Yesterday I let rip on some observations about why, as a whole, the fitness industry is utterly screwed.
If the fitness industry was a single business entity it would have been audited, investigated for fraud and the shareholders would be up in arms when they realise that having invested for so many years, they had got nothing whatsoever in return.
No doubt, many people get mega results, but if we’re honest they are the exception.
We sell the exception to the totally uninformed, misguided majority.
Average Return On Investment is minimal.
It could be argued ROI is NEGATIVE due to the damaging effects it has on so many guys and girls who literally become mentally disturbed by trying to emulate the exceptions.
Today I wanted to get a bit more specific following a question from Sue Nanninga in response to my question “What do you find most confusing?”
Sue gave 6 key things.
For me the first two can be answered with the same response…
1. Over complicated “scientific” nutrition and biological information
2. Conflicting nutrition advice e.g being told to cut out all the junk food, and then that certain natural ‘healthy’ foods are also ‘bad’ for you, although someone else says the opposite.
I’m going to start from the end.
Very few people with aesthetic goals need anything on the nutrition front beyond:
“95% of the time stay as close to nature as possible, eat protein, vegetables and a small amount of fats at every meal. After training have some complex carbohydrates instead of the fats. Drink lots of water. Sleep 8-10 hours. Go organic as much as you can afford”
Yes, if you have more athletic goals, want to actually get on stage or just have an AMAZING body, want to run a marathon and so on, there are some other things that will benefit you but all of the above is still the main driver!
The problem is that too many people think they are the advanced stage!
If you follow those guidelines and stop thinking you’re an exception until you have genuine reason to believe so, the following questions get answered as a matter of course:
– Should I drink milk?
– Can I eat chocolate?
– Should I drink coffee?
– Do I have to be perfect?
– Should I follow an alkaline diet?
– Am I eating enough low GI foods?
– Is it possible to lose fat if I don’t live in a ketogenic state?
– How often can I cheat?
– How many calories should I eat?
So after everything, the question ALMOST becomes “Am I doing those simple things enough?”
Read the paragraph of guidelines again.
Do you REALLY do those things 95% of your life?
If you’re not sure what that means, if you eat 3 meals per day that’s 21 meals per week.
95% is 19.95 or 20 meals.
20 out of 21 meals – that should make it quite clear what’s required and how often.
Pretty much any question you can throw at me will be answered with some variation or spin off of that paragraph, which you could answer yourself if you just take some time to think about it and ACCEPT the answer.
Even the age old question of calories is answered.
If you eat as suggested, chew your food thoroughly and calm your buzzing little tits down before you eat, within 7 days you will adjust to a level that satisfies you, energises you and prevents you over-eating.
Still a bit hungry too often on Day 2 and 3?
Increase everything you eat a little bit! More water, more protein, more veg and more fats.
Give your body a chance to adapt hormonally and psychologically!
If you’ve been battering it for 5, 10 or 50 years you might just have to give it more than 24 hours to right itself!
Which brings up the next point.
All of the above you know already right?
Every time I do a nutrition seminar I ask “Who doesn’t know this?”
Never seen a hand raised.
And here is the real answer to Sue (and the world’s) dilemma.
WE ARE NOT CONFUSED ABOUT COMPLICATED NUTRITION.
We are confused about how the hell we stick to what we know.
The solution is one of societal change, changing your personal environments, self-awareness and keeping our brains out of fight-or-flight responses which, amongst many reactions, often lead us to almost hypnotically seek out food.
Carbohydrates aid serotonin production.
Serotonin calms the mind.
Your mind is ablaze with undeniable yet unbearable truths about your life that you spend your day in a job you hate and your nights with a relationships that sucks but a multitude of bullshit convinces you it is somehow noble and ‘worth it’ to push on through and not quit.
Stress is the hidden force that is ruining us from the inside out.
As usual, we want to believe there is an external solution.
Most people who have the ‘privilege’ of reading this across the interwebbing from their expensive phone or laptop whilst sitting in their rented car stuck in the rat race traffic or staring at the computer screen owned by some corporate entity without a face, are living so far from what would make them happy it physically hurts.
That’s not a judgement, it’s just what I’ve learned in getting to know members, personal training clients, athletes and friends.
So many hormonal an physiological changes result that much of the ‘science’ of nutrition just doesn’t matter a single bit.
So to get back to where we were, I think blaming complicated and confusing nutrition is an excuse for many.
Not all. Some people need specific dietary changes.
Everyone is unique in certain ways.
The world truly is a beautiful place and I personally have learned to see amazing things behind prejudices I used to have.
However, if we share 97% of our DNA with monkeys, you can bet you’re ass that you’re really not that much different physically from those humans who are able to get a grip and get in shape!
Believe me when I say you will NEVER navigate the supposed complexities of nutrition if you continue to think that your problem is nutrition.
There are certainly different approaches to how you arrive at the 95% guidelines above.
Everyone learns differently because everyone HAS learned differently.
Some can dive in, others will need to take small steps and progress to that point to avoid yet another stress reaction to this ‘crazy diet’.
However, rest assured that if you do the following, you WILL see much less complexity in what you need.
1) Establish your 3 core values in life.
Mine are fitness, fun and adventure.
You probably know this because I live it day in and day out.
It gives me an instant, honest, truthful answer to any dilemma and removes nearly all stress from any decisions.
As a result nutrition and ‘staying strong’ in the face of excess cake, too much beer and negative people is just a daily activity like brushing my teeth.
2) Assess your 6 key environments: Inner (thoughts), Outer (naked self), Projected (What you put out to the world), Home, Work and ‘Others’ such as social clubs, sports teams etc.
Any that aren’t aligned with what you found in Number 1, will be dragging you to a bad mental space and making everything else we’ve discussed very, very difficult to apply.
3) Take action.
I know it’s hard.
You will be scared, you will feel bad for others and you will try to justify why you should take one for the team and carry on.
One day, I hope, you will crack and realise that you can’t do it any more and that the world around you will be a better place if you look inside first.
Get to that stage and you won’t have another worry about whether broccoli is beneficial for the Indo-3-carbinol effects on oestrogen or is bad because it might be reducing thyroid function.
Trust me when I say, you’re looking down the wrong rabbit hole if you think food is your problem!