I thought I’d do a little “n=1” testing on some health/fitness products and methods that I always believed in…..The answers may surprise you!! :D
The click-baity title is there for a reason. There is so much “woo” going on in the fitness/alternative health world that “Big Supplement” seems to be turning into the same monster as “Big Pharma” rapidly. People are selling things that literally do nothing (it reminds me of the “balance bracelet” fad a few years back), and as long as they make a quick buck, they don’t seem to care that they’re selling things that definitely have no benefit, and may cause harm.
So here are some things that I stopped recently and my thoughts. Please, let me know what you think about these things, disagree with me…dialogue about these things can only help!
I used to spend a good 10-15mins “opening my hips” and “loosening my psoas” before a strength workout. I thought this was vital to performing optimally and avoiding injury.
The truth is, stretching seems to be fairly useless outside the movement of that specific stretch. Yes, practicing the splits is important if you want to be able to do the splits, but it won’t help anywhere else. Doing crazy yoga poses before squatting doesn’t improve your squat mobility.
I stopped all forms of stretching, besides doing some actual reps with the empty bar before loading it up. It has made absolutely no difference to my workout. My progress has been the same, I have not had any injuries. So I think stretching = a waste of time at best.
2. Foam rolling.
I used to get a crazy groin pain that seemed to be alleviated by foam rolling my butt. It KINDA helped and I was told that foam rolling was vital to “breaking down” muscle “knots” and releasing “tight” muscles. The pain would always return a couple hours later.
Ok, lets try ditching foam rolling. Again, this has made zero difference to my life. In fact, I don’t seem to get that groin pain anymore, so it is feasible that foam rolling was aggravating whatever was causing it.
3. CBD oil.
I was very interested in CBD products. Hell, I’ll admit to a little “recreational herbal usage” now and then even and would make a case that a reasonable cannabis habit is probably less damaging than a similar alcohol habit….But It seems that CBD ain’t what all the Instagram Booty Girls have made it out to be.
It seems all of a sudden CBD is the flavour of the month among Instagram influencers who offer discounts with “link in bio!” all over the place.
I used it for a months, telling myself it helped me sleep and helped with a little anxiety and stress management.
I stopped cold turkey…..and nothing happened. I sleep the same. I feel stress the same. Meditation, which is 100% free and legal, offers a much greater benefit for me in these 2 areas.
So sorry, CBD needs more testing and research in my books.
Now these are 3 of the more accepted, mainstream products and methods. These are pretty benign even if they do waste a bit of time and/or money. Now imagine all the more esoteric things down the rabbit hole of “alternative health”. We can go down the line from here all the way to “energy healing” and “meridian lines”. If these 3, very practical and understandable things really have limited/no benefit, do we really expect there to be much in store down that woo-woo rabbit hole?
For me, the line where I stop listening runs right down the middle of the Chiropractic field. I believe good Chiro’s can be a great help to people and be a nice mid-way point between the lay person and medical doctors. They can help in trying to treat physical problems first with some good dietary and exercise advice and lifestyle changes rather than people heading straight for their GP and then Pharmacy. This is brilliant in my books.
However, as soon as you tell me you want to start “aligning my spine” or using the little pen that clicks on me….Yeah, I’m outta here. If I can deadlift 165kgs and my spine doesn’t re-arrange itself, your little clicky pen isn’t going to do a damn thing.
So, sorry kids, from there down the line it just gets worse with Homeopathy, Reflexology, “energy” (whatever that is), essential oils and chakras etc etc etc. The evidence that these thing do anything just gets worse and worse.
So where am I going with this? I promise I’m not purposely trying to piss people off, I just want to remind everyone that the simple, practically free interventions of a sensible diet and a decent strength and exercise regime are the most important things you can do. Get that sorted before even bothering with pills, powders, rollers, giant rubber bands, massagers, ketone drinks, funny smelling oils, infinitely diluted water or wonder supplements.
Human’s evolved with none of these things; we need very little, in fact. Eat good food. Move around a lot. Lift heavy things. Get a good amount of sleep and sun. You don’t need to spend money on these weird and wonderful bags of tricks.