Simplicity is defined as a lack of complexity, complication, embellishment or difficulty. When designing your fitness routines and your nutrition plans (and even your life), you'll often find that simple is the way to go.

But simple doesn't mean easy or unchallenging. Rather, it means using the most tried and true methods to reach your goals. You can still put plenty of intensity into those methods, and you should. But you shouldn't feel like you need to "reinvent the wheel" or fall for the latest fitness trends and diet fads.

In the fitness industry, there are thousands of companies offering "scientifically proven" options for better weight loss and improved health. From 8-minute abs to ab toner belts and from fat burning pills to all-liquid "cleansing" diets, there is a new break-through product at every corner for people desperately seeking a better physique and a tighter tummy.

But these aren't real solutions. The people who purchase these products and potions quickly become disappointed and disillusioned. And they often abandon their goals, thinking, "If 8-minute abs doesn't work, nothing will."

If these same people opt for more traditional exercise routines (and put their all into them), they will achieve much greater success. Because when it comes to working out, there are a group of core exercises that have proven over the years to be the most effective at strengthening and toning the body while burning unwanted body fat. Namely, squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls. These exercises recruit the most muscle fibers and require the most intensity. They should be the foundation of almost everyone's strength training routine. Simple but effective.

Similarly, nutritionists will tell you that fad diets are no way to achieve sustained weight loss or to build a healthy body. Sticking with a basic, sound and simple eating plan – based on lean protein, high-fiber carbohydrates and unsaturated fats – is the smart way to go. Reasonable portions and well-balanced meals may not sound as exciting as the Blood Type Diet or Hydroxycut pills, but they are what has always worked best.

While the simple plan is usually the best plan, it's not always the easiest. Real changes require months and years of hard work and dedication. Sustained weight loss requires long-term commitment and will power.

But unlike fad diets and gimmicky fitness routines, sticking with simple but effective plans usually leads to something even more long-lasting: lifestyle changes.

So, when it comes to exercise and nutrition, keep it simple to keep the results coming.

Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and owner of The Village Gym. He can be reached at (302) 376-3060 or