T Nation

Don't Fall for Fads


#1

Training, fitness, exercise and workouts are all terms that have been beat to death and totally misunderstood throughout history.
The confusion has led countless people astray in their search for an understanding and application of effective training practices.
This is where you see glamorous fitness fads pop up left and right, with false claims about the efficacy of their methods and a deeper more sinister goal of selfishly fattening up one's wallet. They draw your sweat, time and money promising you with totally unrealistic achievements like "the perfect physique YOU deserve in only 10 minutes a day!"

What is the common denominator here? Why does this pattern keep repeating itself over and over again?
Well, it's quite simple. The people behind these fads have businesses, and unfortunately many businesses feed on your ignorance and lack of direction for their own good.
You can protect yourself from falling for those fruitless training methods by having a clear goal, a clear "why". Your "why" must also have clear action steps which you can follow to get to where you want to be.
Now you may want to achieve a lifetime squat PR, or develop a bodybuilder's 4% body fat look for the summer season. There are plenty of credible and effective programs for each and every one of these goals. But the majority of the people want to feel strong, athletic and capable of handling daily challenges with minimal physical restriction and pain.

People want to be able to take a flight of stairs without feeling half dead. People want the ability to move furniture around with strength. They want to toss the ball or play catch with their children, and people most definitely prefer to sit down and relax without their backs tightening up on them or their necks cramping up.

I agree. These goals seem vastly different, but they all share a similar process and the unified goal of becoming the human that nature intended for you to be.

I would boil the steps to achieving this goal down to:
1) Move at low intensities frequently. I find bodyweight training to be very effective for doing this. Even walking is effective.
2) Lift heavy objects a couple times a week. Good ol' squats, deads and overhead presses are great.
3) Sprint every once in a while. Any tabata or HIIT style training is suitable.
4) Focus on joint mobility, midsection stability and posture improvement. Yoga and other YouTube famous mobility drills are perfect.
5) Practice athletic skills and explosive power production with movements like hill sprints, kettlebell swings, box jumps, cleans, etc.
6) Finally, sleep and eat as necessary to match your level of activity. Quality rest and fuel.

In the end, your body wants you to be strong, healthy and happy. It also knows how to get you there. You just need to provide it with the proper ingredients in the form of quality rest and fuel, and varied physical stressors like the ones listed above.

There is no cookie cutter program, and the list above is only a guideline. Your body is your body. Through experimentation, active learning and experience, you will find what works best for you.

You will want to stray off your plan. The endless exercises available might overwhelm you. Other flashy and more appealing training fads might also distract you. This is why it is important to remember your "why", adhere to your goal, and be disciplined.

Best of luck to you! Please share your thoughts, concerns and questions.


#2

Damn it. Where were you when I paid for that black belt in Tae Bo?


#3

Ok well, since you insist...

"Workout" is a term that's been totally misunderstood?

Fair play to 'ya, I kinda like this term. No real idea what it means, but I like it.

Those are realistic achievements. Maybe not with whatever fad you're referring to, but they're attainable by the vast majority of people with the right effort and approach.

Agreed.

This presumes calisthenics are low intensity. For many beginners, they are not.

No fitness fad techno-jargon here. Nope.

A little redundant with #2, "sprint every once in a while", but I know what you were getting at.

My body wants loaded potato skins and bourbon. My mind wants my body to be strong and healthy.

Except for the six-step template previously outlined.

Agreed. Which is why most of those previous steps are only suggestions that may not apply to all people. Sleep is very often less than ideal, but bodies adapt and progress continues. There are myriad ways to build strength and drop fat safely and effectively, some of which don't require lifting heavy/explosively or sprinting.

I'm concerned that this advice is in a tone more appropriate for the audience of Shape magazine's forum. Overall, my thoughts are that I'd grade this rant a solid B. Maybe B+.


#4

Are you going to tell us how much you're charging for all of this, or will we need to sit through your whole seminar at the Ramada this Saturday to learn that?


#5

seems kind of defeatist


#6

Show me the way to success almighty Sultan of Strength.


#7

I don't know why, but I found this very irritating.


#8

Care to elaborate?

I can see how the previous version of this might have irritated some people, so I made edits to accommodate for everyone.
Its one of my first forum posts and I am bound to make mistakes. I assure you that I only have good intentions. I dont want to seem as if I am on a high horse, but at the same time I want to share my experiences with people new to this field.

I am also not selling anything. I just want to learn how to write articles that people can enjoy and learn from.

Sorry if I offended you in anyway. Ill try to be less irritating in the future. Thanks for the comment, and everyone's comments for that matter.


#9

Lesson number one of writing in the fitness field or elsewhere, don't try to please everyone. Have a target audience and speak to them.

Also, when confronted with criticism, have some conviction and stand your ground, defending your positions if necessary. Immediately caving in is a sign that you didn't actually believe what you wrote in the first place.


#10

Thanks Chris. Its not that I do not believe in what I wrote. Its the way I wrote it that might have appeared as vulgar, stand offish and excessive. English is my second language and I have difficulty choosing the right words to express my message sometimes. But I do see your point and I agree with it. Appreciate it.


#11

I agree with Chris on this one. I may have found it irritating, but I can also imagine a situation in which someone else would find it enjoyable. It reminds me of a whole bunch of similar things that I've read elsewhere on the internet.

If you're looking for advice on how to write in a way that other people can learn from, my gut says that this topic is too broad and the advice too vague to really be impactful. All you're really saying is that people should lift weights, do mobility work, do some high intensity activities, do some low intensity activities, and eat the right amount of the right kind of food. Thats okay advice, I guess... but it's too vague to be helpful to a beginner and too obvious to be useful for anyone else.

Beyond that, it might also benefit you to qualify yourself as an expert if you're going to be writing in this broad "these are the overarching rules of training and eating" way. I think people would be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you said "I have a 600 lb. deadlift, 42" box jump, and 5 minute mile time and these are some things that helped me get there" or whatever, rather than just putting out content like this. My understanding of a forum is that when people come here asking for advice or starting a discussion, they are under no illusions that only experts are going to answer. They're just asking the general public about their experiences and eliciting advice from regular people. But when someone comes in dumping UNSOLICITED advice, especially when it's about a topic as broad as "this is how people should train," I think people would receive it better if they demonstrated why they're qualified to be giving that advice in the first place.

P.S. Your english is remarkable.


#12

You make great points. I will learn from my mistakes and make the necessary improvements
You are right. This isnt a blog or an article page. Its a forum where I should interact with people instead of posting long articles.
I agree about demonstrating my credibility. I should make it clear that I have lifted for nearly the past 10 years and learned from many people in the field instead of appearing as an unknown person blurting out information.
Thanks a lot. Looking forward to making better forum posts in the future.


#13

I like your attitude!


#14

you didn't mention lifting rocks. I refused to use a lifting program that doesn't involve rocks.