Why lift weights?
First of all, I believe that lifting weights can and will benefit anybody and everybody, irregardless of age gender experience, etc.
For example, everyone wants to become “healthier”. But what does it mean to be healthy? My thought is that health is a non-concept, strength is a real concept.
For example, one of the best predictors for mortality rates in the elderly is in regards to grip strength. People who have a stronger grip end up living longer than people with a weak grip. And the point isn’t to do one of those stupid grip strengthening coil machines, which you grip with your hand, it seems much more effective to just lift really heavy weights.
Even with children, when a child or a baby can grip your finger really really strong, it is a good indicator of health.
But won’t I injure myself?
No. Ironically enough, by not lifting weights, you’re more likely to injure yourself.
Notions of “proper form”
I don’t believe in form, there is no such thing as “proper form”. Why? Everyone has different bodily proportions. There are some people who are 7 feet tall, and there are some people who are 4 feet tall. There are some people with a very long arms and torsos, some people very short legs and hips.
Also, anatomical difference between men and women. Irregardless of your political perspectives, the male body and the female body or anatomically different. Women tend to have wider hips, for childbirth. Therefore, it seems to make sense that when it comes to lifting weights, everyone will always do a little bit differently.
Who is CrossFit for?
A very interesting modern phenomenon is CrossFit, or the notion of “functional fitness“. Is it a good idea? My personal belief is no.
I have witnessed and observed a few CrossFit classes, and to me, it is very bizarre.
I think CrossFit is very very good for people who have never touched a weight before, and they want some sort of group encouragement and motivation. However, once you have figured out how to do things yourself, to have to attend a group class is uninteresting to me.
Working “hard” is not virtuous
In America, we have this bizarre equation that the harder one “works out“, and the more pain one endures, the more virtuous one is. But is this true? I think no. I think this is a slave mentality.
For example, a new innovation that I have been doing is at the gym doing very very heavy rack pulls, and “micro squats”. An interesting observation is that this is seen as “cheating“, or ineffective. On the contrary, my thighs are growing out of control, right now I have Hercules thighs, or turbo thighs. I really think my thighs can move the world.
Also, heavy rack pulls. A few days ago or about half a week ago, I successfully rack pulled six plates and a 10 on each side, which is around 605 pounds in total. Currently, my traps, or my trapezius muscles are insane and out of control. Nowadays even looking at myself in the mirror with a T-shirt on, even I am shocked to see how intimidating my traps have become.
Why everyone at the gym is so myopic
Myopic means nearsighted, and small minded.
A funny observation at the gym is that everyone is so sequestered in their own little silos. For example, the left side of the gym is all of the powerlifters, and the right side of the gym with the dumbbells and free weights are the bodybuilders. Then there is this little corner for that weird calisthenic guys Who can do really good handstands, and then there is a corner for guys to do boxing and kickboxing, and then there’s the center of the gym where people who don’t really know what they’re doing just do the treadmill or stairmaster.
I like this notion of “full stack strength.” I essentially am the only guy I know who does yoga and can rack pull over six plates, and micro squat over six plates. Also, I’m the only guy at the gym who does “hypelifting“, that is, I get really really loud to hype myself up before attempting to lift something brand new.
The funny thing is I like to mess around with peoples perceptions. For example, as a fun experiment, I went over to the free weight section, where all the bodybuilders hang out, and I attempted to rack pull six plates and a 25 on each side. Because I had nowhere to do it, I just did it from a bench press. While I was able to successfully rack pull six plates, I failed at the six plates and 25. The reason why this was so interesting and remarkable was I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do this, that is, just rack pull a very very heavy weight on the bottom rung of the bench press, and just try to rack pull it.
Funny biases I’ve discovered between “powerlifters“ versus “bodybuilders“.
Powerlifters tend to be shorter, fatter, and have more of an insecurity bias. Bodybuilders tend to be more fun, interesting, although more guys tend to use steroids or other weird testosterone boosting things.
I like the idea of being some sort of hybrid, lift like a powerlifter, but look like a bodybuilder.
Also, the bias is that bodybuilders are not as strong as powerlifters. Not always true, the other day I saw a dude doing a slightly elevated dumbbell press with 135 pound dumbbells for about six repetitions. Although it is my suspicion the guy is on steroids, his bodily proportions look bizarre, I was still impressed.
Also, powerlifters tend to be more standoffish, and also tend to weirdly try to size one another up, essentially think to themselves, “can that other guy lift more than me or less than me? And if he could lift more than me, how is he doing it in an illegitimate way?”
The funny thing with bodybuilders, is typically they have massive arms and upper bodies, but stick or chicken legs. Powerlifters tend to be more impressive that they have very very muscular and strong legs, but my critique of powerlifters are they are too fat. I think they eat too much carbs and sugar in order to gain weight, in order to try to lift heavier weights. Powerlifters don’t seem to care about their aesthetics enough, they only care about maximizing there one repetition maxes in any of their lifts.
So what is the best way to lift weights?
My personal theory is this: increase the weight, reduce the range of motion.
Several reasons why. First of all, I think it is actually more fun and interesting this way. It is much more fun and interesting to attempt to lift a very very heavy weight, even a fraction of a centimeter, much more so than doing it for repetitions, grinding out hateful reps in the spirit of a bodybuilder.
Also, my theory on injury is not actually the weight you attempt, but actually, doing too many repetitions of a given thing. If you do too many repetitions, without proper sleep or recovery, I think that is actually what causes injury. I think this is why bodybuilders and CrossFitters tend to always be beridden with so many injuries. And actually funny enough, it seems that powerlifters rarely, if ever get injured.
What is the point of lifting weights?
From a philosophical perspective, it is fun and thrilling. Secondly, the heavier weights you lift, the more you will augment your muscle mass, your skeletal muscle. Muscle looks sexy on anyone and everyone, doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.
Third, I believe that weightlifting shifts your hormones in a positive way. I believe that lifting weights will increase your testosterone, which is good for both men and women. Funny enough, I think the reason why a lot of modern millennials have such difficulty getting pregnant is that both the men and women both have too low testosterone. If you want to get pregnant, both the man and the woman should start lifting weights, and also eating more red meat, to increase their testosterone.
For the most part, it seems that the more testosterone you got, the better. The caveat is you do not want to take these weird testosterone injections, oral supplements, etc.
Why intellectuals love weightlifting
I remember when I was in Providence Rhode Island with Cindy, and I would frequent the Brown gym, one of the guys I met loved doing very very heavy squats, above four plates on each side. I asked him why he liked weightlifting so much, and he told me that as a physicist, he could work on a given equation or concept for months without any progress. However with weightlifting, even if he is able to move the weight half a centimeter, he feels successful.
In fact, I think all academics and scholars would benefit from weightlifting. It is my belief that more academics should lift weights, and more weightlifters should also be academic.
Why? A lot of modern academics suffer from the fact that they are too stressed, eat too much sugar and carbs, do not consume enough red meat, and also do not go to the gym. In fact, ever since Cindy has been getting back into weightlifting and yoga, it looks like she has actually become more productive as a scholar.
Even for myself, the stronger I am physiologically, the more turbo my thoughts become.
What is physiology? Matters which pertain to the human body.
In fact, studying physiology, and philosophizing about physiology is actually more effective than philosophizing about the “soul“. Why? Because the soul is the body. Not this ephemeral thing.
Should I take supplements?
Currently, I think the biggest scam is supplements, when it comes to protein powder, creatine, pre-workout powder, etc. Why? It is a multi billion dollar industry, which offers a monetary solution to maximize your gains.
In fact, the best way to really maximize your gains is eating more fatty red meat, more beef ribs, beef heart, beef liver, beef brisket, etc. The best way to get your meat and take up is to go to the Costco business Center, and go to the meat aisle. Also, you do not need to be a business to go to the Costco business center. All you need is a standard Costco membership.
Do not trust anybody on the Internet or YouTube
Do not trust anybody on the Internet, or the media when it comes to weightlifting. Why? Everyone is “cheating“ in someway or another. For example, the guys on YouTube who show themselves downing a bunch of pre-workout powder before they lift, they are probably on steroids or injecting themselves with testosterone.
Even more funny, the “natural“ body weight guys, like the calisthenics guys, CrossFit guys, even the yoga guys are all on steroids or other weird supplements.
Just drink black coffee without sugar or added milk or fake milk
The best natural supplement I believe is just black coffee. Just drink it straight black, no sugar or fake sugar, no milk or fake milk. Just black. Use a clever dripper at home, or just buy a cheap espresso machine. I do think it is beneficial to drink a little bit of black coffee, and get your caffeine intake up before you go to the gym and lift heavy weights.
Do I need to eat food immediately before or after I work out?
The misleading analogy that people make is that they liken the human body to an automobile. The thought is in order to move, you got to eat something. But this is false, as the human body is 1 trillion times more complex than a simple automobile. If a car doesn’t have gasoline, or charge, it does not go. Therefore, people think that in order to move your body, you got to eat something.
I myself have proven this to be false. I have religiously followed intermittent fasting for the last six years, never eating breakfast or lunch, only eating one massive meat dinner a day in the evening.
Also, before I lift something very very heavy at the gym, I don’t eat anything. No protein powder or supplements. Only water and black coffee.
I think I may be the strongest powerlifter out there who follows intermittent fasting. And I have proven it to be a fact that in fact you could get stronger and get buffer without consuming something within the “one hour window” post workout.
In fact, I find it positively beneficial to not eat anything or consume anything before lifting a very heavy weight.
Some practical tips
- If you are new to doing deadlifts, or an intermediate to advanced deadlifter, I suggest using the trap bar or the open hex bar. Why? If you use a trap bar or an open hex bar, you have superior leverage. Also, it is much more natural, and of course a lift more. If you have the option, I think doing a conventional or even a sumo deadlift is for suckers.
- You do not need to purchase protein powder, creatine, or any other weird supplements. Instead use that money to buy beef ribs and beef brisket at the local Costco or Costco business Center
- The best way to lift weights is barefoot. If you are not allowed to lift weights barefoot at the gym, just buy some Vibram five fingers shoes.
- Buy some weight lifting chalk on Amazon. Just buy the stuff that comes in the tube, it is less messy, and more portable. Before you attempt a new personal record in your deadlift or squat, liberally apply chalk to your hands or the bar.
- Before you attempt to lift something very very heavy, something you may never have done before, hype yourself up. Slap yourself in the face, slap your hands, arms, thighs, stomach and back. Scream really loud, and let yourself become an animal.
- Don’t use headphones or listen to music. I think it is a fact that if you listen to music while weightlifting, or attempting to achieve a new personal record for your one repetition max for a given lift, music helps. However, music becomes a crutch. I believe in fact, maybe if you want the maximum potential strength, music distracts and might actually hurt you in the long run. Or let us consider if you are a competitive powerlifter, I don’t know if you’re actually allowed to use headphones while competing. In fact, I think all headphones are bad. If you want to listen to music, play it loud on your Bluetooth speaker, or be like one of those ratchet guys who just put their iPhone to maximum volume and place it off the phone. I do believe that music should be a social experience.
- Don’t either buy or use a powerlifting belt, or knee wraps, or wrist wraps. Why? A it is a waste of money, B, I think it actually weakens you in the long run. For example, the only reason why guys use weightlifting belts is because they are afraid of injuring themselves. Also, knee wraps seem silly or knee sleeve seem silly because either guys use it to help them squat a little bit heavier weight, or they are afraid of injuring their knees. But by not using knee sleeves or wraps, and not by using a belt, you strengthen your spine, your grip, and also your ligaments and tendons.
How often should I workout?
I say however you feel like it. For example, if you feel like it, just go every day. If you’re not feeling it one day, just don’t go.
In terms of a “minimum effective dose“, I think once a week is sufficient.
Ultimately just obey your body. This is the ultimate guide.
Is it a good idea to have goals in weightlifting? I think not. Why? Goals are intimidating.
For example, for such a long time a five plate deadlift was my goal. But, I would always hype myself out (become too intimidated and scared by it). It was only after I went to Phnom Penh Cambodia, in which all the weights are in kilograms, did I no longer measure standardized weights.
I saw a guy at the gym about a week ago successfully deadlift six plates. Then after that, he tried to add 7.5 pounds to each side. I wonder why that was, but after doing the math, I discovered that if you put on six 45-pound plates, and 7.5 pounds on each side, it equals 600 pounds. Chasing round numbers hold us back.
Why try to deadlift 600 pounds? Why not 618 pounds? Or 645 pounds?
Also with money, everyone wants to become a millionaire, or now a billionaire. But as Kanye West said, let us say that your net worth is exactly $1 billion dollars USD. In theory if you go to McDonald’s and buy hamburger, your net worth is only now $999 million and inferior you are no longer a “billionaire.”
I say instead of chasing goals, just as a method and approach, just strive to indefinitely increase your personal record for any of your lifts, to keep increasing that number.
Fir example, I want to be able to keep increasing weight to my rack pull. Also, to be able to micro squat even more weight. What is my physiological limit? Seven plates, eight plates, nine plates? I have no idea, but the pursuit is what is fun and interesting to me.
This is also the funny thing about money, it doesn’t really matter how much money you have, it is always the pursuit of more which is interesting.
For example, let’s say that I have $500,000 USD in the bank. The second that I go out and buy the Lamborghini, my net worth is halved. Then the smart strategy is to not buy the Lamborghini, or the Tesla, and to just keep augmenting my war chest of money.
My only hatred in life is when I noticeably see my strength decreasing. That is why I do not like to be away from the gym too long. For example, it is very disenchanting to see my floor benchpress go down so much. Currently I can only do two plates. Ideally I should be able to do at least three or four.
Thus, a simple idea —
Never be away from the gym too long, and always strive to eat more meat!
The funny thing is that all these skinny fat losers like Bill Gates tries to consume less red meat, and also tries to get everyone else to eat less red meat. It is my personal ambition to eat more red meat, ideally 4 pounds a day.
See my TABU SHABU CHALLENGE (consuming 3 pounds of meat in less than 30 minutes).
The best way to spend your money
Spending your money on meat — the best bang for the buck for your money.
Be skeptical of everyone
Be critical and judging, certainly of ERIC KIM. However note, because I do photography, not fitness, weightlifting, or diet nutrition stuff, I don’t really have anything to gain from talking about weightlifting, diet or fitness. I may be wrong, but at least I’m not lying to you.
Better to go insanely heavy and fail, than to go halfway and succeed!
So what about photography?
Don’t you worry, ERIC KIM has not given up on photography!
First of all, it is my pragmatic thought that the more you get into weightlifting, your photography will also improve. Why? As I have become physiologically stronger, my confidence in street photography has also gone up.
Also, lately a new thing I have been doing is just walking to the gym. And along the way, I have actually discovered a lot of interesting photo opportunities, even here in the boring suburbs. Also, the walk to the gym also affords me vlogging opportunities.
Also, you can even start a gym photography project. Photograph other guys in the gym, or even just shoot selfies of yourself. In fact, I actually do think that photographing yourself topless is a good motivator for you to keep progressing, you don’t even need to share the photos online. So shoot it for yourself, and enjoy them in private.
Also, going to the gym is good for your social life, and also making new friends and talking to strangers. Also a good way to find some pretty people.
Also, if you live in the suburbs, I think going to the gym is one of the most virtuous social places you can go, and also, a lively and fun place for your social life. Much better than going to the local bar or the shopping mall, etc.
How I am so productive in photography
Ricoh GR 3X, extra small JPEG mode. Also, just use a USB-C to SD card reader for your iPad Pro, and just use the built-in Apple photos app to select and flag your best photos, and upload them directly to your website or blog.
RAW is for suckers.
Also, ditch Lightroom. Apple Photos is superior.
Share your photos
To discover deeper meaning in your life, have a chat with WHY APP?
What can you become?
Currently putting together some marketing copy for my brand new Berkeley bay area innovation workshop, next year in 2023, April 15. This will be an insanely epic workshop, focused around radical innovation.
If you’re interested, want to stay in the loop, register intent in this Google form here.
HADONG ZEN CREATIVITY RETREAT 2023
Also, still putting together logistics and planning for my next year summer HADONG South Korea ZEN creativity retreat 2023.
The dates to take a look at and try to block out is June 19 to the 23rd, 2023, Monday to Friday. Register intent for HADONG ZEN RETREAT here.
- New Concepts: Instead of thinking by analogy, perhaps it is best to radically think first principles.
- Just lean into the place you live: Check out the new Porsche 911 Dakar, which I think was built for the Middle East, Dubai, UAE market. The funny thing is that a lot of people who live in the Middle East, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, are perpetually bored. Maybe it would be more virtuous for them to just try to lean into the whole desert aesthetic, rather than trying to create some sort of boring western shopping mall center concepts. If you live in the Middle East, Dubai, maybe lean into the “Dune” aesthetic. Then, my philosophical thought about your environment is this; extract the maximum upsides of your environment, because honestly, all places suck.
- More downforce: The best is to go barefoot, or just wear Vibram five fingers shoes. If you lift weights, do not use those stupid weightlifting shoes, or squat shoes, or any shoe with some sort of healer elevation. Note how the strongman Hafthor deadlifted 501 kg, which is over 1200 pounds, barefoot. Watch it on YouTube.
HAPTIC HOLIDAY PROMOTION
Share the ideas!
If this sparked any interest within you, feel free to forward to a friend!
- Read “Milo of Croton”— the legendary ancient Greek strongman, who apparently carried a bull on his shoulders ever since it was a calf, until it was a full adult. This is how Milo got stronger. Apparently in one version of the story, once it became a full bull, he slew it and ate it all in one sitting. Epic.
- Read Nassim Taleb “Antifragile” book. Then all of his books. Honestly I think Nassim Taleb is the only living author, philosopher, and thinker, worth reading. All these other books seem too insecure.
Life is short, but the artwork you create will last a long time.
“Ars longa, vita brevis.” – Hippocrates