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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Fitness is Not a Zero-Sum Game

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Fitness is Not a Zero-Sum Game

If you're right that does not make me wrong. Unfortunately the fitness industry is full of this combative, exclusionary thinking. Where do you think this attitude comes from, and what can we do to promote inclusionary thinking and integrated practice?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on October, 23rd 2011.

Michael David Lopez, October 23 at 10:49am: Arrogance for starters. I got results from my own modified routines, what I learned from others, and simple trial and error. Saw my middle-age waistline go from 37" to not only 31" but also carved out an eight-pack I didn't even have at age sixteen. However, I've been criticized for not doing a "real workout" because simply it failed to follow the critic's routine. My philosophy is simple, if it works for you there's nothing with the routine. If you're constantly injured, fatigued, and stagnated, then be humble and seek help from others…and do not be afraid to make the necessary adjustments.

Scott Mitchell, October 23 at 3:00pm: Possible roots of this problem: 1. The following of "guru's" and 2. Fear of someone else knowing more than you 3. Needing to cleanly categorize things so we can manage thoughts/philosophies/methods etc. Love the question Brent, life is messy and I am always learning there is another way to do things that can be just as effective and possibly more for different clients.

Brandon Medina, October 23 at 3:37pm: I like what Michael and Scott said. I'm going to point at misinformation. Between outdated information, gym rats that never knew what they were talking about in the first place, bodybuilding magazines lying, supplement companies lying and bodybuilders lying to spread misinformation to their competitors (Arnold anyone?) people shouldn't believe what they hear. Sometimes we can get a little too skeptical.

Jeff Young, October 23 at 4:03pm: I’m going to play devil's advocate again :) while there are many means to the same end, the safe, efficient, and effective design of strength and conditioning programs always need to adhere to general principles (progression, overload, specificity, size principle, etc…). show me two seemingly different programs that worked for different individuals, and I’ll show you common denominators that applied to both programs.

Mark de Grasse, October 23 at 4:17pm: I believe that widespread sharing and efficient organization of information allows people to make informed decisions about how they want to get into shape. The problem is getting people to share the information for free.

Brent Brookbush, October 23 at 4:28pm: Great stuff kats… Great points all around. I think on the line of your last statement Jeff and what Michael said… The "if it works for you" is a dangerously uncritical view of exercise as a whole, but if it did work there are common denominators that would likely carry over to any well written routine. I think both Brandon and Scott are onto something with the thoughts regarding arrogance and guru worship… Some "gurus" I respect very much have lost some credibility with me as they have let arrogance influence some poignant remarks regarding other techniques and gurus. In line Brandon and Mark regarding misinformation… This is a huge problem and why Evidence-Based Practice is so important… My motivation to write "Fitness or Fiction" was the lack of evidence-based information directed at the consumer and the amount of misinformation out there. Although I would like to agree with you Mark on the free information for all (and I do deliver a ton of free content on www.b2cfitness.com ) we cannot forget that some products take money to produce. My book cost several thousand dollars to produce and years to write… I have made it as cheap as I possibly can (13.49 paperback, 9.99 kindle) but I couldn't make it free even I wanted to…. We need to be weary of those who are pumping lousy product with huge profit margins and offer nothing for free… but we can't criticize an individual for trying to make a living by providing a needed service, resource, or product.

Jeff Young, October 23 at 4:29pm: I agree with mark. I'd like to add that I think the exercise science and sports medicine communities could do a much better job of getting information to the public. but with lack of regulation of the fitness industry by the government (leading to ignorance, myths, deception, etc…), and the extremely strong and deceptive influence of the media, the fitness frauds have unregulated, easy access to promote their crap -- whether within a gym, or to the entire world (e.g. youtube). I believe the fitness industry has gotten so bad, and is so full of lies and deception, that it's either unfixable as a whole, or will take a long, long time to fix. fitness professionals should still strive to do what's right, but shouldn't expect that small percentage doing the right thing will somehow fix a completely corrupt industry.

Brent Brookbush, October 23 at 5:36pm: Hey Jeff,

Your right… the industry is a little busted at the moment, but we should not lose hope that a brave few can fix it. I think the mistake that we make (those of us out to make it better) is that we forget that our solutions must generate revenue. That does not mean we have to sell out… it just means we have to be more creative in our approach. For example, taking the momentum of CrossFit and applying HMS principles so that we create high energy programming that is safe, effective and efficient, and could increase the demographic market for CrossFit by allowing individuals of all fitness levels and abilities to participate.

Jeff Young, October 23 at 10:48pm: Brent,

I agree with your crossfit analogy -- it's something we've implemented at Beth Israel Medical Center. I've actually debated on crossfit radio by the way. Lol I'm a fan of the general crossfit concept as a phase within a periodized program, but that's about where it ends. As for your comment about not losing hope -- I believe the industry is so busted that it's beyond true repair. Sorry for the pessimistic attitude, but I believe my attitude is realistic. i think the only way it can be repaired is if it becomes regulated; the "professionals" within become MUCH more educated; the media stops their evil (making celebrities overnight fitness gurus; perpetuating the myths, fads, and deceptions, etc…); the exercise science, medical, and sports medicine communities unify, and then do a superior job of disseminating information downstream -- to professional athletes, Olympic athletes, collegiate athletes, health-club fitness trainers, and the general public. when all that happens I believe I'll be about 541 years old. :)

Brandon Medina, October 24 at 12:59am: I'm going to argue with you two on one small but I think "key" point. Is the industry really "busted"? That would imply that there was once a time when it was intact and in proper working order. I was under the impression that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Weider started the industry with a lot of media saviness and fitness misinformation. Gradually, the exercise science, medical and sports medicine communities came along and enlightened a small minority. Isn't the fitness industry still the wild west in the infancy of it's settlement? Brent you're from Vegas, so you probably have more knowledge of regional history to judge the accuracy of that last analogy.

Jeff Young, October 24 at 8:06am: Good point. I stand corrected.

Scott Pullen, October 24 at 12:38pm: Good points all. I know I was convinced I knew it all when I started and in retrospect, knew little. Now that I know much more, I realize what I still do not know. As for regulation. I waver on that idea. In theory it could be a good thing. But who gets to decide what is correct? there are very many learned folks that have a poor grasp on application and newer, effective approaches. Do I have to conform to the ideas of a bunch of "respected" old guard doctors and professors? I have a HUGE problem with that.

Brent Brookbush, October 24 at 9:59pm: I guess you could call me an "undecided" on licensure. I believe we need more regulation, but like you mentioned Scott… Who gets to do the regulating? My belief in the need for regulation is simple, I get weary of hearing arrogant showman with little if any education promote ineffective solutions to people looking for better health. (If I see one more lower ab routine I might scream). Unfortunately, what scares me about regulation is the sentiment behind this discussion. There are so many well-educated and extremely dismissive individuals in our industry. I just read a blog by Mel Siff that literally bashes an integrated approach to training. I like a lot of Mel Siffs stuff, but seriously… If you are not trying to integrate new ideas you’re bound to fall behind and miss some very important additions to practice. Further, the weird trend of guru worship in our industry has lead to the promotion of individuals who in some cases are not practicing personal trainers (the old guard is rife with my next point). Why do we revere medical doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors… Trust me, they do not deal with the same population, face the same financial pressures, they do not face the same goals or motivations in their client population, and their business model is entirely different… leading to very different interventions.

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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