An interview with Howard Baetjer
It’s not every day that you get to chat with one of your favorite YouTubers.
Tyson Edwards is one of those all-around incredible athletes: an Olympic weightlifter, gymnastics strength athlete and coach, and most recently a martial artist and marathoner. He’s also dabbled in parkour, tricking, climbing, and holds a Guinness World Record in the highest standing backflip.
We discussed the interplay between training, ego, and video content creation, the purpose and joy of functional strength training, Tyson’s background in a number of different athletic endeavors, as well his many other interests (like his new series, Coffee. Train. Anime.).
It was a joy to finally get to talk to him. Below is the podcast audio as well as a transcript of our conversation edited for length and clarity.
Tyson: I noticed that the conversation doesn’t get rolling for a while … There’s a warming up period. That’s something I’ve noticed with podcasts. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that as well. But that’s why I’m apologetic. I can only give like 30 minutes today. It does take a little bit to warm up a conversation before it starts to flow a bit more.
Max: I have noticed it. Not only have I noticed it, it’s something that I know Joe Rogan has mentioned. I mean this is probably an extreme form of it, but he says that conversations don’t really get cooking until like hours two or three. That’s why he-
Tyson: No, that’s so true.
Max: Something I would like to ask your opinion on. Because I’m a little bit of that guy, to my friends and my acquaintances and whatnot, I get approached sometimes asking how is it that I do these things—gymnastics, strength training, fitness, etc.—with such motivation?
And I find that what I want to say is, “You’ve got to be disciplined, motivation is fickle. You’ve got to trust the process and not be so goal-oriented.” And that is all true to a large extent. I love Josh Waitzkin, I believe his name, the guy who wrote The Art of Learning, him and Scott Adams, who wrote the book How To Fail But Still Win Big—these guys really popularized the idea of process over results or goal-orientation. But the reason that doesn’t ring totally true is because one part of the motivation for me, and I wonder if this is true for other people, is that by the very act of creating video content of myself, I’ve hitched my ego, so to speak, onto the fact that I can do really cool things with gymnastics, tumbling, and stuff like that, crazy handstands, walking upstairs, etc.
And that little thrill that I get of being conceived of as the guy who can do all that crazy stuff, that is in itself a huge motivation to keep sticking with it. So some non-zero, maybe large part of my motivation is that I can do really cool things.
And I feel like it’s problematic because any time you put other people’s conceptions of you near the heart of why you do something, I feel like maybe you lose touch with why you did it in the first place. And there’s other reasons why it’s problematic.
But when I see people talk about this question of motivation and sticking to a rigorous, demanding training schedule, I never hear anyone say, “Oh, yeah, by the way, if you want to get good at something, maybe make an Instagram following, get a little bit famous for it, and then boom, you’re going to be hooked on keeping a training schedule and so you can keep pushing updates, being consistent, etc,” you know? Because now, your credibility is on the line, so to speak.
So I was wondering, does any of that resonate with you?
Tyson: Yes, so this is the warm-up question? [laughs] Man, to me, the main thing that stood out with what you just said was one of my core training philosophies, which is very deep, which is to have fun with what you’re doing. To me, there’s a lot of things I say when it comes to the type of training that I do, like the benefits and how I can help to prevent injury and give you longevity.
But to me, before all of that, you have to find something that you have an interest in, have fun doing. Otherwise, I don’t think you’re going to stick to it. And by the way, just for your audience or listeners, my background is in gymnastics strength training and in Olympic lifting.
But I most recently did a four-month marathon training cycle which was the first time I’ve ever done any kind of endurance training as part of a program. So when I refer to that, it’s only because it’s the most recent thing that I did.
And given what you’re talking about, what I can take away from that marathon stint that I did is that there were times when I would wake up for my run that was scheduled and I just didn’t want to do it. But I made myself get up and go out and do that training session because I’m disciplined.
But if I was just randomly doing running, if there was no real reason other than, “Oh, I see people run, so I guess I’ll run,” I don’t know if I would’ve got out of bed, to be honest. The reason why I got out of bed is because I was interested in running a marathon. I was committed to doing the training and I enjoyed the process of conditioning my body to get better at that thing. And that can apply to weightlifting, it can apply to gymnastics training. But my point is I enjoy doing it because to me, it’s fun to make my body better at being able to do that thing, and that’s why I got up. And in and of itself, that workout in the morning when it’s freezing and it’s still dark sucks, and it takes discipline. But the overriding reason I get out of bed is because I do enjoy the process. And I think if you don’t have that enjoyment of the process, of the actual thing you’re interested in …
When it’s all said and done, I like that I went out for a run or I like that I made my body better and I improved it. That needs to be present or I don’t see much longevity for people in anything. That’s why I’m critical of bodybuilding-styled training, not because I’m against bodybuilding training and people that like bodybuilding.
But I think when people think about fitness, that’s what they think of immediately. And they’ll go to the gym and do their biceps or their chest, or something like that. That’s just a messed up way to train because it’s so, what’s the word, monotonous or tedious to go in and do that.
From someone that knows nothing about fitness, I could think of nothing more boring to go and then standing in this artificial world that is the gym and doing reps, when you could go out and start archery, go out and do a run or bush walk. You could go and learn a handstand at the beach or do open water swimming. That’s what fitness is.
It’s not working on your biceps if that’s all you know it to be. So if that answers your question, that’s what I got out of what you were saying at the time.
Max: No. I mean you intuited exactly what’s true for me, which is that it’s very fun. So there’s a reason why I do gymnastics and not any of the countless other physical endeavors, it’s because what it sparks so much joy.
My disposition is such that I get somewhat of an ego rush. But I do gymnastics and not any of the other sports because at bottom, it sparks so much joy pushing myself and finding out what it is that my body can do.
Tyson: You’re motivated intrinsically which is the important thing. You’re not motivated by wanting clout. You know what I mean?
Max: That’s right.
Tyson: It gives a boost, an ego boost. But if there was no Instagram, if there was no one watching, I still wouldn’t choose bicep curls, which is the important thing.
Max: And we did not yet get to your introduction. I’d love to hear you describe what it is that you do and what occupies you in your own words.
Tyson: Oh, man. To unpack it, I could say that I’m a generalist. I don’t really like to use that word much, but I think it’s a really good way to summarize what I do, because I don’t associate really with any specific sport or movement. I’m just heavily into making my body better at doing things.
And I most strongly associate with gymnastics strength training and Olympic weightlifting, or just weightlifting in general. But I did go and follow Olympic weightlifting because I think it’s the best weightlifting movement out there.
Both of those things offer such great foundations to translate over into any other movement which I’ve found. So I’m inspired and motivated to treat my body like a video game character where you just can add attributes to it as you move through the world and get better.
Gymnastics strength training and Olympic weightlifting gave me amazing strength, power, mobility. But I got to a point where I thought, “I have all these attributes, but do I know how to defend myself if I happen to be in a fight out on the street?” An unfortunate circumstance but it could happen.
Would I know how to defend myself? I’m strong and powerful, but do I know how to use it against someone that has any kind of technique? And I didn’t. So I started self-defense training, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling. Through doing that, I found that when I got tired, I couldn’t defend myself. Even if I knew when what to do when I was gassed, I couldn’t use it.
That’s what made me interested in improving my cardio level. And it just flows from there. I think another one I’ve been thinking of recently is if we run all the time, again, this is when I most recently did marathon training, if we run all the time with a cushy shoe surrounding our foot, does that mean that my foot’s been protected this whole time from any kind of stress?
Maybe I’m interested in starting barefoot running so that the muscles in my feet are getting stronger. The thoughts lead like that where I question, “Can I do this? If I can’t, why can’t I do that? And is there a benefit to having my body be able to do that?”
Max: Could you give a sense of the time invested and involved with those activities?
Tyson: Yes. I guess I did athletics as a kid, which I describe as basic stuff; so running, sprinting, jumping, that kind of thing. Then when I was a teenager, I was around 14, 15, 16 was when I was most into, what, the bodybuilding scene.
So I watched Pumping Iron. I think my friend’s dad had a video, and I watched that and loved it and I got into bodybuilding through that. Then a few years, I think 17, 18, 19, 20 was the transition from high school to uni.
And within that time, the bodybuilding transitioned to power lifting with learning the basics of the deadlift, squat, bench press, overhead press. And then from there, because I was traveling to the city, there wasn’t always the opportunities for Olympic lifting and stuff 10 years ago.
Where I live at the moment, because I was traveling to uni, there were opportunities to train in different things because I was going to the city and Olympic lifting was something I’d been interested in purely from just that thinking to myself, “Is there benefit in learning this? Can I do this?”
I saw it in a men’s health magazine. I can’t believe they tried to teach snatch in an article. But I saw a men’s health magazine that showcased Strong Man-based workout, and the snatch was in it, so I did that at my local gym and sucked at it. So I wanted to learn how to do it, and worked out that there was a gym, an Olympic lifting gym along the way to uni.
So I stopped in there. The whole point was I went from bodybuilding—that’s aesthetics—to something functional which was squatting, dead lifting and stuff to an advanced form of function. Because Olympic lifters are strong and powerful, so they can use that strength fast.
Whereas I felt like power lifting was just strength. Olympic lifting necessitates that power because you have to use that momentum to hoist the bar up and get under it. So that was the weightlifting side of my career, and then my early to mid-20s, which was the peak of my Olympic lifting.
And then there’s a fork when I’m a teenager from moving the weights to the side. I was into … I think it was that kind of athletics transition to WWE, the high flyers of the term Parkour and the ones that would do flips and stuff. That coincided with the rise of Parkour and freerunning.
And to me, it was the most awesome thing to see is … I think they were a team. They were probably teenagers as well, the Rerun and Number Three. I think that’s what they were called. I think they had a name before that. But they put out videos before. I think even YouTube was the thing.
So it would’ve been like 2005, 2006, and they were just doing flips and stuff through their city, their urban environment. So that combined with the Life Line wrestlers got me through the whole tumbling aspect. And as I got older, that refined to … It went from backyard tumbling and stuff to circus to gymnastics.
The technique refined as we transitioned. Crossfit incorporates gymnastics now and other things. But you can always tell when a Crossfitter does a handstand and when a gymnast does a handstand. You can tell who’s done gymnastics, actually done gymnastics compared to who has just done handstands in Crossfit.
There was a refining of technique as I got into these things. And the gymnastics side happened when one of my friends at the time, a training partner had gotten in. I saw them and then didn’t see them for a long time because they were a friend of a friend. And their physique had changed dramatically since starting gymnastics.
And that’s what got me into the still rings, and that’s what snowballed to learning about gymnastics in training. The early to mid-20s were the gymnastics strength training, the Olympic lifting and those two things were the catalyst, I think, to focus on mobility as part of that to, what’s the word, complement those movements.
And then from late 20s through to now, I’m turning 30 this year, has been exploring how those fundamentals allow me to transition into other things that I’m interested to making my body better at doing the self-defense, the running, the rock climbing, the cycling, all that.
Max: I’m turning 29 in July, and I have noticed a few things. One of the biggest changes in my lifetime of Athletics and just actually general psychology has been this growing patience in pursuing things. When I was younger, the idea of doing a marathon, for instance was completely just … I couldn’t even fathom because it just seemed so boring.
And yet as I get older, I’m starting to relish some of those things. And I think that that’s part and parcel of … Particularly men as they age, their frontal cortex finally develops when they’re in their mid-20s and then they start having longer-term goals. And I think a lot of that is very true for me.
I’m really curious about this marathon training. I’d love to hear you talk about your marathon training and how it might be at cross-purposes with some of the other things.
So if you could talk about that a little bit. And then I have a little rapid fire couple of questions that I’d like to end with.
Tyson: Oh, I always fail at rapid fire, but okay. Well, I have a video coming out, it will be up tonight sometime because I’m doing this in the morning, of my whole marathon experience. So I won’t be too long-winded or rumble about the marathon stuff because it’s all explained in that video.
I can relate to that so much that I don’t know if it is just because we’re the same age, if this happens to all guys. I can’t imagine it does, but it happens to a lot, is that you learn that more patience and the longer-term goals and stuff.
So I relate to that. But I’ll talk specifically about the marathon, which I thought of as cardio training, the thought of running a marathon is so boring. And the thing is I can still see why you would think that. Again, I address this in the video. But the reason why it wasn’t boring was because I had a purpose or a reason to be doing it.
Like I said, I gassed out in my self-defense training and realized if I don’t have the cardio to do that, then I can’t defend myself. So there’s a reason to improve my cardio. There was also this other … I’ll put it in a nutshell, was this promo event that I worked.
And it was about getting the most steps I could and you’d earn money from it. So there were these average people that run a treadmill trying to get the most steps that they could, and it was this 12-hour thing. So there were people that were there the whole time doing, and it was a two-day event but it was broken up.
There were two weeks between the events. When I saw some of the people that had been part of that day one and that day two, their bodies were messed up. I know this is an extreme, and that they were walking and running for 12 hours, and they weren’t athletes. But that piqued my interest that the human body couldn’t deal with walking and light running for 12 hours.
One of the guys had a baker’s cyst in their knee, which I don’t technically … I couldn’t tell you medically what that is by definition, but I think it’s like a fluid sac bond at the back of their knee, so not good things. Their knees were messed up, their toes were messed up probably just from having bad shoes.
But that really piqued my interest that the human body could not deal with that. And I thought, “If I tried…” If I did that and my knees got ruined just from walking and light running for the day, I’d feel in myself ashamed of my body.
It should be good enough to tolerate that. So the martial arts, gassing out and wanting to improve the gas tank, plus that jolt where I saw that a normal human, who wasn’t unfit, they just weren’t an athlete, their body couldn’t deal with long distance, wide work, it all motivated me to put the marathon as a goal.
So I had a reason to be doing it, which made it not boring. And when you start to get into long distance running, again, I talk about this in the video, there’s technique to it. There’s different types of workout. It’s not just doing the one run every time.
There’s different distances, different times, different paces, different goals for me to work out whether it’d be just getting the miles in the legs or aiming to go faster and reach that higher heart rate, and that working zone. So all those things come into play where you’re still right in that it’s boring to just go out and put one foot in front of the other when you’re thinking of comparing it to gymnastics and Olympic training.
But when you have a motivation and a reason and then you know what is needed to condition yourself and to improve, that’s where it becomes interesting. All of a sudden, what seemed to be just a tedious exercise to start now comes easier. And then what was the second part of the question?
Max: I think it was about … Was it a two-part question? It was just about you discussing your sojourn or venture into marathon running. I mean I’m satisfied. I certainly want to watch the video as soon as it comes out.
Tyson: I think I was just going to make it two-pronged, saying that I’m a long distance runner now. It was an experiment to go and do. And there are things in the endurance realm that I’m interested in doing in the future, whether it be a triathlon or whether it’d be a marathon again.
Because I had a planned marathon too. Because of Coronavirus, all events were canceled obviously. So just I think there’s something to the feeling of running with other people that are doing … working to achieve that same goal, having people cheer you on on the sidelines, having roads closed down so you can do your event, getting a medal at the end, getting your Gator Rater, just doing the whole … I feel like yes, it’s running the distance.
But it’s also part of the marathon is the spectacle of being there and doing it as an organized event. So there may be that down the road as well. But I’m not like, “Long distance running is the best thing ever.” I was curious about it, had a reason to do it, and now, I see its place in the whole picture of training.
Max: You’re speaking to something that I’m really in the midst of right now vis-à-vis endurance athleticism. The other thing, the other topic that I definitely would love to talk to you about would be the impact of YouTubing and content creation. I am interested in the interaction between your YouTubing, content creation, being online, that interaction with your life and your training. That’s something I’m really interested in because I’m at Day One of that in my life.
Tyson: What did you want to know? How it impacts training?
Max: Yeah, how it impacts training. I’m sure you had no idea what your online platforms would become when you started. What was that discovery process? And then how did it impact your training, or did it impact your training at all?
Tyson: Interesting question. I don’t know how much I’ve thought about this myself, to be honest. I didn’t get interested in video editing and video content creation because of YouTube. I was interested in doing that as a kid since we had a camcorder through to now, it’s something I’ve always been interested in doing and enjoyed doing.
And YouTube just happened to come out and be that platform that allowed you to broadcast your content to the world without having any kind of reputation, and giving you that opportunity or possibility to be noticed and recognized and have your content seen and appreciated.
I was just very loosely floating with that whole idea of making what you wanted, putting it up online. And I think it was 2012 that I was motivated by … You know Clarence Kennedy?
Max: Yeah, the Olympic lifter?
Max: Really, really strong guy who also was a tricker I think.
Tyson: Yeah. That’s him. I saw the content he was putting up was literally just his training videos. And they were doing super well, and I found that really interesting to watch. So that triggered in me … Because I was already training, doing something that was quite unique … And it’s more popular now but it’s still nowhere near mainstream gymnastics strength training and Olympic weightlifting for that matter.
Tyson: But that gave me not the idea because I had already put training stuff out before. I used to make tricking exemplars. So I would do my freerunning, Parkour and tricking and put it into … put all the clips together, put them up on YouTube because that’s what trickers do.
So it was you had a season, whether it was summer or a few weeks or a year and you summarize your progress all in one video. That’s where it started. But then Clarence one-tenth of just his training clips and doing quite well with it. So I thought I could put up just simple training stuff, so I cut out the difficulty of editing something together.
You could just film what you were doing, which you’d already worked out to put it up there. And it transitioned then. It wasn’t really ever about getting attention for it. Obviously, you put it and you want people to see it and enjoy it. But it’s very much like the training thing we were talking about earlier where I would make videos even if I didn’t make money for it. You know what I mean?
It’s just what I loved to do. So I think it just moved from putting up training clips to putting up edited, structured training clips. That’s what become the STRONGER series, and there were signs of the STRONGER series coming together before that where it was I would film a set of something and just put it up.
But then it was like, “What if I filmed all sets? What if I explain why I was doing these sets? What if I explain what my goal was and then show the sets that I was doing to lead up to that goal?” So that’s how it started to build into what STRONGER series became.
And again, because it’s weird, man. I remember Christopher Hitchens saying that in life, you keep two sets of books. And for some reason, the way he said that just has always resonated with me. It doesn’t mean like be two-faced, but it kind of-
Max: Wait. But wait, what did he say? Because I love Chris Hitchens. What did he say?
Tyson: He said, “In life, you always keep two sets of books,” which to me, basically means you might say one thing but then you also feel something else. The way I can best explain it, I can apply it in many ways, and I’m saying that doesn’t apply to I say to you, “I like you,” and then behind your back, I say, “I fucking hate the guy.”
Not as in two sets of books like you’re two-faced. I mean like how I was telling you before. I had that whole journey from bodybuilding, power lifting to Olympic with me. But completely separate to that, I had the Parkour or freerunning, tricking to gymnastics, and to body weight strength training specifically.
They go together but they also have nothing to do with each other. What I’m talking about is with my YouTube content, I had that whole training-based content. But then I also have literally just entertainment, comedy value, fun stuff. So that is on the YouTube channel, which is probably confusing for a lot of people.
But there’s such a, not contrasted content, but if you subscribe, you’re not just getting training tutorials and workouts. You’re also getting what makes me laugh and what I think is hilarious and what I think other people could laugh at as well. So that’s the whole YouTube thing in a nutshell.
Maybe one important takeaway point for me, which you’ve seen if you watched my content, particularly the STRONGER series, is the way I would combine training with content creation is it was about setting a goal and then working to achieve it and filming the attempting the goal.
Or it all culminated to this one moment. The series that I made that followed that strategy, really fun. They’re very exciting and great to watch. But I don’t … What I’ve learned is … And it ties back to what we were talking about earlier, is that it’s about enjoying that process.
And with the right training and hard work, you’ll see the results. It’s not about putting all that pressure on yourself into that, if you’re talking strength training, like getting a lift or getting a skill, putting it into this specific date, specific time. And in these three seconds, it has to be got or it’s a failure.
Was it the wrong mentality to have I think when you hit nearly 30? And to have more patient-wise approach is to put everything into that moment, whereas it should be consistency and hard work and it will come. Yes, you want to try and beat the competitions and get your goals and that kind of thing.
But I think it was just that emphasis that was put on that that the series was really entertaining. But as a lifestyle, not appropriate for me at least to set your training life that specific with that much emphasis. And I’m not your typical social media personality even.
Like during this pandemic that I was like, “Now it’s time to jump on the home workouts. I’ve got so many to do.” That doesn’t naturally come to me, so I’m not going to do it. It has to be organic. Otherwise, I’m not going to do it. And it’s been hard to see how much attention such basic shit can get when you’ve put all this work into something you truly believe will help people in terms of preventing injury, improving functionality.
And then a home biceps workout is doing great right now. It’s thriving. You’re like, “Fuck, biceps training?”
Max: Yeah. I mean you’ve been … The life you’ve poured into, it shows and I definitely get the sense that YouTubing is not like the end-all, be-all most important thing. You definitely seem like you’re having fun. So that’s why I’m subscribed and interested in it.
Tyson: I fricking love it, man. It doesn’t have to be YouTube, but like I said, YouTube is just the platform at the moment and has been for probably 10 years where you can just make what you want, put it up there and it gives you that potential for that much exposure.
Max: And then if you show up consistently since 2012, you’re just bound to get a good feedback. I’ve just a few short-answer questions and then I’ll let you have breakfast because it’s Australia and it’s breakfast time for you.
Tyson: Go for it.
Max: Did you start developing a pop in your chest after starting to train for iron cross?
Max: I have got this … People can’t see because it’ll just be a podcast. But if I do this almost like pulling my shirt off motion, when I do that in mornings, it’s this insanely loud crack… Actually, I love it. But it started happening about a year ago when I started with iron cross.
Tyson: Me personally, I’ve not had that, but I do think that the more you crack something, the more likely it will be to crack again, whether it be like … I don’t do this, but if you cracked your neck … I crack my back. As I’ve gotten older, the more I sit at a desk on the computer or whatever, the more my lower back incidents get tight and messed up.
So I’ve gotten into cracking my back to relieve pressure and I never used to be able to. But since I’ve done it, I can do it a bit more and more, and then it seems to be more prone to cracking. So I don’t know if it’s something that I like the sound of and then you started doing it.
You know the movement to do it and it’s encouraged to, yeah. And then the other thing was I think everyone’s bodies are a little bit different. When I was younger, I used to think, I’ll just use your example, that if my chest cracked, I’m like, “Oh, is that right or is that … Does your chest crack? Am I doing it the right way?”
But as you get older, you realize that you will have all these little niggles and stuff that other people don’t have, and now have others.
But maybe people won’t get a chest crack from learning iron cross. Maybe people will get this, and as long as it doesn’t hurt a lot. But I know you’re not asking me, “Is that okay?” But I’m just saying it’s interesting how everyone’s bodies are different, and I’ve learned that over … throughout my 20s doing all these different things and it adapts and deals with the same thing different. That’s okay. Sorry, it is a rapid fire.
Max: No, you can go as long as you’d like. The next one I had was that how do you track all of your workout sets in the middle of exercising, and then also like a longer-term strategy? Is it pen and paper? Is it an app? What is it?
Tyson: It definitely changes and evolves, and it’s hard to answer now because I don’t have anything else to do at the moment. I’m still in that euphoria about the past and having finished that marathon program. Usually, when I finish a program, I just don’t do anything for a long time.
I’ll do bits here and there. But my mind and body just takes a break from the discipline and the strictness of what the program was, and that’s always changed. So maybe generally, I would get a program, whether it be my home program, which I would currently do on Google Sheets, or it would be a written program that someone’s already designated.
I did a Smolov Jr. cycle for bench press, which is this three-week program which you can download the … I think it’s just called Smolov. It’s a phone app. But I think they made the app, so it’s easy to use. It’s just an app called Smolov, S-M-O-L-O-V.
And you go into it and it just lets you track your Smolov cycle through the app. So once you do … It goes down to the rep. You put it in your … What is that? I think you put in your bench press max, and it calculates what reps and sets you could do. The sets are predetermined, the [inaudible 00:43:41].
And when you’ve done each rep, you just tick it off. So it’s nothing too different to what someone who trains a lot would do. I either use an app, I write it on Google Sheets. And then other times, I know what works just from prior experience. If I’m looking at getting back into squatting, which I’m quite interested in at the moment, I just know in my head that five by five three times a week is a good place to start, and to incrementally add some weight to that.
So that’s just it’s wired in my head from the training I’ve done before. I don’t need to write that. I just need to remember the weight last week.
Max: And then maybe the last question, what’s the biggest … Well, what’s a big project that you haven’t tackled yet that you feel that’s getting a little bit ripper and then maybe now its time has come? Maybe if it’s the endurance training, that it’s a valid answer? Is there anything else that’s on the horizon for you?
Tyson: There’s a lot of things, but I can say them but will I do them? Maybe. Will I not? Maybe not. So just from a few different areas … I’ll just talk about a few different areas. So with body weight training, the full planche is always that Holy Grail or that white whale type of thing where that would be really nice to get.
Max: Describe for the people who might not know. I know exactly what full planche is, but can you give us a visual?
Yeah, so full planche is a body weight strength skill. I like to describe it to people that don’t understand as a push-up position while being elevated. So your hands are the only things on the ground. Your body’s completely horizontal.
The only difference is balance-wise, it’s not a pushup position because in a pushup, your hands are below your shoulders. In a full planche, the balance is that your hands are basically below your hips. So the thing with full planche is it is a very difficult skill to do.
But with all body weight training, the difficulty depends on your proportions as a human being, plus how I said, it needs to be balanced. Leverages come into it, and because we all have different limbs to body, that ratio, it can be easier for some people and a lot harder for others.
So if we’re talking planche, people that are taller with longer limbs, the planche will be harder than people who are shorter with stockier, shorter limbs. So full planche is really hard, but it’s harder for me than it is for someone who has shorter limbs.
This is where I struggle with making this my goal because I know that I’m out of time and legs to build that strength and to get close to getting that because I’ve not ever hit a full planche and held it yet before. But I’ve gotten very close and that took 12 weeks of training to get there.
And that’s obviously stacked on top of all my prior training that led me to this moment. And then you see someone who’s 5’5”, 5’6”, shorter limbs. You can just tell. You only see them on the internet but you can just tell their proportion. And full planche is still respectable, but you just know they’re not having as much struggle.
So I struggle in my head, I really should just be, “Do I want to get the skill? Yes,” and do it. But sometimes I think about the amount of time I’ve put into it before. Am I just being stubborn because of the amount of time that it takes? I’ve tried it. I don’t need to be a specialist.
I don’t need to be the best at it. So is it worth putting that time aside, do it [inaudible 00:48:02]? So they’re just the struggles in my head of deciding for that. With Olympic lifting, my very last competition I did, I bombed which means that in Olympic lifting, there’s the snatch and the clean and jerk.
And you snatch first then you get three attempts, then you clean and jerk second and get three attempts. It can very competition to competition. But I think the most common … I could be wrong actually. I’ll just say how it was for me was if you didn’t hit any of your three snatch attempts, you weren’t able to clean and jerk.
So I missed my three snatch attempts and didn’t clean and jerk, and that was my competition. So that was like a terrible way to end competing in Olympic lifting. So I’ve always wanted to revisit that and get another competition where I either get six for six, or whatever, six for five, six for four, just do the competition in total.
Because missing lifts does happen in competition and bombing happens in competition. It’s a really bitter taste. But when I say it’s one of my foundational movements, and to think of my last competition was a bomb, it’s kind of … I’d like to go back and rectify that.
In terms of self-defense, I would like to compete. So I think the most likely would be a Jiu-Jitsu competition. That’s exciting for me. Whenever I think about that, I feel like I get that drop feeling in my heart and nerves kick in and stuff. Because I think it’s just exciting the thought of … just the thought of doing that and testing yourself physically against someone else is all those things, exciting, nervous. I don’t know how I’d go but I’d like to try.
And then I do entertain the thought of an MMA fight, I guess an amateur fight someplace down the track. And that also gives those same kind of feeling, is like, “Oh.” One of my biggest things is preventing injury, and then you go into that and one of the most likely outcomes is getting … They’re trying to hurt you, so you don’t know how that would go.
And then with, I guess, the cardio side, the marathon training, like I said, is doing a marathon again and actually getting a decent time of just completing it. A triathlon. A triathlon seems like a more well-rounded type of sport for me compared to just cycling or just running.
I feel like a specialist, a runner, a cyclist have some major imbalances going on. And to me, a triathlon balances that out. Not to say it’s perfect, but just in an ironic way, given my critic of people that just think bodybuilding is the way to fitness, if you look at the physique of a triathlete compared to a cyclist or a runner, you can see that they just seem to be more well-rounded because they’ve addressed more of their overall body than as opposed to letting it just fall behind.
Max: I don’t want to tip my hand too much, but I follow on Instagram triathlete women athletes. It’s a hashtag, Triathlon Girls or something like that. And anyway, I know what you mean. It’s one of the healthiest, best-looking body types.
Tyson: So that’s … What was that? That was four different things that I’m thinking about moving into the future.
Max: Then any content like either channels or ideas there? You want to do a feature film any time soon?
Tyson: Yeah. I would like to. I’d start with a short film. I think what I’d like to do is make enough money from my content so I can be doing this stuff without the guilt. I know I make some money, but I don’t make enough to live off of my YouTube content.
There’s always that kind of constraint there, and the freedom to go out and do it knowing how to do it. It’s always a risk getting a video idea. So the Coffee. Train. Anime that I put out recently was a collection of three of my favorite things.
And I just wanted to show that range that I think these three things are interesting and could be explored, but I can also do that type of content, that kind of travel journey, exploring something type of content. I knew it wouldn’t do that well on YouTube because they’re three niche topics.
If you do a video on any niche topic, you’re ostracizing people that aren’t into that thing. But that’s also the beauty of niche thing. You’re going to get people that are not interested at all. But the people that are totally love it.
By making a series on three niche things, I knew was going to have a very limited audience. But like I said, I followed my heart. This is what I wanted to make. And rather than looking at that as doing extremely well, I looked at it as a blueprint to the type of content I could make that might draw funding of some sort.
So that’s one area. I’m looking at my whiteboard at the moment, and it’s got a bunch of ideas on it like right now which is … They don’t always come to fruition, but that’s where the ideas go.
And the short film thing does interest me, but I think a few more little things on the YouTube channel like skits, parodies, that kind of thing to get my maybe confidence, organization in making that type of stuff. Because I do enjoy it, but I feel I’ve only … Again, I just floated with the idea of being fully in on making that stuff.
A few more parodies in that will give me more confidence to move outside the realm of training video to fully-fledged entertainment base.
Max: Wow. Tyson, so I have to say I watched “Coffee. Train. Anime.” So you’re right. At first, the niche interests were … Well, I don’t want to say completely foreign to me. My dad’s pretty cool. He showed me Akira when I was young, and I remember that blew my mind. And Animatrix, that was another anime that totally blew my mind. And I don’t know why after having my mind blown two for two times, and I’m a Miyazaki fan, that I’m into it more. But I have a little bit of an aversion to anime for some reason.
But I watched it on the strength I trust you and so I’m like, “Whatever he’s into, let me check it out.” And now, it’s on my list too, Death Note, I think it was. It’s on the list. I’ll boot it up and I’ll let you know.
And if I don’t love it, it’s not the end of the world. But man, just the way that it seems to really land with you was surprising to me, and so it made me curious.
Tyson: Oh, yeah, I fricking love it. I think it’s just because it goes to those bizarre places that a live action film couldn’t necessarily go in terms of the computer effects, special effects, would either be too costly or just maybe impossible to do. And it so brazenly goes to those places.
I just love how bizarre it is. And I’m not talking about it’s just like … What’s the stereotype? The tentacles? Then it starts with people … Or isn’t it like, “Born like the tentacles with the women and the sun.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen tentacles in the animes I’ve watched. But it is a niche topic.
I get that you’ve got reservations about it. That’s the whole reason why I included it in the series, to tell or give people a chance to maybe consider something they’ve not considered, just like the running, and maybe consider it endurance training when you’ve not considered it.
But yeah, man, anime just goes places and imagines things in ways that I haven’t seen any other medium do, whether it be video or movie. There’s some directors that go to those bizarre places, which I enjoy like Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Coen brothers have those kind of offbeat things about them.
But anime does it in … I remember I watched three, I watched Death Note, Code Geass and Attack on Titan, and after watching each one, I was like, “Well, that was a unicorn. I don’t think I’ll find another good series,” and that was just three in a row.
I’ve watched a few that I haven’t been as keen on since. But those first three I watched, I was just like, “Oh my God. How can each anime be this much up my alley in terms of what I enjoy seeing?” So I don’t know. I don’t know what your likes and dislikes are.
But if you like my content, then there’s a chance you might enjoy anime.
Max: Yeah. Well, you’re one of a handful of people that have been surprisingly revved about anime.
Tyson: Let me know what you think of Death Note then when you’ve watched it. I’ll be interested to know.
Max: Yeah, will do. I certainly will. Thanks so much. Unless there’s something else that you want to end on or add, I’m super happy with how the conversation went. And is there anything else that you want to add before we sign off?
Tyson: I think I just want to add that one, thanks for having me on. Thanks for supporting my content. I really appreciate that. I sometimes feel like when I do a podcast or when I’m in this kind of situation, it’s maybe a lot about introducing who I am and my past and stuff.
But I just hope that that overriding kind of message I have with my content, with what I try to represent and teach online is to enjoy your training and look after your body because it’s the only one you’ve got till biotechnology takes over. We should be looking after it and trying to make it as good as we can and enjoy the process that we do.
And as you do that, to just keep an open mind about the types of things that you do, and will lead to just further improvement and more enjoyment out of that. And the aim of my content, particularly my training content, is to shine a light on that, to inspire people to not necessarily do what I do, but to question the things that they enjoy to do and seek more out of those things.
Max: I pretty much was instantly drawn to just how much fun it is that you’re having while also doing really incredible things. I mean people have fun all the time doing basic stuff. But with just planche negatives and that helping unlock where I was stuck, and then just in between cuts, how much fun you have, it’s great stuff, man.
Tyson: Thank you. Thanks so much, man.
Max: All right, Tyson. Well, you enjoy your day and I’ll be in touch. I’ll let you know when the episode drops.
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Max Efremov’s book review of Ross Douthat’s The Decadent Society
An interview with Tyson Edwards, YouTuber and All-Around Athlete
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A brief survey of Richard Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy.
An interview with Alexey Guzey, researcher and writer.
Intermittent fasting for a world stuck at home.
An interview with Luke O’Geil, gymnastics coach and gymnast strength trainer.
There’s strong, there’s really strong, and then there are gymnastics rings specialists.
In extremis, rising to the occasion with a ready mind.
Why on-the-job skills aren’t the only skills to keep sharp while job searching.
A search tool centralizing information pertaining to internationally sanctioned entities.
Thoughts on the (in)feasibility of any amendment to the US Constitution.
An interview with Scott Sumner, a monetary economist.
The details of a day in the life of a Lambda School student.
Progress in gymnastics is not only within reach of most people who can walk but, with proper coaching, can be the most rewarding sport you train for.