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Clickbait Titles are Ruining Your Gains

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

What do The Liver King, Jeff Nippard, and the Speed of Light all have in common?

They all represent some upper bound or theoretical maximum most human beings will never reach without violating established laws/principles.

Now, this might sound like a negative sentiment, but it isn't, necessarily. Like all things in life; we take the good with the bad, and minimize the latter to the best of our capacity.

In elaborate particle accelerators around the globe; places such as CERN, located in Geneva, Switzerland, accelerate matter to higher and higher percentages of the speed of light in hopes to produce higher, verifiable energies. With those new energies, they hope to discover new forms of matter (E= MC^2).

These scientists know they'll never reach the Speed of Light with these incredible feats of human design - but many of them will happily die in the pursuit of getting as close as modern engineering will potentially allow.

Now, let me be clear: this blog post isn't some billingsgate, rail, or indictment against PED use, or even an accusation of such use against the named individuals.

At least, not explicitly.

For example, as far as I can tell, Jeff Nippard is a "Natty". Furthermore, these people have contributed far more to this online Health and Fitness space than I likely ever will (for better or worse).

This is more about people using their favorite Fitness Influencer as a primary source of education and motivation - or rather, HOW people tend to use their favorite influencers as such a source.

In the modern, massive oversaturation of the Fitness Influencer space, with the incentives to generate frequent content; most straight-forward and actionable, useful information has become very hard to find, due to charlatanism, and contrived usage of buzz-terms such as "evidence/science-based". It has become flooded with redundant/hyper-specific exercises/routines, or some combination of all of these mentioned things.

Straight-forward simplicity with a focus on the fundamentals just doesn't generate clicks.

"Wait, "Perfect" has to be better than "Most Effective", right? What did they say about "Best" in primary school again?"

Not only does a lot of this content produce unrealistic expectations in populations due to Selection Biases ensuring the most unrealistic physiques float to the top of algorithms; it creates an overwhelming sense of paralysis due to the glut of samey content with slightly different clickbait titles.

It confuses and obfuscates goals and potential plans of attack, and often intimidates newcomers into indecision just trying to find an effective way to get started on their Health and Fitness journey.

Now, another caveat; this is not me saying that you should not pay attention to Fitness Influencers (after all, I essentially seek to be one). Just try and keep a few things in mind, like the Social Media Influencer Fitness Industry Complex (SMIFIC), to help you keep things in perspective when digesting their content.

1. Getting Into Shape is Actually Quite Simple

"K.I.S.S." The last 'S' is "Stupid", Silly

"RIRs", "RPEs", Mesocycles, Periodizations, Macrocycles, Percentage of 1RMs...

Blah, blah.

Don't get it twisted (I can literally feel your head cosplaying The Exorcist reading that title) - "Simple" does not necessarily mean "Easy". It simply means that there does not need to be a ton of complicated, interrelated, moving parts when getting into better health and better shape.

Adopting a Health and Fitness routine, can, overall, be extremely simple in concept and be very difficult for most of us in terms of action.

Doing as many pushups as possible before heading off to work in the morning is a very viable, "Simple" fitness routine and a very nice place for many people to start.

So is going for a 15-30 mins. walk.

But maintaining the motivation necessary for the significant length of time necessary for such simple routines to provide you visible, explicit feedback that they are improving your life; takes time and patience, and for most of us, those do not come "Easy".

Your fitness routine does not need extreme programming parameters throughout an entire year, formulated by fitness gurus after Farmer's Walking clay tablets while descending from Mt. Iron.

Your diet does not need to reflect The Rock's, with complexed nutritional schemes involving low carb/high carb/low fat/high fat days/weeks with "Epic" cheatmeals (I eat the same things almost every single day, and I think I'm in pretty okay shape).

Surprise! Your picture perfect model of Health and Fitness likely has an Eating Disorder.

To start your Health and Fitness journey, you really only need to apply two concepts. They will serve you at the beginning and be relevant for the rest of your life:

The first is "Progressive Overload".

This simply means - try harder than last time. Progress your routine/s as often and safely as possible.

Whether you increase the weight on a lift, do that lift for more repetitions, decrease the rest times between sets, try new exercises/variations/movements - any way you can safely make your exercise routine more challenging to your subjective physiology, qualify.

Choose one way or some combination of ways. Make stuff up. Have fun with it.

You won't always meet the standard, every session, for Progressive Overload. You're not going to hit Personal Records every time you workout, every week, or even every month; and expecting as much is a recipe for disaster that a lot even experienced exercisers fall into.

It is the mindset that most needs heeding. A mindset that instills the proper habitual exercise protocols necessary to see the improvements and changes that you're looking for, even as a geriatric during bingo night.

"Don't make me hit your dumbass with this cane harder than last time."

You can also apply this principle to your diet, which I'll expound on at another time.

The other concept is merely Consistency.

That's it.

Whatever your exercise and diet routine is - weather it be walking, doing pushups in the morning, or a period block formulated by the most accredited personal trainer in the multiverse - make sure you're pushing yourself as hard as you can, as consistently as you can.

My hope is that knowing how simple this whole thing can be, will help you with your consistency.

No need to make Rocket Science out of it.

"EE-arth? I have no idea what I'm doing."

2. Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water

Actually, you can toss the child and keep the water. The Electrolytes can be used in a Protein Smoothie

Again, my intention is not to vilify Fitness Influencers at large. Just putting things into perspective.

The SMIFIC is a beast that demands sacrifice. For 99% of the influencers generating content, though well intentioned; social media algorithms are sinuous, intersecting ,Yellow Brick roads, with Emerald City on every horizon, goading influencers to generate electricity on a hamster wheel.

Ad revenue is fickle and meager for the privileged few that have a large enough base of followers/subscribers to get any ad revenue at all, and the majority are screaming into a void of a few tens of Subscribers/Followers at best (such as myself).

The only way get to these privileged positions, most times, is to produce frequent content - no matter the quality.

The only way to stay near the top, most times, is to produce frequent content, no matter the quality.

There are very few influencers with a large enough base that allows them to focus on quality over quantity, typically due to being lucky enough to having a first mover advantage on a particular platform.

A lot of the content out there is quite good, however. Even from places like Athlene X, that often take a lot of heat from smaller creators (some fair, some unfair). When you dedicate your platform do generating that much content, the law of averages pretty much guarantees that you're going to have to take some bad with the good.

There is value in following "Evidence/Science-Based" content and knowing about the nerdy terms trainers in the field associate with proper programming.

But it's far from necessary for the average person, and absolutely not needed to get into better health and better shape. Look to influencer content when you need inspiration because you want to try something beyond the bounds of Progressive Overload and Consistency, or you just want to learn more about this Health and Fitness thing you've recently become intensely interested in, due to its overall positive effect on your life.

Or just follow them because you like them.

Just don't let their content overcomplicate your Health and Fitness goals.

3. Most of the Popular Influencers Do Lie, Unfortunately

"My nose? I was born with a genetic defec-*animated growing SFX*

PED and Cosmetic Surgery use is rampant in the health and fitness industry and the SMIFIC is no different, as it is merely an extension of that industry today.

Your favorite male influencer that looks like a He-Man action figure is more than likely lying to you about being "Natural". The "Ancestral Tenets" he constantly refers to, actually means keeping Grandma under NDA to prevent her from talking about his daily Trembolone and Liver sandwiches at the local pickle ball court.

"I'm so proud of my grandson. He's such a natural. *sips* Natural liar.."

Jessica Rabbit is likely more real than the woman doing Jump Squats on your Instagram feed, defending herself against accusations of having a BBL and abdominal implants that constantly pop up in her Comments Sections.

Again...don't get me wrong.

While I don't use PEDs myself (natch), I don't condemn their use. But lying about their use for influence is hugely problematic for myriad reasons, but mostly these two:

  1. Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders are on the rise; attributed to Social Media - Especially among men

  2. It can create unrealistic expectations for followers. When influencers talk about their exercise routines, full day of eating, their supplement stack, etc., they're often leaving out the most important part: the steroid use.

This also brings us to the Supplement Industry. Many people don't know that the supplement industry is largely unregulated. Most of these sponsored influencers are peddling garbage that isn't backed by any scientific evidence for the claims they're making about the product. Furthermore, in most cases, the influencer doesn't even use the product or anything like it.

Well, actually, I think the power of this guy's "Brain Force Plus" supplement is on full display every time he opens his mouth.

There are very few supplements worth your time, in consideration of the evidence - namely, Powdered Protein Supplements, Creatine, Fish Oil and Caffeine.

But even these aren't truly necessary, because you can theoretically get everything you need for your Health and Fitness goals via the food you put into your mouth.

But the SMIFIC spends a lot of time and money trying to convince you otherwise.

Again... record b-breaking... not trying to say that all influencers are liars or are on PEDs. But, just like bodybuilding; the influencer space is very competitive and saturated, and the standards have shifted to very unrealistic levels due to media propagation of unrealistic bodies at large.

The most visible get the biggest paydays, so it's best to use a healthy skepticism regarding their claims that sound too good to be true.

Use them as motivation, in moderation, and don't take what they say as gospel, just because they inspire you.

I just want you, fearless reader, to maintain a healthy skepticism about any claims made in this space, and every space, not supported by proper evidence and sourcing.

Including any claims made in this blog, of which there are admittedly many.

Don't let the SMIFIC distract you from how very simple changing your life for the better through improving your Health and Fitness can actually be.


- Kye

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