Photo credit: Danny Fulgencio

Carol Thomas is a certified personal trainer who trains at Breakaway Sport + Fitness, and she also runs the Breakaway Boot Camp. Thomas coaches clients online and works with athletes and teams to prevent injuries, especially, the risk of knee injuries in female athletes. Here are her 10 tips:


1. Plan and be purposeful.

Make sure to calendar your workouts. If you put them on your calendar, you’ll have a spot in your day to do it.

2. Find a friend or a workout buddy.

You have a much greater chance of success with accountability. Get the support of your family, so they know what you’re doing and encourage you.

3. Keep a fitness journal.

You can visually see your progress. It gives you that encouragement when you can visually see. Some people like making notes about how they felt, what they wore and the circumstance.

4. Find exercise you enjoy and do that.

If you’re not a morning person, don’t try to do a 5 a.m. workout. There are so many other things you can do. You name it, we have it. It’s just really important to find something you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it long term.

5. Set smart goals.

Know why you’re making a change and where you want to be, but those goals need to be the S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Recognize and reward your progress when you set those goals

6. Make sure you include strength and cardio in your workouts each week.

The recommended cardio is 150 minutes per week. You can break that up however you want. The main point is to add both strength and cardio because you really do need both of those in your exercise routine.

7. Go at a moderate pace.

Start slow and build up to avoid burnout. Avoid being so sore on day two that you don’t even get to the gym. One of the most common mistakes is to go all out that first two days and then not be able to walk the third day. Avoid burnout and soreness to prevent injury.

8. Sleep, and respect recovery days.

You’ve got to get your sleep. I think the recommended amount is seven to eight hours for adults. Some people need eight hours, some need nine. Everybody’s different, but most of us don’t get enough sleep. Respect off days because part of working out is to make sure your body recovers from your workout.

9. Pair workouts with healthy meals.

Make sure what you’re eating is healthy.

10. Get outside when you can.

Getting outside boosts your mood, and you get vitamin D from the sun. There’s something about being outside and not being stuck in a gym.