Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fitness Does Not Have to Be Confusing

Should I load up on carbs at breakfast, or would high protein be better?  Is it okay to eat after 7 p.m? Should I do lots of reps with medium weight, or will fewer reps with heavy weight be more useful? Should I snack on carbs before a workout or should it be protein?

Yes, I have asked these questions. While trying to maintain my weight and improve my overall fitness, I do a lot of reading. Other times I research the questions because friends and co-workers ask me. I want to be able to give them the best answers.  Answers backed up by experts.  And guess what? There are experts that will answer each of the above questions differently.  It is easy to be confused by the information, but losing weight, gaining strength, and being fit is simple.

Eat Right!  Exercise! Get Plenty of Rest!

Does that mean that you should not ask these questions? Of course not! Will you find conflicting answers? Absolutely! As Tony Schober points out in his article, 90% of the recommendations actually work. This really should not be a surprise. We are each different (thankfully). What works for you might not work for me and vice versa. My goals are probably different than yours. Your daily schedule is probably different than mine. Yes, there are some pretty ridiculous ideas out there, so you do need to use a little common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Quit Looking for A Program!

There is a lot of information easily available on the Internet today. There is also a lot of misinformation and pure opinion. If you are looking for a quick way to get fit and just want someone to give you a program, you can find one. For example, here are titles of a few articles I read in the last few months.
  • The Truth About Carbs
  • Nutrient Timing
  • Practical Approach to Healthy Eating
  • How to Eat Less - Lose Weight By Eating More
  • Should Men and Women Eat Differently?
  • How to Get Slim - Portion Size
  • Swimming for Fitness
  • 10 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
  • Keys to Successful Workouts
Each one of these had a little gem of truth that I could consider, and possibly even use. After all, I am not looking for a diet or an exercise program. Instead, my reason for reading them is to simply learn more about how to do the three basics - eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest.

Keep It Simple - And Fun

A program or a diet just won't work for me.  I know because I had gone on diets and followed programs before, only to get fat and out of shape again. In October 2010 I decided I needed to change my life. I knew it needed to be simple and easy to repeat day in and day out. Three years later I follow the same pattern. Eat sensibly and limit the amount I eat to match the amount of exercise I do. I eat pretty much the same foods every week.  My exercise alternates between strength and cardio.  But I break it up. I do things I enjoy like swimming, bike riding, and walking. But I am not locked into a program. I want my diet and exercise to be fun, not work. If I enjoy it I will keep doing it.

The Basics Are Simple

Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. Want to gain weight? Eat more than you burn through exercise. Want to get strong? Do some kind of resistance training that stretches and challenges those muscles.  I am not saying it is easy, but it is simple.

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