“Health” Is a Dead End for Exercise Motivation

A fair argument could be made that you have to be a bit of a masochist to enjoy working out. It’s often physically uncomfortable, if not downright painful. That’s why exercise is seen as a chore, grudgingly done out of sense of duty to maintain a loosely defined state of health. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. By reframing how you think of it, you can change exercise from a job into a pleasure.

Runner against sunset

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My journey to Safe, Pain-Free Squat Technique

Squats are renowned as being an exercise you should do. Some go so far as insisting it’s the single best exercise there is. But if you’re not blessed with short femurs and a long torso, or simply don’t know how to do it, it can be an awkward movement that leads to constant pain and injury.

That was the case with me, squats always hurt my knees and back. Over the years I kept experimenting with technique and finally found a method that permitted a very deep squat with no knee or back pain. It can be distilled down to two things:

  • Rethinking the squat as a hip exercise as opposed to a leg one.
  • Consciously using my glutes to keep my hips open throughout the movement.

Squat Technique

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An Exploration of Back Pain Cures: What Worked & What Didn’t

There are few certainties in life. Proverbial wisdom counts death and taxes among them, but back pain should be on that list. Everyone seems to suffer it at some point, and it can be incredibly debilitating because our backs are involved in almost everything we do.

This article is an exploration of all the things I tried to heal back pain. What finally worked was completely rethinking how I use my back, and, surprisingly, heavy resistance training—specifically progressive range of motion squats and deadlifts.

Lumbar spine

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Leanness is the Secret to Physique for the Hardgainer

Since the beginning of time man has pondered the important question of how to look cool with no shirt on. For those with the right parents, it’s easy: lift heavy things and eat lots. However, that plan won’t work for the hardgainer with a slow metabolism. We’ll get slightly bigger and stronger, but mostly just fat. All is not lost, though. Our muscle mass might be meagre, but by focussing on being lean, we can still have a head-turning physique.

Joseph Westrupp, lean

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What I Did to Heal Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow

For a true gym rat the worst thing about golfer’s and tennis elbow is the effect they have on workouts. I got both conditions on both arms at the same time, but the good news is that I healed without a break in training. These are the things I did to heal golfer’s and tennis elbow while continuing with a level of activity that would make a physio cringe:

  • Instead of using lifting straps to relieve forearm stress, I cut down my use of them to strengthen my grip.
  • Took time to warm up the forearms before normal gym work.
  • I worked around pain, not through it.
  • I waited, albeit not very patiently! Poor blood supply means the injured tendons involved in golfer’s and tennis elbow take a long time to heal.

Arm anatomy - heal golfer's and tennis elbow

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How to Stick to a Diet

If you’ve ever found yourself wrestling with the question of how to stick to a diet, you probably think you need a way to strengthen your willpower. But relying on willpower to resist progress-destroying cheats and binges is a recipe for failure.

On the other hand, a trick that completely prevents cheating and the total failure it can lead to is simply planning your meals ahead of time. Cheats and binges are caused by a loss of control. Planning works by putting control back in your hands—even if you decide to break your diet.

How to stick to a diet—Eugene Sandow

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Is Intermittent Fasting Bad for Muscle?

The are real benefits to intermittent fasting. Even just flexibility of food choice and the freeing up of time otherwise spent on meal preparation make it worthwhile, let alone other purported claims such as life extension. But is intermittent fasting bad for muscle? Some people think so, and as proof they say there are no really big guys who fast. It seems like a reasonable observation on its surface, but it’s mistaking cause and effect.

Is intermittent fasting bad for muscle? Clock & burger picture

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Should You Count Calories?

Calorie counting is a finicky business. It means weighing food, looking up databases, nutrition label reading, and keeping track of everything consumed. It’s a lot more effort than merely eating whatever we feel like, and adds a layer of complexity to life that many people find unwelcome.

But is it even necessary?

Mechanical calculator

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The Best Fat Loss Diet

Carrying too much body fat sucks. When you make up your mind to lose it you want it gone yesterday, so naturally you want the best fat loss diet.

And what makes the best fat loss diet? Obviously it’s the one that enables the most efficient and maximal weight loss, right?

It seems self-evident, but it’s the wrong focus and normally leads to complete failure.

Tape measure

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