4 MORE Lessons I’ve Learned from 9 years of Fitness

In a previous post, I talked about how I got my start in fitness and discussed a few notable lessons I’ve learned along the way. In this post, I’d like to talk about a few more fitness lessons.

Lesson 5. K.I.S.S. Principle in Fitness

K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” The principle illustrates that systems work best if they are kept simple rather than being overly complex. When it comes to program and nutrition prescription, we should be focusing on the work that results in the largest positive adaptations for health indicators of Functional Longevity. Basically, this comes down to focusing on the following:

Do everything you can to increase muscle mass and strength for as long as you can while being mobilized, lean, and with moderate aerobic capacity.

If this is dissimilar to your current training goals, you’re likely not following lesson 6.

Lesson 6. If you are not squatting heavy at-least once a week (2 or 3 is better) you may be a victim of fuckarounditis.

That pretty much sums it up.

Lesson 7. The goal overtime is to increase calories.

Yes, this is the contrarian perspective on calorie intake. We are bombarded with calorie reduction marketing that has developed a perspective of viewing weight loss as the primary reason to exercise and eat.  Unfortunately, this line of messaging panders to the population majority and has built a misguided belief system of the masses that thinks being skinny represents the health and aesthetic archetype. The initiated know better. They know that the glorious road to being the best physical manifestation of themselves is the development of muscle mass while also being lean.

In order to understand this concept a little better, I’ll introduce you to something called Total Daily Energy Expenditure. TDEE basically is the amount of food consumed on a daily basis in order to maintain your exact weight. You eat more than your TDEE on average over a week and you gain weight and vice versa. As you accumulate and pack on muscle you’ll increase your TDEE since your activity level is increasing incrementally and the fact that your muscles burn more calories. So as you become stronger and increase lean muscle mass over a multi-year/decade plan you will require more calories to hold on to that hard-earned muscle.

Am I talking about a significant calorie surplus? No, not at all. In actuality, the process is so slow that you won’t even notice. What’s important with this concept of having a positive relationship with food by understanding that it is not the enemy but rather something to be enjoyed and used as a tool to help reach training goals.

Lesson 8. Perception is reality.

I try not to play too much in the metaphysical realm when it comes to fitness but every once in a while it’s useful to tiptoe around to offer up tangible and applicable thoughts. Lincoln famously said, “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be”. In the same vein, your physicality can eventually be what you imagine it to be.

Speaking personally, I see my future self as a man who is lean, happy, fit, robust, and of a strong physical constitution who also is career- and family-oriented with people who rely on me. Will this be me? Probably. Do I absolutely know? No, not at all. But that’s not what’s important. What is important is how I have envisioned my future self so that I can align my actions to eventually become that person.

On the other hand, if I envisioned Homer Simpsoning it then that’s the sort of body that will come with that line of forward-thinking.

Yes, I know this is more abstract than the usual stuff I write about but it’s a useful thought experiment when making decisions about goal setting and program design.