As January is coming to a close, I’ve been seeing lots of posts on social media, blogs, etc. about what everyone is going to “do” after their 30-day challenges for whatever are over. Some talk about getting back to normal, some talk about stuffing their face with ice cream (#teamicecream for life) and then getting on with their day, but I’ve also noticed a fairly interesting thing – people seem to want to make things MORE complicated.
For example, if someone is seeking to lose fat, they may be embarking on a carb back/front/side loading-strict paleo-if it fits your macros-vegan nutrition plan with “cheats” every 4.5 days and 27 workouts a week cycling between high, low, medium intensity days with weights, unicorn lifting, and swimming. I’m exaggerating (obviously – but, I’m just saying..unicorn lifting, it’d be fun) but you get the idea. There is the notion that somehow MORE is better – more restriction, more complication, more this, more that is going to lead to this magical place where suddenly everything works. OR if you have to eliminate a food (like gluten) for some reason, it’s very tempting to just pack MORE substitutes for things like bread, pasta, and cereal into your day. Trying to find something to “make up” for what you feel you’re missing is plain exhausting. Simplify instead.
Another example, a relative strength training novice wants to increase their squat (awesome!), and decides they are going to run a Russian squat program with Westside undertones, with bands, chains, box squats, pause squats, 1 1/4 pause squats, and oh yeah, pause box squats with a bamboo bar and chains. That all sounds super sexycoolawesome but really, what’s probably going to raise your squat, is just squatting. (P.S. I’m no expert by any means, just my thoughts). But squatting 5×5 doesn’t sound nearly as cool as squatting 2x7x94.3 with 87# of chains to a high box. Sure, some complex squat program with accessories may be appropriate for someone – but my guess is that if you haven’t been training for a long time, it ain’t you.
Somewhere along the way, everyone got obsessed with doing more. “More” became desirable, it became sexy, and it became what everyone felt like they should be doing. But more isn’t always more. More restriction, more complication, more deprivation is only going to give you one thing – MORE STRESS. And more stress is something that NO one needs. But “more” is so shiny and new and attractive that it’s often times hard to resist. This isn’t limited to food and barbells, either.
Society, as a whole, values and glorifies “more”. We are constantly supposed to be doing more things and that’s just plain stressful. It has taken me a long (very, very long) time to realize that I don’t have to pack every.single.hour of my day with something – it’s okay to relax, to do nothing even, and to take time to do something besides work. That shift has carried over into almost every single activity/aspect of my day – whether it’s food, planning, working, or training. Doing more for more’s sake isn’t productive – it’s just straight up exhausting.
Moral of the story? Simplicity isn’t sexy but it works.