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Best Content of the Week

This week's mix covers a breathtaking range of personal and professional development topics. Ben Carpenter's provocative post explains why so much fitness advice sets up well-meaning people to fail. Jessi Kneeland's article tackles the same topic from the point of the view of the people who embrace brutal training programs as a way to punish themselves.

Jason Leenaarts' podcast interview with Karen Love Lee discusses abuse, addiction, and other dark origins of perfectionism and self-punishment.

Rounding out our top content, Aaron Horschig's video offers detailed instruction on breathing, bracing, and other ways to avoid beating yourself up when you do heavy lifts.

— Esther Avant

Best Article

Giving Up Control -- Jessi Kneeland, jessikneeland.com

How unrealistic is diet culture? Jessi Kneeland says it's like "scrubbing out a self-cleaning oven by hand on a daily basis" because we've been convinced our self-worth depends on it. And for all that unnecessary hardship we impose on ourselves, an approach based on restriction and obsessive control doesn't even work. A better alternative, she says, is to learn to listen to your body and decipher its signals. The process isn't easy but it's worth it.

— Shane McLean

Best Video

How to Breathe and Brace When Lifting Heavy -- Aaron Horschig, Squat University

Breathing and bracing might not be as sexy as throwing around heavy weights. But learning how to do the former will help you improve the latter. In this 11-minute video, Aaron Horschig explains why these techniques are so important, and how mastering them allows you to lift more weight with fewer risks.

— Esther Avant

Best Social Media Post

How Not to Do Fitness -- Ben Carpenter on Instagram

The more life changes a training or diet plan requires, the less chance you or your clients have of getting what you want out of it. "It's no wonder so many people feel like they fall off" the bandwagon, Ben Carpenter says. "They fall off because the bandwagon they jumped on sucks." The solution: Forget "great" programs. Start with "good." If you can do a good program consistently, you can always ramp it up to something more demanding. 

— Christina Abbey

Best Podcast

Trauma Made Me Who I Am Today -- Jason Leenaarts with guest Karen Love Lee, Revolutionary You Podcast

In this deeply honest conversation, Jason Leenaarts and Karen Love Lee talk about overcoming trauma, abuse, grief, addiction, and the stress of 2020. They offer hard-earned insights into the roots of addictive behaviors, and how to find your way out of their grip.

— Mike Howard

More Great Fitness Content 

Little Actions Lead to Massive Changes -- Artemis Scantalides, Iron Body by Artemis

How to Prevent Achilles Tendon Injuries --Shane McLean and Bo Babenko, tonygentilcore.com

Two Exercises to Improve Top-Speed Mechanics -- Chris Barnard, Overtime Athletes

Hamstring Curls for Hypertrophy -- Evidence-Based Movement

Happier Holidays -- Laurie Santos with guests Jamil Zaki, Liz Dunn, and Nick Epley, The Happiness Lab