Why the Evidence Based Fitness World is “wrong”

Hint, it isn’t the science

It is the over reliance on data over people.

How so?

There is more than “eating less to lose weight” which is often telling people what they mostly know.

Considerations such as:

  • Health history
  • Diet history
  • Bodyfat levels and “carb sensitivity”
  • Schedule
  • Compliance
  • Etc.

While most of us know that calories in v. calories out are the predominant indication of diet success, that is akin to telling most people, “you need to lift weights to be strong”, or, “eat less and move more”.

That is shit most people know, or if they don’t know, a little image doesn’t always grab the bull by the horns to explain why a magical diet that strips your intake of carbs is going to work when you eat 5000 calories a day.

Just like hammering away and telling someone “KeTo Isn’T BaCKeD By ScieNCE” isn’t helping the cause.

What is ideal?

Ask questions, build a trusting relationship with the coach, be inquisitive about what you read, see, and want to know. Ask them “how does this work?”, or, “why do you think this eating plan will work for me?”

They should be able to answer most questions or at least direct you to sources that can answer that for you; therefore, enhancing your knowledge base about proper eating.

The issue with proper eating is never the food, the vast majority of people understand that eating whole food, rich with micronutrients and vitamins is preferred over another box of Macaroni and Cheese with Vienna sausages chopped up.

The issue is psychological and that is where the grand slam lies.

  • Why do you eat what you do?
  • What will help you stay on track?
  • Why do you feel guilty over food?
  • What is your underlying reason for eating better?
  • What motivates you?
  • What is your level of stress?
  • The list goes on.

Just last night I had to chat with a training client and talk him down off a ledge because he was frustrated with an element of his progress. He didn’t hire me for eating, he hired me to write him up programming, but as a coach I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t listen to him.

We established that his fat content was painfully low, he already dropped 7 pounds in a few weeks and progress isn’t linear, and to reconfigure his macro plan to push fat above a certain level and lower carbs down to help him shed the extra pounds he accumulated.

His case isn’t critical but at 5’9″ and 285 pounds, losing weight and being healthy is on the top of the list for him.

While I am somewhat known for being harsh on the EBF world, it isn’t because they know how to google PubMed and quote studies in online arguments, it’s the context in which studies are used for the population.

Unfortunately there is “evidence based” and there is “information based”. Evidence is using all available tools to help the client. Information is using one tool to help without the evidence – Thanks to Matt Bergeron for coining “information based”

Which is better?

We need science, it is critical for our advancement in this field and to help people achieve their goals, but science is a tool and not a battle ax.

Use it wisely.


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