(UPDATED) Mark Rippetoe (no relation) is the wuvvably assholish Texan expert on weight training or strength training (see below). Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength is in its third edition (some with multiple versions) and has sold 350,000 copies, his bespoke publishing house claims. It has bizarre typography and washed-out photographs, but is chock full of bitchy aperçus – just what one demands of a book about deadlifting and such.

Four line drawings of hip joint with caption: Hip impingement, the primary factor limiting squat depth. This contradicts the conventional hamstring-flexibility theory of squat depth, and it pleases us to do so

“Ask Rip” (sic), Episode 51 (some crosstalk elided):

WOMAN: I’ve got a vegan lifter of about 150 pounds. How do I help him to… recover?

“Recover” here has the specific sense of being physiologically ready to train the same muscle groups again. Everyone in the room knows that, but pretends not to.

— Well, you put him in a home. [laughter] How do you support him?

— As far as nutritionally – to recover.

— He’s got an eating disorder, Joyce. He has an eating disorder, and I – I don’t know…. I think you’re practising psychiatry if you do that….

Like, any of you guys have a vaygun diet question? I don’t wanna hear it. [laughter] I get that a lot.

We’re – I’m not a psychologist. I can’t deal with your eating disorder. It’s not my job to deal with your eating disorder. And it’s an eating disorder. That’s all it is…. But it’s an eating disorder and I don’t know that you’re qualified to deal with it, you know? I mean, what do I say to this guy? Logic doesn’t seem to be working…. Nah, I’d stay away from those people.

Rippetoe then goes on to describe “a standard little skinny high-fashion, you know, upper-middle-class little chick with an eating disorder” (who “wouldn’t eat”). “I trained her for about a month and fired her.” The two are apparently equivalent.

I looked up the traineuse who posed that question, and, while also teaching her not to top-post, Joyce Luke and I had a discussion via E‑mail that shows she knows what she’s talking about. (Then why ask God-Emperor Rippetoe, who knows nothing, in the first place?) I was quite insistent that she had to be adaptable to whatever needs her clients or students had, whether that be missing a limb, being blind, being vegan, or being a 99th-percentile godlike figure (this means Steve Langton). And, rather amazingly, she denied any such obligation. (Then why become a certified coach if your goal is to fire imperfect or inconvenient students?)

Joyce mused about following up on my suggestion that she actually study certain characteristics of vegan strength athletes, including (again my suggestion here) any deficits that cannot be realistically overcome.

Equating vegans to anorexics is like comparing lesbians to pedophiles. Sometimes one does mess with Texas.

A rat bastard, but our rat bastard

The Q&A later covers obese lifters. As fat as I am, Rippetoe asks? (“How obese? The critical question. Obese like me, or, like, 585-pound obese?”)

Somewhat overweight 59-year-old with cinnamon beard seated between classic meathead and slim Greek

That part is a tad unfair. Muscle for Life (sic) podcast, Episode 91: “Now, I’m 60 years old and I’ve got a pot belly, because (1) I don’t care, and (2) I don’t really care. So – you know, and I eat too much and I drink too much and all this other stuff. But, you know, I probably – I weigh about 230 at 5′8″. I still deadlift 500; I bench close to 300; um, knees are kinda creaky these days – I’m not squatting heavy much. But, aside from the pot belly, I look like a relatively muscular probably-50-year-old guy.”

Watching and listening, I think Rippetoe betrays a bit of boredom at the sheer repetitiveness of training these pikers, but, as with Stu McGill for back pain, this is the expert one heeds. One just does everything he says. I can tell you that as an expert in other fields who is ignored completely, so I choose to take my own medicine. Experts all become contrarians at some point unless they have the patience of a saint, and who the hell has that?

Yes, he’s a rat bastard, but, like Nassim Taleb (who also deadlifts and “looks like a butcher”), he’s our rat bastard.


  • (2018.03.11) God-Emperor Rippetoe is presumably the one who didn’t just ensure that a so-called E‑mail activation step on the Starting Strength forums never worked but also half-blocked my account there and rewrote my bio to read “Supefluous.” Hugs and kisses and tempeh by the pound, Mark!

  • (2019.05.13) I’ve decided that Snide-Emperor Rippetoe is a more fitting sobriquet for my fave fat ’n’ rat bastard. It was just last week when protégée Joyce Luke could not bother to answer her own E‑mail and got a boy, Jarrod Schaefer (no relation), to handle an eldergay vegan’s queries. Worse, while arguing with a vegan he purports to be “pursuing his nutrition certification.”

    Schaefer will end up a bigger rat bastard than Rippetoe is, with none of the charm and more of the bile. He’s halfway there already.

    This Jarrod Schaefer is a coach to be avoided at all costs. Joyce Luke is hardly any better. The reason is simple: They will trash-talk people behind your back. Maybe even you.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.11 07:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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