Dare to fail and you will avoid just that

This is a story of how I failed to increase my bench press this spring, but nevertheless gained physically and mentally

Takeaways:

  • A quick run through of what should be a very good strength training regime
  • A rare glimpse of me failing
  • A lesson on why you never truly fail if at least you try
Trial and error built this 40+ year old body

Trial and error built this 40+ year old body

The perfect peak strength plan

I tried to become stronger this spring.

I had a plan and I followed it. In addition, I was being (informally) coached by Sweden’s best weight lifting blogger.

I powered on with high volume (5-8 sets of 3-4 reps at 80-85% of my assumed 1 rep maximum; a little more than 2 times a week on average for the bench press) during two months. Around week 9-11, I progressed to pyramids: a base of 4-7 sets of 2s-5s at 85-89% of my 1RM plus a peak of a few singles at 93-96% of 1RM).

I de-loaded during week 12 by approximately halving my volume but keeping 1-3 heavy singles of 93-96%. After that, during week 13, six days before today’s all out effort, I did my last two singles on respectively 120kg and 125kg (264.5/275.5 lbs), or 93/96% of my 1RM before the program.

The last five days I cut out the heavy singles and reduced both intensity and volume of what little was left, as well as cut out other exercises, to enable my muscles to bounce back and super compensate for the heavy volume and intensity the weeks and months before. On T-4 days, I benched only 85kg x4x3 (65%) and 70kg x3x4 (54%), and on T-2 just 70kg x4x3, with as much explosivity I could muster.

Maximum effort

Today I warmed up with 8 minutes of easy jogging on a tread mill, then carefully mobilized all my joints, as well as my upper and lower back. I couldn’t have prepared any better; I was well rested, well prepared, had overreached and then rested to bounce back. I felt confident.

I worked myself up through the weights on the bench, gradually increasing the intensity of my arc and eventually slapped on some chalk on my hands when I reached 120kg (265 lbs). 130kg x1 (286.5 lbs) was fine, but it’d better be, since that was what I was supposed to handle before the program.

And then, five minutes later, just like that, I missed (albeit marginally) my attempt on 132.5kg (+safety springs, so approximately 132.75kg = 292.5lbs).

 

I don’t consider it 3 months down the drain, although I am quite disappointed. I have learned a lot during this program and I have an idea how to improve going forward. What is annoying, however, is that I benched 140kg (308 lbs) three years ago, without an elaborate program or peak plan.

Sure, I’ve had knee surgery, a wrist injury and several hamstring tears since then, of which last November’s hamstring tear was quite serious.
 
Hamstring tear

A failure isn’t always a failure
As failures go, this one wasn’t too bad: I still worked out, I went through the motions and exposed myself to more exercise volume than usual. Something good has definitely happened, even if it didn’t show up in peak strength right this day.
I can still try 132.5kg or even 135kg (297.5 lbs) in a couple of days or a week. Not least, going forward, I can build on my training capacity that most likely increased during the period.
So, all in all, this wasn’t just a failure: I tried something new, I trained more than usual, I learned new hypertrophy and strength training theories and I put myself out there. Now I really know my body holds up for a maximum effort, after all my recent injuries – and I know exactly where that maximum is per this date. That is something to build on; and building layer upon layer is all this website is about.

Why you must manage your short term decisions or suffer long term consequences

Topic: Short Term vs. Long Term

Reading time: 30 minutes

-perspective on the choice between the short term and the long term, and some related snippets on acne, a book tip, role models, alcohol, stocks, weight lifting and a billionaire with a back ache

 

Never trade what you want the most

for what you want in the moment

 

John Bougen from New Zeeland visited 191 countries in 167 days, to get a good start on his ambition to visit all the 247 official countries on Earth.

Going to a new place, where all your routines are upset and you meet new people and face new situations and learn new things is good for you. It induces extra brain plasticity, among other things.

Mr Bougen however has perverted the original idea completely. All he has seen is the same flight attendants and hotel rooms, over and over again, experiencing the opposite of novelty, while growing more and more tired.

He must have gotten the idea that travel is positive, visiting different places is inspiring, and then suboptimized in the worst manner possible. That’s exactly how I see most people’s careers and obsession with money and trying to impress strangers they don’t even like.

Bougen might actually feel some kind of exhilaration, a build up of tension as he anticipates reaching his goal. He might even experience a short moment of glory and fame right after his stunt. But then what? He will have wasted a lot of time, money and energy experiencing just about nothing.

How well did Bougen really do in maximizing his short term and long term well being?

Did he want to travel that way? Did he want to spend hundreds of nights alone waiting for transfers at airports or in cheap hotel rooms? Did he want to become that douchebag that always claim to have been to a country, but turns out not to have visited any of its cities or sites or met any of its people?

 

“A long term position is just a short term position that went wrong”

-a classic adage in the investment world, meaning you should avoid sticking long term to something you didn’t actively choose yourself. See my last post on sunk cost for more detail on that.

Instead, try the opposite, i.e., cutting your profits short: “If a long term investment appreciates too much too early, make it a short-term investment“. (very typical Retard’s Playbook)

 

Stop profit

Case in point: my oil trade earlier this year. I bought a levered position in oil, thinking that oil should rise to approach its marginal cost (60 USD?) within a year or two. However, I exited with 100% profit after just a couple of weeks. Enough is enough. I like to call it taking a Stop Profit (a notion you would never hear on Wall Street where it’s all about letting your profits run or stopping your losses).

By the way, you should still never aim for 10-minute, 10-day or 10-month holdings, unless you are prepared to stick with them for 10 years. No, that’s not contradictory advice.

 

Don’t listen to ‘cool’ brokers

There are a lot of cool soundbyte advice on the street – just as cool as they are false (or at least just one side of a fair coin). Brokers and other stock market people are all about the short term. They don’t care if the market goes up or down or if you win or lose. They want short term turnover to earn commission (or possibly sell books).

broker

I could never play that game – partly because I’m honest, partly because I score zero on intent and sales skills*.

“Nobody knows where the market is going anyway”, they say, “so why not always be fully invested” … “but switch stocks as often as possible”. Then they line that message with a lot of coolness and jargon, and the suckers buy it every time.

It’s easy to recommend arbitrary deals when you take zero responsibility for the outcome and pocket the commission either way – not to mention get saved by the government every time things go really bad.

* as a side note, when I worked as a sell side analyst, peddling IT stocks in the boom years 1996-2000, my boss said to me that I was “a God gifted talent in sales, but perhaps I should think twice about what I was selling“. Still zero on intent though.

 

The market is as predictable as the weather

-which goes to say, actually very predictable

In the very long term it’s true that the stock market will rise (at least if the economy grows and profits grow). And in the short term, the market tends to continue in its recent direction. Mid term its a coin flip. And finally, longish term the market is drawn toward its long term trend line (with over- and undershooting).

 

It’s a bit like the weather. Even if you can’t tell what the weather will be two weeks from now, you know summer and winter will manifest eventually.

 

Jackets are cheap during an Indian summer

-but the warm weather makes it hard to remember to get one in time

Right now it’s high summer in the stock market. It’s so hot it’s difficult to even imagine Winter Is Coming. However, even if Yellen and Draghi somehow manage to turn fall into an Indian summer in the market, by luring in the last fools with leveraged money, winter will follow right after.

Anybody with just a little experience in the market can remember the call of the sirens at the market peaks of 2000 and 2007. Just like then, the current bull market is long in the tooth, extremely expensive and built on leverage.

 

Suffer now and prosper later?

Could you wait 15 minutes to get twice the goodies when you were a kid? Most can’t. To be able to postpone gratification is exactly what investing is about, and the marshmallow test is a strong predictor for future success.

marshmallow

However, it also means just that: postponing. Possibly too long, or forever.

I used to save my Saturday candy, and eat a little whenever I wanted. In fact, I typically ended up hoarding ever older candy, never eating it at all. I did the same with my allowance (1 USD/week); forever saving without any particular goal in mind. I guess I was predestined to become an investor just looking at my saving/hoarding personality.

School worked similarly. When I was in 7th grade, I started to consistently read a week ahead, i.e. keeping the same pace as everybody else – just a week ahead. That way I stopped having to raise my hand during class.

However, I never bothered about my grades directly or contemplated what they meant for my future. I just wanted to be left alone, and avoid shame (meaning anything below the highest grade). Short term thinking. Possibly mid-term, since I was quite disciplined about it.

Even at business school I only thought about a year ahead (just as with the candy and my allowance). Fortunately that still meant finishing at the top. Slightly longer mid-termishness; just barely enough.

For a long time after that, I believed my own hype; just invest 6-7 years of focused studies in high school and college and the rest of your life will be a rose garden.

It’s only the last few years that I’ve realized that that strategy and perspective never existed in my mind. I just did one more (again: Retard’s Playbook for workouts and investments), without really thinking ahead or having an investing state of mind.

I wasn’t thinking long term. I wasn’t actively choosing my own destiny. I wasn’t getting to know myself and then plan my life around me.

I was doing what everybody else was doing: getting a “good” education in order to get a high paying job with “status”. For that I more or less wasted 25 years between 1990-2015. Years I could have spent doing something meaningful or fulfilling. On the other hand, I got lucky enough to be able to quit reasonably young and with a hell of a lot of knowledge and experience.

 

Is the long term worth the short term effort?

And now? Was it worth it? What’s the lesson here? Should you postpone pleasure?

Well, I personally wouldn’t re-live my years in business school and finance, if I had to go back. And I definitely wouldn’t have made it through school, had I realized the total effort that lay before me. Sometimes being perspective blind can produce good long term results.

On the other hand, having what I have now in terms of knowledge, experience, friends and financial freedom is a dream come true. More, since I never even dreamed about more than getting a good night’s sleep, not having any homework or having to raise my hand in class.

Then again, the likelihood of repeating my career, with all it entails, is so low that the expected financial outcome for that particular path is also close to zero anyway. Hence I would choose something more personally rewarding every day.

småmynt framför ångvält

For me that would probably have been starting out as a programmer/consultant/gamer, solving mine and other people’s problems, developing apps and games along the way, and eventually becoming just as financially well off as today anyway – but without money or awards as prerequisites for feeling successful. The crucial question here is…

 

How long term should you be?

How long is a piece of string?

I can’t choose for you. I don’t know if you in particular should go to or finish business school and start your own hedge fund.

Perhaps you will find starting and running a fund just as fun as playing Bloodborne, GTA or FIFA. Or you might get a hint of what I felt in geography class in middle school.

Perhaps you are a born programmer, but probably not. Most likely you would hate it.

In short, my advice is to realize that you will for the most part still be you in the long term. Find out as quickly as possible who that person is and what he likes.

Then go about fulfilling those wants and needs as directly as possible. Neither present you nor future you want to spend the next 15-30 years as a mindless drone, doing things just to possibly have financial freedom later, if you even make it to that point [time-wise or financially].

If you love golf and warm weather, play golf in warm weather now, instead of waiting until you are a rich pensioner with a bad back. If you don’t know who you are or what you want, by all means copy someone else (e.g., formal education and career for money in Whore Village) until you do. Just don’t get lost in the Money Buys Happiness Fog.

Consider the following:

Computer games

Here’s an analogy I thought of the other day when walking my dog, listening to a podcast about micro fungi producing increased crops as well as reduced fertilizer needs and thus less of the unwanted toxic algae blooms and uncontrolled growth in lakes:

Think of life as playing a challenging computer game. No gamer would say his activity is boring, but there still is a lot of investing, learning and tedious repetition going on. The anticipation of victories to come, and the reward when succeeding more than make up for the tougher stretches. However, the balance is important. Too difficult, too long term or boring and even hard core gamers will quit.

lll

Non-gamers need not apply whatsoever, meaning you should not choose an education or career that bores you to death. It’s just not worth it, unless you somehow with absolute certainty know you’ll be rich and able to quit within 10 years. Sounds too much. Set the limit to 5 years – comparable to formal education.

Life guidelines

In line with that, here are a few investment rules that work just as well for any other area in life:

  • Act in conformity with your nature
  • Accept being at variance with the majority
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.

Whatever career you choose, be it formal education followed by becoming a plastic surgeon, management consultant or fund manager, or freestyling on the web or working with your body, make sure it rhymes with who you are.

Your education/training and career/business should be at least comparable to playing challenging computer games or doing serious sports.

It’s not super fun to practice your golf swing every day, but it’s worth it when you get to the course. Same thing with tennis serves or weight lifting. Somehow it’s still fun doing the hard stuff thanks to the anticipation of the fun ahead as well as the feeling of progress, of building something, of investing – but there are limits to how long that is sufficient.

As always, the hardest thing is knowing who you are. The next to hardest is accepting it.

 

Find role models

-as inspiration for who you yourself actually are

A few of my most important role models are Richard Feynman (who wanted to turn down the Nobel Prize in physics, but accepted just to minimize the attention) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (billionaire heiress who fucked that, and made her own hundreds of millions of dollars as the funniest comedienne in the world, not to mention dared play ugly in Seinfeld, despite later revealing she is [one of] the most beautiful 54-year olds in the world).

Read “Surely you’re joking Mr Feynman” for some deep inspiration of a happy, productive, inquisitive and wide-angled life that began with some haphazard radio repairs and left a legacy of starting nanotechnology in 1959, as well as contributing immensely to the field of quantum mechanics.

Was Feynman long term or short term? Whatever he was, he was always investing, always enjoying, always trying and learning new things, experiencing ten times more than most, while still aiming and succeeding very long term. Heck, it took 30 years after his speech before people even understood there was a nanotechnology to be discovered.

In the world of finance there are so many, but I’m inspired by, e.g., Hugh Hendry, Seth Klarman, John Hussman, Howard Marks and Marc Faber (and many more).

And anti-models

I had lunch with a billionaire today (not quite in dollars but not far off; possibly already there if some unlisted assets count). He used to be quite active and athletic, but 35 years behind a desk has given him a hernia and now he can’t run or lift weights, he told me.

With a few hundred million USD in liquid assets you might expect a kind and likeable, nature loving, sporty guy to… I don’t know…perhaps pursue his inner interests? But what does he do? He stays behind his desk, has a back ache and complains about having to go through hundreds of pages of legal documents for the Swedish SEC.

If I wasn’t already happy about my decision to get out of finance, that definitely sealed the deal. By the way, the lunch was a covert job interview for a new hedge fund: “So, Mike, what are your plans now? Are you thinking about getting back to finance anytime soon? We are starting a new fund…

“If you don’t change direction you might end up where you’re heading”

 

P.S: More side stories

Acne

When I turned 16, I started getting acne. I still get a few pimples now and then, especially after binge drinking. Almost daily during 25 years I’ve faced the question whether to squeeze or not. Typical short-term, mid-term, long-term problem.

At the time, I read about a model who only used water on the face (despite making commercials for face products). I just knew it had to be a lie (I used plenty of soap, alcohol, uv light and tons of various chemicals spelled with z’s). Now I know so much better:

I haven’t washed my face with anything but water since 7 months back and my skin has never been better. The really big upside is that I save a lot of time in the present, and science says my skin quality is much better (in particular for the long term I assume) thanks to allowing my bacterial ecosystem to stabilize. Not least, I feel calm and confident that I don’t have to take care of my face every damn night before going to bed if I’m tired or drunk.

Weight lifting

Weight lifting. A long term effort, constantly pushing the body just a little further. But is the aim, glory (and possibly money) or health? How long term is it to win glory but sacrifice your health? Most if not all professional athletes sacrifice a lot when they are active and then suffer from broken down bodies after their careers. All for some short term glory?

aneurysm SpreZZaturian

Alcohol

I like to drink. Things happen and I laugh a lot. Even the hangovers are tolerable, and I invariably go to the gym the day after, if I have a scheduled workout (I train every second day, year in, year out).

Still, it’s kind of bad in the mid-term (hangover) and quite bad in the long run (diseases, aging, looks, premature death, missing the Singularity).

However, alcohol also make me more relaxed, forgiving and outgoing – actually opening the door to making real friends. But how much and how often? There’s that string again.

Ibiza sofa throw

Coffee

Science says you should wait 90 minutes after rising in the morning before having your coffee (due to hormone levels, according to the gastropod).

Most also should stop drinking coffee for the day after lunch time. Still, most people sacrifice their sleep or long term well being for the taste, the smell, the wonderful pleasure that a cup of coffee can be in the now.

Personally, I wait around an hour and I usually only drink coffee in the morning, i.e., not even at lunch.

gastropod

Fossil fuel

Okay so we kickstarted the industrial revolution and our current technological civilization by burning fossil fuels.

Great, we actually might make it far enough to live off of clean nuclear energy going forward. We might even be able to reverse fossil fuel derived pollution and global warming.

However, if humanity were to suffer a serious setback (e.g., an EMP, an asteroid, a super volcano, massive solar flares), could we do it all over again? We might not. We can’t just skip the industrialization part and jump right to solar and nuclear, but with only wood and tar sands available it could prove difficult to clear the hurdle for true recovery all the way to enough sustainable energy sources for continued progress.

human energy use over 150 years Can We Do It Again

Ninja

I’m a ninja. Yes, as in swords, weird footwear, shuriken (throwing stars) etc. I’ve also practiced Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing, not to mention weight lifting (30 years and counting). All those things take a long time to learn. However, there is constant progress which makes every training session worth the effort. That more or less reliable progress was the driver behind my engagement in the mentioned inherently useless, hard and painful activities (albeit healthy).

That’s how studying and working also should be. Building layer upon layer, every step being an investment for the next, satisfying in itself, but still possibly, likely even, leading to some sort of success.

Always Be Investing – like a ninja

 

Summary of the summary: Enjoy the incremental process, instead of total sacrifice moonshots

If you skipped the whole thing and scrolled right to the end, this is for you

  • I’m not just a retard, I’m a ninja too.
  • I like Julia Louis Dreyfus, but I like Dick Feynman even better. Read his book Surely…
  • The struggle between the short and the long term is eternal. Just deal with it. You simply can’t tell how long a piece of string is. But you can think about it, and that helps.
  • Be you and make sure to have some fun all the way through life. Investing is not about total sacrifice, it’s about enjoying the incremental process, like playing a tough computer game or practicing your golf swing
  • Don’t waste your best years doing what every body else is doing to impress strangers. Dare to be different. Accept that you are.
  • Subscribe to get my eBook and thoughts on gold (next post, I think)

Gold: you know that stuff that is forged in large supernovae, alternatively neutron star collisions, drifting through space for billions of years, and turning the heads of humans since the first nugget was discovered thousands of years ago, possibly up to ten thousand years ago.

gold

Gold is very long term; too long term unless you’re a billionaire. Gold simply is gold. The thing is it is just that forever. More about that next time.

Motivation made simple – how to stay in shape all year round

Who needs inspiration?

Have you tired of the endless stream of motivational sound bites that permeate the social media landscape?

I’m talking about garbage like this:

 

It’s not who you are, it’s where you’re coming from

It’s not where you’re coming from, it’s where you’re going

It’s not who yo are, it’s what you do

It’s not what you do, it’s what you want

Thoughts are nothing, action is everything

Gymspirational quotes are even worse. Always extreme, always focusing on pain and suffering, often presented together with photoshopped pictures of professional models at their peak. Utterly unrelatable. Hopelessly counterproductive. Often just plain wrong.

Are you nevertheless struggling with sticking to your workout schedule?

Are you looking for something more tangible that actually produces results?

This is it: Keep it simple and aim for the smallest possible increment just to get started; the rest comes automatically – and you don’t want to burden your lazy self with that beforehand. Then just add ‘one more’ (of everything), while saying to yourself “that’s why I’m here” and “the other guy is more tired”. More below.

Jedi mind tricks to stay motivated

I don’t consider myself ‘motivated’ or ‘disciplined’. I don’t strategically plan out productive habits. I never thought I even needed motivation or inspiration. I just am. However, thinking hard enough about it, I’ve realized I do use a couple of jedi mind tricks.

This is me today, preparing to go under the snow; just sitting back without flexing or minding the camera in any way. My face wouldn’t look like that if I did.

This is my winter shape. No filter, no photoshop, just a still from a cell phone video. I never intended this as a form picture, I was just goofing around with my dog. However, apparently, I am in shape. All year round.

This is how I do it.

Washboard abs in snow

 

The hacker’s guide to minimalist weight training

As a twelve year old, I thought physical fitness was obsolete, something for cave men. The future would belong to brains, not brawn. I was too busy charging high interest rates for small, short-term danish loans, and programming simple but addictive computer games (imagine angry birds but 1984 and a little less money involved).

Then I saw the movie Rocky IV (1984) with Sylvester Stallone – and started tormenting my tiny arms with lead weights from an old mechanical clock.

As a 14-year old I commenced my ninja training, later complemented with kickboxing and taekwondo. I kept pumping iron on the side, and when I started working, I abandoned martial arts. It was too difficult to attend all scheduled classes, so I thought I’d just stay in shape in the gym, until I could resume my taekwondo education.

I’ve been a regular at the gym for over 30 years, trying everything: high reps, low reps, long sessions, short sessions, light weights, heavy weights, basic compound movements, strange esoteric muscle concentration exercises and so on. I’ve been very thin (54kg/119 lbs) and quite heavy (100kg / 220 lbs) for my height (183 cm / 6″0). I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to weight training (for happy amateurs with limits regarding time and motivation)

The world’s simplest exercise schedule for a strong and fit body

This is my current weight lifting program:

Day 1: Bench press + Dead lift

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Bench press + Squat

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Squat + Dead lift

Day 6: Rest

Repeat

How to periodize

Okay, there is a little more to it… But the above is the important part, the one that makes me progressively stronger. And just because it looks so simple and limited, I always walk lightly to the gym.

Notice how I train each movement X, X, rest, X, X, rest, X, X, rest…

To improve the effects of the program, I train heavier on each first ‘X’ and lighter on the second ‘X’: heavy X, light X, rest, heavy X, light X, rest… I also periodize the weeks: heavier week, lighter week, heavier week, lighter week… Depending on how your body feels, you can go heavy, heavy, light or heavy, light, light as well.

Sets and reps? approximately 3-4 reps per set, but it’s okay to experiment with other number of reps occasionally. Aim for around 6 work sets (not counting warm-up sets); sometimes as few as 4, sometimes as many as 8. It depends on how many you can do with good form and still stick to the program the next session.

Weights? A rough guide is to aim for around 85% of your 1RM (1-rep maximum, i.e., the maximum weight you can just barely clear for one repetition). Spend most of the time around 77.5% – 82.5%, gradually increase toward 85%. After two months you could try some 1-rep sets on 90% of your old 1RM.

If you’re interested in setting a new personal best, rest (only lift very few sets and reps at just 50% of 1RM) for a week after about three months. Then warm up and just go for it.

Oh, did I mention you probably should add some lighter, complementary exercises (CE) to the basic compound exercises above?

I do two CEs per session. I do 4 sets of 8 reps, making sure I could have done 1-2 more reps per set. You should not get exhausted by the CEs, neither physically, nor mentally.

These are my six CEs: chin-ups, pendlay bar rows, overhead press, dips, biceps curls, hamstring curls. I do chins and hamstrings on Day 1, Rows and biceps on Day 3 and press and dips on Day 5.

The entire program thus looks like this (but you really should think about it like the simple 2-exercise program above):

Day 1: heavy Bench press 6*3 + light Dead lift 8*4 + Chins (non-failure 4*8) + Hamstrings (non-failure 4*8)

Day 2: Rest

Day 3:  light Bench press 8*4 + heavy Squat 6*3 + Rows (non-failure 4*8) + Biceps (non-failure 4*8)

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: light Squat 8*4 + heavy Dead lift 6*3 + Press (non-failure 4*8) + Dips (non-failure 4*8)

Day 6: Rest

Repeat (and alternate more straining weeks with lighter weeks) 

 

Increase % of old 1RM from 77.5% at the lightest to 90% at the heaviest after 2 months. Rest for a week at the end of month 3, if you want to try a new personal best.

 

But how do I get to the gym at all?!

The first trick is to have as simple a workout schedule as possible. Check

The second trick is to aim low. No even lower.

Fool yourself by saying “I’ll just go to the gym and walk on the tread mill, then get back home.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll soon be increasing the speed and getting your sweat on. You just as well might, since you’ve bothered to go to the gym. It’s the sunk cost fallacy turned into a motivational tool.

After that you’ll say to yourself “I just can’t lift heavy weights today, but I could do some light exercises with just the bar… or perhaps 45 lbs…, maybe just try 90 lbs…, maybe I can do just one work set on 80% of 1RM… or two…, just one more“.

I often want to quit right in the middle of a set and go home. At that point I say to myself “just one more rep, that’s why you’re here“, then “just one more set, a short one”, and “I could do just one easy set in the last exercise on the program”…, “perhaps just one more set” and so on.

It’s not really discipline or motivation; it’s almost the opposite. I keep telling myself to cheat, to go home, to just do one of something I was supposed to do 8 of. But I always end up doing it all, since my body of course can take it. It’s just “me” that is weak.

As a final jedi mind trick, I told my thai boxing girlfriend to always imagine that “the other guy is even more exhausted, more off balance, more afraid”.

Whatever negative feeling you are experiencing when exerting yourself, turn it into a source of strength by remembering that the other guy is also just human and more fazed than you are – in particular considering you have this powerful mantra.

 

PS: You can see the whole snow movie prepping here – not entirely clear why you would want to, but I would get the satisfaction of more views:

Come on! Explain those abs you sad old (43) desk jockey!

I will, if you promise to subscribe to updates and off-site material by providing your e-mail address. Or even better, share this post with a friend who might be interested.

Okay, busted, I’ve done around 50 crunches (or similar) two times a week for most of my exercise history. It’s unclear whether that explains it, or if it’s core strength from the heavy compound exercises. Do as you wish with that. Just remember that we all have sixpacks under the fat.

For the cost of one e-mail address I’ll tell you my specific abs exercises as well:

1. V crunches (often 20+15+10 with 10 seconds rest between sets)

2. Plank (1-2 minutes, directly after my crunches; no rest)

3. Hanging straight leg raises (e.g., 3 sets of 10-20)

4. Ordinary ab crunches or side crunches

Pick one or two exercises two-three times a week, and do a total of 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps each session. Aim for 100 reps/week. It’s a lot but not excessive. That’s how I did it.

abs sixpack exercises