Training Age and Insecurity
Savage / Zen Newsletter | No. 073
“I think we ought to only read the kinds of books that wound and stab us.”
~ Franz Kafka
I’m tired… and salty. I think they call that getting old. Some folks say you can entirely re-invent yourself in 3-7 years (ref.). It’s been around that long since I’ve really dug into the nutritional space (circa 2020).
More on that below…
For now, let’s talk training, accomplishment, and going the distance. You may have had your ego coddled in the past — ironically probably by the same people who tell you to get rid of it — with phrases like:
Get 1% better every day.
Showing up is half the battle.
In the words of Tim Grover, showing up is none of the battle. A well known health influencer recently posted a “hack” they claimed would improve your cardiovascular endurance 12% in two months.
Even at 20% better in 12 weeks (ref.) I credited the gains to my inexperience (in endurance work). These “big gains” don’t happen for elite athletes as I’ve talked about before (ref.). If you think you’re getting 1% better / day; you’re a rookie.
This is my friend Mason. The only thing he cares about is climbing hard — can you tell? Where do you think “just showing up” gets you on this route? It’s an easy answer. Your “50% of the battle” gets you a life-flight either to the ER or a morgue.
Mason and I are actually birthday buddies, except he’s 8 years younger. The picture above was taken in late winter 2023. When I stopped climbing in 2019 I was climbing 8 or 9 grades below what’s pictured above.
Obviously, I went hard back to grappling and Mason continued crushing mountains. My point is, I will never climb like Mason. For those unfamiliar with climbing grades this would be like a 35 year old recreational purple belt fighting a 28 year old semi-pro black belt.
Training age is a thing. Your literal skin in the game. You need that skin to pay for time and you need that time to find your potential (limit/s).
If someone, someone who would actually know, hasn’t noticed your world class potential after 5-7 years of focused training, you don’t have it in you. Sorry champ, you’re gonna have to find a new dream to chase. You don’t have to love it any less, and you can always get better, but you’re not the world-beater the Disney-generation fluffed you up to believe.
You can’t “will and hard work” your way past the limits of your potential. You can push damn hard against them, but sometimes…
It just be like it is.
On the other hand, most people will die without ever even having sniffed their limit, their potential — let alone stew in it long enough for any kind of metamorphosis to occur.
In 2022 alone I had 230 hours of mat time and another 100+ in the weight room. My “Nutrition Favorites” playlist on Spotify is over 160 hours — “favorites” only not everything listened to.
Of course health matters, for longevity. But, what value does time, life, longevity have if we don’t do something with it? Perhaps the goal isn’t to live forever, but to create something that will?
As always, I’m humbled by the sagely wisdom of Dan John who reminds us in “Now What” that you can “survive doing a lot of stupid stuff and make it to age 50” just by:
wearing your seat belt, and
keeping your weight under 300 lbs.
Then there’s this:
“If you think the price of success is expensive,
wait until you get the bill for regret.”
~ Tim Grover
A new publication came out titled:
Dietary carbohydrate quantity and quality and risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis
The hazard ratio for all-cause mortality for the highest carb consuming group was 1.07; meaning the difference in death rate was only +7%. You know what else causes at least a 7% increase in mortality?
weighing over 300 lbs.
not wearing your seat belt
combat / grappling sports
Additionally, the relationship was non-linear which means that there’s a mid-point that’s either low (like with sodium’s relationship to all cause mortality) or a high where we have “healthy user biases” at either end.
The later is more likely far more likely with low-carbers on the left (lowest mortality), high-carb-high-junk eaters in the middle (highest mortality and highest carb intake), and high-carb-low-junk eaters on the right with higher mortality than the low-carbers but lower than the junk-eaters.
We haven’t even taken into account co-variates / confounding variables like what’s in those junk foods accompanying the highest carb group (i.e. seed oils) activity levels, fasting insulin (and other blood metrics), etc.
Another interesting article is in pre-print:
I’d love to do a touchdown-happy-dance about this one too, but I can’t without a good enough data set to convince me that metabolic flexibility wouldn’t contribute significantly to the result(s).
That is, if you’re sick and metabolically broken, then you see the biggest boost to your mood and happiness when you’re diet gets cleaned up (low carb or otherwise). But, if you’re diet is already on the lower-carb and whole-foods side (checked with A1C and fasting insulin), then my guess is that the effects will be dampened.
In good faith I had to remind the colleague that sent that article to me that:
“Good science requires ardent awareness of bias, especially our own.”
I’m still settling in to the Substack platform and deciding exactly how I want it to operate. All previous incarnations of my public work have been supported only by tips and affiliate marketing — strictly ad free.
For now, I’ve decided to continue that tradition. As such, some previously paywalled content is now free:
Posts are still archived after one year as a challenge to myself to keep things relevant and current. If you’re that interested, buy me a coffee (or steak) below.