The Zen Of Simplicity: 14 Kick-Ass Fitness Bloggers Give Simple, Actionable Advice That Gets Results – Period.

Dear Blog,

Have you ever believed in something so deeply that you just wanted to shout it from the mountaintops?

Have you ever known something that, if shared, could save tons of people significant time and effort, money and pain?

And did you share it?

Well it’s time for me to share something with you. Today is the official launch of NoGym.net, so let’s kick it off with a bang!

Simplicity Is Power

All too often, thousands of people get caught up in meaningless pursuits. And it’s not even their goals that are meaningless, it’s almost always the distractions that take their attention away from their goals.

It’s the stuff you probably think you need to be doing to reach your goal that is actually distracting you, taking your hand and leading you away.

It’s loss of focus.

We all know there are many ways to skin a cat. However, in fitness especially, there is, and has always been, a guaranteed way to get results.

In an effort to shed some light on every angle of this solution, I brought in the experts, asking some of my favorite health & fitness bloggers this question:

Why is simplicity so important when pursuing an athletic or health goal? Or any goal for that matter? And how do you [personally] focus on the important things without getting swallowed by the details?

Their insights present the issue and solution in stunning clarity…

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“Personally, I focus on what matters. When pursuing fitness, or athletic goals, I find that the more stuff we have clouding our judgment, the worse off we are. So I like to break things down into 3 chunks.

Chunk #1 – Training. I make sure my training is sensible, and practical. It has to be something I can reasonably commit to. This means 3-4 days per week of strength training. Usually 1-hour sessions are perfect for me.

Chunk #2 – Practicality in my Diet. I know that my diet can’t be perfect all the time, so I always allow for some wiggle room. When going out, I make sure I don’t overly restrict myself from having something sweet if I want it. I will drink liquor as I see fit, and make sure my diet is in check the rest of the week. It’s all about balance, not deprivation.

Chunk #3 – Bigger, More Important Goals. Here is where most of my success comes from. Training and diet really only takes up about 4-6 hours of my week. So I place my focus and effort on other things in my life that have higher priority. My businesses, my relationships, and my hobbies take up way more time than my personal fitness, therefore, they get way more of my attention and focus. As a result, I worry less about my physique, and still get amazing results.”

steve kambSteve Kamb – Founder of Nerd Fitness & Author of the Rebel Fitness Guide

“Simplicity is important because it’s so easy to overcomplicate things, and suffer paralysis by analysis.  Being honest, the best workout is the workout that you actually follow consistently.  On top of that, workouts that are super simple can often be the most effective.  You can work out your entire body with three movements: squat, overhead press, and pull ups.  Not glamorous, but incredibly powerful, easy, and effective.  Keep it simple!”

RTRGreg O’Gallagher – Founder of Kinobody Fitness Systems & Author of the Shredded Manual

“It is more effective to master a few movements than to flirt around with 50+ exercises. It is through the past two years of my training that I have been actively hacking away at the unessential. Taking that which works and discarding the rest. Only after I removed the unnecessary did my progress really seem to take off.

When you focus your efforts on a few movements progress really picks up. Each week you’re adding weight to the bar and your strength is going up. You can bet your ass that this continual strength progress is leading to solid muscle growth. Conversely if you spread yourself thin with too many exercises then your body never really improves. Imagine trying to perfect ten different takedowns in a few weeks. You would most definitely end up sucking on all of them. The human body is amazing at learning one thing at a time. Throw multiple tasks at the human body and stagnation is inevitable.”

Ben GreenfieldBen Greenfield – Founder of Ben Greenfield Fitness and the Rockstar Triathlete Academy

“There is a moment when a task becomes so overwhelming that you tend to throw up your hands and avoid action, procrastinate, or neglect the task altogether. The more complex a task is, the more likely this is to happen. And a perfect example is exercise. At the beginning of each week, for both myself and my clients, I write down a simple physical activity goal or workout for each day, and keep it simple and sweet. Not having to overcome the complicated or annoying mental burden of dealing with a complex workout makes achieving an athletic or health goal much easier to pursue. Could a more “complex” workout get superior results? Perhaps. But not if you don’t do it. Simplicity equals adherence, adherence equals consistency, and consistency equals success.”

Jim BathurstJim Bathurst – Founder of Beast Skills & Bodyweight Badass

“In working toward any goal, there are certain things that you can do which are incredibly productive and will speed you along your path. There are also certain things that are productive, but to a much smaller degree. You are looking to get the most productive things done first, and then only after that do you add the rest. If you don’t prioritize, then you can easily fill up your time with less productive tasks.

On this note, you need to ask yourself if certain efforts are producing significant results for the time invested, or if the time and energy is better spent elsewhere. For example, counting calories is a tedious process that may be applicable to some people’s goals, but for many just looking to eat healthy they’d be better off doing something else with their time – like shopping for fresh vegetables, or cooking healthy meals. Both those activities would probably take less time than counting one’s calories, while producing greater end results. They are simple, but powerful.

You avoid being swallowed by the details by cutting back mercilessly. Take a training session for instance. What would you do if I gave you an hour and a half to work out? How about an hour? 1/2 hour? 10 minutes? As you cut back you ask yourself questions. As you ask yourself questions, you see what is essential, and what is not. With my schedule, I often have to do that – fit in a quick workout here or there. I have to pick the most productive exercises.

We live in a world of infinite information and possibilities. This is both liberating and crippling. Know when and where to use your time and energy. Simplify. It can easily disappear if you take on everything, with little results to show for it all.”

Vaclav GregorVaclav Gregor – Founder of Muscle Pyramid & CMO of Adonis Lifestyle

“I think it’s the difference between being in shape and in control compared to being in shape and out of control or even totally out of shape and unable to take action.

Let me explain.

The person who is in shape and out of control is the one you usually see on stage or in magazines, always obsessing over macronutrients, protein intake, training and so on. You will never meet him/her in a club or see him having fun. It’s because they use complex approach and are afraid of losing everything they’ve built if they took the simpler road.

The next example I gave was the person who is out of shape is the most common. I call him “the professional consumer”, it’s the person who starts his day with reading 10 new fitness articles and after getting back from the office in the afternoon checks his inbox  again for the new fitness articles and videos. There is nothing wrong with this if you can implement all that advice, but the issue this person has is that he or she is unable to take action, because he believes that he needs to have all the information there is, that he needs to find out “the secret” and about all the mistakes he could make in the process. So he just keeps on reading and never gets of his butt.

Either way if you don’t keep things simple it will be a living hell for you despite of how you look, you won’t enjoy it even if you get in shape.

Usually less things we think about and manage in our lives, the happier we are.

Simplicity leads to more contentment, clear mind,better focus and less frustration and in the fitness area of your life a better looking body that you are in control of and can enjoy.

Personally, I just try to do as little as possible while trying to achieve as much as possible. And maybe even more importantly, I don’t focus on the minutia like most people do.

People just get caught up in the cycle of trying all the new hot supplements, machines and gadgets. They are just blind to the truth and don’t want to accept that the solution is simple and boring, not some new, sexy and complex process.

So I just make sure I have a good workout for the week/month, I follow that plan exactly and always give it my best. For the diet, I just follow a balanced diet, eat what I like and focus on maintaining my body fat by eating at caloric maintenance. I try to get enough sleep and through a couple tested supplements here and there to maximize my results.

It’s really important to find a simple approach, find just one source of information to avoid confusing and contrary advice (getting several contrary pieces of information leads to analysis paralysis and makes things way too complicated). Never spend more time reading/watching than practicing/training. Even for me and I’m involved in this industry.

Simplicity helps focus on your goal, ditch minutia and focus on the big things that are responsible for the 90% of your results.

This is also the way I teach it my clients and customers and it always works.”

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Bret Contreras –  Owner of BretContreras.com, The Glute Guy, and Author of Advanced Techniques in Glutei Maximi Strengthening

“There’s a lot of science related to exercise, health, and performance, and it’s quite easy to get bogged down in details. In fact, many individuals get what is commonly referred to as, “paralysis by analysis.” For this reason, most people tend to benefit dramatically when they prioritize the various factors that contribute to a particular goal. All too often people focus too much attention on areas that don’t have a big pay-off, and too little attention on the areas that matter most. For example, in attaining a nice physique, getting stronger at squats, deadlifts, and bench press, while sleeping well and consuming the ideal amount of calories and macronutrient proportions might determine 80% of potential results, with everything else contributing the remaining 20%. Therefore one will realize the best results if they nail down the basics.”

Bethany Lee – Founder of Project White Space

“For me, when I think of simplicity, I think of focus, because focus brings simplicity to my life. If I have a health and fitness goal, I find that I must focus on that goal and put all other less-important issues aside. By doing this, it brings simplicity into my life in general, because my life at that time revolves around that one thing, and I don’t let other stuff get in the way. It also brings simplicity to my thought life–when I focus on ONE health and fitness goal, I can not be bothered by random worries that I might otherwise allow to bother me, or bog me down. I wrote a little about this, followed by a video, on my blog at http://projectwhitespace.com/marathon-mentality-focus/ .”

Marc Perry – Founder of BuiltLean  &  NYC Fitness Coach and Expert

“I believe creating one compelling goal with a simple, straightforward plan forces you to focus on what’s important, so you in effect leverage your time and energy. When many goals are created, or a complicated plan is implemented, it can create a lot of confusion and uncertainty. There is a saying that “Doing less is the path of the productive”; figure out the most important things that are necessary to get the job done and reach your goal.

When looking at the totality of making changes, or achieving a goal, that goal can seem very daunting. Breaking that goal into mission critical steps that will have an out-sized affect can lead lead to greater success faster. This article goes into more depth about this concept of prioritizing what you need to work on, that following through… http://www.builtlean.com/2010/07/16/divide-conquer-small-changes-add-up/”

Alykhan Gulamali – Author of Fitness Breakout

“Simplicity is important in pursuing fitness goals because the number one reason most people don’t reach their fitness goals is the lack of long-term commitment.  The best way to add longevity to any routine is to simplify it.  Focus on consistency, not perfection.  The 80/20 principle applies to health and fitness as well as anything else so practice the simple measures that yield big results.  Stick with it over time and you’ll achieve optimum health as well as the body of your dreams!”

Keith LaiKeith Lai – Founder of Fit Mole & Author of Celebrity Bodies The Smart Way

“In this crazy world of fitness, the word ‘simplicity’ has become somewhat of a misnomer. Everywhere people are promoting simplicity and ease of use. All the “gurus” are promising 300% greater results as long as you follow their program…their diet.

And in the end, there are hundreds of workout and diet programs that promote simplicity. But how is something like losing weight so ‘simple’ when every program in the book is contradicting one another?

Think of it like the iPhone. Every year, there’s a new iPhone, but more of less it’s the exact same crap. People simply buy it because Apple is so damn good with their marketing. They make you feel like sh!t…like an outsider if you don’t buy it.

The same goes for fitness programs, every year there’s going to be a new program that claims it’s better than the last, but in reality the new program is no better.

Fitness hasn’t really changed much in the last 100 years: you eat less to lose weight and you eat and lift more to build muscle.

Everything put out these days is based on the 2 principles above.

If anything deters from these 2 principles, I completely ignore it. It’s not worth my time and it shouldn’t be worth your’s either.”

adonis-belt-217x300Michael McIntyre – Founder of SomebodyLied.com & Author of Surefire Six Pack Abs

“To me personally, simplicity is important when pursuing any goal, because there is simply more important things to do. Things such as spending time with friends and family and working to pay the bills.

I am just a regular guy, not an athlete or anything, so to me, having a simple plan such as training 3 x per week, and having my macros and calories laid out which is all you really need in all honesty.

Everything else is just minor little details which would most likely benefit an athlete but probably not a member of the general population who wants to look good.

The fitness media like to make you think tons of supplements, must have a gym membership, must eat 6 meals a day, and eat protein every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism up, must not drink alcohol and abstain from “unclean foods”.

As we know now this is just bs, and simply training properly and efficiently and hitting your macros will go a long way in getting the body you desire.”

Srdjan PopovicSrdjan Popovic – Founder of Bloom To Fit & Author of Benefits of Kettlebell Training

“I think simplicity is the key to achieving great things in life. I have found that in the pursuit of our goals and our dreams in life, we tend to severely over complicate things to the point that we end up getting in our own way. Keeping things simple allows for a clear vision of what’s ahead. It allows us to focus on what’s truly important. And it helps us stay on our path. The simpler something is the more likely we are to do it. And the simpler something is the more likely we are to stick with it.

The one thing that has really helped me focus on the important things (in numerous areas of my life) is the 80/20 rule. By figuring out what specific areas and activities give me the best bang for my buck (i.e. most quality output for the least input of time), I am able to gain a better understanding of what exactly I need to be focusing on to get closer to my desired outcome (without getting bogged down by details). I like to write these things down on a big piece of paper and have that up somewhere so I can see it at all times. This way I can always keep in sight the things that are most important and most value-adding in my life. Then I just focus on doing these things every single day. If I ever get sidetracked, I just look at my list and ask myself if what I’m doing is helping me progress. If it is, I add it to the list. If it’s not, I get back to doing what’s important.”

daveDave from NotYourAverageFitnessTips.com

“Simplicity is important because if you get too caught up in the details, you tend to forget and focus less on the big picture. You can’t see the forest through the trees. I’m a very detail oriented person so I make this mistake more often than most. I have to constantly remind myself what my goals are and that I will likely achieve them if I simply stick with a plan.”

Here’s Where You Come In:

1. Have ever been overwhelmed with the massive amounts of information on the internet today?  Does it ever stop you from achieving your health & fitness goals? Let us know in the comments below.

2. Share the love! If you liked this post and all of the awesome, incredibly insightful contributions from these amazing bloggers then we’d love it if you could share it with your friends