Author Archives: Alex Causton

Stress, Adapt, Thrive or Die

The pendulum that is raised to the left, strikes back to the right with relentless necessity. –Uexküll

This is what I mean when I try to explain how a crash diet or a crash training program – a stress your body is not ready for – will result in a crash outcome.

Your body compensates and this is what adaptation IS. All adaptation is not beneficial.

All adaptation is not improvement.

Sometimes it is decline, destruction and demise.

A Disturbing Trend: Set in motion by stress and strain, the biologic(al) pendulum swings between catabolism and anabolism, trying to eventually bring stability back to a disrupted metabolism. 

Now let me link them here in a swirl of anti-scientific metaphor

What stretching is to the cycle of contraction, aerobic system function is to anaerobic systems cycle of stimulation.
Now cant a contraction be part of the stretch cycle? And cant anaerobic system function be part of the aerobic systems cycle of stimulation?
No. Why? At rest you are stretched and aerobic. Thus in action…
Elongation will happen with contraction, don’t you worry. Aerobic system stimulation will happen with anaerobic challenges, dont you worry either.

 

If resistance training were about increased strength levels alone, there would be no point to it, since there is a very real limiting effect to strength gain. When you keep training, yet fail to consistently produce a gain in strength, the less is more propagators explain it away in the same way they explained away the fact that magnesium became heavier when burnt, that it didn’t lose anything but gain, by suggesting that phlogiston had negative weight. Right now, the strength theorists are telling you, that your lack of getting stronger, is because you train to get stronger.

So the less is more training crowd is not accepting of that fact that strength gains eventually cease.

So they use the old phlogiston and magnesium protocol. The phlogiston theorists used to believe that when magnesium burned, it would “release” phlogiston. But magnesium only became HEAVIER when it was burned.
So they said, “well, that’s because phlogiston has negative weight”. In the same way, when you train and fail to get stronger continually, the less is more “research reading specialists” explain it away as, “well, that’s because your training has a negative effect.”

Well, they are wrong.

Your training doesn’t have the same effect THEY find easiest to measure. The only effect they really can measure.

The purpose of strength training isn’t necessarily to get stronger. It is also about training your strength in various forms of expression. Find different ways to express your strength and max out your strength expression using all conduits. The conduits are limited only by your imagination.

A Metaphors Tale – How Fission Fusion Was Born

The Many Cycles Of Biology

What stretching is to contraction in the muscle function cycle, aerobic system stimulation is to anaerobic demand.

Now cant a contraction be part of the stretch cycle? And cant anaerobic system function be part of the aerobic systems cycle of stimulation?

No. But why?

At rest you are stretched and aerobic. Thus in action…

Elongation will happen with contraction demands. And aerobic system stimulation will happen with anaerobic challenges. I believe

Fission Fusion Training Model

My Fission Fusion training model is a cyclic training methodology as well. Metaphors for integration and seperation. We can never train either in pure isolation, but we CAN emphasize.

() Fusion Strategy ()
To undo the effects of a modern hypo-kinetic lifestyle, we enter the realm of hyper-kinetic training.

Focused on working kinetic chains through different movement patterns in multiple planes of motion and utilizing an infinite variety of exercises at varying speeds and tempos. Focused on full body functionality.

() Fission Strategy ()
Now we isolate to aesthetically integrate.

Focused on working the individual body parts through different movement patterns in multiple planes of motion and utilizing an infinite variety of exercises at varying speeds and tempos. Focused on full body aesthetic balance.
The two primary methodologies of Fission-Fusion feed into each other creating a “synergistic ouroborus”.

A self-perpetuating spiral dynamic progression model that builds upon itself by feeding into itself. Progressively alternating and integrating both ends of the spectrum as the adaptive processes change the clients’ abilities over time.

 

Fission Fusion – How It Became

Fitness training is where the ideas of biology, physics and psychology have sex. 

Functionally Interdependent Principles?

The principles of training and diet should not be considered independent when it comes to application to your body and mine. They must be considered as functionally interdependent. What we want is to have the principles of training and diet to have sex and give birth to a perceptual lens that enables us to see sharper, clearer, farther and deeper than ever before.

This idea of realizing this principle interdependence was what allowed me to link the the two metabolic conduits and create the Fission Fusion Model.

Structure Of Reaping What You Sow

You can create the mold (your program),
Place your embryonic self inside (perform the program),
And allow your body to forge itself into your minds design, over time.

The mold though must have freedoms of expression within the larger scale structure.

The mold must be as adaptable as your body is.

Your body is bio-clay, plastic and ready to interpret the signature of your program’s design through the modification of its implicit with your expected explicit. The program then, is like a model, or a system of thought – though created in perfection, should be designed with specific freedom allowances within rigid constraints. The joints of the larger structure need to be flexible enough to withstand the forces of pummeling that could come with a tsunami or slow flood of unpredictability.

To not have a program, is to not have direction, purpose or point actually no reason for them to let everyone know that they are broken-hearted, for example

Flip The Script

What you do with your body, determines what your body does with your food: The processing, digesting, integrating and utilizing characteristic of a highly physically active body is going to be substantially different from the processing characteristics of a sedentary physiology. Its like putting chicken into a pot of boiling water, versus putting the same chicken into a pot of cold water. Different time frames, different outcomes – different processes. Which means….I’m worried less about the calorie type and quantity and more about the body the calories are going into.

You need structure with degrees of freedom, constraints of elasticity: I learned this way of thinking from Freeman Dyson 5 years ago. And I’ve been using the metaphor ever since. A program cannot be a completely open loop. It must have constraints and freedoms that chisel the path the worker must take to create a large-scale “effect” (what I call EffectTraining). Be it metabolic or mechanical, or when they have sex like in a Fission Fusion Hybrid program.

Science VS Experience, The Lab VS Observation: Tacit VS Explicit

You have probably already realized that I’ve created an all out, no holds barred false duality slug fest, with my title to this post above. And you’d be right. The problem isn’t this simple. The issue isn’t this plain. The solution isn’t this formulaic. The process isn’t this black and white. My post probably isn’t right or wrong.

What this piece of writing is NOT, is an anti-science tirade. No. I am not part of the scientism band-wagon. I believe science is truly the best “systematic” conduit to some sort of truth that we have.

The reason being is that I believe science, the meme, the idea, the way of thinking, not only evolves, but some of its constraints, over time, alter with improvements in analysis, observation and methodology. Methodology and modality extracted and guided by the powers of observation and the forces of experience that mold perception and create a framework for understanding.

Because astronomers can carry out the two fundamental activities that, jointly considered, truly characterize a science: systematic observations and the construction and testing of hypotheses.- Massimo

Of course there is a way to create synchrony and di

 

–          Bias Isn’t Always Wrong – Biases are Clues

–          Deduction/Induction

–           

 

There is no such thing as a Scientific Mind. Scientists are people of very dissimilar temperaments doing different things in very different ways. Among scientists are collectors, classifiers and compulsive tidiers-up; many are detectives by temperament and many are explorers; some are artists and others artisans. There are poet-scientists and philosopher-scientists and even a few mystics. What sort of mind or temperament can all these people be supposed to have in common? Obligative scientists must be very rare, and most people who are in fact scientists could easily have been something else instead. — Peter Medawar

 

To begin with, let us clear the field from a common misunderstanding about what it means to do science, a misconception that is unfortunately widespread even among scientists: one does not need experiments to do science. While this claim may sound strange and counterintuitive at first, a moment’s reflection will show that it is obviously true: astronomers do not conduct experiments, and yet we think of astronomy as solidly situated within the sciences, not the humanities or the pseudosciences. Why?

Over 12 years ago, I came across me intellectual mentor, friend and hero, Howard Bloom. I emailed him to ask him about his belief in God or gods. He sent back a fantastic two paragraph note that I still have in my Bloomian folder. But I won’t write it out for you. Sorry if it seemed I was going to. What I will write out is how he influenced me by asking me to look at things right under my nose as if I had never seen them before. And to proceed from there. 12 years later, here I am. Trying to find a way to look at things differently. Trying to find a way to write science as art. Trying to see if I can’t radically alter your perceptions and mine.

You Can Throw Away Your Straight Bars (if you so choose)
A straight line. That is all a barbell is. Ask yourself whether the user should conform to the tool or the tool to the user?

Human beings are rotational, rotary, twisty, circular, assymetrical and imbalanced. It’s how we are.

Arthur Jones realized this and dismissed the barbell as a tool of any importance. And he was almost right. But somewhere along the line, his message was lost to the machismo-cult of strength. Now I’m not a High Intensity Training Jedi – I abhor low volume machine only training. But Arthurs message was spot on. And my message? The barbell is a dumb tool.

Listen, the barbell CAN be useful. But it is no axiom. It is no essential. You do not “need” to train your body with a bar. Dumbbells will not only suffice, they will do your joints good. They will allow for rotary shear minimization in odd planes when you perform your frontal and sagittal feats of heaving might.

They will also better stimulate the entire musculature chain of movement pattern through spreading activation demands to muscles that were let off the hook due to the stability the barbell provided.

The only thing the barbell does better than the dumb-bell or well designed machine is feed your ego by allowing you to lift more loads that no one will ever really care about. We went the way of art, cognition and intellectual development when we strayed from our more ape-like ancestors. We didn’t go the route of strength because both are un-necessary for creative endeavors. You don’t need to be stronger to look better, you need to be smarter. A better physique looking physique is not the pursuit of the ancient caveman, it is the pursuit only made possible in the modern world of abundance and the appreciation for a certain type of aesthetic.

We Are All The Same AND We Are All Different, At Once

There is no exact right or wrong when it comes to the interpretation of general principles of human functionality and response. This matho-mechanical thinking, flimsily disguised in the veils of reason and logic, is the foundation upon which the boring, mundane, grey and dead fitness industry IS that way. Averse to creativity, shielding itself from criticism using the imaginary powers of “evidence based” thinking.  Us humans are all as different from one another, as we are the same. Each person is a unique signature expression of the human project. All the same essentially, but different at the same time fundamentally.

The DIFFERENCES create the rules of individualization. Taking the essential block of human function and response, and carving it with the specific and uniquely sharpened chisel of individuality.

These differences in body-structure result in unique movement signatures. In unique responses and in unique journeys.  There is not mathematical formula that can predict the future functional state of a living biological being. And when math, physics and thus logic and reason fail us, we see how biology, art and creative drive can save us.

Professional Deviation – Thoughts From The Random

Professional Advice for Coaches and Trainers
– If your passion does not become your profession, then your profession will become your poison
– When it comes to the art of coaching – the psychology of diet and the physiology of program design and vice versa – internet argumentation will kill creativity more than it will inspire it. People want to you to STOP travelling, traversing and trailblazing new paths and seeing from new angles, and under different lights, much more than they will ever want you to START
– Getting someone to believe you is easy, hard is getting someone to believe IN you

On Training 
– Fitness is thoroughly monistic, and the duality of Strength and Conditioning is wrong
– There are only tendencies and they can be expressed as StrengthConditioning and/or ConditioningStrength programs
– It is NOT about the muscles or the exercises. Not at ALL. It is about the combinations and sequences. The program you put the trainee through. Not about the letters or the words. Its about the sentences and the paragraphs. The story you put the reader through
– Training carves the canal through which the river of calories shall flow
– Your body is a learning and adapting bio-machine. Its stochastic with its long term adaptations BUT, it is ALWAYS learning. Which is why the second rep is always better than the first. The second set always better than the first. The second month better than the first. The second year better than the last. Till a noxious component (we like to call it fatigue) accumulates, the body gets better and better. Till it doesnt. The body craves learning through repetition. Till too much of the same becomes its own poison. And then it craves change. All change. Some change. Any change

 On Diet
– Clean-eating leads to hate-eating
– A food issue is a mood issue
– There are two ways to get lean: Eat less or move more so long as one stays stable, constant and controlled. You can pick one or both. But sometimes you need to eat more and move less – to heal from eating less and moving more. Supercompensate. And sometimes you need to eat more and move more or eat less and move less. Every and any combination of the two can be manipulated and used for purposes specific and for goals general. Pick your corollaries but know the axioms that bind to them at the hip of choice, purpose and pursuit

On Posture
– It is a lie to assume that postural chronicity – ANY posture – won’t accumulate a negative. Even the repetitions that are positive, as in pushups and squats, will have negatives tail their positive repercussions. Over the course of time in the short term and the long term – in the now of when and the when of then. You cannot escape the simple axiom that anything in excess is a poison. And that the dose; the duration and magnitude, determine whether a stress or strain will lead to pain or gain

On Motivation
– A sublime serenity is achieved when what you want is what you need
– I can only suggest what I think you should do. Whether or not you CAN do it, is your problem
– There are no short-cuts to greatness. There are only options. And each option comes with a consequence. What you don’t want to sacrifice – is your honour and integrity. Because you never get that back. Everything else – health, money, time – you lose anyway
– You can never stop working on your body…Because you are a dynamic flow of changing states. A complex system of psycho-physiological problems interconnected to a web of sociological judgement’s of right and wrong, being pulled in two directions, one of immediate satisfaction and the other of delayed gratification…to the breaking point. You can never stop the work of progression, because your body will never stop the work of regression.

On Principles
– Want to work smarter? Work harder
– Two powerful ideas
1 – truly not giving a shit about the people you do not give a shit about
2 – truly giving a shit about the people that you give a shit about
– In most affairs, neutrality is a cop out
– Never respect success, ALWAYS respect effort
– Never respond with equality; either crush your enemy or ignore them
– There are more possible divisions and dimensions to people than merely good or evil – Sometimes people are both, at the same time

On Moderation
– Obsession will get you everywhere, In fitness. In finance. In love. In life. Moderation is “the nothing”.  And do nothing in moderation
– Moderation in all things is an extreme idea

 On Death 
– When a person dies we should be mourning for the living – not the dead 

On Experts
– How do you tell if one is?
a – he has more questions than answers
b – he abhors simplicity of explanation but embraces simplicity of application

On Intelligence
– Master the rules of logic and you can at least create the illusion of intelligence
– If the teacher chose correctly, the student will surpass the teacher – If the teacher chose incorrectly, he is not worthy of teaching
– If you are smart enough to know how dumb you are, you are exponentially smarter than you think you are
– The more complex the problem, the more you should trust your intuition – of course, you may not realize how complex the problem actually is to begin with, since complexity and simplicity are deceptively conjoined; layered and intertwined in a closed loop of cause and effect with each other, to give us our precious perception of reality…


On Alternative Thinking
– Unpredictability is predictable
– What imposes a limit exposes a potential; A limit imposed is a potential exposed (constraint)
– Commitments always come with restrictions = this is constraint creation
– The thing people dont realize? that restrictions arent just new NO answers; you say no to things you would have said yes to before, they are also new YES answers; you now say yes to things you would have said no to before

 

On Creative Thinking And New Paradigms
– The world is a relativity engine. Context, recursion and power laws are the soil, sunshine and water of development
– If at first you do not generalize, you cannot analyse what you want/need to comprehend, to synthesize what you need/want to understand

On Deception
– Marketers know that when they write “simple”, you  read “easy”
– Utopia exists in your head – exactly where the idea that you live in a dystopia does
– We want to accept, embrace and own the good part, but we cannot do that without owning, embracing and accepting the bad part 

On Boredom 
– Tackle your boredom and you can tackle your diet
– The fewer social constraints you abide by, the less likely you are to be a victim of boredom

On Beer 
The problem with beer is that beer gives guys without the balls to talk to a pretty girl in the bar, the balls to talk to a pretty girl in the bar long enough for her to realize that beer is a problem

On Relationships
– The perfect relationship – ANY relationship – is not symmetrical; it is asymmetrical – one has more power and control than the other, over the other, but even that is asymmetrical, one does not retain or relinquish that power or control forever – symmetry is the idealization, asymmetry is the realization
– Nothing creates presence like absence, be it it your health, lover or cheesecake
– Human mating today is basically the following binary delusion: Guy trying to convince girl that he is thinking about the long term when he is really only looking for a good time in the short term and Girl trying to convince guy that she is looking only for the long term when she actually wants something fun in the short term
– Life is commerce: give and take – if you want something from someone, you better have something someone else wants from you and this applies top to bottom and bottom to top, no exceptions

Small Corruptive Thoughts

The Scientific, Lab Tested and Explicit Versus the Tacit, Experienced and Observed
You have probably already realized that I’ve created an all out, no holds barred false (or true?) duality slug fest. Each with it’s own trichotomy. And you’d be right that the problem is not this simple. The issue isn’t this plain. The solution isn’t this formulaic. The process not this black and white.

And no, I am not part of the anti-science or scientism band-wagon. I believe science may just be the best “systematic” conduit to some sort of functional truth that we have created. At least as of this writing. But without the accompanying fuzzy real world experience, is scientific knowledge enough to justify professional expertise?
No. Knowledge is second hand experience. Experience is second hand knowledge. Both inform each other. Two sides of the perceptual coin. But neither one is better than the other. I can’t trust anyone who only has one side of this expertise coin covered…no matter how thoroughly. 

Good Form Versus Bad Form
Stop looking at form through the binary lens of GOOD versus BAD.
View it as BEAUTIFUL form versus UGLY*.And things will fall into place much quicker and smoother.
Though there is no such thing as ” good form ” in general, there definitely are empirically identified biomechanical constraints that we probably should not push to their terminal end points (think hysteresis for proper metaphor) — to reduce injury risk and the accumulation of the potential for injury. Otherwise form is like a written signature — every Tom, Dick and Harry will write Tom, Dick and Harry in their own way — so long as they don’t write mot, kidc and rarhy.

*not for inexperienced trainers. Either get hurt and recover or go mentor under someone better than yourself. The eye for aesthetics of movement comes with time and experience.

Psychology Of Physiology
Obesity should be recognized as a psychological problem. If recognized as a problem to be  or that can be “solved” at all. It’s like crime, it isn’t as much a problem as it is an expression of psychological wants meeting physiological needs designed by natural tendencies responding to nurtured cultural dogmas and beliefs.

A Hormetic Apple A Day Keeps Decay Away
Your body and mine is always trying to achieve homeostasis, bio-psychological equilibrium. But nature has rigged the game. The body chases its own allostatic tail. The minute we can remove ALL stressors is the minute we create the stress of no stress. And fall down a slippery slope of decay. The mind and the body crave disturbance, challenge and resistance. Mental, physical, cognitive and physiological. When they get their fill, they digest and absorb and change accordingly. Till they hunger and hanker again.

Feed The Work
You visualize, intuit and plan what physical alteration you are going to put the client through, and how much and what type of work that entails… THEN YOU FEED THE WORK PLAN with a food plan. The fitness industry has it backwards. The body will begin to process food according to the metabolic nature of the demand. Your workout tells your body what to do with food. You can have an excess of EITHER. That isnt the point. We are talking about getting the formula right; which means the training “recipe” should dictate the eating “program”.

Oh Calories
A calorie is a calorie. Sort of. It’s also about whos body is taking in that calorie. Sort of. Thing is, the biological constraints are elastic. And where there is elasticity of law, there are various degrees of freedoms; there are permutations of expression. Some things in small (the right?) doses are progressions and excess (the wrong?) doses are regressions.

Anabolic Catabolism and Catabolic Anabolism Or A Confused Metabolism?
You can build muscle and lose fat at the same time. For a while. But everyone has their own individual constraint signature which restricts just how far this metabolic sweet spot of anabolic catabolism or catabolic anabolism will go before it chooses direction. Keep pushing for fat loss and muscle loss will follow. Keep pushing for muscle gain and fat will gain ground eventually.

The Stress Of Strain
To coach, you must understand and appreciate that there is an emotional component to physical stress and strain. And a physical component to emotional strain and stress.  So does every gain come with a pain, in terms of price paid? And does every pain with a gain, in terms of hormesis?  That I leave for you to decide.

Of Hypocrites
The same people that claim that the type of food can matter for health, have no hesitation in proclaiming that the type of exercise does not. This idea stems from their myopic understanding of the bigger picture; that food is energy in and exercise is energy out. Aesthetically and in my opinion, from an optimally functioning perspective:  Food is what could happen, exercise is what does happen.

Periodization Simplified
Periodization is one of the sexier underground concepts masturbated to in the intellectual coaching worlds greatest circle jerks. But there is a simpler and more effective way than what the Eastern Bloc has you convinced is best practice. The way to get to your best possible body is to move more and eat less most of the time. But eat more and move less some of the time as well. Take that as an axiom for understanding long term training and diet planning, and understand this: With energy you need to flux, fluctuate and facilitate a cycle of highs and lows.

Contradict Yourself To Express Your Best Self
And the best approach for your physiological state of being — may be a complete contradiction to your psychological state of mind. The psychological assessment of wants and needs is not MORE important than the physiological assessment of needs and wants; considered holistically. Because what may be the best approach psychologically, may not necessarily be the best approach physiologically. Usually, its a complete contradiction. You mentally cant handle what it takes to change your body physically. The best approach for your physiological state of being may be in complete contradiction to your psychological state of mind.

Moderation In All Things At All Times Is An Extreme Idea
Moderation has consumed us? And you know why? Because we are weaklings. We don’t like the discomfort of pushing hard enough to actually achieve our ideals. True moderation, if it means not pushing yourself smack dab into the middle of unrecoverable damage terrain, should be a fluctuation between very intense application and not so intense application of training and diet, of expending and ingesting. OVER TIME. In the same sort of “rest recovery cycle” format we use for weekly training. For day working and night sleeping. This spiralling of high demand with low demand tasks is natures essential cycle. Adaptation is proportionate to disturbance within the constraint of the outer most periphery where a psycho-mechanical breakdown resides. And each disturbance has it’s own stress signature with its own short and long term adaptation curve. This is why moderation cannot be sustained indefinitely, because you will eventually regress without stepping outside of your moderate constraint. The key isn’t moderation then, the key is understanding how to surf the curves of extremes; of highs and lows and to understand what to expect in terms of physical and psychical feedback.

Ideas That Will Change Your Training Philosophy

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.
― Ludwig van Beethoven

Human existence is like a dialogue with a multiple protean involuntary – motives, resistances, irremediable situations – to which willing responds by choice, effort, or consent. I submit to the body which I guide.
― Paul Ricoeur

Function builds structure.
― Szent-Gyorgyi

Energy flows through all systems, and the flow of energy leaves a residue of structure.
― Ray Peat

Indulge your passion for science, says she, but let your science be human, and such as may have a direct reference to action and society. Abstruse thought and profound researches I prohibit, and will severely punish, by the pensive melancholy which they introduce, by the endless uncertainty in which they involve you, and by the cold reception which your pretended discoveries shall meet with, when communicated. Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.
― Hume

I have watched the caravan as it crossed the desert,” he said. “The caravan and the desert speak the same language, and it’s for that reason the desert allows the crossing.
― Paulo Coelho

Art is the left hand, science is the right hand.
― Howard Bloom