Information overload

There are a variety of challenges when you start your weight loss journey. You face internal and external challenges. One of the most difficult external challenges is information overload.

A quick Google search returns over 300 million hits on the search “weight loss”.  The variety of methods available is mind boggling. There is literally an exercise program for everyone. They range from time tested methods of weight training to strange torture devices. From CrossFit to wearing shoes which alter your gait the possibilities are endless. So how do you deal with this flood of information when you are starting out?

Pick one system. Stick with that system for at least 12 weeks. Don’t make alterations, don’t add or subtract anything for that 12 weeks. At the end of that 12 weeks, evaluate your progress and then make changes.

It’s easy to keep adding new pieces to your workouts. You see or hear about a new move that is supposed to make it even easier to lose weight. What you may not realize is that adding that new move in is actually making things more difficult. Just like the danger of too many cooks in the kitchen spoiling the soup, the same thing happens with workouts. The more you add, the less progress you make.

Pick one thing.

Some of my favorites:

Couch to 5k– This is a great program for folks who are looking to get into running. It has you building mileage gradually, and it can get just about anyone up and running.

Beginner Triathlon Training–  Looking to be a multi-sport athlete? This is the place to start. Swim, Ride, and Run yourself into fitness.

Body for Life -Body for LifeThis is the granddaddy of transformation style fitness programs. Simple, includes both workouts and nutrition information, and just plain works. This is what I originally used to drop 60 pounds. It’s a little thin on information to help keep you injury free.

The IMPACT! Body Plan– One of my current favorites. Todd Durkin is a great trainer, and his simple to follow program will get you moving, and help keep you injury free.

If you want a little more help putting together a workout program, consider getting a personal trainer. A good trainer will design a program specifically for you, not just hand you a cookie cutter program. By addressing your individual needs, a trainer will help you get stronger, healthier, and stay injury free.

The goal is to get healthier, not prove how much you know about how to get healthy. So pick one thing and stick with it.

What workout program are you planning to use to help move yourself forward?


2 responses to “Information overload

  • Suzy Seibert

    Good advice — it is hard to follow two or three programs at the same time because the overlap is nasty — a rest day on one is a 4-mile run on the other, an UBWO is a TEAM Fitness cardio day, etc. I am living proof that it is discouraging rather than encouraging to follow multiple programs at the same time when trying to be focused for 12 weeks.

    Will do BFL this next 12 weeks. Then, after that, reassess.

    Wise words, Clara! Thanks.

    • Clara K. Showalter

      The other thing people don’t realize is that most programs are designed with specific progressions in mind. When you start tinkering with the program, you alter the intended outcome. Swapping one chest exercise for another may shift the focus on the muscle group away from the chest and put it more on the shoulders. That in turn can cause overload on the shoulders. You can actually hurt yourself pretty quickly.

      With running programs, mixing in distance runs and full leg workouts can potentially cause some overuse problems. This again leads to body break down. And when you skip rest days you again increase the risk of injury. Crossfit has rest days programmed in. Too often, people skip the rest day. Rest is when your body heals and improves performance.

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