101 fantastic fitness tips

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Expert fitness advice

On a mission to get fit? You’ve come to the right place…

Our bloggers and gyms ‘top tips’ posts proved so popular, we decided to create one mega resource full of the best tips and tricks to keep you fit.

From practical tips to nutrition and supplement advice, don’t miss out on the best of fitness wisdom from our favourite fitness experts (including sports legend Colin Jackson)!

Don’t have time to read all 101 tips now? Save it for later by downloading 101 Fantastic Fitness Tips here.

Beginner Tips

Man or Bodybuilder with his personal fitness trainer in the gym exercising sport with dumbbells

Let’s start at the very beginning…

1. Stay active

Stay as active as possible during your daily life. Move more: take regular brisk walks, always take the stairs, habitually stand up and move around whenever possible. If you have a ‘desk job’ then carry out lots of practical tasks like gardening and cleaning when you have spare time.
Duncan, BodyGuards.

2. Do something

Do something. Anything. By doing something that raises your heart rate you are already doing far better than doing nothing at all, so don’t worry about how small you start, get going and stay with it.
Richard, Alive Fitness & Natural Health.

3. Do the boring stuff

Do the boring stuff. Warm ups, warm downs and stretching are not the most fun thing during training but it’s very important. Be smart with training and don’t risk injuring yourself.
Jenhao, MMA Verse.

4. Start now

Don’t wait for holidays, new years, next week or next month, don’t put it off, today is the first day of the rest of your life so start now. As in today!
Richard, Alive Fitness & Natural Health.

5. Perfect your posture

Always keep good posture when doing an exercise.
Charlotte, Fit For Free.

6. Females lift weights

Ladies! Lifting weights and taking protein won’t make you muscly!
Anthea, Muscleworks Enfield.

7. Do what you enjoy

Pick something you enjoy. Only you know what you will and more importantly will not enjoy. By all means be open to trying new activities, but by doing something you know you’ll enjoy you are much more likely to stick at it. This perseverance will have you on the road to a fitter and healthier lifestyle in no time at all.
Richard, Alive Fitness & Natural Health.

Cardio Tips

Female running athlete. Woman trail runner sprinting for success goals and healthy lifestyle.

Keep your heart healthy with cardio

8. Run walk

A good run walk strategy is always a good idea when it comes to both beginners and ultra distances.
Simon, &Adapt.

9. Avoid hills on long runs

Running hills? Save that for the mad people. Walk the hills to conserve energy. Energy conservation is the name of the game when running ultras.
Simon, &Adapt.

10. Warm up first

If you are playing football (or any sport for that matter), warm up properly without the ball first. Do a couple of laps of the pitch before trying to do a Rooney/Beckham.
Dan, Supplement Centre.

11. Get off road

Get off road for some of your runs.
John, John Kynaston’s ultra running diary.

12. Don’t think in miles

On a long run, try to avoid thinking about how many miles you still have left to go. Think about soup, politics, religion, kittens, Star Wars. ANYTHING but how many miles you still have left to go.
Jay, Born To Plod.

13. A mile is a mile

Whether it’s a 14 minutes mile or a 7 minute mile, it’s still a mile.
Beki, Miss Wheezy.

Equipment Tips

Aerobic Pilates stuff like mat balls roller magic ring rubber bands on wooden floor

These extras will take your training up a notch

14. Foam roller

Invest in a foam roller and learn how to use it! Great for warming up and cooling down, getting those hard to reach muscles working. On a budget? Try a cricket/lacrosse ball. Much cheaper but just as effective as a sports massage.
Liam, Worksop Rugby Union Football Club.

15. Suspension trainer

Use a suspension trainer. You basically hang it from an internal door and use your own body weight to perform exercises, adjusting the position of your feet will make the exercise easier or harder. It’s a great total body workout so you’re working multiple muscles at the same time.
Paul, Father Fitness.

16. Thera-bands

Thera-bands are a useful piece of kit to help activate the muscles before workouts and rehab after injury.
Liam, Worksop Rugby Union Football Club.

17. Deep heat

You can never have enough deep heat. It smells nice, keeps your muscles warm and is great for aching oldies.
Dan, Supplement Centre.

Etiquette Tips

Sports dumbbells in modern sports club. Weight Training Equipment

Don’t make a bad impression

18. Don’t drop the weights

Don’t drop the weights, it’s really annoying.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson.

19. Don’t curl

Do not curl in the squat rack.
Amy, Breeze’s Gym.

20. Don’t stare

Guys – don’t stare at the girls, they are there to train, not to entertain you. Ladies – the same applies when it comes to good looking guys.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson.

21. Don’t get in the way

Do not train directly in front of the dumbbell racks, yes train into a mirror but get away from the racks so that other people can use them.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

22. Be careful with dumbbells

Do not drop dumbbells and put them back after you are finished with them.
Ben, Breeze’s Gym.

23. Put the weights away

Put your weights away, if you’re strong enough to use them you’re strong enough to put them away.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson.

24. Don’t be loud

Try and censor the noises you make when training.
Natasha, Breeze’s Gym.

25. Be polite and respectful

After training be polite and respectful to anyone that asks your advice, you should be flattered that they’re asking you anything.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

Mentality Tips

Yoga woman sitting in lotus pose on the beach during sunset, with reflection in water

Get your mindset right

26. Do some maths

I love doing maths while running long distances. I try and figure out how far I have run in some obscure fraction of the total race, for example I just ran 4/24ths! I think you may need a love for numbers to do that though! I do find this helps me with my pacing too though.
Simon, &Adapt.

27. Get into character

Get into character before you start, turn your phone off and stop making idle chit chat with everyone.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

28. Don’t make excuses

There is no such thing as a good excuse. Whether the excuse is lack of time to train, too busy to eat, can’t make it to the gym etc, there is always a way round them. So if your serious about getting results then stop making excuses and start making plans to achieve them.
Rich, Results Conditioning.

29. Prepare mentally

Mental preparation is just as, if not more important than the physical.
Michaela, Breeze’s Gym.

30. Don’t compete

Don’t compete with the person next to you, it doesn’t matter what they’re doing.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

31. Tell your brain to shut up

There are plenty of sophisticated training tips out there, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for simply telling your brain to shut up and let you get on with it.
Jay, Born To Plod.

32. Don’t waste time

Gym banter is great, it keeps positive aggression going, but don’t just stand there “shooting the breeze”, you’re wasting everyone’s time including your own.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson.

33. Perseverance is key

Persevere. Do not give up unless you get injured or become ill. Stick with your regime at all costs. Perseverance is the key, just ask the Tortoise!
Richard, Alive Fitness and Natural Health.

Motivational Tips

Male Runner Success

Time to get motivated

34. Pain = happiness

Todays pain is tomorrow happiness.
Dean, Gordon’s Gym.

35. Be grateful

When I’m struggling on a run, or with a particularly tough workout, I just remember how lucky I am to be able to do this – because after all, I run or lift or cycle because I love it.
Beki, Miss Wheezy.

36. Get a mantra

A little running mantra to keep you going is always a motivator.
Simon, &Adapt.

37. Find a friend

Whatever your chosen activity may be finding someone to enjoy it with you and to provide you with support is worth it’s weight in gold. That is why clubs and classes often work so well, the camaraderie that we get from each other is often what really makes the activity.
Richard, Alive Fitness and Natural Health.

38. Read motivational quotes

When your ego takes a battering it’s very easy to find excuses and stop training, stay at home on the couch and waste away watching TV. I’ve been at this stage many times in my fifteen years of training and teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I find motivational quotes to read before a training/coaching session have helped me immensely over the years. One of my favourites is: ‘Let your obstacles become your fuel, then put on your gi and light a fire.’
Carl, Combat Base Bolton.

39. Commit Publicly

Tell people what you plan to do, publicly if possible, the more people you tell the better, it makes you responsible for the outcome and ensures failure is known and embarrassing. Write your goal down for you and your friends/family to see, they can help too. Having help is OK. It’s not cheating and will in fact increase the likelihood of your success.
Richard, Hams Fitness.

40. Train insane

Train insane or remain the same.
Josh, Breeze’s Gym.

41. Make failure too painful

Make failure more painful than the effort of success. Be it humiliation, financial or the respect of loved ones…find which trigger hurts you the most and use it.
Richard, Hams Fitness.

42. Prepare to struggle

All that is worthy of attainment is born through struggle.
Michaela, Breeze’s Gym.

43. Just do it

Sometimes the hardest part of training or eating right is to actually just ‘do it’! This is down to your motivation level, which can be affected by a whole host of things. Successful people push through the ‘I really can’t be bothered’ stage and somehow motivate themselves to just ‘do it anyway’. In order to be more like these people you need to find something such as music, a speech, a video, anything that sparks your motivation into life. Use it whenever you need it to give you that little kick you may need to start you off.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

44. No one is perfect

No one is perfect, there is always room for improvement.
Michaela, Breeze’s Gym.

45. Learning curve

F.A.I.L. = First Attempt In Learning.
Colin Jackson, Olympic Athlete.

46. Lift correctly

Lift light and right not heavy and wrong.
Dean, Gordon’s Gym.

47. Move to music

Get an awesome soundtrack!
Danielle, I Eat Therefore I Run.

Nutrition Tips

Health food ingredients in white porcelain bowls over papyrus background.

Nutrition plays an important role

48. Count calories

Just guessing what you eat for the day is a recipe for failure. I promise. Use My Fitness Pal or Weight Watchers. They both have mobile applications so there really is no excuse not to. Add what you eat to the apps when you eat them, not hours later when you have forgotten what you really ate. Studies show overweight people under report calorie intake by as much as 50% when self reporting at the end of the day.
Richard, Hams Fitness.

49. Eat real food

Eat real food. Might seem like a bit of a strange statement, but it is become more and more common for athletes and even casual trainees to consume large quantities of supplements, especially weight gainers and protein powders instead of real food. Supplements do have their place and can be extremely beneficial, but only to a good diet consisting of real food.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

50. Hydrate yourself

When exercising aim for 220-250ml of water per 15 mins as a rough guide
Dom, Supplement Centre.

51. Cheat

Have one cheat day per week.
Ian, Lougars Gym.

52. Keep your gut happy

Take a probiotic to improve your gut health and digestion.
Duncan, Bodyguards Gym.

53. Eat stuff you like

Choose foods that you actually like – I appreciate that this can be difficult depending on what you are trying to achieve with your diet but it will be much easier to stick with if you at least enjoy it slightly! Like most things when you start out it may be a bit difficult, but give it a few consistent weeks it will become a ‘habit’ that is much easier to stick with.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

54. Take fish oils

Take fish oils to boost omega-3 intake and look to balance your omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Duncan, Bodyguards Gym.

55. Caffeinated drinks remove water

Any caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee actually remove water from the body as they are diuretics so this will have to be compensated for. So drink plenty of water. Water helps the body do virtually every function it needs and an adequate amount of it will allow the body to do its job that much more efficiently.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

56. Prioritise post workout nutrition

Post workout nutrition is important, the quicker you recover the quicker you can get back out there!
Simon, &Adapt.

57. Go for good carbs

Good carb sources include wholegrain rice, sweet potatoes and oats.
Ian, Lougars Gym.

58. Avoid diet foods

Eat whole foods, not diet foods! You’ll soon get into the habit of choosing your food based on what your body is craving in terms of nutrition, and eating more – rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating and fuelling your body on processed foods and sugary empty carbohydrates. If you can’t understand the ingredients on a food label, it’s probably not good for you!
Nicola, We Do Run Run.

59. Diet is king

Remember that you can come to the gym every day, but if you don’t stick to the diet then it’s all a waste of time.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson.

60. Protein for breakfast

Have a hearty, protein fuelled breakfast and avoid cereals or processed foods.
Duncan, Bodyguards Gym.

61. Eat before you train

Always have something to eat before going to the gym. Lack of food means lack of energy which will affect your workout.
Charlotte, Fit For Free.

62. Practice event nutrition

Practice your nutrition before any big event such as a race or competition.
Simon, &Adapt.

63. Don’t overcomplicate things

Do not overcomplicate nutrition. If you want to build muscle and gain weight, eat in a calorie surplus. If you want to burn fat and lose weight then eat in a calorie deficit. Many think that if they eat healthy they will build a better physique, however this focus on the types of foods is less important for body composition, than the amount of food you eat. Healthy foods are however essential for optimum health.
Erny, Worlds Fittest.

64. Don’t mistake thirst for hunger

Thirst can be mistaken for hunger so some people may actually think they need to eat something, adding extra calories to their diet, which are unnecessary.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

65. Clear out the cupboards

Clear out the cupboards and refrigerator of all the junk foods like crisps, cakes, sweets and snacks that are calorie dense and will sabotage your results, if they are not in the house you won’t eat them. Having them for your kids is the single most heartbreaking excuse I’ve ever heard.
Richard, Hams Fitness.

66. Exert control

Remember, you have complete control over what you put in your mouth and eat. No one ever ate anything by accident!
Duncan, Bodyguards Gym.

67. Drink between meals

Drink between 500-800ml of water between meals. It helps cravings and will keep you hydrated.
Steven, Barry.

68. Food is mood

Food is mood, so if you are having a bit of a low point eat something you love. Our emotions are often entangled with food, so eating something related to a positive emotion lifts us up.
Simon, &Adapt.

Planning Tips

Smiling sporty brunette using a laptop and sitting next to dumbbells on the floor

Fail to plan, plan to fail

69. Make a plan

I meet and know so many people who ‘just make it up’ or as they put it ‘train how I feel’! This is okay I suppose until you just don’t feel like training hard or doing a particular exercise, etc. then you just don’t progress! You need to make a plan and set yourself some goals. The simpler the plan, the better. However they need to be specific; setting a goal to get stronger or run faster is a wish not a goal! Try changing the wording to something like “I want to add 50Kgs to my squat” or “shave 5 minutes off my 3 miler”. This way you will give yourself a more specific target to aim at and work towards.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

70. Don’t be afraid to alter your plan

Go with a plan of what you’re going to do but don’t be afraid to make alterations during the workout should circumstances dictate that.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

71. Be proactive

Find out what is out there, whether it’s clubs, associations, societies, physical resources, go and discover what is available and if something isn’t available that you think should be then why not set it up yourself?
Richard, Alive Fitness and Natural Health.

72. Challenge yourself

Have a goal in sight. whether it be training to compete in a race, charity challenge or something much more modest, your goal is your own as is your journey. Be careful and pick something that is both challenging but achievable then break it down into a series of mini targets that will motivate you to continue your journey.
Richard, Alive Fitness and Natural Health.

73. Avoid Temptation.

Avoid the people and situations in your life that will not support or help your goal. Really. Don’t get yourself in a situation that will test your self restraint. Seems obvious but is often over looked.
Richard, Hams Fitness.

74. Record your weights.

It’ll help you make sure you’re progressing and increasing volume. If you want muscle size gains, keep an eye on intensity too. With my elite athletes the intensity is much higher than the volume, and for my guys who want to build muscle, a period of high volume always goes down well. Recording this in a book or even on a spread sheet is a great way of keeping up to date. You’ll also be able to see when you hit a plateau, then you know it’s time for a change.
Danny, FST Fitness.

75. Take measurements

You can’t manage what you don’t measure – before you start training there needs to be a baseline measurement so that you can see progressions that have or have not been made. You must be training towards a goal!
Paige, Fit8.

Sleep & Rest Tips

Senior Man Relaxing In Hammock

Remember to chill out from time to time

76. Don’t ignore injuries

Deal with injuries – don’t ignore them!
John, John Kynaston’s Ultra Running Diary.

77. Don’t overtrain

Over training benefits no one, improvement is gained through rest.
Michaela, Breeze’s Gym.

78. Have an easy week

Build in rest days and easy weeks.
John, John Kynaston’s Ultra Running Diary.

79. Longer split = more rest

Do not constrain yourself to a 7 day split, why not a 9, 10 or a 14 day split? More rest = more growth and recuperation.
Ian, Lougars Gym.

Strength Training Tips

Bodybuilder doing exercise with a heavy weight bar inside gym

Time to get those muscles working

80. Prioritise form

Style and form are way more important than the amount of weight that you lift.
Kevan, Kevan Wilson Blog.

81. Make it easy

Forget the complicated stuff. Strive every workout to add 2.5kg, 1 rep, or a shorter rest period. Even if it’s just adding 1 rep to a set of 10, it will add up as the weeks go by.
Yusef, Propane Fitness.

82. Dedicate to the deadlift

I know people preach deadlifts like it’s Gospel, but I feel they are not done enough (or correctly). It’s a full body workout all in one. You just cannot beat it.
Jesse, Muscle Guide.

83. Practise pull-ups

Bodyweight exercises are a great test of strength, if you can do 20 pull-ups you are getting there!
Simon, &Adapt.

84. Focus on your core

Core is often neglected. It’s an important part of your overall fitness balance. Without strengthening your core, you can end up with many muscle imbalances and pains such as back problems. Core exercises develop the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to give you the stability and strength to continue building your glamour muscles correctly.
Jesse, Muscle Guide.

85. Don’t neglect your lower back

Want a stronger core? That means work on the lower back too, not just the six pack!
Simon, &Adapt.

86. Go explosive

Mixing explosive movements with pure strength exercises enables large leaps in strength e.g. Starting Strength style workouts.
Simon, &Adapt.

87. Use fatter handles

When trying to increase the size of your arms try using fatter handles. This could be by using Fat Gripz themselves or by using a fat bar or just by wrapping a towel or tape around the bar or dumbbell. This will make a HUGE difference to the level of contraction of the forearms and biceps during the exercise and should boost your growth after only a few weeks. Don’t use it for everything though, as it can be tough on the wrists and elbows, so start with a few sets and build it in slowly.
Russell, Conditioning Centre.

88. Press ups rule the roost

If you don’t have a gym membership or access to weights, press ups rule the roost.
Simon, &Adapt.

89. Favour compound lifts

When either following or compiling a workout routine look to utilise the main big compound lifts and minimise the amount of isolation exercises you perform. This is especially beneficial to those that want to build strength and muscle and may have limited time. By concentrating on things like the squat, deadlifts, bench press, overhead barbell press and weighted chin ups you can maximise the amount of work and weight you can lift in the minimal amount of time.
Justin, L.E.A.N.

90. Breathe correctly

Always breathe correctly when doing an exercise. For example, with a bench press, breathe out on the effort part of the exercise and breathe in when bringing the weight back down to the start position.
Charlotte, Fit For Free.

91. Practise what you hate

The things you like the least should be practised the most.
Michaela, Breeze’s Gym.

92. Start with bodyweight drills

When training for speed and power try super-setting your heavy work with unloaded bodyweight drills. If you pair up heavy back squats with unloaded box jumps, jump squats or sprints you should be able to jump higher and run faster due to the high level of activation of the muscles from heavy squats.
Russell, Conditioning Centre.

93. Use full range of motion

Use full range of motion to get maximum benefit from each exercise.
Charlotte, Fit For Free.

94. More sets, less reps

When training for size try using more sets of less reps. Most people use rep ranges of 10-15 for 3-4 sets when training for hypertrophy (muscle mass), this approach definitely works. But a good way to boost your growth would be to do 5-8 sets of 5-8 reps instead. This allows you to train at a higher load but still get the same volume of reps done.
Russell, Conditioning Centre.

95. Break up your sets

When training for maximum strength try using cluster sets. This is when you break your set up into smaller chunks. Rather than doing heavy sets of 4 reps with 3 minutes rest in between you should try splitting the 4 reps into 2 lots of 2s with 30 seconds rest between each cluster of 2 reps.
Russell, Conditioning Centre.

96. Try drop sets

Drop Sets! Start at highest weight and do 3 sets immediately after one another dropping the weight by 25% each time. This is a good way to shock the muscle into growth.
Charlotte, Fit For Free.

Style Tips

Young  attractive woman exercising in a gym

Better not bench in those!

97. Be comfy

Train in comfortable clothes, not ones that get you noticed.
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

98. Cover your underwear

Keep your trousers or shorts pulled up. What is that all about when people wear them so low that you can see half of their underwear? Grow up, don’t do it!
Kevan, Peak Physique and Fitness Gym.

99. Get rid of your clothes

Donate your wardrobe so that you have no clothes to wear if you stay this size then go out and buy new ones in the size you want to be.
Richard, Ham’s Fitness.

100. Avoid short shorts

Don’t bench with short shorts on.
Andy, Breeze’s Gym.

101. Grey + cardio = no

Don’t wear grey sweat pants when doing cardio.
Natasha, Breeze’s Gym.

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