How to stop feeling overwhelmed (2 steps)

written by Philip Stefanov  |  SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Every new journey feels at least a bit confusing and intimidating. Working out is no different. There are so many things to learn, do, and experiment with. So many exercises, routines, and tactics to consider.

Most beginners feel enthusiastic but also confused and overwhelmed. After all, there is so much information to consider that it can be challenging to go down the right path. You might feel like this even after months or years in the gym. I know I have.

The problem is, we typically set these grandiose goals for ourselves and daydream of what it would be like to achieve them. With weight training, this typically means imagining ourselves having an amazing physique capable of impressive feats like bench pressing 300+ and squatting 500+ pounds.

While doing so, we forget to look ahead - at the next few steps we need to take. Instead of seeing it as a process made up of many small steps, we see a vast mountain in the distance. How do we reach that mount? And, when we do, how do we scale it? Ah, it’s so hopeless.

So, we get overwhelmed, disregard our initial plan and get into the habit of jumping from one tactic to the next. For example, someone who wants to lose weight might start with simple things like moving more and eating less. But after a while, and with the help of some fitness articles or videos, the person would begin to consider:

  • Exercises to blast belly fat
  • Fat-burning pills
  • A routine that promises a six-pack in six weeks
  • The latest and greatest diet

Soon enough, the person begins to feel overwhelmed and utterly confused. Their mind is now open to all of these diets, training plans, supplements, and tactics.

Other people never even make it to that point. As soon as the initial wave of motivation fades, they disregard the simple and effective habits and declare, “That’s never going to help me reach my goals!” or ask, “Why even bother?”

So, what can we do about overwhelm? Two things:

First, recognize that time will pass anyway. No matter how distant your goal might seem, you will reach it eventually if you start now, trust the process, and master the fundamentals. So, where do you want to be a year, two, or ten from now? Having achieved your goals or in the same place you are right now?

Second - and I can’t stress this enough - focus on the fundamentals, study them, understand them, master them, know them like you know your name. And when you do, keep applying them for years. For example, if you want to get stronger:

  • Lift heavy weights
  • Train with good form
  • Train the main lifts more frequently
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat enough calories and protein

Want to lose fat?

  • Be in a calorie deficit
  • Get enough protein
  • Do some resistance training
  • Do a bit of cardio if you want
  • Get enough sleep

It truly is that simple.

It’s only after years of hammering the fundamentals that you can consider nuanced and advanced tactics. For over 90 percent of people, the fundamentals will work now, a year from now, and even a decade down the road.

Thank you for reading! Until next week,


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