Thursday, October 31, 2013

Separate Yourself

A 30-year-old man hits the town with his buddies on a pickup mission in an average American city. He's in good shape, with a decent diet, a solid job, and some interesting hobbies. His game is not razor-sharp but he at least pokes around the Roosh V forum and has a high enough notch count to be respectable. He spends his night doing approach after approach for girls who are 6s and 7s, and gets blown out repeatedly. Why?

He's not hooking them with anything. 

The game is getting harder. In the days of the Mystery Method, you could memorize a few routines and blindside girls into attraction by pushing buttons that few other guys knew about. Now, the velociraptors have tested the fence and they know the power is out. Game is a red queen race bolstered by the increasing availability of choice and attention for girls. Even the average "game-aware" guy is losing ground to the "Like" button on Facebook.

Roosh writes about this in his post The Future Of Game:
"It doesn’t have to be national fame, but you must be known for something with a reputation that precedes you. You must have a YouTube channel with millions of views. You must be a proprietor of a hipster butcher shop. You must be a popular writer, artist, or musician. You must be nightclub promoter or DJ. You must be a competitive skateboarder. Your must be the notorious editor of a cupcake newsletter. In a culture where a million people are “famous,” you’ll have to work your ass off for scraps if you’re not." 
Is fame the answer for the increasingly hostile playing field in America? Perhaps. Young girls get offered dick hundreds of times a month, whether in person, on social media, or via online dating platforms. If you're not famous, you have to work on the one thing that grabs attention and separates you from all the other chumps hoping to get laid. Will it be your ability to approach during the day? Your huge muscles? Your impeccable sense of style? If you can't identify your separator, get ready to gnaw on the tablescraps.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Tried Modafinil

I took Modafinil. You can read other reviews from PillScout and Examine for some background on the drug, but I wanted to see if it would materially alter my productivity at work. For my first experience, I took 1/2 of a 200mg pill, which is half the typical dosage. Here are the effects I noticed:

Increased attention - It was easier to concentrate on work, especially tasks of a non-creative nature (e.g. creating Excel spreadsheets). I did not have the same compulsion to check Facebook, look at my RSS feeds, or otherwise goof around while I was attempted to get something done.

Tunnel vision - I could stop myself from focusing on one thing if I tried, but intense focus came much more naturally.

Lack of social outgoing - In my previous experience with stimulants (mostly amphetamines), I noticed that they made me significantly more outgoing and genuinely intellectually curious. On Modafinil, I felt even less outgoing than usual.

Lack of euphoria - Prior stimulants have given me this effect and I did not notice it at all on modafinil. On the contrary, it gave me a grim, almost depressed focus on the task at hand.

Side effects:

Dry mouth - Mild.

Reduced appetite - Studies confirm this, though the drug is not associated with long-term weight loss.

The drug made me more focused but it did not make me more creative. The overall effects were fairly mild, which is to be expected from only taking half the typical dose. Doing the drug isn't particularly pleasurable, unlike like having a lot of coffee or taking a time release Adderall pill, but I could see it improving alertness and attention enough to get work done. I am typically well-rested at work, so I cannot comment on its ability to improve cognition when already fatigued.

I did feel a low-level of dread throughout the day even though I was not objectively having a bad day, which discourages me from using the drug on a regular basis. Perhaps Modafinil's method of action on neurotransmitters suggests caution for those prone to depression or anxiety. I have not had those problems in several years, but the background mood felt similar to mild depression. Some poking around on the internet suggests that it has been used to treat depression, so I won't say my experience is typical. I may try it again with the full dosage just to see what happens.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reader Mailbag: Drinking And Weight Loss

In response to my earlier post, a reader asks:
99% of fitness related blogs assume people get fat on fast food and soda, and they drink alcohol only on social occasions. This may fit the major trends of American culture - although it sounds like an oversimplification of even that - but I am Hungarian. 3rd most drinking nation in the world. Three shots, three to four beers sounds like an average evening to me....Add it to the fact that alcohol increases the desire for fatty food (they seem to affect same parts of the brain or so did some scientists found), which is in our case is not a Big Mac but more like lard with bread, and you know why I am have a BMI of 30.... I got my blood test done, liver function (Gamma GT) is perfect, testosterone at 380 is probably low but getting more serious at lifting and doing a few diet hacks should sort that out. Therefore, unless I see a compelling reason to think otherwise, I will keep thinking you can be a masculine behaving, masculine looking, strong and not too fat man while being a moderately heavy daily drinker.....Secondarily, my masculine role model or ideal is not todays holier-than-thou athletes, but those men of the past who did hard physical labor, mining, farming, or were warriors or discoverers. They were usually heavier drinkers than me. ...At any rate, can you give a weight loss advice that is not like all the pansies who go knee jerk with "drinking problems" and is not like "athletes" (screw that) have to be saints, but somehow imitates the lifestyle of a hard-drinking miner, farmer, soldier, sailor, conqueror, a manly man of the past? While having an office job and have time  for example 4-5 1-1.5 hour trainings per week? So cannot work or work out all day?
I have been to Hungary and am familiar with your people's fondness for alcohol. Regardless of the cultural tolerance for daily drinking, it is an inescapable fact that having 6-7 drinks a day is going to have an adverse effect on your body. As I am sure you know, alcohol inhibits fat burning and indirectly increases the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in the male body. It also prevents getting restful sleep, causing your brain to release less HGH, which slows building muscle and recovery from stress.

On the fitness end of things, I'm glad you're getting into the gym and lifting/running regularly. Going to the gym for 4-5 hours a week is more than enough for most people to maintain a reasonable physique as long as their diet as decent, but drinking to that extent will undo a lot of the progress you make with your exercise. It is unreasonable for you to expect to drink hard like men who did daily physical labor when your lifestyle outside the gym reflects the common sedentary modern life that most of us (myself included) share.

We have to accept that life is a series of trade-offs. If you absolutely insist on drinking beer every day, and 4-5 of them at that, to have any chance at progress in the gym and on your waistline you have to be that much more fastidious about your diet. No more spaghetti dishes, no more potatoes, cut out the grains and starch completely. If steak is too expensive, eat more chicken, fish, eggs, and other sources of low-carb protein. Your diet has to be squeaky-clean and low carb to have any chance at weight loss, and even then the amount of drinking you do will still likely stall or completely halt your progress. Look up the ketogenic diet, but getting that to work properly will require limiting or cutting out beer entirely (though vodka with no caloric mixers is still ok).

Rather than go on a crash diet like you mentioned, I would still try to cut down on the drinking as much as you can stand --- if you could even turn 4 beers and 3 shots into 2 beers and 2 shots for a few nights of the week, you might see a significant difference in your body after a month or two. Also, this is an excellent article that explains the biochemistry of alcohol and gives some tips on how to minimize its impact on your training regimen.

Good luck and thanks for writing in.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fat Shaming Week: My Story

I used to be kind of fat.

I played sports in high school and was very healthy, but then went to college and the usual story unfolded: too much drinking, too many carbs, and too little exercise. After I graduated my BMI was approaching 30 and I looked pretty crappy. Of course, I told myself the same hamster-iffic excuses that feminist bloggers likely say --- "It's just a few pounds." "I carry it well."  "But food is so good!" "I have a big frame." Plus, I had a girlfriend at the time which removed the necessity of competing for female attention. 

Things changed when I became single and couldn't get girls to talk to me. I would go to the bar, buy girls drinks, and then watched them leave with in-shape guys. Despite the lies I was telling myself and the bitter "unfairness" of being a cool guy who couldn't get girls only because of they way I looked, the sexual marketplace had spoken. I decided to change things.

Today, my BMI is below 25 and I am between "intermediate" and "advanced" strength standards for major compound lifts. People typically guess that I'm younger than my age, and girls compliment me on my body fairly regularly.

Fatness is treatable even in spite of the toxic food environment I've written on before. There are some minor sustainable changes you can make that, over the long term, will help you improve and take some ownership over your situation --- if you know which things to change.

This is why "The Biggest Loser" is a terrible thing to happen to our society's perception of fixing fatness. The show's structure promoted the idea that to transform your life, you should and have to work out for hours and hours a day and eat only vegetables. It just isn't a long-term solution, and painting such profound diet and exercise changes as mandatory only serves to discourage people from taking the first couple steps.

So, fatties, I extend to you an offer. Send an email to me (manexmachina at gmail dot com) with a few specific questions or issues you have found in your quest to lose weight. If I get any responses to this, I'll do a post answering your questions based on my experience, and I'll include some tips on minor hacks that helped me lose 20 pounds, get stronger, clean up my bloodwork, and start attracting the opposite sex.

Read More: On Fat Acceptance