Don't Dismiss Practical Experience | STACK

Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...

Opinion: Don't Dismiss Practical Experience

February 6, 2013 | Mitch Calvert

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There's a growing appetite for science-based research in the health and fitness industry. But although research studies are great for finding new and innovative ways to train, we cannot completely eliminate the value of practical experience.

Science will never truly be able to determine the best exercises for everyone. Each of us is unique, and a particular weight training exercise, endurance activity or nutrition plan will suit some perfectly, while others simply won't receive the same benefits.

Let's say that you perform the Deadlfit—considered by many fitness experts as the best overall exercise—and you feel pain in your lower back. Yes, it may be a fantastic exercise, but it's not doing you much good if it's causing pain. So you should find an exercise that works better for you. (See Improve your performance with the Deadlift.)

What am I getting at? Focus on what works for you, no matter what the research shows or the Internet "gurus" say. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing health and fitness becoming more mainstream and medically studied; but sometimes a particular scientific finding is not the best advice for everyone.

I believe that fitness-related research will help us continue to improve as athletes, but don't dismiss the magic ingredient that drove you to pick up your sport in the first place: passion. Scientific studies can't measure that. It's what drives a person to dig out another two reps or find the will to finish that last mile when their body is telling them to give up. That simply cannot be explained in a PubMed-authored study. That comes from within.

Mitch Calvert
- Mitch Calvert, born and raised in Canada, chose a life of health and fitness eight years ago, transforming himself from a severely overweight teenager to...