The Iron Pill

This page is dedicated to an uncommon piece of knowledge for which there is tremendous evidence: resistance training the most efficient way to keep your body strong, young, durable, and healthy. So, take the iron pill.

Why Should You Lift?

  1. Resistance training makes you stronger (this is obvious) and as Mark Rippetoe has observed, “Stronger people are harder to kill and more useful in general.”
  2. Resistance training improves your image by making you seem more mesomorphic/healthy/self-controlled/organized: sex appeal, competence, and general favorability.
  3. Resistance training improves cardiovascular function.
  4. Resistance training is anti-aging, as many symptoms of aging are the result of decreased muscle mass:
    1. The greatest risk factors for the aged are muscle loss and frailty.
    2. As America becomes more obese, muscle loss along with obesity is even more serious.
    3. As cells age, they become less efficient. But resistance training reverses the cellular aging process in muscle cells.
  5. Metabolic syndrome is more a function of body composition than purely of weight. In other words, being skinny-fat still leaves you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and so-on despite not being obese by weight. Strength training improves insulin resistance and reconfigures your body-composition.
  6. Resistance training is good for reproduction.
    1. Long distance running has harmful effects on sperm quality. In cyclists, the sperm quality decrease is connected, not to the endurance training but the nature of cycling’s jostling effect on the testes.
  7. Resistance training is counter-cultural
    For those who have an anti-authoritarian bent, strength training goes against our lazy, soft, and self-indulgent culture. Now, strength training would be good even if this weren’t so, but being counter-cultural is appealing to many. If that encourages you to get your butt into the gym, then go.  
    1. For instance, as many as two billion people are obese.
    2. Millennial men have weak grip strength, which is associated with more depression and support for distributive economic policies that are internally inconsistent at best and are insanely murderous at worst.
    3. The majority of American’s are overweight and over 1/3 are obese.
    4. The average obese woman gets less than an hour of exercise a year and the average obese man less than 4 hours. In other words, something like 33% of Americans exercise or train their bodies less than one minute per day!
    5. Masculinity is practically defined by physical strength.
      In the linked study, data is compiled for the apparently innate capacity for men to develop and display physical strength, “Upper-body strength in adult males is a crucial variable that appears to have impacts on a wide range of mental mechanisms that were designed by natural selection at a time when personal physical aggression was far more common and individual differences in fighting ability were far more relevant for the resolution of conflicts, the deployment of anger and aggression, the calibration of political attitudes, and the consequences of warfare.”
  8. Resistance training is good for your mind
    1. It improves cognition/brain function for the elderly and everybody else.
    2. Resistance training contributes to the psychosocial development of youth.
    3. Resistance training improves anxiety measures among populations with chronic illness.
    4. Exercise, in general, improves depression and anxiety symptoms.
    5. In several populations, resistance training improves self-control.

How Can You Get Started?

There is a wealth of useful information for getting started with strength training. But the multiplication of choices sometimes creates analysis paralysis. I recommend using a few key exercises:

  1. The squat
  2. The deadlift
  3. The bench press
  4. The overhead press
  5. The chin-up

I recommend alternating between the two workouts below and lifting 3 days a week. If you hit all your reps with good form, increase the weight 5-10 pounds for the next workout with that exercise. The squat will disproportionately increase (up to 30 pounds a week) and that’s okay. Get adequate sleep and increase calories accordingly (there are many ways to do this, I recommend eating more meat or drinking milk). 

ASquat for 3 sets of 5 reps
Bench Press for 3 sets of 5 reps
Chin up 3 sets to failure (This will help) 
Squat for 1 set of 5 reps
Deadlift for 2 sets of 5 reps
Standing Press for 3 sets of 5