n=1/m=1, and the Relevance of Street Cred as Opposed to “Conferred” Cred

An interesting phenomena that the communications ease enabled by the Internet has brought about: the relevance of the n=1/m=1 experimenter, the citizen scientist.  Less and less do credentials matter; what truly matters are documented results; results that can then be duplicated, verified and substantiated by anyone, anywhere (again, regardless of “established” credentials).  Blogs now serve as as living curriculum vitae, with theories, postulates, experiment results, etc. laid out for all to examine.  Art DeVany is an economist by training, yet that didn’t prevent (nor lend any particular credence to) those ideas that eventually became today what we know as Evolutionary Fitness.  Physical Culturalists read Art’s ideas and theories (myself included), tried them on for size, and found them to be (mostly) spot-on.  Many of us took Art’s ideas, gave them our own n=1/m=1 spin, and documented those findings in our own blogs.  Does anyone really give two shits that Art’s formal training happens to be in the “dismal” rather than physical sciences?  Results are what ultimately matter.  How one got to the point of being able to produce those results matters little, other than as an “oh, by the way” vignette.  The fact of the matter is that access to knowledge is virtually free to anyone with a want to dig; access to “impressive” credentials, on the other hand, is still rather limited by economic barriers.  But again, my point: what really and ultimately matters, credentials or results?  Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly do not discount the contribution of the subject academic — I simply believe that creative thought from outside of the box plays a much bigger role — a critical role, even — in discovering the underlying truth of a matter than has previously been acknowledged.

An interesting Huffington Post article, DIY U, Educational Access, and the New Elitism, by Anya Kamenetz, talks to some of these same points.  Also, Seth Roberts has an interesting recent post regarding self-experimentation, and the re-emergence of the citizen scientist.  And from the blog of Tim Ferriss, comes this piece, written by Ryan Holiday, titled The Experimental Life: An Introduction to Michel de Montaigne .  N=1 experimentation; life as a consummate epistemocrat.  A belief in those who actively seek the truth, and a healthy skepticism toward those who claim to have found it. Credentials might be useful as a sound-bite crutch, however, to those of us willing to dig, consider, contemplate and research, they matter very little.  To me and other like-minded individuals, the credentials litmus test is, well… passe, and worse than that, useless.  Does anyone really care what Louie Simmons’ formal education consists of, or whether or not he is “certified” for example, by the NSCA?

On to the workout front –

Monday, 10/25

Pendulum hip press (hierarchical set): 400 x 12, 500 x 6, 600 x 3;
then immediately to a superset of the following:
trap bar deadlift: 460 x 2, 2, 2
weighted chins: 50 x 6, 5, 5

Thursday, 10/28

a superset of the following:
power snatch: 95 x 10; 115 x 6; 135 x 3; 145 x 3; 155 x 3; 160 x 2, 2
ab wheel roll-out (standing, full extension): bw x 10 each round
– then-
behind-the-neck push-press: 135 x 7; 185 x 6; 205 x 3; 210 x 2; 215 x 2; 220 x 1, (miss), 1

Friday, 10/29

a superset of the following:
floor press: 185 x 10; 215 x 7; 235 x 4, 4
bent-over rows: 275 x 7; 305 x 6; 325 x 4, 4

Each set of floor presses was preceded by a set of 7 explosive push-ups; primers for the cns.  And speaking of cns primers, check out this post from UND S&C coach,

Aaron Schwenzfeier, on pogo hops as a potent cns stimulator and a mighty effective “warm-up” to boot.  I agree, and I use the same methods myself. 

…and to round things out, here’s a great article, from T-Nation, on the mechanisms of hypertrophy:

More support for the notion that physical culture cannot be boiled down singular “best” methodologies; what’s “best” in fact, is the intelligent co-mingling of many different techniques and methods, dependent upon the trainee’s goals and current status.


In health,


6 responses to “n=1/m=1, and the Relevance of Street Cred as Opposed to “Conferred” Cred

  1. Great article, Keith. I know my n=1 shows that Zero Carb combined with heavy weight training combined with daily fasting = hot body ;). Love your blog. I think we need some food porn posts coming up!

    • Meesus TTP consistently churns-out the fan-damn-tabulous paleo grub, and it’s only due to my own shortsightedness that more food porn doesn’t make it’s way to the blog. Actually, snapping food porn shots falls pretty low on the ol’ priority list once dinner is served 🙂 I’ll make an attempt to curb my chow-down enthusiasm, though — at least long enough to grab a shot or two 🙂

  2. Keith, those are generous and insightful posts. I can’t approach those weights though.

    800 lb leg press I can do, but I missed on 405. Haven’t done deadlifts in a while. A couple of weeks will get me there.

    I find that heavy leg presses and deadlifts are just about all I need, with a few shaping exercises for symmetry.

    The hippocampus shows a flood of stem cells are released by intense exercise and then they are consolidated through engagement with a complex environment. A good reason to take a nice walk in nature after a work out, a long practice of mine.

    • Yes, I often take a nice fixie spin in and around downtown Austin following a workout; not exactly a leisurely nature hike — more along the lines of survival in the urban jungle 🙂

  3. Great thoughts. I heard Juan Carlos Santana a couple months ago talk about the fitness community and how it’s been inundated with “certification courses” for everything…and we ate it up! I am proud to say that I never went for them, just learned what I felt was necessary for the majority of clientele I see. N=1 is correct, and I have to know all those n’s!!

    One aside to Mr Santana’s remarks: I see he now will not present his stuff here in the US because all of the fitness professionals do too many certifications, but sells his “MMA Training certification” course. I guess he fell to the dark side of selling more credentials.

    Thanks again for the great posts!

  4. “A belief in those who actively seek the truth, and a healthy skepticism toward those who claim to have found it.”

    This quote is great! Really need to brush up Montaine. Sounds very interesting. Can’t agree more about certifications, degrees, credentials. Putting Theory to Practice is much more important IMO. 🙂

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