Don't Over Think Your Fitness

Bench press Henry Ford Quote

The number of calculations and actions your brain performs, monitors and controls at one time is is incredible. Yes, yours too. Even something as simple as walking requires the monitoring and adjustment of millions of bits of information regarding spatial awareness, balance, and muscular control. We create complex ideas, plans, and formulas. And too often we try to put it all into training programs. Especially, when you begin assessing, correcting, and managing all of your little athletic (or not) idiosyncrasies.

Therein lies the crux of it all. The problem with all of this brain power is that we seem to have an inverse relationship between thinking and action.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie

The more people begin planning, assessing, and tweaking their own training programs, the less real training seems to follow. This is due to a number of reasons. It could be that you are spending half an hour with warm up stuff, and by the time you get to start lifting you’ve already spent some of your best training energy.

You may have also created a house of cards for yourself mentally. There are so many key elements to your perfect workout that when life happens and something is a bit off, the whole thing collapses.

This is like running out of protein powder and thinking that getting your workout in is worthless. So you end up half assing it or skipping it. Then you’ve skipped a training session and your training week is off and you fall further down your shame spiral. Despite all your genius workout plans, you achieve nothing because the house of cards has tumbled. Does that sound like you?

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over-planning workouts leads to perfectionism. Nothing is ever perfect so inevitably these plans are never really acted out. You probably already know what you need to do. It's the thing you suck at most that plays an important role for your goals. In the gym that's usually, squatting, deadlifting and upper body pulls. Most athletes and people are already doing enough pressing and ab work, so get over it and do more of the others. If you’ve got the prior big lifts covered maybe its single leg work or carrying exercises.

Usually our weakest link won’t require crazy fancy periodization to bring it up. If something is really weak you can just stick to trying to add small weights or reps to the bar week to week and get stronger. If it's something of an accessory exercise or conditioning consider doing it everyday as part of your warm ups.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.
— Henry Ford

How long have you been thinking about whether or not to move up in weight on that next set? If you had to mull it over then stick to the weight you’re handling already. If you’re not feeling confident that you can complete your next full set with the additional weight, you have already lost the battle.

When you miss reps in your training and regularly hit that wall of failure it takes it’s toll. You begin to lose confidence when you take on too many new PRs and fail repeatedly.

When you lack confidence you second guess or falter. It's been my experience that in those moments of hesitation we find ourselves injured worse than a bruised ego.

Your successes build your confidence. Set yourself up for lots of wins in your training (and eating). When it comes time to PR, you’ll do it without flinching.

He who represents himself has a fool for a client.
— Abraham Lincoln

WebMD and the internet makes everyone a doctor now. There’s a good chance you could start over-thinking again. This is what coaches are for. They plan so you can act. There are plenty of ways to find awesome personal trainers in your area, <---- (wink wink, San Diego). Your coach should be able to lay out your plan so you can focus on showing up and putting your best effort into your eating/workouts. A personal trainer can stack the deck in your favor for lot's of wins to build your confidence. 

No need to stack all that extra thinking on top of life’s other million things to do. Quit thinking so hard. Start moving. Do some push ups right meow. :-)

What have you been overthinking lately? Let us know and we’ll try to simplify it for you with another post.