Gym, Unreconstructed

“I don’t want to be too comfortable. Once you get used to it, it’s hard to give up. I’d rather stay hungry.”

Joe Santo

4’ x 8’ Deadlift Platform Construction

Materials

  • (2) 2’ x 8’ 3/4” Pieces of Plytanium Plywood (1st Layer, Platform Foundation) — Lowe’s (4’ x 8’ Ripped Lengthwise) … $42.98
  • (2) 4’ x 4’ 3/4” Pieces of Plytanium Plywood (2nd Layer, Platform Foundation) — Lowe’s (4’ x 8’ Ripped Widthwise) … $42.98
  • (1) 4’ x 4’ 3/4” Maple Plywood (Third Layer, Lifting Base) — Lowe’s (4’ x 8’ Ripped Widthwise) … $50.98
  • (1) 4’ x 6’ 3/4” Rubber Horse Stall Mat (L&R Plate Landing Pads) — Tractor Supply … $44.99
  • 1 1/4” Construction Screws … $18.95

Total Cost = $200.88

Equipment

  • Drill
  • Coping Saw

Construction

Lay down the 4’ x 4’ Plytanium boards atop the 2’ x 8’ Plytanium boards; attach with construction screws (I used 42 screws). This is the Platform Foundation, so use lots of screws in order to ensure that it is rigid.

Lay down the 4’ x 4’ Maple Plywood Lifting Base atop the Platform Foundation. Center it and attach with screws around its perimeter (I used 16 screws).

Measure the Stall Mat into two 2’ x 4’ sections and rip slowly with the Coping Saw along chalked line. The Stall Mats are heavy and difficult to cut with razor blades. The Coping Saw proved an exceptional and almost effortless alternative.

Lay down one 2’ x 4’ Stall Mat on each side of the centered Lifting Base and attach with construction screws (I used 8 screws on each mat). You’ll have one 2’ x 4’ piece of Stall Mat left over. It makes a good 3/4-in step in front of the Deadlift Platform.

Start Lifting!

Notes: This Platform was designed to ensure that all materials would fit in a small van; you won’t need to rent a U-Haul truck.

By building your own Deadlift Platform, you’ll likely save ~$200.

The squat rack in the background of the first photograph was manufactured by Titan Fitness. In addition to squats, it’s used for pull-ups, seated presses and bench presses. We chose the Titan X-3 over the Rogue SML-1, as it enabled us to save an additional $200, which was invested in a Rogue Ohio Power Bar.

Home Gym Cost Breakdown

  • DL PLATFORM … $200.88
  • FULL BAR JACK … $55.30
  • OHIO POWER BAR … $302.40
  • SQUAT STAND … $334.36
  • BENCH … $71.99
  • PLATE RACK … $53.75
  • OLYMPIC BAR + WEIGHT PLATES … $520.94
  • EVA MATTING … $79.83

TOTAL COST = $1,619.45

IRR = 1.7 Years

Powerlifting: Is Volume Training the Enemy?

Age: 41
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 200 lbs (Starting Weight: 165 lbs) ; 210 lbs (28 March)
Status: Drug-free
Duration of training: 8 Months
Supplementation: 20-40,000 IU D3 + 5g Creatine Daily

Present Lifts

Deadlift: 415 lbs; 420 lbs (13 March); 425 lbs (17 March); 430 lbs (21 March); 435 lbs (26 March)
Squat: 375 lbs; 380 lbs (15 March); 385 lbs (19 March); 390 lbs (24 March); 395 lbs (28 March); 405 lbs (2 April); 410 lbs (7 April)
Bench Press: 265 lbs; 280 lbs (7 April)

6 Month Goals

Deadlift: 460 lbs
Squat: 430 lbs
Bench: 285 lbs

Volume may not be everyone’s enemy. It proved to be mine, however.

I have come to believe that drug-free powerlifters must lift differently, with an elevated sense of humility and a commitment to heavy, progressive poundages, core lifts, low reps, brief workouts, rest, realistic goals, and finally, enough calories to support growth.

The drug-free powerlifter will break down faster than his enhanced counterpart; one simply is not able to assimilate protein as efficiently as one who is enhanced. But I don’t subscribe to the belief that the drug-free powerlifter cannot make the same spectacular gains as the enhanced powerlifter. Those gains may simply take longer to achieve.

To the drug-free powerlifter, rest, recovery and a commitment to regular, calorie-dense feedings are all-important.

The drug-free powerlifter must be humble and a commitment to realistic goals will ensure that one’s humility is not prematurely slayed by impatience.

What is a realistic goal?

I think the addition of 2.5-5 lbs to each core lift per week is not only realistic but attainable. Plateaus will come and they must not be met with discouragement; they must be embraced. The plateau isn’t the point at which one’s regimen should be altered, but the point at which each lift is met with additional vigor and patience. Why? The plateau is the point at which one’s body is preparing to grow and potentiate the next landmark lift. It will come. Sooner, probably, than you think.

It is the plateau at which I have witnessed my body grow the fastest. It is also the point at which, especially for the drug-free powerlifter, to reduce sets and reps, while ensuring that maximal effort remains devoted to each core lift.

Why reduce sets and reps?

If your poundages have been increasing, so has the intensity of your lifts. Your body has come under considerably more stress over a shorter period of time than when you first began, when weights were relatively light and neural adaptations came quickly. Reduce the number of warm-up reps at lighter poundages in order to preserve power for maximal lifts at target weights. If you’ve hit your goal for your workout, swallow your pride, quit and re-rack your weights. Go home, eat and rest. Otherwise, you will be making inroads into recovery potential and increase the odds of injury.

How many reps?

The path to one’s one-rep max in any given workout is the sum of several reps at various poundages. It will vary from person to person, but there is unquestionably a point at which that sum is too high to ensure that one is able to perform at one’s best at target weights with excellent form. It’s up to you to determine how many warm-up reps at each weight is too many. In order to ensure that I achieve regular increases in strength at progressive poundages, I pared squat sessions down from between 8-12 reps at each warm-up weight to the following:

5 x 135 lbs
5 x 225 lbs
3 x 315 lbs
3 x 365 lbs
2 x 375 lbs (PR)

If I lifted 370 lbs last week and was able to add 5 lbs this week, I WILL grow stronger. As a drug-free lifter, muscle may not appear immediately, but it WILL come, given adequate rest and caloric intake.

If I were to plateau at 375 lbs for an extended period, for instance, I would make an attempt to break through that plateau by eliminating the set of 3 x 365 in order to preserve power for maximal lifts at target weights. A mere breakthrough of between 2.5-5 lbs following a short plateau is often enough to both psychologically and bodily propel one to one’s next PR. Over time, one finds how much is in one’s personal fuel tank, on average, per session. Sip through reserves during warm-up sets; leave the vast majority of fuel for your maximal lifts then get the hell out of the gym and refuel.

What did my last deadlift workout look like?

5 x 135 lbs
3 x 225 lbs
2 x 315 lbs
1 x 405 lbs
1 x 415 lbs (PR)

On both squat and deadlift day, I also do one of two pressing activities: seated presses with a narrow grip, or landmine presses. Due to surfing injuries 20 years ago, I do not perform traditional bench presses, which is not to say that I won’t develop sufficient strength to eventually return to the bench with a spotter that may assist with liftoff in order to avoid rotator cuff pain. In fact, I am certain this day will soon come.

Why drug-free?

I can’t imagine never knowing of what one is truly capable under one’s own power, backed by Faith. I cannot imagine not knowing where one’s own grit ends and performance enhancement drugs begin. We are capable of dramatically more than we think. Impatience is our worst enemy. To be drug-free is to be intellectually honest. Were we all drug-free powerlifters, global records would unquestionably be a little lower, but damn, we’d certainly know who possessed true genetic mettle.

On Environmentalism: Remixing Le Bon

If we would comprehend the profound influence of Environmentalism we need only to examine its doctrines… Like religions (and Environmentalism is tending more and more to put on the guise of a religion) it propagates itself in any manner than by reason. Feeble in the extreme when it attempts to reason, and to support itself by scientific arguments, it becomes on the contrary extremely powerful when it remains in the region of dreams, affirmations, and chimerical promises… Now the great power of beliefs, when they tend to assume this religious form … lies in the fact that their propagation is independent of the proportion of truth or error they may contain, for as soon as a belief has gained a lodging in the minds of men its absurdity no longer appears; reason cannot reach it, and only time can impair it…

Against the Machine Model of Music

I think there is something distasteful and fundamentally perverse about abstraction. In order to better understand abstraction, I have experimented with dissonance. The outcome is invariably ugly. Rarely, if ever, does the honest listener find rewards in cacophony. I consider Dada and Accidental Music examples of abstraction: both do nothing but undermine the listener, unseat reason, and actively dissimulate. If I have produced abstract music, it is in an effort to expose its bland conceits.

It is the dilettante that esteems deformity and erects roadblocks to beauty; that would condition all of us to see with jaundiced eyes and hear with wax-filled ears, so that we are no longer able to distinguish between hoax and reality.

Over time I have attempted to speak plainly and forthrightly on these things and I have paid the ultimate price. I have made music that reflects what is in my heart, not what appeals to the critic, and consequently, I am alone.

The Technology for Controlling Others Exists

The technology for controlling others exists and it will be used, given the persistence of power-seeking motives. Furthermore, we will need to use it, since the necessary social changes cannot come about if the affected people do not understand and desire them…. How do we educate “run-of-the-mill” citizens for membership in a democratic society?… How do we teach people to understand their relationship to long range planning?… And how do we teach people to be comfortable with the process of change? Should we educate for this? We shall probably have to. But how?…

The need for educating to embrace change is not limited to youngsters…. Education for tomorrow’s world will involve more than programming students by a computer; it will equally involve the ways in which we program… parents to respond to the education… children get for this kind of world. To the extent we succeed with the youngsters but not with the parents, we will have… a very serious consequence: an increasing separation of the young from their parents…. It will have psychological repercussions, probably producing in the children both guilt and hostility (arising from their rejection of their parents’ views and
values in lifestyles).

–THE COMPUTER IN AMERICAN EDUCATION (John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1967)

Machine Husbandry: On Nitinol

If every component of an aerial vehicle were constructed from Nitinol, the results would be disastrous. Some stiffness, especially in rocket and turbine elements, is vital. Problems are encountered at the juncture between alloys with lots of flexion and metals with little. Tensile variability would have to be integrated in a planar Nitinol element in the forging process.

Beyond this, a mortise and tenon design will also present obstacles. A ‘slippery-vise’ design has the potential to overcome these obstacles by enabling aerospace designers to develop unbroken, single-piece Nitinol skins for craft — an ultra-light composite outer layer and a rigid inner kernel for componentry and engine blocks.

The ‘slippery-vise’ design would guarantee the preservation of Nitinol skin integrity when encountering G-Forces when the craft is mass-driven, as the ‘vise’ will be situated perpendicularly to the launch rail.

Many issues related to Nitinol skin development result from design orthodoxy that presupposes human occupancy. Most obstacles could be overcome readily if next-generation craft were commandeered remotely; seals are a design-bane.

Transcendental Fascism

Tenets and Principles of Conduct Under the Transcendental Fascist State

Value/s and Ethics, Part I. — Eleven Points

Many tenets follow from acknowledgment of one simple truth: The utility of paper money/currency is overstated. Hence:

  1. The gift will be a cornerstone of the Transcendental Fascist economy.
  2. Value is subjective, and thus no two transactions are alike or of equal, determinant value.
  3. No rewards or arbitrary value for equal work: If a soul is a natural producer, he will accrue to himself goods in proportion to the gifts or labor-as-gift he dispenses.
  4. Value is not a function of time. Value is only discoverable in the novel exchange between two or more parties. Value, then, cannot be standardized; it cannot be predetermined.
  5. Only when represented by paper does degenerate art appear to possess value. Value in these instances is manufactured at auction. The value of good work/s and art is intrinsic, it is universally discoverable, and it is universally valued by a culture. Good work/s resist denomination. Good work/s can’t help but instruct technically and spiritually—it is without price, as it gives in perpetuity.
  6. Shelter is not a privilege and will not convey status.
  7. Like shelter, food is not a privilege. No man or household will accrue to himself more rations than are his natural allotment. If one participates in its production, it is one’s natural right to share or exchange for gifts whatever quantity of his foodstuffs one sees fit.
  8. Under no circumstances will food or shelter or the effects thereof be taxed. The gift is exempt from taxation.
  9. In instances when value is debased by representation with currency, which is inherently valueless, the offender is taxed through servitude to the community. The length of his service is determined by the community and is customarily proportional to the extent to which the gift-as-medium-of-exchange was displaced. A second debasement offense is a capital offense.
  10. Capital offenses are prosecuted by the State. If found guilty, the offender will be executed by Shechita.
  11. The State will intervene as a matter of course on the behalf of animals. Cruelty to animals is a capital offense and the offender will be executed by Shechita.

Populist Sociology of Language

To be populist does not necessitate that one appeal to the Totalist Regime’s constituency with the adoption of a decayed vernacular; the regime’s constituency must, by example, be encouraged to rise broadly and substantially. Hence, attention to parts of speech and spelling by that regime’s spokespeople and propagandists is essential; each serves to legitimate the system’s core values by invoking standards of intellectual comportment espoused by statesman and subject alike. This is the way that stultification in a formerly valueless, economized people is overcome, keeping always in mind:

Totalist core values are undermined by an active abridgement of language, as dissent is fomented through the practical exploitation of a population’s learned proclivity to finance thought with base, provincial word combinations, shorthand and slang. In order to thrive, the Totalist Regime must eradicate what is base in a carryover culture’s speech and to disabuse its constituency by the positive reformation of propaganda. Fundaments are best conveyed when an exactness of word-meanings is pursued doggedly – by the State, by the household and in the classroom. To the Totalist, and by extension, to the Transcendental Fascist, what relativizes in speech is spurious.

Frederick T. Gates: A Vision of the Remedy

Frederick T. Gates, “A Vision of the Remedy,” The Country School of Tomorrow: Occasional Papers No. 1 (General Education Board: New York, 1913)


Is there aught of remedy for this neglect of rural life? Let us, at least, yield ourselves to the gratifications of a beautiful dream that there is. In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science.We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.

C.S. Lewis on The Liberal Arts

If education is beaten by training, civilization dies.

–C.S. Lewis

Gregory Dunn–The first reason we study the liberal arts has to do with freedom. That freedom is an integral part of the liberal arts is borne out of Lewis’s observation that “liberal comes of course from the Latin, liber, and means free.” Such an education makes one free, according to Lewis, because it transforms the pupil from “an unregenerate little bundle of appetites” into “the good man and the good citizen.” We act most human when we are reasonable, both in thought and deed. Animals, on the other hand, act wholly out of appetite. When hungry, they eat; when tired, they rest. Man is different. Rather than follow our appetites blindly we can be deliberate about what we do and when we do it. The ability to rule ourselves frees us from the tyranny of our appetites, and the liberal arts disciplines this self-rule. In other words, this sort of education teaches us to be most fully human and thereby, to fulfill our human duties, both public and private.

Lewis contrasts liberal arts education with what he calls “vocational training,” the sort that prepares one for employment. Such training, he writes, “aims at making not a good man but a good banker, a good electrician… or a good surgeon.” Lewis does admit the importance of such training—for we cannot do without bankers and electricians and surgeons—but the danger, as he sees it, is the pursuit of training at the expense of education. “If education is beaten by training, civilization dies,” he writes, for the “lesson of history” is that “civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost.” It is the liberal arts, not vocational training, that preserves civilization by producing reasonable men and responsible citizens….

A third reason we study the liberal arts is because it is simply our nature and duty. Man has a natural thirst for knowledge of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, and men and women of the past have made great sacrifices to pursue it in spite of the fact that, as Lewis puts it, “human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.” In his words, “they propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds.” So, finding in the soul an appetite for such things, and knowing no appetite is made by God in vain, Lewis concludes that the pursuit of the liberal arts is pleasing to God and is possibly, for some, a God-given vocation…. Truly, we ignore the liberal arts only at our peril. Without them we will find ourselves increasingly unable to preserve a civilized society, to escape from the errors and prejudices of our day, and to struggle in the arena of ideas to the glory of God.

On Principle from the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs (April 1999, Vol. VII, No. 2).