Beware The Snake Oil Part 2

Please check out Part One of this diatribe before continuing. 

There are people in the world of fitness and personal defense that seem to enjoy notoriety more than anything else. They seem to advance ideas and take a tone that makes them seem gruff, no-nonsense kind of guys. Manly men.

What these guys often do is create cults of personality surrounding them, filled with adoring sycophants who want nothing more than to emulate their beloved leader.

These are what I refer to as Fanboys.

Fanboys are people who embrace the snake oil so completely, any and all skepticism or criticism of the snake oil is perceived–and not entirely unjustly so–as an attack on them and their decision-making abilities. After all, they reached a different decision than you did, thus you not accepting their decision as the right one means you think they’re a moron.

Of course, in many cases, it’s because they’re morons.

Anyway, the Fanboys will brook no criticism of their beloved icon, but what is it their beloved icon is selling them? In some cases, it’s nothing particularly new. Instead, it’s usually some older snake oil with a slight twist. Occasionally, it’s something legitimate with a snake oil twist that the huckster will claim makes the whole thing work.

Either way, those who buy into the snake oil become convinced by their Alpha-Male leader that this works so well that they can’t even listen to outside criticism without finding a way to dismiss it.

I’m not talking about all rival approaches to fitness. I’m not claiming there’s a One True Way, either. While I do think there’s an optimal “way” to achieve any goal, that way is probably different for each goal and each person. I’m also not arrogant enough to think I’ve discovered it. Not yet, anyway.

Mark Rippetoe proposes gaining strength by lifting barbells with certain lifts at certain times. Louie Simmons has a much different approach to gaining strength.

Who is right? Damned if I know.

What I do know is that both have proponents primarily because both have shown their systems work. Yes, Rippetoe thinks his system is best. I’m pretty sure Simmons does too.

Where they diverge from the Snake Oil Hucksters is in the fact that they can defend their programs with real-world results. I’ve seen many proponents of each comment that the other system does indeed increase strength. In other words, neither man has really gone about putting together Fanboys.

In short, they sell something that clearly works. Further, they don’t attack skepticism as if their lives depend on it. They respond with a measured approach with a factual defense of their system.

Not only that, but neither man presents his program as the greatest thing since sliced bread. At least, not that I’ve seen.

Instead, they present it as a proven system to get stronger. Both can show you the proof.

BAM!

The difference is that most hucksters know they can’t present evidence. They don’t have a long track record of proven results.

Further, most hucksters have had to create something so radical, something so very different from the norm, all so they can be the One True Way. That makes it virtually impossible for them to show results except for the tainted, manipulated results we’ve come to expect from the fitness industry.

 

Then, if that’s not enough, the huckster will further try and manipulate things to make them look like the One True Way. Take the guy who triggered this whole, two-day rant. Blowing up at someone who admitted skepticism but was still open-minded to his approach wasn’t enough.

No, yesterday he started offering a giveaway to those who reviewed his book. In other words, he’s bribing people to leave a review of his book…but we all know it’s only for a good one.

I may be cynical, but it’s a cynicism born from experience.

Unfortunately, it becomes very difficult to differentiate between the huckster and the guy with a devote following if he’s just that different. Take Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. He takes a very radical approach to fitness and health, very different than what most experts are saying. His fans love him, and many are truly Fanboys.

However, I’ve never seen Mark cultivate this. What he’s proposing makes sense, and while he advocates it as the best way to get fit, he doesn’t feel the need to tear people down over it. He appears to prefer to let the results speak for themselves.

And therein lies the difference.

If there’s one thing that separates the huckster from the radical thinker, it’s that the need to destroy criticism. They can’t trust science to back them up, they can’t trust results to back them up, they can’t trust anything except their own prowess with…well, whatever.

So please, do beware of these people. They prey on the desperate, those who want nothing more than to get healthy as quickly and easily as possible. They prey on that desire and really don’t care about getting people healthier.

Don’t get suckered in.

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Beware The Snake Oil

Regardless of where you are with your physical health, there are people out there who claim to know the secret. They swear up and down that they and they alone know the path to a healthier you.

Yesterday on social media, I encountered one of these guys. He’d made a joke and, though skeptical of what he was selling, it was the kind of joke I respect. As a result, I mentioned being skeptical of the program, but jokes like that made me really want to give it a try.

After all, I tend to believe there’s more than one way to the Promised Land. Continue reading “Beware The Snake Oil”

Strength Versus Size

I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching videos and listening to podcasts. Yes, I’m a dork. Sue me.

Anyway, earlier today I started brushing up on kettlebells. You see, I’ve loved kettlebells for years now because they’re an incredibly cost-effective piece of fitness equipment.

As I watched the videos on kettlebells, I returned to a question I’ve asked myself a hundred times at least. “Can you gain mass with a kettlebell?”

Since I was already at YouTube, I decided to take a look, and that’s when I did something I know better than.

I looked at the comments.

Continue reading “Strength Versus Size”

DDP Yoga – Aftermath: Part 3

It hasn’t really been all that long for the “Energy” workout from yesterday to have done all that much, but it was long enough, and so far? Pretty much what I expected the aftermath to be.

I do feel some slight twinges of soreness in my lats–which oddly enough, have always been a trouble area for me to train hard enough with weights–but nothing spectacularly sore or anything.

To be honest, I’m a little pissed I didn’t finish the workout, but so be it. A lot of people can’t the first time. So I’m going to focus on just doing more next time. I got nine minutes, so next time needs to be 10 at a minimum.

Frankly, it was probably pretty stupid for me to expect to do a 21-minute workout with few breaks in it when I felt slightly winded from the intro workout. Live and learn.

I don’t have a lot of thoughts on any of this today, so I’m going to leave you there.

Moving forward, I’ll record my training logs here, but from time to time, I’ll also include some other things I’m looking at and thinking about, so sometimes there may be two posts on a given day. I doubt that’ll be the norm, though, just FYI.

Hell, I’ll be doing good to get a single post per day in with my workload. 🙂

DDP Yoga: Energy

First, I’m sorry this is late. This has been the day from hell on my end, which means I didn’t do any kind of workout until late. In fact, I’m still feeling sweat on my forehead at the moment from the workout, so all these recollections are pretty fresh.

As promised, today I did the DDP Yoga workout called “Energy.” Continue reading “DDP Yoga: Energy”

DDP Yoga – Aftermath: Part 2

Following the workout from yesterday, I figured I should spend some time today discussing the aftermath yet again.

As noted yesterday, I’d forgotten how strenuous the workout actually was, and that was over just a couple of days. I’m making it a point to remember it today because tomorrow I do a harder workout that, frankly, I don’t expect to make it through. Continue reading “DDP Yoga – Aftermath: Part 2”

Another Day, Another Workout

Yes, I’m going to spend a good bit of time logging my workouts when I’m not pontificating on various things. This does two things. First, it keeps me accountable. Second, it allows people to actually track how I did things, see my mistakes, and put the whole process of following the Warrior Pyramid out in the open.

So, without further ado…

Today I did the DDP Yoga thing for the second time, and it’s funny. I’d told myself that it was pretty easy (and it was) so I decided to go through the introductory Diamond Dozen workout with a bit more intensity. You see, since it’s an introductory workout, Dallas tends to explain the movement with a demonstration before you actually do it. Since I’d told myself that Monday was so easy, I decided to do twice as much work.

DAYUM! Continue reading “Another Day, Another Workout”