KISS – The Key Principle to Training and Nutritional Success
Odd things have a tendency to happen when we obtain more information in training and nutrition; we can actually drift away from our goal. Now this may sound counter intuitive but we tend to lose sight of what works, instead we obsess over the new and the exciting. Trust in what is known and proven, not to which is exciting. Experiment with exciting, yet form the foundation with what is known, this is where the gold lies. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).
Efficiency is everything. We all know that compound movements should form the foundation of every program, and it’s good to see that most do. However, we all find this common occurrence. We start a cycle with a very solid, balanced yet simple program which focuses on the big compound movements. As we follow this program for a couple of weeks, it starts to accumulate more and more exercises, give it a couple of months and your training program ends up looking like a novel. Sessions turn into marathons, and focus turns into exhaustion.
I have to admit I’m the biggest culprit for accumulating exercises. Just recently, I had a real problem with getting my glutes to fire correctly. I tried almost everything! Glute activation between sets, countless isolation movements and stretching out imbalances – it did nothing. Then I decided to ditch it all, the next day I did 4 sets of heavy squats and 3 sets of heavy deadlifts that was all. My glutes along with the rest of my body were destroyed! It wasn’t that my previous sessions didn’t include heavy squatting or deadlifting, but by trimming it down to the bare minimum it gave me this immense focus which allowed me to master the technique and move a lot more weight.
There’s much more to compound movements than you first think, yes they are the best way to improve strength and muscle mass but the effect it has upon correcting movement patterns is often overlooked. Compound movements cover the basic human movement patterns, if done correctly they will improve the way you move in everyday life as well as in sport, if done incorrectly they will do the polar opposite. Oh and if you do tonnes of isolation exercises it is likely you’ll mimic this movement in sport and life – I bet your partner would much rather have an expert in hip flexion than arm flexion…
I was listening to an interview with Kelly Starrett (master of mobility) the other day he was telling a story about when he went to a yoga class. When he arrived, they all turned to look at this big 220lb meathead and thought to themselves this is going to be a good laugh. When they began, he could not only keep up with these 120lb hemp wearing hippies, he could actually out perform some of them! Kelly said it’s all to do with mastering the basic compound lifts; by doing this he is mastering movement itself, which is transferable to all settings.
Keep It Simple Stupid, stick to the compounds lifts; this is where the gold lies. As I said at the start – efficiency is everything especially if you’re an athlete, compound movements provide you the most amounts of benefits in the least amount of time. Something special happens when you have the guts to cut out the isolation movements and keep it simple, you have an immense focus, technique is spot on, results are startling, you move properly and you can’t wait to train.
There is no better place to apply the KISS principle than the conflicting world of nutrition. At the risk of contradicting myself, the KISS principle will revolutionize the way you look at nutrition.
Everyone has a tendency to be drawn towards “shortcuts”, fads and anything which is fresh and shiny. Though these diets are often unproven and require massive amounts of dedication. We are all searching for the new and exciting like we don’t know what works, but we really do. Eat tonnes of vegetables, eat more protein, avoid processed food, drink loads of water, don’t be scared of natural fats or carbohydrates and if your great grandfather wouldn’t know what it is – don’t eat it. You may want to track calories if you want to lose or gain weight. If all you do is follow that advice, you’re going places.
Feel free to experiment once you’ve grasped the basics, you can make slight tweaks as the body is an incredibly diverse thing; though it is likely you will find this unnecessary. Don’t abandon what is proven for what is unlikely to prove to be more. Although we will always have this inclination to go towards the exciting research, the true professional will stick to what is known they will experiment slightly but they’ve seen these diets come and go many times, they know what works.
There’s some beauty in keeping training and nutrition simple. Results come easy, you’re unshakable and it’s extremely enjoyable. There’s certainly some benefits to be had from seeking better methods but don’t let it overwhelm you. In almost every field you’ll find the most successful individual or team are masters of the basics. Nothing changes in any athletic endeavor; think about the best sports teams or individuals, they’re all masters of the basics. Learn from the greatest, Keep It Simple Stupid.
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