This is a topic I've been meaning to write about for awhile and lately it's become even more relevant.
There seems to be a pendulum in the fitness industry. When i got into fitness and started learning I found Alan and Lyle and all them, and took in everything i could. I got involved in some facebook groups and started making friends. Everyone laughed at clean eating, bro splits, protein timing etc. Everyone bragged about the foods they'd fit in their macros. Everyone laughed at going over 10-12 reps.
Now that it's a few years later, some of these same people are mocking those that do those things. They talk shit about the IIFYMers, they defend clean eating, they talk about how a shake right after a workout is a good idea. A few years ago if you couldn't back your claims up with a study you weren't taken seriously among some of these people. Now people are often referred to as pubmed warriors when they rely on studies and discount experience.
This is a very interesting phenomenon to me. It's like the industry has adhd and can't stick to one philosophy for long. We've went from putting research before everything to saying well, research has massive limitations and experience and anecdotes are just as valuable.
As with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle in my opinion. Yes, research has massive limitations, and it makes me cringe to see someone telling a big guy on gear he's stupid for doing sets of 20 based on a study in untrained college females. At the same time it makes me cringe when people say flexible dieting doesn't work because every competitor at their gym eats clean and doesn't believe in IIFYM. This is a field where just about anything will work with enough dedication and consistency, especially when drugs are in play. What works for different people is also incredibly variable. If someone is getting results and not doing anything dangerous, who fucking cares how they're doing it? Would another method really be more "optimal" (I could make another whole post about that word) if the person is already getting great results?
The industry needs to come together in the middle and stop swinging back and forth between extremes. Controlled research is the best avenue we have to learn, but in areas where it is weak or doesn't exist we need to be ok with relying on personal experience and the experience of those that have had success. I don't mean we should be following the programs pros post on bb.com, but looking to the experience of top coaches who do follow evidence is a good idea.
One last thing, we need to stop being so smugly fucking sure of everything. Mike Israetel is a man i greatly admire in the industry, and he said something on a thread of mine that increased my respect for him immediately. He gave his opinion in response to someone, and when asked to justify it he said something along the lines of "I don't know for sure, it's just what I've found works best." This is a very smart, very educated,very successful person in the industry telling a laymen he doesn't know if he's actually right. The industry needs more of that attitude and open-mindedness. There's a lot we don't know, and while it'd be awesome to be able to figure everything out by searching pubmed, that isn't and never will be possible. Evidence comes in many forms, and we need to learn to accept all of them and put them together if we want the most complete picture possible.
That's the approach we like to take at EBP, if you'd like some guidance while being confident you're utilizing the best methods for you, fill out the contact form or contact one of us for details on comprehensive coaching. You can email Jason@ebpcoaching.com or for contest prep inquiries email Gavin@ebpcoaching.com.