Why “Evidence-Based Fitness“?

The term, “Evidence-based medicine” was coined in the 1990′s. This stemmed from a few very influential publications critically examining how physicians make decisions about patient care. Evidence-based medicine has now become known as the process by which research is used to inform medical decision-making across all fields of medicine. The result of this movement has been felt across the world and forever changed the framework in which doctors and other healthcare professionals justify their decisions in the name of taking care of patients.

Prior to the emergence of evidence-based medicine, doctors learned by imitation. As a medical student, you did what your resident told you to do, who did what their attending physician told them to do, who was told what to do by their mentors and so on. You did it because you were told, and having to justify WHY that was the right thing to do or even that there was proof that it worked beyond, “That’s just how I treat it and it seems to work okay,” weren’t even part of the equation.

Does this sound familiar? “It works for me,” “This is how I did it,” “This has worked for many of my clients,” “It’s how I was taught,” are all phrases doctors used to use before the widespread adoption of an evidence-based approach. Now, they’re the same phrases, just coming out of the mouths and keyboards of trainers, nutritionists, and so-called fitness experts. It doesn’t really matter whether the information they’re giving you is grounded in physiology, or even on tested ideas; the battle for fitness attention and your dollars is a battle won not only by creating a perception of effectiveness, but also an expert’s perceived credibility (which can seemingly appear science-based thanks to abuse of PubMed citations–not all research is good research).

Just as in medicine, where research does not dictate how medical decisions are made, but rather, informs it, research has the ability to inform your fitness and nutrition decisions. Your time, your energy, your money, your willpower; these are all valuable resources. Belief, though powerful, should not be the sustaining force that determines whether your investment of these resources yields a return.

Evidence-Based Fitness is a place you can turn to for critical assessment of major fitness and nutrition research studies. It is also a resource to help you make sense of the science that you do encounter, as well as a guide to help you avoid common pitfalls that make products that casually cite scientific studies to back up their claims appealing.

To those of you who have followed me through the years, thank you for all of your support. And to the newcomers, welcome! Enough of the fitness mysticism. It’s time to end the madness.


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