If you start this week’s Iron Culture Podcast ready out of the gate for an in-depth discussion of how they’ve changed their minds on particular lifting and nutrition topics, you’re going to have to sit back and relax a bit. The introduction takes over 20 minutes! I’m not complaining. Obviously, I love Omar’s style. It took me a while to get used to it, to keep up with his rapid-fire connections and diversions, but now I’m clearly a member of the Cult. And besides, the introduction is chalk-full of interesting notions about what motivates folks to seek out material on lifting–and the role that social media and content-producers play in contributing to those motivations.
Eric wants us to be motivated by curiosity rather than fear. He’s concerned that the fear-baiting, click-baiting titles that bring in views incentivizes content that keeps people showing up due to FOMO/perfectionism–if I don’t keep up on this information, I might be missing out on my gains or might look like an ass at the gym. Is that what motivates you to consume this sort of content? I don’t think I quite see myself in that description, but I do recognize that I exhibit a certain amount of neuroticism that fuels my lifting and “bodybuilding lifestyle.” But let’s be honest, how many of us are here because we have these tendencies, and this seems like a healthier outlet for them than some of the more self-destructive alternatives? (Feel free to raise your hands in the comments and help me feel less alone!)
As they switch topics, Eric comments on the importance of our evidence-based content producers being able to take critique, and for the record, I want your feedback. At the end of every post, I encourage my readers to share their thoughts, and it would truly make my day! I want conversation. I’m not uncomfortable with disagreement, as long as we are discussing the ideas and not making judgements on each other. So really, if you’re a regular reader and you’ve never posted a comment, help me know you’re not a bot and share your thoughts at the end of the post today!
Nearly half an hour into the podcast, Eric and Omar finally begin the discussion of some of the areas they’ve changed their minds, beginning with metabolic adaptation. Eric throws out a metric fuck-ton of acronyms at this point–NEAT, RMR, BMR, TDEE Did you follow this conversation? I know what each of these acronyms mean, but even I struggled with following the nuances of what he was saying, as I reminded myself of each of those pieces and how they fit into the whole. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Resting Metabolic Rate. Basal Metabolic Rate. Total Daily Energy Expenditure. I think he was saying that he’s changed how he sees the mechanism of metabolic adaptation as someone increases and decreases energy expenditure and consumption.
The next area discussed is “gut health,” and how that terminology used to be a signal for pseudoscience as most of the folks talking about it had been taken in by frauds and fads. I actually really appreciated this point, as I think it can be very hard to tell the difference between emerging science and pseudoscience at the start. We simply need more information before we know what to trust and what is bunk. I try very hard to keep in mind when something is new and to limit what, if any, actions I take based on emerging scientific ideas. It helps me avoid saying whoops down the road.
Finally, they discuss protein recommendations and how new research has helped us better understand how much protein is sufficient to maintain and build muscle. I’ve often wondered at the huge discrepancy between recommended protein amounts and typical recommendations for athletes. Why isn’t there more influence of athletic research on daily recommendations? Doesn’t it benefit everyone to have sufficient protein for muscle retention, not merely a minimum adequate dose to be avoid deficiency? The current US recommended daily allowance of 0.8 grams/kilogram is about half of what most lifters would consider a minimum. I think we’re still seen as extreme, and I wonder if that is in part due to the history of bodybuilders overestimating and glamorizing their protein requirements. It seems like there’s also some push-back from folks who are trying to figure out a more ethical, climate-friendly way to eat, which usually means less meat consumption. I think we’re going to have to make some decisions as a community as these issues become more pressing. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter!
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