5 magical cheats for the gym to boost your progression in 2015

Are you looking for short cuts in the gym this year? Try these:

Grip the bar hard, a.k.a. whiteknuckling – always grip as hard as you can, no matter the weight or the exercise. Grip as if your life depended on it. You’ll not only build iron grip strength, but almost magically the bench press or chins will seem lighter and your form and bar path better

Grip or R.I.P.

Run like hell, but only for 5-15 minutes, before your workout. You don’t want to deplete your energy stores, or build up adenosine in your brain, which makes you tired and apathetic, unwilling to make a real effort. Just do a few 1-minute sprints or run reasonably hard for 10 minutes. That’ll get you warm enough for the workout. As an added bonus, your VO2 max will improve. I don’t care much for jogging or running, but I do sprint a few minutes before every workout.

Just one more – don’t aim too high. Just hiss “one more” through your gritted teeth, and do just one more rep, one more set or one more exercise before you’re done. Not five, not even two, just one more; that’s all the adenosine-soaked brain can take when you just want to lie down or go home.

Mix it upreal dead stop dead lifts or Touch and Go? Both. High rep low rest bicep curls or heavy and few. Both – on different workouts. Pumping away on the bench or with a 1-second pause at the chest. Both, e.g., on every other session.

Increase your intensity at the gym. Try two different ways: 1) reduce your resting time between sets; start again while still out of breath or feeling nauseous. Aim to throw up. 2) increase your rests as well as the the weights: Lift fewer and heavier than usual on some sessions (and make sure every rep counts), and more, lighter and with less rest on other sessions (focusing on pain).

And for your long term benefit, 5 mobility tips:

Stretch your psoas for two minutes. Do it now. It’ll keep you younger, with better posture and less troubles with hernias and restless legs

Accumulate at least a few minutes every other day in the squat position

Mobilize your shoulders (walk around with your forearms behind your back, like Morpheus, and take deep breaths, expanding your chest)

Cobra-ups (used for curing bulging disks that could cause hernias and restless legs)

Foam roll your upper back (posture, bench press, front squats)

Lessons Learned About Celebrity Worship From Buying Soccer Star Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s Ferrari

Only buy things you don’t have to tell people about


Gorilla communities have one alpha male that rules supreme (“The Naked Ape“)

To the rest of the group he basically is a god. And God help irreverents.

Hence, individuals lacking the god reverence gene would be propagationally challenged.

Humans have by and large kept the god gene since the split-off 6  million years ago. Society however has changed. Without an absolute ruler physically present, many choose to believe in some outerworldly ruler instead – God.

No serious scientist would accept phenomena that can’t be measured, since it would be impractical. Still many scientists believe in God. That’s how strong the urge to fill the void from the original alpha gorilla is.


In parallel fashion, during humanity’s formative years, a typical society could only sustain 200 people

All of those were important and very well known, essentially VIPs and celebrities. To this day a typical human being can only keep close track of 200 important people, and also make sure we fill that quota. Thus we find one supreme ruler, like an emperor or God, and 200 close friends and celebrities. Due to today’s isolated city life, combined with 24/7 celebrity coverage, celebrities can seem more important than friends and family. It’s ingenious how various rulers intuitively have exploited this trait for power or money:

The catholic church and the pope, communists outlawing religion to make room for themselves at the very top. Then there is Hollywood, American Idol and reality shows replacing the village community, enabling sales of records, clothes and other stuff. Rather than revering an inherited family car or watch, many are willing to pay through their teeth for anything with even the slightest association with an A list celebrity. Weird, really, and not just a little funny.


The Voight effect – stardom rub-off

In one episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza is excited over buying Jon Voight‘s old car. Jerry later finds out it wasn’t Angelina Jolie’s father but another Voight, namely the completely unknown John Voight, completely ruining George’s experience of driving a celebrity car.

George Costanza in a Voight car 

Back in 2005, I bought a Ferrari 360 spider (convertible) from the world’s fourth greatest soccer player, Zlatan Ibrahimovich (highest paid player in Series A in 2011, During his 12 years as a professional player in Europe Zlatan won the series 10 times with six different teams. His transfer to Barcelona in 2009 was the fourth highest ever at 69m EUR. In 2013 he was ranked 4:th in the world. In 2014 he was the third highest paid soccer player with 40m USD). I, however, hardly knew who he was – and when I heard it was his car, I was more concerned whether he had taken good care of it than I was excited (Zlatan grew up in arguably the worst suburb in Sweden).

Sprezzaturian’s Ferrari (previously Zlatan’s)


Zlatan was flattered

My friend’s promptly told me who Zlatan was and said I should ask for a souvenir. I did and soon got the answer from the dealer that Zlatan had signed a match shirt and sent by express package directly to me. The dealer also said that Zlatan actually was “a bit excited that the buyer (me) wanted his shirt and autograph and wasn’t at all bothered – rather flattered“. OK, that was an interesting turn of events. Some kind of reverse celebrity psychology. With time I still appreciated the effect the story had on other people, because it made Zlatan’s greatness rub off on me. Anyway, after this episode, I felt cheated on the shirt (it never arrived), and increasingly annoyed as the years passed by and Zlatan’s star grew ever brighter. I’m not proud of it; I felt cheated on a shirt from a person I had hardly heard about. The celebrity effect at work.


FACT: A second hand super sports car will permanently

set you back 15% per year of its cash price.

A 100 000 dollar car actually costs you

15 000 per year in petrol, insurance, price fall, maintenance etc.


Driving the Ferrari convertible added positively to my life during the three years I kept it. In short, it made me happy. The Zlatan story was, however, marginal, whereas track racing, accelerating/braking and speeding were magical – in particular in tunnels. The sound of Ferrari’s V8 going past a certain rpm in an enclosed space, combined with he rush of air (top down, always) and tunnel light flickering past like in a spaceship, was pure joy.

Doing this uncontrolled and most involuntary full 360 spin at 110 mph was one of the best experiences I had in that car:

I originally upgraded to the Ferrari, from my Porsche convertible, after seeing a beautiful Ferrari 360 cruise leisurely through Stockholm city one too many times. At the end I even started feeling slightly ashamed, “just” driving a Porsche when I could drive a Ferrari. Typical second-hander thinking. Low self-esteem. I think I had just as many happy moments and memories in the Porsche as I did in the Ferrari at five times the cost. Thus, in retrospect it was quite a lousy “upgrade”. And then I made the same mistake again – just worse:


Lunch break Lamborghini

During a lunch break with a junior colleague I walked past a Lamborghini dealer and bought a bright yellow (“Midas gialli”) Gallardo convertible. Of course I coveted it and had done for some while, but part of the decision was based on impressing my colleague and my friends. And remember, I still owned Zlatan’s Ferrari.

It took about a month to get rid of the redundant set of wheels and focus on the Lambo. It really was an amazing machine; faster, easier to handle, 30% bigger engine, futuristic design and not least a much newer model to impress people with. The first two years were as good as with the Ferrari, but then I lost interest in driving, in track racing, and eventually in other people’s opinions and living a second-hander’s life (vicariously). Nevertheless I drove it for one more season and then put it up for sale.

This time it took more than a month. First the dealer went bankrupt, then the market for second hand Lambos crashed. It took three years to sell. The final selling price was almost 100 000 USD less than the dealer first thought I could get for it.

Thinking back, I think my best time was with my first car, a red BMW with a crappy cooler, that cost me a tenth of what the Porsche cost and close to a hundredth of the list price for the Gallardo. In terms of cost of ownership the difference was even greater. Back then I didn’t spend one second on what anybody else might think. After a 15 year round trip, I’ve finally returned to that blissful state of independence and integrity. I  have finally learned my lessons regarding conspicuous consumption and living vicariously:

  • Focus on what makes you happy and what you think is fun

  • Flash and glamour have very little worth

  • Beautiful cars look better from the outside

  • The cost is ridiculous at 15% per year of the car’s cash price

  • Before any purchase, stop yourself if any part of the consideration is telling others about it



Sprezzaturian’s Lamborghini

Super car ownership facts:

FERRARI 360 SPIDER (8.20 USD/mile or a total cost of ownership per year of 15% of the cash price)

Actual sales price, first sale around July 2003: 1 795 000 SEK (260k USD)
Price drop the first 22 months: 470 000 SEK (-26%, -68k)

Price: my second-hand price, May 17, 2005: 1 325 000 SEK (192k)
Maintenance due to track racing: 54 315 SEK (brake discs, clutch, tires etc; 7 872 USD)
Annual services, 2006, 2007, 2008: 54 350 SEK (30 500+10 500+8850; 7 877 USD)
Parking, garage 36 months: 71 000 SEK (10k)
Insurance: 75 261 SEK (11k)
Gas, petrol: 47 939 SEK (6 948 USD)

Price drop (May 17, 2008): 285 000 SEK (21,5% of what I paid for the car; -41k)
Sales price, gross: 1 095 000 SEK (based on estimated sales commission)
Sales provision: 55 000 SEK (No info, but let’s say 5% of sales price)
Sales price net: 1 040 000 SEK (I sold it on a net price basis; 150 725 USD)
Sales costs: 0 SEK (immediate sale, no extra costs)
Net, net sales price: 1 040 000 SEK (78.5% of what I paid, i.e., a 21.5% loss)

Total cash cost 2005-2008, exactly 36 months: 587 865 SEK (85 198 USD; 44,4% of what I paid for the car, or half the percentage loss compared to my Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder)

Since I drove 16 760 km (10 416 miles) my cost per 10 km was 351 SEK, or 8.2 USD per mile. About a third of what my Lamborghini cost.


LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO SPYDER (22.50 USD/mile or a total cost of ownership per year of 15% of the cash price)

Actual sales price, first sale in July 2006: 2 120 000 SEK (308k USD)
Price drop the first 18 months: 680 000 SEK (-32%)

Price: my second-hand price, April 1, 2008: 1 440 000 SEK (208 700 USD)
Maintenance due to track racing: 184 851 SEK (27k USD; clutch, brakes, tires, re-cond etc)
Service, 30 000km = 20 000 miles: 35 895 SEK (5200 USD)
Parking, garage: 66 055 SEK (9600 USD)
Insurance: 135 263 SEK (19600 USD)
Gas, petrol: 37 676 SEK (5500 USD)

Price drop (May 21, 2014): 690 000 SEK (48% of what I paid for the car)
Sales price, gross: 750 000 SEK (109 000 USD)
Sales provision: 75 000 SEK (10% of sales price)
Sales price net: 675 000 SEK
Sales costs: 45 000 SEK (garage, insurance)
Net, net sales price: 630 000 SEK (91 437 USD, 44% of what I paid, i.e., a 56% drop)

Total cash cost 2008-2014: 1 269 740 SEK (184 287 USD; 88% of what I paid for the car)

Since I drove 13 172 km (8 186 miles) my cost per 10 km was 964 SEK, or 22.5 USD per mile. Think about that the next time you se a sports car cruise by…

However, if you would have bought the car from me directly, without middle men, you would only have paid 91 437 USD in May 2014, and your price drop over a handful of years would almost certainly be less than half of that – perhaps 10k USD per year. If you have your own garage, cheap or no insurance and don’t drive on race tracks, you would only pay for gas (1/2 gallon per 10 kilometers, or 12 miles per gallon) and the occasional service and maintenance.

Cocktails made easy for a perfect start to the new year

Cocktails (3+ ingredients) are more manly than 2-in-1 cowboy drinks.

cocktail time soon?

Make 2015 count and start off the year with some delicious home made cocktails.


Tomorrow is the real premiere for this site, IMPROVE – SpreZZaturian.

January 2015 also marks the time when my new e-book about investment lessons will be e-mailed to you, if you are a subscriber.

Until then, kick off the new year by:

1. Making perfect cocktails, short drinks and long drinks – using the 3-2-1 principle of 3 parts liquor, 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part homemade syrup. (link to my previous site with details on how to make cocktails)

2. Priming to make 2015 a year to remember – experience something new that you will never forget.

3. Staying young and healthy, by stretching your psoas, mobilizing your shoulders, squatting deep and long, and bending your back over a foam roller.

PS: make sure to subscribe and forward the address to this site to a friend (or enemy).

PPS: External link to 25 cocktail recipes.