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KNOWLEDGE, GUIDANCE, PERSPECTIVE

Blog

KNOWLEDGE, GUIDANCE, PERSPECTIVE

Patrick Rahm

In my previous post I gave some reasons to why I’ve begun to write and also set some expectations for future posts. In regards to expectations, I posited that the most valuable thing I could offer is knowledge, guidance, and perspective.

KNOWLEDGE

As I see it, people their get health, fitness and performance knowledge from three main sources. One is the scientists doing research and publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals. Another is the practitioners (coaches, trainers, nutritionist, therapists, chiropractors, doctors, etc.) sharing their experiences, theories, and methods. The third, and least reliable is... everyone else. 

Knowledge coming from "everyone else" is generally less reliable because it often comes from an uneducated or uninformed place. Unlike the scientists and the practitioners, everyone else likely hasn't devoted the many years of education of specific study and experience necessary to be considered a reliable source of information in the realm of health, fitness and performance.

So, when listening to an anecdote from your neighbor about the success their dad had with a new exercise program or coming across the release of a new fitness gadget on a late night informercial, I suggest you exercise a healthy amount of skepticism.  

While you refocus most of your attention to the scientists and practitioners, keep in mind that these two groups each possess their own limitations. However, if and when they acknowledge each other and collaborate... most of their respective limitations fade.

Scientists can help clear the waters of debates amongst practitioners on the validity and applicability of their creative and seemly effective but unsubstantiated practices. Also, when the scientist get around to testing these unsubstantiated practices, they can offer more informed and educated theories on why or how the practice does or doesn't work.

Practitioners, on the other hand, have the pleasure of implementing these substantiated practices to help the general public and athletes. The practitioners (and their creative and seemly effective but unsubstantiated practices) can also offer scientist insight and potential direction to what may be worthy of further or new investigations. This type of collaboration results in a greater utility of both the scientist's and practitioner's work. 

Thankfully, some widely agreed upon principles have emerged from years of these collaborations between scientist and practitioners. This knowledge, on the established and other emerging principles, is what I plan on sharing first and foremost in this blog.

GUIDANCE 

When asked, I am often hesitant to casually offer specific health, fitness, and performance guidance. This doesn’t mean I believe all the general advice and recommendations out there should be ignored.  General advice is relevant because we are all humans living in a society that shares many of the same practices (sedentary work, sitting and eating a lot, etc.).

However, there is variation amongst us because no one is exactly the same in their physiology, psychology, professions, hobbies, and other influencing variables. This is why a collection of a sufficient amount of information about a specific person should precede the giving of specific guidance. 

In light of this variation between individuals, I believe the best I can do in respect to guidance is to educate people on how to better guide themselves to make smarter health, fitness, and performance decisions.

An education (or reeducation) on the aforementioned principles is a good place to start. When one keeps these principles and other facts in mind, it becomes much easier to sift through the available information to decide what and how you may (or may not) want to apply it to your current circumstances.

Honestly, the best guidance I may ever offer would be simply to remember to ask this question:

“Is this appropriate for me and my current circumstances?"

If you feel as if you cannot accurately answer this question without an expert’s opinion, I’d be honored if you would contact me to discuss.

PERSPECTIVE

Given the abundance of health, fitness and performance information already out there, there’s a good chance you’ll be somewhat familiar with what I write about. This familiarity will be especially true if you are also a health, fitness, and performance practitioner.

So why bother reading? A couple reasons... first, while the information may seem like old news and obvious to some readers, a reminder and a stronger familiarity with the principles is rarely a bad thing. 

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious
— George Orwell

Second, the restatement of the obvious becomes is even more important when considering the amount of less substantiated, often confusing, but potentially more "exciting" health, fitness, and performance information that is available. 

To lessen the potential of boring anyone with the basics, I'll offer my own explanation and perspective on how one may interpret and apply the obvious information. If we're lucky, perhaps my perspective on an established or emerging principle or theory may offer you a more thorough or alternative understanding.

Or better yet, it may cause you to speculate and reconsider your, mine, or an "established" viewpoint. To loosen the grip on what you believe to be true and consider other possibilities is uncomfortable; but, from what I gather, it can yield much learning, growth, and creativity.

Perhaps I'll take the opportunity that this blog offers to record and share some of the more creative perspectives and ideas that come from my own speculations. To be sure that I'm not confusing anyone, I’ll try to make it clear when I’m purely speculating.

Lastly, we should acknowledge that my knowledge base, preferences, biases, and misunderstandings are different than yours. Because of this, we’re all likely to disagree at times. Hopefully, through a civil debate and sharing of good, reliable information we can help promote further understanding and continued curiosity.