If you’re just starting out on your fitness and nutrition journey it can be scary. There is a lot of information on the internet (and here’s another blog post on the topic) which can make it really difficult to navigate. The purpose of this post, however, is to help you sift through all of it and avoid overcomplicating things.
As a personal trainer I will be the first person to say that the fitness industry is full of scams. I can’t go a day without seeing advertisements on social media for fad diets, extreme workout programs, fat loss pills, etc. that promise quick and long lasting results. The scariest part is that they are very convincing. No wonder people are confused about how they should be eating and what they should be doing for workouts. Another issue is how easy it is for people who are unqualified to spread disinformation about fitness and nutrition. Just because someone likes to workout doesn’t mean they should be giving others advice on how to do so if they don’t have a degree in exercise science or an NCCA accredited certification.
So how can you spot the B.S.?
When it comes to fitness I always like to say the simpler the better. When I first started out on my fitness journey 10 years ago at age 16, I thought that exercises needed to be complicated, that you needed to do a million different exercises and that you needed to workout 5-6 days a week to see results. Now, with 10 years of lifting weights and 5 and a half years of coaching under my belt, I have a completely different perspective. The basics are the basics for a reason. What I mean by this is that exercises that have been around for a long time such as the squat, bench, deadlift, lunge, military press, chin up etc., have stuck around because they work. You don’t need to create new exercises or complexes that combine multiple exercises into one to see results. If you stick to the basics, focus on keeping good form and consistently increasing either your reps or weights, then you will see progress. The reality of this is that good training can actually seem boring which I think is part of the reason why people program hop so frequently. They get bored quickly and don’t stick with something long enough to see results, so they think that it doesn’t work. If your program seems repetitive and simple, then chances are it’s a good one. This doesn’t mean that you should never switch up what you’re doing in the gym, but a well designed program will last for about 4-12 weeks depending on your goals.
I have done quite a few nutrition posts in the past, so I will try and keep this short and simple. There is a lot of misinformation about nutrition. There are also too many fad diets and weird rules to keep track of. A piece of advice that I tell my clients and that I try to follow myself is aim to eat 3 meals a day. Try to include a fat, protein and carbohydrate at each meal - this will help you feel and stay satiated. Even if you are trying to lose weight, make sure you are eating enough food to feel full after each meal. I know it sounds simple, but that is because it is. I find that when you’re eating enough food during the day and eating balanced meals, you will be less likely to snack and pick at foods. When you’re drastically limiting your intake or trying to eat smaller meals that don’t fill you up, it’s not sustainable or realistic. It’s also not sustainable to restrict certain foods or food groups (unless you have an allergy). Restricting can lead to shame and guilt around food and oftentimes causes more harm than good. I encourage all of my clients to incorporate foods that they enjoy into their diet.
In conclusion, keep it simple! If something seems super complicated or is very rigid and restrictive, chances are it’s not the best. For more information or if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!