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Instinct Has Nothing To Do With Strength Training

by EricTEricT on 05 May 2018 21:09

Have you ever heard that you should train by instinct? What about eating by instinct? What does it mean to use your instincts in the gym? How can this help you lift a heavier weight or build muscle? Do some people have access to some kind of innate knowledge or exercise behavior that you are somehow lacking? The answers are all in the negative. When someone tells you to use your instincts, they are telling you nothing. Instinct has nothing to do with exercise behavior. The entire idea of using physical activity increase our health and fitness is entirely out of the realm of instinct. Increasing your physical strength through the repeated lifting of heavy objects is not done by instinct. It sounds quite woke but the idea of invoking instinct in the gym is a vague and useless concept. Although some people are more confident in the gym than you may be, and are able to call on experience and a sort of informed intuition to figure out what their body needs, this is not instinctual. It is simply the result of having done it longer and having more experience to call on. It is actually quite ridiculous that those who wish to sound scientific in the domain of fitness and health speak...

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Doctors Need More Training in Nutrition and Exercise?

by EricTEricT on 24 Mar 2018 17:32

Trainers are Not Doctors The title of this article, viewed through the lens of the fitness industry, is almost blasphemous. Personal training, as I've said before, is the blue-collar job that imagines it is white collar. Trainers think they are smarter than the average M.D. And, even some actual physicians figure it is easier to cash in on the billion dollar fitness industry than to actually practice medicine. So, they, along with the average trainer, will lament that medical doctors do not know enough about nutrition and exercise while implying that they themselves, can help you medically and thus prevent illness. This works great with rich clients who already have access to the best medical care, and thus can happily live in a bubble, from which they toss money at fads. Fitness Hypocrocy What is ironic is that these trainers claiming that, if only the medical world knew more about nutrition and fitness they would be able to prevent most illnesses are not really promoting general health-related fitness at all! They are not doing this because they know that there is not much money to be made in promoting general health-related fitness, let alone general knowledge of healthy...

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You Do Not Have to Be Accomplished To Be Fit

by EricTEricT on 23 Mar 2018 21:21

You do not have to get really good at something to enjoy the type of fitness that the fitness industry should generally be promoting, general health-related fitness. Yet, the fitness industry continues to conflate athletic fitness and 'training' with general health-related fitness. It is clear that there is a halo effect associated with athletic training and fitness, one that is often not deserved. If someone's goal is to have a healthier level of fitness, then the benefits of any kind of exercise begin immediately, not only after significant progress is made. As well, although a plan of progression and a longer term goal will result in more benefit down the line, a precise plan of attack is not necessary to significantly improve underlying health risks that are amenable to exercise. Also, when we have as a goal advanced performance in any athletic pursuit, there comes a time when some of the adaptations are not necessarily healthy. That is, the types of adaptations necessary to an advanced level of specific fitness may not be generally healthy. As I pointed out here, with ever advancing performance in a specific athletic skill, there come compromises and maladjustments....

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Glute Muscles: Origins, Insertions, and Actions w/ Videos

by EricTEricT on 28 Feb 2018 05:14

The videos and information in this article provide an overview of the muscles of gluteal region, commonly called the glutes. The first video covers the tensor fasciae latae, gluteus maxiumus, gluteus medius, gluteal minimus and piriformis muscles. The second video covers the obdurator internus, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, and quadratus femoris muscles. Glute Muscle Video Part I Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle Origin: Outer margin of the anterior iliac crest. Insertion: Iliotibial tract about one-fourth of the way down the thigh. Action: Flexion of hip, internal rotation of hip as it flexes. Gluteus Maximus Muscle Origin: Posterior one-fourth of iliac crest, posterior surface of sacrum and coccyx near ilium, and fascia of lumbar area. Insertion: Gluteal tuberosity of the femur (lateral surface of greater trochanter of femur) and iliotibial tract posterior aspect iliotibial tract Action: Extension of hip, external rotation of hip. Gluteus Medius Muscle Origin: Lateral surface of ilium just below crest. Insertion: Greater trochanter of the femur. Action: Abduction of the hip, external rotation of hip as the hip abducts, internal rotation of the hip. Gluteus Minimus...

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My Personal Trainer Says I Have a Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency

by EricTEricT on 25 Feb 2018 18:21

A question came up about the muscles shaking during a workout. Many of us have had our muscles shudder and quiver while lifting very heavy weights or working against a lot of external resistance. But one of the answers to this question about muscle shakiness caught my eye. The person answering said that their personal trainer observed their muscles shaking during squats and, in response, the trainer told them their calcium was low and that the trainee should start taking a supplement before their next workout. Now, this person thinks that everytime they experience their muscles shaking during a workout it is a signal of low calcium so they start popping calcium pills. Should I get into the muscle shakiness thing? It's not really the point but, it's harmless if it only happens during the intense effort and goes away afterwards. A calcium deficiency can cause muscle cramps and spasms, but a doctor would never diagnose one based only on these symptoms. They would do so by checking blood levels. So, what of this trainer? Trainers Should NEVER Diagnose Nutrient Deficiencies or Any Other Medical Problems What this trainer did was highly inappropriate. A personal trainer should never...

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Why Looking for Your Weakness In Strength Training Will Make you Miserable

by EricTEricT on 11 Feb 2018 22:34

For years now I have been saying something that flies in the face of conventional strength training and even fitness advice. Many say that in order to get stronger, you must identify your weaknesses and fix them. I say the opposite. I say you must identify your strengths, and play to them. Many coaches believe something managers have been told for years, that they must identify and fix weaknesses in order for a trainee or an employee to be effective. Those who tell you that you must strive to eliminate all weakness are also telling you that strength training is about some abstract concept for strength whereby you systematically seek out and destroy every flaw in your body and become something akin to a super-human. Few of us have the ability to become a strong-man. And few of us actually want to. Yet, we can all become strong. What do you think is more efficient? 1. I make a list of strength training lifts, find where all my weaknesses lie and then figure out how to fix all these weaknesses until I can become strong in all these lifts. 2. I identify the lifts that I am best at, and I blitz the hell out of them until I am as strong as I can be in those lifts. You have a lot more...

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Should You Deadlift With the Bar Against Your Legs?

by EricTEricT on 09 Feb 2018 22:15

Some say that you should drag the bar against your shins and over your knees when deadlifting. Is this true? I have a secret way to find information. Not just any information, but wrong information. I just go the Stronglifts site. There, I can find an author with absolutely no idea what he is talking about and have a never-ending stream of wrong information to correct. This is how I came upon an idea about how to deadlift and lower back pain. Should you deadlift with the bar close to your legs? Yes, of course. But, according to Stronglifts, you must not only start with the bar close to your shins you must drag the bar up your shins and thighs. It is hard enough to lift the bar straight up, let alone drag it backward and up at the same time. For most of us (there may be exceptions due to body proportions), if we are actually dragging the bar against our legs as we lift, we are pulling the bar back not just up. This is not what I'd call economy of motion. Here is what Strong(weak)Lifts says, paraphrasing: The further away from your body the bar is, the heavier it feels. Well, that is true. Here's why. The front raise is harder than the overhead press. Ummm what? (Just thought...

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What Is Skill-Related Or Athletic Fitness?

by EricTEricT on 07 Feb 2018 22:54

The fitness industry tends to conflate two broad categories of fitness. We've already defined one of these: health-related fitness. The other is skill-related or athletic fitness. Skill-related or athletic fitness is fitness that meets further demands than what is needed in our daily and normal lives. This may mean strength, power agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, and speed. Of course, programs meant to increase skill-related fitness will increase general physical fitness, and so have the same health benefits, if not somewhat greater health benefits. Not All Skill Related Adaptations are Positive Ones The idea that greater and greater fitness means greater and greater health is an erroneous view of health-related fitness and tells us why we should not conflate this general type of fitness with advanced athletic skill. Athletic training is associated with a halo effect that is unwarranted. For one, not all adaptations related to performance and skill, especially at the extreme end, are positive ones. With ever-increasing and specific fitness comes certain maladaptations. Also, in order to achieve very great levels of specific fitness, training must be specific to an...

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What Is Health-Related Fitness?

by EricTEricT on 07 Feb 2018 22:40

This article is part of a series. See part one: You Cannot Be Generally Advanced - Advanced Fitness is Specific. Two General Types of Fitness? We can loosely identify two different broad fitness goals: Health-related fitness and skill-related fitness. Health-related fitness encompasses physical fitness. This is the ability to meet the demands of daily living to perform the tasks related to it, plus deal with the unexpected, within reasonable levels. The expectation of physical fitness is not that you will be hyper-fit, then. It is that you can meet the demands of life without undue fatigue. Think of it like gas in your car you have enough gas to get you back and forth to work every day, plus a healthy reserve for unexpected or irregular trips. With physical fitness, comes certain expected health benefits, especially lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but also other very important benefits, including psychological ones. By this definition, physical fitness does not equal health, but greater health comes with greater physical fitness. If you try to counter this, you'd have to abandon the definition and come up with an alternative that adequately explains how fitness could...

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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 your 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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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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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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