No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Getting started

Posted by Ben on Friday, June 20, 2008

I wanted to post this earlier today to give it more eyes for the weekend, but life gets in the way sometimes; you’ll just have something to distract you from work on Monday (as if you needed an excuse). I also know this makes two posts this week. No, I’m not bored. No, I’m not actually trying to be more productive here. No, I’m not trying to get into the habit of this. Instead, there’s just been a LOT of good articles and blog posts over the past couple days, so many that I felt like I needed to go ahead and get some linked up before the list got too long and my resulting write-up got too tedious (after-the-fact edit: too late).

With that being said, let’s assume that you’ve decided to be healthy. Regardless of the reason(s), good for you. Lifestyle change is difficult at best, darned near impossible most of the time, but you’re going to do it. You’ve made up your mind (I highly recommend that linked method, by the way), but now what? In this age of the Internet, finding reliable, useful information is about as easy as it was before computers—it ain’t. Before, information was scarce and closely guarded. Now, “information” (read: BS) is everywhere and masquerading as viable content (the scam, not Craig’s blog, of course). As if that wasn’t enough, ideas once thought to be a panacea of healthful living (also here) are routinely being shot down as further (and valid) scientific study refutes earlier theories (some are still fighting the fight, though). And don’t think that real life is immune to the glitz and glamor of fly-by-night promises and “they say” advice—remember, real life is where it all started; the Internet just made it more widespread.

Step back, take a breath, and as I will keep harping, keep it simple. Don’t succumb to exercise and nutrition AD(H)D. Start with a few very simple things, or maybe just one thing (my personal favorite: ditch the sodas). Setup your priorities—realistically—and stick to them, again just one or a few at a time. (Check out this excellent video—as are all videos at—about just how much we go overboard every day, so it’s easy to imagine how we could do it with individual lifestyle changes.) Just please do some homework (look at training from a trainer’s point of view), talk and listen to someone who really is knowledgeable (rather than all the “bros” walking around the gym), and don’t be THAT guy/girl.

If a trainer isn’t your thing (for whatever reason—please don’t think it’s a must because I sure have never used one), there’s nothing wrong with cookie-cutter programs to get you started on your own. In time, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, but please don’t poo-poo a program if you don’t stick to it, don’t give each workout 100% (which is relative depending on the day or week you’ve had), and don’t see it through to the end. (Note: if you notice your trainer putting you on the exact same program as everyone else, get a new trainer or go without one—you’re putting too many resources into this person for him/her to be so lazy and/or unknowledgeable as to treat your training just like everyone else’s.) Coach Steer provides a good visual to help you set your goals and expectations.

Speaking of cookies, I just wanted to give another BOO-YAH! to up-and-coming nutrition guru Alan Aragon, who was reviewed on Lyle MacDonald‘s blog recently. Other than here, if you haven’t heard of Alan, that’s because… well… Lyle puts it so much better than I could:

Alan Aragon may be one of the least well known yet smartest guys in the industry, mainly because he sucks royally at marketing himself.

‘Nuf said. Now for the hodgepodge:

—The latest threats to our health and livelihoods include: poor water management, rampant vitamin D deficiency in people of all ages, spicy foods, cost-prohibitive electronic medical records, health insurance companies (big surprise there), golf carts, adolescent pregnancy pacts, and just plain being fit (here and here and the original story here—I just love sensationalist media).
—Humans seem to cause cancer in bunnies.
—Scholastic physical education continues to face financial pressures, but there’s a glimmer of hope.
—Cold showers aren’t just for the dugout after only getting to third base.
—Mental health gets some new toys (this is my latest fun time-killer). Of course, music has always been right up there.
—The American Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson are no longer at war (who knew they were in the first place?).
—It’s official: Charlotte has the best. fried. chicken. ever.
—Thanks to Coach Steer for posting this jaw-dropping example of human potential.

Wow, that was a lot more than I thought it was going to be. Good thing Monday mornings are usually slow, right? Unless…


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