By Chris Freytag
Whatever your fitness goals, I’m here to help you reach them. I’ve rounded-up 101 of my best fitness tips into a long list of awesomeness. Now, you don’t need to do all 101 (your brain would get a workout trying to remember all of them!), but try incorporating a few into your daily routine each week and watch your health change. Got it? Good. Then, let’s get down to business.
1) Move your body everyday of the week and remember to think movement not just exercise… be active everyday.
2) Give up soda and juices with lots of sugar or high fructose corn syrup and Don’t drink all your calories. Save calories and drink water, various teas (especially Green Tea!) or black coffee. Skip the whip and chocolate in your coffee…save the calories for food.
3) Keep a food journal on paper, online or with an app. Tracking keeps you accountable and studies show that people who keep food journals are more successful at losing weight than those who don’t. I love the MyFitnessPal app!
4) Thoughts are powerful; pay attention to yours. Do you encourage yourself with positivity or hold yourself back with negativity? Shift toward positive thoughts.
5) Eat foods that are closest to their natural state as possible. Eat whole, fresh foods in a rainbow of colors.
) Answer these questions: What story does your body currently tell about you? What story do you want it to tell? Use the story of who you want to be as your vision statement to motivate you.
7) Eat alkaline-promoting foods. Research suggests that eating too many acidic foods can damage our lungs and kidneys. Balance out the acidity with foods that promote an alkaline body environment. Eat lots of root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, leafy greens, garlic, cayenne peppers, and lemons and limes (yes, they seem acidic but lemons and limes actually help to alkaline our bodies and balance our pH).
8) Add protein to smoothies. I like BiPro protein as there’s no added sugars or artificial flavors.
9) Find a form (or two!) of exercise you enjoy. It’s easier to do and stick with the things we enjoy.
10) Reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods you consume. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients, the better the food.
11) Add some muscle building activities to your weekly workouts. Free weights, resistance bands, muscle sculpt classes or using your body weight with push-ups, planks and squats all work.
12) Keep in mind that striving for perfection usually leads to disaster. Set small, goals and stair step your way to success by developing healthy habits.
13) Don’t DIET. Reverse the letters in the word and EDIT what you eat. Make it a lifestyle change toward healthier foods, not a deprivation plan.
14) Take one day a week for active recovery. It’s your day of rest from intense workouts, but you still move. Take a walk. Do a gentle yoga class. Just do something that’s less intense than what you do for exercise the other six days of the week.
15) Select healthier choices to have on standby in your fridge when hunger pains or emotional eating strikes, such as a bowl of fresh strawberries or blueberries.
16) Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80 percent of the time. Indulge occasionally, but make sure most of your choices are healthy.
17) Shop the perimeter of your grocery store—where food tends to be the healthiest and isn’t primarily packaged and processed.
18) Weigh yourself often to keep your weight at the top of your mind—so you don’t slip off track with inattention. But be realistic. Know your number can change due to water weight and hormones. Use it as a touch base, not a mood changer.
19) Get an accountability partner for exercise and weight loss support. Exercise together, share tips and swap encouragement.
20) Create a fail safe environment in your home by not stocking it with foods that tend to be your downfall.
21) Workout in the morning. When you get your workout in first thing, you are less likely to skip exercise. When you leave it to later in the day, you may get tired or your day may get away from you and lose your motivation to do it.
22) Display your results. Whether it’s the pounds you have lost, how many times you worked out this week, or a picture of you showing off results, display it to motivate you to keep it up!
23) Schedule exercise like an appointment. Write down exactly when you are going to workout in your calendar or planner. You are the boss of you. And you wouldn’t cancel and appointment with the boss, would you?
24) Make a list of positive affirmations that work for you. Here’s a few to get you started: I love to exercise. I want to live a healthy life and eat real healthy foods. I am strong. I am getting more fit each day.
25) Think two pounds at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with your ideal goal weight, just think in two pound weight loss increments. When you are down two, feel proud and then think about the next two pound loss.
26) Eat smaller portions—especially when you are eating an indulgence food.
27) Equip yourself with healthy products to support your healthy lifestyle. New gear is always a motivation to get moving! Check out my line of healthy products.
28) Eat slowly. Put your fork down in between bites.
29) Celebrate small wins! Choose a way to celebrate that doesn’t involve food. Buy a new workout outfit or pair of running shoes. Go to a spa for the day or get a pedicure. Or share your success with friends.
30) Creating muscle is the secret to a revved up metabolism. Think outside of the box when it comes to building strength and revving your metabolism. And by box, I mean dumbbell! Medicine balls and kettlebells are great pieces of equipment to throw into your gym routine to see results.
31) There’s no such thing as cheating. Don’t beat yourself up. What you decide to eat is a choice you make, it’s not cheating. Feeling guilty won’t help you to live a healthy lifestyle. Empower yourself to make a better choice next time.
32) Put yourself first. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you will be creating more problems than you are solving. Do something—however small—for yourself each day. Even if you only devote 30 minutes to your health each day, or do 10 minutes of exercise at a time throughout your day.
33) Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you are eating. Ask yourself if you really are hungry or if something else is going on that’s causing you to turn to food.
34) Never go more than two days in a row without exercise. This applies to your vacations too!
35) Swap a bad decision with a good one. If you have a giant plate of pasta or a big donut—whatever your splurge may be—connect it to exercise. The bigger your splurge, the bigger your workout.
36) Stop eating when you are satiated and not stuffed.
37) Make sure you have goals. Give yourself a fresh start with new goals. If it helps you, start with the end in mind and think about how you want to feel this time next year? Now work your way backwards with a plan!
38) Fidget. People who fidget and tap their toes under their desks, burn more calories in a day than those who don’t. So fidget away—if people think something is wrong with you, tell them you are burning extra calories!
39) Don’t start and stop, just keep going. One great way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your fitness regimen. It’s common for people to get psyched up and dive in to working out only to drop it altogether when the craziness of life intervenes. If you start overly ambitious, you are less likely to stick with your routine. If exercise is new to you, start off slow and aim for a few workouts per week and then increase as you go.
40) Make an irritation list. Oftentimes, what’s getting us down are a bunch of little irritants rather than one looming problem. If that sounds like you, capture all of those irritating things down on paper. Once you do, it’s your mission to get rid of a few each week. Think solutions!
41) Buy a journal. Often people get down in the dumps because they are on autopilot, going through their days just doing what they have to do. Writing in a journal or a notebook allows you to connect … with you. It may surprise you what comes off the tip of your pen and your thinking on paper may lead to some new insights for you.
42) If you have a desk job, consider a standing workstation. Or at the very least, stand up when you use the phone. If you are somewhere you can pace while using the phone, even better. People in constant motion burn more calories.
43) Set rules that work for you. Many people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off have set rules for themselves.
44) Make a list of bad habits you are willing to give up and the good habits you will start.
45) Drink more water. Get a stainless steel portable water bottle to take with you everywhere. And using less plastic is good for the environment. Most adults need about two quarts of fluid per day to replace normal water loss or approximately six to eight ounce glasses of water each day.
46) Change your limits and surprise yourself. You will feel exhilarated from the discovery that you can do more than you thought you could. So push yourself. When you surprise yourself, it will motivate you to keep going—or set your sights higher.
47) Don’t chase perfect, chase perfectly healthy. The best part about chasing healthy is it’s achievable. The perfect word can even be a trigger for some. It’s that all or nothing thinking—perfect or nothing at all. Focus on your health and its benefits: a healthier body, increased energy, boosted immunity, and an enhanced mood.
48) It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Calories in, calories out. Just work on burning more than you take in.
49) Ramp up the intensity on your workouts to rev up your metabolism and break through a plateau. Tabata workouts are an effective way to up the intensity while cutting time spent at the gym.
50) Read other success stories as motivation. Here are several success stories to check out!
51) Keep in mind that people have a tendency to underestimate the calories they consume and overestimate the calories they burn. Don’t think running a half marathon (or any form of exercise) means you can now eat whatever you want the rest of the day.
52) View each day as a clean slate. To practice self compassion means ditching beating yourself up at the slightest transgression. According to the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report, self-compassion can help people stick to healthy diets.
53) Active and Busy are not synonymous. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are active. Be in constant motion. To maximize calorie burn, you can’t just hit a gym class or go for a jog and then retire on your butt the rest of the day. Be active all day.
54) Curb cravings. The best way to create a craving is to tell yourself you can’t have it! If you are dying for a chocolate chip cookie and you end up eating a whole bag of fat free cookies to squelch the craving–you are doubling your calories. Instead of eating what you should, try eating what you are hungry for in smaller portions.
55) Zip it up. A more accurate gauge of how you are managing your weight than your scale is to put on and zip up those jeans in your closet. Remember your weight can vary depending on the time of the month, hormones, sodium intake and other factors. Your jeans could suddenly be baggy (score!); fit as they always have (terrific!); suddenly be snug (red flag!); or you can’t even get them on (alarm bell is ringing) time for behavior change.
56) Make a stop doing list. Sometimes it isn’t what you do, it’s what you need to stop doing that can help you achieve fitness. What behaviors are sabotaging your health? Make a list and then stop doing those things.
57) Find music that motivates. Music can help you take your workout up a notch if it’s music that appeals to you. Need some inspiration? Check out my playlist from Power Music.
58) Don’t compare yourself to others, it only puts you in a negative mindset. Compete against yourself instead.
59) Try yoga. Yoga is one my favorite classes to teach. Yoga can help you feel centered. It stretches and strengthens your body, improves your breathing and awareness, and empowers your mind.
60) Get enough sleep. How much you sleep and quite possibly the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your appetite. Bottom line: A lack of sleep can make you hungry. Aim for seven to eight hours each night. If you need help monitoring your sleep patterns – get a BodyMedia Armband.
61) Take before and after photos of yourself. Nothing can be more inspiring than to see how far you have come.
62) Follow me on Facebook for daily motivation, more tips, inspiration and encouragement.
63) Load up your Pinterest page with healthy recipes. Check out my recipe board!
64) Eat more greens. Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Swiss Chard or Collard Greens. Greens are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals to protect you against disease. Not a fan? Throw greens into smoothies with tropical fruit like pineapple and you won’t even taste them.
65) Use consistency to compound your results. It’s not what you do once in a while that counts, it’s what you do each day. Approach each day as an opportunity to be consistent with healthy habits. You will be amazed at your results.
66) Circuit training helps your burn calories and increase muscle. Circuit style workouts super charge your metabolism and help you shed pounds. By getting your heart rate up and working each muscle group, you can create a lean and sleek physique. My workout program, the 10 lb. Slimdown Xtreme can help you take off 10 pounds in 28 days through intense circuit training.
67) Aim to eat five servings of fruits and veggies daily.
68) Use Fitness Apps to never feel alone again. Use apps as motivators and accountability tools. Here are my favorite eight apps!
69) Follow me on Twitter. @ChrisFreytag for motivation and inspiration, great articles, weekly tips, and free recipes! A “healthy” Twitter feed can lead to healthy lifestyle changes.
70) Plan ahead. Use Sundays as prep days to eat healthy all week. Get enough produce and staple needed for the week. Make double or triple of your meal, and freeze the extra for future use. Grill up extra chicken breasts and use them in salads and one-pot dishes for the rest of the week. Make a batch of brown rice and keep it in the fridge for easy lunches, burritos, and stir fry.
71) Have healthy snacks on-hand solution for the munchies. When I really need to munch, I make popcorn because you can eat a lot for not many calories. Or how about baby carrots, apple slices or almonds. Put your snacks in baggies and carry them with you to avoid going through the drive thru in desperation.
72) Commit to a 5k to motivate you to train. Plus, you just may find out that the energy of the supportive crowds really motivate you to keep jogging—long after the race.
73) Be prepared for the morning frenzy. Freeze a few fruit smoothies to grab on my way out the door in the early mornings.
74) Download my Healthy Eating Guide. A game plan in the kitchen will keep you motivated and keep you on track!
75) Ramp it up slowly. If you hate exercise or have a challenge with time—getting it on your schedule—make incremental changes each week. Aim for 20 minute workouts at first. Or start with walking. Build upon your healthy habits each week—adding more time to your workouts or working out more frequently. You can ramp up your healthy eating habits in the same way—one small improvement at a time.
76) Don’t try fads and gimmicks. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Losing weight takes time and hard work, but you can do it.
77) Ditch excuses. I have heard them all—from lack of time to lack of motivation and everything in between. Excuses won’t lead to results. Excuses leave you stuck. For every problem there’s a solution. If time is your challenge, put exercise on your schedule like any other appointment. If it’s motivation you lack, just start.
78) Don’t expect the weight to come off fast. Be realistic! You aren’t going to become a gym rat overnight if you hated going to the before. You also shouldn’t set a goal to drop 20 pounds in one month. Setting unrealistic goals sets people up for failure and then they give up. Start smaller. Resolve to go to the gym two times a week if you never used to go before. Remember: It takes time to gain weight; it takes time to lose it.
79) Realize exercise and your diet are married … forever.You can’t lose weight with one and not the other—period. There’s no getting around it. Consistently burn more than you consume and you will be on your way to weight loss.
80) Same habits equal same results. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got. If you aren’t getting results, change what you are doing.
81) Watch your portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat. How many servings are in your portion? Often what we are eating isn’t a bad choice, but we are eating too much of it.
82) Make a green smoothie for breakfast. Breakfast: I typically make a green smoothie with frozen banana and pineapple, almond milk, coconut extract, kale and spinach. I just stuff all of the ingredients in the blender. This smoothie has vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients.
83) Find a healthy substitute for your most tempting food. I love ice cream, but most of the time I will substitute it with Greek yogurt sweetened with a little raw honey and I add berries and dark chocolate chips or walnuts.
84) Monitor your fitness. I am always talking about my Fitbit Flex because it allows you to do so much. During the day it tracks my steps, distance, and calories burned, and at night it tracks my sleep quality. I love knowing exactly what my activity levels have been for the day, and it motivates me to move more!
85) Don’t overdo it on cocktails. My cocktail of choice is red wine. A five-ounce glass typically has about 125 calories, much lower in calories than many other alcoholic beverages. (A margarita can have up to 800 calories!) Red wine also has antioxidants, making it good for your heart. Liquid calories add up fast, so opt for one glass only.
86) Don’t go to parties hungry. Don’t make the mistake of saving up your calories for the end of the day when you head to a party. When you are hungry, your portion control goes out the window. My trick for parties is to only fill my plate up once with my favorite appetizers and then stop eating.
87) Interval train. Twice a week, instead of going at a steady pace for 30 minutes, go easy for 3 minutes and hard for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern 5-6 times and you have a new workout and a calorie burning machine!
88) Develop a positive attitude. Your thoughts determine how you feel and often determine what you can accomplish. As Napoleon Hill once said,“What your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals.
89) Be prepared for busy. It’s always good to keep healthy snacks on you—especially if your schedule is crazy. I make apple cinnamon energy bars and freeze them so they are easy to grab on the go.
90) Aspire to eat clean.Focus on eating things that come mostly from plants and trees, sometimes animals, and eat less from boxes, bags, and take-out containers. Try to get the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, minimally processed whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds and lean meats and fish. Clean eating minimizes the presence of preservatives, chemically altered fats, extra sodium and artificial ingredients.
91) Eat healthy, not perfect. It doesn’t mean you will never consume another bag of chips or another brownie. It means you are aware that some food choices are more ideal than others. Don’t attach guilt to your choices, accept them. Enjoy that brownie while you are eating it and develop confidence that you will return right back to your healthy eating habits.
92) Go healthy first. When you are stressed out, you are producing higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol that can make you crave sweets and salty foods. Instead of trying to fight it, select a sweet or salty food that’s healthy for you. Before you reach for the donuts, make yourself a smoothie with your favorite fruit, nonfat milk and yogurt. If it’s salt you crave, eat some pickles, almonds or walnuts. Keep some of your healthy snacks on hand so you can easily turn to healthy options first.
93) Indulge once a week. Sometimes when people feel deprived of their favorite foods, they throw in the towel and give up on eating healthy. Instead, consciously indulge once a week. Choose one meal when you eat what you want, and get back to healthier eating for your next meal.
94) Empower yourself with exercise. You have probably heard it a zillion times, but exercise is one of the best ways to elevate your mood and alleviate stress. Plus, you often will feel so good after you finish a workout that you won’t want to ruin your calories burned with overindulging.
95) Track triggers. When do you stress eat? Keep a log of what triggers you. Eventually you can predict when you might stress eat and you can avoid those triggers. Choose healthy foods first by having them accessible—have a big bowl of veggies to fill you up, or snack on some strawberries ready to go in your fridge.
96) Cook at home more. We all know the portions served at restaurants are huge. Plus, you don’t always know what they are putting into your food. Escape the hidden calories and make your own food instead from fresh ingredients.
97) Cross train. You still want that cardiovascular exercise to stay in the schedule, but change the activity you are doing. Try a new cardio class at the gym or community center once a week. Hop on an elliptical cross trainer. Step into the world of biking if your feet are always on the ground. Anything different is going to be good.
98) Dr. Mehmet Oz is right when he says we need more meditation and less medication. Meditating is easy to do and its benefits are numerous. Reduce stress, improve your health, get centered, breathe better and get focused.
99) Plug into gratitude. It’s the key to happiness … seriously. How can you be unhappy when you are thinking about all the amazing things about your life? If you get in a habit of thinking thankfully throughout the day (list things you are grateful for in your head) I guarantee you will feel happier.
100) Drink lemon water first thing in the morning. Lemon water flushes out toxins, balances your pH, assists in weight loss, and boosts your immune system.
101) Eat MUFAs. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are good-for-you fats that promote heart health and can help reduce belly fat. Avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, olives, and dark chocolate are all MUFAs.