Bro Science vs. Science, Bro

Exercise physiology is a young science. A baby! Some of the nuts and bolts understanding we have about how muscles work—stuff that seems absolutely essential—was only discovered after you were born. That’s why academics are so cautious when it comes to definitive statements about anything. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the unwavering confidence of fitness influencers. Obviously, an aggressively attractive person who speaks in certainties has more curb appeal than a chorus… Continue reading Bro Science vs. Science, Bro

Training for the long haul

I used to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu alongside a nutritionist—someone who prided himself on his own fitness. Our instructor was a tough man—but famously uninterested in conventional exercise. One day, the nutritionist challenged him. “Let’s do a decathlon to prove who’s fittest. We’ll do a bunch of events. We can bike, run, swim, and climb…” And then, in a fit of hubris, he added, “We can even have a jiu-jitsu event!” The instructor paused for a… Continue reading Training for the long haul

Check yourself before you rec yourself

My fitness career began at the end of a tai chi class. Not because I had committed to fighting (very slowly) for martial supremacy on a secret island. That would come much later. The real beginning arrived by a question ringing in my head: how am I going to be able to keep doing this stuff? The stuff was not any one thing. Not tai chi. Not biking or hiking or any other rec sport in particular. I… Continue reading Check yourself before you rec yourself

Experimental Equipment

Pick up just about any fitness media and the odds are that you’ll see happiness and confidence linked to a particular physical outcome. After you achieve X result, you too can enjoy the feeling of being complete. Your worries will disappear. It’s an appealing dream. Whoever is selling that particular dream will, like the Matrix’s Morpheus, hand you a pill. “Take this,” they say, “and you can someday become that person.” Don’t be distracted by the fact that this guy just… Continue reading Experimental Equipment

Kettlebell History

Walk into a gym, supplement store, or other fitness-related business and look around. The assumption is that whatever you see represents the most effective options for progress—each honed by time, science, and technology. That’s the promise of every fitness solution out there, innit? However, anything you see has survived the rigours of marketing, manufacture, supply chains, and trends. They’re not all keepers. So, how do we choose the good ones? I ask this question a lot.… Continue reading Kettlebell History