3 problems with modern science

Lately, phrases like *research has proven*, or *studies show* get tossed around with less consideration than sucker punches in baseball.

No doubt, we’re children of the scientific age.

And for all its merits, there are a few noteworthy problems facing modern science that should give us pause before accepting the gospel of the white coats.

Have a gander…

1. Lack of reproducibility.  Because careers are built on, and money flows toward new research, there tends not to be a whole lotta checking on previous research for its validity.

Few scientists want to invest time and money refuting someone else’s study.

But if a study’s conclusions are legit, you should be able to recreate them.  In one instance, staff at a drug company tried to reproduce the results of 53 high-profile cancer research papers and discovered that only 6 lived up to their original claims.

The problem is gaining attention…but for now me thinks a bit of skepticism at early scientific reports is kosher.

2.  Outcome switching.  This bit of scientific trickery allows the dishonest researcher to farm data pools to more or less prove whatever he wants.  How does it work?  You start your study with the stated intention of measuring one thing (or several), and half way through when those measures aren’t holding up, you switch to new ones.

Do this with big enough sources of data, and you can end up with random correlations that appear statistically significant.  Then you present the quietly improvised and more compliant measures as though they were the focus all along.

Big pharma’s already been fined billions by regulators for this crafty little gambit.

A group of researchers called COMPare analyzed clinical trials in five leading scientific publications – a total of 67 – and found 58 of them had produced 357 outcomes not specified at their inception.  Not all are deliberate attempts to mislead.  But some are illusions that would make Criss Angel nod in respect.

3.  How it’s reported.  A couple of recent headlines set my spidey senses a tinglin’.  One was from the Toronto Star, *Just 60 seconds of intense exercise can boost your fitness level*.  The study compared 10 minutes of interval training with 45 minutes of traditional cardio for its effects on V02 max.  Which is fine, but your V-max is one narrow aspect of your fitness.  Even the study’s author said that *60 seconds is all you need* wasn’t the right conclusion to draw, contrary to what the article’s headline implies.

The second was a press release entitled, *Exercise, more than diet, key to preventing obesity*.  For starters, it wasn’t an even an obesity study.  It examined metabolic indicators in rats to determine the impact of exercise on metabolism – independently of weight loss.

See what I’m getting at?

Of course there’s an art to writing headlines that seduce people away from other stuff they could be doing online, like watching videos of parliamentary tussles, or googling the word *syncopated*.

My point is to read these things critically, and take their claims with a cubic foot of salt.

There’s a lot of great science currently being conducted by some brilliant scientists.

Just don’t take the *plunge* with fat-burning sea water suppositories because they’re *proven by research*.

Besides, I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I’m pretty sure aliens are behind all this…

Happy Doubting,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Free yourself from the hypnosis of confusion the media perpetuates.  Call (416) 826-4844 right now for your complimentary personal training consultation, and get the *skinny* on what works for better fitting clothes, and a fitter body.

Do this one thing and change your life

When I first started working out at age 16, it changed everything.

At 120-pounds bodyweight, I hated being small, and made it my mission to build muscle.

I was most insecure about my stick legs…even refused to wear shorts in public.  Instead, I relied on pants to conceal my secret shame.

I’d hammer my quads with leg extensions, lunges, and leg presses, and shred my hamstrings with leg curls and deadlifts.  I could see ripples and lines emerging, but my thighs didn’t grow in circumference.

I’d read an article by a pro bodybuilder in one of the glossies about how the leg press is all you need to build your legs, and you shouldn’t do barbell squats because they’re for powerlifters, they’ll make your butt big, yada yada yada.

And I used it to justify not doing squats.

But in truth barbell squats are hard.  I hated them.  So I avoided them.

That’s until I learned about how the body responds to lifting weights, and the scale of neuromuscular activation.  You see, when you look at what really causes muscle growth, the barbell squat ticks all the boxes.

Suddenly, I realized how foolish I’d been.  I was killing myself trying to beef up my legs by doing everything BUT the one lift that mattered most.

So I chained myself to the squat rack and worshiped at the altar of the almighty king of exercises.  I did high reps with lung-bursting intensity, and low reps with as much weight as I could handle while leaping into the abyss of a deep squat.

My legs grew.

Before too long, my quads, hamstrings, and glutes had expanded to the point that my various strategic leg coverings didn’t fit.  And indeed it was a proud day when I finally unveiled the new pillars by wearing – ready for this? – shorts.

My point is not to argue for why you should do barbell squats, nor highlight how great I look in shorts these days (I do, you know.)

It’s that I’ve noticed most people have a thing – kinda like I used to have with squats.

A thing which, out of fear or reluctance or sheer habit, they’re either unwilling to do, or simply don’t do.

And it’s usually this very same thing can catapult them to the next level of their pursuits if they could just bring themselves to embrace it.

*Forgoing alcohol
*Preparing meals
*Quitting smoking
*Giving up the evening oral fixation
*Doing cardio
*Letting go of obsessively weighing themselves
*Drinking water
*Keeping a nutrition journal

These are just a few common ones.

Feel free to substitute your own for the sake of the lesson.

Sometimes a person is merely unaware of how it’s affecting them.  But most often, they know what their thing is on some level, and accept it.  Even defend it.  They build complex rationalizations around it, and share their story with anyone who’ll listen.

And it keeps them mired in mediocrity for months, years, decades – or lifetimes.

Unfortunately, the only way to slay the Ogre terrorizing your cattle and turning their milk sour is to sharpen your axe and take a few swings.

That means you gotta do the thing.

Like you’re possessed.

And years later, while you’re enjoying the feeling of a cool breeze stroking the skin of your lower extremities, you can look back and laugh about the time you wore jeans by the pool in 36-degree heat.

Happy Squatting,

Conor Kelly


Try this unusual health tip

You heard it straight from the horse’s mouth…

Researchers at the University of Michigan reported that older people who were followed for five years reduced their risk of dying by 60% simply by being helpful to friends, neighbors, or relatives.  The ones receiving the help, however, didn’t alter their death risk at all.

Whether you think I’m the horse, or the scientists are, either way the mouth speaketh an interesting truth…

Doing good deeds has health benefits.

Maybe kindness is its own reward.  Maybe it’s good to feel useful.  Maybe giving induces the warm and fuzzies, which in turn support wellbeing.  Maybe keeping active when doing things for someone is the secret to superior coffin-dodging.  Whatever the reason, there’s a clear connection between longevity and helping others.

One of the best cures for negative emotion is performing a selfless act.

So do something nice for someone today.

And remember ye the flipside: when you accept another person’s help, you’re giving THEM an opportunity to be healthier.

Giddyup.

Happy Helping,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  In the spirit of today’s message, if there’s anything I can do to help you – let me know in the comments.  It would be my pleasure…and I’ll live longer.

P.P.S.  Just noticed there are exactly 3 spots left for my Lean for Life talk tonight in Liberty Village (6.30PM), so if you haven’t registered yet, come by.  You’d love it.  The deets:

=>Click here for details.

The Biggest Loser Rule

For years, America’s ‘heavyweights’ have duked it out in reality TV’s equivalent of a science experiment gone drastically wrong.

The Biggest Loser pits obese men and women against each other in a battle of who can lose most absurd amount of weight.

Aside from airing some oversized dirty laundry, contestants are subjected to an intense regime.

First, they’re whisked away from their families and made to share a house with a bunch of strangers.  Then they’re put on an extremely strict, calorie-controlled diet.  Finally, they’re abused in all sorts of ways by well-meaning trainers with a penchant for theatrics.  All the while, the carrot of a 250K grand prize is dangled in front of their pale, mouth-breathing faces.

This ritual continues for weeks, with routine weigh-ins and the obligatory emotional breakdowns.

The only thing about the process that’s not extreme is the rate at which the losers regain the weight after the final episode wraps.  In fact, it mirrors exactly what happens to most people who attempt to lose weight in the privacy of their own homes.

Why do participants fight so hard to stay on the show?

Partly because they know what happens after they go home.

Between the stresses of daily living and the familiarity of their surroundings – with all its long-standing triggers and relationships – there’s room for their addictions and bad habits to take root all over again.

Almost nobody survives this test.

Thus is the power of ENVIRONMENT, and why it precedes behavior.

Think of it this way…

If you’ve got fifty pounds to lose in the first place, it’s because you live in a fifty-pounds-to-lose house or apartment, and are conditioned by fifty-pounds-to-lose patterns.

How would your surroundings look if you’d already lost the weight?

A shilling says, if you merely opened your fridge, you could cherry pick the obvious differences.

When you change…your environment changes.

Alcoholics who are serious about their recovery don’t hang out in bars.  Nor do they keep bottles of vodka in their cupboards – at least not at first.  They purge their surroundings of alcohol until their recovery has had the chance cement itself.  They form new, supportive relationships (e.g. go to AA meetings), and shun those connected with their substance abuse.  And while their sobriety can be fragile at times, their commitment is measured by the kind of external changes they implement.

Similarly, when it comes to weight loss, how you organize yourself is more important than how much willpower you have.

The Biggest Loser proves that.

The reason such stratospheric weight loss is possible, is the same reason it doesn’t last.

Of course, the show’s kinda like the Siberia of weight loss programs.

The good news is you can borrow its trademark success secret without turning your life into a prison camp.

I’ll show you how at my Lean For Life talk on May 17th in Liberty Village:

=>Click here to register & save your spot.

Auto-pilot is a strong word…but you too can achieve your goals with greater certainty – and staying power – when you embrace this simple rule of human behavior.

Happy Losing,

Conor Kelly


Possibly the greatest thing ever

Have you heard of Shmoop.com?

The website bills itself as a Shakespearean Translator capable of turning your speak – or modern English – into eternal Shakespeare-isms.

For instance, typing *whoa, dude, pass that pizza over here, I’m going to starve* into the translator begets *Heigh-ho, broth’r, passeth that ‘zza ov’r hither, lest I waste away.*

Trolling the internet has never sounded so classy.

‘Twas heard most wondrous comments…

“Thy conclusions art unfounded and maketh no sense, thou knowest not wherefore thou writeth, knave.”

“Where’d thee receiveth thy science sir, or better hath said quack speaketh!”

“I’ve done mine research on thee, thou art a snakeoil salesman and filthy canker-blossom!!”

And my personal fave…

“A plague upon this howling, thee venomous fustilarian!”

That last bit was Shakesperean for “Give it up, you venomous douchebag.”

My life is now complete.

What does this have to do with your fitness program?

Research shows that laughter reverses the chemical effects of stress and releases anti-inflammatory compounds in the body.

And persistent inflammation is an impediment to losing fat.

In one study, watching an hour of humorous videos reduced the size of allergic reactions on the subjects’ skin by 50%!

So just by reading this post you’ve probably jettisoned a few fat grams.

(That’s assuming you think the Shmoop thing is as funny as I do.)

But there are only so many slimming blog posts I can write.

For any inflammation or fat I’ve missed, there’s my Lean For Life talk in Liberty Village on May 17th:

=>Click here for details & to register.

And let this be a reminder to not take yourself too seriously today.

Find opportunities to laugh.

Your health (and your waistline) will thank you for it.

Here’s to thy health mine cousin,

Conor Kelly

 

 

 

The ravages of low testosterone

Today, a topic that’s near and dear to my heart…

El Testosteron-e.

Did you know testosterone is the primary hormone responsible not only for libido (in both men and women) but is also essential to normal emotions of self-confidence, friendliness, affection, and joy?

You got it, Esse…if your Test languishes, it can make you straight loco.

And we’re in the midst of a testosterone crisis.

In the U.S. alone it’s estimated that 1 in 4 men are completely impotent.  That’s a twofold increase in the last half-century!  And it’s a doomsday for our *swimmers*.  If sperm counts continue to dry up at the current rate, within three generations we’ll no longer be able to reproduce as a species.

In women, the effects are just as tangible.  Clinics in both Europe and North America report that roughly half of all women suffer from low libido.

But the decline in sexy time, and the desert of infertility are only the start of our problems.

This testosterone shortage is slowly turning us into a society of wimps, barely capable of courage, leadership – even love.

We’re being chemically neutered.

Driven to depression and lethargy.

What’s causing it?

A nasty cocktail of unnecessary surgeries, prescription medications, pollutants, and industrially manufactured food that’s not much more than a distant echo of the nutritious fare we evolved on.

But uno momentito, here’s the good news…

We can sober up from this dreary, sexless haze with a few smart lifestyle changes.

One of them happens to be my specialty.

Losing bodyfat.

Yes my friend, adipose tissue (as I like to call it when I’m being fancy) houses an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen – causing your t-levels to tank.  With less bodyfat, you’re more likely to have a healthy balance of both, and live a happier, more confident, and let’s not forget sexier life.

Mm hm…SiEs muy bueno.

I teach how to permanently get rid of said fat at my Lean For Life workshop in Liberty Village on May 17th:

=>Click here for details & to register.

Come prepared for a testosterone-boosting and life-enhancing experience.

Don’t let modern living take your balls…metaphorically speaking.

You can fight back against the scourge of low testosterone.

And you can WIN.

To A Testosterone-Fueled Life,

Conor Kelly