Every thing that you learn and every experience that you have in this life is going to impact you in one of two ways. The first is that it will create such an impression on you that it commands total buy in on your part. You see this a lot with religion. The principles or philosophies that you learn become concrete as they guide your approach. This is not unlike diet and nutrition philosophies like the paleolithic diet or the ketogenic diet. The overarching problem with dogma is that it tends to close you off to new experiences which can be problematic in and of itself. Often times being successful in life whether it’s in fitness, nutrition or business, requires a multi-prong approach. Tackling complex problems such as how you should live your life or how to optimize your biology requires finesse, to put it lightly. In a multiverse like the one that we live in, not everything can be black and white. If you look at it as such, you are setting yourself up to miss a whole lot of the color that not only makes like great, but makes it worth living.
I had the difference between religious and spiritual explained to me like this: Religious means that you accept what comes after life and there is only one way to get there. Spiritual means that you accept that something comes after life but you are ok with figuring it out no matter where your journey takes you. This is how you should approach fitness and nutrition. There is no rigidity when it comes to physiological adaptation and the way that your biology reacts to nutrients. As much as the next fad diet or fitness program that has you jumping up and down in front of your T.V. might want to make you believe that there is. Do this and get fit doesn’t work just like take this and get skinny doesn’t work (excluding cocaine.)
I have spent years in and out of the fitness community. Personal trainer was the very first job that I had out of high school. Since then I have founded a supplement company, consulted on projects and gyms, put on events, taught seminars, led the programming for special operations units and competed myself in everything from strongman to CrossFit to ultra endurance style events. The one thing that I have learned throughout the entire process is that I don’t know shit. And I mean that seriously. With every piece of knowledge that is thrown at me, they almost always profess that the guy behind them was wrong and that now, this is how you should do it.
The worst part of all of the different fad diets and craze routines is the fact that they are essentially overwhelming people with information. We never know what to believe when everything is the only way to do something. Even if you are not new to fitness, all of the so-called “experts” can get on your nerves when they start peddling their methods. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t fallen victim to this too. When you start doing something that works, it is easy to begin claiming an elitist mentality. Catch yourself and stop being part of the problem when you notice it. A hallmark sign of an inexperienced coach is when they start having all of their clients doing what they do because it works for them. Rather, a good coach should be able to draw from a breadth of experience, pulling different tools to combat different problems. And that is where I am hoping that you will fall; on the spiritual side, so-to-speak.
You would be better served to realize that in the right context, almost everything that you have learned has its application. If we are talking fitness, knowing when to use different modalities in order to create a desired outcome is the single best piece of evidence that you can have on your side. The kicker is that knowledge will only come when you have successfully implemented enough different modalities. Diet is no different. Looking at carbs as an energy source just like caffeine can be highly beneficial. You’ll only know if that works for you however, if you have experimented with metabolic flexibility. The point is that nothing is right in the same way that nothing is wrong.What it boils down to is that everything you learn should be taken with a grain of salt (because electrolytes have their place too.) When you are exposed to a new idea, do not go all in or all out. Instead, take a step back and think about the context in which what you are learning might be true. Then think about the context in which it might be false. This approach will help you look at the big picture with more clarity. It will also save you from hammering a screw in with a jig saw. These tools have their place but only under the right circumstances with the correct application.