The amount of information we have at our fingertips is mind-boggling. The amount of people who are out of shape is just as mind-boggling.
Perform a Google search for “how to lose fat,” and a whopping 124 million results appear. With so much information available to us, why are we still getting fatter and unhealthier?
It’s not a lack of resources or desire; it’s information overload.
Information overload leads to paralysis from analysis. The more options and information we have at our disposal, the more likely it is we’ll opt for inaction.
In 1980, we didn't have Google, there wasn't a gym around every block, the CrossFit cult wasn’t around, the paleo diet wasn't parading its principles and, most importantly, we weren’t drowning in information.
Here’s a secret: The fundamentals of health and fitness haven't changed.
In 1980, there weren’t “gurus” and marketers manipulating our emotions and turning fitness into a convoluted mess.
In today’s world, we’re seduced into buying the latest celebrity training programs. The latest “guru” keeps promising rapid fat loss if we buy his “miracle diet," and diet companies promise to incinerate our fat in record time if we join their 30-day challenge.
Every single one of these scenarios has a common factor: taking the easy way out.
Time after time, people chase these shortcuts and “life hacks," hand over their credit cards and hope for a miracle.
Unfortunately, a $99.99 “miracle diet,” a 30-day-challenge and the latest celebrity training program will not solve your fitness woes. Body fat isn’t melted by living on a prayer.
However, there's good news.
Meeting your fitness goals isn’t complicated. It’s actually quite simple. Well, the methods to building a world-class body are simple. But the work required needs world-class effort.
To save you time and frustration, I’m going to sum up those 124 million search results in four simple principles.
Follow these four proven principles, and you’ll construct the body you want without getting “guru’ed” and wasting your money on the latest snake oil supplements.
1. Commit to the work.
You’re drowning in information that’s pulling you in 100 different directions.
Getting started is difficult because you want to make sure you’re making the right training decisions. However, all of these initial worries are minuscule in the beginning. All you need to focus on is starting.
No matter how many articles you read, how many books you buy or how many motivating Instagram videos you watch, you’ll never feel 100 percent ready. To ease the pressure off, adopt the Kaizen principle and strive for a one percent daily improvement.
This Japanese principle, meaning “to change for the better,” first garnered popularity in the business world. At its core, Kaizen is about becoming more efficient and trimming unnecessary waste from your craft.
In fitness, you’re not going to be highly efficient at the beginning. Your workouts may suck, and eating healthier will feel insurmountable and time consuming. However, over time and through a daily practice, you’ll become more skilled in your fitness craft.
Instead of pressuring yourself and obsessing over losing 20 pounds, reframe your thought process by focusing on one pound at a time.
Improving by 1 percent each day leads to dramatic changes over time. In the fitness world, it’s “one small daily step for you, one giant step for your fitness goals.”
2. Use the KISS method with your nutrition.
"Keep it simple, stupid."
This term was first instituted by the US navy in 1960 as a design rule, which states systems perform best when they have simple designs rather than complex ones.
Guess what? Your nutrition isn’t any different.
The simpler your nutritional approach, the more likely it is you’ll stick to your new healthy eating habits. When you're approaching your nutrition, keep these three principles in mind:
1. Food choices are priority. Eating a diet full of nutrient dense foods is what leads to a healthier and hotter body in the long haul.
2. You can’t outtrain your diet. Your diet determines whether you’ll get to see those coveted abs. Abs are made in the kitchen, not on the crunch machine.
3. There is no perfect diet. The DNA diet, the blood type diet, the Atkins diet, Nutri-System, Body by V, the no starch diet, the paleo diet and the no carb diet are all marketing tactics to emotionally seduce you into a set of dogmatic rules.
At the end of the day, your nutrition can be summarized into seven simple words, made famous by Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
This doesn’t mean you’re living on salads. It means, in addition to your delicious steak, don’t forget your greens.
3. Get some sleep.
You’re “beast moding” in the gym and sharing yet another food picture of your bland chicken and asparagus. However, these activities mean very little if you’re not placing priority on your recovery.
The only thing accomplished in the gym is the breaking down of your muscle fibers. The real action happens when you rest.
When you’re resting, your body has an opportunity to rest and repair itself for another session.
Sleep isn’t just another activity crossed off your to-do list. Sleep repairs your muscle tissues, sets your hormones up to help you lose fat, manages your stress and keeps your good behaviors in check.
Sleep helps regulate your food behaviors through the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which signal to your body whether you’re hungry or not. Sleep affects your willpower and decision-making when those office cookies inevitably make their 2 pm rounds.
If you’re looking the same for months on end and you’re consistently hitting the gym and eating healthy, your lack of rest and recovery is most likely holding you back.
4. Show some guts.
There are no shortcuts to building a hot body. I’m sorry, but you can’t "life hack" your fitness and take a shortcut.
Despite what some might tell you, fitness (like most things in life) isn’t going to be sunshine and kittens every day. Some days, it’ll be a thunderstorm or a torrential downpour.
Some days, everything will seem to be working against you, and those are the days you'll exponentially level up in life and fitness. When you experience those crappy days, display some persistence and suck it up. This too will pass.
Just as clouds arrive and pass through the day, these seemingly dire moments will come and pass as well.