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How to Set Yourself Up for Success at the Gym

Improving your health and getting into shape is no easy task for the average person. For someone that works at a full-time job, is trying to raise children and keep up with housework, often the last thing on our minds is whether we’ll be able to get a workout in today. Many people have difficulty going out for a walk or even riding their mountain bike out to get some fresh breath of air.


However, I find that with the right approach, it’s absolutely possible to be really successful at the gym, even if you don’t have all the time in the world to work out. It’s all about getting yourself into the correct mindset and being realistic about your goals and abilities. The mistake that most people make is that they look up to personal trainers and professional athletes, and try to copy their workout regime in order to get good results. And this is a bad idea for several reasons.


First, these are people that have been doing fitness for years. Their bodies are so used to being put through physical challenges that they constantly have to upgrade their workouts to even get an effect. And second, being fit and in shape is their job. It’s what they do for a living, so of course, they’ll have all the time they need to work on their bodies.


For you, the situation is a bit different; you’re probably holding down an office job, have a ton of other obligations, and work out in your free time. Henceforth, your workout routine cannot possibly be the same as theirs. You have less ability, and less time than they do have, simply because it’s not what you chose as your career – and that’s okay.


Instead, what you need to do is come up with an exercise routine that will work for you, and in order to do this, there are several things that you need to keep in mind.


Stay Consistent

The single most important thing that you need to realize is that in order to get real results, you have to not only go to the gym but stay in the gym. For a lot of people, buying a gym subscription and starting a workout program looks like this: the first week they’re super pumped, they’re in the gym every day, they’re drinking their protein shakes and really watching what they eat. The week after that, they might skip a workout or two, have a burger on the side and call it a cheat meal. Before you know it, they’re going to the gym once a week, feeling guilty about it, and eventually, they quit.


But you don’t have to go to the gym every single day. Three times a week works, heck at first even two times a week is okay, as long as you don’t skip any. Be honest with yourself and don’t aspire to goals that you can’t reach, because as I said, the most important thing when first starting off is that you stay consistent. Once your body gets into the habit of exercising regularly, it’s going to be much easier to hold down a constant workout routine because your body will start to crave exercise. And once that happens, you’re much less likely to quit – trust me on that.

Plan Your Workouts

If you want to make progress in the gym, you must have concrete goals and plans for each individual session and strive to complete them. An example of a concrete plan would be:

  • Treadmill, 10 minutes
  • Bench press, 4 sets, 12 reps each
  • Deadlift, 2 sets, 10 reps each
  • Squat, 3 sets, 6 reps each


Make a plan like this, take a piece of paper to write it down on and have it with you at all times. Otherwise, you’re going to be one of those people that just moves from one machine to another and just doing stuff that they like doing at the given moment. This is a very inefficient way of working out, and from my experience, those that do this are the first ones to quit. It’s also a really good idea to set yourself up with some kind of fitness app that you can put on your phone, as this will make the planning process much easier and a lot of them even offer to track your progress over time, which can be very motivational if you’re doing a good job.


Take Some Time Off

Now, this might seem a bit contradictory to what I just said but just bear with me for a moment. If you’ve been working really hard in the gym for the past few months, and you feel like you’re reaching a plateau that you can’t really break, it might be time to take some time off from the gym altogether. Exercising is not only a physically taxing activity, but it can also be pretty rough mentally, and taking a break from it all for a week or two can be just what you need to get back in the right mindset and recover some of your willpower.


If you do decide to take a break, make sure that you aren’t completely inactive, but don’t do anything that’s really physically taxing. Don’t even think about the gym. Then, when you come back, work out like you’ve never stopped, and you’ll probably feel that your energy and your enthusiasm are at a much higher level than when you stopped. This is because both your body and your mind have had time to recover, and possibly even get stronger during your break, and now they’re ready to tackle any new challenge you might bestow upon them.

Change Your Lifestyle

Finally, if you really want to make a massive change to your health and your body image, you’re going to have to do a bit more than just working out and eating more healthy food. If you really want to get results, you want to think about health in a more holistic fashion. This means eliminating or minimizing any and all factors that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. This means no junk food, no alcohol, and no cigarettes. It also means going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting enough sleep every day, as well as minimizing stress.


Once your health is at an overall better level, you’ll feel that your workouts will get easier and more bearable because your body is better equipped with dealing with them. Sure, this means sacrificing a few things, but if you really want to be healthy then ultimately it will be worth it. Take charge of your health and do some simple pull-ups at the bar to get started with your day.


Well, that’s about all the advice I have for you today. As you can see, as long as you’re in the right mindset it is really not that hard to be successful at the gym. Hopefully, these tips will help you on your journey to becoming the strongest version of yourself, and in a few years, you’ll have become just that. Remember, as long as you maintain a decent level of consistency, have a good plan and not force yourself too hard, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for success. I wish you the best of luck and hope you stay healthy, until next time!


Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes articles for www.diet.st. in her free time. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.

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