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30 Tips to help freshen up your gym bag!

30 Tips to help freshen up your gym bag!

Get ready to pack your bags and hit the gym with a whole new attitude!

Fitness tips come across in many shapes and sizes. One thing we like to do here at Merritt is bring you first hand insights, from our very own trainers. It’s our way of saying… we want to help you accomplish your goals, period. Occasionally, we also have some group fitness instructors give their favorite tips so we hope you enjoy!

For even more ways to exercise and #feeltheburn workouts, ask the experts, click here


“Master FORM first, then add extra resistance.” -Maritza Rodriguez, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Our bodies perform like machines. They need fuel often! So don’t starve yourself and force your body into starvation mode because it won’t perform well. Eat something every 1-2 hours and enjoy snacks no bigger than your fist. This will also help increase your metabolism!” -Ray Salas, Merritt Personal Trainer


“In pilates it is vital to make each movement with control, concentration, and precision so that the non-moving muscles are just as involved in stabilization as those that are flowing are in expansion.” -Bob Mcdowell, Merritt Pilates Instructor


“Don’t like the saying “calories in vs. calories out”. Other than the total calories your body needs think also about the quality of your meals. Eating 1800 calories of pure sodas, chips and cookies are definitely not the same if you compare it with 1800 calories of lean meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats.” -Maritza Rodriguez, Merritt Personal Trainer


“When doing a plank it’s important to keep good form. Your spine should be nice and neutral. Your neck should be aligned so that you are looking straight down while holding your plank position. There should be no bend in your spine or neck during this exercise. If you are unable to maintain this position in a full plank some modifications include taking your forearms and taking your knees.” –Shannon Hampt, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Look for challenges. When you get close to achieving your goals, set new ones. Exercise/fitness is progressive; there is no end of the road. Each day/week/month you build on what you’ve already done.”


“Training with weights won’t make you look bulky! Challenging the body with heavy weights (along with cardio and a healthy diet of course) produces a lean and defined appearance, as opposed to a thick and bulky one.” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Work the same muscle in different ways to train it more completely. For example, do pushups with wide-arm stance, narrow arm, diamonds, one-armed, etc.”


“Go to the grocery store prepared with a list of what you need and avoid shopping hungry to avoid impulse buys. Another rule is to buy around the perimeter of the store where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats and avoid the middle aisles where you’ll usually find processed foods full of sugar, sodium, artificial flavors, coloring and preservatives.” -Maritza Rodriguez, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Complete exercises through the full range of motion. For example, when doing the bench press, lower the bar all the way to the chest and lift all the way to full arm extension, or when doing the lat pull down, start with arms fully extended and pull the bar all the way to the chest. This strengthens the muscle through the full range of motion and trains it more completely.”


“One of the best ways to lose more weight: Sleep more hours! You snooze, and you lose! Aim for 7-9 hrs of sleep each night.” -Stephanie Carrigo, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Don’t let the number you see in the scale define who you are or how you feel. Be happy with YOU and LOVE YOU! It’s great to workout to lower body fat% and feel stronger but mainly it’s about feeling great and healthier everyday. Being ACTIVE makes you feel ALIVE! Enjoy all the small steps of your progress.” -Maritza Rodriguez, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Why is protein so good for you? IT burns calories even as you indulge in it, it keeps you feeling satisfied longer, and it builds muscle and keeps your body burning fat all day!”


“Don’t eliminate any macronutrient from your diet (ie don’t completely cut out all fat or carbs). The body needs certain amounts of each macronutrient to function at peak levels, so make sure you are eating quality forms of each, such as fruits and vegetables for carbs and monohydrated fats.”


“Write down your goals and make them visible every day to help to keep you motivated and keep your aim on the target!” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Undereating is as BAD as overeating. Why? Because it’ll be impossible for your body to build or mantain muscle if you lack proper nutrients. It doesn’t make sense to take a 2-4 hour drive when your car is almost empty on gas.” -Maritza Rodriguez, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Ask for help. No one knows everything and our club staff, personal trainers and lifestyle and weight management consultants are available at the club. Whether you’re looking for strength, conditioning, sport-specific, nutrition, workout plans or motivation we are here for you!” -Ray Salas, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Synergy between resistance training, cardiovascular training, and proper nutrition is the most effective way to lose body fat.” -Kelly Whalen, Merritt Personal Trainer


“When it comes to food, anything as close to its NATURAL state as possible is best for weight loss and overall health. Try to steer clear of processed foods as much as possible.” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Resistance training can actually PREVENT the natural slowing of metabolism as a person ages. The slowdown in metabolism is in a big part due to a loss of muscle tissue. The loss of muscle tissue is directly related to a lack of progressive resistance training and physical activity. As long as the body is kept active and an emphasis is placed on building and maintaining lean muscle mass, the metabolism can be preserved or even accelerated with age.” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


“If your goal is weight loss, do your weight lifting first then your cardio second in your workout. You will be pulling from stored energy (fat) while doing your cardio!” -Stephanie Carrigo, Merritt Personal Trainer


“As in any exercise class, a warm-up and cool down are appropriate for your yoga and Pilates practice. Gentle stretching, full breathing, and focusing will allow you to fully enjoy your class.” -Bob Mcdowell, Merritt Pilates Instructor


“If the goal is fat loss, try to incorporate some calorie burning intervals into your resistence training workouts. For example, instead of resting after a set on the chest press, immediately do a set of 15 mountain climbers before doing the next set. This will keep the heart rate up and burn calories throughout the whole workout!” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Update your Ipod! It’s always more fun to work out to good, upbeat music. If your playlists are over played chances are your work outs will be too!” -Kerri Rafferty, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Your body adapts to a workout after doing the same routine 6-8x. Make sure you are constantly changing up your routine for optimal results!” -Stephanie Carrigo, Merritt Personal Trainer


“Doing lots of crunches and ab work will reduce belly fat. Spot reducing, or picking and choosing specific areas in which to burn fat, doesn‘t work. In order to burn fat, a workout should be created that includes both cardiovascular and total body strength-training elements along with a balanced nutrition program. This will decrease overall body fat content, including the area around the midsection.” -Becky Conti, Merritt Personal Trainer


Stay positive. Mental state has a profound impact on physical state, so keeping yourself mentally in a good place will help you achieve more physically.


“It is important to update your workout on a regular basis to continue to see results.” -Kelly Whalen, Merritt Personal Trainer


“After my meal, I drink black tea because it helps my blood-sugar even out and prevents that sleepy feeling after a big meal.” -Heather Jordan, Merritt Personal Trainer


“If you’re hitting a plateau wall here are a few things to keep in check: leptin levels, enough servings of fruits and vegetables, eating breakfast, getting enough protein, H2O intake, too many refined carbs, not enough fat, getting enough sleep, increase your calorie intake and exercise output, too many natural or artificial sweeteners, weighing yourself too often and before menstruation.” -Ray Salas, Merritt Personal Trainer

Interested in more? To see our previous 19 tips, click here

Are you faced with any challenges that prevent you from reaching your goal?