How to Cook Up a Great Workout

How to Cook Up a Great Workout

My latest obsession is The Chef Show on Netflix.

Together, Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi kick it in the kitchen with chefs and other celebrities as they make and eat all types of good food.

Throughout the show, Roy plays the Obi-Wan to Jon and teaches the tricks of the trade when working in the kitchen. It shows the disparity between a home chef’s passion-derived skill vs. the years of experience and advanced training of a master chef.


Subtle differences, such as a scooping technique, can make good food exceptional.

It’s kind of like a workout. With some effort, anyone can get sweaty and make some progress in the gym, but then with experience and expertise, a good training program becomes excellent.

Here are three things that experts do in the gym.

The Sauce and Side Dish

I feel pretty good about my work in the kitchen.  

I can whip up a great entree—huge thanks to Samin Nosrat’s book Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat—but the thing I’m missing in my cooking for the next level is a great side dish to accompany the protein. I believe this is one thing that makes a remarkable cook.

In a workout program, I believe this is a differentiator as well.

Progressing the core lifts—squats, deadlifts, presses, pullups, etc.— you can structure a great program and get strong. Throw in some conditioning to get your heart rate up, and now you’re super fit. 

It’s the 20% that yields 80% of the results.  

But then add some accessory exercises to complement the plan, and you take your training even further. It’s this work where specific goals are best achieved, and limiters are overcome.

Work on the Fly

A telltale sign of the remarkably fit is remarkable consistency. And those who struggle to keep their fitness trending upwards seem to get thrown off when life events throw off the routine.

Traveling, life commitments, or weird things like global pandemics, can throw a wrench in a workout program.

But just like a trained chef can create a gourmet dish from a hodgepodge of ingredients, an experienced trainee can find a stimulus to improve their fitness when it’s not easy.

Pushups and suitcase rows in a hotel room aren’t going to win you any awards, just like a can of tuna fish and some olives won’t win any Beard Awards, but it’s the small trials and consistency that keep you motivated keep going.

Learn and Do More

Chef Roy came to fame with his food truck Kogi. A blend of Korean, Mexican, and American cooking, in which he helped to pioneer the gourmet food truck movement.

He has found mastery in a specific art of cooking, but throughout the show, he dabbles in other styles that are not his own—such as baking, smoking, and gourmet cuisine.

Related to our exercise, we all tend to get caught in our specialty— and if you make a living or find the greatest happiness with that thing, then it’s worth investing in becoming a master.

But creating some diversity in your training is also worth it.

The experience you gain can help you in your craft, and you may find a new “flavor” that you like just as much. 

Building Masters

I hope that this newsletter and the other content we put out helps in your training to become a master chef in the gym and in your sport.

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