The following is a guest post from Nick Smoot, a friend, strength coach, and owner of Smoot Fitness.
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”
Einstein said that.
And, it’s one of my favorite quotes because it illustrates knowledge acquisition as it relates to fitness perfectly.
Most people? They spend more time reading than they do training.
And this is a problem, because it’s not a lack of knowledge that accounts for most people’s inability to reach their fitness goals.
It’s a lack of ACTION.
Most people already know how to get stronger, bigger, or lose body fat.
They just don’t act on what they know in order to achieve real world lasting progress.
Analysis Paralysis and How It’s Messing With You
Let’s pretend for a second that you have your girlfriend (or boyfriend) coming over for dinner.
You both love Italian food, so you decide to make a culinary classic — Chicken Parmesan.
But, you’ve never made Chicken Parmesan before.
In fact, you’ve never even made chicken before, so you rush to your laptop and type “Chicken Parmesan” in to Google.
Within seconds, you’re presented with over a thousand recipes on how to make Chicken Parmesan.
You click the first one.
“Man, that looks like a good recipe.”
You click the second one.
“Man, that looks like a good recipe.”
You click the third one.
“Man, THAT looks like a good recipe.”
And you keep repeating the process until you have at least 10 recipes jammed inside your noggin.
At this point, you know how to make Chicken Parmesan.
Unfortunately, you know 10 DIFFERENT ways to make Chicken Parmesan, and now you can’t decide which way is the “best way.”
“Do I make it with spaghetti noodles or rotini noodles?” you ask yourself.
“Mozzarella cheese or bruschetta cheese?”
“Do I put two layers of bread crumbs around each chicken breast, or 20 layers of bread crumbs around each chicken breast?”
You can’t make a decision, and although each Chicken Parmesan recipe makes the same thing – Chicken Parmesan – you spend an hour agonizing over the little details of each recipe that make the dish slightly different.
After that hour, you’re irritated.
Your girlfriend shows up and she gets irritated because she’s hungry and you haven’t made her dinner yet (or picked a recipe).
You guys argue.
You order Chinese food.
And you vow to make Chicken Parmesan the next time she’s over…which is never.
What Does this Have to Do With Fitness?
Because “analysis paralysis” is just as prevalent in fitness as it is in making Chicken Parmesan.
In our scenario above (which may or may not be based on true events), the multitude of options makes it impossible to choose a recipe.
Each recipe will produce the same thing — an amazing Chicken Parmesan dish — but the small differences in each create the illusion that one recipe might be better than another.
As a result, nothing happens.
We can’t figure out which recipe is “best” so we end up not making a recipe at all (dumb logic).
In fitness, this happens all the time.
We go online looking for ways to achieve a specific fitness goal (“how to lose body fat,” for example), and we’re presented with hundreds — if not thousands — of training and nutrition approaches all promising to help us do just that.
But, because we’re presented with so many options, we start trying to figure out the “best option.”
We can’t (because it doesn’t exist…EVERYTHING WORKS).
We get frustrated.
And we either:
- Look for more options (because we obviously just lack knowledge) or…
- Give up.
Either way, we don’t act.
And because we don’t act — because we don’t DO anything — we don’t get any results.
Act First. Seek Knowledge Second.
Having access to so much information is great…until it’s not.
“Knowledge is power,” but only if it’s acted on, and constantly absorbing more information than we can use is just a form of procrastination.
For a lot of people, it’s this procrastination — disguised as education — that kills progress.
You already know how to lose body fat.
Eat less, train hard, move more, and you’ll be on your way to revealing a leaner physique.
You also know how to get bigger and stronger.
Train your ass off in the weight room (with compound exercises performed in a multitude of rep ranges, while focusing on adding weight or adding reps from one week to the next), and eat lots of high quality food.
The knowledge is already there.
You don’t need more.
At least not yet.
Just act on what you already know.
Then, once you’ve got the ball rolling — and you’re getting awesome results while figuring out what is and isn’t working — seek out more knowledge.
Just never stop putting what you learn into practice.
Never let the ball stop rolling.
About Nick Smoot:
Nick Smoot is a strength coach and nutrition consultant out of Newport News, VA. He got his start in the fitness industry back in 2012, and since then he’s spent countless hours helping clients become the best versions of themselves possible. In his free time, he enjoys lifting heavy things, eating, writing, traveling, nerding out on video games, oh, and eating. Visit Nick’s blog, or feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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