Today marks what will assuredly be a long series of articles titled Dumb Shit Fitness Professionals Say. I won’t run these all the time for reasons I’ll explain below. But it’s not as if there’s a lack of these to address. I also could have titled it “Be helpful or shut the fuck up”.
So let’s look at some of the dumb shit fitness professionals say.
Nobody Cares What You Do in the Gym
Perhaps a year or so ago, some random fitness page came across my Facebook feed with a post that said “Beginners, don’t worry, nobody cares what you’re doing in the gym.” Which is at least positive in the sense of trying to encourage people to get into the gym.
It’s also provably false even if it’s not as bad as the other stuff in this article. The person who wrote it meant well. They’re simply wrong.
And if you don’t believe me, go Google “Gym Fail”. I refuse to link to one. Because those things ARE dumb shit.
There are endless videos online of people doing goofy stuff in the gym. And what those videos tell someone is this “If you are in the gym, and you do something goofy, some asshole might take a video of you and put it online without your permission.”
Mind you, taking a video of someone without their permission and putting it online is shitty enough. I actually wonder if there are legal ramifications for doing so and then putting it online. No matter.
But given the existence of these things, fitness professionals cannot say that nobody cares what beginners are doing. Especially if they share those videos (I’m not saying this page did or didn’t since I don’t follow it). But a lot of people in this industry do. “Ha ha, look at these dummies.”
Not only do those videos make beginners worry that they might end up in one, they are sending the following message: you will be held responsible for not knowing what you don’t know. And if you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym, you might get laughed at online.
How does this encourage anybody to get involved in this silly little subculture?
Yes, fine, a lot of the gym fail videos are of people who have probably been training for a while and come up with or believe in goofy shit. I’m not debating that. But consider that the fitness industry is one where endless amounts of goofy bullshit is promulgated. So long as the person selling it is buff, someone will be convinced it’s the right thing to do.
But the end result is the same. Beginners see people in the gym being made fun of online. They don’t want to be one of them so they stay out. These videos are not helpful. In fact they are directly harmful to getting people into the gym.
I will flat out delete any of these posted to my Facebook group and boot the person out. I know others who do as well because they know the harm that they do.
So people who take these, knock it off. People who share these, KNOCK it off. And fuck you for doing it in the first place. You’re part of the problem.
If you even pretend to care about this industry, as fitness professionals you need to:
Be helpful, or shut the fuck up.
And stop sharing gym fail videos unless they are of you and you alone.
Do Your Own Research
A common response I see by fitness professionals to people asking questions is “Do your own research”. I don’t know if it’s lazy or just stupid but it’s dumb shit no matter what.
Now, the “Do your own research” thing is usually the refuge of the true Internet dumbshit. The person who makes a claim, you ask for supporting evidence and they say “I don’t have time to argue, do your own research.” Which is an admission that they don’t have anything to support them. Or that their research was a mommy blog.
But this is different. This is a situation where people who are presumably experts in the field (or at least more knowledgeable than the people asking the question) are telling someone with no background (formal or otherwise) to do their own research. Which sounds helpful but is not. It’s just utterly terrible advice.
Take 5 seconds to go Google “Weight loss” or “fat loss” or “exercise program”. You know as well as I do that roughly 98+-100%% of what you find will be unmitigated bullshit. Just the worst advice and worst information that you could possibly give someone.
Add to this that seemingly the people with the worst information have the best SEO and marketing ability. The stupidest stuff gets top Google ranking or paid ads. I’m not saying that there’s not good information online. I’m saying that finding it can be damn near impossible if you don’t know where to look.
And like I said above, the fitness industry is worse because it is a breeding ground for the dumbest shit you have ever heard or seen. Any idea, no matter how moronic can gain traction so long as the person selling it is in shape, a celebrity or celebrity trainer.
I wonder if other fields are like this but I doubt it. It’s not as if there’s a lot of ways to, I dunno, fix a car. Or play the guitar. Or bake a cake. You can’t have a million and one ideas because 99.9% of them don’t work.
In fitness, the dumbest shit “seems” to work.
And that means that anybody “doing their own research” is going to come up against mostly utter bullshit. Which fitness professionals presumably have the background to sift through. I can do it. Send me an article and I’ll check their claims and references. I can do that. It’s my job. It’s the fitness professionals JOB to be able to do this. It is also their JOB to actually provide information to someone asking for it rather than brushing them off to “do their own research”.
So rather than tell them do “Do your own research” give them a link. To an article you wrote, to an article I wrote, to an article someone fucking wrote that isn’t gibberish. Don’t tell them to “Do your own research” when you know that most of the information out there is garbage.
Be helpful or shut the fuck up!
It’s your job to do the research and make it available to people in a what that they understand. Do your job.
Eating Like an Asshole
I’d say this is one of my biggest pet peeves but let’s face it, everything is my biggest pet peeve on a given day. I’m sure most of you have seen this graphic, or meme or whatever. Many of you have probably shared it. And if I saw you do it, I reamed you out for it.
This stupid fucking thing.
Now whomever made this needs to be punched in the throat. Anybody that shares it needs to be smacked senseless. Because this thing is the worst on so many levels.
First off just consider the overall structure of the thing. First and foremost, it is completely unhelpful. It just says to people “You’re stupid and an asshole.” Whomever came up with this was just some self-righteous fitness prick wanting to dump on the general public.
As well, it’s not only unhelpful, it’s unfair.
Because what this little graphic is telling people is that “Because you have gotten fed bad information from the overwhelming amount of shitty information on the Internet or in mass media or on TV, I’m going to hold you responsible for it.”
You can’t hold someone accountable for not knowing what they don’t know. The average person is exposed to Dr. Oz and endless celebrity bullshit and popular media for their information about this. How could they possibly know better when everything and everyone is feeding them bullshit?
Oh yeah, because you told them to “Do your own research” which just exposed them to a million websites feeding them crap like this that they had no ability to know was bullshit. Because you were too goddamn lazy to tell them or provide better information.
You can’t know what you don’t know. I know a lot about a few things: fitness/health/training, video games and monkeys. In a few areas I know just enough to be dangerous or make superficial conversation. And I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ about everything else. I also happen to know that I don’t know about those topics.
But here’s the thing.
Whomever made this shit graphic and whomever shares it doesn’t know nothin’ about nothin’ about the majority of the universe either. They just happen to know something about fitness think that gives them the right to dump on people for not happening to share their personal neurotic obsession.
Now if I wanted to learn about something, I would do my own research. I’d get a book on car repair or baking cookies. The difference being that there aren’t a million ways to fix a car, or endless bad information out there. There aren’t a million ways to bake cookies so at best I’ll find recipes for different cookies. But you can only do it a couple of ways that work.
Doing my own research will actually be useful in most situations because I won’t face 100,000 pieces of bad information.
And in the fitness industry, that’s not the case. Endless stupid ideas are promulgated by people who are in shape and the general public can’t separate good from bad. They don’t have the background or the knowledge, nor should they. You, as a fitness professional, does or at least should. This is YOUR job. It’s not theirs.
Beyond that, look at the language. “You’re eating like an asshole.”
Generally, we call someone an asshole when they are doing something DELIBERATELY shitty. Someone cuts you off in traffic or won’t let you merge. They know full well they are being a dick to you. That’s being an asshole.
Someone who doesn’t know any better because they got misled by endless bullshit information by “Doing their own research” is not being an asshole. They have been misled and misinformed because you couldn’t be bothered to try to give them better information
Calling them an asshole for not knowing what they both don’t and can’t know makes you the asshole.
As a fitness professional, it’s YOUR job to lead them or give better information. Not call them an asshole for not knowing what they don’t know. You’d get pissed if someone did it to you in the million areas you know jack shit. So don’t do it to them.
Because not only is this graphic shitty, it’s not helpful. It doesn’t provide any useful information or a better way to go about it (fine, by inference, you can ignore the crossed out stuff). But in the aggregate it’s not helpful and it’s actively harmful. Who wants to be part of any sort of subculture where the people in it are just a bunch of judgemental pricks?
Note: someone will call me a hypocrite because I’m judging people here. But consider that I am judging THE FITNESS PROFESSIONALS who share this shit. The ones who SHOULD KNOW BETTER than to do this shit. I’m not dumping on the general public who doesn’t know what they don’t know. I’m defending them against this trite judgmental shit.
This graphic doesn’t help and actively hurts.
Be helpful or SHUT THE FUCK UP.
Bullshit on The ‘Gram
So this is a bit more general, spurred by something that came across my wall a week or so ago. But it represents a trend I’m seeing more and more.
The person shared some graphic which had three points. Only two of which I remember. And, not shockingly, they deleted my comment so I can’t find it again. But the two I recall were
- You’re not a night owl, you have poor time management and sleep hygiene skills.
- You’re not motivated, you’re on an unsustainable program.
- Something right along those lines that I simply cannot recall.
It finished by saying “Stop excusing your bad habits with blanket statements.”
Which is hilarious in its own right because the entire graphic was nothing but three blanket statements. Hashtag irony flexible dieting IIFYM. I think that’s how that works.
So there are a few problems I have with this.
The first is that, well…the statements are wrong. At least as unqualified blanket statements.
Morningness and Eveningness
Regarding the first point. There is ample research showing that some people have high eveningness. That is, they function best in the evening. And others show high morningness, they function best in the mornings. It’s an inherent biology, I haven’t looked into it enough to know the details.
Some people are biologically nigh owls. And others are not. Does this mean that some people don’t just have poor time management and sleep hygiene? Of course not. But if you’re gonna say “don’t make blanket statements” then you don’t get to make blanket statements. Not when they are wrong to begin with. Some people truly are nightowls and the science says so.
The second one, motivation. Same basic idea, the blanket statement is wrong. There is a biology to motivation just like there is a biology to everything. There is also a learned and practice component.
Some people (usually obsessive neurotic fitness freaks) tend to come from the inherently motivated biology. They can’t understand that anybody might not be as motivated as them. So they become judgemental pricks about it. They tell people JUST BE MOTIVATED which is saying nothing. It doesn’t work that way.
I also entreated this individual to look into Self-Determination Theory (SDT) which I have talked about in another context. It encompasses a lot of factors but one of them is different aspects of motivation. Where instrinsic motivation is contrasted to extrinsic motivation. But extrinsic motivation has different levels where people become more instrinsically motivated over time.
Does that means some people aren’t on unsustainable programs? No. But again, he can’t say “Don’t make blanket statements” and then make blanket statements. Moreso when he’s wrong. Some people lack motivation for biological, learned or practice reasons (or all three).
You’re Not Edgy, You’re Just Trite
But this is part of a more general trend I’m seeing. Which is that fitness professionals are starting to make more trite little posts and graphics that are basically just judgmental shit that amount to “You’re dumb and you’re wrong and everything you believe is stupid.” Like the eating like an asshole thing. They don’t help or even provide useful information. They just tell people why they are stupid.
T-nation is notorious for this type of nonsense but they have always tried to appeal to people (i.e. young males) who confuse being macho with being a man. But that’s all T-nation has ever been.
I get it. On the ‘Gram, trite graphic and statements that make you sound cool and edgy get lots of engagement. And many will point out that I use Instagram which is true. To share links to my overwritten articles and make stupid dad jokes (of which there have been far too few lately). I don’t like Infographics because the devil lives in the details and Infographics leave those out. They may be simple but simple is usually wrong.
But basically what this kind of stuff is is an attempt to go “Ha ha, I know more than you, you’re just a dumb asshole and I’m the smartest guy in the room.” And that’s bullshit on every level.
They can’t be the smartest guy in the room because I am.
Which is a “joke”, sort of, I guess. Moving on.
But again as a fitness professional it is
- Your job to know more than people who are not professionals.
- Educate them about what’s right or better.
It’s not dump on them for not knowing what they can’t know because they “did their own research” like you told them to do and got misled by the endless bad information that you know full well exists. I don’t care how edgy or special or smart it makes you feel to write this kind of shit. Knock it off.
BE HELPFUL OR SHUT THE FUCK UP!
It’s Common Sense
This isn’t really meant to be one of the examples, it’s just to match what’s in the video sort of. Because among my other points is that if you’re a fitness professional and you’re doing this stuff, you’re part of the problem. You’re not helping and you are harming.
And here’s a great example. A few weeks ago, I took a bunch of picture showing how to microload weight machines in the gym. They often have huge weight jumps which make progression a problem.
So I showed a bunch of different methods to do it such as this:
And this person, a FUCKING TRAINER, got all twitty about “Isn’t this just common sense? This seems overly complicated” Now, oodles of people in the thread had said “This never occurred to me. This is a great idea” So clearly it’s not common sense. Very little is, at least until you know it already.
But even more than that, how can this person even pretend to be a trainer or give a shit about helping people? I truly hope that when their clients ask them a question they respond “It’s common sense.” I truly do. Because god forbid their job as a fitness professional be to help rather than judge people for not knowing something that, to them is “just common sense”.
I told them this, gave them their last response to be fair, and then kicked them out of my group.
The hilarious coda: on their Facebook wall their little tag says “Practice Compassion”. Good advice that they should try following. This person was not helpful. They needed to shut the fuck up.
A Closing Note
Some may point out that this article and video are not providing helpful information. It’s just me dumping on fitness professionals who, again, should know better. They are right. This is not meant to be a helpful article and some might question if it’s productive. That’s why it’s in a newly created rants category.
I also followed it up with a far more helpful article about the real reasons people aren’t losing weight.
But it should also be weighed against the hundreds of articles on my site where I have for endless years, attempted to provide what I feel is better information than what is out there. Or the endless posting in my Facebook group which are to help people who don’t have my level of expertise because my obsession is not theirs.
That has always been my goal, to sift the morass of utter crap in this industry and provide what I felt was correct and better information. In my articles, in my books, in my endless postings online that’s what I did. At least when I wasn’t being an asshole to people.
For years, people have suggested that I just dump on the other bullshit in this industry. And I could do that for the rest of my life. I could write one or more articles every day showing scientifically why something else out there was absolute garbage. I know I do it from time to time. But I pick my battles.
But I won’t generally do it because it’s not productive or helpful in the big picture.
Because telling something what’s wrong doesn’t do them any good when that only leaves 999,000 other bad options. Telling them what they think or have been told is stupid doesn’t do them any good either. Calling them an asshole because they have been misled by billions of pieces of shitty information is simply unfair. Doing so makes YOU the asshole.
I’d rather focus, in the aggregate, on what I think is right, on what I think is better information. I try to provide ways to help people achieve their goals in the safest most effective way possible. And in the case of this piece maybe get some supposed fitness professionals to stop judging people for knowing what they can’t or don’t know.
Or get others to start taking them to task for doing this dumb shit.
- Don’t share gym fail videos
- Stop telling people to ‘do their own research’
- Don’t ever share the You’re Eating Like an Asshole Meme
- Stop trying to be an edgy prick on Instagram
- It’s not common sense until after you know it.
Be helpful or shut the fuck up.
- The Reason You’re Not Losing Weight
- You Must Squat – Dumb Shit Fitness Professionals Say #2
- Evidence of a Ceiling Effect for Training Volume in Trained Men
- Fundamental Principles vs. Minor Details
- The Importance of Context