Euclid on Weightlifting: There Are Many Roads Up the Mountain of GainZ – None of Them Are “Royal”


“There is no royal road to geometry.” — Euclid In ancient times, there were (as the stories go) “royal roads” that only the kings could travel on. They were glorified short-cuts, making travel from one place to another faster and easier if you happened to be royalty. According to legend, Euclid was sponsored by Ptolemy […]

You Gotta Get UP to Get DOWN: 3rd-Pull in Weightlifting (Case Study)


Natalie is (very) new to weightlifting. And yet, here she is doing a clean with more than her own bodyweight. It LOOKS like she “gets under the bar”. But in truth, she PULLS herself under the bar. That distinction is crucial. The Language of Description vs the Language of Experience In the video it LOOKS […]

Language Matters – “Beyond Subjective & Objective in Statistics” – Research Paper


Shakespeare knew what he was doing when he asked, “what’s in a name?” As always, his meaning was double (or more), and the play’s plot gives us a completely different answer than the rhetorical one we usually supply. Names can matter, not only among love-sick teenagers from xenophobic families, but in science, teaching, and in […]

“We Are Cornhole” – OR – Why Weightlifters Need to Embrace the Silly


Paraphrase from the video: “We want to reek… of cornhole.” When you and I watch this video, we can’t help but laugh. We find it silly. Yet, that is exactly how others feel about our sport. When the people in this video talk about it being a way of life, that is reminiscent of how […]

Beyond Beautiful Music – Rainer Maria Rilke: Quote of the Day


“It is not only the hearable in music that is important (something can be pleasant to hear without being true). What is decisive for me, in all the arts, is not their outward appearance, not what is called the “beautiful”; but rather their deepest, most inner origin, the buried reality that calls forth their appearance.” […]

Charles Darwin on Mathematics – Quote of the Day


“I have deeply regretted that i did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.” — Charles Darwin Now go do some math, Nick Horton PS. the pic is of me! I took Darwin’s lament seriously 11 […]

How to Hit Your Next PR? Believe in Yourself – Macbeth: Quote of the Day


Art thou afraid To be the same in thine own act and valour As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life, And live a coward in thine own esteem, Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’, — Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth. In other words, will you […]

Surprise! Changing Emotional Memories – “Amygdala Dopamine Receptors Are Required for the Destabilization of a Reconsolidating Appetitive Memory” – Research Review


In this study, the authors find that dopamine is linked with the destabilization of emotional memories, making them more able to change. Possible applications to disorders such as PTSD and addiction. Paper — Merlo, et al. 2015. Amygdala Dopamine Receptors Are Required for the Destabilization of a Reconsolidating Appetitive Memory. Abstract Disrupting maladaptive memories may […]

Juggling Brains: “Training Induces Changes in White Matter Architecture”


While there is much evidence of grey matter changes in the adult brain, this study shows changes to white matter in the adult brain due to specific training: juggling! Paper — Scholz, et al. 2009. Training Induces Changes in White Matter Architecture. Abstract: Although experience-dependent structural changes have been demonstrated in adult gray matter, there […]

Penetration: Mathematics & Philosophy – Quote: Leibniz


Without mathematics we cannot penetrate deeply into philosophy. Without philosophy we cannot penetrate deeply into mathematics. Without both we cannot penetrate deeply into anything. — Leibniz … he said, “penetrate”. Now go lift something heavy, Nick Horton

Truth: 2 Rules of Thumb – Scientific Consensus vs Popular Opinion


I never give a crap what other people’s “opinions” are. I DO care about what is TRUE. Throughout history, popular opinion has usually been on the WRONG side of the truth — especially when it comes to anything ethical. From science to slavery, humans have gotten nearly everything wrong. The reason we had to invent […]

Self-Deception – Bishop Butler: Quote


“Things and actions are what they are, and their consequences will be what they will be: why then should we seek to be deceived?” — Bishop Butler The Romantic personality type can handle anything — save for the facts. I deplore this tendency in our lowly species; even more so its rampantness, and its promotion […]

Willpower: Mind over Glucose – “Beliefs About Willpower Determine the Impact of Glucose on Self-Control” – Research Review


Fuel is important. Your mindset is importanter. If you tell yourself that you “can’t”, you won’t — no matter how much fuel you have. If you tell yourself you can, you might, no matter what the obstacle.1 There are many potential lessons here. Paper — Job, et al. 2013. Beliefs About Willpower Determine the Impact […]

Safety: The Fountainhead of Progress – Especially in Strength Training


Strength is a skill. Foundational to that skill is your ability to breathe & brace correctly during heavy lifts – of all kinds, not just squats & snatches! So with newer athletes we always start by teaching people how to stand like Bruce Lee. Maximizing your intra-abdominal-pressure is key to both your safety and the […]

No Will-Power? No Talent – Goethe on Hiring Actors for the Theater


“If considering his personal qualities… above all things, whether he had control of himself. For an actor who has no self-possession… has, generally speaking, little talent.” — Goethe This doesn’t just apply to actors! The quote is Goethe on hiring new actors for the theater, from Conversations with Goethe with Johann Peter Eckermann. Nietzsche called […]

Anger: The Coward’s Way to Overcome Fear – How to Find Focus & Intensity Without Emotion


“Since you have free mastery of your body as a result of your training, you will win through your body; since your mind is accustomed to this way, you will also win through your mind. Once you reach this stage, how can you be defeated?” — Miyamoto Musashi “Anger” and “Aggression” are spelled differently for […]

Coaching & Criticism: When Being Harsh is Healthy (OR, How To Have Success Tomorrow by Keeping it Real Today)


If you can’t laugh at yourself, I can’t (read: won’t) coach you. Back in grad-school, I was once told by my adviser that a test of mine was “fucking bullshit” and that he couldn’t believe how much of a “God-damned moron” I was being. That may sound harsh, but he was right, and we were […]

How to Read Like a Slap to the Face & a Handful of Blood – Zhu Xi: Quote of the Day


“Here’s what is necessary: one blow with a club, one scar; one slap to the face, a handful of blood. Your reading of what other people write should be like this. Don’t be lax!” — Zhu Xi Zhu Xi has been, perhaps, the most influential commentator on the Confucian classics in history. If you’ve ever […]

CrossFit Snatches: Safety vs Stupidity in the Name of Sport (with Video)


Before I get started, please read this intro so that we’re on the same page: This is NOT one of those annoying “bash CrossFit” posts. I wrote it out of genuine concern for the safety of regular people who do CrossFit — not for Games-level athletes. I realize that because of the already-existing antagonism between […]

The Value of Uselessness: Biceps & Bourbon – Quote: Zhuangzi


“The mountain tree plunders itself. The candle fat scorches itself. The cinnamon tree is edible, and thus it gets chopped down. The lacquer tree is useful, and thus it is cut down. Everyone knows how useful usefulness is, but no one seems to know how useful uselessness is.” — Zhuangzi The picture is of George […]

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