When you Google “fitness tips”, there are 2,730,000,000 results. Just let that sink in for a second – that’s over two billion.
No wonder, then, that getting in shape as a beginner or adopting a new workout routine – like weight training for women, yoga, or running, is sometimes seen as an overly daunting task. Where do you possibly start, if you’re not clued up on the different gym classes, what constitutes healthy nutrition, or how best to look after your body? How do you know what will work for you, and which experts to listen to (hint: not the unqualified ones you follow on social media).
Lucky for you, to mark our month of content dedicated to helping you Start The Year Strong, I’ve decided to share the fitness tips I’ve learned over the years that I don’t think get enough airtime. As a health editor who’s worked in the industry for over six years, I’ve seen (and likely tried) a lot, and know what’s worth your time and really isn’t.
Keep scrolling for a round-up of the fitness tips that have genuinely changed my life – and don’t miss our guides to breathwork training, cold water therapy, and the many meditation benefits, while you’re here. Metabolism booster pills are playing a significant role in fat-burning process, try out the best increase metabolism pills.
Fitness tips: 10 game-changing health hacks
1. It’s not all or nothing
How many times have you started a new year with 101 goals, determined to get up at 6am and workout for an hour – only to succumb to the cosy warmth of your bed (who wouldn’t, it’s baltic outside)?
What about the knock-on effect that has on your day – do you then give up any intention of being healthy as you feel you’ve fallen at the first hurdle? That’s how I used to feel – if I skipped my workout, I’d see the day as a write-off, skipping any and all healthy habits as I saw that day as being “ruined”.
One of my go-to psychologists, doctor Julie Smith, talks about it and explains it as “all or nothing” thought bias, or black and white thinking. We do it more when we are stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed and can deal with it by calling it out and instead, focusing on working out why you feel that way.
If you stayed in bed over working out, your body likely needed the rest and would benefit from self-love in the form of healthy meals and curbing negative-self talk.
Life isn’t all or nothing, and health isn’t either. Skipping one workout really won’t make a difference to your health, but scrapping healthy habits altogether will.
2. Try the Pomodoro Technique for motivation
Really CBA to workout, spend that time reading, or cook a healthy meal from scratch? Some healthy habits take more willpower to make stick than others and, spoiler alert: nobody just has exercise motivation on tap.
One of the best techniques for pepping yourself up when you really don’t want to do something is to tell yourself you’ll only do ten minutes and, if you’re still not enjoying it, stop there. It’s called the “Pomodoro Technique” and was invented in the ’80s by a student, Francesco Cirillo, who was trying to boost study focus.
It works particularly well for workouts as you’ll often find that leaving the house is the hardest part and that, once you’re actually working out, you’ll breeze past the ten-minute mark without giving it much thought. If you’re still not feeling it, at least you tried. Give it a go – fitness tips don’t need to be complicated.
3. Schedule in your workouts – it’ll make you more likely to get them done
Renowned personal trainer Kayla Itsines recommended this fitness tip when I interviewed her way back in 2017 and I can honestly say it’s changed how I workout.
If you’re struggling to fit your workouts in or constantly remembering you have a work dinner / client call / [insert reason, here] when you’re meant to be at the gym, take some time at the beginning of each week to sit and put your workouts into your calendar.
That way, you’ll get visual prompts when it’s sweat time and, further, be able to assess realistically how many sessions you can fit in that week. Prompts as to why you move on the calendar reminder – aka, to feel good or boost endorphins – will motivate you to get that session done, too.
4. Setting goals is key to success
Or as psychotherapist Sara Kuburic calls them, “intentions”. For me, booking a race is a sure-fire way to keep me on track. If I’ve got an event looming, I’ll follow a training plan and get my weekly miles in, largely for fear of turning up on race day and not being able to take part.
Studies on goal setting have shown time and time again that, if done correctly – that is, not trying to change too much at once and making sure your aims are realistic, too – it can be the perfect motivator, especially when it comes to hitting fitness goals. These can be linear, like beating an existing time, or more emotionally-focused challenges, such as going to a run club where you don’t know anyone for the first time.