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Fitness Tips

These 50 Essential Fitness Tips Will Make You Stronger and More Badass

Make the most of your exercise time by reading up on these 50 fitness tips so you can crush your workouts and crush your goals!

  1. Never stretch before a cardio workout; save it for after when your muscles are warm and pliable.
  2. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) burns tons of calories in a short amount of time. Try Tabata, which combines 20 seconds of intense bursts of activity with 10 seconds of rest in four-minute rounds.
  3. If you're trying to bike, run, row, or jump rope at a certain speed, use music to set your pace.
  4. When strength training, save time and burn more calories by doing fewer reps with heavier weights.
  5. When doing any type of workout, it should never hurt. Make sure you have correct form, you're not pushing yourself too hard, and that you don't have an injury.
  6. If you're doing an early morning workout, some experts say it's OK to run on an empty stomach. But if you're doing a longer workout, fuel up with simple carbs and a little protein, such as half a banana and a handful of almonds.
  7. Raise the incline on the treadmill to increase your calorie burn. A five percent incline will burn almost 100 more calories, so pump it up!
  8. Push yourself to go five extra minutes when working out — you'll burn close to 20 to 60 extra calories.
  9. Do a light cardio warmup before strength training to help prevent injury and post-workout soreness.
  10. Always strength train before a cardio session.
  11. If you start doing more strength training, make sure you eat enough food to give your muscles the fuel they need to grow.
  12. Borrowing a mat for your first yoga or Pilates class is fine, but after that, it's time to buy your own mat to reduce your exposure to germs and bacteria.
  13. Intervals are proven to reduce belly fat and rev up metabolism; instead of exercising at the same pace for the entire workout, alternate between periods of pushing your body to the max and periods of recovery.
  14. Studies show that a little bit of caffeine can help improve your stamina, strength, and speed, so sip on a small cup of coffee before working out.
  15. Choose gear based on your needs, not on style. If you're running on the road, don't choose a pair of trail runners just because you like how they look.
  16. Write motivational quotes on sticky notes and put them anywhere you need them — on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your car, or on your computer monitor.
  17. Since class descriptions are often vague, watch a fitness class before you take it to avoid having to walk out of a class you don't like or that's too advanced for your fitness level.
  18. Proper form is more important than number of reps; use a mirror to check your form or take videos of yourself.
  19. It's essential to hydrate before a workout. Drink about 15 to 20 ounces of water before you get started.
  20. Shop for workout sneakers later in the day (when your feet are at their largest) to ensure a proper fit.
  21. If you want to see results faster, do at least three strength-training sessions per week.
  22. Do 60-minute heart-pumping cardio workouts five times a week if your goal is to lose weight.
  23. Take rest days! They allow your muscles time to heal and get stronger.
  24. To avoid getting sick, clean off machines and equipment before you use them. Even though the person before you is supposed to do it, they may have forgotten.
  25. Try out different instructors to find one who challenges and motivates you the most.
  26. Show up for a class at least five minutes early to get a good spot, shake off any stress from the day, and chat with the instructor if you need to let them know you have an injury.
  27. Never do the same exact workout every time. Switch up the exercises, the number of reps, the amount of weight, the order of the exercises, the time, the equipment, and the intensity.
  28. Find a workout buddy (or a whole group!) since you're more likely to push yourself harder and stay more motivated than when you work out alone.
  29. For workouts later in the day, make sure to eat a meal or snack one to two hours before a workout that focuses on carbs and a little protein.
  30. You do not need to break in running shoes — they should feel comfortable the moment you run in them. Don't feel shy about running around in the store to test them out.
  31. You can't spot-reduce fat from a certain area, like your belly — you have to work all areas in order to see a difference in how your body looks.
  32. Intervals aren't just for running! Aside from reducing belly fat, they also build endurance and increase your speed. Do sprinting bursts during all types of cardio, whether you're cycling, jumping rope, dancing, or swimming — it also works for all types of cardio outlets.
  33. Get everything ready the night before a workout, including your outfit, headphones, gym bag, and yoga mat — whatever you need.
  34. Listen to your body during group fitness classes. Move at your own pace — it's OK to go out of sync with the rest of the group or do modifications.
  35. Write the date you bought your sneakers on the inside of the tongue. After 300 to 500 miles, replace them with a new pair — so pay attention to your weekly and monthly mileage.
  36. Exercise in the morning; you'll burn more calories throughout the day.
  37. If you're short on time, do these stretches during your hot post-workout shower.
  38. In all types of workouts, make a mental note to relax parts of the body you're not working, like your face, shoulders, and toes.
  39. Never wear two sports bras! If you're in need of greater support, find a company, like Moving Comfort, that caters to larger-chested women.
  40. Post your fitness life to social media, whether you'll see plenty of sweaty workout selfies, gym rants, or a pic of some new gear. Comments from friends and family are sure to encourage you to stay on the fit path.
  41. Test out workout gear in the dressing room before you buy it. Run in place to see how the fabric moves with you, do a Down Dog to make sure your boobs don't fall out of your top, and of course, do a wide straddle in front of the mirror to avoid purchasing see-through leggings.
  42. On Sunday night, plan out the week's workouts. Make fitness dates, find the Zumba class that fits your schedule, and print out a new strength-training workout. Once they're planned out, write them down to make them official appointments you cannot skip.
  43. Make a morning motivation jar to inspire a little fitness when you hop out of bed.
  44. Pay for gym memberships or personal-training sessions ahead of time so you're more likely to follow through. And remember, if you buy a year membership, you'll save tons of money!
  45. Have workout-only music, books on tape, and Netflix shows you watch. If you're binge-watching This Is Us, you'll be psyched to get back on the treadmill to catch the next episode.
  46. Change your exercise routine every 14 days to beat boredom and keep your muscles guessing.
  47. Keep a fitness journal or calendar, and write down every workout you do, so you can look back and see how far you've come. Or if you've been skipping workouts, seeing blank pages will help motivate you to get back on the fitness train.
  48. Set a new fitness goal every month to keep you inspired and on track, such as "do 10 push-ups every day," or "do yoga twice a week."
  49. Self-massage your stiff, overtrained muscles by using a foam roller. These exercises are designed for runners.
  50. Take progress pics every month or two since the scale isn't always the best judge of how far you've come.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
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