[MT.167] The power of patterns, burgers, and creatine
Hi, I’m Matt Tillotson, and this is Matt’s Mix Tape: ideas for remixing the Side B of life.
We should pick our pack of patterns consciously.
Operating on autopilot in repeated patterns is part of life. But we should chart those patterns intentionally. Love this quote from my friend Florian’s Practical Polymath newsletter:
If I consider my life honestly, I see that it is governed by a certain very small number of patterns of events which I take part in over and over again.
Being in bed, having a shower, having breakfast in the kitchen, sitting in my study writing, walking in the garden, cooking and eating our common lunch at my office with my friends, going to the movies, taking my family to eat at a restaurant, having a drink at a friend’s house, driving on the freeway, going to bed again. There are a few more.
There are surprisingly few of these patterns of events in any one person’s way of life, perhaps no more than a dozen. Look at your own life and you will find the same.”
— Christopher Alexander
It’s scary to think how many of our patterns are chosen unconsciously. Repetitive actions, good or bad, have a huge impact on our lives. I have good patterns:
Publishing a newsletter every week
And some questionable-to-bad patterns:
Red wine at dinner nightly
Snacking on cereal in the afternoons (I’m on a Golden Grahams tear lately)
It’s easy to fall into patterns without thinking, and then switch to autopilot. Alexander’s quote reminds us to consciously plot the course.
Creatine fuels the machine.
I’m a believer.
Creatine—your mileage may vary—is making a big difference in my workouts right now. And no, it doesn’t alter testosterone. Creatine is a not a steroid:
Creatine helps to regenerate a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), your body’s main source of energy. When creatine stores in your muscles are depleted, the production of ATP comes to a screeching halt and your energy is dramatically decreased. Supplementing with it increases the available fuel to power ATP, which can increase muscle strength, size and power output.
After hitting a workout plateau, I started adding a small daily scoop (2-3 ounces) to my Greek yogurt. I have since seen step changes in weight lifted and reps in the chest press, shoulder press, dips, rows (up to 80 lb dumbbells—straight brag!) and others.
All while working lots of hours and getting lousy sleep.
I don’t have an affiliate link for you (though maybe I should). But I use a brand I bought through Amazon.
Maybe creatine won’t work for you. But it’s been highly studied and found safe. It seems worth an experiment.
If burgers are junk food, then I’m a junkie.
An Internet pet peeve: every list or photo of “junk foods” includes burgers.
Homemade burgers are big delicious vitamins, containing protein, conjugated linoleic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, and on and on.
I’m forever tweaking my burger formula. This requires, fortunately, consuming a lot of burgers. Lately, I’ve doubled up smaller patties in lieu of the single frisbee-sized ones I normally grill.
The double patties add stature. The top bun perches precariously atop the beef tower at a tilt, like a Bowler hat. It’s a more dignified burger.
Then we include:
Bacon (not chewy, but not crunchy either)
Also: butter the buns (a cheap grocery store brand tastes best) and toast them on the grill.
Junk food, indeed.
Thank you for reading!
Whatever you’re working on or working through: keep showing up.
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