In the last blog post I said that if I needed to be called out, please do so. Well, I have been. Graeme is a good friend that I met in Grad School. He is a guys guy. One who shaves with a straight razor (the thought still scares me) and one day decided to bike home… to Winnipeg… from Calgary… by going to Banff, then Jasper and then to Winnipeg. The friends I met in grad school are guys I hope to keep in touch with for the rest of my life. We were in the “trenches” together (actually, office KNES 131) and we went to “war” together (actually KNES 673, 773 and 775). I respect all their opinions very highly. This is the email I received from him this afternoon.
Having somewhat settled down for the time, I’ve caught up on your blogging. I’m enjoying the posts…but you seem pretty jaded of late! Whats going on?? Is everything OK?!? Did Kelly send back long-lost lab reports??? Maybe it seems like a bigger shift b/c I’m reading months of posts at one go, but the focus of your blog seems to have shifted dramatically – from one that sought to educate others in topics that were valid but others might not touch on…to one that seems like a outlet of frustration that is filled with condescension and self-promotion. Sorry, but there is so much ego and criticism in our field already; one of the things I really enjoyed with your posts was the honest feeling, and desire to educate. It was refreshing, and it’s a little disappointing to see that lost recently.
Anyways, that’s just an overall impression I had during my last reading, but really I feel like commenting and getting your views on something that was stimulated by a post back in January. It was RVAs statement “To me it is bad practice to recommend something or say something is better with no evidence/justification to support the claim.” combined with your ‘need’ to provide posts in support of raw milk to remain credible, which seemed to equate ‘being credible’ with ‘engaging in good practice’. This stimulated my own thoughts on precisely what makes ‘good practice’, which is a lengthy and un-completable task, so I’ll limit myself to the 2 points brought up by the post.
1) The equivocation of credibility to ‘good practice’. I found it particularly difficult to delineate my thoughts on this, because there were some semantics to work through first. The definition of ‘credible’ is that which is worthy of confidence. It is a quality that one possesses. Good practice entails a set of actions that one engages in. They cannot be equated. However, I believe the actions that lead to credibility include possessing extensive knowledge of his field, remaining within your scope of knowledge/experience, and qualifying positions/actions rationally. I believe these actions are a prerequisite to be engaged in good practice, but in of themselves are not enough to fully satisfy ‘good practice’.
2) The role of science in ‘good practice’. “To me it is bad practice to recommend something or say something is better with no evidence/justification to support the claim.” At first, I thought this equated to “good practitioners should recommend only that which has scientific evidence behind it”, but the word ‘justification’ is very important to RVAs statement. So important, that I wish it was emphasized, b/c it was too easy to gloss over it and walk away with my initial interpretation!
However, I believe this statement is still misleading, as it seems to relegate the role of science in ‘good practice’ to ‘scientific evidence’. I believe that to limit oneself only to scientific evidence behind it would actually be bad practice! There are too many limitations of the scientific method in providing meaningful evidence of change in athletic / exercise performance as a result of an intervention; inadequacy of ‘statistical significance’ in demonstrating meaningful changes due to individual training responses and protocol variability (i.e. the Will Hopkins argument for ‘magnitude-based inferences’); the rigor of conducting and publishing research causing science to lag behind leading-edge practice, the presence of equivocal research on most topics, the non-published research of successful coaches and sporting centers…etc.
I think the key element here is that good practice entails application of the entire scientific method to relevant training situations and decisions, even when ‘scientific evidence’ is lacking. That is, knowledge of the relevant basic science, critical analysis and interpretation of available research, development of a well-supported hypothesis, and systematic testing / monitoring throughout the intervention (‘training’).
I would like to thank Graeme for calling me out. And the same thanks goes out to Ryan (RVA) as he called me out a few months back. I was in need of this wake up call. I will admit, I have been jaded, I have not been myself lately. I have felt lost, distracted and frustrated. It was not that long ago I was talking to Pam about leaving it all behind. But there is nothing in this world I would want to do more as a career. I love my job, I love the clients I work with and I love the opportunities it has brought me and I love writing on this blog site. I started to aim to educate on the importance of certified and educated professionals but that quickly turned in to a “mission” to clean up the profession. Instead of leading by example I started whining and complaining on my blog and I started inflating my own ego. Then Graeme, seeing this shift (he has been biking across New Zealand and Australia with limited internet access) gave me the kick in the ass I needed. He’s right; I have been no better than anyone I have been lobbying against. I have been standing on my soapbox bitching and complaining instead of leading by good practice and educating as I first intended and thus separating myself from the ones I have been so frustrated by.
But this week of meeting was something I needed too. I recently had a client tell me, “Your brain does not work like everyone else’s. Your brain is running 90 times faster than most. You have a lot of information in that head of yours but you are unfocused. You need to take that information and focus it. That is going to lead you to success.” It is important for me to rediscover the fact that I needed to focus on what I have been doing that has lead to the successes I have achieved. I have “forgotten” some of the practices that have placed me in the position I am in in my career. That is why I am going to be doing a book club with a dear friend of mine, Amber, whom I did Holistic Life Coach 1 and 2. I have left that on the shelf for a bit, but she has given me the push to get back to that. I need these wake up calls from friends like Graeme and Ryan, guys who I respect.
I am sorry to all my readers for the negative tone to the last three posts, the condescension and self-promotion. It is not a quality that I admire, nor something that I would like to exude. I promise to carry myself in a more professional and educational manner. I would like to thank you all for following this blog and I hope to better serve you from now on.
Yours in Health and Performance,
Jeff Osadec, MKin, CEP, CSCS