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  • How To Set Yourself Up For a Success In The Gym

    Getting in shape and acquiring the body of your dreams is no easy feat in the modern world, where most of us work 9 to 5, five days a week and are trying to raise a family along the way. Honestly, a lot of the time it feels like you don’t have the time or the motivation to pretty much do anything else, let alone to constantly give your body physical challenges and demand that it overcome them.

    This is why most people either don’t go to the gym at all, or they quit shortly after they join. They let their hectic lives get the best of them and convince themselves that it’s impossible considering the state that their lives are currently in. However, the good news is that it’s more than possible to stay in shape and work a full-time job, and even have some leftover leisure time.

    The #1 Mistake

    The reason why most people don’t get there is simple; they look at professional athletes, listen to their interviews and try to imitate their routine. If they look great, they must be doing something right, so you should do what they do, right? Wrong. Like I said, these people are professional athletes; it is their job, often their only job to be in shape.

    If you try to imitate what they do, you’re destined to fail because you simply don’t have access to as much time and as many resources as they do. Instead, you need to build your own routine, one that fits your schedule, your needs and abilities. You’re an amateur athlete, and that’s exactly how you should treat yourself. And as an amateur athlete, there are certain rules that you should adhere to in order to ultimately be successful at the gym, improve your health and get the body that you’ve always dreamed of. Today, I want to talk about some of those rules.

    Have a Plan

    The single most important thing you should do before you even join a gym is set a goal for yourself, and devise a plan on how you’re going to achieve it. Do as much research as possible, find out what exercises are best for reaching your specific goal. Are you skinny and want to get stronger and build muscle mass? Then strength and weight-training are for you.

    Are you overweight and want to shed those extra pounds? Then you should probably be focusing on cardio mostly. Whatever it is, you need a plan that is as studious and detailed as possible before you enter the gym, because that’s how you will remain efficient. If you don’t, you’ll be one of those people that jump from machine to machine, exercising random parts of their body depending on what they feel like doing at the given moment. These are the people who are first to quit; don’t be one of them.

    Positivity, Small Goals

    I’ll be honest with you for a second; getting into shape isn’t going to be easy. It’s a skill that requires time and effort, just like learning how to play an instrument or learning a language. You will have to invest time and be patient in order to achieve real results, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to be without quick gratification.

    You just need to learn to recognize the process of improvement that you’re going through, and you can do that by setting small goals for yourself that are relatively easy to overcome. This will keep your motivation up during those first plateau periods that most people don’t push through, but only because they aren’t in the correct mindset.


    Getting the body of your dreams isn’t something that you’re going to be able to do in a few weeks, or even a few months. It takes years to get to the level of fitness that most people desire to be at, and to get there, the most important thing is to not quit. Just keep going to the gym. Three times a week is good enough – heck, even two times a week is good enough to begin with, because it’ll get your body in the habit.

    After a while, your body will actually crave exercise as a means of releasing dopamine, which makes you feel good. Ultimately, though, the kind of mindset you need to develop is this: If you want to have a great body and keep it, you’re going to have to keep exercising for the rest of your life, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. You have the rest of your life to get to where you want to be physically, so just don’t stop and eventually you will get there.

    Workout Time

    As I already mentioned, when people first join a gym many of them are discouraged by the fact that they don’t “have enough time” to exercise, but you really don’t have to worry about this that much. I have a friend who was horribly overweight a few years back, and one day she decided that she was going to get into shape. So she started working out, but only for 15 minutes every day. She was holding down two jobs and raising a family at the same time, so it was pretty much impossible for her to do any more than that.

    In less than a year, she had shed around 30 pounds and then another 30 in the next few months. Just by working out for 15 minutes every day. The truth is that, as I mentioned, “every day” is the key word. She got her body into the habit, did some squats, situps and jumping jacks in between everything on her hectic schedule, and got great results. If she can do it under her circumstances, anyone can.

    Take a Break

    Okay, so you’ve joined a gym, you’ve been working extra hard for more than a few months now, and you feel like you’re reaching a plateau with your gains and are kind of getting frustrated with yourself. Now, this is kind of going to sound a bit contradictory compared to what I’ve been talking about so far, but sometimes it’s a good idea to actually take a short break from exercising, especially if you’ve really been committed to it for a while.

    Working out, both in a physical and mental sense is a really taxing activity, and over time it can really take its toll on your body and your nervous system. Taking a week-long break from any and all exercise can be just what you need to get the juice flowing once more and regain your enthusiasm, so maybe that’s something you should try. During that week, try to still remain active but don’t do anything really physically taxing. Don’t count your calories, don’t even think about the gym; let both your body and your mind take a big break from it all.

    Then, when you come back, act as if you’ve never left in the first place. Go back to your routine and give it your all, and you’ll probably find that your energy levels and your enthusiasm are much higher than it was a week ago.


    That’s about all the advice I have for you today. As you can see, if you put yourself in the right mindset, it’s not that hard to be successful in the gym. Always keep these tips in mind and I guarantee that you’ll achieve your fitness goal, no matter what. Stay healthy!

    Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes health related articles, as well as reviews for meal delivery services such as the homechef service. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.