Posts Tagged ‘fitness presenters’

My Dogma Can Kick Your Dogma’s A$$

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Dogma= is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or from which diverged. (Wikipedia)

Fitness educators are a disillusioned bunch. We (yes me included) often profess the absolutes to our clients, prospects, workshop/conference attendees, staff, etc. And I for one can laugh at myself.

We stand at the sacred alter at educational events and profess what is now the irrefutable truth:

• Cardiovascular exercise bad-metabolic training good
• Static stretching bad-dynamic warm-up good
• Machines bad-functional movements good
• Crunches bad-vertical ab training good
• Balance training bad-ground based training good-balance training good again

The dogma at times is pure entertainment. I’ve seen educators whom I respect greatly, teaching subject matter this year that is completely different from what they taught 5-7 years ago. This of course is a good thing in many ways because they/we have learned more from new research, borrowing from other sciences and disciplines and our own experience. Their current teachings however, often discredit their former teachings.

So this year they are presenting and writing with total conviction (read dogma) regarding new concepts and/or interpretations of the literature. And so they should be because if they did not passionately believe in what they are teaching, then they should not be teaching it.

Here’s the caveat: If I bought into their passion 5 years ago because they said it was THE best way, why the hell should I believe them now?! You would think the way some people are teaching and writing that God gave them a private viewing into all the answers of the human body.
I personally feel the better approach these days is to preface certain statements with, “what we now know …..”. Quite frankly, I don’t believe much of anything that we’ve done in the recent past was wrong. It just wasn’t the most effective or at times the safest.

You aren’t seeing any trainers blood letting with leaches these days. That would be wrong. And I’m not going to stick my clients on a leg extension machine nor will I recommend it while teaching. But if another trainer puts 55 year old Mrs. Jones on the leg extension machine because that is the only way she’s showing up on Monday, then I should mind my own business.

We all have our convictions about what works best. That shouldn’t differ if you are speaking to an audience of 500 or 5. Where do these convictions come from? I can only speak for myself. My convictions come from results. I do what I do because it works. And I teach what I do because I understand the mechanisms behind what I do. Therefore, I know the strength’s and at times the limitations of what I do.

You might notice that those that are actually doing the research and teaching at events usually don’t come with the same dogma. That’s because they understand the inherent limitations of extrapolating the findings of research to parameters that don’t replicate the study. Look what the fitness industry did with abdominal hollowing. Trainers were telling people to pull their belly button in while sprinting at maximal speed. That application of the research couldn’t have been farther from the parameters of the studies related to abdominal hollowing.

Of course the researchers rarely work with real people with real problems. So they are not emotionally invested in the results the way we are.

I really believe that much of the dogma comes from the fact that we want to hold on to and defend the “known”. This is what we understand. And if someone else is teaching something that doesn’t fit our model, then we better protect our perspective. Because if we don’t, we might just have to open up our minds to someone else’s ideas and let go of our own.

I think a lot of people have to ask themselves if their dogma is really their own dogma or someone else’s. And if it is someone else’s dogma, will your dogma change when their dogma changes in a couple of years?

Please share this with someone you know because I am convinced what I have written here is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or from which diverged. Yes, my dogma can kick your dogma’s a$$.