“Hey Megan, so I’m trying this new thing, but I know you’re not going to like it.”
Apparently, I have a reputation. People have spoken these exact words to me numerous times. Maybe I’m stodgy? Cynical? Skeptical? Hmmm…
In these situations, someone is usually telling me about something they’re trying that is a bit unique or extreme, whether it’s a nutrition product or a training method. Deep down they know it’s not something that’s “tried and true”, but they’re giving it a shot anyway and hoping for the best. They’re hoping it’s the ONE THING that’s been missing all along.
And for some reason, they know I won’t necessarily put my stamp of approval on it.
Why? Because I think what describes me the best as a trainer is “discerning”. I’m not easily swayed by shiny objects.
Here’s the thing… in the fitness and nutrition world, there is something new on the market every single week. A new idea or method. A new revolutionary product. The latest “cutting edge” research. A recently released documentary that is life changing. Sure, there are some good things out there, but there is also a lot of crap. In this world, you must learn to be extremely discerning and become not easily swayed by trends and shiny objects.
Consistency is King
With your workouts and eating habits, you cannot be like a dog that suddenly sees a squirrel. If you’re always chasing after the latest idea, you’ll never be doing anything long enough for it to stick. In my experience, it takes about a full year to create significant change and really establish lifelong habits. Most people can’t stick with something for a full month, let alone a year!
Someone was recently telling me about their new squatting regimen. The idea was that they did heavy squats every single day, and threw in a few accessory lifts. My friend was super pumped and pleased with the results it created. I said, “That’s awesome! Are you still doing this every day?” “No, I haven’t done anything in about a month. I’ve lost it all.” Case in point. I’m sure this protocol works for some people, but for many it’s simply too hard to be consistent. It has to be something you can do for years.
Learn from the Best
Surround yourself with experts in the industry and knowledgeable professionals. I do this, too, because honestly, sometimes I don’t have the answer. But I can look to those that I trust and see if the new idea is something they’re doing. If they’re talking about it and promoting it, then I know it’s worth my extra time to consider. But if someone asks me about the “such-and-such food method”, and I have never heard a single respected professional talking about it, then it’s not worth my time.
If you follow a discerning and level-headed trainer or nutrition coach and you respect their opinion, then learn from them. Pay attention to their habits and see what they’re doing. Try to not learn from your next door neighbor that is selling the latest trend and “swears that it changed her life”. Thanks, but no thanks.
“Tried and True”
Information and research is constantly evolving, and it’s smart to stay at the forefront of this industry. But one thing I’ve noticed is that even the cutting-edge information still has its foundation in certain truths.
With workouts, a total body functional based exercise program that incorporates heavy lifting and pays attention to injury prevention works. It will always work. If you get too far away from this truth (with things like “only one exercise a day” or “cardio til you die”), you’re dabbling with the unknown. It might work, but it probably won't.
With nutrition, eating a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, lots of good lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains and avoiding processed foods will always hold true. You can spin it a million ways, but good nutrition will always come back to this. When you get too far away from this (with weird things like “cut out carrots” or “just add these supplements”), you’re treading into unknown waters that have the potential to really throw you for a spin.
We have been shown that we need to be discerning with our spiritual lives.
“And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)
Because He loves us, God doesn't want us wandering around, aimlessly chasing after this idea or that idea. He wants to see us sharp witted, smart, and full of depth of insight. We always need to be able to discern what is best.
This area of our lives certainly does not fall outside of our responsibility to be discerning. I have seen so many women fall victim to what Paul teaches about in Ephesians. They are “children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14). Unfortunately, the damage is great. These mommas look like a hurricane blew through their fitness and nutrition world. They don’t know what’s up and down anymore, and they’re grasping at straws…anything that gives them a glimmer of hope for their bodies.
Fortunately, there is hope. This hope is built on consistency…following through with a plan that is tried and true. This hope is also built on learning from those in the industry that are very discerning and widely respected. And this hope is built on Jesus, who will give you discernment, clarity and insight, and will guide you in the way you should go.
Be discerning, momma. Be smart about how you train, how you eat and what you pursue. Pretty soon, other women may be looking to you as the steady one, full of wisdom and insight!
Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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