Beard of the Day
Thanks to Stuart C. for the vid, who says it should be the 70’s Big theme
What have you…
I was listening to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio today, and he was addressing two things; that he was allegedly a contrarian, and that Mike Vick is an NFL MVP candidate. Cowherd is in his mid 40s and explained that our society is more “knee-jerk” for a variety of reasons (knee-jerk meaning we respond intensely to things immediately and change our minds collectively). We are a nation of young people; young adults have grown up in the technology era playing videogames, experiencing the boom of the internet, and now we’re in the “social media” age. Information can virally spread within minutes across the globe with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Our attention spans are much shorter and our actions are hasty. I know that I run out of things to look at on the internet quickly because I navigate it so fast. I type and click like the wind (it’s necessary for StarCraft).
Cowherd blamed this societal development for the knee-jerk reaction of campaigns flaring up for Vick as the Most Valuable Player in the NFL when he is 19th in the league in passing touchdowns, has only played in 6 of 9 games (and only played in half of one of those games), and his best stats come against mid-level or struggling teams (Redskins are strugglin’ like Brent trying to flex his biceps). The Vick argument aside, Cowherd has a point. There are knee-jerk reactions to everything. If you’ve looked in a “Muscle and Fitness” (or Fiction, as Kilgore likes to say) magazine, it is FILLED with one-time studies and over-generalizations. A study will show that something may be vaguely correlated, and those experts will immediately implement it into their advice (and may even draw up a 15 page article complete with 87 pictures of shaved dudes working out and flexing all the muscles that aren’t involved in the movement). M&F isn’t the only magazine that does this; any major magazine that has any kind of health section will list one research study (without even discussing whether it was a good study to begin with) and generalizing the results. And the general public reads this shit and Eats. It. Up. (to clarify: they don’t actually eat shit).
This is part of the reason why the fitness industry seems like it isn’t salvageable. So much crap has been fed to the layman for 30+ years, it’s hard to say that everyone should know better. The only constant among any of this is that progressive overload training with weights yields strength and muscle while intensity is a must for quality conditioning. Those ideals existed long before the aerobics hysteria and they continue their action today behind the scenes. Relevant research that supports the fundamental ideals is kinda shady since the industry as a whole is what drives research (and funding). It will be even harder to dig the layman out of the shit pile that they find themselves wallowing in. But I will continue wielding the shovel, gently displacing piles of poo until so that I can lead them from their cave of shadows (I wish I didn’t have to link my references although I didn’t link the “Of Mice and Men” reference yesterday).
Two things have to be in effect for the truth to sprout. First, the community that “gets it” — and understands how proper fitness works — shouldn’t look down on the unknowing. Plato couldn’t just bust in the cave and say, “Yo my peoples, yous have been checkin’ out da shadows your whole life, and yous is a bit thick,” (apparently Plato talks like Ali G). Instead we will respectfully lead them in the right direction by teaching them how it can benefit them. We aren’t going to scare them into believing (cough — religion, cough, cough) or coerce them into doing it (cough — tyranny, cough, cough). Secondly, we have to be more scientific about mainstream reporting on research studies that allegedly change medicine, exercise, or health. Find the original studies, determine whether or not it was a good study, and see if it can be generalizable to an entire population. Most often it can’t be — imagine trying to say that something applies to everyone in a world where a gothic teen is the same species as an NFL offensive lineman. Keep a clear head in spite of new fangled research, diets, and training methods. Maintain a commitment to the things that work over and over again, yet keep your mind open in light of development. Ask questions and learn all you can. It won’t make you popular (every time I ask questions at a workshop or seminar, people get angry and have even written nasty things on the internet about it), but it will help you learn.
Helping you learn is all I care about.