You decide to start going to the gym because you want to get in better shape. When you do, you see people there who spend several hours working out, often doing workouts that make you want to cry out in agony just from thinking about them. Do you really have to put yourself through all that misery in order to get in shape? Fortunately, the answer for most people is no. Unless you plan on training for something extremely challenging or you’re a professional athlete, you don’t typically need to workout for two or three hours a day, six days a week. In fact, doing so before you’re ready can cause significant injury.

If you’re really serious about changing your lifestyle and getting in shape, you may want to consider working with a personal trainer and a nutrition expert so you can get a better idea of exactly where you should focus your efforts. If you’re not quite ready for all of that, it’s okay. Losing weight requires you to take in fewer calories than you expend. Therefore, changing your eating habits to incorporate a healthier diet and spending some time at the gym can make a big difference in the way you look and feel.

Unless you’re planning on doing intense physical activity in the relatively near future, you can usually spend anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour at the gym, four to five times a week. Doing so will allow you to notice a marked difference in your level of fitness. Even if you do have aspirations of spending two or three hours working out almost every day of the week, it’s best to start out slowly and then gradually work your way up. As previously mentioned, doing too much too soon can be detrimental to your health, not to mention your efforts to get in better shape.

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to take your body type into consideration. You’ll also want to be cognizant of any health conditions you may have. That’s why it’s always a good rule of thumb to get cleared by your physician before starting any workout routine. It’s also why you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you eventually decide to work with a personal trainer. Having an expert by your side can go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals without injuring yourself in the process. It can also help you reach those goals in less time, as you’re not wasting your time with a lot of trial and error like you might be if you try to sort it all out on your own.