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Gurus, steroids and misinformation!

This is an extract from a discussion on my face book page that recently caused some interested debate.

Trainers, coaches and physical gurus that preach ‘natural’ muscle gain / fat loss / performance enhancement etc, really ought to tell their audience if they themselves are ‘unnaturally physically enhanced’. Failure to mention this to their adorning followers and clients leads to unrealistic expectations. In my view it is also vaguely dishonest and misleading.

If people are on the ‘gear’, personally I have no problem with their choice…each to their own I reckon. However, surely we trainer types have a kind of moral duty to admit if we are unnaturally boosted. As a mate so eloquently put it the other day – ‘yes you too can be like me, all you have to do is eat clean (not sure what that really means), and lift weights…oh and take a shit load of drugs’!

It is a bit disappointing how many ‘gurus’ there are that preach one thing but quite clearly are doing something else! If you are a person of influence physically and are on the sauce why not tell people? They can make up their own minds weather to listen to your ‘expertise’ or not! I suspect some folks wouldn’t mind knowing you’re ‘enhanced’ and may well be keen to know more, like where you get it, how it works, what stack to take, how to cycle it and so on. You could even start a lucrative business as the ‘roid trainer’!

It is vaguely depressing how some coaches / trainers / PTs are telling us on social media / magazines / gyms etc how we should eat / sleep / train / recover etc when most of their adorning followers are unaware that some ‘experts’ are in fact ‘do as I say but not as I do types’. In fact there are even fat ‘fat loss’ gurus out there peddling their experise! True story!

An example of this type of misleading information being peddled is people who say, ‘To gain muscle you must do a split routine’. This is not fully correct! A split routine can indeed be very useful to gain muscle…it is even more useful if on steroids! A full body routine, when done 3-4 x per week is also effective at gaining muscle and is especially useful for ‘natural’ trainees! I know this because it is part of my job to get people in to ‘natural’ competition body building shape. Generally they gain muscle whilst losing fat doing a full body training phase, so long as protein and fat intake are sufficiently high. After a phase of full body stuff we often add a split routine…both work!

Another example of misleading bias are gurus that have not tried something slagging it off. For example: ‘Crossfit is a rubbish method of training’! If there is a good coach and reasonably structured training plan then from a general ‘fitness and health’ view they are collectively among the most clued up and robust trainees around. Being pretty good at most things is probably what a lot of us want I suspect. Of course if you have specific requirements for sport / fat loss / hypertrophy / peak athletic enhancement, then clearly train more selectively. I am not a crossfitter BTW but I was privileged enough to have Crossfit Exeter use my gym for a year. They had to go though because I got vaguely aroused by the constant long socks and bandanas!

This is not to say that because a trainer is on vitamin B+ that they are clueless. Often the information they are imparting is excellent. However wouldn’t it be nice and refreshing if someone that is preaching to us how to improve physically was to say ‘I am on steroids / GH etc, here is my advice / experience about how to gain muscle / lose fat / improve strength’! That would be cool and worth a read! The point being that what training / nutrition / recovery strategies that work for a ‘juiced’ person does not usually work for the rest of us, so take advice sceptically!

It seems to me that if someone is perceived as an expert then you can say anything you like and people will think it is gospel! ‘In order to increase maximal leg strength an athlete must ensure he activates his / her TVA and pulls the belly button towards the spine before back squats on the bosu ball’…or translated in to English ‘I am a tosser’!

Other misinformation:

‘Everyone should squat’. If you can’t do a full range, hamstring to calf squat then do something else like a split squat.

‘Load up on carbs in the morning’. Yeah why not, if you want to be lethargic most of the day Instead eat fats and protein at the start of the day. Have carbs if they are beneficial in the evening, the serotonin release will aid sleep as well as replenishing glycogen

‘You can only gain power with Olympic lifts’. Try jumping up, or out vigorously after / before squats…that will also do it.

‘Take 3 Protein shakes a day to ensure you get jaked / healthy / ripped’. Quick absorbing liquid protein causes a high insulin spike, this can be detrimental to all those things and is not recommended except after arduous activity. If you want a shake then have one, but only after training.

‘Whey protein powder is a must for recover and muscle building’. If this is the case how come it makes so many people feel bloated and lethargic. Food should either energise or relax…not distress! Maybe some amino acids with added BCAAs and some ‘greens’ type powder would do the trick. Add a mug of green tea and local honey after the shake and Bob’s your uncle. Perhaps your nutrition before and during training  / competition is more important. Food is useful as well!!!

‘Bi’s and Tri’s’ day…I just smashed it’! You are either deluded, or believe the rubbish being pedalled by some gurus… or you are on the gear yourself. Either way no one give a toss!

‘Burpees are for winners’. If you are flexible enough to initiate the jump from flat feet and an upright torso then crack on, if not then you are heading for trouble…try jumping in the air from your tip toes or with a rounded back…or both, not good, not powerful and not healthy.

‘Flat training shoes are bad and cause injury’. So I should not walk around in bear feet!

‘The bench press is the daddy upper body pressing exercise’. Given the choice I would rather be strong pressing over head than benching. Maybe dipping or inclined dumbbell pressing are better depending on what you require. To be honest I am rubbish at benching though so maybe I am just a miserable old fart!

This conversation is sadly repeated all to often ‘Wow, mate you have become massive and ripped since I last saw you'(6 weeks ago). Cheers bud, yeah I am just eating loads of porridge and protein shakes’! Ha ha…REALLY!