“Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false” ~ Wikipedia
Take a moment and think about how many claims are made on a daily basis in the fitness and diet industries targeting us to read a blog post (like I have *never* done), buy a product promising “amazing” results, or even selling us lies (certain names spring to mind … and I am sure you know of a few yourself).
However, before I climb onto my high-horse, let me use some personal examples of beliefs I have held or claims that I have made:
1) “Carbs make you fat” … I believed this for years, yet it’s only partially true. There is more to the picture than carbs *alone* being the cause of fat gain.
2) “Fat Burning Workout” … I have *used* this title many times over the past 3 years and I now know that it also depends on *many* other factors. These days I am more careful of making a claim about what any workout can do.
3) It works for me therefore this new evidence to suggest otherwise must not be correct – WRONG! Oh maan, I thought I could just apply what I did to everyone?
–> FYI, by not critiquing your own biases or your “beliefs” you could actually end up causing harm. And just because you have *always* done something a certain way and you have “been fine”, does not mean that you understanding WHY you have “been fine” or, indeed,why anyone else would also be fine. Your experience is not strong enough evidence to offset any valid research that says why you may or may not be fine in the future.
When you are faced with “experts” all over the internet, it becomes very challenging to know what is the truth and what isn’t and what *could* be partially correct. How much confidence do you place in someone’s option?
Often, you will hear Guru’s claim absolutes about their methods or products and this is one of the biggest signs for you to proceed carefully with a healthy skepticism. After all, “the meaning of “guru” has been used to cover anyone who acquires followers, especially by exploiting their naiveté…”
Think of Skepticism as being an alarm and Critical Thinking being the escape route.
I invited Dr Jonathan Fass to come and chat with me about critical thinking and where to learn more about the process. Jonathan has carved out a reputation for himself for being a very skilled critical thinker
and troll and I am very happy he agreed to explain more about it. Obviously, I already think he’s awesome, but I hope you will, too.
You don’t need to be a research nerd to think critically, but you do need to understand how to look at sources and place information into appropriate categories … so you don’t end up with a bunch of beliefs based on lies —> like the Tracy Anderson Method 😐
Examine.com is a very reliable resource. The team spend an enormous amount of time to index and present un-bias research on supplements and nutrition. Just this week they released a super helpful Supplement-Goals Reference Guide (this is an affiliate link and if you decide to buy a copy, I do get a % of the sale). Basically, if you want to know if a supplement will help you with your goals or your health, they have indexed a ton of them and the guide is so easy to read and get the information you need in an instant –> and it’s evidenced-based. While I don’t use many supplements, I was so impressed by the guide that I wanted to promote it for them. If the guide itself is not for you then check out their website, which is free
Jonathan and I also mentioned two additional resources for evidenced-based information:
Alan Aragon’s Research Review
I apologise for the ALL the links, but I really want everyone to be armed with as much reliable and strong information as possible. Being able to decide if someone is taking you for a ride because they appear to be an expert or appear to look the part will not only save you a ton of money, but also your sanity.
Actually, just yesterday, Bret posted a blog that highlights some of the BS claims in the industry regarding glute training. It was a great read.
I hope you enjoyed my “interview” with Jonathan and I hope he will be back to talk about some other stuff in the future … coz I think he likes me 😉
Tags: believing what you read, bret contreras, critical thinking, examine.com, fitness gurus, how to decide what is true, Jonathan Fass, spotting a fitness myth, strength of evidence podcast