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Graham Pound's Personal Training Blog

Talking all things health and fitness

As part of my continued personal development I am studying a degree in Sports, Fitness and Coaching. This means I spend a lot of time at my laptop reading all about health, fitness and sport. This blog is a place for me to share snippets of material I have studied with you and talk about how I think it can be applied to the everyday athlete.

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Moving on PROMTly

The world of fitness is full of people trying to tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it and then, conveniently providing you with a product or service to help you do it. It can be so confusing sifting through all this information to find out who is actually trying to help you because they are passionate about what they do and who is taking advantage of your lack of knowledge to make a quick buck. There is a fairly simple way you can navigate through this minefield; the PROMT analysis.

When I started my degree, one of the first papers was on how to view information and assess whether it was suitable for academic purposes. No surprises, Facebook posts were a red flag! The way I see it, if information is good enough for academic purposes, then it's good enough for me (or you) to adopt and use in my training or the training I prescribe to others. Disclaimer here, that doesn't mean I'm going through Instagram, seeing who's got the best 6 pack and copying what they do, there's more to it than that. I'll do my

best in this blog to tell you how I do it, why I do it that way and then, point you in the direction of where I got the information; that way, if you don't believe me you can check for yourself. As I go through this, bear in mind that if one of the parts of the acronym is a little suspect, still finish the process off. There's always the chance that the author just has a weird taste in font or made an honest spelling mistake. Thees things happen. It doesn't always mean their information is useless.

The P - Presentation - This is where you look at the overall look of the information. How is it written? Is it easy to follow? Is it grammatically correct with good spelling? These are just some of questions you should be considering. Generally, you'll get the general gist of it pretty quickly. If it gives you a bad feeling, be wary.

The R - Relevance - How relevant is this information to you? If you are a middle aged man, a study into how a vitamin might impact performance that was carried out on 14 year old girls may not be relevant. It may be brilliant information from a very detailed and thorough experiment, it's just no good for you. Another one to consider here is animal testing, yes a study may give an indication on how something may effect a human but, unless you are a mouse or pig, it may need further research to be applicable to you.

The O - Objectivity - This is my favourite one. This is the one that, in my experience, puts me off using the information. Is the information objective? The information should be unbiased and balanced ideally. Be careful that if information is from a particular viewpoint that nothing's being left out. The biggest telltale sign for me is when statements are followed by 'so check out this product'. Even academic research may be funded by brands, that doesn't mean it's no good, it just means you're best to view the original research and judge for yourself.

The M - Method - Back to basics here. Have your hypothesis, prove it to get your theory. The proof must be scientific though. I don't mean in a lab while wearing a white coat, I just mean it needs to follow a process that gives an accurate result. This method should be appropriate and easy for you to find, if it's not, maybe they're hiding something.

The P - Provenance - I can carry out an experiment in my studio, write it up and publish the results. It could well be very good but, I'm probably not the best person to do it and my gym may not be the best place to carry out the study. I tend to look at the credentials of the author (To what standard are they educated? Where were they educated? Has the work been peer reviewed?) then also look at the sponsoring organisation (Are they well established? Do they have a vested interest?). Be wary of degrees from universities you can't locate and remember, wearing a stethoscope doesn't make you a doctor.

The T - Timelines - Is it current. Science in general moves at a staggering rate, let alone sports science. New research is published all of the time and old studies are often discredited. My great gran was told to smoke by her doctor at 9 because it was good for her lungs! You Just need to make sure the information you are reading is still relevant. Not every study that is old is no good, I've cited studies in my papers from the 70's, you just need to do some digging and make sure they are still recognised.

All of this can be found on the Open University Website:(

Have a read for yourself as they go into a bit more detail, I just gave you an overview.

Hopefully you can see from reading all that that sometimes, the guy on instagram may not be the guy to listen to just because he put that white coat on. One good place to research studies is on Google Scholar. Type scholar into google, click go and a new Google site will pop up. It's full of published and peer reviewed papers. When your mate tells you that if you squat on Tuesdays while wearing a bin liner as a vest it boosts gains by 400%, bang it into scholar and see what pops up. If there's nothing, maybe give it a miss.

As always, I welcome any input and sorry for any typos. I get a bit passionate when I'm on a roll.

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