The ultra, ultra basics of gym success:
1. Turn up 3 or 4 times a week. Nothing happens without turning up. A shit session is vastly better than no session at all – and often, what you expect to be horrendous often isn’t as bad as you expected.
2. Write stuff down. Even if you don’t have (or want) a rigid plan, writing things down at least allows you some method of seeing progress, or working out why some sessions seem harder than others.
3. Make at least 50% of each training session about exercises you WANT to do and look forward to – no matter what they are. If tricep kickbacks float your boat, great – it’s better than not coming to the gym because you’re dreading it.
4. Make yourself do ONE exercise per session you’re either really bad at, or just have an irrational dislike for. It’s probably something you need to do more of.
5. Chase after getting better at stuff first, and worry about how you look second. Very few aesthetically pleasing bodies perform badly. If you chase how you look, over how strong you are, you’ll probably never get the look you’re after.
6. Eat enough protein. Anything between 0.5g and 1g of protein per LB of bodyweight is likely to be enough.
7. Ignore other people’s progress. You don’t know their back-story, you don’t know their current set-up, you don’t know whether they’re bullshitting. Worry about YOU getting nearer where you want to be. Social media – Instagram in particular – is the worst thing to ever happen to the fitness industry.
8. Understand that friends and family WILL hold you back, apart from the odd champion that will genuinely help you. People fear change and they hate other people seemingly shining a light on their poor habits. It’s unlikely to be you they are actually frustrated with, it’s themselves.
9. Have fun. Life’s too short to make the gym, or dieting, the biggest thing in your life. Sure, there’ll be times when it should have a higher level of focus and effort – but for the most part? No one matters but YOU.