Mental preparation is essential to success in any field that you choose to take on. I have worked out for the last 15 years and I have been a personal trainer for the last 6. In all of those years I can recall maybe 1 or 2 possible instances where a new person just starting out in the gym had to quit due to a physical or medical condition. Every other person who quit (and there have been a lot!) did so because they did not mentally prepare themselves for this endeavor.Think about it, how many times have we caught ourselves saying "One cookie want hurt, or I really don't need to do cardio today, or I can make up tomorrow in the gym what I missed today and any of the other excuses that started out innocent and ended up leading down the road to failure. Most of the time our minds will quit while our bodies are as strong as ever. Whether it is because we do not see the gains as fast as we would like to or because we are just plan bored it really does not matter. The fact is most everyone that I have witnessed in this situation were physically at their best or at least on their way to it and their bodies were willing to go yet mentally they lacked the enthusiasm and drive that they had when they first began. Why is that?
I noticed this and was concerned because mental preparation was the one area that trainers never address and B.B. boards never spoke of and as far as I could tell it was the number one reason that most people were most likely to drop out of the gym. Based on this, I took it upon myself to speak on this subject at my gym and various other gyms throughout Alabama.

BODYBUILDING IS AS MUCH MENTAL PREPARATION AS IT IS PHYSICAL AND NUTRITIONAL!!!

Always remember that! With this in mind, I have listed several strategies that will help sticking to your routine, dieting and yes even passing up the vending machine at work seem like child's play.

1) GET INVOLVED IN A GYM-- One that is close by your home. That makes jetting to the gym quick and easy with little room for excuses not to go.

2) DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE--- One can not set a goal until they have defined it clearly. Ask your self "Why am I training" To gain a little muscle, tone up or to become a world class bodybuilder? Once a specific goal has been set, this realization is the first step toward making the total commitment that is required to achieve this goal.

3)CHOSSE THE RIGHT TRAINING PARTNER-- When it comes to training what counts is the workout. Look for someone who has similar goals as you. David a friend of mind was a great training partner for me because of how he helped my workouts, not because we were good friends outside of the gym. Special care should be taken when choosing this person, keep in mind that you're looking for someone who is dedicated. Set up a workout schedule that will fit into both of your daily routines. This can really be beneficial on those days that you really do not feel like going to the gym. You have to! Your partner is expecting you to show up ! Feed on each others energy. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts, and you can do things that you never dreamed were possible. If either of you do not show, have the other to call up on the phone and ask why. A good workout partner can really aid in your success, however a bad one can do just as much harm as well. If it is not working out be honest and look for someone else to train with.

4) CONFIDENCE COMES FROM DOING
-- Much of what can intimidate you is a fear of the unknown. Packing on mass,being able to handle weight, and staying on a diet may seem hopelessly difficult in the beginning. But you must keep your goal steadfast with your mind. Make all the preparations that you need to with your kids, job or personal life to make sure that you have the time to workout. SIMPLY GO TO THE GYM, DO YOUR WORKOUT AND DO IT WELL. It's pretty easy when you think about it.

5) TAKE YOUR PROGRESS ONE STEP AT A TIME-- This involves setting both long term goals and short term goals. The latter is important because they give you a benefit to shoot for in a short period of time. Do not set goals that are unattainable. Be realistic. Short term goals should not be set any less than 3 months and long term goals should not be set for any less than 1 year. Define exactly what you want to achieve and then set your plan into motion.

6) USE VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES--- This may sound weird, but just kinda hang with me on this one and read on.
Visualization is one of the best mental tools that you have at your disposal. It is really nothing more than a direct form of daydreaming, in which at the same time you can program your subconscious mind to make those decisions that make it easier to reach your goals. You need at least 20 to 30 minutes a night right before you drift off to sleep to imagine yourself and how you want to be. Imagine your arms blowing out of the sleeves of your shirt, your back rippling up as you flex your it. Imagine your legs growing so large you can barely fit them into the pants legs of your jeans. Hell, you can even imagine what your ex-girl friend might say when she first meets you and see's your new physique! I know this sounds crazy, but the marines, Navy Seals, Rangers and various other elite fighting forces have used these same visualization techniques to prepare soldiers for the horrors of hand to hand combat. Here we will use these techniques but geared toward bodybuilding.

7) STAY POSTED TO UNITED-MUSCLE-- You do not need to make this your only source of information. Books and articles are good to, we just happen to be the best!

8) KEEP A LOG OF YOUR DAILY WORKOUTS AND SEEK OUT CIRCUMSTANCES THAT HELP YOUR MOTIVATION---
Nothing extravagant, just weather or not you had a really good workout or not and why. For what ever reason, such as I had plenty of sleep last night and I felt good today, or So and So was in the gym today and I really felt more motivated than usual, I ate about an hour before working out and I felt really strong etc. Do this for every workout and then in 3 months down the road key in on the really good days that you have had and why. I promise you you will see a pattern. Of course there is no need for you to continue this practice once you know what to key in on to make your workouts great but you may need to revise it every year or so as things do change. And that is another thing, CHANGE IS ALWAYS PRESENT! Learn to see it and adapt to it accordingly.