10 of the Most Important Workout Tips from The Experts

Getting regular exercise is absolutely essential to maintaining good health, we all know that. With all of the misinformation and bad advice floating around, people tend to get overwhelmed and caught up in what they should and shouldn’t do, to the point that they just don’t do anything at all.

Well, I am here to clear up some of those damaging misconceptions, and set things straight with advice directly from the people that know what they are talking about.


1. You Don’t Need all that Cardio
“The most harmful misconception is that more is better, especially when it comes to cardio. Spending long periods of time doing cardio, particularly continuous, low-intensity cardio, can actually be counterproductive. It can cause the body to hold on to its energy sources … for fear that it will need them for future long, continuous exertions.

Alternatively, short bursts of high-intensity exercises (also known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT) has been shown to burn fat and lots of it. Thirty minutes of HIIT is much more efficient and effective than an hour of steady-state cardio.”
—Annie Mulgrew, director of programming, CityRow

2. Ignore Your Scale
“The most harmful misconception about getting in shape is that you need to weigh less. For many people, the number on the scale shouldn’t matter. It isn’t what you weigh … The ratio of muscle to fat is far more important than the scale can reveal.”
— Alycea Ungaro, owner/founder, Real Pilates

3. Do Something You Like
“There are lots of ways to achieve your health and fitness goals. Trying to figure out what you should do, how often, etc, … can stop you before you start.

Just find something you enjoy, make sure it’s something you can do at your current fitness level, and go for it.”
—Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., Naked Nutrition and Soho Strength Lab

4. Find a Workout that is as Good for your Mind as it is Your Body
[The most harmful misconception about getting into shape is] that looking better on the outside is the best part — it’s not! Of course getting fit and losing weight are important and huge motivators, but in my experience, mood and energy changes are the most immediate and gratifying part of getting into shape.”
Being in shape helps you in every aspect of your life — it helps you sleep better, boosts your energy throughout the day, and puts you in a better mood. (Endorphins are a beautiful thing, right, Elle Woods?)”
—Natalia Roberts, instructor, ((305)) Fitness

5. Switch It Up
“Our bodies are incredible at adapting, so much so that when you perform the same exercise repeatedly, your muscles adjust to make that exercise easier. Basically, your body is no longer being challenged to the same degree and, therefore, has no reason to continue to develop strength.”
Think about playing with tempo, resistance, or duration, and work to incorporate all the key elements of fitness into your training regimen: cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.”
—Jill DeMarco, SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone)

6. Challenge Yourself
“Look for workouts that challenge you, not workouts where you are comfortable.”
If it doesn’t challenge it’s not going to change you.”
—Alonzo Wilson, Tone House NYC

7. Set Goals
“Even though you may have one main goal in mind for getting in shape, set smaller two-week benchmark goals for yourself.”
Find little ways to celebrate meeting your benchmarks on the way to achieving your main goal. Buy a new workout outfit, go dancing with friends, get a massage, etc. Don’t be shy about treating yourself for smaller victories.”
—Keisha Bolden, yoga instructor at Alvin Ailey Extension and Harlem Yoga Studio

8. Be a Beginner at Something New
“It’s so freeing and empowering to start a new kind of workout — yoga, dance, spinning, whatever — and come into it without any expectations on yourself, totally open.”
Shout it from the rooftops (i.e., tell the instructor). Being a beginner is a powerful place to start.”
—Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga

9. Turn Off #Beastmode
“While the enthusiasm is great, being consistent, persistent, and smart about your training wins the race. … Some people will jump into a new exercise program and want to lift ALL the weights immediately, and work out twice a day every day of the week.”
As a CrossFitter I completely understand the thrill of this (the endorphins, feeling like you’re a superhero, seeing results) but be SMART. Consistent, persistent, smart training will help you avoid overtraining and give you better results.”
—Erica Giovinazzo, M.S., R.D., coach, Brick West Hollywood

10. Rest, Recover, Relax
“Learn how to heal yourself and recover quickly from hard workouts by using gentle relaxing movements and conscious breathing. Tai chi and qi gong, for instance, are simple and accessible, anyone can do them, and they really work.”
—Jonathan Angelilli, founder TrainDeep