Health and the Golden Mean Fallacy

“Everything in moderation.” I’ve always hated that. With an amateur’s passion for logic, I often scoffed at that worn phrase, “Everything in moderation.” What does that even mean?

As it turns out, logic has already addressed this. It’s named it and put a nice bow on it, even. It’s called argument to moderation, or the Golden Mean. It’s a fallacy that says the truth lies somewhere between two opposing views. If a man is in the market for a new car, and his wife prefers that they not by a car. Does logic go on to say that they should by half of a car?

Of course not.

In health and fitness, we see it all the time. One group of fitness experts will argue that heavy weightlifting is an inadequate training tool, for example, while it’s opposing camp will argue that heavy weight training, in fact, is good. The fallacy is the one that leads us to believe that the truth is probably that lifting loads of a modest weight is best.

Is that true?

Maybe, just maybe, two ideas are just two ideas, one wrong and one right. It’s not always true that two opposing view represent opposites on a spectrum of truth. Extremes can be true, too. And, the answer doesn’t always lie in the middle.

Can you recognize when this logic is used for or against choices in your life? How can you best navigate this fallacy?


Logan Gelbrich




1/10/14 WOD

In 10 minutes:
Run 1 mile
5 Ring Dips
10 Squats