Breakfast Notes #58 (Progressive Overload)

Breakfast Notes #58 (Progressive Overload)
Photo by Victor Freitas / Unsplash

Good morning friends.

Greetings from Jeju, South Korea, where I am currently on my honeymoon with my beautiful wife.

Here is the 58th serving of the Breakfast Notes.

3 Reads To Bulk Your Brain

  • The Dark History of Jeju. The picture of Jeju we have today is a tourist destination for love birds and families, but about 70 years ago, Jeju was a site of unadulterated brutality. 10% of the islanders were said to be killed during the Jeju insurgency. This is a reminder to us that humanity is always capable of evil.
  • How To Have Fun Again.  According to science journalist Catherine Price, we experience "fun" at the centre of three states: playfulness, connectedness, and flow. To find fun, we must purposefully find activities that allow us to play, connect and focus. In other words, we must immerse ourselves wholeheartedly. It’s no wonder playing basketball, Call of Duty or even hide and seek can be so adrenaline-inducing.
  • Haters. Paul Graham’s seminal essay on Haterz. (I inserted the ‘z’) The quote that screamed at me was - ‘Haters are generally losers in a very specific sense: although they are occasionally talented, they have never achieved much.’ Simply put, haters tend to be chronic underachievers. It reminds me to never indulge in the seductive bitterness of envy.

2 Visualizations To Wow You

Codex Sangallensis 1092, The Plan of Saint Gall

The ONLY Surviving Major Architectural Drawing from the Dark Ages.

This scheme depicts a large monastery complex, centred around an elaborate church, cloister and refectories, scriptorium and library, alongside breweries, bakeries, a mill, and even a shoemaker's shop.

One can only imagine what else was dreamt and built during the Dark Ages that we have no records of.

The Visual Capitalist

Cool infographic and article on the FTX debacle

Immediate Reactions:

  1. $554M of FTT Tokens. That's wild. I created 1,000,000 tokens and sold my wife a token for $10. Technically, my K-Tokens are valued at $10,000,000. That's how wild this ponzi-nomics of FTX is.
  2. FTX Arena. The Miami Heat still plays at the FTX Arena. The first time an NBA team plays for a bankrupt sponsor.
  3. Viscous. That's how illiquid FTX is. Only in this visual did I realise how little cash they held.

1 Big Idea: Progressive Overload


I learnt this powerful concept when I first started lifting weights.

Progressive overload is when you gradually increase the exertion level in your training regiment.

For weightlifters, it's slowly increasing the weight you lift.

For runners, it's slowly increasing the mileage (or speed) you run at.

For athletes, it's slowly increasing the difficulty of your drills.

This allows you to overload your body sufficiently for adaptation instead of breakdown.

The crazy thing about progressive overload is that gains seem only incremental or even trivial in the short term. However, in the long run, the improvements made are monumental.

For example, if you started squatting an empty bar (20kg) as a novice and added 2.5 kg every week. In two months, you would have doubled the weight you were squatting. In eight months, you would be squatting 100kg. ho

You would hit a plateau. (Or else, everyone would become the Hulk after five years of lifting.) However, after a year, you would have become much stronger, wiser and more athletic than when you started out.

But, what I love about this idea is its possible application to non-athletic endeavors.

Applying this to focused work is something I want to experiment with. I will probably start with half-hour blocks this week, bump it up to 45 minutes next week and so on.

What’s one area you can implement progressive overload in?

May the sun shine upon your face,


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