Texas Method

Today I planned out my workout system for the month of June and probably beyond. I'm trying out something called The Texas Method which I found online. I've never really gone to very high levels in weightlifting, because I haven't been focused in the long term and I've also overworked myself. In the past I used workouts to either deal with emotional stress/unhappiness of different varieties or to feel like I had a higher self worth due to my body. It didn't work great, but it was decent copium back in the day. Around the time of the pandemic I sort of peetered off (that's also when I quit Taekwondo, which gave me loss of a reason to be built and less of a community to compliment me about, or even see, my gains). This past Spring I set myself a goal to break 0:55 for my swimming 100yd free and 1:00 for my swimming 100yd fly. I didn't follow through for more than, like, one week. I'm a little disappointed, but it is what it is. I think it is because I did it because I (1) wanted to feel accomplished, (2) wanted to feel like a capable hot-blooded young male, and (3) wanted some novelty. My semester has become very rote in the sense that my research is at the point where "it's just engineering" (no new interesting thoughts are occuring right now) and for a while I was just coding up a compiler (also, "just engineering") so I really wanted some excitement in my life. I think that's why I picked up that swimming goal, and also why I dropped it: once it became hard and boring it was no longer serving its need as a source of novelty. For my weighlifting program I want exactly the opposite. I'm going to focus on getting novelty elsewhere, potentially through technical projects (like hackathons) and social life (the latter of which will also hopefully help me where I've had holes... though I also need to make sure I establish close bonds with a close group of friends which is something I've made a mistake of in the past, so maybe not constant novelty there) and use my workout system more as a machine to get me to where I want to be (which for this is ~1000lbs across deadlift, squat, and benchpress). I hope that doing heavy weights will help me get gains that will be maintained throughout a long period of time. I remember when I got to MIT I couldn't even really squat two plates and now I can squat two plates on either side rather easily even after not going for a while. Those initial gains are harder to lose than the incremental ones I get from harder weeks I do every now and then. If I get to a higher level, i.e. 3 plates, my strength will probably be permanently increased (well, not totally permanently, but you get the idea), and that's great, because it means I can move on to other things, like swimming or running or sports.

This so-called Texas method is more in line with what you'd expect from a standard, effective, strength plan. It involves 3 times a week with one volume/weight day, one rest day, and one explosive day. In the past I was the type to workout every single day, as heavy as I could that day, with no particular program. While that works great very early on, it won't keep getting me gains. I need patience and a system, and this texas method will work well for me. I'm going to follow it very literally with the exception that I'm going to do both bench press and overhead press early on (because I find that the squat crushes my upper body and I need that frame, that the OHP will give me, to withstand it... also my current weights are fairly low) and that I might vary the warmup to be whatever feels best. I'm going to ditch my daily cardio which has felt like a necesity for four years now (I'll be biking every day anyways). I might use the weekends to do more extreme shit (I have a dream of running from San Jose to San Francisco) but in general, I'll take it easy outside the workout unless I have a very strong reason to do otherwise. I want to give this texas method at least one month to come to fruition.

I also did some CodeForces and really shit the bed on it. I could have done maybe 5/6 problems easily and 6/6 if I was at my best (of the past 4 years) but I literally forgot the problem statement for two problems, as I was doing them, and solved two OTHER problem statements (which were harder), losing me time. I also just got really anxious and found it hard to think. Lastly, I was just out of practice. I think the main blocker for me is not thinking systematically because I am impatient and/or anxious. I need a way to calm myself, either through meditation or satisfaction of my social and/or emotional needs which are currently unmet (i.e. I feel lonely) so that I can be focused on the problem at hand consistently. More broadly, I need to shore up some holes I have in my lower rungs of Maslow's pyramid of needs. Luckily, I will have enough food and workouts give me bodily stimulation and pleasure, but emotionally I'm not totally stable or sane. I have, most importantly, problems with confidence and fear, especially when communicating when others, especially when communicating with strangers. I've been in a wierd rollercoaster where at MIT I got a lot better, then a lot worse, and now I'm somewhere in the middle. I need to shore up my baseline at a higher point. I also need to find a relationship. It's crazy. I really have my work cut out for me this summer because I also want to publish a paper, do a good job at my internship, reach 1000lbs of lifting strength, and land a future job at Jane Street or OpenAI. I also want to find research opportunities for my time at ETH Zurich and I want strong recommenders from there and MIT so I can get into a PhD in Stanford. It's a bit overwhelming. The technical stuff, even if it's hard, is straightforward. I know that with enough time I could do it. The social stuff though, is harder, because I have little emotional support (other than my parents, which is insufficient for a lot of these things imo) and I have very little experience (what experience I have is not great, I can maybe write about it later, but the closest I got was Seattle 2019 and those were crazy, dark, albeit also inspiring, times).

Speaking of social issues that reminds me of the time I went to Shwab's at the Stanford shopping center in Fall 2020 to get some London Broil for my parents. It was one of the most cringe interactions I've ever made in my life. I went up to the counter behind some people and it was unclear if the man working behind it was actually working on something or waiting for someone to take him away for his work. For that reason I tried to call out to him, but exactly as I was reaching the maximal volume of my voice (for that phrase), which note, was very very low, I sort of peetered off. He ignored me, but a couple to my left noticed me. I tried this 3 times, never having the courage to actually speak aloud to the man working there, nor the willingness to just wait until he saw me. I made a sort of raising hand but then regreting it gesture as I did each of these by the way. I felt like the couple to my left pitied me for being so socially incompetent that I couldn't even order food at a grocery store. The pandemic certainly was not a good time. I remember also trying to talk to the workers at Whole Foods at the checkout. I wanted to talk to people, but I didn't know how (and to some extent still don't, especially when it comes to small talk with strangers about things that are not visible on the outside). I asked a guy once how his day was and he angrily told me he was excited to get off. For a second I thought he meant ejaculation. In those days I was rather depressed and was struggling to quit jacking off because I used it as emotional copium (for many years) and was totally unhappy with the state of things. I tried to find amusement in my connection and also some solice in the fact that he probably had a way lamer life than me. Nonetheless, those were bad times. Maybe I'll write more about it in a future post. I sort of feel compelled to apologize to the founders of Fractal, the company I was working at, for not being more open and/or my best self due to the psychological struggle I was in. I literally learned fullstack on the job, which was OK, but I couldn't learn effectively because my psyche was not OK. It's hard to learn when you are either impatient, anxious, depressed, or otherwise not at peace. That has probably been my number one impediment in the last four years to be honest. You need to shore up the lower rungs of maslow's pyramid before you can build up.