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Don’t Believe Everything You Read About Training

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Sometimes I read articles over at T-Nation, and I wonder if there are other people like me in the world; people who are left shaking their heads in disbelief. Every week I get a spam email from the site promoting their new products and giving me a round up of their latest articles. Usually I scroll through them, just in case a.) there’s something funny in there or b.) there’s an article by someone worth reading (Cosgrove, Cressey, etc…basically the people who I know personally, and could call on the phone if I have a training question). In the case of T-Nation, as is the case with the internet in general, you can’t believe everything you read. But in the case of T-Nation, at least you can laugh at it. I’ll admit that occasionally, there’s a good, new, up-and-coming author on the site – but mostly the articles all read like a nightmarish paint-by-numbers:

* Introduction/Snarky Comment
* Joke
* Information
* Joke
* Information
* Snarky Comment/Conclusion
* (Note: If the article is by T.C. Luoma, the Editor in Chief there’ll also be a stipper reference and an airbrushed photo of some random girl)

But my real question is “does anyone actually believe the stuff they read on T-Nation?” Does anybody care? This week (or last week, I suppose), an author, writing about the the pros and cons of each of the mainstream training philosophies, made the statement that a “Top-level bodybuilders are the highest-paid competitors in strength sports.” Bodybuilding is a “strength sport”? It has no component where any kind of strength is on display, at all…how does that make it a strength sport? And, depending on how we define “strength sport” I would say bodybuilding is nowhere near the top paid.

The conclusion of the article was to mix and match various training philosophies – a surefire way to be terrible at everything. If you’re a rugby player, train like one. If you’re an MMA fighter, then train like one.

In another article, which described an exercise called the “Turkish Get Up,” -look it up if you’re not familiar with the movement – the author tells us: “Using a dumbbell is “easiest”, but it’s a popular exercise with the kettlebell crowd and old school strongmen would actually one-arm a barbell, sometimes using loads more than their bodyweight.” Anyone who’s ever done a TGU knows that the leverages applied during the movement would make this impossible. It’s not a matter of strength, it’s a matter of leverages – you wouldn’t be able to complete a certain portion of the movement if you were the same weight as the load you were using. Literally, anyone who has done the movement would know this. The ignorance of the readers is implied and exploited by statements like this (as is the ignorance of the author).

And finally, this is actually a commentary from a roundtable article I was a participant in:

T-Nation: …is it possible to get over-stimulated before lifting or before an athletic event?

Author:  One I’ve witnessed was a case where a guy had been working his way up to a 350-pound bench press over a period of time. About two weeks prior to his max day, he was easily pressing 340 for three or four reps, yet when the day finally came, it was very obvious to me that he was all over the place. He was pacing back and forth, couldn’t hold a thought, was easily distracted and, in general, just very anxious and nervous. Keep in mind this is a very calm person who’d never acted this way on a max day.

Time came for him to start working his way up to his potential max and I could see that he was certainly suffering from excessive CNS stimulation. A quick sign to me was his extreme and abnormal shaking while taking the weight off the rack with lighter weights such as 185 and 225. He simply couldn’t focus and was so nervous he was barely able to press 315 pounds.

I finally asked him if he had taken anything. Sure enough, he told me he’d taken 75 mg of ephedrine and 400 mg of caffeine along with three grams of tyrosine. I finally gave him some orange juice with some lemon and some crushed ascorbic acid to speed the clearance of ephedrine.

So, we’re to believe that a T-Nation author saw a guy in his gym who was maxing out, and he walked up and gave the guy some O.J. + Lemon + Ascorbic Acid. Has this ever, in the history of gyms, ever seemed possible? Do you think this could ever conceivably happen at any gym you’ve ever been in? Of course not.

If you can’t believe half of what you read on sites like this, at least you can laugh at most of it.

5 comments

  1. I think Steve makes a good point. The article is not a blanket condemnation of all T-nation articles. As the title of this article states “Don’t believe EVERYTHING,” as such, you can believe some of it, but you have to have your BS goggles on too. Many of the articles on T-nation have solid facts in them, however, surrounding those facts are often numerous plugs for various supplements, IBodybuilder, and the Velocity Diet. No different than when GNC puts out their free monthly magazine. There’s some information in there, but then they fill the spaces between information with advertisements and recommendations to buy their products. T-nation is marketing through their articles, no more, no less.

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  2. Muscle and Brawn allows articles by numerous popular authors and personalities in the industry. I don’t censor their commentary. Anthony Roberts did now write this article for Muscle and Brawn, nor did he receive compensation for it.

    I allow all reasonable voices to be heard.

    Personally, reading his article I believe his point to be valid. I wouldn’t take it as a blanket condemnation of all articles on T-nation.

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  3. I believe there is training bullshit all over the Internet. It’s knowing where to look. But to be honest I think it is wrong to slag off a site directly suh as tnation. This site has helped me progress through my lifting. I’ve read far
    more superior artiles there than I have here. An although bodybuilding isn’t strength sport as such, bodybuilders are strong. Johny Jackson, kai green, ronnie Coleman? This is a good site but it doesn’t need to lower itself by articles like the above.

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  4. Yes, I’m surprised there was no Anaconda in the mix…

    It seems this article made it to the T-Nation forum, but was deleted.

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  5. Good job he had all that stuff in his gym bag…

    I’m also surprised he didn’t give the guy a serving of Anaconda post workout to get him totally jacked and swole!

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