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Not That Kind of Person

For the past month I've been working out regularly under the tutelage of Dick Talens, the founder of Fitocracy, and for the first time ever I'm making actual gains. Seven pounds gained so far, and substantial increases in the weights I can lift.

When we first started going back and forth about the training, I said something to the effect of, "I have the irrational idea that I can't possibly gain weight no matter what I do." I gave Crossfit a try for a while, and probably gained around 3-5 pounds within a year and tried Tim's Occam's Protocol with no real success. Back when I had a house I put a bench in my server room and even rigged up a lat pulldown system by putting pulleys in the ceilng. No gains there, either.

The reason I decided to get training from Dick was because I figured I could put to rest once and for all the question of whether or not I'm able to build muscle. I wanted to know what was possible, how much effort it required, and how much time it would take. As I rested in between sets today in the gym, I kept thinking about how I never thought I could gain weight, just because "I'm not that kind of person". I thought about other times I've felt that way and been wrong, and the different patterns these thoughts fall into.

There is No Way

I believe in iron

On minimalift

Let’s start at the beginning.

When it boils down to it, people usually want one or two things from exercise - improvement in appearance (fat loss, muscle gain) and/or improvement in performance (health, longevity, improved ability to complete a task, sport specific training, pain reduction). As an aspiring minimalist, I seek to accomplish these things in the most efficient manner possible. I want my body to look good, and I also want it to last me a long time. In my research and in practice, nothing gets the job done as fast and effectively as weight training.

Forget the treadmills, the stationary cycles, the steppers and the ellipticals. You’re not a hamster. Take a walk in the park or sprint up hills. Pay little heed to all those single use, single plane resistance machines that dominate the space of most commercial gyms. They have very limited use. You’re not a professional bodybuilder and you don’t need to be isolating anything. If you are paid for owning muscle, you don’t need to read me.

What’s left then? That pile of iron in the corner. Don’t be scared of it or the people who surround it. Male or female, if you seek appearance or performance enhancement, it’s your fastest ticket there. If you have never trained with weights before don’t know where to start, first seek medical clearance, then professional guidance.

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