Stop Sweating The Small Stuff And Stay Away From The Bike Shed Effect

When you want something enough, you want to do it right, I often see people for who find their new journey in fitness has become their obsession. Whether their goal is taking them towards weight loss, muscle gain or strength they all look for expert advice to find the “optimal” and “quickest” route to success.

Undoubtedly, they will come across both of the following problems, an obsession with minor details and complicated, conflicting and often wrong advice from friends, family and Facebook which I call “the bike shed effect”. Let’s address these problems and prevent them from slowing or preventing your progress. 


“Sweating the Small Stuff” i.e. Getting Hung up on Small Details

It’s great that you are dedicated and obsessed with getting better, it’s commendable and inspiring, it’s better than not giving a toss and continuing to see yourself balloon in size year upon year.

Don’t however get caught up on the small minor things in your diet or in your workouts. So yeah sure your My Fitness Pal record for today is screaming red numbers at you because your 12 grams over on protein today, and you got distracted and rested a minute and twenty seconds instead of a minute between your sets of bicep curls! I’m going to reveal a horrible, dark secret to you, breaking an oath signed in blood when I became a fitness professional… you ready? 

It doesn’t matter!... phew, finally got that off my chest! 

You see the problem is we know we are on the right track. We sought out professional advice [tick] and established a kick arse nutrition plan [tick] and then we stuck to it religiously and saw the starts of some awesome results[double tick, gold star]  so naturally we will feel guilty when we feel we are veering away from the path that has been set, that somehow those 12 guilt infused grams of protein will steal away our gains forever, or the extra 20 seconds of rest render 6 months of training void. 

The point it just that, it won’t, maybe it will help? Who knows everyone is different and ultimately if you continue to at least try and be 100% perfect then occasional and minor deviance will just be a drop in the ocean, by worrying about it all you are doing is creating stress, which WILL hinder your progress, clear your mind of the minor details and focus on the big picture, otherwise I can guarantee you will never make progress. A wonderful quote from Alexander Pope sums this up perfectly for me: 

“How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.”


The Bike Shed Effect, Why and How Friendly Advice will Ruin your Progress

Ask a man, any man (or women but men are the worst culprits) how to build a bike shed and I bet he will give you his opinion, the same works for fitness, everyone has an opinion, a thing they read, heard or tried once and I bet it’s “the real deal” and if you listen to every theory and every method, you’re going to have a pretty weird looking bike shed, wonky, badly made and more than likely incapable of storing your bike in! 

The reality is of course you’re not a bike shed, in actual fact your body is a nuclear power station, a large, powerful, complicated marvel of engineering! And as such needs structure, in depth systems to keep it running as well as world class management of what comes in and out. 

Not everyone can build a nuclear power station, much like not everyone can write a world class exercise and nutritional system, do your research, find a gym/trainer/training system that knows what they are doing and follow their system and avoid any and all bro science and social media misinformation that is thrown your way.

As a last piece of advice. If you do your research right and you may find yourself have access to a myriad of world class advice, try to stick to one method and stay on that path until you need to change it altogether, focus on one goal at a time and trust in the experts.

Talk to you later,


Jason Jones
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Raw Strength Gym

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See you on the other side!