Andy MagnessAndy Magness

Andy Magness

I am many things--everyone is, right? I'm a father, husband, trained physicist, former teacher, race director, climber, surfer, endurance junkie, conservationist, health science skeptic*, philosopher, critical thinker, apocophiliac, and an avid neologist, to name a few. I learned the art of suffering during a decade long love affair with climbing and mountaineering. It was a spectacular but at times abusive relationship, resulting in three of my four broken bones (the other was roller blading!), but left me with a healthy and perhaps rare sense of what my mental and physical limits actually were.This knowledge has served me well over the more recent decade when I've given up my affections to the slightly more forgiving mistress of endurance racing. During that time I've participated in a range of events from marathon swims to ultra-distance winter bike rides to 10 day adventure races. I have recently moved to rural Te Anau, New Zealand with my wife Tammy and two boys. Life is good. *A quick word about my skepticism. I love science. I believe in science. I understand science--how it is done and what its limits are. Which is why I'm skeptical when it comes to health science. You can find scientific studies that support just about anything when it comes to health--low carb high fat, high carb, long slow runs, purely high intensity training,etc. The human body is incredibly complex. The size of studies and the ability to control all the variables is a limiting factor. These studies are good, and we do learn from them. But we don't really learn the answers we claim to learn. I think that the disparate nature of our lives makes applying any one solution to the fitness/health game problematic. Yes, the importance of eating 'healthy' and exercising are pretty basic ideas that are hard to dispute, but beyond that--and as to which path is the best one to higher levels of fitness, I think the jury is still out (and will be for a very long time!). I certainly am not ignoring science, or any of the studies that make bold claims as to how to best achieve a goal of maximizing fitness, I am just taking them with a grain of salt. The best path forward, in my opinion, is to use the relevant data to inform on what you understand to be your own best practices. This means that the most important aspect (IMHO) of your approach to fitness is to take the time to understand what those subjective best practices are.