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Be a Critical Learner

By Holley | In Philosophy | on October 3, 2013

 sean coaching

With the internet at our fingertips, we have a plethora of information about any topic we could ever want to learn about available to us at all times. With all of this information available to us, how do we determine what information is truthful and useful and not just some dumb-dumb’s ramblings? How do you decide what information you listen to and take with you or even share with others?

In the CrossFit community, even in the news in general, the latest “get fit” and diet trends are a dime a dozen. As trainers at Intrepid, we share information with you all constantly whether it’s in class or here on the blog. When you see the latest variation of a CrossFit movement or workout, or some crazy trick that a Games athlete pulled off, even Average Joe doing a demo in a garage gym, how do you decide whether or not you accept that information is valuable? Do you regularly stop to evaluate the quality of the information in front of you? As trainers at Intrepid, we do our very best to bring you quality diet information, drills, programming, lifting pointers, etc. However we expect none of you to follow blindly, and we appreciate it when you follow up with additional questions. What I’m asking of all of you is to be critical learners. Go out a do your homework, if you come across an article with a new drill or workout you think we should know, bring it to our attention. We do our best to stay up to date with our training and bring you new pointers as we improve our knowledge base. We remain diligent however, to remain critical learners and only bring back pointers to all of you that we think are safe and beneficial.

Here are some tricks for evaluating the credibility of the information in front of you:

1. Is there data?

Most information out there involves some kind of science.  If they have no data or verification to back up their claims, I would be hesitant to believe everything I read or see.

2. Look for sources.

If there is data, especially if it’s not their own, look for a source. Take an article about the latest fad diet, research on diets is being done all over the place, if they don’t have a source (or a reputable source) for their data, it may be a good idea to leave it.

3. Research the author.

Why does the author have any credibility to be writing or talking on a particular subject? For example, I feel comfortable writing on this topic because I’m always reading and criticizing what information comes my way, whether it’s about crossfit and diets or the latest technique for analyzing and classifying the dynamic properties of different metals in extreme environments. Lets take Carl Paoli for example, we post a lot of his demo videos because he’s very efficient and skilled in his movements and has trained some of the best in the world (Annie Thorisdottir) who have been very successful in their CrossFit careers.

4. Look for additional sources on the topic.

Look for similar articles or videos out there, do they conflict or are they mostly the same? If they conflict, determine the differences and use the other critical learning tricks to determine why you believe one over the other.

5. Keep you mind open to conflicting views.

Humans are creatures of habit and once we’ve convinced ourselves of something, it’s hard to change. Keep an open mind and don’t get set in your ways. It wasn’t that long ago that we all thought fat was bad for us!

Anyway, enough of my ramble. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of it is bogus, so be constant critical learners and pay attention to what information you take in and pass along to others. Blindly following never ends well…


RPM Fitness is selling pink handled jump ropes with the breast cancer awareness ribbon on it during the month of October. They are donating 15% of the proceeds to breast cancer research, so if you’re considering an RPM rope, this month is a great time to get one. http://rpmfitness.com/shop/product/sr102-pr/

WOD 10.03.13

Mobility and Recovery: Shoulders

Skills: Lower Abdominal Activation Drills & L-Sit

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