Dogma, really it’s a bad thing
Dictionary.com has one definition of dogma that kinda sums it all up: prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group. As I’ve gotten older I began to question everything and once I did I realized just how many people are entrenched in a dogmatic ideology on any number of topics.
Religion, Politics, Diet, Exercise, and just about any other topic you can pick. Heck, I’ve even seen people get into arguments about which is best Playstation or x-box. In the end people like to have an unquestioning view of the world. The problem is that sometimes the world sucks, the dogma is flawed, and if you don’t start thinking outside of a doctrine, you’ll suffer unbelievable consequences.
Understanding that there’s more than one way to do something, knowing that you always have options, is necessary to succeed in life. I’m a big believer in reading as much as you can, ingesting all knowledge, and then formulating a belief system based on knowledge that you believe to be best for you.
Now, I’m not going to discuss the dangerous dogmas, religion and politics, because honestly I don’t really feel like getting people angry and challenging their belief systems, because in the end, each person has the right to believe whatever they want. The problem becomes when people try to force their ideology on you.
I’m going to use two examples here. Dieting is one. There’s so many different “diets” that people push its insane. One thing you’ll discover is the amount of hatred people have against one diet or another. Personally, I’m a balanced diet type guy, I don’t like restricting anything and I know what works for me. Someone else might swear to low carb, some might swear to the raw food diet, Paleo diet, etc, etc, etc. My suggestion on dieting is simple, do the diet that you can do long term, like a lifetime, and that’s the diet for you. Also, keeping an open mind, try different diets, if it makes you feel great, then stick with it, if it makes you feel miserable, then don’t.
One thing to remember is that no one should be pushing a definitive guide to dieting. What they can do is present the way in which they diet, why it works for them, and explain the benefits they found. Never should they be dogmatic in their approach because people do have different genetics, different issues, different goals, etc.
Exercise I think is even more dogmatic in its approach. My take on exercise is do things that you enjoy doing because you’ll keep on doing them. I used to look up which cardio burns the most per hour, but in the end, I decided just to do something that I enjoy doing, doing something that I’ll do everyday, and varying my cardio every day. I’m not an athlete, I’m not training for a marathon, I just want to burn off some calories and keep my heart healthy. I work out 7 days a week, usually an hour a day, I put in strength training three times a week. This may seem sorta slacking because I don’t go to an extreme, I don’t raise my pulse to my maximum heart rate, in fact, I barely enter the zone on my heart rate monitor.
It works for me though, I feel great after my workouts, I always progress and keeping pushing a little harder, but I’m not training to be Mr. Olympia. I don’t have an MMA fight scheduled for next week. Knowing my goals I’m able to understand that I don’t have to optimally train, I just train in a way that I enjoy. No Pain, No Gain, just doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. I don’t want to be in pain. I do wake up sore, my muscles feel tight, but I hear stories of people not being able to walk after their leg day…and I say screw that.
The problem is that there’s such a gluttony of exercise pros online. They come from a professional athlete profile and they push this idea of it being their way or no way. Dogma comes into play. They do one thing, know one thing, and don’t try anything else. They also don’t realize that their target audience is the couch potato trying to get a little more in shape, they won’t be a fitness model, they won’t be a bodybuilder, powerlifter, etc, most would do better by just doing something, not necessarily doing what’s optimal.
In the end my advice to you is listen to the professionals, try what their preaching, but if it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t give up, just try something new, try something that will work for you, and just realize because you fail at one method, doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means you have to try something new.