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Like most things in life, if you want to be great at it, you must dedicate yourself to that particular task. Sometimes you pick up on it quickly and other times it takes years and years to master it. More often than not, anything health and fitness related, takes years and years to reach your goal. I would venture to say, everyone has heard the saying, “it doesn’t happen overnight”. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle growth, increasing Vo2, jumping higher, running faster etc. It takes time, and a lot of it! You must dedicate yourself to the task at hand, follow your plan and stick it out for the long haul.

Although, there is a fine line between ‘dedication’ and ‘obsession’, many people walk through life in a cloud of fog, jumbled, not knowing the difference between the two. Let me clear up the differences so there is no confusion or assumption of knowing.

  • Obsession: the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
  • Dedication:devotion wholly and earnestly, as to some person or purpose

Now you see how someone can be confused thinking they are being dedicated to something when in fact, they are obsessing over something.  Let me elaborate on the definition of the two.

I am going to use fitness for an example (this is a fitness blog after all). Say a person wants to look like a certain celebrity (I hear this a lot). As a trainer, you inform this client what it will take and how much hard work that will need to be put forth to create this look. After weeks of hard training and intense dieting that client has not yet reached their desired look so they become agitated at the process.

Two things occur after that. The client quits altogether OR the client takes the next step (in the wrong direction). They begin working out for hours on end, seven days a week, counting every macro that passes by their palate, not going to family BBQ’s because it doesn’t fit their workout schedule/nutrition plan… Now some would call this dedication to a specific goal at hand. However, being in the fitness industry I see it how it is, OBSESSION!

The idea of looking like that celebrity, the image in their mind of how they wanted to look and the desire to reach that goal dominated their thoughts and feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I admire people who can do that, however, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it and more often than not, the wrong way will lead to lack of motivation or worse, injury.

Let me flip the switch on you for a second!

Client walks in, yada yada…this time, after finding out what it will take to achieve their goals, they buckle down, follow their program design, follow their nutrition plan BUT, when a family BBQ arises they attend. When they look in the mirror and still haven’t quite reached their desired look they don’t get upset. They trust the process. They take advantage of their rest days. They never miss a designated training session…this, to me, is DEDICATION!

It is very easy to teeter from dedication to obsession and even easier to do it and not recognize you are doing it!

Here are a few things to look out for

  • Agitated in the gym every time you workout
  • Train every day of the week with no rest days
  • Train more than two hours a day, every day
  • Continually count your calories
  • Weigh yourself every morning/every night
  • Cancel on friends or family because it doesn’t fit your workout plan/diet plan

Those are just some of the most common ones.

Just remember, being successful in the gym takes time (like I said at the beginning) sometimes a LONG time. Buckle down, wrap your head around the fact that your goal may take a year, two or even three. Stick to the fundamentals, listen to your trainer (if you don’t have one, get one!) and follow a sound nutrition plan…everything will fall into place.

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