Ringside at the BULLfight

One of the things that I really like about social media is the exposure you get to large groups of people normally you wouldn’t be able to interact with. In good times, this allows you to get information and feedback from people but you might find useful and interesting. And in other times, you get to watch them pick fights each other. This is one of those other times.

Two of the big groups I’m exposed to right now are the Kettlebell crowd and the Paleo diet crowd. In both of these groups are having big internal conflicts. Personally, I’m rather enjoying the show. I’m lucky enough to have some of the better minds in all these groups available to me on Facebook either as direct friends, or through their business pages. And for the most part, they’re a smart, professional group of people.

Currently, I’m trying not to take sides in the arguments. I’m still pretty much a novice in all these areas, and I am hoping to learn from these people. But after a while, you can start pick out the wheat from the chaff.

I can see the point of the arguments for both sides in these situations, and usually they simply have a difference of opinion, but generally are moving towards the same goals. In some cases, I can see where one side really has a difficult time explaining its point of view, and that makes me feel like they don’t know what they’re saying in the first place. Or that they are just BS’ing to gather attention.

I might be wrong, but if you don’t know where you stand in the first place, you probably shouldn’t be arguing. It might be fun to watch for the rest of us on the outside, but it ends up being a colossal waste of time and bandwidth. And worse, you look like a real dumbass after a point.

There have always been splits in the Kettlebell community, and this time looks to be not dramatically different. I think that’s fine. Most of the players are arguing more about form, and details, and they tend to be mostly polite and professional about it. I think thats fine. In the end, we are really just talking about picking up hunks of iron, and there can be many successful roads to the same destination in this area. most of these folks seem to get that.

The paleo crowd has been quite a bit different. Since this summer there has been a core argument between the argument of the “Insulin Hypothesis” (too many carbs raise insulin which triggers fat storage) and the now opposing “Palatability Hypothesis”

This palatability hypothesis supposedly says that if food is better tasting you eat more of it in this causes obesity. If you buy into the whole “well it’s all just calories” argument, then this works.

That seems to make sense on the surface, but from an idea like that, all we can really difficult conclude is, “eat really crappy food and then you’ll be healthy!” So far, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot said about what mechanism is happening (it’s complicated!) or how this is borne out by the evidence; whereas on the insulin hypothesis side, there’s a pretty large volume of writing about what this is and how it works. It might be wrong, and probably is to a certain extent, but at least we know what they’re trying to say.

As I’ve been following this across all the blogs and other media, watching the same small number of people over and over making the same arguments and I feel like they’ve never been very clear. This has frustrated the heck out of me. These are people who I’ve really respected before, and have really appreciated their writing, and now I’m left trying to effectively fill in the blanks on what they’re trying to say, because they’re so outrageously unclear.

If you can’t clearly state your hypothesis, then I suspect that you don’t really have one. It ‘s a bit like the Monty Python sketch with the guy selling arguments. It ends up as contradiction for contradiction’s sake. (I could be arguing with you in my spare time…)

But, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this will be much clearer once there is some better writing and better arguments on this topic. But I just don’t have a lot of faith in that case. So in the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing right now. The way I’m eating, and the way I’m lifting, are working pretty good so far. And there’s always room for improvement.

That much will probably never change.