Last Friday I saw Dessa give a brilliant presentation on ethics in and around hip-hop at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Something she said came back to me today. I’m paraphrasing from her speech, but she said: “What I expose myself to messes with my head. When I read those women’s magazines, I start to feel weird. I want to do it with the lights off. Because what you expose yourself affects you.” She summed it up by saying, “Be careful what you let into your head.“
And she’s absolutely right.
So here’s an experiment to try out:
Stop reading reddit Fitness. Stop reading the DragonDoor Forum. Stop reading Bodybuilding.com. Stop reading T-Nation. Yes, both the forum and the articles. Stop reading every link every fitness person posts on Facebook. Stop reading Pendlay, Wendler, Pavel, Twight, Glassman (gag), Rippetoe, and every other loudmouth with an opinion.
Because, like it or not, all that stuff you’re reading affects you. You might go into reading reddit Fitness knowing full-well that 99% of the posters are idiots. You read a few posts and forget about it. Later that night you’re doing your weighted pull-ups, and you start questioning yourself because there was a post saying that you should never do weighted pull-ups.
Along the same lines, at least once a month I read a post about how you should keep your fitness program simple, and not jump from program to program. Which is great, except that the same people writing them are usually pumping out a new training program article once a week or more. The problem isn’t so much that people go looking for something new as much as they’re constantly being fed new shiny objects that plant ideas. Remember the movie Inception? “Once the idea is planted in a person’s mind, it’ll change the person’s reality.” Entering a person’s dream is pretty far-fetched, but the premise of an idea completely changing a person’s course is based firmly in reality.
So, be careful what you let into your head.
Assuming you want to make progress with your fitness goals, and not just spin your wheels and talk about fitness:
Find someone you trust. Free or paid.
Gather enough information to start taking action. Measure your starting point, whether it be strength, speed, flexibility or body composition.
Act on their information for 3 months. Legitimately act on it. 3 times per week for 3 months, whatever it is.
Test & re-assess. If you’ve made progress, you know you can trust them. If not, you can’t and it’s time to move on.
You don’t need any more information. At least not without acting on what you already have and connecting it. Stop collecting and start connecting.