Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beyond the blogs

My posting frequency has falen a bit recently.  Along with my desire to keep things simple I think I've mentioned my frustraion with the fad approaches and gurus, which both offer success apart from the basics.  Patience, realistic expectations, consistency - they are what matter.

I think I've mentioned before my view that so much of the internet / blogosphere is built on this unhealthy distrust of the mainstream.  The assumption seems to be that "conventional wisdom" wisdom is wrong.  Sometimes you get the impression that people think that the mainstream is intentionally out to do you harm.  The thing is that conventional wisdom is usually the popularised or dumbed down version of the scientific consensus....and the scientific consensus has been arrived at through some rigorous challenge, testing and interrogation.  Of course scientists have their own agendas and there is publication bias etc, Kuhn's paradigms are at play etc,  but by and large the scientific method is pretty robust.  Yes it is fluid and changing but overall there is a position that science develops based on testing and experiment.

Out in the blogs though I sometimes think that we either reject all that - as conventional wisdom.....the Man trying to control you - or else try to reinvent the wheel.

Which is all a preamble to saying that I've been getting less and less from the "amateur" blogs recently and more from those who are addressing the science.


Layne Norton's Muscle College Radio podcasts have been excellent so far, especially the last one on cardio.

Superhuman radio - if you can take the adverts, Carl Lanore has some good guests on his show too.  For example, last week's interview with Brad Schoenfeld was very good.

I've just bought Brad's book and downloaded it to Kindle too, so am looking forward to reading it.  His 2010 paper on Hypertrophy is a very good read.


Ondřej Tureček said...

I am in the same situation, following only those who mix art and science and avoid magic.
That said, we are getting into a grey zone here.
Multiple sets, varying exercises, rep ranges, clever programming...
(first 21convention video): All this matters, but makes a little difference in reality and it's much better to forget about it.

So while Baye apears to be against conventional wisdom, his HIT is pretty scientific, but the difference is he drops some methods that offer little return on huge investment, like various exercises for pecs, delts etc.

If we argued in bro terms: Does Brad Schoenfeld really have something to show for that time wasted rushing between expensive machines all over the gym, few hours a week?:-) I consider Schoenfeld's book the best to date about training. Yet I am happy to continue with HIT, commercial theory of exercise made for everyday's life, accepting it's limitations, because Drew Baye actually got maximum out of it. But if one is not happy with the results, Schoenfeld is the way to go, I have little doubt about that, he is Alan Aragon of training.

What i don't like about HIT is Paleo that comes with it these days. I wonder why as I consider it suboptimal or even detrimental to muscle development in some cases. (low-carb)

Congruent Exercise said...

Chris, the yoga book last year ('how yoga can wreck your joints') and the paleo one last week (Paleofantasy) both got the same kind of reaction from the fanatics: "how dare they!"
Of course, the author of the yoga book actually is a yoga practitioner and science writer, and the author of Paleofantasy IS an evolutionary biologist. Same with McGill, the back guy, who IS an academic spine researcher. So the people who actually study the material are demonized by the bloggers as not being "up on the science", and then the bloggers accuse them of ducking them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks again for the reality checks you provide. Couldn't agree more. Sure, conventional wisdom can sometimes be off-base, but as you said, it is usually truth that's been a little distorted. But there is some truth there nonetheless.

Re your post on Paleo as religion. Not to play too much on words, but...AMEN! :-) You crafted a wonderful parallel between religion and Paleo, and I hope there will be a follow-on (hint, hint). It truly is a kind of religion with all sorts of leaders, all thinking not only that their own brand is the only way to salvation, they also quite blindly think and loudly claim that they are different and they are NOT "sheeple" following the misguided flock of unbelievers out there....not realizing they are just sheeple in a different flock. How sad.

Please keep up the good work, Take care...and enjoy the coming spring weather on your hikes in the hills!


jeremy said...

You said it so professionally. Im so convinced.

dental whitening

JamesSteeleII said...

I grew weary with 'following' the blogs a while ago now. Just a few select ones that I still find value and interest in - though I still get frustrated with some of the 'science' blogs as much as I do with other academics and researchers. I'm much more inclined to sit and wade through a stack of full text research articles, though, that is kind of part of my job description ;)

Brad Rankin said...

Hey Chris, sorry for your blog induced attrition. Appreciate the Podcast recommendations, already a fan of both (SHR's constant ads and 1 hour segments of quackery and shills in the form of poorly disguised adverts get old, as do Carl's interruptions of his guests- but like a sucker I'm there chopping at the bit for a new episode in my queue daily). I'd like to recommend the "Strength of Evidence" ( in case you were unaware of it's existence. It's similar to Muscle College Radio. Take care of yourself and continue striving toward excellence.

Craig in CT said...

I think part of the problem is that new information of major import or impact doesn't come out all that often. Both scientific knowledge, and practical/empirical knowledge kind of ratchet ahead slowly in little fits and starts. The cummulative effect over time is impressive. But if you are checking your favorite bodybuilding site weekly for break throughs, you will be disappointed most of the time.

So I suppose it must be tempting for blog owners to present almost anything new as something significant. And frequent visitors start churning over the same topics and arguements again and again, in mostly unproductive fashion. On top of this, you'll get new people who just got excited about a topic. They will ask a question and trigger off a whole new round of repetitive debate. I'm just as guilty as anyone with some of these habits.

I've been trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to surf less obsessively, and get less engaged by such things, just because I have the sense that my time could be spent in more uplifting, mind expanding tasks (House MD reruns?).

I need to keep reminding myself that I've already found a set of habits that seem to be working pretty well for me, and that I should really focus on the three things you sight: patience, consistency, and realistic expectations.

FeelGoodEating said...

Craig, excellent perspective!


Chris said...

This is pretty good:

Sean Preuss said...

Hi Chris,

I'm a long-time follower and fan of CR. This post particularly struck me because I can empathize with your point that "mainstream science" is not out to get us.

I had the unique experience of working with/befriending several major HIT and low carb leaders during my first seven years as a health coach. Then, I attended Arizona State University for a masters program focused on research in more "mainstream" approaches for nutrition and exercise. I think there's great value (and science) to some common beliefs as well as alternative philosophies.

I'm now really turned off by those who claim advocates of different philosophies are complete fools. There is more than one way to improve health and body composition.

George Adventures In Health said...

In response to Ondrej

You said, "What i don't like about HIT is Paleo that comes with it these days. I wonder why as I consider it suboptimal or even detrimental to muscle development in some cases. (low-carb)"

I think this is a mistake, both from the purveyors of such opinions, but also yourself.

Low carb and paleo don't have to go together. Paleo is best understood as a concept, as Chris has eloquently said, not as a dogma. As such, paleo can be low carb, but it doesn't have to be. It just happens to end up that way for a percentage of those trying it simply because they take grains and processed food out of their diets and don't replace them with alternative 'safe starches'.

In reply to Congruent Exercise.

Have you heard Chris Kresser's discussion about Paleofantasy on his podcast? He's nice and clear about the limits of the conclusions drawn in that book, whilst agreeing with the science behind the evolutionary evidence. I find Kresser to express pretty balanced thoughts and is one of the few who's thoughts and opinions I respect. I think you can find that particular episode here

On another note, thanks, always, to Chris for putting this and other posts together, your work is greatly appreciated.

George Adventures In Health