Yesterday I launched the modern form of TV known as YouTube. Can you guess what I saw? Another home workout by the legendary six pack wizard Mike Chang who according to the comments is a nice guy desperately trying to make the whole world fit. This time he was lying on his belly with a heavy backpack on top while pulling a white bathroom towel towards his face. The exercises look really painful and completely exhausting. One could feel Mike’s sorrow just by watching him train. The clip was full of ninja style “ahhs” and constant heavy breathing. I am not sure, but I think the workout was called “Get Turbo Shreds At Home In 5 Minutes Or Less”. Stats: 5 million views; 10 million likes;
The video reminded me of an ancient and long forgotten secret which goes like this: “There is a big difference between doing things and doing useful things.”
If today I watch a mainstream music video on repeat for 20 hours, I would be exhausted and probably have vivid hallucinations too. My eyes would be red and severely irritated; my head would be begging me to cut it off or at least freeze it for a few days. This example represents an experience that’s very hard on your whole system without leading to progress. You just get overwhelmed without actually moving forward.
It’s the same with many commercial workouts. They usually give you a great pump and exhaust you, but rarely make you stronger or more proficient at your sport. Similar routines cannot be classified as optimal because they rarely come with practical goals and efficient progression mechanisms. You can do the same workout for 20 years and continue to feel pumped and exhausted at the end without actually getting stronger or bigger.
I am not an investor, but I can tell you that spending your money on projects with no return leads to stagnation and regression. People don’t have an unlimited amount of resources. Your energy, just like your money, has to be spent wisely. I don’t think that wiping the floor with a towel could be considered smart training, although I have to admit that it is better than doing absolutely nothing.
Another important element of commercial home workouts is the entertainment factor, especially when we are talking about guys like Mike Chang and his colleagues. The main goal here is to create a glossy movie that can grab the attention of as many people as possible. This immediately reduces the quality of the presented information while increasing the Hollywood effect. Many of the showcased techniques are there are just for the show.
Without a focus, you are spending your resources on random stuff that does not lead to much. Watching guys get a sick pump with broomsticks and towels is not as educational as some may think. I am sorry, but if you believe that getting a massive chest pump by squeezing a towel is the secret to growth or exceptional strength, you are up for a big surprise. It’s nothing but a muscle fiber show. Similar content is no different than the bodybuilding magazines selling fairy tales since the 50s.
“This routine is very effective. I am already bigger. I’ve been doing it for the last two weeks,” says an unaware teenager in the comment section who thinks that he can become as big as Mike Chang over the summer break. Sorry, bro. You can’t get huge in 4 weeks by playing with your parents’ towels.
Hard work does not always equal progress. Fatigue and strain are part of growth but only when they’re used in the right direction. The sooner you learn this, the faster you will get out the “towel” trap. If you want to wipe the floor, do it, but don’t call it hardcore training. The proper word is cleaning.