When it comes to fitness and nutrition advice, it can be a monumental task to sift through what you should heed and which ones you can ignore. On Fit Arsenal, the content we provide on the site goes through a good amount of research before we hit the publish button. We thought for this article, that it might be worthwhile to go directly to the horse’s mouth, so to speak, in terms of what health tips you should implement into your routine.
We contacted some of the best personal trainers in North America and interviewed them on this topic. We asked them to provide the top 3 health and fitness tips and here are what they said.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duluth & Atlanta, Georgia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Neptune Beach, Florida
Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Austin, Texas, USA
Gainesville, Florida, USA
Ashleigh Kayser, Portland, Oregon, USA
1. Find the 3 or 4 workouts that are your favorite and schedule your week around them. Aim for variety to prevent boredom (circuit training, sports conditioning, barre, yoga, spinning, zumba, TRX, step, etc)
2. Avoid foods in packages (chips, bread, bars, cookies, processed foods of all kinds) and aim to eat 6 different fruits / veggies each day.
Troy Tyrell, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1. Clean and healthy diet. A balance of protein, good fats and carbohydrates should be incorporated into your diet in order to provide you the energy to exercise. Sugar and artificial sweeteners should be avoided as much as possible and you will see your body transform in a positive way.
Instead of eating 3 large meals a day, I recommend 5 to 6 smaller meals and snacks to boost your metabolism and keep it constantly burning.
For meal preparation you should aim for:
30% protein (e.g. lean meat and fish, nuts, pulses and soy beans)
40% carbs (e.g. natural and non starchy options like steel cut oats)
30% fats (e.g. avocado, oily fish, nuts)
2. Lots of water. Consuming water helps to keep you hydrated. Aim for:
Body weight KG x 0.03 = minimum daily consumption
3. Regular exercise. Exercising regularly is important – aim to work out 3 to 4 times per week (30 to 60 minutes of exercise) and make it part of your routine. Your body may resist in the beginning but eventually it’ll learn to adapt to the routine, and you will see results in no time.
Tina Glass, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
1. Set goals. In order to become healthier, you have to know what you want. Be specific. For example, do you want to lose 15 pounds? Maybe your goal is to run a 5K or tone your arms. Be clear about your goals and visualize yourself reaching them.
2. Develop a “plan of action.” In order to reach your fitness goals you have to have a plan. Write down your goals and your plan to reach them. Your plan may include hiring a fitness trainer to help you reach them. With modern technology there are tons of resources and apps available to help you track your food and exercise plan.
3. Be patient. In today’s world, we want things immediately. Remember that lifestyle and body changes are a PROCESS not an event. Good things take time. Trust that with consistency and determination that you will become healthier and reach your goals.
Jen Hamel, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
1. Lift weights to increase lean muscle mass and boost metabolism
2. Drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration and lubrication of your joints.
3. Be consistent in your efforts – write yourself out a workout schedule on your calendar and stick to it!
Josh Rohr, Duluth and Atlanta, Georgia, USA
1. Set realistic goals that are achievable. Don’t set extreme goals that set you up for failure.
2. Make a series of small changes (diet, workout etc.) Don’t try to do a complete lifestyle 180 overnight.
3. Get outside of your comfort zone. Enter an athletic competition (even if you may get last place). This simple event has changed the mentality of so many of my clients for the better. Sparking a little competitiveness has never hurt anyone trying to reach goals.
Joa Rivas – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1. Eat balanced food from nature, and that is organic and easy to digest. Try to avoid anything in a package that is processed.
2. Sleep well daily. Setting up bedtime by 9:30pm and keeping the circadian cycles of 1.5 hours of sleep. This will keep the hormones in proper function.
3. Meditate daily. The most important is to find inner peace. Find your passion and purpose in life.
Carrie Cox, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
1. Don’t focus on what you’re losing. It’s all about everything you’re gaining. Health is the full experience of high energy, colorful, nutritious food, and a body that can climb trees and mountains. Instead of focusing on losing X amount of pounds or cutting out sugar, or pasta, or bread, shift your focus to deserving to feel good, and deserving to breathe fresh air every day.
2. Do not belittle yourself. Right now, you are exactly who you believe you are. Check that inner fat girl monologue at the door. This experience of health has no room for obsessing over a fat ass, or stretch marks. We’re all in this experience together; let’s lift each other and our community up with positivity.
3. Eat fat with every meal. Healthy fats from avocados, fish, nuts, nut butters, etc. help balance every cell of your body. Healthy fat slows the absorption of quick sugars – fruit and vegetables – thus stabilizing your blood sugar. Healthy fat also helps you absorb more nutrients from whatever meal you’re enjoying.
Patty Soud, Neptune Beach, Florida, USA
1. Schedule daily time blocks each week for your dedicated exercise (at least 6 days a week) and make sure you find enjoyment in doing it!
2. Stick to a SMART strategy (with properly designed exercise routines and healthy, balanced daily meals).
3. Stay focused on the prize (your better health and physical results).
Katie Wilmshurst, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
1. Plan, prep and pack your food. Think ahead and never get stuck without healthy food. Some time invested in prepping will ensure your meals are quick to grab. Never be left hungry or reaching for unhealthy choices.
2. Before your week begins, look at your schedule – see where your workouts can fit in. Schedule them like meetings that cannot be broken!
3. Surround yourself with others following a similar path. This will help you to keep motivated and accountable. You will also inspire others and be lifted up on days that you might be struggling!
Chuck Gonzales, Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
1. Know what you want and why you want it. Exercise is the easy part. Knowing where you’re going and what drives you is the part of the game that most people don’t like to play.
Why are you exercising? Set a goal instead of just hopping on a treadmill to burn a few calories out of pure guilt after the 4 doughnuts at the office in celebration of another birthday.
Don’t forget about your own personal, power of why! Why are you working so hard? Why do you want to feel better? Why do you get up day after day at 5am to go to the gym and scorch 800 calories? When you know your own power of WHY, you’ll easily develop a pattern of cyclical habits that will form incredible success over time and compound with interest in the form of health, fitness and wellness.
2. Keep a journal. Track your progress with either the technology of paper or with an app like ‘Lose it’, ‘MyFitnessPal’ or something that works for you. Try wearable technology like MyZone to keep track of your activity that wirelessly uploads to the cloud. It doesn’t have to be fancy but simply find a way to objectively track your consistency.
3. You know I have to say it… dropkick the shit out of sugar. Sugar is the new smoking. Actually, as the saying goes today, “sitting is the new smoking.” Both are awful but the easiest thing I can recommend is to kick processed sugar to the curb, ASAFP. It’s just in everything and can cause entirely too much inflammation within the body, not to mention spike insulin levels (and unless you’re a competitive body builder, don’t worry about insulin/carb cycling), plus it’s also a fat storage hormone too. Cut out sugar for 30 days and trust me, you’ll see and feel the difference. If you’re not totally satisfied with the results, you can have your old body back at no additional charge.
Chris Leach – Austin, Texas, USA
1. Pursue sustainable methods to achieve your fitness and health goals. Most people go to extremes when they start a diet or exercise program and sooner or later fall off of the program and lose the progress they made as a result. This is why upwards of 90% of weight loss dieters regain the weight they lose. Don’t fall into that trap, instead, honestly evaluate the methods you use to attain your goals and make sure they are something you are comfortable doing, at least to some degree, for the long term. It is also good to start slow. Trying to do too much too fast is not sustainable, and it is best to start with one goal and get that down and feel like it is a habit, and then move to the next thing.
2. Be flexible with your diet and exercise program. A common problem people run into is thinking that they need to be very strict and adhere perfectly to their program to get results. This is commonly caused by zealots and diet programs that demonize foods and perpetuate the idea that any slip up is unforgivable. This causes people to feel bad about small slip ups, and then they turn into big slip ups or even quitting altogether. Nobody is perfect. A weight loss dieter might want to limit junk foods, but banning them entirely is a recipe for failure or quitting. It is completely alright to include moderate amounts of your favorite foods in any diet, so don’t think you have to be 100% perfect to succeed.
3. Exercise! There is no more healthful undertaking than exercise. No amount of weight lost or healthy foods eaten can compare to the benefits of regular exercise. Even small amounts of exercise have been shown to be very beneficial. Studies have shown that even very short bouts of intense exercise (a few 30 second sprints a few times per week) can be very beneficial, as can bouts of moderate intensity exercise (like 3-4 30 minute jogs).
Bonus: One of the best diet programs for those looking to lose fat and gain muscle is a flexible macro-nutrient tracking approach. The most common name for this is IIFYM. The best form of exercise for fat loss and muscle gain is resistance training (for men and women). Remember, your nutrition and exercise strategies need to be something you can stick to long term, so if tracking macros or lifting weights just isn’t for you, use different methods, but these are great to try.
Chase Parker, Gainesville, Florida, USA
1) Don’t stop, get it, get it: Being bull headed isn’t always a bad thing. Persistence is key. Life has ups and downs, but try not to let that make you stop exercising. If things get boring with your workout routine, switch to something new. Try a new sport or hike a new trail. Keep it fresh, but the first key is to just keep doing it.
2) Healthy eating isn’t just for hippies: The kitchen is where you make your money. All the working out in the world is great, but to be your healthiest, inside and out, you have to make healthy eating your top priority. Being disciplined in the kitchen is also what makes weight loss last. Injuries and other issues can come up and affect your ability to work out, but healthy eating should always remain priority.
3) Find a partner: Find someone that pushes you. Whether it’s a friend, trainer, or significant other, it is important to stay accountable. This person does not even have to physically workout with you, but they have to have some stake in your success. This is important because losing weight and changing your life can get lonely and is daunting at times. Building a strong support system around you can really help to keep pushing you through trying times in your weight loss journey. Many of my clients text me when they are struggling, just for words of encouragement, but everyone should find someone that can do that. Hearing the correct words can be the difference between slipping back to bad habits or overcoming them.