No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Mondays and the Olympics

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Many people love their birthdays regardless of any self-effacing comments about how old they’re getting. I don’t—my birthday is just like any other day to me. Many people despise Mondays. I don’t—they’re the same as any other day to me. For one, my weeks aren’t generally divided into work week and weekend—such is life in radio and other self-employment ventures—and haven’t been that way for over five years. For two, there’s a certain sense of hitting the figurative reset button in that Monday signals a return to self-improvement, whether that’s getting back into the gym or paying attention to the diet again, after a weekend of all manner of debauchery. If I had a traditional work schedule, I’d probably look forward to Mondays rather than having no real opinion on them one way or another (depending on the job I had, of course).

When it comes to the gym itself—not the workout—Mondays are terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. As if I needed a refresher, I was reminded of this yesterday. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a typical commercial gym, you know that Mondays are National Chest & Biceps Days, every week, period (well, unless there’s any hint of a holiday nearby, in which case the place is barer than Minka Kelly in Tony Gentilcore’s mind). Mondays are a perfect storm of entertainment, annoyance, and Darwinism, and in a relative crush of humanity to boot. So many people scurrying to a single room to contort themselves in all manner of positions on what they think (believe?) are paths to better bodies. I won’t go into the complete idiocy involved in the majority of what most people consider to be good workouts, but the attitudes with which they approach their “training” are deplorable. There’s nothing wrong with a grunt here or a heavy exhalation there, but there is absolutely no reason to fake an orgasm while doing a ten-pound shoulder press. There is nothing wrong with dropping a weight when you go for and miss a personal record lift—I often drop from the pull-up bar when I miss my last rep simply because my grip gives out—but there’s no reason to THROW your dumbbells after finishing your twenty-rep incline bench press (if you can still throw them, they obviously weren’t that heavy in the first place, and you’re obviously a prick for potentially damaging equipment that others use, and f*ck your excuse of “I pay membership dues here just like everyone else”—if it’s your personal equipment that you bought and use, that’s fine; otherwise, sit and spin, buddy).

Did you notice that the Summer Olympics are here again? I didn’t. I was really into the Olympics ten or fifteen years ago, but as I followed them more, two things really turned me off to them: (1) the promoted atmosphere of pure, fair competition repeatedly marred by impure, unfair means of competition—I frankly don’t care if the athletes dope, but don’t advertise an event as free of performance-enhancers if it’s really not—and (2) the rampant politics of the whole shebang behind a facade of world unity. Who in their right minds would approve Beijing as a host for this thing? If nature and physical well-being is your thing, who in the developing world has a worse (current) record of environmental damage than urban(izing) China? If human rights are your thing, who among the countries vying for hosting the Games has a worse (current) record of oppression and violence against its own people? Hell, people are forgetting—or never really knew—the facts behind September 11, so I guess it’s no surprise that no one remembers Tiananmen Square (I was almost ten years old when it happened, and *I* still remember it). What about censorship? The Chinese government has sworn up and down to have free and open media access. Yeah, right. Athletes, governments, and whole nations are questioning, protesting, and even boycotting these Games for various reasons, but somehow, Beijing landed the Olympics. My only real interest—and it’s a fleeting interest, at that—is the amount of coverage from NBC and its affiliated networks. They’re claiming to be broadcasting every hour of every competition, so I may try to catch some of the wrestling. Otherwise, I’ll probably be sleeping or out training in the relatively light smog and ozone hovering over Charlotte on any given day.

Recycle:
—Dr. Eades offers more evidence supporting a low(er)-carb diet (this is a geeked-out article of the Alan Aragon ilk, so be prepared).
—Recently, it was the statin mess. Now, surprise of surprises, fast-food kids’ meals are *gasp* high in calories and fairly unhealthy? Gosh, no, really? Shocking. Oh yeah, advertisers target kids, and movies turn kids into violent psychopaths. Just in case you were wondering.
—Prostate screening may do more harm than good, so age may actually be a viable excuse.

Reduce:
—Here’s another “yay” for nutrient timing, even though I’m increasingly moving away from this school of thought, but if it works for you, then go for it. For me, what you do or don’t eat is as important, if not more so, than when you eat. There’s still less than a snowball’s chance in hell that I’ll ever like beets, but I’ll gladly continue my coffee regimen until there’s definitive evidence saying moderate intake (1-2 cups per day) has more risk than reward.
—Mark weighs in on fiber, fat, and fasting.
—We’re yet another step closer to living, breathing, Wall-E-esque flubber, maybe because fewer of us live in established neighborhoods. Until then, Leigh wants you to eat her. Who am I to argue?
—Who knew that smoking, undoubtedly a health hazard, also raised racial questions?
—Geek-out: happy anniversaries (of some sort) to quasars—er, QSOs—and absinthe, happy trails to Gene Hughes and a $5 billion warship that can’t defend itself, interplanetary scuba diving, biodefense labs themselves may be more dangerous than the pathogens they contain, getting comped in Las Vegas, never be fooled by childproof packaging again, South Park’s “Imaginationland” series compiled (totally NSFW), how’s that whole energy independence thing going?

Reuse:
—Lyle begins a series of articles on the role of stress and the interplay between physiology and psychology, which could tie in nicely to biotensegrity (I admit I haven’t fully reviewed either of these links as of this writing). I’m probably getting his book recommendation during my best bookstore binge.
—Even when Gary talks about training, he references inspirational stories (I will never again complain about the hill I use for these drills).
—As a former (mediocre) wrestler, Richard Jensen’s story is particularly compelling.
—What exactly IS our place in the cosmos?

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