Do you get tired of going to the gym and not seeing results? You are not alone; many individuals have the drive, passion, and regular work to reach their goals but fail to do so. If this sounds familiar, the next logical step is to engage a qualified personal trainer with a track record of success.
But if you're not ready to take that step—or if you'd rather go it alone—you can.
To assist you, we chatted with some of the best personal trainers in the country. Check out their 25 informative recommendations and tactics for building strength, gaining muscle mass, losing fat, increasing endurance, and maintaining good eating habits.
Discover your motivation
Motivation is essential. Some ideas for staying motivated when working out: When performing repetitions, count down, not up. Another tip: Look at your dominant hand as you're pushing up. It naturally contains a positive reinforcement" since the dominant hand carries the weight more readily and swiftly.
Consume with intention
Everything you eat should be high in nutritional value. You want the greatest nutritional bang for your buck. Everything you consume should have a nutritious purpose in your body, should fuel your exercises, and (should) be focused toward maximizing your physique.
Consume more clean and healthful foods
Do you only eat three meals a day? Not a good idea. Half of the folks I work with aren't losing weight because they don't eat enough. Eat five times a day, about every three hours, to accelerate their metabolism, which includes two mini-meals in between three main meals. Eating less as the day goes on as activity levels decrease during the day.
Almost every personal trainer will tell you that regardless of your training objectives, proper diet is the foundation. Food is what drives your body to achieve your objectives, and if you don't get enough nourishment from excellent meals, you'll likely plateau. Maintain a nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, complete proteins, and healthy fats such as fish oils and flaxseeds.
Carbs are not the enemy, as we all know. Unless you're on an extreme diet like the keto diet, carbohydrates are a crucial source of energy for your body. However, you must be aware of how you take those carbs, since eating too many carbs—or eating carbs at the incorrect times—can lead your body to store the surplus energy as fat. Here's how you eat carbohydrates to gain muscle and lose fat.
Get enough sleep
The amount and quality of sleep you obtain can have a direct impact on your appetite. Use this sleep calculator to determine the best time for you to go to bed or wake up.
Prepare meals in advance
According to Micah Lacerte, a personal trainer and fitness competition world champion, preparing meals ahead of time provides you the best chance of meeting your dietary objectives. He claims that this will relieve the urge to eat unhealthy foods or miss meals. Check out our top 10 easy meal-prep recipes.
Heart rate monitor
If you already have a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker, now is an excellent time to start using it. If not, you should either buy one or learn how to make one. "Don't just workout for a fixed length of time and then call it quits," Duffy advises. "You must bring the intensity, and a fitness tracker may help you gauge how hard your heart is working."
Keep your portion sizes under control
Because you'll be eating more frequently, portion control is critical. "Make sure chicken breasts (and) meats are no larger than your hand, and pastas are no larger than your fists," advises Jay Cardiello, a celebrity and professional athlete personal trainer. He also advocates using "smaller bowls, plates, and cups," citing research that shows individuals "feed themselves 20-40% more food when using larger dishes." Here's a guide on estimating portion sizes.
Learn the fundamentals of muscle growth
Any personal trainer will tell you that there are certain muscle-building fundamentals. First, up your calorie and complete protein consumption to ensure your body has adequate building blocks to grow. Then, when you get to the gym, concentrate on your form. Perform compound exercises and weight training four times a week on average. Never underestimate the value of a good night's sleep. Remember that muscular tissue grows outside of the gym when you allow your body to relax and recuperate after exercises.
Don't try to cut corners. "Aim for the greatest range of motion possible in your workouts," advises Lee Boyce, C.P.T. "Your muscles will do more work every rep, resulting in greater tissue breakdown by the conclusion of the session."
Prepare yourself for endurance training
Do you want to know how to get the most out of weightlifting? "Use a weight that will have you failing between the 30- and 40-second mark on the set," Duffy advises. Muscle grows as a result of time under strain. "You know the weight was too much if you're failing at 20 seconds."
When it comes to endurance training, you'll need to stay hydrated and make sure you're eating appropriately because this type of exercise is quite taxing on your body. You should conduct a solid combination of aerobic and weight training. You should also use high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, to improve your aerobic capacity. You can expect to sweat profusely and burn a lot of calories.
Consider cardio carefully
If bulking up is your aim, LaCerte advises cutting back on aerobic activities because you'll be burning far too many calories. So, what should you do if you still want to exercise? According to LaCerte, "a gentle jog a few days a week for 20 minutes is sufficient." Of course, if you want to burn fat, you should focus on getting enough protein every day (one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight), while keeping your overall caloric intake low.
Attack your lower body to burn fat
It is recommended to go "below your navel" to flatten your stomach. In a Syracuse University study, people burned more calories the next day after doing lower-body resistance training exercises than after doing upper-body resistance training exercises, simply because their legs have more mass. Men's Fitness has compiled a list of lower-body workouts.
Trink emphasizes the importance of "ensuring that your GI tract is healthy, since that's how you absorb all your nutrients." Consume vitamins, fiber, minerals, a probiotic, and water to do this. It is recommended to drink "ice cold water first thing in the morning," adding that you will naturally improve your metabolism by up to 24 percent for 90 minutes. You should drink at least one gallon of water every day.
Choose supplements wisely
Some coaches and lifters believe supplements might help increase muscle mass. If you believe that hypothesis, you're probably already taking protein supplements—but what else? Creatine is roughly the most effective strength- and size-building substance. You might also try peppermint to improve your performance. The smell alters the perception of how hard you're working out, making it appear less demanding, slower-paced, and simpler to accomplish.
Exhaust to increase endurance
To advance your endurance training, you must exert maximum effort. You're looking for muscular depletion, so really exhaust the muscles. How do you do it? It is recommended that you master the bodyweight staples-pullups, chinups, pushups, inverted rows, and squats. Your muscles will be well-conditioned if you can master these motions for high repetitions.
Learn the fundamentals of strength training
It's natural to want to take a break when working out, sticking with rest durations of 30 to 45 seconds between sets, because this will assist enhance your total endurance. Lift moderate to heavy weights and keep your rep range between 8-15 repetitions for strength training. Mix low-intensity, steady-state exercise with sprinting if you're running."
When it comes to endurance training, fatigue is your worst enemy, but there are several strategies to overcome it. First, consume beet juice, which contains beneficial nitrates that can boost cardiovascular function. "Beets can really enhance stamina by up to 16%, and it helps your muscles create more energy more effectively, making exercise less demanding," explains Boyce. Another strategy to improve your performance is to carefully choose your music. According to Boyce, "when people listen to positive music, their blood arteries enlarge 26 percent."
You must establish objectives and be patient if you want to gain strength. When you first start off, it's critical to remain consistent and adhere to your strategy. Don't get sidetracked when working out at the gym. Maintain your attention on the work at hand. Make sure you receive enough rest when you leave the gym and that you maintain track of your progress. Your objectives can be met if you remain focused.
Strengthening exercises should be included
Include some muscle-building exercises in your routines. Free weights, resistance band exercises, muscle sculpt courses, and body weight exercises such as push-ups, planks, and squats all work. A personal trainer might assist you in developing a beginner's program, or you can explore our website for hundreds of strength training techniques to attempt!
Strength training puts your body through intense exercise, so it's critical to maintain appropriate technique. "You're sure to stimulate the muscle areas that you want to exercise and, most importantly, you'll stay healthy and injury-free," Trink explains. "The individual who can stay healthy the longest can train the most and make the most progress in the long run."
Keep track of your calories
People have a propensity to underestimate their calorie intake. Tracking your calories for a week or two can help you obtain an accurate picture of how many calories you consume every day. Don't skimp on anything; being dishonest will only harm you.
Change may be beneficial
To achieve progress, you must occasionally shake things up. Make sure your body never adapts to what's coming next. When this occurs, you may notice a decrease in strength gain. To avoid this, change the weight you're lifting, the pace of an exercise, the number of reps/sets you're doing, or the time of day you're lifting.
Be aware of your triggers
Do you usually go to the fridge late at night after a dispute with your spouse or a loved one? How about a tough workweek that drives you to the drive-through on your way home? Being aware of your triggers allows you to anticipate when they will occur and avoid making poor decisions.
Pay attention to the details
Have you ever noticed how a slew of apparently small details may make all the difference? Strength training is no exception. When it comes to strength training, "take attention to the tiny things, because you're only as strong as your weakest link," according to Boyce. "If you detect a deficiency, rectify it alongside your program."
Discover the fundamentals of fat loss
Start thinking of food as fuel for your body. Getting six-pack abs is frequently a result of fat reduction rather than a lack of muscle definition—and fat loss is all about a simple equation: calories in vs calories burnt. That means going beyond calories and analyzing your macronutrient consumption (fats, protein, and carbohydrates) to determine how much you ingest in relation to how much you burn during an exercise.
Can't seem to get the scale to move? It's likely that you're growing muscle while losing body fat, causing your net weight change to appear "stuck" even while you're making progress. “ Take images on a weekly basis—front, back, (and) side shots from the same perspective, with the same lighting, and in the same clothes." That way, you'll see change over time, even if it doesn't appear that way on any given day.