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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Be a Lord of the Rings!

Frank Zane in 70's

In these strange times, when so much seems to be falling apart and in endless flux, it is time to focus on the self.  Even when there is little you can accomplish in the realm of politics, including the collapse of the cities and schools, law and order and endless reckless spending- you can work on your own health, wellness, and fitness!

Enter the rings.  Gymnastic rings that is!  Up until a few years ago, the notion of using rings seemed far-fetched:  in my youth, such tools were never available.  No one back then even knew how to use them, but when you saw things like the Olympics, these amazing god-like athletes could be seen (most from European countries) doing incredible feats of crazy strength and control.

They were fun to watch, but like tight rope walking and trapeze acts, nothing that one aspired to.  But, the incredibly lean, defined physiques of those gymnasts were sure to catch you eye - how to look and perform like that?!  It seemed impossible, what they did, and yet there they were, doing it.

I’m here to tell you though- gymnastic rings are the best kept fitness secret in the world!  You can get your own set, these days, quite inexpensively, and hang it in your basement, garage, or from a basketball hoop or playground structure easily.  A sturdy tree branch in the summer months is also perfect, and can be set up and taken down in a couple of minutes or so.

Lots of gyms now are closed, or at least restricted (with masks and social distancing- needlessly I am convinced), but still, it is the case.  And it is also the case that you can replace a whole gym with a set of rings!  And actually, it turns out- most exercises are better and more result producing than the standard, rigid bar of machine versions.

Take the pushup, for instance: done on the rings, the pushup is far harder than standard pushups, and far more versatile and safer on the joints, while also building strength in the ligaments and tendons along with the muscles involved.  In addition, the balance required also helps with balance and strengthening the vital core stabilizers of the body, including the abs and the smaller muscles of the trunk and shoulders.

For instance, I am convinced that the ring pushups are far superior to the barbell bench press, in every conceivable way.  Your arms on both sides go through a complete range of motion, in a very controlled fashion- unlike a bb bench press, that is an unnaturally shortened motion, where the shoulders do not completely retract, and the barbell encourages a ballistic upward thrust to achieve an illusion of strength.  

The rings pushup forces you to use a slow, controlled rep speed, and a complete retraction and controlled return using your own body weight and a safe plane of motion with no momentum to ‘impress yourself and others’ as to a heavier weight that you are not really using to maximum advantage.

And, in fact, the further beauty of the rings is that you can make the pushup not only harder, but easier as well.  Let’s say your rings are mounted up high, as they should be- you can walk forward away from the mounting point, and then the pushup is much easier- you can be standing almost upright, at a slight decline on the rings rather than parallel to the ground.  This will make the pushup as easy as you want to make it!  You can easily make it as easy as doing pushups standing against a wall, or slightly more difficult, simply by walking back to be more directly underneath where the strap is hung.

In fact, this is what I do each ring workout:  I start out almost standing erect, and do a set of pushups that is easy, followed right away by a set of flies on the rings.  

Then, I walk backwards a step or two, and repeat- a set of pushups and flies where I am at a 45 degree angle to the floor.  

Next, a set of both where I am far back, where I am almost parallel to the floor,, for another double set.  

After that, I put my feet up on a stool, well behind where the rings are hung from, and where my feet are higher than my hands.  Now, this is a hard set, which I follow with flies, which are even harder!

After that, I walk far forward again, and do a set of pullovers, while standing with the rings, and then turn around, facing where the rings are hung, and do rows, slow and controlled as all rings movements should be.  

Now, this is a very complete, safe, and very effective chest workout, in and of itself.  It’s fast and effortless, with no changing of weight plates or even pins as in a machine, and actually covers the whole upper body, as the stabilizers are hard at work on each and every set.  As I said before, the abs are hard at work on pretty much every exercise done on the rings.

Next, you can shorten the straps to about shoulder height, and leaning back, do the same thing with rows on the rings for sets, alternating with pull-ups on the rings, or at least negatives done with your feet on the ground to assist slightly.  This is a real back stimulator- trust me.

“But Jay,” you say- “what about my skinny little legs?”

Or flabby legs, as the case may be…

Hold on to both rings, lean back, and do squats!  I have found over the years that squats, done leaning back as in a hack squat, are far preferable to standard flat-footed barbell squats with a heavy weight.  Standard barbell squats mainly do two things very well:

Give you a fat butt, and heavy, blocky thighs.  Also, a potential to wreck your lower back, and ruin your knees.  Sound good?

So, stick with squats done leaning back on the rings.  When you can, start doing them, still leaning back, on one leg at a time- pistol squats!  The rings can help your balance, leaving you to concentrate on pure strength, in a healthy and functional way, with the stress on the frontal thigh, which is what you want bigger- not your butt.

Now here is where I venture into actual gymnastic moves, a little.  I work on straight arm strength, which is the foundation gymnastic moves, as opposed to bent arm strength, which is the standard weight lifting standard.  Straight arm strength is ignored mostly, and so takes a long time to develop!  

To start, get in the pushup position, and hold for 30 seconds or so.  Then, you can push your arms out and around in a circular motion while holding, and extending your arms out in front of you while holding.  This will gradually strengthen you for holding, rather than pushing.

Next, shorten the straps of the rings, just below waist height, and hold yourself on the rings as in the top of a dip.  That’s it- just hold.  It’s hard- work up to 30 seconds or so, assisting with your toes off the floor until you are levitating on your arms alone.  Rest and repeat.  

Once again- this is hard.  See it as a kind of fun- just do a little bit, for a long time, as recreation after the strength building is done.  It’s actually completely optional: but I will say- once you get ring training in your system, the training does not seem complete if you don’t get in a bit of this ‘gymnastic circus training’ in your workout!

Now, I am turning 69 this year in April.  My chances of becoming a world class gymnast are slim.  You would need to start very young!  Also, I have zero desire to do so…

BUT- as an adjunct to training, to become the best me I can be: 

Rings are the BEST!

I have no desire to be a circus performer.  But, I can still be, a 


Friday, February 12, 2021

Super Simple Follow Along (Morning Routine for the Winter Blues)

Bitcoin is Paleo Tribal Money!


In returning to an approximation of the paleolithic world in modern times, of course the first thing is to eat and otherwise conduct ourselves in accordance with our evolutionary heritage.  Move naturally, and often to build our bodies as did our ancestors for millennia, sleep according to our circadian rhythms, and live in a rural, natural environment, as unaffected by big cities and big government as possible.  

But now, there is another step you can take, my paleo fellow tribesperson: buy crypto currencies!  These are currencies that run counter to fiat, or national currencies, like the U.S. Dollar.  You probably only have heard of one- Bitcoin.

There are many others, but they all are similar, and you only need to know a few things.  (They are complex, but just because you don’t understand computers doesn’t mean you can’t use one!)

Crypto refers to all modern private currencies, of which Bitcoin was the first and is the most prominent.  It is mathematically engineered to be impossible to manipulate, like government currencies are, by nowadays simply printing more and more, devaluating all of the existing dollars already printed (and saved!), and thus diluting their actual value due to inflation.  

In other words, when the government decides to have yet another huge giveaway program, (like these upcoming checks going out to each and every family, and then child in the U.S.), they don’t have the money for it- not at all!  They just print billions and trillions more!!

And so, any money you have saved in the bank, or in your IRA, or in your pension, or buried in a can in your back yard- is automatically worth way less, right away.  It’s basically a huge tax that you can’t see, but confiscates more and more of your dollar’s worth over time.  It’s why if you look at home prices from say, 10 years ago, every house seems so cheap compared to today.  Or, prices of cars, or groceries, or anything.  Inflation, the invisible tax.  

Ever since ancient Rome, devaluing the currency has been the way to steal wealth from the people so the government can spend more and more.  For instance, by the end of the Roman republic, a gold coin only contained 1/100th percentage of gold!  Originally, it was all gold.  Of course, eventually everyone knew it, and the scheme collapsed, and money became worthless.  

Just like in Weimar Germany- it took wheelbarrow loads of inflated money to buy a loaf of bread! And, as it is in present South Africa today, along with Zimbabwe- the government money is perceived to be worthless, and it is.

But now, we actually have an alternative to government manipulated money.

Bitcoin.  It is a private money, set up to be impossible to inflate.  Governments cannot manipulate it; it is a currency of the people, controlled by no individual or group- it is set up to be totally honest- Bitcoin is worth what people who own it and the market overall decide it is worth.  The actual value never changes from any outside forces.

But there is more.  Once you own it, you don’t have to plan for its value to decline over time, as with every single other currency on the planet!  It may go up, and then down; but rest assured that, long term, it will inevitably go up.

Think what a game changer this is!  Forever, all throughout civilized history, money has gone down in value, over time.  Always.  My parent’s first house in 1953, where they raised 5 children, cost $10,000.  Their next house, which was in 1962, was much bigger, but only $42,000.  They raised all eight of their children from then on there.  Now, on that same house, my mother is charged 20,000 per year just for property taxes!

This is inflation in action.  Governmental corruption, inflation, and manipulation!  In the past, the only way to stave off inevitable bankruptcy was by investing shrewdly in the stock market, to make enough to make up the difference in the value of your savings lost to inflation.

But now, with Bitcoin, the paleo currency!  Think of it: you put 10,000 dollars of today into this crypto currency.  Come back in 10, or 20, or even 30 years…

Your crypto will be worth far MORE than you invested so long ago, even as your dollar savings have declined into insignificance.

We are so used to thinking of money in this way, that it is hard to imagine it being the opposite.  But, this is what can happen when money is taken out of the hands of governments, and politicians!  

You will be advised by most financial advisors to stay away from Bitcoin!  Just as they will tell you to stay away from gold, or silver.  They make no profit if you invest in these products, they are totally invested in the status quo.

Just as you should pay no attention to medical doctors and clinics as to regards to your health, so too should you pay no attention to financial advisers in regards to your wealth.  Neither one has any knowledge that would benefit you, and in fact their incentive is to mislead you.  They can gain lots of money, one by prescribing you endless drugs and surgeries for ailments that are either bogus or easily cured by natural means like diet and exercise, and the other by steering you into expensive investments that give them huge fees, and do little beyond earning enough to offset a small part of inflation.

Be self reliant!  Be a paleo person, living in the wild, naturally, and avoiding the corruption of civilization as much as possible.  Processed crap fake foods, and horrible television nonsense crap as well!

Eat a healthy, natural diet!  Animal based, and without grains as much as possible.  Ignore governmental health advice!

Put your money into the Paleo Currencies!  Ignore mainstream financial advice!

Go to   Set up an account there (it’s free), and invest in crypto currencies via debit card on a small scale.  Take their quizzes and instructions, which award you with real crypto currencies!  Now, you can get started on a small scale- I started with $10, now it is worth $54!  (About a week ago, just as an experiment)

And more importantly: if you have an IRA, particularly a Roth where they don’t tax you on your withdrawals- buy some Crypto!  

You can easily go to your brokerage account- I have TD Ameritrade, but they are all the same.  BUY a “stock” - GBTC is a mutual fund that is a proxy for Bitcoin.  Buy it, and forget it!

You can also do the same thing with Ethereum, which is a newer form of crypto, and my favorite for now.  ETHE   Buy it.  

Real estate is great too.  But, government can tax you to death on that!  Gold is a real asset, in fact it has historically been the true currency of the world.  

Have some.  But, that will be taxed as well!  

Health and Wealth.  They are both essential, and keeping them as far from the hands of government is the best thing you can do for you and your family!