A strip mall with a gym and a Chipotle is my Disneyland
Alex, the peaceable bro of Summer House, plus: the Palestinian Chad, the drink buffet, and 17-year old girl benching 380 pounds. This is Links 23.
I promised last week that I would look into Alex Wach, a new character in this season of Summer House who was reported to me as a dyed-in-the-wool bro. “He’s boring,” one friend said. I expected a Jersey Shore “The Situation” type. What I got was MUCH more delightful.
A lot of people who feel apprehensive about gyms look sideways at the highly visible bro’s bro, the gorilla juicehead with gaping tank top armholes shadowboxing himself in the mirror; the Anabolic Andy whose supplement stack will drive him to snap if he is asked to curl anywhere but the squat rack.
Now: Not all bros are built the same. We frequently mistake the loud for the many.1 This is true also of bros: The ones who scream the loudest while benching fill the room metaphorically, but not necessarily literally.
In my experience, there are far more gentle giants like Alex: jacked to high heaven, quiet, nice, and most importantly, who simply love and are invested in the semi-monastic Process of being a bro.
Alex goes to the gym; he makes his very long grocery lists; he eats his pounds of meats; he is kind and helpful around the house. Bros like Alex know the singular sublime experience of a strip mall with both an Anytime Fitness and a Chipotle, where you can get in a workout and then house some food (double the protein, of course) without even having to re-park your car. With any luck, the strip mall also an ample grocery store down the way to stock up for the week’s meal prep.
While bro’ing down with my little brother last week, we went to Waffle House immediately following a workout. I have struggled to eat lately, but after a nice big leg day, I was in awe of myself just putting aWAY my entire All Star Special: a waffle with butter and syrup in addition to all my smothered/covered/peppered hash browns, eggs, bacon, toast, big orange juice. I did it again the next day with a massive burger following an upper-body workout. The Alexes of the world always remember what I constantly forget, which is that there is no feeling like training hard and then the subsequent way your body is ready to inhale big food after.
Perhaps the type of bro that Alex is makes for less-than-good reality TV; he is surely no Lindsay. But he is special to me, because he unashamed of bro-ing down in this particular way that we should all feel entitled to. Plus, how can you not love a guy with this transcendent collection of photos of him fitness modeling for Halloween costume packaging above?
What subscribers will be getting this week: Okay, this week is the week of advice on making friends in the gym? How do you strike up a chat? How do you assess a friendly vs. threatening presence? And the question I always want answered in this scenario: Literally what WORDS do you say? This and more in paid subscribers’ inboxes this weekend!
The number one question people ask me is “How did you get started with lifting weights?” This week, I published an essay at The Cut answering this exact question. This story was a lot for me to share, to be honest, but I appreciate each and every one of you who read it and shared your own experiences with me of how you came to lifting!!
~Discord Pick of the Week: Thrilling discovery of Mahailya Myshelle, who is only 17 and is setting state powerlifting records! Here she is benching 380 POUNDS. ~
Speaking of delightful bros, 'Palestinian Chad’ Mohammad is a hilarious and brave new voice in the r/nattyorjuice space.
Struggle to hydrate? Consider the drink buffet. Behave however you want, but at a diner in particular, I consider three beverages an absolute minimum (orange juice, coffee, water. I’ll get a milk. My hand cannot be stayed, fluid-wise).
Some aspects of lifting are relatively recent innovations. As late as the 1970s, instead of squats, muscle people were doing “knee bends” on their toes (!); now we keep our feet flat on the floor, thank you VERY much. But using weights to take care of our muscles is a literal ancient practice!
A testament to how relatively mundane it is to get stronger. You don’t have to start strong or be gifted, just go in and pump your iron!
Karate in a blizzard? Karate in a blizzard.
I think often of the time Katie Way reported for Vice that secret steroid use is rampant among fitness influencers, not just to get big, but to stay constantly lean as they do. There was a great Vox feature in November about steroid use for muscle size specifically. This week, Insider has a feature on how pervasive they are among influencers. Still not talked about enough: SARMs!
I have long been over the productivity gurus trying to own waking up absurdly early. I like to wake up early just because no one bothers you. There’s always stuff to ruminate about late at night, but early in the morning? Clean slate of bliss and peace.
Loved this profile of the woman who wrote the classic bedtime banger Goodnight Moon, my “bowl full of mush” OG!
We know I love to interpret “ the habit and practice of strength” broadly around here. In that respect, absolutely loving the strength of the growing Starbucks union movement!
Per above, I don’t watch much reality TV, but watching Summer House led me back into watching Winter House.
I am of course also loving the second season of Cheer.
That’s all! I love you, thank you for reading, let’s go—