When it comes to diets and exercise plans there are millions of different pieces of advice out there. There nearly as many diet and exercise programs and routines as there are people. This happens because very few people actually manage to strictly follow a single program leading them to success, so they make alterations based on their own priorities. Maybe they can’t workout every day or want to spend more time focusing on getting big biceps. Maybe they don’t eat chicken or only eat chicken.
Whatever the reason, people are then surprised to realise their new and modified routine has provided great results. Since this improvement was so important to them, they of course want to tell the world about it. Alas inevitably we end up living in a world of too much conflicting and overly complicated information.
Around the 1960’s the US navy landed on an extremely valuable piece of advice, which has become extremely popular in programming circles. You may even know it yourself. This is the KISS principle, or:
“Keep it simple stupid!”
This is a principle that we are familiar with. It is a mantra which is designed to remind you not to over complicate a process. The navy realised that by making something as simple as possible, you are far more likely to both remember and apply what was being taught. This makes perfect sense, and when it comes to diet and exercise the majority of us could benefit from keeping it simpler.
We worry about what times of day to eat, how regularly do we eat, how much should we eat in each meal and overall, what ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fats, how much cardio, how much HIIT, how many weights sessions, etc. etc.
We are obsessed with trying to find the perfect routine, the perfect system. Meanwhile we do nothing! Doing nothing means we achieve nothing and unfortunately you can’t read your way to 6 pack abs.
The problem is that we now have access to so much information, we can read about every little detail of dieting and exercise. New research is pushed into the blogosphere out of context and before it is well understood. This is misleading.
This is only made worse by the fact that naturally when we set out on our journey we normally find somebody who looks the way we want to look. Of course we also want to be healthier, but let’s face it more often than not we really just want to look good for ourselves and the people we love. We look for people with the best bodies we have access to, and ultimately end up finding role models who are models, actors and body builders.
We then take this model, actor or bodybuilder and we begin to do our internet research. We want to learn exactly what they are doing so that we can become exactly like them. And so we find out their latest strategy to get in shape for a shoot or competition.
This is not entirely a bad approach, and I think it is incredibly powerful to have a role model to aspire to. But you have to remember that you are not there yet. You do not have to run 3 hours a day when the last time you ran was 20 years ago and you can’t start benching 200kg on your first day.
We see how complete their approach is, and think the only way to be like them is to replicate them. Seeing this mammoth task, we begin worrying plotting and planning. The thing is these role models have been focusing on training and diet for years, and have professionals to tailor their routine to them and design meal plans and even often cook them.
This should not be information to depress you, because you don’t need all that. They have reached the stage where improvement is incredibly hard, they are near their genetic limit and need the detailed science to push further than is readily accepted by their own bodies.
Of course some of you may be elite athletes already, or been training for years in which case you may need more advanced strategies. Many of you like me are not in that position. We don’t need to perfectly balance our diet to see a difference. We can see more improvement than our “role models” simply by cutting back on unhealthy snacks, controlling our portion size and getting ourselves moving.
That can be anything, walk, jog, run, hop on the spot. Anything to get the blood pumping and speed up the metabolism.
Before you start making a complex plan make sure you have begun already. It does not need to be set in stone. You will continue to adjust your program and develop it as you get more advanced, but make sure you are doing something now. As you get better you will even find choosing the right strategies for your goals long term becomes easier and you will gradually grow to better understand how your body responds to specific exercises. This will help you kick start your journey faster than ever before.
I know you can do it!