Know less, do more. Why too much information will hinder your fitness
One of the greatest misconceptions in health and fitness is the belief that knowledge drives results. The belief that you need to know more to become fitter, leaner, stronger. The idea that what is holding you back is some missing truth. In fact, fitness is conceptually simple. All you need to do is eat lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and train vigorously and regularly with a variety of movements and durations. That’s it. Do that for 2-3 years and tell me how you look and feel.
HABIT is what drives your progress towards becoming fitter, stronger and leaner. The only kind of knowledge that matters is the knowledge that helps you to take consistent action. What you are seeking is not some magical macronutrient formula or some transformative training programme; it’s a framework for building better, stronger habits. What you need is to find a way to implement the simplest facts of fitness on a regular basis. That is the mission of our blog at City Road. While technical knowledge is informative and interesting, what we aim to do is arm you with the tools you need to create and maintain powerful habits in your training, nutrition and lifestyle.
So how can you tell what kind of information is useful and what kind of information is not? There is knowledge of ‘what’ and knowledge of ‘how’. Knowledge of what involves prescriptions of what to do. Knowledge of how involves tactics for implementing those prescriptions. The latter is where you should concentrate your efforts.
Now, you will need some guidance on the ‘what’. But I suggest you keep that to a minimum. Instead of scrolling through Instagram reading about ketogenic diets and mobility drills involving 3 bands and 2 lacrosse balls, simply find yourself a coach you trust and respect and ask them how to train and eat. Don’t question their advice (though clearly you can ask questions so you understand the motivations behind their prescriptions). Don’t seek easier answers elsewhere. Simply put the plan into practice, trust the process and see where you are in 6-8 weeks (don’t be an ASKHOLE). Much of our thirst for more information is created by an anxiety about whether what we are doing is correct. Speaking to an informed coach will give you the confidence to know that what you are doing will work.
Now comes the hard part. How do you make sure you stick with the plan? Here you should understand the power of routine. The more you can automate and schedule certain processes the more likely you will be to succeed, hence posts like this one about how to meal prep for the week. You need to create for yourself a catalogue of SOPs (standard operating procedures) around your training, eating and lifestyle. This isn’t as constraining as it sounds. In fact, I believe that the more disciplined and systematic you are with certain things, the more free and liberated you can be in others.
What do you need to automate? At least the following: training schedule; morning routine, bed time routine; meal preparation and planning; meal eating; mobility and mindfulness. Ouch, that sounds like a lot. But it doesn’t have to be. The below is my current routine developed over a number of years. This works very well for me and something similar may work for you. Do I always check off everything on this list? No, absolutely not. But at least 85%-90% of the time I’m on track and that’s enough.
Every day (or at least every week day): Wake at 5.30am, breathing exercise, 10 tempo air squats. ROMWOD / passive stretching every day after training or before bed. 30 mins before bed (at 10pm), switch off all technology, brush teeth, breathing exercises.
Training: 5 times per week. Thursday and Sunday are rest days. Follow Ben Bergeron’s CompTrain programme (or to be honest, a slightly watered down version…!).
Sunday: food prep for the week.
Monday: Update Abel & Cole food order
Wednesday: food for week delivered. Additional food prep if needed.
Thursday: Long ROMWOD, recovery day.
Friday: cheat meal
Saturday: sometimes second cheat meal / dinner out / social stuff
The more you can make certain practices automatic, the better. This removes the need to make decisions over and over again. You just implement your plan. Anything that can help you create and practice efficient and productive routines is useful knowledge. Anything concerning niche technical knowledge will probably not add much to your chances of succeeding. Let’s all stop looking for that Holy Grail of knowledge that will suddenly overhaul our results. Let’s instead commit to building potent, long-standing habits that absolutely will transform outcomes. Only then should you concern yourself with more esoteric information. Don’t become bloated with useless knowledge that pulls you increasingly further away from decisive action. Knowledge in fitness is just like food. Enough but not too much.
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