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So called “secrets” Posted on 09.07.2010 by greg.kuchyt

SELF Magazine - Today's snake oil

The following is a rant filled with elitist tirades; be fore-warned.

This is the kind of crap that gets me fired up. SELF Magazine ran an article through MSN entitled “Secrets of the Fittest”. In six short paragraphs the “feature” reveals six “secrets” fitness “trainers” use in order to get that [insert whatever crap-filled line about what a good body they have line here].

Take this first tip, which effectively suggests that exhaling during a situp will give you “hot abs”. Really? I’m sure that’s why all of us don’t have six-pack abs…we haven’t been exhaling at the right time. There are some many things wrong here, I don’t even know where to start. First, if you care about looks more than your fitness, you might as well go masturbate in front of the mirror because that’s what your workout will effectively be. If mediocrity is your goal, than your results will be mediocre. “Fit” bodies come from hard work, trying to say anything else is ignorant, naive, and just plain wrong.

Second, the idea of isolating a muscle group is myopic and misdirected unless you’re a meat head body builder. In the words of Dan John and Mark Twight, there is no “core”. The body is “one piece”, as all movements originate from the center. Training natural movements improves flexibility, proprioception, leads to functional strength gains, and trains natural motor programs for everyday movements. What more accurately describes a movement you’d do in daily life, sit in a chair and curl something with nice comfy handles to your chest through a fixed plane of motion or pick something heavy up from the floor?

It’s ironic that our society focuses on image over fitness when image is a consequence of fitness. It’s pretty remarkable how form follows function. When you concentrate on becoming fitter your body follows in suit by striping the excess and keeping the essentials. However, most people will look at you and think you’re not fit because of the predominant over-loaded idea of fitness in our society (i.e. big muscles equals fit). That’s fine, just load them up with a pack and have them try to keep up on a trail with you over 12 hours; if you even care. Otherwise get out there and start getting stuff done.

Regardless, I’m pretty sure I lost whatever thread of coherency I managed to strike here. Anyone who suggests you can get results from anything but plain damn hard work is 1) wrong, b) ignorant, or 3) lying. Remember, in the end it’s all about the journey and how you get there, rather than the destination. If you take shortcuts, you miss out on some of the finer points and your journey is less fulfilling and you gain less from it. Maybe you only care about the destination, in that case I’m surprised you made it this far. For the rest of us though, here’s to experimenting, learning, understanding, and getting at it!