Fitness Bets: Double Down on the Judge of Time

Last weekend, we posted a photo of our relatively ancient safety squat bar with a quote from options trader turned contemporary philosopher turned best-selling author, Nassim Taleb. Without taking much time to face check this with myself, I think he’s my favorite writer alive.

The short story? He makes a claim, quite accurately, that our perception of the future is often misguided. Especially when it comes to technology and the details of our lives in the future, we tend to error on the side of hyperbolic additions. In his latest capstone text, Anti-Fragile, he urges that the greater the age of a non-perishable technology, the longer we can expect it to live. The newer a technology is, the more we ought to bet that time will kill it off sooner than it’s older predecessors. He rams this home when he describes that later that evening he’s wear shoes (not much different than their earliest design thousands of years ago) to catch a cab (one of the oldest professions in human history) to dinner cooked with utensils and the same fire that seemingly was responsible for culinary practice ten thousand years ago.

Fitness is ripe with newness. We’re often misguided by the same instincts that Taleb illustrates and we fail to realize, though it may be exciting, we should know that P90X would live and die a short fast life. The Nautilus? It was soon as obsolete as it was new. Here’s the post from last weekend:

“‘Anti-fragility implies–contrary to initial instinct–that the old is superior to the new, and much more than you think… close your eyes and try to imagine your future surroundings in, say, five, ten, or twenty-five years. Odds are your imagination will produce NEW things in it, things we call innovation, improvements, killer technologies, and other inelegant and hackneyed words from the business jargon. These common concepts concerning innovation, we will see, are not just offensive aesthetically, but they are nonsense both empirically and philosophically.’ – Taleb

Despite your desire to look for novelty, understand that the future of fitness will be won by the oldest practices, not the newest.”

If you were a betting person, you’ve got go double down on the oldest movement habits in fitness history if you want to cash in big. Shake-based nutrition and electrocution based training a new and fragile. There’s a reason why we wear simple shoes, cook with fire, and deadlift heavy. Not only do these practices survive time, they, like anti-fragile beings, improve. Aside from the petty victories over critics in science, sport, and journalism, these practices have and will continue to claim victory over the most ruthless of judges: time.


Logan Gelbrich


1/13/17 WOD


1: 10 Wall Balls (20/14)

2: 10 Toes-to-Bar

3: Max KB Snatches (50/30)

4: :30 L-Sit Hold