Wednesday 5/7

“Michel”
3 Rounds for time
800m Run
50 Hip Extension
50 Sit Up

The Jogging Delusion

   03/24/14

Here’s what you need to know…

•  Jogging is probably the most effective form of non-surgical gender-reassignment available for men. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

•  The downsides of long distance running greatly outweigh the upsides, especially if you want to be muscular and strong.

•  Fighters need endurance work, but jogging is a substandard way to build it. They do it, but only because it’s a dumb, unquestioned tradition.

•  Anaerobic training is just as good for cardiovascular health as jogging, maybe better, and it burns more calories over the course of the day.

I recently created quite a stir by stating that jogging is probably the most effective form of non-surgical gender-reassignment available for men. When T Nation tweeted this quote, it went absolutely viral, generating hundreds of impassioned comments. People called me brilliant. They also called me a complete idiot.

So is jogging really the worst thing you can do? Does it have any upsides? Will it really turn you into a chick? If so, what are the alternatives? Let’s dig deeper into this puzzling pastime and clear the air.

What Is Jogging Anyway?

Jogging is defined as: “A form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace. The main intention is to increase physical fitness with less stress on the body than from faster running, or to maintain a steady speed for longer periods of time. Performed over long distances, it is a form of aerobic endurance training.”

In the United States, jogging reached critical mass in the 1980’s, thanks in large part to the published works of Dr. Kenneth Cooper, who touted aerobic exercise as the ultimate preventative measure against heart disease, as well as the best way to improve total fitness. Of course, as time marches on, so does the progressive stripping back of ignorance, and today we know much more about the questionable role of aerobic exercise in disease prevention and fitness acquisition.

First, The Upside

Before I start in with the arguments against jogging, let’s outline the possible positive features. Stay with me, this won’t take long.

Jogging Is Better Than Lying On The Couch Eating Cheese Doodles. Maybe.

Now, don’t get me wrong, lying on the couch with orange powder all over yourself is in some ways better than jogging (no cortisol production, no joint stress, no suicidal ideation, etc.). But at least in principle, and particularly for beginners, any form of activity has the potential to be superior to inactivity. I say “in principle” because the real life downsides are indeed significant.

Let’s examine the psychology. Imagine yourself as a sedentary, overweight guy who breaks out in hives at the simple thought of exercising. Now imagine jogging. See where I’m going with this? It’s going to hurt, it’ll be embarrassing, and in short, it’s gonna suck. You’ll blame yourself for being a pussy, but in truth, it’s not your fault at all – jogging sucks on an intrinsic level. From a purely definitional point of view, if it doesn’t suck, it’s not really jogging. Every other form of bipedal locomotion – sprinting and walking for example – doesn’t really suck at all. Here’s what the continuum looks like graphically:

Walking Jogging Sprinting
High Benefit Low Benefit High Benefit
Low Suck High Suck Low Suck

Why has the jogging delusion persisted for so long despite the above continuum? My hunch is that we’re wired to assume that we need to “take our medicine.” In other words, no pain, no gain. It’s as simple as that. Now, in any type of bell curve, there are always a few outliers. Which brings me to a second potential benefit of jogging:

You Like To Jog

If you’re a strong guy who weighs over 200 pounds, I’ll give you a moment to wipe off whatever you were just drinking from your computer screen. But, for the rest of you, if you’re weighing in at about a buck 60 or so, you might actually “enjoy” jogging because it’s not as painful for you as it is for your heavier peers. At least in principle, any physical activity is better than being sedentary, so if jogging is what you like to do, have at it… I guess.

You’re A Competitive Distance Runner

This third possibility is the most rationally justifiable. In order to respect the principle of specificity, competitive distance runners must put a lot of roadwork in, and most of that mileage would be defined as “jogging.” As a reader of T Nation however, it’s unlikely that you’re a competitive distance runner, so I won’t go into further detail on this.

Now, The Downside

Okay, here’s my justification behind that insensitive comment that got everyone’s panties in a wad. While gender is biologically determined, the concept of masculinity is a socially constructed notion. And while the idea of masculinity varies somewhat from era to era and from one region of the world to another, masculinity is usually associated with superior strength, muscularity, speed, and power. The human body, as it turns out, isn’t a very good multi-tasker when it comes to “S.A.I.D.” (specific adaptation to imposed demand). It prefers to be either big and strong, or small and weak, (albeit with good endurance). True, some guys can manage to have it both ways, but if you find it challenging to gain muscle or strength, you’re not one of them.

Jogging, as the bulk of studies have repeatedly shown, reduces, or at the very least, makes it more difficult to maintain or develop all of the masculine traits I just described. This is why national and World-level powerlifters and weightlifters – most of whom are jaw-droppingly jacked and three times stronger than you are – rarely jog or do anything resembling it. Maybe you’re willing to risk minimizing your manhood to obtain the supposed benefits of jogging. I’m not, and here’s why.

 

Read the rest here.

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