Always a critic... Posted on 24 Mar 14:43 , 1 comment

I was pointed out to a Facebook post which linked my blog. The person concerned wrote a rather scathing comment about some of the things I wrote. I think it’s important to address criticism not because the person has affected me in anyway but because the points raised are endemic of what the general population think. Education is key, as I keep saying, and I like to address criticism where the person criticising is ignorant, uninformed and deliberately distorts what I write.

The blog post that was being criticised is here: http://www.sportsfuel.org/blogs/the-vinny-jones-zone/16679185-strongman-101-part-one-training-steroids

A rather helpful guide into strongman training I thought? Written, essentially, for people looking to make their first steps into training and an eye opener about what happens in the sport with respect to PEDS (Performance Enhancing Drugs). This is her post:

 

Take time, ladies and gentlemen and all Primary school children, to ignore the dreadful grammar you take for granted (and the BS) and look a little deeper and we shall try and disseminate the post step by step just so the poor soul can see how their thought processes can be logically reduced to the ridicule it deserves.

“It does amaze me that people do really think the sport they do is the best take strongman for one they have the idea that they are the fittest people around because they can lift extreme weights”

The word “best” across my entire blogging activity is used twice to describe what it takes to compete with the best in the sport. Nowhere on the entire blog is it ever stated that strongman is the “best sport”. My opinion is that it is the most complex and perhaps hardest sport that currently exists. The main reason for this is that you need everything in your arsenal to not only compete but train successfully throughout the year. Cardio, endurance, speed, grip strength, power, brute strength, pain, awkwardness and determination… just some of the attributes needed to train. Yes a Triathlon is hard. Swimming is hard. Ironman is hard. Cycling 2/3 miles to work is hard (lol). But there is nothing in those respective activities/sports that covers everything you need to be a good strongman. In fact, I cannot think of another sport which comes that close but (I’m happy to be corrected).

And where did the word “fitness” come into play? Again, the word does not appear on the blog post or the rest of the blog. And I think I made it clear that strongman needs MORE than just fitness. So I would never say that a strongman is fitter than anyone else. But is it not better to be REALLY strong and fit rather than weak and the fittest?

I'll also take her up on her very loose argument for being fitter than a strongman. Cycling at approximately 10mph uses the same calories as walking. Why? Because some fella called Newton wrote the law of universal gravitation. Quite simply, because you're sitting on your arse you do not expend as much energy fighting the effects of gravity.

No-one disputes that top level riders are fit people. Tour de France etc. They're all super fit guys but they are ATHLETES. Not people who just ride to work or to the pub. Granted lots of amateur/semi-pro riders exist within the ride to work type scheme. But the critic is not one of those people. So their opinion is flawed. And all they have proved is that they have, essentially, the same fitness as someone who walks around. But she's not finished with her monologue... when acquiring fitness, strongmen can't do it on their own apparently:

“in that sport they openly admit that they need the help of steroids to do this”

Well firstly "openly admitting" use is a banana skin for many guys. Let's not go there. But the numbskull is clearly unable to extract the essence of what is actually being said. I made it quite clear that NO-ONE needs steroids to train/compete in strongman. In fact, to help her comprehension and get to the root of what I said I'll actually copy and paste what I did write:

“But for novice/intermediate comps? Of course you don't NEED to use. No-one needs to use anything at all. Just know that with all the will in the world, the gulf in class will be evident the higher up the ladder you go. But no, you don't need anything.”

Just where in that statement does it say you need to use steroids?

Exactly. It’s doesn’t. But the numbskull doesn’t need to let facts get in the way of making her point. And this is evident when it comes to her next comment:

“take for one this man's blog calls people idiots if they think they can compete with out them”

Again I did a search on the word “idiot” and could not find a single reference to it on my entire blog. Does this not strike anyone as strange? It’s almost as if the critic is making things up and lying to make a point isn’t it?

Again I think I made it clear you can compete without steroids with my words "you don't need steroids to compete".

Indeed I know lots of guys who do stay "natty" and I advise many people every week not to use them at a certain stage they are at with their training. Hardly the actions of a person who thinks people are idiots for not using steroids?

And what else did I say?

“I do have a theory that an average guy with passion, drive, hard work and luck can overcome a good athlete who is using something.“

Wow. Who woulda thunk it? I think I’ve made my point...

(What I would state is that people are naïve if they think that PEDS are not rife across all sports)

Then this gem... 

“I cycle for pleasure and commute every day to work which helps me keep fit but have been ridiculed for this”

Actually, what this person did do was write a lot of vitriol on my Venom Tacky business page criticising anyone who bought the product as supporting steroid users and people who use steroids in strongman. Then she went on to say that she was fitter than the strongmen in there on account of her cycling. I did think the comments would end up being quite nasty towards her but actually there were some very funny moments. That said, this was a person who clearly does not cycle for pleasure. She is an odd woman who wanted to try and prove a point that she doesn’t need steroids for cycling and that guys who compete in strongman are disgusting creatures.

Ok, well assume that she is trying to make a point. At what stage would a person who cycles for pleasure and to work NEED steroids anyway? Especially an obese, 50+ year old woman? Precisely. It's almost like her saying she doesn't need a parachute because she goes swimming. Is it not a de facto statement already and one which does not really need to be highlighted?

Get this woman a bicycle... and steroids. Quickly.

If you need steroids to ride a bloody bike to work you need help. But to criticise people who compete in perhaps the hardest sport in the world for using something to increase their recovery, help injury prevention and all pretty much for the entertainment of others and to improve themselves? I find its pretty poor picking on those people. A typical strongman spends more on the sport than they would ever hope to recover in prize or sponsorship money. Why not go after the guys who actually lie about their use in sports where millions are thrown around?

Ahhh… well we’re not dealing with a normal person.

“so let's put this straight any type of exercise is good for you”

Really? I’ve seen broken bokes, ripped off fingers, obliterated toes, dislocations, cuts, bruises and tendon tears in 2 years competing in strongman. This is clearly NOT a sport that is “good” for you. Hence why many guys choose supplements to help them recover from the intense training. But the “exercise” she is talking about has nothing to do with competition training.

A bit of arse chafing from her bike is not quite the same is it?

“taking substances like steroids that are not prescribed by your doctor are not there are long and short term effects.”

Ignore the grammar and we will make a logical assumption that she is stating that there are short term and long term effects from using steroids.

Ok, well we know a few things about this person already. The first is that they lie about what I write. The second is that they have no idea what it takes to train and compete in strongman. The third is that they have a vendetta against strongman competitors who use PEDS.

And the fourth is that they are world renown endocrine expert with years of experience in the field of hormone replacement therapies able to deduce from the mere mention of steroids in a sport that there “might” be some short term and long term effects from using steroids. Muahahahahahaha... if I had £1 for every time this kind of person talked about something they don't know about I'd be buying more Strom tops than I currently do.

Ok well again, I think it’s clear to state that while this person has not directly said I have not considered that there are short and long term effects that the overall meaning of their final comment is to suggest that I am of the belief that there is a risk free, radical and almost laissez-faire approach to PED use.

If only this was the case. This is what I wrote:

“Some of your heroes are so injured, so much in pain, that they will use a cocktail of painkillers to mask it just to keep going. Some of your old heroes are now no longer alive potentially because of what they have done. To reach the top of the game and STAY there people will be using some form of assistance and mostly without the services of a medical professional.”

Is this the phrasing of a person who claims there are no risks to using PEDS?

And this:

“Next in line are some orals but I never recommend these because at the end of the day health is all that matters because no-one, no less at novice to intermediate level, wants to be relying on the state for hand-outs or struggling to put food into their kid's mouths.“

It seems I’m saying avoid some steroids BECAUSE of the effects. At times, I even surprise myself.

Conclusions

This was a little more serious than I would like to have been but PED use is a subject that is extremely close to my heart because I want people to be as educated about it as possible. And I think misinformation is bad for both sides of the argument. What is needed is a clear platform and a level playing field for arguments to be put forward from both sides.

However, not ALL opinions are valid. Everyone has the right to an informed opinion. If you have a genuine criticism of PEDS, don’t say “PEDS are dangerous, will kill you and your children’s children’s children’s pet dog in a car accident in 2122 because great-great-Grandad use Deca once to fix his knee”

What you should be doing is, where you know sod all, is asking the question and then perhaps doing your own research? Why can’t people use PubMed or get a book these days for an answer? Phrase criticisms about something you don’t know in the form of a question and it makes you seem less of an idiot (see, I used the word idiot).

Anyway, too late for the next Mrs Lance Armstrong. But as with all comments to my blog I like to send a free gift. This seems more suited to her future endeavours…