Mental preparation is half the battle when getting in shape

June 30, 2012

As a trainer, it’s my job to create, teach and implement the best possible fitness program for each and every client who walks through the door, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans if the person trying to get in shape isn’t ready, willing and able to change.

So if you’re thinking about getting started, get your head in the game and make the commitment to get in shape.

Get sick and tired of being sick and tired

There’s a common theme among the most successful people I have ever trained. They all became sick and tired of looking and feeling bad about themselves and decided to do something about it. If you’re experiencing little to no energy, weight gain, depression, stress, low self-esteem and other physical and mental issues, you might want to consider one of the most effective, least expensive and scientifically proven solutions known to man: Start working out. I promise you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

Commit to getting fit

Talking about getting in shape won’t get the job done; you have to make the commitment to get started and stay consistent. This means you’ll have to commit to working out three to five times a week without fail, with a combination of weight training, cardiovascular training and body weight exercises. You will have to be flexible and be willing to make sacrifices like going to the gym when you would rather be doing something else. You will have to change your diet and start eating to live instead of living to eat. It won’t be easy, but the results will be well worth the effort.

Plan for success

If you want to be successful, you will need a plan to guide you through the process. For example, write down exactly what you are supposed to do for the week and record your results. Keep a log of what you eat so you will be able to make adjustments. Make a series of small goals so you can check them off as you accomplish each one and set new ones to keep you motivated, and remember, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Get educated

Hard work is just half of the equation; when it comes to getting in shape, you’ll have to become a student of fitness. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I believe the same idea rings true when it comes to learning how to stay in shape. If you take the time to learn how your body responds best to exercises, cardio and a proper diet, you will be armed the knowledge that’s necessary to take control of your own health instead of depending on someone else to do it for you.

Make life changes

If you think you’re going to get in shape without making changes in the way you live your life, I’ve got news for you: It’s not going to happen. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a short-term solution, and it takes dedication and work to get in shape and stay there. In many cases, you’ll have to reprogram your body and mind to do things you never thought possible, but once you make the commitment, you will be surprised at what you are capable of doing.

So if you’re thinking about getting in shape, forget about quick fixes and short-term solutions, and get mentally prepared to change your life so you’ll have a much better chance of success. No one ever said getting in shape would be easy, but I can assure you the results you’ll get will be well worth the effort.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out