Trainer Tips: How to Improve Your Workout

| Fitness

Nothing is more frustrating than getting into the groove of a workout routine and then plateauing. The results you were seeing in the beginning are no longer visible, and you feel like you're sweating your buns off in vain. We talked to fitness trainers across the country and they offered simple tips to help you improve your fitness routine!

personal trainer

Keep four rubber bands on a 12-ounce water bottle and remove one each time you refill it. That will help you remember to get almost all your water in for the day, according to founder of Barre 3, Sadie Lincoln.

Eat more foods with fiber, healthy fat and healthy protein, such as almonds, fish oil, avocados and apples with peanut butter. Lincoln also advises against sugar late at night or early in the morning.

>> Recipe: PB Yogurt Dip + Apple Slices

Soak in a warm bath with about 2 cups of Epsom salt three nights a week. The Epsom salt will relax you, soothe your muscles and help you sleep, Lincoln said. For an even more relaxing effect, use some lavender essential oil as well!

Epsom salt, which is actually magnesium sulfate, can be absorbed through the skin and helps muscles in two ways, said Jay Cardiello, a globally recognized fitness and nutrition expert who trains Hollywood heavy hitters, chart-topping Grammy winners, TV personalities and top-ranked athletes.

  • Immediately after a workout, Cardiello suggests adding Epsom salt to cold water and soaking up to your navel. Exercising tears your muscle fiber, triggering more blood flow to that location and prompting the muscle to expand, he said. Like icing a child's injury, putting cold water on the inflammation increases the range of motion, Cardiello said.
  • Two or three days after a workout, Cardiello also recommends adding Epsom salt to a warm water soak to help relax muscles and increase the blood's supply of magnesium. One of his recipes calls for combining 2 to 4 tablespoons of yellow mustard or yellow mustard powder with 1 cup of Epsom salt. Mustard has anti-inflammatory properties, and Epsom salt helps remove toxins and impurities, Cardiello said. It helps increase blood flow to the muscles.

epsom salt

Sleep in exercise clothes to help ensure your day starts with a workout.

Work out in bed when you wake up, because doing pushups or planking on an unstable surface will train your body to fire up quickly.

Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth or do squats to help build muscles and improve your balance.

Dance while getting dressed. It's a fun way to burn 50 calories and boost your mood. Plus, incorporating that into your child's morning routine might make it way easier to get them out of their pajamas and into their clothes for the day.

Before working out, take a whiff of peppermint. It will help to alter your perception of how hard you're exercising, making your workout seem a little bit easier. Listening to music during your workout does the same thing!

Keep a journal of your exercise and diet, and share your progress and setbacks with supportive friends. Journals help keep you accountable when you've lost some motivation, and they're a great way to spot your strengths and weaknesses.


One of the most imperative things is changing your behavior, Cardiello said. "We quick-fix twice a year — at New Year's and the start of beach season — but nothing is going to happen overnight. A pattern has to be broken."

Every time you do a chore think of it as a mini workout, say Minna and David Herskowitz, founders of Wholly Fit and Sandbox Fitness. "When you clean, get into your workout clothes and try to break a sweat. When you're walking up the stairs with groceries, start curling those bags to give your biceps a quick workout."

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If your week is looking a little hectic and you want some solid gym time, just schedule it in. Make an appointment it in your calendar as if it were a doctor's appointment. You schedule everything else out in your life; why not schedule your workouts?

Find some sort of class that is fun and you don't think of as exercise. Our life is what our thoughts make of it, say the Herskowitzes. Find something you enjoy and soon you will be having workout dates instead of lunch or dinner dates!

Have a minimum weekly number of workouts in mind, says Pat Barone, certified personal trainer, certified weight management counselor and certified yoga instructor. "Most people trying to lose weight want to work out every day," Barone said. "This is a disaster for women, whose bodies need replenishment time more than men. Shoot for four times a week and you are more likely to succeed and not get discouraged. If you are new to working out, try two times a week to get started. Your body needs to acclimatize to the new movements. Most fitness routines fail via injury."