There Are NO Absolutes in Health and Fitness…
As the title says, there are no absolutes in health and fitness. None. It seems you can’t scroll through Facebook nowadays without someone offering some revolutionary advice – the ‘best’ system for this, the ‘best’ exercise for that…
The problem is, they’re wrong. Absolutely wrong, in fact.
There is no ‘best’. There are just no absolutes in health and fitness. There are many things that work, some more effectively than others, but ultimately it’s principles, not specifics that lead to an outcome.
So, when you want to know….
What’s the best exercise for…?
Which is the best diet to…?
Stop thinking along those lines. They’re the wrong questions.
There Are no Absolutes in Health and Fitness
I’ll make my point again – there are no absolutes in health and fitness. There’s no ‘best’ way to train or ‘best’ way to eat. It depends on the variables. What works for one person may not work for others.
If you were to take 100 ‘fit people’ and ask them what their training and diet look like, you’d probably get 100 different responses. They won’t have the exact same diets or workout routines – in fact in some cases they’d be vastly different.
From an exercise point of view, you’d probably have..
- HIIT fans
- Kettlebell fans
- CrossFit fans
- Weight Lifters
- Bodyweight exercise fans
Diet would be the same. You’d probably have…
- Paleo fans
- Ketogenic diet fans
- IIFYM fans
- High/low carb fans
- Intermittent fasters
The point being, there isn’t an absolute when it comes to any of this stuff. There are certain principles you just can’t ignore if you want to make progress…
- To lose weight you need to create and sustain a calorie deficit.
- To increase strength you need to progressively increase the weight you lift.
- To improve cardio performance you have to increase the intensity and/or duration of your cardio exercise.
- To increase lean muscle mass you need to increase volume and load of the weights you lift.
So, once you understand the principles, you then need to pick an approach that works for you.
The details come later – they’re the cherry on the cake.
In fact, speaking of cake, I was listening to a podcast recently and Dr Andy Galpin used the analogy of ‘Cooks, Bakers and Chefs’. He described personality types as follows and explained how he works with each of them…
Bakers are scientists. They need precise guidelines, so in terms of health and fitness these are the people who need exact recipes and calorie counting. They need precise workout guidelines – weight, sets and reps.
Cooks need guidance and principles. They can figure out the details and the execution themselves, they just need the basic framework of a plan. They’ll take care of the rest.
Chefs are the most experienced. They’re the people who know the principles in enough detail that they can break the rules every now and then and still succeed.
A big part of how successful you will be when it comes to making improvements in your health and fitness depends on identifying your personality type – are you a cook, a baker or a chef?
Now, I’m a chef. I’ve studied the principles for long enough to know how these things work. I can make adjustments to my training to still make progress.
Before I did this professionally though, I was a cook.
I was never going to weigh and measure all of my food – it just wasn’t me. From a workout point of view, I was never rigid – I liked the variety and respond well to challenges – probably why I still like variety in my exercise even now…
Once you know your personality type, understand how to make it work for you.
As a personal trainer, I help people with all of the different personality types. I have clients who are bakers – they fill out their My Fitness Pal data daily, they know on a given day how many calories they’ve eaten.
I also have clients who are cooks. We work to pick an approach that works for them – some like low carb, some like fasting, some like super high protein.
It’s horses for courses. A bad coach will force an approach on you. A good one will work with you to find what suits you best.
How do you know if your approach is working? Simple – have you made progress?
There’s your answer.
Purely by accident, my HIIT Workout Guide was written in such a way that it suits both the cook and the baker…
It suits the cooks because there are 52 workouts that can be done in any order.
It suits the bakers because each workout is written in detail – sets and reps are given to you.
If there was one single best HIIT workout, I could have saved myself a LOT of work by just writing it down and selling that. Problem solved! Alas, there isn’t, so I had to spend a lot of time and effort writing the book!
This brings me on to my final thought on the topic, which is the one thing you need in buckets – perseverance. It’s something that just so many people lack.
When you decide to exercise or eat better, stick with it. Keep going. Don’t stop every few weeks and don’t throw a hissy fit if you don’t lose weight one or two weeks. This is never linear – it takes time, it takes effort and it takes determination.
That’s arguably the most important principle.
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