7. Gearing Up
Having lifting equipment at home will reduce opportunity costs of going to the gym, and thus make working out easier. Plus, when the gym is closed, you won’t miss a day.
When purchasing gym equipment, check out Craigslist and local stores for used gym equipment. Sometimes you can get a much better deal from them, and the weights aren’t going to make you any stronger if they’re new. If you get a used bench, make sure it’s not a rickety and unstable one, because at best it will be annoying, and at worst, dangerous.
You’ll probably need to spend between $500 and $700 for the Olympic weight set and bench. If you don’t have the money or a family to support, then buy it with a credit card. You’re only young once, and if you wait until you’re in your 30s or 40s, when globohomo deems you worthy of affording one, you’ll miss out on looking your best while young.
You should also buy dumbbells that fit your Olympic barbell plates. You will need an extra set of 10-pound plates and 2.5 pound weights so you can do all the lifts.
Pullups are the best exercise for the upper back, so you should buy a pullup bar. They are cheap and usually run between $25-$50. They utilize leverage to hook onto your doorway and support your weight without making any marks on it. They usually have different widths and ways to grip the bar. They usually permit chin-ups, too, which target your muscles differently than pull-ups and are good to mix in. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do pull-ups at first. The World’s Strongest Man for 2017, Eddie Hall, can’t do a single pullup. It’s not because he’s weak, it’s because he weighs about 400 lbs. The ability to do a pull-up depends as much on your body weight as your upper body strength. Scrawny little guys might be able to do more than you, but it doesn’t mean they are stronger than you overall. If you must start off with the assistance of a chair underneath you, don’t worry about it. Everybody starts off a lot weaker with the pull-up.
Eventually, you can add a weight vest to make exercises like pull-ups, dips, and pushups more difficult.
Another good investment is an ab wheel. I recommend the big ones that have a spring in them which automatically pushes it back toward you, at least for starting out, although the ones without the spring are smaller and easier to carry.
If you’re doing deadlifts and/or squats, it’s best to have a weight belt, which is supposed to protect your back during the movement. It’s not certain whether it helps, but if you try it and like it, then you’ll have the option.
Some guys attach a chain to a weight belt hooked to plates to make exercises such as the pull-up easier once it becomes too easy to lift only their body weight.
The only other thing you may want is boxes for box jumps. For this exercise, you jump on a box. The reason you do it is that you get the benefit of activating your leg muscles without gravity causing you to drop back down to the ground and hit it hard, thus taxing your knee joints. If you don’t have boxes for the purpose of box jumps, you can jump on bleachers at a local park, onto steps, or something else. The only thing is that boxes specially made for this exercise are made of a rubbery material that cushions your landing better. Also, as with any exercise, it’s important to watch videos on form and how to land the right way, because landing the wrong way can lead to injury.
All you need is an Olympic weight set, Olympic dumbbells, a few extra Olympic plates, a weight bench, a pullup bar, an ab wheel, a weight belt, and possibly a box for box jumps. Maybe that seems like a lot, but it’s enough to hit all the muscles well.
8. Gym Social Norms
Working out from home isn’t a bad idea because you save yourself the travel time. What’s more, gyms are not great places to meet people. Almost any other gathering of people serves as a better occasion for socializing, because most people in the gym don’t want to talk to other people, and if they do, they typically talk about sports and other trivia. Indeed, most gymbros are not interesting people.
Worse yet, a lot of them are smothered in tattoos. This isn’t a good thing, because one study from 2008 showed that psychiatric inpatients with tattoos were significantly more likely to exhibit antisocial personality disorder, to engage in substance abuse, to abuse people sexually, and to attempt suicide. Another study, published in 2019 by researcher Karoline Mortensen, found that tattoos were associated with mental illness, jail time, smoking, and an increased number of sexual partners. A study published in 2021 showed that the more tattooed a person is, the worse their attitude is, on average. For example, individuals with 25% or less of their skin tattooed suffered from anxiety, phobic, obsessive, somatic, borderline, and antisocial disorders. As the percentage increases, so too does the frequency of these disorders. What’s more, individuals with over 75% of their skin covered showed a tendency toward narcissistic, sadistic, and masochistic disorders.
Tattoos aren’t always a bad sign, however. Tattoos correlate with the five factor model psychological trait of openness to new experiences, which is associated with creativity, intelligence, and other good things. From my personal experience, the good guys with tattoos have fewer, smaller, and more discreet ones (consistent with the study’s findings), and seem to be free-spirited, generous, honest, humble, entrepreneurial, idealistic, easy-going, empathetic, and fun-loving. The bad guys with tattoos are more narrow-minded, selfish, deceitful, pretentious, willfully ignorant, lack a conscience, and are mentally ill, heartless, and abusive. Also, the good guys tend to share more useful information that benefits you, while the bad ones tend to waste your time. Tattoos may not always be a bad sign on an individual level, but tatted-up people such as we find at the gym aren’t the best group from which to choose friends.
However, as it turns out, 41% of US millennials have tattoos and presumably 41% of US white millennials. Similar percentages can be found in Europe. It’s crazy to write off 41% of people in the race, and as stated earlier, tattooed people seem to have many good traits. Just as long as the tattoos aren’t something like a skeleton Bugs Bunny with a chainsaw or one of those hand tattoos that looks like gangrene. An tattoo symbolizing family, fraternity membership, etc, is the best.
Meeting women at the gym is also not easy. Some of them are polite, receptive, and some are even flirtatious, but others act like you’re violating their rights if you even try to talk to them. In affluent areas, they are more likely to go alone, although in poorer areas, they are likelier to go with a boyfriend or friend. This is understandable because in such places there are a lot of tattooed black thugs telling other blacks through their Bluetooth earpieces to “smoke” some “nigga,” and whether their threats are serious or not, anyone’s instinct is to avoid them. What’s more, these guys tend to be more outgoing and talkative with women, capitalizing on the women’s fear of being called racist for telling them to get lost.
Even though it’s understandable that women who live in poorer areas don’t want to go to the gym alone, it is still annoying. She doesn’t want to upstage her friend by flirting with you, and you don’t want her friend to feel left out, so it’s awkward. Not only that, but most machines are solitary endeavors, and thus there are few socially acceptable ways to approach women in the gym. However, you should be ready for opportunities when they arise. It’s best to have a good haircut and wear workout clothes that make you look your best. If you see her doing an exercise you know about, like bridging, then you could ask her opinion of it, tell a joke, figure out what you have in common, and then maybe exchange contact details. Inquiries into exercises are the best universal “in” I can think of . . . apart from complimenting her hair or some such thing. If you know of anything better, let me know in the comments section.
One silly thing guys sometimes do is to exaggerate what little they have in common with a woman. For example, he may stress that he attended a nearby high school. When he was actually in high school, he couldn’t wait to get out of the place, of course, but in the presence of a pretty woman who went there, he’s suddenly filled with incredible fondness and nostalgia for it. If espousing fealty to your alma mater can function as an “in,” then so be it, but hopefully you can come up with something better.
Keep in mind, though, that no matter how good you look and act, if you’re like most guys, you’ll still encounter a spectrum of responses ranging from friendliness to hostility, with perhaps more of the latter. However, if you look your best and have the right approach, then the responses will be skewed a little more toward friendliness than they might otherwise be
9. What to Expect When Starting Out
Don’t try to impress anybody when starting out. Obviously, most people start out lifting way less than they end up doing later. If somebody tries to goad you into doing more reps or attempting higher weights than you can handle, then don’t lift with them anymore.
Also, a person who has lifted before experiences much faster muscle growth, because their brain’s neurons have already mapped out how to build the muscle. Thus, don’t compare your progress to theirs. Keep in mind, however, that if you quit and start up again, you will be able to return to your previous level faster than if you hadn’t lifted weights at all.
When you first start, your muscles will be sore longer — perhaps up to a week. That is normal. Eventually, they’ll only be sore for a day or two. It’s best to wait until your muscles aren’t sore anymore before you work them again.
If you look in the mirror right after you lift, you’ll notice that your muscles look bigger. This is known as a “pump.” It will only last 2-3 hours, and even Beavis and Butthead get a pump, so don’t get too excited. It will take six months to a year for you to see substantial gains. This means if you’re going to really benefit from lifting in terms of your physique, you need to make a long-term commitment.
10. Guarding Against Injury
Weightlifting is safer than most sports, but it’s still possible to injure yourself. There are several ways to prevent injuries.
The first is not inventing your own lifts. Joints and muscles operate in the same way for everyone, for the most part. For this reason, you should never invent exercises — not unless you’ve studied the human body for years and are an exercise scientist, doctor, or whatever. If you want to do something novel, check YouTube to see if fitness experts are doing it, and if not, do something else. Creativity in many parts of life is great, but in weightlifting it is a danger.
Bad form is one of the top causes of weight room injuries. It’s important to consult an expert to find out the right form for every lift you do. If you cannot find a personal trainer or coach, then look up how to do what it is you want to do on YouTube and then either observe yourself doing it in the mirror or film yourself doing it to ensure you’re doing it properly. Be thorough, because there are many things to consider in each lift. The toughest one in my opinion is the power clean, because it involves coordinating movements between your legs, back, and arms. To learn how to do that one properly, may want to hire a personal trainer.
It’s easy to assume that if a guy is ripped, he possesses secret knowledge of lifting techniques, but this is not always the case. His method may be working for him, but he may be doing irreversible damage to his joints or simply wasting his time. Never rely solely on “broscience” — things gymbros tell you stemming from their flawed reasoning processes and superstitions. Always cross-reference any advice you hear with what experts say.
Another thing that can lead to injury is lifting too much. Naturally, if you can’t manage the weight, bad things will happen.
You should always warm up with a light weight. For example, if the most you’ve ever bench-pressed is 140 lbs., warm up with a couple reps at, say, 95 lbs. That will prepare your joints and muscles for heavier weights.
Stretching is important before and after weightlifting. It helps prevent muscle strains and tears that could keep you out for a long time. Obviously, you should not invent any stretches on your own, just like you shouldn’t invent any lifts. Consult experts on YouTube and/or in real life for which stretches to do.
11. The Importance of Not Overdoing It
Don’t do more than ten sets per muscle group, because studies show that after ten, each additional one doesn’t confer any gains. For example, pushups and bench press both work the chest. If you do five of each, you won’t do more than ten exercises working the chest, and you shouldn’t do anymore. Now, sometimes you may be fine with going a few sets over ten, but for the most part you should do no more than ten.
If you do an extreme number of reps, you could seriously injure yourself. This especially holds true for squat. One man with a heart condition died after being forced to do 300 squats. He wasn’t used to doing the exercise, but even seasoned athletes can hurt themselves if they squat too many times. A college athlete did 500 reps of squats in 20 minutes and died of complications a year later. He pushed his muscles so hard that bits of them broke off and went into his bloodstream, and his kidneys had to clear them out in a process called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is dangerous for anyone, but it was particularly dangerous for him because he had sickle cell anemia, an adaptation found mostly among blacks to help them cope with malaria-infected mosquitoes in Sub-Saharan Africa. The sickle shaped blood cells amongst his muscle tissue made things extra hard on his kidneys, and he didn’t ultimately survive it.
Rhabdomyolysis is a threat in exercises other than squat. For example, a white woman doing CrossFit reportedly got rhabdomyolysis from working her arm muscles too much (at the behest of a psychopathic trainer, evidently). Doctors had to amputate part of her arm’s muscle because her body couldn’t repair it, as it was so busy filtering out the dead muscle tissue from her blood. This sort of thing is reportedly comparatively common among people who do CrossFit. One of their mascots is “Uncle Rabdo,” a cartoon clown with his kidneys and intestines hanging out.
Created by Greg Glassman, a Jew who admits he doesn’t do CrossFit himself, the CrossFit business model is not a franchise but a branding racket where gym owners pay a fee each month to use the name. CrossFit gyms are noted not only for visits from “Uncle Rabdo” but for having people do stupid exercises which put a lot of strain on their joints, such as kipping pullups. What’s more, the CrossFit brand seems to exert no centralized control over the gyms, so there is nothing to stop a sadistic maniac from heading their classes and pushing people to injure themselves.
The authors of one study concluded that 30% of CrossFitters experience an injury in a year’s time. They claim that rate is no worse than among people doing a typical workout regimen, but they admit that injuries are more common among CrossFitters who do it just once or twice a week. This is likely because their bodies aren’t used to the extreme workouts.
CrossFit is a bunch of ordinary people pretending to be competitive athletes as they work out to the point of exhaustion. Their delusions and emotionalism are low-status behaviors.
CrossFit is also a case of a Jew taking something normal, pushing it to an extreme, and then pocketing profits at people’s expense — as if we haven’t seen the Sackler family do this with opiates in the form of their drug, oxycodone.
12. Your Body’s Health Outranks Commitment to an Exercise Plan
Not all exercise plans are a good fit for everyone. If you have a past injury, a heart condition, poor flexibility, or some other issue, then an exercise plan could be bad for you. Listen to your body. It outranks your personal trainer, workout plan author, and so on.
If an exercise bothers your heart for days after working out, then cease doing it. Now, sometimes doing bench press can irritate the sternum and cause a minor ache in your chest. That’s not heart trouble. Heart trouble is lasting pain, fibrillation, unexpected hard beats, and any number of other symptoms WebMD lists as worrisome for the heart. No exercise is worth straining your heart or injuring your joints.
13. Methods to Break Plateaus
After several months, your muscle gains and strength may plateau, and if they do, then try switching things up. One way to do this is to lift heavier weights. According to one paper:
Physical strength might stem as much from exercising the nervous system as the muscles it controls. The findings could explain why those who lift heavier weights enjoy greater strength gains than low-load lifters despite similar growth in muscle mass.
You could dub in heavy lifts when you normally wouldn’t do them to surprise the brain and muscle and trigger your brain into strengthening those muscles.
Another thing you can try is to do reps more slowly. One study compared people doing leg extensions at different speeds. One group did them at a normal rate (one second up and one second down). Another group did them slowly (six seconds up and six seconds down). 24 hours later, protein synthesis was at 175% in the slow group and 126% in the fast group. By increasing the muscles’ time under tension and reducing the role momentum plays, it is possible to trigger the muscle to grow faster.
From my personal experience, doing a lift in six seconds makes you feel like a sloth. Two to three seconds feels more normal.
Slow lifts are only safe for pushing and pulling exercises. Don’t do leg lifts slowly, including squat, leg extension, lunges, and deadlift, because the legs contain fast twitch muscle, and the knee joints are not evolved to handle slow weight-bearing movements. Also, doing a slow deadlift puts a lot of strain on your back, which isn’t good in the long term. Use the normal, recommended speed when doing these lifts.
Another way to break a plateau is to switch up your routine. This means changing the order in which you do exercises and lifting different amounts of weight in a different pattern than in your normal routine. You can get a little creative here.
A great time to start taking the supplement creatine is in the middle of a plateau. We’ll say more about creatine in section 22, but suffice to say that it is the most effective supplement for building muscle, which for most people is not bad for long-term health.
Finally, you can also try different variations of the same lift. For example, instead of regular bench press, you can try incline bench press, decline bench press, dumbbell bench press, narrow grip dumbbell bench press, incline dumbbell bench press, various machines, etc. Remember, you should never invent any lifts, and always consult experts for alternatives.
In sum, ways to break a plateau include lifting heavier weights, doing reps more slowly (for pushing and pulling exercises only), switching up routines, and doing trusted alternative lifts.
14. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
A lot of guys get into a quasi-religious trance in the weight room. This is unnecessary. Steady lifting and switching up routines will make you much stronger than will yelling and hyping yourself up. How you act is up to you, but getting strong has more to do with steady workouts over time than with hooting and hollering before and during lifts.
Trying super-hard in one workout is not as good as doing several per week with a measured effort. Young men want to go on a crusade every time they exercise. This is not sustainable. Someone who is nonchalant but consistent will do better than someone who tries super-hard but only works out once a week.
15. When to Skip a Day
If you kick your body when it’s down, don’t expect good results. If you are sick or have a hangover, take a day off.
Things that can weaken your immune system and make you prone to getting sick include missing sleep or consuming too much alcohol, milk, sugary foods, breakfast cereal, or flour-based foods. If you get sick after partying all night and eating nothing but Lucky Charms cereal, you shouldn’t be surprised. Lazily relying on cereal for your nutrition will not pay off in long-term health, either.
A way to prevent getting sick is to get the flu shot and the COVID vaccine. If you get a bad case of the flu or COVID, then you won’t be able to work out for a week or more, and during that time you’ll atrophy, which you’ll need to make up. Thus, getting a bad case of the flu can actually set you back longer than the time when you’re sick. A flu shot can also reduce the severity of the flu you get, meaning you’ll only need to take a few days off rather than a few weeks, which will reduce muscle atrophy. Gyms are germ-infested places, and unless you’re the sort of person who never gets sick, then you should get the flu shot. Your future self will thank you for it.
16. Sleep and Joint Maintenance
You cannot isolate lifting from other parts of your life. Good sleep helps you perform better in the weight room. Don’t worry if you get poor sleep once in a while, but if you consistently do, one study showed it could reduce your performance in multi-joint lifts such as deadlift or bench press. More significantly, sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain, mental illness, looking bad, and having lower income. Good sleep is foundational to a good life.
There are many ways to increase the amount of sleep you get. Blue light often keeps people awake. You can wear glasses that filter it out and download apps that cause your phone and computer screens to filter it out. Blue light in the morning is good, though, and some machines generate blue light. Having a bedtime routine helps to lull your subconscious into a sleepy state, as does, believe it or not, making your bed. It’s also best to sleep without noisy things in the background, because your brain will regenerate more neurons in silence and not produce as much cortisol, which can make you fat and stressed out. A final consideration is a good mattress. If your mattress is older than you are, getting a new one may be a good idea.
Chiropractic care is a white thing. About 85% of chiropractors are white gentiles. One metanalysis showed their treatment of some causes of lower back pain was less effective than what the study authors call “conventional” medical treatments, but it was more effective than conventional treatments in others. However, the authors claim the studies on lower back pain were not done well and that more need to be done. They also said that chiropractic treatments of neck and shoulder pain were just as effective as conventional treatments, but they didn’t mention whether they were cheaper, which in many cases it seems they would be; certainly a cheaper alternative to neck surgery.
Chiropractic care was found to be more effective than conventional treatments in preventing lower limb muscle strains and tennis elbow in sports athletes. Whether it helps to prevent injuries from weightlifting is hard to say, but it couldn’t hurt.
Chiropractic care can also improve posture, according to one study, which is as much a part of looking good as weightlifting is.
Also useful for improving posture is one of those posture vests that forces you to keep your shoulders back.
Collagen supplements help your joints. One study showed that collagen help reduced joint pain in athletes, which probably means it helps to protect joints in weightlifting.
Also, the older you get, the less collagen your body makes. Taking a collagen supplement not only helps your joints but, according to another study, helps your skin, too, so if you happen to be getting older, taking a collagen supplement is a wise choice.
17. The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Your Phone During Lifting
As you lift, time the intervals between your lifts. You can usually do this with the clock app on your phone, which has a stopwatch option with a lap feature that will enable you to keep track of the precise amount of time you wait between sets, as well as the overall amount of time your workout is taking. Doing this will also trigger your mind into subconsciously doing the lifts within three seconds.
Don’t let your phone distract you while working out, because then you’ll blame the workout for taking too long and not the ten cat videos you watched in between lifts.
Listening to audio makes starting out easier, but songs can be a distraction — particularly if the song is at a low point when you want it to be at a high point. This may make you waste time in fast-forwarding or rewinding the song to your favorite part or switching to new ones.
Podcasts that last around an hour are better for workouts because they don’t tempt you to waste time switching around. I like Counter-Currents Radio podcasts and James Edwards’ Political Cesspool podcasts, which usually last around an hour. Ed Dutton and Keith Woods’ videos usually last pretty long as well.
18. Blocking Out Rhianna Songs at the Gym
Headphones can be a godsend because they block out the music gyms typically play, which is marketed primarily to brown women. This includes songs like Adam Levine’s “Girls Like You,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” Cleanbandit’s “Rockabye,” Dua Lipa’s “New Rules,” Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side,” anything by Rhianna, and Doja Cat’s “Need to Know.” Musical taste relates to sexuality, and these women’s sexual tastes are alien to me.
19. Protein Supplements and High Protein Diets
After working out, many people dump a small scoop of protein powder, usually made of whey protein, into a thermos, shake it up, and drink it down. This is unnecessary, because a study showed taking protein right after working out offers no benefits. For the best timing on eating protein, see chapter 24.
The question is whether taking protein at any time helps. According to a metanalysis of multiple studies, those who supplemented with protein gained only an average of 11 ounces of extra muscle. That’s not much when one considers that the average man has 80 lbs. of muscle on his body. The study also showed protein supplementation contributed to only 9% of strength gain. For example, instead of one’s bench press maximum going up from 140 to 240, it would go up from 140 to 249. Maybe powerlifters could use that little bit of extra strength, but for the average guy, it’s not necessary.
What’s more, eating too much protein overall can lead to sleep disturbances, so if you’re not a good sleeper, supplementing with protein may not be a good idea.
Eating more protein and less carbs may help more if you’re overweight, however. A study from 2016 showed that overweight young men who supplemented with protein while cutting calories gained an average of 2.5 pounds of muscle and lost more body fat than those who cut calories and didn’t take protein, the latter of whom also gained no muscle.
Jordan Peterson went on an all-meat diet. He claims he lost about 50 lbs. in six months while on it. Intelligent people often suffer from Asperger’s-like traits, one of which is being a picky eater. In other words, beef is Peterson’s “tendies.” Men also tend to choose diets heavy in meat and/or cutting other things out. Sometimes, I suspect intelligent men intellectualize these tendencies with high-protein fad diets. Intelligent people also often feel more anxiety. This was true of Peterson, given that he became dependent on anti-anxiety medication. When getting off of it in early 2020, he nearly died from the withdrawal symptoms and was hospitalized for quite some time. I’m not claiming to know whether the all-meat diet played a role in his hospitalization, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it, did because while such high-protein diets may help you lose weight in the short run, they are deadly in the long term. According to one study, low-carb diets led people to die four years earlier on average, whereas diets unusually high in carbs made them die a year early. According to nutritionist Gail Butterfield, a diet having over 30% of its calories from protein causes a buildup of toxic ketones, causing your kidneys to go into overdrive to flush them out, which may in turn result in dehydration, heart issues, and further strain on your kidneys. This may have happened to the late Internet fitness icon Zyzz, who died of a heart attack at age 22. His protein-heavy keto diet and anabolic steroid use may have aggravated his heart condition and catalyzed his death.
Despite these findings, protein-rich fad diets persist. It’s probably because men like eating meat more than women do, and telling men to eat meat is like telling kids to eat candy. Moreover, if those chocolatey protein shakes tasted like Brussels sprouts, I doubt they’d be so popular.
I’m not knocking high-protein fad diets just to be a jerk. I suspect they contributed to negative health outcomes for someone close to me, and I don’t want Counter-Currents readers to suffer in a similar way.
Eating too much protein in the long term is bad, but one shouldn’t be anti-protein, either, as a normal amount is necessary for good health. For example, too little protein is associated with poor sleep.
Supplementing with protein is okay if the serving is modest. For example, taking a daily collagen protein supplement having, say, 10-20 grams per scoop is reasonable because it insures against a protein deficit, helps to keep the joints healthy, and is easier to digest than whey protein, which may make you constipated. What’s more, it’s easier to lose weight and keep it off if you lose weight slowly, so moderate increased protein intake and carb reduction via 10-20 extra grams of collagen protein is better than the 40 grams of whey protein typically prescribed.
20. Addressing the Vegan Diet
I don’t mean to single out advocates of high protein/low carb diets such as the zero-carb carnivore diet or the keto diet, so just to be fair, I’ll address the other extreme: the vegan diet. According to nutritionist Carrie Forrest, the vegan diet poses several risks to human health. She claims vegans rely on legume protein and that overeating it can lead to leaky gut syndrome. This may be because legumes contain lectins, as YouTube infomercialist Dr. Gundry has said, but I cannot comment on that because I don’t know enough about it.
Vegans also eat a lot of soy. According to Forrest, “[p]rocessed soy foods are no better for human health than any other highly-processed foods, but with the added risk of hormone interference due to phytoestrogens found in all forms of soy.” Apparently fermented soy is better, but processed soy can make you a soy boy and may even give you a big soy grin.
Forrest also claims vegans suffer from a lack of iron, omega-3 fatty acid intake, vitamin B-12, zinc, and other eating disorders. This is bad for overall health.
21. Thoughts on Gastro-Entrepreneurship
It’s puzzling as to why people think evolutionarily traditional diets are bad and that novel ones are so much better. Granted, the Aryans pioneered drinking milk, which was something of a gastro-entrepreneurial endeavor, as they were able to enhance a pastoralist lifestyle by doing so. I suppose alternative diets may be a subconscious attempt to evolve a new lifestyle, but that mattered more in primitive subsistence economies where getting food was more of a struggle than in modern, developed economies where food is ubiquitous. Innovation is now purely cultural and technological, and no longer partly alimentary. Gastro-entrepreneurship is therefore defunct.
The mainstream is mostly correct on nutrition. This doesn’t mean there aren’t small ways to improve upon mainstream knowledge, but extreme diets like the vegan and keto diets are vain deviations which can’t benefit their adherents.
Now, some people have Celiac disease, meaning they struggle to digest gluten, so they must eat an alternative diet. What’s more, some people have food allergies and need to avoid certain foods. They and others who have digestive disorders need to eat differently, but those who don’t suffer any complications from eating normally yet choose to eat extreme diets are not doing themselves any favors.
My perspective on diet comes from Socrates, who said we should “eat to live and not live to eat.” Lifting forces you to think more about food, and sometimes it feels like it makes you live to eat. This is why it’s best to streamline the food preparation process by cooking only once a week and by trying to stick to a mostly simple but nutritious staple diet according to a grocery list. If enough people do this, it will reduce the number of miserable low-paying jobs in the food service industry and hopefully permit such activity to be channeled into more productive areas.
22. Creatine Works, but May Not be Good for People Who have Kidney or Liver Problems
Creatine boosts muscle growth more than protein. After a six-week trial, men who took creatine gained about 4 lbs. overall and 3 lbs. of muscle mass, whereas placebo men gained nothing. This is a lot more than the extra 11 ounces of muscle supplementing with protein confers. Creatine is at least three times more effective than protein. While creatine won’t make you blow up like steroids will, it helps you a lot more than protein, and it doesn’t have the negative long-term effects of steroid use.
Creatine works because it “promotes a faster regeneration of adenosine triphosphate [in the muscles] between high intensity exercises.” In other words, it helps muscles regain energy better between sets of lifts, enabling them to work harder, which triggers the body to make them grow faster.
Creatine adds water to the muscles, which is nothing to fear, but you should stay well-hydrated when taking it.
One cool thing about creatine is that, unlike steroids, you don’t have to keep taking it to maintain the gains. This is why athletes often supplement with it in the offseason, during strength training, but then cease taking it during the season when they don’t train as hard.
Creatine is found in many high-protein foods, but not all of them. For example, milk as no creatine, but meats do, and beef has the most. However, unless you eat 10,000 calories a day like strongmen Brian Shaw and Eddie Hall do, then you won’t get enough creatine from eating beef to substantially affect your muscle growth.
There is one potentially serious negative side-effect of taking creatine, however. One study showed it harms the kidneys. Subsequent studies haven’t replicated this finding, however. For example, a study from 2002 showed it didn’t negatively affect the kidneys or livers of American college football players. Another study from 2004 concluded “supplementation appears safe when used by healthy adults at the recommended loading of 20 grams per day for five days and maintenance doses of three grams per day.” Creatine seems to be safe for most people as long as they take the recommended dose, but just to be safe, the Mayo Clinic recommends that people who have kidney or liver problems avoid it.
A less physically serious, but aesthetically troubling, possible side effect is hair loss. Creatine increases DHT, and DHT has been shown to correlate with hair loss, but no study has shown that creatine directly causes hair loss. If you’re already losing your hair and don’t want to accelerate the process, however, then you may want to avoid creatine.
Probably the most convincing argument against taking creatine is that some guys lose too much fat when using it, and their faces end up looking abnormal as a result — almost like those of very old men. Jeff Cavaliere, who operates the YouTube channel Athlean-X, has this look, but it’s understandable in his case because he needs low body fat to demonstrate how exercises utilize various muscles in the body, but unless you need to do this, you shouldn’t have such low bodyfat. It isn’t aesthetic or healthy, which we’ll cover later in section 34.
For now, if you’re on creatine, ensure you eat enough food to avoid getting too thin, drink enough water to stay hydrated, and if you’re suffering from hair loss, beware of it accelerating.
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