Know the Enemy

I started to write a post on my website explaining my response to a thread about Tabata intervals.  I probably was a little short with my answer because I thought the question was phrased poorly and loaded with assumptions. The writer took offense and responded “I’m just trying to learn”.

I went on to explain to him that the intelligent people in our industry are fighting a war of sorts.  Because we are constantly battling misinformation, half-truths, lies and out right stupidity we can often come across as impatient. The enemy has many names, Crossfit, P90X, Insanity, Bar Method, Tracey Anderson and so many others. A new enemy constantly appears on the horizon and they all have the same theme. The enemies simply ignore science and empirical evidence and replace it with marketing. They ignore common sense and replace it with marketing. They prey on the uniformed.

Our job as fitness professionals, personal trainers or strength and conditioning coaches is to continually try to keep the pendulum in the center and use our common sense. One of my favorite quotes comes from Benjamin Franklin is:

“common sense is not very common”

This can be combined with another great quote:

” a little knowledge is dangerous”

We exist in a fitness world overpopulated by people with a little knowledge and too little common sense. The resultant combination of a little knowledge and a lack of common sense is the foolish programming that we are forced to battle against. What the smart people do in this industry is make the client feel and look better while at the same time keeping the client healthy and safe. Is that too much to ask?

The only thing that makes me feel better is that we are succeeding. Our business at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning has nearly doubled in 4 years. This is due to a great program and a great staff that delivers consistent, reproducible results. Microgyms ( think opposite of the Big Box, lots of equipment, no instruction) are thriving all over America. Keep it up, don’t sell out. Don’t throw up a Crossfit sign or any other sign for its marketing value. Continue to deliver great programming and great results.

13 Responses to “Know the Enemy”

  1. I think I do CrossFit, but I rarely use the programming on The programming on is just one version of CrossFit. After you read “What is Fitness” and “Understanding CrossFit” you will see that CrossFit is really just 3 principles that are a framework, you can implement them as you see fit. I think you can program CrossFit and hurt people and you can program CrossFit safely and effectively. In the same way that NSCA or NASM coach could help of hurt someone. As I said before that is a function of the education and maturity of the coach (as you have said many times before) rather than the system. That is why I wish that more experienced coaches like yourself would interact with the CF affiliates. The more we all listen to each other, the safer our athletes will be and in the end, that is all that really matters.

  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    Saul- I think there are lots of guys like you ( good guys) involved in Crossfit but the reality is that most guys like you use the Crossfit name but, don’t really do Crossfit. I don’t get that part of it. I do get the fact that you can open quickly and at low cost. With that said, I have a hard time handling the approach of a guy like Glassman.

  3. As a CrossFit affiliate owner and Strength Coach podcast listener, member of both and I think you have missed the mark on who the enemy really is or that three is even exists and enemy. Coaches who are resistant to change, those who see change as a threat rather than an opportunity are a liability to the industry and, most importantly, to their athletes. You made this point quite clear in the last podcast through the story of your interaction with Dr. Stone at the Meeting of the Minds. It doesn’t really matter what initials are after your name or what exercise methodology you espouse, if you are a “unilateral or a bilateral guy,” I am pretty sure that a good coach can “make the client feel and look better while at the same time keeping the client healthy and safe” with nearly any system if he/she understands that system and the fundamentals of coaching, physiology, anatomy, etc.. The “enemy” is less about how you train (or market) and more about how you look at the problem.

    Finally, I chose to open my gym as a CrossFit affiliate almost six years ago not because of the marketing, but because it allowed me to change careers to something that I was passionate about. That path is in contrast to many of the coaches who are held up as examples (in the podcast at least) who studied in school and did a number of internships. That option wasn’t appropriate for me or a number of other affiliate owners. From a marketing standpoint, those 3000+ affiliates are starting to look a lot less like “the enemy” and a lot more like a business opportunity to me. Especially, for a coach like yourself who has years of experience and a product that is ready to go and fairly cheap (bodybyboyle) that shows coaches who have a passion how to “make the client feel and look better while at the same time keeping the client healthy and safe.” In short, if you see a need and you have product, send an email out. You never know, maybe your enemies are really just people who haven’t gotten an invite to your tribe.

  4. Mike,

    This is ABSOLUTELY one of the best posts you have ever written. It is 100% on! Simply the truth….. I see it and live it everyday.

    I will re post this on my facebook page. I SO wish we could reach more people….. We do this to help others….. We try to constantly learn and improve to help others…. Careless training helps NO ONE….Worse IT HURTS PEOPLE…

    Thanks for posting this….

    Ray Mccarthy

  5. Glad you liked it Matt. These fall in the “random thoughts” category I guess.

  6. Jim- I think most of the better coaches and trainers are not good marketing people. I also think we are just beginning to use tools like social media to get more honest info out. It’s tough when you are up against things like the Biggest Loser and the Crossfit Games.

  7. One of the best posts to date! keep the truths coming…every time I come across a “misinformed” client I pass on one of yours and Dan John’s articles to them, they return to their next session ” Ahh.. I get it now.” or “you know that really makes sense now”, again great post!

  8. What do you think about using comparable marketing to encourage and promote science, empirical evidence, common sense and information?

    There seems to be a small but growing contingent that could collaborate to market a different future for health and fitness?

    Marketing obviously works, let’s figure out how to use it to our communities advantage!

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