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Potatoes from Heaven

Where have the posts gone? It’s been a month! Simple explanation. Most of my experimental blog posts are fueled by frustration. Lack of improvement in body composition, strength, conditioning, or all three. But I think I’ve (finally!) found a balance of what to do and when to do it, with very little stress or fuss. Some simple things I can keep doing the rest of my life without thinking about it.

1. Lifting. The Wendler 5-3-1 program is the king. Hands down. Slow, steady, inch-by-inch progression on the 4 major lifts. Use complex movements (cleans, chins, dips) for accessory lifts and play with the rep schemes. Throw a 1RM try in there.

2. Staying active. Walk everywhere. Buy an umbrella. Climb stairs. Sprint hills if the weather’s good and you feel guilty about that 7th piece of pizza. Sprint rows if the weather’s bad and you feel guilty about that 4th slice of wedding cake.

3. Diet (non-training days). Light breakfast. Coffee, eggs and bacon. If you have to be at work early in the morning, hard-boil some eggs the night before and store them in the fridge. Salad or a heavy stew for lunch. Again, low on the carbs and moderate on the fat. Eat a heavy dinner. Have a goddamn potato, it won’t kill you. In fact, your immune system thrives on carbs. If you lift, you need carbs. If you run, you need carbs. Not a ton. But obsessing over sugar being the 5th ingredient in a jar of salsa does more harm than good. Dammit.

4. Diet (training days). Same as above, with a twist. After your lift, chug 50g whey protein (bonus: add 1/2 tsp instant coffee to your shake) and have 1/2 cup of rice or a medium potato. No fat. Get your hormones and your muscle receptors ready to absorb nutrients. Then a solid meat and potatoes dinner. Your plate should weigh 2 pounds.

5. Cheating. Have a beer, not six beers. Drink some scotch, or wine, or tequila. Don’t sugar it up. Find a cab and drink on an empty stomach. Alternately, walk. Your body burns alcohol in preference of any other calories that go with it. If you down a pizza or half a cheesecake, too bad. To quote David Mamet, “You cheat on your wife? You did it, live with it. You fuck little girls, so be it. There’s an absolute morality? Maybe. And then what? If you think there is, go ahead, be that thing.” Enjoy the fuck out of it. Taste every bite. Try to make up for it in the gym the next day.

6. Other stuff. Sleep, dammit. 7 hours minimum. Eat your vegetables. Drink coffee like it’s going out of style. Get a dog (I’m still working on this one). Walk/run with it. Buy a sledgehammer and hit rubber things with it. Chop wood. Carry your groceries. Carry your suitcases on trips. Find an abandoned truck tire and flip it. Lift large rocks just for the hell of it.

That’s my plan for the next 50 years. I presume I’ll stay in my current 190-200lb, 16-18% bodyfat frame and just continue to gain slow, gradual strength until it plateaus. But I’ll let you know if anything changes. The biggest change I’m making for the rest of the year is to include starchy carbs in my dinner *every* night (channeling Paul Jaminet and Nate Miyaki), not just on lifting days.

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