Evidence based practice (EBP) was introduced in medicine in the early 1990’s. Rather than relying on the experience of one health care practitioner or deferring to “this is how we have always done it,” an evidence-based approach expects the practitioner to rely on the preponderance of scientific research to inform decision making, diagnosis, and treatment. EBP has since spread to education, public policy, and management.
EBP should underpin virtually every aspect of our workouts.
In the absence of an evidence-based approach we simply turn to the fittest person in the room and ask, “What are you doing in your workouts?” Paradoxically, exercise is a field in which a vast amount of scientific research is published every year, yet, most of this research doesn’t trickle down to exercisers. To make matters more complicated, health clubs, gyms, and personal trainers aren’t licensed (like a nurse or physician) and there is very little expectation for fitness professionals to utilize an evidence-based approach. Again, we defer to the fastest runner we know or Zac Efron’s Instagram account.
An evidence-based approach helps us answer questions like: Free-weights or machines? Heavy weights or light weights? Two days per week or seven days per week? Is running actually bad for my knees? How calories are expended when I do this type of exercise? How does this type of exercise impact a 63-year-old female compared to a 22-year-old male? The questions are endless but fortunately, so is the science. Every exercise variable has a body of research that should guide our workouts. Using an evidence-based approach ensures (1) the best possible health, fitness, and performance outcomes (2) and the safest exercise experience.
After all, if your workout isn’t evidence-based, what is it based on?
Speaking of evidence…
I encourage you to consider participating in our new research collaboration with Solent University in Southampton, UK. We’re conducting the largest study of its kind comparing the effects of heavy weight versus light weight strength training on changes in body composition. The study is 16-weeks long and you can learn more here: https://info.discoverstrength.