A Fresh Start

Back in early 2007, when I first decided to start a website, I had a mission in mind: to parody, satirize, and criticize the Fitness Industry. For those of you that aren’t aware, even the “Amped Training” brand name was meant as a riff on the hype-filled ad-copy used to sell supplements and diets and workout programs. Long-time readers will undoubtedly notice that the site has taken a different direction since those days when the posts were mostly flames and trollposts, a change coincident with some fundamental shifts in my own belief systems and outlook on the world.

Still, despite the inflammatory postings, Amped was always about science and skepticism, about clear thinking, and penetrating the layers of obfuscation surrounding the niches of strength & conditioning, bodybuilding, nutrition, and general get-in-shape exercise. Even the harshly-worded criticisms were, at heart, about clarity, paring away the unnecessary and deconstructing the ridiculous.

As then, I still believe that scientific thinking and what Hemingway so accurately called a shock-proof bullshit detector are critical, whether you’re a coach, a trainer, or just looking to make the most of your own health and fitness. But with a new direction, without the motivating force of satirical hard-edged criticism, the Amped brand feels past its prime. So I’ve decided to change it.

My original passion, what got me into lifting weights, was bodybuilding, which then morphed into a love of strength via powerlifting — muscle and brawn, the typical motivations for young insecure males. I’ve never been much of a competitor, always hanging around the edges of the sport, more the mechanic and technician than the driver. As such my writings have always fallen into orbit around those topics, with occasional excursions into the worlds of nutrition and exercise for fitness and fat loss.

I think that constraining myself to just strength and just muscle has left a lot of potential on the table. For myriad reasons exercise science and nutrition are mutts as sciences go, with very few first principles of their own when compared to a ‘harder’ science like physics. Insights from other areas of biology and even superficially unrelated fields like psychology can be incredibly powerful when applied to an exercise context, as can more philosophical musings about how to look at science and the human world.

I’ve been writing more of those kinds of posts over the last year, and they’ve proven quite popular compared to more of the same, the usual hackneyed and overdone posts about how to obsess over squat form that you can’t change, or lists of exercises to work whatever muscle, or how to fixate on details in your diet or your training that convey exactly zero benefit. Boring.

So, in addition to my writings on exercise, I’m also writing more about those Interesting facets of neuroscience and cognitive psychology and epigenetics and computer science and whatever else strikes my fancy from Pubmed or ArXiv or Google Scholar. And while I’m at it, I’m going to talk more about daily life — what I’m doing in the gym and in the kitchen, books I’m reading, pretty much whatever I feel like chatting about. I make no promises on that front, as I’ve turned into a bit of an e-recluse the last few years as my posting droughts testify, but it’s on the table.

This is no longer a site about “lifting weights” or “getting big” or “making fun of idiots”. Think of it as my all-purpose Batman utility belt of a site, still encompassing my science-minded views on strength and muscle, but adding a new perspective.

On the technical front, this changeover hasn’t involved switching servers and the DNS records for the myosynthesis.com domain have been resolved for quite some time now, so this should be a relatively straightforward conversion. Likewise you RSS subscribers should have been switched over as well, but if not, here’s the feed address. That should have switched over on the back end but you may have subscribed view the http://url/feed method, so make the change if you haven’t already.

All old URLs should be redirecting, but I’m under no delusions that there will be a completely flawless transfer so don’t be surprised if older links redirect to 404 Hell. So far the redirection has been working smoothly, but if you’re missing an article or a post that you think should be there, let me know.

Also, you’ll have noticed that I did a mild redesign of the layout. I got tired of all the clutter, so I took a minimalist approach to a new template and streamlined everything. Here again, I expect to be some flaws with the display and shaking down bugs for all the new templates, so I don’t mind you letting me know about them — with one exception: if you’re still insistent on using IE, you’re out of luck. I’m trying to code with W3C specs for HTML5 and CSS3 in mind, and to be more honest, I just can’t be bothered trying to make my code reverse-compatible with IE6/7/8. Most things should work, but I make no promises and if something does turn up wacky, I offer no solutions.

If you aren’t using a modern browser, preferably Firefox or a Webkit-based browser by now, well, that’s what the RSS feed is for.

6 thoughts on “A Fresh Start

  1. fantastic news and theme.
    You should just make your rss feed post a pic together with the text snippet,
    because on my google reader your news are too small and I'm afraid of missing them.
    keep up the great work

  2. Thanks for the note Matt. Coming from somebody who has been following you from the early days (I think Bret mentioned you in a post 2-3 years back) I can honestly say that it's been a pleasure reading your site. Your book as well was an honest and open research-based assessment of many strength programs that are both misunderstood and misused.

    Thanks again and I'll do my best to use either of my two sites to help bring people to yours.
    -Jon

  3. Matt, I look forward to any and all topics you write about. I learn from every one of them.

    Thanks for all the good reading so far and I look forward to lots more.

    Stu Ward

  4. Great that you're still "alive on the web". Yours was one of the first sites I found when I took my first stumbling steps out from T-nation many years ago.
    I still have your book as a must-read for anyone interested in excercise science.

    Keep it up!

    Jacob Winqvist

  5. Wondering what had happened! Great to see you back. Love your articles: lean, ecclectic, efficient, no hype and manage to turn research papers into something understandable and entertaining. Keep up the great work!

    (On a side note: would it be at all possible to center the text of the articles?)

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