I can not say enough about the issues worrying causes people. Worry is by far the number one self-imposed stressor that is dealt with on a daily basis, but the irony of this stressor is that it is self-inflicted unnecessarily. Worrying is a cognitive behavior meaning one can alter and manipulate it. Most accept worry as just another part of their daily routine, without realizing that it does not have to be. This worry can be motivated by all kinds of situation in all areas of someone’s life be they health, children, or work, but for the majority the worry has nothing to do with the current status of any of these areas. The worry is caused by the individual’s constant “what if” thoughts. “What if” thoughts are the prime cause of all worries. They are our constant anxious feelings regarding how we will handle unpredictable future events. These thoughts are the poisonous cognitive behaviors which manifest themselves as worry. But as mentioned before we can alter this behavior, which means (and this goes for everyone) STOP WORRYING!To spend your time constantly thinking of “what if” is a waste of your time and this is primarily because majority of the factors that will influence this future unknown “what if” are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL! One should spend no time thinking or worrying about things which escape one’s control. One should focus only on what one can directly affect. Why worry about crap such as, “what if my business fails”, “what if my new approach yields me nothing”, “what if I don’t have the talent to do this”, “what if my program isn’t structured correctly”. I mean screw it! Do not waste precious energy on such worrisome, uncontrollable, and pointless negative thoughts. Instead direct all possible efforts and thoughts toward continuing success moving past failures on to greener pasture. Before narrowing focus on to how this affects fitness get let me leave you this question to ponder. Do you think people such as, Michael Jordan, sit and think about “what if”? There is what has been and what is, the rest (what is to be) is always in a state of flux.
Now to narrow the scope on to how worrying causes issues with fitness. Most probably don’t think to consider their thoughts as the primary issue, most look and evaluate actions first, but ultimately attitude and thoughts are much more important. I see this manifest itself everyday in both my clients and members. It seems that just about everyone who is exercising is constantly worrying about exercise selection, set and rep schemes, weight, or some other relative program variable. The worry often stems from lack of observable results or progress. But what is truly amazing is the time a person gives to an effort the individual usually begins “what if”ing after two days of committing to an approach. Here is a great example of this phenomenon in a conversation I had with a client:
Client: “Do you think I am losing any bodyfat with my new commitment to strength training because I am just not sure it’s working”
Me: “Yes I am extremely confident that this WILL result in increased body alteration”
Client: “Are you sure? You don’t think I need to start doing extra cardio because I haven’t seen any difference”
Me: “How long have you been trying your new routine for?”
Client: “About 5 days.”
Me: “um . . . . well . . .”
Client: “I think I am going to start doing more cardio instead of strength training”
Do i need to state what is wrong with this individuals processing. Here is the issue worrying causes for fitness. People try something new in an effort to improve, yet wind up abandoning if before it has enough time to have an effect. This is why so many never reach their goals. Here we need to go back to advice from the beginning “only focus on what you can control”. You can’t control your biological processes or the rate of your metabolism, but you can control what you eat, when you eat it, and how you train. If these all align wish your goal don’t worry about the results they will come just focus on doing what your suppose to and the rest will take care of itself.
So in closing, put away your useless “what if”’s take back control of your thoughts and training and focus only on what you can directly affect.