The hardest part of any fitness journey is taking the first step. That is unfortunate because people tend to overcomplicate the first step.
The Strength Training Manual taught me a lot of things, but simplicity was the biggest lesson. People tend to overcomplicate things in general, and fitness is no different.
There is no need to put off starting (or restarting) your fitness journey just because you don’t know where to start. You don’t need a perfect plan to get started. All you need is the following two steps.
1. Make an MVP
In the tech world, MVP stands for a minimum viable product. An MVP is a product that is good enough, not perfect. The idea behind it is that once customers start using the product, the company will get some real-world feedback. They can then use that feedback to improve the product.
You can do the same thing with your fitness plan. In fitness, an MVP would be any safe workout plan. The plan doesn’t even have to be good, as long as it is safe.
It could be as simple as walking for 15 minutes per day. Anything that will get you going without risking injury. Once you have your MVP, you are ready to move on to step 2.
2. Bayesian Updating
If you don’t remember Bayesian updating from probability class, that’s ok. All it means is updating your assumption as you receive more information.
One example of Bayesian updating is guessing people's height. Let’s say you are going to the party and wanted to guess how tall the guests will be. The average height of American males is 5 feet 9 inches tall. That might lead you to make the reasonable assumption that half the men at the party will be taller than 5 foot 9.
What if you later learn that the party guests are all NBA players? Hopefully, that would lead you to update your assumption a little. Since the average NBA player is taller than the average American, it is safe to assume well over half the guests will be over 5 foot 9.
There should be two main assumptions behind your workout program.
- It’s safe.
- It will get you closer to my fitness goal(s).
You should update your assumptions whenever new information warrants it.
The most common update you will make to your workout plan is increasing the difficulty. When you are out of shape, almost anything will lead to results. The fitter you get, the more you will need to increase the difficulty to see progress.
Types of Error
When designing your own workout plan, one thing to keep in mind is the types of errors you will make.
No matter how experienced you are, your workout plan will never be perfect. There are too many variables ever to be perfect. (sleep, stress, diet, hydration, etc.)
There are two main types of errors you can make:
- Undershooting- a workout plan that is too easy.
- Overshooting- a workout plan that is too difficult.
It is better to undershoot by a lot than overshoot by a little when it comes to fitness.
If your plan is too easy, you will still be able to finish it. Then, you can use that information to update the plan. If your plan is too hard, you risk injury and burnout.
Fitness doesn't have to be complicated. You will be fine as long as your workout plan is safe and you update it when needed.
And remember, fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. So start slow, stay healthy and be consistent.