A merry PLATESLAM to all who celebrate!

Links #15: I made you a whole website about LIFTOFF; protein powder in coffee; financial workout incentives; the abandoned mansion that mesmerized me

A merry PLATESLAM to all who celebrate!

I’m already too busy watching people post their #plateslam2021 PRs today and getting ready for my own deadlift to write something lengthy. But in lieu of a post, I have something else you can read: a whole website about my new beginner weight lifting program which you may have heard mentioned in my recent NPR interview, among other places. It’s here:

LIFTOFF: Couch to Barbell.

We’ve got my personal story. We’ve got what the program includes (the famous Avocado Principle diagrams, among many other things!), and more importantly, what it does not include (tiny dumbbells, 1500-calorie diets, “toning” your “core"). We’ve got a lightning round FAQ. We’ve got testimonials from folks who have already tried it. Much to peruse, much to think about!

And the good news is, if you decide to try it out, there’s a whole book to read that is the synthesis of everything I’ve ever said loudly or thought quietly about bringing more people into the lifestyle where you eat like a bear and perform feats of strength like a horse.

Its normal price is $20, but it’s 50% off for everyone right now with the code “newyearsameyou.”

And/or! Any new paid subscribers to the newsletter from now until January 6 get a code for a ~free~ copy in their welcome email.

And with that, I have to go get ready to deadlift 300 pounds for PLATESLAM, possibly in a bikini because it’s literally TOO HOT outside, IN DECEMBER, for less clothing.

In a choice that turned out to be surprisingly apt, given the climate change, I am donating $10 to the Sunrise Movement for every post tagged #plateslam2021 on Instagram, up to a hundred posts. You can get me to donate another $10 just by picking up a dumbbell, or any weight really, and repping it for as many reps as you’ve ever been able to rep, and then posting about it!

Now onto the links—


More and more people are saying the name Lya Bavioli, a French powerlifter who set new squat and total records at the 2021 European Championships this week. Let us all go Lya mode in 2022.


A post shared by ♑️ Lya Bavoil לאה (@lya_powerlift)

I’ve seen a rash of “protein powder in coffee” articles recently so I want to set everyone straight: There is little that is magical about this particular combo or the timing. BUT: The bitterness of coffee helps to offset the artificial flavor of protein powder, more so than milk or other mixers, and that is why so many people do it. My actual favorite choice for a protein shake base is orange juice, because the sour notes do even better at masking the bad protein flavors (as long as the powder is a flavor that plays well with orange).

The Army, whose fitness test is a bellwether for “everything guys understand to matter about being in shape,” just added deadlifts. [Raises megaphone] everyone should be doing deadlifts.

I don’t really understand this study about financial incentives to go to the gym; however, for once it is a big and wide-ranging study (as the piece mentions, studies about gym motivation are often small and only involve white right people). That said, I’m not sure we’re going in a good direction bringing money into this; my pitch is that we improve society to the point where everyone already has enough money and they also have time to exercise for joy and fun.

A $380 million settlement for the people who were abused by USA Gymnastics; this amount of money could never be high enough.

How the week organizes and tyrannizes our lives.” I often think about how strength training programming would be different if it weren’t based on the absurdly-numbered 7-day week.

What subscribers got this week: A simple guide to periods, birth control, and strength training (or, as simple as this incredibly complex intersection of incredibly complex topics can be). Read the piece that 15 or so presumable cis men did NOT read, and instead unsubscribed from this newsletter forthwith! Despite them, I do honestly and truly think the advice at the end is good for everyone, even non-period-havers.


I’m always saying, no bigger gulf between expectations and results than for people who “do" "Chris Hemsworth’s workouts" hoping to look like Chris Hemsworth. To that end, this is a lovely review of Chris Hemsworth’s new fitness app from Will Tennyson.

What a week for my nemesis, the Peloton stationary bicycle. It found itself in dangerously close proximity to a dying Mr. Big; it made a cheeky but straining-to-smile-through-gritted-teeth “I’m not mad I’m laughing” response commercial, starring Mr. Big. Almost immediately afterward, Chris Noth, who plays Mr. Big, was accused of being a sexual predator. Peloton then pulled the commercial.

The queen Rachel Handler asked a cardiologist if Carrie should have called 911 instead of ineffectually dragging Mr. Big’s still-alive body around the bathroom during his cardiac event. Doctors and scientists can often be frustratingly difficult to pin down on practical questions like this. But the cardiologist did us the solid of saying “she absolutely should have and it was absolutely her fault that Big died.” Incredibly gratifying for those of us who couldn’t even be sad during this scene because we were so confused that Carrie doesn’t know basic emergency protocol! (911 and then chest compressions until EMS arrives; this is very simple! It’s not the 1900s!)

The New York Times asked if Peloton could sue HBO over this. The answer is “likely so,” though in my opinion, Peloton’s choice to play cool-girl about it with its own commercial would now make this a dissonant choice, brand-wise. These are The Hills rolling-mascara-tear levels of drama.

Baseball player Max Bain of the Chicago Cubs claimed he is allowed to cheat at his deadlift range of motion because he’s tall. Sir, Hafthor Bjornsson is 6 foot 9; get back to your platform.


I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that weed was involved here, but last night, I watched HOURS of the “Proper People” on YouTube exploring abandoned, roughly Gilded-age-era buildings, like this mansion of the Widener family. These videos hit many points for me:

  • exploring abandoned places is an unrealized dream of mine
  • the sheer craftsmanship of these places?? All the lines are so straight and every detail is perfect?? They simply don’t do it like this anymore!!
  • and tonally, the videos walk an incredibly interesting line between “pitch perfect scary movie ambience” and “you have total assurance that nothing scary is going to actually happen here”

I’m enjoying them in particular because if this were a real TV show, the network would definitely be plugging in scary meta-plot cliffhangers before commercial breaks. A big “wow” and “amazing” to these guys, 10/10 vibes.

As an intra-night insomnia-haver, I appreciated this The Cut piece on just embracing it. I get all my reading done between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m., and there’s nothing wrong with that (I also lately start falling asleep as early as 9 p.m.).

As always, I love you, thank you for reading, now go do your PLATESLAM PR and post about it! Now more than ever, let’s go!!—