Back in the day when I started this journey I was immediately trapped in the net of the industry like a complete tool. I began reading exceedingly mainstream sources such as Men’s Health and other popular magazines and local websites.
I remember filling two water battles with stones and sand in order to do a back workout outlined on trendy web-page. Then, I found the blog of a girl which got really strong thanks to some Soviet “secrets”. Then, I found Mark Rippetoe’s stuff and got fat.
Finally, I understood that the majority of the info out there is half-dirty. There are some good ideas, but about 50% of the stuff is crooked for various reasons. Therefore, I came up with the following list of five questions to ask yourself before following the advice of a fitness expert/muscle guru.
1. What are the real life results of their clients?
It is crucial to know whether the person in question and his ideas actually work on real people. This is very difficult to know with certainty, because there are many sources relying on utterly manipulated before and after results.
I have seen some ridiculous transformations over the years, which can mislead even experienced lifters. The most popular ways to fake a transformation are:
hiding obvious steroid usage;
using extremely unflattering before pictures but sharp and crisp after photos;
very short duration of the transformation; You can’t gain much muscle in three months, sorry.
using professional athletes or bodybuilders to advertise a product designed for the average population; This creates unreal amount of false hope and high expectations that can never be fulfilled.
supporting the false idea that a “secret” product or training program can create an otherworldly physique;
The main reason to manipulate the final results is to sell something, which is not nearly as effective as claimed. Most of the time we are talking about some sort of powders, but it could be anything including a booklet. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to develop the critical eye that’s needed to spot the train that’s coming. The trial and error period is unavoidable. The goal is to make it shorter than needed. In my case I had to fall for almost everything to get to the point where I cannot be lied to anymore.
I remember when Mark Rippetoe first posted that popular after photo presenting Zack Evetts’ transformation, which was supposed to be the ultimate example how people gain insane amount of weight thanks to squats and milk. The truth is that the boy got fat and that’s it. Many refused to call it as it was, but that was the case. This was a huge hit on the squat and eat big to get big propaganda.
Think for a second, if the squat formula was working so well, why aren’t there more real world examples of people who have gained amazing amount of weight? Most of the time the end results show one thing – bulking victims who can’t distinguish fat from muscle.
2. Are they supporting the system? Are they afraid to criticize the real villains?
Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
If people are not criticizing the system, it could be because of hidden benefits. This happens all the time in the AFB (away from the barbell) life too.
Would you criticize fast food, if you have a fast food chain?
Would you criticize brainwashing movies, if you have a motion picture studio?
Would you say drugs are bad, if you are a drug dealer?
Have you ever noticed that the fake natty topic is often omitted when muscle celebrities are being interviewed? Most of those so-called interviews are true parodies. Nobody asks uncomfortable questions, because the majority of people in the media are also getting paid thanks to the current profit mechanism, which often steals from the unaware crowd. If a guru is not asking/answering worthy question, chances are he’s taking a portion of the pie and is part of the muscle cartel.
3. Do they sell Photoshop photos, sex, illusions, macho nonsense or any other form of pipe dreams?
The bodybuilding media look like a science fiction movie with thousands of Photoshopped butts surrounding everything. If the content you are reading contains tons of material that tries to hit the pleasure centers of the brain through sexual suggestive images, your guard can easily go down. It’s like watching a movie with really attractive cast, but dangerous underlying messages. You stay for the actors and the sex appeal while your subconscious mind soaks us up the hidden memo. Be careful, those Trojan horse attacks could be dangerous.
You can add almost any kind of pipe dreams to the list. If what they are offering you is too hard to believe, it’s probably part of deception games.
Have you ever wondered why a new method to build muscle hits the scene daily, and yet most people who count on super mainstream ideas to develop their bodies look terrible?
4. Do they have a mystic following consisting of dick riders? (sorry for bad language)
The only thing more annoying than the self-proclaimed experts are their brainwashed followers, who are essential to increasing king’s power. If you are dealing with worshipers who cannot admit that their idols can sometimes be wrong, you cannot expect objective assessment from those people. They are not thinking clearly and cannot offer you “clean” information.
While many of the cult members are simply victims to misinformation themselves, there is also a large group of people who support false science consciously. Do you really think the fake natties out there cannot spot a fellow glute pinner? Of course, they can, but they will always support their brothers in needles.
Therefore, we often get to observe the formation of muscle cartels where a group of specially selected members are presented as leading authorities. It’s way easier to sell a fake story when you have a large group of people supporting it. If one person is telling lies, it’s easy to expose him, but when a bunch of muscle warriors with superb physiques do it, crazy ideas start to look believable in the minds of the naive.
This is a perfect example of speculation supported by corrupt authorities. You can witness the same thing in all aspects of existence. Just launch your TV and you will see “experts” telling you how you are supposed to do things.
5. Are they changing their ground beliefs too frequently?
I get it. Nobody is perfect! Certainly not me!
I have been wrong many times in my life. We live and learn, as they say. Your beliefs and ideas could change multiple times over the course of your life. However, in this case I am talking about 180 degrees turns with one single goal in mind – profit of some kind.
Go talk to any politician before big elections and ask him about his program. 10 times out of 10 you are going to hear ideas that surprisingly make sense: reduced poverty, higher salaries, better education, more efficient health system, less military missions…etc. It all sounds nice, but once the elections are over, the policy changes as well. This is what happens almost 100% of the time. Con men are flexible and can switch their colors in the blink of an eye. We all have to be careful because the middle finger that’s behind the back of our idols may one day be in our faces.