By Will Kuenzel
“Do you want my advice, or are you just hoping I’ll tell you what you want to hear?”
Unfortunately, I’ve taken to asking people this question way too often. This applies to more than just fitness, but with so much information available, people will inevitably get distracted and are often left wondering which direction they should go. I’ve noticed there are certain repeat offenders that will ask for advice and then when they find out it’s not to their liking, will not listen. I refer to these people as “askholes”. They’ll spend lots of time asking questions, prying for advice, and following none of it. They’ll often rephrase their questions in such a way that you know they’re looking for a certain answer. They’ll do this repeatedly. Each time is a little different until finally, they’ll just ask straight up, “well, what do think about me doing this?” Don’t do it and don’t ask me again.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told someone not to do something. I’ve told them that it’s a horrible idea, only to have them come back some time later and say, “you know what, you were right.” No shit, Sherlock! You’re damn right I was! It took you getting hurt, wasting your time (and mine!), and/or being an idiot and disrespecting me to come to that conclusion. You ask me (the expert) for my opinion, ignore it and then suddenly had an epiphany? Quit being hard headed. I’m not going to intentionally lead someone astray. That’s not what I do. That’s not who I am, especially if you reach out to me and ask for my advice.
Now, I won’t just randomly give out advice for reasons I’ve talked about in this article. If, however, you’ve come to me and ask for my advice, there’s nothing that’ll piss me off more than wasting my time. I’m the type of person that will take the time to explain why something should be done. If I can’t explain why (or why not) something needs to be done, then I have no business suggesting it. The “why” is even more important than the suggestion. So, if I take the time to answer your question and explain why, then you had better have an outstanding reason why you’re not going to listen, if you choose not to take my advice.
The worst offenders are often some of the smartest. They know enough to do a little reading and can be blinded by their own brilliance and won’t realize that they’re stepping outside of their expertise where they’re not as informed. They can figure out where to get some information, but are quickly led down a rabbit hole. “Well, so-and-so can do it.” You’re not so-and-so. Otherwise they would have already written articles about you. The exceptions do not prove the rule.
I’ve been wrong many times. My wife can attest to that. I am right more often than wrong, especially in matters of fitness and strength. My specialty is longevity and strength and when these two concepts coincide. Questions arise about creating a sustainable plan with routines designed for the long term and how things will work together in the end; this is what I do best. When I’m asked about planning things that might have conflicting outcomes, or produce results that might be less than desired, I want you to know why. I really want you to know if you’ve come to me for help or advice.
I’m nice up to a point. Sometimes to a fault. Hence why I’ll take the time to explain my reasoning for the advice I give. When you understand the why of it, it gives more meaning to the work you do and you’re not just half-heartedly following some bald meathead’s direction. I do try to help, but after numerous times of giving out the same piece of advice, only to have to reiterate it, or watch as my advice is thrown aside, I get a little pissy. I did my best for you to avoid mistakes and you made them anyway. I live in the gym. I spend my time reading more, talking to other professionals, or just straight up experimenting. This is my job. You don’t go to renowned chef and ask for a recipe, only to do something completely different. It is an insult to the chef when you go back and tell them that your recipe wasn’t as good as theirs. Really, a-hole? They’ve spent years perfecting that recipe. I think they know what works. Fitness is the same. I’ve worked with hundreds of athletes and clients over the years. I’ve made a ton of mistakes, so you don’t have to. I’ve seen others make mistakes, so I don’t have to and I can pass on how not to repeat those same mistakes. When I give advice, there’s over two decades of experience behind it.
Remember, you asked for my advice. Someone who does this for a living. Are there other ways of doing it? Probably, but unlikely. Are you going to know better than me? Doubtful, but there is such thing as dumb luck.