Fitness Advice I Wish I’d Known Sooner

Top trainers and athletes share what they’ve learned about fueling the body, finding motivation, and having fun

March 16, 2011
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They say wisdom comes with experience. This adage holds true at work, home, and, yes, even the gym. We asked some of our favorite trainers and athletes to share fitness advice they've gleaned over the years. Read on and see what they say about getting stronger, fighting cravings, staying focused, and enjoying the ride.

The beginner's guide to running

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Exercise with Intent

"People focus too much on weight, dress sizes, and tape measurements--and those aren't motivating. What gets me going is: I'm 52, and because I work out, I know my fitness will improve and my immune system will stay strong, and my body will prevent injuries. I like being fit, strong, coordinated, and agile."
--Tony Horton, creator of P90X workout series and author of Bring It!

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Consume More Fluid

"The average American, and that includes athletes, is chronically dehydrated. Dehydration leads to diminished performance during exercise, including slower paces, lower power outputs, and shortened times to exhaustion. In other words, when you're dehydrated your workouts are less effective. And if you start a workout already dehydrated, it's going to be nearly impossible to have the best workout you are capable of. Most athletes--and most Americans--would benefit from consuming at least 40 ounces more fluid each day than they do right now."
--Chris Carmichael, owner of Carmichael Training Systems, who helped coach Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles

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Build Muscle the Smart Way

"Lift weights at least three times per week. Ladies, don't be afraid to use weights--they will not make you big and bulky. Drink a protein shake with at least 20 g of protein within 30 minutes of a workout. And you must eat high-powered foods that will help with muscle replenishment, like lean proteins, complex carbs, good fats, and lots and lots of water."
--Todd Durkin, CSCS, author of The IMPACT! Body Plan

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Fight Cravings by Foot

"Walking is vastly underrated as an exercise. Whenever you are hungry, try walking as a first defense to mobilize stored body fat and eliminate the cravings."
--Mark Sisson, former triathlete and author of The Primal Blueprint

Video: Rev your heart rate with a round of walking knee hugs

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Make Fitness Fun

"Get into a good habit before you get to a certain age and think, Oh no, my body is breaking down. Make [fitness] part of your lifestyle. If it's not fun you won't stick with it. Make sure it's something you enjoy and not something you think you should be doing. Not everyone in the world is going to want to come to yoga every day."
--Tara Stiles, owner of Strala Yoga in New York City and author of Slim Calm Sexy Yoga

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Lose Weight by Lifting Weights

"Don't be afraid to lift weights. Cardio is not nearly as important as resistance training [for weight loss]. For those who circuit train, work on keeping the heart rate up. I have my clients [perform] five to six exercises without resting."
--Jackie Warner, author of This Is Why You're Fat (And How to Get Thin Forever) and ambassador to the Fit In Your Skin wellness campaign

Bing: Find the best circuit training workouts

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Stick to the Plan

"Make a schedule that you can't break, whether it's meeting a friend for a ride or meeting your trainer at the gym. There are days that even the most dedicated athlete has a hard time getting out of bed, but having a deadline helps push you out the door. And you will feel much better about yourself after you get the endorphins flowing again."
--Christian Vande Velde, Tour de France contender who rides for Team Garmin-Cervelo

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