Majoring in the Minors

Yesterday I saw this young guy with a completely trashed car that barely ran, and he put at least $2000 dollars worth of “spinner” rims on it?  I even saw someone wearing target jeans, and when I looked down they had on $200 dollar shoes?…  Okay, bad example, cause I do that… but you get what I mean.. right?

What does this have to do with fitness?  (Insert soap box)  I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been at the gym and have seen the meticulous biomechanical strategies that some people come up with to make their lifting routine more effective, or the countless times I’ve listened to people who are extremely overweight, discuss food on a totally microbiological level.  Instead of looking at calories, they are “buggn” about if it is free range or not.   I am not arguing that biomechanics and microbiology doesn’t have a place in training and nutrition, but by god-man,  look at the bigger picture.

I call this “majoring in the minors”.  As a trainer, blogger, or just exercise enthusiast, it is so vital that we realize the importance of fundamentals.  My back ground is very clinical, but I have never deviated from the application of fundamentals.  I am not saying that details are not important, however, $2000 dollars worth of wheels and tires on a $300 dollar car is a waisted investment.

Biomechanics: When you evaluate your body and decide you want to tone and tighten specific areas, start with the basics.  There is no need to do complicated movements when your time and energy will be better suited using fundamentals.  i.e. you want to tone your glutes.  Let’s begin with squats,lunges, and maybe straight leg dead lifts.  Why begin with 1 legged Romanian dead lifts or cook hip lifts, when simple basics will reach deep fibers at rich angles and are superior to intricate complicated movements.  Do these other exercises have their place?… Of course, but after exhausting the basics!

Take home:  When you sit on a machine for the first time, do it as designed.  Do not begin to invent your own way or make up a complicated movement to target some erroneous area of musculature.

Nutrition: Many people, in there quest to find the “right diet”, dissect micro-nutrition to a fault.  At the end of the day (listen Paleo Freaks) no matter how clean you eat, if your caloric intake exceeds your out put, you are going to store energy.  Your body prefers to store energy as fat because, for the same amount in grams stored, your body can yield twice as much energy from fat as glycogen or lean muscle.  This my friends is MACRO-nutrition.  It is the science of metabolism of  four general substrates: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, and Alcohols.  If you are eating more calories than you burn, regardless of your “blood type’, “zone”, “points” or any other thing else you measure… LISTEN… YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT!

Take home: Before you get involved in vitamins and minerals, the ph of your blood, even the glycemic index of foods, first figure out how many calories you burn per day, and eat less than that.  It’s just science.  Anyone who challenges this statement (Dousch-tard) would be saying, “if you are dropped off on a deserted island for two weeks, with nothing but water, and luckily found, you would have not lost any weight”. 

Fitness is simple guys… Our industry makes it complicated.  Quit  looking for the magic bullet, trying to find the “little pill”, or doing the perfect gluteal exercise for 30 seconds every morning.  You give me fundamentals, hard work, and discipline… And I’ll give you your magic bullet!

“The magic bullet IS fundamentals, hard work, and discipline.”


About Steve Pfiester

Certified CrossFit, TRX, Kettlebell Athletics Trainer with a B.S. in Physical Therapy. Owner of Longevity Max Fitness and BCx Boot Camp.

Posted on January 21, 2012, in BLOG VOMIT, Diet, Figure/Bodybuilding, NUTRITION, PFACT OR PFICTION, PFIESTERISMS, RATED M, STEVE'S PEEVES, Ugly Truth, Uncategorized, WEIGHT LOSS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. spot on! it is as simple as a the calorie teeter-totter. why can’t people see that????

  2. Love This!!!

  3. Lots of good reads here, too. Thanks!

  4. I’m a “Paleo freak” and have a rebuttal to your quote, “no matter how clean you eat, if your caloric intake exceeds your out put, you are going to store energy…If you are eating more calories than you burn, regardless of your “blood type’, “zone”, “points” or any other thing else you measure… LISTEN… YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT!”

    The basis of the Paleo diet is quality of food, not quantity. And what has been proven is that calorie-counting IS NOT the end all-be all. Our country is full of people who eat LESS than they burn, but their diet is made up of sub-standard nutrition – grains/gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods. They gain weight and have bad health, even though they eat LESS than they burn.

    Bottom line: all calories are not created equal and to suggest that you must simply “eat less than you burn” is an outdated and incorrect theory.

    • Sorry My paleo friend, but if you eat even 1 more calorie than you burn, suggesting it resides in some mystic caloric purgatory is just not sound science. I will repost any research that you have that will tell of the metabolic consequences of any calorie that your body digests in excess that is not stored.
      🙂 good luck with that

      • You’re not getting my point…you can eat LESS and still gain weight. I’m sure you’ve come across people who count calories and still get stuck…they are eating very little, just not the right things.

        Check out Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Or Wheat Belly by William Davis (a cardiologist, not a “Paleo freak”). Or Why we Get Fat…

      • I’ll check it out… and either way thanks for the info. Anyone who’s pasionate about fitness is a friend of mine! Train and train and train hard girl! 🙂

  5. Thanks! You, too.

    • Great blog Steve…..and I do think Wendy has a point to ponder in the statement “all calories are not created equal”…..

      of course a calorie is simply a measure of energy…no doubt….and simple science does weigh in…..which overall is the point of your blog…..simplicity…..Wendy’s point is valid….(starvation diets have proven that-plus the beer diet///my personal favorite)

      However……all things being equal….meaning simple wholesome nurtrition….and simple fundamental exercise……steve-o is correct….hands down….

      The paleo concept is something to consider only after simplicity has been fully exhausted…..

      In other words….paleo is to nutrition what single-leg-Romanian dead lifts are to exercise…..

      Miss our workouts btw!!

  6. vincent hakim

    HI Steve,

    I just happen to be having a rough time overcomplicating my workouts to the point where i can’t even do them properly. Was just browsing through the net and found out something you wrote that relate to my situation very well. I have been trying to get out of this rut for 2 years already. I was in the tip top shape of my life but since then i haven’t been able to even do a push up properly without overcomplicating it…I have been training with my trainer of 4 years and it is something that he just cannot help me with as it is a personal problem. I really would like to seek some advice from you as to how to get myself out of this..Thanks


    • Hey V’… can you tell me more… Maybe a I can help. I love simple K-eep…I-t… S-imple

      • Well, basically i started working out in 2007 and for two years under my trainer, i was in pretty good shape and could handily my own training. However, i was pretty curious and wanted to know more about training. I started reading a lot, and during that period i also left for Australia to further my studies. From that point onwards everything changed. I started reading a lot wanting to know how to program my own workouts just like my trainer did, but to no avail. To make things worse, reading so much about training and nutrition made me become so confused that i started working out with bad form. In the end, i had so many injuries all over my body that now every time i go to the gym it freaks me and makes me anxious. One example as i mentioned in my earlier post would be that, now even doing a simple push up, i do not even know i am doing correctly or not and often times i end up doing it wrongly than correctly. I pretty much forget how to work out properly anymore and keeping it simple.

  7. Till this day, i have to say that i really have no clue how to work out properly anymore. I am totally unsure of proper exercise techniques after reading so much on them. I analyze and analyze until i dare not even execute any exercise movements for fear that i will injure myself. To add more insult to it, i really injure myself when i try to not think so much and do a simple workout. This has lasted for more than 1 year and at times i really feel like totally giving up. However as fitness is an extremely important part of who i am, it really pains me as to the state i am in now. I can only blame myself, but i really would hope to know how to resolve this issue so that i can achieve the kind of lifestyle i want without having to depend on a trainer and feel like a walking zombie who doesn’t know how to use his body even in the simplest of ways.

  1. Pingback: Are Overcomplicating Fitness? « pFIT blog


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