Distraction is one of the biggest killers of an effective diet and exercise program.
Anything that costs you lifestyle resources without further fulfilling the root cause of your goals is a distraction. It doesn’t matter if it’s supposedly good or healthy. If it’s not helping you move forward it’s detrimental.
Some distractions are obvious (hello Facebook) but some are not so obvious. Some may even seem like the opposite.
Every day I receive emails from folks asking my opinion on various diet and exercise methods. It’s not the general program they are often asking about, it’s the details that have them the most concerned.
“Should I do cardio before strength training?”
“Is it better to drink my protein shake before or after my workout?”
“Is simple sugar okay to consume a few hours after my workout or should it be done within the first 30 minutes?
“Should I do a 3 day split routine with abs every day or should I do a 4 day full body routine with 2 days on and one day off?”
I know it’s not professional but I almost always want to give the same answer to all of these questions:
To be honest, the folks asking the questions probably have a better idea of what’s best for them than I do. Details like this are much more dependent upon daily lifestyle habits than anything else.
But the biggest issue is that I really don’t believe things like this hardly make any difference at all. Worrying about the time of day you workout or how long you wait to eat after a workout are trivial details. Unless they are a big influence on your goals they won’t really matter all that much.
The worst of it is when folks focus on these details and spend a lot of time and energy trying to get them dialed in. They fret and pine over them far more than they should. In the mean time, things that matter a whole lot go completely unnoticed.
A common example is trying to get a workout routine perfect down to every rep and set, but the person goes out partying every night and shows up at the gym hung over. Believe me, there isn’t a single workout detail that can make up for the detrimental effects of a crappy diet and poor sleep.
Besides, it’s not like I’m going to say something like;
“What????!!!! you do legs before chest?! What are you trying to completely screw up your gains? Why don’t you just use 2% milk in your protein shake instead of 1% while you’re at it.”
As I always say, don’t sweat the details unless the details make you sweat. If you change something small, don’t expect a big impact unless it immediately makes a big difference in how you feel and perform. Other wise, it’s just another distraction.