There is so much information on the internet these days about health and fitness it can be overwhelming. Between YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts, blogs and forums, there just isn’t enough time to take it all in. Then, there’s the other frustrating factor – so much of the information contradicts itself! One source tells you eggs are the most perfect food...another source tells you eggs will kill you. One person promotes veganism...another an all-meat diet. Some say you need carbs for energy...others say they make you fat.
AAARRRGGGHHH!!! With so much opposing information, who should you believe and listen to?!
One option is to just shut everything out and go into your little hidey-hole where you protect yourself from information overload (I’ve definitely resorted to this a few times!). But that approach doesn’t allow for the potential growth and self-improvement that can come from new information. You want to take advantage of this time that we live in and the ease at which we can access these "tools" to level up.
So, where do you start?
1) Find a few trusted sources.
This is a tough one because everyone is posing as an expert these days. There are some smooth talkers out there that sound really legit simply because they are charismatic and have a talent for speaking…even though the information they provide is the equivalent of a Cosmo magazine article. Remember when you were younger and thought every advice column written in a magazine or online was utter truth...only to find out years later that it was mostly marketing scams and bro science? Well, now that social media is in full swing, we face that situation multiplied by a thousand! Once you start to see the dark underbelly of how things work – how so much information is put out as a “get rich” scheme versus having your actual health in mind – it can be hard to trust anyone.
But there are trustworthy sources out there that care about doing the right thing by providing quality information that is tested, scientifically backed, and with your best interest in mind (a.k.a. they actually want to help the human race level up). It can be tough to distinguish those pure sources in the sea of falsies out there…but if you can find one or two, they can lead you to the sources they respect and recommend. Then you can discover who their gurus are...and so on.
Personally, I tend to get overwhelmed with all the information out there. To counter that, I usually pick a couple gurus to follow at a time, depending on my current needs and interests. Once I feel like I’ve absorbed as much info as needed in that area for the time being (a.k.a. the info stops lighting me up), I gravitate towards a different voice I’ve been curious about. That way I don’t feel like my whole day is taken up by listening to other people…while I neglect the one person I really need to be listening to – my self. But, more on that below😉
2) Then, be careful how you absorb that information.
Don’t treat it like a religion. No one guru, diet, or exercise routine should be followed like a rule book where you feel obligated to do everything exactly as laid out. And don’t expect one person or one thing to have all the answers and be 100% right all the time. Of the gurus I listen to and respect for their level of knowledge and research, probably every single one of them has at one point or another drastically changed their stance about something. And I respect them even more for that. As new research came out, they weren’t afraid to say, “Ya know what…I was completely wrong about this.”
Another example of this is that while I really value the information one of my gurus provides about healthy fats, I don't buy into her stance on extended fasting. It just doesn't feel right for my body and mindset. So, I absorb the useful stuff, and just let the rest slip by.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about health and fitness (not even close!). But I am constantly learning and shifting my approach as I gain new knowledge and experiment on my own body. I certainly wouldn’t want you to take what I say or do as a religion. It should just be one more tool to add to your tool belt. Take the information, and try it out on your body and life. If it helps you feel better...awesome. If you need to tweak it a bit to fit your needs...awesome. If you find it doesn’t work for you...still awesome. Then you have an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and try something else. When coaching my dancers, I encourage them to listen and feel into their bodies. I rely on their feedback to guide our collaboration. Its not about imposing my methods on them. It’s a process of working together to give them what they need based on their body, health, and mental state.
3) The final component is probably the most important – listen to your body.
Humans are such complicated beings with so much potential for individual variation. What may work as an ideal diet for one person may be the worst diet for another. Yes there are scientific principles that can explain why you should do or eat certain things, but there is still so much left to be understood about the human body and all its intricacies. Something that may be true on paper might have a different effect in real life application due to a factor yet to be studied. The same thing applies to health and fitness protocols. We are all unique in our bodies and circumstances. So, seek guidance from experts, but don’t forget to check in with the most important factor – your self.
Allow yourself to gain knowledge but not get stuck or locked into any one mindset or system along the way. You have so much left to learn about your unique body. So as you gain knowledge, apply it to yourself. See how it feels. Experiment and adjust things to your needs.
Also, be aware that your circumstances & needs will change as you go through life. Fluctuations in stress, hormones, activity levels, environment, and the natural aging process alter your state & body's needs. What I was focusing on 5 years ago is very different from what I’m focusing on now for optimal health. The key is being aware of those changes taking place and allowing that evolution to happen. That is where growth comes from – listening to your body and what it needs in your current situation.
Having a big knowledge base is great, but if that knowledge is cut off from the actual living body you are attempting to take care of…it might as well be worthless. With your pursuit of all this external knowledge out there on the internet, your goal should still be internal – to fiercely hone in and develop that crucial relationship with your body where you learn to listen, feel, nurture, and understand how it works and what you need to be truly happy and healthy.
Still don’t know where to start? Here are some of the resources I’ve been jiving with these days:
- Naomi Whittel for her focus on self-care, quality ingredients, and her The Real Skinny on Fat series
- Dr. Cate Shanahan for her knowledge on good fats versus bad fats as well as how to fuel athletes optimally
- The Tim Ferriss Show because I respect him for his biohacking experiments and the enlightening conversations on his podcast
- The Keto Answers Podcast for the quality info provided on whole body health
- The Joe Rogan Experience…because sometimes he has some real inspiring people on the show
- DanceWell Podcast for staying up on things in the dance world😉
Do you have any podcasts or blogs that help you grow? I'm always looking for new people and concepts to learn from...so share the resources that inspire you to level up in life in the comments below!