Top Training Tips from The Health and Fitness Pros
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.
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.
2. 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.
3. Start Your Day with Exercise
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.
4. 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.
5. Put Parkinson’s Law into Practice
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.
6. 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.
7. Listen to Your Body, Not Your Mind
Your body knows better! On days when you don’t feel like working out, that’s your mind talking. Your body yearns for movement, circulation, and healing. When I’m having one of those days, I’ll take a few moments just to breathe well, and invariably, my arms want to stretch and I might press my hands into a wall and lengthen my spine—anything. And it always feels better.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Think of Food as Fuel
Think of your food as fuel and not as a reward or something to satisfy your taste buds or cravings. Eventually, what you are eating (fruits, veggies, etc.) will taste much better and satisfy you even more.
12. Make Small Changes
Nothing changes overnight, so make small changes for lasting results. Most people feel results in two weeks, but can see results in six. Try this small change: Walk for 10 minutes before and after each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). It adds up to a 60-minute walk, or 420 minutes of exercise every week.