Have you ever gone to work out with a friend at the gym only to find out that you were not quite as strong or as fast as you thought you were? Did you try to keep up with them or did you tailor the exercise for your abilities? My guess is that you went in, went all out, tried to keep up, and ended up frustrated, sore, and not wanting to return to the gym again. This happens all the time in my group training sessions with clients. Someone wants to bring a friend to their training session or sometimes I run a deal where they split the cost and come at the same time and do a tag team type workout. The only downfall to this is that everyone is on a different level. It is easy to get frustrated when you cannot lift as much as your friend, but you have to understand that strength training is not a competition amongst friends. Strength training is only a competition with you. You can only become the best possible you that there is, and comparing yourself to someone else will only get you hurt. Many people come from many different backgrounds. Your friend may be able to lift more because she has a small child she lifts all the time, or she maybe able to squat more because she has to squat down at her job to pick up packages. Everyone will have a different strength or weakness. However, if you want to increase strength and endurance, you need to add new resistance or time/intensity to your efforts each time that you work out. This can be as simple as adding small dumbbells when you only did bodyweight the week before, or adding plates 10% more weight each week for the more advanced builders. This principle works in conjunction with the principle of progression. To run a 10-kilometer race, athletes need to build up distance over repeated sessions in a reasonable manner in order to improve muscle adaptation as well as improve soft tissue strength/resiliency. The same principle holds true for strength and power exercises. Trying to do too much too soon out of concern form your ego will only get you injured. To build your dream body you must first establish a start point and begin adding time, intensity, or weight to your workouts each week. The best way to track this type of plan is to keep a food/exercise journal. I use one daily to write down what I eat, what I did at the gym (specifically each exercise, set, reps, and weight used), and how I felt during the day and during my workout. This helps me to know where I started and see the results that I am making. Remember, progress is a slow process. Don’t make it any slower by stopping!