[SB 230] Optimization exhaustion
I’m Matt, and welcome to Steady Beats. If you like to walk for a better life, and also like Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” you just might like this newsletter.
Optimization exhaustion and the information treadmill
You can run too fast on more than one kind of fitness treadmill.
There’s the usual kind, that George Jetson got caught up on.
But there’s also an information treadmill.
It’s never moved faster. You can constantly scroll and swipe to read about, listen to, or watch for “new” health and fitness ideas.
Endless studies. Tips. Tricks. Tweaks. It can be dizzying.
A person can feel like they are never:
A) Doing enough, and/or
B) Doing it right
Ideas rip through the fitness world in waves, powered by the desire to sell you new books, subscriptions, and equipment. Trends ebb and flow, just like Cabbage Patch Dolls or Stanley cups. We can end up on a never-ending chase for the Latest Thing.
But we have options.
For one, we can stop consuming new information all the time. And honestly that’s a pretty good option, once you have your base fitness routine set.
Or, we can move from this place of fear—this feeling we’re not doing the right things and always have to try and do the new thing to keep up—to one of playfulness.
If a new fitness idea sounds interesting, experiment, fueled by your curiosity, not a false sense of obligation.
Here’s a few experiments I’ve tried over the last year or so:
Supplementing with Creatine: Success! I added 1-2 reps to many of my usual lifts.
Supplementing with magnesium: No idea. I keep taking it, though …
Adding in some extra shoulder strength training on Sundays: Results TBD. Not seeing much improvement after a month or two.
More cardio, but less strenuous: Success! Heart rate recovery has improved.
None of these experiments were approached with a sense of obligation to keep up, or a feeling of fear I was “doing it wrong.” They were curiosities, taken on with a let’s -see-what-happens approach.
If you’re going to take in new information, hold it lightly. Have fun with it. When Andrew Huberman tells you should delay drinking coffee for 90 minutes after waking up, you can try it and see what happens.
(If you do wait 90 minutes, let me know how that goes. I wait about 27 seconds after waking to brew my first cup.)
But don’t feel obligated. This fitness thing is real work, but it should also be fun.
The information treadmill is one piece of fitness equipment we should avoid.
A failing statistic
Do your cardio. Pretty much every single day. Please.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the Steady Beats going. 💚
If you enjoyed this edition, would you mind giving the heart below a click? If you didn’t enjoy it, tell me where I’m wrong.