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.
Continue Reading » Is Exercise Underrated?
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.
Continue Reading » The Key Word in 'Body Acceptance' is Acceptance
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.
Continue Reading » I Get Why You Want a Shortcut to A Big Lift
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.
Continue Reading » Risk Aversion and Fear Avoidance in the Fitness Industry
I don't know if you've noticed, but in strength training, there seems to be two opposite groups along the emotional barometer.
Continue Reading » Happy Thoughts and A Barbell
I try to keep my cool, but when 20-something certified "fitness trainers" start going on about how nobody wants to work hard, I start getting antsy. Sometimes I think that before you make such a statement you should have to list out your job history. Does it look something like this?
Continue Reading » People Don't Work Hard Mr. Fitness Trainer?
Scientists cannot use brain scans to look into the brain and see what you're thinking. Brain scans and the pretty pictures associated with them, are not at all what they seem. Right now, beyond a doubt, if you see the root neuro- attached to any term at all, suspect pseudoscience bullshit. Period. This is not to say that neuroscience is bullshit, but that it is a tool of bullshit.
While many people understand the basic differences in behavior among those suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, they might assume that the physiological effects are the same. After all, whether you starve yourself or gorge and then purge, the result is malnutrition, right? Well, in fact, the physiological effects differ among the two in some marked ways. Of course, it is possible for both disorders to manifest in one person, which would complicate the picture. However, the following are the basic differences in effect between the these two major eating disorders.
Continue Reading » Comparing the Effects of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
In one of the threads on Facebook posted about the Food Babe and Experience Life Mag controversy, where people were complaining about the BS, someone started saying that, basically, the people commenting were all wasting their time complaining and that we need to pay more attention to how she, and others like her, frame their messages in order to reach and influence so many people.
I've written about attributions many times. Attributional thinking is a kind of causal thinking. Attributions are basically the explanations we give for things that happen. This is important in sports and performance. To what do we attribute our failure? To what do we attribute our success? Let's say you're a boxer and your opponent hits you below the belt. You are going to either think he did it on purpose or by accident. Let's say you end up losing the bout. Your attribution about the low blow is going to color your reaction to losing. So, attributions are not just about ourselves, but about others. To what do we attribute their behavior?
Continue Reading » The Internet and Social Interactions: Fitness Community?
Lucy Movie with Scarlett Johansson Based on Ridiculous 10% of Brain Myth: We Only Use Part Our Brains
It's a long debunked myth but it is still one of most popular questions posed to neuroscientists and psychologists: "Is it true was only use 10% of our brains?" The new Summer movie "Lucy" starring Scarlett Johansson and Luc Besson asks us to "Imagine if you were able to unlock 100% of your brain power." This is another example of Hollywood's tradition of science fiction based on fantasy.
Achievement goal theory: A social-cognitive psychology theory that seeks to understand differences in achievement and concerns how different students and athletes are motivationally oriented. According to the theory, three interacting factors determine a person's motivation: achievement goals, perceived ability, and achievement behavior.
Continue Reading » Achievement Goal Theory
You can read the article or listen to the video talk below, which has more material in it, with additional commentary.
The fitness industry is made up of in-groups and out-groups. Of course, whatever group you are in, is the in-group as far as you are concerned. Some groups have more social power than others, however, and are able to draw more members. So we have something like minorities in the fitness world. William Graham Summer, an American sociologist and a social-Darwinist, is said to have coined the terms in-group and out-group, in his 1906 book Folkways. I use these terms differently than the nasty way in which he used them.
Continue Reading » Fitness Insider Groups and the Ultimate Attribution Error
A big bad word that I stopped using a long time ago, when working with people in their strength training: EXCUSE. As the title suggests, I think this can be a lazy attack word for personal trainers who may not really understand the responsibilities and stresses with which their clients have to contend. I cringe to think how many people I have done this to in the past.
Continue Reading » Is 'Excuse' a Lazy Attack Word for Personal Trainers?
The text of this of this blog post is a of the video talk presented here, which explores whether the word motivation is a misunderstood and overused word in fitness and strength training circles. Motivation is treated as if it is a black-and-white concept, and a person is either motivated or they are not motivated. It could be, however, that motivation is much more complex than this and the word used alone, without qualification, may be too vague, or too broad to be of much use.
Continue Reading » Motivation May be an Overused Term in Strength Training and Fitness