I have, as many do, certain personality quirks. One is that when I come across something so stupid and lacking in common sense that it elicits a visceral reaction, I mock it. Badly. With anger, scorn, sarcasm, and vitriol.
The question below is a very good question that deserves an honest answer. And yet, it illustrates just how stupid and lacking in common sense the fitness industry is. Therefore, my answer to this question is little more than angry, scornful, vitriolic mockery of the people and ideas that caused our fans so much confusion that they had to ask this question.
Personally I love that they asked this question because it allows me the opportunity to expose this sort of idiocy for what it is. Please do not think I am attacking the person asking the question. I’m not and I hope he asks more questions like this so we can lay out the truth once and for all for our audience.
QUESTION FROM SOCIAL MEDIA: “Here’s a topic that’s come up a lot recently in discussions around me: Exercise timing. I hear opinions of all sorts around me: “Don’t lift until the evening.” “Don’t do cardio before you lift. Not even on the same day! (something, something, different pathways and will make you gain less in both).””
ANSWER: Every time I see one of these articles I have the following reaction:
I have a term for the sort of things the questioner has heard or read: “the incoherent ramblings of people who have never done a day of real work in their lives.” The “fitness industry” is full of this foolishness propagated by the masses of trainers and self-proclaimed “researchers” who know nothing about human beings.
They write article after article about their crackpot theories backed up by junk science at best and confuse the daylights out of people who just want a straight answer. My recommendation is to ignore almost everything out there and apply common sense. But then again, there isn’t much of that out there anymore, which complicates the issue.
Here is the straight answer to the question:
NONE OF THAT MATTERS!
None of it. Nadda. Zip. Zilch. noise, noise, noise, words, words, words, blah, blah, blah.
Oh I can hear the clamor of angry voices from the fitness industry stuttering out, “but, but, but, but….”
But nothing! I’m tired of this lunacy.
You’re muscles don’t care what time it is, neither does mother nature, the tiger chasing you, the job, or the enemy.
Yes, the discs in your spine are full in the morning. If you had the mobility you should have as a human being this wouldn’t be a problem.
Yes, your neurological system works best in the morning when you’re well rested. Duh.
You know what matters? What ACTUALLY matters? Proper specificity, enough general activity, and your ability to properly recover from your exertions (good food, good sleep, good tissue management, good mindset, good schedule). That’s it. Newsflash! You can go all the way to world champion with that while violating every one of those stupid articles. Anyone who has bothered to be a manual laborer or an actual athlete knows this.
On a serious note…
Now that I have that out of my system, let’s have a deeper look.
The thing we must never lose sight of is the primal side of things. We are animals like any other. The facts of life and natural law govern our existence. The people writing these idiotic fitness articles about exercise timing understand little to nothing about the human being or how to train it. And for the record, that includes those who are the so-called industry leaders. Especially them!
Many of these articles commit a grave sin of omission when they write. For example, there are articles promoting lifting in the evening vs. the morning. By the time you have tracked that idea to its source, you discover that the idea comes from the physical therapy world where it is recommended that patients with a variety of disc injuries exercise in the evening because the discs will be dehydrated and cause less pain if one exercises in the evening. However, that is rarely, if ever mentioned in these articles.
They just issue a blanket prescription with no context and leave you dazed and confused. This is as much dishonesty as much as it is malpractice and it happens all the time. The fitness industry has a very nasty and dark habit of cherry picking things out of the physical therapy world and promoting it as the next big thing. This is how things like Swiss balls, Bosu balls, planks and a hundred other items of complete horse crap got introduced to the fitness world.
Then there are the issues that come from incompetent trainers and coaches like the issue of “cardio” and lifting weights. Apparently none of these people bothered to talk to any of the old school bodybuilders or any of the Soviet athletes and coaches. All of these people did and still do massive amounts of general physical preparation and aerobic conditioning, both general and specific. But few people today understand what “Cardio” actually is and even the researchers don’t understand human beings enough to be doing the research in the first place.
As I said, common sense isn’t common. If I take 100 guys who lift heavy and have big muscles but don’t do any locomotion training (in any energy system, let alone aerobic) and I suddenly have them start doing locomotion training, there is obviously going to be a situation where the body has to adapt and there is a physiological challenge.
Will muscle size go down if you are a heavily muscled guy who is suddenly introduced to locomotion training? Sure! If you’re not doing any or enough of it now. But once your body adapts and you build a great aerobic & locomotor base, then you can actually pack on more muscle than before and maintain it more easily.
The same goes for strength. You will be stronger and you will have greater strength-endurance (repeated efforts). But they don’t bother to mention that in these articles. They also don’t bother to mention that the only way you can possibly maintain massive amounts of muscle is to do massive amounts of “cardio” every day; you know, like every pro bodybuilder in history does? They sort of left that part out as well. You can see where and why I get so annoyed.
But think about this from a pure common sense approach. As a human being, does it make any sense to become a muscle bound sedentary mammal? Of course not. But the collective idiocy is much, much worse.
Our society idolizes and adores warrior societies like the Spartans. North America is Spartan-crazy and the fitness industry has hundreds of “Spartan fitness” challenges.
Men by the thousands flock to gyms to exercise to exhaustion in a frenzy of pathetic virtue signaling. In their heads they are training to be just like those epic warriors. There’s just one problem… These little smoke sessions have nothing to do with the military fitness Spartan Hoplites had.
For example, not a single one of these fitness programs involves marching with combat loads or even locomotion of any kind. For that matter none of them train you to fight either. Thermopylae is 210 miles from Sparta and the Spartan Hoplite carried over 70lbs of armor, weapons and equipment. It would take any army then or now at least 20 days to march there. Yet none of the virtue signalers could march for a full day with half that load if their lives depended on it.
So where is the loaded march training? The Spartans walked and ran no less than 10-20 miles per day in training and daily living. Where is that activity? Now for the real kick in the teeth. The Spartans were doing hundreds of times more “cardio” than the average person today. Were they known for being weak and poorly muscled? Were they only able to fight in the morning, or only at night? Did all that marching and running kill their awesome gains? Were they known for their inability to maintain power output because that cardio got in the way?
History tells us that the Spartans broke almost every fitness rule known to modern man, and:
- Could march faster and further than any other army in the region, possibly the world.
- Fought with the highest level of skill in the entire world at the time.
- Could fight with the same high level of skill with little fatigue for days on end without relief.
- Were the strongest and fastest men in the entire region as they always dominated the original Olympic Games.
- Trained for 6-12 hours per day.
Later the Romans went on to be as good, and then better than the Spartans as evidenced by the fact that Rome was the state that finally conquered Sparta. Rome adopted most of the same methods and made them more scientific. Within a generation of their founding, the Roman army became the fastest foot-mobile army in all of human history known for the same things as the Spartans listed above. They were also the most technically skilled and the hardest manual laboring army of all time.
Yet, according to the keyboard commandos and “fitness professionals,” none of this is possible.
Many people wonder what sets our training apart. What is it that allows us to get the results that we do? Well… I hate to give too much away, but we train using the same principles the Spartans and the Romans used and that’s why we get the same results they did.
As for exercise timing… It’s the stuff of weakness. You had best be prepared to be able to give 100% at any time. You had best be prepared at all times to run for your life or fight hard or lift something heavy. Worse still, the way real life usually plays out is you have to run first, then fight and or do heavy lifting. That’s another thing they say simply cannot be; yet that’s real life. You don’t get to schedule fights, wars, emergencies and in many cases your personal schedule. You don’t get to decide which thing you do first. Train when you can and make sure you recover well. End of story.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Originally published on Nate’s site