Does It Work?
January 01 2011
Being in the fitness field, the usual questions I get are Does it work? Does P90X or crossfit works? I heard it works, Is it good for you? and so on.
But these question lack three important parts to make it meaningful:
Works for what?: It means is it for strength, muscle growth, fat loss, flexibilty, cardiovascular endurance and so forth. The “what” is important because to optimize each of these goals require a different training or workout program.
For example, crossfit will work for strength endurance since it involves a lot of high rep training, but won’t be the best for maximal strength. Yoga works for flexibility but not good for strength muscle growth, or cardiovascular health. Running works for fat loss but not for building muscle.
Works for who? You have to specify the population you are trying to use it too. The who is important because results can be completely different based on your training level, age, gender and so forth.
The whom depends on the type of question. For injury prevention, the age, the gender, sport played, and the level can have different effects on injury prevention. For example, females have 4-8 times ACL injury than males, soccer will have more ACL injuries than cycling. A training program to increase strength and muscle for a beginner won’t work for trained individuals. A drug which works for men may not have the same effect on females too.
Compared to what? When you say the program X it works, what are you comparing it to?
For example, when you say P90 works, are you saying P90 will increase strength and muscle more than not working out? Of course, it will. Or are you saying P90 works better than a general 3 sets strength and cardio routine? Maybe. If you are saying P90works for increasing maximal strength than a powerlifting routine. I will say of course not.
In drug studies, the comparison group gets a placebo ( a drug which has no effect but it looks, smells and feels the same). The goals of the drug study is to see if the new drug works better than the placebo drug. So the placebo works too, but compared to a real drug, the effects are not great.
- Every time someone asks if a new program or diet or drug works, ask if it works for what, who, and compared to what
- When you read a study, look what are they measuring, in whom they are measuring and what are they comparing it too.
- Happy New Year!