When it comes to on-line resources of health and fitness information, I have no problems with people sharing ‘what worked for them’ – after all, this is EXPERIENCE, and it is a useful tool for us all to learn from.
What is becoming a major trend on-line is mistaking EXPERIENCE for EXPERTISE.
Learning from your own personal experience and telling people what worked for you is absolutely fine.
Learning from your personal experience and telling people WHAT worked and WHY it worked, without having the proper scientific background to do so, well that’s a whole other story.
When reading health and nutrition information, we need to ask ourselves, “is the source qualified to be reporting this information?”
For instance, someone who has transformed their body by losing a large amount of weight is a valuable resource for anyone who is also trying to transform their body by losing a large amount of weight.
This person has EXPERIENCE that he or she can share.
Now, if this same person starts sharing WHY things worked, without the scientific background to do so, this is simply an example of lying (if done on purpose) or arrogance (if done without knowing it was deceitful).
And this trend is what is very quickly watering down the value of the information that is available on-line (or off-line for that matter).
Bottom line – Being lean, having a monstrous bench press or being a manager of a gym does not mean you are qualified to interpret scientific data. Having a background in statistical analysis and methodology as well as an understanding of the scientific history within your SPECIFIC FIELD qualifies you to interpret scientific data.
Even scientific education is limited in its scope of EXPERTISE.
I have an undergraduate degree in human nutrition, 7 years experience working in clinical research overseeing weight loss and muscle building studies, and a graduate degree in human biology and nutritional sciences were I concentrated my research on the metabolic effects of fasting and its use in weight loss.
So even though my background is in an area of human health, this does not mean I should comment on the science of shoulder injury prevention.
Similarly, I have a colleague who is a PhD in athletic therapy with expertise in shoulder injury prevention, and thus while an expert in his own field knows not to comment on the usefulness of fasting for weight loss.
in 2009 I believe we should begin to openly question the qualifications of the sources that are trying to provide us with weight loss EXPERTISE.
In the scientific community there is nothing wrong, demeaning or rude about asking someone for their qualifications, and I believe this should the same within the on-line community.
If you’re not sure, there is no harm in asking.