Recently I’ve been asked advice on training (bar calisthenics) and nutrition by a few people.  Generally, details aside, I always give the same piece of advice: keep it simple. Most of the time that’s met with a response that’s quite the opposite: “but what about eating 53.7g of slow-release carbs 15 minutes and 39 seconds after my workout?” or “but hey – look at this directory of exercises for every major muscle in the human body!”*

The idea that stripping out as much as possible goes against what we are led to believe about exercise and eating right – that it’s a science, that it’s complicated and that it demands and involves an insane amount of thought as well as effort.

Well I’m going to tell you now – that’s completely wrong.

It’s not complicated to get fit, to eat right, or even to get a 6 pack.

The reason we think it’s hard is partly conditioning, partly the fact that the end result seems unachievable and partly because trying to find out about anything on Google, our primary source of information, brings up 50,000 pages, all with conflicting information.

Life has a tendency to go round in cirlces, and whilst I’m sure this all sounds incredibly smug, the reason I can sit here and write the above is because I’ve been there and done it. I’d go so far as to say that most skilled, knowledgable and smart fitness professionals (and amateurs, because let’s face it – many of us are way more knowledgable than the pro’s, and more modest) have too, which is why we all say the same thing. Years of reading everything we can get our hands on, plus experience, means that we can confidently discard the bits (which probably accounts for 95% of what we’ve read) that are pointless, extraneous or just not important.

Less is not just more. Less is…

  • achievable
  • focussing on your key goals
  • more manageable (mentally and physically)
  • will make it easier to stick to
  • will build a solid foundation and allow you to get into the complicated shit later
  • no stress

So if you want my advice for a beginners diet and training plan, here it is in one sentence:

Do pull-ups, push-ups, dips and pistol squats (or learn kettlebells, or the powerlifts – but not both), and eat mostly plants, meat and fish (in an unprocessed form as possible).

There you have it – simple :)

* Sorry dude – blog posts need examples ;)

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1 Response

  1. Love it. The old “KISS” rule.

    I learned to trust my instinct when it comes to exercise after adding “fitness” to my StumbleUpon interests. Pages after pages of conflicting info. None of it tailored to my goals. After a while, I just started to ignore it and go back to basics: eat less, move more.

    All that said, I still like to read a well researched article or two to see if I can pick up a tip here or there. I added nuts to my diet after reading about their content for healthy fats, for example.

    Nice article – keep it up!