I thought of myself as a runner for years. I ran track in high school, ran around campus in college, ran after college… because in my mind, that’s what athletic people did.
But when a knee injury put an end to that — and, by extension, my self-definition as an athlete — I was forced to confront a few hard truths that I’d been ignoring, more or less, the whole time. For instance: I’m not naturally good at running.
As it happens, though, I’m fairly good at a decidedly different athletic endeavor. And as I started to find a new home for these eager hamstrings, also started to understand something far more important about who I am and what I aspire to do.
That’s what this essay is about.
Read “My raw and wild new path” at Notre Dame Magazine
PS – Some director’s cut background here: This essay took months of drafting and rewriting, which is to say a lot of brow-furrowing conversations with friends and family. My thanks goes to them, to Sean of the Beard, and to my newfound community at MoC Barbell Club in Brooklyn.
PPS – I finally did it: I made an Instagram to keep track of my powerlifting progress.
You know Crystal Reed from her appearances on MTV’s Teen Wolf and from movies like Skyline, Crush, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Now she’s returning to the small screen on Gotham, playing the coolly intriguing Sofia Falcone.
On a Gotham-esque day in New York City, Reed visited me at Men’s Fitness HQ for a Facebook Live interview about her upcoming role. She didn’t reveal much, but she did reveal that she has an unparalleled mastery of scooping ice cream.
(See the full story at mensfitness.com. Photo by Jessica Pitcher.)
I interviewed American Olympic gymnast Jake Dalton as part of our “Making America’s Gladiators” series for Men’s Fitness. Some athletes are pretty numb when it comes to interviews, but not Jake—he was probably just as excited as I was.
One thing I marveled at in this reporting was just how seriously he takes his nutrition. It’s not unusual to hear bodybuilders log calories, but he tracks his nutrition like an ongoing experiment in human-broccoli interaction.
Don’t worry, though: He still occasionally eats maple glazed donuts.
READ: Making America’s Gladiators: Jake Dalton
Photo by Miller Mobley
I interviewed Jordan Burroughs for Men’s Fitness as part of our “Making America’s Gladiators” feature in the July/August 2016 issue.
If there was any hint in our conversation that this man is extraordinary, it was this: Never before have I spoken with a person who has such complete and unflinching confidence in his training and ability. He wasn’t brash or boastful or conceited—simply resolute in his self-knowledge that he had done everything in his (considerable) power to be the absolute best in the world.
And with a record of 124-2, he is.
READ: Making America’s Gladiators: Jordan Burroughs
Photo by Miller Mobley
As part of the “Making America’s Gladiators” feature in the Men’s Fitness run-up to the Rio Olympics, I had the opportunity to profile John Orozco, the Bronx-born gymnast who had overcome tremendous odds simply to compete at the qualifying meets to make the U.S. Olympic team. In his competitive career, Orozco had twice ruptured the same Achilles tendon, and was still in pain from that injury when he qualified—only to injure the ACL and meniscus of his left knee, essentially ending his Olympic hopes.
But he’s still got one more passion to pursue: acting.
READ: Making America’s Gladiators: John Orozco
Photo by Miller Mobley
One of the biggest endeavors I’ve undertaken at Men’s Fitness has been “The Cooldown,” a relaunched “backpage” (also known as the last page in the magazine, besides the inside back cover) that features quick, quippy interviews with international sports superstars.
The first edition launched with our July/August 2016 issue, just in time for the Olympics. So, naturally, we featured Usain Bolt.
The Men’s Fitness Interview: Usain Bolt
(Not-quite-a-spoiler alert: He’s a great dude.)
When it comes to losing weight (and keeping it off), guys are always looking for new tools to win the Battle of the Bulge. But while taking up marathon training might help, most guys prefer slightly more realistic weight-loss methods that help them stay on track without making huge changes to their routine.
Fortunately, researchers have hit on a new way to stick to your finely tuned nutrition plan without any extra thought: A mirror, preferably installed in your kitchen.
When people have to choose between a healthy snack and junk food, they tend to think the junk food doesn’t taste as good if there’s a mirror in the room with them, researchers found.
Why? Mirrors make us more conscious of social standards, and that includes diet plans, according to University of Central Florida marketing professor Ata Jami, Ph.D., who led the study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.
Read my writeup at Men’s Fitness to learn more about this surprising diet tool.
I like working out. I like Star Wars.
So on the eve of Episode VII’s U.S. premiere, I visited New York Sports Club for a sweat-inducing cardio workout class that involved one key piece of equipment: a lightsaber. (I got a blue one, thereby assigning myself to the “Light Side of the class.” No, that’s not me in the picture.)
The workout incorporated martial arts, calisthenics, and bodyweight moves that wiped out all but the fittest people — Jedi masters, one might say — in the studio. (If the Force was flowing through me, it was at a trickle. Then again, that may have been the sweat running down my face.)
Guided by Jedi master/instructor Amira Lamb, C.P.T., I endured — and then, for Men’s Fitness, wrote about — the Star Wars Workout.
Sure, working out in the extreme cold or the extreme heat make you mentally tough. But when it comes to burning calories and performing faster, which direction should you spin the thermostat?
Writing for Men’s Fitness, I spoke to Michael Joyner, M.D., a marathoner and specialist in exercise physiology, about the scientific evidence for the benefits of working out in extreme conditions. Here’s what he told me.
Lewis Kent is very good at doing two things extremely quickly: He can run. And he can chug a lot of beer.
Kent, a Canadian college student, set the world record in the “beer mile,” in which competitors must chug a 12-oz. beer, run 400 meters, and then repeat that three more times — without “losing their beer” in the process.
So, naturally, I interviewed Kent for Men’s Fitness. We talked training methods, the most important characteristic in a champion beer-miler, and why he prefer blondes—or at least one particular blonde.