My #1 Exercise Tip

October 1, 2014 Updated: March 23, 2016

Single mom, full time trainer, full time student, part time crazy–that was me a few years ago.

On a typical day you could find me training clients as early as 6 am and as late as 8 pm, then coming home to blog, put my kiddo to bed, and study until 2 am. And by “study” I mean shed hysterical tears over my lack of mathematical understanding. Thankfully, those years-and my math endeavors-are now behind me, but they were some of the most demanding and character building years of my life.

While I was often challenged and pressed for time, I learned how to find success through struggle and how to make the most efficient use of my time. In fact, I often look back on these years with great fondness, as they taught me so much about myself as a mother, trainer, and entrepreneur.

As you can imagine though, life lessons aside, I was physically and mentally exhausted a great deal of the time. I spent so much time writing programs for clients and keeping up with my blog, that if I didn’t plan accordingly, my own workouts would suffer the brunt. This would simply not do. Yes, exercise is important physically, and if I wanted to stay in shape I had to stay on track with my workouts. But more importantly, exercise is what keeps me sane.

Movement is a significant part of what keeps me balanced (AmmentorpDK/iStock)


Movement is a significant part of what keeps me balanced—and going even one day without moving is enough to tip me off center.

The good news is that even with all the hustle and bustle (and math-induced crying) of these hectic times, I was still able to get my sweat on–and in turn keep my much-needed sanity. Somewhere in between all the studying, training, writing, and mothering, I was able to find time for sweating. My secret weapon?

They may be but oddly shaped hunks of iron, but they saved me during a time of extreme overload. Little by little, my small family of kettlebells grew, until I owned at least one of each size from 12kg-28kg, ensuring a solid home workout no matter how busy things became. Just having a few pieces of equipment at home, simple tools that would help me sweat even if I couldn’t get to the gym–this is what kept me consistent despite the constant tug of responsibility.

As a fitness and lifestyle coach I’m asked regularly about my #1 tip for working out, which is kind of a ridiculous question if you think about it. People have different goals and preferences, so there’s really no “best way” to exercise or any particular path that will lead to more desirable results than others.

There are so many approaches and various ways in which to change your body. But there is one thing that universally will lead to results, regardless of style, duration, intensity, or load. It has nothing to do with how you choose to be active or how heavy you lift. My #1 tip is simply this:


Be Consistent. 

No matter what you choose to do or how you choose to do it, consistency is the #1 key to results. You simply can’t workout sporadically, skip workouts on the regular, take two weeks off, and expect to see results. Your body needs to be constantly challenged in order for it to change, and taking too many breaks will only force you to start over every single time. How many times have you heard someone say “I lost 50 pounds but gained it all back?” Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to have to start at the beginning again?

Through consistency, rebounding can be avoided. Habits are formed. Results are achieved.  Without consistency, frustration sets in, quitting is habitual, and inertia is consistently inhibiting movement.

That’s why having equipment at home was so essential for my success: it forced consistency. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that in order to be successful in your fitness endeavors, that you have to outfit your home with a full gym. Nor am I saying you ever have to work out at home, if that’s not your jam. I now have a full gym in my garage and still I enjoy going to the gym a few days a week for the energy and environment.

Stuff happens–but it doesn’t mean we have to relegate ourselves to inconsistent exercise.

What I am saying is that when you have equipment at home, such as a kettlebell or a jump rope, consistency is far more likely. Furthermore, I’m encouraging you to put strategies-such as having equipment at home-into place that will ensure your exercise consistency regardless of the circumstances.

Maybe you can schedule workout dates with a buddy, ask a coworker to hold you accountable, or check in at the gym via social media. Perhaps after completing a certain number of workouts for the month you can reward yourself with a new pair of leggings or headphones. I know plenty of people who log their workouts on Fitocracy simply because the social pressure of logging in encourages them to be consistent.

Listen, we’re only human. We get busy, distracted, held-up, bogged down, overwhelmed, and sometimes we even get snowed in; there are going to be times when exercising seems impossible. Stuff happens–but it doesn’t mean we have to relegate ourselves to inconsistent exercise. You might not have an hour to dedicate to a full blown workout, and sometimes a few sets of push-ups and bodyweight squats is the best you’re going to get. You don’t have to have a picture perfect training session every single time–you just have to move consistently.

PS: If you’re pressed for time, I’ve got plenty of quickie workouts for you to utilize on my YouTube channel! Check them out HERE. 

*Neghar Fonooni, fitness & lifestyle coach, entrepreneur *Founder: Eat, Lift, & be Happy (link back to main site)

*Image of “athlete” via Shutterstock