Segments of the fitness world are often derided because of the prevalence of ‘broscience’. And justifiably so. Broscience is the result of self-proclaimed fitness gurus misunderstanding scientific articles or getting confused by statistics, leading them to make major decisions or proclamations to their followers and clients based on nonsense. And when the blind lead the blind this ends up with thousands of people believing and acting on something just because it sounds right.

Multiply that by a few factors of a thousand and that is exactly where we are right now with COVID-19. Far too many members of the scientific world are eagerly being quoted about their theories around COVID, without having ANY proper substantiated evidence to back them up. Under any other circumstance they would be mocking ‘broscientists’ for their irrational conclusions and cognitive leaps but somehow this is being allowed in the scientific community, with unreviewed papers being published left, right and centre.

Somehow every “expert” on any aspect of science is happily getting their hypotheses, personal ideas and opinions quoted as the gospel truth when it comes to COVID. Remember those projections that everybody read, about how millions are going to die? Based on assumptions. Assumptions based on personal opinions of which numbers to input into algorithms. So global government policies, whether well-intentioned or not, have been based on the fancy of glorified broscientists.

There is no such thing as an expert on COVID-19 yet. Or an expert on the virus that causes it.

So when an “expert” says to stop taking anti-inflammatory supplements because “the body needs an inflammatory response” – what are they basing that on? Nonsense – it is well known scientifically that chronic inflammation reduces the response that would otherwise fight off a lung infection. Reducing the chronic inflammation helps with that, so keep your broscience opinions to yourself.

When “experts” tell us that ‘asymptomatic carriers’ are spreading SARS-CoV-2, what are they basing it on? Google it – there’s no evidence, only made-up declarations.  In fact papers are starting to be published now that indicate it isn’t a thing. For the anecdotal cases, can you really tell me whether or not you coughed this morning? Even a little throat clear? This brilliant piece of broscience has engendered fear throughout the globe and contributed to the belief that we’re doing the right thing by locking EVERYONE down rather than just isolating those as risk.

When “experts” tell us that socio-economic factors are important for COVID – with people claiming that there are many things that make COVID more serious or lethal because they want to drive their social agendas, what are they thinking? This is not the time or place for that, however valid it may (or may not) be the rest of the time.  We know full well what the comorbidities for COVID deaths are.  Giving people an excuse to think that it’s someone else’s fault is not helpful. “Get in shape, be healthier to the best of your ability” should be the message, not “poor you, there’s nothing you could have done about it”.

When “experts” tell us that lockdown is working, what are they basing it on? More and more evidence points to the fact that the virus was around way before we started lockdown. So we have no idea how many people were exposed, and very little idea how many people actually got the virus. There is no way for us to ever know if the lockdowns that have destroyed lives, livelihoods and businesses globally actually made any difference to the virus. This is the most devastating bit of broscience imaginable.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT COVID-19 THAT ISN’T BROSCIENCE?

Chronic inflammation weakens lung immune defenses. Unfortunately, this happens when you have a metabolic disease like type-2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and more. We can expect that this will be a large part of why people with these comorbidities are more susceptible and have worse adverse reactions to COVID-19.  We don’t KNOW this for sure yet, but we DO KNOW it for other lung infections. We know that along with old age, these metabolic diseases weaken your lungs’ defenses. This isn’t unique to COVID, and you should be doing something now to prevent it when you are older, and that means getting in shape.

We also know, and this is important, that infection isn’t automatic – you don’t die every time you get a papercut even though you are exposed to the outside world. This is true for all known viral and bacterial infections, and we should expect that it’s also true for SARS-CoV-2. Even those with no prior infections to help build immunity (babies) have a certain level of protection built into the immune system. The lungs also have a protective layer of mucus that is constantly being cleaned out by small cells (cilia) in the lining of the tubes in the lungs. This catches most airborne agents in particulate form.  We don’t KNOW that this protects us from COVID-19 specifically, but we DO KNOW these systems protect us from thousands of other infectious or deleterious agents.

We know there is NO EVIDENCE for asymptomatic transmission, which means when ASSUMING that it happens we should balance the risks, in this case the devastating effects of lockdown.

WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

Everyone should learn to be a bit more sceptical of headlines. Headlines exist for a reason, to grab your viewership or readership.  They are not there for any reason other than that.  Everyone should learn to be more sceptical of people’s motivations.  If an “expert” is being quoted, are they really an expert on the subject at hand? Are they an expert in anything at all? If they are a medical doctor have they participated in research? How do you know? It’s usually easy – Google them, look them up on LinkedIn, see that their credentials are. A little bit of effort like this gives you the knowledge to make your own decisions on who or what to listen to and believe. We can’t be expected to understand or be knowledgeable about every subject out there. But taking this easy inquisitive step will help safeguard you against being part of the human flock, blindly following bad science like a proverbial lamb to the slaughter.

In light of all this, fitness-broscience doesn’t seem quite so destructive. But I’ll be back on that subject once COVID has disappeared from the headlines…