John Locke at the Squat Rack
For three decades, the height of scientific inquiry at the gym was whether or not to do “cardio” or “machines” first during a workout. And “cardio” was always 30 minutes, because the sign said to give up the machine after 30 minutes if people were waiting, and “machines” always included four exercises that were kinda sorta the bench press, and three sets of ten reps were the gold standard, according to the laminated anatomy posters bearing weighty titles like: "The Chest."
A slightly less prevalent topic: the proper timing of the consumption of the protein shake. “As soon as the weights hit the floor” was the consensus answer amongst the meaty, wisdom which cannot be precisely sourced but which is believed to have emanated from “Larry,” a besweatpantsed man known for having the largest protein shake in Orange County.
The Age of Reason has finally exposed itself to fitness. The news is not good: you likely have wasted a significant portion of your life’s exercise time becoming more injury prone, unathletic, unhealthy, and simply being inefficient with your workouts. The most disheartened are likely the endurance athletes, appalled to discover that frequently running ten miles is not necessary training for acquiring the ability to run ten miles. The movement towards evidence-based fitness was started in the ‘90s by trainer named Greg Glassman, who found himself appalled by the profession upon realizing that not a soul within it had ever thought to ask, much less answer, the Locke-approved question:
What is “fitness?”
The answer Glassman discovered has devoured the industry, forcing an overhaul of the training programs employed by our military and first-responders, those most in need of better advice and time-management than that offered by Larry. Here at PJ Lifestyle, I’ll be checking in with the best of the best in the fitness world -- who are now accompanied by the evidence and results to prove it -- and trying to bring that spirit of classical liberal inquiry to a lifestyle blog.