We are back in the gym. Our coach writes programs for a bunch of crossfit boxes, but the first he did was rip them up. He took us back to the beginning, pulled out training bars, and got us to front squat. It destroyed me. The main reason I have been away is I managed to injure my shoulder. And I have noticed that I miss lifting heavy stuff. I have also noted, that as we are both now over 10 kg lighter, we are walking faster, and have more confidence in moving towards more challenging things.
Nicholas Taleb is a lifter. Not because he likes it, but because being strong means you can handle better the things he can do.
So when it comes to physical training, there is no point engaging in the time-consuming repetitive replication of an active environment and its daily grind, unless you need to do so for realism, therapy, or pleasure. Just calibrate to the extreme and work your way down from there.
The other reason Rip asked me to write this foreword is because I am myself engaged in a variant of his exercise program — and the ethics of skin in the game dictate that one should be eating his own cooking, tell us what you think and what you do. I learned that what you do for training needs to be separate from what you do for pleasure. I enjoy hiking, walking, ocean swimming, riding my bicycle, that sort of things; but I have no illusion that these activities will make me stronger. They may be necessary, but for other reasons than the attainment of strength. I just consider walking necessary therapy, like sleeping.
It also happened that part of my research in risk overlaps with complexity theory. The first thing one learns about complex systems is that they are not a sum of body parts: a system is a collection of interactions, not an addition of individual responses. Your body cannot be trained with specific and local muscle exercises. When you try to lift a heavy object, you recruit every muscle in your body, though some more than others. The heavier the weight, that is, the more in the tails, the higher number of muscles involved. You also produce a variety of opaque interactions between these fibers.
While we are thinking of weight — we are stable, maintaining over a 10 kg loss each. There has been a huge amount of pressure in our lives over the last few weeks: one of us has just changed job roles for the second time this year, and other has been rebuilding our garden. We have stayed stable, but our diet is not keto perfect. But the idea of eating low carb/keto is to build resilience. Mark, commenting on women, makes a point that we are building resilience. The aim is not to injure, but to build in protection against insults.
There’s an argument for super strictness at the outset. Sticking with keto for the first 3 or 4 weeks as closely as possible does wonders for fat-adaptation. But once you’re there, you’re good. The fat-burning machinery is built. Your mitochondria are good at switching between fat and glucose. Eating a homemade gluten-free cookie your kid surprised you with isn’t going to derail your entire keto journey. You will bounce back. You will be fine.
After all, the reason we all got into this keto thing is to improve our metabolic resilience. To be able to go off the rails and find our way back without an issue. This is the keto zone I talk about so much (and spend so much time in).
If you’re trying to stave off epileptic seizures, enhance the effect of cancer drugs, treat dementia, or need high ketone readings for any other medical reason, stay strict. Otherwise, don’t be so strict.
Inside most UK hospitals, ties are banned, along with wristwatches. We now have multiple drug resistant hospital superbugs, the rule is that one must be in short sleeves, with nothing below the wrists. So one can wash hands.
The tie and white coat has gone. Which may help the health of your doctor’s cerebral circulation. I hardly ever wear a tie: nor should you.
The study, which appeared in the journal Neuroradiology, took place at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Germany with 30 participants, half of whom had the blood flow to their heads observed while wearing a tie, while the other half went tie-free. The squeezes the veins to the head, ultimately reducing circulation by 7.5%. You might not be acutely aware of this, but it’s a sizable percentage; enough to make a potentially fatal difference if you already have high blood pressure (I did some research on this: you’d have to have REALLY high blood pressure to have a tight tie be the catalyst for your demise).
Wearing a tie can also add unneeded pressure to your eyes, which could lead to an early onset of glaucoma. And if you’re still of the mindset that wearing a tie makes a difference in professionalism: according to a 2015 study, it only really makes a difference to the person wearing the tie.
In short, ditch the tie, lift something heavy, and keep close to keto but do not stress out on bad days. There bad days enough.
And go for a walk if you can. Not in a hospital.