I have seen a lot of people struggling with the myriad of contradicting food and exercise advice that seems to flow around us. Carbs make you fat. Carbs fuel your long runs. You need to do everything aerobically. You need to do everything anaerobically. Only use body-weight exercises. Only use free weights. No, only use machines. Stop running and lift. Stop lifting and run. No, follow my plan, for which you will pay me three easy payments of $29.95!
In too many cases, they get so confused about what to do, that they simply stay where they are and do nothing. Paralysis by analysis.
Its even worse for newbie athletes, as 90% of the advice is based on the assumptions that you need to lose weight, you mainly care about your appearance, and you don’t really care about what you can DO. I turned off one workout-advice video when it got to, “Why would you do this? You don’t really need to be strong here, and this won’t help your 6-pack, here, do this instead!”
How to get through all of this without losing your mind: Don’t over-think it, and just do something. Or, as a friend put it more bluntly, “Quit mind-f***ing it!!!”
You know where you stand now and what abilities you want to improve. Pick a program. Whatever one looks good to you. Stick with it for a minimum of 8 weeks.
OK, 8 weeks down. What worked, what didn’t? Learn from that, learn what works for you. Don’t be surprised if you go back to it when nothing else seems to be working.
Is there something else that you want to focus on?
Pick another program, for at least another 8 weeks. Rinse and repeat.
“But I can’t find a program that covers everything I need!” Neither can I. But if i cycle through 3 programs that each hit at least half of what I’m working on, I have more than covered everything over the course of 24-48 weeks, shifting off as I get through each program. I have found it much more effective to cycle through adequate programs, rather than spending all my training time searching for the one perfect system that has it all.
“Why not change it up every day, rather than 8+ weeks at a time?” Your choice, there are many who shake things up every day. But I appear to be a slow learner, and it takes me about a week to learn a new program (and all the movements it involves) and run with it. It is easier to sort out what is and is not working when you have several weeks worth of changes to look at.
Above all else, do SOMETHING. Don’t fuss too much over making certain that it is exactly the best thing in the world, as long as it is moving you forward.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”