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5 Ways Overthinking Your Training is Holding You Back from Your Goals

We all want to see results fast. Preferably now, or at least faster than everyone else. We all want to be special and figure out the secret to building more muscle, increasing strength, and shedding more fat. But the real world doesn’t work that way. In reality, you are no different, no worse or better than the guy standing next to you, or a professional athlete (generally speaking) when it comes to your genetic composition.

In reality, you are not unique enough to require special treatment or a never-before-seen training split that will launch you into bodybuilding superstardom. So why are you obsessing over your training routine, your future, your diet, or what’s right or what’s wrong? Take a step back, put the dumbbell and the Bosu ball down, and learn from these five crucial mistakes that are sacrificing your gains.

It becomes easy to overreach

It’s ridiculous how easy it can be to think that more is always better. Sure, modern society has taught you through the years that more can never be less, but when it comes to training, doing more than you’re capable of will lead you down the path of failure.

Of course, doing four sets of rows instead of three is probably better for hypertrophy, but if you’re after strength, that fourth set of heavy deadlifts or squats can shatter your CNS and delay your strength gains. The key is balance. Don’t overthink it, but listen to your body. Are you tired? Is your body aching? Then why are you trying to push through and bury yourself even deeper?

And even easier to miss out

However, in the pursuit of balance, most athletes, regardless of their experience, will fall short of their ideal training volume, intensity, and frequency on a weekly basis. While you shouldn’t overreach, you mustn’t allow yourself to miss out on potential gains by doing too little in the gym, either.

The notion that your body will start plateauing and that you will gradually start regressing if you push yourself too hard can provoke you into holding back in an attempt to maximize hypertrophy. In reality, you should stick to scientific literature, and stick to the basics of hypertrophy and strength.

It leads to injury

One of the biggest risks of overthinking your training lies in the fact that the constant desire to change something or achieve more in the shortest amount of time will often lead to injury. This can be a minor case of a lower back sprain, but it can also be a severe condition that could end up following you throughout your lifting career.

Rather than overthinking if you’re doing it right, you want to stick to the prescribed number of sets and reps, wear durable compression clothing for added protection, and exercise perfect form at all times. With these three fundamentals in check, results will soon follow.


You’ll never learn anything

As an athlete, whether your dream is to one day win a medal or simply look jacked in the mirror, your goal is to constantly progress, to learn, and to evolve. Knowledge is a mighty weapon that will allow you to achieve your goals, but only if you bring the science of training down to its essentials, and work your way up through the years with sound judgement and a logical approach.

This means that there can be no room in your life for fitness gurus, self-proclaimed experts, or all-wise gym bros selling you myths and fairy dust. Believe in the science of exercise, and you will surpass your peers.

You’re not focusing on what matters

Finally, by constantly overthinking your training, you are not focusing on the things that can truly make a difference. Instead of thinking whether “Mike the gym rat” is right to train every body part only once a week, or whether or not CrossFit is safe on the lower back, you want to strip it all down to the bare essentials.

Follow a sensible training split to its end. Only then will you be able to judge it. If it works, do it again but up the weight. If it doesn’t, again, up the weight. If it still doesn’t work, change the program. Sports science might be complicated, but as a guy trying to get in shape, you can make it simple and reap the benefits in the process.

In the modern world dominated by social media influencers and YouTube fitness gurus, it can become near impossible to wrap your head around the whole fitness game. Remember, overthinking your training will get you nowhere, so make sure you follow advice that actually matters and you will have no problem reaching your goals.