Sunday, July 24, 2016


Anytime someone starts a sentence with "I read somewhere", you know that the rest of what is about to come out of their mouths is going to be terrible.  "I read somewhere" is responsible for the anti-vaccination craze, the popularity of the Kardashians, and the belief of a 6000 year old Earth.  And, of course, lifting is no exception to this point.  In fact, I'd argue that lifting/fitness/training/whatever is one of the biggest victims of "I read somewhere".

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I read they were put here on earth to test our faith...and reading that made me lose all of mine

For some reason, people are willing to attribute more credit to themselves when it comes to understanding exercise science versus any other science on the planet.  Try to drum up a conversation on quantum physics and you'll hear crickets.  Electrical engineering?  Silence.  Wanna talk chemistry?  Hope you like Breaking Bad, because that's all people know about that.  But exercise and fitness?  Oh boy does EVERYONE have a whole heaping amount of knowledge on THAT scientific subject.  How?  While I was studying politics, did everyone else major in exercise science, then go on to get their PhD?

Actually, let's keep going down this formal education rabbit hole.  Ever notice how exercise seems to be the one field where EVERYONE is an expert?  You dad is a doctor?  Clearly an expert on exercise.  Wait, he's an ear nose and throat specialist?  Dude, doesn't matter, he went to MED School.  Oh yeah, well can he compete with the guy who is a Kinesiology major? Also an expert in exercise.  What about the dude with the bio-chem degree?  Expert.  Guy with a personal training certificate?  Expert.  Physical therapist?  Expert.  Massage therapist?  Of course they're an expert.  As long as anyone studied anything even remotely connected with the human body, their opinion is gold and how DARE you question them.

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"Dude, it's the guy who gave the drug test to Ed Coan; he MUST know how to pull 900lbs"

And this is the issue we're witnessing; lack of quality control in our criteria of expertise paired with our overconfidence in understanding exercise has made it so that ANY piece of advice is worth considering and, therefore, contradicting any other piece of advice.  Dr. Atkins says carbs are the enemy, and I mean, dude is a doctor, but I read from the IIFYM Leangains guy that anything is good to eat as long as it fits you macros, and that dude is ripped AND has a website!  What am I to do?!

Here is an easy metric for anyone; if the thing you read somewhere results in you doing less work and having less suffering, it's most likely wrong.  You'll notice that people only pull out the "I read somewhere" when they're starting to experience discomfort, because it grants them an opportunity to get away from it.  I've seen folks say that they had to stop losing fat, because they were getting hungry, and they read somewhere that being hungry means that your body stores more fat.  Jesus Christ, what?!  How about people who have to stop training after 40 minutes because they read somewhere that anything over that puts you in a catabolic state?  How convenient that catabolism sets in once the real training and pain begins.  Good thing we can just avoid all of that and get jacked.

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It's how we get stupid stuff like this

"Exercise science" proper is an incredibility limited field of scientific research.  Consider the real deal problem plaguing actual scientists right now; cancer, AIDS, the zika virus, making artificial butter tastes so much like real butter than you are unable to believe that it is artificial butter, regrowing hair where it used to be and getting hair to stop growing where you don't want it to be, secretly supporting the illuminati, etc.  "Generating max swolitude" is simply not on the radar for the most part.  Even when scientist attempt to engage in exercise science, they gotta find the right market in order to get the funding, and that typically means they want to understand science as it applies to UNTRAINED individuals.  Almost every single study you find for exercise takes untrained individuals, and usually college kids because they're cheap/free labor.  For one, good luck getting these folks to actually stick to the requirements of the study, such as dietary and sleeping patterns when not being observed (to say nothing of recreational drug usage), but additionally consider the fact that there is a significant chance that NO ONE in the room knows how to exercise.  The untrained populace certainly doesn't...but do the scientist even know how to push out a 20 rep grinder set of squats?  Have they ever broken blood vessels in their face from a set of deadlifts?  Where is the quality control regarding if the people are even training versus simply going through the motions?

This is why we can't use our things we read somewhere to do anything worthwhile.  Instead of the one or two little tidbits that trickle through the media that legitimize our sloth and opulence, observe the TRENDING information from consistently reliable sources.  Find the people who have succeeded at the endeavor you want to succeed at, and cross reference what they say with the COACHES of people who have also succeeded, and see if you can find the common links between them.  I'll bet you it's going to be woefully unexotic.  You'll most likely find the same 3 variables appearing each time; effort, consistency, and time.  Work hard, work often, and do it forever, and you'll turn out pretty good.  None of these guys were concerned about if they were deficient in vitamin B12, or if they were getting all their protein in the anabolic window, or if they had anterior pelvic tilt, or any of that other stuff that we all "read somewhere".  Instead of just having read something somewhere, why not be proud of where it came from, and be a testament to it's success?

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How did people fall for this?

If nothing else, now that you've read this, you can tell other people that you read somewhere that they're being stupid.


  1. Great post.

    I think you pose a powerful but under-valued sentiment- a reference without a specific source isn't really a reference at all. Just false authority. And so many people will nearly blindly follow that authority, out of an obsession with being taught the best way.

    Recently came across your blog and almost caught up. It's a fantastic resource, really appreciate all the work you've put into this. I can agree with most everything in your posts except parts of all the Nietzsche. ; )

    Keep it up, man!

    1. Thanks dude! Glad to have you as a reader, and Nietzsche is a fun author to dislike, haha.

      Really happy you brought up the sentiment there. It's what I was trying to hammer home. It's ridiculous that someone is willing to believe in some mythical authority of "read about it somewhere" when it comes to their own success. Would you want a doctor to diagnose you off of something he read somewhere? Haha.

      Its scary to be out there without a net, but those people doing it are the ones who will eventually succeed.

      Thanks for reading. If there is ever a topic you'd like covered, be sure to let me know!

  2. Whenever I share something about anything, that is when I am most cautious. If you want to lap up some nonsense that an anonymous writer spouted online, go ahead. But if you want to share that nonsense, you best be ready to look foolish.

    I appreciate the sentiment of this post too. But I also think it is good that people strive to know more, if only they'd learn to be a little more critical and scrutinise things they read a little more.

    Thanks for writing.

    1. I think that's a great personal philosophy to have. So many people don't stop to consider the second, third and forth order effects of sharing nonsense. You get on facebook and find people linking satirical articles thinking that they're legit and inspiring all sorts of ridiculous fury. People would rather react off a soundbite than actually form an opinion based off some research and TIME. A personal hobby of mine is to examine the difference in time between when an article is posted and when a comment is made reacting to it. Comments made immediately indicate that the reader took no time to actually even CONSIDER the words of the author before forming their response.

      Most people don't listen; they just wait for their turn to talk.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. You keep posting, and I keep bookmarking these for later. Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Thanks dude. Originally, it was sort've the point of the blog; I wanted to write a counter-argument to all the stupid things I'd read online and just be able to link to it. Eventually, I just quit arguing, but still liked the writing, haha.

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  5. One thing that has had me miffed recently is people who say "they read somewhere that studies show that people who lose weight end up putting it back on, and then some". I mean, yeah, if you succumb to your old eating habits.

    I don't know of anyone currently training who lost weight and then somehow gained it back and doesn't know why, while they currently train, but it's thrown around as an excuse to allow people who are out of shape and overweight to not have to get in shape, because that's really not fun when starting out.