Healthy Living

5 Best Trainer Secrets To Crush Your Hardest Workouts

... and why you should start using them right away.

We all have those workouts.

Work, kids, hectic schedules, Timmy’s little league game, domestic duties ― hey, we’ve been there, and we ARE there.

Life is busy for everyone, but we’ve learned that nothing just “happens” unless we pause, are clear with our intentions and MAKE things happen.

Here are my 5 best trainer secrets to crush your hardest workouts:

1. Plan And Prepare

If your workout is last on your “to-do” list or not on your list at all (read as: “I’ll get to it later…”) you’re likely putting in a half-hearted effort and are literally setting up your workouts in your mind as being unimportant.

Our actions matter, and our subconscious mind receives feedback from our actions constantly.

Here’s a scenario:

You’re the GM (general manager) on a construction site. Now imagine that your body is the construction site, and guess what? YOU are the project!

Now consider this:

  • Would you show up on time?

  • Would you make schedules?

  • Would you use quality materials (healthy food), or would you look for shortcuts, ways to cut corners, and show up on the job-site last thing of the day, or as an afterthought when the “mood” struck?

  • How would you react to a tradesman who showed up late and clearly wasn’t on the same page as you in terms of your end-goal?

Here’s the thing: your name is on this project!

Your time is valuable! Your house (body) is the foundation for you and your family – it better be strong, and it better reflect a level of craftsmanship and care that tells you and the world that YOU ARE WORTH IT (because you are).

Invest the time into you, show up like a boss, arrive on time, move forward with passion, stay excited, and use quality materials. Your body is your trademark and your brand – what does it say about you?

2. Work Out With A Buddy

Sometimes just changing up the environment can add a whole new spin on things and keep you interested.

Call a friend over and invite them to work out with you ― that one action may just change someone’s life!

Don’t think so?

Consider this: we lead by what we do. Success fuels success. Whether you realize it or not, your actions are not happening in a vacuum nor are your commitments isolated to just you.

Even if no one is saying anything, believe me, people are watching you. Our actions plant seeds in others, and that is true of working out consistently, eating clean, showing up on time for work, acting with confidence, standing taller, how we show up in relationships, the examples we set for our kids – it all matters.

At it’s core, I believe our level of happiness is directly related to our sense of self-worth; our self-worth rooted deeply in our physical, mental and spiritual health.

Feeling good and acting with intention in your workouts causes a ripple effect in every area of your life.

Here’s an example:

Jane is dedicated to her health and fitness.

She’s been getting amazing results and goes out one afternoon for lunch with the girls. She makes a very healthy and specific choice at a restaurant that makes her friends poke fun, but also makes the waitress, who’s been battling with her weight for years, stop for a brief moment and go, “Hmmm ― maybe it’s that easy.”

That single decision that Jane made to eat clean, no matter what, starts a chain reaction for the waitress, internally, that may not take root immediately, but may affect her down the road. Sound crazy?

We see it with our clients all the time in our online health and fitness challenge groups. First the husband joins in, soon parents and family are looking at food differently, and before long our client’s family and friends are reaching out to us to get fit and the wellness wave grows!

My point is, don’t underestimate the power that your decision to live “on purpose” can have on the world and on the people around you!

A simple invitation to a friend or family member to join you in your workout can be a fun compliment to your routine and make a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.

3. Get Into A Routine

This ties into my first point above.

Research has shown that we have a cognitive “tank.” That tank empties as we move through our day via “micro” and “macro” decisions. In other words, choices both big and small all wear down our ability to think clearly and make rational decisions, leading to decision fatigue [1].

What happens then is that we are more inclined to act from emotion rather than logic; stress and fatigue lead to poor food choices and rationalizing why it’s “okay” to skip that workout.

When I was in the military, we had patrols and exercises that lasted several days with minimal to no rest. In Special Ops training, these exercises can be even more grueling with no sleep, excessively stressful situations, minimal rations, confusion, intense physical exercises — all for the purpose to see how a soldier can operate under severe pressure and fatigue.

While an extreme, this illustrates my point very well: the average person’s cognitive function and decision-making abilities severely decline when under duress.

Yes, that means the typical 9-5’er with a family and typical life stressors. (Sound like anyone you know?!)

So what’s the solution?

When we create a schedule, we no longer have to decide; automation is key. If your workout happens “whenever,” there are far more many reasons to find “not” to do it.

Consider the act of brushing your teeth: You do your bit in the morning, and likely brush your teeth within the same order of operations: Wake up, eat, shower, groom, brush and then floss. It’s automatic; you don’t think about it, nor do you have to “decide” if you’ll do it.

That is exactly how working out and eating clean must be in your life.

Difficulty Automating

If you have difficulty in automating a new behavior in this way, attach that new behavior to one that you do already.

For example, if you walk the dog every night at 6 p.m. after dinner, make it a new RULE in your life that when you hang up the leash, it’s “go time” for the gym.

It may mean packing your gym bag and leaving it at the front door, or if you work out at home, laying out your workout clothes so when the 7 a.m. bells go off, you roll out of bed, get dressed, and go.

However you choose to do it, make it work in your schedule and you’ll create a new groove for success on your life LP (LP = Long Play for our non-vinyl-loving readers).

Heck, make it simple and set an alarm on your phone ― when that baby goes off, you get to work, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Lastly, change the channel, change your mind, and change the lens through which you look at things.

  1. What you’ve DONE in your life to this point isn’t what you have to keep doing!

  2. What you’ve DONE has gotten you to this moment, and that’s great...

  3. Congratulations – you made it!

The real question to consider now is, “So what, now what?!”

Incorporating New Action Steps

For new results and new outcomes, it requires NEW actions. Just because you’ve been “an emotional eater” or “have had a tough time sticking to working out” in the past doesn’t mean you have to repeat these things moving forward.

Remember, your past is simply a story.

  • Do you cling to it?

  • Do you defend it?

  • Do you retell it over and over?

Or, do you turn the page?

That’s the cool thing about being human – we have the ability to CHOOSE, to CHANGE, and to CREATE a new story.

What are you choosing to do from this point forward. Remember, you are the author of your life, so make it a good one!

4. Make Your Goals Specific And Envision Your End Result

Getting clear about your WHY for anything you’re doing in your life is foundational. Take it one step further and create a video of yourself – this is one thing we have our clients do in the first week of our Online Challenge Groups.

I strongly recommend this because there is something extremely powerful that happens on a psychological level when we actually vocalize what we shooting for; we bring it from the mind and into the “real” — our thoughts become things.

The whole point of this type of deliberate goal setting is to get you to take a close look at where you’re at, and where you want to go. Here are some additional strategies I recommend when goal setting:

  • Create a WHY video that you can go back and watch any time you’re feeling derailed.

  • Be specific in your video – establish a clear goal, set a time frame, discuss action-steps and speak on your ‘no matter what’ tasks and what you simply will not settle for.

  • Make it tangible: Collect images of people who exhibit your desired outcome. This may be a physique goal, an overall health and wellness goal, a collection of transformation videos and photos, or simply a pair of jeans you want to fit into again.

  • Make it public: Nothing makes you want to push harder than when you know others are watching you. Want to up the ante? Make a public post on Facebook about what your big scary goal is and document your journey each week. You’ll be amazed by the outpouring of support, and that will just further perpetuate your success.

  • Meditate: Seriously – what we think about, we bring about. What we focus on consistently comes to light. If that’s to airy-fairy for you, then just do it to simply connect your mind to your mission.

    All you need is a 5-minute break each day to find a quiet space, and then envision what your end goal feels like and looks like. The more vividly you can imagine your end-goal the better because it’s a little-known-fact that the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real and a vividly imagined event. True story.

Lastly, if you aren’t happy with the results in your life to date, I guarantee you that your actions need to be revised and your goals aren’t clear enough.

If you are happy with your results to date – awesome!

Continue with your eyes forward and on your “prize.” Remember, see your goals as having happened already, believe it, and know that you are simply reverse-engineering your end results.

5. Celebrate Success And Enjoy The Process

We’re results driven – maybe we’re hard-wired that way. While goals are great, we often see our clients lose sight of WHY they started in the first place. They get burned out on the mechanisms and forget WHY they are actually doing the work.

See, health and fitness should compliment your life, not consume it – at least that’s our position and what we like to instil in our clients.

Goals are great; they are what drive us forward, but results aren’t always linear. Yes, there are some standard benchmarks to shoot for, but the body is a complex system!

So you didn’t lose 2 pounds last week – does that mean things aren’t working and you should go into panic mode? Of course not. Stay consistent and trust the process! More importantly, ENJOY the process of being on-point and living a fit and healthy life.

After all, life is really about infusing joy into the moments in-between versus being fixated on the destination and missing the beauty along the way.

Don’t forget to celebrate!

Many of us are so damn hard on ourselves. Tony Robbins referred to this as “should-ing” on ourselves: “I should have done [x].” Those types of statements are rooted in the past — forget it.

If you could have done things differently, then DO things differently. You can’t change where you’ve been – you can only change where you’re going. Enjoy the road that takes you there, course-correct as you need to, and make a point of patting yourself on the back at least once a day for a job well-done (in any arena of your life!).


Question: Do you have your own success tips? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below, or find us on Social!

If you’re interested in more great tools to set you up for success, we’ve got a ton over on our blog.

Mike Whitney is full-time health professional and online coach. Follow his journey and find out how to work with him by visiting


[1] Tierney, John (August 21, 2011). “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?”. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved August 23, 2011.