The landscape of fitness lately is moving along faster than I can ever remember. So fast, in fact, that today it serves as my inspiration for the content of this post.
With us now knowing more and more (or at least we think) about the human body than we ever have in the past, you’d think this would serve as a positive thing for the fitness industry, right?
Well, logic would say so. The more we know, the more helpful we can be to people who are looking to reach their goals. Right?
Logically, yes but the unfortunate reality is that it seems to have caused a huge rift between everybody within the fitness community. The explosion of social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and forums has only served to make the frankly childish and egotistical battles more apparent..To me at least.
The problem doesn’t seem to lay in people’s knowledge but more so in the bad ATTITUDE of a select few and the way in which they apply and impart their knowledge on people.
So who do YOU get your information from? Let’s take a look at this battle..
Let’s look at broscience first. What is it? Well, broscience refers to the local meathead or just random gym-go’er who wants to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Usually without any sound scientific backing for the methods they speak about.
In other words they are their own brand of science..just a random “bro” at the gym. Hence, broscience.
The funny thing I find about broscience is that the guys who get called out for preaching it generally tend to be in better shape than the “scientists”..I would estimate that 85-90% of all high level fitness models or bodybuilders would probably be called out for being “broscientists” by the science community. Now, this doesn’t mean that somebody in lesser shape can’t know more about the subject, it’s just an observation.
I also find that broscientists tend to carry themselves with more confidence and charisma, hence there are many fitness personalities online and out in the world who have way more followers and fans than somebody in the “science” crowd. Again, a generalization but one that I doubt few would disagree with.
Relating to the material can be just as important in education that the knowledge and subject matter itself. Broscientists are good at this in general.
Science is pretty much what all fitness and bodybuilding advances stem from. Most qualifications and courses for fitness professionals etc are based on some form of science.
What I find amusing is that much of what I was taught in the first ever personal training course I attended 10 years ago would be rubbished as broscience by the science community now.
Why? Does science change? Of course it can and does.
I am VERY wary of all studies conducted by any institution. What is their agenda? Who has funded the study? Did they control all of the variables properly? There is so much that can throw off the accuracy of studies, I think it is wise to take any study with a pinch of salt.
The good guys in the science community accept this and use the information to stimulate thought. These are the people that I will listen to, follow and take notes from. Anybody who can make me think outside of the box without patronizing me has my attention.
Then there are the total science douche doctors. (I just made that up..not bad..)
This is the “science” crew who will look down on everybody and be critical of others in the fitness field who have good intentions of helping people but MIGHT be giving out slightly outdated information. (I say “Might” because, contrary to the arrogance of this type of “scientist” – Their findings are not a foregone conclusion, just like science wasn’t a foregone conclusion when looking at fitness 10 years ago)
Criticism is great..we all need it to learn and progress. Random unprovoked attacks are not ok, though, because they serve nobody but their own insatiable ego. They’re so desperate to be proven right that they fail to realize how ironically closed minded they’ve become when the whole purpose of science is to be able to look at things with an open mind. Take a look on YouTube at the moment and you’ll see it in full swing – Different channels attacking each other. It is a complete joke and helps nobody.
Now don’t get me wrong, the first type of “Science” fitness guy is somebody well worth listening to. He/She will analyse studies and draw interesting thoughts from them to make you think.
These science types are important because they respect your intelligence and invite you to think and input your own thoughts. This is how we grow.
For example, I read an article (I can’t remember who it was by now..!) titled,
“Is Foam Rolling a Waste of Time?”
and it was a GREAT read because it gave evidence for and against. Reasons why it might be a waste of time and then concluded by letting you decide. These articles stimulate you and can only be a good thing.
Layne Norton is also a good example of somebody who makes science thought provoking. He goes into the depths of science that I wouldn’t even dream of reaching into. (I personally can’t think of anything more boring than wading through a boatload of studies!)
Yet, Layne will do this and put it out to the public in a way that everybody can comprehend and learn from. I also like that Layne will often go back and change his articles or edit them when he finds research or studies AGAINST what he might have believed previously.
That’s a class act in my book – Somebody who can admit that they may have been wrong about something and are not afraid to correct it. Layne is known to get pissy with broscientists and “gurus” from time to time though haha
So Who Should I Listen to..Science or Broscience?
Well, obviously, every protocol you follow should have at least some kind of science base otherwise you probably aren’t going to see optimal results.
One thing that I will say which the scientists may not like is that most “broscience” was once real “science”. For example – On almost all courses I completed up until about 2-3 years ago, we were always taught the “post-workout window” theory. In simple terms, get your protein and simple carbs in within 15-30 minutes of finishing your workout and then get a solid meal in afterwards made up of similar macronutrients.
Nowadays, much of the science world says that the post-workout window is a myth and has been debunked by countless studies. Maybe so, but where did the countless studies FOR the post workout window come from then? To sell protein shakes? It’s definitely a feasible explanation..I’m still open minded about that topic. (Heck I’ve had to become open minded about all of fitness and its everchanging landscape. This is a good thing..)
I’m not saying one is right or wrong over the other. What I am saying is that it is always useful to keep an open mind, yes, even when it comes to science. Science has historically changed as time has gone on so why can’t it do the same again, 10, 20 or even 50 years from now?
If there was absolutely no science in “Broscience” then how did most of these guys in great shape who get called out all the time for having outdated knowledge build muscle? Was it by chance? I hear of natural guys like Rob Riches, the Hodgetwins (pictured above) and Scooby being called out for broscience on a regular basis..so..how did these guys ever get in such great shape? In Rob Riches case, multiple time contest winning shape – Fluke? I think not…I know many more natural “broscientists” (apparently) in super shape as well.
There was obviously a lot of correct science used by these individuals to achieve their impressive physiques regardless of what the new-science school says.
In conclusion, I feel that when you’re choosing somebody to take advice from, a scientific base is very advantageous but so is an understanding, caring and nurturing personality. Somebody who is actually passionate about helping people and not feeding his/her own massive ego. This type of person will inspire you and help you grow with the latest, cutting edge, information but at the same time helping you to do it on your own two feet.
So, if you can find the perfect combo of Science knowledge coupled with Broscience personality/mentality and most importantly, somebody who has experience of what they preach or at least some type of proof then you’re getting advice from a sure fire winner in my book.
Heck, failing all of those traits, somebody that just makes you wanna get up off your ass and achieve your goals is good enough..