IntroFitness magazine asked 35 of the top personal trainers in the country for their advice on how to make your fitness goals come true. The following are some of their best tips.
Easy exercise shortcuts
- Use heavier weights and do fewer reps.
- Work on multiple muscle groups together, such as perform biceps curls with lunges, or shoulder presses with squats.
- Add 60-second cardio bursts (jumping rope, running in place) between weightlifting sets.
- For six-pack abs, do all your standing exercises on a Bonsu Ball.
- Mix several two-minute high-speed intervals into your standard cardio routine.
- Alternate three to five minutes of cardio with 30 to 60 seconds of squats, lunges, sidekicks, or push-ups.
- Perform an upper-body, lower-body, and core exercise with no rest in between, then jump rope for one minute; repeat the circuit.
Ways to reach a goal
- Assess where you are at the beginning. How many push-ups can you do? Sit-ups? How long can you run?
- Recruit a friend to go through the process with you.
- Schedule your workouts for certain times and days—just like everything else that is essential in your week.
- Lose the all-or-nothing attitude.
- Write your goal in a daily planner.
- Put money in a jar every time you train. After every 10 to 20 workouts, buy something you want.
Ways to measure progress
- Start an exercise journal. Write down what you did after each workout.
- Take a “before” picture and post it on your refrigerator, then take an “after” shot every month or so and compare.
- Do push-ups twice weekly then, once weekly, write down your number of reps.
- If your energy level has increased and you are sleeping better, something is working.
- Make note of how much less winded you get walking up stairs.
- Signs of tame workout:
- You feel mentally stressed afterward.
- Your heart rate does not go up.
- You have not increased your speed or the amount of weight you are lifting in more than three months.
- You are bored.
Other words of wisdomAccording to Gilad Janklowicz, a fitness instructor and the host of Total Body Sculpt on FitTV, the most important elements in a fitness program are:
- Sustainability. Each person should find his favorite fitness activities and then work them into his weekly schedule at a time of day that will be easy to commit to.
- Setting realistic goals. A step-by-step approach is important for beginners as well as for advanced exercisers. Do not set contracts in your mind that your body is not ready to meet.
- Consistency. It is better to do a little bit every day than to push hard for a short time and then give up.
According to Paul Goldberg, a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist who works with Olympic and professional athletes, some foods help to promote muscle development. First, you need to fuel your workout, so clean-burning complex carbs are a must: whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and pancakes, 100 percent real fruit juice. Then you need to have clean protein to rebuild your muscles: salmon, tuna, chicken, low-fat milk, cheese, beef, legumes, nuts, and beans. Timing is crucial as well. You need nutrients on board and in your system at the right times to promote optimal growth and recovery.
According to Tom Venuto, a personal trainer and the author of The Body Fat Solution, when time is limited, the best exercises would include squats (front or back), lunges (all types), deadlifts (regular or Romanian), overhead presses, rows
According to Steve Zim, a celebrity trainer and owner of the Los Angeles gym A Tighter U, one of the biggest exercise myths is that you should stretch out before you start working out. Most people come in and think they need to stretch and then begin exercising. That is incorrect. You need to first warm up your body with a minimum of five minutes of aerobics, such as running, walking, or riding a bike, whatever you do to raise your body temp. Then you can begin either stretching or exercising because the temperature of your body is elevated, your muscles are much more pliable, and you will not get injured. Think of your muscle as a piece of taffy and think of your fingers as tendons. If you put the cold taffy between your hands and try to pull it apart, the taffy will not move, but your fingers will come off it. Warm-up that piece of taffy and now try to stretch it. Your fingers have no problem holding on and the taffy stretches perfectly.
According to Brad Schoenfeld, a fitness trainer and the author of Sculpting Her Body Perfect, the biggest secret that trainers typically do not tell their clients is that they should develop a mind-to-muscle connection. When you lift a weight, you should consciously visualize the target muscle and feel it working throughout the complete range of motion. Do not think about where you are feeling the muscular stress; think about where you are supposed to feel the stress. This helps to improve your form, and it will diminish the contribution of extraneous muscle assistance, ensuring that the target muscles perform most of the work.
According to Matt Roberts, there are five basic rules to follow if you want to lose weight:
- Do not cut carbs. They should make up 33 percent of your diet.
- Eat little and often. Three meals and two snacks daily.
- Eat more, not less. Increase your calories to match your activity.
- Drink. Six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Eat slowly. You can lose up to 20 pounds in a year by taking your time.