Let's talk evidence based practice.
Evidence based practice is a term borrowed from the medical profession that many people use as a claim to authority in a noisy marketplace of ideas.
Since the 90s, evidence based practice has been promoted in medicine as an approach to developing best practices and achieving better standards of care.
Evidence-based practitioners understand that comes from a combination of.. the reason evidence, clinical experience, and patient preferences.
While significant gaps between evidence and practice are endemic in healthcare, many in the fitness industry fall prey to the same mistakes.
When grappling with complex problems people tend to reduce and decontextualize failing to consider the interdependent nature of the three pillars of evidence based practice.
When people only focus on one of the three pillars, they engage in one of several fallacies …
The first and perhaps least, misrepresentation of evidence based practice in fitness is an over-reliance of the highest quality evidence to support any decision.
The “But there is now evidence to support that” fallacy is more common in the medical field, but serves as a barrier to innovation and undermines significant differences between individuals.
Second, those in the fitness industry more commonly embrace the “I have a single cherry picked study to support my position” fallacy. With their inability to understand critical evaluation, they search for any evidence of any quality that will support that lends credibility to their current opinions otherwise known as confirmation bias.
Third, if we only consider personal experience it's easy for the pseudo evidence-based practitioner to say “my experience is 10 years ahead of the evidence”. These people may be poorly equipped to respond to the evolving body of evidence, they may not be ahead of the evidence, they might just be blind it to it .
The forth misrepresentation of evidence based practice depends on “the customer is always right” fallacy. Professionals often resign to the idea that that despite their best knowledge, they must capitulate to the potentially self-defeating preferences of the athlete, patient, or client to stay ahead of the competition.
When they fail to realize that patients are often significantly influenced by those in positions of authority.
People often fail to understand the concept of evidence based practice as a three-legged foundation, into a one leg stool, using that shaky structure to support pre-existing beliefs and avoid self-criticism.
We need all three pillars to create a sound foundation of evidence based practice, a one-legged approach can be a dangerous way to build a foundation to stand on.