Context, get some!

Context, If there is one word that should be thrown around more often in the fitness industry its this one. Whenever a general conversation regarding health, fitness or exercise comes about between people they usually involve singular concepts or ideas, suggestions.

“Context, the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.”[1] 

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Sadly, people seldom understand the context that surrounds given advice,concepts or ideas. It is also generally the most crucial part of understanding why or how the original concept had merit  in the first place.

Lets put this into action with a typical ‘chinese whispers’ style approach that is common for health information.

Person A has a statement,

“It is of general consensus in the health & fitness industry, that excess refined carbohydrates in the diet can turn to fatty acids and be stored in adipose tissue and can be a causative factor in excess body fat and obesity. Therefore limiting refined carbohydrate intake to only that which is needed may have beneficial results in fatloss attempts when daily energy expenditure outweighs intake.”

In typical fashion person B takes out of context,

“It is a general consensus in health & fitness industry, that refined carbohydrates turn to fat in the body and to lose bodyfat we must remove refined carbohydrates. ” to a friend.

Person C hears and understands as

“Carbohydrates make you fat”

So what happened there? The context was taken away. Person A said something that has truth and merit in a context and persons B and C turned it into a singular idea that is independent and removed from the context that gave it truth in the first place. We end up with a ‘Straw Man Argument’

This is often the case with health information. You just need to remember one thing , a question to ask yourself the next time you hear some health advice, read a ‘tip’ or  read something in the lay press regarding health and fitness.

“In what context is this information relevant or true?”

In regards to person A’s comment, the most relevant word to take note of here is “EXCESS”, this word gives meaning and context to the whole statement  and makes it true. Excess implies that more carbohydrates are being ingested than are needed for their exercise levels and daily caloric needs thus are one of the factors in excessive fat stores.

In pushing the context message further always remember what is good in 1 set of circumstances would not be ideal or used in another.

Take the below 12,000kcal daily intake. 

In the wrong context this is a recipe for obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, sleep apnea and peripheral neuropathy.

 

In the right context, it can fuel a champion.

 

Sources:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/context

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/phelps_pig_secret_he_boy_gorge_If94aq4HRyzXDJ5S2ySliI

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2177613/Michael-Phelps-12-000-calories-day-dont-doing-harm.html

 

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