Disclaimer: This blog post was a collaboration with my boyfriend Derek Beumel who is also a personal trainer and certified USAW, USAPL and bodybuilding coach.
Want to know the secret to success? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s actually very simple…focus on the big picture. Yes, I know it’s not all that ground breaking but think about it…how many times a day, a week, a month do we focus on the little things? How many days go by when we’re so hyper focused on things that in the long run, don’t really matter? Should I be eating Paleo or Whole30, should I be taking this brand of supplement or that one, should I be using a heart rate monitor or a FitBit, should I be eating 20 grams of protein within an hour after working out from a shake or real food…and on and on and on until we’ve complicated the equation so much we become so overwhelmed, don’t even know where to start and therefore our fitness journey ends before it even has the chance to begin.
There needs to be a shift in the fitness industry. We know what’s good for us; we know what our body needs. Our body needs good food, lots of movement, minimal stress, and plenty of sleep—the basics. If you take care of these 90% of the time then we can focus on the 10%, but if just one of these is out of whack then it doesn’t matter what supplement, diet trend, or what time of the day you’re getting protein in because that is the 10% and in the long run will not make a difference. It’s like buying a really nice high end TV but you don’t have any of the plugs, power outlet or even a home to put it in—what’s the point of having that TV? If you have all these expensive supplements, fancy workout equipment, and complicated looking programs but not even the base knowledge to begin then what’s the point of having them? Just like climbing a ladder, you can’t get to the top by only using the top two rungs, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
As coaches we receive these questions all the time: What supplement should I take? What pill is going to help me shred 10 pounds the fastest? What should I be taking pre, intra, and post workout? These details only matter if you are the top elite of your sport or organization and these questions should only matter when you have mastered all the other parts of nutrition that that is now you’re limiting factor. In all of Derek’s years of coaching he has yet to find a single person where the answer is yes those supplements are my limiting factor which means every time we get asked those questions we should be retorting: Why are you not focusing on the rest of the equation? In the nutrition world, the 10% is supplements when in reality the other part of the equation is water and real food. Have you gotten enough water? Have you eaten enough food to nourish your body? Have you mastered these things? Are you drinking water by the gallon and getting in enough fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals? If the answer is no then you don’t need to worry about the supplements or food timing or magic pills. If there were a supplement that, with the snap of your fingers, fixed all your problems everyone would be taking it and you wouldn’t have to ask a coach what it is.
Training is the same way. As soon as one trend starts to stick a new one pops up and the latter is soon forgotten: HIIT intervals, Tabata intervals, fasted cardio, body part splits, this core exercise vs. that core exercise, etc. Again, what is your limiting factor? Will that one exercise change your life because it was missing from your training regimen? The 90% of people are missing consistency—no amount of one specific exercise is going to matter if you aren’t consistent. Do you move well? Because that one exercise isn’t going to matter if you can’t properly engage the correct muscles.
It’s easy to fall into the 10% trap, it’s hard not to, the 10% advertises results. The 10% comes with eye-popping abs, big muscles, slimmer waists and it’s appealing—we’re drawn toward it. We don’t talk about gut health, or what your poop looks like, or if you are getting enough nutrients (beyond protein, carbs, and fats) because it’s not appealing, flashy or glamorous. Pictures of chiseled abs, perfectly round glutes and big muscles get viewership and pushes products—guarantee a picture of what your gut and poop should like wouldn’t warrant the same responses. Focusing on these things though will warrant better, more sustainable, long-term results and that’s really what we’re all after right? It won’t be an easy climb to the top, sometimes you’ll have to take a step back down on the ladder and sometimes you’ll reach for the top rung and miss but you have to have a base. You’ll always be going back to the beginning trying to master your nutrition, movement, stress and sleep until your limiting factor does indeed become that 10%.