T Nation

The Cyborg Complex (Fitness Related)


#1

I was thinking of titling this thread The Cyborg Complex, but I guess either term applies. I thought Bionic Man Syndrome would apply too.

Anyway, I am going to have a hard time explaining what I am talking about, but I will try. After listening to some fitness podcasts in my car last year because my total commute time for the day was totaling four or more hours per day, something dawned on me, not only from the podcasts but from social media as well.

It seems to me there is an element within the fitness, manosphere, self-help scenes, and forums who seem to be self-obsessed and in a constant state of polishing, refining, refurbishing, mastering, and improving every aspect of thyself. It seems like a sort of self-obsession. What is espoused by such men is in pursuit of creating an ever-improving self, treating oneself like a thoroughbred horse throughout the day.

Much of it is completely impractical considering most people are in no position to pursue daredevil pursuits and to focus on and live for thyself to such an extreme degree. Some of the gurus treat themselves as if their performance in the gym and staying lean is of such enormous consequence.

Some things that come to mind while on the subject are:

  1. Take TRT. Make sure you are “dialed in” with a “optimal” T and E values.
  2. Foam roll and stretch everyday.
  3. Launch a side hustle.
  4. Employees are suckers.
  5. Ordinary people are losers.
  6. A never ending-amount of conversations regarding inspiration. You know, how so-and-so was up shit’s creek, then turned his life around, and is now a seven-figure earning CEO of a clothing/coffee/food/exercise company and is “empowering” men or women to be all they can be.
  7. The ultimate morning routine, involving some form of low-intensity physical activity, reading, and making the optimal breakfast for human performance.
  8. Constant reference to how great one is at age 40 to 60. In some cases, fitness and manosphere personalities remind everyone of how old they are each passing year and that they are in the best shape of their lives in each passing year.
  9. Although there is the push to empower oneself, it seems there’s a cynical view of the world in which one sees the common people as boring, uninspiring, and underachieving and not worthy of one’s companionship.
  10. A never-ending series of diets to follow. One day it’s kept, another day it’s high carb, another day it’s carnivore. One day you stay away from dairy, the next day you can have it. Stay away from beans; they’re toxic. Eat a lot of veggies. Actually, no, you don’t have to; now you can do carnivore.
  11. Don’t get married; it’s outdated. Too risky for men these days.
  12. Don’t go to college. Wait, go to college, but only if you’re going into STEM.

And the list goes on and on with instructions about how to design the perfect life and perform at superhuman levels in all that one does, which is why I call it the Cyborg or Bionic Man Syndrome and feeling optimal 24/7. After all, cyborgs and bionic men don’t get tired. They’re always on and make the perfect choices in everything, from food, to friendships, to career, to child raising, to partners, and so on.

My take. Perhaps I am cynical but I have no idea how people have such emotional room for such navel gazing and overthinking or brass to recommend what every field a man should get into. Most people are indeed ordinary, attending work, raising kids, and have no time to constantly polish ever facet of their body and soul.

When I had a 90-120 minute commute to and from work for about a year, my morning routine consisted of brushing my teeth, eating breakfast and getting dressed, all while saying to myself, “I gotta get the ----- out of here!”
No stretching, no “reflecting on my day/life”, and some reading while eating.

Now my morning routine goes like this. If it’s a lifting day, wake up at 4:45 AM, sometimes very drowsy, thinking to myself, “I don’t want to do this. It’s freezing outside!” Change into gym clothes, drink coffee (usually Turkish coffee because it’s quick to make), and head to the gym. While in the gym, I love it, but there’s the constant nagging thought of needing to get it done and I look at the clock often. Head back home, shower, eat, clean, get dressed, leave! If my son wakes up, take care of him a bit. The routine is similar when I do cardio outdoors in the morning.

No reflecting, no brooding, and really no mental sparks going off. I don’t go to a job in which I am “making it rain”, “crushing it”, or “killing it”. I’m not constantly improving myself, reading a book every week, and only surrounding myself with extraordinary people. I work out three times per week, do cardio, and sometimes have to miss workouts simply because things pop up. I have a modest home and by New York’s standards, a modest salary.

I realized I’m not a cyborg. I have some baggage, but I have shaken off a lot of baggage. And yet I am pretty darn happy with my ordinary life. I usually don’t ingratiate myself, but I think considering what I’ve been through, I’ve come a long way. I might have had the ability to be a modern-day cyborg if I had the appropriate conditions to do so, but that’s not how my life went.

Does anyone get my point from all this? I apologize if it is a disjointed ramble, but it came to my mind that personalities in the fitness/self-help/manosphere (there’s a pipeline and connection with all of them) talk about the life of a superhuman/cyborg/bionic/ubermensch. A man who doesn’t age and has it all, and always all.

I noticed a common streak amongst them as well. Most don’t have kids and were never employed or seem to be unemployable or incapable of working in groups, which probably provided or provides the time necessary for constantly furbishing thyself.

What about you? Are you a cyborg or looking to be one? When does such a pursuit cross the line and become a narcissistic or self-obsessed endeavor?

I don’t mind jokes. However, if you don’t like this post, you can just not respond.

~Brick


#2

I was building a fly rod the other day. It went like this-

Screwed up the start of the wrap to hold a guide on. Restart.

Screwed up the end of the wrap. Restart.

Cut the thread wrong. Restart. Again.

Realized I placed the guide wrong. Off by about 5 degrees. Messed with that for 20 minutes. 2 more restarts.

Applied the epoxy fairly well. 24 hrs. curing time.

Touched up a few parts. 24 hrs. curing.

But the picture on insta would be “Done!” #I’m so awrsome #lookatwhaticandowithstring! #imsuchaninspirationtomyself

No one wants to see the mistakes or the processes, the scripting, the video editing teams, etc. They just want to see the pretty pictures.


#3

Damn…this sounds allot like myself. To be honest this sounds like the norm for most people. While what is described as Cyborg is the oddity.


#4

If you were to strip off the social media influencer BS, pathetic motivational quotes and otherwise narcissistic behavior would you describe this as highly ambitious?


#5

I just want to say that “cyborg” is our word, and it’s not cool when you use it.

Otherwise though, anyone who isn’t tired isn’t running on optimal; they are being mediocre. Success is exhausting.


#6

It is highly ambitious in polishing and refining the self, telling other men what’s best for them, belittling people and society at large, and promoting a fantasy land in which there should be no trials and tribulations, discomfort, and inconvenience.

Of course some provide a service, that being personal training, whether it’s on or offline. And some have had some good things to say and accurate observations on the relations of the sexes these days. Some are entertaining.

However, I am referring primarily to self-obsession and silly ideas of how daily living can go for most people.

Actually, of the men I know who have or are “making it rain”, attended Ivy League schools or who are in STEM or medical professions have little time for self-obsession and furbishing of every aspect of their personality and body. Kind of hard to do when one works 40 to 60 hours per week, has kids, a home, wife, maybe an ill relative or two, maybe a special-needs child, and so forth. Even people who aren’t in high-driven fields don’t have such time.

This reminds me of a video I viewed one day in which a well-known IFBB bodybuilder showed his full day of eating seven well-prepared meals. It featured him shopping, lying around, cooking, cleaning, and eating. When i saw this video, I thought to myself, “I think my grandpa would want to kick this guy’s ass.” For one reason or another, most of my family members find self-obsession in others very off-putting, and it perhaps rubbed off on me belatedly and why they thought my passion for bodybuilding was silly too.


#7

This is true. Hence the little time for self-obsession in successful people.

And in this successful bunch, I am not just talking about millionaires or people changing the world; I’m lumping in all upstanding, civic-minded people who do good jobs in whatever field they’re in and doing their best in child raising or being involved in their communities and so forth. My mom worked 30 years as a teacher in ESL to nearly all foreign children, some of whom were hard to discipline. Sometimes she worked extra jobs in addition to the regular work week. She raised two sons on her own, one of whom had serious troubles, even a legal one. She takes care of my sick grandmother now. She has been damn tired for much of her life! I consider her a success and highly selfless.


#8

Yes, but a good question is, are they walking around ready to perform sexually on demand? I read when your T is at 800 ng/dl or above, nothing ever goes wrong. No waking up tired, no brain fog, no ED, no dull workouts. :slight_smile:


#9

No idea; I have never propositioned them.


#10

Only if you consider falling off of a cliff or being mauled by a real bear sized bear in an attempt to get a selfie “ambitious”.

Joking of course, but these are real things that have happened, and will continue to happen in pursuit or maintainance of the much coveted title of Social Media Influencer.


#11

What do you think of what I said besides social media influence. I mean what I said in the practices or views of a cyborg listed above and the constant taking care of the self, “anti-aging”, and bucking the system.


#12

To remove one hassle from your day you could put your coffee maker on a timer so your coffee is waiting when you wake up.


#13

I only have a French press and Turkish coffee tin here. Thanks for the tip though.


#14

Less time on social media too for that matter, haha.

I genuinely don’t encounter these folks in my life, but that could be why. The closest I come is my daily minute of insanity from Jon Andersen.


#15

There are certain components of the cyborg.

  1. “TRT” or steroid cycle. (Quotes are used for TRT because some see TRT as an option, not actually needed medicine and nothing more than that. They use it to “optimize”.
  2. Daily recovery techniques: meditation, foam rolling, stretching.
  3. Always being on. This goes for everything. You’re always attentive, memorize everyone’s name, give firm handshakes, always generous, and thinking positive thoughts.
  4. There is no inconvenience in life. Nothing bad happens. Attempts should be made to remove any chance of it.
  5. Only associate with smart, rich, and extraordinary people.
  6. Have no prejudices.
  7. Listen to hip-hop or aggressive metal.
  8. Constantly rotate diets.
  9. Maintain a training schedule as if life depends on it.
  10. Have a pitbull. This shows your operating on a higher level, even in choice of a dog. Ties in with item 7 above.
  11. This is a big one. Never be employed. Employment is for suckers.
  12. Don’t go to college. College is for suckers. Like in employment, how dare a teacher or employer tell you what to do. You know more than them after all.
  13. Don’t marry. You don’t want to be a beta male and “slave” to a family.

There are other characteristics to be filled. I’ll try to list more later.


#16

I don’t come across these people too often, if ever. I get who you’re describing now though. Initially, I assumed it was an ambitious narcissist, but it’s really more than that. My wife and I were actually talking about this last night and again this morning. I have a general avoidance to people who self-describe themselves as ‘influencer’, ‘creative’ (pretty common in PNW for people to say “I am a PNW creative”), etc.

Your list above is to a T a buddy from college whom I occasionally run into. Last time I saw him, about a year ago, he had just gotten his second pit bull.

Edit: just looked him up on Instagram. He drives a pearl Cadillac and there is a video of him blaring hip-hop while he waves less than five fingers in the air.


#17

I’m a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton


#18

#19

^You guys ever heard that before?


#20

Didn’t make it past the first 2 seconds.