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  • Interview with Zeek: Cosplayer and weightlifter

    Saw pictures floating around the web of a beefy guy dressed up as Pokémon’s “Misty” ? He’s here.

    Hairy, in love with lifting weights and a soft spot for cosplay. Internet celebrity Zeek reminded me of myself in several ways and I felt he might have an interesting story to tell so I approached him for an interview.

    I was not disappointed. Being playful and pulling silly shit up to the point where it might hurt your career, practicing polyamory, building a strong body and using strength training to cope with the tough times in life. Just a few of the topics that come up in this interview with Zeek.

    The audio file is too big to upload here, but if you want to hear it: It’s around 23mb. Just send me an email for it and I’ll send it to you. You can read the transcription and watch some pictures down below. The transcription is slightly abbreviated here and there for ease of reading, and it also misses our sparkling laughter throughout the interview, unfortunately.

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    Zeek - The biggest Misty you've ever seen.
    Zeek – The biggest Misty you’ve ever seen.

    We’re here with Zee Kotwal -better known as Zeek- who piqued my interest because he combines two concepts that I often promote on Endure and Survive: getting stronger and being playful. He’s also fucking hilarious. His internet fame skyrocketed after he cosplayed as the character Misty from Pokémon; an odd choice, considering his respectable amount of hairy, burly manliness.
    Zeek, take it away, please introduce yourself. What do you do, where are you from, how old are you, are you single, whatever?
    “Hi guys, my name is Zee Kotwal. I came up with the name Zeek because my name is Zee, the initial of my last name is Z and put together it’s Zeek, which is also a play on ‘geek’ which makes it ‘Zeek the Geek’. I’m 25 years old, I live and was born in Australia, got a slight American accent because I lived overseas for a while. I’ve been lifting for… Way too long, 10 years? I love Pokémon and I love dressing up as Misty for some weird reason and torturing my masterballs downstairs with short shorts. I don’t know why, but it’s fun!”

    Okay, as for the most important question, since my BFF asked: Are you single?
    “Ahhhh, that’s an interesting topic, I’m actually polyamorous. I have multiple partners. It depends, if I find someone whom I can have a relationship with, I will bring the person in and ask my other partners. Long story short: Yes and no.”

    I’ve actually read up on the subject a bit, even if it’s not my thing, but if I’m correct: that basically means you can openly connect with different people at the same time, in terms of love like in a ‘normal’ relationship?
    “Yes.”

    Okay. That’s cool, that means, for all you ladies out there, there’s still hope for you.
    “There’s actually a lot of hope for ladies. And men.”

    And men? Wow!
    “Depends on the guy. I’m a special type.”

    This interview is going in a different direction than I initially expected.
    “Well, you do have a beard so it’s kinda like “WELL HELLO THERE-“, and our beards shall touch and meld.”

    I guess this is kind of a bromance thing starting because of the beards? I see a lot of possibilities here… But let me first go on with the most obvious question: Why Misty?
    “It was for my mate’s videogame birthday party. She’s like “Oh, come as a videogame character!” and I’m like “Okay, what can I do to be outrageous, funny and stupid” ? I decided to do Misty, I cut up a pair of denim into shorts, took them with me in the car and at the last minute outside her house I got self conscious so I was only wearing this full top -I hadn’t cut it yet-, suspenders and cargo shorts. I didn’t have the wig yet either. People were like “Oh, that’s really cool and funny! It’s Misty, you should totally wear the shorts!” and I was like “Oh, cool, I might actually do that.”

    Two days later I put the shorts on at home and put a picture of it on Reddit and it went absolutely freaking viral and people were like “Holy shit, it’s manly Misty! But he doesn’t do leg day!” and I’m like “Oh my God, they’re right, I have been skipping leg day. That was back in January this year, and since January to May I actually smashed my legs twice a week to get them up to size, haha! And then Comic Book day rolled around and my mate’s like “Oh, do you want a red wig for Misty?” and I was like “Yeah, sure!” so I got the wig, styled it, cropped the top, pulled the shorts up, went up and convinced Evey Dantès, who is a major cosplayer here, to go as genderbend Ash. (Ketchum, from Pokémon. – Jeremy) This tiny, little, adorable girl that looks like a boy when she genderbends is Ash, and here’s me going “YES I’M MISTY I’M BURLY AND CRAZY AND LIFTING EVERYONE”. One of our mates put a picture on Reddit and that went viral too, making the rounds on College Humor, fucking Dorkly… Everywhere. A month later we had Sydney Supernova (A big, Australian convention. – Jeremy) down here and I’m thinking I should break out my Misty cosplay for the first time on a convention. I honestly had no idea what the reaction was gonna be, but it was insane – I literally couldn’t move in the con at all. I would move five paces and hear “Oh! Misty! We need photos!” – “Oh, really? Okay, yes. I’m gonna walk this way.” – “No, no! We need you over here! More photos!”

    So the entire weekend was just non-stop photos. I think on saturday alone, I had 250+ people pulling me over. Once I started posing, you kinda had sort of a circle going around, and I was like, “What the hell?”

    Like a freakshow.
    “Yeah, pretty much. Someone wants a photo and all of a sudden there’s twenty photographers and people diving in for selfies and going nuts, and I’m like “WHAT IS GOING ON?!” But yeah, that was actually a really fun weekend and of course more pictures went viral. There was a Kotaku article, the Reddit one, the 9gag one, Dorkly and Collegehumor… It was crazy. I don’t think people expected to see a really buff guy wearing really short shorts and a wig.”

    So basically it was a tiny gag that escalated into… Worldwide… Chaos?
    “Yeah, it was basically trolling everyone and people loving it. Hilarious.”

    Well, that’s cool, I remember you mentioning that the number of likes on your Facebook page sorta exploded after some of the pictures went viral.
    “Yeah, I originally had the page for weightlifting and stuff, with 200 likes or something, and that went up to 2500 after the Supernova weekend.”

    I saw you posting that you would cosplay nurse Joy (Pokémon), I thought “Isn’t he dragging out the joke a bit too much?” and I saw the pictures and I was like “Nope, it’s still fucking hilarious”. So I gotta ask – any other cosplays planned?
    “Everyone’s asking me, you’ve done Misty and Nurse Joy, so when is Officer Jenny coming? I’m doing it, but it’s going to be a tank girl, combat style, more brutal, gritty, army girl. I’m getting one of my mates to do a Growlithe gijinka (An anthropomorphic Pokémon. – Jeremy) and she’s gonna be paired with me – Sort of a Rambo Jenny. An army helmet, a bazooka, decapitated Pokémon heads all over me, there’s so many ideas for this cosplay. That’ll be my last genderbend for a while. I’ll move into more serious stuff afterwards. I’m actually working on Khal Drogo (From Game of Thrones. – Jeremy) at the moment, which is costing a fortune, and I’m doing Zangief (From Street Fighter. – Jeremy) in two weeks time, so I’ll be shaving my head.”

     

     

    Nurse Joy questioning her (his?) decisions in life.

     

    Even more awesome! Now for a more serious question, while we’re on the topic… There are people who love to do playful things. They have odd hobbies like cosplay, they do crazy stuff like cross dressing as a cartoon character like you did… I’ve seen people who are into cosplay or even genderbending or whatever, who may feel ashamed for being nerdy, they may have separate Facebook accounts for their cosplay stuff, just to make sure their colleagues won’t find out exactly what they do. They’re afraid it might damage their careers or whatever – like when you apply for a fancy job and your would-be boss will see you doing weird stuff online. How do you feel about this? Are you afraid it could damage your career in the future? Do you think this is a legitimate concern for people in general?
    “I reckon it is a legitimate concern. I saw a lot of people, especially in the alternative scene who are into body manipulation and things like that, posting on Facebook that companies aren’t accepting of who they are. That’s on the extreme side of the spectrum of course… As for cosplay and crossplay, I haven’t received anything negative which is astounding. 

    People go “Wow, a guy as Misty!” and are taken aback, but they’re not offended, they’re not going “You shouldn’t have done that!”… The general reaction is “Wow, that’s really cool.”

    If it did affect me career wise I would be upset, but at the same time if people are so close minded that they can’t see the fun side of why I’m doing it… Really, I wouldn’t want to work there anyway. Career wise, I’m actually a personal trainer so I’m going to be using this internet fame and craziness and of course showing off the muscle and shit to promote me, like, I can teach you how to look like this. In a way, for me, the shock value is good. I’m not working in a corporate office of babyboomers who are very close minded. I’m looking to train the young and upcoming people who are my age, 25-30 years old, who actually get it, grew up with Pokémon, who understand the pop culture going on these days and who appreciate it. So for me it’s not much of an issue, but for other people I can see it being quite an issue and I see why they’d have separate Facebook accounts or keep things hidden because they’re in a more… Traditional environment where it’s not accepted as much.”

    Okay, so in your case you would say: Try to use it in a beneficial way.
    “Own it. Just… Absolutely own it. I don’t give a fuck. I go out and have fun… If people wanna be idiots and troll and be “Oh, he’s such an asshole!”… Let them. They’re the 1% whereas 99% goes “I love it! Keep doing it!” because I’ve had so many messages of people saying “You’re my fitspiration!” and “You’ve convinced me to crossplay!” and “I’ve never wanted to cosplay until I saw you!” and THAT’s the kind of people I want to inspire. Have fun with cosplay, that’s what it is. It’s all about going out and having fun, that’s it!”

    Good attitude! Different topic… Slightly related. I have to be a sceptic, that’s how I am, I’m a personal trainer as well… We need to know, do you even lift? How much can you squat, bench, deadlift, curl, whatever you do in the gym?
    “Oh, let’s go for the major lifts, shall we? Today was chest day, I have a 125kg (275lbs) bench press, I do dips with 40kg (88lbs) attached to me, I weigh 98kg (216lbs) and I’m 6’2 (188cm) for reference. My standing military press is 85kg (187lbs). My deadlift is my strongest lift by far – 230kg (507lbs). Barbell shrugs, 180kg (397lbs)… Squats can be a lot better, they’re about 150kg (330lbs) ass to the grass, down to the floor – And that’s a long way to go at my height.”

    Zeek actually makes those gaudy pants look good.
    Zeek actually makes those gaudy pants look good.

    Yeah, your legs are pretty long actually.

    “Yeah… They’re ridiculously… Yeah, that’s a problem. Leg press at the moment… 475kg (1047lbs), that’s not too bad. What else? Curls? I don’t really focus too much on curls, I just grab a pair of 25kg (55lbs) dumbbells and I just curl to keep them going. I used to be a huge curlbro and be like “Yeah I need to do Arnold curls like this! Augh! Come on! PUMP UP!” (At
    this point he’s mimicking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent and I have a hard time containing my laughter. – Jeremy) I did that when I was… 19 to 20? And my arms – You can’t see it on camera but my arms are red with stretch marks. “I NEED BIGGER ARMS! COME ON!”

    So that’s pretty much my list.”

    I think you mentioned on your Facebook something about a powerlifting meet?
    “Yeah! I’m looking to compete in deadlifting competitions next year and also in amateur bodybuilding. I’ve been training seriously for 5-6 days a week for a year now. I’d like to thank my ex-girlfriend for breaking my heart! While I was dating her, I would only go to the gym 2-3 times a week and she was like “Oh, you don’t even gym properly.” and I was like “Uoooh.” and then she broke my fucking heart. It hurt like hell and of course the gym was there so I sunk my life into it. A year ago, I was a lot skinnier, I was actually 92kg (203lbs) or so and nowhere near as strong as I am now. So if you’re watching this, thank you Arwen for breaking my heart and making me the best Pokémon gym leader ever! Haha!”

    Haha, I’m sure almost every lifting man has had this phase in their life. So… You mentioned lifting for 10 years, how did you get started in strength training?

    “My family’s always been into fitness. My mom’s been a triathlete for as long as I can remember, she was always at the gym. I grew up on the beach, being a surfer bum. Always dragged to the gym with her as well. I’ve always been active, done kayaking, used to be elite, a rock climber and around 14-15 I discovered basketball and weightlifting. From there I just kinda got into it and started lifting non stop. I’d say from about 16 to 24 I only lifted periodically, on and off. I wasn’t dedicated or focused properly. For a little over the last year I’m in the gym 6 times a week and actually seeing results. You really need to be dedicated and have to be there 6 times a week and smash your body to the limit.”

    People in the cosplay world, but in general as well… People that want to start with training are often clueless. Do you have a specific training regimen or training principles that people could learn from?

    “Definitely push beyond your limit. That is the biggest thing. Overtrain and push beyond your limit. If you don’t experience a pump or DOMS/soreness the next day, you didn’t work hard enough. You need to be in the gym for at least an hour of consistent, heavy lifting and good reps. More importantly: Perfect form. Let’s say you’re doing a chest press and you’re activating your front deltoids (Front of the shoulder. – Jeremy) instead of your chest, that’s a waste of a workout. It’s all about form and getting the muscle activation and pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do. If you don’t, you’re not gonna grow, you’re not gonna get to that next level of deadlifting. You’re gonna sit on 160 instead of getting to 200, your bench will stay below 100. You have to push and believe that can you can become stronger and bigger.”

    Basically, two principles that our friend Schwarzenegger has been telling us for decades: Work hard and connect to your muscles.
    “Yeah, it’s not rocket science. Get that mind-muscle connection and be a fucking dedicated lifter, it works.”

     

    It works.
    It works.

     

    Good point. Can you tell us something about what you do in terms of nutrition?
    *short, ominous silence*
    “Let’s not talk about nutrition, shall we? Haha!”
    *Zeek holds up an empty cookie box*
    “I ate half a box of these today as a snack, biscuits. But I’ll say I drink about 4 litres (1 gallon) of water a day. My dinner is pretty consistent with 600 grams of lean meat like white fish or chicken or if I’m feeling ravenous I’ll have 2 steaks. Veggies… Carrots, broccoli, capsicum, all raw. I’ll balance it out with a loaf of garlic bread. Right now I’m having a post-workout meal. Two cans of tuna, bread, fucking apple juice… Breakfast is a cup of porridge. Before bed time I’ll have a protein shake, a huge glass of milk with a barley mix in it, fruits… I eat about 4000-5000 calories a day. When I’m out on a con weekend, I eat everything, I eat so badly it’s not even funny. But I need the food, I need the energy.”

    So basically you just eat healthy, protein rich most of the time and gorge on snacks once in a while.
    “…yes, hahaha!”

    Well, I think that’s a good thing! You’ve got some people totally obsessed over every gram of carbs or fat…
    “I can’t do that! I can’t measure every little thing. That makes eating not fun, I’m a foodie, I love food. I just eat until I know that I’m full and have the amount of food I need to perform at my peak. If I want half a jar of Nutella, I will eat half a jar of Nutella. Literally, I have an emergency jar of Nutella right here.”

    *Zeek actually shows it to me*

    You’re making me very, very hungry. But seriously, I think it’s a good thing. It’s like I always say, eat well 80% of the time and eating something bad in the other 20% won’t kill you.
    “It won’t. And you need fat. People don’t understand that you do need fat in your diet.”

    Okay, we’ve gone over most of my questions but I have one left: Why? What’s your motivation for getting bigger and stronger? Besides, of course, looking good in cosplay.
    “Mental stability, I would say. I’ve had a lot of issues in life. Big life events, people that have affected me negatively… 

    And I used to be a rage-o-holic. I’m very ashamed, I have actually hurt family with physical violence because I lost control. I use the gym to channel a lot of my stress and anger and turn it into something positive. To me, the gym is my anti- depressant, it is my focus, it is my sanctuary. I go there whenever I’m feeling down, whenever I need to think or just blank out. And I just literally dance in the gym while listening to music. People are like “What the fuck?!” and in between sets I’m literally dancing and shuffling in place. The guys in my gym all know me now so they’re like “Yeah, he just does that.” I scream my face off as well and call myself names if I can’t pick up the weight. For me it’s a really soothing way to release pent up emotion, and that would be the main reason.

    The second reason came up recently. There are so many people following me now on my personal Facebook page as well as on my fanpage. I kinda have the feeling that I can’t let them down anymore. That I need to keep pushing and getting stronger and bigger because I am their fitspiration. I’m their inspiration to become healthy. To me, that’s quite humbling because I’ve never had people admiring me for my body and dedication. For me to slack would mean letting them down, so that’s a big motivation for them now as well.”

    Cool story, bro. It’s a pretty intense story, I think a lot of people can relate to that as well. What else can I say? I’m really happy that you found something like that, both in terms of your own ‘mental stability’ as you called it as well as being able to inspire people.

    Before we close this off, first of all I want to say that I’m a really big fan of your beard. I’m only halfway there. Do you have anything specific, any message for your fans or future fans that you want to share?
    “Of course! Thank you so much for following me and messaging me and sending me your love. I mean, I never thought people would like this random bullshit I do. Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s random bullshit, haha. Seriously, if you guys want help with lifting or nutrition, leave me a message on my Facebook page. You want to get big? Eat big, lift big, get good sleep. For all the people that want to cosplay or crossplay, just go for it. Pick a character you love and just fucking go for it. Don’t be afraid of what people will say, don’t be like “Oh they’ll judge me!”, no, fuck them. Go and have fun. There are too many people being self conscious and afraid of what people will think of them and it holds them back. If you apply that to cosplay as well as other things, you’ll never get far in life. You need to push ahead and just fucking own it. That’s the best advice I can give you. Just own it.”

    I think a lot of people would do well in following your advice.

    Check out Zeek’s Facebook page to stay posted on his lifting efforts and cosplay silliness.

     



  • Being fit… And the zombie apocalypse

    Fitness has become sort of an umbrella term for everything people do in a gym. Is the chick spending mindnumbing amounts of time on the treadmill  fit because she can run for a kabillion hours, even though she can hardly lift her own groceries for more than 10 steps? The powerlifter who’s really good at lifting a heavy weight once but gets winded from walking a flight of stairs, is he fit? Well then, what about the Crossfitter? Does he cover all the aspects of being ‘fit’?

    ‘Fit’ means little more than being adapted to something. You can be fit to run a marathon, fit to deadlift 500lbs, fit to win a kickboxing competition or you can at least give the impression that you’re somehow ‘fit’ because you have a fucking sixpack . (Yeah, that’s the former fat kid’s bitterness talking. Fuck you. Sixpacks by themselves still don’t make you fit for anything except hitting on 16 year old girls.)

     

    Sixpacks do make you look cooler when accompanied by a lot of muscle mass, a few ultramarathons under your belt and a 700lbs squat though… As Alex Viada demonstrates.

     

    The above emphasizes the fact that what you do should be geared towards your specific goals, but some people just want to “be fit and healthy”. Well then… My definition of general fitness? Outclassing most people in surviving a zombie apocalypse. Why? Well, you could substitute a lot of physically challenging situations ranging from minor inconveniences to full blown disasters, but I feel that a zombie apocalypse encompasses pretty much everything. Either that or I’m just a fucking nerd. Regardless, there’s always the risk that there will in fact be a zombie apocalypse.

    My recipe for being ‘generally fit’? It roughly boils down to the following.

    • Get stronger. Lift heavy but submaximal and always leave a bit of gas in the tank, 2 to 4 times a week. Emphasize adding weight to freeweight exercises (or calisthenics) while maintaining good form and staying injury free. Other stuff like whether to squat high- or lowbar, rest periods between sets of an exercise or ‘muscle confusion’ and whatnot are not really important here.
    • Do a bit of conditioning. 1 or 2 short bouts of HIIT every week is enough. Complexes, circuits or mixing exercises like sled pushes, hill sprints, kettlebell swings or barbell thrusters are all fine. Add the occasional hike, lengthy stroll, playful run or whatever. It’ll do your mind good.
    • Eat your vegetables, fibre and protein. Vary your food intake. If you’re not sure you fit the bill, you probably don’t.
    • Do some martial arts. I don’t really care which one, but anything where you learn to break falls, tumble, roll and learn some basic self defense is fine. Mixed Martial Arts or Krav Maga are fine. A combination of thai boxing and judo would work too and there are countless martial arts nowadays that would fit the bill. If you’re curious why this is in the list: everyone who has played ‘The Last of Us’ or seen ‘Dawn of the Dead’ knows that fighting for your life generally involves a lot of falling down and a lot of… Well… Fighting.
    • Do something random and have fun testing your overall fitness once in a while. Rent a canoo and hit the waters, climb a wall, have sex several times in a short time span (it doesn’t count if it doesn’t leave you as fatigued as a true 20RM on your squat), try a Crossfit WOD or pick up a new sport for a short while occasionally.

     

    “Being able to sprint, fight, screw, practice cannibalism, and compete at a high level at whatever is a great feeling and you can’t do those things without good conditioning.” – Paul Carter

     



  • Online reading recommendations

    For anyone who wants to read and learn from people whose writings I tend to devour with great pleasure, I decided to compile a (not very comprehensive) list of coaches/athletes/writers that have written a lot of interesting stuff I like, with a short description of what they write about and a few links to examples of particularly interesting writings. These are just a few out of many, and although I thought of writing down some literature for people to read up on, I know that the majority of the people here probably aren’t going to invest in books just like that anyway so… Here’s something to read online!

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    Nate Green’s website
    Although this guy sometimes writes some interesting stuff about nutrition and training, his most interesting posts are related to ‘living a better life’. A bit vague, I know, but to give you a few examples:

    How starting the day well sets you up for a great, productive day 
    How to get a cheap private chef  (On a side note, I know that in some places, at least in the Netherlands and the USA, more and more home-cooks are offering good food for only a few bucks. They just cook stuff in bulk and let people from their area pick it up for 5-10$ or so.)

    “Appearances aside, I can guess that, like me, most of the guys have been raised on a steady diet of Hollywood morals, shallow friendships and romantic relationships, hubris, and high-fructose corn syrup. We’ve never taken the time to define what our values are.”

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    Timothy Ferriss’s website
    A weird guy who, besides being a marketing/entrepeneuring expert, has a weird habit of experimenting on his body with all sorts of stuff. From perfecting his slow carb diet for fat loss to improving sex positions, from learning languages in record time to dealing with depression. He has written about so many different things that there are only few people that would not find something of interest in his writings.

    How to Travel to Exotic, Expensive Cities on $50 a Day
    Peeling boiled eggs without peeling (this is genius)
    How to create an awesome bucket list and actually go through with it
    (I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the variety of his writings here)

    “The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”

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    Mark Rippetoe’s website
    A strength coach, famous for his work with Lon Kilgore in writing books like “Starting Strength”:”a comprehensive resource on the biomechanical aspects of the most important exercises. He’s also fucking hilarious and his views on many training-related subjects are often refreshing.

    The difference between training and exercise  (a must read!)
    Why getting stronger in basic barbell exercises beats doing 69 light isolation exercises and correctives all the time

     

    “There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.”

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    Paul Carter’s website
    A powerlifter who writes about roughly the same subjects as I do, with the difference that he’s been lifting for 20 years more than me and has a lot more experience in life.

    Doing something with your life and not just being alive, waiting for death to happen
    The process of training is about your growth, not comparing yourself to others 

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    Dan John’s website
    A shotput, weightlifting and high school strength coach. Although he has some nice ideas about strength training, his articles and advice on the mental approach to life and training are why I love reading his stuff.

    Work, rest, play, pray – Finding balance in your life  (a must read!)

    “People tease me about one of my key training principles: I recommend that you floss twice a day. (…) If someone asks me to design a multi-year training program that peaks with an Olympic championship or a Mr. Universe victory, but can’t set aside two minutes or less a day to floss, well, then why are we all wasting our time?”

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    Ramit Sethi’s website
    Most of the things he writes are geared towards finances, entrepeneuring and career, but he always heavily emphasizes psychology, which is why I find his writings so interesting. The whole “habits and systems trump willpower” concept that I occasionally mention on Endure and Survive is one that I picked up through his writings. (note: this guy is definitely not the typical guru with your average finance tips)

    Investing your energy in the right people, and a few tidbits on psychology in between
    The importance of improving your own social skills, and a how-to video (that I haven’t seen yet)

    “What it really comes down to is what my parents tell me all the time: A year from now, you’re going to be a year older. What are you going to do?”



  • A few lessons for a strong, healthy body

    There are so many misconceptions and myths regarding fitness, strength training and nutrition that I decided to make a short list of commonly misunderstood subjects and provide you with a few easy lessons. Before you think I’ve gone crazy, please read the whole thing. My explanation will make sense.

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    Eat less protein
    I know it’s hardcore to say that you need to eat tons of protein to lose more fat and/or build more muscle, but official institutions have repeatedly emphasized that we consume too much protein. We’re damaging our kidneys that way, and a recent study even found that a high protein intake increases the risk of cancer as much as smoking does.

    The older you get, the lighter you must train
    When you’re 20, you can get away with heavy lifting, but don’t even think about going anywhere near your maximum lifting potential. Supporting heavy weights with brittle bones and old, worn joints does not sound like the smartest thing to do, does it?

    Training heavy is not functional
    This may sound silly, but really, how much are you going to lift in daily life? A 20lbs bag of groceries? Why the hell would you want to lift 300lbs off the floor then? Doesn’t it make more sense to lift 20lbs many times then, until 20lbs feels like nothing? What use is risking injury with heavy weights then?

    Accept that you may not be able to lose fat
    You may be extremely carb sensitive or have chronically high cortisol. There’s also the risk of having genetic errors that will make you store fat at a higher rate than other people, even when eating and burning the same amounts of calories every day! We all know that person who can eat what he/she wants without getting fat. Don’t mind them and just be you. It’s your body, you know it best. Accept it if you’re different and have it harder than the rest.

     

    We all know this guy.

     

    Don’t eat the following things

    • Sugar
    • Grains
    • Nuts
    • Fish
    • Tap water
    • Meat
    • Dairy
    • Eggs
    • Soy
    • Saturated fats
    • Mono-Unsaturated fats
    • Processed fats
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • MSG
    • A combination of carbs/protein
    • A combination of carbs/fats
    • Anything from a plastic container

    All of the above have had books devoted to the dangers of their consumption or at the very least some (official) recommendations against consuming it often.

    Don’t bench press if you’re a woman
    You’ll turn the fat in your chest (i.e. most of your boobs) into muscle and you’ll end up looking like a man. Also make sure that you always use more than 20 reps in a set when lifting weights, to make sure you tone your muscles well. You want long and lean muscles, not thick and bulky ones.

    Never squat below parallel
    After all, you don’t want to wreck your knees. I once talked to this really big guy who told me he squatted really heavy and deep in his late teens, and he had knee troubles for years. His arms were the size of my legs, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about. In fact, it may be better not to squat at all. Just using something like a leg press is safer. You have to be pretty crazy to put a heavy weight on your spine, a fragile structure that, when damaged, can paralyze you for life. You can just work your legs with leg extensions, even though that seems silly to me, since girls only look at your abs and biceps anyway… Unless you’re a streaker of course. Not to mention that training legs is really hard, for what? So your pants start getting tighter and you have to buy new pants? No thanks.

     

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    You know what’s worst about all these things? I come across this bullshit all the time, both online and offline, and people actually believe it. I kid you not, every single point I made in this post? I’ve seen people claim it’s true with a straight face, regardless if it goes against science and good common sense.

    “You are right to be wary. There is much bullshit. Be wary of me too, because I may be wrong. Make up your own mind after you evaluate all the evidence and the logic.” – Mark Rippetoe

     



  • On gossipping, ‘fitting in’ and… Zombies

    To me, any movie or videogame that features zombies is automatically 50% more enjoyable. Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, The Last of Us… I love it. So I gave the movie ‘Detention of the Dead’ a try yesterday, not expecting much of it. It’s definitely a B-movie, a horror-esque comedy that follows six high schoolers who are in detention when the zombie apocalypse breaks out. Barring a few retarded scenes, I was pleasantly surprised by some hilarious gags, huge amounts of clichés and references to other movies and a few attempts at profound pseudo-philosophical insights into life. Like this little gem, from Willow (goth girl), Janet (popular cheerleader) and Ash (useless stoner).

     

    Willow: "Everyone in this school knows you've got a mouth that could suck-start a jet engine."  Janet: "You boys get to chase every ass in tight jeans but I do what it takes to satisfy my boyfriend and I'm a slut?" Ash: "Pretty much."
    Willow: “Everyone in this school knows you’ve got a mouth that could suck-start a jet engine.”
    Janet: “You boys get to chase every ass in tight jeans but I do what it takes to satisfy my boyfriend and I’m a slut?”
    Ash: “Pretty much.”

     

    I guess that’s one of the best examples of cliché, hilarity and commentary on human behavior all at once in this movie, but there was another quote that I found interesting.

    “You’re just like the rest of these idiots. You were a bunch of mindless zombies before any of this happened. Trying so hard to fit into their little clique. Trying so hard to hide anything that might make them stand out. God forbid we don’t all fit into this cookie cutter mold that everyone puts us in. You’d die for one night with Janet. Not because you love her or that you care for her. Just because she’s what everybody tells you you should strive for.” – Willow

    If you lift weights, you’re narcissistic.
    If you don’t have a job, you’re lazy.
    If you don’t listen to mainstream music, you’re weird.
    If you show cleavage, you’re an attention whore.
    If you don’t drink alcohol, you’re no fun.
    If you’re a christian, you’re close-minded.
    If you’re a nude model, you have no self respect.
    If you’re an only child, you’re spoiled.

    It’s an endless list, and all the silly prejudices, judgments and expectations obviously differ, depending on your social circle and where you live. In Detention of the Dead, things were from the perspective of teenagers suffering from peer pressure, but these things stay for a lot longer than that angsty rollercoaster period of our lives. I’m 26 now, usually hang out with people that are 20-35 or so, and I can’t say I see much less drama, gossip, judging and other retarded stuff than 10 years ago when I was in high school. I’m occasionally guilty of this as well, even if I try not to. I have a few basic principles that I try to stick to, to avoid getting dragged into all that bullshit. A few examples off the top of my head;

    • Don’t say bad things about my friends that I have not said or will not say to them.
    • Don’t let people badmouth my friends in front of me.
    • The aforementioned points don’t apply when you’re discussing positive things. I have found that bashing people may feel good, but praising people feels a lot better.
    • Don’t waste my time and energy on people who put more effort into belittling people instead of growing into better people themselves.
    • Reconsider whether people are really worth my time if I wouldn’t want them around during a zombie apocalypse. (Seriously, remember the adage ‘Adversity reveals character’.)
    • Live and let live. It relates to something my mom always taught me, “If it makes you happy and you do your best not to hurt people, it’s probably fine.” Talking shit behind people’s backs and judging them for not fitting your expectations of ‘being normal’ is a pretty good way to hurt people.

    Yes, there are probably countless exceptions to this, but if you have any intention to debate those, you’re missing the point of this whole post.

    I don’t expect people to read this or watch Detention of the Dead and suddenly have an epiphany about being better people and not being backstabbers or cowardly shit-talkers anymore. To some extent we all do it and apparently psychologists have even tried to explain it because it’s so ridiculously prevalent among people. Frankly, I’m happy enough if people at least make an effort in not trying to bring other people down all the time. If I hear you  talking shit behind another person’s back all the time, who’s to say you don’t talk shit about me once my back is turned? To me, constantly judging and gossipping takes away from your reliability as a friend. I would not be eager to share my troubles (perhaps not even my help) with people that I would not trust fully.

    I’d rather do things that are ‘not normal’ and take some good, honest criticism from reliable people than safely stay in the crowd and gossip along with others, making sure we don’t attract too much judgment from others. The constant judging and gossipping reinforce the whole “don’t stand out from the crowd” mentality. Comes with the territory, sure. Paul Carter from lift-run-bang.com recently wrote “As adults we should understand that criticism is part of the territory once you rise above the norm.” and I fully agree. But honesty should not be an excuse to be a dick.

     

    “I won’t become a tool,  a puppet
    My will to live against your world of zombies
    I’ll never walk your way, whatever it may take” – from ‘Whatever it may take’ by Heaven Shall Burn

     



  • Sexual longevity

    Of course we all want optimal sexual performance (especially men who, in their urges for conquest and achievement, sometimes seem to thrive on bragging about their sex lives), but there are many factors that influence it. Although lower testosterone levels, decreased libido and even erectile dysfunction are considered somewhat normal as we age (the decline usually creeping up on men in their 30’s, but getting worse in their 50’s and onward), we can fight mother nature a bit through natural means. This becomes increasingly important as testosterone levels have been dropping dramatically over the last 60 years or so. In recent years, 10% of men between 40 and 70 years old have severe or total erectile dysfunction. In that same age category, another 25% of men has mild or recurring erectile dysfunction. Even below 40, 5-10% of men suffer from it in some form. I have no intention of becoming one of those people, not when I’m 60, not when I’m 50 and sure as hell not when I’m 40 or younger.

     

    I want my testosterone levels to rival his when I’m that old.

     

    This post is not specifically geared towards people with ED (although it might help them), but more for people who enjoy experimenting with their body and want to get some more kicks out of their sex life for many years to come. This post is mostly geared towards men for a long term healthy sex life, but some advice can help with -ahem- short term results too. Maybe women can learn something useful here as well.

    As I usually say when giving out advice like this: Use your common sense. I’m not a fucking doctor, this is a blog. It’s the internet. Some of the things I mention below have been thoroughly researched, some things are anecdotal and some things are purely theory. I am aware of that so don’t bother nitpicking on that unless one of my advices has been thoroughly disproven. Additional tips for this list are always welcome though, I may add them in this post.

    Experiment and see what works. A placebo effect can be good enough. You’re in this for more fun and especially longevity between the sheets, it’s not a dick measuring contest to see who’s right about what works.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    Eat your cholesterol. Although dietary cholesterol seems to have VERY little effect on our body’s cholesterol production, it does seem to aid our production of sex hormones. Eat the yolk. That’s where the cholesterol is and that’s where the minerals are. Perhaps the whole ‘eggs as an aphrodisiac’ thing does have some truth to it. For much the same reason, don’t try and do something silly like cut out dietary fat as much as possible. Vary your fat intake. Avoid hydrogenated oils (!) but make sure you get your omega 3’s, a bit of saturated fat, some olive oil, avocado, the works, you know it. Also make sure to eat nuts. (no, not that, I’m talking about a handful of almonds and a few brazil nuts daily like Timothy Ferris advises in the 4-Hour Body)

    Vary your food intake, to make sure you’re not missing out on important nutrients. Besides that, some people also claim that variety prevents the build up of the same toxins that could possibly mess with your hormones although that’s not a hard, scientific fact. If you’re curious whether you vary your food intake enough, you probably don’t.

    Short, intense bouts of exercise (strength training and/or intense interval training) can give you many benefits related to sex, both direct and indirect. From your state of mind to your endurance, from protecting against diabetes and cardiovascular disease (both can aid in developing ED) to managing stress levels and improved self-esteem. You better get to it. Make sure not to overdo it or you’ll get the opposite effect. If your libido drops, you feel tired, unwilling to hit the gym, break out in acne and your appetite decreases, you might be on the verge of overtraining. Step down before you fall off.

    Use a zinc supplement. Although this mostly tends to go for people with low zinc levels, taking in high doses of zinc can help testosterone production, libido and give you more intense orgasms. I’ve only read about this in men, I have no idea whether this works with women as well. When I say ‘high doses’, I do mean high doses. 4-5 times the RDA (let’s say 60-80mg a day, as opposed to the 12-15mg RDA) sounds about right. Maybe a little less for lightweights and maybe a little more for our sizable brethren. Make sure you increase your copper intake too, since taking in high doses of zinc can lead to zinc poisoning. Once again, use your common sense. Preferably do your own research too.

    Consider an overall mineral/vitamin supplement. Many micronutrients play a role in healthy sexual functions. Few people really eat healthy and there’s no harm in taking a supplement like this unless you OD on them or take contaminated supplements.

    Eat your protein. You need the amino acids for a properly functioning body. Eat your meat and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian, vary your food enough to make sure you don’t miss anything. Deficiencies could even lead to ED in worst case scenarios.

    Manage stress levels and maintain a healthy self-esteem. ED is supposedly more often a mental issue than a physical one.

    Prevent excessive or too little bodyfat. Both mess with your hormones and in some cases even your reproductive capabilities. I generally stick to 10-20% for men and 18-28% for women, assuming they have some decent amount of muscle mass, although this varies with age and ideal numbers differ depending on what research or guru you follow.

    Know alcohol’s place. Most people know that a bit of alcohol can help set the mood and work on the mental aspect of sex, but supposedly it can have a direct physical effect on arousing women as well. Too much alcohol on the other hand can cause anything from sleepiness to temporary impotance and -in some people- some mental issues.

    Experiment with testosterone booster supplements. Although research usually concludes that they have hardly any effect on
    your testosterone levels, some of them (like tribulus testris) still tend to increase the libido.

    Ask your doctor for testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone levels will normally drop when you get older. In worst
    case scenarios this will not only lead to less fun in the bedroom (or wherever you prefer), but will lead to lower overall energy levels and even depression-like symptoms. With testosterone replacement therapy, you can get low doses of testosterone from your doctor. It’s not as high as taking steroids though, about 80-90mg a week if I recall correctly, where 300-500mg a week is normal for testosterone use in bodybuilders starting out with steroids. If you have tried all the natural stuff and TRT won’t get you into trouble with sports competitions and the like, consult with your doctor.

    Watch less porn. Watch this 16 minute video about why. Long story short: watching a dirty video is not much of a problem, but doing it too much can mess with hormone levels and can indirectly lead to unsatisfying sex lives. Both physically and mentally, it can mess with you. The speaker makes some controversial statements related to depression and ADHD that I am sceptical of, but I really believe this is worth a look either way.

     

    “The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger