Posted on April 24th, 2012 by Matt Schoeneberger
Why make fitness more complicated?
We’ve already established that weight loss is not all that simple, right? If you don’t agree, please chime in and tell us why. Not everyone is out to lose weight, so let me back up and broaden the scope a bit. Fitness – whatever the hell that means, is a pretty complex subject as well when you start to consider everything that goes into achieving it. For the typical fitness-achiever, the psychological and social ramifications of making sure your behaviors stick out in a crowd of out-of-shape sloths are bad enough. Now add in the extra time and scheduling conflicts, the dietary modifications to support your new level of fitness and activity, yada yada yada and you’ve got a lot of stuff going on. This is a good thing, I think, because as Red states, “get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”
What I see all around the fitness industry are programs that try to sell themselves by being more complex. Because complexity breeds results, right? Muscle confusion, food pairing, 7-tiered corrective exercise continuum, blood type diets, functional movement assessments, hybrid non-linear periodization, and on and on. Just in case you’re wondering, I didn’t make any of those up. Hybrid non-linear periodization? WTF? Most of my clients are just trying to find time to squeeze in a workout around their kids soccer schedules and a 50 hour/week job and you want them to worry about hybrid non-linear periodization? Get the hell out of here! The research on periodization sucks anyway. (Carpinelli)
It’s Time to Simplify
Much effort is required for a person to make a real lifestyle change. I can only imagine how daunting it must be for someone to be on the outside of fitness looking in, wondering where to start. This is one thing I’ll give to the basics of the Paleo movement – the rules are simple. Guys like Erwan Le Corre make the exercise portion easy – get out and move around. The dietary principles are pretty easy to understand. The only difficult part is the same as every other program, plan, or paradigm out there; now do it consistently for the rest of your life. You see, that’s the complex part, the shaping and molding of your healthy habits so they fit around whatever life throws at you. Now imagine trying to do that with hybrid non-linear periodization! How about instead you just take a day off here and there when you start to feel run-down due to extra workload, the kids’ tournaments and the resulting lack of sleep? And how about instead of worrying about which blood type you are so you know which foods to eat you just take in a variety of veggies, fruit and animal products you like and have a freakin’ pizza every once in a while?
You might have certain results you expect or certain goals you’re trying to achieve and maybe you’re not getting them with your current rules. Make them simpler. Counting calories isn’t working? Use smaller plates and bowls and limit yourself to one serving at each meal and you’ll be limiting your caloric intake. Can’t get to the gym four times/week like you planned? Make the new goal to get movement four times/week and go for a walk or bike ride instead. Having a hard time juggling your new dietary habits with your group of lunch friends at work? Get a smaller, more supportive group of lunch buddies.
So, I admonish you to simplify your fitness routine, whatever it consists of. Whether you’re getting results or you’re awash in stagnation, simplify. Simplify, because fitness is complicated enough already.
This is the main reason Jeff and I wrote SPEED - to clear up the ridiculousness and give you a how-to manual for fat loss. You can be sure that if we tell you to do something, it’s because that something has been proven to work, unequivocally. We’ve already simplified the fat loss conundrum, now you just have to put SPEED to use!
Carpinelli, R. N., Otto, R. M., & Winett, R. A. (2004). A Critical Analysis of the ACSM Position Stand on Resistance Training: Insufficient Evidence to Support Recommended Training Protocols. Journal of Exercise Physiology, 7(3), 1-60.