Last week I published a big article about how to melt fat without counting calories, which is something that clearly quite a few people enjoyed since the article got shared around a couple of hundred times and plenty of you sent me messages about it.
But not one to leave all of my tracking brethren out in the dark, I wanted to get something together for those of you who like to get all granular and play macro tetris. And that’s exactly what we’re doing today. Except this is all about helping you learn exactly how many calories you should be eating.
The person responsible for the first three books on this months list is my friend Aadam Ali from physiqonomics.com. He was in New York City for the better part of 2 and a half months, which meant that we got to hang out a ton and do what we normally do on the Internet. Which is primarily talk about books.
Aadam had bought these three and I was determined to read them before he left and had to take them to London. Though I actually didn’t finish the Sinclair Lewis book in time and sneakily kept it. Sorry, Aadam.
Okay, onto the books.
Much like the title says, this is the books that I’ve read in the months of January and February. In the interest of full disclosure, I admittedly forgot all about publishing my January reading list. I’d like to blame moving to New York City, being busy with work, and getting wrapped up in the whirlwind that is this great beast of a city. But really, I just forgot.
Oh well. We’re here now. And for those of you who care about these things, 2017 is the year of great fiction. Why? Well, because I think that stories hold all of the answers that we consistently find ourselves searching for throughout history.
We can read all the self-help we want, but typically the greatest truths of the world are contained within a story. It shouldn’t seem like a huge coincidence that we have legitimately evolved to accept and understand information more effectively and efficiently when presented in story format. Plus stories are just far more entertaining and make you a more interesting person.
Because let’s be real, you’d much rather hang out with someone who can talk about Harry Potter vs. The Secret.
Alright, enough is enough. Here’s the list.
*Brief little side note before you dig into this: This piece is going to reference a great deal of work from the mythologist Joseph Campbell, who is widely known for The Hero’s Journey. And while I can proudly say I’m a gigantic Campbell nerd, John Romaniello is a true Campbell expert who has written on the topic a million times over.
It would be folly of me to try and explain the importance of The Hero’s Journey when you can just click over and read it from one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic. So go read what he’s got to say, and come back.
I think the first message I got about it was in April.
At least, I’m willing to bet you’re weaker than you want to be. There’s probably been more than a few different occasions where you’ve found yourself trying to open a jar of pickles and had a good long hard look in the mirror wondering why the hell this was so hard.
But it doesn’t stop there.
When was the last time you helped someone move? And when is the last time you found yourself laid up in bed binge watching Stranger Things? Chances are that one led to the other.
That’s physical weakness, and you shouldn’t be happy about that. In fact, you probably weren’t for a long time. You probably wanted to change it. It’s probably why you joined a gym in the first place.
You looked in the mirror and hated the reflection staring back at you. Everything about it looked weak. Average. Like nothing special. And deep down, you knew that wasn’t who you were.
Strength also applies to strength in character.
When was the last time you cut out of work a little earlier than you know you should have?
Or what about the last time there was a plate of cookies laying out? And how you had 8 instead of stopping at 2 like you know you should have.
How about that time you walked into the gym, walked around for a few minutes, and decided today just wasn’t the day, and walked back out?
Those are all slip-ups in character. We all have them. It’s a distinctly human trait. But that doesn’t make them okay.
But first, who the hell am I?
Well, I’m Tanner Baze. I run this here website you’ve found yourself at.
That’s a picture of me giving you my most sultry and seductive look.
Now, despite the fact that’s a really sultry look, why the hell do I feel like I can tell you all about strength in both lifting and life? Or, to use the term I’m so fond of, hardihood?
Well, for starters, I’m not exactly weak.
It's been awhile since I've pulled a conventional deadlift (or posted to Instagram – my bad), because I've been working on some other things. But yesterday was one of those days I just wanted to pick up some heavy shit off the ground. So what'd I do? Just that. Walked into the gym, got a quick warmup in, and pulled 455lbs, a pr for me. Fuck yeah. Please note, this isn't a video demonstrating perfect form. There's some rounding that goes on, and I'm well aware. That's what happens when you pull near max weight.
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To say I know a thing or two about getting my way around a gym would be an understatement. I’ve been lifting for well over a decade and worked with well over 1,500 different people helping them to build a stronger, sexier, more resilient body.
But it doesn’t stop there.
All during my time as a trainer and lifting enthusiast I’ve built a respectable writing career that has allowed me to write for some of the biggest websites in the world. Places like Thrillist, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Deadspin, and others.
Building that career while also growing a fitness business doesn’t just happen with dumb luck. It takes a systematic execution of the fundamentals day in and day out. Doing the little things right, even when the last thing you want to do is draft an outline or get your lift in for the day.
That’s not to say I haven’t made my fair share of mistakes along the way. In fact, I’ve made more mistakes than most.
And I think that’s why what I’ve got to say here is so damn important. Because those mistakes are learning lessons. They’re chances to step back and evaluate what it is I’m doing right, and more importantly, what I’m doing wrong.
Which is exactly why I’ve written this book, Hardihood.
Hardihood is a book built just for you, focused entirely on building strength in the gym, and explaining how that strength in the gym carries over into daily life.
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to fitness and health in our modern world is the fact that we tend to separate our time in the gym and the kitchen from our normal life. We forget just how much what we do in the gym carries over to the office. We overlook the discipline in the kitchen and how it prepares us for the challenges that life throws at us.
Hardihood is a book that’s here to show you just how related lifting and life are, and provide you an actionable plan to both get stronger in the gym and in life.
It’s not a book for the faint of heart. It’s not a book for those who are interested in living an average life. It’s not for those who are content with living what amounts to a milquetoast existence. If you’re perfectly content with your lot in life, then don’t download it. You don’t want this.
But, however, if you do recognize a burning desire to be more in life. To build a body that is both strong and capable of handling whatever life throws at you. A body that is forged in the fire of the iron church, and in turn learn the lessons that the barbell imparts upon you? Well, in that case, Hardihood is for you.
This isn’t going to be easy. I’m forewarning you right now.
It’s not going to be fun. The training sessions will be brutal. The entire book is laid out to provide you a 6-week training program that will add a metric fuck ton to your lifts. You will get stronger, there’s no doubting that.
But you’ll also feel sore, tired, beat up, and question why you’re doing this. And that’s the point.
I want you to welcome that very feeling. I want you to embrace the struggle. Understand that by completing every single lifting session you’re becoming a better version of yourself. You’re forging a body in the flames of the iron. A body that can handle anything and everything that you throw at it.
And as a corollary, you will develop an iron will. It’s virtually guaranteed when you’ve pushed through lifting sessions that are this grueling.
So, think you’re ready?