The Long Game 105: Training for Longevity, Patience & Impatience, Vanishing People, Social Graphs
🔂 Never Giving Up, The Decisions That Really Matter, Cancel Culture, Glass, Kuwait, China, and Much More!
Hi there, it’s Mehdi Yacoubi, co-founder at Vital, and this is The Long Game Newsletter. To receive it in your inbox each week, subscribe here:
In this episode, we explore:
Training for longevity
The few decisions that really matter
Patience & impatience
The limits of social graphs
Let’s dive in!
🧬♾ Training for Longevity
In a recent episode, Peter Attia outlined his thinking behind training for longevity. I thought it was great, so I took a few notes to save you some time:
Spend as much time as possible working on dynamic stability, static stability, strength training
Most people spend too much time in zone 5 and not enough in zone 2
Training for longevity: work backward from 100 years old and think about what you physically have to do to be happy with your life (e.g., play with grandkids, get up from the floor, garden, bike ride, etc.) aka The Centenarian Olympics
There is an increase in mortality with a reduction in grip strength and loss of quad muscle
“Stability is the cornerstone upon which you do everything” – Dr. Peter Attia
Peter’s current exercise routine: M-W-F lift (split upper and lower body); Tu-Th-Sat zone 2 cardio; Sun zone 2 cardio, then zone 5 cardio
Strength & Muscle Over Time
Some studies show 2-4% strength loss per year – if you want to be a healthy 85-year-old, you can’t sit around when you’re 50
There is an increase in mortality with a reduction in grip strength and loss of quad muscle
“If you have the aspiration of kicking ass when your 85, you can’t afford to be average when you’re 50” — Peter Attia
Importance Of Deadlifts As An Adult
“The deadlift is a beautiful audit for everything working perfectly.” – Dr. Peter Attia
Don’t focus on deadlifting for speed or weight, be intentional
Peter deadlifts at least 2-3x per week with a lightweight and videos every single rep and studies it
What to watch for in deadlift: the right amount of thoracic extension, a right curve in the lumbar, activation of glutes, activation of hamstrings, wedging correctly
Why deadlift? Super functional movement – you want to be able to pick things up from the floor, including yourself, safely
The things you have to prepare to deadlift correctly might be as beneficial as the deadlift itself
Here are a few great Youtube channels I recommend:
Alpha Destiny (General strength training)
Ivan Djuric (Squat every day)
Strength Side (for mobility work)
Zone 2 Training
Zone 2: the exercise intensity at which you are stressing mitochondria and oxidative capacity the most
Tenants of zone 2 training: recruits mainly type I muscle fibers, mobilizes the highest amount of fat oxidation, and stimulates bioenergetics (fat & glucose in mitochondria)
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks and enjoy the slow pace!
A reasonable measure of how zone 2 should feel: you can carry out a full conversation, maybe not as comfortably as if you weren’t exercising, but still without much strain
You want to know your actual maximum heart rate – zone 2 will be about 70-80% of the realized maximum heart rate
We can do zone 2 training safely our entire lives
Unless you are a proficient runner, street running may kick you out of zone 2 too fast – try a treadmill so you can control speed and incline
Bikes are good for zone 2 because you can measure watts
Zone 2 needs to be consistent and not oscillate in speed or effort
Zone 5 Training
Most of Peter’s zone 5 is on a stair master – 4 rounds of 3 minutes at zone 2 + 1 minute at Vo2 max
High intensity is critical for sustaining glycolytic capacity, especially as we age – but thankfully, it can be improved in just a few months
VO2 max is highly correlated with longevity
VO2 max: the size of your engine; it tells you how fast you can take oxygen from the air and into the lungs for use in metabolic processes you can use
Peter’s Current Weekly Exercise Routine
Tu/Th/Sat/Sun: Cardio days
Tu/Th/Sun – zone 2
Saturday – zone 2, then immediately into zone 5
Mon/Wed/Fri: Lifting days
Upper body/lower body split – upper body Wednesday, lower body Mon/Fri
Lift after cardio on days where both take place to accommodate changes in schedule
That’s a lot of training! But it’s the price to pay to be kicking ass at 100 and more.
Pair with: An epigenetic age reduction world record?
⚖️ The Few Decisions That Really Matter
I liked how Gad Saad explained what the most important decisions in your life are:
These are the most important decisions because your spouse is the person you’ll spend the most time with, and your job is the activity that will take the most significant part of your life.
Getting those right will arguably make your life great, and getting them wrong will complicate things. Of course, there isn’t an easy answer to these questions, but on the job side of things, I found this video of Jeff Bezos worth sharing. He tells the story of why he dropped fundamental physics in college.
No matter how talented you are, your lack of genius in a particular area is often apparent. Jeff Bezos wanted to be a theoretical physicist. But one night, while studying quantum mechanics, he realized his brain wasn’t wired to process highly abstract concepts. Upon learning that he wasn’t smart enough to be a physicist, he switched to computer science.
I’ll leave the spouse question for another time (although I like Joe’s answer to Gaad’s question about how to find the right spouse, linked above). For the job side of things, we should all aim at navigating in our zone of genius.
🧠 Better Thinking
⏳ Patience & Impatience
I was reminded of the idea of the patience vs. impatience question with this excellent piece:
A lot of denial masquerades as patience.
A good way to think about patience & impatience is to be both patient and impatient.
Patient because you play the long game and think long term.
Impatient because you don't let a day pass without doing something that brings you closer to your long-term vision.
⚡️ Startup Stuff
🔂 Never Giving Up
I’m currently re-reading Can’t Hurt Me, so it’s no wonder that this tweet resonated with me:
My ideas on this aren’t fully formed yet, but right now, I strongly believe that thinking you will never give up is extremely powerful.
I can already see the “survivorship bias” and “sometimes you need to know when to quit” in my replies, which are fair criticisms. Still, believing that you will never give up can make you overcome things you’d never had overcome if you kept that “giving up” door open, and that’s an idea that often gets forgotten.
It also comes with its share of danger, as sometimes pursuing something at all costs can be very costly.
Amjad puts it perfectly here:
A way to reconcile those two ideas is to change the timescale or specific details of what you’re trying to achieve. For example, restarting from scratch a few years after a setback shouldn’t be seen as a “failure” or “giving up” and can help someone finally get to where they want to be.
📚 What I Read
🧐 The Rich Are Not Who We Think They Are. And Happiness Is Not What We Think It Is, Either.
The NYT is surprised that people can get rich by making useful products:
There are, however, plenty of unsexy businesses from which a few people are getting rich. These include auto repair shops, gas stations and business equipment contractors.
The third important factor in gaining wealth is some way to avoid ruthless price competition, to build a local monopoly. The prevalence of owners of auto dealerships among the top 0.1 percent gives a clue to what it takes to get rich.
📉 Vanishing People: the Population Crisis
I shared countless resources explaining how problematic a population collapse would be. Here’s another one; it’s a huge and an under-discussed topic.
“This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.”
- The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot
The global population is expected to peak around 2100 at 10.9 billion people. At first glance, this seems like a far off problem, and many would laugh if you even called attention to it. But the change in growth rate tells a different story, having peaked in 1968 at 2.1%. This statistic is much more important. Critically, it is not the number of people that matters most, but the number of young people. Furthermore, the ratio between the young and old in a society dictates its future.
🚫 What Propels Cancel Culture?
The excellent Rob Henderson on cancel culture:
But modern life is so comfortable that people are rarely presented with serious challenges to survival. Thus, people have fewer chances to prove themselves to their communities, which makes it harder to distinguish real and false friendships.
This is where cancel culture comes in. Expressing anger at someone who commits a moral infraction demonstrates commitment to a group, and uniting against a perpetrator demonstrates loyalty to the group’s values. Even if the group is unsuccessful at canceling someone, the failure presents additional opportunities for both status and bonding: What or who is preventing the target from being taken down? The group can unite around this question.
🍭 Brain Food
🕸 The Limits of Social Graphs
I’m currently thinking and reading about social graphs and social apps all the time, so I’m sorry in advance if this topic comes back too frequently for your taste 😅
I came across this video with arguably the two best tech bloggers, Kevin Kwok & Eugene Wei.
It’s a perfect summary and commentary of Eugene’s TikTok series (part I, II, III) and the discussion about social graphs & interest-based graphs that ensued:
The TikTok series is very dense and long (it’s almost a book!), so that’s the perfect TL;DR, even better at 1.5x speed.
A few things I picked up:
A key functionality of TikTok is the ability to remix and reshare content (the content creation happens within the platform, not outside, and makes it possible to generate way more content, thus feeding their algorithm with way more data leading to better suggestions.)
Most first-gen social products built social graphs that replicated who you knew in real life. That works well for messaging apps but not for other social media apps (Twitter is a good example: you don’t follow people you know on Twitter, yet their graph is in-between social and interest-based.)
“The second wave of social is going to be about being more thoughtful about having people build the graph that best matches the need you want.”
People are hesitant to unfollow people, so it’s crucial to do it right at first.
Kevin asks: should apps go social or interest-first while building their graph? He gives the example of Clubhouse, which tries to do a mix of both (you connect contacts & Twitter, but you also have interests.)
Eugene explains that it depends, but he advises the founding team to be very thoughtful about this and not randomly adopt the traditional way of doing things as graph errors are very hard to reverse.
Snap is also mentioned as a product that did very well in terms of building a relevant graph. Like TikTok, Snap tries to create an OS on top of the phone OS. When you open the app, you have the camera and the functionalities layered on top of it.
“PMF happens at the intersection of a feature and a graph.” That explains the lack of success of Reels (the video is from last year, I’m not sure if IG managed to make Reels a win in the meantime.) The classic mistake is to copy a feature from another social app while forgetting to adapt the social graph to this feature. The typical example is that you undoubtedly don’t care about your Twitter connections' stories, which explains the failure of Fleets (Twitter’s attempt at stories that was stopped a few months after launch.)
Eugene also notes that most apps suggest you follow some people first, without even telling you why you should follow these people.
🎥 What I’m Watching
🇨🇳 China Wants to Form Its Own Military Alliance
The likely members? Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and more…
🇰🇼 Why Kuwait Builds a City With a Massive Shoreline
🔧 The Tool of the Week
📸 Glass — Your Home for Photography
I found Glass in response to this tweet:
It’s a well-done paid product that focuses on actual photography and not vanity.
🪐 Quote I’m Pondering
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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Thanks for this edition. Attias and gal saad highlights were great.