hume’s path months down the line, just as Hume is growing to strength equal to Erth. Erth is shocked to see Hume standing and moving around (albeit slowly).

“How are you able to walk now?” Erth asks.

“I don’t know,” Hume says. “It’s been a slow process, but my strength has grown every day.”

“Hmmm. Well, you’re still a stupid human,” Erth says. “You’ve managed to rise to a power level similar to mine, but there you shall stay. No human can compete with a superior alien race. Now, if you excuse me, I must continue my work.” Erth vanishes once again.

Hume begins the work his parents sent him down to do. As the days go by, Hume moves better. Easier. His hands no longer feel like they’re in concrete. His feet, the same. Then, one day, it no longer feels like he has a barbell on his back.

“I can’t believe this,” Hume thinks to himself. He remembers back to his past encounter with Erth and how it looked. Both of them we’re walking barbarians. They took one giant step at a time, only to have their foot crash to the ground. Only after the foot was planted could they lift the other one to walk. They teeter tottered from side to side on a pivot. Foot after foot.

Things were different for Hume now. He could walk with more grace. And as he thought back to his past, he pondered his developmental ceiling. “Hmmm. When I got here, I could barely wiggle my finger. Now that I can stand and walk a little bit, I wonder if I can squat down?”

So Hume does. It’s tough, but he lives. He squats and squats and then asks himself, “Hmmm. Now that I can move pretty well, I wonder if I can leave the surface of the Earth?”

So Hume tries to jump. He barely gets off the ground, but he does. He continues his training. Soon, he’s jumping higher and higher. He starts leaping from foot to foot, what us earthling’s call sprinting.

“I can actually maneuver without needing both feet planted on the surface of Earth!” Hume says to himself. “I’ve been getting better and better with each passing day. There’s a good chance that, if I keep training, I’ll be jumping higher and higher to the point of jumping all the way back to my parent’s spaceship!”

The days pass. Hume’s abilities grow. Soon he’s running and jumping and hopping and looking very human, from an Earthly perspective. Compared to his ghastly gangling space self that landed on Earth long ago, Hume is much more muscular. And as he jogs to his next commissioned work site, he comes across a village full of Earth born and raised humans. It’s the first time he’s met another human since he’s been on Earth. He’s happy to meet a group of people of his own kin, so he stops and talks. He meets a boy from the village named Albert.

“It’s amazing,” Hume explains, “I’ve gotten better, physically, every day since I’ve been here. I’ve grown muscles! I can’t wait to jump back to my spaceship when my job is finished.”

“I hate to tell you this,” Albert replies, “but you’re not going to jump back to your spaceship. In fact, your abilities as you have them now probably won’t improve all that much more. Same goes for those wonderful muscles you tout.”

“But, how?” Hume says. “I’ve gotten better every day. Why would it stop?”

“You’re getting better because your body is adapting to the stress of gravity,” Albert says. “It’s fine and dandy and wonderful, but gravity is constant. You’ve merely been exploring your movement abilities to their full abilities under the umbrella of this constant.”

Hume looks around at the village of humans. He sees the average muscle tone on the villagers. He sees the plateau with his own eyes. No human from the village is jumping into space.

“You’re just about done exploring your movement abilities,” Albert continues. “You’ve gone from being barely able to move, to being able to move slowly, to being able to move quickly. The only reason why you’ve progressed through this arc is because you have muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other things that enable you to absorb and propel force. Otherwise, you’d move around like a machine. A bulldozer. Something without an elastic component.”

“The human body is an amazing system…but it’s finite. You can only move so many ways. Now that you’ve explored all those ways within the constant of gravity, your physical adaptations will creep closer to a plateau.”

Hume stands there, soaking up every word as Albert continues. “When you could barely stand, let alone squat, your body was reacting harshly to the gravity. Humans are unique. When confronted with a stress, we don’t simply adapt to survive the stress. There was an alien fellow that visited this village a few months back. I feel bad for him because he didn’t have this unique ‘thing’ us humans do. He’ll always be walking around as if he had concrete blocks for arms and legs. Clumsy. Clunky. Ugh.”

“Humans don’t adapt to survive. Humans adapt to thrive. So when you’re faced with a stress (like that of gravity), you adapt in a 1-UP fashion. When you could barely stand, your body adapted in a 1-UP fashion. You gained the ability to stand and then 1-UP, so you were able to squat a little bit. Then you squatted a little bit and got another 1-UP. Then you were able to leave the surface of the earth a bit, which led to another 1-UP. You then jumped higher and higher and higher.”

And, with this, Hume sat down. He could tell Albert had a lot more to say. Albert continued.

“Your body won’t respond to the same stress the same way over time because as you improve your abilities, what was previously a 1-UP becomes more commonplace. And what’s commonplace doesn’t scale the same. There’s a nonlinearity to this whole thing.”

“Say, for instance, you decided to jump off a one inch object one million times. No problem, right? But say you decided to jump off a one million inch object (83333 feet) one time. By all mathematical standards, they both are equal in impact.

(1 x 1000000) = (1000000 x 1)

But the nonlinearity makes all the difference. And, quite frankly, the gravity here on Earth only tacks us down by a magnitude of about 9.8 meters per second squared. So when it’s just you and your body, there’s no way to scale beyond this stress.”

“There are humans on this planet that lift weights in order to exploit this 1-UP mechanism that a philosopher named Nassim Taleb coined antifragility. Some humans go into a gym and load a barbell with 100-pounds. They struggle under the 100-pounds, just like you struggled with gravity. But the body, with its antifragility, adapts to then handle 105-pounds. See that? Lift 100, but the body doesn’t adapt to 100. It adapts 1-UP. So then they go lift 105-pounds. Then the body adapts to handle 110-pounds. Then the process continues up and up over time.”

“This is all fine and dandy for those people in the gym that have circular iron discs at their disposal because when their body adapts to 100-pounds, they simply add more weight to the bar. But you? You’re like the human in the gym, yes, but it’s as if you are stuck with lifting 100-pounds from now until the end of time because gravity doesn’t scale upwards. It’s a constant. So, in some sense, think of yourself as that same guy in the gym. Imagine you had 100-pounds of iron discs. You’re going to reach a point where you can’t add more weight. Same goes for living with gravity. You hit a point where you’ve ‘mastered’ gravity within the typical movements of a human.”

Hume looks around and sees the villagers walking and squatting. He sees them moving their arms about. He sees the typical movements Albert is talking about. Albert continues.

“Once you reach the 100-pound cliff (which is the cliff of gravity in parallel to the story), you’d only then be able to scale just as you have: by ‘leaving the earth.’ After squatting 100-pounds, you could jump with 100-pounds, for instance. But, keep in mind, different adaptations follow. Your body grows different when you struggle to lift 100-pounds compared to when you’re throwing 100-pounds around like a cabbage patch doll.”

“If you were dedicate, there would come a point where you’ve done everything you could imagine doing with the 100-pounds, at which point you plateau. If you wanted to improve your performance and physique beyond, you need to find a way to scale the stress upward. Same goes for existing within gravity. Earth’s gravity has given you all it can give. And your human body, with all of its wonderful intricacies and abilities, has reaped all it can reap from it.”

Hume looked distraught. He wanted to jump even higher and be even more muscular.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Albert says, “you don’t have to be finished. You still have antifragility within you. You still adapt 1-UP. But if you want to keep climbing, you have to seek higher and higher stress.”

“But how?” Hume asks.

“Well,” Albert says, “you can scale stress many ways. Some people lift weights. Some people jump off high objects and force harsh landings because of their body’s acceleration though gravity. Some people expose their body to torque forces.”

“But since you came from outer space, you might want to try something else. There’s a planet called Jupiter in our galaxy. The gravity there is higher than Earth’s. You can go there. Repeat the same process you went through on Earth.”

With those words, Hume got to his spaceship and headed for Jupiter. Upon his arrival, he found himself in a familiar situation.  He was tacked to the floor. Couldn’t move. Struggled.

He met Jupe. Jupe, like any alien, insulted Hume. (Hume would have the last laugh.) Hume followed the same adaptation curve, going from moving slowly and requiring great effort to effortlessly and being able to jump and do everything he was able to do on Earth. His grew even bigger muscles.

After he mastered Jupiter’s gravity, he wanted to thank Albert. He went back to Earth. When he walked out of his spaceship, he felt extremely light. He was able to jump much higher and move much quicker than his previous Earthly self.

“Wow,” Hume said to himself. “My body is used to Jupiter. It’s so much easier to move on Earth now!”

He found Albert one day, and Albert said, “Ah, Hume! Good to see you. You look a lot different. I see you pulled off The Goku.”

“What’s The Goku?” Hume asked.

“Oh nothing,” Albert said. “Now come help pluck potatoes from the ground for harvest.”

Why gravity (not milk) makes strong bones

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An astronaut was rocketed into space. He was twenty years old. He stayed there for ten years. His shuttle is now re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

Before he began orbiting the Earth, he was a typical human being. He could run, jump, throw, and move marvelously through Earthly space-time.

But now?

He’s being carted off the space shuttle in a wheel chair.

His twenty-year old marvelous moving self has fizzled. He’s now Gertrude incarnate…and he’s only thirty years old.

You were twenty years old when the astronaut went into space. But you stayed on Earth for the past ten years. You’re thirty now, too.

You don’t need no stinkin’ wheelchair.

 

What’s the deal?

  • Human, in space, ten years, can’t move.
  • Human, on Earth, ten years, can move.

When you don’t overcome gravity, you lose the ability to overcome gravity. So you, as a human being living on Earth, can overcome gravity precisely because you are a human being living on Earth forced to regularly overcoming gravity.

I’ll let that sentence sink in for a moment…

Gertrude. Gertrude has no reason to move. She gets her meals delivered to her bedside. She has become a slug. Slowly oozing across her bed to find the remote is the extent of her physical activity.

She stopped sifting through Earthly space-time…just like the astronaut.

Your body is reading the matrix of the environment. Epigenetics 101.

Cutting through Earth’s space-time sends a love note to your body:

Dear Self,

There is this thing called gravity. It’s kind of rough on me. I’m out here moving around and it’s throwing me against the ground.

So here’s the deal…

As long as I’m out here being an idiot (jumping, running, frolicking, humping my neighbor in secrecy), I need you to keep my bones sturdy. I need you to keep my muscles up to snuff. I need you to keep my joints greased.

I’m sure you get the idea.

Thanks.

xoxo,

(other) Self

And then your body reads the note and makes choices based on best biological fitness interests.

(Consider: there’s more than one factor influencing the decision making process. You can tell your body it needs strong bones, muscles, and all that jazz, and your body might fully agree…but if you aren’t giving your body the materials to support the maintenance and upgrades, well…)

Gertrude isn’t sending the love note. She’s not powering through the fabric of Earthly space-time.

One pretty reliable constant within the ether of biological fitness: don’t be wasteful.

Bones are stronger than steel. It takes a lot of energy to keep those guys strong. Same goes for muscle. Same goes for…

If you don’t NEED strong bones, then, by golly, you won’t have very strong bones. Why would your body waste precious resources on steel strong bones when it can survive just fine with wimpy waffle bones?

It’s like paying a mortgage a beach house…that you NEVER use.

It’s stupid.

Now, some humans pay the mortgage on unused properties…because us humans have some stupid quirks. Luckily our body, System 1, is a little more rational.

Consider all the situations where your body no longer overcomes gravity. Imagine living in space. Or imagine lying in bed. Or keeping your forearm in a cast.

What happens?

You lose strength. You lose muscle mass. You lose bone density.

Your body recreates itself to match the demand of use…within reason.

(And you thought milk made bones stronger. Shame on you.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

If the human body is so smart, why doesn’t it just keep building stronger bones and bigger muscles over time? Why aren’t humans turning Super Saiyan after walking around the high school track?

Isn’t that “sifting through gravity” Mr. McSmart Pants?

Good question.

Here’s the answer:

The adaptations you’re able to gain within the confines of gravity are bottle necked.

And, to understand why, you have do some homework: revisit antifragility.

Your homework will pay off next letter.

 

Meet Gertrude

Octopus(GrandmaHakkake)1

Gertrude is my lovely 98 year old grandma that will eventually pancake into explosion.

But Gertrude is alive…for now.

I’m telling you about Gertrude because she’s an important character in my mental model to explain training methods (namely barbell and bodyweight training) and their effects (on physique and performance).

Fasten your seat belts. I don’t know where we will end up, but I know where we will start.

Here:

Think of the human being that you are at this exact moment in time. You can wiggle your toes. You can hop, jump, and skip. You can run. You can throw a ball. You can pick your nose. You can hump…things.

TL;DR: you can move yourself, you have a certain degree of physical capacity.

Now think of Gertrude.

Gertrude lives in a nursing home. She’s 98 years old. She’s not one of the elderly anomalies with a Master Roshi disguised power, doing the splits, owning the shuffle board competition in the rec center.

MasterRoshiSB

Gertrude can wiggle her toes. That’s about all she can do. She uses a walker to move from place to place.

Unlike your vim filled bones, Gertrude’s bones are fragile.

If you decided to hump your neighbor in a fit of adulterous rage, you’d be able to jump out of the bedroom window that’s five feet from the ground (when you’re co-offender’s husband [wife?] got home) and run away.

If Gertrude flung herself from window ledge five foot high, a clean up crew would have to squeegee her guts off the concrete patio slab.

Point made: there’s a HUGE difference between you and Gertrude.

Now…

Imagine if we shuttled ‘ol Gertrude into the vacuum of space. Would she still need a walker?

Suddenly the difference between your parkourin’ behind and Gertrude’s non-existent behind isn’t so huge.

Gertrude has an enemy on Earth that doesn’t exist in space:

Gravity.

Earth’s gravity is under appreciated because it’s a constant medium crashing atop your body. Just like water to a fish.

It’s best to imagine Earth and gravity as something real instead of invisible space. So imagine floating above the surface of the earth. Weightless. Now imagine strings poking out of Earth’s surface. Those strings insert into every one of your joints, like a reverse marionette. Then, pending the level of gravity, the strings pull downward.

Gravity glues us to the floor in the vertical direction.

You are always sifting through this medium…unless you’re Gertrude. She can’t sift very well, so she just erodes away in bed. She lost the ability to overcome the downward pull of the gravitational strings.

But you? You can still overcome the pull a bunch of different ways.

Gertrude blames the natural aging process for her decline. Most Americans would.

“I’m just getting old,” she says. “Look around me. Everyone my age is like this.”

Age plays a role. Humans are finite creatures, after all. But there’s more to Gertrude’s woes than age.

And as whackadoodle as it sounds, understanding Gertrude’s physical decline is the key to unlocking an understanding of most physical inclines.

This is our “launch pad” for next letter.

(In air quotations for secretsz reasons!!?)

I use these instead of steroids

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Mental models are my steroids.

The mistakes? The reasons people struggle with fitness more than they should? All circles us towards the importance of mental models.

And the sad part?

Those fighting to fix the mistakes, fighting to reclaim their bodies…

The last thing they look to fix is their mental models.

Let’s not be lemmings.

What are mental models?

In Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, Peter Bevelin writes…

A model is an idea that helps us better understand how the world works. Models illustrate consequences and answer questions like “why” and “how”.

Models help us avoid problems. Assume that we are told that the earth consists of infinite resources. By knowing the idea about limits, we know the statement is false. Someone gives us an investment proposal about a project that contradicts the laws of physics. How much misery can be avoided by staying away from whatever doesn’t make scientific sense?

Mental models are the lens through which you see the world. They are a trampoline for expectations. They are a launch pad for your approach towards building habits needed in order to solve a problem.

Here’s an example:

  • Lens A = you can easily build ten pounds of muscle in one month.
  • Lens B = you can expect to build around ten pounds of muscle in one year.

Not terribly dissimilar. But Person A will go about business a lot differently than Person B.

Maybe Person B stops benching that random Tuesday when his shoulder tightens up because he knows it’s about consistency over the long run. Maybe Person A keeps benching that same Tuesday and ends up with a partially torn pec.

Maybe Person A gets frustrated and disheartened when he looks in the mirror and doesn’t see amazing progress. He then questions his eating and his training. He loses faith in what he’s doing. He’s lost. But Person B has faith it’ll all work out, so he sticks to his guns.

All speculation, of course. Not saying one is right, and the other is wrong. In the example above, Person B might slack off and not try hard.

The point: imagine how the lens changes attitude, motivation, mindset, feelings, et cetera…

Would you buy invisibility pills?

There are a few different waves to surf on the ocean physical fitness until you reach the shore. This first = the mainstream sludge wave.

People that use the Shake Weight, people buy diet pills, people that do P90X…

…they have a mental model of human adaptation that allows them to believe:

  • Giving a cylindrical metal device a hand jibber will make them ripped.
  • Swallowing a pill will incinerate fat regardless of what else they slide down the gullet.
  • Jumping around like an idiot for zillions of repetitions (despite being sedentary for years) will somehow not lead to chronic lower body pain.

Allow me to hop off my high horse. I wanted one of those blue ab wheel contraptions SO BAD when I was a kid. I wanted it to melt the fat off my belly. (I got one. It didn’t work.)

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It’s easy to hate people that continue to make absolutely terrible fitness products. But you know what? Kudos to them. To all of them. They’re able to spray paint turds gold and make millions of dollars.

Instead of hating those people, rabblerabblerablerabble, I have a better idea: create and teach practical mental models that make, oh, I don’t know, 89% of what mainstream fitness is all about completely unbelievable. Something better served for Land of Oz. Or Willy Wonka.

Why doesn’t anyone sell invisibility pills? Because the mental model most people have doesn’t allow them to be so gullible.

It’s like that.

When you have a certain mental model of the body, a lot things become invisibility pills.

Why mental models are steroids

Mental models help for issues beyond the more, ehhhhh…remedial. If the first wave is mainstream muck, the second wave is nerd brain, AKA: information overload.

I’m pretty sure this is where you’re at. You probably know strength training is a really good idea. You probably know squats and bodyweight exercises are a really good idea.

But what about the specific exercises? The sets? The reps? The program? The nutrient timing? I WANT IT TO BE PERFECT. ALL. PERFECT.

Mental models are my steroid because they eliminate uncertainty that tends to derail my stupid philosophical overthinking brain — the part that makes me overthink and under do.

But once you have a mental model that matches your method, it’s game over. It’s clear what needs done. All that’s left is the doing.

Unfortunately, most people in the same situation seek method after method without thinking about a mental model. Which is a never ending loop.

In other words, if one diet pill doesn’t work…

  • New method seeker: Sooo, what about that other pill?
  • New model seeker: Golly, this pill didn’t work. I wonder if pills work at all?

Philosophical junk to gloss over

The philosophical question: how in the world have we become so dissonant with how our own bodies operate? How is our brain so clocked out when it comes to knowing its own body?

The sad part: we don’t come equipped with mental models. There is no human instruction booklet.

We formulate mental models based on what we see. Repetition increases affirmation. You wouldn’t buy levitation pills. You have no empirical evidence of humans being able to float.

But you DO have empirical evidence of fat loss, muscle building, and physical change. Problem being the observations aren’t REALLY immediate. The best way to create an accurate mental model of those that transform is to live with the person undergoing change. You can see what they do day in and day out (how they eat, live, train).

Unfortunately, we’re left with before and after pictures…which make things seem instantaneous — something that works against us when setting up expectations (which accompanies any good model).

It’s easy to create models of gravity. Everything you throw falls to the ground. It’s easy to create models of danger. Put your hand into a fire, it burns. It’s easy when feedback is immediate.

But you don’t lift weights once and two seconds later transform.

Of course, this is just philosophical drivel. Perhaps it’s best to just say: for whatever reason, the popular model model(s) of the body are broken. Or were never even fixed to begin with.

Let me show you my models…

Time for the big reveal: here is my mental model of physical fitness!

Just kidding.

A comprehensive mental model that explain every facet of fitness is kind of like a physicist’s unified field theory. It’s what I’ve been seeking for a long time, but I’ve come up empty handed.

So, instead, my mental models are fractured…yet have crossover.

If you’ve been following along, I’ve spewed a few ideas out there as a philosophical foundation. Epigenetics. Biological fitness. These are models I’ll reference over and over.

But now I want to move into the models that are a little more applicable…

  • Strength, muscle mass, performance – all exist under one model
  • Body composition – one model
  • Skinny-fat syndrome – one model
  • Skill training (tricking) – one model

And I’m asking you to bare with me. The things that vomit onto this screen aren’t always connected in my head. I go on tangents when I feel something might be mildly useful. The idea of creating simple and easy to digest models is the goal, but it might not spat out that way at first.

My big goal is to look at the scrap heap that’s left after I’m all said and done and polish it into something better. Writing things helps me better understand them myself. Buckle your seat belt.

BUT KNOW THIS…

Why mental models myths

Mental models only need to do the job at hand: explain something in a way that allows you to function in the universe. They aren’t for explaining things down to exact scientific detail.

They’re kind of like myths. Mythology uses stories to create models. Don’t fly too close to the sun, Icarus. You might melt your wings. Of course, no one has wax wings. But that’s not the point. The point is the moral. The lesson. The model.

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For a different, yet practical example…

Most people have a model of fat loss that goes like this: restrict your calories. But say Joe adopts a model that tells him to put something colorful on every plate.

Joe follows through and starts eating more vegetables and berries. In turn, he eats less starch. Lo and behold, Joe loses fat.

Joe’s model and conclusion may not be 100% scientific (eating the rainbow helps you lose fat), but it works for him because with that particular lens his behaviors and habits changed exactly how they needed to change.

…which is to say, the best mental models are probably going to change. And the best mental models will be a little personal.

  • To some, my mental models may be “intellectual wankery.”
  • To some, my mental model may be exactly what they’ve been looking for.

I’ll let you be the judge.

Now it’s time for me to decide which model to start with.

Hmm…

 

P.S. In the meantime, think about your own mental models. One of the biggest mental model flubs I see: motivation. Most people think motivation exists in the heavens and strikes a lucky few. And, in turn, they are left forever waiting for the lighting bolt.

P.P.S. The lightning bolt doesn’t strike you. Fly into the sky and jump into the electricity yourself.

Common mistakes made with stimulation, supply, and soul (and the monster in the closet)

The rabbit hole of environment is a lot juicier than people first realize. It’s 24/7. Your body is not compartmentalizing its hours into domains.

You’re on. All the time. Hence the tangent last letter.

Now we can move onto common mistakes and screw ups.

Your body is a wizard. It’ll do what it’s triggered to do (via information from the environment) without your conscious awareness if serves biological fitness interests.

  • Environment -> Information -> Trigger

Good information pulls the trigger. Bad information doesn’t. And bad information comes from the environment, which is to say: stimulation, supply, or soul.

Stimulation, supply, and soul change your signaling.

Mistakes are manifold, but I’ll compartmentalize as best as possible.

1. You send the wrong information.

People stop at red lights. Something in the environment (red light) relays information (red means stop) and pulls a trigger (stop).

Sending the wrong information is like putting a green light where there should be a red light. You change stimulation, soul, or supply…but the signal doesn’t do what’s intended.

Extreme examples:

  • Eating a lot of high energy food in order to lose fat.
  • Being sedentary in order to become more mobile.
  • Distance running in order to build muscle.

These are doofus examples, for the most part. But that’s only because I peeled the flesh from how they appear in the real world.

Jim wants to lose fat. He hears about the paleo diet and decides to scavenge on nuts and seeds. All day. Little does Jim know, nuts and seeds are high in energy per their volume. IE: Jim wants to lose fat, but he’s eating a lot of high energy food.

It’s not about what System 2 (you) THINKS is happening. Jim thinks he’s sending a certain message (lose fat!) by going paleo and shoving ten pounds of nuts and seeds down his face.

It’s about the information System 1 is ACTUALLY getting. Jim is actually shoving mounds of energy (gain weight!) down his throat.

majin buu eating

2. You send noise.

If you see a flare in the air, someone wants their position known. Signals are clear. Or, I should say, signals should be clear.

But maybe you’re stranded in a field of cows. Lost. You have no flare. Instead, you decide to moo like a cow in an attempt to have your position known. You’re trying real hard to send information, but, in the end, it’s just noise.

Noise is tricky because something is happening. You’re still making a sound when you moo like a cow. You’re working hard. Trying.

Noise is similar to sending the WRONG information, but here’s the difference: misinformation accomplishes SOMETHING (just not what was intended), where as noise does just about nothing.

Distance running to build muscle is misinformation. But distance running can improve your cardiorespiratory system, lymphatic system, help with mood, help with recovery, help with fat loss, etc…

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But the Shake Weight is noise. Lifting a five pound dumbbells for 1000 reps with an intent to build muscle is noise.

Noise is perhaps better described as junk. There is junk food. There is junk movement.

Junk is better avoided.

3. You send conflicting information

You can do everything right and still end up with a little wrong.

You build a red stop light when you want to stop…but you only flick the red light on for two seconds every day. At all other hours, the light is green.

Call this conflicting information. It’s what makes the rabbit hole of environment so important—you have to appreciate your body being receptive 24/7.

So let’s say you want to do the splits.

You work on your flexibility and mobility almost every day. You do (hopefully) active mobility exercises to compliment any passive stretching you’re doing.

You’re doing everything right…

…but you’re only stretching for a grand total of thirty seconds every day. And at all other hours, you’re sitting in a chair.

So what this means, info:

  • For thirty seconds, you’re telling your body the split position is important and having mobility in that position is a good idea.
  • For one-thousand four-hundred and ten seconds, you’re telling your body the split position isn’t important. And you’re telling your body the opposite of the split position is important.

Now…

I could go on here. I could make up some other situations and rattle off a bunch of other mistakes. Like, for instance, expecting your body to deliver top quality information on first attempt(s).

Enter: comedian. You can’t just get up on stage and talk. Well, I guess, you COULD…but you’d fail at producing any sort of meaningful response.

You have to craft jokes. You have to master timing. You have to arrange everything so the information is perfectly timed, perfectly delivered.

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But focusing on these individual (and loosely defined) hiccups flies us over the real monster in the closet:

In this letter, I wrote:

I mean, just tell me the sets, reps, exercises, blah, blah blah…my body is a wizard, right? I don’t need to know the why, my body has my own why. Why are you still typing? You’re wasting my time. JUST TELL ME HOW TO SEND MY BODY INFORMATION THAT’LL PULL MY TRIGGERS. 

Which makes 100% total sense if you read the entire letter. (You don’t need to know how it all works because System 1 takes care of business without System 2 having to talk your body through the process.) It also makes you hate me because I’ve done nothing but dance around the simple information sending trigger pulling prescription to this point.

Unfortunately, being trigger happy backfires. In other words, I’m not dancing around the prescription to upset you, I’m dancing because, in the long run, it’s going to help you. Immensely. Here’s why…

Your name is Anthony and you decide to put your hand atop a scolding hot stove burner. (Note: this was young Anthony. Three or four year old Anthony. Anthony doesn’t remember this. His parents, however, do. Very much so.)

Blah blah blah, environment (hot stove), information (thishurtsmyfleshisfallingoffomg), trigger (move).

After your System 1 takes care of business, System 2 does a little association. I touched the fire stuff and it hurt real bad…don’t do that again.

The feedback from the environment-information was instantaneous.

Now think of training and eating. Anthony wants to get jacked, so he starts lifting weights. He starts eating more vegetables and nutrient plentiful foods. More lean proteins.

But it’s not like the moment Anthony swallows vegetables his throat starts to singe. Anthony doesn’t wake up the day after his first training session and look like a professional bodybuilder.

And this changes everything.

I want you to think about why.

Until next time.