Be Clear

edwardA friend asked for some advice on getting into better shape. He’s a regular guy, not much of an athlete and was after some clear, simple advice.

Like most people, he just wants to look good naked and to be generally healthy. That means he doesn’t need to train like elite athletes do. He doesn’t have to aim low, but by definition, an elite athlete is rare, probably in the top 1% of the population, so why should he train like an elite athlete?

And he’s better off not trying to be someone else. Shoot for you, but better. A better you is something you can do.

He has to make sure he’s harvesting the low hanging fruit that produces a lot of benefits without much effort like not smoking, sleeping enough, eating more protein and fat, and getting some sunlight. Plus he should start standing more than sitting.

Next, he should find exercises he enjoys doing and he’ll be more likely to show up for workouts. And try to arrive at the minimum effective number of workouts a week. The right amount of exercise is more effective than doing as much as possible. If laying in the sun for 30 minutes produces a tan, doubling the time in the sun just burns you. Less is often more.

An another important consideration is not doing exercises which may result in harm. Getting hurt is a big setback. Some exercises might look cool but can hurt you when they’re done incorrectly or too often. For example, unless you’re fascinated with Olympic weight lifting, why bother learning those complicated high velocity techniques, when you can easily and safely do deadlifts, bench presses, and squats with moderate weight?

That was enough information to get him started. I’ll try to keep tabs on his progress. If knows he’s accountable to someone, he’ll be more likely to stick with it. We’ll see.