Welcome to the first installment of Natural Bodybuilding with JC! A lot of thought went into how I would make my debut. I don’t want to sit here and aimlessly write a generic workout plan, supplementation strategy, or get-ripped-quick-diet. You can get that in just about any muscle mag you pull off the rack. I want to provide you with more, with something you can actually use. With that being said, I think it is only fitting that we start this journey with a discussion on Broscience.
That’s Great Bro, But Is It Science?
We’ve all heard the term, Broscience. But what exactly is it? Broscience refers to information that is shared without supportive merit, as a factual truth – often based on personal experiences or hearsay. Or, as the ever so popular Urban Dictionary puts it, “… the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.”
We’ve all seen it before. The scrawny 130 pounds kid in the gym training his friends, spewing out nonsense and untruths on the inner workings of the human body, and the best way to release testosterone and growth hormone. All the while he is instructing them on workout maneuvers that resemble a combination of torture tactics from Saw and a Jillian Michaels DVD.
The saying, Knowledge is Power, has never rung more true. The above scenario is what you get when you are unwilling to commit to arming yourself with the power of knowledge. We are a world of convenience, accustomed to the ability to have what we want, when we want it, and at a moment’s notice. Short cuts, Cliffs Notes, Buy It Now, Digital Copy, 1-Hour Photo, Drive-Thru…it seems only logical that we would want this same convenience to apply to the more difficult aspects of our lives – say, for example, being fit and healthy. Pulling what we want to hear from a magazine, website, commercial, or gym goer is the mental equivalent of going to McDonald’s and ordering the Filet of Fish and a Diet Coke as the healthy alternative.
The key to avoiding a Broscience pitfall is to take all advice and information you come across with a grain of salt. You may admire and respect the source of the information, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that information will be correct. Remember, everybody is different, and EVERY BODY is different. What works for one may not work for another. You’re going to hear the following statement a lot from me, so I recommend you write it down, tattoo it on your body, or print it on a tee-shirt:
Correlation does not equal causation!
Correlation = the degree to which two or more attributes show a tendency to vary together. Or, more simply put, a word used to describe the mutual relationship between two things.
Causation = the act of causing or producing / the relation of cause to effect.
So, what I am saying here, if you add or change a variable to your training, and you see results (be it good or bad), you cannot necessarily attribute those results to the changed variable. So how can you gauge if what you are doing is actually causing the intended results? RESEARCH! Chances are somebody has already put the blood, sweat, and tears into properly administered research to prove or disprove your theory. Those results will undoubtedly be published somewhere – just make sure you pull from credible sites. Case in point, found on Wikipedia:
Here are some steps to keep you in the know:
1. If something interests you, or even sounds too good to be true, research it. Get a well rounded view of what you are researching by first reading the SCIENCE behind the claim. Choose your source wisely – read scientific studies. There are many resources for scholarly articles such as PubMed.
2. Research individual ingredients on a product. Find out why it’s in there, and if it has even been proven to be effective. Check the dosage and directions for use.
3. Study up on nutrition and the human body. Learn about the basic processes that set growth in motion. For example, learn when and why a body is catabolic vs. anabolic. Familiarize yourself with the glycemic index and how blood sugar works, etc.
4. Never assume that what worked for one person will work for you. Genetics play a role in things too.
There are endless differing opinions on every possible topic in the world of bodybuilding. From magazine articles, biased studies, supplement campaigns and scholarly sources, you are primed to be vulnerable and receptive to everything that can be thrown at you.
So before you eat that bag of Skittles post workout, swallow that “natural” test booster, or begin a “6-Pack in 3 Weeks!” diet, just keep yourself informed. It will save you time, money, and most importantly, your health!