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Nihilistic or Realistic?

"No, Donny. These men are cowards"


Nihilistic: rejecting all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless.

Realistic: representing things in a way that is accurate and true to life.


I've been feeling rather nihilistic lately when it comes to certain aspects of Strength & Fitness. Not so much that it all doesn't matter but when it comes to the minutia, I’m becoming fed up.


People might ask me about something like their grip on a Lat pull down, my answer; "it doesn't matter, do what you prefer". The younger coach in me might have spouted off a certain study that found that maximal voluntary contraction of the latissimus dorsi was maximised when Lat pulldowns where performed with a pronated grip so the answer is definitely pronated. But guess what? Even if that was the case (it might not be because I made up this example) across the span of someone's training session, week, year, lifetime how would we ever quantify something like the extra strength and hypertrophy provided by a change so miniscule. You couldn't, and what about individual variation? As an older coach I know that example study likely had flaws in it's interpretations, probably only lasted 8 weeks and any performance benefits were non significant. Meh.

Am I being nihilistic or realistic?


I need to reframe!

I need to reframe my thinking and flip it to the positive "It likely doesn't matter a bunch, which is great because we can use different grips and variations to make training more fun". This is definitely the approach I take with my own training.


Rather than stopping at "it doesn't matter" I need to focus more on educating clients on why we don't need to spend mental energy on certain aspects of training and teach them how to be more creative.


This sense of nihilism has crept in because I see so many people get lost in the weeds with things that "might" help when they haven't even learned how to train hard and consistently yet. They want quick and easy, they think there are secrets to this whole thing, and there simply isn't any.


Now before you jump down my throat. I'm not saying that small details never matter. For certain people in certain contexts they absolutely do! However for the majority of people the majority of the time, turning up and working hard are the biggest things they need to worry about.


What do you think? Is there an aspect of your training you’ve been overthinking? Or something in your profession that you need to reframe? Let me know in the comments below.


ps. How good is The Big Lebowski. I need to watch it again soo.



By the way, I'm AJ Smith - a father, husband, and gym owner in Golden Bay, Western Australia. I create to share my passion for all things fitness, from Ultra Running to Powerlifting and everything in between. My goal is to help people achieve their potential and become stronger, fitter, and happier versions of themselves.

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