Outlier Lifestyle Weekly Challenge #5

Let us remember…when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us…better perhaps than we are. – Doestoevsky


An Outlier knows when the prose of life demands punctuation.

How often do we intentionally reflect on moments with proper consideration? The short answer: not enough. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (according to one historian, responsible for the most defined period of prosperity and human happiness in modern history – the Pax Romana) reflected that “nowhere is more peaceful – more free of interruptions – than your own soul.” Perhaps, he had a few things squared away on both personal and political fronts. Who seeks more prosperity, more happiness (purpose)?

Every day this week, we ask you to spend a few silent and mindful minutes gazing into your own soul. Meditative moments deliver a dyadic punch, knocking us soundly into better physical and psychological states. A cascade of benefits await – 76 Scientific Benefits of Meditation.

Need guidance? We suggest downloading the HeadSpace app (it’s free in the App Store/Google Play world). Andy Puddiecombe, cofounder of the company, lends the soothing timbre of his British accent to every guided exercise. It’s a wonderful place to begin learning how to observe your thoughts. If you’re a Sam Harris fan, he provides some basic guidelines here too.

As En Vogue, known for their prophetic lyrics, said…Free your mind and the rest will follow.


“Sacrifice who you are for what you can become.” – Jordan B. Peterson

If you’re in a hurry and want to read the challenges, scroll down. If you have a few minutes to spare, read on.
Congrats on getting this far through the challenge! It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been impossible either. Cheers to you. In the past 6 months, my hobby has included devouring a wide range of psychological literature from Viktor Frankl, Nietzche, Joseph Campbell and Jordan Peterson, and would hope to shed some light on the script of the inner battles you are having with yourself. You are not alone.
-Week 1. Day 1.
In the brain, neurons are slapping hypothetical hands faster a than non-rhythmic child at sing-along dance party. You’re excited about the possibilities of the future and what you could become. Most of all, you’re excited about dem abs!!! AB-raham Lincoln? Downton AB-bey? AB-solutely! The groceries have been bought, meals prepped and the water runs through you. Eight hours of sleep got it. Five meals devoured. Mobility smashed. Training, floored. Reflection, written….and in the mirror. Selfie. #fitnesssingles Post. Challenge, a piece of cake. Metaphorical cake, that is.
-Week 2. Day 1.
After finishing the first weekend of clean eating and ignoring the beer, desserts and cloud-like gluten-filled meat bookends, you start to see that you really are going to crush this challenge and snort the rewards. You check the scale and see that 5+lbs have been peed away. Meal prepping isn’t quite as exciting as at it once used to be, but you know it’s crucial to success. Sacrifice now for later and dem abs!! AB-dominable SWOLEman. Princess LEANa (Best I could do for a Star Wars reference) Sleep, mobility, training, reflections and weekly challenges are great, forcing me to organize and break out of my comfort zone to become the best version of myself.
-Week 2. Day 6.
Hello, Saturday. Hello, chicken, kale and ever-so-sweet sweet potato. 10am gym time. Ruling the workout like a Fitatorship and striking down reps left and reich. Every point accounted for excluding meals because the day is yet long. You have a dinner party to go to that night and it is your favorite restaurant. Surrounded by friends who have no clue the internal struggle going on inside your head and mouth. A friend calls upon you, “Blair, are you going to order spaghetti with no meat and extra parm again?!” You smile, an uncomfortable giggle and a nervous sweat breaks out through your gray top. All you can muster is, “You’re welcome.” and smile awkwardly again. Then you order……
-Week 3. Day 7.
Standing beside the halfway point mile-marker and three more weeks to go to sit atop the mountain. Just as the middle of most things, Wednesdays, 2k row, the round of 15 and life: these weeks are the hardest. You know this and you also know that it will be easy to have some sort of cheat and get off the wagon. Do you choose the dopamine cocktail of instant gratification, ice cream and guilt? Or, do you choose to see what you are capable of and stick it out for three more weeks and ride the serotonin stagecoach to fulfilling lands undiscovered?
-Week 5. Day 1.
Two weeks to go. Clothing seems to be fitting better in the good and bad areas. Cravings aren’t as bad as they once were after adding another meal. Water is more enjoyable #RIPdietcoke Not as many aches and pains. The extra sleep is making annoying things tolerable and the brain is firing off like fireworks at a 4th of July parade. That night you go to a work party and a coworker has made their world famous caramel cake and offers you a piece. A small slice of heaven to the obnoxiously flavor-deprived taste buds. You indulge. Your taste buds explode with flavors the likes of which may only be recreatable by riding a unicorn across Candy Mountain and diving into the caramel wonderfall. Point deducted.
-Week 5. Day 1. Two hours post caramel goodness.
WTH. After your stomach sounding like a cow gnawing on a rubber ducky, eyelids heavier than a 3-pood kettlebell and motor functions running on turtle speed, you decide to go to sleep. Lackluster sleep, that is. #insulinrollercoaster
-Week 5. Day 2.
Back in the Habit like Whoopi and avoiding the downward spiral, you’re back to the new normal of health and happiness halfway through the day. Falling off is easy. Getting back on is noble and hard. Work hard.
-Week 6. Day 1.
Head down, eyes forward. Determination has never been so high. The battelplan for the week is laid out like an organizational masterpiece that any Colonel would admire. This will be the easiest week yet. You make one final push to get some extra workouts in, cut back on the portion size, slumber like Sleeping Beauty and rack in the challenge points to ensure the highest possible sum.
-Week 6. Final Day 7pm 10Experience Culmination Party.
Weigh-ins, pounds down, scores and reps are recorded. Socializing with the like-minded group of fellow members, you catch yourself thinking back on all the struggles between mind and training, mind and food, mind and sleep, mind and PVC, mind and mind, and smile. The path to success isn’t a straight line or a perfectly paved road; it has pot holes, wrong turns and lots of counterbalancing to get where you want to be. Don’t flood the house to put out a match. To get here you have to kill your old self and be born again from a challenge to a lifestyle then, ultimately, sharing health with the ones you care about to raise the collective whole to a new level. Be the inspiration and the star which people follow.

WEEK 4: Leave Everything on the Paper

This week we have two challenges. The first will make your life better and the second will improve someone else’s.

Challenge 1: Take time to write down (on paper, no phones) what you accomplished that day OR take time to write down a to-do list for the next day. Why? Sleep is one of the Four Pillars to health and wellness defined by Robb Wolf (and many others), but if our minds are racing while laying in the bed, then inevitably it will make it more difficult for us to fall asleep and flourish the upcoming day.

Challenge 2: Handwrite two letters to two different people you deeply care about and tell them how they have impacted your life in a positive way. Gratitude can have many healing powers and always leaves us with a happier and more fulfilled life. Ask for their address and let the heart do the writing.




Outlier Lifestyle Weekly Challenge #3

A different sort of uncomfortable this week, ya masochists!

Week 2: Get Uncomfortable

An Outlier is confident because of their ability to bear hardship; leisured because of their toughness.

Past communications foretold of sacrifices awaiting us all. Let’s cut to the chase. In a variety of ways, this week’s Outlier Lifestyle Challenge asks you to choose hardship. Seneca wrote much clearer on the idea in his Moral Letter to Lucilius. Each of us confronts fate with the chance of achievement when faced with challenge. To earn your bonus points this week, choose and complete any 2 hardship tasks from the following list:

  1. Complete a 24 hour food fast (and receive your normal points too). Why? Read study #1, study #2, and study #3.
  2. Every day, finish your shower with 30 seconds of cold water. Remember, Wim Hoff? Read THIS.
  3. Strike up a legitimate conversation with a stranger. Need direction? Dig into The Art of Ordinary Conversation. Need examples? Invite them to the gym, ask for a 10% discount on your coffee, tell them a joke, etc.
  4. Run a cold day 5k.
  5. Don’t use your dishwasher all week.

Truly, the ideas behind the challenge are more important than the challenges themselves. Control your perceptions. Direct your actions. Properly face hardship. After all, most of us live a #10exlife in the VOLUNTEER state.

Outlier Lifestyle Weekly Challenge #2

“You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.” – Huxley

Week 2: Develop Keystone Habits

An Outlier leverages the power of habit.

Remember that version of your best self? Habits are the daily behavior that permit us to ceaselessly strive towards that self. Habits are also a sort of dislodging and best-self-defeating surrender to craving. Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit, claims that habits never really disappear. Instead, we simply edit our behavior loop. For this week’s challenge, we extract a parcel of the book’s thesis – the part heralding keystone habits. Keystone habits provide what we commonly call “small wins.” They help other habits flourish by creating new behavior standards AND they do well in curating environments where positive change becomes contagious (It’s Not a Cult, It’s a Cultureremember?). Effectively, keystone habits start a transformative process. This week’s challenge involves 2 such habits (to be completed daily):

  1. Small Win #1: Make your bed every morning.
  2. Small Win #2: Read something substantial for 30 minutes.
    *You might start HERE with a prophetic and cautionary tale from 1991. What would she have thought about the dizzy of social media?
    *You might also start HERE and HERE if you’d like some Zone Diet reading prep.

At 10 Experience, we attempt to encourage everyone to develop healthier, keystone-like habits. Once we – the collective ‘we’ – choose who we want to be, we all grow towards that purpose. Like a sheet of paper that once folded tends to fall forever that direction, let’s bend our will at growing into the best possible version of ourselves.

Turn the page,



Duhigg, C. (2014). The power of habit: why we do what we do and how to change. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Outlier Lifestyle Weekly Challenge #1

A memory of Tonya M.’s 2017 bountiful generosity.

Week 1: Be charitable

An Outlier understands that the benefit of altruistic behavior is manifold. We choose to highlight only a couple:

  1. It helps others in need. This is the most important and obvious reason for this week’s challenge.
  2. It helps sort yourself out. Not only does this sort of behavior clean up your material world, it also provides an inner cleaning as well. Actions like these lend credence to the notion that we can change the world by first changing ourselves. That can start with your ‘room.’

Yes, your first lifestyle challenge is quite familiar. While your Facebook check-ins carry quite a charitable punch, this week we ask you to do more. It’s simple: donate unnecessary coats/clothes/shoes or any sort of unnecessary-to-you-but-vital-to-others stuff to a local organization (Goodwill, The United Way, local churches, etc). You can google: “charities near me” and find a cache of places.

Do well.

PS: As our tagline reads, we believe fitness to provide inspiration in directions that aren’t vanity related. A touch of virtue signaling is better than a blank check-in. So, when you find yourself trucking a bunch of stuff, take a quick picture and post it to social media. Use the hashtag #10exlife and let’s continue to carve out what the 10 Experience truly means.

On Voluntary Hardships

Once December was a month; now it is a year. – Seneca

Seneca wrote volumes of letters chocked-full of [Stoic] wisdom. And I am wont to describe the holiday season with a more befitting quip. It’s true, unlike any other season, the weeks preceding the calendar change are laced with parties and friends, food and family, and celebratory landscapes riddled with pitfalls (for health-minded people). As a consequence, we fall in. We crawl out. Then proceed as quickly as possible to the next bottom of the next pit. It is, this sort of self-defeating-yet-deliciously-rewarding behavior, almost as predictable as the local radio station’s 48-hour playlist from December 24th through 25th. In other words: it’s normal, it feels good and presents alongside a healthy dose of nostalgia.

From my vantage, the problem starts festering in the cold and gray weeks that follow. The epicurean fountain runs dry and we find the burning flame of the holiday hobnob snuffed-out, lickety-split. The habits developed in previous months are more challenging than they were before. The blandness of ‘healthy’ food, of a more muted social calendar, and the midwinter bleakness of January sits heavily atop our existence. It’s suffering (or the closest thing to suffering we modern Westerners experience) and feels as if we’re on the wrong side of a bad punchline. Now, isn’t this is the season for resolution? And, more, what’s the point of this unnecessary hardship?

In the 1930s, Victor Frankl, a man more familiar with suffering than any of us, developed a theory of logotherapy. Before he could apply it in his psychiatric practice or present it in book form, he and his family were hauled off to a Nazi concentration camp (his family didn’t survive, he did). Through his hardships there, he experienced the dramatic power of his logotherapy. In short, logotherapy is founded upon the idea that humans are motivated by the search for a purpose in life. In his case, brutal suffering ceased to be suffering at the precise moment he found some meaning to it.

*Let me assure everyone, I am not nor would I ever liken the challenges of diet and lifestyle to those of a death camp. Woe is anyone to make light the horrors of the Holocaust.

It’s from Frankl’s lesson’s that we might all better answer to suffering’s purpose. The upcoming Outlier Lifestyle Challenge is sure to present plenty of hardship. Some asks will certainly make you uncomfortable. It’s during these times that I simply suggest we choose to endure them both happily and voluntarily. According to Frankl, we can discover powerful meaning in life in three different ways:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone
  3. By the attitude we take towards unavoidable suffering

In the weeks to come, you can expect challenges from outside the fitness box. We will ask you to make sacrifices. But we believe that gratification delayed is a sort of greater gratification. If nothing else, start by conceptualizing the highest good you can – fitness or otherwise. Then ceaselessly strive to attain it. Frankl calls that tragic optimism; beholding the best of our human nature – the ability to turn suffering into human achievement. An empowering concept, indeed.

Where is what you most want to be found? Where you are least likely to look.

(In sterquiliniis invenitur)



Frankl, V. E., Lasch, I., Kushner, H. S., & Wnislade, W. J. (2015). Mans search for meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Seneca, L. A., & Campbell, R. (1969). Letters from a Stoic. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.


Holiday Damage Plan 2017

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for waistlines” Paleo Guru, Olive D. Meetz speaking of the holidays.


The holidays are upon us like a pair of tight pants, fitted dress/pantsuit from smaller memories of yesteryear. Hopefully, it is because you now squat double bodyweight and can spin like Rapunzel on an assault bike. It’s the time of year when you are segregated from the gym family to spend some much needed time with the immediate family to unwind, recharge, share nostalgia, meet the new additions to the family, congratulate relatives on accomplishments and reminisce about the beautiful memories of loved ones lost. Take the time for the present, practice gratitude and use these moments as healings session from the hard-charging, the nonstop beating of everyday life. Minimize cells phones, social media scrolling and football debates to have a conversation and learn something new about a relative or friend. Ask questions instead of making statements. Show affection instead of annoyance. Suck it up and listen to someone you don’t get along with even if they sound like Ben Stein reading a dictionary overusing “like” because they really don’t know what they are talking about. Kiss the old ones on the head, because you don’t know when or if you will see them again. Help cook, clean, and walk people to their car. Hold the baby so their parents can have some peace. Be the person your friends and family can depend on. Be the person you want to be. Take the winding road of various experience instead of the straight and comfortable interstate. Try to benefit everyone you contact. “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius  Lastly, eat healthy foods…what…



There are two messages in this article…

  1. Spend time with family and friends you hold dear. Put them first. See above.
  2. Effectively minimize the damage that will possibly be done when partaking of the holiday feasts laid upon you. See below.



Healthy food, you say? “But Thanksgiving, it is! Smell apple pies, we will!” – Yoda. We all know there are scrumptious family recipes and other sugar and gluten-filled food that we love to shove in our tongue homes. Below, we will go over 4 simple tips to help be as preventative to destroying the gut microbiome as well as not moving up a weight class in a couple days time. Here we go…



  1. Thou Shall Not Hath The Right To Be A Food Elitist
    • We all know this person. Hell, I’ve been this person and for it, I suck. But, steer away because it will sabotage the true reason for holidays. It goes something like this, “HA HA HA, infidels. While you are over there eating your nutrient poor, sugar-laden, gluten-filled waist-gaining food, if you can call it that, I’ll be over here with food as plain as my personality.” They think to themselves with their identity mask on, “I am the picture of health and happiness,” as they fight back tears of sadness and segregation. Don’t do this. Eat well or don’t, just don’t be an eggplant.
    • This is the healthiest choice maintaining the lining of your gut.
  2. Thou Shall Hath Options To The Food Kingdom
  • Thou Could Eat Whole Foods.
  • Depending on your willpower or choice you can eat at most dinners and have decent choices.
  • Pick a protein – turkey, ham or some other blood-pumping, succulent meat to enjoy. Protein is the king of satiety, it’s least fattening and gainz (hate this word). #sorrynotsorry #hatethathashtagtoo #blessed #again
  • Pick a veggie. If you’re having a hard time finding these, use Google.
  • Pick a fruit or starch. Sweet “taters”, ‘taters, fresh fruit or whatever the chef offers.
  • Throw some Kerrygold (butter) in the starch.
  1. Eat Big And Allow Thyself One Meal.

  • Intermittent Fasting. If you haven’t tried IF, look it up; eating all your calories in a certain time window or in one or two bigger meals a day. Click HERE for search results from Dr Rhonda Patrick.
  • This is great if eating the whole foods mentioned above, but if you are planning on eating badly then this will be a way to get your calories in, fix for your devil tooth and feel full. Just be prepared for the crash afterwards.Terrible for the gut doe.
  1. Thou Shalt Know Thy Macros
  • If you follow Zone, RP, IIFYM, or any other diet that counts calories – do that. MyFitnssPal, a pocket scale and a little more time and you can come close to hitting your cals, even if you do indulge in the naughty list of foods.
  • Yes, you will be the weird one at dinner.
  1. Thou Shall Get Thy Pump Before Thy Bloat…And Get Thy Pump Again After Thy Bloat
  • Swole Patrol. This takes me way back to circa 2010 via the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Picture this…..Two 6 ft+ 230lb+ males at the Pizza Inn parking lot repping out 50-100 air squats before filling our plates with pizza of all varieties (regular to dessert), and devouring everything – like the banks did to the economy in 2008. Later, rolling our chest-stomachs out of the restaurant to return to the parking lot to do 50-100 more air squats or pushups. Silly, sure. Effective, yes.
  • When you do any type of exercise that involves using muscle glycogen, it’s harder to store excess carbohydrates as fat. Muscle glycogen is sugar stored in muscles for later energy. If you deplete it, then it needs to be replenished. Hence, this is why we were after massive quad pump before and after. Depletion and restoration and depletion. There is a lot more science behind this, but we will keep it simple. Google: Tim Ferriss for this hack.
  • Don’t give yourself rhabdo. Do something like 50-100 of a bodyweight exercise before and after. Should have a burn, but not Tiny Tim’d.
  1. If Thou Falleth From Thy Nutritional Journey, Thou Shalt Get Back On The Path Immediately
  • Don’t use this as a time to burn the healthy kingdom to its foundation. After you have your indulgence, start back with the basics of health. Sleep, eat healthy, workout and surround yourself with a community of like-minded people. Don’t let it – a dietary deviation –  turn into a week-long bender on ice cream, cake, and pie, breaded meats and cola.
  • Remember your goals and long-term health.


Hopefully, this will help you steer around the landmines ahead on the nutritional freeway.

This holiday season we are thankful for the best community in the world, you all. A glass raises to you with the sincerest thanks for the memories of another year and making the world a better place. Cheers, Outliers.


Limits to Growth: A Cautionary Fitness Tale

I recently finished reading another book. Per usual, it prompted some thought about distilling its lessons into ones worth applying to my life and, from what platform I have, ask you to consider in yours. In oversimplified form, the book – Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update –  reads something like this:

Since the late 1900s, sea levels are rising, glaciers are retreating and ice around the Arctic Sea is thinning. Our arable lands and fisheries (75% of them) have been exploited beyond their ability to regenerate and near collapse. These, according to author Donella Meadows and co., are symptoms of a world in overshoot – where society, in a hurry to grow, consumes resources faster than they can be restored and pollutes faster than Earth can render it harmless. All this leads toward collapse, but there may be time to address these problems and soften their impact. 

Let’s begin by defining overshoot. Overshoot, according to Google, is to pass a threshold unintentionally, especially by traveling too fast or being unable to stop. It’s for this reason I find myself compelled to share some curious similarities. While this isn’t a forum to discuss political positions, environmental stance or distribution of wealth, I posit the triggers of ‘overshooting’ growth on a global (environmental and economical) scale mirror those of overshooting on a fitness one. The theoretical essence of growth is universal after all – there must be a limit.  Meadows reasons that there are three causes of overshoot: first, comes rapid change. Then, follows limits to that change. And, finally we see errors in perceiving limits or controlling change.

The nature of growth, concerning physical change i.e. the development of fitness, follows the same trajection. Join me in following our newest (theoretical) member, Billy Ordinary – let’s call him BO, for short – through an imaginary, and maybe familiar, fitness journey. The same story (relatively) could be told for Billy’s wife – Bobbi, his parents – Bruce and Barbara, and most anyone with untethered notions on growth.

Phase 1: Rapid Change

  • BO decides that 15 odd years of physical complacency, family and career focus have changed him beyond physical recognition and he’s ready to wrestle his body back under control.
  • BO’s buddies tirelessly post about training at a local CrossFit gym.
  • BO decides to join them for a trial.
  • BO wakes up after day 1 and finds himself tender in corners and regions he’d long-forgotten…but he feels compelled to return.
  • BO joins the gym.
  • BO completes a consultation, assessment, and graduates Prep Course.
  • Enlightened, BO ‘overhauls’ his diet – eliminating fast food, most sweets (aside for weekend treats) and saunters off into the setting sun; the one casting shadows on his former life and habits.
  • After a few weeks, BO finds himself a few pounds lighter and stronger. So strong, in fact, that he’s added 35kg to his deadlift numbers.
  • BO knows – the sky is the limit for his fitness’ future.


Phase 2: Limits to Change

  • Months pass (maybe a year or so) and BO finds himself many pounds lighter and almost twice as strong as before.
  • But, BO isn’t quite satisfied. His fitness tool belt should possess triple-unders and a triple bodyweight deadlift.
  • BO elevated his expectations. He sees what’s possible – it’s pasted all over Instagram and Facebook.
  • BO wants to be leaner so he overhauls his diet again. This time it’s for real – if it ain’t Paleo, it ain’t food!
  • Rest days are now a thing of the past for BO. He actively recovers with long runs, hikes and swimming intervals.
  • BO also wants to be stronger. He performs a little internet digging and decides to add some extra ‘leg work’ on his own time.
  • The Smolov Jr. program fits BO’s aspirations just swell.
  • BO knows best – his problems are solved. Ultimate fitness is nigh.


Phase 3: Errors in Perceiving Limits

  • More time passes for BO.
  • BO, in an effort to achieve Instagram-worthy abs, now measures all sustenance entering his mouth. If calories are above his daily allotment – which never happens – he’s ill. But, BO does lose another handful of pounds.
  • BO, in calculating his macronutrient ‘needs’, spent many late nights scouring the web for the perfect macro-nutritional formula.
  • BO is often tired, but that’s just part of it, BO thinks. He often relies on a few extra scoops of preworkout or cups of coffee to ‘crush’ his training.
  • During his late-night research, BO stumbled upon a competitive CrossFit blog. He decides to follow it in addition to his squat template.
  • Speaking of training, BO’s squat increase is negligible, but he skates-by, nearly able to successfully complete the Smolov Jr. program.
  • BO, unsatisfied, opts for the full-blown Smolov program this time around. “If you want more, you have to do more.” – he says to himself.
  • A couple of weeks pass. BO starts the ‘leaning’ portion of his nutritional plan and the peaking portion of the squat template.
  • It’s Tuesday, BO had a horrible and long day at work, but he plans to ‘destress’ during his second training session today.
  • Pressed for time, BO makes some aggressive bar-loading increases during his 5-minute warmup.
  • BO’s squats feel just a bit off. He washes those feelings down with an extra swig of pre workout.
  • BO loads his bar according to Smolov, and begins his first set. The bar feels quite heavy. But, squat he must and be strong he will.
  • On rep 2 of 3, BO looses control and starts folding forward. In an attempt to escape (not drop the bar on himself) he squirrels his way from under the crashing load and narrowly avoids catastrophe.
  • BO stands and feels a twinge in his back, but it’s not immediately painful. Frustrated, he makes a good decision – the first in sometime – he heads home.
  • The next morning, BO finds himself struggling to sit up and out of bed. His back hurts badly. Bo thinks, “What did I do to deserve this?”
  • BO knows – he’s sidelined himself with a serious injury.


It’s obvious that BO needed something in which to believe – he chose himself, his own fitness (might we all choose such benign pursuits). It’s easy to lose something in our haste to remake ourselves: a sense of limits, an awareness of the importance of our body’s resiliency and, ultimately, its limitations. The extreme case of BO makes a number of obvious points. Like proponents of endless growth on a limited planet with finite resources, BO overshot his target: fitness as he defined it. Ignoring obvious signals (losing sleep, lowering calories, increasing stress through training, overwhelming periods at work, etc), he made unsustainable choices and was literally forced into a fitness ‘recession.’ To steal an analogy from Meadows, the difference between a sustainable [fitness and BO’s] is like the difference between stopping an automobile with the brakes versus stopping it by crashing into a brick wall.

No matter the physical quest (be it competitive fitness, injury rehabilitation or, simply, to live long and prosper), I believe it our responsibility to create opportunities for education on the pursuit of, and provide an opportunity for, sustainable fitness. Opportunities that meet the needs of the present self without compromising the vitality of future ones (remember A Curious Case for the Morality of Fitness?). When successful, fitness becomes a medium for real, unlimited growth (inspiration and fulfillment). Then we might turn the consumptive corner to see a most satisfying vision: the purpose of existence is much greater than physical expansion, consumption and accumulation. Perhaps we might even entertain the idea of ‘negative’ growth – to undo excess. And in the name of something greater than ourselves, drop below limits and stop behaving in ways that cost more than their worth.

Such is my hope.


G- ———> formerly known as BO


Meadows, D. H., Randers, J., & Meadows, D. L. (2010). The limits to growth: the 30-year update. London: Earthscan.



A Curious Case for the Morality of Fitness

A few months ago, I blindly stumbled upon a podcast that scratched a yet-to-be-cured itch. And a philosophically profitable misstep it was. This was my first introduction to Jordan Peterson. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto (formerly tenured at Harvard). In 1999, he authored Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, a book I’m currently slogging my psychologically-ignorant self through. But lately, he’s garnered more acclaim, among other things, for his lectures on The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories. It’s from one of these talks that I attempt bridging my clearly biased notions to his.

Jaak “The Tickler” Panksepp

During the lecture, Peterson discusses research pertaining to the social behavior of rats at play. The researcher, Jaak Panksepp, discovered a ‘play mechanism’ existing within the brains of juvenile rats (he also discovered that rats giggle!). These young rats roughhouse and tumble with both larger and smaller opponents. Individual rats win this game by ‘pinning’ the other. Simple enough, right? However, and this is where it becomes curious to me, for the game to continue in the future, the weaker of the wrestling rats must ‘win’ at least 30 percent of the time. If not, he quits playing. In fact, when rats experience excessive winning or losing, the game effectively ends quelling all future play. Is this an argument for Mickey Mouse morality? Maybe.

Distilling Peterson thoughts into something more digestible – life isn’t a singular game. It’s a set of games. To receive invitation to the game today, tomorrow, and in all the days that follow, one must ‘play’ – winning and losing – so that they’re permitted to participate in the next 100 games. In other words, for rats or otherwise, some moral rules of engagement apply beyond today’s game.

How does a group of playing rats relate to fitness? For me, this points to an argument for what Peterson calls a meta-truth. A transcendent truth, if you will. While we aren’t rats, the same morally conscious behavior can be applied broadly to our capricious pursuits of fitness. Like the rats, our game – fitness, in this case – isn’t a singular day, test or workout. It’s a set of training days over the course of our exercising lives. We must participate – win and lose – so that we’re permitted to continue training throughout the next 100 cycles. Granted, we aren’t directly competing with our buddies. Instead, we wrestle to find balance between our two-headed ego – the current one demanding a PR-at-all-costs today and the future one hoping for physically vibrancy 10 years from now. Both selves need to win often enough to strike a healthy balance. This means we must avoid viewing today’s success or failure in a vacuum.

To be clear, this is a far cry from a nod at mediocrity. Instead, it’s a call to action for high-order thinking, an intellectual fitness. If we win today at the cost of all tomorrows, how meaningful is winning?

Perhaps, there’s such a thing as fitness morality…perhaps not. Regardless, I believe the line of thinking to be an extension of a bigger one. But, when we whittle at our behaviors daily, they’re wont to assume a recognizable pattern. I realize the philosophical leap I’m taking. Regardless, it seems pertinent and worthy of thoughtful investigation. Jordan Peterson, my philosopher king, might advise us to live in accordance to the rules which we would have become universal law. In other words – live and stand in our own truth. Besides fitness, what might we achieve if we started playing all life’s games this way?

And that’s the moral of the story,



Dr Jordan B Peterson, Professor of Psychology & Clinical Psychologist. (n.d.). Retrieved September 01, 2017, from https://jordanbpeterson.com/

J. (2017, June 06). Biblical Series III: God and the Hierarchy of Authority. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_GPAl_q2QQ&t=5932s

Social deprivation and play in rats1. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163104780910778


10ex Enough: Captaining our Soil


As some of you know, last year’s trip to Polyface Farm highlighted a need to amend a number of my consumptive habits (at least if I planned to continue standing in my own advice-giving truth). In the almost-12-month interim, I’ve done a fair share of agricultural-based reading, plucked some of the lowest hanging behavioral fruit and sewn some, what I posit to be, responsible seeds of changes. Now, I’m far from espying the pinnacle of Mount Salatin, but I choose to believe I’m slogging my way towards responsible citizenry.

A few months back, one of Trista’s coworkers, knowing my penchant for #HOAhusbandry, sent a book my way. I found its title, Ten Acres Enough, just curious enough to whet my reading appetite and peeled in. Its remarkably eloquent author, Edmund Morris, recalls his personal motivations for moving his family away from Philadelphia’s perpetual hustle to rural New Jersey in order to ‘learn to be content and happy’ on ten acres of land. Morris’ story, as you probably expect, speaks directly to both chambers within my heart of hearts – the risky business side and the pursuit of happiness side alike. From my agrarian readings, the book was remarkable. Rest assured, I don’t intend to beguile everyone into starting a garden (but, you should!). Instead, it’s my opinion that lessons from Morris’ nineteenth century pastoral practices might also shed light upon the recipe for cultivating our character…or what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Awareness: No man conquers a farming difficulty until he sees it plainly.

If we fail to curate a degree of self-awareness – whether you’re after weight loss, muscle gain or improved health – it’s likely we’re pruning away the buds of success. Tired of a creaky knee or achy back? Can’t quite shake those last 10 pounds? Stuck at the same Snatch load for the last 6 months? Taking an objective and critical look at daily behavior is the key to solving such riddles. Developing awareness is a skill in itself – one that, like our gardens, requires little acts of honesty performed often.

Responsibility: If you would push a crop through, look after it yourself.

After tooling ourselves with the spade of awareness, we must learn to wield it skillfully. Clearly, the responsibility to make necessary changes lies with us alone. If you would prefer to lose those 10 pounds, solve the riddle of chronic pain or literally ‘push’ a PR through, look after it yourself. A garden won’t weed itself…and the man who refuses to take responsibility for his problems has no advantage over the man that fails to identify them.

Mastery: Let every foot of your farm show the touch of refinement.

https://10exlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/IMG_6224-e1500574812913.jpgThe well-tooled and responsibly-skilled practitioner is just now on the path to harvesting this coveted change. Only after accepting the truth, can one supplant these ideas to everyday behavior. If knee or back pain derives from a broken movement and responsibility for modifying movement is ours, we must refine this behavior. Like building a rich soil, those traveling along the path of self-mastery – a complex and profound place – can count themselves fortunate after realizing that for every mile traveled, their destination lies two miles further.

I’m wholly aware of the tired ‘reaping and sewing’ farm cliches. But the principles of husbanding small plots of the land and those of refining the corners of human character aren’t too dissimilar. Through this lens (Morris might agree), nothing about life is commonplace and nothing is the in-between. The threads that join our every act and our every thought are infinite. If we permit it, many a happy and enjoyable moment can come between the slices of everyday work in the field or on ourselves. And as such, those things giving life value, be it gardening or fertilizing the human experience, ‘can be had for nothing…[they come] as gifts from Providence, and neither air nor sky, nor beauty, genius, health or strength can be bought or sold.’ Whether these grand and humanizing quests are aimed at food production or towards personal perfection, it is our hope that with a sound approach to fitness and philosophy, you find our teachings and your daily interactions at 10 Experience enough.

Masters of our fate…captains of our soil,



Leonard, G. (1992). Mastery: the keys to success and long-term fulfillment. New York: Plume.

Morris, E. (2012). Ten acres enough: a practical experience, showing how a very small farm may be made to keep a. Place of publication not identified: Hardpress Publishing.