The Trouble with Tough Love

  • Dad wisdom: The trouble with tough love
  • SURPRISE: Dad Strength pop-up
  • Book recommendations
  • Quote: On learning from others
  • Dad Joke

The trouble with tough love

I’ve spoken with a lot of men who have struggled to find a consistent approach to their own exercise and nutrition habits. The cycle is the same. Things get busy, healthy and habits fall away. They are aware of an internal discomfort but not yet responsive to it. It’s like a subtle alarm in the background. It’s easy to ignore at first but it gathers volume over time. It’s only when the signal gets loud enough that motivation finally reaches a critical threshold. Here, an internal editor cues the Rocky theme and things get moving. Sometimes dramatically so.

The motivation behind this type of action is fundamentally human; it’s to get out of pain. The problem is that it only lasts as long as that alarm is blaring. As guys begin to get traction and hit their stride, they often find their motivations fade away. After all, there’s no more pain to get out of. So, things begin to slip and the cycle begins again.

Maybe it’s not tough love we need, so much of a love of process. A love of how we feel about ourselves. A love of doing challenging things because of what it means to us. And maybe it’s a purpose that we need to tie all that stuff together—something bigger than our own lives… Something that will really last.

These thoughts come from our most recent Dad Strength call.

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Surprise pop-up!

I’m going to host an in-person meetup at Bang Personal Training on Sunday, October 15th, from 9:30 until 11 AM. We’re going to do a small workout and have a chat about big things.

Location: 610 Queen Street West, 2nd floor Toronto

Interested, please hit reply to RSVP ASAP, SVP.

If you don't have my email, you can message me through Instagram.

A formula for playing the long-game of fitness

Here’s something nerdy that you might like:

Let’s imagine a very heavy deadlift performed horribly. Like a scared cat who is somehow twisting as their back is arching. A strong person might pull this off without injury. However, every subsequent rep increases their risk.

On the other end of the continuum, imagine someone with a tiny imperfection in their running stride. A run around the block won’t create much risk. Amplified by an ultra-marathon, though, and we might see issues manifest.

These two scenarios give us the top part of the equation: number of repetitions and force.

The amplitude (A) describes how much distance we’re moving the weight. An Olympic snatch has greater amplitude than a calf raise or sudden flaring of nostrils. Finally, Relaxation (R) describes how much recovery is taking place before the tissues are loaded again.

Bodies are adaptive and technique does not have to be perfect—provided that you give your tissues enough recovery to accommodate. However, by keeping things in between the lines biomechanically, we generally reduce risk.

As a side note, this formula—a staple in ergonomics—traditionally shows an equals sign but I replaced it with (what I think is) the symbol for correlation. We can’t guarantee outcomes of either risk or safety; we can only affect their statistical distribution.

Book recommendations

Clear Thinking
A highly readable collections of insights and lessons about thinking clearly by the creator of Farnam Street.

ADHD has become an identity, not just a disorder. We need a new way to talk about it (article)

If you have ADHD, it is incredibly helpful to have a diagnosis to help you normalize and contextualize what you’re feeling, as well as to chart a productive path forward. There’s a point, however, where the label can be more anchoring than liberating.

How to Eat

I recently hosted a visiting academic from Brazil. He wanted to share the model we use at Bang with his students back home. I told him about how minimal we are about nutrition—and why. He pointed at a book titled How to Eat and asked why it was part of our lending library. The book is not a list of superfoods or macronutrient ratios. It is a book on mindfulness by the late Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s one of the only books on eating I recommend.


“I have gathered a garland of other men's flowers, and nothing is mine but the cord that binds them.”

—Michel de Montaigne on learning from the wisdom of others

Dad joke

I told my kids I can cut wood just by looking at it. I saw it with my own eyes.

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