Tuesday, 15 December 2015

HEGEL on bodybuilding: Die Wissenschaft der Logik (of weightlifting)

This week, The Fitness Philosopher interviews Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) on what philosophy can do for fitness.

ME: Thank you Hegel for taking the time to talk about philosophy and fitness.

HEGEL: Call me George. I thank you for the invitation to come and speculate.

ME: What can philosophy do for fitness?

HEGEL: While I have something to say philosophically about every little detail involved with the idea of fitness, but I propose I discuss only weightlifting and its relation to the Absolute.

ME: Well, yeah sure.

HEGEL: Think of oneself as a thesis or a moment. Think of a heavy barbell as your anti-thesis or dialectic. Normally your body is free to move forward through time and space. However, when you put a heavy barbell on your shoulders, your freedom is taken away. Yet the possibility of resistance is there, and so you resist the weight and squat, but you squat until you drop. Now dropping, something happens, the thesis is transformed by the antithesis. A new you, a new synthesis of the old you has been transformed by the squats. In the coming days, with proper food and rest, a new body is born. This can be repeated over and over in the name of perfection, just as the spirit transforms through history. 

ME: Ok, that was pretty heavy, thanks. So what type of training would you recommend?

HEGEL: Heavy, ok try a lift this one. As I once wrote in a letter. “I adhere to the view that the world spirit has given the age marching orders. These orders are being obeyed. The world spirit, this essential, proceeds irresistibly like a closely drawn armored phalanx advancing with imperceptible movement, much as the sun through thick and thin. Innumerable light troops flank it on all sides, throwing themselves into the balance for or against its progress, though most of them are entirely ignorant of what is at stake and merely take head blows as from an invisible hand.”

ME: Hmm, let me think about that for a couple months. And training?

Only a part of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Advanced Volume Workout-MWF

HEGEL: Volume, volume, volume. So that means of course being very aware of the relationship of quantity and quality. The exercises themselves, when executed correctly, matter less than the overall lifestyle one surrounds that particular piece of time and space with. Meaning, use basic bodybuilding exercises, medium weight, with good form for plenty of reps and sets. Hit all the body parts equally, but aim for the long run, as in do not overdo the training. Nevertheless, do not skip cardio. Follow with sufficient rest and adequate nutrition. However, one must do, it is more than just the thought process. As I wrote in the Science of Logic, “…as if one could learn how to digest and move about by studying anatomy and physiology.”

ME: Thanks very much George, very German approach. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Venice Beach Pragmatism[1]

This is (may be?) the first in a series of “interviews” I want to do with dead philosophers on the topic of fitness. This week we begin with the ever-lovable pragmatist curmudgeon Dr. Richard Rorty. Neo-pragmatism for me refers to the work mainly of the American philosopher Richard Rorty, who combines classical pragmatism (Pierce, Dewey, James, etc.) and certain ‘post modern’ continental thinking (Derrida) as influence. So now I want ask how Richard Rorty may respond to the question- how can philosophy help a theory of fitness?

ME: Thank you Dr. Rorty for taking the time to discuss a topic that you seem to have much intellectual indigestion around, philosophy, and a topic many may be surprised to hear you discuss, fitness.

RR: Call me Richard. And while I may appear bored and tired with this thing we call philosophy, they still pay me the big bucks to teach it to kids- so shoot with the questions.

ME: What can philosophy do for fitness?

RR: Not much.

ME: Okay thanks, but would you be so kind as to maybe develop a lil' something more on it?

RR: Sure. Well I guess, although philosophy only has a minor effect on general life, politics, ethics, fitness, etc, it seems that there may be some trickle downs that may be helpful. 

ME: ok thanks, can you expand.

RR: Well, you know, the idea that consequences need to be considered is pretty much the only thing the general public needs to know about ethics, or does know about it. In regards to fitness, I mean you need to ask yourself- is this working for me? What are the actual consequences of this particular exercise or food, something like that I suppose. Need not be complicated, but may take time. Maybe the idea that one needs balance in life in order to be happy is a good start. I don’t know, since that is pretty much just common sense these days. 

ME: Does Richard even lift?

RR: Well yes of course. Well I did. In the early 70’s I spent a period training at Vince’s gym, time at Gold Gym Venice and for a while at an outdoor gym in the Redwoods. It was a wonderful period of time and was the inspiration for my book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. But anyway, since then I gave up on the idea that ‘lats’ corresponded to those particular back muscles or any muscle for that matter. Sure I could bust a good ‘lat spread’ any day back then, but why did we think that we had any certainty that it corresponded to some sort of ideal form of ‘lats’. 

ME: Did you ever consider competing? 

RR: No. I mean at that point I knew Weider and the boys were taking over Mount Olympus, and that the ideal form of bodybuilding ended up having a German accent. Which of course I did appreciate, since it reminded me of Heidegger. 

ME: ok I am loving this story, like never heard it before, but we may be a little off track.

RR: There is no track.

ME: ok right, but I guess what I meant was, can you say just a little more about the relation of philosophy to fitness?

RR: OK, I guess if I was forced to make some sort of ‘analysis’ lol I would say that philosophy, in the form of pragmatism can help us think about the meta-fitness ideas if you will.

ME: please continue:

RR: well philosophy/pragmatism can help one realize that there is no one best way to workout. That there is no one best diet, besides that one you can actually do and live out and see results from. If that means a pretty easy diet and relatively minor workout regimen done consistently over time to see gainz, well that is what is fine-pragmatically speaking. It sure beats spending all day and life trying to come up with the perfect theory, or fitness theory of everything, while not actually getting more swole or cut.

ME: Thank you. That was very neo-pragmatic of you.

Tune in next week for a discussion with Hegel – who will give us his threefold theory of fitness breakdown.

[1] A play on Susan Haack’s Vulgar Pragmatism which is critical of Rorty but represents pretty much the perfect Pierceian argument and understanding of pragmatism.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Fall fitness tips

The ancient Greeks saw time as a circle, like how we see the year, as a rotation. In Canada we get some serious seasonal changes. In my neck of the woods the summer can get up to 40C and in winter we can have 10 feet of snow. That means we need different wardrobes even to deal with the changes. Many people I know like Fall the best, since it is full of life but also cool and breezy. I have written previously about a Spring training, and how Frank Zane thought one should train with the seasons. On that not I offer 10 tips for designing a fall fitness routine.

1. Get outside and move. The weather is perfect for outdoor fitness, not too hot or cold. Perfect time for walks in the parks or along the water or anywhere. Aristotle always walked when he taught. Do it before ice covers all!
2. Take advantage of harvest season. The classical Greeks had Harvest festivals to celebrate the bounty of the summer. Go pick some apples, or visit a country vegetable market for some local nutrient packed plants!

3. Easy on the candy. With Halloween In the fall, there will be plenty of individual ( read environmentally horrendous) packed candy laying around. Get a loved one to hide it for you,don't rely on crappy human will power.

4. Clean up the yard or local playground or park. Do a community a favour while moving outside.

5. Start thinking of BIG. This is the time of year,post summer, most people can work on building some new muscle while adding a little fat (you have too somewhat to grow really) but remember to not use this as an excuse to gain like 50lbs that will be difficult to remove in the spring.

6. Focus on more sleep. Now it is getting darker and colder, hitting the hay early is much easier then when it is still light at 10 pm.
7. Remember that winter is coming! And that it will be much harder to get outside and walk and stuff and so really make an effort to get out today and for as long as you can.
8. Try a new routine. If you have been following a program or style for a while, switch it up.Maybe try some hot yoga or a new gym or get coach to make u a new routine.
9. Try fasting. With cold weather comes an increase in calories and maybe beer lol, so this is a good time to play with fasts, like half day or full day fasts.
10. Make sure you get plenty of light now that it is getting darker. That can be artifical light, getting up for the sunrise or even visiting garden nurseries for their bright indoor lights!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Great Movie!!
The Spartans (people from the city-state of Sparta) were considered the most fierce
 warriors of classical Greece. The were admired for their strength and warrior spirit- much like the Japanese Samurai, they were a warrior society. And it was not just the men, but the women and children were all hard as nails. The society encouraged stealing without being caught and endless physical training and preparation for war. In fact the Sparta citizens were not allowed to labour their own land, since it was a distraction from training and there were slaves (conquered by Spartans) to do the heavy labour. They were very serious about being tough and not letting anyone push them around!

Hey you wanna try and be as tough as a Spartan? 

Well you are lucky because the Spartan Race is now back in Canada for 2015 on both the East and West Coast! 


So the obstacle course challenge is a great way to test your fitness and your mind! I can really get behind people training for this type of thing since it is outside and intense! My type of training! 

If you have never seen a Spartan Race- check this video from 2014 out right now!!!!!



In the ancient Olympics of Greece, there was a champion Wrestler who went on to become one  

of the greatest philosophers of all time. 

What was his name? 

Please email me at freedomfitness7 AT gmail.com

Monday, 23 March 2015

Philosophy of Sport/Ethics/Pharmacology/Women

Nice tan
So I thought I would do an article that had something to do with both fitness and philosophy again, and in the area of ethics no less. :) Well kinda, I don't really think 'drugs and sports' is a very philosophical area. Really it is about personal choice and the laws and rules in a given context. No deontology or utilitarianism necessary.

My argument is this: there are lots of women using steroids today in sports, bodybuilding shows (well duh) but also in physique shows and fitness modelling. In fact it is much easier for women to use steroids then for men, even if the side are way worse in women I would say.

Here are five reasons why I think my statement is justified.

1. With the proliferation of underground labs and people ordering chemicals on the internet -the availability of 'real steroids' has increased dramatically in the last decade. Compared to the 70, 80, 90 when the majority of steroids were international pharmaceuticals. Steroids are now easy to come by.

2. On top of this is the proliferation of 'research chems" (thyroid, clem, etc.) which anyone can order and use-if they feel that is a good idea. LOL

3. the amount of women in bodybuilding shows- be that bikini and physique has exploded right along side the availability of these above mentioned drugs.

4. thanks to Instagram and Facebook (and Crossfit) people now love to post pictures of women with loads of muscle posing. So 'the look' is fashionable.
According to Natty or Not: She is NOT (as in not natural) -but I will refrain from judging her :)

5. Number five is really the only important point- my main one as far as gender goes. Steroids are what were traditionally called MALE hormones such as testosterone. This means that women will respond to even very small doses of these drugs since their body makes and uses very little of them naturally. This means that a women can make gains on very small amounts of easily obtained oral steroids like ANAVAR and WINSTROL and don't have to worry about getting shut down or having to inject grams of oils every week. 

So I guess my point is this: since the drugs are easily available AND the look is in fashion, and some people can make money off this 'look' and women can get results on small doses relatively, when you see a women who looks like she is 'juiced up' she probably is :)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On What Philosophy Can Do: Some Meta-Philosophy

On What Philosophy Can Do: Some Meta-Philosophy

What can philosophy do?

For Plato philosophy could help one eliminate tensions in the mind resulting in an inner harmony. Socrates’ life of challenging the experts and their definitions of ideals was related to this. Therefore, a long history of philosophy was looking at ideas and checking if they ‘corresponded’ to reality.
Kant came along and drew an imaginary line in the sand, because that is something philosophers definitely do, draw lines and draw distinctions. This results from the philosopher having to start on some type of solid ground. I mean the ‘solidity’ of the ground can be questioned but there ahs to be some foundation-even if that foundation is utter cynical skepticism about knowing anything.
However, in the 20th century philosophy started out with what I call a return to “elementary school” philosophy and this was namely the attempt to make a philosophy founded upon a Math or an English class. On one side were the logical positivists and those who wanted to have a solid logically based philosophy and so the logical and mathematical foundations became key. It is not surprise that many of these ‘philosophers’ were trained mathematicians, logicians, engineers, etc. and so the philosophy had a certain tone. On the other side were the ‘common language’ philosophers who cared much more about the grammar and the semantics and language being used to describe the world and philosophy was more about ‘how humans talk and write’. This is a gross oversimplification but more or less true.
This leads to my question: what can philosophy do? I will offer some multiple choices possible answers:

1.     Philosophy can ‘judge’ science, religion and other phenomena with an objective view that is corrective.
Ex.1 When Peter Hacker says the neuro science is misguided because it has shaky theoretical foundations; he is saying that the philosopher ‘understands’ the overall system better then the neuroscientist.
Ex. 2 When Jerry Fodor says that the theory of natural selection is misguided because it has shaky foundations he is saying that the philosopher  takes MORE TIME to think over the various theories that fit together to form the theory of natural selections AND might be able to pick out errors or false statements.

The objection to this in Quine is: let the scientists criticize themselves since a philosopher does not have the same training or knowledge about the topic at hand generally. I tend to agree with this. But I think there is philosophical merit in analyzing the logic of various arguments and theories, especially if there is reason to believe things are being taken for granted or based on questionable conclusions.

2.     Philosophy is part of science (very broadly speaking of science, including history) and is helpful by connecting the common sense views with the highly technical views of reality.
Ex. When Daniel Dennett looks at evolutionary theory (Darwin’s dangerously simple idea/like a universal acid) and praises it, he tries to write a book making some of the ideas sensible and connected to a new “naturalist” understanding of the world, and this is philosophy.
The is part of the mid-twentieth century ‘naturalization’ of philosophy via Quine (who had been a teacher of Dennett at Harvard) and perhaps the limits of it are the dependent on the ability of the philosopher to understand the actual science being discussed. The issue for me (that was not an issue for Quine) is that while one is very skeptical about truth in any correspondence sense, the skepticism towards the science itself is overly charitable. By that I mean that Quine took behavioral psychology at face value, in the same way that Dennett takes the theory of natural selection at face value. To say that we need science to fix science seems to me to be a very long and boring road to drive, since science is linked to political and capital interests.

3.     Philosophy is the social “horse fly”. This means that philosophy does not claim to have the answers, but claims to be “somewhat corrective”, in a contextual sense. Like a buzzing gadfly it circles an issue relentlessly and occasionally comes in for a bite. It irritates and suggests change rather then forces change, like how materialism vs. paternalism works in political discourse. Philosophy is more maternal. For example, the difference between MADD (Mothers against drunk driving) and the actual drunk driving laws. One is a social voice asking use to think publically about a topic. The other is the strong arm of the law –punishing use for our mistakes with violence and locks and guards.
In this sense the philosopher must be rather public (not necessarily associated with a particular cause) but attempts to clarify ‘a truth’ that will be helpful to some problems or shortcomings. It seems to me that this is the role of the philosopher today. In issues of religion, justice, science, history or whatever, philosophy is really the calm civilized voice that tries to clarify a topic without a further agenda, paying particular attention to subtle intersections of ideas and facts, without trying to tell that particular phenomena how to think or why they are by necessity wrong. The ‘bite’ of the horsefly is the article, or argument or particular challenge to a particular idea which acts like a sting to the common consensus and like the sting of a bee, can often have therapeutic results.
(Or death) J

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Dialogue 1:

 ok I will reveal the truth for everyone. 
hmmm Vel X sounds promising-hope it comes back soon :)

This is how supplement industry works in the form of a dialogue: 

 TOM: 'hey jim, how the family? you still got all the supplement bulks?" 

JIM: 'hey tom -yes of course all the same as grandpa had, whaddya need? whey, soy, mct, arginine, fish oil, or is it some other waste product from the manufacturing industry like old hair or feather (we use those for amines now)

 TOM: "i just need some mct jim' 

JIM: "what for tom-been at least a decade since anyone bought any'

 TOM: "cause I have a new SCAM called bullet-proof stuff here u put MCT's on and in all your food"

 JIM: "ok awesome-how many tons u need today"?