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It's a struggle this time every year. You make a goal to lose weight, gain muscle or just go to the gym a 3-4 days a week to stay healthy and keep in shape, then life gets in the way and the amount of time you spend on you dwindles.

Personal Trainer Pete Pulaski says one reason people stop showing up is because their intimidated by the people around them.

"We get so frustrated that by the time February comes, because we looked at that guy doing 50-pull ups and we can still only do one, and we say 'this isn't for me, I'll go back to my bad habits because that's my comfort zone'," Pulaski said.

If you're looking to be like the pro-athletes, celebrities, fitness models or even other people at the gym, it's important to remember they didn't get to where they're at overnight.

"A lot of us are shy, believe it or not, and when you are setting a new goal and are not feeling 100-percent about the way that you look or how you feel, it's very intimidating to go into a public gym," Pulaski said. "If you see somebody that you want to be like, you have to understand deep down that they had to start at the base themselves, you're just at the base but you could be that in five-months, ten-months or two-years but if you don't take the necessary steps and progressions you are not going to get there."

There's also the moment in time when you feel all eyes are watching you workout.

"A lot of us tend to think that the other people in the gym are looking at us," Pulaski said. "If I just did a set of rows or something and I'm sitting there, tired, I'm just looking at breathing, but I look in a general direction...if someone feels self-conscious about the way that they are on the elliptical or an exercise they don't feel they're doing properly and then see you looking, they may be thinking they're doing something wrong."

He said that's when self-doubt comes flowing back into your mind.

"We tend to just see things and we manipulate our brains to think what our fears are," Pulaski said. "Everyone is in this together, fitness is a community, fitness is a family and everyone in the gym has a similar goal."

Personal Trainer Pete Pulaski spots a man doing the dead-lift at his gym. (Pete Pulaski)
Personal Trainer Pete Pulaski spots a man doing the dead-lift at his gym. (Pete Pulaski)

If you haven't been able to hit the gym or workout before or after work, bringing the kids around or another life event, it's especially important to take things slow when you find the time to workout.

"If I'm a sedentary person and haven't done much, I wouldn't want to go right into the gym and start doing bench press and squats and dead-lifts and jump into 75 different classes and go crazy, because you're going to burn yourself out and most likely will get hurt," Pulaski said.

He recommends giving yourself a test of strength to see where you're currently at, so by doing one sit-up, a push-up or a body weight squat, and then build up from there.

If it's been a while since you've been to the gym or have been going and not seeing results, be sure to cater your plan to fit your bodies needs.

"For more advanced people, it's understanding your goal. If it's the person trying to put the muscle on, you want to make sure that the rep ranges are appropriate to the goal," Pulaski said. "If you're doing a workout to burn fat, you want to keep your rep ranges between eight and ten depending on the goal."

Pulaski says it also takes time so make a list of reachable goals while still keeping your big goal in sight and knowing your body.

"You have to make those little steps to get to the end result," Pulaski said. "You always want to have that end goal down on paper but you always want to make little progressions to get there."

He recommends diet changes such as drinking water instead of soda, cutting down on the amount of days you skip breakfast and having a daily alcoholic drink to one or two days a week.

Whether it's losing 30, 50, 100 or more pounds or trying to pack on a few pounds of muscle, it's about taking baby steps to get there.

"It's all about habit changing and understanding that little goals lead to big goals," Pulaski said. "It's always important to put that goal down on paper but also have in mind that it can't be something unachievable, especially when you're starting off."

Before you even head to gym, Pulaski suggests writing down a list of goals and exercises you know how to do and start small with how much your doing and build it up slowly until you're at your goal while maintaining a positive mindset that you will reach your fitness goals.

You don't need to go to the gym seven days a week, but at least three or four days to make sure you keep the heart rate up.

"An exercise routine, ideally, should be at least 150-minutes of increased heart rate a week," Dr. Dina Meckael, D.O., Primary Care Physician, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said. "Some people tell me that they don't exercise but walk a lot at work, and although that's great it's not really increasing your heart rate. If you do walk a lot at work, perhaps you can do a brisk walk around the block a few times and up that heart rate and then maybe in a couple months, you could go for a run."

It's just as important to take care of your body at home if not more than it is in the gym and it starts with a healthy diet explains Dr. Meckael.

"Meal planning and journaling is super important in trying to limit both your carbohydrates and saturated fat intake," Meckael said. "A lot of times you're just trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and by creating a meal plan, you're eliminating certain foods."

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