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Integrity, BS Filter and Strength

Ask people to describe me and you'll very likely hear the phrase "no bullshit"

Simply put, I've no time for it.

I'm not financially motivated, I'm a service provider, I want to provide the service that I would have wanted back when I was figuring out my own training all those years ago.

The world has changed though.

Every now and again I get reminded of this.

Years ago, to learn training, you went to the older guys that you wanted to emulate and they took you under their wing. There was no internet, the closest you had were the magazines, which you may not be able to get in every news agent, you might have to mail order them. It took money, and time, it wasn't convenient.

But if you asked the right people, you'd be given almost an apprenticeship. Ask the grey haired big dude in the gym, the guy with the "don't fuck with me" expression doing the old school lifting. Ask the old martial artist with the limp, the scars, the permanently whistling nose and the (undeliberatly) faded and threadbare uniform. Find the quiet guy, the one with the serious expression, but the twinkle in their eye, show respect, show enthusiasm and be polite, and if you're lucky, they'll accept you and you'll be in for an education, so long as you shut up and show up.

More and more though I feel like as the fitness world has grown, largely due to the internet, this old school way of doing things is all but dyeing out. Instead we're bombarded by videos, reels, photoshopped images, false promises, and stories written by people with more experience in marketing than training.

The integrity of the people giving info out over the social media streams is near zero, especially when compared to the guys I'm referring to, the guys in old faded t-shirts quietly getting shit done while the young "superstars" are in all the latest labels prancing in front of their cameras.

In my youth, I was extremely lucky to have spent so much time in the company of these grey haired, scarred up gritty characters, but I feel my generation might be the last to have benefitted from these kinds of people, these dinosaurs.

Over the last few years and especially in the last few weeks I've had people reaching out to me with the sole intention of trying to get me to buy into their bullshit "fitness" products. Stuff that the companies have paid celebrities to endorse, but we all know that those same celebrities get their physique / skill / athleticism from a combination of natural talent, good coaching, hard graft and on average, mundane focus on the basics. Not some shiny labelled supplement or "new" technology. The last call, just yesterday promised to change my Epigenetics, yet the person I was talking to knew nothing about epigenetics. I don't know much about it, but knew enough to school them.

I've nothing against people earning a living, but to sell your integrity to sell a product pisses me right off. To take advantage of people's vulnerability in order to turn a buck, pisses me off. Especially as the role of a Coach is to help people use their vulnerability as a strength, to help them become the best they can be.

Quick rider, here. Seb is writing his "Supplements Worth Buying" posts with full integrity. He doesn't sell supplements and is talking from a place of actual knowledge, not false promises and snake oil salesmanship. Here's a few things to consider:

If a person is able to explain something simply and clearly, they probably understand that topic deeply. They may not have the university degree vocabulary, but they have the time in the trenches, enough time to have discovered a lot of what does and does not work.

Listen to these people.

If a person is training away, getting shit done without a fuss.

Listen to that person.

If a person is wearing / using kit that looks like it's been around. It probably has. So has the person using it. They know the value of good kit and aren't impressed with shiny shit.

Listen to this person.

If a person is killing the basics and rarely doing anything other than those basics.

Listen to that person.

If a person actually pays attention to you when you talk, takes a moment to consider their answer and only then speaks.

Listen to that person.

We may be dinosaurs. But Dinosaurs have integrity. We haven't gone extinct because we're simply too stubborn. The stuff we do has worked for decades, it worked for our teachers for decades before that and it'll continue to work decades to come. Do we adopt new information? Of course we do, we'll test it first and if it works, we'll keep it. If it's not, it goes in the bin.

For yourself, never be afraid to ask questions. Know that you don't know everything, that there's always something someone can teach you. But it's up to you to decide if the new information is good or bad. On average, if it leads to a sales pitch, it's probably bad. Although there are exceptions

If you start to think a person is railroading you, don't be afraid to walk away. Don't be afraid to ask difficult questions. The most difficult question of a bullshit pedalling salesperson to deal with is simply, "Why?"

A genuine expert, a person with integrity and knowledge loves that question. They'll often greet it with a wry smile as when a student, a client, a Padawan asks "why?" it shows their interest and intelligence, especially if they then listen to and apply the answer. What happens when the "why" question can't be answered?

That is the big red flag...

The expert knows they don't know everything, but they'll likely know where to look for an answer they don't know and they'll not be afraid to tell you that, they'll either invite you to look in the same place or they'll invite you back once they've found the answer themselves. The Snake Oils salesman will simply talk bollocks or change the topic. Have integrity. It takes strength to have integrity. It takes a well tuned bullshit filter to recognise integrity and maintain your own. But isn't this part of why we started training in the first place? Aren't we training to better ourselves?

Strength, Mobility and Endurance as as much mental / psychological attributes as they are physical attributes.

Strength, Mobility and Endurance are underpinned, shored up and made real by attitude.

Work on your attitude, find people with the attitude you want to emulate and learn from them.

Don't be sucked in by the bullshit peddlers.

Here at Wg-Fit, we're allergic to bullshit. So should you be.


Dave Hedges

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