Got to love the attention seeking headline, but don’t worry, I am not going off track for this post, just using a commonplace acronym and one that is perfectly suited to fitness; Keep It Simple, Stupid! How many times do we see trainers or gym users over-complicating things in the hope that they look clever or by copying something they saw posted on social media by some super fit looking influencer?
Now despite the internal working of the body being both amazing and complicated, the basic movements it undertakes are not, and in their simplest forms can be placed into 8 basic categories, namely brace, hinge, squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate and gait. Each of these movements will require the use of a muscle or group of muscles to undertake and it is simply these that the average exerciser needs to be familiar with in order to undertake a worthwhile session. You don’t need a degree in biomechanics to know that the biceps is the prime muscle utilised when bending the arm or that the squat is a good all round lower body exercise. Yes, additional muscles are utilised to stabilise the joint during the movement and the antagonist relaxes as the agonist contracts and so on, but do we really need to understand the complexities of the movement to use it effectively? Basic movements when performed correctly and safely will elicit results and it is a testament to this that old school bodybuilding techniques have far outlasted the latest fad workouts or miracle pieces of equipment that ultimately are purely a marketers dream where many people are looking for the quick and easy way to attain results. Never saw Arnie using an ab cradle or performing a complicated routine when just one exercise would suffice did we?
And its not just in the gym that this principle is applicable. It is just as true in life and particularly at this time of year when we set ourselves up to fail with unrealistic new years’ resolutions. How many people start the year with the intention of giving up smoking or some other vice, losing weight, going to the gym (perhaps not this year with lockdowns in place in so many countries), drinking more water, eating a healthier diet and so on only to fail dismally within a week or so as they have taken too much on board. Keep it simple, stupid and perhaps prioritise what you wish to change, beginning with something simple and achievable and building on it over time. By starting slowly and being realistic, you are more likely to achieve what you set out to and small successes lead to increased feelings of accomplishment, better self worth and more chance of continuing improvements when taken at a slower pace. Yes, you may wish to completely overhaul your diet and eat in a healthier way, but if this represents a big change, then why not begin purely by adding more vegetables to your main meal; a small change, but easily achievable and one which your body will appreciate. When this becomes ‘normal’ perhaps reduce the amount of processed food you eat and so on until you will have achieved your goal with less stress and upheaval and it is more likely to last. This is of course just an example, but I am sure you can see that by keeping it simple and achieving each small goal along the way, that confidence remains high and the overall goal more achievable.
Sure, there are times when a new workout can be just what you need to maintain motivation, or an all or nothing approach might be more beneficial to your particular way of thinking, but overall, keeping things simple and utilising the basics well will reap benefits and get you to your goals perhaps not quicker, but ultimately in a way that you are more likely to succeed and maintain long term.
Just a short blog this time (see what I did there!), but the basic premise is to not over-complicate things, perform the basics well and don’t be in such a rush to achieve that which is important to you; keep it simple and enjoy the small victories!