The Favorable Path

I was recently re-listening to the discussion between Charles Staley and Arthur De Vany. In typical cock-hole bravado, I went and found studies that refuted the notion of fasted state workouts expressing genetic adaptations favorable to hypertrophy. However, there is a line at the end of the interview that I really like. Staley quoted Art in saying:

We should recognize the limits of knowledge and get on the path that favors better outcomes.

I like this for a host of reasons.


After having read Fooled by Randomness, already knowing the stories we tell ourselves about factors we can’t possibly know (or simultaneous juggle in our grey matter accurately), the “limits of knowledge” aspect range loudly. So from a health perspective, you greatly improve your odds, or rather minimize your black swans, by eating mostly whole foods in their natural packaging (as Clarence Bass would say). And since it’s about what you’re doing most of the time, the occasional folly isn’t going to destroy what you’ve built.


You won’t find the perfect routine. Or the perfect diet. Or the perfect supplement regime. While it’s great to really research the ins and outs, it’s really easy to get mired in minutia. On top of cramming your brain with every increasing amounts of information that only fractionally improve your total “knowledge” on the subject, you run the risk of second guessing your routine. Routine jumping and diet jumping are very common ways to spin your wheels and I think most of it would be avoided by establishing a routine and then getting the hell away from the internet or other ways of second guessing what you’re doing! If you’re making progress, let that run the course and only look to make changes when things require change.


After my first ever successful diet, I fell into obsessive behavior. This was not a new manifestation, as I would readily throw myself into my interests with ferocity. However, when you’re dealing with a relationship like food, it really can be too much. When I see people posting their every meal of every day on twitter, I can’t help but think of a Brad Pilon quote:

If food were a person, you would have divorced a long time ago.

In short, care about what you eat but obsession will lead to rebound behaviors or social isolation because you can’t control your food. Just. Perfectly. All. The. Time.

So what’s the point? The favorable path isn’t perfect: it’s good enough for most situations. Being good enough all of the time, the favorable path, is the way not only to health, but also to just about anything else you’re seeking to achieve in life. Avoid perfectionism, be consistently favorable.


5 thoughts on “The Favorable Path

  1. Nice, Skyler.

    Folks often ask me lots of questions about nutrition because they always want ever more detail, ever more justification.

    There are people who take the rough concepts–the precepts / proverbs–and learn through experience how to apply them in specific situations (the spirit of the law), and there are other people on the opposite end of the spectrum who need step-by-step instruction manuals on exactly what to eat every meal of every day.

    I don’t know the answer, I say: “Nullius in Verba,” will help you find the way.

    Life is about more than food. Find a yet-to-be-falsified story about your diet, live by it, and go enjoy living.



  2. nice post.

    I agree about the danger of mental masturbation over all this stuff. I find it fascinating, but there is an information overload. Doug McGuff in Body by SCience talks about training angst where we spend time worrying about how to train rather than just getting on with it. I am always flipping from routine to routine and while it is interestingly random, I think I need some consistency for a while

    Good stuff

  3. I find the m-word plagues a ton of the fitness/bodybuilding crew, well those that are not making any significant gains or progress.

    This is why I prefer to set a limit on a certain task and then plan the outcome. Example: I am doing the 9 week Bill Starr 5×5 routine. my innards tell me to go back to my normal upper/lower split but objectively I know this is the best thing I can be doing for my current goals.

    and yes, sometimes we need to stay the hell away from the interwebz.

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