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Is Exercise Underrated?

by EricTEricT on 27 Feb 2017 03:09

A YouTube video from a Channel called 'What I've Learned' recently caught my eye. The video was titled Why Exercise is Underrated. Immediately, I question the assumption of the title. Is exercise underrated? The video focused on the faulty marketing of the fitness industry, saying that it focused on the wrong messages. All the while, the tacit assumption of the title was never challenged. No effort was made to examine any available statistics related to exercise behaviors, whether it be exercise avoidance or favorable and unfavorable attitudes toward exercise. Should such statistics exist, I am sure the content of the video would have changed greatly. But how did I know to question the title? Well, because one thing I've researched extensively, written about, and questioned is the psychology of sport and exercise. More specifically, I have concerned myself with a subject I think all fitness professionals would do well to examine: The Social Psychology of Sport and Exercise. To start, a great primer on Social Psychology might be a good idea. I would recommend the text on Social Psychology by David G. Myers. We tend to focus on motivations for exercise and for sport. Well,...

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The Big Bang Theory Of Fitness

by EricTEricT on 25 Feb 2017 20:53

If you've ever watched the show Big Bang Theory you might know that it is an entertaining and funny show, but you may not realize that some of the ways in which science and scientists are characterized on the show are not very accurate. One of the main comedic elements of the show is between the character of Sheldon, a socially inept theoretical physicist, and Howard, an engineer. Sheldon arrogantly dismisses engineering as nothing more than the tinkering of those who aren't intelligent enough to do real science. Basically, to him, physicists do the work and engineers are not much more than glorified grease monkeys. Now, it is possible that many physicists feel this way but it shows a basic mistake in how the scientific process is perceived. So, for students of strength training or human performance, this is actually a good illustration of a common misconception about science, and it can serve to illustrate some of the misunderstandings of how science and scientific evidence can be used to inform training for increased human performance. What is Doing Science? Do engineers do science, or do they just build things? Let's say automotive engineers are designing a car. They might...

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If You Strength Train In the Morning, Drink Water

by EricTEricT on 20 Feb 2017 18:06

I've long heard the advice that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day and you should not wait until you are thirsty. This is a myth that has been debunked many times. Thirst is actually an excellent indicator of when you should drink fluids. However, when you are exercising or competing in the hot sun, you should be proactive with your hydration. Related to this is the advice that you should always drink water first thing in the morning because you wake up dehydrated. How is Dehydration Defined? Is this true? Are you dehydrated first thing in the morning and does this mean it is imperative that you drink a glass of water right after you get up? Dehydration is defined by the amount of fluid loss as a percentage of body weight. Since you body is mostly water, this makes sense. If you lose a large amount of body weight in a very short time, most of it is probably fluid loss. Mild dehydration is considered to be around 5% loss of body weight (in fluids). A 10% loss is considered moderate dehydration, and a 15% loss is considered severe. Morning Dehydration So, do you start the day having lost 5% of your body weight in fluid while you slept? This would mean, mind you, that if you...

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What is Myalgia? Video Presentation

by EricTEricT on 11 Feb 2017 22:41

Full Transcript of Help, I have Myalgia! In this video I want to talk about the word myalgia, because I've noticed, as of late, more questions and concerns over the condition of myalgia. So I thought it'd be a good idea to explain something about this condition because when I see people expressing general concern over their myalgia condition, I have to worry about the state of information overload on the net. Myalgia is just a fancy, scientific term for muscle pain. It can refer to any type of muscle pain, whether dull, sharp, piercing, etc. The my- part of the word comes from the root word myo which refers to muscle and the -algia suffix at the end means basically pain or a painful condition of. I suspect that the emergence of these concerns has to do with people writing articles about muscle pain and using this myalgia jargon to sound more scientific or legit. The article might just be about benign and normal pain, but when people see a word like myalgia, they are led to think of a serious pathological condition. Suddenly, they don't have sore muscles, they have myalgia. What do I do? How do I cure it? Well, you know, there are many, many conditions or pathologies that...

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Principles are Not Tools - More on Progressive Overload

by EricTEricT on 20 Jan 2017 00:02

In my article Progressive Overload and Its Application to Strength Training, I stated that the term progressive overload gets thrown around so much in fitness that it loses all meaning. I said that it is too vague and misconstrued. I complained that the goal of progressive overload is often substituted for the actual performance goal, as if these things are one and the same. In many fitness domains, they may be, but in strength training, they are usually not. Progressive overload is a principle. While progressively overloading your body is a training tool, principles themselves are not tools. This probably seems like a contradiction. To explain, I'll use a labored, but hopefully illustrative analogy. First, what do I mean when I say that a principle is not a tool? A principle that underlies the adaptation to exercise such as progressive overload is not a tool in itself that tells you what to do. It explains WHY what we DO works. Yes, most people explain it as a tool, and most books will list some of the ways that the principle of progressive overload can be applied such as: adding volume (more reps and/or more sets) adding weight decreasing time (shortening rest periods but...

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The Key Word in 'Body Acceptance' is Acceptance

by EricTEricT on 18 Jan 2017 20:45

Imagine a fitness model writes an article condemning the sexualization and commercialization of fitness. Along with the article, she posts a picture of herself in a sexy bikini, posing for the camera. Would you cheer? Would you encourage? Many people would. Would you see the irony and hypocrisy, instead? How many other people would agree? In fact, this kind of thing happens all the time. Why would someone proudly display themselves in a sexual manner along with a message condemning the sexualization of fitness? Why would that person then preach about body acceptance? Are they making some obscure coded message that only the most intelligent can decipher? The truth is, the picture is there to surprise you. To invoke a response. To make you share the article. It is marketing, similar to a flashy label on an otherwise mundane food item. And yes, articles complaining about the commercialization of fitness are common. I've written a few myself. Reverse Body Shaming? If you were to bring up the apparent hypocrisy, you would likely receive one of two responses. You might be accused of engaging in some kind of body shaming yourself while being told that the message is more meaningful...

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Comparing And Contrasting Fitness Exercises

by EricTEricT on 10 Jan 2017 21:52

Do you remember having to compare and contrast in school? It was an important writing and thinking exercise. Comparing and contrasting is also one of the main focuses of the fitness industry. Often, when people are trying to sell us their ideas about a superior exercise or program, they pretend to be comparing and contrasting, but they are actually almost exclusively contrasting. Focusing on one or two small differences while ignoring the many similarities of two different things is a form of dishonesty. The difference between comparing and contrasting different exercises and programs for fitness is an important consideration when evaluating fitness information. The fitness industry is about the selling of not only gym memberships and equipment, but information, such as programs, books, and articles about getting in shape and what exercises to do to achieve your health and fitness goals, and, of course, to lose weight. The first thing to recognize is that contrasting is done the majority of the time, and most fitness professionals hardly ever actually compare! Good critical thinking stresses comparison as much as contrasting! Train yourself to spot this kind of thing, and you...

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How Much Weight Can a Cheap Barbell Handle?

by EricTEricT on 05 Jan 2017 23:04

By Eric Troy and Joe Weir Most lifters who train at home and own their own barbell have a cheap barbell. I've already written about a good quality but affordable barbell for home workouts. But, many are justifiably confused about what to look for in a barbell and are concerned that a less expensive bar will not be able to hold enough weight. A cheap barbell will usually work quite well for an individual lifter. It doesn't need to stand up to multiple users and it can still last many years. Besides chrome coatings peeling off, which creates a hazard for your hands, the question most often asked is how much weight can an inexpensive barbell handle? Am I going to reach the limit of my bar and have it permanently bend or something? The easiest way to check some of the weight capacity estimates for inexpensive barbells is Amazon. These are brands like Body Solid, CAP, Weider, Champion, and Troy, and others, with very affordable price ranges. What you'll find is that the weight capacities are much more than you might expect. For example, the Body Solid 7' Olympic bar with black coating has a 600 lbs capacity. Their other choices, with chrome or silver coatings, as you would expect,...

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I Get Why You Want a Shortcut to A Big Lift

by EricTEricT on 05 Aug 2016 00:45

I would not try to mislead you with an article title, so I want to start by qualifying the title of this one. I do not claim to understand all the reasons why someone would be attracted to shortcut methods for getting a big deadlift or squat, and then end up wasting a lot of time on magic bullets that don't work. But, if your goal is a big lift, then I GET YOU! And I while I have labored, preached, cajoled, and done everything else I could think of on these pages to dissuade people from taking such blind alleys, one thing I've never done is judged my readers. We want the same things. I'd rather take you out for a few beers than judge you for your mistakes. I've been misguided in the past, much more so than I'd like to admit. One other thing I know which lots of other folks don't understand is that the fact that you don't want to spend countless hours of hard work on a lift does not automatically mean you are lazy and don't want to work hard! Many members of the fitness industry equate any failure to follow their methods as a general lack of commitment or what they call 'work ethic.' I've had some choice words to say about fitness trainers' statements about people not working...

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Was the Trap Bar Originally Designed Just for Training Traps?

by EricTEricT on 02 Aug 2016 22:09

The trap bar really is good for shrugs, so it's a great way to train your traps. But, was the bar designed in the first place just for shrugs and trap training? Many sources say yes, the trap bar was meant to train the traps, and later on lifters accidentally discovered its use for deadlifts and other lifts. Nothing could be further from the truth. The trap bar actually gets its name from its shape, a trapezoid. You'll notice that there are newer generations of such bars and some of them are referred to as hex bars. These are hexagon in shape, six-sided instead of four-sided like the original trap bar. Many modern bars that actually are hexagonal we still call trap bars. What's the original trap bar? The original trap bar was designed by champion deadlifter, Al Gerard. He held a deadlift record in the mid 180's in the ADFPA in the south. He also had lower back problems (I know the feeling!). An engineer, he designed his diamond shaped bar as a way to train the deadlift without aggravating his back. It is claimed that the Gerard Trap Bar, which he patented, not only helped his back, but increased his deadlifts significantly. The bar was advertised for deadlifting extensively. The...

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Is Getting Stronger All About How Much Weight You're Lifting?

by EricTEricT on 01 Aug 2016 22:42

Why, yes! The popular entertainment site Buzzfeed loves to feature list articles where various 'experts' are asked questions. This probably actually means that the author simply features isolated quotes from their online articles, and pretends they interviewed a dozen people for one list article. In one such article, '18 Fitness Myths That Need To Be Stopped Immediately' I came across a gem. One of the supposed myths was getting stronger is all about how much you're lifting. In response to this, the article used a statement by one Cody Rigsby, coach at PelotonCycle: When gaining muscle, people worry about how much weight they’re lifting. Worry about form and properly training your body, then you can gradually add the weight. Now, wait! I'm not criticizing Rigsby's statement, per se. I agree, people do worry too much about the weight they're lifting sometimes. But as a statement to support the notion that getting stronger is not all about how much weight you're lifting? NAH! Getting stronger is by definition about how much weight you lift, or move, etc. Inherent in Rigsby's statement is the notion that you will add weight. How aggressive you should be, how fast or slow you...

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Are Cleansing and Detox Diets Just Fancy Anorexia?

by EricTEricT on 25 Jul 2016 18:54

By Eric Troy I've seen a quote about cleanse diets and detoxing being shared on Facebook quite a lot lately. Each time it shows up, it gets hundreds to thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. Amazing the power of a superficially logical statement that is actually based on a fallacy. This is one I would call a false analogy. I decided I'd like to write a few things about it. First, the quote. It is by someone named Jessica Goldstein. I didn't know who she was or where the quote originated, but I tracked it down to a website called ThinkProgress, for which Jessica Goldstein is the culture editor and, obviously, a writer. Let's start with the quote, and then I'll get to the context of the quote: I have this theory that the reason cleansing and detoxing have taken off is because it’s this socially acceptable way to have an eating disorder, basically, for a finite period of time. No one would ever say, “Oh, you should definitely just not eat for the entire month before your wedding.” But you can say, “You should do this lemon and cayenne pepper cleanse, you’ll feel amazing,” and somehow that’s okay. But it’s just fancy anorexia. This quote is actually from an interview that...

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You Can't Isolate a Muscle, But Does it Matter?

by EricTEricT on 24 Jul 2016 19:37

A favorite phrase of well-informed personal trainers, when asked how to isolate a certain muscle, is you can't isolate a muscle. Technically, it is true. Muscles never truly work in isolation. For instance, even during an exercise like preacher curls, which seems like it completely isolates the biceps, there are other muscles at work. The primary movement in any biceps curl is elbow flexion. Although you may focus on the biceps brachii, there are two other muscles at work with the biceps to flex the elbow, the brachialis and brachioradialis. In fact, some folks may inform you that the brachialis is the prime mover and not the biceps, since the brachialis is the only one which is a pure elbow flexor. Then, there is the antagonist, the triceps, the muscle opposite the biceps that must either relax or contract, to allow the movement or to put on the brakes. Then there are neutralizers, and fixators, all of which help to control unwanted movement. Funnily enough, the muscles active during elbow flexion that are not directly involved in the movement are involved in, more or less, 'isolating the joint.' In other words, if all you want to do is bend your elbow without moving your...

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Humans Were not Meant to Run Long Distances?

by EricTEricT on 19 Jul 2016 00:01

Whenever you hear a fitness professional talk about what humans were meant to do, your bullshit meter should be pinging. Online fitness gurus love to vomit forth all sorts of hypotheses about what the human body was designed to do. And, when I say hypotheses, I mean uneducated, ignorant guesses. Those who place a lot of emphasis on lifting weights love to tell people that running is bad for you and will ruin your joints. One of their arguments tends to be that we were not designed for long-distance running. For example, an article in Breaking Muscle, supposedly busting fitness myths, quotes none other than Charles Poliquin, saying Humans are meant to either sprint or walk long distances. Are Humans Designed to Run? You can dismiss such statements without even studying up on evolutionary theory. Simply put, if were were not designed to do it, we wouldn't be able to! On the contrary, human beings are very good at adapting to the demands of long-distance slow running and we have evolved those adaptive mechanisms through thousands of years of design work. It is true that some people are more able to sustain long-distance running than others, and not everybody can become an...

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Frequency is Not the Key to Success in Muscle Gaining?

by EricTEricT on 10 Jun 2016 19:38

On Quora recently, a fellow asked that most typical question what is the best way for me to gain muscle without becoming a gym rat. What this fellow wanted to know was, basically, what was the minimum he'd need to do. He didn't want to be married to the gym. You can't really give a once size fits all answer to this question but one Quora responder did: Contrary to popular belief, frequency is not the key to results. This can have tremendous effect on the seeming credibility of the recommendations to follow. The author has told you that most people think this wrong thing and you'll naturally assume this to mean that this one mistake is why most people don't get results. And it is attractive! Being told that all those gym rats, despite their muscles and seeming success, didn't even need to go to the gym so often! They wasted time, in fact. It was something they did, sure, but it had nothing to do with how often they did it. The fact is that nobody who DOES get results thinks that frequency is the KEY. They know it is but one variable in a long list. If you think of a reader as a fish you're trying to real in, you're not going to hook em with a long list of variables. You...

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15 Habits Habits of (Successful) Internet Fitness Personalities

by EricTEricT on 02 Jun 2016 19:29

By Eric Troy and Joe Weir If you've found this article, you are probably trying to figure out how to be a successful internet fitness professional. You want the followers, the eBook sales, the successful blog, all of it. Most of all you want the A gift to sweaty-palmed people everywhere.bro-fists (virtual or otherwise) with the other highly successful internet fitness personalities. What you are about to read will help you establish a winning mindset. You will learn about the habits that lead to success for the most famous fitness pros on the internet! Incorporating even one or two of these will make a huge difference in your career! So let's get right to it! 1. Overreactionize If you want to be a successful internet fit pro, you've got to learn to over-react. A lot. Over-react to everything. You don't even have to overreact in a negative way. JUST OVER-REACT. A new study comes out? Get fucking excited. Tell everyone, holy shit, THIS! A study was done and NOW we KNOW! Or, you know, you could do something like Chocolate is not a fucking health food! It's fucking chocolate! So stop acting like chocolate is a Goddamn health food for crying out loud! To be clear, it doesn't really...

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Risk Aversion and Fear Avoidance in the Fitness Industry

by EricTEricT on 14 Apr 2016 23:22

I was reading a long and engaging article the other day by a fitness trainer who was reacting to what she saw as hypocrisy in the fitness industry. I very much appreciate the article and I let her know as much in my comments. But as much as I appreciated the central statements being made about the specific instance of hypocrisy the article was discussing, I was equally dismayed by the hard-line and quite judgmental stance on any fitness goal that was not absolutely moderate, with no emphasis that could be remotely seen as seeking validation from others. I saw this as ironic since this author was complaining about judging others for their appearance, while actually judging others because they chose to change their body-shape more than an amount the author would approve and see as healthy. Along the way, in the discussion that took place in the comments, I found out that she was quite entrenched in this viewpoint, to the point of seeing any and all 'non-moderate' goals as destructive and unhealthy: A slippery slope. This would include training for strength and training for anything other than losing a few pounds or something to that effect. I tried to explain that there are...

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What is a Good Quality Affordable Barbell for Home Workouts?

by EricTEricT on 04 Mar 2016 19:11

If you are in the market for an Olympic barbell at a price you can afford, a great quality choice is the Body Solid 7 foot Olympic barbell. I have always found Body Solid products to be well-made and very sturdy for home use. There barbells are just fine for an individual wanting to do pure strength training and will serve for your deadlifting or anything else you want to do. Although there are companies itching to sell very expensive commercial quality barbells for use at home, there is no need for a single individual to pay exorbitant prices for a barbell that was meant to be used by dozens of people a day and withstand unreasonable abuse. You'll need plenty of money to buy all the plates you're going to need! Keep this in mind for any equipment you buy for use at home. Commercial quality equipment is called commercial quality for a reason. I would not recommend using these types of cheaper barbells for Olympic lifts if you plan on using bumber plates and dropping the bar. As any seasoned home lifter will attest, one of the best ways to get weight plates is garage sells or yard sells. Lots of people give up on lifting after buying home exercise equipment, and end up with their...

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Thigh Muscle Videos - Origins, Insertions, and Actions

by EricTEricT on 03 Mar 2016 21:16

The videos and information in this article provide an overview of the muscles of upper leg, which is known as the thigh. This first video presents the muscles of the front part or anterior compartment of the thigh. Quadriceps and Illiopsoas Muscles Anterior Thigh Muscles Video Sartorius Muscle Origin: Anterior superior iliac spine. Insertion: anterior medial condyle of tibia. Action: flexion of hip, flexion of knee, external rotation of thigh during, flexion of hip and knee Rectus Femoris Muscle The rectus femoris is the only two-joint quadriceps muscle which crosses the knee and hip joint thus being able to both extend the knee and flex the hip. Origin: anterior inferior iliac spine. Insertion: superior aspect of patella and patellar tendon to tibial tuberosity. Action: extension of knee, flexion of hip Vastus Lateralis Muscle Origin: intertrochanteric lin, anterior and inferior borders of greater trochanter, gluteal tuberosity, upper half of linea aspera and lateral intermuscular septum. Insertion: lateral border of patella and petellar tendon to tibial tuberosity. Action: extension of knee. Vastus Medialis Muscle Origin: entire length of linea aspera and medial condyloid...

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What is Bulletproof, Fitness Industry?

by EricTEricT on 09 Jan 2016 21:57

Sorry, fitness peeps, I'm not buying your bulletproof promises. I want a fitness expert, strength coach, or anyone who knows, to define the word bulletproof for me. I know we can define what bulletproof means in regards to actual physical bullets fired from a gun, but I want to know what it means in regards to fitness, strength training, or health. Go ahead, the comment field is below. I'll wait Wow, that was a long wait and I don't see any definitions forthcoming. Do you realize that I can say anything about fitness or strength training as long as I use words like bulletproof? It's just one of the latest in a huge shit-pile of meaningless terms that have become in-vogue in the fitness industry. You can have bulletproof abs, of course. You can have bulletproof coffee, probably the swill that got this ball rolling, although it was not the first use of the term. As well, you can have a bulletproof attitude, bulletproof training program, and a pair of bulletproof knickerbockers. You can even have a bulletproof brain. As for bulletproof coffee, I would bet you that many of the same fitness professionals who have talked about how stupid it is will have no problem jumping onto the...

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