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by Casey McIlvaine

Anyone that has accomplished anything that is worthwhile knows that there is no such thing as a shortcut. This is an axiom that those pursing physical fitness deal with every day. Although the experienced personal trainer understands this better than anyone, they do provide what some might consider “secret shortcuts” that can streamline the time it takes to get certain results. The caveat to this is that it’s important to understand that a shortcut does not necessarily mean easier.

One of the so called “secrets” of the health and fitness world that is currently all the rage is the concept of choosing workouts that work you harder over shorter durations. Interval or circuit training has been around for some time and works to maximize positive impact during everything from treadmill work, running outside, and biking to lifting weights.

By working harder for shorter durations to elevate the heart rate, your body will work harder to get the rate back down. The effect is to burn more calories than during conventional durations and cycles of these exercises.

Circuit training is another “shortcut” to maximized results in fitness. In circuit training, the person breaks up strength training exercises with cardio, which can help reduce the time you devote to each strength training session and separate cardio sessions. Both of these approaches require a firm understanding of the individual’s current state of health and monitoring to be both effective and safe, which is why it is something best done under the supervision of a personal trainer.

Another supposed shortcut that personal trainers reveal to their clients is that results will happen faster when they work out beyond the sessions with the personal trainer. This may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people that think one or two sessions a week will yield miraculous results.

Getting in shape takes regular exercise and a proper nutrition plan. Although a person’s finances may not allow for more sessions per week with a personal trainer, a big part of the trainer’s job is to help the client by developing an exercise program that they can regularly perform outside of the scheduled sessions.

Strength training is one of the best shortcuts to weight loss because it maintains and increases your muscle mass while decreasing the percentage of body fat through more efficient calorie burning. Paring this with the right diet and nutrition along with drinking more water to flush toxins can make a long process of gaining a healthier body a much shorter path.

At first glance, keeping a food journal may not seem to be a shortcut to results. The reality is that by keeping track of what and when you eat, it is much easier to stay on track and thereby shorten the time that it takes to reach a fitness goal.

Everyone thinks that they understand the strong connection between the mind and the body, but few realize on their own how much stress can hamper health and make it harder to achieve fitness goals. Constant tension elevates the stress hormone cortisol. Anything you do to dampen that physiological response can help your health.

The best personal trainers incorporate stress-relieving exercises and even meditation into their sessions so that clients can utilize them daily as a way to deal with life’s everyday stressors. Since researchers have shown that most illnesses are related to stress, it stands to reason that lowering your stress level will keep you healthier and make it easier to achieve fitness goals.

What many people see as shortcuts are just fallacies that work to set us back in reaching our goals. Reaching any goal requires hard work. When it comes to fitness and health, the only shortcuts that work are those that require us to work harder and pay closer attention to our bodies. Although these are not truly secrets that are the province of personal trainers, they have the necessary skills to understand where, how. and when to implement them to achieve desired results in the shortest amount of time.

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