Trainer's Toolbox: Effective Fitness Tips for 10 Common Goals

August 4, 2023

Sophie Bebeau

Whether you're just starting on your fitness journey or seeking to elevate your current routine, everyone has their own unique fitness goals. In this blog, we've gathered expert insights from the Western personal trainers on 10 common fitness goals they often see.

From shedding unwanted pounds and mastering the art of pull-ups to relieving pain and enhancing overall daily activity levels, take a look at these tips from our Trainer's Toolbox!

Goal #1: Lose weight

Losing weight is one of the most common fitness goals, but it's essential to approach it with a balanced and sustainable strategy.

First, focus on your food. “Weight loss is all about consistency in the gym and discipline in the kitchen,” says Western personal trainer Olivia LaPlante.

Regular exercise not only burns calories but also helps build lean muscle, which boosts metabolism and aids in fat loss. But making mindful food choices and getting a balanced diet rich in whole food and nutrients is equally important. By striking the right balance between exercise and nutrition, individuals can create a sustainable and effective weight loss journey that leads to lasting results and improved overall health. Remember, success comes with patience and dedication to these healthy habits over time.

But what kind of exercise is best for achieving weight loss? Luckily there’s a lot to choose from!

“Do resistance training, full body workouts, HIIT workouts, and go on the treadmill,” says Western personal trainer Ally Bader, “Getting your heart rate up with a mix of cardio and strength training is a great way to facilitate weight loss.”

Goal #2: Get stronger

Just like losing weight, getting stronger is one of the most common fitness goals trainers hear from clients–and consistency is key for this one too!

“Do 2 to 3 days a week of strength training, and be consistent.” advises Western personal trainer Ryan Doro.

Strength training routines should include compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, maximizing efficiency and promoting overall strength gains. Some effective compound movements include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, and pull-ups. These exercises not only stimulate muscle growth but also improve coordination and stability. Incrementally increase weights, repetitions, or difficulty in your exercises to continue making progress.

While pushing your limits, it's crucial to prioritize proper form and technique to prevent injuries and achieve the desired results. Focus on engaging the targeted muscles during each repetition and seek guidance from a qualified trainer if you're unsure about the correct form for specific exercises.

Goal #3: Train for an event

Whether you’re preparing for your first 5K, a triathlon, or anything in between, the key to training for any fitness event is a systematic approach. Identify the distance, time, or other performance metric you want to achieve and then break down your training into smaller milestones

"Start small, start slow,” says Western personal trainer Tad Taggart, “You don't jump straight into a big program right away. Make small, achievable goals like something as simple as biking or walking a few times a week.”

Cross-training is also important when training for an event. Cross-training involves engaging in various activities to complement your primary event training. For instance, runners can benefit from cycling or swimming to reduce impact, improve cardiovascular fitness, and work different muscle groups. Cross-training also helps prevent overuse injuries and keeps training enjoyable.

If possible, consider working with an experienced trainer who specializes in the event you’re training for. They can offer personalized guidance, track your progress, and provide valuable feedback to fine-tune your training plan.

Goal #4: Do 5 unassisted pull-ups

Mastering the art of the unassisted pull-up is a challenging but rewarding fitness goal. Pull-ups target multiple upper body muscles, including the back, shoulders, and arms, making them a fantastic indicator of overall upper body strength.

To get started, Western personal trainer Lauren Griepentrog recommends starting with assisted pull-up variations to build your pull-up strength gradually. “Start by doing different forms of pull-ups, like banded and machine-assisted pull-ups and work your way up.”

Resistance bands can provide support as you work on the movement pattern. Gradually decrease the assistance provided by the bands over time until you can perform pull-ups with minimal assistance. Aim to practice 2-3 times per week, dedicating a few sets to pull-up progressions and other exercises that target the necessary muscle groups. Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate each small progression!

Goal #5: Improve flexibility

Flexibility is a fundamental component of overall fitness and plays a vital role in injury prevention, joint health, and enhancing athletic performance. Whether you're an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or simply looking to move with more ease and comfort, improving your flexibility is a great way to pave the path to achieving other fitness goals.

“When it comes to improving flexibility, consistency is key,” explains Western personal trainer Krystal Morgan, “Do stretching and mobility work every day.”

“Even on off days, prioritize stretching,” suggests Western personal trainer Sydnie Meyer, “Even 10 to 15 minutes of stretching exercises each day can help improve flexibility over time.”

Yoga and Barre are also excellent practices for enhancing flexibility, balance, and core strength, as they incorporate a variety of stretching exercises that help increase the range of motion and improve flexibility over time. Consider adding one of Western’s 10+ yoga and barre classes to your weekly routine. (You can find the group fitness schedule here.)

Goal #6: Create an effective workout program you enjoy

Creating a workout program that you genuinely enjoy can make all the difference in staying motivated and consistent. But it can be hard to know exactly what exercises we should be doing in order to reach certain goals. Working with a personal trainer can help you learn the kinds of exercises that make sense for your goals and identify the things you actually enjoy doing.

“I love showing clients different lifts and explaining different training styles for different goals,” says Western personal trainer Tony Riske, “Once you start to learn the correct order in which to go through a routine, with a warmup, working sets, and a cooldown, you can begin to build a program you really enjoy.”

Working with a trainer can also help you identify your personal fitness preferences and explore different training styles. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new exercises or activities. You might discover a new passion or challenge that you never knew you enjoyed.

Goal #7: Tone up

Toning up is a common fitness goal that involves reducing body fat and building lean muscle mass to achieve a sculpted and defined physique. Toning requires a comprehensive approach that includes both exercise and nutrition.

“Combine resistance training, such as weightlifting and bodyweight exercises, with cardio like running or cycling,” advises Western personal training Stacia Root, “Increase your daily activity and watch what you’re eating to make sure you’re fueling yourself with the right balance of nutrients.”

Goal #8: Prioritize recovery days

If you’re one of those people who always wants to go, go, go, prioritizing recovery may be a challenge for you. But rest days are a crucial component of any well-rounded fitness routine. Giving your body time to rest and recover is essential for optimal performance and injury prevention.

Remember, rest and recovery are not signs of weakness; they are necessary for your body to repair and rebuild after intense physical activity. Adequate rest allows your muscles to recover, grow stronger, and perform better in subsequent workouts.

Having a rest doesn’t mean you have to lay on the couch all day, either.

"Doing 20 minutes of stretching and 20 minutes of low-intensity activities on rest days is a great way to allow your body the recovery it needs without causing additional stress,” says Western personal trainer Katie Fichtenbauer.

Incorporating recovery tools like foam rolling and cryotherapy can also help alleviate sore muscles and help you recover faster.

One of the most important aspects of recovery–paying attention to your body's signals. If you're feeling fatigued, sore, or experiencing any pain, it may be an indicator that you need additional rest. Be flexible with your training schedule and allow yourself to adjust it based on how your body feels.

Goal #9: Reducing pain and discomfort

Aches and pains are a part of life. Whether caused by age, chronic illness, or injury, pain and discomfort during our day-to-day activities can diminish our quality of life. Luckily, regular exercise guided by a personal trainer with expertise in pain management or injury recovery can go a long way in improving pain and aid in better recovery. A personal trainer can help identify the issues that may be causing you pain and discomfort and help correct them.

Some of the most common complaints heard from personal training clients center around experiencing pain and discomfort during regular day-to-day activities.

"Focus on more functional instead of aesthetics,” says Western personal trainer Zach Prochnow, “Work your hips, core, and shoulders and incorporate recovery techniques to promote healing and reduce discomfort.”

Goal #10: Be more active in life

Sometimes the most important goals are simple. Many people know the value of regular exercise in overall quality of life and want to prioritize an active lifestyle. But leading an active lifestyle can sometimes be a challenge to fit in with busy schedules.

Some tips for leading a consistently active life?

"Do what you enjoy,” says Western personal trainer Andy Guastad, “If you like it, do it. If not, don't do it."

“Find ways to move your body inside and outside of the gym,” suggests Western personal trainer Spencer Melberg, “Go for walks or hikes, go for a bike ride, and focus on exercise that specifically helps you in weak areas, which will make your overall lifestyle more enjoyable.”

Even prioritizing things like small movement breaks if you work a desk job, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and doing active household tasks like chores and gardening can go a long way in keeping your body healthy.

No matter what your goals may be, we can help you reach them!

Remember, your fitness journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It's essential to listen to your body, set realistic goals, and stay committed to the process. If you find yourself struggling with certain fitness goals, consider working with a personal trainer for expert, personalized guidance and support.

These dedicated fitness pros are equipped with the knowledge and experience to tailor workouts to your specific needs and goals. They can provide valuable insights, keep you accountable, and help you stay motivated throughout your fitness endeavors.

Visit us at to learn more about each of the trainers here at Western and start your personal training journey!

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