Quit Fitness Douchebaggery

You’d be hard pressed to find 3 more controversial topics in the health and fitness world that make people want to rip their eyeballs out. Instantly walk into a room full of paleo, vegan crossfitters and you’ll likely find yourself bashing your head into the wall to mercilessly end your suffering. All you’re going to hear about is paleo, vegan, and crossfit. Yet no matter how annoying these things are to hear about these have transcended the fringes of the fitness industry where they used to belong. They are truly mainstream and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Paleo, vegan, and Crossfit actually get it right.

So why do they get it right?

Jonathan Goodman, head honcho of ThePTDC – the largest collaborative blog for Personal Trainers in the world, has often said that the two most important rules for success are:

1. Do a great job

2. Tell everyone about it

It’s safe to say that vegan, paleo, and crossfit are getting these two simple steps right. They have leveraged the power of a group. People in those groups are accepted, welcomed, and encouraged. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before. You’re likely to be accepted, embraced, and pushed to make changes to improve your health. That’s powerful. People succeed in an environment like that.

Eating a vegan diet may sound super healthy, but it isn’t the best.

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Eating a vegan diet has been ripped apart a million times over for championing studies with cherry picked data, villifying healthy animal products, and practitioners who train hard not getting enough protein. Some studies even suggest that 92% of vegans don’t get enough vitamin B12, an essential nutrient. Vegan diets aren’t the best out there. There’s simply no debating that.

They don’t care though. They succeed in placing a premium on eating a plant based diet. One that conveniently disallows many of the very types of foods responsible for the raging obesity epidemic. It’s hard to overeat when your diet is almost exclusively fruits and vegetables. Even more, whether you like it or not a vegan is proud to tell you about being vegan.

Paleo doesn’t even know what it is.

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The Geico caveman. Paleo before paleo was cool.

Paleo has been criticized for not even being able to truly define what is paleo, because ya know, we weren’t around then. They’ve even managed to handle the fact that life expectancy in paleolithic times was around 30, completely unscathed. It doesn’t matter, paleo has caught fire, and will continue to do so.

They’ve done a fantastic job in teaching people how to live a life more centered on eating whole, nutrient dense foods. Paleo advocates place a premium on living a life that consists of plenty of movement, play, and breaking the chains that shackle us in modern day life. Disagree all we want with whether paleo is the healthiest diet or not. They’ll be busy reaching more people, helping people eat whole foods, and changing lives.

Crossfit is an injury just waiting to happen.

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Physical Therapists think Crossfit is what will keep them in business. Any good trainer knows olympic lifts for high reps in short amounts of time can hardly be constituted as safe. The same can be said with throwing someone off the couch into a really demanding WOD without any pre screening or scaling down.

Yet we seem to associate what is likely a few bad apples with every single Crossfit gym in the land. Is something that brings sedentary people into a gym, puts a barbell in their hands, teaches a blend of gymnastics, endurance, and strength training really that bad? Or have we just completely underestimated what it is that people want with a fitness routine? Because like it or not, Crossfit gets people results.

Likely with people who have tried a million different things and failed.

Whether we like it or not these three things are here to stay. They’d just disappear if they weren’t doing such a good job and changing people’s lives. They’ll continue following the two rules.

1. Do a great job

2. Tell everyone about

These things are here to stay. They’ve leveraged the power of the group. They have tribes. Tribes that preach the amazing results these methods have brought them. All the while there are trainers and gym goers who spend time on the internet debating minutia of why these things suck.

In reality that does the general population zero good. Fight against paleo all we want. Tell them why they’re idiots. Tell a crossfitter how stupid they are for that dumb WOD. They won’t care. Because their movements are continually growing. Reaching more people. Breaking the mold of the big globo gym. Empowering people to change their lives.

People like to think of the fitness douchebag as the bro who stares at himself in the mirror and flexes incessantly. He uses words like gainz, does arms everyday, and drinks protein shakes every single day. These bros are the most harmless people in fitness. The real fitness douchebags hate on methods of exercise and dieting other than their own and debate unnecessary minutia just to get a boner from being right. I’m all for trying to do things the right way and implementing science backed methods. I’m not one for fighting with others in the health and fitness field when we’re all fighting the same thing, the obesity epidemic.