Have you ever suffered from Information overload? Especially when it comes to information about how to train, what to eat etc? There seems to be a plethora of advice within the fitness industry and a lot of it seems to be conflicting. “Fighters should do high rep, low weight” no wait, “Fighters should do high weight, low reps”… “Fighters shouldn’t run” but then again “Fighters should run 10 miles a day everyday, after all, that’s what the Thais do!”
Or what about more mainstream advice such as “Don’t eat carbs at night” vs “Don’t eat carbs during the day” or even the “don’t ever even think about carbohydrates or you will induce an insulin coma”
Personally, I’ve had just about enough of all the different information out there however, My desire to know as much as I can about fitness and nutrition means that I am drawn to researching all the information out there. When it comes to training and nutrition, I feel as though I have finally come to a point in my life, in those two areas, where I feel comfortable. I feel stronger than ever, fitter than ever and god damnit, I can finally see wash board abs and am sitting at around 8% bodyfat on a consistent basis but there’s always room for improvement right?
Also, personally for myself, I feel as though I need to know every facet of information so that I can help others achieve their fitness goals in the best manner but it seems as though there’s so much conflicting information and scientific reasoning out there that a lot of people are getting confused… a lot of people including myself.
In fact it seems that every time I look, there’s a new revolutionary way to train or eat that yields great results backed with a bit of science which begs the question from me, what happened to yesterday’s techniques that were working so fine. Did they suddenly stop working? And what about the science behind those techniques?
It dawned on me that whilst people are quick to jump on bandwagons and follow the latest techniques or gurus so blindly and dismiss everything that has come before and has worked, people are inherently different and the body is fantastic at adapting to different stimuli and stresses.
That being said, many techniques in health and fitness do have a few commonalities.
Let’s take into account nutrition. Now the field of nutrition is almost like religion. People tend to follow what they believe to be correct so vehemently that they shun those that don’t agree with them with as much vitriol as you see within different religious groups! (Don’t even get me started of those Vegangelists!)
You’ll get those that believe that eating carbs after 6pm will make you fat and those that believe that eating carbs at night actually help you lose weight! Now, I personally was in the former camp and advocated that the bulk of a person’s carbohydrate intake came during the earlier part of the day and centered around workout times however, there are people getting great results too eating carbs at night and not eating carbs during the day.
Now, lets take a look at what’s common between these two ways of eating… they both enforce some sort of carbohydrate restriction meaning that carbohydrates are probably cut down and are lesser than an average western diet (Which is usually a hyper caloric diet). Therefore both diets will give you a good amount of insulin control and calorie control!
Maybe that’s the reason why both diets work?
Professor John Berardi, who in my estimation, is one of the best authorities on nutrition and sports nutrition, states that one of the effects of focusing on your nutrition intake when you consider fitness and health as a primary factor is that you start eating less processed foods, refined carbohydrates and chemical pollutants and focus on more nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, whole foods and quality proteins. In other words, Most diets force you to steer away from junk and crap and start focusing on eating good food and creating a caloric deficit and controlling your carbohydrate intake. After all, this is what I personally believe diets such as the Paleo Diet are doing with great effect. It’s not that if you eat like a caveman you’ll suddenly trigger something deep inside you that activates some sort of neanderthal gene that triggers energy and fat burning potential but the paleo diet has a great emphasis on eating whole foods, quality proteins and less refined carbohydrates. Whatever name you give to a diet, that’s a good idea! Of course, some Paleo advocates do tend to take things a bit too far and start crticising any body that eats food our ancestors don’t eat yet I get a bit of a kick out of the fact that they seem to find it okay to take supplements which I am pretty certain, weren’t available to cavemen unless GNC started out as the general nutrition cave or something?
Anyway, I digress, the whole point of this post was to highlight the fact that whilst there are lots of different things you can do to help you achieve your goals, the main element is that you keep moving forward. We’re not robots and whilst the human body is a very precise instrument, we vary from person to person and body to body. What works for one person well may not work for another. Anecdotal evidence or even scientific evidence hasn’t got the time to take into account the variables and nuances in your life and lifestyle such as how much sleep did you get last night, how many cups of coffee did you drink? What kind of work you do and how stressed are you at any given moment or any of the other hundreds if not thousands of variables that could alter your hormonal markers.
Therefore the key is to be consistent and keep trying things out in an almost scientific manner. I remember going through personal experiments with different types of diets and training programs. I have tried the Body for life type of diet, the ketogenic diet, the Intermittent fasting diet (back when I tried it, it was the Warrior diet that I tried by Ori Hoffmekler), I’ve tried raw food (all be it only for a few days), I’ve tried gluten free, organic etc etc etc just to see what works for me and what doesn’t. I took the best elements from those culminated with eating good food and altering my training to what I believe is currently the best diet for me and no doubt, I will find some new tweaks to fine tune it.
So, to take away, Focus on eating good food and training with good intensity. Keep up to date with the latest information but be weary of the sources and credibility of where you’re hearing your information from. Remember, a lot of information especially within fitness, is what they call Bro Science… a bit like hear say! And don’t let pseudo science from cleverly marketed supplement companies slip through your radar either. Make sure things are backed up with research and evidence and better yet, try it out yourself!
Until next time, have a great day!