Keep it Simple
By: Ian Cutting
It seems that more and more so, we are approaching the whole realm of health and fitness backwards. We have spent so much time and money making them complicated, and into more of a perception than a reality. They have become topics muddied by secrets and gurus, detoxes and details, filters and photoshop, marketing, and social media. Keep it simple, and here is how.
I’m going to break a few things down into real, actionable, and simple pieces. They may seem too simple, perhaps even frustratingly so.
Do you want to have a stronger more functional upper body?
Do a lot of push-ups. (Need some guidance? check out this handy video.)
Do you want to have stronger and more functional lower body?
Do a lot of squats. (Also need some help here? Here is another helpful video.)
Do you want to be a healthier, more durable, capable, longer-lasting, functioning, aesthetic… human being?
Do a lot of both.
Do you want to breathe better?
Walk more. Take the stairs. Park further away. Go for easy and relaxing walks (with your head up, not buried in your phone).
Do you want to move better?
Move more. Stand up and stretch. Watch less TV, change seats or exercise during the commercials, or watch from the floor.
Do you want to feel better?
Slouch less. Sit or stand up straighter. Go outside. Read a book. Turn off whatever screen you’re looking at, and go to bed.
Do you want to look (better)?
Drink more water, and have an apple. Put down or don’t buy the XL chips and cookie boxes, children’s cereals, processed snacks decorated by cartoon characters, and sugar-liquids of questionable contents and origin. Say no a little more often, confidently, and a little less guiltily. Say yes appropriately, not overwhelmingly.
Do you want to make a change, fix a problem, heal a hurt, or get better from an injury?
Take action. Complaining is ineffective. Telling yourself you’re broken or settling for sympathy doesn’t help you grow (and usually makes it worse). Doing nothing rarely helps solve anything.
Do you want to make more progress?
Stop seeking or relying on the validation of others. Fitness exists without hashtags. Sweat and struggle a little more, stare and scroll a little less. Double-taps are fine, but they don’t affect the work you have to do. (I’ve found a small committed fitness group can help with this.)
Do you want to be healthier?
Stop thinking that it only counts if the world sees you trying to be healthier. Some of the healthiest people in the world don’t have online platforms. Likes don’t really matter. Effort all adds up. Just live.
Keep your exercise simple, and do it more often. Equipment is unnecessary. It doesn’t take a perfect plan, schedule, or secret exercises. There is no perfect plan or schedule, and the best exercises are the simplest ones done consistently.
Keep your food simple. Counting calories, tracking macros, and different diets are fine, if you can stick to them. However they often create more stress than is worth the changes they might cause, and raise more questions than they answer. They can confuse the incredibly simple facts of food. Eat more of the things you already know you should be eating, eat less of the things you already know you shouldn’t be eating as much of. Look in the mirror regularly, check the scale occasionally, and adjust the quality and quantity of your intake accordingly over time.
Keep it simple, and repeat all of these for the long-term. Adjust as needed, and have more patience. The biggest problems are that you wanted all of these changes to have occurred yesterday, are disproportionately motivated by the world seeing them, and are overly concerned with the reactions of others.
How you treat your body you affects how you’ll feel today, how you’ll look in 6 months, and who you’ll be in 10 years. It doesn’t matter where others have started or what others are doing. Start wherever you are; that’s the only place you can, the only place that matters. Get to it. Keep getting to it.
We know what we have to do to be healthier. We know, and yet insist on making it more complicated than it needs to be. Move more, eat better, work harder, repeat.
Filter the noise. Dilute the details. Take action. Be patient.
Keep it simple.