Are you in the process of putting together an exercise plan, or evaluating your current one? Maybe you’re not seeing the results you envisioned when you first started, or are unsure if you’re doing it right.
Exercise means different things to individual people. For some, a brisk walk around the neighbourhood is all that is required. For others, it’s an intensive, 6-day a week gym circuit. You can set yourself up for success by learning all about different forms of exercise, as well as what kind will best suit your goals.
Whether those goals include fat-loss, bulking, or simply getting in better shape, we’ve got the perfect list of tips for you. With over 100 nuggets of exercise tips, whatever your question is, you’ll probably find the answer here.
Best exercise tips
- Set realistic goals. Make sure you have reasonable expectations regarding your exercise program, so that you are motivated to stick with it and reach your targets.
- Consistently monitor your progress. Slow but steady improvement is a tremendous motivator.
- Choose a variety of exercises and activities. To avoid boredom, which is a common reason for quitting an exercise program, choose various fitness programs or activities that make working out fun.
- Why not combine family time with exercise time? For example, walking, hiking, and bike riding all offer an opportunity to combine exercise with family time, making it more enjoyable and more appealing to stick with.
- Struggling to find the energy to exercise? Give yourself an extra jolt of energy in the form of your favourite tunes! Chosen carefully, a workout playlist can take your fitness to the next level.
- Minimize your rest periods! The longer you allow your muscle to rest, the more pump you lose, and the less momentum you’ll have going into your next set. Make sure your rest break is long enough for you to go on and maintain optimal weight and form, but no longer.
- Don’t skip the warm-up! While they don’t necessarily lead to gains or end in record-breaking numbers, warm-ups do something more important – they help prevent injury.
- All exercise calls for hydration. Drink one cup of water 20-30 minutes before exercising, and another cup for every 15 additional minutes of physical activity.
- Cardio might be what you dread most, but getting your heart pumping is important for more than just looks. It means improved heart health, stronger lungs, and increased bone density. So get that heart rate up!
- Despite the myths, strength training won’t make you overly bulky. In fact, it can help you slim down by increasing calorie burn while simultaneously enhancing muscle mass. Get lifting weights!
Exercise tips for beginners
- If you’re new to exercise, and feeling sore the day after a workout, try to keep moving. A little bit of movement can boost your circulation and shorten recovery time.
- Exercise beginners, listen up! It’s important to form an exercise habit, so try to do something every day, even if it’s small, until you feel that exercise has become an ingrained part of your routine.
- Don’t get stuck on the treadmill! New exercisers often do the same routine for every time they work out. You won’t get the results you want this way. Be sure to mix up your routine every so often to keep your muscles on their toes.
- An important exercise tip for beginners is that you must not slouch while performing exercises. It affects your performance, and you are also not able to breathe sufficiently to get enough oxygen to your muscles.
- Write your goals down and post them in a visible area. This provides you with a constant reminder of why you are exercising.
- Choose a convenient time and place for your workouts. You are much more likely to stick with your exercise program if it’s convenient for you.
- Make sure you learn how to do your exercises safely! Injury and soreness are common reasons for quitting an exercise program. Always remember, you can achieve tremendous gain without significant pain J
- Keep an exercise journal. This provides you with a picture of your progress, which can be a great motivator.
- Don’t stress out if you miss a workout! Missing an occasional workout is not a problem. In fact, it’s to be expected. Just get back to work the next day.
- Make sure you have fun! No one sticks with exercise unless they enjoy it. You can make sure you have fun by selecting activities you really enjoy and by working out with others.
Exercise tips for men
- Rather than adding more weight to the bar, try taking a few pounds off. By lightening the weight, you’ll really dial in your technique and pay attention to precisely what’s going on in your body. Feel each muscle contracting as you move through the movement. The more you maintain focus and control during the set, the greater your strength gains will be.
- Adding chains or resistance bands to your strength training allows you to use a lighter weight and increase your lifting speed so you can push past the plateaus.
- Do the deadlift! It hits every major muscle group hard, and is perhaps the greatest test of strength there is. Because of all the muscles involved, it releases a huge amount of testosterone into the bloodstream.
- Don’t skip out on the barbell back squat. It hits just about every major muscle group there is in the body and is the king of leg-developing movements. Any athlete will tout the squat as the reason they run fast, jump high, and keep increasing in strength all over.
- Men tend to store fat around their midsections. To effectively avoid fat storage in your waistline you will have to attack fat storage everywhere as it is impossible to spot reduce. Train the entire body using resistance training to stimulate muscle growth.
- To combat the risk of prostate cancer, you should focus on regularity of exercise as opposed to higher intensity exercise bouts. Three days a week is enough to reap the benefits, and each session should be up to an hour in length and relatively low in intensity.
- Joint aches and pains plague men as they age. Strengthening the muscles will train them to absorb more of the forces that are placed on the body. Do regular weight training and improve your flexibility through yoga or Pilates.
- Back pain, gentlemen? The dumbbell Romanian deadlift could be the most important exercise there is for lower-back health and developing an impressive set of glutes. Also, this move helps to make the hamstrings more flexible, meaning less back pain after sitting all day.
- Want strong, ripped shoulders? The pullup is the best move for developing those big, fan-shaped muscles that make your shoulders look wide. It’s also a big, multi-joint move, which leads to testosterone release, meaning more strength and muscle development!
- Getting older, gentlemen? Lung capacity and heart strength diminish with age. Do cardio exercise to strengthen your heart and lungs, burn calories and metabolize fat as energy.
Exercise tips for women
- Top tip, ladies! Find a friend to exercise with. They will not only keep you accountable, but she will help you clock more time at the gym and torch more fat.
- The best training tool you’re not using? A jump rope. Not only is it inexpensive, portable, and easy to use almost anywhere, you’ll burn about 200 calories in 20 minutes and boost your cardiovascular health while toning.
- Do you want to burn more calories? Take your exercise outside! You can burn up to 7% more calories in the cold!
- Whenever you tell yourself to get through a gruelling workout, don’t stop. Motivational self-talk can help reduce the rate of perceived exertion, so you can go further for longer.
- Ladies, do the single leg deadlift! It’s awesome because it lifts and tones the glutes and activates your entire core, which helps prevent back pain – a common issue for women.
- Pay attention to your body. After 40, all women lose elasticity in connective tissues and muscle mass declines. So take time to stretch and warm-up, and if pain persists, try to change things up.
- As you age, your metabolism declines and your body burns fewer calories. Aerobic exercise is a great way to offset this change.
- Strength training is the best way to offset muscle and bone loss. Body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats and planks are all great ways to build core strength and endurance, and they also help increase your heart rate.
- Struggling to find time to exercise, ladies? Workout with a 15- or 20- minute online exercise program. That way you can do one of them when you can’t get out of the house or when you need to fit in some exercise quickly and easily.
- Take regular walks around your neighbourhood! Do this consistently enough and it will become routine. You’ll be surprised at how effective brisk walking is.
Exercise tips for weight loss
- Share your weight loss goals with others. This allows your friends and family members to encourage you. They may also be able to point out unreasonable goals that can negatively affect your program.
- The first rule for weight loss is to just get out there and do something! Whether it’s walking, swimming, cycling, a fitness class or even going for a run – whatever you can do, do it.
- If you can, exercise in the morning – not only will you have your workout done and dusted before other things get in the way, but it helps you make better food choices afterwards and will put you in a great mood for the rest of the day.
- Have a daily exercise goal. For example, make a pact with yourself that you’ll exercise for at least 30 minutes, or you’ll swim 20 laps, or you’ll burn 300 calories. Long-term goals are great, but short-term goals keep you motivated to keep going.
- Hit a weight-loss plateau? Mix up your exercise routine. If you only ever go swimming, try learning to run. It’s all about discovering things you might never have known you liked, moving as much as you can and keeping your mind and body stimulated.
- For the best weight loss results, combine aerobic exercise with resistance. That way you’ll get super-fit at the same time as building more lean muscle, which will really ramp up your metabolism and keep you burning fat for longer.
- Find a training buddy to exercise with – they’ll keep you accountable and you’ll help each other stay focused on reaching your weight loss goals. If you can’t find someone who lives nearby, get online to find people you can share your journey with in the virtual world.
- Add in as much incidental exercise as you can. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to work and do anything that gets you moving more in your daily life. It all adds up, and every little helps.
- You don’t necessarily need to do high-intensity exercise to lose weight. Moderate exercise, such as walking, can be just as effective for weight loss since it doesn’t trigger the appetite hormones, which can lead to you reaching for cake after a hard workout.
- Although you need to exercise regularly to lose weight, rest and recovery is key to reset mentally, physically, and emotionally, so make sure to build in at least one full rest day.
Healthy exercise tips
- Join a group fitness class – all you have to do is show up at the right time and let your instructor do all the planning for you!
- No matter what you do, give each workout your best effort. The more exercise you do – even if you hate it at first and it all seems too hard – the easier and more enjoyable it will become.
- Build muscle to burn energy. Building muscle mass isn’t just about building a six-pack, muscle tissue also uses up more energy than fat tissue. This means that if you increase your muscle mass and lose fat you’ll be burning more calories more efficiently – even while you’re at rest.
- Be aware of your body. Think about how the particular exercise is making you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately and seek professional advice.
- Always, always, always warm-up and cool down. Try slow stretches and go through the motions of your sport or activity before starting. Cool down with slow stretching.
- Remember to pace yourself! Have at least one recovery day each week to rest. If you are experiencing pain, rest until the pain has gone.
- Stay hydrated! You can lose around one and a half litres of fluid for every hour of exercise; so drink water before, during and after a session.
- Do it right! Make sure you get the form and technique right from the beginning, to ensure you are using your muscles correctly and to prevent injury.
- Check your gear. Make sure your shoes and equipment fit properly and is right for the activity. Look after your equipment and check it regularly for safety.
- Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
Morning exercise tips
- Get to that morning workout! You’ll increase your fat burn, reduce unnecessary calorie consumption, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of diabetes.
- To become a morning workout person, move your bedtime and wake up time by 15 minutes each day until you reach your goal wake-up time, then hold on to that schedule until it sticks.
- Don’t give up on the morning run because you can’t find your sock, sneaker or sports bra. Preparing the night before only takes a few minutes and helps avoid wasted time frantically searching for the essentials.
- Since working out on an empty stomach isn’t great for your metabolism or your energy levels, pre-make a little morning snack and keep it in the fridge so you can quickly grab it to eat while getting ready.
- Wake up each morning with an exercise plan. What exercises are you going to do? How long? Are you going to switch up exercises on certain days? Having an exercise plan helps you getting started and stay focused on your workout.
- Put together a motivating playlist to get you psyched for your morning workout! It’ll get you going and keep you going when you feel like stopping.
- Do that morning workout! Morning exercisers are more likely to stick with their routines and reach their goals, getting natural light early in the day can boost your mood and help you lose weight.
- If you work out in the morning, make sure you have a bigger, high-protein breakfast post-workout, or else you’ll be ravenous well before lunchtime.
- Start your morning workout with mobility movements. They will get the blood flowing, wake up your brain, and turn your nervous system on for the day.
- Yoga first thing in the morning is perfect for waking up your mind and body – and sneaking in a workout. Plus, it’ll help you start your day in a de-stressed state and potentially promote better sleep that night!
Daily exercise tips
- Moving more daily doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. From walking up stairs to gardening, any activity that gets your heart rate going and your muscles moving will have an effect.
- Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week
- Try to exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle.
- Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator or take 10–15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for walking or some other activity.
- To make sure you get your daily exercise, wake up earlier and workout in the morning. You’re more likely to stick to your workout program longer if you do.
- Your gym should have a variety of fitness classes. Find ones that sound interesting, and try different ones every day to see what you enjoy!
- Find a buddy! Working out with a partner can improve performance in aerobic exercise. You’ll have someone to hold you accountable to exercise daily, and give you a boost of motivation when things get tough.
- Choose a gym that’s close to your home or a park that’s easily accessible. That way, you’re more likely to go every day to exercise.
- Start your daily exercise small! When you first try to make exercise a daily habit, chances are, your body won’t be used to that kind of stress. The key? Only do 20 minutes in the beginning and then build up from there once the habit is formed.
- Make your daily exercise pleasurable. If you associate a habit with pain, you will shy away from it. But if it’s fun, you’ll look forward to doing it. Whatever activity you enjoy, as long as it gets you moving, go for it.
Home exercise tips
- You can get an effective walking workout done at home. If you have a flight of stairs, go up and down them a few times. This will help to tone up your legs, while getting some low impact aerobic exercise as well. If you don’t have any stairs available, just walk around the house a few times – it may not be very exciting, but it will do the job!
- Jumping jacks are not only a great warm-up exercise, but also great for cardio and getting your heart rate up. No equipment needed and you don’t need much space to do them – win, win!
- Stair stepping is a great exercise to do in your home, even if you don’t have a set of stairs available. Find the biggest book you own (or a sturdy chair), put it in front of the TV, and step up and down while watching your favourite show. You may not work up a sweat, but you will be keeping your body active and healthy.
- The No. 1 most important thing you can do for home exercise is find a routine you’re actually going to enjoy doing at home. There are loads of apps and websites out there that transform your phone/tablet/laptop into a personal trainer, so you can easily find a workout that will work for you.
- Schedule your home workout like it’s an appointment. Prioritize your exercise by blocking out time on your calendar and then planning your time around those blocks. It makes you more likely to stay committed to your exercise program.
- Try and have a set space where you exercise at home every day. Try to make a space for yourself that feels like your own personal studio. That way, you’re more likely to want to exercise.
- Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories, and get your heart rate going while having fun. If you are in the privacy of your own home, there is no need to look like a pro or impress anyone. J
- If you don’t have dumbbells at home, improvise! You can make your own weights by filling up water bottles, or using milk jugs. Jars or cans work well too J
- If you enjoy running, but can’t get out of the house for whatever reason, try doing high knees. March in place or down a hall, bringing your knees as high as they can go, and you’ll find that you can really get your heart pumping.
- The best tip for an efficient home workout is to do compound moves that need no equipment, little space, work multiple muscle groups AND get your heart pumping. That way, you can get your workout done in less time and get on with your day J
Gym exercise tips
- Make sure you utilize the induction you get at the gym; all gyms should offer this when you join. It is basically an explanation and demonstration of the equipment and how to use it in the gym, but it also sets you a basic program to get you going.
- Checking your phone between sets can waste valuable gym time and let your heart rate slip. Leave the phone in your gym bag or, if you use it as an MP3 player, put it on Do Not Disturb mode. Never rest more than a minute between sets to keep your heart rate up.
- Your muscles like surprises, so switch it up. Try switching machines every 10 minutes (for example, stationary bike to stair-stepper to treadmill). Also, don’t forget to add in some strength training—a cardio-only regimen is bound for a plateau.
- Loosen your grip! An overly tight grip does nothing more than strengthen your forearms and will tire you out faster when performing exercises. This can leave you exhausted at the end of an arm row, wasting energy you could be saving for a more effective session.
- Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in one day! A common mistake people make is to overwork their bodies on the first day at the gym. Start with 3-4 exercises and progress from there. You’ll give your body time to recover, avoid soreness, and get ready for your next session.
- Accountability is one of the best ways to stay determined and consistent. You can’t lie you worked out if you didn’t even make it to the gym. Announce your plans on social media, or tell the one person you would hate to disappoint.
- The key items you need to hit the gym? A towel, a water bottle and a music player (phone, iPod) should do it.
- Don’t even think about doing resistance training without warming up. You need to get your blood flowing and muscles warm so they don’t tear too much when you train them. Dynamic stretching is one of the perfect kinds of warmups!
- Numbers don’t lie. Measure your progress. Write down all exercises, sets and reps you do. This way you will also know what not to repeat next time, which will keep every gym session a lot more interesting.
- People may spend an hour on a piece of cardio machinery, without ever increasing their heart rate or producing sweat. Do the “talk test” – you should have to break up your conversation as you stop to catch your breath. That’s a beneficial cardio session!