In my early 20’s I was really getting into fitness (the working out stuff, not nutrition). I knew that I had a lot to learn. Unfortunately what I chose to read were magazines. I was an absolute mark for their branding and catchy headlines. I wanted to dunk like LeBron James; I wanted to invest like Warren Buffet. Of course I would also purchase them the most expensive way possible, off the shelf. Short on depth and long on advertisements I consumed these as
my go to source for exercise programming until one fateful day Men’s Fitness had Scott Disick on their cover.
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Thank you Scott Disick
Scott Disick is the antonym for what Men’s Fitness or Men’s Health’s readership should strive for. The baby-daddy for Kourtney Kardashian’s children is ill-tempered, unfit, and completely void of anything representing hard work or talent. He is famous for knocking up a reality star’s sister and subsequently playing the role of douchy heel on their TV show with such accuracy and flair that it could only be the product of strict adherence to the 10,000 Hour Rule. He is a man that used a cane in the prime of his life as a fashion statement. To replicate levels of this magnitude of douchebaggery would require the coordination of all the physicists at CERN and even then the physical manifestation would have a half-life shorter than artificial antimatter. The dogged douchebaggedness exhibited by Scott Disick only existed in theory prior to his birth. It was at this moment I had my epiphany about the utter vacuity of mens magazines and never looked back.
Hubris of Expert Advice
Let’s pretend for a moment that the advice doled out between the glossy covers of magazines and on morning talk shows is in fact from the experts we think it’s from rather than some amalgamation of product placement and whims of agents. What exactly is LeBron James going to teach you about dunking a basketball? How are you going to learn from Warren Buffet how to invest? LeBron James first dunked in grade school and you are in your late 20’s and not 6’8”. Warren Buffett first became a millionaire in his early 30’s. While an attainable goal now, he did so half a century ago. Does either LeBron James or Warren Buffett have a history of actually teaching people these traits and skills? Likely no. They are so far removed from where we are actually at that they cannot provide any sort of actionable steps to accomplish what they have accomplished. The only scenario with which they may be able to help you is in the event that you are just on the cusp of achieving what they have achieved. Are you a highly sought after recruit for a major collegiate basketball program or do you have a net worth hovering around the hundreds of millions? (If you are, please share my post on Facebook or Twitter since you have a bigger audience, thanks!) This is the hubris of expert advice; the idea that you can apply short-form advice from someone exponentially more successful and has achieved that success over a lifetime, immediately.
Who should we get Advice From?
There are two types of people that who we should seek out for advice:
- People who have a track record of teaching what you are trying to learn or accomplish. Additionally, seek out an expert that has taught people like you. A trainer who has a great track record of transforming celebrity physiques might not be able to provide pertinent insight for you. Make sure they also train regular joes and have success with them as well. This is why I am so high on guys like Dave Ramsey. There is a verifiable track record of regular people following his advice and accomplishing their debt reduction goals.
- People, like you, who just accomplished what you are trying to accomplish. They just did it. It is fresh in their mind. They can also provide intricate detail and give unique perspective. They will be able to tell you about the bumps in the road and how they got over them. Better still, if they know you, they can anticipate problems you might have specifically. If you both have the same end goal, you can follow them the whole way and create an accountability partner.
Both of these require work. They aren’t always neatly laid out like magazines on a grocery store shelf. You will have to search internet forums and ask your friends. You will have to learn to parse through the BS that is omnipresent. While there are many insta-experts trolling about trying to market themselves with snake oil six-pack abs solutions, the internet is also genuinely the best place to find the best, most inexpensive advice. That is part of the reason why I started this site. I don’t consider myself an expert any these fields, I’m just a guy who recently got better physically and fiscally.
Author: David Matthews
Welcome to my site!
I started this site as a way of discussing what I’ve learned about the relationship between personal finances and physical fitness. What I have learned allowed me to lose 50lbs and improve my creditscore 150 points in the same year.
Husband. Father. West Virginia University Grad. Licensed Insurance and Financial Professional. Sports fan (Phila, WVU, and Manchester City). Huge nerd (like Magic: The Gathering huge)