Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bodybuilding: Bro Science vs Lab Science

This one of course goes out to all my bodybuilding/fitness/lifting friends out there. I am by no means a guru/pro/titan or anything of that sort in this industry. However, one doesn't need to be as you will come to realize as you read my post. It simply has to do with the understanding of a particular perspective.

For anyone who does not know what bro science is, it is quite the same as hearsay. It is advice given by someone else in the sport, usually someone of status or at least a level of experience(but not always), that is passed on to others and eventually everyone but the advice does not have scientific backing. In contrast to lab science which have studies, research and science behind its back.

The debate on bro science versus lab science is becoming quite the hot topic in the industry. Personally I have a TON of opinions and arguments to make. Some of which are already being made on YouTube videos, social media and what have you. Some have not been mentioned before. My purpose of this post isn't to go through the entire debate process and draw a conclusion. As with all my posts, it is simply to just let out my thoughts. More specifically, the thoughts that are in me and wondering why no one has ever mentioned this when debating? I'm just here to shed light on some perspectives. More specifically, 2 perspectives.


As Ian McCarthy, a YouTuber who is against bro science has mentioned before, you could either just walk through a door or you could do a dance ritual around every time before walking through. The end result is the same.

That is how he compares bro science to lab science. It is the same way almost everyone who thinks bro science is completely useless and lab science is the way to go.(I'm not taking sides), thinks. What science fails to take into account is the human aspect of things. Science fails to acknowledge the existence of human psychology.

Referring back to the example, what if doing a dance ritual every time before walking through that door spoke to the psychology of the individual. That the individual for some reason now sees and believes in a stronger purpose of walking through that door and as a result, walk through it everyday without fail, with a dance ritual prior of course. As compared to someone who simply walked through and had no value placed upon that action and as a result, stops doing it or does it irregularly.

Okay so what on earth am I trying to say? Let's take an actual example. Bro science tells us to eat every 3 hours. Lab science claims it doesn't matter when you eat.(I disagree on a science level but let's say it's true). Now when an individual embarks on a journey to change(ie. dieting), in order to stick to the journey and follow through with full compliance, the individual's psychology plays a huge role. How so? For a start, to feel that we are going to change anything, we must first feel like we are doing something differently. If we were to eat like we have been eating all our lives, we would start questioning where this particular change is going to coming from. So it is things like eating every 3 hours that creates physical change (and builds a form of discipline that will be applied to everything else) that manifest into speaking to our psychology making us feel that we have a reason for progress to occur. When we feel like we are progressing, we can then stick to our plan and of course, actually progress.

Another example would be the idea of If It Fits Your Macros(IIFYM). The concept is exactly the same. Trust me, if you hop onto a diet where you eat whatever time you want, and eat whatever you want so long it fits your macros, the likelihood of you feeling you're making any progress at all is minimal. This is not only due to the fact that we are programmed to think we must eat in a particular way but also due to the fact that we won't feel like there has been any change made to our lifestyle and as a result, wonder what changes we could possibly expect to present itself before us. Not to mention the potential for you to screw up your macros.

The point is, what happens in theory and what happen in life are 2 completely different things. If planning every gram of food, eating only specific types of food and eating at premeditated timings will ensure that you never screw up your macros, sets your mind in the right mental state and builds the discipline for you to do everything else that is required by science itself, then who is to say you shouldn't follow bro science advice?

Limitation of Lab Science
What makes us think science knows it all? Testosterone, human growth hormone, insulin, cortisol and so on. What if there was an element science has yet to discover that affects fat loss/muscle gain? Lab science will immediately be obsolete. Yet we will never know until lab science proves of the existence of it. Get my point?

I've read research where they corrected old research on being wrong. Just because science discovers something new doesn't mean how our body reacts is any different since a century ago. Take for example shrimps. There was a period that shrimps were said to be bad because of the cholesterol level inside. Later on new studies found that it is actually not that bad. Do you think our bodies react differently just because science discovered something? Of course not.

In that sense, bro science is the often the combination of some science and experience as well. Bro science is lab science that went through practicality filters and experience filters. So whether or not science has proven the good or bad of a particular substance or action fully accurately, bro science has taken it into account.

Most importantly, why is it that practically all, or dare I say ALL, pro bodybuilders do the same thing of having a meal every 2-3 hours and eat only particular types of food? Is it THAT coincidental? Or perhaps there is a practical reason? Or perhaps science has yet to discover certain things?

That said, I do acknowledge some bro science are completely bullshit. Which hurts the credibility of other bro science that have it's place in creating a better you. Some bro science were made up by people who know nothing to begin with. That said, bro science should not be judged as bro science, but by whether it works or not. More importantly, whether it works for you, because every human body and every human's psychology differs.

More messed up thoughts to come..

Think Deep!

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