101 Fitness Tips That Work (From a Personal Trainer!)
Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, incorporating fitness into your routine has loads of benefits for your health and well-being.
Here, personal trainer and fitness expert Chris Freytag shares 101 of the best fitness tips she’s compiled over a decade of helping women look and feel their best. From tips for an effective exercise routine to better eating habits, we’ve got you covered no matter your fitness goals!
Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle
According to the CDC, regular physical activity is crucial to maintaining your physical and mental health. Being physically active can:
Improve your brain health
Help you maintain a healthy weight
Reduce the risk of disease
Strengthen bones and muscles
Improve your ability to do everyday activities
Of course, healthy eating is just as important! What you eat plays a significant role in achieving your fitness goals.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet gives your body the necessary nutrients to function correctly. It also helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The Best Fitness Tips for Better Health
Now, you don’t need to do all 101 (your brain would get a workout trying to remember all of them!), but try incorporating a few into your daily routine each week and watch your health change!
1. Strive for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week
The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity to keep yourself healthy!
Break it down to 40 minutes 4 days a week, 30 minutes 5 days a week, or however you’d like. Choose what works best for your lifestyle, whether it’s cardio, yoga, walking, jogging, or anything else that gets your heart rate up. Check out these beginners’ guides to get you started.
2. Cut your coffee calories
Cut calories in your morning cup of coffee by skipping the cream and sugar. Instead, try drinking it black or reducing your amount of each. Here are some more healthy ways to flavor your morning cup of joe.
3. Keep a fitness journal
Tracking keeps you accountable! Moreover, writing down your progress helps you stay connected with yourself during moments of doubt or discouragement. It allows you time to reflect on your progress thus far and what lies ahead if you remain committed over time.
4. Pay attention to your thoughts
Thoughts are powerful; bring awareness to yours. Do you encourage yourself with body positivity or hold yourself back with negativity?
Changing your mindset could be all it takes to get your health on track. Dig deeper into this fitness tip by checking out:
5. Eat the rainbow
Eat foods that are closest to their natural state as possible. Aim for whole, fresh foods in a rainbow of colors. Looking for some restorative meal ideas to get you started? Check out these:
6. Avoid processed foods
Watch out because processed foods have multiple negative side effects. Generally speaking, the fewer the ingredients, the better the food. Taking a quick look at food labels can tell you a lot, but ideally, most of the food you buy doesn’t need a label.
If you are buying packaged foods, check out this list of 15 Best Packaged Foods for Clean Eating.
7. Make sure you drink water
Most adults need about two quarts of fluid per day to replace normal water loss or approximately eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Try this hydration calculator and our favorite hack to drink more water.
8. Increase Your Protein
You can add protein powder to smoothies for an added boost. For example, a whey protein supplement can benefit muscle building and wound healing while boosting overall nutrition. It is also a great option for aiding in muscle recovery post-workout.
For more protein powder options, check out my list of favorites!
Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, beef, and pork
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
Beans, peas, and lentils
Nuts and seeds
9. Find your “why”
Finding your “why” for weight loss means identifying your deeper reason for getting healthy (other than the number on the scale). For example, do you want to be able to keep up with your children or grandchildren? Are you sick of being tired all the time? Do you want more energy and confidence?
Staying in touch with a deeper reason for health can keep you motivated when things get tough.
10. Do workouts you enjoy
Here are some fun workouts that maybe you haven’t thought of before:
11. Always Incorporate Strength Training
12. Set perfectionism aside
Keep in mind that striving for perfection usually leads to disaster. Set small goals and stair-step your way to success by developing daily healthy habits. Celebrate those wins, regardless of perfection.
13. Don’t DIET
One of the best fitness tips may seem counterintuitive, but stop dieting. Reverse the letters in the word DIET and EDIT what you eat! Make it a lifestyle change toward healthier foods, not a deprivation plan. These are my 10 expert tips for losing weight without dieting.
14. Take recovery days
Give yourself one to two days a week for active recovery (especially if soreness has set in). Rest days should be simple. Take a walk. Do a gentle yoga class. Simply engage in something less intense than what you do for exercise the other days of the week.
15. Keep healthy snacks on hand
Select healthier choices to have on standby in your fridge when hunger pangs or emotional eating strikes, such as a bowl of fresh strawberries or blueberries. Here are my favorite healthy snacks to try whenever cravings strike.
16. Follow the 80/20 rule
Most fitness wisdom says to eat healthy 80 percent of the time. Indulge occasionally, but make sure most of your choices are healthy!
17. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store
Food tends to be the healthiest and less processed on the outside edges of most grocery stores. That’s where you’ll find fresh fruit and veggies, raw meat, and fresh seafood.
18. Don’t just focus on the scale
Find different ways to measure success other than stepping on the scale. Instead, pay attention to how you feel after you’ve been working out consistently. Think about the long-term health benefits of exercise.
19. Get an accountability partner
Working out in groups can offer more benefits than working out alone – science supports it!
Find your go-to person for exercise and weight loss support. Enlist that friend that says, “Let’s work out; we’ll feel better if we do.” Exercise together, share tips, and swap encouragement.
20. Try working out in the morning
Get that heart rate up first thing in the morning. While the time of day makes no difference regarding results, you may be more likely to make excuses as time goes on.
Plus, a morning workout might be perfect for some “you” time. Join our morning workout challenge to get the support you need to implement this fitness tip!
21. Display your results
Whether it’s the pounds you have lost, how many times you worked out this week, or a picture of you showing off results, display it to motivate you to keep it up!
22. Track your workout schedule
Circle the days on a calendar when you’ve worked out, or mark it on your phone. That way, you can feel proud of your successes and be able to repeat the schedule that worked for you in the past.
23. Build muscle
Want to speed up your metabolism? Building muscle is the key since muscle burns more fat at rest. Add muscle-building moves and try lifting weights in addition to your high-intensity workouts for long-term benefits.
24. Two pounds at a time
Don’t overwhelm yourself with your ideal goal weight. When you are down two pounds, let yourself feel proud and then think about the next two.
25. Eat smaller portions
Portion control is crucial – especially when you are eating indulgent food. Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain if you eat large portions! Try to avoid overeating, even if the food is healthy.
26. Use shopping as motivation
Why not reward yourself with a new workout top, headband, or piece of equipment? Having something new can motivate you to actually use it! I have curated shopping guides in my Amazon store, so have fun with this fitness tip!
27. Eat slowly
One of the most powerful yet simple tips to try is to eat slowly. Put your fork down in between bites to keep from over-eating. When you eat more slowly, you allow your mind some time to recognize when your body is full.
28. Treat yourself
Pat yourself on the back for all your hard work with a massage or your favorite TV show, or draw yourself a nice, relaxing bath. Prioritize self-care a few times a week. Just make sure your “treat” doesn’t sabotage your success!
29. Make a list of positive affirmations
Here are a few to get you started: I love to exercise. I want to live a healthy life. My body is getting healthier every day. Read about how positive affirmations can change your mindset and a list of my favorites.
30. Don’t beat yourself up
There’s no such thing as “cheating.” Don’t be too hard on yourself or your body. Cut yourself some slack and empower yourself to make a better choice next time!
31. Make fitness a top priority
Put your health goals at the top of your priority list. If you’re constantly taking care of everyone else, you’ll never have time to take care of yourself!
32. Swap a bad decision with a good one
When in doubt, go with the healthy alternative! For example, swap the carbs in pasta for zucchini noodles or opt for a cauliflower crust pizza. Even the smallest swaps can make a significant impact.
33. Don’t skip more than one workout
Try never to go more than two days in a row without exercise unless you are injured or ill. This applies to your vacations, too!
Remember: not all workouts have to be high-intensity. Try these low-intensity workouts for the days when you’re struggling to muster up the energy.
34. Eat mindfully
Be mindful of what you are eating. Ask yourself if you really are hungry or if something else is going on that’s causing you to turn to food.
The HALT method can be helpful – ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Emotions can trick us into thinking we’re hungry when we’re not.
These are my favorite tips to avoid overeating during the holidays, but you can use them year-round!
35. Just keep going
This is a tip to swear by: just keep going. Don’t start and stop; just keep going. If exercise is new to you, start off slow and aim for a few workouts per week and then increase as you go.
36. Create measurable goals you can check off
These should be smaller things that only take a couple of weeks to accomplish. You can have your ultimate goal, but motivation can wane if it’s years out.
37. Don’t stuff yourself
Stop eating when you feel satiated, not stuffed.
38. Make an irritation list
Often, what’s getting us down are a bunch of little irritants rather than a big looming problem. If you can solve some of the small issues, it makes room for your success.
39. Use a standing desk
If you have a desk job, sitting all day hurts your health. Consider a walking pad with a standing workstation or, at the very least, stand up or pace when you use the phone. People in constant motion burn more calories.
40. Drink tea
Drink caffeinated tea as an afternoon pick-me-up or decaf tea as a way to wind down at night. There are so many health benefits to tea, including lower blood pressure, reduced wrinkles, weight loss, and more.
41. Set rules that work for you
Many people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off have set rules for themselves.
42. Make a habit list
Make a list of bad habits you are willing to give up and the good habits you will start.
43. Invest in a water bottle
Get a great water bottle to take everywhere you go, and use my tips for drinking more water every day!
44. Push your limits
Change your limits and surprise yourself. When you mentally and physically push the line, it will motivate you to keep going—or set your sights higher. If you struggle to push yourself, try my Get Healthy U TV membership for added support!
45. Burn more calories than you eat
It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. If weight loss is your goal, your caloric intake should be less than your calories burned. Long story short? You need to burn more than you take in!
46. Use a foam roller
Foam roll to relieve tight muscles and achy joints. Foam rollers are affordable and easy to use; aim for about three times a week for best results. Here is a beginner’s guide to the benefits of foam rolling.
47. Read others’ success stories as motivation
Learning about how others have experienced success can encourage you to persevere and believe in your own success.
48. Do HIIT
Ramp up the intensity of your workouts to rev up your metabolism and break through a plateau. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts will give you the boost you need!
49. Track your calories
People tend to underestimate the calories they consume. Tracking your calories for a week or two can help you get an honest assessment of how many calories you eat per day. Don’t skip anything – you’ll only hurt yourself by not being honest.
50. Make movement part of your life
With this fitness tip, I want you to think of exercise and movement as an all-day thing. Just because you got in a 45-minute workout in the morning doesn’t mean you should sit on the couch the rest of the day!
51. View each day as a clean slate
Practicing self-compassion means not beating yourself up after a day that fell short of your healthy living goals. If you miss a workout – tomorrow is a new day.
52. Trade soda for sparkling water
Sparkling water still has the carbonation you’re used to but will save you tons of calories, not to mention the artificial colors and sweeteners.
53. Ditch comparisons
Don’t compare yourself or your body to others; focus on your own progress instead.
54. Try yoga
Yoga can help you feel centered (among other benefits). It stretches and strengthens your body, improves your breathing and awareness, and empowers your mind. Check out some of my most popular yoga workouts:
55. Get enough sleep
How much and the quality of sleep you get can directly affect your appetite. Use this sleep calculator to find out the right bedtime or wake time for you. You can also check out my 15 science-backed tips for getting better sleep.
56. Listen to music that motivates
Music can help take your workout up a notch if it’s music that appeals to you. One of the best tips is to have a go-to playlist that instantly gets you in the zone to work out. It’s like having a trainer right in your ears.
57. Indulge in small portions
When a craving strikes, it’s best to find a reasonable, healthy substitute that might still appeal to you. If not, allow yourself to indulge in a craving, but do so in small portions. (Remember the 80/20 rule!)
58. Use the right footwear
Make sure your footwear is suitable for your workouts. Everything from ankle, knee, and hip pain can be aggravated or even caused by improper footwear.
59. Don’t be afraid of fat
Healthy fats, such as MUFAs or monounsaturated fatty acids, can actually keep you satiated and aid in weight loss. Nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives, avocados, and dark chocolate all make the cut.
60. Opt for circuit training
Circuit-style workouts combine multiple different exercises and charge your metabolism while helping you shed pounds.
61. Eat more greens
Kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, or collard greens. This fitness tip is all about getting you full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals to protect you against disease. There’s a reason so many leafy green vegetables are on the top anti-inflammatory and blue zones food lists.
62. Never dine at your desk
Tempted to stay near your computer through lunch? Don’t do it! Your meal will be less satisfying, and you’ll be more likely to want more soon after.
63. Don’t forget to warm-up
Without doing this proper warm-up, you’re likely to exacerbate joint and/or muscle pain and cause injury during your workout.
64. Cook at home as much as you can
When you cook homemade meals, you’re better able to control all the ingredients and avoid excess calories. Browse these easy, healthy recipes for inspiration:
65. Get your five servings
Aim to eat five servings of fruits and veggies daily.
66. Be consistent
Use consistency to compound your results. It’s not what you do once in a while that counts; it’s what you do daily. Implementing this fitness tip will make you just feel good!
67. Follow your favorite fitness gurus
Follow fitness accounts (like mine!) on social media and use them as daily motivation, inspiration, and encouragement.
68. Try a fitness app
Fitness apps can help you track your progress at your fingertips. Find your favorite one and use it as an accountability tool and a way to see what’s working. Here are some good apps to start with.
69. Plan ahead
Use Sundays as prep days to eat healthy all week. Get enough produce and staples needed for the week.
Here are a few more helpful meal-planning tips:
70. Workout Outside
Taking your fitness routine outdoors has additional health benefits. By connecting with mother nature, this fitness tip can improve your mood, your self-esteem, challenges yourself, the change of scenery might even help you stick to the routine and of course, it’s free.
Here are some of my favorite outdoor workouts:
71. Use races as motivation
Commit to a 5k to motivate you to train. Plus, you just may find out that the energy of the supportive crowds really motivates you to keep jogging—long after the race.
72. Stretch, stretch, stretch
This is so important! Be sure to stretch after exercise. If you can loosen your muscles post-workout, you’ll have happy joints ready to go for your next sweat session and less pain. (Don’t forget a pre-workout stretch, too!)
73. Ramp it up slowly
If you hate exercise, make incremental changes each week. Aim for a 20-minute workout at first, then increase your time.
74. Work out at home
Skip the gym membership fee and the commute and work out at home. Join me on Get Healthy U TV for tons of full-length workout videos and workout calendars.
75. Beware of fitness fads
Don’t try fads and gimmicks. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Losing weight takes time and hard work, but with these realistic fitness tips, I know you can do it.
76. Make smoothies ahead
The morning frenzy is real. Freeze a few fruit smoothies to grab on the go in the early mornings so you can stick to your plan without any hassle.
Pro-tip: you can take a frozen smoothie on an airplane. by the time you get through your gate, it’s thawed enough to eat, and you can skip the unhealthy airport breakfast!
77. Drink lemon water
Drink lemon water in the morning to hydrate and balance pH levels. Alternatively, dilute one teaspoon to a maximum of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water. Start small and increase as you can handle the taste.
78. Think of workouts like appointments
Schedule your workouts just like you would any other appointment and stick to it. You wouldn’t no-show a meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment; don’t no-show your workouts either.
79. Keep alcohol to a minimum
Don’t overdo it on cocktails. If you’re going to have a drink, a good choice is red wine, which has heart-healthy antioxidants. Liquid calories add up fast, so opt for one glass only.
If you are mixing drinks, check out my cocktail recipes that use better ingredients!
80. Go green in the AM
81. Don’t get too stuck in a routine
The same habits equal the same results. If you aren’t getting results, change what you are doing.
82. Pay attention to serving sizes on labels
Even if the label says only 100 calories, if you’re eating double the serving size, then you need to double the caloric number as well.
83. Interval train
Twice a week, instead of going at a steady pace for 30 minutes, go easy for 3 minutes and hard for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern 5 to 6 times!
84. Swap out ice cream
Finding yourself reaching for ice cream every night? Try Greek yogurt instead with a little honey, berries, and dark chocolate chips or walnuts or this delicious nice cream.
85. Be patient with weight loss
Don’t expect the weight to come off fast. Be realistic! Remember: it takes time to gain weight; it takes time to lose it.
86. Don’t go to parties hungry
This fitness tip is one of my favorites because often, it’s when we’re being social that we have a hard time sticking to our goals. When I go to parties, I eat something healthy before and then snack on a favorite appetizer before I stop eating.
This becomes a lot more reasonable if you eat a small, healthy meal or hearty snack before you go.
87. Try a fitness tracker
Fitness trackers range from pricey to less expensive, but one that can track your steps and your workouts can add increased motivation to your fitness journey.
88. Snack-prep for busy schedules
It’s always good to have healthy snacks on you—especially if your schedule is crazy.
89. Treat your injuries correctly
Got an injury? Treat it with ice/cold therapy if it’s less than six weeks old. If it’s more than six weeks old, heat therapy is your best bet.
90. Realize diet and exercise are intertwined
Even if we don’t like it, exercise and your diet are married forever. You can’t lose weight with one and not the other— period. There’s no getting around it.
91. Use exercise to boost your mood
Exercise is a great stress reliever and mood booster. When you’ve had a rough day, going for an outdoor run or throwing a few punches in a kickboxing workout may be just what you need!
92. Stick with your budget
Eating healthy on a budget is possible. Instead of buying fresh fruits and vegetables, try buying frozen, especially when out of season. They’re packed at the peak of freshness; just be sure to check the labels to stay clear of brands with other additives.
93. Be aware of your triggers
Does an argument with your spouse or loved one typically send you to the fridge late at night? Or how about a stressful workday triggering you to hit up the drive-through on the way home?
Being aware of your triggers can cause you to recognize when they may occur and prevent bad choices.
You still want that cardiovascular exercise to stay in the schedule, but change the activity you are doing. Browse the workouts on our site or a personal trainer could build you a cross-training routine.
95. Prep hard-boiled eggs
Make hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week for a ready-to-grab protein-packed snack you can eat by itself or add to other items like avocado toast.
96. Keep healthy snacks everywhere
Be prepared for hunger to strike when on the go. Have non-perishable, healthy snacks on hand in multiple locations like your car, in your gym bag, and purse.
That way you can always have a healthy option you can turn to when in a pinch.
97. Develop a positive attitude
Your thoughts determine how you feel and often determine what you can accomplish. As Napoleon Hill once said, “What your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.”
We need more meditation and less medication. Meditating is easy to do, and its benefits are numerous. Reduce stress, improve your health, get centered, breathe better, and get focused.
99. Reduce stress
Stress produces higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sweets and salty foods.
Reducing your stress will not only help your mind, but it can also help your waistline! Try these relaxation tips to help yourself chill out.
100. Take your vitamins
Even if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may still be deficient in key nutrients. If that’s the case, supplement with these important vitamins.
101. Practice self-love
Exercising our ability to love ourselves is just as important as physical exercise. One way you can do this: after each workout, thank your amazing body for being able to do that hard work.
This mindset of self-love is important for your health and quality of life!
Remember, fitness is not just about physical health but also mental and emotional well-being. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and try new things, but also listen to your body and take rest days when you need them.
With consistency and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals. With these 101 fitness tips, you now have the knowledge and tools to create a healthier lifestyle that works for you!