I think reading about quests for magical rings or vampires sounds boring.
Instead, I like to read about getting shredded and jacked.
In the last decade, I’ve read thousands of fitness articles.
These ten articles are masterpieces. 10 perfect combinations of words strung together to inspire the reader to greatness.
If you haven’t read each of these articles from front-to-back, carve a bit of time out of your day, make a fresh pot of coffee, and enjoy.
The 10 Best Fitness Articles Of All Time
10. Narrative Bias and Fitness Failure By: Tanner Baze
A few, short years ago, if someone had mentioned “Tanner Baze”, you would likely respond with “Tanner who?”.
Tanner has exploded onto the online fitness landscape. Teaming up with such publications as Elite Daily, BroBible, and under the tutelage of John Romaniello, Tanner’s way with words has shot him into the forefront of the internet-based strength and conditioning world.
In the summer of 2015, Tanner penned “Narrative Bias and Fitness Failure”, relaying the story of 3 mentally insane men from Michigan who fail to see the problem with the nonsense they perpetually spew.
Tanner quickly relates this to the reader’s own health. How long will we go about believing our own self-proclaimed shortcomings before we finally admit that our excuses are bullshit? How can we easily see through the bullshit of others, yet we fail to see how full of shit we truly are ourselves?
Tanner makes you think, reflect, and question your own motives, which is a sign of an outstanding article.
9. How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk By: Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan has been publishing quality, evidence-based articles on a consistent basis for years. His site is a plethora of information. For a new fitness enthusiast, his guides are an enormous resource to help cut through the noise and give you a simple and effective approach to your weight training regimen.
Finding relevant bulking information can be a difficult task on the internet. Certain factors are ignored. Drug use is often glanced over. Supplements take the front-seat on many sites in order to turn a profit. The fact that muscle building is a long, painstaking task is neglected in order to lure the reader with clickbait.
Thankfully, clickbait isn’t Andy’s style. When he released “How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk”, Andy gave the reader quite a gem.
He addressed such issues as:
- Drug usage
- Growth rates and factors based on training experience
- Caloric intake
- Recovery abilities
- Adjusting your variables
- Bulking options (relaxed/slow/leangains)
The level of detail in Andy’s writing and the completeness of this article lands it on our list.
For anyone trying to add lean body mass to their frame, this is the definitive guide on the internet on setting up your bulking diet, bar none.
8. Fuck Dark Chocolate By: James Fell
Some writers are considered “one trick ponies”. They can write with humor, but they have a difficult time tackling meaningful topics. Or perhaps the opposite – they can pump out a research paper like an overzealous college graduate student, but their writing bores you to pieces.
James Fell is not one of those writers.
James’ ability to blend together research based evidence, hysterical anecdotes, and pure entertainment have given him an audience of millions.
In January, 2015, James tackled the subject of “healthy eating” and “moderation” – disguising it as an ode dedicated to blasting “dark chocolate”.
“Fuck Dark Chocolate” is a satirical classic – being shared tens of thousands of times on social media by everyone who has ever been annoyed with the sanctimonious nose-raising of the Whole Foods crowd as they munch on bars made up of “99% Cacao”.
As you read, be sure you understand the underlying theme of the article. The point of the article isn’t to blast dark chocolate, even though it may taste like a “bag of smashed badger asses” (Fell’s words, not mine.)
The point is simple. If you enjoy chocolate, eat some chocolate. Eat healthy most of the time, and indulge in some junk food on occasion.
Just don’t eat nonsense like “dark chocolate” and pretend you’re eating “healthy” as a way of status-signaling your way to the summit of the “clean eating” mountain.
“Fuck Dark Chocolate” was later picked up by Gawker, with its title changed. The piece would easily earn an R by the MPAA.
7. The 7 Big Rocks Of Fat Loss By: Bryan Krahn
In the world of fitness, obsession knows no boundaries. Although the days of “6 small meals” are long gone, the obsessions are still prevalent. They have merely shifted their focus.
Now, the obsessions seem to lie in proper macronutrient numbers, neurotic fasting windows, precise calorie counting, and fitting “treats” into your daily intake – all in the name of “flexible dieting”.
What works for dieting now worked for dieting 50 years ago – and it will still work 100 years into the future.
There are trees, and there is a forest. Be sure you see them both.
In “The 7 Big Rocks Of Fat Loss”, Bryan Krahn paints us a simple picture of what you should worry about, and what should be considered minutiae.
Bryan gives you time tested, solid recommendations for keeping the cart in front of the horse. His advice may not sell many “One, Weird Trick” ebooks, but it will stand the test of time and allow you to live a healthier and more productive life in and out of the gym.
6. Dispelling The Glute Myth By: Bret Contreras
There have been many fitness success stories in the past 10 years. The popularity of the internet has made it possible for the personal trainer to expand his/her reach beyond brick and mortar gyms and into the lives of a seemingly infinite audience.
That being said, it is a definite rarity when a trainer comes along and changes the game completely.
Unless, of course, your name is Bret Contreras.
Before Bret stepped onto the scene, the recipe for nice glutes was straight forward: lunges, squats, and deadlifts with little else in the mix.
Using his electromyography (EMG) software to record muscular activity in his subjects, Bret made a startling discovery. Bret’s subjects had better glute activation with bodyweight hip thrusts and glute bridges than they did with 1-rep maximum deadlifts and squats.
This discovery lead Bret to recommend an exercise nobody had ever seen before: the barbell hip thrust.
Slowly, in gyms across the country, people got over their inhibitions, grabbed the nearest barbell, loaded it up, and began humping, er, thrusting away.
Bret’s 2009 classic, “Dispelling The Glute Myth”, was written for Testosterone Nation and was the first time someone had the audacity to speak out against squats and deadlifts for their inefficiencies with gluteal activation.
Without Contreras, there is no hip thrust.
What a boring world that would be.
Editor’s note: After contacting Bret about this article’s inclusion on our list, Bret informed us the article could use a re-write. He has changed his thoughts on a few parts. He assured us if the article was on his site, it would be much more current and up to date.
5. Fitness Is A Skill By: Dick Talens
As the co-founder of Fitocracy, Dick Talens has seen many hundreds (thousands?) of fitness transformations from the general public. His unique position as a self-described “former fat boy” gives him a unique view of what it actually takes to change your life from one of sedentary laziness to one of activity and health.
Ask Dick about the “best macronutrient ratios” and the “maximum weekly fat-loss potentials with respect to body fat levels”, however, and you’re likely to get an eye-roll.
Talens understands what it takes to live the “fitness lifestyle” at a level much deeper than what is seen on the surface. The best made plan on earth means nothing if it can’t be executed. Execution is more psychological in nature than physiological.
When Talens penned “Fitness Is A Skill”, he put this into everyday language that the reader can easily relate to.
Do you have a “growth mindset”, believing that you will, in fact, get better? Do you believe that failures (excuse me, missteps) will help you grow long-term? Do you believe that your progress or potential is “fixed”, and you have a ceiling that will be impossible to get past?
Framing your fitness as a skill – just like riding a bike – is the perfect way to view your ongoing physical journey. You will likely fall at first. But the more you keep at it, the better you will get. Eventually, you’ll take your training wheels off, look around you, and wonder how you ever came so far.
4. Silly Bullshit By: Mark Rippetoe
A list on the best fitness articles of all time wouldn’t be complete without a Rippetoe article.
A straight-shooter, Mark lays it all out with the 2007 classic, “Silly Bullshit”, written for the Crossfit Journal.
The author of “Starting Strength” – which is widely regarded as a “textbook for all barbell lifters” – makes his allegiance to strength training blatantly obvious. He begins with the ominous line, “I have been accused of being an asshole on more than one occasion.”
After setting the stage, he continues to explain with anecdotes and evidence why strength – namely barbell training – is hailed as king above all other forms of exercise.
Rippetoe cannot fathom why “jogging” or “marathon training” has ever been seen as a valid means of fitness. He states:
How running 26.2 miles at one time ever got associated with being a Good Thing just beats the living hell out of me.
To Mark Rippetoe, you’re either lifting heavy, or you’re wasting your time.
If you’ve ever been nervous your cardio session might cause you to “ruin your gains”, chances are good you’ve been influenced by Rippetoe, whether you know it or not.
Bonus: If you have a good sense of humor AND you don’t mind political incorrectness, Google “Mark Rippetoe best quotes”.
3. Fuckarounditis By: Martin Berkhan
One of the biggest reasons “Fuckarounditis” is so high on this list is due to the fact that it pissed off a large number of its readers.
In 2011, Martin Berkhan, founder of Leangains, laid out a list of 25 warning signs that you have “Fuckarounditis”, a plague which manifests itself in a mediocre physique in spite of spending an enormous amounts of time and effort in the gym.
Berkhan begins his article asking you some simple questions:
Are you wasting your time on a routine which isn’t providing you results?
Do you still have an unimpressive physical appearance even though you train regularly?
Have you achieved levels of strength in accordance with the number of years you’ve been training?
Do you have……………..“Fuckarounditis”?
Then Berkhan gives us his list. 25 different items you should check to make sure you don’t have this debilitating disease.
The article is classic Martin Berkhan: brash, in your face, full of attitude, hilarious, and reflective.
You can’t help but read the list and wonder if your training has a bit of “Fuckarounditis” in it somewhere that needs to be cured.
With credit to Berkhan, to this day, when someone is seen squatting on a bosu ball, two “bros” will clank their BCAA shakes together (fasted training, yo!) and say in unison,
Yep, that dude’s got “Fuckarounditis”……
2. Iron And The Soul By: Henry Rollins
Sometimes, fitness articles are about training protocols and dieting strategies.
Sometimes, fitness articles are about much more than that.
“Iron And The Soul”, an article originally written in 1994 for “Details” magazine, falls into the latter category.
Musician and renaissance man Henry Rollins has put into words what so many lovers of the barbell have come to understand: The barbell will change you over time, and you will never be the same.
The barbell is the most truthful of all of your lovers. If you are prepared for it, it will reward you. If you go for a “PR” too soon, it will humble you with brutal honesty.
Rollins relays his personal story of his love affair with strength training.
From his beginnings as an oft-picked on youth, to his finding Mr. Pepperman, the “Mr. Miyagi” to his “Daniel-son”.
Eventually, Rollins learns a valuable lesson: True strength comes from within. It grows inside of you slowly. Allow it to grow, and eventually it will blossom, leaving a changed man in its wake.
Re-named “The Iron” and republished in numerous venues, the realness and raw emotion with which Rollins recalls his painful shortcomings and the genuine love he has for his new-found strength come seeping through his beautifully crafted words.
This is a monologue for the ages.
It has not one, single recommendation for your daily fitness routine.
And yet, it contains within perhaps the only lesson you will ever need.
1. Muscle Math By: Greg Nuckols
It has been said that the definition of true genius is one’s ability to put complex terms into language so anyone can understand them.
Enter Greg Nuckols.
Greg’s meteoric rise to the top of the fitness landscape is due to a myriad of factors:
- His record-breaking powerlifting numbers.
- His intricate analysis of all things strength related.
- His ability to make complex topics seem simple and obvious.
- His ear-to-ear smile and large, manly beard.
It’s impossible not to like Greg.
Likability and success often go hand-in-hand. When intelligence and sheer genius get thrown in on top of likability and success, you have someone like Greg: Someone who is destined to re-write fitness history as the antithesis of the “dumb meathead”.
In late 2014, on Greg’s newly minted site “Strengtheory”, an article was published which blew the minds of the lifting faithful.
“Muscle Math” combined two topics which were seemingly light-years apart – weight training and calculus – and fused them together in a marriage for the record books.
Rather primitive in nature with numerous sketched drawings, “Muscle Math” laid the foundation for Greg’s stellar ebook “The Art Of Lifting” and its counterpart “The Science Of Lifting”.
Reading through Nuckols’ words leaves you in awe. You’re filled with a significant respect for what you’re taking in.
As you read, you get the feeling you’re sitting at the bar with Greg as he explains his training philosophies. Greg makes calculus almost seem palatable.
Which is not a small feat.
Well………..what do you think?
What did we miss?
Let us know your favorite fitness articles – and tell us why they should have nabbed a spot in our countdown.
Just be sure to keep it civil. Any negative or inappropriate comments will simply be deleted.
Yours in true health,