It's 2017 and we now have an endless stream of information, data and studies at a click of a button - isn't it no wonder most of us are confused when it comes to health and fitness?
If you were to ask a majority of people, they'll tell you that fat loss is unachievable, that building muscle is over complicated, designing a gym based workout plan is confusing and that eating healthy is expensive and time consuming.
I completely understand why.
We're now surrounded by trainers, coaches, the media and various other "professionals" writing articles, posting videos, lectures and studies, all talking macros, calories, diet and workout plans, meal timings, supplements, rest periods, exercise techniques, the best rep range for x result with the new best way to burn fat.
It's confusing, especially for those starting out.
But all this leads to the burning question. With all of this information on tap, why is it that a majority of us are obese, overweight, demotivated and unhealthy?
I believe we are exposed to that much information, most of it so conflicting in the ever developing fitness industry, that majority of us are literally paralysed with the next forward step. We literally have that much information heading our way that we don't know how to proceed!
Take fat loss as an example; google "the best way to lose fat" and you'll see just how many different articles and sure fire ways there are to burn fat quickly and effectively.
There are numerous perspectives from coaches, professional bodybuilders, doctors, nutritionists, athletes, the government, all with their own take on fat loss - how is it possible to know what works and to choose what it is the best method for you?
Everything should and can be as simple as possible.
Now I've been in that position, where quite frankly, I had no idea what I was doing. My "plan" would be a complete stab in the dark.
I'd try the latest muscle building workouts and shredded abs diets just because the guy selling it to me had big biceps and shredded abs. As a complete novice, I was overcomplicating my diet and training, spending more effort on meal timings and rep ranges for "optimal lean muscle mass" than I was on my actual goal, which was to get in a bit better shape and drop a few pounds.
I wasn't an athlete. I didn't have a lot of free time. One would say, a "normal" guy with a "normal" goal of getting in a bit better shape.
Was I following this plan because I truly believed in it? Or was it out of desperation? Maybe it was because I had no idea, rolling with the first plan I found online? Either way, they never worked long term because they simply weren't for me at that time, for someone at my current level. I was taking on way too much, way too soon, leaving me none the wiser going forward.
When was the last time you tried a workout or nutrition plan?
Could it have been more simple or easier to follow?
Do you think if it was simplified and easier to adhere to you would have seen greater results?
Everything in our life yields complications daily. Be it work or financial worries or even day to day stresses of getting the kids ready for school for example. Each and every one of us has things that we need to do and we all experience our own personal stresses. Say you then visit a coach with the aim to drop some body fat, get fitter and IMPROVE your quality of life overall, only to be told you're not doing enough or you require to put in more effort to achieve said outcome can be pretty disheartening.
It's a full circle process.
No one seems to be simplifying.
Everything demands MORE and the more we add to the mix the more its going to overcomplicate things, ultimately leading to that complete halt. In an ideal world we'll be doing what we need to do with as little complications, effort and time as possible.
In other words, doing LESS to then achieve MORE.
So how exactly can we simplify our lives?
By streamlining first and foremost. And by being honest when doing so! Make a list of everything that you feel requires to be done and look at what doesn't necessarily serve you going forward, prioritising what does support you.
Maybe you can use the time spent in front of the TV more effectively? Maybe you can get up that little bit earlier to make your day that little bit easier? Maybe you can drop the food from your diet that you know doesn't serve you?
Simple changes have BIG results.
Take a fat loss goal...
First, look at your current ACTIVITY levels...
Are you walking enough or simply moving enough daily? Are you exercising in a way that you enjoy? Does your plan fit in with your current lifestyle? Do you feel better for it and is it supporting your social activities? Are you surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals or at least researching and following advice from the professionals that you know, like and trust?
Then theres NUTRITION...
Are you eating to support your goals? Do you consume a handful of protein with every meal? Are you eating enough veggies? Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating foods you enjoy? Are your current food choices providing you with the energy to perform your daily tasks effectively?
Before looking at your LIFESTYLE as a whole...
How is your current sleeping pattern? Are you regularly stressed? Do you spend the time doing the things you enjoy and do you spend the time you would like with loved ones or with friends? Are you doing the things required to get you a step closer to your goal? Are you consistently working towards the person or lifestyle you would like to be or live?
We must simplify and look at the basics first, the foundations of what we are built on.
Most people skip a majority, if not all of the above and start their journey looking at optimal rep ranges for lean muscle mass, performing fasted cardio, taking supplements, focusing on macronutrient timings and the like without addressing the SIMPLE stuff initially.
The fancy stuff can all come later if you wish to explore health and fitness in depth and take your experience to a whole new level.
Try not to bombard your brain with the things that right now you don't necessarily need to know. Overcomplicating things or filling our heads with even more information will ultimately lead to more unnecessary stress and worry, which will then make us unhappy.
Who wants that?
Start small. Focus on what's in your control, focus on what you can do in your current lifestyle now and work on the things that you know will support you.
Aim for simplicity and strive for clarity in a world of overly complicated research and opinion. Build your foundation of personal health and keep it simple people.