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Do we trust professionals too much?

deannalfisher
deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
so this is something that has been burning in the back of my mind for a little while, but was really exacerbated by a discussion that I had a friend with the other night. She was bemoaning the fact that she has gained 2lbs while working out and when I asked if she was tracking her food - she was like, no my trainer tells me what to eat and controls everything...which kind of left my dumbfounded (of course, I've had some other discussions with her IRT her trainer and the fact that she bonked on a long run because was given no nutrition guidance as a new worker-outer)...

but then daily we hear information from "professionals" that kind of makes those of us familiar with nutrition/health/MFP just kind of *kitten* an eyebrow and say what...

thoughts?
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Replies

  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    That's actually part of the problem, and is in no way ironic. Why waste energy thinking when you can just Google the answer, even if it's the wrong answer half of the time?
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    That's actually part of the problem, and is in no way ironic. Why waste energy thinking when you can just Google the answer, even if it's the wrong answer half of the time?

    I guess it's the problem and could be the solution if only people read beyond the top two results. Agreed though, there's so much information people don't or won't wade through it all to find the truth.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    That's actually part of the problem, and is in no way ironic. Why waste energy thinking when you can just Google the answer, even if it's the wrong answer half of the time?

    I guess it's the problem and could be the solution if only people read beyond the top two results. Agreed though, there's so much information people don't or won't wade through it all to find the truth.

    Exactly. In my experience, the two greatest factors in the propagation of misinformation are fear and laziness. Humans don't typically suffer a lack of either.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
    edited February 2017
    pinuplove wrote: »
    I'm not sure I would consider a trainer a professional, esp in regards to nutrition. With so much information available via Dr. Google it's easy to find a 'professional' opinion that agrees with just about anything. I do my own research, cover with my doctor if needed, and research some more, then do what works for me. It's trial and error really.

    personally I wouldn't either...but she literally told me that she is putting it in the hands of her trainer until she learns more because she is a newbie...followed by her telling me she can't eat carbs like I do because I'm a badass and she isn't (when she easily works out twice as much as me daily)
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    this is kind of where I was going but was interested in others thoughts...I see same/similar comments on many triathlon forums...my (insert type of professional here) told me I should only be eating 1400cal a day and I bonked on a bike ride; (and they aren't eating back workout calories either).

    that being said - I do work with a guy who has a PhD in nutrition - but i'll even question him on stuff - show me the research (if there is any)
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
    Absolutely. Never allow anyone to stand on the "letters behind their name". The veracity of the statement is all that matters.

    Something I've learned is that when someone stands on their experience or title this is usually because the data is lacking.

    Further complicating this is the sheer volume of information out there and the myopic focus of experts. This reinforces the need for generalists to review information to ensure the ramifications are not worse than the solution.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    Absolutely. Never allow anyone to stand on the "letters behind their name". The veracity of the statement is all that matters.

    Something I've learned is that when someone stands on their experience or title this is usually because the data is lacking.

    Further complicating this is the sheer volume of information out there and the myopic focus of experts. This reinforces the need for generalists to review information to ensure the ramifications are not worse than the solution.

    assuming they have letters after their name...I would trust them (marginally) more than a trainer...but even professionals with certifications make errors - one of my good friends is still dealing with an RD who she worked with during Ironman training that reduced her cals wayyy down and caused some metabolic damage when she went in for medical testing

  • emdeesea
    emdeesea Posts: 1,823 Member
    I think a lot of people lack the ability to think critically and they don't have the ability to recognize a grifter when they see one.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    In general, I'd say yes. It's not just professionals in the diet industry, either. How many people turn their finances over to a financial advisor without (much) question, or do whatever their doctor tells them no matter what - even when the treatment doesn't seem to be working or the symptoms don't fit the diagnosis?

    But then, I'm cynical. I've run into too many instances where doctors do things like prescribe drugs that have potentially fatal interactions with other drugs the person is already taking, or have a GP and a specialist be at odds - and it turns out either the GP is more knowledgeable than the specialist or neither knows current best standards.

    I hadn't gone that far - but its true...I had a nodule on my thyroid but because my tests came back "normal" my doctor wasn't willing to do anything...fast forward 6mths, new doctor - sonogram and biopsy and a diagnosis of thyroid cancer...which typically doesn't show in blood work (and also diagnosed and pre-hashimoto's)
  • VioletRojo
    VioletRojo Posts: 596 Member
    I trust those who've earned my trust. I trust my primary care physician, not because of his impressive credentials, but because he backed up his advice with research. I trust my endocrinologist for the same reason. Plus their advice has always gotten good results for me. I don't trust the trainer I know to give good nutritional advice even though she has a degree in nutrition because she says some pretty wacky stuff.

    I think that people tend to trust professional credentials without evaluating the advice the professional gives because it's easier to trust someone else than to do their own research.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    Absolutely. Never allow anyone to stand on the "letters behind their name". The veracity of the statement is all that matters.

    Something I've learned is that when someone stands on their experience or title this is usually because the data is lacking.

    Further complicating this is the sheer volume of information out there and the myopic focus of experts. This reinforces the need for generalists to review information to ensure the ramifications are not worse than the solution.

    assuming they have letters after their name...I would trust them (marginally) more than a trainer...but even professionals with certifications make errors - one of my good friends is still dealing with an RD who she worked with during Ironman training that reduced her cals wayyy down and caused some metabolic damage when she went in for medical testing

    I've never dared to put this to formula, but my thought process would be something like:

    Data ^2 x experience x education x (delivery/2) = good advice

    From my time in academia I found the information from theorists often incorrect simply due to the lack of experience one gains from practical application. Hence advice given by a trainer who has actually used a plan successfully would carry more weight.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    That's actually part of the problem, and is in no way ironic. Why waste energy thinking when you can just Google the answer, even if it's the wrong answer half of the time?

    I guess it's the problem and could be the solution if only people read beyond the top two results. Agreed though, there's so much information people don't or won't wade through it all to find the truth.

    I mean, I consider myself a person of average intelligence and education and sometimes I've overwhelmed with the contradictions when I Google something. Too much information can be a problem, especially if you don't know enough about the issue to sort good information from bad.
  • KatieJane83
    KatieJane83 Posts: 2,002 Member
    I think another piece of the problem is that people tend to indiscriminately trust a 'professional', even if they're not a professional in the particular field the person is asking about.

    Maybe a trainer is certified/trained/educated/whatever, in physical training. Ok, so they're a legit 'professional', but only in that specific field. You shouldn't then go to them for dietary or medical advice just because they're a 'professional'. I'd go to a dietician for the dietary advice, and a doctor for the medical advice. The same way I wouldn't go to my GP for dietary advice. Sure, they're a professional with lots and lots and lots of schooling, but very very little of it is actually in diet and nutrition. So I think that people also have a tendency to assume that a 'professional' in a particular field somehow has authority over many other fields, and people don't take the time to stop and really question whether a 'qualified' person is actually 'qualified' in the type of info they're looking for.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    I think we think some people know more than they actually know, assuming they have longer and more thorough training than is the reality. Particularly with personal trainers. They look good so they must know what they're talking about right? Same with fitness instructors who take classes, they've just passed a weekend course and often know very little about technique but people who go think they're super knowledgeable about everything health and fitness related.

    I also think there's a dearth of critical thinking, which is ironic given how easily information can be accessed now with the internet.

    That's actually part of the problem, and is in no way ironic. Why waste energy thinking when you can just Google the answer, even if it's the wrong answer half of the time?

    I guess it's the problem and could be the solution if only people read beyond the top two results. Agreed though, there's so much information people don't or won't wade through it all to find the truth.

    I mean, I consider myself a person of average intelligence and education and sometimes I've overwhelmed with the contradictions when I Google something. Too much information can be a problem, especially if you don't know enough about the issue to sort good information from bad.

    This is a valid point, and one exacerbated by the fact that even in the realm of published studies, there are many that conflict on their faces. Unless one is familiar with processes and controls, it can get very confusing. Even then, there are examples of studies that are nearly identical in most areas, BUT they can never really control for individual response, especially when it comes to nutrition and training.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,876 Member
    I trust my coach implicitly...
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    Relevant article that just showed up in a newsletter.

    http://anabolicminds.com/articles/credentials-mean-dont-26826/