Motivation week continues today at the Burn The Fat Blog with a great excerpt from an interview I recently did with Jim Katsoulis. Jim is a hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and fitness coach who specializes in weight loss and fitness coaching using motivational and psychological techniques, not just exercise routines and diet plans. In this interview segment, Jim asks me about whether your training environment – gym, home, home gym, dusty corner in your basement, outdoors, in a class, etc – makes a difference. From a motivational perspective, does WHERE you train matter? Read on to find out… Also, don’t forget to visit the Burn The Fat Website TODAY – the “operation motivation” bonus offer with My new ebook package on goal setting and fitness psychology ends at midnight tonite!

Jim: How important is where you work out? Do you think your training environment is actually going to affect your motivation and your perception of working out?

Tom: No doubt about it, but it is an individual thing. For me, training environment and atmosphere are everything. I train at a gym that you could call a “hard core body building gym.” I know that people get in shape at home or outdoors too. You can get in shape anywhere and I think it’s important to say that.

But when it comes to environment, I’m not going to get metaphysical on you or anything, you can call this a purely psychological thing if you want, but I feel that physical places have energy and the type of energy in a place is important to your performance and how you feel.

I walk into this serious hardcore gym and to me, that place is just buzzing with energy. I feel different the minute I walk in. It’s like I go into a different state. It’s a mental state change for sure, but it’s a physical state too so I feel like I’m going to perform better training in the right environment for me.

I can’t imagine training in my living room. There’s no energy there – that’s where I relax on the couch. That’s where I watch movies. That’s where I read. That’s where I entertain company. That’s where I chill, not where I work out. There’s no training energy there. If I can go somewhere that I feel an energy that motivates me, that’s where I’m going.

It’s also about the people I’m surrounded with too, and not just in a social support sense, which is important by itself, but as part of the atmosphere.

In my gym, I’m surrounded by professional body builders and national champion power lifters. A few weeks ago there was this guy bench pressing 700 pounds. I had never seen anything like it. He had a posse of six guys around him cheering him on. The whole gym just stopped and watched – if it weren’t for all the screaming and yelling and the heavy metal on the radio, you would have heard a pin drop.

That is not a lot of people’s cup of tea. But for me and other serious lifters, the energy that creates is unbelievable.

I remember doing legs one day and one squat rack over from me Vinnie Galanti was doing legs himself with his training partner. He recently won the NPC Masters National Body Building championship and got a pro card at 42 years old. I train pretty hard. But when I saw Vinnie – national champion – training legs the next rack over, I thought “Whoa, so THAT’s what hard training is, huh? So THAT’s what it takes to be national champ at 42?”

Think about this for a minute. How do you know what hard training really is? Compared to what?” what’s your standard of comparison? If you train in a group, at least you have some way to compare, but even that depends on who’s in the class. Do you have any idea what it takes to achieve a certain physique look without having a reference point?

When you’re surrounded by people in phenomenal shape, people bigger than you, stronger than you, leaner than you, it makes you raise the bar and inspires you. I get inspired in places like that even if I don’t even interact with those guys.

If you get in a group environment, you might get tremendous motivation from the accountability factor too.

I know two other national champion body builders who have basement gyms. They go to a public gym only once in a while. They go down in their basement. They crank up the tunes. No one bugs them. They get to work and get the job done. But those guys found what worked for them, and when they walk into that basement gym, they go into the same kind of motivated state I do when I go into my gym.

Wherever you train, the physical environment and the people have to inspire you. If you’re inspired in your living room, great. If you train strictly at home for convenience, that’s great too. If it works, keep doing it. But you have to know yourself and you ask yourself if there is any way you could make your environment even better.

So if you’re unmotivated, try a change of environment, or create an environment that motivates you and think about the place and the people. My friends who have home gyms have turned it into a sort of training sanctuary, with motivational posters on the wall, a music system a training partner and whatever else gets them going.

I would suggest that everybody keep an open mind and try different things. If you’ve never tried it at home, maybe try training at home. Maybe you’re the basement gym kind of person. If you’ve never tried training in a gym, try training in a gym because you might say “Wow, that’s what I was missing.” You didn’t know until you actually immersed yourself in that environment and got around some motivational people.

Jim: I never even thought about this, until you just mentioned it, but In NLP, there’s a concept of anchoring. With what you said about going into a motivated state just from your environment, it makes a lot of sense. And again, there are no absolutes. Obviously you can get healthy and fit working out in your living room. But if you think about how anchors work, there has to be a little bit of a conflict because if that’s a place where you’re used to just relaxing and letting go and all of a sudden you’re actually fighting against a lot of unconscious baggage in a sense trying to get yourself pumped. Not that you can’t do it, but it would almost have to be a focus for a little while to make sure that you feel that way.

Tom: I agree completely. The gym can be a strong anchor. I think using places as anchors is highly under appreciated. It can be very powerful. The second I walk in the door of that gym my state changes. In fact, as I’m walking in the door of the gym it really is like walking into a sanctuary, and I know that one thing and one thing only is going to happen in there. And it aint gonna be socializing or watching tv or lounging around.

Jim: That’s so key. One of the things I always say when I talk to people about motivation is what you feel like, the mental place your’e in and what your body is doing. I know for yoga, I would create this little space in my house. Literally the moment I went in there and did that I would feel a certain way. It is underrated in a sense. People don’t talk enough about it

Tom: Yeah, and my guess would be that your yoga space is probably not the same space where you would do a maximum effort bench press!

Jim: Let’s say someone wants to start out working with weights. Especially women, but this could be men as well. They walk in there and they feel awkward or feel uncomfortable because they’re not lifting the weight that other people are lifting or they feel silly or whatever else. Any suggestions on how to work through that? Anything?

Tom: Back when I used to work in the health club business, there was something we heard all the time from would-be members outside the gym – they would say, “I’d like to join a gym but I have to get in shape first.”

We always shook our heads and
cracked up when we heard that. We would say,”excuse me, but isnt that backwards?”, But at the same time we could understand why someone would say that. Most people will feel self-conscious in a gym the first time not just if they are out of shape but also because they don’t know how to train yet. But we have to remember that all beginners start the same place. I started there. You started there. Everyone started there.

Even after 10 years of working in health clubs, I remember very few situations where somebody was being ridiculed or made fun of because they were out of shape in the gym. It’s almost the exact opposite. In the gym, the sentiment is like, “good for you” because you’re in there doing something to improve yourself. I think someone overweight is more likely to hear derogatory comments on the street, or in line at a public food place than in the gym.

Besides, you would be surprised how little other people in the gym are thinking about you or paying attention to you at all – unless youre benching 700 pounds of course! When you can do that, the whole gym will stop and watch you, but at that point I guess you wouldn’t mind.

Most people, even if you see their eyes wandering around the gym, their minds are preoccupied with themselves. I think the idea that people are looking at you or making fun of you is happening is only inside of the person’s head. Like the old psychotherapists joke, “you wan’t to know what people think of you? They don’t!”

Most people, once they actually get into a gym, they find more social support and help, especially if they’ll reach out and ask for it, than they ever imagined.

In fact, let me tell you something about weight lifters and egos – most experienced people in the gym are almost too eager to offer up their two cents on training advice – so if anything you will get too much help in the gym and you actually have to be careful who you listen to, because years in the gym doesn’t always equate to knowledge.

Bottom line really is that if people feel more comfortable training at home, and the gym seems like a de-motivator at first, then they should start training at home. But I think more people would be surprised at just how positive of an experience a gym can be.

Jim: I like that because from your perspective and you’re talking about peoplein the profession at that point, (a) they’re probably not noticing – that’s the most common thing, but (b) they’re probably going to be supportive. You see people that are lifting weight like professional body builders who would be supportive of someone else trying to work on their body.

Tom: They are totally supportive. That’s my whole point. I see gyms as a supportive environment, not an intimidating or critical environment. Part of it is finding the right gym. My gym is probably not the right gym for most people. To me it’s heaven. I’m like a kid in a candy store in there. Find the right gym for you. Or create your own workout space, but the one thing I would recommend is avoid using your living room or bedroom or any place that is associated with something else like comfort and relaxation. Create a separate workout room or workout space so that you use that anchoring and when you go in there it means only one thing – training hard!

Jim: That makes a lot of sense. Thanks Tom!

jim katsoulis

Jim is a Master Hypnotist and Weight Loss Expert. He has conducted over 3,000 weight loss sessions and has helped thousands of people create the body and lives they want through his course, Program Yourself Thin. Using cutting edge mental change techniques and a common sense approach, he has personally dropped 50 lbs and kept it off without a day of dieting. Jim is dedicated to helping others recapture the excitement, passion, and confidence that comes with living in the body of your

About Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder, independent nutrition researcher, freelance writer and author of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (e-book) and the #1 Amazon best-seller, The Body Fat Solution (Avery/Penguin, hardcover). Tom’s articles are featured on hundreds of websites worldwide and he has been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Exercise as well as on dozens of radio shows including Martha Stewart healthy living (Sirius), ESPN-1250 and WCBS. Tom is also the founder and CEO of the premier fat loss support community, the Burn The Fat Inner Circle


Subscribe to the Burn the Fat weekly newsletter and get my ebook, "The 20 Best Fat-Burning, Muscle-Building Recipes Of All Time" FREE!
Your email is safe with me!