Meet The Newer Avocado – Part III
Less than 1.000 words, estimated reading time: about 4-5 min.
I am the older and uglier avocado. I guess you got the point by now: I’m a philosopher-turned-cognitive-scientist-with-competitive-kettlebell-sport-ambitions. And by now you know my story too, but hey, it’s been some time so let’s save your long-term memory the trouble.
A couple of years ago, when my academic research was footing the bills, I began to blog about fitness on the side. Then academic research was not footing the bills anymore and I started a fitness-related small business. It was a great idea (ain’t it always so) but it was a hard sell (ditto). And that left me with little time for research and zilch for fitness blogging.
Early this year (2018) I enjoyed a temporary respite from the unpleasant need to work too hard for footing the bills. I went back to academic research and fitness blogging on the side and made some plans for it to last long enough to yield something serious.
About 88% of the plan amounts to living a frugal life, with the remaining 12% to
panhandling crowdfunding. In Part I, like every beggar, I told you my sob story. Then, like every good beggar, I promised you something in return in Part II. Today, in Part III, I take a shot at parting you with your money.
Meet the Newer Avocado, same as the Older Avocado
When I was training athletes, sifting through science-based fitness bullshit was a necessity. One of my trainees would mistake bullshit for legit and would want to talk about it. I’d read the stuff, and debunk it. The experience was harrowing and I started The Older Avocado to keep my sanity. When I quit training athletes, the need abated.
When I switched from athletes to desk jockeys, I relapsed. I wrote a few very polite pieces about it (here and here). But that was not enough. Truth is, just the need to blow up steam would keep writing. Or ranting and talking to myself, really, because Google voice typing has really made tremendous progress recently.
Then again, there is another side to Analytic Fitness™: analytic fitness.
No capitalization or trademark needed: it’s legit research and not for sale. Some of it is incremental contribution to exercise science. Some of it is not.
As for what is, we could still make our own textbook and force-sell it for lvl 2 Analytic Fitness™ certification. That would be some bullshit textbook tho. You can figure out everything that would be in it within a couple of hours with the 2nd ed. of Zatsiorsky & Kraemer’s The Science and Practice of Strength Training and McGill’s Low Back Disorders. Plus, there’s already a PG-13 pop-sci version and you can get it for free.
As for what is not, it’s still a work in progress, so I’ll just hint at it, but it definitely not the same shit fitness bloggers blog about. Unless you know a fitness blogger who dabbles in physical anthropology, biomechanics, cognitive neuroscience, artificial neural networks, cognitive robotics, deep learning, and Sherlock Holmes.
I don’t. I mean, I do.
“… goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known”
If things go as planned (read: if you subscribe) the Newer Avocado will be a Rated-R window into that science. There’s also a PG-13 version if that’s your cup of tea. But I prefer bourbon to tea, and stronger stuff in general, including language. So Rated-R it will be.
We won’t make it into exercise science textbooks before a while, and it we do, it will be in the footnotes. But who cares? We have discrete math, artificial neural networks, and deep learning. We stand a chance to make a fortune in Silicon Valley. And if we don’t, we’ll hang out with the cool kids for a while.
For a modest contribution, you can do that too.
More reasons to pitch in
Academic research takes time, especially when (unlike philosophy) it requires actual data before you get some interesting results. My savings won’t last that long. Level 2 Analytic Fitness™ Certification might never see the light of the day if I have to scrap the bottom of the barrel of academic funding rather than writing pop-sci.
Now, writing research funding applications on donated time is a high-risk high-reward long-term investment. Pop-sci crowdfunded blogging is shorter term and less risky, but not to the point that its expected utility (TL;DR: the reward weighted by the risk) would exceed that of writing funding application. But humans decisions often deviate from the maximization of expected utility (MEU) from all sorts of reasons, including closer prospects. So, you can help me be human!
Now, if no other reason has worked, this one will. Humans love to argue and win arguments. In fact, human brains may even have evolved reasoning abilities for that purpose rather than, say, finding the truth. Think about it. Isn’t the ability to dishing out a couple of ‘I told you so’ one of the strongest motivators to do dumb and risky things? Like, taking a 1-billion short position on Herbalife?
Say, hypothetically, that you sponsored some cool science-based-fitness-bullshit-busting post at The Older Avocado. Days later, you get into an argument with some bro who swallowed the bullshit hook, line and sinker. You leave the gym with a “You’ll hate it when I say: ‘I told you so’ “. Months later, we publish the data, you come back to the gym, read the PubMed abstract aloud, and say: “See, I told you so.”
How much is that worth?