Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tim Ferris interview

Love this the whole article but here are the highlights I wanted to pull out and remind folks...

On getting to the gym and motivation

But isn’t the greatest hurdle just getting people motivated in the first place?I would actually say that motivation is not the question. The real question is: What are the incentives? Let’s say I created a gym where you pay $400 the first of the month, and for every visit I refund $25. And before you sign up, we take unflattering photos of you in your under­wear, and if you don’t make a certain number of visits, we post those photos to a public website. I guarantee you that would be one fucking fit gym.

Meaning we should use cash and vanity as incentives?Absolutely. It pays not to be puritanical with incentives. Just look at what’s effective. We like to talk about reward, positive thinking, positive reinforcement. But the sad or useful fact of the matter is that shame, humiliation, peer pressure, financial loss—those things are all more effective.

How does this work if your goals are really better health and performance? A lot of elite endurance athletes don’t exactly look good naked.
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t consider a lot of endurance athletes healthy. But then again, running ultramarathons or, say, squatting 1,000 pounds aren’t necessarily what the human body is designed to do.

Are you saying elite endurance athletes aren’t fit or that they aren’t healthy?I dislike both words, because they’re poorly defined. Ultra­marathoners are fit in the sense that they are well-adapted organisms for long-distance running. But do I think that female 100-milers won’t experience reproductive problems? Not necessarily.

Do you really think there’s a shortcut to everything? What about a skill like surfing?I think the term shortcut has the negative connotation of cheating or not paying your dues. I pay my dues on the front end by doing the hard analytical work rather than suffering through a learning curve rife with practices and recommendations that haven’t been vetted. There might be ten different skills that comprise surfing. Could the order in which you learn those make the difference between eight weeks and eight years? Absolutely.

So it’s just a matter of figuring out the formula?It’s a matter of identifying dogma: What do you have to do? Build an aerobic base before you do A, B, or C? What does aerobic base mean? Are we talking about aerobic in the scientific use or aerobics as marketed and created? Then I look for anomalies—identifying the people who are good but shouldn’t be, the five-foot-six guy who’s 220 pounds but has respectable ultramarathon times. I want to know how he trains, and I’ll create a template out of that. Then I’ll see if I can replicate the results with similarly ill-suited body types.

Why powerlifting? What’s the point besides lifting more?Well, what’s the goal of running longer distances other than running longer distances?

Fair enough.But increased strength translates into increased confidence elsewhere. For me, I’m getting back into jujitsu training. So from here [crouches] if I want to—boom!—lift you and throw you [explodes up at me while twisting], I need explosive hips.

Jesus!People think the term “superhuman” in my subtitle is hyperbole. If you walk into a gym and you ask to work in with the ­biggest guy, who’s doing squats, and you take the bar and do shoulder presses,
you feel super­human. It’s very fun to see people become the strongest people in their gyms when they think it’s not possible. I know unassuming high school girls who can pull four or five [45 pound] plates off the ground. So for me to get
a light-build male at 130 to 150 pounds
to pull 405 pounds off the ground? Two
to three months.


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