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  • Writer's pictureJesse McMeekin

A Half-Baked Argument for Transparency in the Name of Skill

New York City is home to a $62 Birthday cake. And that's just the cost for the smaller, six-inch version.

And you know what? It's a bargain.

Being in the fitness space, you might assume that the good folks at Milk Bar (makers of this spectacular cake) guard their recipe jealously. I mean, online fitness is the land of $100 eBooks, 8 Week Bicep Blast Challenges, and "two training spots that just opened up", because, if you're not monetizing it, someone else will, right?

Nope. In the case of this spectacular cheat-day-in-a-box, not only is the full recipe readily available online, it's published on the Milk Bar website, complete with tips.

So what's the point? How in the name of those delicious cookie crumble layers does this apply to a strength training environment?

Milk Bar's approach to their signature birthday cake reflects an awareness of the difference between ingredients, recipe, and execution that's often lacking in coaching circles. Instead of placing their value on a closely guarded set of ingredients and measurements, they recognize the alchemy that occurs in the hands of someone with real skill.

"Wanna make our cake? Knock yourself out; it's gonna be delicious. But when you're ready for the real thing, you know where we'll be."

Contrast this with a bunch of meatheads convinced that their proprietary blend of nonsense has somehow improved on all previously available physical training and it's a wonder we don't do more harm than good. Pro-tip: if you've actually managed to "invent" an exercise after millennia of structured exercise, that's probably a bad sign, not a good one.

As social media lures us further and further into the depths of exercise novelty and secrets "the experts don't want you to know", there's an opportunity for true craftsmen to hold the line, finding value not just in ingredient, dose, and timing—all things that can be easily mimicked—but also in the hand that applies them.

And in a world where our most important ingredients are those wonderfully/terribly variable things called human beings—who come to us in appreciably different versions of themselves on a daily basis—it's a skill that deserves even more importance, not less.

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