Overthinking Fitness and What YOUR Mind is Capable of

Overthinking Fitness
Written by Derek Howes

Overthinking fitness? Everyone does it. Yes, everyone. You can’t sit there and tell me at some point in your life you haven’t over-thought something. Overthinking usually leads to negative thoughts or doubts about yourself. Well, I have some news for you:

STOP (if only it were that easy)

Since I was 13, my step dad has always told me that I have an O.A.I (Over-Active Imagination) and to follow the K.I.S.S way of thinking (Keep It Simple Stupid). Now at first you blow it off and don’t take these things seriously but as you get older you realize that most of the time “it just works” if you keep things simple. No, you aren’t going to be able to perform open heart surgery by keeping it simple but the simple things in life should remain simple.

I would probably say that a good majority of people at the gym overthink and from being in the gym over a decade, a lot of them end up quitting because they think it’s too difficult. There are multiple reasons why these people overthink. For example:

  1. Unrealistic expectations from themselves/others
  2. Broscience (which are things you hear at the gym and believe when in reality are not even close to real)
  3. 10 billion articles stating one thing is good and 10 billion others stating that same thing is bad (conflicting information)
  4. Constantly thinking about your routine
  5. Constantly thinking about your diet

The list goes on, AND ON, AND ON. Do you want to know how to make progress in the gym? Here is a 3 STEP PROCESS:

  1. Eat healthier
  2. Lift weights with good form/do cardio depending on your goals
  3. Get enough sleep

Really, it’s that simple. STOP reading articles about how to gain 15lbs of muscle in 8 weeks; it’s not going to happen. You’re not going to have abs in 30 days either (if you’re overweight) so toss that article out too.

  • No, you can’t spot reduce fat.
  • No, doing the same ab routine as someone with abs WILL NOT GIVE YOU ABS.
  • No, spending all day in the gym IS NOT better.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day

Yes, it gets a little more difficult if you are trying to become a professional bodybuilder, strong man, MMA fighter, etc. For the average person or someone who is just starting out, those are the only 3 steps you need to follow. Those 3 steps will teach you dedication and allow you to learn about your body. Yes, there may be a few things that could benefit you but in reality the stress caused by overthinking or taking in too much information at once will do you more negative than good. Take it slow. Call my 3 steps the Health 101 steps. Once you bump up to Health 102 you can start incorporating other things (more advanced routines/diets) depending on your long term goals. For the majority of people just wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, guess what? You can do those 3 steps for the rest of your life and be perfectly fine/healthy. Really.

Now obviously there are some factors that go into each step:

  1. Eat healthier – To do this step you must first understand what to eat and how much of it to eat.
  2. Lift weights with good form/do cardio depending on your goals – Establish some goals for yourself. If your goal is to run a marathon in X amount of time you will need to start slow and work your way up. The same thing goes for lifting. I would suggest hiring a “good” Personal Trainer to show you the ropes in the beginning (to learn form/prevent any injury).
  3. Get enough rest – Your body needs time to repair itself and/or grow/shrink so getting enough rest is crucial and will allow you to remain injury-free/not over-train yourself. You don’t need to spend all day in the gym.

There is one thing in life we can’t forget to train and that’s our mind. We constantly forget just how powerful our mind is. Your mind has the ability to do anything you want it to if you believe you can do it. If you want to learn 6 languages fluently, YOU CAN do it. It might take you 50 years but if you truly believe you can do it, it’ll happen eventually. Yes, some people may be able to learn 6 languages faster than you but that’s not the point! The point is that you’re able to do it if you put your mind to it. When you’re running and you don’t feel like you can run any longer tell yourself to run 10 more feet, then 50, then 100, and so on. I guarantee you WILL be able to do it. This not only strengthens your body but it allows your mind to know that, “hey, maybe I can go longer and do something I didn’t think I could do”. I believe to find your true character you must constantly be doing things you don’t think you can do. You must challenge yourself to grow as a person. Not only does this develop a extremely strong and courageous person but it makes you better in every aspect of your life. You’ll be healthier than ever, you’ll be happier, and your ability to love will constantly grow as your mind grows.

Now I know not everyone can keep everything simple and you’re going to have negative thoughts and/or doubts at times but what you must do is train your mind to think positively instead of negatively. Just like you train your body to be healthy you must do the same with your mind. If you are constantly thinking positive thoughts, those negative thoughts or doubts will go as fast as they came.

I was once told that if you wake up with a positive attitude every day, even on days you don’t feel like getting out of bed or you wake up on the wrong side, that eventually that positive attitude becomes normal for you.

  • Be happy
  • Be positive
  • Be driven
  • Be kind
  • Don’t be afraid to love
  • “Can” not “Can’t”

About the author

Derek Howes

Derek Howes is a personal trainer and chef with over a decade of experience in the gym and kitchen. Derek, who is also known as The Protein Chef on his blog and YouTube channel shows his viewers every week that food doesn’t need to be boring or repetitive, it’s all about balance, moderation, and having the knowledge to change things up. His recipes which have been featured in the news, magazines, and on TV are cheap, quick, AND delicious! His motto in life is “everything in moderation” and is without question the most important habit he follows.

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