That which is used develops, and that which is not used wastes away…If there is any deficiency in food or exercise the body will fall sick.
Hippocrates, 24 centuries ago
The last entry of this blog address our cultural fitness literacy/fitness fluency deficiency disorder as the primary cause preventing exuberant motivation for physical training. Since then, growing concern regarding how to effectively launch a grassroots revolution in fitness education empowering autonomous, preventative self-care nurturing dormant genomic express of vitality and wellness has been paramount in my heart and mind. I’ve come to the conclusion that just as it takes a village to raise a child, likewise it takes a community to create critical mass resulting in a major paradigm shift. With that in mind, I invite you to join in the Genomic Fitness Literacy Project.
Laree Draper recently moved Iron On Line from its incredibly successful, richly varied, long standing website to FaceBook with tremendous new success. If you don’t know of Laree, she and legendary iron game husband Dave “the Blond Bomber” Draper have set the pace for rich, varied, no stone unturned web forums, books and DVDs. The Drapers are a new & significant chapter in Physical Culture, successful by virtue of nourishing an online community of practitioners with an ethos ensuring everyone’s view counts. Love ‘em – it’s that simple.
My most recent blog addressed absence of fitness fluency and fitness literacy in our culture as the underlying reason people remain unmotivated and disenfranchised for taking control of their health and well being. A week ago I delivered an invited lecture at the University of Texas Medical Branch (that’s Texican for medical school) in Galveston: Bryan Barksdale has very kindly uploaded it to vimeo for others to watch or download (vimeo.com/31655879).
I’m busily writing more blogs, researching even more. Those efforts mandate careful research of all sorts so the resulting articles are as close to true, unbiased information as possible.
A growing stack of books populates my desks — you’d not recognize them as desks but as dining room tables. Sloppy to be sure. You get me sloppy and creative, or pinpoint organized and shut down! Match that with several other tables filled with peer reviewed research articles either organized in binders or fairly newly printed out, waiting for a touch of loose organization. Got the picture: what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls ‘full catastrophe living.’ Hell, learning and knowledge are open ended, ever incomplete, so welcome to the situation room.
Living with the apparent luxury of an academic (the word scholar comes from the root expression ‘leisure’), I’m both methodical and slow to produce, often going through half a dozen or more drafts before issuing a slightly sensible product. That’s not good enough. We live in the midst of a pandemic of degenerative diseases stemming from one major and one less major cause: (1) absence or inadequate physical activity signaling DNA sequencing of health protein turnover, and (2) malnutrition from industrial foods instead of the nutrient dense whole foods our ancestral genes crave in order to do their brilliant job. Worse still, an immense gap between what’s known in genetic and molecular exercise physiology about disease prevention versus unsatisfactory paradigms governing medically based health result in more and more people getting sicker and sicker simply due to breaking our genetic natural laws!
I was about to remedy the situation somewhat by starting a series of book review springboard articles under the banner of “Fitness Literacy”. Then Laree Draper’s inspiring example penetrated my thick skull. As a 16 year old more than 50 years ago, I gained empowering knowledge of training through a very kind community of mentors — the guys who trained every Saturday morning at the San Jose YMCA. That included bodybuilders, power lifters, Olympic lifters, track and field athletes, pro wrestlers, fitness buffs and many more. Those guys educated a kid hungry and thirsty for more than book knowledge. Such a community exists through Facebook and the blogs — it’s just not coordinated through a single, unifying theme and an informational focus point. Now it’s time for us all to articulate, discuss, and pass on our individual and collective training knowledge, wisdom, and best guesses!
Since the 1970s the science of exercise physiology has grown like hot cakes. In more recent decades, genetics and molecular biology have become huge assets to exercise physiology aimed at nurturing peak performance. The implications of the fitness science of exercise physiology threaten to massively transform orthodox medicine as a practice of dealing with pathologies to becoming a wellness art and science of genomic based fitness. As great & unprecedented the current situation might be, one dynamic element remains missing: the wisdom coaches and iron game athletes gain from their years of training, plateaus, plateau busting, ongoing progress, staled failure, renewal, and more is not incorporated into sports science. From my take — one most of you would agree upon upon reviewing the literature — exercise physiology remains profoundly unknowing of the ‘secrets’ — those tricks, tips, and traps — we all live through, and all experiment with next step trials to bust free of stale sticking points. Sometimes that includes designing unique equipment, modifying standard equipment, inventing cycles or protocols of reps (full or partial), sets, rest between sets, recuperation cycles, supplements, dietary changes, radical changes in training, you name it.
With that in mind, my Smart FIT FaceBook page is now dedicated to The Genomic Fitness Literacy Project for a community of practitioners to join in discussion, discourse, even debate — with important caveats — no sewer mouth disrespectful fowl language or insults, an ethos of polite disagreement, no attempts of commercial theories of training to act as predator imperialists out to colonize. While evidence driven science would be the standard we aspire to, the gap between exercise physiology and coaching wisdom is immense: just read through a decade of peer reviewed literature shaking you head in be wonderment, asking if any of these guys have seriously trained for progress, size, shape, strength, championships, long term development and maintenance of physical superiority.
When I founded The Wimberley Valley Think Tank close to 2 years ago, its mission was to gain understanding pursuant to a new, emerging paradigm or model making sense of four words: healthy, wellness, healing and fitness. A group gathered, all professionals, and from various specializations — hence, it was both multidisciplinary and whole systems oriented. Participants included Dr Dennis and Mrs. Laurie Romig: Dennis’ Side By Side Management has been a New York Times best selling non-fiction work in synergistic management. All involved in that group shared values of classical liberal education, honoring diversity of specializations side by side with recognition of need for generalists who spanned otherwise isolated, dissociated specializations — those knowing more and more about less and less! In similar manner, The Fitness Literacy Project honors diversity while eschewing specialization reductionist fundamentalism — in other words, when you are convinced your viewpoint is the only correct one, at that point it’s time to recognize all others are likely just as correct, just as limited, and just as much in need of chunking up to a more synoptic, all-inclusive overview.
More than 50 years ago the influences of Jack La Lanne, John Grimek, Bob Hoffman, and Peary Rader set my life course on the fitness path. Throughout the decades, training and dietary schemes have come and gone — their underlying unity being train intensely and eat nutrient dense, natural whole foods. Of late, the neo-Paleo movement born of evolutionary medicine has become an unprecedented grassroots groundswell with advocacy from a series of popular authors. One thing’s for sure: no generally accepted evidential science guides that popular movement. My first take was profoundly erroneous: Cordain’s The Paleo Diet seemed to be yet another high protein, high complex carb diet well oriented to anabolic response for robustly fit living. Drilling deeper into Cordain’s earlier works and those of even earlier scientists, a new vision emerged: one rooted in our ancestral legacy of fit survival embodied in the wise intelligence of our genetic make up. Sadly, today’s popularized Paleo movement sometimes owns up to the hard science that should underwrite it: works of Art de Vany, Mark Sisson, and Robb Wolf go in the right direction. Yet there’s no peer review, and in the Facebook groups it seems having an opinion — indeed, any opinion — is confused with knowing something. Review of formative literature just simply does not back up much of popular claims or theories regarding exertion: hence, all bets are off until a better job is done. The general populace deserves better treatment from emerging neo-Paleo than its antithesis in Big Pharma monopolized medicine offers. And that’s precisely where you can interject disturbing anomalies and hard case evidence that today’s popular and professional paradigm models are little more than limitedly/limitingly informed WAGS – wild ass guesses.
Please join the discussion on Face book’s Smart FIT. A dedicated Genomic Fitness Literacy & Smart FIT website will have to be constructed. FB makes no allowance for archival storage and access of salient material. Anyone with a passion for the possible who can help me construct such a website as an online version of Perry & Mabel Rader’s Iron Man Magazine will be hagiographic ally recognized as a blessed.
My mission for the remaining years of my life is this: to contribute to a grassroots revolution in fitness/health education empowering autonomous, preventative self-care nourishing fullest expression of innate, natural, genomic potentials for fitness/wellness. That’s antithetical to the dominant medical/pharmaceutical/hospital/medical equipment/insurance cartel of monopolies invested in you and your family breaking down and getting sick due to fitness deficiency disorders.
Here’s the url to Smart FIT on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Smart-FIT/117152111703188)
©,2011 Ken O’Neill.Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.