Coach vs Academic

Posted on February 21, 2012. Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , , |

Ever wonder why the fitness industry isn’t further along?



Just me huh?


Well for the record it should be something you think about. I mean think about it, we have a so called “obesity epidemic,” and when they talk about this or our national healthcare problem who do they talk to?



OK, not a medical doctor here. But I still love the image

I’m not saying they shouldn’t talk to doctors; I’m saying that coaches and fitness professionals should at least be in the topics of discussion.


So why aren’t we in there? Personally I see it as a lacking of getting our communication straight. Which I feel stems from a simple but constant debate in our industry.


The Academic vs. The Coach.


When I was an undergrad I found myself in a very unique position. My faculty advisor was the head of the Sports Med department, and I was interning with the Head S&C coach of the University. Let me tell you something, the only thing they agreed on was that the other guy was wrong about everything.


Since both men were in a position to affect my academic career I learned to smile and nod. And I see a parallel in this conversation all around the fitness industry.


We have the Academic. She must have everything clear, clean and scientifically validated. She doesn’t fall for all that hokum and snake oil. She’s done the research. She knows what works and what doesn’t. She checks references to see who funded a study.


If you are stating something as fact and you don’t have a PhD she will rip you to shreds. Heck even if you do have a PhD she will rip into you if you don’t have at least 3 studies to validate your statement. Before she recognizes you as worth her time she wants to know your credentials. Which certifications you have, how long have you had them? Have you ever been published in a serious fitness periodical?


you got to love xkcd

Everything must be research based and validated in a controlled environment. And when she tells you something is fact she knows its fact, and can explain to you exactly how to recreate the same effect yourself. Doing anything outside of what is research proven is a waste of time and you are a fool if you think otherwise. On the other side is the coach.


The coach is about getting results. She doesn’t care what your study says or how many studies you have that say it’s true. The ends justify the means.


The coach has learned by first-hand experience, and if you don’t have any in the field you are talking about she’s not listening to a word you say. Don’t talk to her about squats if you haven’t lifted twice your bodyweight, don’t talk to her about how to condition for MMA if you have never competed in a ring or dojo before, or trained an athlete to victory.


Start quoting studies to her and you are just a nerd who has no idea what they are talking about. She uses terms like “being in the trenches, “blood , sweat and tears,” “fitness is art not science.”


If you want to learn what she knows you have to work like an apprentice under her and learn firsthand. There is no other way to learn besides actually doing it. And any mention or disputing her philosophies is seen as an insult, and you are wasting her time.


These are extreme examples, every professional I meet in this industry, falls in to one of these categories. The most respected ones like Al Vermeil, Vern Gambetta, Gray Cook, Dan John, Mike Boyle, have learned to be both.

I’ll explain the why and the benefits of grasping both next…

Scientific? No. Effective? Yes

Keep Fitness Groovy

Coach W


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