Just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Sure I want to extend a helping hand, to offer advice and share stories of good and bad things that I’ve experienced, but you may not gain anything from these tales, after all I could just be full of shit. A fraud. A chancer. In fact I challenge you to think like this for whatever you read online.
Every article, blog post, status update – it’s just another persons opinion, with their cherry picked statistics and research to drive their point home. Heck it may not even be their ideas, they could have just stolen it from someone else. A bit like this post in fact. OK – I admit I got the idea after reading something my friend Milo Macdonald Thomas wrote. Rather than claim it as my own – here’s his post, which while geared towards fitness can easily be applied to work and your day in the office environment. Thanks for letting me share it Milo.
A typical morning on the way to work: I pull out the phone out of my pocket to check Facebook. “10 stretches to fix your squat”, “How to excel in weightlifting”, and “Develop a solid handstand in 30 days” are the first few headlines that I notice on my news feed. I tap on the first one and start reading, a few minutes later I get off the train and get into work. In the lift I might recall a few lines that I just read and assure myself that I am going to try this, do that, improve this, and take care of that.
Sounds familiar? Welcome to the modern world, a world of transient information, a world of pay-per-click ads and millions of fitness blogs of the so-called experts. In a nutshell, we are bombarded with articles that tell us how to become rock stars in every imaginable discipline. I challenge that and allege that most of the things that you find on the internet these days tell you what you want to hear and make you feel good. To collect clicks, build fame, and gain popularity – three things that are eventually turned into cash.
The good news is that the internet still offers a wealth of great resources that actually try to help people, instead of monetising them. Twenty years ago, coaches consumed knowledge, tested it in real life, rated it, and passed it on to their students – or not. Technology removed this layer of filtering, the supply chain of information now consists of authors (people like you and me) and consumers (people like you and me). Yes, that made many things easier, but we had to give up mediation for it. Now it’s up to you to distinguish between good and bad advice.
My personal recipe to deal with this is:
Understand and apply the basics: You don’t need sophisticated squat cycles if you don’t even squat 1.5x of your body weight yet and don’t manage to squat without landing on your toes when it gets heavier. Likewise, you won’t need a rigid handstand protocol if you cannot do a 10s chest-to-wall handstand yet. You get the theme: be humble, understand and master the basics, and forget the bodybuilding.com article about “how to grow massive quads with squat cycle XYZ”.
Read and consult high quality resources: Read books, the CrossFit Journal, ask coaches, and seasoned athletes. Years of experience can be found in the gym every day. You will hear different versions of the truth, but do ask, listen, and see what works for you.
Be critical: Challenge everything, and get rid of the black-and-white thinking and read between the lines.
Do the test: Don’t blindly follow every chunk of advice you get, but regularly test new things and give them time to work. If it works, keep it, if it doesn’t, throw it away.
Think of it when you read that article tomorrow morning.
I hope this tickled your thought buds this morning and makes you think objectively about what you read online. But don’t listen to me or Milo, after all we could just be a couple more bloggers full of shit!
Listen to your body. Trust your gut. Use your own mind. Make your own choices.