“Fitness” means different things to different people. To a thirty-year-old man, fitness might take the shape of a six-pack. To a sixty-year-old woman, it might bring to mind Jane Fonda, leotards, and endless aerobics. To both, it probably means feeling more like a cheetah than a sloth, and looking more like a panther than a panda. (Nothing against pandas or sloths, mind you; they’re pretty amazing.)
Each month, we get hundreds of messages from people looking to improve their body — how it looks, feels, and functions. So we decided to spend time distilling the scientific evidence into practical recommendations.
We ended up spending over a thousand hours doing this. To help you achieve optimal fitness, we couldn’t just look at muscle gain or fat loss; we had to address cardiovascular health, joint pain (which can make it hard or even impossible to exercise), testosterone production, and sleep (maybe the most important fitness factor after a healthy diet).
The result? An easy-to-follow but comprehensive volume called The Examine.com Fitness Guide: A blueprint for optimizing nutrition and supplementation.
But you’ve seen the gurus online that promise to sell you the magic pill. So why should you trust our Fitness Guide?
Have you been keeping track of the latest meta-analyses on omega-3s and cardiovascular endpoints?
The fish-oil picture sure is getting muddy.
How about the changing evidence on chondroitin for joint health, with or without different forms of glucosamine?
You get the idea: there’s a lot to keep track of. Each year sees hundreds of new studies on hundreds of supplements and dietary strategies. Our team of researchers is very good, and we focus our efforts on:
What’s practical. If a study elucidates a new mechanism through which omega-3s may influence platelets, we may be aware of it, but it won’t change the Fitness Guide like a study on actual heart attacks could.
What’s in the news. We’ll track intermittent-fasting and ketogenic diets more closely than we’ll track macrobiotic or blood-type diets.
What our readers want. I read through every single feedback email we get, and we regularly conduct customer surveys.
All of this comes together to form our update strategy. In short, we update the Fitness Guide with the evidence most likely to affect you and your health.
There's nothing worse than applying information that is out-dated (and potentially harmful!)
We keep on top of the latest research so you don't have to.
In order to stay unbiased, we have to stay 100% independent. So we don’t have partnerships or sponsors. We don’t even sell ad space on our website. All our revenues come from our publications, of which we have only four: the Examine.com Research Digest (ERD), the A-to-Z Supplement Reference, the Supplement Guides, and now the Fitness Guide.
It's why we've been used as an expert resource by organizations such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Men's Health, BBC, and a lot more.
Any recommendations you see, it's because it’s based on evidence, not because we're trying to push some product on you. It's why we have over 50,000 customers.
We are the only 100% independent organization analyzing nutrition and supplement information. Since we have no supplements or coaching service to sell, you know that all of our recommendations are based on what will work for you.
Our research staff is small (a dozen people) but varied: it includes doctors, pharmacists, bench scientists, and more. Further, each of our researchers has his or her own network of specialists to call upon. As a result, if we need to look at the big picture of fat loss, we can approach it from a dozen angles. And if we need to explore a supplement’s side effects in depth, we can do that too.
The advice you get isn’t reflective of just one viewpoint. Our entire team takes scientific honesty very seriously, and we’ll debate until the wee hours to make sure you get the most accurate picture possible. Here’s an example of how obsessive we are about details:
You’ve probably heard that “if you lift, you can gain a couple of pounds of muscle per month”. This statement, however, isn’t based on a comprehensive review of the evidence. This issue affected only one sentence in our guide, but to get that one sentence right, we ended pouring over some twenty studies.
We also dug into more esoteric issues: How does a daily surplus of 200 calories affect muscle gain for people of different weights? How about a daily deficit of 200 calories? Do the newer studies tend to confirm or contradict the results of older studies? Which study populations best mirror our readers?
And when we run across studies with poor methodology, we take the time to find better studies, so you’re never mislead by bad data.
You want information that is as informed as possible. We've assembled a team with diverse knowledge, experience, and background so that you get the full picture, not someone's singular vision.
Academic papers have a glaring downside: they typically don’t conclude with practical advice. Their focus is, rightfully, on gathering and interpreting data, not on exploiting it.
But in the Fitness Guide, we’ve distilled the research into explicit recommendations on what to take, in what dosages, in what combinations, and when, depending on various factors. The needs of a 20-year-old female endurance athlete are not the needs of an overweight 70-year-old man with a high risk of heart disease, and we don’t want you to take supplements that only succeed in age or disease demographics you don’t fall into.
We guide you step-by-step through what’s known, what’s promising, and what’s to be avoided, so that you only spend your time and money on the supplements and dietary strategies that work and best fit your specific needs. Even at over 200 pages, this guide is designed to be practical and to the point. All its sections are concise and actionable.
There is no fluff in what we do. You won't have to read 50 pages of narration to get to the meat. We instantly breakdown what you need to know so you can increase your level of fitness asap!
As I mentioned, I read through every single feedback email we get, and we regularly conduct customer interviews to understand what you are looking for, not what we think you need.
From our initial release, the Fitness Guide has grown 40% in size, all because of user feedback.
A few of the items we've delved into because of what people like you have said:
Low-fat or low-carb? Which diet is healthier, and which works better?
Which one ability is most correlated with achieving long-term fat loss?
How exactly does coconut oil affect heart health? And is it even a good source of MCTs?
Which vitamins and minerals should you take together and which separately?
Can you lose weight just walking, or is running really necessary? Should you even target 10,000 steps a day?
Is there anything you can do to curb food cravings and snacking habits? And why do you crave food even when you’re not hungry?
And there's a lot more. Most academics drone on and on about topics that don't matter, or spend way too much time talking about theoretical issues (which don't help you).
We focus on actionable stuff that you can immediately put to use.
Too many academics focus on little details that don't really make an impact. We've focused on making the Fitness Guide actionable based on what over 4000 customers have told us what they want.
The Fitness Guide helps us, the Examine.com research team, optimize our own health, and we believe it’ll help you too. However, we also believe that if it does not help you, you shouldn’t have to pay for it, which is why it comes with an unconditional money-back guarantee.
Millions of people visit us every month. As a science-heavy website, we’re thankful to gather such an audience. We appreciate you, and we try to be straight shooters.
If you're ready to get the best guide on maximizing your fitness, check out our Fitness Guide.
And if you still have questions? Send us a message. We'll be happy to answer.