Go ahead: assume they are on steroids

The bad actors love all the attention. Plus: Kirstie Alley, why you love your AI portraits, and one week til PLATESLAM!! This is Link Letter 65.

Go ahead: assume they are on steroids
Photo by Jakob Owens via Unsplash.

I can’t believe The Week of PLATESLAM 2022 is upon us; in just seven short days, aspiring meatheads the world over will begin attempting feats of strength in an event where the definition of “PR” (that's "personal record") is limited only by their imagination.

It’s time for me to announce my choice of PR. Longtime followers will remember that last year, I pulled my first-ever 300-pound deadlift in a swimsuit on an uncharacteristically warm day in December in New York (it was, to my recollection, over 60 degrees out).

This year, I’m planning to do something a little more unconventional: on Friday afternoon, December the 16th, I will squat my own body weight (170 lbs.) for as many reps as I can. I’m going to optimistically aim for 20 reps. My legs are already swelling and hurting in anticipation of this feat. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done more than 12 squats in a row, but it is my solemn PLATESLAM promise to go until I cannot anymore!! (Before this, I may attempt a garden-variety gym PR on bench, but if doesn’t work out you will never know about it, and the video will be scrubbed from this earth.)

Why PR at all? Because knowing your human soul better is what being on this earth is all about.

You do not have to copy me and go for a rep PR! If you wish to swing a one-rep-max attempt, here is a little guide on how to do that without going through a whole peaking cycle. Will you max as much as if you did spend three months carefully orienting your training toward a one-rep max? No, but that’s not what we are here for. PLATESLAM is about winging it (safely and with good judgment). One reader told me she wished she could participate, but since she got pregnant, her lifting numbers have gone way down. In fact, anything you do while pregnant is a pregnancy PR! See how this works?

One of the best things about last year was that so many folks discovered they were able to easily lift weights that they'd thought they might fail at. While failure can be an important part of discovering your limits, discovering that you are in fact even stronger than you thought when you test those limits? Can be even better. Read all about PLATESLAM below! All you need to do to join us is pick a PR, record it, and post it to the #PLATESLAM2022 hashtag.

For every post up to 200 posts, She’s A Beast will be donating $10 to the National Network of Abortion Funds. (And we have already raised a nice healthy donation chunk through our PLATESLAM 2022 T-shirts, which are now collector’s items!) I hope that you aren’t against people receiving lifesaving health care! That’s what not participating would mean; I would hate to think this of you.


~Discord Pick of the Week: Lou Gehrig, quad god. ~

Having more fun is good for the planet, a great title for a great article about a great subject: four-day workweeks.

Why you need more “tiny relationships.” This is known to followers of this newsletter as “the power of The Chat.

Amazing ode to the late Kirstie Alley, RIP, YHAGGAITFYI, from Jennifer Weiner, specifically about soldiering through the media's total fixation her weight fluctuations. (My fellow millennials, never forget that that was the hot garbage stew we grew up in.)

I unfortunately enjoyed this video of Doctor Mike and his friend breaking down medically-related stand-up comedy bits. The first comment is “He’s like when you show your parents a meme and they turn it into a lecture,” which will now unfortunately lead me down a dangerous path of asking whether the things I like are objectively good, or if my liking them is ultimately almost entirely a coping mechanism.

I wanted to hate this article on what we can learn about sleep science from truckers. But if you are not entirely in control of your sleep schedule, it seems worth knowing the role of “sleep inertia” from waking up from deep sleep, and how to make up for lost sleep.

Love this from JP Brammer: what it means to be bewitched by your own AI-generated portraits.

Brittney Griner is free!! Don’t you dare lock up our gentle giant again!


We already covered last week’s big event: An email leak outmaneuvered the Liver King into stating the obvious, which is that he has a staggering steroids-and-other-performance-enhancing-drugs regimen to the tune of $11,000 per month. I say again: If, at any point, you took one look at this guy and didn’t immediately recognize that he’s drowning in PEDs… I rarely say this, but, in your specific case, consider assuming things about people more freely.

Joe Rogan saw this and decided it was time to deploy a 3-D chess move he’s clearly been sitting on a while: using someone else’s “shameful” PED admission as an opportunity to call out The Rock for his alleged PED use.

This kind of maneuver—“I notice someone got called out about something, so I’m gonna drag my perceived nemesis into it”—is so pathetic, so comical, such a cringe telegraph of a specific outsize source of insecurity, it should have a name. Roganing, perhaps.

This is not to say The Rock is not on PEDs. Gun to my head, I would guess that he is. But mostly because most very muscly and famous people, especially the guys who are single-digits body fat year in and year out, especially the ones who don’t compete in drug-free sports federations, are on PEDs.

That doesn’t mean these people don’t work very hard in the gym or keep an extremely rigorous regimen. They always have to also do that. But these general truths have not stopped Joe Rogan, who seems to be out to assuage his insecurity at any price, from making the dumb guy’s mistake of conflating the desire to take down someone who is a notorious object of grotesque fascination, but not actually popular or well-liked (the Liver King), with someone who is both popular and well-liked (The Rock).

If you are the type of person to get really worked up about what people do or don’t admit to doing in order to look the way they do, return to the Blogilates principle: They either are lying, or they are so genetically elite that whatever they say they do is not relevant to most of us anyway. This is an extension of the swimmer’s body fallacy: people with swimmer’s bodies become swimmers; their body doesn’t look that way because of the swimming. (Edited to add: The Washington Post came out with a very extensive guide to the health effects of steroids this week; taking them is not a choice with no downsides.)

Either way, what they do does not matter for most of us personally. If it seems improbable, assume that what you think is true; doing otherwise is lost time from your one precious life. As a culture, we are encouraged never to assume. But a little educated assuming can do wonders to free otherwise valuable brain space. Assuming also does not have to go hand in hand with judging, or holding the assume-ee's feet to the fire to affirm your assumptions, especially if that person–this is key–is someone you will never actually come face to face with in your natural-born life. (Perhaps that is not true of The Rock and Joe Rogan; still, it's quite a display.)

I want to be clear that I don't encourage assuming either as a way of absolving people in general of being truthful. People should be honest. But the people who aren't sure are enjoying all the time and resources lavished on them over whether their deceptions are deceptions or not.

This is all also, honestly, part of the harm done by the "celebrities they're just like us" feelings bestowed by social media. They are not like us, and whether that is fine is an exercise left to the reader. But we earnestly need a vibe shift around this kind of discourse, because there are simply never going to be enough resources to logic every bad actor into submission.

Petty Peloton Corner: Several execs, including departed co-founder John Foley, who drinks water by slapping it at his face from the bathroom sink, have been sued for alleged insider trading. The lawsuit alleges these execs sold off half a billion dollars’ worth of stock upon learning that the Tread+ treadmill had safety issues, before publicizing that information. Classy if so!

I’ve made some questionable protein brownies in my day, but good lord.

This week I learned a third of people (who follow my Twitter, at least) don't know the most common alternative milks are not significantly nutritionally different from cow milk. This is something I have wondered about for a while. (Yes I know about soy milk; I think soy milk is great; soy milk has no clout in our current cultural moment unfortunately. Sorry to the soy heads.)


A very smart and generous piece from Natalie Shure about long Covid and other conditions that, for some reason, causes everyone from doctors to advocates work to invalidate suffering and functional symptoms that stem from brain-body interplay. Reminds me of this other very smart piece on chronic Lyme from a few years ago in the NYRB.

Via Today in Tabs, a reminder from 2020 of the Nazi-bar principle. This makes me think of, you guessed it, The Dawn of Everything and society formation.

Inside the clandestine, milk-fueled ranch parties of Southern California.

Cannabis seeds are legal!!

50 extremely small gifts, if you are still shopping.

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—