7 Things Your Trainer Wants You to Know
Whether you want to lose weight, tone up or get fit and strong, there are a few insider secrets you should know. So, to help you get more bang for your workout buck, we’ve picked the brains of personal trainer Finola Power-Walsh, founder of Evolution Fitness.
Here are her seven secret ingredients for fitness success. Read ‘em and reap even better results from your next sweat session!
1. Want to lose weight? You can’t just do cardio.
Heart-pumping activities like running have a lot of benefits – burning calories, boosting feel-good hormones and improving cardiovascular health. But for weight loss, you need to add resistance training into your workouts as well!
Lifting weights promotes lean muscle growth, which in turn boosts your metabolism. So you’ll burn calories while you’re working out AND for hours afterwards, even when you’re on the couch. And, no, you won’t get bulky! Finola insists resistance training actually creates a leaner, tighter body. Sign us up!
2. Small, short-term goals are key.
It’s easy to lose faith if your end goal is a long way off and progress is slow. Instead, most trainers will recommend setting daily or weekly goals. A short-term goal might be to increase the time that you can hold a plank by 10 seconds, says Finola. These mini wins are great for maintaining motivation.
3. The number on the scales isn’t the best measure.
The goal is to lose fat, not muscle, and a run-of-the-mill scale isn’t great at telling the difference. “I measure my clients when we first start to train and take pictures so they can see their results that way,” says Finola. “A pound of fat tissue takes up to four times the space of muscle tissue, so you can look leaner without the scales moving down.” So ditch the scales and go by the fit of your favorite skinny jeans.
4. 5 Reps done well beats 50 dodgy reps.
Ditch the idea of no pain no gain and move mindfully to avoid injury and postural problems, says Finola. “It’s better to train with intention than pump out a high volume of reps. Take your time and pay attention to your form and breathing,” she advises. The bonus? You’ll see much better results!
5. Food is your friend.
“There is no magic bullet when it comes to your diet,” says Finola. Instead, it’s all about a well-balanced diet of vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats, free from processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol. She recommends good preparation to avoid reaching for unhealthy options when hunger strikes, plus regular snacking (yass!). “It seems counter-intuitive but by not eating enough your metabolism can get sluggish, making it harder for you to lose weight. Make sure you’re eating at regular intervals and not skipping meals.”
Related post: 5 of the Best Post-Workout Snacks
6. Variety is the spice of fitness.
You know how your hair gets used to your regular shampoo after a while so you need to switch it up? It’s kind of like that with fitness. Your body adapts after some time to your workouts and changing your routine can help you break through a fitness plateau, says Finola. And it’s not just about relieving boredom. “When you do the same activity all the time, your body becomes very efficient at it. This means that over time you will actually burn fewer calories even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise,” she adds. Plus you’ll lower the risk of injury from repetitive movements. Aerial yoga, anyone?
7. What you do post-workout is super important.
“It’s great that you worked out for one hour, but the other 23 hours of the day are important too!” says Finola. 20 minutes on the treadmill doesn’t justify hours of pizza, chocolate and beer on the couch! Here’s what she says you need to be doing post-workout:
- Cool down for at least 5 mins
- Use a foam roller to perform some myofascial release and stretches. This will help with flexibility, circulation and to break up any knots in your soft tissue.
- Consume a high quality protein snack preferably within 30 mins of your session
- Ensure you get 8 hours sleep
Tip: Get more energy for your workouts with SkinnyMint’s Morning Boost tea!
Does your trainer have any other great tips? Tell us in the comments below!