4 Tips Fitness Trainers Always Give to Their Clients
Whether you’re a veteran yogi, CrossFit evangelist or SoulCycle lover, any fitness fanatic knows that the best workouts tune into what your specific body’s needs are. Listening to your body as you’re moving through a fitness class or routine is just as important as sweating it out.
That especially goes for starting a new workout regime. We chatted with a few fitness trainers to find out what tips they’d give anyone starting from scratch or beginning a new fitness routine—here’s what they said.
Where to Start if You’re Seeking a Trainer or Starting a New Regime
Fitness entrepreneur and personal trainer with more than a decade of in-person training under her belt, Shayna Schmidt says, “The best place to start if you’re thinking about getting a personal trainer or starting a new fitness regime is to simply take action. Make one move towards what you want. Call that trainer who keeps popping up on your Instagram ads. Walk into that gym you pass on your way to work.”
She cites a great quote by Douglas Horton to summarize her point that says, “The best cure for inaction is action. Action cures fear inaction creates terror.” Sometimes getting started feels overwhelming and ends up becoming the hardest part. If you can just get yourself moving, make yourself take that first step, the rest feels easier.
Wanda Perkins, certified personal trainer on Livekick.com, adds, “A lot of people end up waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to get started with their health, nutrition and fitness. But this all-or-nothing thinking usually gets us nothing at all.” Procrastination is a way for us to avoid doing the work—perhaps due to perfectionism, or out of a fear of failure. Ultimately, there is no perfect time and there never will be. That perfect moment is now. Go seize it!
In terms of starting a new fitness regime, Wanda, Shayna and Ethan Connellan, a certified personal trainer from the heart of Cape Town, South Africa, all recommend enlisting the help of a fitness professional. Ethan notes, “If you don’t know where to start or how to craft yourself an exercise program to get you to your goals, then you likely won’t ever achieve those goals.”
Exercises that are geared towards your body type, your conditions and exactly what you want are crucial for your success. And if you’re taking yourself to the gym and simply wandering around without accomplishing much because you don’t know what to do, that probably won’t make you want to keep coming back.
Four Tips for Starting a New Fitness Routine
Ethan says that fitness comes in many forms, and has the potential to suit any individual and make a positive impact on your life. Along with Shayna and Wanda, he put together four tips for anyone looking to begin a new fitness routine, whether you work with a personal trainer or not.
1. Be specific about your goals.
Ethan states that fitness and health goals (and all goals, really) should always be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). “A good goal can be measured and is specific enough to direct your focus on the change that’s most needed or important to you,” he says. Declaring “I want to feel good” doesn’t really give you anything measurable or specific to work on. However, stating that you want to lose 15 pounds, or be able to squat double your bodyweight, those are goals that are specific to one area of improvement, and they are measurable.
2. One behavior at a time.
Goals must be big enough to inspire you, but not so big that you get frustrated with the impossibility of accomplishing them. Shayna says, “Don’t set yourself up by failure by demanding that you do a HIIT session every single day and only eat chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes and coconut oil right out of the gate. We’re humans, not robots: we cannot be entirely reprogrammed in a day.”
She recommends conquering one “behavior” at a time, tackling whatever is easiest for you first. Week one’s goal might be to walk to work at least two out of five days. Week two’s goal might be to strive for an additional 30 minutes of sleep on at least two nights. Week three’s might be the first two-plus drinking an additional liter of water per day. You get the picture. Shayna emphasized that the most important change is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, and says, “Be patient with yourself and also realistic with yourself.”
3. Plan ahead.
Whether it’s what workout you’re going to do at the gym tomorrow or what you’re going to eat for dinner, the classic phrase is a classic for a reason: “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Wanda says, “Activities like meal prepping, planning out your week of workouts, and more can all save you time, money, and frustration.” She recommends investing in good kitchen equipment like a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, sharp knives and lots of food storage containers. Buy a workout journal. Download an app like MyFitnessPal or Livekick. Invest in a personal trainer, even for just a couple session. Strategize how you can make your goals fit into your lifestyle.
4. Tell someone about your intentions.
Ethan says, “Once you set out to accomplish something, it’s helpful to tell someone about it and ask that person to hold you accountable! Whether it’s your fitness trainer or your mom, if you’ve got someone holding you accountable to a high standard, you’re more likely to get it done.” If a goal is a secret, it’s pretty easy to blow off. Just like it’s pretty easy to blow off that workout you said you were going to do if someone isn’t there to be sure you show up. When creating a new habit in your life, it’s easier at first to have an external factor holding you accountable.
Interested in starting a new routine? Here’s how to start a HIIT routine today.