1. Stop doing so much cardio.
“The most harmful misconception is that more is better, especially when it comes to cardio. Spending long periods of time doing cardio, particularly continuous, low-intensity cardio, can actually be counterproductive. It can cause the body to hold on to its energy sources … for fear that it will need them for future long, continuous exertions.”
Alternatively, short bursts of high-intensity exercises (also known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT) has been shown to burn fat, and lots of it. Thirty minutes of HIIT is much more efficient and effective than an hour of steady-state cardio.”
—Annie Mulgrew, director of programming, CityRow
2. Step off the scale.
“The most harmful misconception about getting in shape is that you need to weigh less. For many people, the number on the scale shouldn’t matter. It isn’t what you weigh … The ratio of muscle to fat is far more important than the scale can reveal.”
— Alycea Ungaro, owner/founder, Real Pilates
4. Start doing anything. Just make sure you like it.
“There are lots of ways to achieve your health and fitness goals. Trying to figure out what you should do, how often, etc, … can stop you before you start.”
Just find something you enjoy, make sure it’s something you can do at your current fitness level, and go for it.”
5. Fall in love with exercise that changes your mood and your life, not just your body.
“[The most harmful misconception about getting into shape is] that looking better on the outside is the best part — it’s not! Of course getting fit and losing weight are important and huge motivators, but in my experience, mood and energy changes are the most immediate and gratifying part of getting into shape.”
Being in shape helps you in every aspect of your life — it helps you sleep better, boosts your energy throughout the day, and puts you in a better mood. (Endorphins are a beautiful thing, right, Elle Woods?)”
—Natalia Roberts, instructor, ((305)) Fitness
6. Whatever you’re doing for exercise, Switch. It. Up.
“Our bodies are incredible at adapting, so much so that when you perform the same exercise repeatedly, your muscles adjust to make that exercise easier. Basically, your body is no longer being challenged to the same degree, and therefore has no reason to continue to develop strength.”
Think about playing with tempo, resistance, or duration, and work to incorporate all the key elements of fitness into your training regimen: cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.”
—Jill DeMarco, SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone)
8. Make sure your workouts actually make you work.
“Look for workouts that challenge you, not workouts where you are comfortable.”
If it doesn’t challenge it’s not going to change you.”
—Alonzo Wilson, Tone House NYC
9. Set small, attainable goals you can reach along the way.
“Even though you may have one main goal in mind for getting in shape, set smaller two-week benchmark goals for yourself.”
Find little ways to celebrate meeting your benchmarks on the way to achieving your main goal. Buy a new workout outfit, go dancing with friends, get a massage, etc. Don’t be shy about treating yourself for smaller victories.”
10. But have one goal that kind of terrifies you.
“I think everyone should have a goal that slightly terrifies them. It sounds crazy, but if you pick something that is easy it won’t change you. If you set your mind on something that is so big it will take something you have never done before to get there then THAT is something that will not only change you, but most likely inspire others as well.”
These are that challenges where we truly see how strong we are.”
—Dyan Tsiumis, SWERVE
11. Try something new and own being a beginner.
“It’s so freeing and empowering to start a new kind of workout — yoga, dance, spinning, whatever — and come into it without any expectations on yourself, totally open.”
Shout it from the rooftops (i.e., tell the instructor). Being a beginner is a powerful place to start.”
—Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga
12. Take #beastmode down a notch.
“While the enthusiasm is great, being consistent, persistent, and smart about your training wins the race. … Some people will jump into a new exercise program and want to lift ALL the weights immediately, and work out twice a day every day of the week.”
As a CrossFitter I completely understand the thrill of this (the endorphins, feeling like you’re a superhero, seeing results), but be SMART. Consistent, persistent, smart training will help you avoid overtraining and give you better results.”
13. Take rest and recovery seriously.
“Learn how to heal yourself and recover quickly from hard workouts by using gentle relaxing movements and conscious breathing. Tai chi and qi gong, for instance, are simple and accessible, anyone can do them, and they really work.”
—Jonathan Angelilli, founder TrainDeep
14. Know that if something sounds too good to be true it definitely is.
“Any program, book, article, or trainer who promises results in X number of days (the smaller the number, the more skeptical you should be)’ should raise any number of red flags. If someone is going to promise you you’ll lose two dress sizes in a week or add 10 pounds of muscle mass in 10 days, they might as well say something equally as unrealistic as ‘and we’ll all be driving magical unicorns to work tomorrow!’”
Is it possible to shrink two dress sizes in a week? Sure. But there’s no shot it will last long-term; and any protocol or modality it took to achieve that is nothing more than a Band-Aid fix. Real results will only manifest once someone changes their habits.”
—Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-founder Cressey Sports Performance
15. Don’t just go through the motions; actually learn about what you’re doing for diet and exercise.
“Make a strong commitment to learning the technique of everything. Do some research, be strategic, and apply yourself to learning excellent technique of movements, eating, and recovery.”
16. Pratice mindfulness.
“Getting in shape is all about mind over matter. Begin a mindfulness practice that trains you to pay attention in specific ways to the sensations in your body, the thoughts and emotions in your mind, your movement (exercise as well as how you use yourself daily from how you walk upstairs), and finally what and how you eat, and how these things are related.”
In order to maintain a balanced or healthy body, it’s important to take a holistic approach for lasting transformation and pay attention to all these things.”
Working out is just a tiny fraction of ‘getting in shape.’”
17. Stop beating yourself up.
“Focus on what you DID do and then keep going. Spending any time with negative self-banter is counterproductive and a huge waste of time and energy.”
—Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga
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