The day was cold and rainy and too much like autumn for June. It was the anniversary of Anthony Bourdain’s death.
I miss Bourdain. I feel like I knew him—or at least I identified with what he was about.
He was a late bloomer with a sharp wit and curious mind who didn’t hit his stride until his forties, when he accepted his demons and went all-in on his talent.
That spoke to me. How he never stopped growing inspired me.
He grew cynical of the vapid bullshit of his own celebrity, yet never took the freedom it afforded him for granted.
Instead, he leaned into it, using his platform to give a voice to the unheard: ordinary people in far-reaching places, living ordinary lives.
The former celebrity chef — though still a celebrity, and really, still a chef — was able to view food in a remarkably down-to-earth light.
If the food tasted good and made you feel good, then it was good. Who cares what some stuck-up foodie thinks?
He championed an honest approach to cooking, saying perfect food didn’t need fussing.
Start with the best ingredients, prepare them expertly and simply, then let the food speak.
For instance, the best, most exceptional sushi I’ve had was at 7 a.m. in a tiny restaurant beside a fish market in Tokyo.
No menus. You sit and are politely served the most exquisite, freshest fish in the world, prepared by a chef who understands that trying to improve make what’s already perfect is vanity.
I’ve tried to adopt a similar philosophy with training. Let the training speak.
Take the best exercises FOR YOU and execute them as best you can.
Try to add weight or reps but mainly just do the work better, for years.
This will account for 80% of your training success.
What about program design, periodization, RPE, RIR, MRV, MEV, WTF?
Minutiae has its place but only if the foundational formula of “(Simplicity + Perfection) x Hard Work x Years” remains the priority.
The alternative is to chase trends or follow the latest overhyped, overbearing Influencer. Way more popular, and might even look pretty fancy, but with all the thought and care of take-out sushi covered in too many sauces in attempt to cover up the fact that the actual food beneath it all just isn’t that good. It might look fancy, and sure, you’ll get full, but you won’t be satisfied.
What’s boring in training, works.
What’s ordinary in life is beautiful.