Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Joining a Gym

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Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Joining a Gym

What’s the first thing everyone does when they decide they want to lose weight, get fit and get healthy?

They join a gym, right?

Now, I’m not saying this is the wrong thing to do, but it’s not a solution to the problem. It’s a small part of a much larger solution package, but a gym membership itself contributes absolutely nothing towards any of the goals I listed above.

Why is that?

Because a gym membership itself is nothing more than the right to enter and exit a certain space freely between certain hours. At best the only physical presence it has in the world is a card you carry in your wallet. Neither of these things inherently mean health and fitness, nor are they active contributors to the reduction of body fat.

Okay, so what if you decide to actively use your membership to gain access to the gym. What then? Is this a guarantee of results?


This is where we begin to see some of the variables that can affect the results you really want. It’s also where we begin to see why some people achieve what they want at the gym and others don’t. You can go into the gym, and you can build a fabulous body, just like you can walk into a workshop and build a beautiful table and chairs, but access to the tools isn’t going to be enough. What else do you need?

You’re starting to see where I’m going with this, right?

The answer is knowhow. Skills. You need the knowhow and skills to use the tools effectively if you’re going to build a functional table and chairs. In just the same way, you need the right knowhow and skills to build the body you want. Sure, you might see a little headway in the beginning, a little fat loss, a little muscle, just like you might be able to select a flat piece of timber for your tabletop and nail a leg to it. These results are quickly going to tail off though, without skills and a plan.

Let me ask you two questions:

Do you have a gym membership?

Are you getting the results you want?

If the answer to the first question is “yes,” and the second is “no,” then chances are it’s for one of the following reasons:

  1. You’re not actually going to the gym, you just have a membership
  2. You’re going occasionally to the gym, but inconsistently, there is no regular space in your schedule.
  3. You are going to the gym, but when you go there you just look to see which piece of equipment is free, use that for a bit, then repeat the process until your time is up.
  4. You have a program that was written for you by your mate Dave, who used to go to the gym sometimes himself.
  5. You have a program written for you by a trainer, and it’s good so you’ve been following it for the last two years.
  6. You have a program written for you by a trainer, it’s a good program and it gets changed regularly, but you only sort-of follow it. Or you spend time chatting, texting or checking out social media whilst also taking up one of the benches that people who went there to train could be using.
  7. You have a program, you follow it religiously, but as soon as you leave the gym you order a family-size pizza, a bucket of ice-cream and a six-pack of beer, then you slam down the lot because you earned it.

The funny thing is, we would never dream of approaching anything else in our lives this way. A lean, muscled and smiling guy or girl behind a desk tells us that all we need to make our dreams come true is a two-year membership to their gym and we go for it. Then the time comes for us to start achieving our goals and we’re lost amidst a jungle of clanking iron, sweating bodies and strangely coloured drinks with no clue where to start.

Imagine if we were to approach a physical journey the same way. Picture it. I’m in Sydney, I need to be in Brisbane, and I’m talking to my friend about how I intend to get there.

Me: I’ve bought a car.

Friend: Well that’s good. Hang on, do you know how to drive?

Me: No, but a guy at the shop showed me where the accelerator and brake are, I’m sure I’ll do just fine using those.

Friend: Uh, okay. Do you know what sort of fuel to put in it.

Me: Not a clue. I’ll bet it’s something combustible though. I’ve got a gallon of vodka at home, I’ll put that in it.

Friend: Alright. Driving to Brisbane will take quite a long time, won’t it?

Me: Hmm, well I just thought I’d do a few minutes of driving here and there when the opportunity arose and I didn’t have anything better to do. I’ll still get there.

Friend: Yes, because this day and age we all have so much free time… Do you know how to get to Brisbane? Do you have any sort of map or GPS?

Me: No, no, but I figured if I just took whichever road I thought looked the nicest, or drove wherever wasn’t too busy I have to get there eventually, right? Feel like coming on a road trip with me?

So what do you actually need if you’re going to achieve the physique of your dreams, be fit and healthy and have endless amounts of energy?

  • You’re going to need some skills. You’re going to know how to effectively use all the equipment you need to make your goals a reality.
  • You’re going to need to know how to eat right. You’ll never out-train a bad diet, so eat to support your training or kiss your dream body goodbye.
  • You’re going to need to arrange time in your schedule to train, not just wait for a quiet moment to pop up. These appointments are as non-negotiable as any other. If you treat them any other way you won’t keep them and you won’t see results.
  • You are going to need a clear plan that encompasses all of the above points as well as a program that changes regularly in order to keep the body challenged and give it something to adapt to on an ongoing basis.

Are you not achieving the results you want? Have always struggled with your nutrition? Training hard but still not losing that stubborn belly fat?

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