Hate Mail, Equipment Recommendations, And Honest Training Information

I usually delete hate mail and comments containing personal attacks for the same reason I avoid arguing with idiots; the time it takes to read and respond to them could be used more productively to write articles and books that actually help people. However, some times arguing with idiots and responding to these things can be productive, because even if you can’t help them to understand or win them over, if they bring up an important topic the discussion can benefit other people who are listening or reading.

Last night, an upset and obviously confused reader submitted the comment below:

What a shame and a misleading falsehood that you never encourage people to use the best equipment available, Nautilus and medx. You are not an expert, but another shyster looking to make money without providing the truth while trying to hawk your grossly inferior equipment. You do not fool me.

Apparently he either hasn’t read much I’ve written about the subject or doesn’t understand it. I suspect what got this Nautilus “true believer” worked up was the following comment in my recent e-mail newsletter:

For those of you who asked about the squat rack, I’m still working on the modular hip belt squat/weighted chin-up and dip lever and stands and tweaking the safety spotter design but anticipate it will be in prototype by the end of summer. If you’re torn between a heavy duty squat rack, a UXS, and a Nautilus Omni Multi Exercise, but only have space for one, this is it.

I have always encouraged people to use the best equipment available to them and I have specifically recommended Nautilus, MedX, and other well-designed brands like Avenger, David Fitness and RenEx to trainers who have consulted me on equipping their personal training studio or gym. This is not always possible or practical, however, because not all gyms and training studios have these machines and many people who work out at home don’t have the space or budget for them.

Notice I didn’t say the rack was better than the Nautilus Omni Multi Exercise, but only that it is a better option “if  you only have space for one” because it allows for the performance of a greater variety of exercises.

Fortunately, your results from exercise have far more to do with how you train than what equipment you use. Many free weight and bodyweight exercises can be just as safe and effective as machine exercises when done correctly, and are usually safer and more effective than using improperly designed machines. For my articles, books and videos to be as helpful to as many people as possible, it is necessary to write about training properly using the equipment most people have access to, which is why I have focused a lot on free weight and body weight exercises in recent years. Not because I recommend them over Nautilus or MedX machines, but because they are the best option most people have.

The same goes for my UXS bodyweight multi-exercise station and the rack I am designing. While they may not be as good as many Nautilus or MedX machines for some of the individual exercises they certainly aren’t “grossly inferior”. The UXS provides the ability to perform dozens of exercises in the space of a single machine at a small fraction of the cost of a line of Nautilus or MedX, and even more will be possible with the rack. It is a far more affordable and space efficient option for a home gym or personal training studio than buying a dozen or more Nautilus or MedX machines, and the UXS does what it does very well. In fact, during the first stage of Project: Kratos clients who had previously trained on MedX machines said their workouts on the UXS felt more challenging, and one client wrote,”[it] was BY FAR the most taxing and intense workout I have completed.” The rack incorporates many features of the UXS and is being designed in response to requests from customers for a rack attachment. If you want both it makes more sense to design the bodyweight exercise station around a rack than the other way around.

uxs-chin-dip

If you’ve got forty to fifty thousand dollars to spend on a line of Nautilus or MedX machines and the space for them I highly recommend them. I have used and trained people on both and they’re great machines. However, if you have a very small budget or limited space  a UXS and/or a basic rack and free weight set-up will allow you to safely and effectively perform a variety of exercises for all the major muscle groups.

If you’re buying equipment for a home gym or training studio, don’t forget to check with an architect to determine the live load the floors were designed to support where you plan to place the equipment. You shouldn’t have any problem if you are placing them on a concrete slab in your garage or basement, but most residential flooring is only designed to handle a live load of around forty pounds per square foot, and will not support the weight of most commercial exercise machines. Also, if you are planning to put machines in your basement you need to consider the load your stairs were designed to handle and break the equipment down into light enough parts to move without causing damage.

I guarantee if you took a thousand people and trained all of them using the exact same methods but randomly divided them into one group that only used machines and another that only used free weights, there would be no significant difference in the average strength and size gains between them, and you couldn’t can tell by looking at them which they used. Properly designed machines are great, and there are advantages to using them, but in the long run, again, how you train is far more important than what equipment you use.

As for the question of my expertise, an expert is someone who has comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. I’ve been training and consulting for people professionally for over twenty years, and have worked with and learned from some of the most knowledgeable people in the field, and am highly regarded by many recognized experts in high intensity training, including the late Mike Mentzer who referred to me along with Doug McGuff and Greg Anderson as “leading HIT theorists”, John Little, who said, “Drew Baye is without question one of the premiere personal trainers in the world. His knowledge of exercise science and its application to one’s personal fitness goals and aspirations is exceptional in the health and fitness industry”, Doug McGuff who thanked me and Ellington Darden in the acknowledgements of Body by Science for “[our] excellent web sites and writings”, and Ellington Darden, PhD, who included a chapter I wrote in his book The New Bodybuilding For Old School Results. I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable or skilled trainer or writer in the world, but I’ve helped thousands of people get stronger, leaner, and better conditioned through my one-on-one training and writing, so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing.

Of course I am looking to earn money teaching and writing about exercise, but I do so by providing people with honest information and products and services which are of value to them. My commitment to this has actually cost me a lot of money over the years. I turn down tens of thousands of dollars of potential yearly advertising revenue because I refuse to sell ad space or links to web sites with questionable or fraudulent information, products, or services. I quit my job as the director of education for a national personal training when it became obvious they were compromising the standards for instructor certification and didn’t care, and due to the CEO’s unethical behavior. I gave away hundreds of dollars worth of consultations to people who took a particular certification I was recommending to make up for the mistake when I later found out their testing standards were practically non-existant. When I started taking prescription drugs that increase testosterone I announced it publicly rather claiming recent muscle gains and fat loss are due entirely to training and diet, like many others do. Also, unlike some other trainers I know, I have continued to teach high intensity training rather than go along with many more profitable but less safe and effective trends like boot-camps and CrossFit. If I only cared about money and not about the truth, I’d have a lot more of it than I do. I don’t, because my integrity is more important to me than the money.

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