The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Beware of Hype in Training Methods

In fitness, odd and sham training methods are repeated, often whether they are true or not. It's important to remember this. A good example of avoiding this pitfall came from Mark Spitz, who swam at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics. As of this writing in July 2008 he is still the only Olympic athlete to win a gold medal and set a new world record in each in each (individual) event he entered. In an era when other swimmers, male and female were shaving body hair, he swam with a mustache. Mark Spitz is quoted as saying,

"When I went to the Olympics, I had every intention of shaving the mustache off, but I realized I was getting so many comments about it--and everybody was talking about it--that I decided to keep it. I had some fun with a Russian coach who asked me if my mustache slowed me down. I said, No, as a matter of fact, it deflects water away from my mouth, allows my rear end to rise and make me bullet shaped in the water, and that's what had allowed me to swim so great. He's translating as fast as he can for the other coaches, and the following year every Russian male swimmer had a mustache."

Keep this in mind when you automatically believe various training techniques without thinking it through.

I couldn't get a copyright-free photo of Mark Spitz to use for this post. Readers have been asking for more pictures of Paul, so here he is, in the Hudson River:

I think manufacturers should pay Paul to wear their gear.

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.