For the last ten years or more lots of misinformation has been distributed in the fitness and health industry.
Initially, everything was new. So, we didn't know any better. Later, a lot of information and behavior was influenced by the fitness supplement providers who mostly just wanted to drive their agenda and sales. Recently, in our modern information age it became very easy to produce and consume information mainly enabled by the Internet, mobile phones and social media. Everybody is an expert. Consequently, there is a lot of misleading or simply wrong information out there. Even worse: there is lots of scam -- but presented very well. This makes it very hard especially for people who are just starting out and want to become fitter and healthier to find useful information that's right for them.
Science Based Fitness To The Rescue
Thankfully, we are recently seeing a new wave of a brave minority fighting to turn this around.
These people genuinely want to filter out the bullshit and offer real help and advice that actually works. Of course they also want to earn money from it. But their programs and offers are sold with integrity and with a genuine interest in helping people become fitter and healthier. This is a growing community of fitness professionals or enthusiasts who rely on science when creating programs or giving recommendations about training, exercise or nutrition. And that is also in my opinion the only way. Assumptions, believes, own experiences, or anecdotal evidence is not enough to provide real help.
Here is an incomplete collection of a few people who are driving this movement and bringing it to the masses:
- Alan Roberts from Every Damn Day Fitness
- Alan Thrall from Train Untamed
- James Linker from Shredded Sports Science
- Jeff Cavaliere from ATHLEAN-X
- Jeff Nippard from jeffnippard.com
- Jeremy Ethier from Built With Science
- Kajs Hadžić from KH Performance Lab
- Kevin Meier from Pure Bullfit
I find this new science based fitness wave very exciting, inspiring and I fully subscribe to this idea too. Interestingly, the fundamental underlying principles for better health and fitness are very simple. Well, simple to understand -- not necessarily simple to execute. We used these same principles when we created the new 4 Legs Fitness program for superior health and fitness.
Key Principles To Achieve Better Health And Fitness
There are no secrets.
There is no need for over-complication -- especially for those who are at the beginning of the health and fitness journey. Those people who are more advanced or have more challenging goals will certainly need to dive deeper into the specifics. But the following principles will still hold true:
Know your goal
You need to understand where are you standing right now, what you want to achieve, and how to get there. We list five typical goals here.
Health and fitness will not come over night. It will also not come in three months. You will have to work consistently on your exercises, nutrition and recovery for at least half a year.
Understand your nutritional needs
Nutrition is the most important health enabler. Based on your goal, you need to understand your corresponding caloric requirements and nutritional needs like the split of the macros. That in particular means determining your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), your protein need, and understanding the calorie-in vs. calorie-out (CICO) concept.
Progress by overloading
Our bodies are very smart. They adapt. If we don't continuously challenge our bodies, they'll become comfortable with how they are and will not improve. That is why in training it is crucial to constantly progressively overload. In weight training that can mean, e.g., to increase the number of sets or reps, weight or reduce rest time.
Increase your daily energy expenditure
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you consume when living your daily life (i.e., when you are not actively exercising). Increasing your energy burn rate in this area can lead to some easy wins. You "just" need to change some habits like taking the stairs instead of the lift or use your bicycle instead of your car.
Work hard and prioritize your health and fitness
You cannot be a softie. Your health and fitness are too important and an improvement will not come easy. But it is totally worth it. So, you need to explicitly recall this and consciously work hard. In case of doubt, prioritize your exercise and nutrition over other activities -- at least most of the time.
Measure your progress
You can only manage what you measure. Make sure that you have some sort of mechanism of logging your activities and results. Use a paper notebook, use an app, take progress photos etc. There are many possibilities. If you don't see the expected progress, change things.
Make it work for you
Finally, improving health and fitness is very individual. There are so many diets and exercise protocols available. And the best one is the one that works best for you. There is no secret and there is no magic pill. The best program is the one that you can follow easily, progress consistently and the one that you actually like so much that you don't mind changing your habits.
Nothing valuable comes easy. Our health is our most valuable good. We better work hard to preserve or improve it. In the past we were told too much bullshit about exercise and nutrition. Thankfully we see now the new wave of the science based fitness community which helps us filter out the bullshit but focus on what works. In this article we summarized the key principles to achieve better health and fitness.
These principles also represent the foundation, on which we built our new guided program. Our objective with this program is to make it easier to achieve superior health and fitness for everyone.