Developing a workout plan that serves you well is – contrary to what some might say – something you can do yourself. Having a personal trainer guide you certainly never hurts, but there’s enough information available today for you to craft your own superb routine all by yourself.
To make this quest easier, we’ve compiled a list of over 100 practical workout tips. We sifted through the vast amount of material out there and pulled only the premium gems of advice for your enjoyment.
If you’re a professional yourself, feel free to benefit from this resource by sharing it with your clients via social media or email.
Best workout tips
- Lift like you mean it! If you can do the maximum number of suggested reps without feeling fatigued, add some weight. Your last 1 or 2 reps should always feel tough, but doable.
- Balance your body. To head off injuries, create a more symmetrical look and ensure you have strength for your favourite activities, do workouts that have exercises for opposing muscle groups.
- Take a day off between weight-lifting sessions. Always give muscle groups 48 hours of rest between resistance workouts to allow them time to adapt to the stress you put on them.
- Don’t let your workout routine become stale! To continue to make sculpting gains, change the moves, order, weight, sets, reps and/or rest periods you do at least every 4-6 weeks.
- Do what you’re not so good at! It’s not always fun to suck at something, but in order to avoid plateaus and continue to see improvement; we have to focus on what we don’t excel at.
- You have to train smart and listen to what your body is telling you. Pay attention and allow your body to recover. You will be fitter and stronger in the long term because of it.
- Ask yourself: how do you want to feel when you’re done? Change the reason behind your workout from being about looking a certain way or just feeling like you have to sweat, and instead focus on the accomplished feeling you want to achieve at the end, you are bound to push harder.
- Remember! It never gets easier. You just get stronger. Just as with life, training only gets more demanding and challenging as you progress with your goals. The only thing you can do is roll up your sleeves and get stronger.
- Find your workout soulmate! There are so many ways to exercise, so find what you love doing, that doesn’t feel like a chore but rather something you are excited about.
- Take a day off from pushing your body through a workout and do something that fuels your heart and mind, otherwise you risk burning out physically and emotionally from pushing too hard. Then you’ll be able to take on your next workout with renewed energy.
Workout tips for beginners
- There’s no replacement for hard work, consistency, and dedication. It’s all well and good having expensive workout clothes and a membership to the best gym, but if you don’t put the effort in, you’re not going to see results.
- Remember! It is critically important to refuel properly after you work out. Carbs and protein post-workout help to replenish glycogen stores, repair muscle tissue and reduce cortisol.
- Start slow. Don’t jump right in and start working out five days a week – that’s a recipe for disaster. Start at 2-3 days per week and gradually work up to more.
- Know when to stretch. Stretching right before a workout may seem like the best thing to do, but you might be putting yourself at risk of injury. Instead, after you warm up, you should then stretch your muscles and hold it for about 15 seconds.
- Mix it up! Whether you’re going for weight loss or bulking up, a mixed regimen of aerobic and strength training is the best way to achieve the body you want.
- If you’re sore after a workout, that’s good – unless it hurts too much. Listen to your body, and learn what your limits are.
- Bodyweight workouts are an incredibly effective way to strength train, especially for beginners. You can achieve a full body workout using just your body as resistance, so keep it simple and focus on equipment-free routines first.
- Pair an upper-body move with a lower body move. This way, the lower body has time to recover while the upper body works and vice-versa. Your rest time will be minimized and so your caloric burn and muscles worked are maximized!
- When you’re just getting started, try to keep things simple. Aim for 15 reps and three sets per exercise. As you get more comfortable with the moves and need more of a challenge, then you can mix it up.
- Not sure how much weight to use? Go for a weight that feels heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you sacrifice your form. You should feel pretty fatigued after 15 reps, but not overly so.
Workout tips for men
- The key to building lean muscle is to challenge your body every time you work out. Constantly strive for progress. Increase the resistance, change the number of reps, or even try new exercises.
- If you are not fatigued at the end of each set you are not challenging the muscles enough to see results. Volume training will create the biggest impact on your muscles. Try 6-10 sets of 10 repetitions at a heavy enough weight to cause fatigue by repetition number 7 of each set.
- To maximize results, and not have to live in the gym, perform total body workouts at least 3-4 days of the week. Cardio should also be performed 3-4 times a week, which of course can be performed anywhere.
- When you lift weights, focus on the muscles that are being worked. Squeeze every muscle until you feel it burning. Build a strong mind-muscle connection and you will have better results.
- Train smart, plan everything! Random training yields little or no results. Before hitting the gym, decide what exercises you’re going to do (remember to have alternatives if the gym is busy) and how many reps and sets you’ll complete.
- Alternate steady state cardio And HIIT. By doing this, you will maximize results because your body will have a chance to perform active recovery, which will still help you lose body fat while healing the muscles.
- Listen up gentlemen! You can look younger if you do an average of three 45-minute workouts a week. What are you waiting for?
- For men, muscle mass peaks at about the age of 25. After that an average of a tenth of a kilo of muscle a year is lost. Make sure you do regular resistance training, as this is by far the most effective means of arresting this fall.
- Progressively heavier weight training acts as a catalyst for muscle growth. Aim for a weight that allows you to perform 10 repetitions and then gradually increase that as you get stronger.
- Do push-ups! They are considered the ultimate barometer of fitness, especially in middle age men. They work the whole body and can provide the strength to reach out and break a fall, preventing injury.
Workout tips for women
- Mix up your workouts and don’t be afraid to include lower-intensity classes to balance things out. Strength training can leave your body a little stiff, so a class like yoga can be relaxing whilst still challenging you.
- Be accountable. Use an app or an online tool to track your progress or keep a monthly written log of what they’ve done. Personal trainers are also an effective, albeit expensive, way to keep accountable.
- Establish a routine. Working out becomes easier when it’s an accepted part of your daily life. The three months might be a challenge, but after six months the routine is solidly established and women are more likely to stick with it.
- Find a moderate activity you love. Spend at least two and a half hours a week engaging in this activity and then you can combine this with vigorous exercise.
- Women should be doing muscle-strengthening activity at moderate or high intensity a minimum of 20-30 minutes a day at least two days a week, making sure to work out all of the major muscle groups.
- HIIT is the way to go for women’s fitness. When you do a high-intensity intervals, your body ends up pulling a lot deeper and heavier into fat and carb stores. What’s even better? Your body continues to burn fat long after HIIT ends – for up to 12 hours!
- From the age of fifty, a woman’s life is marked by hormonal changes, slow metabolism, reduced lean muscles, weight gain and changes in body composition. Counteract all of this with strength training, yoga, and lower-impact cardio, such as swimming or cycling.
- There is a huge difference between going through the motions of an exercise and truly thinking, feeling, and engaging the key muscles. Be conscious of and enjoy the sensation of your muscles contracting and the feelings of growing stronger and more powerful with each rep.
- Pull-ups aren’t just for men, ladies! And not being able to do a pull-up doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step up to the bar. Simply hanging on for as long as possible can improve your upper-body strength.
- Each time you start a new workout, create a new challenge. Use a little more weight, add a few more reps, or try a new exercise. You’ll stay more motivated, and you’ll see better results.
Workout tips for weight loss
- Blast calories with circuits. Do one set of each move in your workout, without resting between exercises. Repeat the circuit once or twice and you’ll burn up to 300 calories in half an hour as opposed to 150 from a typical weight routine.
- Consistency in your workouts is key for weight loss. It keeps the process moving in the right direction and it helps you create the good habits that will eventually be your new normal, helping you reach those goals in a sustainable way.
- Wanting to lose weight? Swap some cardio for weight training. It may seem strange, but 30 minutes of weight training burns as many calories as 30 minutes of running at a blazing six-minutes-per mile pace.
- Incorporate some high intensity interval training into your regular workouts. It’s the key to weight loss because it will get your heart rate up, burn calories, and torch fat. Add some jogging intervals into your walks, or sprinting intervals into you runs.
- Exercise on empty once a week to boost your weight loss. When you wake up in the morning your body is depleted of carbs. Cardio will cause your body to raid its fat stores to get the energy necessary for your workout.
- Has your weight loss plateaued? Your metabolism slows as you lose body mass, so to stop your results from flat lining, swap your usual gym session for half an hour of something completely different, like kickboxing or even Zumba!
- A great workout for weight loss is a brick session. This triathlon drill burns 440kcal and leaves you with a raised metabolism: ride a bike for 15 mins, followed by a 15-min run. Without rest, hope back on the bike for 10 min and finish with a 10-min run. Easy!
- Tweak your usual exercises to amp up the calories burned, and therefore potential weight loss. For example, tweak the classic sit-up by holding a weight plate to your chest with both hands. This will torch fat whilst building your abs…win-win!
- Jump rope may be an old-school exercise, but it is still one of the best ways to burn calories and lose weight. There’s a reason why it is still part of every boxer’s training…give it a go!
- Posture is not usually something you think about while you’re on the running machine, but a simple torso tweak will amp up the calorie burn. Make yourself run upright to increase energy expenditure every minute and make the whole workout more intense.
Healthy workout tips
- Regularly doing cardio and strength training reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes and endometrial, colon and breast cancers. So get moving!
- You should do some form of exercise for 30-60 minutes on most days to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Workout to feel better! You’ll feel less anxious and be happier. In fact, studies show that the fitter you are, the better you’ll be at handling the long-term effects of stress.
- Find a workout body! A fitness friend is hugely helpful for keeping motivated, but it’s important to find someone who will inspire-not discourage.
- After a gruelling workout, there’s a good chance you’re going to be feeling it. Relieve post-fitness aches by submerging your lower body in a cold bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Habits don’t just happen, they’re formed. Figure out when there’s time for exercise but remember, there is no right time to work out. Consistency is the real game-changer. Prioritize exercise, and form a healthy habit by sticking to the schedule every day.
- Track your progress. Performing the same exact workout day after day will likely lead to a training plateau. One way to avoid potential roadblocks is by keeping a workout journal. Then, use these notes to create new workouts that are more challenging than previous sessions.
- Ask for help if you need it! Don’t risk injuries by playing follow-the-leader with the biggest person in the gym. Learn the dos and don’ts from the get-go. Talk to a trainer, get a fitness assessment, or consider investing in a few training sessions to learn the ropes.
- A proper warm-up should be part of every workout. But don’t waste time and energy with outdated routines. Stick to warm-ups that match the workout at hand. When in doubt, a dynamic warm-up to get a sweat going and prime the body for the real work that lies ahead.
- Use perfect form throughout your whole workout. Keeping up good form all workout-long is the best way to protect against injury, and make workouts more effective to boot.
Workout tips at home
- Working out at home? Create a designated fitness space. Having your own mini “gym” is such a great way to feel like you’re in control of your workouts.
- If you’re working out at home, have a few go-to workouts memorized. That way, if you don’t have time to look for something new, you always have something to fall back on.
- Build your workout DVD collection! That way, whatever you’re in the mood for and however long you have, you have a workout to do. Try and choose workout DVDs that are by personal trainers and qualified professionals.
- An app is a great way to get a workout in and you can download it right on to your phone or tablet. That way you can do it anywhere! Even if you just have 10 minutes it’s better than nothing.
- You can work out effectively at home with just your bodyweight, but if you’re looking to challenge yourself further, buy a set of dumbbells, a bench, and a resistance band and you’re good to go!
- An effective fitness program has five components, all of which you can do at home: Warm-up, aerobic workout, resistance exercises, flexibility moves, cooldown. Because you can do all of these at home, there is no excuse for not working out!
- If you’re working out at home, a good way to stay motivated and avoid distractions is to exercise early in the day. Morning exercisers at home are more likely to stick with their workouts.
- To be motivated enough to workout consistently at home, set a goal for yourself, like training for a race or losing 20 pounds. It should be something you can’t do right now, but you know is within your reach, so that you are driven enough to keep going.
- There are lots of workouts that you can do at home, but certain exercises are better than others because they involve little to no equipment and can be done with minimal space available. These include push-ups, crunches, squats, superman’s, lunges and planks.
- Don’t have time to do a full 30-60 minute workout at home? Try splitting your workout into 10-minute increments throughout the day. That way you’re more likely to be able to fit them in on your super busy days.
Workout tips for abs
- For your abs, one of the best exercises you can do is the plank. Need a top tip for the plank? As you hold plank, imagine a belt buckle is pulling up into your belly button, forcing your abs to do the work of holding you up and prevent your hips from dipping.
- To work on your abs, master the pelvic tilts. Doing these tilts properly can make people sore that’ve been doing sit-ups their entire life.
- A good mind-muscle connection is the first things you need to build if you want work your abs. Focus on squeezing every single muscle fibre in the abs as you rise up and come down again, and you’ll get that much better of a workout and ensure that you are hitting those muscles deepest within the core.
- To strengthen your abs, chooses exercise where you can increase the intensity. This can be done by either shortening the rest break between sets, or adding some form of weight resistance to the exercises.
- If you’re going to see results from your ab workouts, you need variation. You should never rely on the same ab exercises, because the abs are more likely to adapt to any given stress than any other muscle group, so you need to mix up the exercises regularly.
- If you really want to kick the ab workout up a notch, use some outside stress that is applied away from the body. This stress is going to come at you from an outside force, throwing you off your intended pattern of movement. Have someone throw a medicine ball for you to catch while doing twisted crunches.
- The only abdominal workout that you should be doing is intense training with heavy resistance. A good rep range to work within is the 8-12 repetition range. Do one or two different abdominal exercises with a total of around 5-6 sets. That’s all you need!
- Cable crunches are one of the best ab exercises out there, but it is difficult to perform them correctly. Make sure you ask a qualified professional exactly how to do them so that you can benefit from this amazing ab exercise.
- Cardio is essential for your abs – not for building muscle, but simply for burning the fat that lies on top of the muscles. So don’t skip it out!
- In your average sit-up you probably come up and down and don’t think much more about the movement, right? Well, when you lower down from a sit-up, pay close attention and keep your rib cage closed. This helps to “crunch” your abs more, engage your transverse abdominals, and keep your back safely supported.
Fitness workout tips
- Get your workout done early in the day! That way, conflicts are less likely to edge out your gym time and your energy is at peak levels. Not only that, but working out in the morning can boost energy for the rest of the day, giving your metabolism a jumpstart.
- Grab a workout buddy! But make sure you’re there to motivate each other rather than get distracted by catching up, as too much chatting between sets can take the momentum out of your workout.
- Make sure you some weight-bearing exercise, such as yoga or dancing, to strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance, coordination and flexibility. Although too much impact can be harmful, a little bit will do you good.
- Always vary intensities during your workout! So when using a cardio machine, add intervals of higher intensity to burn more calories in shorter time and to train your heart to work at higher levels of your aerobic capacity.
- Add more movement to your workout whenever possible! Instead of just working your lower body, choose cardio equipment that has arm involvement whenever possible, like the elliptical, rowing machine or x-c ski, for a full-body workout.
- Nothing’s better for achieving overall triceps definition than the rope. It changes the position of the hands during the pushdown. The knuckles face out, which directs more of the work towards the lateral head of the triceps at the outside of the arm.
- Whether you are exercising for weight loss, muscle gain or endurance, tracking your progress can make a big difference in motivation. Why? Some days you simply will not be in the mood to exercise – but if you look at physical evidence such as photos or statistics, you will be more likely to push through on hard days.
- Form over speed! It’s important to keep proper form during strength exercises or weight lifting to avoid injury. Shift your focus from the number of repetitions and make sure you have the correct form.
- Never rush through warm-up and cool-down sessions. It’s important to warm up and cool down properly to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead, and to speed up recovery and avoid injury.
- Getting carpet-burns from all those crunches but not seeing stronger abs? Rethink your abdominal workout routine and try strengthening exercises that will target your entire core, such as planks.
Gym workout tips
- If you have a bad habit of tilting your body forward on the elliptical or stair-climber, stand up straighter next time around. Leaning on the handlebars reduces the effectiveness of your work by removing the emphasis from your lower body muscles.
- You don’t necessarily have to use every machine in the gym exactly as intended, or for just one exercise. For example, with the leg press, do a set using both legs, then lighten the weight and do it with one leg at time and work your calves and lower legs.
- One of the biggest gym tips is proper etiquette! Make sure you return equipment to its proper place after using it, don’t monopolize equipment, and wipe down machines and mats after using them.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut. Your body (and mind!) will eventually rebel and your weight-loss will plateau. Switch around your exercise routine occasionally to keep your body guessing and to ensure that you are targeting all muscle groups.
- Don’t forego foam-rolling! It’s not only for serious marathon-runners. Everyone can benefit from a good foam-rolling session – it speeds up recovery, massages the muscles to release tension and prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness.
- Don’t expect drastic, visible results after a week, two weeks, or even a month of a new gym routine. You need to be consistent and patient. Don’t become despondent. You’ll get there.
- Limit your workouts to 30-60 minutes. If you go longer than that, you’ll be lowering the intensity of the workout and that means you’re spending too much time working out, and you’re not getting the results.
- Slow down your lifting! Many people contract their muscles slowly and then release more quickly. But if you lift slowly in both directions, you are maximizing each move. Lift and lower to a 5-second count in each direction.
- Looking for a new challenge? Instead of doing 2-3 sets, maximize your effectiveness by doing just one, with heavy weights, until you can no longer keep the proper form. But remember! Lifting to “failure” doesn’t mean that you should lift the last few times with a wobbly or inefficient form.
- Instead of doing a set, resting, and then doing your second set, it’s more effective to move on to multiple exercises in a circuit, so that you don’t rest between exercises but do rest each muscle group. This will give you a good cardio workout while you do your strength training.