The internet could rightly claim it’s place as one of, if not the most, useful and game-changing inventions in human history.
I was talking about this with someone the other day. As an individual today with access to the internet the opportunities open to you are literally endless- no where in the world is too far, no idea too crazy, no information beyond reach (OK so maybe the classified stuff, but hackers still get to those sometimes!).
Undoubtedly it has been a positive force for equality, and whereas before you might have had to have power, money, influence and connections to get a platform on which to voice your opinions today anyone can have their say and be heard.
That’s definitely a good thing.
Unfortunately the one thing the internet is not is a sieve. Everyone can have their say, which means that everyone does have their say. And I mean everyone.
Reasonable, balanced, intelligent and well-informed are probably NOT adjectives you’d use to describe most of the comment swirling around the catch-all galaxy that is the world wide web.
From a fitness perspective it means that anyone and everyone can get their ideas out there. There are plenty of people making money from creating followings based on the food they eat or the routines they follow.
Why bore just your friends with your new kale and inverted yoga routine when now you can make money from it publishing it to the whole world?
Nowadays everyone can see how you managed to put on 10 lbs of muscle in 3 weeks through the magic of Instagram.
Setting aside the veracity of these claims or the fact that a picture doesn’t tell the whole story this doesn’t really bother me, at least it wouldn’t if there was any sort of consistency across the board.
You can literally scroll down your Facebook news feed and see one ad which stresses eating super high carbs to lose weight, while the next one screams about carb restriction for results.
Someone will swear by high volume to build muscle, whilst another will show similar results with low reps.
Both are accompanied by pictures of their toned or ripped practitioners.
How can they both be getting results doing opposite things? Who is right?
The answer is they’re both wrong.
The problem with most of these ‘revolutionary’ routines, ‘secrets’ or nutritional wisdom’s is that they’re usually way too extreme.
In order to distinguish themselves they’ve got to stand out, have a stand out idea that is THE way, and the ONLY way to do something, be it only working out with functionality, only eating a certain way, only drinking a certain drink.
If you don’t stand out, you don’t get noticed. If you don’t get noticed you don’t sell product, which is what it’s really all about.
It comes again to the time-honoured fitness industry tradition of making exercise a lot more complicated than it actually is.
For the average person all you have to do is apply yourself by doing the stuff that we as a species have been doing for thousands of years to improve our physical selves. I’m talking lifting heavy stuff off the ground or lifting your bodyweight. I’m talking running progressively faster or longer.
They were doing this in ancient Greek times, without stopwatches, kale, creatine powder and meal replacements.
I watched an excellent TED talk the other day, regarding the progression of records. In it, David Epstein argues that it’s not really athletes who are getting better, it’s technology.
Athletes today are really only marginally better than those of 50 years ago; the large strides in the records have mostly come down to technology, like running on specially designed tracks in lightweight spikes rather than cinders in plimsolls.
The same logic applies to the modern-day fitness guru physique. If you look at professional bodybuilders today they are something like 30-50 lbs heavier than someone like Arnold in the 70s, at the same height. Even guys these days who are 5-6 inches shorter outweigh a prime Arnold.
No matter what anyone tells you about training science, nutrition etc. this difference is down to drugs.
Better drugs, used in larger quantities.
To a lesser extent it’s the same with many of these YouTube fitness celebrities or revolutionary training gurus. They’re not telling you, but the truth is they could do pretty much anything and get results, because they’re enhanced.
Following what they do or eat as a natural is not going to get you anywhere.
As a natural, average trainer (i.e. I mean you’re not trying to be a professional) the most important thing is to do the basics well, and find out what works for you.
It’s not revolutionary. It’s not going to change your physique overnight. Our biological limits, rhythms and settings have been determined by tens of thousands of years of evolution. Short of drugs, which can be miraculous, there is no ‘secret’ way to drastically improve your results, despite what Mr and Mrs Internet tell you.
If you’re looking to get bigger and stronger then learn to do the compound lifts and stick to it. If you want to run for longer then start small and build up your endurance.
Everyone knows what healthy eating is. Eat well 80% of the time and eat enough so you’re full. If you’re trying to lose weight cut down a bit (I mean only a bit) on your total calorie intake and do more exercise.
Over time, you will get closer to what is genetically possible for you.
Trust me, I used to soak up a lot of the ‘advice’ I heard from the Internet and try to apply it in search of what was going to take me to the next step. As usual, I wasted time and money.
My advice would be to just ignore it. Stick to the basics and be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Live it and enjoy it.
Before you mention it. I realise I am just another internet advisor.