Get the down-low from trainers on how to stay motivated, set realistic goals, and find enjoyment in the journey.
No matter your reason for incorporating fitness into your lifestyle, it’s a good direction to head in. You started somewhere, or maybe you’re just starting now. Wherever you are in the process, what’s most important is that you’re proud of your efforts to get moving and take control of your wellbeing journey.
Our last blog post touched on setting sustainable, realistic goals for the New Year (or for any time, really). Since then, we’ve spoken with 16 fitness instructors to get their unique perspectives on how to overcome doubts, form healthy habits, stay motivated, and get the most out of your fitness journey.
Q: What are three of your go-to tips for setting realistic goals?
“Start small with something easy that you can build on. Be kind to yourself. Find something that works for you, and let it be something fun.” –Gika Rector, Feldenkrais practitioner
“Be reasonable about the size of the goal. For example, it’s not reasonable to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. Be reasonable about the time frame in which to accomplish said goal. Be committed to the goal. Consistency is key!” –Stephanie Gambee, NASM certified health coach
“Understand WHY you want to accomplish a specific goal. Use your WHY to unpack the actual desired outcome. Break your desired outcome into tiny, manageable chunks. If it feels like a big lift, break it down further.” –Derek Cook, NASM certified personal trainer
“I find that setting multiple smaller goals is the most helpful for me. So instead of saying “I want a six pack by March”, I might say ‘I’m going to do x amount of sit-ups every morning followed by x leg lifts and go for 2 walks every day.’ I have a full schedule, so making my goals more bite-sized means that I can better squeeze them into my life. They’re more apt to really happen instead of just forgoing a whole workout because I don’t have 2 hours to go to the gym.” –Kiara Ana Perico, plant-based coach at Kiki’s Way
Q: How can someone get excited to workout and/or spice up their current routine?
“If you can find a way to dance while working out, spice it up and do it! It’s your workout and no one else’s, so shake your booty or arms like no one’s watching!” –Eleah Burman, energetic barre instructor
“Experiment with different forms of exercise until you find what you like! There is an unlimited amount of ways that you can move your body. Don’t settle just to check the exercise box —find what you enjoy and be happy doing it.” –Ali Greenman, woman-focused body transformation expert
“Create a Spotify playlist with your favorite upbeat music. Change your workout location. If you can’t find the motivation to work out at home, then take it outside. Find a buddy — it makes workouts more fun and holds you accountable.” –Jordan McLawhorn, woman-focused NASM certified trainer
“Find a trainer that makes the session about you. Every trainer has the ability to adapt to you, and if you’re not enjoying the session or seeing the benefit, move on.” –Geoff Rubin, A.C.E. certified personal trainer
“Remind yourself how strong and accomplished you feel after a workout. Try a new trainer or modality to change things up and keep it interesting. If you’re bored, it might be time for a change!” –Chloe Sinclair, NASM certified personal trainer and founder at Fit AF Studio
Q: Favorite post-workout meal or snack?
“An apple with almond butter or eggs.” –Gambee
“A meal! Whole grains, vegetables, leafy greens, a small piece of protein, and dessert.” –Teresa Jeronymo, NASM certified personal trainer
“Quick: I’ll make a smoothie. Quicker: I’ll throw together a salad. Quickest: I’ll eat leftovers.” –Alice Maples, integrative wellness coach
“Food! Anything eaten serves its purpose post workout. Ideally, for me, quick-digesting proteins and carbohydrates.” –William Allen Johnson, certified exercise physiologist and owner of Conquer Life Health and Wellness Solutions
Find even more post-workout meal and snack ideas here.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they can accomplish their goals?
“I learned that it doesn’t matter what others think you can or can’t do. All that matters is what you push yourself to do. You truly can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Goals require work, they don’t come easy, but if it’s something you truly want then it will always be worth it.” –McLawhorn
“I would say that you should keep your ideas and act on them in your own interest and on your own time. Someone, somewhere, surely will find value in your ideas.” –Johnson
“Sometimes, your biggest doubters are the ones in your head. Write down your goal(s) and revisit them regularly. Remind yourself that you’re in the process of cultivating the persistence and resilience required to accomplish that goal —the struggle is part of the growth.” –Nero Akpoyoware, holistic mind-body NASM-CPT certified coach
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you or your body can’t do something. If you want to accomplish something, keep asking for help until you find someone that can offer it to you; whether that’s an actual person in your physical space, someone you meet online, a book you read — itdoesn’t matter. There is someone/something out there that can give you what you need.” –Greenman
“Write your goals on a piece of paper, design a timeline, and stick to what’s written at all costs. You will need to make some sacrifices along the way, but if you want to grow, you need to start making choices in the present that align with who you want your future self to be.” –Bianca Carbone, NASM certified personal trainer and creator of Blix Fitness
Q: Favorite mantra, affirmation, quote, or piece of advice that keeps you motivated towards your goals?
“Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal.” –McLawhorn
“Be consistent! Momentum is a powerful force!” –Maples
“Discipline equals freedom!” –Mark Sayer, an interactive nutrition and personal training coach
“Work smarter AND harder.” –Johnson
“‘Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it.’ -Epictetus. This applies to mind, body and spirit.” –Melissa Maas, instructor marrying art and yoga
“If you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want.” –Rector
Whether you walked away with one piece of advice that resonated with you or ten, sometimes getting a new perspective can be exactly what you need to push past an obstacle. Stay open to new perspectives and feel free to mold this advice to support your highest goals and aspirations. Happy sweating!
For more pearls of wisdom like those above, follow the featured trainers on Instagram!
- Gika Rector (@gika_rector)
- Stephanie Gambee (@smallstepswithstephanie)
- Derek Cook (@KnowledgeOfTheDetails)
- Kiara Ana Perico (@TheKiaraAna)
- Eleah Burman (@eleah)
- Ali Greenman (@final_straw_fitness)
- Jordan McLawhorn (@jnicholfitness)
- Geoff Rubin (@fitness_propelled)
- Chloe Sinclair (@fitafstudio)
- Teresa Jeronymo (@teresa.jeronymo)
- Alice Maples (@alice.maples)
- William Allen Johnson (@clhealthandwellnesssolutions)
- Nero Akpoyoware (@bodyofwork_)
- Bianca Carbone (@blix_fit)
- Mark Sayer (@SayerFit)
- Melissa Maas (@maas_art_and_yoga)
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