Knowledge.

Week 11 – Knowledge. (16-22nd December 2015)

This will be my last post before I travel back home for Christmas to see my family, so it could get pretty long, apologies for babbling on! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by, the amazing friends I have made and the new experiences and language I have accomplished so far. Before I go silent for a couple of weeks I wanted to talk about an interesting topic I have been thinking a lot about – Knowledge.

I have read two pretty awesome books lately, called ‘’The sports gene’’ and ‘’The first 20 minutes’’. They are both written very well, and inspired my dreams each night after I read them. They contain facts and figures that were painstakingly researched and give great explanations of scientific research studies. Both tackle the topic of sports performance, namely genetic effects and topics such as the 10,000-hour rule. I found them both totally fascinating being a huge fitness/movement fan, however I would suggest that many people would also find them interesting based on the truthful and sometimes eye opening truths that are explained.

However, I do not necessarily want to give a review or break down of the content of the books, if you would like that information then I would suggest simply reading them. The topic I want to discuss is something that has been in my mind for a while, which came to fruition the other day in my nutrition class. We are currently studying the macro nutrients and their effects on sports performance, and after already looking at carbohydrates and fats, we are currently on the topic of protein (a pretty interesting one for any young gym-goer or sports person). It was amazing to see different people’s opinions on protein, their understanding of its uses and effects on the human body. It was pretty common knowledge that its main function was to repair, but many (including myself being a design student) were unaware of uses such as transportation and even in rare cases providing energy.

We looked at an interesting study of chocolate milk, in which the study suggested that it helped muscle recovery overnight. Initially it looked like a nice study, and the outcome looked solid. However, we then looked deeper at the methods, and especially and the sponsorship of the study and found that it was a simple questionnaire result and was also sponsored by Nestle. It made me realise how even in a ‘scientific’ study, we can be manipulated – for money?

I also watched an incredible documentary called ‘Cowspiracy’ which, if you haven’t seen it, I would recommend. It was created by a guy who wanted to get some answers on the Animal Agriculture industry, and found some pretty unbelievable outcomes. I don’t wish to ruin the surprise to you here, so I won’t comment too much on the statistics, but I will say that my eyes have been opened to the truth of the world. In actual fact money rules, and companies we deem to be helping the environment are in actual fact being funded by the very corporations that have the most money and power, and are in actual fact the very people that are destroying our planet.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that knowledge has a source, and the reliability of the source is always questionable – even in cases that are ‘scientifically proven’. I mean take for example cycling and Lance Armstrong, who had huge contracts with various companies over his glory years, only to be shown to be a cheat years later. Yet while he was competing he was tested for such substances numerous times. This issue of knowledge is such a common issue, that I have become aware of myself being a culprit. Image and people’s perception of ‘health’ and ‘fitness’ are heavily influenced by false, lying companies and athletes, all vying for our money and attention.

I try to be like a sponge when I’m training, looking for hints and tips to make me train better, smarter. I also thoroughly enjoy showing friends and team mates these hints and tips, without actually checking them beforehand. I’m not saying that all information handed around a training area is false, incorrect and purposely negative; but I do question a whole ton of stuff that comes out of the system – simply because its sole purpose is to make money. I feel like I need to take a step back from my current ‘knowledge’ and do two things. Firstly to find what works for ME; after all we are all different, and our individual genomes determine everything – from our hair colour to what type of training works for each individual. There is not one training style, diet, plan or anything else for that matter that works for everyone. An interesting study in ‘The sports gene’’ randomly put people into groups and gave them all various training plans to follow. The outcome was very surprising, with some people’s fitness increasing astronomically, while others simply not moving. The only constant we can be sure of from exercise is that it has a positive effect on every one of us; whether that be blood pressure, fat level, VO2 max or even heart rate.

To summarise I think that knowledge is a fantastic thing to want to obtain, but not all knowledge should be taken as truth. Of course be interested, ask questions and find out people’s opinions, but always try to understand the information and how it affects YOU; everyone is different, there is nothing on this planet that is uniform and the same for all of us, so just do YOU.

‘’Everyone has a different genotype. Therefore, for optimal development… everyone should have a different environment.’’ (The sports gene – showing that there is no Nature vs Nurture, but simply a fantastic journey to create a kick ass combination of the two)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Bring on 2016!

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