I recently came across an article on Livestrong.com titled 23 Secrets From The World’s Best Trainers. Any time I see something like this, I am immediately suspicious and have seen far too many “experts” claim to have the secret sauce recipe for getting fit.
Also be aware that the “best” trainers in the world are completely subjective and if you look at 10 similar articles, you will find many of the world’s “best” trainers are different from the others.
After reading it though, I realized that these were far from secrets, but did offer up some good, solid, advice. I chose my 6 favorite ones and share my thoughts on each below.
6 “Secrets” From The World’s Top Trainers
1) Forget about the fat burning zone.
This came from Juan Carlos Santana, the founder of The Institute of Human Performance, who is a highly reputable strength coach and someone I know to be a legit source.
He says: “Stop worrying about the exact percentage of fat you burn during exercise (i.e. staying in the ‘fat burning’ zone), and instead focus on the total calories burned from fat (which include the calories you burn after an intense strength session). To burn more fat over a 24-hour period (and not to mention, get in great shape), go as hard as you can, as long as you can.”
My take: Over the years, I have had a ton of clients ask me about the fat burning zone; what it is, where theirs was, and if they needed to be in it. My answer is always the same, “don’t worry about it.”
Traditional fitness wisdom has told us that the fat burning zone is when we are working at a heart rate of between 60% and 75% of our maximum. And while there is some truth in this; the body does actually burn a higher percentage of fat at lower intensities, working at a higher intensity (HIIT) burns far more calories in total. And when you burn more calories, you burn more fat.
So focus on higher intensity cardiovascular exercise even if the time frame is shorter.
2) Pump more iron.
This tip is from Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist and adjunct professor of exercise and sports sciences at Florida International University.
She says: “One of the best tips I can give to anyone who wants to change the shape of their body is to lift weights. Specifically, lift heavy weights and perform multi-joint exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and push presses. If your goal is to look toned and lose belly fat, combine 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio and 20 minutes of strength training for your workout — you’ll be finished in just 40 minutes and be in the best shape of your life.”
My take: I couldn’t agree more. Building lean muscle tissue is the best way to burn fat, increase metabolism, and get the physique you know you want.
Women and men alike will benefit from progressive strength training, so don’t think throwing around heavy weight is just for dudes. If you think that doing endless amounts of cardio is the fastest way to get into shape, you are mistaken. Lifting heavy (for you) weights is the best way to change your body, period.
3) Make an emotional connection.
This is from Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, creator of the Core Transformer workout program.
She says: “Most people don’t truly enjoy exercise, but studies show that when you connect with something you like — whether it’s a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness video, or piece of equipment- you make a positive emotional connection and are significantly more inclined to stick with that exercise routine. Find a way to create a positive emotional connection