Dogma and Training Advice
I have come to the conclusion that weight training is either one of the simplest things in the world, or the most complicated. Developing impressive strength and muscular development seems to be a matter of simply stressing the muscle with increased loads in order to force them to respond with greater strength and muscular development and then feeding them with the appropriate nutrition.
On the other hand, if the average trainee begins reading just sampling of the available literature available on strength training, they will immediately see differing opinions, conflicts and dogmatic statements, which can cause them to lose faith in their own training program. Doubt, confusion and frustration can wreak havoc on your progress. It is vitally important that you have confidence in your program even if it is not quite where you want it to be. Stick with the fundamentals of resistance training and combine that with consistent goal setting and record keeping, and you will be on your way to realizing your maximum strength and development potential. Along the way, you can experiment and add some variety to your training plan. I am constantly “tinkering” with and fine-tuning my training regime, but I never stray from the fundamentals.
When I began lifting weights at age 14, which was 1979; the main problem was finding information. There were very few books in those days, retail stores did not sell bodybuilding magazines and the internet was still 15 years away. Back then you learned as much as you could from those who had gone before you and figured out how to apply it into your own training. Many times this was done by trial and error.
Today there seems to be too much information. I believe one of the most important things is to have CONFIDENCE in your training and nutritional programs. If you lack this confidence, then you will also be second-guessing yourself, you will hold back in your efforts and you will constantly be changing your program as you read and hear about new and better programs. You have to stay with the basics of one program long enough to realize the long-term results. An “average” program that is done consistently and with enthusiasm is FAR BETTER than an outstanding program that is done intermittently and with hesitation.
There are many great training and nutritional programs available-virtually all are effective to some degree or another. Bodybuilding is a much an ART as it is a science. We can use science to explain certain things and to fine tune our training, but I think its a gross error to try and use scientific research to justify a certain person’s training principles as “superior”. Different people require different things ( I have always had a hunch that a lot of this was psychological–but then again we all have individual mental parameters)
It is often brought up on message boards that a person can be very knowledgeable about training even if they have limited personal strength and development. I agree that they can have the knowledge, but they also need the wisdom and experiences of having been in the trenches themselves. People will often point out that there have been several great coaches in the NBA, who were not very good players themselves. This is certainly true, but you can search the world over and you will find very few good coaches-of any kind who did not pay their dues by working their way up the ranks. There are many stories of coaches who were terrible players, but loved the game and they started volunteer coaching at a local high school-with no pay and then learned and perfected their knowledge and eventually fielded winning teams and then they moved on to the next level and so on until they reached the top.
You could go to any college and university in the nation and find all kinds of professors with MBA’s and PhD’s in business who know “business” inside and out–but if they have never run a business and faced all of the thousands of challenges that a businessman faces, then they are not qualified to advise those who seek to become successful in business.
People, especially those who are in teaching or advising roles will tend to emphasize or promote that which they are very good at and tend to downplay that which they are not good at-its human nature and just about all of us do it, whether we intend to or not.
With the advent of the internet, there are many, many self-acclaimed gurus-and its often hard to separate them from the legitimate folks who want to help others. Use the internet and various sources as a 'buffet" taking information that you need-applying to your training-keeping written records and using yourself as your own experiment and then deciding whether to keep or discard this bit of wisdom. You will find the best trainers are NOT dogmatic about their programs-they will seldom if ever say-“This is the best or only way to train, eat, etc” People who say that tend to have an ego or financial angle and usually both. When they say “never” or “always” it tends to be about things that are pretty obvious. If I posted a thread and said something like “Never eat broken glass before or after a workout”, you would all say, “Um, Keith, that is pretty obvious”-my point exactly.
I hope some of this made some sense.
“The best training advice always comes from the pages of my own personal training journal”