How To Never Get Conned By A Fitness GOO-ROO (In 5 Steps)
Here are the 5 steps,
- Learn a bit about anatomy.
- Learn a bit about nutrition.
- Follow people with education.
- Know the 7 Granddaddy Laws.
- Take EVERY bit of advice you get with a grain of salt.
Beginner weigh-lifters get taken advantage of constantly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are 5 steps (in detail) to becoming invulnerable to the BS that gets spewed at beginners nowadays.
Learn a Bit About Anatomy
You don’t need to have a Master’s degree in anatomy, but you need to know some stuff. Particularly, you need to know the functions of the major muscle groups you’re training.
If you know the function of a muscle, you’ll never get tricked into doing that “One Weird Exercise that Will Blow Up Your Arms.”
For example, some folks say the Squat works the hamstrings. The hamstrings are responsible for knee flexion (bending your knees) and hip extension (pushing your hips forward). But, the glutes are the primary hip extensors, so the hamstrings take a back seat there.
The squat requires knee extension and hip extension in order for you to complete the exercise. Since there is no flexing of the knee going on during the Squat, the Hams take on a stabilization role.
“Saying that the Squat trains the Hams is like saying Front Raises work the Biceps. Yes, the Hams are involved, but not all that much.”
Free Resource: Exrx.com
Paid Resource: muscleandmotion.com
Learn a Bit About Nutrition
Once again, you don’t need an advanced degree in nutrition to make the progress you want. You just need the bare basics.
You NEED to know how many calories to consume on a daily basis.
Use this calculator to find your caloric intake: https://musclewiki.org/Calorie_calculator
A word of advice on the Muscle Wiki calculator, use the “moderate exercise” setting to determine how many calories you should consume on the days that you lift, and the “little to no exercise” setting to determine your calories on your off days.
You should consume less food on your off days since your body doesn’t need as many calories.
The second thing you can figure out is your macronutrient intake. The keyword in the previous sentence is “can,” because counting macros is not necessary for a beginner. Hell, you could look at a barbell and your arms will start growing.
*Just so you know, macronutrients are the carbohydrates, fats, and protein found in food.*
A beginner’s muscle protein synthesis levels (aka the anabolic window) are elevated for up to 72 hours after training. So nutrient timing is not something you need to be concerned with (1).
Here is a general macro-nutrient guide for beginners.
- Calculate your calorie intake (C) using the Muscle Wiki calculator (https://musclewiki.org/Calorie_calculator)
- Consume 1 gram of protein (P) for every pound of your bodyweight.
- Take the number of grams of protein you got and multiply it by 4 (Px4). That’s the number of calories you’re consuming in protein.
- Subtract the amount of calories in protein from the total number of calories the Muscle Wiki calculator gave you. C-(Px4).
- Take ^that^ number, and divide it by two (C-(Px4))/2.
- Now, divide one of the numbers you got by 9 and the other number by 4. ((C-(Px4))/2)/9. ((C-(Px4))/2)/4
The number you get after dividing by 9 will be the grams of fat for you to consume and the number you get after dividing by 4 will be the amount of carbs you will be consuming
This is a simple guideline for macronutrient consumption, but it is completely customizable. Just know that you shouldn’t go too low on fats OR carbs. Fats are necessary for good hormone production, and carbs are necessary (kinda) for good performance in the gym.
Follow people with education (on social media).
And no I don’t mean you should only listen to folks with PhDs. I just mean people who take education seriously.
There are people in the fitness industry who want to push the boundaries about what we know (or think we know) about fitness, and you need to be following them on their websites and social media.
“Why follow them on social media?”
Educated people tend to educate others. When you’ve spent hours in front of a computer researching and studying, you kinda want to get that info out to the world ASAP.
What’s the easiest way that people have to get new info out to the world? Social Media.
Here are a few social media accounts of my favorite educated fitness professionals.
Also, here are some paid resources in which people far smarter than me put read though a lot of complex research and break it down for the working man.
Know the Seven Grandaddy Laws
The Seven Grandaddy Laws were put together by Dr. Fred Hatfield after he examined decades of research around what it took to get big and strong.
By the way, I’m currently working on my Masters Degree, and the Seven Grandaddy Laws are in my graduate physiology book. So, yeah, they’re all important and shit.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the Seven Grandaddy Laws,
The Law of Individual Differences.
- Everyone has different strengths and weakness, which need to be taken into consideration for the training program.
The Overcompensation Principle.
- This principle is why beginners at any sport see great improvement when starting their programs.
The Overload Principle
- This principle is the reason that people plateau in their gains over time
The Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID) Principle
- The basic tenet of this principle is that you must tax your body in the same way that you want to improve
The Use/Disuse Principle and Law of Reversibility
- The first part of this principle is that we must continue train the skill or we will lose that capacity (“use it or lose it”). However, the second part of this principle is that once it has been trained and lost, the skill (or strength) will be much easier to recover than it was to originally train.
The Specificity Principle
- If we want to get better at something, we must do that something
The General Adaption Syndrome
- The first stage is called the alarm stage, which is when the body reacts to the application of training stress (similar to the overload principle).
- The second stage is the resistance stage, which is when our muscles adapt to increasing amounts of stress (similar to the overcompensation principle).
- The final stage is the exhaustion stage, where if we continue to train we will be forced to stop from too much stress.
Everything you need to know about training can be drawn from the Seven Grandaddy Laws. Know them and know them well.
Take Every Bit of Advice You Get With A Grain Of Salt (Even Mine)
Intelligent people tend to have a major issue with confirmation bias (me included). Meaning that they have an opinion on something, and go searching for evidence to support that opinion.
Confirmation bias can also lead to an intelligent person COMPLETELY ignoring the evidence that refutes their opinion.
Therefore, you need to be careful about automatically taking the word of someone with an advanced degree. They are human and can be wrong like anyone else can.
You also can’t trust the Instagram models. Yeah, they have nice bodies. But they know what to do to get THEMSELVES jacked. They may be able to help you, and they may not.
So EVERY time someone offers you advice, whether they have a 1000 pound deadlift, a 10-pack, or a PhD in biology, be skeptical, and go looking for the answers yourself.
Miller, B. F., Olesen, J. L., Hansen, M., Døssing, S., Crameri, R. M., Welling, R. J., … & Smith, K. (2005). Coordinated collagen and muscle protein synthesis in human patella tendon and quadriceps muscle after exercise. The Journal of physiology,567(3), 1021-1033.