I’ve Spent 18 Years Helping People Get Fit. Here Are My Best Tips.

They say there’s no replacement for experience, and I’d have to agree. I know I wouldn’t trade my 18 years working in the health and fitness industry for anything.

Sure, having a solid, formal educational background and supplementary certifications is fundamental to lay the groundwork, and give you the ability to weed out the fact from fad. But it’s really the knowledge that you gain in real-life situations with clients – and knowing how to interpret and apply that knowledge – which shapes the type of trainer you become. I’ve now worked with over 1,000 clients, and I thought it would be a great time to step back and have a quick look at some of the common elements that add up to success, while also examining the typical pitfalls that can put the brakes on your progress and prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.

Here are 10 best fitness tips I’ve picked up along the way that will help save you from wasting time, achieve the body you want in an efficient way and get results that last.

Pick something and stick to it.

Far too often people get started on a new fitness program and then quit before giving it a fair shot. We’ve become too impatient. We expect results overnight, we want the scale to change daily and we want our clothes to fit differently after the first week on the program. Well, it doesn’t always work that way. The truth is, you should really be giving a new program an honest, committed effort for at least a month to properly evaluate its effectiveness. It takes time for your body to adjust to a new change in diet or training program, and some of the initial changes might not be visible to the eye or the scale. You’ve got to put some faith in the program or trainer that things are happening, your body is adapting and in time, and your hard work will start to show.

Stick to something for at least 21 days straight and it becomes much easier to make it new habit. The problem is that most people will quit prior to this 21-day period, because they didn’t get the results they were hoping for. But were the expectations too high and the goals unreasonable? If these people were to have pushed through and stuck with the program for a month or more, they would have probably seen at least some of the results they wanted… instead of wasting a few weeks on a program and then quitting.

Don’t mix and match opinions.

There’s more than one way to get to a destination, but if you try to follow bits and pieces of different people’s versions of how to get to that destination, you’ll end up lost and never make it there. That’s essentially what ends up happening when people with good intentions start researching things online and reading different opinions and theories. They get caught up in some new approach and take it upon themselves to start making little deviations off the original course. Guess what? All these little changes will throw off the original plan and could be working against other variables on the program. What was once a pre-programmed course for success will now have you left somewhere in the land of diminishing progress.

When you hire a trainer or start on a new program, try not to get caught up in the latest trend or some new approach your friend just started. There will always be some trendy new diet, seemingly easier approach or catchy training system that pops up every month. It’s how people make money in this industry – always coming up with something that has that ‘cool’ factor, appears to be a little easier and more fun. Learn to put those things on mute while you focus on your own program and goals. All that I ask from my clients is to pick one person and follow their advice from the start to the finish. Yes, I’m aware there are other opinions out there, some that might even contradict my own, but I would hope my track record and reputation speaks for itself and clients can put a little trust in the process. Any other way to do it is just a waste of everyone’s time.

What works for some, won’t work for all.

There’s a reason coaches like myself are still in business after nearly two decades. When you can very easily go online and download workout programs, free diets and even watch demo videos on YouTube, why would you need a trainer or coach? It’s easy – many people have already figured out that when a program hasn’t been customized to your specific goals and individual make up, you don’t get the same results. Every client has their own history, body type, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, dietary restrictions, macronutrient preference, previous injuries, health conditions, digestive issues and personality characteristics. All these factors and more should be considered when a program is customized for a client.

Starting on a program you found online hasn’t even started to look at one of these variables. It’s kind of like buying a running shoe from a large department store. Sure, you can run in it and might feel like everything is fine, but because you haven’t looked at things like arch support, foot width or individual gait pattern, that shoe will eventually lead to chronic strain injuries, break down in the wrong places and have you looking to replace it sooner than later. It’s not until you try running in a shoe that’s been more customized to your own individual preferences from a real running shoe store that you will see how it should have felt the first time. Starting on a fully customized program from an educated trainer is well worth the investment if you plan to make fitness part of your lifestyle.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you’re looking for a training program or diet that requires minimal work or self-discipline to follow and produces incredible results that last, I can save you the time right now and let you know it doesn’t exist. Never has, never will. If you want to produce real changes in your body, be prepared to work and understand that there will be some moments that might challenge you and require self-motivation to push through. The good news is that people who do train their body to endure a very small amount of ‘suffering’ soon come to realize they’re working for permanent results. If it takes effort to get there, you won’t regress as easily. For instance, you might have already gone down the zero-carb crash diet route, lost some weight, and then watched it all come back just as quickly, as you started eating those delicious carbs again.