Admittedly, one of my greatest weaknesses is my tendency to over-analyze a given topic. In high school, I was “the geek” in my circle of friends, and they frequently joked on me for the fact that I enjoyed doing Calculus, Physics, and Philosophy homework more than I liked sitting down to watch the next Friends episode in the evenings. I never considered that “thinking” could actually be done in excess and become a negative thing until my lacrosse coach pulled me from the starting line-up. Upon asking him what I could do to improve, he told me:
“You think too much. Your technical skills, speed, and game sense are all sound but you often freeze up. Stop thinking and just start doing.”
Fast forward to college. I was going through some difficult times, and I called one of my old-time mentors for some guidance. As usual, he pulled through. However, this particular bit of advice stood out over almost everything he had ever told me:
It’s easier to act yourself into healthy thinking than it is to think yourself into healthy acting.
The more I thought about it the more profound it became. Heck, I’m convinced that psychiatrists could make millions off this piece of advice alone as it can be applied to just about every sphere of life. Given that SAPT is in the business of augmenting the physical prowess of athletes and non-athletes alike, I’ll touch on this particular subject for a quick moment.
How many of the world’s best athletes do you know that appear to be over-analyzing their craft while in the middle of a match or game? It’s almost always the opposite, right? Rather than thinking too much, the greatest athlete’s just “do.” Take a look at the snatch of a proficient Olympic lifter, or the take down of a #1 ranked Division 1 wrestler, and you’ll see that it just “happens.” It’s like they’re not even thinking about it. Take a quick look at Dwayne Wade in the video below (I’d x-out the red boxes); do you think he’s carefully scrutinizing every nook and cranny of each play before he makes it? Conversely, it’s as if he’s just floating along the court, allowing his instincts to take over and make his opponents look like children:
Similarly, you can apply the healthy acting ==> healthy thinking advice to a simple gym routine. I often tell those struggling with remaining consistent in the gym that “the most difficult step is getting off the couch.” More times than not, once you get inside the gym and begin your warm-up, you’re home free, no matter what your thoughts were telling you before you stood up in your home to get in the car.
Earlier this year, one of my friends was waiting for me to get back to him on some advice for a good workout routine. Rather than sitting around and waiting for the “perfect program” to pop in his email, he just started going in the gym! Even though he didn’t have much experience, he went in, did some squats, split squats, and pullups, and then left. He didn’t worry about following the wrong set-rep scheme, or become paranoid about which form of periodization he would utilize, but instead just got it done because he knew that would take him a step closer to his goal than sitting at home.
Looking at the dietary realm, the same principle applies. Those that spend countless hours researching various diets, meticulously count all their calories, weigh themselves every day, toy on and off with intermittent fasting until they’re blue in the face, refuse to buy a fruit/vegetable until they know which has the most antioxidants, etc. nearly always experience less successes than those that just go out and take an ACTION step.
Having trouble with your intake? Here’s a million-dollar first step: If a food is from the Earth, this = good. If man has tinkered with it, this = bad. Start with this and don’t think about anything else.
The point of all this is that it’s near impossible to think yourself into a healthy mindset. Just begin by taking an action step, and before you know it you’ll become a steely eyed, barrel chested freedom fighter.