Look Ma, No Hands!


To be alive means to be possessed by an urge toward self-display which answers the fact of one’s own appearingness,” and “…whatever can see wants to be seen, whatever can hear calls out to be heard, whatever can touch presents itself to be touched.”
-Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind: Vols 1& 2. 

I work out because it feels great while I am doing it. It feels great to be able to do things as a result of working out like: sprint for the subway when I am late,  play tag with my friends’s kids, go for a hike in the wonderful New York summer, enjoy a bike ride between bars on a Saturday night, look the way I want to look – naked.  All that and I am nerd for it.

But sometimes, when I finish a particularly heavy set of squats or send a difficult problem on the wall, I want someone to say – Good Fucking Job!

I like compliments as much as the next person. Actually, I love compliments. (I don’t want to hear how compliments make you uncomfortable. Shut up, you are boring me. This isn’t the humble Olympics. Mother Theresa and the Dali Lama aren’t giving out the gold for selfless service and suffering. Deal.)

But, it is so much better when compliments are deserved, that makes it recognition.

The other day my good-friend texted me in the middle of the day. She wrote –

Got the green V2 in the cave but no one around to witness! Tragic. It was sad. Came off the wall with a huge smile on my face and no one even made eye contact. 

We climbed together a few days before. That problem spit her off over and over. She kept saying – one more time, getting back on the wall just to get spit off againWhen you send a problem like that you just want to drop to the chalky mat, look up, and see someone smiling back at you.

I know you don’t do the things you love to get applause. But it just feels so good when someone can see how awesome you are. Rather, when someone sees the awesomeness in you.

Next time you are alone at the gym, in the kitchen, at work, on the rock, on the road, in the workshop, in bed,  where ever, and you accomplish something, but you are alone with no one to smile at you,  just play the video below, and know you fucking rock. 

Post Script
This post was inspired by my mom asking me what my workouts look like (in a comment a few days ago).  This being my blog, I am fine posting something as personal, self-serving, and mundane as my workouts.

Below is my workout from today – weights are in pounds (for those real nerds, I am in the third week of the Hatch Squat Program). I do this type of work out twice a week in rotation with at least two days of gym climbing a week, some short conditioning workouts, a lot of eating, and a lot of resting.

Warm Up
Roll out: IT band, hamstrings, quads, glutes, lower Back, upper Back.  – 5 – 10 minutes

3 rounds, not for time of –
Air Squats x10
Push ups x10
Seated straight-leg raises x10

Back Squat

Front Squat

Pull ups
Weighted 57 x3 x3

Accessory work for Shoulder Strength and Climbing Strength – 3 Sets
Dumbbell Side lateral raises 25×10
Front Dumbbell Raises 25×7
Dumbbell Curls 35×5

5 rounds for time
Row 200 meters
3 handstand push ups


10 minutes


About JTP

An occasional reader, an occasional writer, an occasional podcast producer, an occasional strategist.
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