Let Go of the Fitness Guru Mentality

Posted on 30 Nov 2008 05:04

Don't mess with this….or

The Making of a Fitness Guru

I’ve had a lot of people ask me where I do my reading. What books they should read, etc. While I have endeavored to point them to some good resources I don’t think most people “get it” when it comes to learning, yet. Most of the time what they really want to know is where that ultra-secret font of knowledge is. The one thing that will just open their eyes. An article by some “guru” that will just clear up so many mysteries, they can read it and feel like an instant expert and never have any doubts about their training at all. Funny how doubts is one of the main things that has kept me growing. Doubts tempered with faith, I guess you could say.

Well, that is not the way it works. There is no one or two sources with all the answers. No one article. One book. One expert. This is not how research works with ANYTHING. And research is only the beginning.

There are entire books on my shelf from which, of all the info they contain, I may take on about .02 percent of it. Sometimes research is like searching through a stack of needles for a specific needle, forget about the haystack.

All the time you're developing concepts. You’re experimenting. Observing. Thinking. Imagining. Synthesizing all of this into an ever-changing philosophy. You take chances. You make mistakes. You remain always the skeptic but you never close your mind. It takes a lot of time and effort and patience. It takes a lot of monotony in your life as well. All this to become a guru?

Me, I don’t want to be the guru. I don’t trust the guru. Why? Because for every guru who really is all that and a bag of chips, there are one hundred others who have a secret they don’t want you to know.

And that in a way, could just sum it up, couldn’t it? Things they don’t want you to know? Wouldn’t want the student to surpass the teacher would we? Funny how that is my goal when I help people: to have them overcome my limits as well as their own. Because that raises me up. More and more I want to “teach people to fish” and if they become a better fisherman than I am isn’t that really the mark of a good teacher? In my own training I seek constant improvement. But the old adage, “those who can’t do, teach” well, the problem is many of those who CAN wouldn’t want to REALLY have others do as well or better. Just not enough of that pie to go around, in their minds.

So what is the secret the “guru” doesn’t want you to know? It has to do with conceptualization. A lot of these people really do have some hardcore knowledge to draw from. But many times the pool they draw it from is somewhat shallow. They have one or two primary sources. Their authority figures and what you get from them is THEIR conceptualization of those sources. You get, so to speak, a hand-me-down version of it, if not a watered-down-one.

Something people really fail to miss is that the best people out there in this industry, when they write books, articles, give seminars, and so forth, they do expect you, yourself to conceptualize that info. To use it in the quest to develop your own ideas. Matter of fact the expert who tells you that OPTIMAL is nothing more than a pipe-dream is probably the one to listen to. But then you have the opposite. That is the DON”T FUCK WITH THIS guru. Don’t over-think. Don’t ask too many questions!

Sometimes that is what people need to hear. But if that is all someone EVER says. Then you better be wondering if there is anything underneath.

The ever-popular 5x5’s come to mind. Or Starting Strength. I’ve suggested changes, for instance to starting strength and been hit with “I thought we were not supposed to mess with it”, so many times. Why? Because so and so said so?

Bill Starr and “Bill Starr 5x5’” come to mind. Lots of guys out there talking about Bill Starr who have never read an original work written by him. I remember writing a thread about always look at the sources! This stuff is like rumors sometimes. First I punched a guy for bumping into me. A few weeks later I broke a guys jaw, knocked all his teeth down his throat, landed him in intensive care, and I’m now being held on 100,000 bucks bail.

The reason you can’t mess with it is not due of the reasons you think. The real reason is that if you USE YOUR BRAIN and go deeper you may uncover something they don’t want you to know: They are not the “gatekeepers.” It ain’t magic. They just read some stuff and did some training, most of the time.

I’ve had people ask me about the book "Supertraining" and usually, I tell them I wouldn’t recommend it off the bat because it is very confusing and lacks direction. So I’ll say if you want something like that “Science and Practice” is a better bet. Still very technical, but…

Well, Westside develops a lot of its concepts from Zatiorsky. But they are Westside’s concepts. It irritates the hell out of me when I see guys on forums talking about “Science and Practice” as told by Westside as told by their cousin Bob. Folks, it says right in that book that the info is to be used on a conceptual basis. Yet so many “gurus” expect you to accept an idea of an idea of an idea. I’m only using WSB as a very well known example and nothing more. But don’t talk to me about Zatiorsky if he ain’t sitting on your shelf! It just MAY be that you have a big enough brain in your head to come up with you own interpretations or develop your own concepts from these sources. It just takes more work than accepting everything on the basis of “authority”.

Craig Weller recently wrote about a Brazilian master, Amilcar "Mica" Cipili, who in a seminar said, "The closer to the fountain, the more pure the water." In other words, the further you get from the source, the more impure the knowledge becomes. So very true.

However, we must not mistake authority for knowledge; or for evidence of closeness to this illusory font of knowledge. Authority can be gained in ways that, if one were to truly examine the path back to its source, would not lead to the ultimate source of knowledge we hope for.

Many times, success is more a process of image building than of knowledge building. Because someone is deemed successful they are therefore deemed an expert. Although it is an attractive concept, I do not believe we should "empty our cup" to the guru but, rather, should have many cups. And the vessel we seek to fill, ultimately, should lead to knowledge of ourselves and what is right for us as individuals.

The guru of old no longer exists in this day and age and never will again. To rely on one person and to believe that this person is as close to the fountain as we can get is a mistake. The font has never been so far from us the and path back to it never so winding. We must seek to trace its path for ourselves knowing that the journey is never over. Never be knowledgeable when you can be a knowledge seeker.

So stop looking for “the big idea” and simply, speaking, put your nose to the grindstone.

And remember that at some point training must cease to be an academic pursuit and begin to be…training!

This page created 30 Nov 2008 05:04
Last updated 18 Mar 2018 23:51

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