Why You Need To Be Picky

The MSU strength coaching staff (including me)
With roughly a million forums to choose from, how can anyone decide whose advice to take? Free advice is
everywhere. Anyone can get a blog started and thus proceed to spit out information like a Texas Ranger spits out sunflower seeds. Shoot, that’s how I got Endu started. With my brief stent as a coach and my slightly larger time spent personal training I have learned something.
The majority of people that you find giving advice have no right to give advice.

The internet has introduced a mask of invincibility that a lot of people sit behind. Gentlemen that have a reserved public nature become crude and overbearing monsters behind a keyboard. I go to forums all of the time, looking for possible questions to blog about. Unfortunately, I am more likely to find myself biting through my lip as I read the comments than I am to find a good discussion.

Just the other day a video was posted on a website of a person doing RDLs. They were using a light weight and keeping good form. I felt that the only statements that they needed to hear were, “good job and add some weight.” As I scrolled to the first comment I found myself biting through my lip yet again. “That’s horrible deadlift form. You’re going to hurt your back.” I thought that surely some half-educated trainer would be a knight in shining armor and fix the commenter’s mistake. Instead, I found that almost everyone agreed with the commenter, thus leaving the original poster in a state of misinformation.

The more time that I spend watching trainers squeeze paychecks out of clients without actually producing results, the more I feel the need to say something. So here is me saying something. If you are going to actually take advice from another person you should see if they meet a certain set of criteria. Three sets to be exact. I will use the title “trainer” from here on out, but feel free to substitute it with “forum person,” or “guy standing by the dumbbells giving out un-asked for advice.”

The first thing that you can do when you meet someone is size them up. Sizing someone up doesn’t mean judging them, it means categorizing them. Tolerance and temperance aside, everyone can be categorized. Categories like male and female are objective, while others like fit and fat are subjective. It is up to you to determine how you perceive someone’s physiology (bodily structure.)

Let’s say that you are deep in a discussion with someone about how to lose weight. They claim that you need to meet their demands (whatever they may be) to cut down on body fat. However, you notice this person constantly walks around with a shelf of fluff about his midsection. Would you take his advice? Probably not; I know I wouldn’t. Likewise, if you go to a nutrition store and a morbidly obese man tries to sell you fat burners you probably won’t heed his advice. The phrase “Practice what you preach,” comes to mind.

 Be that as it may, there are a multitude of categories that a trainer can fall under. For instance you can have a trainer that looks like he is “fat,” but he has the strength of BelgianBlue Cow. There is a good chance that he is a strongman or a powerlifter, and that he probably knows his stuff. In like manner, you could have the most buff guy in the world be your trainer, but if he struggles with lifting more than 135 lbs from the ground he’s probably not going to have good advice. This brings me to my next point.
Courtesy of the 70sbig.com team

A presupposition is something that is assumed before a discussion occurs. For example, if you continually read this blog then you probably have the presupposition that I know something about strength training. Or I have the presupposition that you’re not my family members reading my posts out of pity/love. (*silent tear cried)

The club that I work at recently “got rid of” one of their trainers and handed me some of his clients. This trainer was built like a brick house. Muscles were bulging on-top of muscles. If you were going to ask someone advice about getting big, he seemed like the guy to go to. But when I started training his client I learned that his programming was awful and that his client had actually gotten negative results. I later learned that the ex-trainer was “self taught” and genetically gifted. Everyone was under the presupposition that the trainer got to be huge from smart programming. The truth was that he’s just a genetically buff guy. A few curls to him would be like the average Joe doing hundreds.

It’s easy to assume that the bigger guys know the most about lifting weights. But to be honest, it’s the more lean built athletic guys that have the widest range of exercise knowledge. Because it was harder for them to gain, they had to learn more tricks to get there. When I think of all the guys that I would want to coach next to, the list is primarily made of lean athletic guys (and like two monster strongmen).
Smart and great guy I met at A&M

It’s one thing to have a list of letters next to your name stating that you’ve taken a few tests. It’s another to be able to say that you have trained under a prestigious facility, or that you’ve created top tier athletes using your programming. I’m surrounded by kids in my undergraduate classes that know little more about training than when they started. They just get by to get a degree. In the same way, a lot of personal trainers will scrape by and get a certification that means didly-squat.

My main target audience is competitive athletes. From Ultimate Frisbee players to state winning tennis players, I train them to win. So it’s no wonder that I myself compete. I apply my programming to myself and I see the results that I want. So, if someone is giving you advice on how to be lean, but they’ve never been lean before in their life should you take his/her advice? In my opinion, absolutely not. 

The list of credentials someone has should not be isolated to certificates and diplomas. Credentials also include past experience, client result, and personal results. If someone has never driven a car before you don’t take their advice on how to drive in Dallas during rush hour traffic. Likewise you wouldn’t have someone coach you on deadlifting heavy when they’ve never deadlifted heavy before.

It’s in moments like this that I remember a few bible verses. Guard your heart, and test everything like a smith tests silver. To clarify, don’t listen to everything you hear, and put all advice under extreme heat and pressure. This includes the advice that I pump out from Endu. Don’t take my advice as gospel, but don’t discredit it without giving further thought either. Before you listen to anyone’s opinion check a person’s physiology, check your presuppositions, and then check their credentials; you’ll soon see gainz in your brain and your muzzlez. 

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.