No Thought. Just Action.

It feels a bit like I’m holding paradox when I say this because I’ve probably told you about not “mindlessly grinding” your way through workouts, and I’m obviously not advocating for the pursuit of thoughtless activity. However, amidst this COVID pandemic we find ourselves with much more time and space to do nothing other than think.

For some of us (my hand is in the air), this isn’t always a productive use of time. Not because thinking is a waste of time per se, but in most cases, it is procrastination in disguise.

Story time.

About a year ago, I was in Nashville, TN for my now brother-in-laws bachelor party. We were flying home after a weekend of mostly visiting historic museums and generally responsible behaviour…

Our flight home from Nashville was late Sunday morning. Our group was moving slow to say the least, and as I’m dragging my ass through the Nashville airport, this guy (who I’ve never met before) in the lounge waves me over to him.

He was drinking a beer with his buddy, waiting for his flight back to LA. I felt a bit like a dog being called over to him, but I smiled anyway and said “what’s up?” He puts his beer down, and goes “I know this is weird, but I have to ask you… I’ve been working out for years — like 6 days per week, hardcore stuff — how come I don’t look like that (nodding at me)?”

I glanced at his beer, and then back at him.

He adds, “you’re going to say diet right? I know. I live in California, and I usually smoke weed at night to unwind, which usually leads to some late-night snacking… and blah blah blah… but I work in sales so I’m super busy and it’s really stressful… and blah blah blah…”

I still haven’t said a word at this point…

When he finished, I just smiled again and said “It sounds like this is more of a habit problem than a technical problem.” His friend just laughed and said “I told you so!”

He said “thanks” and I got on with my day.

Looking back on it, I realized a commonality in the way that we think about approaching something that seems difficult or unattainable. We delay action by researching, thinking, and searching for the one thing that we might be missing before setting out to do what we know deep down needs to be done.

Thus, procrastination.

I find myself doing this before workouts lately. I’ll start by trying to write the perfect program, with the most effective warm-up, thoughtful resistance pairings, and potent conditioning, all while taking into account how I’m feeling from the day before, how my breakfast was, how my sleep was, what else I have going on that day that I might need to conserve energy for… and blah blah blah…

See how that happens? I haven’t even picked up a weight and my brain is on a full spin cycle while time ticks away from my precious 90-min workout.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The first step is to step. There isn’t one thing that you’re missing. You just have to start.

No thought. Just action. Get what you came for.




The philosophy of physical training, the application of exercise, and stories about strength: the ability to overcome. More at

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Greg Nyhof

Greg Nyhof

The philosophy of physical training, the application of exercise, and stories about strength: the ability to overcome. More at

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