Discover more from Steady Beats | Matt Tillotson
[SB 192] Defeating fear at work, Leg Days, a sneaky #1 hit
Hi, I’m Matt. Welcome to Steady Beats, a newsletter about chasing the good life at midlife: be healthy, keep learning, and listen to 80s music.
Ok, take a guess: What was Aretha Franklin’s biggest hit?
I bet you’re wrong. The answer’s at the end of the newsletter.
Cohort 10, Week 1 at Write of Passage
Cohort 10 is one week into its five-week run. Over the course of a couple of months, we recruit, hire, and train a team of 35+ that serves students by editing hundreds of essays and leading over 200 supplementary sessions.
It’s bananas, and I love it.
This is my second Cohort as a full-time team member. To be honest, in Cohort 9, my work was mostly fueled by fear.
I didn’t want to screw up this thing I’d come to love.
I’ve come to love Write of Passage not just for its impact on my own writing and life, but because of its effect on students who use use the course to change their life trajectories.
As it turns out, writing together creates magic.
Cohort 10 feels different. Fear isn’t running my show. Following a frank conversation with co-founder Will Mannon in January, I realized I am not at Write of Passage to just run the railroad. I’m also here to help lay down the tracks for its future direction. I’m more confident, willing to share opinions, and sure of my value now than I was in Cohort 9.
One student this week shared that the course restored his faith in humanity. That’s both humbling and a heavy responsibility.
We want to provide an experience that is as fun, flawless, and full of transformation and self-expression as possible. Delivering that requires long days and deep focus. But the intrinsic rewards of the work are huge. And it’s made all the better working with a dedicated, talented, and fun team.
Week Two, here we come.
Ramping down to 2 strength training sessions per week
Week four of this experiment is in the books. I’m stunned how well it is working. After plateauing for months using 3 upper body sessions per week, I’m making progress again with 2 sessions per week.
The green on the tracking sheet indicates increased reps or weight lifted over the prior week:
Sometimes in fitness, less is more. Sometimes.
Don’t get boxed in
Avoid pedantry in your workouts. For many Twitter bros, “Leg Day” happens at the squat rack or it didn’t happen at all.
My current Leg Day consists of:
Two hard and slow sets to failure on the leg press
A 2.5 mile ruck with a 25-pound backpack.
With apologies to Lionel Richie, this was no “Easy like Sunday Morning.” But it was a gorgeous morning for a ruck.
Our bodies are unique. Our workouts should reflect that. My legs get strong without a ton of dedicated sets. My shoulders, on the other hand? Lots of work required to stimulate growth.
Know thyself. Plan accordingly.
At the top of the newsletter, I asked you to guess Aretha Franklin’s biggest hit.
Did you guess “Respect?” “Natural Woman,” maybe?
Nope and nope.
Both are great songs, but they were eclipsed by a duet Franklin did with George Michael in 1987 called “I Knew You Were Waiting.”
The song was produced by Clive Davis, who was incredible creating second acts for fading stars. Aretha went 20 years between #1 hits before I Knew You Were Waiting grabbed the top slot.
On the surface, the song is about a couple coming together after much hardship. But really, I Knew You Were Waiting is a gospel song:
I guess it could be about finding redemption with a lover, but the track never hides its churchy leanings. The lyrics are pure gospel: “When the river was deep, I didn’t falter/ When the mountain was high, I still believed.”
As Tom Breihan wrote, if you want to blend gospel and pop, Aretha is the perfect singer.
The song was the capper on a strong comeback stretch for Franklin. For Michael, it was a dream come true to record a number one hit with one of his idols—and his third straight single to top the charts.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the Steady Beats going. 💚
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