Does Weightlifting Make You Stupid?
This is a question people in the fitness industry don’t seem to be asking themselves. In fact, intelligence-based decision-making seems to be completely absent among most, if not all fitness people.
The big question here may actually relate to whether or not poor decision-making leads to shallow and incompetent thinking. Do bad decisions eventually land people in a weight room obsessing over the growth of muscular tissue? Do unintelligent humans lift, or does the lifting make them unintelligent? I think the answer is neither – that it is much more complex but that’s a story for another time.
What I really want to discuss today is the obsession that humans in the 21st century have with their physical image, and the consequences of that obsession.
Keep in mind that these are just my opinions, with some science sprinkled in from time to time. I am in no way stating that this is scientifically proven, at least in the way people are used to taking in science (via corporate funded studies backed by an insatiable thirst for money). This is simply an analysis (anecdotal yes) generated after dealing with people for as long as I have. There are some scientific facts here that do need to be examined though.
Side note: in most cases relating to training, I value anecdotal evidence more than empirical. Empirical evidence often leads to people not trying new things. As a rule, an establishment will create and use information to tarnish anything that attacks its structure, and people with an investment (financial or emotional) in a system are inclined to defend that investment at all costs. A truly scientific person tests things before making assertions. Anyone who is upset by this blog is more than welcome to try what we do at FP and reach their own conclusions. We have hundreds of free videos on YouTube and elsewhere – verifying FP requires only an investment of time and effort.
So does weightlifting make you stupid?
I don’t know. I think this should be tested, and that a broad discussion needs to be started.
At what point does weightlifting affect a person’s ability to reason or understand things outside their bubble of reality? Is it cultural pressure driving a person to focus exclusively on their aesthetics that manifests stupidity? Or is it the act of lifting arbitrary objects, in an arbitrary manner that brings about non-thought orientations? To answer these questions, we first have to get into a discussion about what intelligence actually is.
So we are clear, some of the most idiotic minds have high IQs. Some of the highest paying jobs require a high IQ. In my career, I’ve trained many VPs and CEOs who ran themselves into heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer by the time they hit their mid 40s. Even with those high IQs, somehow these people were incapable of seeing that their high stress, 80-hour work weeks were the source of their illness. They could not understand that evolutionarily, humans are not adapted to deal with the problems a CEO faces. My point here is that intelligence in the way people see it today is irrelevant.
All intelligence goes through stages of relevance. Does it take intelligence to be a CEO of a major corporation? Definitely. Would that intelligence apply to the realities of people 200,000 years ago? Absolutely not. Most humans today are totally useless in settings that don’t involve civilization. Few modern humans would survive for long in a raw natural environment where lions, elephants and hyenas roam. Intelligence is completely relative. How does that apply to us today?
We are clearly at a pivotal point in our existence. We may destroy ourselves, or we may move forward and survive – it could go either way. We all know the intelligent choice for the human organism, RELATIVE TO THIS STAGE IN OUR EVOLUTION.
As smart as you think it might be to become a high IQ billionaire who hoards all his wealth, an organism from a type II civilization would view that intelligence in the same way that we regard the thought processes of bacteria. We are clearly at a stage of self-destruction but in the midst of all of this… drum rolllllls… we have people mindlessly lifting weights.
They’re not thinking about any of this. The weightlifter likely never ponders that a baby’s base metabolism hovers at 60 percent, just for its brain alone. What does that mean? Humans are brain dominant entities. Biologically, we prioritize cognition over all other things. That is how we evolved and thrived as a species.
At some point however, people decided to start focusing on developing irrelevant musculature and aesthetics in ways that veer us away from this biological tendency, effectively defying evolution. That is insane but what’s even crazier is that I will be ostracized by the weightlifting community, more than I already am, simply because I orient my training around the enhancement of my brain. Ironically, I will be seen as an imbecile because I do not trade my brain for my biceps, but I wonder, what should we call someone hunched over a sweaty bench doing their fifth set of concentration curls as part of a 20-set bicep workout? How relevant is that decision and the intelligence behind it?
Eventually as a collective group, we have to ask ourselves to what extent our behaviors take us away us from brain enhancement, and how long we’re willing to continue.
All the best,