Paralysis By Analysis

Modern technology in general – and the internet in particular – has brought huge benefits to our lives. Aside from numerous labour-saving devices and entertainment gadgets, we now have access to almost unlimited information.

It’s been argued on several occasions that labour-saving devices are partly responsible for the decrease in levels of overall physical activity. Increased use of cars, dishwashers, remote controls, game consoles and even robotic vacuum cleaners have therefore been held partly responsible for the increase in obesity levels.

However I believe that some of the blame lies in the unlimited information that we now have.

Just think about it for a moment. Imagine that you are carrying a few pounds (or maybe a lot) of extra body fat. Alternatively, your body weight might not be a problem but you’d like to get stronger or fitter.

So you decide to do a little bit of investigation in Health and Fitness magazines, in newspaper articles (some of them are excellent!), or else you go on-line and Google away to your heart’s content.

You’re pretty sure that you need to start with some form of exercising, so which one is the best? Some “experts” will tell you that you need to be in your “fat-Burning” zone and that slow and steady aerobic work is the way to go. Others will promise you results with their 5, 6 or 7 minute Abs programme. One minute you’ll hear that High Intensity Interval Training is the most efficient way to lose body fat, and then someone else will say that it’s not recommended unless you’re a highly experienced athlete.

And what about weight-training? Well, that will either increase your metabolism, and leave you in the best shape of your life, or else you’ll be muscle- bound and crippled from chronic joint injuries. It all depends on where you get your information.

And then we get to the good part: Nutrition. You heard somewhere that you’re going to have to tidy up the type of food you eat if you want to get the best results. So what diet are you going to go for?

Will it be vegetarian or a juice-based de-tox? Are you going to go low-calorie or low carbohydrate? How about Atkins, the South Beach, or the Paleo Diets? You might even want to combine them all with a bit of intermittent fasting!

Even this very brief overview shows that we are bombarded with choice when it comes to deciding which training and nutrition regime will work best for us.

It’s no wonder that many people are overwhelmed by all the information and suffer what’s called paralysis by analysis. They have so much choice that they can’t decide and they end up doing nothing.

In his book “The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less”, psychologist Barry Schwarz has stated that an excess of choice can also lead to feelings of unhappiness. His theory is that when we have too many options, we think in terms of missed opportunities and we tend to imagine that all the others are better than the one we eventually choose. It appears to be a classic case of “The grass is always greener on the other side!”

So, what to do?

1. Make a Decision on your Main Goal
Do you want to be fitter, stronger, or leaner? A good Training and Nutrition programme will give you improvements in each of these areas but it’s far simpler to focus on just one area at a time.

2. Do Something!
Once you’ve decided what you want, start taking some action immediately. The reason there are so many different training plans and diets is because they’ve all worked, to some degree, for somebody. Remember that when fat loss is a goal, moving more and eating less is a good place to start.

3. Monitor Your Progress
It seems like a logical thing to do, but many people don’t monitor their progress in a realistic manner. Rather than judging your progress, based on how you feel or how you THINK you’re doing, have some measureable standards that will give you honest feedback. Regular tape or body fat measurements, as well as training diaries will help keep you honest.

4. Adjust as Required
If you’re on a fat-loss programme, you should be losing fat and if you’re on a fitness programme, you should be getting fitter. If you’re measurements tell you otherwise, then it’s time to get a better programme.

The level of information that we have access to can be life-enhancing, but if you’re suffering from Analysis Paralysis, then just keep it simple, get moving and monitor your progress.

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