The unfed mind devours itself – Gore Vidal

I’ve written many times on the difficulty  (absurdity?) of attempting to distill artistic expertise into programs, templates, or step-by-step directives.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked by a client, following a workout, why I chose a certain movement, technique or modality at a particular time during their session.   And the answer, more often than not, comes forth haltingly, disjointed, with various pieces of the argument being loosely — if at all — triangulated.  I just “knew” what method to use and when to employ it.  Does that make me some kind of a guru?  Hardly; just someone who has spent a hell of a lot of time in the Strength and Conditioning game, and who apprenticed, beginning at a very young age, with some of the best and brightest in the field.  People to whom, when I asked my persistent “whys”, stumbled over the same explanations.

This is not to say that one should dive willy-nilly into into training with no plan.  Every artist enters his domain — be it gym, kitchen, studio, what have you — with direction.  The true masters, though, consider direction as no more than a starting point, knowing when to — and allowing — intuition to override conscious decision making.  Bruce Lee’s famous “kick is just a kick” saying comes to mind:

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”

David Eagleman‘s recent piece, The Mystery of Expertise, covers this subject beautifly, and I encourage each and every one of you to read it.  From sexing chickens to hitting a fastball to the friend/foe identification aircraft from sound alone, conscious thinking must not be allowed to impede intuition.

The Upcoming LA Fitness Expo –

I’ll be out in LA from the 27th through the 30th of this month for the LA Fitness Expo, and I’ll be speaking, Sunday, on the topic of Paleo for performance to a demographic who is, by-and-large, non-conversant in the hows-and-whys of the Ancestral Wellness movement.  I certainly hope to see some of my Paleo Cali peeps while I’m out there; if you happen to be at the expo, make sure you drop by and say “hey”.

I’ll also be “training the trainers” at our newest Efficient Exercise “urban box” while I’m in town.  Our downtown Los Angeles studio, located on the 36th floor of the Paul Hastings tower, features a predominance of  ARX Fit equipment in a small-footprint setting.  We feel that these strategically-placed, urban-oasises of fitness will appeal to those who are office-bound, yet desire the wellness benefits of what intelligent programming with ARX Fit equipment can offer.  All I can say is, I sure as hell wish I had this option available nearby when I was caught in the corporate world/wanna-be-fit quagmire.  Being a slave to the grind is a hell of a lot easier tolerate if a bad-ass, time-efficient fitness option is readily available.  So if you’re in downtown LA, here’s your at-work fitness — and sanity — saving opportunity.

Oh, and you can definitely bet I’ll be getting my hands on some fine,  Handsome coffee while I’m in town!  And head’s up Gjelina, the Efficient Exercise crew will be dropping in one evening for some of your fine eats —  and to celebrate a couple of birthdays.  Ought to be fun!

In health, fitness, and wellness –




  1. The examples given in “The Mystery of Expertise” come straight out of motor learning. Once you’ve had enough experience, which varies depending on the complexity of the task, you’ve become autonomous, capable of parallel distributed processing without so much as a flicker of conscious thought.

    Now available for chicken sex identification!

    • And now the interesting part — find that which accounts for the difference in 10,000 or 1,000 hours for mastery. And can that element be trained?

    • Thanks! We’re working hard — in the midst of all the PFX12 planning craziness — to get all the bugs worked out.


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