"Just squat!" "Just do intermittent fasting!"
As sentient beings in the 21st century, we all have pretty solid bullshit detectors by now, but when we're facing challenges, it's still tempting to believe the easy answers. And why not? Mostly, they're offered in earnest from friends with the best of intentions. But sometimes, there's an insidious bias behind the rec.
In either case, "just X" is usually masking a litany of gotchas and caveats that you should understand before jumping in.
This episode is about investigating claims without wasting time researching beyond your necessity as a layperson. If you're gonna trust someone as far as you can throw them, you better learn to throw! We'll look at veracity, context, and incentives as heuristics for casual analysis of "maybe too good to be true" claims.
In other words, it's a tune-up for your bullshit detector so you can skip the crap and start using the solutions that suit you best.
Andy: [00:00:00] All right. All right. Welcome to the Gravity Mutating Babies podcast.
Ryan: [00:00:05] Hey everybody. What's up. This is Ryan.
Andy: [00:00:08] All right. And I'm Andy. And today we're going to be talking about easy answers. We all love easy answers because well, they're easy and they're answers. Life is full of questions and uncertainties. And so when someone comes along and says, "Oh, It's easy. Just do this." I mean, some part of our brain that has evolved efficiently over 5 trillion, 748 billion- and I'm not going to complete the rest of that years- really latches onto that because say what you will about potential of human intelligence, we like easy solutions to things.
We like heuristics. We like quick and dirty. There's so much research that has been done that we like to justify things after the decision with, facts and logic, but we make these emotional decisions based on all kinds of just snap judgements.
So easy answers, our brain loves these. But a lot of times they are unfortunately not the best answers. And I think that this is something that if you are trying to answer questions or trying to make improvements or address challenges in health and fitness especially, you will go out looking for answers. And so there's a couple of things that sometimes you'll get very well-intentioned people that are just trying to cut through a lot of crap for you and they'll say, "Oh, just do this. This is the thing that worked for me. It's great."
A lot of times, you'll also see a lot of people trying to hide a bunch of "gotchas" behind just do this answer too. It's not just that easy answers are insidious or wrong or bad. They aren't always. Sometimes it might be the right answer for you, but there's usually more that's being hidden from you.
I think that, I guess kind of our thesis for today's show is that we're trying to explain some of the things that you might want to look for and encourage you to use these easy answers as a trigger to dig deeper and how you might do that.
Ryan: [00:02:12] Yeah, that's the main thing is: listen, but then ask why. Every answer can be a good answer, but it just depends on the context. As you mentioned Andy, a lot of people do have good intentions. A lot of people who say, just do X, just do this. That's good for them at their point at that point in their life and it's working for them, but it just, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be the answer for you right there.
And we do this too. Even recently, I posted a video on Instagram where I was like, just do more. And that comes with a caveat as well, which is okay, you got to know exactly what to do, but that was also my attempt at saying, okay, once you understand what you need to do, then do more of that.
So today we're going to talk a little bit about a couple of things, few things go a little bit deeper and get down to the Why of everything. So we're going to figure all that out for you.
Andy: [00:03:11] Yeah.
Ryan: [00:03:12] So you don't need to ever think.
Andy: [00:03:13] Yeah. We're going to give you some easy answers.
Ryan: [00:03:15] You don't need to think about anything ever again. It's great.
Examples of Easy Answers
Andy: [00:03:18] So let's, just to clarify what we're talking about, some examples: I have back pain. I'm stiff. I want to move better. Oh, just squat, 30 minutes a day.
I'm trying to get stronger. I've hit a plateau. I'm not increasing my reps or my weight anymore. Just increase the frequency. Or just go harder.
Ryan: [00:03:39] Yeah. Just go harder that usually solves it.
Andy: [00:03:41] Yeah. Just going harder. Yeah. There's a lot of answers like this. If you look at our Facebook comments, you'll see some that come up again and again. Oh, just do BJJ.
Here's the thing about all of these. Or if you're trying to lose weight, just do intermittent fasting. Just try keto, just go paleo. All right. Let's look at any of these. Just do BJJ, I think is a great one because like we'll show a few movements that happen to also be used in BJJ warmups.
BJJ is Brazilian jujitsu. It's a martial art. If you're not aware of that. Okay. Ryan does this. A lot of our team does this, so alright. Just do BJJ. So easy, right? So BJJ you would have to sign up for what a hundred dollars a month. Plus you have to spend X, you have to spend 30 minutes driving to the place, change clothes, an hour to two hours of practice, change clothes, again, go home. Do this two or three times a week for a year to five years before you get any good at anything.
Ryan: [00:04:40] Yeah, it's simple and solve all your other problems. You'll never hurt. You'll never have to roll around on the ground with a bunch of sweaty people and it's not painful at all. And it's not going to challenge your masculinity or anything at all. It's yeah, just to be safe. That's why I do it.
Andy: [00:05:01] Because it's just so easy and it's great. We love martial arts. We've been doing them our whole lives, but I would never tell somebody, just start doing a martial art.
Ryan: [00:05:10] Yeah, no way, no way.
Andy: [00:05:12] My experience of martial arts includes like learning a foreign language and moving to another country.
Ryan: [00:05:16] Yeah. Both of us, right? Yeah. It's so easy. Yeah. Just move to Japan. Devote your entire life. Yeah. No to this particular thing and it'll be easy, so
Andy: [00:05:27] You know, just start squatting more. Well, that sounds great. If you can already get into a comfortable squad, but if even trying to get into a squat is painful and hurtful for you. Imagine trying to spend 30 minutes in a day doing that if you're not ready for that. Or even if you can get into one comfortably, and you start wanting to do it more, before you know it, you've got to get a little low table to put your laptop on, to work.
And like you're doing all these weird things. Like you're changing your life around. And I'm not saying that this is bad. It might be a great life change for you to spend more time on the floor. That might be great, but you have to understand that just squatting more is not just squatting more. It has other implications.
Just go paleo. Yeah. Just cut out all of the foods that I've learned to cook my entire life and that I usually eat and stopped going to the restaurants that I go to. Just do it.
It's not ever that simple. And that's the whole point. It's not that any of these answers are necessarily bad. It's just that the, " just X" is hiding so many complications.
How do we discover what these complications are before we say, I'm just going to whatever, right? I'm just going to start intermittent fasting. Okay. You can just do that. You can just start skipping breakfast, but then you're going to start like needing two more cups of coffee in the morning. And all of these things, right? So how do you find what these are?
Andy: [00:07:05] If the "just X" triggers you to start wanting to dig deeper, where do you start looking? And I think the first thing that you need to do is one, you need to look into veracity. You need to just crosscheck whether or not this person giving you this advice knows what the hell they're talking about and whether or not other people agree with them.
Ryan: [00:07:28] Absolutely.
Andy: [00:07:28] And sometimes, you know, type it into YouTube and see.
Ryan: [00:07:33] Is it accurate? Yeah.
Andy: [00:07:35] Is it accurate? There's probably a video that says, probably something like, a former TV star reacts to paleo. I don't know why reaction videos are such a big deal on YouTube but there's probably a bunch of people and you can maybe find somebody you trust that has experience with this. Ask around friends and stuff like that.
It's not really that hard and you're not trying to verify whether something is scientifically proven or not, because that's a whole different can of worms.
Ryan: [00:08:03] Sure sure, yeah. Yeah. And this is, what's so tough, right? Because we are bombarded with so many different not just concepts, but also different views on those concepts. And so it can be difficult to really weed some of these things out to find that accuracy within that.
And again, not all the time do you need to dig deep and go into the science behind it, but sometimes that is necessary in order to weed through some of those other opinions because really that's what it really comes down to with a lot of this different stuff is the opinion of that particular person at that time. And in order to make sure that this is going to be something that's good for you, you do need to make sure that it is accurate according to what you need.
I guess that will lead into the next thing of yeah, if you want to talk about the context and how this does relate to you. And so that's really one of the more important things. And just because I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn't necessarily mean that it's the thing that you need to do.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is as good for me. It works for me, but this is also a whole, it could be a whole other podcast by the way, but that's probably something we don't want to jump into, but something where a person says for self-defense you just need to do X.
And a lot of times it is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and with that, you're going to put me in a bad mood and see a lot of the stuff maybe you don't want to see come out of me when I argue about some of the claims that people have in regards to a particular martial art, being the martial art for self-defense.
Ryan: [00:09:40] You can say that with anything that we're talking about today. Again, it's context. It's looking at, not just that particular thing, but your experience with other things coming into that particular thing that person advised you to just do. So looking at a squat. Andy you brought this up and I think it was really good example of yeah, if you squat for like 30 minutes a day, it could be good depending on where you're coming into it. And that's really what this context is about.
First you're checking the accuracy of that particular thing that person is asking you or suggesting that you just do. But then the context is in relationship to me right now, and my experiences coming into this. Is this going to be something that's going to be good for me? Keto, intermittent fasting, and looking at it, your experience coming into it, your knowledge.
And also the other thing is, does it fit your lifestyle? I think that's a huge thing as well, because there are a lot of things where just doing it, like you also mentioned, could force you to, or think that you should completely change your lifestyle. And that's where things can get a little funky and a little weird not just for you, but everyone around you.
And you also need to be thinking about that as well. How is this going to affect your family? How's this going to affect people that you work with? And I'm looking at some of the bigger things that I'm talking about, but when making these decisions again, check the accuracy. Also look at the context in terms of how this relates to you with your experiences and what you need right there at that time in your life, within your lifestyle.
Andy: [00:11:25] Yeah. Context is huge. One of my sort of heuristics for life in general is that I try to avoid optimizing for someone else's context. Fancy way to say, don't copy people who aren't like you.
This is the thing that happens so much. We see, Oh, Tom Brady wears these pajamas with silver thread in them. And it protects him from EMF and makes him be able to perform better on the field. Bullshit. Like you're not Tom Brady. I don't care who you are. There's five people on the planet that are billion dollar athletes like that.
You're not. Your golden pajamas are not going to help you lose weight or improve your mental acuity or protect your DNA from wifi, radiation, or whatever BS someone's trying to sell you silver pajamas on. It's not going to happen. It's not going to help. You do not live in the world that the Kim Kardashians of the world live in.
It's like that thing where a couple of years ago Mark Walberg posted his daily training routine. And get up at four, first workout 2 hours.
Ryan: [00:12:38] Yep, yep. Yep. Yep. Because it to jump in there and interrupt also, for you all listening out there, remember these people are doing that for a specific thing and have other people there to help them to be able to do that. So this is a huge thing too, just because that person is able to do that doesn't mean that that is something that you can actually put into your routine to make it work. Might be able to do it, but just don't forget that there are other factors in that lifestyle.
Andy: [00:13:05] And this is the thing too, just because Ryan likes a certain thing doesn't mean it's right for you.
Ryan: [00:13:12] Absolutely.
Andy: [00:13:13] Ryan's job is to be able to coach and demonstrate things and to spend time exploring different kinds of training. That's what he literally gets paid for. That's the R and D department of GMB right there.
So that's not your context. My context as a man who spends 90% of his waking hours reclining sipping cappuccinos is probably also not your context. It's a lifestyle I highly recommend if you get away with it.
But I think you get the picture is that a lot of advice is coming from a specific context. And so even if you were to type into Google, like does intermittent fasting work ? There's a billion post videos and things about this, but the crucial question is left out of that is, does it work for what?
"Does it work?" It can mean a lot of things. I know people that have tried to use intermittent fasting to improve their hormone regulation, improve their blood sugar regulation to lose weight, to do all kinds of things. But you have to know what context you're in and what situation that person is in to make it work.
I've heard a lot of people say, Oh yes, there's a famous academic switched to eating nothing but steak. And it completely changed his health that made him stronger. And his testosterone went through the roof. Well, yeah, dude, if you spent 50 years eating processed foods and a plant-based diet and you start switching to all freaking meat, Yes, your testosterone is going to go through the damn roof.
Yes. Obvious. That's the thing that's left out of most of these conversations is this context about what it's for and who it is. And so when you say, Oh, it's easy, you just eat nothing but meat. That sounds great to me for three days. And then I'm not going to want to see red meat again for another two weeks.
Andy: [00:15:06] Your context may be different from mine. Maybe it might be the best thing you could possibly do for a few months. At which point it will probably not continue to be the best thing you could possibly do because your context will now be changed.
And that's the other thing too is timing is also a part of this. So something that works for you now might not work for you after you've done it for awhile. People's diet changes. Like the carnivore diet example too, or switching to paleo or switching to IF or switching to keto. Is it the keto that's making a difference or is it the change that's making the difference? Because, and it might be a combination of both, but we tend to ascribe the magic to the solution.
And we tend to minimize in our evaluation of things, the impact of simply making a change, changing your diet, radically forces your or organs, and your hormones and your body's systems to change, to adapt. And that adaptation is going to have a impact in terms of all the different systems and potential weight loss and things like that increased or reduced water weight, et cetera, et cetera. A lot of times it's just the change.
But if the answer were as simple as just go keto, then why does almost, no, not almost, every single person who endorses keto, either sell or endorse a supplement line? I guess when you just do keto, you also just need to buy a lot of supplements.
Andy: [00:16:41] So this might be the fourth thing is incentives. When somebody is giving you an easy answer, why does this person really want me to try this so badly? The person who sells products? I can tell you. Yes. Sometimes we do. We do occasionally hope people buy our products and it comes as a shock to people. I know.
But I don't know, Ryan, what do you think incentive wise? I think a lot of times people are trying to be helpful if they're recommending something that worked for them.
Ryan: [00:17:10] I agree. I agree. And I think this is a tough one too, because these all relate. If we look at the veracity of us needing a context, also on timing, by the way things will change depending on where you are in your life.
So an example, BJJ example again, and I'm not just ripping on BJJ. I actually really enjoy it everyone. I love it. Okay. But this is just a good example because you do find that there are particular places out there where there is a big incentive within that as well.
No, you know what? Let's look at something different. Let's look at, I'll give an example of a particular martial art that I was involved with. And I'm not even going to say the name of the style, but I really enjoy doing it, but a big reason why I actually quit was because, okay, in order for me to get to the next rank, I had to pay X.
I had to have so many hours. I had to have a particular uniform. And I had to update that uniform every so often with a particular patch. And the only reason why is because it was going to help me for X and everything, which I thought was a bunch of bullshit, but, and the incentive there in terms of, Oh, yes, this is martial art for this, but in order to do it, you need all this other stuff.
And yeah, I get that was a good business model for those who were at the top of the food chain within that particular martial art, that system. But this is where it can get very murky because the reason that you actually started doing that thing changes, and you go into it thinking, okay, I just have to do this and things are going to be cool.
If I just eat this way, I'm going to be fine, but you do it and then realize, Oh, but this person says I also need to have all of these supplements. Even though they said I just needed this, but when it's actually, Oh, it's because you're lacking in a particular thing, but by doing this, it's going to help you.
So the incentive part of that is very prevalent in a lot of the things that we see out there. I mean, Nike, just do it, they're selling shoes, just do it, but you need our clothing and shoes and all the stuff that goes with it. Now you have the choice to buy it or not.
Andy: [00:19:24] Right, if your whole business model is selling athletic clothing, then convincing people that everyone is an athlete is just good business. We should always just be wearing athletic clothes because you my friend are an athlete. If you have a body, you are an athlete.
You Are the Best Authority on You
Ryan: [00:19:40] Right. And I want to, you know, Andy and I here aren't saying that you shouldn't buy stuff. I mean, we are a business, as Andy said as well and we are selling things. We just want, to be honest, especially in GMB, if you come to buy one of our products, we really want to make sure that this is something that's going to be good for you.
Don't just buy it just to think you should just do it. Really, really take a look at, is this going to be good for you? Look at the context in terms of that in this point in timing as well in your life is this good for you. And then say, okay, do I really need that? Or is there a different way that would actually be better for me?
And it might surprise you to hear me say this, that our GMB program might not be the best for you. There might be a program out there that would be better. And that might shock people. But this actually is good for us because we don't want you doing something of ours that's not going to fit with you.
Yeah, maybe someday you'll come back and you'll need something of ours that will fit within you. But this is so important. So when you ever, you hear anybody, even us say, Oh, just do this or just do this, really take a step back and say, okay, what is the accuracy of that? Is this accurate in terms of what I need? Is the context for me? Is that good for me right now? As well as going into the timing.
And then also if I'm going to do GMB, do I really need to buy those supplements that GMB sells? Of course, I'm joking.
Andy: [00:21:14] Yeah, so. Yeah, there's a lot of stuff. The thing is, is yes, we sell programs, but you'll never find us saying, Oh, it's easy. Just do this program. There's so many things that I think are good for people. Like I think people should stretch. I think people should explore a lot of variety of movements that their body can do and try some things that they can't do well.
I think that we should all try to get more than adequate strength, a reserve of excess strength in a bonus of 10, 20% beyond what we need in our regular activities so that in extraordinary circumstances, we can trust our bodies to be durable and performant or whatever.
I think those things, but that doesn't lead to any of those being the one solution. And none of them are simple. If I say, just stretch, most people are going to stretch incorrectly, get nowhere or hurt themselves. So I have to go further than that.
And I think that's the most important thing is be aware that these "just" answers are not the answer. They are hiding or minimizing a lot of gotchas and you need to find out what they are before you commit to just trying something unless you know the context that is coming from, know the person giving you advice. And if there's a very minimal barrier to just trying it.
Ryan: [00:22:50] Yeah.
Andy: [00:22:50] I wouldn't say you need to do a ton of research before you just try skipping breakfast and see after, don't do it for like two days and say, it sucked. You have to do it for like, you know, a couple of weeks and see if you notice the changes in the way you feel during the day and the way your body responds.
It's an easy thing to do a trial of. I wouldn't say that you need to do a bunch of research or think really hard about just trying to spend more time on the floor, possibly sitting in some other way. Right? Spending more time on the floor and learning how to get up and down is probably good for most people.
But if you have knee or hip problems or back problems, and it's painful for you to do that the way you normally do, then there might be more to it. But the point is, is you can evaluate pretty quickly, whether just doing something is easy is a low impact trial for you or not. If it is, yeah, just try it.
But if it's offered as a solution to a challenging or difficult problem, it's going, it will at some point require more work, more investment, more extra electrolytes to stave off the keto flu, right? Some fancy resistance bands. So you can stretch your hamstrings the right way. All of these little things.
So be aware and think about it, especially thinking about context and understand how this stuff is going to work for you so you can make really the best decisions for you. Because nobody knows your context like you.
Ryan: [00:24:21] Absolutely. I think that right there is the key point. Really take a look inside yourself of not only what you want to be doing, but what you really need. That's a tough question. And you're the only person that really knows and can answer that. And
Andy: [00:24:34] Pretty sure there's a Michael Jackson song.
I'm looking at the ma--
Ryan: [00:24:38] Yup, I knew that was coming.
Andy: [00:24:43] Look deep inside man.
Ryan: [00:24:45] Just go there, go there, spend some time there.
Andy: [00:24:47] If you want to make the world a better place
Ryan: [00:24:50] For you and I
Andy: [00:24:51] Make a change. And with that.
Ryan: [00:24:53] That's a good place to end right there.
Andy: [00:24:55] We're out.
Ryan: [00:24:55] Laters.