I have been a trainer for over fifteen years, so I can guarantee these health tips are tried and true.
As a trainer, I always aim to give each client a unique and personalized experience.
That said, I find myself repeating some essential advice to almost everyone.
I have concluded that there is some information virtually everyone should know.
Since I can’t work one-on-one with everyone (I wish I could), I put together this list of “must-know” fitness information and motivational techniques.
Below are the health tips I give to virtually everyone I work with!
Health Tip #1. When you don’t want to exercise, use the “10 Minute Rule”
The hardest part of working out is starting.
When you don’t want to train, make yourself do something – anything – for 10 minutes.
If you want to stop after 10 minutes – fine.
At least you will have done something.
Most likely, once you start, you will just finish your workout.
Health Tip #2. Don’t just do steady-state cardio
You need to do more than just mindless cardio.
Do interval training two or three times a week.
Interval training improves cardiovascular fitness, insulin sensitivity, and HDL (good) cholesterol and helps reduce both visceral and subcutaneous fat.
One of my favorite interval workouts is “rolling intervals.”
After warming up, cycle through 30 seconds at regular intensity, 20 seconds at a slightly higher intensity, and 10 seconds at an even higher intensity.
Repeat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Health Tip #3. Don’t focus too much on calories
One of my most important health tips is to pay attention to the quality of your nutrition, not just how many calories you consume.
If your goal is weight loss, don’t just count calories – eat healthier and exercise.
When you lose weight solely through dieting, the weight you lose will be predominantly muscle.
When you lose weight through resistance training, an improved diet, and cardio workouts, you lose proportionally more fat and gain muscle.
That means you don’t simply lose weight on the scale, you change your body’s shape and composition.
Health Tip #4. Don’t set unrealistic goals
Ensure your goals respect your health history, lifestyle, age, gender, and genetic makeup.
These health tips probably sound like common sense, and in many ways, they are.
But I hardly ever meet anyone (including myself) who follows them.
Don’t aim to have model abs if you don’t have the genetics, Photoshop at your disposal, and the time needed to train.
Health Tip #5. Don’t only associate exercise with weight loss
Too often, people exercise simply to lose weight.
When they don’t lose weight immediately, they give up.
My advice: Besides any weight-loss goals, aim to have more energy, sleep better, improve your bone density, enhance your mood, increase your strength, and even train for a sport.
The more reasons you have to exercise, the more likely you are to stick with it.
Ultimately, you will achieve your weight-loss goals, which won’t happen if you continually start and stop exercising.
Health Tip #6. Don’t slack off
Don’t fall into the trap of believing lifting weights and doing intervals a few times a week means you can be a sloth the rest of the time.
Prolonged sitting negatively affects the cardiovascular, lymphatic, and digestive systems, not to mention your metabolism.
It is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes and affects how our bodies metabolize glucose.
One of my best health tips is?
Move wherever and whenever possible.
Health Tip #7. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol can encourage your body to store fat!
Most of us know that to lose weight, we need to limit our alcohol consumption, especially high-calorie, sugary drinks.
It is pretty widely known that alcohol provides 7 kcal/g (vs. carbs and protein, which have 4 kcal/g, and fat, which have 9 kcal/g), which means drinking it can significantly increase one’s total calorie intake.
Less widely known is that consuming alcohol can encourage fat storage.
First, alcohol cannot be used directly by muscles for energy during exercise.
Only the liver has the specific enzymes needed to break down alcohol.
Unfortunately, the liver carries out its job at a fixed rate.
This means exercising harder doesn’t help your body burn more of the alcohol off.
Second, alcohol cannot be stored in the body.
It must be oxidized and converted into energy.
While this is happening, the oxidation of fat and carbs is suppressed, and they are channeled into storage instead.
Main takeaway: Don’t let yourself rationalize binge drinking by thinking, “I will just work it off tomorrow.”
If you are trying to lose weight, curtail your alcohol consumption.
If you drink, have a moderate portion and choose options with fewer calories and less sugar.
Health Tip #8. Don’t give up – even when you slip
When you fall off your health horse, don’t allow that not-so-great choice to spiral into multiple unhealthy decisions.
Instead, learn from your unhealthy decisions so you get back on a more informed rider.
Did you let yourself get too hungry?
Were you emotionally eating?
Did you not take the time to set yourself up for success?
Make a mental note of what went wrong, then proactively avoid those situations in the future.
Health Tip #9. Remember that adopting a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint
Your unhealthy habits were not formed in a day.
It is unrealistic to think they can be replaced by these health tips overnight.
Aim to have more healthy habits this month than you had last month –“trend positive.”
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is about self-care, and it is a privilege.
It is easy to forget that eating well and exercising are things we do for ourselves, not ourselves.
Embrace how lucky you are to have the power to make healthy choices.
Find modes of exercise you are genuinely excited to do; garden, walk with friends, or play a sport.
Think of healthy foods you love, such as fresh berries or sweet potatoes.
Then include those in your weekly diet.
Health Tip #10. Some movement is always better than no movement
Every bit of motion adds up, and every situation can be reframed as an opportunity for movement.
Frame daily movement as a “non-negotiable.”
Instead of thinking of movement as an ‘if,’ frame moving as a ‘when.’
One final thought: anything worth doing takes mindfulness and perseverance — and almost nothing is more important than your health.