How to calculate resting metabolic rate without getting fooled by randomness


Unless you shut yourself in a metabolic vacuum every day, you’re never going to know your metabolic rate. Heisenberg tells us that the more microscopic things get, the more unpredictable things get.

The table in front of you? It appears solid. But at the quantum level? It’s a bunch of moving particles.

Don’t overly predict. Use something good enough, get feedback, then adjust.

The launch pad for metabolic rate is [bodyweight in pounds] multiplied by [?] = your average daily calorie requirement.

  • BW (pounds) x 10-12 = WEIGHT LOSS
  • BW (pounds) x 13-14 = MAINTAIN WEIGHT
  • BW (pounds) x 15-16 = WEIGHT GAIN

Start here. Your body isn’t a stock vehicle. Using anything more specific than these values for starters is probably doing nothing other than inching you further away from a True range. You can go on forever trying to nail down some kind of specific caloric value, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

As Nassim Taleb always says: learn how to live comfortably in a world not understood. (And I also stole the “fooled by randomness” bit from him. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a Taleb fan.) Start with something good enough and then get real world feedback that guides further discovery.

It’s purposely (and perfectly?) imperfect.



Rethinking the dogmas you create


You should have a reason for doing what you do. A beacon. A direction. A dogma. 

Someone wanting to lose fat might have the nutrition dogma: choose food based on calories.

Is this dogma right? Wrong? Good? Bad? Healthy? (Not many things done in the name of looking well built and moving like a mutant would fall in the realm of “health.”) The answer to these questions don’t matter. The important part is having a dogma. Any dogma. Without it, decisions aren’t made.

But something worth trying: change the dogma.

The following dogmas are the norm: lose fat, build muscle. Maybe sub-dogmas bloom from there. Blah, blah, blah. Boring. 

Choose foods based on calories? How about choosing foods based on their anti-inflammatory properties? Or, better yet, choosing foods based on color. How’s that for a dogma? Forget calories. Forget whatever else. It’s all color. More color = better. That’s the dogma.

Training? Muscle building. Blah, blah, blah. Maybe go with this dogma: no noise. Only do exercises where your joints don’t creak and crack.

Think about the beacons. Question them. Change them. Change them again. And then again. Evaluate what happens. (Maybe focusing on color does more magic than focusing on calories ever will? )


The Airing of Grievances comes before the Feats of Strength


Frank Costanza: Welcome, newcomers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!

Festivus starts with the Airing of Grievances. The Airing of Grievances is the hard part. It’s the part where you get honest with yourself. Admit there were problems. Admit that things that could have gone differently.

Like last year for me. When I told myself in October 2013 that I’d regain the splits by December 2013. And here I am now, December 2014. Still no splits. Half-baked training? Lack of focus? Maybe. Whatever the excuse — the accountability and honesty comes out in the Airing of Grievances.

But this paves the way for the Feats of Strength. So put your mishaps on the table. Write the down. What didn’t go right?

  • With strength training: maybe you weren’t as consistent as you could have been.
  • With physique work: maybe you had too many cheat weekends.
  • With tricking: maybe you didn’t progress as much as you would have wanted to. Maybe you played it too safe.

Get it all out in the air. I got a lot of problems with “x.” Or how “x” went.

Because only then do you move onto the Feats of Strength.

I got a lot of problems with “x.”

Now it’s time to do “y” and fix things.



First vegetarian student, 20 week progress pictures


That was my first asian! Err. Vegetarian, I mean. The first time I agreed to work a vegetarian through my skinny-fat curriculum. And not only that, but he also doesn’t have access to a squat rack.

Some modifications were needed, but he was a long time reader. Long time. Told him up front, “Errr. I don’t really work with vegetarians. It’ll be a learning process for the both of us.” But here we are, 20 weeks later, and he’s crushing it.

skinny-fat vegetarian fat loss

If you know how I work, I go fat loss first. That’s not to say we don’t strength train. We do. A lot. But the ethos around the meat and potatoes strength work is shifted to fat loss.

  • Start = 180 pounds, 36 inch waist.
  • Now = 148 pounds, 30 inch waist.

Maybe I’ll get him in here in a few weeks. We’ll talk more about the specifics. What he eats and such.

Skinny-fat syndrome and how it works with vegetarianism is something a lot of people ask me about. I usually don’t have an answer beyond, “Stop being vegetarian.” But here’s some proof for you vegetarians out there  – you can do good things.



Lose fat by…breathing?


A reader sent me research from the BMJ this past weekend. You can read the full article here. Headlines and news outlets are ablazin’ with this new idea: you lose fat by breathing. 

And in comes the heavy breathing faction. Right now. Heavy. Deep breaths. Quicker. Quicker. Faster. More fat must melt. Breathing burns fat so I must breathe as much as possible. 

But don’t do this unless you want to hyperventilate and pass out. Losing weight through breathing isn’t a tactic for fat loss. It’s an explanation for fat loss. It’s the attempted phenomenology behind the phenomenon.

The fat stored inside of you has a chemical composition.

The three most common fatty acids stored in human adipose tissues are oleate (C18H34O2), palmitate (C16H32O2), and linoleate (C18H32O2), which all esterify to form C55H104O6.

Losing fat = breaking this chemical to bits. The broken bits must add up to the whole. Because Antoine Lavoisier said so. (See conservation of mass.) Meerman and Brown say the bits do some mingling. Most of them are exhaled as CO2 in the end.

I’d explain it better if I could. Not quite sure I can. The smart guys say the numbers add up. It makes scientific sense, which is fine by me. I’m also not saying this is 100% correct. I’m sure it’ll be debated.

But some important things to note –

Fat has it’s own road. I used to think fat could be turned into muscle. Lots of people still do. But sometime down the road you are pulled out of fantasy land and learn that body fat is stored energy to be used in time of need.

Need energy and aren’t getting enough? Reach into your body fat. Use the energy.

…but this leaves wiggle room in the fate of body fat.What if the energy gained from burning body fat can be used to build muscle? 

Meerman and Brown say this energy view of fat loss is the common one…but also incorrect one.

Most people believed that fat is converted to energy or heat, which violates the law of conservation of mass. We suspect this misconception is caused by the “energy in/energy out” mantra and the focus on energy production in university biochemistry courses.

Fat loss happening via respiration further drills the “turning fat into muscle” idea in any way/shape/form into the ground.

Despite the rage of headlines and such you’ll see from this idea, nothing changes. You still lose fat the same way. This is the beauty of the phenomenon. We know the phenomenon. We know gravity crashes an apple to the grass.

We don’t need to know the phenomenology in order to exploit the phenomenon. A kid doesn’t know how to calculate trajectories, but he can still throw a ball into his dad’s glove.

99.9% of the articles, blog posts, and whatever you’ll see about this topic in the future will have a tiny footnote. They’ll go on and on about this breathing stuff. And then they’ll say, “But, yeah. To lose fat in a decent way, you have to move around more. You also have to be mindful about what you eat.”

Maybe one day the biological phenomenology will catch up to the biological phenomenon. But if you wait for that day in order to get started, you’ll be left in the dust.



Stop doing repetitions


Android 16 Anthony Mychal Don't Do Repetitions

Develop an allergy to sameness. Repetition without growth is merely progress. Machines make progress. Humans grow.

-Raam Dev

Read this quote. Naturally the word “repetition” caught my eye. I’ve thought a lot about repetitions in my life. Sets. Loading schemes. Periodization.

I’ve obsessed over repetitions.

But this quote tripped a fuse. I always saw repetitions as . . . erhm . . . repetitions. Like a person working on an assembly line in a factory. Same thing over and over and over and over.

Just like reps during training. Same thing over and over and over and over.

But what happens when repetitions turn into “growths?”

Three sets of eight growths.

Meaning that every “repetition” gives you some sort of experience you never had before. Every new rep builds upon how you grew from the last rep. And by that definition, it’s never the same thing over and over and over.

And perceptually? Every “repetition” is a growth. A physical growth. A mental growth.

Think about each repetition as an experience. Not a number.

Machines repeat.

Humans grow.



Building a Jedi Mind to use Force Gains


Stormtrooper Watto Building Jedi Mind

Luke: I don’t believe it.

Yoda: That is why you fail.

- Star Wars

Vaulting through your veins is the power to believe gains into your being. Force Lightning? Pssshhh. I’m talking about Force Gains. People use Force Gains all the time . . . unconsciously.

Stan’s doctor hooks him up with back pain medicines. Stan gulps the meds down religiously. Stan feels better. Little does Stan know . . . the pills weren’t medicine. Just sugar.

It’s the belief that provides the relief.

This is a post is a necessary first in order to uncover the power of belief. Just as Stan believed relief, you can believe for your own good. And it starts with hardware and software. The mind (software) is a circuit breaker. When the circuit trips, the hardware is useless.

And what trips the fuse?


Not “Truth.”

Belief > Truth when modding human software. But before reaching that end, there’s a necessary starting point. (We’re dealing with capital letters now, so you know it’s getting serious.)

The Jedi, the Toydarian, and the Stormtrooper

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”


You think you’re the Jedi manipulating the lesser minds. These aren’t the droid you’re looking for

And if not the Jedi, then at least the Toydarian. Mind tricks don’t work on me, only money

But you’re most like the stormtrooper. On Tatooine. Outside of the Cantina. Getting owned by Obi Wan Kenobi. Hey, Jim, ‘ya heer ‘dat? These aren’t ‘dem ‘dere droids we ‘don been looking fer! Fancy ‘dat! Big Gulps, huh? Ohh, alright. Welp, see ya later!

It’s a scary day when you face your stormtrooper self. When you find out just how vulnerable you are to mind tricks.

For example, you fly out and meet Internet friends for the first time in real life. You stay at someone’s house for three days. All the while your body magically has no desire to excrete waste.

Your stormtrooper-self kicks on. Well, I flew on a plane. It was the plane. The plane is the reason why I can’t poop! Yes! The plane! THEEE PLANNNEEE!!!!

Maybe you’re not a socially awkward introvert like me and you ravish the toilets of those you don’t know. Don’t worry. You make faulty connections between events somewhere in your life. This is the land of cognitive biases. And it’s a scary place. So scary that there’s immediate push back in the opposite direction.

Your Toydarian self kicks on. No. I’m not going to let my stormtrooper-self do this to me. I’m going to be completely economical. No emotion.

But this is no good either. As Daniel Pink says in Drive, “. . . economists are finally realizing that we’re full-fledged human beings, not single-minded economic robots.”

There’s a gooey emotional side of humans that, when harnessed, is a powerful and necessary ally. You want to be a Jedi. You have to play mind tricks on yourself. Force Gains.

But it takes more than one night to become a Jedi Knight. You have to embrace the fact that you’re part stormtrooper. You have to embrace the existential paradox this whole shebang gifts: the more you learn, the less you understand.

Much easier to cocoon yourself within a silk robe of ignorance, myes. Save your sanity with these two pillars.

First, you must be Jon Snow.

What? Who in their right mind switches from Star Wars to Game of Thrones?

Oops. My bad. Kind of.

Socrates beat Jon Snow on this one, but the premise remains: know nothing. And know nothing for the same reason Socrates wanted to know nothing: so you don’t fool yourself into thinking you know something you don’t really know.

I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.

- Plato’s Apology

There’s a lot you think you know that you don’t really know. You’re part stormtrooper. You’ve been manipulated many times in your life. Advertisements. Billboards. Commercials. Your brain ingests more information in an unconscious state than a super obese person ingests food in a conscious state.

Second, you must be Albert Einstein.

Einstein Jedi Mind

Start from nil and abandon conceit. This is the way of Socrates. And it’s a lonely pace. A scary place. I’m scared right now because I’m writing about things I don’t totally know about.

But I write anyway because I write from a place of curiosity rather than a place of knowing.

Einstein once said he had no special talents. While that’s debatable (aliens!), it’s what Einstein said he had instead that’s the second source of fuel: a curious passion.

It’s easy to say be passionate, curious, humble, rah rah rah. Much harder to do, and it’s worth reminding yourself to do every day you wake up.

Those with a curious passion ask, “What am I unconsciously ingesting? What are commercials trying to brainwash me into thinking? Billboards? Packaging at the grocery store? Even the set-up and flow of the grocery store?”

I’m a skeptic. You have to be skeptical in order to have a curious passion, else you never reach the right level of curiosity.

There will be a time when you think you know a lot more than you do. Like me. Right now. You’re human. You’ll always think this. So don’t feel bad when you do. Just flush it down your brain’s toilet.

But why…?

Because a lot of what holds us back isn’t hardware, but rather software. There are layers of software to get past.

  • First, there is the land of instant solutions.
  • Second, there is the land of absoluteism.
  • Third, there is the land of omgwtfbbq confusion.
  • Fourth, there is the land of the Jedi.

So everything starts dumbed down. Easy. Then you dig more and realize it’s a bit more confusing. So you try to find one size fits all prescriptions to make things tolerable. But then you realize one size fits all prescriptions don’t exist either. So now you’re in a land of randomness.

Nothing makes sense in the land of randomness. You’re losing your mind. But then something else clicks. Patterns start making sense. Randomness becomes chaos. Where randomness is unknowable, chaos has a hint of predictability at certain scales.

And when you flow from one end to the other, your software goes from enemy to ally. You can be Stan and use belief for relief. You can master Force Gains.

But to take this leap, you have to gut what you know. Or, at least, what you think you know. It’s not easy. Losing your footing is common, which is why things start with (a) knowing nothing and (b) being passionately curious. As Daniel Kahneman said in Thinking, Fast and Slow:

“ . . . it is much easier, as well as far more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. Questioning what we believe and want is difficult at the best of times, and especially difficult when we most need to do it . . . ”



The “Can I Get Worse?” Philosophy


Anthony Mychal Can I Get Worse Philosophy

. . . if you choose to win at tennis – as opposed to having a good time – the strategy for winning is to avoid mistakes. The way to avoid mistakes is to be conservative and keep the ball in play, letting the other fellow have plenty of room in which to blunder his way to defeat, because he, being an amateur will play a losing game and not know it.

- Simon Ramo, Extraordinary Tennis Ordinary Players

This is a post about a philosophy that got me out of programming hopping mode. Obsession mode. Shiny object syndrome mode.

It’s a philosophy even Warren Buffet has talked about. It goes beyond training or nutrition.

When someone looks you in the eye and says, “Breathe.” And you actually stop and think for a second. You think about how many breaths you take without thought. And you hate yourself for being so ungrateful. But then. Then. You think about breathing. Just one time. You slow your inhale. Slow your exhale even more.

Then everything about you — about life — seems alright. Like it makes sense.


There’s a scale. Failure lives on the negative end. Success lives on the positive end.

This is how I saw everything. You’re either failing or you’re succeeding. You’re either getting worse or you’re getting better. Because the human mind loves dichotomies and opposites. Why does everything exist in opposites? I DON’T GET THE COSMIC JOKE, DEEPAK.

But there’s a third marker on the scale. It’s right in the middle.

Breaking even. 

Otherwise said, not failing. Which is different than both winning and losing.

If you’re like my old self, you shoot for the win. You want to know what to eat in order to win. How to train in order to win. The stakes climb. It’s a version of the Nurf CurseIt’s winnning . . . or nothing. 

But guaranteeing a win within the human body isn’t easy. (Not a smart bet.) Because experience doesn’t equal effect. I get teary eyed and butterflies in my stomach when Goku turns Super Saiyan. You watch it and say, “Really? How can you enjoy this dumb cartoon?”

Goku Super Saiyan

From a binary “experience” standpoint, we’ve both log the / YES / . But on the inside? Totally different things are happening. I called this sight beyond sight in the past. It’s the sticky romantic part of the human condition.

And yes. It matters. Because you’re a human being with a ton of romance. You have fears and emotions. Your own personality.

Predicting how your insides go ’round isn’t easy. But that’s what you do when you’re all about winning.

I don’t predict much anymore. I just let my body do what it can do . . . because I’m not in the high stakes atmosphere of winning. I’m in the much-more-tolerable land of not failing. 

The difference? Take this example from Warren Buffet given in this book.

“He gave us a quiz,” Buffett said, “A true-false quiz. And there were all these guys who were very smart. He told us ahead of time that half were true and half were false. There were 20 questions. Most of us got less than 10 right. If we’d marked every one true or every one false, we would have gotten 10 right.”

The wormhole to this land = asking this question as often as you can:

Can I get worse?

Every decision you make, answer.

So take the front lever. You can wrap your face in all types of different exercises . . . without actually training the front lever. But what if you just took two or three days each week and trained a front lever progression within your means for a reasonable workload.

Can I get worse? 

Probably not.

What about building muscle? High reps? Low reps? How many exercises?

I never saw anyone that uses strength training (barbell, free-weight, bodyweight) as a religion end up with smaller, weaker muscles.

So maybe, if you want to build muscle, you ditch the win mentality. Don’t think about building muscle. Instead, think about not losing any muscle you already have.

Can I get worse?

And instead of doing ten billion arm exercises, you realize that you probably only need to do one exercise in order to not get worse. So that’s where you start. Go to the gym, do the work, and tap into the romantic. Make it a religion. With just that one exercise.

Getting stronger? Fretting about loading schemes? Getting injured trying to max out all the time?

Maybe you pick a weight you can do that’s an 8/10 on the effort scale. You goal is to hit that weight as often as you can with the mentality of making it easier over time.

Do you think you’d get weaker doing that?

I’m making this sound like common sense. It’s not. Unless common sense takes eight years to not only discover, but also use. (It might.) I’ve done some work to know what’s Good(er) and True(r). Lindy is always a good starting point.

But it’s not fool proof.

Oh boy! If I just go practice the handstand every day . . . can I get worse? Anthony says, “NO!” Awesome! That’s what I’ll do! 

But if you have poop technique and you practice poop technique often? You’ll have a brown mess all over your hands.

So yes. You can get worse. Which is why you have to consider more than a binary Y/N qualifier. Where’s the romance, bro?

And more importantly .  . . what about getting better? If you don’t care about getting better, how  do you get better?

Injuries killed my progress most over the years. I’d work up to some pinnacle, push, push, push. Push some more. Because it was all about winning. Then poof. I’d be back at the beginning. Broken. With even more pressure to get better.

I have to get all the way back to where I was . . . overnight! 

But when it’s all about saving face? Breaking even? You can do less sometimes. Without hating yourself.

I’ve never gotten worse when trying to break even. But I have gotten better. And it happens often. With time, of course.

So when you hit a point where the absolute worst thing that happens is nothing? Then you’re on your way to everything.



I didn’t find this philosophy one day. I created it myself. Or, at least, I thought I did. After fretting about programs and exercises and the typical problems an over-thinker like myself have. Evidently, I’m not as smart as I thought I was. More people have written about it.

1. Thanks to Farnam Street for compiling this, which I borrowed from.

2. James Clear also wrote something similar you can read here.


On hardware and software


Anthony Mychal Hardware Software


Steve Blass won a career-high 19 games in 1972. He was a Jedi on the mound, and amassed an eventual resume that housed not only a World Series MVP nomination, but also an All Star appearance.

Yes, things looked bright for Blass in 1972.

But they faded to black just one year later in 1973 when Blass suffered a career-ending injury that was unlike any other. There was no blown out knee. No bad back. No rotator-cuff tear.  In fact, there was no physical trauma.

Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, writes that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to build expertise. It’d take 27 years practicing one hour every day to reach 10,000 hours, which is why the heuristic has doubters.

Although the amount of practice needed to become an expert is debated, none argue that more perfect practice builds less expertise. But after a lifetime of baseball and nearly ten years in the MLB, Blass became the poster boy for this paradox.

In 1973, just one year after his career-high 19 win season, the unthinkable happened.

Blass forgot how to throw a strike.


In 1974, Tommy John was on his way to an All Star season as an MLB pitcher. With a record of 13-3, John was another Jedi on the mound. But in Blass-like fashion, lightness became darkness when John suffered an apparent career-ending injury.

The total-body-whip motion of throwing jolts violent force through the body from head to toe. Combined with throwing hard, pitchers also jerk their wrist upon release to put spin the ball. This marriage wreaks havoc on the elbow’s ulner collateral ligament, but gives rise to curveballs, sinkerballs, slurves, and all sorts of ball trajectories that give the pitcher the upper hand.

Just like a secretary flirts with carpal tunnel syndrome, pro pitchers flirt with elbow injuries from repetitive stress. Building a stout ulner collateral ligament is a fine balance between stress and recovery. And the length of a 162 game season combined with the unpredictability of human flesh make this balancing act a crap-shoot.

Just 13 wins into the 1974 season, John’s elbow tapped out. Much like Blass, John went from nearly unbeatable to nearly un-repairable. Without a healthy ulner collateral ligament, he was missing a necessary piece of the anatomical pitching puzzle.

But there was a speckle of hope for John. He was a computer with a severed USB cable running to his keyboard. If he could find a new cable, he’d be back to his old-self.

But Blass?

He was doomed.


Using a chunk of tendon from John’s forearm, surgeons reconstructed his ulner collateral ligament. And with his refurbished hardware, John plotted a comeback. He worked with a teammate to change his throwing mechanics, and he shocked baseball when he put up a 10-10 record in his returning 1976 season.

But John wasn’t done. 

He went on to win 164 games post-surgery, adding to his previous 124 wins. His 288 total wins landed him one shy of Sandy Koufax — often considered one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history.

Koufax would have amassed even more wins, but he was forced into an early retirement because of—you guessed it—elbow problems.


Tommy John’s surgery is a thing of baseball legend, but not of baseball past. Both the surgery and the recovery have become a refined process since John’s day in 1974.

Almost too refined. 

The list of pitchers that have their god gifted ulner collateral ligament shortens as years pass. There’s little fuss with the diagnosis. Get the surgery, sit out one year, come back like nothing happened. Some even become better pitchers after the surgery.

Such is the nature of hardware. When your dog chews your USB cable in half, you simply get a new one. Maybe even a better one.

But the story of shattered software isn’t so smooth.


It’s October 2014, and I’m faced with the absurd fear of a doing a backflip. Being afraid of flipping backwards isn’t something I’d normally consider absurd. But I first learned the backflip in 2004. I even did a backflip in my high-school senior psychology class for extra credit.

So, yeah, absurd.

But I haven’t done a backflip since “the incident” in January 2011, and butterflies now flow through my blood. I whisper to myself as I paw the ground. You’re all Blass right now, kid.

Steve Blass Hardware Software

The tangible exterior bits always steal attention when it comes to the physical. We see bodies. We see those same bodies in motion. Parallels are drawn. Look at those arms, I bet he can lift a lot.

“If I want to do those things, I need that kind of body.”

That kind of body is the same thing as that kind of hardware. And hardware is nothing more than an arranged pile of physical scraps. It serves no purpose. Has no function. It exists solely to take up space.

Unless you have the right software.


Baseball organizations aren’t afraid to admit that their All Star pitcher needs Tommy John’s surgery anymore because there’s usually a rah-rah! happy ending. But in dark corners, where only whispers exist, you can find “Steve Blass disease.”

The “diagnosis” is applied to talented players who inexplicably and permanently seem to lose their ability to throw a baseball accurately. [1]

Unlike Tommy John’s surgery, there’s no quick fix for Steve Blass disease. No surgery. No tissue grafting. No mechanical makeover.


Mutations of Steve Blass disease strike baseball players — single moment brain farts. A hitter barely makes contact with a pitch and the ball dribbles to the pitcher. When fielding the ball and trying to throw a lazy lob to the first baseman, the ball somehow ends up in the stands in the hands of a fan.

“He had too much time to think about it,” the announcer says. And yet, just two seconds prior, the pitcher threw a 90-mile-per-hour rifle into a one foot window that’s 60-feet 6-inches away from the mound.

“Blass moments” on such a finite scale aren’t hardware farts. There’s no broken bones, torn ligaments, or sore muscles.

They’re software malfunctions.

Descartes stuck his neck out and said, “I think, therefore I am.” But Descartes was wrong.

Your body influences your mind. Force yourself to smile, your body will start to believe it should be happy and you’ll change as if you were happy.

Your mind influences your body. Think about the crush of your life. Naked. You know what kind of changes take place.

We exist in a hyper physical space. We admire muscle. We observe graceful athletic practices. But is the hardware the beginning? Or the end?

Anthony Mychal Hardware


The hardware trap is easy to fall into. My genetics aren’t good. I have small bones. I can’t jump high enough. I’m tight. Inflexible. Hardware, hardware, hardware.

It’s easy to fall on the opposite end, too. If I can only jump higher I could backflip. If Blass and I were computers, we’d have monster hardware. I can jump anywhere from 30” to 40” pending the season. (The Internet tell me the average vertical leap among NBA players is 28″ just for perspective.)

But what happens when the focus shifts to the software?

My effort isn’t good. My dedication is lacking. I don’t have the focus. Or consistency. I don’t understand the skill. I’m afraid. Scared. 

The truth about the backflip goes down about as easy as Natty Light beer. If you can jump 10-inches in the air, you can backflip. This is all the hardware you need. After you get your momentum going up, it’s all about the programming—kinesthetic awareness, spatial awareness, the software.

What about eating real food? Your hardware isn’t the holdup. Your jaw, teeth, and digestive track can handle vegetables, fruits, and meats. But what is your software is programmed to reach for?


An important person in my life once said, “The mind is a circuit breaker for the body.” When the circuit trips, everything it commands dies. There is no mind-body dichotomy. Physical change is mental change; mental change is physical change.

Want physical change? Learning how muscles and bones articulate? How nerves innervate? And the rest of the ooey gooey guts and bolts squishing around under your flesh in the name of looking well built and championing your body through space in an attempt to pwn gravity?

Then don’t forget about your brain. 

As Thoreau said:

“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school . . . it is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”

How does the brain work? How do you make decisions? How do you learn? What’s your philosophy of life? How are you going to deal with injuries? Progress? Being consistent?

Because if your hardware fails, you can find a way if you have adequate software.

Just ask Tommy John.

But when your software fails?

Just ask Steve Blass.



[1] Steve Blass on Wikipedia

[IMG] computer


A thingy for knee pain (I’m using like heroin)


There be knee pain secrets ahead, including a little sequence thingy I’m using as often I remember to use it. And the more I use it, the better I feel.

Moons ago, doctors told me I had patellar tendonosis and patellar tracking problems. I lump these in the “chronic-musculotendon” bucket as opposed to the <I just snapped every bit of connective tissue in my knee> “acute-internal” bucket.

An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is a memoir of sorts —  what I did to “fix” the pain and problems. And “fix” is in air quotes because, with tendonosis, the pain is always liable to poke back into your life.

And poke it has.

So I poked back.

This sequence is more of a phoenix down than a cure. To understand why, here’s some theory: your knee pain isn’t the fault of the knee, but rather bad systems and structures surrounding the knee.

Just like elbow tendonitis (usually) stems from the wrist and the shoulder, knee tendonitis stems from the foot and the hip. Sure, the knee may be overused, but it’s only overused because the surrounding systems are underused. This is why rest is often a terrible fix for tendonitis. It treats the pain but not the reason for pain.

It’s like a chef that burns himself every time he cooks. Sure, he can stop cooking and stop getting burned. But once he steps back in the kitchen, he’s going to get burned.

Consider this a bandage with some salve . . . maybe. Because this can also cause some wounds.

This is a lens into hip function. You might get knee pain doing this, which is a sign that your hip is under performing more than Yamcha.

Anthony Mychal Knee Pain Heroin Thingy

Drop into a pigeon-esque pose by collapsing atop a bent leg and extending one leg back. Keep your extended leg bent with the knee resting on the ground. The extended leg = the same leg with knee troubles. Shove your toes into the ground. From this position, your job is to straighten the extended leg.

Anthony Mychal Knee Pain Heroin

Your body can do this one of two ways.

  • You can power through hip extension.
  • You can power through knee flexion.

You’ll be able to tell which pattern your body chooses, which then hints of hip function.

If you have a weak hip, you’ll power through the quads and feel a lot of pressure within the knee cap. You’ll also feel the toes pushing down into the ground.

If you have a strong hip, you’ll barely feel pressure in your knee and your toes won’t be pushing into the ground. Instead, your butt will squeeze into a rock and the heel of the foot will be leading an upward feeling charge to the sky. Great butt strength even’ll get your foot off the ground.

And lifting your foot is a good way to scale into a tougher variation. If you need to make it easier, don’t collapse onto your front leg as much. Turn it into more of a bird dog.

So the game plan?

Do your reps slow and deliberate. Come to a max butt squeeze at the top of every repetition and hold the contraction for a minimum of two seconds.

And frequency wins. If you limit yourself to doing this only when you “train,” you’ve already lost. Chocolate chip cookie yourself on this one. Bake it into you by doing it often as you can. When you wake up. During commercials. Before you go to sleep. In bed.

Use it like you’d use heroin . . . only you don’t have to be afraid of the addiction.