Pop Culture Debates

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Tonight America will gather around their televisions. Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, college roommates who are hosting a drinking game. Everyone will gather up their popcorn and their sure-to-be gigantic bottles of self-medicating wine to watch the very first debate of the 2016 presidential election.Hillary Clintonand Donald Trump will gather at Hofstra University in Long Island in front of NBC’s Lester Holt to discuss their views on what’s being described as “Achieving Prosperity,” “America’s Direction” and “Securing America.” And while we’re sure those are very weighty and important topics indeed, we are actually here today to debate some wholly different arguments.

Yes, long after humanity has died out and the raccoon overlords have taken over the planet, those raccoons will probably have completely forgotten which presidential candidate was right about achieving prosperity. But a great many pop culture debates will still be raging on in some form or another.

Seriously, the usurper raccoon king Geoffrey will probably be fighting with his raccoon underlings about Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Richie.In honor of the release of the kickoff to presidential debate season, here are 31 pop culture fights that will probably lead to a World War that will cause the extinction of humanity and the rise of the raccoons (see above):

1. Should Hermione have ended up with Harry? (Harry Potter)

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J.K. Rowling said herself that she regretted putting Ron with Hermione, but did she belong with The Boy Who Lived instead?2. Star Wars vs. Star Trek

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Captain’s log or a galaxy far, far away? The world universe will never settle this one.3. Disney Classics vs. Modern Pixar

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Toy Story is a beloved film and probably will be for the rest of time, but does that make it better than the movies from the era of The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast? Will Frozen, Up and the like take the place as the greatest Disney creations of all time?!
4. Britney vs. Christina
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Both beloved to ’90s/2000s kids for different reasons, and then there was that Madonna-Britney-Christina kiss where someone got the s–t end of the stick camera time-wise in favor of Justin Timberlake‘s reaction.5. Pacey vs. Dawson (Dawson’s Creek)

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We don’t wanna wait for the end of this debate because it will never, ever come.6. Were Ross and Rachel on a break? (Friends)

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We have strong feelings on this one, but we understand the opposing view point. Sort of. A little bit. Not really.7. Should Carrie have ended up with Big? (Sex and the City)

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After all the crap Big put her through, was getting back together with him really a happy ending? Or were they destiny?8. Who is the best Batman?

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Depends on who “your” Batman is: Keaton? Bale? Kilmer? West? There is no right answer for this one. Just kidding, it’s CLOONEY. #Batnipples4life9. Team Jacob vs. Team Edward (Twilight)

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Arguments over a shirtless werewolf versus a sparkly vampire should probably be filmed and studied for science.
10. Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift 
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Their bad blood will stain the thread of music history probably until pop stars are replaced with robots.11. Angel vs. Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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Third option: Team Buffy.12. Team Jen vs. Team Angie

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As this last week proves, this will literally never die.13. NSYNC vs. Backstreet Boys

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Quit tearing up the games you play on our hearts! Or something like that.14. Seinfeld vs. Friends

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They were both sitcoms, but they aren’t really similar enough to compare. However, that doesn’t stop people from that era from arguing over which series really ruled TV during the decade of Must-See TV.15. Is 3D unnecessary?

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Do studios only make movies 3D to get that extra coin? Or does it actually make movies better? Also, why wasn’t Magic Mike XXL in 3D?
16. Which Real Housewives franchise is best?

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Or to be more specific: which Real Housewives franchise has the most bats–t insane moments?17. The Wire vs. The Sopranos

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Both are beloved TV dramas, but pit them against each other in a “Best TV Show” ever argument and s–t goes down. And should Breaking Bad now be added to this fight?18. Team Gale vs. Team Peeta (The Hunger Games)

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Is the best friend better than the dreamy baker boy? Readers of the book know how this one plays out, but does that mean Katniss made the right choice?19. Pepsi vs. Coke

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When it comes to soda pop, there can only be one. But history has failed to prove which one.20. Did Tony die in the finale? (The Sopranos)

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Unfortunately, the only person who can give fans a direct, clear answer is executive producerDavid Chase, and he continues to say the same noncommittal thing: that the scene is what you make of it.
21. Did the top stop spinning and fall at the end of Inception?
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Just Google that phrase and watch the theories unravel. Warning: it will take you down a black Internet hole.
22. Who is the best Doctor? (Doctor Who)
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Tennant? Smith? One of the Time Lords from the original series? The debate rages on through time and space.23. Starbucks vs. Coffee Bean

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The ‘bucks or the Bean? That phrase should be on a t-shirt.24. Mariah vs. Whitney vs. Celine

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Let’s all just agree that we are all fortunate to have lived in a time when these three powerhouse voices ruled the airwaves.25. Paris vs. Nicole

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Their reality show and friendship might be long over, but the feud between fans burns on like the bright spray tan that used to grace these ladies’ bodies.26. Could Jack have fit on the door with Rose? (Titanic)

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A question so hotly debated that Myth Busters had to do a show about it. Although, Kate Winslet admitted that Rose probably let Jack die.
27. Twizzlers vs. Red Vines
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This is important.28. Best Marvel Chris: Pratt, Hemsworth or Evans?

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Whatever the outcome, we all win.29. Was The Dress blue and black or white and gold?

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AKA at the day the Internet was torn apart.30. Captain Kirk vs. Captain Picard

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They both make great memes, that’s for damn sure.31. Was the Lost finale terrible or iconic?

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Have fun asking that question to a Lost fan, because you will be listening for at least four hours as they go over their argument point by point.And the one pop culture debate that has definitely been settled once and for all:

1. Can you even?!

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NOPE. NO ONE CAN EVEN.If you want to announce your official position on these pop culture debates, please do so in the comments below and if you fight about something with other people related to TV, books, movies, etc…let us know and maybe we’ll do a round 2 list!

The 10 Most Hotly Debated Fitness Topics (#2 really gets people going)

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Debates on these questions are everywhere. Very simply, here’s the answer to each of the 10 most hotly debated fitness topics.

Controversy in Fitness

These days it’s all the rage for fitness professionals to take a stand on issues facing the industry. After all, everybody wants more hits to their website, more comments on their articles, and more shares on social media.

As it turns out, one of the easiest ways to elicit the desired viral response is to make blanket statements like “Lift heavy,” “Never do crunches,” and “Forget traditional cardio, just lift weights faster.”

The truth is that when it comes to training “” no matter how black and white many “experts” make things out to be “” most issues come in shades of grey. Everything exists on a continuum.

Sure, with this approach we lose out on the top of the newsfeed. However, what we gain in terms of breadth of training adaptations far exceeds the results that come with a narrow-minded, all-or-nothing approach.

Below, I describe ten of the most controversial and hotly debated subjects in fitness and how we might all benefit from plopping ourselves and our clients somewhere in the middle, instead of choosing one side of the debate over the other.

Controversy in Fitness | thePTDC | Health and Fitness Debate

1. Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Stretching

Static stretching inhibits strength and power production [1] and should be avoided at all costs… Right?

Not so fast. Static stretching feels good, and many folks really need it. Moreover, dynamic stretching following static stretching negates the aforementioned inhibition [1].

Verdict: Prior to the workout, static stretch then dynamic stretch. Post-workout, static stretch.

Further Reading

Should Personal Trainers Stretch Their Clients? – Bob McAtee
Why You Must Not Stretch Hypermobile Clients – Eric Cressey

2. “Just Squat, Bro!” vs. Corrective Exercise

Just get under the barbell and allow the weight to sort out asymmetries and movement deficiencies… Right?

The big lifts themselves may be corrective in nature to a certain extent, but when a client displays severe valgus, butt wink, and excessive forward inclination of the torso, “Just squat, bro!” isn’t the most sound programming strategy.

While it’s just plain silly to roll around on the floor for an hour and call it personal training, a couple of targeted corrective exercises, as determined by some sort of screening criteria, can go a long way towards improving movement quality and staying safe in the gym [2].

Verdict: Just squat, bro! But also perform corrective exercise as part of warm-up or as inter-set rest.

debates on health and fitness issues | thePTDC | Fitness controversies

Yeah, she squats, bro, but she also does corrective work in addition to conditioning and isolation.

Further Study (paid)

Post Rehab Essentials V2.0 – Dean Somerest

3. Compound Exercises vs. Isolation Exercises

Isolation is a waste of time. Just do all the big compound lifts, and the little muscles will take care of themselves… Right?

Multi-joint movements like squats and pull-ups should undoubtedly make up the bulk of training. However, multi-joint exercises are suboptimal for training certain muscles.

Take the hamstrings and biceps, for instance. Since they don’t change length appreciably during compound lifts, isolation is actually the best way to strengthen them [3]. Especially if these muscles are weak links in the chain, isolation is a must. Plus, it’s nice to give the people what they want (when it won’t hurt them).

Verdict: Emphasize compound lifts, but also incorporate single-joint exercises to strengthen weak links and as “icing on the cake.”

4. Bilateral Lower Body Training vs. Unilateral Lower Body Training

There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline that comes with feeling a heavy load on your back… Right?

Maybe “” if you’re a powerlifter, that is. Most everyone else, though, would do better to add some single leg lower body variations.

Unilateral exercises provide the same benefits as their bilateral counterparts [4] ­with half the compressive force on the spine and an added stability requirement. Two-legged squats and deadlifts certainly aren’t dead, as some have claimed. The key is to strike an appropriate balance.

Verdict: A one-to-one ratio of unilateral to bilateral lower body exercise is just right. Pair a bilateral knee-dominant exercise with a unilateral hip-dominant exercise in one session, and flip-flop movement patterns in the next.

5. Low Reps vs. High Reps

Anything over 6 reps is cardio, and we all know how cardio destroys gains [5]… Right?

In actuality, due to differences in fiber type composition, different muscles hypertrophy best at different – and often multiple – rep ranges. For maximal muscular development, then, a variety of set and rep schemes should be employed [6]. 

Verdict: Hit multiple rep ranges (low, medium, high, super high) throughout the course of a week or training cycle.

Further Reading

A Simple System to Build Better Personal Training Programs – Greg Nuckols

6. Full-body Lifts vs. Direct Core Work

Floor “ab” routines are for sissies. Squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and overhead presses are all the core work you need… Right?

It’s been shown that full-body barbell lifts do, in fact, elicit high levels of core activation [7].

Even so, for those with weaker midsections, a few extra sets of direct core work either at the beginning or end of the session are a must. On the opposite end of the spectrum, for clients with extremely strong cores, the best way to provide a significant training stimulus is through direct core work. 

Verdict: On top of the big full-body lifts, throw in a couple of direct core exercises each session.

7. Spinal Flexion and Rotation vs. Core Stability

The purpose of the core is to prevent motion, not create it [8]. You see, the human spine is like a credit card. Repeatedly bending and twisting it will, over time, cause it to snap right in half… Right?

At this point, the research is frustratingly equivocal. Anecdotally, there are freaks out there that do hundreds or even thousands of crunches per day and are ripped and back pain-free.

It’s likely that, just like any exercise, too much flexion and rotation can be dangerous. It’s fairly safe to say, though, that a few sets of crunches (mostly through the thoracic spine) or Russian twists (with a short range of motion) – on top of plenty of stability work – won’t wreck the spine. Heck, they may even provide some salubrious effects along with the aesthetic value [9].

Verdict: Train primarily for core stability, and sporadically hit the glamour muscles with a few sets of low-rep flexion- or rotation-based exercises.

Further Reading

The Real Reason You Still Have Back Pain – Armi Legge

controversial fitness topics | thePTDC | fitness topics to clear up

Training the body to resist movement is just as important as training the body to move.

8. Traditional Cardio vs. Metabolic Resistance Training

Weights are meant to be lifted slowly and under control with plenty of rest between sets. For cardio, hop on a treadmill, fan bike, or ergometer… Right?

Indeed, performing heavy, technical lifts in a fatigued state is risky [10]. But with proper training age, appropriate exercise selection, and careful attention to form, metabolic resistance training (i.e., lifting weights faster) can be plenty safe – not to mention boatloads of fun.

Verdict: Use a mix of metabolic resistance training (with appropriate exercise selection) and traditional cardio.

Further Reading

Metabolic Conditioning –  Don’t Say it if You Don’t Know What it Means – Brad Schoenfeld

9. Advanced Monitoring Techniques (Quantified Self) vs. Wellness Questionnaire

If you’re not having clients spend a few minutes every morning before they get out of bed assessing their heart rate variability, you’re doing them an extreme disservice… Right?

No doubt, these new-fangled bio-monitoring tools are highly effective in measuring recovery [15].

But for trainees who don’t have hundreds of dollars lying around waiting to buy up the equipment, a simple daily wellness questionnaire is A-okay [16]. (How well did I sleep? How sore am I? How excited am I to train today?) That is, being in tune with your own body still goes a long way.

For the middle ground, a regular heart rate monitor provides a ton of information and can be purchased for well under $50.

Verdict: Heart rate variability is all the rage, but a daily wellness questionnaire and a cheap heart rate monitor will also do the trick. 

10. Interval Training vs. Steady-State Cardio

Train slow, be slow. Steady-state cardio makes you skinny fat. If you want to get in shape, intervals are all you need… Right?

It’s true, when it comes to slimming down, intervals are far superior to “slogging” away on a treadmill for an hour while reading a magazine [11].

Plus, interval training has some great perks, like shorter workout times [12] and endless variety in terms of work-to-rest ratios. With that said, steady state cardio does provide certain benefits to the cardiovascular system that intervals do not [13]. It’s also good for recovery [14]. Heck, some people even enjoy it!

Verdict: Alternate between interval training and steady-state cardio.


Never forego an entire training methodology simply because one expert, in an effort to get attention, insists on its uselessness. Avoid such polarization and debates on fitness topics. Instead, keep an open mind and stick to the middle of the road on most issues. By exposing your clients to broader training stimulus, you give them that much more of an opportunity to improve and succeed. 

health and fitness debate topics | thePTDC | polarizing issues in fitness

Got it? Great. Here’s what to do next …

What to do next?

There’s a lot of conflicting information and it’s easy to get confused or influenced by the wrong sources.

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