You've found a great gym, and you've set aside the time to go, so you're definitely on track to achieve your fitness goals, right?
Not necessarily. Showing up is the first crucial step, but there are a number of mistakes that can derail your progress and set back your growth. To make sure that your gym sessions will be successful, keep these four key points in mind.
1. Focus: Do not go to the gym to socialize. Go to the gym to WORK!
Making friends at the gym is great; it’s fun to meet new people who are also interested in a healthy lifestyle, and it can serve as extra motivation to make gym-going a regular habit. Gym friends can help keep you on track, but only if you stay focused on your main reason for being there. Standing around discussing last night's game or next Saturday’s barbecue won’t do your body any favors, but it might deplete the valuable time you set aside for your workout.
Try to limit your socializing to a friendly smile or a “Hi” in passing until afteryou’ve finished with what you really came to do.
2. Have a plan: Make a schedule and routine that you can track and follow.
You wouldn’t set off on a road trip without a map, or try to assemble a piece of furniture without consulting the instructions. Similarly, you shouldn’t embark on a new fitness regimen without a plan to guide you.
A good routine will allow you to understand where you're seeing improvements, and where you need to work harder. Consult a fitness professional if you need help designing one that is customized to your specific goals.
3. Push yourself: If you’re not sweating or tired at the end of your workout, you didn't work hard enough.
Even the best routine in the world won’t bring you the results you want unless you also bring the effort in the gym! No matter what your goals are—losing weight, building muscle, gaining strength or improving stamina—it takes real work and exertion to see the physical changes you desire.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself, and don’t be afraid to sweat!
4. Seek expert advice: If you are inexperienced in the field of fitness, consult a professional, even if it is simply for friendly guidance.
When adopting a new routine, it’s a great idea to speak to a qualified fitness professional who can introduce you to new techniques and workouts, give you important feedback, and keep you on track to meet your goals.
You might decide to take advantage of their expertise through a personal training session, but even if you don’t, you will take away some helpful advice or direction.
Showing up is important, but it doesn’t guarantee success on its own. But these four key strategies will help make every minute in the gym count—and lead you to real, measurable fitness improvements.