Unraveling the Shite in the Online Fitness World

Feb 12, 2024

 In the sprawling interwebs of online fitness, where every click brings a new theory or success story, it's easy to fall prey to the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy. This Latin phrase translates to "after this, therefore because of this," and it's a logical misstep that can significantly skew our understanding of what truly works in training and muscle building.

Here's a common scenario: You stumble upon a transformation video, where someone attributes their incredible gains to a specific supplement or a newly popular workout routine. It's compelling, it's convincing, and it's a classic case of the Post Hoc fallacy. The individual believes that because their muscle growth followed the use of a supplement, the supplement must be the cause of their success.

However, training, nutrition and lifestyle is a complex ecosystem, influenced by myriad factors including genetics, diet, sleep, and consistency in training. To attribute success to a single factor immediately after its introduction is to oversimplify this complex web of causality.

Why is this fallacy so prevalent online? The fitness industry thrives on selling the next big thing. Supplements, gadgets, and 'revolutionary' workout plans are marketed aggressively, often using testimonials that, intentionally or not, employ the Post Hoc fallacy to prove their efficacy.

This creates a misleading narrative that if something worked for one person, it will work for everyone, ignoring the individual nuances of each body and lifestyle.

Falling for the Post Hoc fallacy can lead to wasted time, money, and effort on methods or products that may not work for you. It can also foster unrealistic expectations, leading to disappointment and demotivation when the promised results don't materialize.

Overcoming the Post Hoc Bias

To navigate the online fitness world effectively, it's crucial to approach it with a critical eye. Look for evidence-based advice and remember that correlation does not imply causation. Just because a fitness influencer gained muscle after taking a specific supplement doesn't mean the supplement caused the growth. There could be other factors at play, many of which are often not disclosed in a compelling transformation story. (You know what I'm getting at here...) 

Diversify your sources of information and look for legitimate scientific consensus behind claims. Understand that what works for one person might not work for another due to differences in body type, lifestyle, and genetic predispositions. And most importantly, remember that consistency, balanced nutrition, and tailored training plans are the true keys to fitness success.

Overcoming the Post Hoc bias is not just about making better choices in fitness; it's about fostering a more rational, informed approach to the information we consume online. By doing so, we set ourselves up for more sustainable, long-term success in our journeys, grounded in reality rather than swayed by compelling, yet logically flawed, narratives.