It seems like a lot of information regarding health and fitness is geared towards those who are looking to “maximize” or “optimize” their gains.
And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Working as close to what the science says is optimal for gains can get you to where you want to be in a shorter amount of time.
I try to optimize my gains as much as I possibly can. However, the issue that can arise with optimization fixation is the lack of enjoyment.
Enjoyment is one of the most important factors in anything we do. Without enjoyment, your intrinsic motivation will be diminished and you’ll find exercise and proper nutrition become another chore of the day.
Let me give an example. We know based on the science that eating protein throughout the day (3-4 times/day) is OPTIMAL for muscle protein synthesis and building lean muscle. But what if you are someone who doesn’t have much time to eat or enjoy intermittent fasting and only enjoy eating 2 times/day?
We also know that volume is one of the most important drivers of muscle hypertrophy (growth) and getting in adequate levels of volume can at times be time consuming or inconvenient. If someone only enjoys resistance training 2-3 times/week, it may be difficult for them to OPTIMIZE muscle hypertrophy.
Optimizing should be the focus but don’t make optimization the enemy of the good. Science has shown that any type of movement or balanced diet has tremendous health benefits now and in the future.
Don’t let your inability to optimize your training or diet prevent you from taking action in the first place. Do what you enjoy to keep up your intrinsic motivation and then optimize after that.
Doing something is always better than being stagnant, even if you aren’t doing it optimally.