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Imposter Syndrome

Last weekend I came across an article from a fitness influencer with the stunning title: “Does This Invention End Low Back Pain Forever?” I had mixed emotions as I began to read—sorry to see my side hustle fall, but grateful for an end to this terrible affliction.

As I should have expected, the breakthrough turned out to be just an affiliate deal for a newfangled weightlifting belt. The article was a valuable reminder regarding any of the too-good-to-be-true shortcuts for healing soft tissue. There is no substitute for the physical and sometimes spiritual work required to reverse decades of bad habits. In addition, I personally should avoid any inclination to succumb to Imposter Syndrome as I elaborate on my own health solutions. Consider some examples of my competition in the fitness space:

• A high-profile doctor, author of several books on sports medicine and host of a health and fitness radio show for 20 years, has a website that says margarine (a plant-based toxin) and butter (an animal-based superfood) are nutritionally equivalent; he is also hellbent on concluding his career with a crazed search for the elusive (non-existent) link between red meat and diabetes.

• The Institute of Medicine, an organization that provides the government and major stakeholders with advice and research, made a statistical error by a factor of 10 in calculating recommendations for supplementing with vitamin D. This mistake is repeated by doctors after every patient’s lab test for vitamin D levels (ask me how I know), and may have contributed to the virulence of COVID. 

• The department-head neurosurgeon I visited after my most recent—and hopefully last—low-back trauma, told me to never use weights again, and to commit myself to a program of long-distance running. The exact opposite would be the correct path forward.

The deep crisis in the medical profession is beyond my focus of injury avoidance and rehab, but I’ll often cross the conventional wisdom as I expand my social media presence.

I’ve been uploading some important posts to my Instagram account recently. They capture my raw, no-frills approach to fitness. My wife, very much into appearances, scrolled through my timeline and chided me for my torn shirts, rumpled socks, and cinderblock backdrops. She said that no Instagram model ever made it big looking like he slept in his workout clothes, regardless of the efficiency and time savings. I admit she’s probably right. However, this is what I’m going with, and I stand by my brand: authentic, honest, with advice that is battle tested.

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