A Punch to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)




Guys, I’ve been having some thoughts.  Loads of them, actually.  But there’s one in particular that may seem sacrilegious to my friends and colleagues who are constantly learning, researching, debating, arguing, and programming.

If you’re a fitness professional, we’re going to consider how we approach what we’re doing.  If you’re a fitness fan, we’re going to to consider how we best take care of ourselves. Let’s take a deep breath together:

I think we’re getting too caught up in the ‘science’ of exercise.



Don’t get me wrong, exercise science is awesome.  I’d still advocate for anyone who wants to enter the field to get a degree.  If you’re making a career change, fill in all of those science puzzle pieces that you can.

Eric Cressey mentioned this on his Facebook page earlier this morning, and it’s spot on:

  1. Successful coaching and programming are a combination of science and art.
  2. This is why young coaches with Exercise Science, etc. backgrounds do so well with internships. The “art” is their biggest window of opportunity for learning. 
  3. This is also why coaches who make career changes to fitness later on in life need to hit the books, DVDs, etc. hard. They’ve generally developed the “art” of interacting with people and need to learn more about applying that expertise to help people toward a training effect.
  4. Both “kinds” of coaches still need both aspects of professional development, but as with anything in life, prioritizing is key.
  5. This is probably why seminars with both lecture and practical components work so well; there is something for everyone. (Well played, Perform Better). It’s also why I love presenting at seminars so much; you get to meet such an awesome variety of people, each of whom has something to teach.

Fitness professionals love to do two things.  We love to help people, and we love to get better at our craft. When we talk about pelvic obliquity or myofibrillar hypertrophy, we may make ourselves sound really smart, but we look really stupid.

A discussion about metabolic resistance training and the purported benefits of elevated post-exercise oxygen consumption is less likely to engage inspire someone than a recent Exercise Science degree holder would believe.

Instead, I think that people tend to feel like this:


My current focus in learning and lecturing is to Keep it Simple, Stupid.  The goal is to guide trainers and coaches to a place where they facilitate learning, rather than teaching outright.  Create an environment where people asks questions, rather than just sharing your answers.  Be a Steward of Strength, not a king of the weight room.

One of my favorite KISS examples is a line I’ve heard Mike Boyle say several times as a programming suggesting.  “Push something, pull something, use your legs.”  It’s the simplest rule out there for exercise selection, yet it allows you to move your entire body with three exercises.  It makes movement accessible to everybody.

Isn’t that the goal, anyway?  To make movement and exercise more accessible.  Sure, there’s a time and place to discuss the intricacies in decreasing 40 yard dash time, balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic tone, and maximizing metabolic adaptations for fat loss.

Fortunately, most of us can see the best results by sleeping for 7-9 hours per night, eating an appropriate amount of nutrient-dense foods that support our daily calorie needs, and training to support both our short-term and long-term goals.  After all, this isn’t rocket science.

Planning your program shouldn’t be an exercise in lifestyle design, it should support how you want to live your best life.  Keep it simple, stupid.


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