Simplify for Health

In the previous article I talked about taking time to ask yourself some honest questions about your habits before beginning a new health and fitness program. Basically before you can fix what’s making you unhealthy you need to identify those unhealthy habits first. A lot of people smash headfirst into a new program on January 2nd before they’ve even spared a thought to what needs fixed. Being overweight, being weak, being out of shape are symptoms of a problem, not the problem itself. Treating symptoms also known as the American Medical Industry approach, does not cure disease. It doesn’t fix anything.

I spent just over 12 years coaching CrossFit and working as a personal trainer. I’ve been writing about health and fitness for around a decade now. I’ve been working out doing strength training and competing since 1998. In all that time I’ve dispensed alot of advice on getting in shape and I’ve had a lot of successes in helping people achieve their goals. I’ve also had failures. This is not going to be another article where I tell YOU, what YOU need to do. I’m going to tell you what I am doing and what my time in fitness has shown me works and achieves results. Maybe what I do will help you.

My overriding goal in fitness lately has been simplification. I live in a rural area. There are a few big box gyms nearby but they are crowded and for what they offer and the state of the facilities, it’s just not worth it. I had intended to join a CrossFit gym when I first moved here but the nearest one is 20 miles away and again it’s very small and extremely crowded. The owner and head coach is barely out of his teens and honestly I just don’t trust his judgment or competency based off of what I’ve seen. So that leaves me with working out at home in the space available and the tools I have. My workouts have gotten pretty basic.

After so many years of having access to state of the art facilities and all the newest equipment there’s been something very refreshing about being limited to basic bodyweight exercises and 2 sets of dumbbells, 2 kettlebells, and a weight-vest. I remember once reading that Shaolin Monks believe that all Kung Fu can be performed in the amount of space it takes a tiger to lie down. That’s not a lot of real estate when you think about a man spinning, kicking, punching, and practicing combat and martial arts. Yet they do it. Prison inmates manage to somehow get shredded in a space no more than 3 feet by 8 feet using mostly bodyweight movements. Sometimes the best tricks are the oldest tricks.

I’ve been seeing good results since streamlining my workout routine a few weeks ago. The thing to realize is that for most people getting in shape is more a question of introducing some movement and physical activity into their day, not finding the next big exercise trend. Most of us don’t need to be lifting a ton or weight or setting PR’s in a 5k, we just need to get off our butts and move around a little. You can do that in your own home, you don’t need to drive anywhere or buy any equipment. You just have to be willing to move.

I’ve applied this idea to my diet as well. I was doing Keto for a long time. I followed Paleo for years. I spent 18 months counting macros on my phone for every meal. I’m over it. I’m done with the rules, and the programs. I’ve adopted a much simpler method, called STOP EATING GARBAGE! It’s just that simple. I stopped going out to eat, I stopped buying prepared foods, I stopped drinking soda and cut back on alcohol. I started making my own foods. I started eating more green vegetables and less starchy carbs. Finally I got back into the habit of drinking water whenever I thought I was hungry instead of wandering into the kitchen to forage.

Fitness and getting in shape can get complicated real quick. It seems like everyday there’s some new trend coming out, or a new gym opening or some new diet to try. You don’t need any of that. Sure it’s fun and exciting, but in the end are you going to be able to commit to that and keep with it? I’ve adopted a workout routine and eating habits that fit into my lifestyle. I work 12 hour days and can add another 2 hours of commute time onto that. I need to be able to roll out of bed in the morning and get right into a workout without having to jump through hoops. I need to be able to prepare food for the week without breaking out my scales and chemistry set. No one in the real world has time for that. Learn to reduce your routines and habits down to the essentials to get quick results without all the fuss and hassle.

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