Videos of yourself contain a different truth

Shy-girl workouts; an enigmatic cliff-diver; love song of a disembodied head in a jar. This is Link Letter 74!

Videos of yourself contain a different truth

The next installment of my Run Fast Squat Heavy diaries just dropped:

Going into Run Fast Squat Heavy, I feared for two body parts: my knees and my calves. I’ve always been a staunch “squats will help your knees” person, and I still believe this. But for all my personal growth in the past several years, I seem to still locate some self-worth in biting off more than I can chew and handling it with aplomb, or taking it really hard when I don’t.
At my age, I notice that friends a few years older than you get a real kick out of telling you how, sooner than you think, your body will just start wantonly and unpredictably betraying you, day after day, until you wake up one morning a withered husk of your former self, gingerly coaxing yourself to stand up out of bed. And then I and they were, to my horror, exactly right: After going from running none to running three days a week, and squatting light once or twice a week to squatting heavy twice a week, my knees got tender in Week 2.
...I cut one rep from my Week 4 top set of 4x90% and then immediately regretted it because when I watched the video back, even the last rep looked like an RPE 8 at best. I know it felt hard, and that was true. But what happened in the video is also true.
...One of the hardest things about lifting to get used to was the idea of filming my sets; I didn’t believe it would let me see how much stronger I look and am than I often feel. It has not stopped being strange and surprising, not just to see myself getting stronger in the abstract, but to watch it back and see it, to some extent, as someone outside of myself does.

Read the rest!

Run Fast Squat Heavy, Weeks 2-4
A publication about being strong [metaphorical, physical].
#GymCreeps TikTok is not here to save us
When there’s nothing left to burn, we eventually set each other on fire.


~Discord Pick of the Week: A cute $2 zine called Heavyweight Desk Jockey World Champ.~

Enviable description alert: “Gary Hunt is an enigma. He trains with the intensity of a modern athlete, but relaxes like a sportsman of a bygone era. He is fiercely competitive but unbelievably laid-back. How did he become the greatest cliff diver of all time?

Extremely moving story about the specific salvation of trail running with a pup, with a cherry-on-top of a weightlifting related ending.

Shy-girl workouts” offer a “focus on the basics that can be done in one place—like core work, chest presses, rows, squats, and lunges.” We at LIFTOFF HQ are proud to reveal that LIFTOFF: Couch to Barbell does, in fact, qualify as a shy-girl workout! (Phases One and Two are, anyway, but what is Phase Three if not what Phases One and Two prepare you for?) Shy-girl workouts as a concept calls to mind the specific criticism I kept hearing of the Kayla Itsines BBG/Sweat workouts, which was that people were embarrassed to be hopping and jumping around so much in a gym.

Dispatches from book research: a little primer on postfeminism. A bracing read if you are worried it’s sexist to look askance at the marketing of Pilates classes, or have ever felt cowed by someone saying “it worked for me!

Pursuant to last week’s graf on Fleishman Is in Trouble (which reviewers continue to be embarrassing about?): “Other Countries Have Social Safety Nets. The U.S. Has Women.”

Love Song of the Disembodied Head in a Jar:

You love me even if I am nothing but a disembodied head in a jar.

You take me everywhere, buying an extra ticket to the movies

and propping the jar on your lap so I can see the screen, hauling

me to our favorite pizza joint on the boardwalk for two slices

on a paper plate, though I can no longer chew or swallow.

You yell at anyone who stares too long at my head, rotating

slowly in a soup of formaldehyde, and defiantly smooch the jar

in their presence. We hustle dollars at the county fair. The crowds

press close to shriek when I blink at them, to gape astonished

when I sing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, the bubbles rising

from my nose and mouth, my hair swaying like seaweed.


Science-Based Medicine has the only correct word on the Cochrane Review of mask-wearing effectiveness. (Many outlets wrongly reported that the conclusion of the review was that “masks don’t work”; simply wrong!)

How are we supposed to recognize “good” products?

A stay at the Institute of Mentalphysics, a super-yoga, super-woo-woo retreat in Joshua Tree. Not for me attitudinally, but the story is very good.

The only good coffee is bad coffee.


A (musical) takedown of “let people enjoy things”

A cute video essay on the Frog and Toad books.

Jerome Robbins’s “Mistake Waltz,” choreography where one dancer is always purposely out of step.

This week I am on my Temple Grandin, having watched EO and cried all the way through it (don’t recommend), and cried reading about Flaco the Central Park eagle owl who is free and, after years in captivity, has spontaneously learned to hunt.

One last thing: I'm going to be doing a talk based on the principles of LIFTOFF at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library in Michigan on March 24! Please come, mark your calendars, meet your fellow Beasties there; I never do things like this!

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