7 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Workouts, According to Philly Fitness Pros

Here's how to get the most out of your sweat sessions, according to Philly fitness pros.



We’re sure you all have little tips and tricks up your sleeve for staying motivated and powering through your HIIT workouts or hill sprints (the worst, am I right?), but getting out of your own personal routine every now and then could be just what you need to truly meet your fitness goals.

That’s where this post comes in: We got six Philly fitness pros to let us in on the tricks they have up their sleeves to instantly upgrade their workouts and get the most out of them. Check out what they said below, then get to testing those tricks, friends! 

Gina Mancuso, physical therapist and co-owner and trainer at CoreFitness
Tip: Do something different. “Do something that makes you feel awkward, uncoordinated and uncomfortable — then commit to that activity for at least a month. This might mean taking your workout outside instead of always going to the gym, finding ways to use the outdoor environment to get your cardio and resistance training. If you love spinning, switch it up and take a dance class or a kickboxing class. Hate to run? Commit to a 30-day walk-to-run program. Get outside your comfort zone.”

Why: “When we exercise the same way day after day, our bodies and our brains become less challenged. When we are challenged with new ways to move, our brains get a chance to fire up in a different way and new neuromuscular connections are made, which keeps us sharper and stronger as we get older. Also, your muscles have to work harder and you’ll expend more energy (read: burn more calories!) as you master the new movement patterns. Changing up your fitness routine may have an added bonus, too: Meeting new people along the way.”

Bonus tip: Find a community. “Get connected to a group of like-minded people with similar goals and stick with them. They’ll hold you accountable, push you, support you when you need some TLC and encourage you to be your best. Supporting each other through the good times and the tough times builds strong relationships. It’s harder to say no to your workout buddies than it is to a treadmill.”

Dana Auriemma, owner and Pilates/fitness teacher at Freehouse Fitness Studio
Tip: Focus your attention on the primary muscle working. “You want to feel that the muscle is working first before you think about what your movement looks like to make sure the correct muscles are being used completely. (i.e. how high you lift your leg is irrelevant if you are lifting from your back instead of your glutes).”

Why: Research from the NSCA validates that we increase muscle activation by over 20 percent when we think about the muscle or muscles being used. So, I always remind students to keep their mind on their muscles during workouts and they will benefit more from each exercise.”

Ali Cook Jackson, founder and head trainer at Never Give Up Training
Tip: Fuel up and watch your form. “Unless you’re planning on going on a nice long stroll along Main Street or Boathouse Row, your body NEEDS energy! On average you should aim to consume 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of your bodyweight in order to crush your workout. Quick and easy snack to help get you there: a banana or rice cake with almond butter. Secondly, once you’re fueled and ready to go, don’t forget to make sure you’re doing your exercises correctly.”

Why: “Whether you are heading to a boot camp, personal training session, run club or yoga, you need to fuel your body appropriately. If you have no fuel in the tank, you won’t go anywhere! And having the wrong form during a workout can sabotage everything you worked for during your sweat session! Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

Jayel Lewis, owner, personal trainer and fitness consultant at JL Fitness
Tip: Change your mindset. “My number one tip to improve the effectiveness of your workout is to change your mindset. Although to some it may sound unconventional, I guarantee with a bit of effort, it works. Realizing you’re working out for all of the right reasons — your health, the way you view and accept yourself, the release of happy endorphins, and feeling more confident in your own skin — is what will take your workout to the next level, I promise.”

Why: “Acquiring and maintaining a well-balanced approach to fitness is greatly dependent on your ability to find deeper motivation than just physical appearances alone.”

Osayi Osunde, trainer at Fit Academy
Tip: Work out with friends (who you think are in better shape than you are) in a team-style environment. “If your workouts are becoming stale and boring, it’s typically because of a lack of new ideas, routines or programs. There is spontaneity and excitement in the unknown when having to workout with someone who may do things differently.

Why: “When working out in a group environment doing team activities, the power of peer pressure kicks in and you’re much less likely to let the team down than you are to let yourself down, which makes you work harder in an encouraging environment.”

Charles Scogna, owner and trainer at Charge Performance and Wellness.
Tip: Have a clear intention and respect the process. “Enter each workout, exercise, set, rep and approach your overall goals with a clear intention. Ask yourself: ‘What adaptation do I want to occur in my body?’ Right now, we’re celebrating our Olympians. They didn’t get there with a boatload of burpees or maxing out on bench. They have made it a lifetime, developed their nervous system, had effective and proven methods and coaches, taken off-seasons, tapered. We may not be Olympians, but we deserve the same quality of training and coaching and it is more accessible than you may think.”

Why: “In a booming fitness market with tons of options, convenience and immediate-but-limited results win all too often. Exercise should be fun, challenging and accessible but it also needs to be realistic, effective and sustainable. Fitness is a lifelong journey.”

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