Sergeant Tony's Blog

A Disappearing Act! — Sgt. Tony Ludow’s blog post for 2/7/2018

Wednesday, Feb. 7th 2018 3:50 PM

It leaves little by little, almost imperceptibly, like the guys at the end of “Ocean’s 11” leaving the water fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel. Fitness disappears.

It slips away like the movements of a minute hand on a clock. You know the hand is moving, you just don’t see it. But in no time at all, and before you’re even fully aware of it … poof. We go from fab to flab in no time at all.

The illusion that it’s still there is comically observed watching an adult men’s basketball game. I’m not talking NBA, I’m talking church league, or similar. These guys, who may or may not have played in high school 15+ years ago, race down the court, out of shape and out of control like a runaway train with no brakes and no ability to cut, spin, or move laterally, and end up sliding along the floor, having taken out a couple of other guys, who may or may not have been on their team. It’s comedy gold!

These fellas, once clothed in high school glory, are now more often clothed in the fragrance of Ben Gay, Bio-Freeze, and knee braces. They regularly spend as much time falling down as they do running around on the court. But in their minds … they haven’t lost a step.

In the world of fitness, one of the old adages is: “You’re only as good as your last workout.” Muscles begin to atrophy within a few days of the onset of idleness. In our modern world, with technology and machinery doing so much of our work for us, muscle strength and stamina are hardly required. The human body is an extraordinarily efficient machine and will only maintain the muscle structure and stamina of necessary work. No work = muscle atrophy. The body eliminates redundancies.

But again, in our modern world, you’ll hardly even notice. The last time you dropped and did maximum pushups was 5 years ago. In your mind, you still think you can do that. But you can’t. And in your heart, you know you can’t. But nothing in your life is requiring you to be physically strong, so there’s no evidence that you’re weak. Until you’re exposed to illness or you get sick. It’s why children and the elderly are at such risk for the flu; they’re the ones with the compromised immune system with so little lean muscle mass.

Ashley and I were just talking about ideal weight and ideal fitness. Those states of being where our bodies have a lower percentage of body fat, a higher concentration of lean muscle, and a strong state of cardio-respiratory fitness. You just feel better. You look good. You feel healthy. You’re able to say “YES!” when life gives you opportunity to do something physically challenging.

The summer will be here soon. Will you be ready?

— 30 —

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Spotting a Scam, Pseudo-Science, and Exercise Bullshit (excuse my French)

Just about once a week, someone sends me a link to some Facebook page or website or YouTube video that makes certain health, fitness, exercise, and nutrition claims. The someone(s) are usually former boot campers or friends who have never been a part of USMC Fitness Boot Camp.

The majority of the time it’s BS. On Monday, after a friend sent me a video of a guy making claims and selling stuff, I put together this list.

Here are 5 simple things to consider when faced with a question about the latest exercise/nutrition claim.

1. Check their credentials.
Would we take financial advice from a person with no qualification? Law advice from someone who wasn’t a lawyer? Would we get on an airplane piloted by someone who wasn’t a licensed pilot, and not just for flying in general, but for the specific aircraft we’ll be flying in?

In every important situation in our lives, we expect, no, we DEMAND that the person providing us with advice or performing a service be qualified. Their education and experience must be such that we trust them. The more important the advice or service, the greater the need for trust.

On that person’s website of Facebook page, you should easily find their legitimate and accredited qualifications prominently displayed for the world to see. If it is hidden or omitted, there’s something wrong.

And on the subject of qualifications, medical doctors get very little nutrition instruction in medical school. Likewise, they get little if any training in sports related injuries. Registered Dietitians are your experts in nutrition and Sports Medicine Doctors and many Orthopedic Doctors are your specialists in sports related injuries.

Even among us in the health and fitness industry, there is something known as “scope of practice.” For example, my scope of practice doesn’t qualify me to give medical advice for treating the flu. Nor am I permitted to dispense nutritional supplements or Botox injections. I must stay within my area of expertise. I can lose my credentials if I wander outside my scope of practice. Dr. Oz is still trying to repair his reputation for going outside his scope of practice and making claims and endorsing products that were later found to be fraudulent.

2. Check their experience.
If the person(s) have legitimate, accredited, earned qualification and education, you then ask if that person has enough experience.

In 2009, I ruptured my patellar tendon. Ripped it from the tibia playing in a tennis tournament. The orthopedic surgeon first assigned to my case was someone I didn’t know. In fact, he was relatively new in the area and known for being a specialist in shoulders, not so much in knees. Furthermore, he had only assisted in performing the surgery I needed. I would be his first solo attempt.

No disrespect toward that doctor, but I opted for a surgeon with more expertise in my injury and experience in the surgery required to fix me.

3. Check that person’s claims against known science and scholarship.
What kind of support does this person(s) cite in making the claims and promises they make? Do they cite legitimate and independent scholarly journals and periodicals?

Which brings me to this: is it reasonable to think this guy (or gal), with no credentials in exercise science, and not a dietitian, has discovered things that exercise science labs in universities across the globe haven’t found? That graduate students and doctoral candidates in exercise science, nutrition, dietetics, and physiology haven’t discovered?

College professors who teach in exercise science, nutrition, dietetics, and physiology are required to research and publish. Doctoral candidates in those fields must research and publish. With so much research being done at the post graduate level, what are the odds that people with no credentials in those things are “just figuring things out” on their own? Can you imagine the windfall for that university’s exercise science department if they published proof of the claims this person(s) makes? Grant money and funding from every possible corner of academia would come pouring in, every professor would instantly get tenure, and book sales would make everyone involved a millionaire!

4. Check their language.
Is their vocabulary the stuff of science and scholarship, or the hyperbole of sales? Does it have the rich feel of academia or the reek of the fish market?

Charlatans claim quick results.

Charlatans claim things like “lose one pound of belly fat per day.” (If they even use the term “belly fat,” move on. You can’t spot reduce. You lose weight the same way a snowman melts in the sun: all over and everywhere.)

Charlatans claim to have discovered things unknown by academics, scientists, and other health and fitness professionals.

Charlatans use words like “secret” and claim to know what that secret is.

Charlatans pander to people’s fears, vanity, and feelings of insecurity.

Charlatans want your money; their vocabulary sounds too good to be true.

5. Check for the sales pitch and the close.
What are they selling and how are they selling it? Are they using cheese or sex to sell? Are they using sleight of hand and misdirection to sell? Are they selling the sizzle or the steak?

Is their website just some sort of elaborate maze of “next pages” and commitments to make “only 6 monthly payments”?

I could go on. But I think you get the idea. Doing your own research and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

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COACH LUDLOW’S P.E. CLASS

Our Tuesday workouts resemble some of the fun P.E. classes you had in school. Strength plus agility drills to keep you moving like an athlete!

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Many of you who don’t do social media have expressed a desire to know what’s going on. Specifically, a change in venue, called snow days, or any changes in schedule. Things I ordinarily post on Facebook.

Toward that end, I’ve chosen to use the “Remind” app for messaging. It’s free and private. Just go to:
remind.com/join/usmcfi
and sign up. I promise not to bombard you with unnecessary texts and information.

Have a GREAT day! See you on the Quarterdeck!

Sgt. Tony

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