I’m a fan of minimalism.
Whether it’s being a minimalist when it comes to material possessions, having a website without ads or sidebars to put the entire focus on the articles, and definitely when it comes to building and sustaining a health and fitness regimen – I’m all about minimalism and keeping things simple.
Minimalism, in regards to fitness, allows you to keep things simple because you’ll only focus on the few, important things that truly matter and provide the majority of the results.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” as Leonardo da Vinci said.
There are several reasons you see a “sane and simple” theme in the articles on Lift Like a Girl – because keeping things simple . . . works.
Here are four reasons why you should simplify your health and fitness regimen.
1) Less stress. Your health and fitness regimen should enhance your life. It’s something that should REDUCE stress, and not increase it.
When you keep things simple you won’t be overwhelmed or stressed out as is common when trying to revolve your life around a rigid diet and complicated routine.
2) Develop habits that stick. If something is simple, you’re more likely to do it consistently, and consistency is what develops long-term habits. Long-term habits ensure you achieve and maintain results.
This is main goal – to make certain habits fit into your lifestyle so they eventually become effortless, or at least so they don’t require much thought.
3) Greater flexibility. A few simple guidelines allow you to accommodate for everyday occurrences. Let’s face it – life is unpredictable and can throw us curve balls, but simplicity allows us to adapt. For example, if you have the goal of eating real, whole foods most of the time, you can indulge in your favorite not-so-healthy treats and meals when a special occasion presents itself or you have a craving.
You’ll also be able to make a good food decision, no matter where you’re eating if your sole goal is to eat mostly real foods.
4) Greater focus. When you choose to focus on a few BIG things instead of a dozen or more smaller things, you’ll be significantly more focused. That means you’ll get more done.
So as you can see, there are some great arguments for simplifying your health and fitness regimen. If you’re convinced of the benefits, it’s time to start simplifying and experiencing the results for yourself.
How to Simplify
1) Begin by changing ONE thing, and one thing only.
Where are you struggling the most in your health and fitness routine? Do you work out consistently but struggling to make better, more consistent nutrition changes? Then make the only change in your current routine be to eat more slowly. Or maybe you can focus on eating more real, whole foods. Just pick ONE simple thing to focus on, exclusively, for a period of 4-6 weeks. Once you’ve nailed that one thing as a habit, do one more small thing.
Are you having trouble sticking to a workout program? If so, why? Is it because your current routine doesn’t fit your schedule or you’re trying to force yourself to work out too often? If so, follow a two day per week or a three day per week program that more easily fits your schedule.
Or perhaps you want to save time and would rather do bodyweight workouts at home.
Whatever the case may be, find a way to make your routine fit into your life and don’t revolve your life around an unrealistic routine.
2) Ask yourself, “Is this essential?”
There’s a good change you’re focused on too many small things that don’t have much of an impact on your goals.
Some things may only increase stress or cause you to get too concerned with insignificant details. For example, if you find yourself obsessing over small details like, “Should I eat white or brown rice?” ask yourself, “Is this essential? Is trying to decide between white or brown rice essential to improving my health or reaching my goals?”
The answer, in this case, is “No”.
Focus on the main things that produce the vast majority of the results, and forget the rest.
3) Stop searching – start doing.
According to Wikipedia, analysis paralysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.
I understand – you want to do the right things. You want to be armed with knowledge, so you go to those other fitness websites or flip through the latest magazine. Perhaps you even read debates and research articles. As a result of consuming so much information, we get too caught up in looking for the next big thing, the best workout program, or waiting until we have all the information before we take action.
The details of nutrition and fitness will always be debated, but most people can agree on a few key principles.
- Eat a variety of mostly real, whole foods
- Be physically active whether you choose to strength train, participate in sports, play instead of exercise, or any combination thereof
- Get enough sleep
- Do these things consistently
Take action and do those things consistently, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your health and fitness.
If you’re not achieving the results you want or find yourself constantly searching for the next big thing – simplify. Focus instead on the few things that matter most and experience the benefits for yourself.
Recommended Reading – The Bare Essentials Produce Extraordinary Results