This is a follow up to the post I’m Done Talking About High-Intensity Training. But before I start I want to be clear that post was about conversations outside this blog. Not this blog. I will continue to blog about HIT. I even have a post planned that extends the Hillfit 2.0 protocol with a new exercise.
In the previous part, I mentioned my frustration as being rooted in the language we use to describe getting into shape.
They will confuse building strength with recreation. Almost all will believe that more exercise equals more intensity which equals more results. They won’t consider safety or think about recovery. They will continue to have unrealistic role models. They will equate speed with strength. They will believe that the more difficult an exercise is the more strength it develops.
This isn’t just my frustration. I see others in the HIT community, many of whom derive a living from communicating HIT principles, unable to articulate and convince others.
Photo by Chris Piascik
It has been 2 weeks since that post. Reflecting upon it, I can now see three reasons why communication has mostly failed in person, while at the same time having an impact on this blog.
#1 The Influence of Injury
The average person isn’t out of shape because they were sidelined with an injury they got while exercising. Even those that are will still blame themselves for poor form and will have never spent the time questioning the safety of the exercise that injured them. Those reading a blog on fitness are more likely to spend time reflecting on past fitness successes and failures. They are open to seeking new narratives.
To me the big sell for HIT is safety. If you view all forms of exercise as equally safe or see injury risk as a cost of getting fit then this point of conversation will be unconvincing.
#2 No Reference Point For Intensity
If the average person has only ever exercised in the average volume approach then there will be distrust or disbelief that a shorter workout can be superior. I was skeptical once before too. But even before I was exposed to HIT, I had backgrounds in other forms of training.
The language I came to HIT with was richer than the average person. Without those experiences, it is going to be very difficult to bridge that understanding in conversation. I could talk for an hour and get nowhere. However, I could guide a person through a Big 5 Body By Science workout in 12 minutes and make them a believer.
#3 Not Serious
When people state in conversation that they wish to get in shape, I need to remind myself that most of the time they aren’t serious. It isn’t a goal. It is a wish. When people come to a fitness blog to research a topic they have moved past the wishing phase. They are putting a plan together on how they will achieve those goals.
If some future fitness conversation progresses to the point where someone wants my advice, I’ll offer to email them a link to a relevant blog post. At that point, it is up to them.
Jul 27, 2014 — 1:06 pm
When the topic of fitness comes up in conversation, what questions are you asking people and in what order?
Jul 27, 2014 — 2:14 pm
@JM – I don’t know if I have a routine. But I do ask what have they done in the past. What they like, don’t like, time issues, goals.
Jul 27, 2014 — 9:16 pm
Over in Spain, I’ve often heard the expression “you can’t fight Disney”, meaning, children will be influenced by media and you might as well learn to accept it.
It is definitely possible to supplant the role of Disney in folk’s lives but this simply means that they will be blindly listening to you instead of blindly listening to someone else. And while we like to think we can take on that burden, it is nonetheless a huge responsibility… and, do we really, really want it?
Plus, it is not possible to have any kind of conversation with someone who knows little or nothing about a subject. For instance, my knowledge of black holes is very limited. A physicist could lecture me on the topic but we could never have any conversation or relevant exchange information. I’ve got none to give.
Jul 28, 2014 — 12:27 pm
Hi MAS. On the one hand, I think it’s great that you’ve at least planted the seed for these people – who may very likely return to the idea after they’ve injured themselves or after they’ve been further exposed to the rationale. On the other hand, people seem quite hardwired to dismiss new information out of hand – preferring instead to pretend they already know; so, I feel your pain, my friend!