Body Hacking – While Being a Road Warrior

Body Hacking – While Being a Road Warrior

I recently read Road Warriors – Healthy Tips for Staying ‘On Plan’ by Steve Katasi and thought it was really good. We have developed a lot of the same strategies. I wanted to point people towards it and add a few additions:

  • 1.1: Snacks: there are a TON of good options for protein bars, and powders. Also, many gas stations have Muscle Milk or other protein drinks. Just pay attention to nutrition labels. A lot of them are more junk than food. Remember macros, macros, macros.
  • 2.2: Make Hotel Gym a Must Have Criteria: Calisthenics can be done at any gym. There are progressive overload techniques for calisthenics, so for a day or two trip, this can work.
  • 2.3: Better Still – Access to Commercial Gym: I would go a step further than Steve does. Not only are external gyms better equipped, they can be destinations in and of themselves. I love working out in other countries. Japan, Belgium, and Czech Republic have all been extremely interesting – each country has it’s own gym culture. Also, many major cities have amazing old school gyms. In Dallas once, I went to Doug’s Gym (see picture) – it was an old gym opened in the 70s after the owner won the lottery. It reminded me of Rocky I. Find an awesome gym, it’s totally motivational.
  • 2.4: Lower Workout Expectations: I don’t completely agree on this one. Generally, I find having a keel to your workout programming helps keep you on track. For me, that is Wendler 5/3/1. I also have days for conditioning, Yoga, running, and other accessory work. I prefer to program the flexibility into my routine. Then, when traveling it makes it easier to stay on the program. Even a 20-30 minute run mixed in can help, bu that’s part of my program. I don’t recommend lowering your expectation, I recommend having harder and lighter days. Count the travel days as lighter days in the program.
  • 5.4 Avoid Crappy Sandwiches: I COMPLETELY disagree with this point. Food is Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. While, I can absolutely feel it when I eat high glycemic index foods (I can feel the hunger strike harder), this is nothing more than an optimization. Also, when you eat a sandwich, just drink a protein shake, and maybe a high fiber bar (there are plenty). As long as you mix a high protein source and some fiber (which is a carb), you will feel fine and be totally fine. Also, there is NO evidence that Gluten is universally inflammatory. In fact, it’s recommended that you should eat gluten, unless you are sensitive to it. Read more here and here.
  • 5.4: Good Protein – Rich Breakfast: Again, a mix of science and fact. I absolutely agree that breakfast is the meal to get things going in the right direction and in fact, it’s the best one to start with a strong protein macro count. That said, there is NO factual evidence that skipping it matters for calorie control. That is a myth. In fact, the latest science basically says that meal timing is irrelevant. Three medium sized meals, five, small meals, 47 tiny snacks. It all works. See more here and here.

My few disagreements aside, I think his article has some really great tips and tricks…. Good luck, and keep hacking…

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Netflix – Technology Wizards or Good Content?

I love the content they produce like Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Stranger Things, and House of Cards. But, remember back to before Netflix produced this content? They were struggling with subscribers, under attack from cable companies, and their future looked very, very uncertain. So, how did they turn the ship around?

They started producing their own content. And, let’s be clear – software engineering at Netflix did not make that decision. This is a quintessential “business decision.” This was a decision to create value for their market – people who watch content through the Internet. They were a content distributor and they decided to enter an adjacent market – content creation.

Yet, time and time again Netflix is referenced as some kind of technology wizards, contributing the OSS Stack, moving to the cloud for almost everything, hiring only the best and the brightest.

They are held in high regard for “disrupting” the cable industry – but, for the wrong reasons. It’s not their technology that is their differentiated value proposition to the market. It is their cunning move to create content akin to HBO. At the same time, this places them in a stronger position to negotiate better contracts for their distribution business.

I would argue that they have succeeded, not because of their technology, but despite it. Their end user experience is rather lacking, yet they keep attracting and retaining subscribers. Here’s a few examples.

1. They finally, just recently added the ability to download movies and watch them offline. Even now, not all content can be downloaded, even some they produced, which makes no sense to me. Google Play and Amazon Prime have had this since almost the beginning of their service, yet nobody hails them as some great innovators.

2. It takes forever when you rewind or fast-forward. Again, Google Play and Amazon Prime both have smoother, better experiences.

3. Subtitles get blocked when the video is paused. Something thst is just really annoying when the reason that you paused it is so that you can read it slower.

So, the next time you hear somebody call Netflix a technology company, just quote their own CEO:

We spend money more like a media company than a tech company

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Wisdom in Primates – The Four Branches

Wisdom in Primates – The Four Branches

Have you ever looked over at someone and seen them doing some fairly impressive physical or mental feat? You might day to yourself, wow, I don’t know if I can do that?

The other day, I was taking a yoga class, and I noticed a new student next to me bending all the way down until her elbows were touching the ground. I thought to myself, she doesn’t seem to have a lot of experience doing yoga. In fact, she seemed somewhat uncoordinated. I was kind of impressed. I thought to myself, ahh to be young again.

When you’re young, you just “do” stuff. You are either able to do it or you’re not, but you have the urge to try it. Let’s do backflips off the 20ft bridge into the water below. Let’s ride 50 miles. Let’s hike 20 miles. No problem, when you’re young, life just kinda happens.

As you age, you might become more sophisticated in your analysis. When you see something cool that you want to try, you might come to any of the following conclusions:

  1. I have never been able to do that and will most likely never be able to do it in the future either.
  2. I used to be able to that when I was younger, but I can’t do that anymore. I will probably never be able to do it that again.
  3. I used to be able to do that when I was younger, but I can’t do that anymore. I might be able to do that again, if I focus, and move like a plant.
  4. I can do that now and execute it like a tiger.

So, the next time you see somebody doing something cool and you kinda want to try it, put it in one of the four branches. Move like a plant, or move like a tiger, but may you never confuse the two. Bring clarity to your mind and consciously choose the path of the plant or the tiger. Pluck the strawberry and eat it…

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The Tiger and The Bonsai

The Tiger and The Bonsai

Your body has two ways that it can move. Like a tiger and like a bonsai plant. Tigers move quickly, striking their prey. Bonsai plants move slowly, over time, growing towards the Sun.

Humans do both. We run, jump, try new things, sing, and play music we already know. We enact these movements from instinct and muscle memory like a tiger. We are most comfortable with the satisfaction of these quick movements – we understand their outcomes better and can see the results immediately.

We also go into a calorie deficit to lose weight, we lift weights to stimulate muscle growth. We do Yoga to increase our flexibility. But, each of these changes is slow like a plant.

These movements are inextricably connected. If you run a mile, 50 times, over six months, you will, over time, slowly get faster. Same with weights – you will get stronger. Same with diet – your body composition will change. Same with education.

The fast actions influence the slow actions, and the slow actions affect the fast actions. Over and over and over until we grow towards the Sun, or we are eaten by the tiger….

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Three Unexpected Benefits of Losing 35 lbs

Three Unexpected Benefits of Losing 35 lbs

About a year and a half ago, I started on a journey to loose 35 pounds. When I started, like many people, I just had this nagging feeling that I needed to loose some weight and do more for my health. I had no idea how far this would go to changing my life forever. I want to quickly share a few unexpected thing that happened:

1. Everything is more fun. I am way more flexible. Bending down doesn’t bother me anymore. Getting up off the ground is way easier. Walking for an hour in the mall doesn’t hurt my back anymore. Pull-ups are way easier. Squats are easier. When I am snowboarding, it’s so much easier to do jumps, etc. I just have more fun doing anything physical, even workouts.

2. It’s changed my view on aging. I feel younger. I am less scared to try new things. My posture is better. My gait when I walk is better. I look better – and my clothes actually fit me. I noticed that I am more playful during physical activity – watch young people, they trip their friends, they make unnecessary moves when walking, they throw rocks and bang sticks – that’s back. People tell me I look younger. I rather like that part 🙂

3. I have a renewed sense of being able to change things in my life. It’s difficult to admit, but I remember looking down at my stomach as it slowly grew year after year, thinking to myself, I guess this is just part of getting older – I guess I will just never look and feel like I did when I was younger. I was resigned to it. Sure, I had seen “before & after” photos of people loosing weight, but that seemed distant and unreal. About a year into my journey, I had lost 4″ off my waist and 30+ lbs. I realized I needed new shirts, pants, and suits – which startled me. I hadn’t planned for that. Let that sink in. I hadn’t planned for it because, when I started, I didn’t really believe I could loose the weight. That hurt when I realized it. I don’t know what new goals I will set in the coming years, but I have a stoic feeling I can achieve unknown things.

All of these little things add up. Together, they have made me feel a lot happier day to day. So, if you felt like I did and you are sick of it, here’s how I started my journey. For me, it started as an experiment – now I know I will do this for the rest of my life. I never want to gain the weight back – ever.

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Armchair Quarterbacks & The Florida School Shooting

Armchair Quarterbacks & The Florida School Shooting

So, you think you know what you would do in a school shooting? You think that Sheriff should have ran into that Florida school without thinking right? Yeah? You’d do some kinda John Mcclane shit from the original Die Hard? Let me tell you why you have no idea what you would do. There’s a lot more to tactically assaulting a building than what you think.

Before I go on, let me tell you, I don’t know shit. The more I learn, the less I feel like I know for sure (see full disclosure at the end of this article). That said, I have learned a few things about guns, and terrorism over time. Also, when the Florida school shooting happened, I happened to be in the middle of reading a book called Terror at Beslan about the Chechen terrorists who took over a school in North Ossetia (part of Russian Federation). It was a shitshow with 1000+ kids taken hostage, 300+ people dead, hundreds of children, and like 800 wounded. A..complete…shit show. Worse, it could happen in America – but I digress.

If you think the Sheriff was a total pussy and should have ran in guns a blazing, let’s start with some background information to frame this question right.

Tactics for Assaulting Buildings with Terrorists and Active Shooters

First, there are two main tactics for assaulting buildings. While in the West, we have these things called civil liberties, the Russians see no need for that. They are a bit more stoic, pragmatic, and nihilistic.

  1. Western special forces and law enforcement generally follow a philosophy which can be summed up with the phrase, “speed, surprise and violence of action” – you will find that this language is common in any discussion of tactics. Generally, it means, train like a mother fucker so that a whole team of law enforcement or special operators can move into a building quickly, organized and overwhelm the enemy. This will minimize casualties for civilians and operators, minimize the time to take control, and maximize casualties of the terrorists.
  2. The Russians generally follow the above philosophy as well, but they add some stuff that doesn’t sit well with Westerners. First, they LOVE gas. They will use paralysis gas, sleep gas, all kinds of gas. Even when terrorists have gas masks, it knocks out all of the hostages so that they can’t be used as human shields, nor get in the way of friendly fire. Second, they will shoot through hostages. The Russians generally consider you “already fucked” once you have been taken hostage. If you survive, great, but if not it’s because you were already dead anyway. Third, they like to take the terrorist’s families hostage and use them as bargaining pieces. Kinda interesting.

What The Sheriff’s Deputy Probably Knew and Didn’t Know

Now let’s move on to some shit the Sheriff might have been thinking. I don’t know for sure, but it’s reasonable to think that almost any law enforcement officer would know this stuff…

  1. An AR15 is loud as fuck. People know when somebody is shooting an AR15 or AK47 (which is even louder). This gives you an indication of what you are facing if you hear one firing in a building.
  2. AR15s are WAY, WAY, WAY more accurate than pistols. They are frighteningly more accurate. The first time I ever fired one, I could hit hard drives (like 3″ X 5″) from like 100 yards away – without my reading glasses on. They are fucking terrifyingly accurate.
  3. AR15s will shoot through anything in a school, ANYTHING. There is nothing that would provide cover, so you have to move, fire, move, which most average cops don’t know how to do very well. Here’s a video of an AR firing through cinder blocks – this isn’t like the movies where you duck around the corner and you are fine.
  4. It’s possible he had no idea who was shooting. Could have been a trained terrorist (yes, they are well trained, read Terror at Beslan and you will never feel safe again)
  5. It’s possible he had no idea how many shooters there were
  6. It’s possible he had no idea if there were hostages
  7. It’s possible he had no idea if there were bombs
  8. It’s possible he had no idea about anything
  9. It’s possible he was following local department policy on SOLO ENTRY AND “CONTACT TEAMS” which are all over the map depending on police force

Facts

  • If he ran in by himself, he would not be following best practice for assaulting a building
  • He waited 4 minutes
  • The investigation still isn’t complete so we don’t know a lot yet
  • If he would have ran in, and shot a kid by mistake he would be fucked
  • If he ran in, and got shot to death, he would be fucked
  • If he ran in and the shooter had a kid hostage, he would be fucked
  • He didn’t received any clear commands that we know of
  • The shooter is responsible for killing the kids – he is not

The Actual Solution

After reading Terror at Beslan, I have realized that nobody in the USA is talking about the real solutions.

  • More guns is not the answer. Arming teachers is retarded. The average cop qualifies once a year and fires like 60 rounds. That’s not enough, and they don’t do more because it’s expensive. No teacher is going to have the time/money to train enough. Furthermore, it’s tactically useless in like 99.9% of all scenarios. In Terror at Beslan, there was an armed guard, and an armed police officer. Both were taken hostage by terrorists, gave up their weapons, and were summarily executed because they could be a danger later. If you are telling me that a teacher wouldn’t give up in a heartbeat if given the “hostage” choice, you are crazy. As an aside, never take the hostage option, it’s a ruse. Always fight to the death. My two cents.
  • Less guns is not the answer either. Banning guns only takes them away from normal people. The Charlie Hebdo Attack and the Bataclan Attack happened in France where people can’t easily have guns. Taking guns away does not stop terrorists or crazy people (who are almost always smart). Technically, we could probably stop stupid, crazy people by taking guns away, but I don’t think it would help enough that it’s worth the political battle.
  • The Russians learned from the Beslan attack. The citizens had a shitload of weapons, including rocket launchers and machine guns, but they still didn’t assault the school (but armchair quarterbacks think the Sheriff’s Deputy should have with a 9mm pistol). The terrorists did, however, gather intelligence on the school for weeks, maybe months.
  • So, the main thing we can do is wake the fuck up, and keep our eyes open. Terrorist typically build intelligence, just like special forces. This is just like child molesters, so when you see the crazy looking dude in the white van sitting outside the school, say something!!!
  • Active shooters are similar but different. But, they usually post stuff on social media, so again if you see something, say something!!!
  • I think the gun restraining order is a good happy medium, it adheres to every fact we know about active shooters and terrorists. Terrorists probably don’t buy all of their weapons, but they will often give away telltale signs while gathering intelligence. Also, following the money stream is useful, which the FBI already does.

Enough Armchair Quarterbacking

I get that people think things should be a certain way, but they’re not. They’re just not. There are practical constraints to the possible solutions.

  • Cops ought to train to fire while moving, have body armor, practice with ARs, and be physically fit.
  • In reality, they qualify once a year, firing 60ish rounds and many are overweight and out of shape
  • We always want what ought to be vs. what is
  • We need to live in reality vs. fantasy
  • We need to think about how to fix things vs. get mad and rant

Full Disclosure on My Background

  • 42 year old, white male – 168 lbs 5’9″
  • College degree in Four Field Anthropology. Minor in Computer Science. Took a special topics 300/400 level sociology class on terrorism after 9/11.
  • Market and sell free software for a living
  • Have shot AR15s and plenty of handguns, semi-automatic and revolvers
  • Train at gun range once per quarter – typically fire 200 rounds – do drills like a martial art
  • Train 4-7 times per week – weight training, jump rope, rowing, running in weight vests, basically nutty
  • Personal records: 360 lbs X 3 deadlift, 315 lbs X 4 squat, 205 lbs X 2 bench, 130 lbs X 1 overhead press. No other exercises matter.
  • Grew up very poor, have been in plenty of physical fights
  • Trained in high school in a private fight club – fought every day – every day – boxing gloves, no kicking in the privates, no gouging eyes, no other rules – lost plenty – won plenty
  • Have been kicked in the head – three times to be exact – same fight – it sucked
  • I don’t believe more guns are the answer, I don’t believe less guns are the answer either
  • Radically neutral politically, always looking for the logical fallacies on both sides (I hate Libertarians too)
  • I have never been in the military, been a law enforcement officer, or shot at anybody, but I have empathy for these jobs….
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Brooding About the Duality of Man (and Woman)

Pogue Colonel: You write “Born to Kill” on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?

Sergeant Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.

We all struggle with duality, when I watch or read the news, sometimes I think I am a Nihilist. But, then I am on a mountain peering over the edge, realizing how close death is, and I realize I am not a Nihilist.

Another duality that strikes me is the concept of sexual dimorphism among primates – particularly humans. We seem to want to emphasize it more than ever, yet neutralize it at the same time. Men wear big, masculine watches and tight shirts to show off biceps, while woman wear makeup and show off cleavage. At the same time, there is a trend toward deemphasizing sexual dimorphism, even letting children choose their own gender, yet children don’t have much sexual dimorphism until they hit puberty, which is based on biology, not culture. It seems absurd.

Lastly, there is a trend toward eating natural foods, Paleo and Primal Blueprint claim you should steer clear of “processed” foods. Yet, almost everyone which is into these diets eats processed MCT oil from Coconuts and suppliments with protein shakes made from processed powders.

The point is, duality is all around us and it’s interesting what causes our brains to emphasize one or the other. Just remember, nobody ever blames the gun when a cop shoots an innocent person, and nobody ever blames the shooter in a school shooting. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been brooding about.

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