Do Less Better.
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That’s right. Do less.
How frequently are we told to do less? Not all that often, I imagine. In this modern, fast-paced world, I don’t see a lot of that being emphasized.
Privilege acknowledged, but years ago I remember not being able to find any time to set aside to get my nails done because I was otherwise trying to do “too many things.” I was teaching full time, I was coaching in the evenings, I was training and working out myself… and there was literally not an opening to get my nails done, let alone spend time with family or friends who existed outside of the gym/school.
I’m currently struggling to do less at ~36 weeks pregnant, or be okay with doing less, even though this is one time in life when people actually do tell you to do less!
Here’s the thing… sometimes we are busy. We have responsibilities, tasks and time are required of us, we have families to take care of, meals to prep/eat. Those are all real things.
However, I imagine many of us would benefit from doing less. But, not just simply doing less, but doing less BETTER.
Hear me out. "Do less better" is a concept that emphasizes the importance of focusing on quality over quantity, and it can have numerous benefits in various areas of life.
For the record, I definitely didn’t make up this concept! If you google “Do Less Better” plenty of things will come up… books, comics, stoic philosophies, etc. This concept is also along the lines of “Less is More” and “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”… if you know you know on that second one… However, I’m going to write about it mostly in the realm of fitness and nutrition today, even though this idea can apply to anything.
Let’s start with food. Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees with various food plans. Or we have this idea that a successful food plan has to be this crazy elaborate thing, where we feel starving, and there are foods we “can’t” eat, and all that. And that’s simply not true.
In fact, we’d likely benefit from taking a step back from all of those elaborate details, and starting with doing less better. Rather than trying to follow every new diet trend that comes along, focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Rather than counting calories or obsessing over macros, focus on eating foods that nourish your body and provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to feel your best. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, that you’re getting a few servings of protein per day, and that you’re eating fruits and veggies.
Starting there will not only be an “easier” entry into the realm of nutrition, but it might even be as far as you need to go to see the results you’re looking for. And if it’s not enough, THEN you can do more, but only after you’ve nailed down doing less.
Still with me?
Cool. Fitness is next.
Do you know of anyone who runs regularly, and attends yoga, and strength trains, and spin class, and gets 10k steps per day, and just started the hot new workout trend they saw on Tik Tok? That’s a lot of things! And maybe that kind of schedule works for some people… but I’m willing to bet that it’s not the best approach for to masses.
Rather than trying to do too many types of exercise, focus on doing fewer types but doing them with more intensity and purpose. For example, you could do fewer but more challenging strength training workouts each week rather than trying to do multiple less challenging workouts that don't push you as hard. This approach can help you build strength and improve your fitness more effectively.
With this being said, this is one of the reasons I like the CrossFit philosophy… the mix of strength, cardio, gymnastics, and metabolic workouts all under one umbrella is appealing because you’re still “only” doing one thing.
Despite just praising CrossFit, I’ve definitely fallen victim to the “doing too much” trap. Years ago I remember making a list of movements that I wanted to work on and improve my performance in. I wanted to learn to handstand walk, and do chest-to-bar pull-ups, and get a muscle up, and deadlift over 300 pounds… and I wanted to work on all of those things all at once. So, I was splitting my effort across 6+ things at the same time, when in reality it would have benefitted me to start with the one that was the most important to me, and put in specific work around that one thing until I saw improvements. I actually tried to find a copy of this list to share here, I could have sworn it was deep in my Google Drive archives, but no luck! (Luckily I had a good coach who was able to explain this concept to me in a way that was constructive and helped me to do so.)
Within the fitness space, doing too much can also lead to decreases in recovery or rest. When we try to do all the things, we might decide that going to that extra spin class is more important than taking the rest day we had planned.
Rather than never taking a break, focus on giving your body the rest and recovery it needs to perform at its best. This could mean taking more rest days between workouts, or taking time to relax and de-stress in other ways. By doing less but doing it better, you can avoid burnout and injury and help your body recover more effectively.
So, here’s your permission to do less, but do do it really, really well. Hone in on a few “big ticket items” in your life, that will really make a difference for you if you FOCUS on, and do that. You don’t have to do all the things at once, and it’ll likely end up better off if you stop trying to do that anyway.
Do less better.
And if you need help figuring out what that might look like in your life, especially in the fitness and nutrition spaces, I’m here for you! Reach out! Comment on this post or send me an email at email@example.com!
As always, thank you for reading,