This article may not apply to all who read it; regardless, hopefully it will make you step back and think about the subject matter on a deeper level.
I come from a family that tends to run a bit on the heavier side of the bathroom scale, and I was once considered “obese” (by BMI standards). Ever since I brought my weight down to a healthier range, I’ve noticed that those who I am close to tend to value my opinion more.
The thing is, when I lost most of my weight, I was actually pretty clueless about how to eat properly, how to setup a sound training regimen, how to live a healthy lifestyle, etc. I just pretty much stopped eating fast food and started doing a lot of cardio.
It was after I lost that weight that I became highly interested in the actual science behind how the human body operates and how exercise and nutrition play a role in altering our physiology. It’s made me wonder…Would people looking to improve their health and physique still come to me for help if I was just as educated but still obese? Or would I merely be a hypocrite for talking the talk but not walking the walk?
I’ve had several family members and friends who are looking to improve their health come to me and say, “Hey, can I ask you something since you’re an expert on this?” Most people probably think I’m flattered to hear stuff like that but I actually cringe when I do.
I’ve dabbled in my fair share of research and higher education courses, but I’m certainly not arrogant enough to believe I know it all when it comes to nutritional science and exercise physiology. I actually like that I have much to learn still as that gives me something to look forward to everyday. Heck, that’s one of the main reasons I started the Muscle Primer website.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how much I (or anyone else for that matter) know if it hasn’t been acted on and put into practice. Knowledge is power, but experience brings wisdom.
Practicing what you preach vs. preaching what you practice
There seems to be many individuals who classify themselves as experts or gurus in health and fitness subculture but they have little educational background to back that up. On the other hand, many people are highly educated on exercise and nutrition topics but have little to show for it appearance wise.
The reality is, you should listen to both of them as they both have some lessons to teach. Some of the best changes I’ve made health-wise have been thanks to people who look great but can’t explain a damn thing about how the body works. Why did I listen to them you ask? Because they have put themselves through the paces and have wisdom to impart.
Contrarily, some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve come across can’t even bench a buck 35 or run a mile without passing out. But I still gained some valuable insight from them and noticed great results after putting what they recommended into practice. I listened to them because, unlike the jacked meatheads out there, they actually understand on an analytical and scientific level how the body works, they just apparently haven’t had interest in actually acting on that knowledge themselves.
This is where the health and fitness fields differ from many other areas in life. You see, I know a lot of people are pretty clueless when it comes to exercise physiology and nutrition, but yet they have fairly impressive physiques. I also know a lot of individuals who are educated on a doctorate-level in the aforementioned areas but look like they haven’t touched a bar of iron in their lifetime. The unique thing when it comes to health and fitness is that doing anything for an extended period of time, no matter how irrational or baseless it is in theory, will lead to results.
What if we applied that concept to, say, education? Would I really get smarter by just mindlessly glancing over a textbook without any rhyme or reason? No, I’d merely be wasting my time.
Would a chemist synthesize the proper chemical by not having a clue about what reagents he was mixing? Highly doubtful.
So what does this tell us? Well, in health and fitness, action is always going to be required (even in the absence of knowledge) but the inverse isn’t necessarily true (that is to say, knowledge isn’t always required before acting).
I’ve seen a lot of rather idiotic methods utilized in the gym, but yet the people that act on those methods for an extended period of time look quite a bit better than the nerds sitting in biochemistry labs wondering which amino acid is best for protein synthesis instead of making time for exercise.
Best-case scenario (though it’s a rarity to find)–find the individuals who are brawny brainiacs. Those are the people who have both knowledge and experience.