Further Watching and Reading

This was supposed to go at the end of my last post, but it was running a little long. Basically, here is collection of writings about fitness from around the internet which I've found either useful, thought provoking, or fun.

Warning: the blog post features two pictures of women in bikinis. It's totally relevant in context, be in case that isn't safe for your work: be warned.

Everything You Know About fitness is a Lie

I really have to start here, because I think this is possibly the best article about fitness I've ever read. The internet, by and large, seems to agree with me. I'll keep me commentary on it to a minimum. Seriously. Go read it.

Matt Might on Gaining Muscle with Least Resistance

Matt Might is an assistant professor in Computer Science at the University of Utah. His posts on programming languages are a fairly common sight towards the top of Hacker News. Then out of nowhere he wrote this post about how he'd gone about getting himself into shape. I don't agree with everything he writes here[1], but this is a well written post which is worth reading for three things in particular:

  1. His motivations, which I can understand completely, even though I don't have kids of my own;
  2. The improvement in his overall quality of life;
  3. It's basically an ode to the principle of "the best workout program is the one which works for you".

Sohee Lee on Why Being a Cardio Bunny is Bad for Your Butt

This one (and the next one) is for you, H. You know who you are.

Here's an article by Sohee Lee, who is actually the online trainer I worked with. That really didn't work out, but I still have a lot of respect for her and the philosophy behind a lot of her writing. The TL;DR here is that if you (girls) want your ass to look like this:

...you should do heavy squats, not cardio. Let's continue along that thread some.

Miss America's Workout Program

Now let's talk a little bit about one of Miss Sohee Lee's clients. It seems to be the case that women don't want to lift weights, because they're worried it will make them bulky. I guess that depends on how you define bulky. This is a picture of Mallory Hagan, the current Miss America:

Now, I can only speak for myself here, but I do not look at that picture and think "too bulky." To pull a quote from the West Wing, I look at that picture and think something along the lines of "That's a fine looking woman." If you're thinking the same thing, perhaps you're curious about her training program. I'll let her explain:

I guess the takeaway here is that if you're female, lifting heavy weights isn't going to suddenly make you look like an Olympic weight lifter. If you work incredibly hard you might end looking a bit more like an Olympic heptathlete though, if you catch my drift.

Why do I care? It's not entirely un self serving. I personally think that healthy is more attractive than skinny. See also: The Rise of the Hard Bodied Woman and Alice Eve in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Bro Science Life

Okay, time for a little bit of comedy. Bro Science Life is a YouTube channel featuring a series of fitness / gym related comedy videos. I find most of them utterly hilarious (but then I used to think Ask a Ninja was hilarious as well).

The videos are, in particular, making fun of "bro culture", which in my experience does exist, but is not as prevalent as you might think. There's also actually a surprising amount of solid information in the videos, if you can separate the "funny because it's true" from the hyperbole and comedy bro science. For example:

I think I actually agree with all of that… except for the thing about not using small plates. Slow and steady wins the race.

Strength Standards

Lastly here's a site a friend introduced me to, and which I've come to find quite useful. Basically: plug in your gender and weight, then your weight and reps for each of the four primary barbell lifts. It then gives you a theoretical one rep max, and places you on a scale from "Untrained" to "Elite". I find it to be a fairly useful progress tracking tool. Also: I like graphs.

  1. I wouldn't go anywhere near that "strength training" contraption. ↩︎