Summary of Intent
Body of Evidence is the place where science meets reality, theory meets practice, research meets experience, and they all shake hands over a Belvedere on the rocks.
Unfortunately, the dots between the above pairings are typically left unconnected. Much of the fitness industry is mired with apocryphal experts who would rather argue their point than understand it, or read and write about it than apply it.
On one side of the metaphorical fence resides the research jockeys. These folks spend the entirety of their days researching, studying, translating Icelandic energy expenditure papers, and musing garishly to themselves about a newly discovered cytokine they officially have a better understanding of than God all while feverishly masturbating to high resolution images of Lara Croft. They’ve often fine tuned an undeserved sense of self worth and will take any opportunity to cite a study proving somebody wrong, yet their collection of real world experience couldn’t fill the extra small condom they’ll possibly use sometime in their late 30’s.
Do they get the job done? Sometimes, sure. But they’re usually too busy convincing everyone how smart they are to even start the job, and often find themselves blaming the ignorance or laziness of clients/athletes/everyone around them when their methods fail. All that being said, these are often very intelligent individuals with great reasoning and deductive capabilities, and much can be learned from them if you have the patience. I just like to talk shit to keep them in check, but its out of love.
On the other side you’ll find the field experts. They’ve been around for ever and do things because it’s the way they’ve always been done, or the way the huge guys on Venice beach did it 2,000 years ago…but they couldn’t translate a research abstract (let alone know where to find one) to save their asses. They often have little scientific understanding of what they’re doing, they just know it works. They’ve either gotten where they are by echoing those before them or just simply embracing the absoluteness of trial and error. Regardless, they often get the job done just as well if not better than the research jockeys.
With the Body of Evidence blog, I aim to strike the most effective balance between research and reality when presenting information, theories, and ideas. Others in the field have done this and done it well (and continue to do so), but they are the exception rather than the rule.
As for research, most days of the week I’ll browse through a few hundred studies retreived from pre-programmed keyword searches of peer-reviewed journals. If I see an interesting study or author, I’ll read the abstract. If the abstract is interesting, I’ll read over the full text. If the full text is interesting, I may incorporate some of what I learned into my own nutrition or training. If I like what I see, I’ll start introducing it to clients. Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don’t, what do I care…they all sign waivers. If I like what I see with a larger group of subjects, I’ll secure it a place in the toolbox, and probably write about it.
Aside from published research, I enjoy reading articles and books by authors I hold in high regard. Then I’ll read stuff by authors I don’t like, as I still find myself learning from them. Mocking, then learning, then mocking again, but there’s still something to be gained.
However, all the knowledge I’ve gained from research would be barely useful without getting my hands dirty. Over the past decade I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of clients meticulously tracking, observing, experimenting, and applying. I’ve trained in some weird gyms operated by juiced out freaks that have never read a book in their lives (aside from the first half of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), and they’ve taught me quite a bit. I learned pretty quickly that sometimes research doesn’t pan out in the real world. I have and will continue to discover things that produce profound results that can’t be explained by published studies (yet), or are sometimes flat out contradictory.
In summary, research should fuel experience, not replace it. And experience must be coupled with great attention to detail for it to carry any validity. This is what I bring to you here, Nation (1), so keep this at the forefront of your thoughts while reading my blog and maybe we can share a glass of Belvedere sometime.
1. Used with the expressed written consent of Stephen Colbert.