How do you know if something is true? It used to be that if something was in print it was true. We would read something in the newspaper for example and trusted it be so. There it was in black and white with the reporter’s name attached.
This isn’t the case anymore.
In fact we actually have a term for information, in print or otherwise, that just isn’t so. I’m not sure the term ‘fake news’ existed 5 years prior.
But now we’re skeptical of any information we hear. Especially when the information doesn’t support our politics, religion or belief system.
And I guess questioning the information we’re given rather than accepting it simply at face-value can be a good thing. For some reason fitness and performance is not held the same standard and scrutiny. Or maybe it is and we simply want to believe there is an easier way, a magic pill or exercise that will unlock all of our untapped potential.
If there’s one thing I would ask our clients and anyone visiting this site is to question to the information you’re given. Check out the references on articles sited. Ask questions of the author if you have the opportunity. And take some to consider if what you’re heard is reasonable.
The following 3 fitness articles are examples of information you should question and maybe pass on
1. 8 AMRAP Dumbbell CrossFit Workouts to Improve Strength and Stamina
CrossFit can be like the class clown back in school. They can be entertaining and you’ll look to see the shenanigans they’re up to from time to time. But nobody took them seriously. And when it got to the point of doing something potentially dangerous the teacher would put an end to it and regain the focus of the class.
Now there’s nothing inherently risky about trying the program suggested in the article. The challenge becomes the claims and what exercises are suggested. For example, when training for strength the rep range should be between 3 and 6. And certain exercises are meant to be done powerfully i.e. a dumbbell (DB) snatch.
In the article the protocol is to do 10 DB snatches. This is a power exercise and the best rep range would be 1-4 reps not 10 as recommended. Later in the program another prescription is for 20 push ups. Can you get stronger by doing 20 push ups? Sure, it’s possible. Is this the best way to get stronger at push ups? Probably not.
The table below shows the rep ranges to build strength are emphasized between 3-6 reps and drop off substantially as reps increase. When reps are the in the 10 and 20 range we will working on getting bigger and lasting longer. We just won’t be doing the best job of getting stronger. And with our DB snatch we won’t be be getting as powerful as possible.
2. 10,000-swing kettlebell workout will reveal your SIX PACK and make you leaner in only 4 weeks
Last year we did a challenge of one 1,000 KB swings in a month. Some clients pushed passed and did 2,000. And I remember challenging myself to hit 3,000 for the month. My glutes were really tight after this challenge and I had to lay off the swings for a bit.
So a couple of things that come to mind with the headline of this article. One is that 4 weeks is less than a month. It’s about 8% less which isn’t huge but it’s enough to make a difference. Don’t believe me? OK, than consider your mortgage changed from 3.25% to 11.25%. Now 8% matters, doesn’t it?
Secondly, I found 3,000 swings in a month, versus 4 weeks, very challenging. This means averaging 100 swings per day for a month and never missing a day. With this article you need to do almost 360 swings per day for 4 weeks straight.
Do I think this will help get you lean and help reveal a 6-pack? Absolutely! So will running 10 km everyday for 4 weeks. Or swimming 3 km everyday. Or getting on the rower for 2 hours everyday.
What do you think? Are you in?
It’s doubtful anyone would take up this challenge in the first place or see it through to completion in the second. Remember the 2 rules of health and fitness; the first is the activity must be healthy and the second is it must be sustainable. Without optimal KB swing technique 10,000 swings may not be healthy. And when you consider the fatigue and soreness of close to 400 swings per this is not sustainable.
Take a pass on this recommendation as well.
3. If You Want to Lose Weight, Trainers Recommend These 8 No-Equipment Exercises
This is maybe the goofiest and most irresponsible headline to cross my screen this week.
It almost sounds like if you want outcome B, than do action A. Or in other words if you want to lose weight (i.e. A) than do these 8 no-equipment exercises (i.e. B). The headline almost reads like an ‘if-than’ rule.
The problem is that it’s not a rule. Let’s look at it another way.
Could you argue that if you don’t do the 8 exercises recommended by professionals that you won’t lose weight? What about if you do less than 8 of the exercises? Or more? What about if you go crazy and use equipment? Are the rules suspended as a result and no weight loss can be expected?
Worse, it ignores the role that nutrition, sleep, mindset and daily activity will play in weight loss.
So what about the 8 exercises? Well they include crawling, push ups, jumps, squats, burpees, froggers, high knees and lunges. And most of these exercises would be fine for most people. And true they don’t require equipment.
But creating a caloric deficit would probably be more important than some push ups for weight loss.
And getting 8 hours of sleep will tip the scale more in your favour than an extra set of lunges.
Lastly, training intensely and consistently, will be more beneficial for weight loss than the 8 listed exercises.
Headlines are written to catch eyes and get you to click and read the article. Strength requires training at certain level of intensity and rep range. 10,000 swings in four weeks just isn’t possible for the average person. And your body won’t burn more or less calories based on whether you use equipment or not.
If you’ve come across a fitness or performance article you’re not sure about leave a comment below and we can review if and give our take.