The following is a new series on how information technology (i.e., the Internet, digital communications, etc.) has had a profound impact on one's ability to appropriate literature on diet and fitness, and also how it has enabled strength coaches and trainers to branch out to a global marketplace.
I think "the web" is the perfect analogy to help us visualize this enormous, seemingly limitless digital world that most of us use every day. Obviously, without it, Intensity Magazine would not be in existence and therefore wouldn't have a worldwide audience. And how many of you would have heard of Renegade training or Pavel Tsatsouline without ever "logging on"?
The Internet has become commonplace, which is amazing since it is still in its infancy. With the advent of broadband connections, Pentium IV processors, cheap memory, etc., the web has become easier and more efficient to navigate, but you can still get lost. Although most of us use the Internet simply to communicate with others (email, buddy chats, forums, etc.), think for a moment about the profound effect it has had on your life.
Note: While proofreading this article, I realized that I had used the word "lift" instead of "life." Funny how either word would hold true.
It Wasn't An Accident
Please allow me to make the following analogy:
I met my girlfriend because of a seemingly random encounter 12 years ago. (By the way, I don't believe in accidents.) It was all because I was shot down by a girl I asked to dance when I was a junior in high school. The rejection, which of course felt horrible at the time, made me available to another girl who grabbed me and got me on the dance floor. Through this girl I have met a lot of close friends, and it took 12 years for me to finally make the connection that would make me happiest.
In order to avoid sounding like the Old Testament, I won't bore you with the facts of who begat who, but l will tell you that the web grew outward from just me and this girl to about 15 friends and acquaintances. Although the web still grows, it's amazing to me how two different roads led to the same intersection (where I now spend most of my time).
Another important web that I spun, or was spun for me, was made possible through the virtual world. Back in 1997 I rediscovered my love for BMX racing. Even though I had never participated in any national events, my exposure to the professional athletes still came easy due to my online magazine and via email. I befriended AA Pro (and Intensity writer) Jeff Dein, and he pretty much constructed the backbone of my knowledge for the iron game. Through his recommendations of sites and forums, I became familiar with an old Coach who's Renegade style appealed to me: I wasn't naturally gifted, I am a hard gainer, and I won races because of my never-say-die attitude. When I came across the Coach's email, I noticed he had a domain associated with it.
Upon further investigation, I saw that the domain led to a dead end. So I sent the old Coach an email insisting something had to be done with his web presence. No response. Over the next few weeks, I sent a few follow-ups. Nothing. So I gave him a ring. OK, I gave him a few rings (remember that never-say-die attitude?). Finally, he called me back and was impressed by my persistence (I figured he would be, either that or incredibly annoyed).
After some discussion, we realized that if we combined our expertise (web and athletic training) we could help educate so many Renegade hopefuls that, up until recently, would never have been able to take advantage of the old Coach's workouts. (In all honesty, he's not THAT old.) A few weeks later, renegadetraining.com was born.
Brick by brick we are building a foundation upon which a global fortress will be built. Our challenge has been enormous because we are attempting to re-create a educational possibility within the world of sports performance and technology. We are still in the Alpha level and slowly unfurling the training plan of attack as well as the technological, but it offers a unique perspective into information sharing and performance enhancement. So many Renegade athletes are fully aware, the results you attain are nothing short of extraordinary, but are still only the beginning for what we have in store. So what does all this mean to you?
Simply put, you are at the forefront of an exciting new realm of information gathering. Through the Internet, you can easily be kept up to date on the latest science and technology and learn how to use it for your own gains. Within our world of Renegade training, digital film is shot daily and sent around the country in seconds to assist with some of sport's top teams. Training sessions can be broken down and revised virtually instananeously to reflect the needs of the team/athletes.
Not too long ago, this was a task that would take days if not weeks and often would not occur at all because of the complexities. I truly believe that libraries will almost be extinct, except on the university level. Who needs them? Or in fact are we not creating a small reference library ourselves? Many of the new Renegade athletes are astounded by the series of files that they have access to. When was the last time you opened up an encyclopedia?
I also believe, however, that the Internet will never replace books and magazines. As a friend and editor of a bicycle magazine once told me, "You can't take your computer to the toilet." I thought that was a very profound statement. As a "web guru," I'm on the computer all day and all night. When I want to read for enjoyment, I often print the articles rather than have to stare at my screen longer than I have to (plus, as an editor, I love my red pen). But the toilet imagery brings up another thought: There's a lot of crap out there. It's ultimately up to each of us to decipher what's good and what's not. Obviously, some sites and some coaches are recognized and respected, but most no one has ever heard of.
There are so many gimmicks and quick-fix programs available for three easy payments of $39.95 it makes my stomach turn. Common sense should turn us away from most of them, but I can't (or rather won't) tell you how many people I know who have bought an Ab-Doer thingamajig. I think they now use it to dry their laundry.
Any time someone makes the decision to spread information (over any media), he or she takes on an enormous responsibility to ensure that:
- The information is accurate,
- That the audience can understand it,
- If the audience has questions that they can find answers,
- That someone will follow-up with concerns and answers to questions that can't be found online.
- And the information better be useful, otherwise no one will want to read it.
In future installments, I will provide some insight into how the same Coaches who are working with elite professional and amateur athletes can now help you reach higher levels, without meeting you personally. Additionally, because the Internet is a whole new playing field, I want to make sure you know all about the game.