Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the news

There is a great deal of advice, routines, diet strategies and information regarding the field in which I practice--strength training and fitness--that is just utter garbage!

Often times it’s the doctors who are perpetuating this ignorant misinformation. The medical community is famous for equating exercise with cardiovascular exercise that is measured by the time spent engaging in them.   A degree in medicine lacks teaching of the basic physiology of strength training, exercise prescription, or any training in the field of exercise and nutrition.  Sure, doctors need to understand human physiology and the effects of lifestyle on the pathological processes, to a minimal degree. This is a very important point, which is why I will repeat it: they do understand it, but to a minimal degree. 

Now, I value the knowledge of physicians when it comes to the field of sickness, not wellness.  Doctor's go through intense schooling on disease and illness, and the methods it take to treat them.  However, just as I am not in the business of disease, I am just putting out the misinformation that is out there confusing the public.  The training of doctors, physical therapists and athletic trainers requires no formal education in the use of effective strength training techniques used by serious athletes who rely on superior performance.   The medical field can diagnose your symptoms and prescribe the proper medication to cure you, but are ignorant in the field of wellness.  That is the process of preventing the problems in the first place or guiding you to a more holistic approach through diet and exercise as opposed to medications.  Lack of perspective on this issue is the medical professions’ largest obstacle-- they don’t even know the problem exists!  When seemingly sound advice or information comes from a position of authority, all too often we fail to think for ourselves and blindly follow whatever they tell us.

Physicians are more than willing to prescribe you a pill for fat loss, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, insomnia, and the list goes on and on.  A pill for every ill!  Except for family history and genetics, most of these problems are lifestyle related, and can be improved or cured with diet and exercise.  Doctors give you advice because of the very same reasons anyone gives advice about nutrition or fitness. With a few exceptions, your doctor wants to help you, and will say what he or she truly believes will do so. So does your mom, your neighbor and your personal trainer. That does not mean they know what they are talking about, and YOU are the misinformed one who thinks that’s what they are supposed to know. If you’re not smart enough to know who to listen to, then you’re just as “dumb” as they are.

Strength Training is one of the most important activities, when done correct, that a person can engage in.  All too often I see the elderly man or woman that can barely lift themselves from the seated position or climb a flight of stairs.  I can't imagine the anxiety of living a life of fear never knowing if a false step or uneven ground could cause you to fall and injure yourself.   Benjamin Franklin once said that,  "Some people die at 25, but aren't buried till 75".

Strength Training is nothing new, it's been around for decades.  Jack LaLanne promoted diet and exercise in the early 1950's.  His knowledge and advice was far ahead of its time, with his teaching falling on many deaf ears.  He promoted fruit and vegetable juicing before juicing was mainstream.  LaLanne practiced what he preached and lived into his late 90's, still preaching the value of a healthy lifestyle as the key to a long life.  His advice withstood the test of time unlike many of his peers of that time, like runner Jim Fixx, who wrote The Complete Book of Running in 1977. Fixx promoting running as a form of preventing heart disease.  The book became a New York Times best seller and quickly became the Bible of running.  However, Jim Fixx died on the side of the road where he was running, with the cause of death being heart attack.  He was 52 years old.

There is a lot of misinformation in the media today.  The exercise and nutrition advice available is so overwhelming, it leads to a paralysis of analysis.  In other words, the advice is so contradicting it leads many to hover in a state of limbo, not knowing what direction to go in or what advice to listen to.  In the perfect world, doctors would stop giving advice about areas outside of their expertise (so would the general population). In the meantime, the general masses need to get their facts right about what a physician’s job is and most importantly, what it’s NOT.

Just think for yourself!  Don't let other people do your thinking for you.  Research the information, and use common sense to weed through the BS.  The right amount of diet, cardiovascular exercise and strength training is the key.  Don't follow fads.  Follow what has worked for decades.