Physical Culture as an Entrepreneurship?

“Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.”

– Voltaire

Physical Culture as an Entrepreneurship?  Yes, you bet.  Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be all about making money, though that is the commonly accepted meaning of the term.  I rather like to think of it as guiding an emerging idea into being, irrespective of profit margin.  Check out this take on the Entrepreneurial mindset.

And take a look at the list of presenters scheduled for this summer’s Ancestral Health Symposium in Los Angeles; that, my friends, is a distinguished who’s who of Physical Culture’s current entrepreneurial luminaries.  And of the event’s masterminds, Brent Pottenger, and Aaron Blaisdale?  Think of them as the Bill Gates’ of the Ancestral Health movement; entrepreneurs extraordinaire.

You can check-out a great interview with Brent and Aaron about the Symposium on the Whole9 blog.


No dogma, only results.  One of the best training articles I’ve read recently comes from the crowd over at Elite Fitness. Titled Methods of Muscle (by Rick Danison), this article discusses the positive benefits of the integration of various tools and methods.  Listen, folks, there are no bad tools, and there are no bad methods —  poorly thought-out combinations of these, to be sure — but the underlying tools and methods in and of themselves simply “are”.  Would anyone think to tell a chef that basil is “bad”, or that braising is a deficient method, without first qualifying that statement?  Yet we do, in essence, the very same thing in the S&C community when we dogmatize (is that a word??  Well, it is now…) any one training method/modality at the expense of another.

Again, I had another week stock-full of extreme high-intensity “mini” workouts, utilizing a full spectrum of methods and modalities.  I seem to thrive on this type of workout scheme — but is it necessarily an Evolutionary/Ancestral Fitness approach?  Well, maybe.  Just as there was a wide range in the macronutrient content of various HG populations (based, in most part, on their relative proximity to the equator), so too, I believe, there must have been wide variance in HG energy expenditure profiles; amplitude and frequency of intensity bursts must have varied wildly.  The mainstream currently has a puppy-love thing going on with the “human as an endurance athlete” template.  And, indeed, many exhibit this phenotype today in a very natural and healthy way.  More power to ’em.  These mainstream “endurance apologists”, though, seem to ignore the vast array of purely power-leaning phenotypical examples on display all around them.  Have they never observed the sprint/throws portion of the Olympic games?  Gymnastics?  Rugby or American football?  Certain human genetic lines were obviously wired for power expression as well, but for some reason we’re lead to believe that we modern humans all stem from a persistence-hunting only “Adam and Eve”.  Now maybe I don’t have current science on my side, but I do believe it is a serious mistake to use “current science” to blinker one’s self against simple observation.

Chris Johnson as a persistence hunter??  Yeah, Okay…

Ideally, science and observation/accumulated wisdom should work in unison; too many times, though, these camps are at odds.  A mighty fine edge can be put on the blade of accumulated wisdom by using current and applicable science as a sharpening stone (Tabata-like protocols, anyone?).   But science — or more precisely, those who argue from a scientific point of view, and to the exclusion of “accumulated wisdom” — would do well to acknowledge that science, at least in the realm of Physical Culture (and exercise science in particular), hits up against some serious, serious limitations.  For example, the single-set-to-failure crowd would have me to believe that the Bill Pearl types of this world are…an aberration?  Or that Bill Pearl would have been the same “Bill Pearl” if he’d trained under the one-set-to-failure tenants.  Becoming mired in a premise while ignoring real-world results is no place to be, and this argument simply does not hold-up to my 30+ years of observation; that I have no published “science” to back my claim does not (and should not) blind me to my observations and accumulated wisdom.  Of course it does make me question, and relentlessly so, the “whys” and “hows” — but it certainly does not make me deny “what is”.  The Zen masters put it this way: do not plunder the Mystery with concepts.  That something works by way of some scientifically-yet-to-be-determined mechanism does not obviate the fact that it does, in fact, work.  The best that science can do at that point is to “hone the blade”.  No doubt a welcome and anticipated service, but no reason for me not to employ the particular tool in question now.  We’ve gone from the strop and straight blade to the quad-blade razor cartridge, and at no point has the ol’ straight blade in an experienced hand been made obsolete.  Something tells me the ol’ repetition method, properly applied, is here to stay.

Let’s look at some workouts –

Sunday, 2/6/11 –

The six-minute-and-15-second leg dust-up:

Mark Alexander, president of Efficient Exercise, called this the 19th, 20th, and 21st-century workout.  And it truly was, as I utilized CZT technology, Nautilus know-how, and plain ol’ low-tech, grunt-it-out, farmers walks.   Brief, brutal and basic?  Hell yeah.  And we’re beginning to phase-in a few of our Project Transformation participants to this type of more integrated approach as well.  This is the beauty of n=1 integration; finding the right mix for each individual, letting the story reveal itself as each participant travels down his own Physical Culture path.  For some, a CZT-based workout is all they’ll ever need and indeed, want — for others, the CZT is just another (though fantastic!) tool in the Physical Culture toolbox.

Monday, 2/7/11 –

Dynamic trap bar deadlifts – (red and purple bands): 335 x 3 x 10 sets; 15-secs between “sets”

Tuesday, 2/8/11 –

Bodyweight dips: 200 total, in every conceivable rep scheme you can imagine.  The only constant here was the drive to spend as little time on the ground as possible between “sets”.

Thursday, 2/10/11 –

Max Effort bent-over row (Oly bar): 135 x 7; 225 x 6; 275 x 3; 295 x 3; 315 x 2; 325 x 2; 335 x 2; 345 x 1; 355 x 1; 360 x 1; 365 x 1

Followed, approximately 4 hours later by –

(A1) straight bar bicep curl: 95 x 12

(A2) EZ bar triceps extension: 105 x 12

four rounds, very little rest between sets.

Friday, 2/11/11 –

(A1) power cleans: 165 x 5; 190 x 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 (emphasis speed, crisp form)

(A2) blast strap planks & pikes: 15 each round

Saturday, 2/12/11

(A1) cable “lean-in” bicep curls: 155 x 12, 7; 170 x 4+  (hierarchical)

(B1) cable incline flye: 155 x 13; 170 x 7; 175 x 3+ (hierarchical)

(B2) CZT-Vertical chest press: 5 hyper-reps

In health,


15 responses to “Physical Culture as an Entrepreneurship?

  1. “Certain human genetic lines were obviously wired for power expression as well” … I very much agree, I remember as early as 10-11 years old I sucked at long distance running but could beat anyone in a rumble and had a headlock noone seemed to be able to get out of! Also with my recent introduction to MMA it appears some people were just “made” for the sport, I wonder if Male vs Male fighting/competition played a part in this power expression we see.

    I’m starting to think about this ‘scatter plot approach’ by evolution in many contexts, another prime example being character & personality. Just like certain body types were suited to certain activities, as were the varied personalities we see from alpha male aggressors to more feminine creative artistic types. I think surely culture has pushed these character types into further narrowly defined boxes, but like many things we are starting to see I think it is probably a case of both nature and nurture.

  2. Keith,

    The best part of your workout clip was when that SUV did a hard U-turn in the parking lot. The sight of a heavily-muscled madman waddling with 225lbs in his hands must of scared the shit out of them. They made a quick decision to head to the next Starbuck’s down the road for their morning latte.

    • Doug, perhaps the wrong place to address this issue, but I haven’t come up with a better way to reach you. With one notable exception, I have never been able to post to your blog. My post sit in “awaiting moderation” forever. I can’t tell you how frustrating it has been to take the time to post lengthy discussion items only to have them sit in the queue and never post. There is no email address, phone number or any other way to reach out on your blog that I can determine.

      I admire your work, purchased and read all your published material (books/articles) followed your recommendations, and would on occasional like to participate in the blog discussion.

      Is there anything that could be done to alleviate this issue?


  3. “Just as there was a wide range in the macronutrient content of various HG populations (based, in most part, on their relative proximity to the equator)…”

    Would you be so kind as to elaborate on what that means? What does HG stand for? You have a great vocabulary, and seem to be talking about some real deep stuff, I wanna make sure I’m getting all of it.

    • Hunter-gatherer. dwelling closer to the poles means a forced reliance upon more animal flesh for survival; the opposite is true for those groups closer to the equator, where plant material is abundant.

  4. Keith, an interesting take and thanks for sharing the Effectual Action website. I will take some time to peruse. Your ability to meld evolutionary fitness into other areas of life is truly unique.

  5. You should read the “The Old Way” By Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Her parents were medical anthropologists and they lived with a hunter gatherer tribe in Africa in the 1950s before the tribe had any exposure to Western Ways. Elizabeth who was a teenager at the time lived with them also.

    She says that persistence hunting was rare. It was too difficult and poisoned arrows worked so much better. In the tribe she lived with, there was only one man in the tribe that did persistence hunting and he was very small and thin. And he was not that successful.

    The rest of the men used poisoned arrows and they would track their game at a walk. Surprisingly, they obtained up to 40% of their meat by chasing away other predators from their kill.

  6. Jeff,

    Unfortunately, not a lot. The security settings are controlled by our web master. Unfortunately, there are a lot of keywords in the blog and the posts that trigger enough spam to crash the site. If it doesn’t crash it, it takes hours of work just to delete inappropriate posts.

    Common triggers that put you in moderation: location outside US. Posting from institutions where your address is .edu. Any imbedded links or video.

    I will go over to the admin page and see if I can release you from moderation purgatory. I apologize, but BBS is not my only gig…between the ER, the business (Ultimate Exercise), two young kids and the books there is barely time to construct a post every week.

    Sorry Keith for using your site to address this issue

    • No worries, Doug. In fact, I have had the same problem of having my posts to your blog end up…in moderation purgatory?? Hope the issue gets resolved soon; we want to yammer away on the BBS blog! 🙂

      • Keith, yes, thank you for letting me reach out to Doug via your blog. I really appreciate it. Glad to know I’m not the only one, as well. I was beginning to feel…uh…unworthy. 🙂 Glad to know I’m in good company.

        Doug, thanks. I appreciate your response and I understand how busy you must be. I’d be happy to work direcctly with your web master if that might help.


  7. NICE, Keith. N=1. I was just mentioning to someone the other day how kettlebells are tools, like dumbbells, propane tanks (empty of course), sand bags, etc. Use what you have to be better.

    I am pretty sure what consituted a hunt in colder climates were different than that of warmer ones…yep, I am sure I read that somewhere. And it makes SENSE!

    Can’t wait for the symposium!

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