Get fitness secrets from the experts. (Photo: iStock/pixdeluxe)
In fitness (and in life) arming yourself with the best information available can help you conquer any goal – often in less time and with even better results than you imagined. And there’s no better resource for that advice than the health and fitness pros whose careers depend on getting people results. To help you reach your potential, we asked top experts to share the very best tips, mantras and motivation secrets they’ve learned along the way.
1. Forget About the “Fat-Burning Zone.”
“Stop worrying about the exact percentage of fat you burn during exercise (i.e. staying in the ‘fat burning’ zone), and instead focus on the total calories burned from fat (which include the calories you burn after an intense strength session). To burn more fat over a 24-hour period (and not to mention, get in great shape), go as hard as you can, as long as you can.” – JC Santana, owner of the Institute of Human Performance (IHP) in Boca Raton, Florida.
2. Exercise in the Morning.
“Has your busy schedule taken over your workout routine? Fit in fitness first thing. Research shows that people who work out first thing in the morning work out more often. Why? Because you’re less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way.” – Elizabeth Burwell Hendrix, co-owner of High Performance NYC training facility in Manhattan.
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(Photo: iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros)
3. Set a Hard Deadline.
“Parkinson’s Law states that the perceived complexity of a task expands to fill the time you allot it. So if you don’t set hard deadlines and timelines, you’re not going to be as focused or productive as you could be. Instead of wasting time at the gym, create hard deadlines for your workouts: Estimate how long your session should take and enforce that you finish in that amount of time or less. Create a negative consequence for not sticking to it. Once you begin to create and enforce deadlines, the BS gets toned down and the results increase dramatically.” – John Romaniello, a New York City based coach, writer, and owner of Roman Fitness System.
4. Begin With the End in Mind.
“Start with the end point of your specific goal in mind, and then work backwards to plan out your training program. That way, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to reach your goal, keeping you motivated and moving forward. For example, if you want to be able to run a marathon in 16 weeks, then in eight weeks your training program should build up to doing a half marathon, and in four weeks you should be able to do a 10K.” – Rachel Cosgrove, author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness.
5. Kick Up the Intensity.
“A lot of people put the time into their workouts but completely fail when it comes to their intensity. Bottom line: If it doesn’t feel hard, it isn’t. Learning this drastically changed my fitness level and my ability to coach my students to new levels.” – Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist in Los Angeles and star of “Breathless Body 2: The Edge” DVD.
6. Stick With the “Two-Day Rule.”
“Since I travel so much for work, I am sympathetic to how hotels and crazy schedules can foil your workouts. That’s why I stick to the two day rule: Never go more than two days in a row without a workout. It’s a game I play with myself, and I can’t lose. I have to do something, whether it’s getting outside for a run, using the hotel gym (no matter how gross), or doing a bodyweight workout in my hotel room – I just do it. And I haven’t broken the rule in as long as I can remember.” – Chris Freytag, a health and fitness expert for Prevention magazine, author, and national speaker.
7. Aim High But Stay Realistic.
“One thing my Olympic track coach used to say to me whenever I would hit a plateau was, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ I find that even the most competitive and knowledgeable athletes set expectations that are often too high, and it’s natural to get disappointed when you set an expectation and fail. It’s good to have goals, just make sure those goals are smart, achievable ones.” – Samantha Clayton, former Olympic athlete, personal trainer, and corporate fitness consultant in Malibu, California.
8. Make an Emotional Connection.
“Most people don’t truly enjoy exercise, but studies show that when you connect with something you like – whether it’s a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness video, or piece of equipment- you make a positive emotional connection and are significantly more inclined to stick with that exercise routine. Find a way to create a positive emotional connection [to your workouts] to stay engaged and wanting to come back again and again.” – Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, creator of the Core Transformer workout program.
9. Pump More Iron.
“One of the best tips I can give to anyone who wants to change the shape of their body is to lift weights. Specifically, lift heavy weights and perform multi-joint exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and push presses. If your goal is to look toned and lose belly fat, combine 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio and 20 minutes of strength training for your workout – you’ll be finished in just 40 minutes and be in the best shape of your life.” – Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist and adjunct professor of exercise and sports sciences at Florida International University.
10. Make Time to Meditate.
“Learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, no matter how brief. So much of our suffering, pain, insecurities, and struggles are caused by a disconnection with ourselves and our source. Meditation costs nothing, requires nothing, and can be done anywhere. In order to change your body, you need to change your mind and the way it is hardwired.” – Jennifer Galardi, owner of LivWhole in New York City.
(Photo: iStock/Joachim Leroy)
11. Do What You Love.
“If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else. If you’re injured, switch gears and focus on another aspect of your fitness until you heal. Never stop searching for the right workout and schedule until you create exactly what works for you. When you find it, don’t be swayed by fads, the opinion of others or even the experts. Doing what you love is the surest way to ensure you will be fit for life.” – Liz Neporent, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and author of Fitness for Dummies, 4th edition.
(Photo: iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund)
12. Work More Muscles in Less Time.
“When it comes to exercise selection, focus on compound moves, not isolation exercises. A compound movement is something that engages every muscle in your body – such as pull-ups, pushups, or planks- whereas isolation exercises focus only on one muscle group. Compound movements will make you stronger, more explosive, and more toned than anything else.” – Tamal Dodge, an international yoga instructor and star of the “Element Yoga” DVD.
13. You Can’t Out-Train a Poor Diet.
“I am always amazed at how people sabotage all their incredible efforts in the gym by overeating junk and under-eating nutrient-rich foods. If you commit to a diet of clean food -mainly all colors of plants, lean quality proteins, good healthy fats, and grains like quinoa and amaranth – and limit processed food, fast food, sugar, super starchy grains, and trans fats, you can see tremendous results in your body.” – Suzanne Bowen, owner of Barre Amped in Nashville, TN.
The original article “23 Fitness Secrets From the World’s Best Trainers“ appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.
By Jessica Smith
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