Bro Science and other poor fitness advice

Bro Science:  Phrases in the gym that always begin with “Bro….”
See also: the science of no science. Jersey Shore workout
Example:  Bro, do these crunches two weeks before beach season to really get cut”

Anyone who has ever been to a gym knows who I am talking about.  Big guys in wife beaters and a fake tan.  The ones who put down others if they aren’t “hardcore” or doing bicep curls.  The ones with a gut but have 20” biceps preaching fitness advice to anyone in the vicinity.  The unfortunate thing is that people new to fitness tend to look at these people (many of them are “personal trainers”) as the authority on fitness.  The truth is that lifting heavy weights is going to get you bigger and stronger.  Even a shitty program will get you some results in terms of strength/muscle gain/fat loss.  However, a solid program will not just get you bigger muscles, more strength, and less body fat.  A solid program will ensure that you do not get injured (how many of these “bros” have shoulder problems or some sort of injury), and will also maximize your gains in a more efficient timeframe.  The times have changed, science has proven certain things wrong, and certain things right.  The problem is, these changes have yet to infiltrate the general health club scene.  There will always be the old school way and the devout followers.  Whatever floats your boat, good for them.  The issue I have is that for the 98% of people who seek fitness advice, their goals and priorities are very different from the 2%.  These 98% seek fat loss, weight maintenance, injury prevention, increased energy, reduction in chronic disease risk, and want to be able to feel good and generally be more active and keep up with their kids.  They don’t care about how much they can back squat, how much they can lift overhead through shoulder pain, or how many protein shakes they can drink in a day.  They want results without pain (not to be confused with hard work or some soreness).  It is sad to see a 40 year old mother of two come in and be put on a bodybuilding program, usually without good form because the people giving advice have no idea what a progression or regression is.  An injury is going to happen, the goals are not aligned with the program, and within a month she is gone.  Much of the advice given is based off of old training programs by bodybuilders and powerlifters many of whom were on performance enhancement drugs.  Exercise selection, duration, volume, and intensity are all very important variables to consider.  Each persons goal is going to determine those factors.  Most of the advice given by unqualified individuals is based off of bodybuilding techniques.  Bodybuilding techniques need to stay with bodybuilders.  I am not saying there is no common ground, certainly there are paths that cross.  However, there are many things that the 98% do not need. Here are some:

1. Crunches:  Yes, that’s right.  No crunches!  Take a picture of someone at the top of the crunch movement.  Now flip it 90 degrees.  Looks like a hunched over position.  What do we do everyday sitting at our computers?
Try:  Planks.  Hold yourself up on only your elbows and toes.  You should be able to draw a straight line from your shoulder to your toe.  This is allowing the muscles around the spine to do what they were built for, stabilization.

2. Long, slow cardio.  Boring!  Time consuming!  Forget that it is in the “fat burning zone”.  Unless you are passionate about endurance sports….
Try interval training.  Regardless of the type, try extremely hard bouts of exercise followed by periods of easy-medium stages.  For example, sprint 30 seconds, jog 30 seconds.  Running, elliptical, and bike among others can be used.  For the best results, use a heart rate monitor, start slow and work your way up to harder intervals with shorter easy periods.  The science is there.  More results in half the time.  Intervals done in as little as 20 minutes 3-4 times a week burns more fat, maintains muscle, and increases aerobic capacity better than jogging hours per week.  It can also prevent overuse injuries because of the small amount of time.

3. Bench Press.  Not that I think it is a bad exercise, it is just misused. It seems that there is the bench press, and everything else that revolves around it.  Just like they realized that the world isn’t flat, we must realize that the bench press as a center is just poor advice.  Try balancing your pushes and your pulls.  What I mean is that for every pushing exercise, like a bench press, make sure to do an equal amount of rows (and at the same intensity).  In fact, considering the desk job posture problems, a higher amount of pulling exercises compared to pushing can be done.  I’ve never seen anyone suffer from too much back strength, but too much pushing exercises are a guaranteed shoulder problem.

4. Supplements on top of supplements.  I am not saying all supplements are bad, but for most people they shouldn’t be a priority.  Broccoli instead of a Big Mac would be more powerful than taking some powder concoction for most.  If you listened to the Bro advice in the gym, it would look something like this:  The bro pyramid:

A general rule of more vegetables and fruit, lean protein, and less grains would go far for the majority of people.

5.  Tapout shirts.  Unless you are a UFC fighter being sponsored, this shouldn’t happen people!  Please do not take advice from anyone in the gym wearing a tapout shirt.  Thanks!


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