6. They have a strong support system.

Plenty of guys go it alone at the gym, or find other ways to exercise in isolation. The thing is, most of the greatest fitness success stories are inspired by friends, loved ones and dedicated trainers pushing the person along every step of the way. “Everyone needs support from time to time,” Klein says. “We all hit those discouraging plateaus, and we need the people around us to motivate us to get back on track.”

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5. They take it slow and steady.

No one has ever gotten the perfect body without putting in a huge amount of hard work, and even if you get there, there's maintenance to be done. The most successful people understand that slow and steady wins the race and they need to be in it for the long haul. That means getting into the habit of frequent exercise and proper diet; but it also means not going gung-ho at the start. “People who hit the gym really hard from the beginning are unfortunately the ones who often burn out,” says Klein. Injuries will throw a wrench in any progress you make, while exercising to the point where you can barely move for several days can set you back as well.

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4. They ride out the obstacles.

“Even in a really great success story, there’s almost always some sort of setback or stagnation you’ll run into,” Klein says. Like in other aspects of life, fitness success is not always going to be a straight line moving steadily upward with time. Some success stories may gain a couple pounds in a week at some point in their training, others might show no progress at all for a month, but that doesn’t dictate the full story or the end results. These people embraced the process and realized they weren’t necessarily going to see progress every single day. The key is to just keep moving forward one day at a time.

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