Can over analysis be a barrier to improving fitness levels?

Over analyzing how to improve your fitness levels can create a significant barrier and cause you to spend an unhealthy amount of mental energy on the same topic. Avoid over analysis by making a few changes to your daily routine. First, keep your routine simple. Opt for exercises that involve less steps and that require little to no equipment. Next, set a time limit for how long you will analyze. This will force you to move along with you planning. Finally, be sure to let go of the issue once it is finalized. Consciously stop over analytic thoughts once a decision is made about your fitness routine. Learning how to stop over analysis is one step to essential peace of mind and another step to reaching your goals.

Yes.  I see this all too often.  If you are having trouble losing weight or getting fit you need to look at two things:

1.  How much you are eating
2.  How much you are moving

In general, if you multiply the weight you want to be, by 10 you can get a good approximation of how many calories you should be eating per day.  As for how much you should be moving, you need to at least be taking 10,000 steps per day.  It is best to make some of these steps higher intensity by walking fast, performing exercise or doing activities that raise your heart rate.  So, any time you are starting to over-analyze your fitness levels, look at these two simple things to figure out what you need to do.


Over-analysis can stop people from moving forward. You can get so caught up in analyzing a situation that you don't do anything. People tend to freeze in situations that they've over-analyzed becasue they have too much feedback and information and can't sort through it to be able to actually act. 

On the other hand people like to have information so that they don't feel as though they are just acting.  

Try having some information that seems like it might make sense, use it and then know you can always change, re-arrange, add or delete and start over :-) 

I understand for a person starting off that fitness can be complex and complicated. I have seen so many people start exercising with no knowledge of what to do, not get any results, and then quit. However, over analyzing can also bring your would be progress to a dead-stop.

I encourage all of you to get baseline knowledge of what you should be doing in an exercise regime before you start (for instance, ask a coach on sharecare). If you are one of the few who track their workouts and keep a food log, I applaud you. But if you find that you are spending more than 10 or 15 minutes daily “analyzing” your results, weights, body measurements, and food intake, you are not helping yourself.

Are you a full time bodybuilder with endorsements? Mr. Olympia?

Maybe you are training for the Olympics???

Or to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop for the Yankees?

NO? Then stop analyzing and start moving, lifting, and sweating!

I ask those questions not to be sarcastic but to poke fun and prove a point. Honestly, pretty much the only people who really need to go over copious amounts of data from their workouts and nutritional tracking are professional athletes. So why would you waste your time when it is hard enough to find time to exercise in the first place? Keep an easy to follow food log like we have on Follow a workout routine that requires very little time to create but offers great returns in appropriate, safe and effective workouts. In other words, make it easier on yourself stop writing, tracking, and obsessing and start moving.  Learn as much as you can OVER TIME but not in manner that delays you taking action.


That sure is a great question and even though it has been answered I want to reiterate.  When Nike coined the phrase "Just do it" it caught on like a wild fire.  The reason for this is the simple truth behind it.  While it is critical to know where you are going and how to get there it is so much more important to get going and keep going.  I have made many mistakes in the world of fitness over the last 20 years but I have kept moving and that has paid the biggest dividend.  Make sure more than anything else you just start something and plan, change the plan, massage the plan along the way.  "Just do it."

Everybody needs a coach or a trusted source where they get their information from.

Over-analyzing is very common when you are trying to figure it out on your own.  We all have done it and it is very unproductive and gets us in to trouble and leaves us frustrated.  Do yourself a favor and get yourself a coach or find something or someone that is your source for information, then trust the coach or source.

When you get too much information that is conflicting you will not know what to believe and you will end up trying to rationalize everything in your mind.  I believe you should continue to educate yourself and use experience for greater wisdom but it is absolutely essential to trust your coach or your sources and follow what they are telling you 100%.  At the very worst it doesnt work and you learn and can discern things better.  At the best they are right and it works great.

The alternative is having too much info and following too much advice and second guessing everything.  It never leads to good success because you cannot stay the course because you analyze stuff too much.

Absolutely, often I see people who gauge their fitness level by two simple stats---inches and weight.  While these are important-they are not the most important stats to consider when determining one's fitness level.  Flexibility, stength, endurance and mobility are much more important when establishing a true fitness level.  Remember, the ultimate goal of a fitness programs is to be able to enjoy life--don't get overwhelmed by stats.

Absolutely! If you've invested the time in a certified trainer the first thing you need to do is put a little trust in their advice and have fun with your training.

When you concern yourself with number and analysis you tend to make "numbers" the primary reason for training. When the number don't add up in your mental time frame you give up.

You have to learn to feel the benefits first once you feel it you will see it. Doing it the opposite way is destructive to you goals. 

Analysis takes place in your head, while fitness takes place in your body. It's easy to get stuck in a mode where we over think something so much, that we never actually do it. While it's important to think through our goals and how to implement them, the next step needs to be action.

If we think that we need to lose weight and get exercise, and then overanalyze how to make  that happen, i.e. first I need to join a gym, then I need to buy the right shoes, I also need better workout clothes, what if my hair looks bad, I look ugly when I sweat, I'm not in good enough shape to work out… We think ourselves right out of getting started. The important thing is to "Just do it."

  • Walk around your neighborhood.
  • Rent or buy a workout DVD.
  • Utilize your child's play structure!

It doesn't matter how you work out, the important thing is that you do work out. Start small and work up. Don't over think it, just get moving.

Yes, I have seen this multiple times and it is a challenge to get a client to get out of their head. On the flip side of this is the ones who do over analyze and commit to getting out of their way are the ones who I see end up enjoying it and getting the most benefit. If you catch yourself carrying on a conversation in your head, do yourself a favor and stop wasting your time. Exercise means movement and your body and your mind don't have to be in alignment all the time.  What needs to happen on a consistent basis though is consistency. Like brushing your teeth, you can't just brush your teeth on Saturdays and you don't have to anaylze brushing, you just do it. 


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.