What a crazy year it has been. We went through quite the rollercoaster to say the least. And I think this volatility is going to continue in 2021, testing everyone on an emotional, social, physical and financial level.
Not only did we go under lock-down and got stripped of our liberties, but I lost my dog Medax to old age a few months ago and my uncle to covid this month. The weirdness is palpable everywhere. We are social beings, unable to socialize. Our incessant connection to our phones is frightening, especially after watching The Social Dilemma which basically illuminates how screwed we really are because fake news on social media spreads 6x faster than the truth, and disseminating fact from fiction becomes harder and harder. This results in extreme polarization which can ultimately lead to crumbling of democracies, the global economy and the end of human kind as we know.
Phew, well that got pretty grim really fast, sorry about that. It has been a heavy year. I will switch gears and talk about a lot of different topics now, as I usually do on these year-end posts.
Like a plant, you’re either growing or dying
You’ve probably heard that line before from somewhere, and I’m proud to say I am consistently growing my online presence. My YouTube channel now has 94,800 subscribers and my website gets a ton of traffic. I am really happy I’m able to do what I love and help others at the same time.
I’ve consistently put out a YouTube video almost every week and if there wasn’t a video for that week, there was a blog post like this one! I published 6 free yoga videos and dozens more! (check the very bottom of this post for the list!) Also, nearly every Sunday, there has been a corresponding e-mail that goes out if you’re on my mailing list which you should join here if you want my latest content and special discounts on my premium programs.
When the lock-down started…
People got thrown out of their usual routines, out of work, out of pay and forced to be indoors far more than normal and I found myself staring at my screens more often. Pent up tensions created the perfect storm when George Floyd was murdered which caused the entire USA to erupt into riots/protests creating havoc and mayhem in every major city in the country. My girlfriend mentioned how it sucks for those stuck at home in abusive domestic situations which is truly a sad situation. It seems under these circumstances, relationships with strong foundation will remain solid but those with destructive communication and lack of appreciation for each other, are far more likely to collapse under the stress. So we’ve either gotten a new generation of “Coronnials” or a spike in divorces like it happened in China and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of new generation of kids… All of a sudden “online classes” are the norm
It seems as though schools were mostly great for babysitting the kids so the parents can go out and work. Arguably, the most important part of K-12 education is the socialization. Without the social aspect, the best part of school is gone. Are kids really going to learn much when being forced to stare at a screen for another 8 hours on top of the many hours they look at their devices and screens already? Parents taking matters into their own hands and switching to home schooling might make more sense in the interim because with young kids being forced to take online-classes because I don’t think they will be learning very well and it’s detrimental to their health, a double whammy.
School aside, I think the new generation of kids could be pretty screwed up. They’re not able to grow, play, socialize in normal ways. And a couple of my friends kids are already socially awkward and have anxiety as the fear of coronavirus has been embedded into them. Humans are now the most connected they’ve ever been, but the most isolated in more ways than ever. The feature of a disposable lifestyle bleeds onto relationships, making them short lived, or worse, not authentic.
I think it’s going to be very hard for kids to find themselves and find out who they are or who they want to be with the social media showing them a skewed reality. Or maybe they will adapt better than us and be fine, I hope. But depression and suicide numbers are up (amongst all age groups), and I don’t see that changing. In Japan, more people died from suicide in October than from COVID-19 in all of 2020.
With gyms closed down, the world became very interested in how to work out with bodyweight exercises
And this is pretty cool because I’ve been making content on how to workout with minimal equipment for years and made many more follow along yoga videos this year!
- So I made this helpful blog post on: How to transition to bodyweight training successfully.
- And here’s my content that’s relevant to working out at home all on one page
- And all my follow along yoga videos are here in this playlist!
I went to the local park and found a bunch of people there!
I was really happy to see so many people at the adult playground! But it was astounding that they were standing around, doing literally nothing for the half hour I was there working out. I gave them some pointers, and it was nice. Then I posted this picture:
Little did I know that tons of people would come out of the woodwork to lambast me.
And then shortly thereafter, even the parks got shut down…
We need adult playgrounds more than ever
I think now is the time to make a presentation to all our local city councils, convincing them that we all need our local parks (all of them), to have workout equipment for adults. Kids don’t just need play. Adults need it even more, especially now. It’s very sad that it’s a struggle for most of us to have access to pull up bars or various heights and parallel bars. All the parks should have traveling rings and a slackline park and a spot to stretch/do yoga on as well while we’re at it. These are seriously low maintenance, one-time-cost improvement projects that provide extreme benefit to the health of the people, giving them a nice space to move and strengthen their body. It also helps the local businesses. I think we can make the case for it now, better than ever, given the fact that gyms are closed. Who is with me?
Were you like Isaac Newton during quarantine?
During the Bubonic Plague of the 17th century, Isaac Newton isolated himself from society and in that time of solace, he invented Calculus, defined the laws of gravity and discovered that white light is actually made of a bunch of colors. Shakespeare also wrote King Lear. Quite productive when you don’t have the phone to distract you. Were you able to do the same? (I definitely wasn’t.)
Are you the person who is going to get fat and lazy because the gym is closed? Or are you the person who overcomes the constant struggle that is life and self-actualizes their dreams despite the challenges presented to them?
Even for someone like me who has been active without a gym for well over a decade, I found the quarantine-life to be quite the shake up even for me because all parks were closed (including Muscle Beach) which is where I normally workout! So I understand the struggles. Still though, I worked out at home with my simple pullup bar and rings.
I also learned to juggle. And let me tell you, it took me a whole month just to be able to juggle with 3 balls.
I also got back into handstands after a 2+ year hiatus and achieved a 15secs of a sloppy, arched back handstand with closed shoulders while hosting a handstand motivational month in May 2020 on r/bodyweightfitness.
Bicycling was my savior during quarantine.
The bicycle allows me to get out and about, stay away from people, exercise, get fresh air. When we were on full lock-down, I very much enjoyed the calmer, quieter streets with less traffic out there trying to kill me. The lack of smog and freshness of the air was astounding. Luckily, I live in the foothills so I have access to mountainous roads which allows me to this circuit where I end up climbing 2000ft in elevation in an hour which is really brutal.
Another interesting phenomena: Craigslist normally has hundreds of used bicycles for sales. But since the pandemic, bike shops were sold out of ALL bikes and manufacturers ran out because they usually make the bikes a year in advance based on projected sales. I noticed this same phenomena happened in the 2008 financial crisis: People needed to cut expenses and started bicycling instead of driving and people had to find new ways to entertainment themselves in a cheap manner.
“Adjust your mode of transportation by the scale you want to experience the world at.”
Nowadays I mainly ride my bicycle every single day for commute or for climbing the local mountains. I also go to the local park 3-4x/week, take my rings and slackline with me. I do 5 sets of one pulling exercise (mantle chinups currently) and slackline in between sets. The slackline provide fun skills to work on. The rings help increase my brute strength/skills and badassery. And the bike-riding is just plain fun.
In regards to the 5-sets of Mantle Chinups: They are a progression toward the One Arm Chin Up (OAC). The OAC is a monster of an exercise that is quite possibly the most difficult bodyweight exercise in the pulling world, much harder than a full front lever. As a result, I have been able to easily hold a single-leg front lever (where I was at before) without working on it anymore since they both utilize the same muscles of the upper back.
When I first started gymnastics strength training, I wanted to learn and practice every exercise and skill known to man, but a lot of that has changed now.
Fast forward 10 years and I’ve been absolutely loving to do the opposite: minimizing my exercise selection down to the the bare minimum, picking only the most solid exercises that give the most bang for the buck in the shortest amount of time. This usually means one pulling exercise and one pushing exercise for the upper body a la the minimal routine and I ride my bicycle nearly daily and that takes care of my lower body. Here’s some examples:
- HSPU Partial-ROM Progression mated with Advanced Tuck Front Lever Rows
- Decline Pike Pushups mated with Towel Assisted One Arm Pull-ups
I enjoy working out as frequently as possible. But that would not be possible if each session is too intense and difficult. So I try to do the minimum effective dose in regards to stimulus, to achieve supercompensation. This reduces the chance of injury and allows me to recover fast enough that I can workout possibly the next day without always needing a rest day. (Read: Is Emotional Insecurity Driving your Workouts?)
Many businesses, especially yoga studios are permanently closing and that’s a huge bummer
Even as a yoga teacher who makes videos, I absolutely loved going to a class in a studio once a week because it’s far more motivating than doing it at home in general when you’re surrounded by like minded folks. Plus, it’s always good to have an open mind and be a student of life.
But it’s very sad to see that many local studios have not survived and those who have are offering online classes. I have tried to take online/zoom classes with the yoga teachers I like, but it’s really not the same. (And I could tell the spark is missing from the yoga teachers themselves as well.)
While I have been publishing my own follow along yoga videos for you all, I have found myself even following my own hamstring and hip flexibility program to maintain my lower body flexibility. If you have not experienced them, you gotta check them out!
Side note: All “non-essential” businesses are going to be hurting really bad. Many will not survive. Any market with any over-saturation is going to hurt the most. This is a cleansing process that happens naturally in capitalism, but a scary one given the fact that the largest of corporations are thriving in turn. Seems like the future will be more and more of a consolidation of giant companies constantly gobbling up smaller ones.
How will COVID change the work force?
A lot of people think, “This is great, I can work from home!” But now, you’ll be competing for jobs with people from everywhere, not just your town. You will be competing with globalization like crazy now. However, opportunities are massive during these kinds of times. If you cannot see the opportunities, I don’t know what to tell you other than think about what it is you use everyday since life has become cut down to far fewer necessities. (For example, dentists might find themselves quite busy because those with rotting teeth and bad breathe are now doubly aware of it with a mask on. By the way, don’t just floss and brush your teeth, but also scrape your tongue with a metal object and it will further reduce bad breath.)
The separation of work from home is crucial for mental health
A lot of people have anxiety from not having any work or place to go to. Or worse, maybe they are stuck in an abusive domestic relationship. Find ways to separate your work and home and playtime. Go for a hike or a walk every single day. Try to find ways to get away from your significant other. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, rekindling the attraction.
If you’re having issues with finding ways to stay physically active at home, check out my Work From Home Fitness Program which I proudly created this year!
One thing COVID19 taught us is that we have to be very selective with who we hang out with and it made us question who is worth it and who isn’t. Gatherings are now far more intimate and tight-knit. I feel for those who don’t have a strong social circle. If anything this pandemic has taught us, is that it’s more important to have a couple very close friends, than a million acquaintances.
Universal basic income sounded like the most far-fetched idea a few years ago, yet you’re all getting a taste of it now.
UBI is when the government gives you some money every month for your basic needs. It sounded like fantasy, yet many people in the developed countries got a taste of what it’s like by way of a “stimulus” check or really cheap loans. This sounds good on paper but the minute you take away the need and therefore the requirement for someone to seek self-actualization by giving them that safety net: Not only do they become reliant but they become unhappier. And they become unhappier because you’ve taken away their right or reason to exist and to grow. Deep down there will be an inner knowing and inner understanding that the government has taken away all the experiences for you to “hunt” and deliver value. By learning to deliver value is how you gain self-actualization (meaning, to achieve your full personal potential).
Money comes down to a flow of energy: Can you do something of high value that people are prepared to release some of their energy to you? And what do you do with that energy? Do you manage it responsibly? It always flows from those who value it least to those who value it most. So welfare statism can and will be an incredibly destructive force. Welfare has its time and place for those truly disabled, but to give it to everyone can and will break the character of man because as the saying goes: “A mans toil is his happiness.” Having a reason to get up in the morning and responsibilities to take care of gives purpose and happiness in life.
In regards to the financial markets…
The stock market crashing seems to be the start of a long winded, yet overdue recession. The higher you go up, the harder you fall, and we had been going up with irrational exuberance, and why? Because.. when COVID hit, the financial brokers (robinhood, td-ameritrade, schwab, etc) got the most sign-ups in history. Stuck inside their homes, with no casinos or sports gambling available anymore: everyone started gambling on the stock market, presumably with all the stimulus money and business loans and the markets bounced so hard, it was impressive you could say. Now we have a whole new generation of “traders” who think they are all geniuses because “stocks only go up.” After enduring through a bear market myself, boy will everyone be in a world of hurt if they don’t understand risk management or don’t have a long-time preference in mind.
The federal governments printing money became so obvious the BRRR meme was born. Bitcoin skyrocketed because it is a hedge to inflation, its code forces it to be deflationary in a world full of currencies that will all eventually fail (average lifespan of a fiat currency is 150 years). (Side note: To learn more on how bitcoin works, watch my presentation here.)
Now the issue is, the US government has printed more dollars in 2020 than in the last 200 years combined, devaluing the dollar in hopes of saving the economy. And this is happening all around the world, not just with the US dollar. Now with so many business negatively affected and employees fired or furloughed. How will everyone pay the bills? How will anyone without large savings pay their rent/mortgage? Debt-forgiveness might occur in our lifetime. All those mortgages and student loans might be forgiven. And in exchange you will be a slave to the government in some way. Sound a little farfetched? The World Economy Forum lays it out in a video all here for you to see: #1 says “You’ll own nothing and you will be happy.” That is scary shit and therefore: Financial sovereignty has never been more important because we might go through a complete debt-restructuring and a mass “reset” most people are oblivious to because they don’t know how money actually works.
People are very bearish on the dollar, thinking it’s going to zero due to all the printing. But what actually will happen is the dollar will die not due to its weakness, but due to its strength.
Imagine this, most developing countries in the world are always in need of US dollars because it is a more stable and stronger currency than their failing currency. So what happens when the Turkish Lira actually goes to 0? And then another country follows after. And then another one after that? A domino effect of everybody and their mother scrambling for dollars. The dollar will then go through a deflationary cycle, but it may be so strong that it causes an entire melt-down of all things priced in dollars. We are literally going into uncharted territories here on a GLOBAL scale and it is very, very important to pay attention. Work hard, do your best, scrimp and save because the world is in a precarious place right now monetarily speaking.
Now that the media has realized that coronavirus or vaccine is the ultimate clickbait, it seemed as though we we’re going to be locked down forever.
I’m not a COVID-denier. My uncle died of COVID just this month. I know many people who have gotten it and experienced anywhere from mild to severe symptoms. But it’s a bit concerning how fast we complied. The coronavirus will come and go, morphing into new strains forever, but the government will never forget how easy it was to take control of your life and how fast we complied. The fact that our phones track us 24/7 (and we never leave without it, voluntarily), and now “contact tracing” is becoming mandatory, it is all very Orwellian to say the least. Just like when 9/11 happened, it was an opportunity for governments to clamp down on our rights and freedoms, I fear this will be the same. With the vaccine coming to fruition, in the future it seems you will be a dissident for believing in your immune system. And I don’t think it will stop at COVID19. There will be COVID20… COVID30… and so forth. They will milk this for as long as possible. Unfortunately the government hasn’t made any recommendations on how to help you fix your health. Luckily there’s people like me providing help the best we can.
Moral issues coming up
When people were protesting the lockdown, I saw a poster that read, “SACRIFICE THE WEAK” so we could get on with our lives. Some people believe in natural selection and to speed up the process of herd immunity by naturally just going through it. So if you can’t handle COVID19 and you die, that’s just part of natural selection, right? But then what about my own parents and older loved ones? Would you say the same if the virus, instead of killing mostly old people, was killing children and adolescents instead like the Spanish Flu was doing in the early 20th century? It’s a very tricky subject. Then we have other issues such as: If Walmart and Target and Home Depot can all be open without killing people, why can’t small businesses? Are the solutions worse than the disease?
Medax passed away after 17 years of an incredible life together
I have had Medax since she was a puppy. She will forever be immortalized in my memories and in my videos. I made a video saying goodbye to her here in case you missed it. It was met with hundreds of comments and I will post one here that I connected with strongly:
“I’m so very sorry to hear about Medax, what a wonderful soul she clearly was. I’ve only been watching your videos for the past six months for physical therapy reasons, but seeing her appear in each one always made my day. Lots of people have fantastic relationships with dogs that are as profound as any human relationship, but only the truly lucky have that perfect bond, where your different personalities align and you become one. It was clear to me and that you guys had that. So very sorry for your loss, but also so glad that you got to know one another for the length of time that you did. Sending you lots of love and healing, sir.”
Meditation is the antidote to the modern day frenzy
Since I noticed me using my phone/computer more often, I have been forcing myself to meditate more often for just 10 minutes. To just peel my eyes away from my screen, close them, and just breathe. Here’s a very simple way to meditate that I’ve shared in the past. I think the only way to combat the ever-growing frenziness of the world, is to do less. Naval says, “To measure the quality of your life, simply do nothing and see how it feels.” I reckon, the more comfortable you feel with yourself doing nothing, the better.
I think meditation is the antitode to all the social media and distractions. Going on social media to tell people not to use their social media is one thing. But to actually lead by example and simply just add meditation to your life and see if that balances things out, could be really worth it. It’s one of those things that have a very low risk, very high reward potential. It’s one of those very small tweaks you can make in your life that can have a HUGE impact. Kind of like an asymmetric bet. But on your self. (Not using your devices is almost an act of rebellion at this point, and it must be done.)
Just set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone. Put it far away, sit comfortably anyway you like, close your eyes and do nothing but relax, maybe focus on the air going through your nose. That’s it. That’s how simple it can be.
This quarantine has made us think of what we really need in our lives. And what we don’t need in our lives. Use it wisely. Find how you can use this time to channel your creativity to live out the greatest version of yourself the best you can. Don’t give up as creativity comes and goes. As for 2021? Expect the worst but hope for the best. We have no choice but to adapt to the times so that we will ultimately come out stronger and more resilient under this newfound pressure.
Blog Posts of 2020 You Might Have Missed:
- How to add RPE to your workouts to keep training injury-free!
- Are you too tall for Bodyweight exercises? Why Height Affects Bodyweight Exercises
- Don’t be fooled: Why the best performers aren’t automatically the best teachers
- Top 8 Tips To Stay Fit Without a Gym
- The 7 Minute Flexibility Routine
- Top 5 Tips to Transition from the Gym to “At Home” Bodyweight Training Successfully
- Weight Loss and Nutrition Series
- Reflection of the Month: What is the story you tell yourself?
- Instagram Butt, Anterior Pelvic Tilt and How to Fix Bad Posture in 4 Steps
YouTube Videos of 2020 You Might Have Missed:
- Free Yoga Class Videos
- Top Pushup Mistakes and How To Fix Them FOR GOOD with Antranik!
- The Best Hanging Shoulder Mobility Warmup You’re Not Doing!
- How to get MAD STRONG with RINGS (the BEST bodyweight progression)
- How to Get MAD STRONG with PUSHUPS
- How to Train Biceps Without Weights (Rings Bicep Curls!)
- Take your DOWN DOG to the NEXT LEVEL (Epic Detail & Alignment Cues)
- Bigger Biceps from this One Weird Trick (Slackliners Hate Him! 🤣)
- Fun Plank Progressions to Build Core Strength At Home with Antranik! (Follow Along!)
- How to do the Headstand PROPERLY (Full Tutorial & Progressions for Beginners)
- Nutrition Series: