When it comes to fitness experts, we know some of the best in the business—the ones who make working out not only a healthy and productive endeavor but a fun one as well. That’s why we’ve gathered some of our favorite fitness instructors’ favorite fitness tips (it’s a tongue-twister, we know!). Read on for their ideas that you can easily incorporate into your exercise routine.
In their own words:
Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor
- Always carry a water bottle; we often mistake hunger for thirst.
- Move every day! Doesn’t have to be a “workout”—just move, whether it’s walking more, taking the stairs, playing with your kids, or standing up when you talk on the phone.
- Add intervals when you do cardio workouts.
- Even just 10 minutes of strength training twice a week makes a difference: pushups, squats, lunges, dips, and a plank!
- Throw a theraband in your bag or under your couch do some back rows or bicep curls.
- Stretch while watching TV, reading a magazine, or playing with your kids.
- Jump rope is amazing cardio.
- Yoga helps you deal with stress and eat better.
- Pilates moves are super effective for the core.
Scott Danberg, MS, director of fitness at Miami’s Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa
- Strapped for time? I usually am, so I slip my resistance workouts in while doing household chores. Just my bodyweight is an ideal resistance to perform quick and easy resistance exercises. I do one set of bodyweight squats, for example, then empty half the dishwasher, then a second set of bodyweight squats, then finish emptying the dishwasher. Prior to re-loading the dishwasher, I do one set of bodyweight countertop pushups, then load half the dishwasher, followed by a second set of bodyweight countertop pushups, then load the second half of the dishwasher. The possibilities are endless. This way, I get housework and a resistance workout done in one fell swoop.
Kara Thomas, fitness & health manager at Paradise Valley, Arizona’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
- Find time to REST and get your ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz’s. Adults need at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Lack of sleep hinders our ability to perform our best. Also, chronic fatigue triggers our cortisol, [or] “stress” hormone, and chemicals that control our appetite. Many people start to crave carbs and comfort food, which leads to weight gain. Therefore, a sound exercise program should consist of: cardio-strength-stretch-eating right and rest!
Danielle Dunn, B.A., MBA, ACE, fitness director at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s Hilton Head Health
- My number-one exercise tip is to cross train. Cross training is a way to vary your fitness program by combining different types of exercise activities. Variety needs to be applied in the four elements of fitness: cardiorespiratory, strength, core, and flexibility. It is important to be well-rounded when it comes to health: making your heart as efficient as possible, building and maintaining lean body mass, engaging and strengthening the core, and retaining flexibility. Training in each of these elements makes you healthier than just doing one or two. Learn more about cross training here.
Lindsay Lopez, owner and instructor at FORM Pilates Union Square
Here are three Pilates tips you can apply to any workout:
- Focus. Joe Pilates said, “It’s the mind that builds the body.” By committing your complete focus to whatever exercise you’re doing, you not only develop your muscles deeper but get the added bonus of at least a few minutes of sneaky meditation! Focusing on what’s in front of you will make you feel relaxed and refreshed, plus, ready to deal with whatever you need to after your session:
- Be precise. There are six Pilates principles, and precision is one of them. By being precise and not rushing through your workout moves, you not only create a new challenge to a familiar exercise, but it will help you avoid injury and keep you in the gym or studio for subsequent workouts.
- Pull in and up, everywhere! Find a deep connection to your abdominals by not only pulling your navel to your spine but also up towards your nose. Practice connecting to your core without tensing any other muscles (like your butt or your shoulders) and breathe normally. The goal is not to bear down and “hold” your abs like a vice, but instead to be constantly connected to your center. By lifting your waist, you’ll create better posture, protect your back, and have a flatter belly!