6 Ways to Exercise Like a Fitness Pro

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Personal trainers are experts on exercise. They know all the best ways to burn fat, tone up and build muscle, which is why a personal trainer is a hot commodity—something on the wish list of many. Celebrities have them. "Biggest Losers" get them, too. And all the rest of us regular people who aren't movie or reality TV stars just wish we could have them. But do personal trainers exercise differently than you do? If you could find out their secrets—free—perhaps you could reach your goals without paying for a trainer yourself.

I recently came across an article from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that talked about the top nine fitness tricks that professional trainers use to stay fit. Being a fitness pro myself, I thought it'd be interesting to see how many of these things I do, too. And since all of you want to be fit people, you can benefit by incorporating these tips into your workouts.

Here are some of the best tips from the article:

1. Wear a heart-rate monitor and follow the two-day rule. Working out without my heart rate monitor is like working out naked! I'm so used to relying on it that I can't believe I went to long without using it. I consider it a must-have tool for every exerciser. This "two-day rule" means never go more than two days between workouts. This is actually a great piece of advice, not only because taking too many days off can make it harder to get back on the wagon, but also because taking more than two days to recover can actually decrease your fitness level substantially.

2. Schedule the time for your workouts.
I've actually blogged about this one before—I think it's a great tip for any exerciser, especially when you have trouble fitting in your workouts.

3. Enter competitions.
Last summer, I ran my first 5K. It was so motivating, that I plan to do another one—and maybe even a 10K this year. Entering a race or other competition is a big motivator. After you pay your entry fee and mark your calendar, you have no choice but to train for the event.

4. Do circuit training with minimal rest periods to increase the intensity of the workout.
I also use this trick. I NEVER spend time just sitting around or waiting at the gym, not even between exercises. I move from one exercise to the next, never sitting still. Not only does it keep my heart rate up, which increases calorie burn, but it also makes your whole workout go by faster so that you spend less time exercising.

5. Try all the latest fitness trends.
Now, I wouldn't say to try ALL trends. Some things are short-lived trends for a reason. The new trends to try are usually new workout classes and DVDs. When it comes to trends, my advice would be to avoid new fitness products until they've been proven safe and effective.

6. Cross-train, including many different formats of exercise throughout the week.
This is something that anyone can follow! When you cross train, you prevent plateaus, keep your muscles guessing, and improve your overall fitness level better than if you just did a single form of exercise. For example, I love Spinning class, but I always try to do a different form of cardio at least twice a week, such as walking, running, using the elliptical trainer, or doing an aerobic workout DVD at home.

Check out all nine of ACE's tips here. Turns out, I incorporate seven out of these nine tips into my fitness program (I don't commute to work or do much speed/agility work). I guess the pros do know a thing or two!

How many of these tricks do you use? Which ones would you like to start using?