A clarification

After reading this and this, it occurred to me that a clarification is order. I wrote in this recent post:

“I am a little suspicious and annoyed by all the anonymity. “

And I wanted to clarify this a bit. In fact, I wrote at Social Matter just a little while ago:

I should probably clarify this, because this is the most common response. I am aware of the situation, and I am at risk too. Very high risk indeed.

I want to make the distinction between “encouraging people to blog openly” (or changing their current anonymous status to identified) and “reaching out, in private to each other through email and other means.”

I do not want anyone who is not comfortable to unmask themselves. I understand.

I want to network, off line with real people of the reaction. That’s it.

…and

It also occurs to me that “suspicious” may not have been the right word, and I am willing to go back and change it if enough readers think I should. Here’s why:

When I wrote “suspicious” I didn’t mean I am suspicious of those who blog/comment anonymously. I mean that I am skeptical of its efficacy, long term. Hope that makes sense.

So I hope that clears up any confusion about the post. It was not meant to be a call for anonymous bloggers to change their practices. That is entirely up to the individual. But be aware, for the purposes of building any real sense of community and direction, it has limitations. That’s all I meant.

Take care.

Advertisements

Out of your shell

This is not going to be a particularly mind-blowing observation. But, I estimate that introverted/asperger-y types are somewhat over-represented in what we call “the manosphere.”

Trust me, it takes one to know one. I don’t like being around large groups of people. I can handle it for a little while, but there is definite end point to it for me. That’s when I say to Mychael “lets go.” It means, not 5 minutes from now, but now. I have exhausted my ability to engage with other people on a level that resembles social likability. It is abrupt, and unmistakable. It is now time to leave. The one thing I have going for me is I am part of the rare sub-group of “non-shy” introverts.

Still, I sometimes go for hours with zero contact from other humans before I realize I am by myself.

I also don’t like people touching me. I have a “personal space” about a mile in diameter around me. People comment on it frequently, saying that I give off the equivalent of a large neon sign that reads “do not approach.”

I don’t do this on purpose, but in general, when someone tries to hug me, I squirm and it feels really weird–except for those in the inner circle. And I will get to that in a minute.

In my profession, it is absolutely imperative that I come across as warm, inviting and empathic. This does not come naturally to me. I have had to work very hard at it, and for all intents and purposes, it is a honed act. Its why, in general I have gravitated to assessment, forensics, military psychology, research, etc. Therapy is my LEAST favorite thing to do. But I am proud of the work I have done on myself. In fact, I was just discussing last night with Mychael how awkward my conversations with another provider in my clinic has been, because that provider is very much on the spectrum. I said “she makes me seem like a super engaging person” to which my sweet wife responded “but the major difference is you’re also friendly and warm.”

No one in my life has ever described me that way. And this is the result of a tremendous amount of work I have done on myself. What most people who encounter those on the spectrum don’t understand is–the stand offishness is not because we don’t need affection, its because affection/touch is experienced as so intense that it makes us feel like we are going to fly to pieces. 

Kids help

You HAVE to give this shit up, no matter how stupid it feels. My kids will not let me be robo/terminator dad:

Instead, they require an almost constant engagement. And it is something I have learned to love, through parenting. Sometimes, it’s awkward:

But most of the time, its divine. And you have to get over that feeling of flying apart to get there:

 

Still, most of the time, if someone offers me a hug, I pass. I extend the hand for a handshake, and its pretty off-putting. I can sense the body language and I often regret it later. It is a battle I will fight forever. It is bizarre to me that Mychael described me the way she did, but I guess its all relative, and she is in the inner circle.

This is a post about self-improvement. I don’t know each and every individual situation, but I suspect this is a problem for many. The point is, it’s something you can work on. From a constitutional/tempramental standpoint, it is VERY DIFFICULT to control what signals you give off, I get it. Have you thought about asking someone you trust to tell you the truth about how you come across? Do you care?

Anyway, I guess I was thinking about all this in the context of all the latest buzz in the news with all the sexual predators that are being picked off one by one. It’s hard for me to relate, because, when in doubt, I keep my friggin hands to myself. I don’t think I have touched a coworker in months. Not so much as a hand on the elbow.

I do a lot of social skills training with my patients. It is awkward for them in the beginning, but it does work if you are willing to get past the weirdness.

 

 

Wife goggles

Elspeth writes what amounts to a magnum opus of marital bliss for women that, of course will go unnoticed because this part of the internet is essentially an ignored broom closet in a billion bedroom mansion. It contains gems that no modern woman hears today, unless it is the punchline in a movie about how oppressed women used to be:

  • As a Christian committed to Christian marriage, resolve to set aside your ambitions in favor of your husband’s. Yes, you’re smart, and yes, you could do great things, and yes, I know you had a plan for your life. However, you are a wife now. This means you are no longer leading the dance of your life; your husband is.

  • Part of submitting to your husband is not bad mouthing him to your family. The worst thing you can do when you’re angry with your husband is talk to your mother about it. Unless there is a very serious marital breach to address, your family should know nothing about your internal squabbles, as most of disagreements aren’t worth the drama of letting outside observers know about them.

  • Most of your girlfriends and female family members have no idea what a happy marriage looks like. At your age, most of your friends are still single. They can not offer you relevant marital advice. Be careful who you listen to.

  • This is your husband until death parts you. Do not entertain divorce fantasies of your own, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to plant seeds of doubt. The grass is not greener on the other side. If your grass is brown, oh well. God expects you to tend to it, water it, and green it up. You’re not allowed to hop back over the fence. You will be utterly shocked at how much you’re willing to concede and overlook when you accept that this is your life. For better or worse were not just words you uttered. God expects you to keep them.

  • Enjoy being in love, and don’t be afraid to show how head-over-heels you are with your husband. There is nothing wrong with a woman who loves her man. Let him see it, let others see it. Praise him in front of others, show your respect for him in front of others. Have his back, and bless him with your loyalty.

And this one really jumped out at me:

  • Do not let yourself go. When you’re young and beautiful, this hardly registers on your radar screen. However, marriage is a long haul. Babies come, you get tired, you eat junk, and you get lazy. Develop healthy habits now. The bloom of youth keeps at bay what it will not a few years from now without some work on your part. Your husband will appreciate the effort.

Because there is a flip side to it. To be realistic about aging is to acknowledge that none of us are going to look as good as we once did. I agree with Elspeth that you should do your best to look good for your spouse by exercising, eating right, not smoking, etc. But when she writes about babies here, it causes me to pause for just a moment.

Mychael has a rough time with pregnancies, and she will come right out and acknowledge it. By “rough time” here I mean, she just does not do well with energy, pain, etc while pregnant. And this presents a challenge for me because she never looks more beautiful to me then when she is wadddling around my house with my babies inside. Sure, it looks super uncomfortable, but its pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen. 

I joke around with her about it alot. 

“What is that thing? It got here 5 minutes before the rest of you did”

“Hey, I think you swallowed a watermelon.”

“Are you taking the baby with you to the store? Oh yeah, I guess you kind of have to, since, she’s inside you and stuff.”

It’s all in good fun, and she knows it. But its still a real pain in the butt for her.

Now, keep in mind, I had no children when I was young. I was 37 when our first was born, so I think the novelty of having a pregnant wife is still pretty powerful for me. I hate to sound like I’m 8, but its just so cool.

And objectively, age + babies is having an effect on her. And because of the way God made men, it has the opposite effect on my perception of her. Having babies with the woman you have committed your life to in sacramental marriage is pretty much the hottest thing I have ever experienced. To me, she will always look this this:

Mychael, taken the week after we started dating.

A woman in love with her husband will see babies + age and fear that he does not like what he sees anymore. A man who is love in with his wife sees babies + commitment and cannot stop seeing her beauty. That one ingredient changes everything.

So my point is–wives, do everything in your power to look as good as you can, for as long as possible. But don’t fret over it when your efforts start to have diminishing effects. I know its hard to believe, but these two things are not mutually exclusive. If you follow Elspeths advice in the linked article, you will always be beautiful to your husbands.

Lenten Compatible

In  Tranformation Diet,

Moose Norseman asks for a an Orthodox Lenten compatible alternative for fast days. I promised I would respond, so I came up with this:

First pre-workout snack: Couple of handfuls of granola (150 calories)

Run

Breakfast: 1 cup of soy chocolate milk and a banana (200 calories)

Morning snack: 1 cup of soy based yogurt and 2 tablespoons of almonds. (230 calories)

Afternoon workout

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (350 calories)

Afternoon snack: Any number of soy based protein shakes will do here. Add a handful of fresh fruit. (150 Calories)

Dinner: Whatever fast-friendly dinner you usually have (Again, I usually eyeball portions to equal 300-600 calories for dinner)

Bedtime snack: Toasted English muffin with jelly, no butter. (150 calories)

If you do the math, you are way under 2500 calories there, even under 2000 depending on how much you eat for dinner. So, adjust your portion sizes. You should not have energy issues on this kind of diet either.

Hope that helps.

Supplements

The title of this post should be “If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have 4 supplements, what would they be?” but that’s a little long. Here is the answer to that question, regardless.

To begin, however, we’ll need to define “supplement” in a way that makes sense. For the purposes of this discussion, I do not consider protein shakes and powders to be supplements because protein is a naturally occurring macro nutrient in food. In other words you can take supplemental protein, but you can also just eat more chicken.

When I discuss supplements, I am talking about the stuff that is so processed to the point that you really can’t eat enough of some natural food to get it. So, from that starting point:

First, I would need a pre-workout thermogenic. Basically, caffeine or one of its many derivatives. I generally take one in pill form before my morning run (like the old standby Hydroxycut) and a powedered one before I hit the gym later in the day.

Pre-workout powders.

A couple things to think about with these. The labeled dosing is usually too high for me, but to each his own. If I drink as much of this stuff before a workout as the label calls for, it makes my teeth itch. Also, keep in mind that there are many ingredients in these things that have nothing to do with performance enhancement/weight loss. Like for example, many of them have niacin in them. This makes you feel flush and your skin tingles. That’s to make you think its working. But it has no proven track record of metabolic effects.

At my age, if I tried to get through just one of these workouts without a thermogenic, I would drop dead.

Next, creatine monohydrate. I have already mentioned what creatine claims to do–and that it has been shown in countless clinical trials to actually do it. It helps your muscles retain water so they can repair themselves faster. There are no harmful side effects, and you don’t have to cycle it. There are some pretty expensive, very fine granulate versions of it, but if you can’t afford those just make sure its creatine MONOHYDRATE. All the other forms are not going to work. This is your post workout supplement, and you should try to get some in your system as soon after your workout as possible.

Third, D-aspartic acid. This is a natural testosterone booster and again, it is a well-studied supplement. It takes about 3500 IUs a day to get your testosterone production up and it will do so for about 3 weeks. It is very hard on your system for the first few days while your body gets used to it. (Gassy, etc). But you will feel the difference, especially if you are over 30. It has not been tested on men younger than that, because, frankly, they don’t need it. All of the stuff you would associate with higher testosterone will occur-energy, aggressiveness, vascularity, crazy sex dreams, etc.

It is expensive and you have to cycle it. (3 weeks on, 1 week off). So for the one week you are “off” your testosterone will return to baseline.

Beware, if you are 46 like me, D-aspartic acid is like putting jet fuel in a VW bus. It will make you want to eat the weights after you are done lifting them. The two I have used successfully are Nugenix and T-Up black.

And, for the runners and other joint pain sufferers–glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM. GNC calls this “Triflex” which is now basically a generic anachronism for any product that is a combination of these three things.

And that’s it. My desert island must have supplements. I can successfully get into 100% “fighting weight/shape” with just those, and crush anything I am training for.

 

Stuff I have learned blogging in the manosphere (so far).

There is a problem with the relations between the sexes in general, and with marriage in particular that cannot be denied. 

I discovered the manosphere in 2011 (and the larger NRx more broadly) by typing into a search engine something like “why are men and husbands portrayed as dolts in movies, TV, and commercials?”

This one search opened a world for me that I had only poked around in the dark for until that point. I knew there was something wrong, but I had never seen it articulated so well as when I came upon the likes of The Rationale Male, Dalrock, etc.

To dismiss it all as “misogyny” is ridiculous. There are too many men who have been heartbroken by frivolous divorces, hamstrung by the ever changing rules of “dating” and scared to death to ever criticize a woman in public for fear of the consequences for it to just be a bunch of woman haters.

The very worst behaviors of one sex have been incentivized–subsidized even–while all the restrictions on the other sex remain in place.

This sexual dystopia is not a conspiracy. There is no center of gravity or locus of control that is consolidating its feminine imperative. Its an organic problem that is going to morph and change into whatever it changes into regardless of what a small band of questioners do or say on these blogs, therefore:

The problem cannot be fixed within the context of the ambient, mainstream culture and its institutions. 

All of the critiques found in places like Dalrock make me glad I am not a protestant anymore. The open rebellion against even the slightest hint at a return to a patriarchal aesthetic (let alone, real embedded father/headship type Christian families) is breathtaking. This culture (the USA) is hell bent on “progress” (read: change for the sake of change) no matter how much baby is thrown out with the bathwater and I am sorry to my friends who still believe in “America.” It was baked into the cake from the beginning. American based denominations are infused with Americanism–and that is not 100% flawless and good. Wrap your Christianity in the American flag and you get what you get. Why be surprised by it?

My fleeing to Orthodoxy is, at least in part because it has an unchangeable canonical tradition that can be appealed to and most priests, when backed into a corner will dispense the old sayings. Even if they have to hold their nose while doing it. 

As all human endeavors “the red pill” has flaws. 

The most glaring one has been fleshed out on my own blog in the last few days. It is internally inconsistent to argue that women should only marry a man who they are super sexy head over heals in love with while also arguing that they should marry very early at the first sight of a commitment oriented man.

As a psychologist (who happens to be the rare bird of a psychologist who takes my Christian faith seriously) my best shot at reconciling this problem comes in the form of analytics. That is to say, to offer a hypothesis. Maybe, “relationship satisfaction” is a construct that is impossible to nail down because of the atomized, no real community, no cultural homogeneity situation we find ourselves in. What I mean is, what if there are numerous ways to define this concept along any number of sometimes overlapping dimensions. I wish I could wave a magic wand over the situation because in my minds eye, I have a pretty clear picture of what such cultural, values, and morals harmony would look like. But every time I try to articulate it, I sound like a grumpy old man complaining  about “these kids these days.”

I realized, just today actually, that my first attempt to enter this community of bloggers, “The Courtship Pledge” was indeed an effort to tackle the above conundrum head on. The response from the red-pill world was totally flat. This does not mean I was right and they were wrong, but the resounding message was “can’t be done. And here’s why…” Recall, that blog was an attempt to at least cobble together some like-minded parents who were willing to critique the modern mate selection process known as “dating” on the grounds that it has ZERO parental involvement.

The most common criticism of my idea was “you can’t control your kids.” Which, of course was an attack based on nothing I ever said, even once. What I wondered, out loud was “can we inject even some small amount of parental guidance into the biggest decision our kids will ever make? 5%, 25%? Anything?” I wrote posts about parenting styles, expectation management, behavioral conditioning models, influence vs control, and how people might spend a lifetime raising their kids to at least entertain the idea of asking for their parents help in finding a mate.

I read Joshua Harris’ book and thought it was a wonderful expression of this very idea that was taken in a really weird direction by his “followers.” I spoke to him directly and I heard in his voice a man who was despondent about what happened. I wrote about that interview on The Courtship Pledge.

But the resounding chorus was “you can’t pick your kids spouses for them,” so, I quit. I quit trying to reason that some (not 100%) involvement in this decision might be possible, if the parents of little kids would commit to it now.

This process would have, in my opinion had an impact on the internal consistency problem of the dual message: “marry young, but don’t settle.” In a world where only a tiny handful of us “traditionalists” exist, what else can you do but offer your kids an alternative and then let them decide?

And since I believe that most distributions are naturally occurring, I do believe that one of those distributions “sexual attraction and satisfaction in marriage” is probably pretty stubborn. Some couples are just going to be more in tune with each other on that level, and it appears I hit the jackpot on that one. So I have only gratitude. But the cultural narrative that you must have a super sexy time hot marriage 24/7 is unrealistic–even I don’t have that.

I am not conducting 4GW or 3D chess. 

Yesterday, Boxer posted this commentary on his blog. I am not a part of the meme squad. I am not a subversive. Those guys on places like 4chan who triangulated Shia LeBoauf and his HWNDU flag? Not me. I’m just a guy who thinks that, although the passage of time will always bring new challenges in the form of technology and other discoveries, we should be looking back to our ancestors for the answers (or at least general guidance) to our most pressing cultural and moral problems. Call it “nutraditionalism” or whatever. All I want to do is use my limited power of perception to figure out how to raise my children right, in a Christian context and not blow up the world. This means telling the Truth about things that I never even thought of before.

The reason I stopped featuring dads just being dads? Nobody got it. It is a testament to how far fatherhood has fallen in the eyes of the broader culture (and even fathers themselves!) that when asked most men see such a pro-father idea as “anti-woman.” They did not want their fathering to be honored because “my wife is the real hero”and other blue-pill white knighting garbage. Fucking vomit. Honoring fatherhood for its own sake is “anti-woman.” This means masculinity is on the ropes.

I would have been content to just have my blue pill marriage, probably. But once you see what is going on around you, you cannot unsee it. It really is that simple. I am not a mastermind trying to doxx people for some nefarious reason. But…

I am a little suspicious and annoyed by all the anonymity. 

There, I said it. I understand that there are risks involved in writing about these things, and I have already paid a heavy price in a few areas. My entire blogging life has had one central theme: get real people together to discuss and work out a plan for how to fix what is wrong. Yesterday, one of my regular readers was over at another blog calling me a “coward” for the way I handled his (in my opinion) inappropriate comment on my site.

Its not that I don’t care about being called a coward–of course I do. I am a man, and “coward” hits any man right where it counts. But in this case, it didn’t bother me at all. Why? Because how can the word “coward” have any meaning in a totally virtual world where no one ever sees each other face to face? A world where I have no idea who you are. And I really mean who you are. Its like telling a woman who you have never seen she is ugly. If I do something cowardly and my good friend sees me do it and calls me on it, you bet your ass I am going to work on changing it. But my relationship to the men of the manosphere, with the exception of 3 now has been entirely one dimensional. Two gravatar images passing in the miles and miles of ether text that amounts to nothing really. Which brings me to this point:

There is a contingency of folks in red-pill land who do not want anything to change. 

I’m sorry, but what use is it to complain about all these issues in a cyber world if you do not intend to push back–in real life–at great personal risk to yourself. It makes me wonder “do you really hate it that much?” I understand many men in the manosphere feel powerless against a society that has basically crushed all of masculinity out of existence except for in the upper crust of the SES stratosphere, where they play by whatever rules they want. Please understand–I am not calling anonymous bloggers and commenters cowards. I just don’t know you. How can I call anyone I have never looked in the eye a coward? I only know that you are angry, hurt and I agree with your reasons. And so…

What I am trying to do with this blog is interact, however imperfectly, with the deep, powerful truths learned in the manosphere. 

And I look retarded doing it. I understand this. But bear in mind (and I have pointed this out over and over) none of us men living today grew up with a perfect example of it in action. Even if we had good, strong fathers who could put down “shit tests” like nothing, and take big risks without so much as a second thought–we now live in a world that absolutely despises a guy like that and will make you out to be a monster. My grandfather Leach who was a good and decent man would be hauled off to jail for his behavior today. We live in a culture that rewards equivocating, demure, not-rocking-the-boat behavior. Especially from men.

I will keep screwing this up, pretty much every day. But I believe the manosphere has uncovered something real, something true that cannot be ignored. I don’t agree with every wrinkle of the fabric that it has created. But if an idea does not call you to action, it is worthless.

Ljubomir Farms goes to Scotland

ljubomir farms

Well, we didn’t really go to Scotland. However, the Klajic clan is not just Serbian. Our family has quite a bit of Scot in the tree. There are names like Leach, Cooper, Gehring, Cooper, and others. In fact, Mychael’s family can be traced all the way back to Wallace–yes, that Wallace.

So we went to the Scottish Gathering and Highland Games in Salado today. We saw some pretty cool stuff there.

We snapped a picture of Mychaels mom with the Wallace tartan.

Three generations. Laura, Mychael and Kathryn (due in February)

Leach Tartan:

And of course, the coolest part–the music.

It seems we are also settling into a new “tradition.” At the end of a day like this, we always sit on a bench somewhere and watch the kids play for a few minutes before heading home.

View original post

She does exist

I’m going to share an email I received in response to this post.

It comes from a married woman who is a lurker here and other similar sites. She writes:

I recently read your post, “The Impasse, As I Understand It”, and some of the comments sparked a desire to share my thoughts…

Basically, Elspeth and Hearthie try to refute [Deti, Novaseeker, etc] by saying they don’t believe a woman ever really “settles” for a guy, that this sort of woman does not exist. Well… there is nothing like being told you don’t exist to inspire you to talk!
I am the woman who settled on a man she was not attracted to, and no matter how much I submit to him there is no attraction forming. Don’t get me wrong… I know he’s a fine catch and I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who would fall head over heels for him, but he is not my type (to cause the “tingles” for me, as the ‘sphere puts it). I settled due to my own unattractiveness. I’m also a rebuttal of the whole “as long as you’re sweet, demure, in shape, virgin, and between 16-25 you’ll easily snag a charming, handsome, Godly man.” Nope. No such man would even give me the time of day; they were all aiming for their dream girl just like men accuse women of lusting for alphas. I never even wanted an alpha! I was very much attracted to a delta nerd (with an awesome sense of humor) in high school. We were good friends, but nothing beyond this as he was not attracted to me. I basically took the first guy who would have me (we met, eloped, both of us never having had any other relationships before each other) as I didn’t want to end up alone. We are best friends and we love each other very much, though for me it is agape and phileo, not eros, and in every area of the marriage besides the bedroom we work together very well as pilot and co-pilot. But even though he is sexually attracted to me, nothing we have tried has worked to cause me to feel that way about him. And no, none of these women like Elspeth and Hearthie have been helpful to me (only judgmental). I wish I could find help! We’ve gone to many counselors and priests. I continue to pray about it, and try to be the best wife I can be. But it has been really, really hard (in the bedroom… in every other area we are great)! I feel so bad for him that I cannot be into him like he is into me, no matter what we try. I’ve considered divorce just to free him to find a woman who is hot for him, and maybe see if there’s a guy out there I’m hot for that would actually have me; but my faith, our children, and my realization that it is highly unlikely there’s a guy like that out there for me caused me to nix that idea pretty quick. Plus, he was very much against it, even though I told him since it was my idea I promised to expect only a very bare minimum of child support.
For the most part, we are happy together, so I wouldn’t say we are “white knuckling it” as thedeti assumed. But, it does seem very sad to me that [my husband] will not know what it is like to have a woman really desire him sexually! And even though I know he does not want it to be this way, I do often feel like a prostitute because it is always me meeting his needs in this area without my own ever being met. I think our society makes it even harder than it needs to be, with the constant bombardment of self-fulfillment messages out there. If I look at marriages over a century ago which were mostly arranged, I think our situation would be considered fairly normal back then. Too bad I can’t go back in time and get counseling from one of those wives! I’m guessing she’d tell me to focus on serving husband and children, don’t compare, and be grateful for what joys I do have in this life (I am grateful, but probably not enough thanks to comparisons).
I guess I just want to say to Elspeth and Hearthie that yes, we are out there (and lo and behold, we haven’t divorced the guy)! And to confirm to thedeti (and Novaseeker, who by the way says some very wise things) that they are right: YES, it is absolutely important for a man to choose a woman who is sexually attracted to him (this does not guarantee a problem-free marriage, but at least you’ve got something to work with), and NO, submission will not make her feel attracted unless that spark was there to begin with. I’m sure it can flame a spark that has almost died, though. I personally think it is so important that the woman be into the guy that he should count that quality equal to physical attractiveness, and that guys ought to give ugly girls who are into them a chance!

I’m going to add very little here. Because this is a sensitive topic–this woman wrote to me and asked if this would help and I promissed her I would take out anything that could identify her. It is also important to know that her husband was also on the email string, and I added Mychael to it.

But here are the reasons I have almost nothing to say, and Mychael agrees. Neither of us have any idea what this is like. Mychael and I are like teenagers who steal away every chance we get to be alone. And we are still like this after being together for 11 years and she is pregnant with our 4th. We cannot keep our hands off of each other–even when we are mad at each other. I am beginning to suspect this is not normal. Even in the bluest of blue pill days we were like that. 

And like the emailer here, I am not convinced this is entirely an “alpha” thing. It seems a lot more like a “type” thing. I don’t perceive myself that way. I am more like Mychaels Chip to her Joanna. It never occurs to me to strutt around like a peacock in our home. The one or two times I have tried that stuff it seems really stupid and contrived. I get way more attention (euphemism) when I just act like the natural me. A combination of goofy, sometimes insightful, but always trying to better myself and having a very short list of stuff I won’t put up with.

I have no idea if this woman will comment here, as she understandably seems like a very private person about it. Any comments that are direct questions to her are likely to go unanswered, I just don’t know. But when I asked her if I could share the de-identified version I told her I would only do it for the edification and help of others. She wrote:

Yes, the goal is absolutely to help marriages in the most God-honoring way! I feel sometimes God has allowed our situation so that someday when I’m older I can help other women hang onto their marriages and honor God and their husbands despite what the world tells them.

I will take that at face value. I realize this is a very painful topic for many.

The workout

Alright, lets take a look at my workout routine. It has taken me almost 20 years to refine it, and it works for me. As I have already mentioned, fitness is very personal. Its about your goals, your frame size, how much slow twitch vs fast twitch muscle you have, and on and on. There is no one size that fits all. Its just not possible.

Having made that disclaimer, the photo I included in the previous post was there to demonstrate–that’s where I get when I do this.  It helps to have a template, and mine is Will Smith. He’s about my height and same build, and I kind of want to look about like that.

First, some terms need to be defined. So here they are:

Runs:

Tempo run. This run is generally about 20-30 minutes long, but as you get in shape, they will be even longer. It is a hard run–technically it is speed work. You begin by running at pretty close to the slowest speed you can and still be running. It should be very easy–you should not be winded during this part. You go for about 8-10 minutes at this speed. Then, you begin to slowly increase speed in 2 minute increments. If you do this in 5 increments, you should be at roughly the 20 minute mark and running at about your 80-90% running threshold. Those last 2 minutes should be very hard to maintain. At the end of that last 2 minutes, you slow back down to the original barely running speed and run home. Out and back works great for this.

LSD. (Long Slow Distance). Self explanatory.

Fartlek run. My fartlek runs tend to be about 2 1/2 minutes at a jog pace–something like 60% of my max speed, then jump up to 90% for 2 1/2 minutes. Do this 5 times with a 5 minute cool down and its a 30 minute run.

Intervals. Easy enough to do as an out an back also. This is basically starting off slow for 5-10 minutes and then sprinting between telephone poles or mailboxes or whatever. Sprint, then slow to the next one, and so on, until you want to vomit, then jog home.

The track. If you have a track nearby, I highly recommend using it. I run 220s (half a lap) as hard as I can. Start with 6 of them. When I reach peak physical condition, I am doing 12 of them all under 34 seconds, with minimal rest in between.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

There is a lot of variance on what this actually looks like, but the main ingredient is very intense cardio with almost no rest between sets. Basically what I did was found a bunch of exercises that meet this definition and put them in a rotation. There are a bunch I just don’t like, so I don’t do them. Here are the ones I settled on:

Box jumpers, side straddle hop (jumping jacks), kettle bell swings, burpees, jump rope, suicides (or sprints on the treadmill), mountain climber machine.

It doesn’t matter which ones you use, or what order you do them in. Here’s an example though:

Jump rope for 15 seconds (or just jump 15 times), 15 jumping jacks and 1 suicide. NO REST BETWEEN THEM. At the end of the suicide, rest for 20 seconds, and do all three again. Repeat 3 times. When you are done you should be winded and soaked with sweat. So obviously as you get in better shape, you will be doing way more reps then when you started.

HIIT is done IN BETWEEN whatever sets you normally do at the gym. So, if you are doing chest and triceps one day, for example–you would do your normal bench set and then maybe your dips–THEN HIIT.

Here’s the trick. You should feel winded (like you can’t catch your breath) for SEVERAL HOURS after you leave the gym, or you are doing it wrong.

Core

For core exercise, I use a combination of pilates and other stuff I have picked up along the way. Some of them have names, I am sure. Think hanging from the pull bars and lifting your legs above your head while doing pull ups and stuff like that.

As for weight training itself, I am simply not going to get into a debate about what you should do here. Everybody has whatever they are in to. Some people, for example swear that you are wasting your time if you don’t do dead lift. I hate dead lift. I have done dead lift in the presence of world class trainers who swear I am doing it right, and I ALWAYS GET INJURED DOING IT. So, I am done with dead lift. Do whatever you think makes you stronger at whatever motion you are trying to get stronger doing.

Now, with those terms defined, here’s what  week looks like for me:

Monday morning tempo run. Monday afternoon 1/2 of my core routine, HIIT, more core, HIIT.

Tuesday morning LSD. Tuesday afternoon chest. 1 chest exercise (I tend to do 12-10-8-12 pyramids) and 1 tricep exercise (like dips) HIIT, then another chest exercise (like cable flys) and another tricep exercise (like over head dumbells) HIIT.

Wednesday morning. Fartlek. Wednesday afternoon shoulders/biceps. Follow previous day format of 2 exercises/HIIT/2 exercises/HIIT.

Thursday morning LSD. Thursday afternoon, legs. Same format.

Friday morning intervals. Friday afternoon, core. Same as Monday.

Saturday morning LSD. Saturday afternoon I do a mix of upper body stuff that tends to need less equipment (pushups, dips on the side of a table, etc). This is because I have no real home gym. But I still do HIIT in between sets.

Sunday, elliptical (I do have one of those). Rest.

Kind of a boring, nuts and bolts post.

Here’s an idea of what it usually gets me, in numbers:

I will lose about 4 inches of waist. I will be bench pressing roughly 300 lbs, on the third set (the 6-8 reps). I will be able to run a 19 minute 5k. I will be running 40+ miles a week without breaking a sweat. I will easily be able to do 4 sets of 12 pull ups. Body fat will be in the single digits. Abs will be visible. For army people, the extended scale will be a breeze. All of that is predictable because math n stuff. Calories in vs calories out. Resistance training + cardio training + good, clean food at a calorie deficit = whatever your goal is.

Hope you find something you can use here.

Edit: Almost forgot. You should probably, like, consult a physician or whatever.