Whether you’re looking to build the body of your dreams or become a better athlete there are plenty of fitness tips, tricks and how-tos available from countless numbers of fitness coaches and trainers. But with so many opinions out there how do you separate the good from the bad and avoid drowning in information-overload? To keep you on track we break down the top 9 fitness and training concepts you could bet your house on that just about any trainer would agree with. And we know…because we asked them.
Putting your body on a set schedule is always conducive to getting results. Any trainer will tell you to focus in on what you’re trying to achieve and then plan out a logical way to reach those results – making strides toward your goals on a daily basis through exercise, proper diet and appropriate recovery time. Routine is very much tied in with results.
8. Diet Adjustments
As Nik Herold of Brik Fitness puts it, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” Trainers aren’t nutritionists (at least not usually), but many of them look the way you want to look in terms of strength, speed and overall fitness level, so they have a good sense of which diets can work best. Any trainer will tell you that you need to be more conscious of what you put in your body – the more you work out, the more you have to realize which foods and nutrients you’ll need to refuel your body and foster muscle growth and stamina.
7. Keep a Log & Constantly Reassess
“When you log your workouts, you can see when you need to increase weights, remember what you like and don’t like and make educated adjustments to your program,” says Mike Duffy, a trainer who runs his own personal training company in New Jersey. Your log doesn’t have to be anything fancy—just what exercises you did, what you’ve been eating and when. The log goes hand in hand with consistency, since it provides a constant reminder of where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going with your training. Having written documentation will allow you to reassess frequently and Herold recommends doing just that every four to six weeks.
6. Stay Hydrated
Water, as you probably suspected, is a staple of health in the training world, and you’ll need to be hydrating constantly if you want to attain the best possible results. You’re losing it throughout the day, so you have to be conscious of your consumption—don’t just wait until the next time you feel thirsty. “I recommend that my clients drink half their body weight in ounces of water a day,” Duffy says. Of course, don’t go too far; if your urine is completely clear, that means you need to scale it back a bit.
5. Sleep More
Much like water, sleep is another basic part of life you might not think of much when you’re trying to get into better shape. However, it really plays a huge role in muscle development and general fitness due to the recovery it provides. “I’ve known a number of people who started getting better results when they increased their sleep from 4 to 6 hours a night up to 7 to 9 hours,” says Herold. So, know that those extra hours do wonders to replenish your body and get you ready for a new day and a new workout.
4. Positive Attitude
Most trainers will agree that a positive attitude is key for good results. It’s hard to progress too much while lugging around negative thoughts all the time. In most cases, being confident in your ability to get into better shape is all you need in order to actually get going and make some strides toward your fitness goals.
3. Celebrate Small Successes
Your fitness goals might seem way out of reach at various times during your training, so it’s important to take note of and praise any accomplishment, no matter how small. Don’t get down on the process and realize that as long as progress is being made, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be if you keep at it with a positive outlook. “Too many people get caught up in the end-game,” Herold says. “Really, every new step in the right direction deserves recognition.”
2. Proper Form & Injury Prevention
Injury prevention is a big concern for any good trainer out there. So, utilizing exercises that pretty much can’t be done incorrectly are always good choices – some examples are jumping rope and reverse lunges, according to Herold. Corrective exercises are great for warm-ups, but can be done at any time during the workout. Aside from this concept, try to know your body’s limits, and never move forward with a new exercise unless you know all the mechanics and possible risks involved.
1. Rest & Recovery
If you truly want a fit lifestyle, you have to be in it for the long haul. Even if you’re training for a specific event, any good trainer out there will agree that there’s only so much that can be gained over the course of a day’s workout, or even over a week or month. It’s great to feel fatigued and exhilarated at the end of every workout, but if you’re constantly feeling like you can’t lift your arms or walk properly post-workout, you’re risking injury too often and probably not allowing for proper recovery time.