It was a rainy Saturday in June. I spent it with my kid and an Anthony Bourdain retrospective on in the background.
Bourdain’s life was well-travelled and well-lived and, sadly, way too short.
I miss him.
I drew inspiration watching him grow. He seemed to become more honest while caring less about trends and, especially, what other people thought.
His arc was a rare full circle: despite heralded as a celebrity chef, the older Bourdain was cynical of fine dining and the explosion of pretentious foodie culture.
Instagram-driven “food porn” and pretentious cock-waffles on Yelp really drew his ire.
He saw food more like he once did, as a “normal” person.
If something tastes good and makes you feel good, then it’s good. Who cares what some stuck up food blogger says?
So he championed an honest and simple approach to cooking, saying the best food didn’t need much fussing.
If you’ve ever had an amazing steak or truly exceptional sushi then you’ve experienced this.
The best sushi I’ve had was at about 7 am in a tiny restaurant beside the now-closed Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.
Just steps removed from the sensory overload of merchants and restauranteurs bidding on massive hunks of tuna, it had an almost respectful aura of peace and tranquility.
No menus. No ordering. You sat and were politely served the most exquisite and certainly the freshest sashimi on earth.
I don’t even recall a side of, well, anything. If there was soy sauce or wasabi or even rice I didn’t notice. Just that incredible fish, expertly prepared by a true master who understood that trying to make what’s already perfect “better” is pure vanity.
I’ve come to adopt a similar philosophy with training.
Take the very best exercises FOR YOU and execute them perfectly, meaning with focus, intention, and progression.
Plant your flag there and work it. For years.
That accounts for around 80% of your training success.
Program design, periodization, deloading every four weeks or five, the boondoggle of (way too much) assistance work, RPE, RIR, MRV, PRI, EDT, WTF?
That stuff matters but only if the foundation of “simplicity + perfection” remains priority number one.
Or, you can get just piss drunk on fads and minutiae and head-swelling complexity.
Forget mastering simplicity, that takes years—faster & easier to slap together a bunch of exercises and theories and training techniques.
Like you were grabbing a party tray of day-old, sauce-laden sushi from a take-out joint in the back of a gas station or strip-mall in Suburbia.
Sure it will fill you up. Might even be memorable.
Just don’t forget the Pepto-Bismol.