Fitness: What would it look like if it were simple?

Fitness: What would it look like if it were simple?

Approximately thirty four years ago I walked into my first gym.

As you’d imagine it looked nothing like the gyms we are accustomed to today.

This was back in Dublin in the late ‘80s and I grew to know different neighbourhoods by what gym was close by while most of my friends knew where they were by what pub was on the corner.

Arnold, Franco and Jussop courtesy of Zach Even-Esch

I’d love to say that we’ve come a long way but…

It wouldn’t be true, at least in terms of training and results.

Let me explain, you see, we now have the paradox of choice and it has paralysed us from taking simple imperfect action.

You only have to look at the hundreds of dietary options available to us such as Intermittent fasting, Calorie restriction, Keto, High Protein, Paleo, Carnivore etc (See pros and cons of various dietary protocols here)

We have low calorie option, low fat, low sugar. low carb, high protein.

Yet we still struggle to stay in shape.

Ok what about training?
What kind of training is best for getting in shape?

Running, weight training, Crossfit, sports, Zumba, Yoga, aerobics?

Confused yet?

Me too!

Thirty years ago gym training wasn’t yet mainstream and information was relatively hard to come by.

Magazines churned out fictitious muscle building routines allegedly performed by the sponsored champion of the day.

Bodybuilding magazines and their outrageous promises.

Many of us at the time, me included didn’t realise that these champions consumed bucket loads of drugs to help them build their bodies and recover.

A spate of drug related deaths in the early nineties burst that bubble of ignorance however.

Despite all of this the average trainer back then was performing more result producing training than I see now.

Most gym goers now get their training information online and this is a problem.

  1. There’s no real feedback loop. Watching a video and thinking you’re doing what the guy / girl is doing may be two entirely different things. Feedback and correcting your course are missing from this equation.
  2. The only type of training that gets traction or reach is unlikely to be simple, basic or repetitive yet these are the attributes of the most result producing programmes.

Personal trainers are not blameless either, I include myself here too.

We want to give the client what they want, we want to keep them as a client and this sometimes prevents us from providing basic routines that work.

We’re worried that:

  • It doesn’t look great on paper.
  • It isn’t as fancy as some other PT’s super programme.
  • There isn’t enough variety etc

But we need to get over ourselves, it isn’t about us / me!

Here are some of the most result producing movements I’ve seen and used over the last thirty years.

Link —>Top 10 Fitness Movements

Performing a selection of them three times per week whilst consistently making progress in terms of weights, intensity, reps or volume will produce results.

Hitting the gym is fantastic but it’s just one part of the process and even if you train three times per week that’s less than 2% of your week.

So, lifestyle is just as important. (See previous posts for this or DM me for suggestions)

Nutrition for fat loss:

You’ll need to pull at least one lever.

Calorie restriction, Time restriction or food group restriction.

Choose one and stick to it, no one way is perfect but if you can stick to one thing consistently over a long period of time this will inevitably produce results.

Simple is the opposite of complicated but it isn’t sexy, diverse or easy for that matter.

But it gets the job done.

Get in touch if you need help with simplifying your fitness so that you can see worthwhile results for the time that you put in.

About the Author Stephen Devine

Steve not just a skilled Crossfit Coach, but a top-tier CrossFit Competitor who's ranked in the top 1% worldwide in the 2023 Crossfit Open! And this is despite spending six weeks on crutches following surgery to fix a broken ankle just a year ago. He's Qualified as a Crossfit L1 Coach, Crossfit Gymnastics, and is also a qualified Olympic Weightlifting Coach.

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