T Nation

On Taking Training Advice

There is more then one way to skin a cat…the old saying goes. So there are numerous ways to get bigger, stronger, and leaner.

However some approaches will just not work, for example the idea that light weight and high reps will get you tone, it will not. And it wont work for anyone.

At any rate a lot of people post questions and they get a lot of answers often times they are referred to articles on this site. I feel this is the best approach.

Why would I give you my opinion on ab training for example when Christian Thibadeau and others who write for this site have much more experience in traning others then I do.

If you are going to take advice or give it, make sure its backed up by research and physiology, not just what you think works for you. Look at how Chad Waterbury writes his articles, he backs up what he says, so does Christian.

I guess my point is that if you are going to give advice you should be able to back it up. If you are going to take advice make sure it makes sense and is backed up by facts. Not just the fact that “it works for me”

What better evidence could exist than seeing something work? Scientific research cannot replicate in-the-trenches experience, and I’ll take real life experiences on what works and what doesn’t over a lab study any day.

[quote]Bulldawgcountry wrote:
What better evidence could exist than seeing something work? Scientific research cannot replicate in-the-trenches experience, and I’ll take real life experiences on what works and what doesn’t over a lab study any day.[/quote]

true, but why try and re-invent the wheel? i see both points here go well with each other. try the stuff, and tweak in the trenches for personal desired outcome.

take a big wall for example and put a dart board target on it. without some of the ideas its like heaving darts just anywhere and seeing if that gives you your outcome. with these studies and info, it puts you on the target and allows for tweaking to get the “bull’s-eye”

just my thought process.

Real life experience is great but we need objective information. The scietific method allows us to figure out what is going on with the experience.
It doestn sound like you have much experience with the scientific method or research methods.  If you knew them better you would realize its how we get real informtion about whats going on. 
 For example if you eat lots of oranges and you never get colds does that mean oranges prevent colds? Mabe...but there could be a lot of other factors involved in why you dont get colds, and experiments in the lab and in the field is how we find out.
 and actually research in excersise science CAN replicate experience, you do most of you research in a weight room not a lab.  So you are in the trenches.
 and so what do you think the excersise science degrees people like Waterbury, Thibadeau, Staley have are bullshit.....Dave Tate and Louie Simmons use methods based on russian research...RESEARCH...not what vito whose been working out since forever told cause it "worked for him"
   Not all research is of the same quality, part of understanding how research is done will allow you to understand if it is well designed ie. reflects what is happening in the world and not just in the lab.

Great point…I like the dart board analogy a lot can I use it? I will give you credit of course!

[quote]Jersey5150 wrote:
Great point…I like the dart board analogy a lot can I use it? I will give you credit of course![/quote]

it might be the only original idea i have ever had. naturally, give credit where credit is due.

just make sure you use chicage style end notes, its my favorite.

Knowing the scientific information behind the practice also helps in tweaking. You know which variables to leave alone and why. More calories? More protein? Different workout program?

Sometimes reading the articles, I discover that something I didn’t think was important is really a lot more important than I had thought.

The only problem is that people always seem to think that the current state of “knowledge” is the end-all and be-all.

Okay, there is another problem too, people are pushing new studies at us all the time, and many of them poorly designed simply to allow a certain outcome for financial purposes.

Anyhow, there is room for both science and anecdotal evidence. Often science gets curious about how and why something works, long after those in the trench have figured out what works.

You can’t ignore either. It’s all about correctly judging the source of the knowledge you are receiving.

Hmm, another take on using random advice instead of that from the professionals.

Sometimes the pros get used to dealing with advanced lifters. With people that use fitness to enhance athletic careers. People with the time and money to completely focus on the task of growing their body, including legal or other supplements.

If you are a beginner with a bit of time in the gym already, sometimes the things written by the pros may not work for you. You may not have the ability to benefit from the program for a variety of reasons.

It takes time, but as you figure out what works for you, you’ll start to translate the information given to you to your capabilities or level of advancement – whether from pros or just average grunts trying to be helpful.

For example, some people hitting this site are 300+ lbs with years of sedentary lifestyle behind them. Others are 130+ lbs with years of active sports behind them. Their needs and progression paths will not be the same.

People who have navigated the same path you have, can sometimes give you some great tips.

[ why am I blathering so much today? ]

I agree with your first post but the second…I dont know…Do you really think a regular guy is going to be a better source for a beginner or an expert then say Chad Waterbury, Christian Thibadeau, Charles Staley…to name a few. hey wait a minute i just realized something all those guys have first names that start with C…hey Charles Polliquin…THAT IS IT GUYS WITH NAMES THAT START WITH C MUST KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! man i am a genius.

Jersey, I think it is about judging the quality of the information you are getting.

For example, I’m no pro, but I generally have a lot of picked up knowledge from around here.

So, if I am understanding and repeating knowledge picked up from the pros, there is no problem with it. Is there?

Whether or not you choose to trust what someone tells you, that is always the issue isn’t it. There are a lot of schmo’s with an opinion.

Anyway, go lift something… :stuck_out_tongue:



I agree…and only disagree a little…

Almost all the Pro’s on this site would agree that a lot of what they recommend is based on Science…BUT…

At some point, Science just does not have all the answers, requiring us to “push the envelope” and extrapolate the data sometimes. This is probably no more apparent than in the areas of nutrition, resistance training and supplementation.

You have to be careful though… and as someone has said, “trust the source…”

For example…many on this site have incorparted the training and nutrition concepts and ideas of JB and CT…both base their concepts on solid Science…but there is a helluva’ lot of practical experience that they offer also.

Most importantly, JB and CT have been the first to revise those recommendations when faced with better information.

On the other hand, there are of course the charlatans out to push some useless supplement…OR those guys who suffer from the notorious “analysis paralysis” because of their almost Zealous dependance on every obscure (and limitied) abstact in their possession. To me, both are useless in giving any practical advice…The former is trying to part with your money…the latter is merely exercising “mental masturbation” in their attempt to show you how smart they are and how dumb everyone else is…

In the end, NEITHER usually gives you anything that would be useful in helping one reach their goals.

So…is Science based advice important? YOU BET!

Without a good scientific BASE it’s just opinion…

Is experience and anecdotal evidence important? Again…yes…but make sure it at least has a reasonable Scientific basis…and comes from a reliable source like CT, JB, and many of the Pro’s who contribute to this site…


In realtion to what vroom said…

There are also a lot of posters on this site that I’ve derived a lot of practical advice from…good advice doesn’t always come directly from the Pros…

But it still should hold true that you trust the source…



As I re-read your post…I don’t really think that we disagee at all…

But there are a lot of people out their with a load of practical experience that one could learn from…although they may not be able to back it all up with Science…

(There’s a GREAT trainer in my gym like that…!)


I think the three of us agree pretty much copletly. I think that practical advice based on experience can be awesome as long as it makes sense.

Some just does not, did you read Cacas recent post on how HIT is the only scientifically proven method to build muscle?

He makes that statement and then proceeds to invent facts about muscle physiology, literally.

Oh, and I am going to PM you with a workout that someone posted as a suggestion to a beginner for Abs. I feel it makes no sense in is a best worthless. I didnt want to slam the guy cause he is new to the board but I would love to hear what you guys think about it.

It’s actually what inspired me to post originally. Thanks for your feed back.


Scroll down to whene the guy jkenster i think gives a workout.

Firstly I thought “going for the burn” went out with low weigth high reps to get tone.

As far as the workout goes I cant imagine it will build anything but endurance in the RA and tight hip flexors.

Let me know what you think.

I guess I get so worked up because when I was younger I didnt have a good source of info to disabuse me of the lies the BB mags of the 80s where filling my head with. And I hate to see new trainees getting bullshit advice.

I was gonna PM this to you but screw it the guys ab work out is I believe is not good and if anyone can explain to me how it does have merit I would like to hear it.