11 Expert-Backed Fitness Tips To Crush Your Goals

April 29, 2024 7 min read

Despite so many good intentions, a lot of gym users don’t achieve their fitness goals. There’s a number of reasons for that, ranging from poor programming to lack of effort and consistency.

To help make sure you aren’t one of the many who try and fail, I’ve put together a list of fitness tips to help you crush your goals.

So why should you listen to me?

Well I’ve been a personal trainer and weightlifting coach for over 20 years. I own a strength and conditioning facility, and I’ve trained and coached thousands of people over my career. I’ve learned a thing or two about fitness along the way.

So, here’s my 10 fitness tips to help you crush your goals…

#1 Train Movements, Not Muscles

So often people make training decisions based on muscles they want to hit ‘chest’ day, ‘leg’ day etc.

This is both fundamentally unsound and shows a misunderstanding of how the body works. It’s almost impossible to isolate a muscle, so when you perform a ‘chest’ exercise, you’ll be recruiting shoulders and (likely) your triceps.

This can lead to unbalanced programming.

Instead, think of movement patterns. Squats, horizontal and vertical presses and pulls. Hinges, rotations etc. It’s far more efficient, less likely to lead to injury, and gives your programming better balance.

#2 Do What You SHOULD Do, Not What You WANT To

When left to their own devices, many people will resort to performing exercises that they like, rather than what they need to do.

It’s why lots of guys just hit the bench and do curls.

The way to crush your fitness goals is to embrace the stuff that you need to do, rather than just focus on what you want to do.

That might mean getting your cardio done, or your mobility work done, or performing the exercises that you know will be horrible. The high rep squats, the lunges to failure, the burpees etc.

Sometimes you’ve just got to do it.

#3 Train With Your Goals in Mind

If you want to be stronger, don’t waste your time spending hours on a stationary bike. If you want to improve your VO2 max, then why are you spending hours per week lifting?

Train with your fitness goal in mind.

There are plenty of programs on the internet to help you achieve your goals. I even know some people who have taken personal training courses to help them program better. They aren’t interested in becoming a PT, but they’re interested enough in fitness to want to learn more about it.

They’re then able to program workouts to help them achieve particular goals, rather than just ‘get fit’.

#4 Vary Your Movements

We’re all guilty of sticking to the same movements over and over again. In some cases it’s appropriate - in lots of others, it’s not.

I suggest you experiment with different movements, and different bits of equipment. This challenges you in whole new ways, and forces your body to change and adapt. For example, rather than stick to the same crunches, planks, legs raises etc for abs, mix things up.

Kettlebell around the worlds are a great abdominal exercise, and they’re rarely performed. You could perform step ups for legs, instead of lunges. Weighted push ups for chest instead of bench press. The list is endless.

Not only will you give your body a new challenge, you’ll enjoy the training variety too.

#5 Embrace Your Cardio

Cardio has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance over the last few years.

For a long time cardio was a boring run on a treadmill, a stationary bike ride or hours swimming laps. Then CrossFit came along, rebranded it as ‘conditioning’ and pushed the High Intensity Interval Training approach.

People took to it because it was more interesting and frankly, more effective.

Then the research started to pour out from the labs and we realized the benefits of hitting our cardio workouts that way.

According to people like Peter Attia, your VO2 max is the best predictor of healthy lifespan, so I’d urge you to hit your cardio, regardless of your goal. First and foremost, your aim should be to be healthy, and cardio is a key part of that.

Get a couple of 20+ minute cardio sessions per week in.

#6 Train Unilateral Exercises

Unilateral exercises are exercises where each side of the body works independently, rather than together. Think of a dumbbell bench press. Each side is having to lift its own dumbbell, so it’s working alone.

With a barbell bench press, the dominant side can sometimes take over. This leads to an imbalance, where one side is stronger than the other.

Unilateral exercises with dumbbells or kettlebells help to iron out these imbalances.

I also think that compact-design dumbbells are a versatile and practical addition to anyone's workout equipment. They give you so much variety in your training, they don’t cost much and they’re easy to store.

Adding unilateral exercises to your routine will improve your fitness and physique significantly, and reduce your injury risk.

#7 Don’t Forget Mobility Work

In a quest for bigger muscles, lower body fat, better conditioning etc, we often forget the basics and the fundamentals.

One of the most important fundamentals is mobility.

When you work on your mobility with progressive stretching and exercises, you don’t just improve your range of motion. You also improve your injury resistance, your connective tissue health and your exercise technique.

Often people struggle to perform their exercises well because they lack the flexibility required to get into good positions. They can’t squat to full depth because of their lack of ankle mobility for example. They can’t get into a good rack position because of tight lats. They can’t deadlift because they have tight hamstrings.

Get your mobility work in guys.

#8 Don’t Over Complicate Things

I see lots of influencers creating silly workouts for clicks and engagement. You honestly don’t need to do all of that.

Mix in appropriate strength exercises that train the whole body. Perform a squat, pull, push, hinge, lunge and rotation exercise. Do them 3-4 times per week. Throw in some high intensity interval training a couple of times per week.

Get 10,000 steps per day. Hydrate well, sleep 7-10 hours, eat plenty of protein, plants and a little starchy carbohydrate.

That’s it.

You follow that guidance and you’ll be fitter, healthier and leaner than 90% of the population.

#9 Build Your Workouts Around the Big Lifts

If you’re training for general fitness, most of your programming should be based around the big compound lifts. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull ups, lunges, shoulder presses, kettlebell swings, rows, dips etc should make up 80-90% of your lifting.

The other 10-20% can be for your accessories and isolation work, such as bicep curls, tricep pushdowns, lat raises, calf raises, hamstring curls etc.

The compound lifts train the biggest muscles, making your workout time more efficient and better spent. You’ll increase strength and muscle mass far more quickly with these exercises, giving you more time out of the gym, or focusing on other aspects of your health and fitness.
You can easily run through a great workout in 40 minutes if you only train compound lifts.

#10 Master the Fundamentals

When people see videos online of calisthenics guys doing muscle ups, or CrossFitters doing handstand walks, it can put them off fitness.

I’m here to tell you that whilst those things look cool and have their place, they’re really not very important when it comes to building fitness. They’re a skill, certainly, but they’re not a great exercise for most people.

Instead, get yourself a great squat rack and practice the fundamentals. Work on your squat depth and quality. Work on pressing positions, and bar stability. Practice Olympic weightlifting movements, and you’ll be a seriously skilled lifter, with health and physique to match.

Don’t worry about the crazy skills, just be good at being generally fit and skilled as a lifter. That’ll get you far further than being able to handstand walk for 50 yards!

#11 Enjoy It!

This is a final tip, but it’s one that many people overlook. Enjoyment.

If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re either going to face a mental fight every time you train, or you’re going to give up on your goal altogether.

In practice, the way around this is to pick either a training approach or a fitness goal that you’re going to enjoy working towards. If you hate running, don’t set a marathon as a goal, otherwise you’ll hate the entire process.

If you’re not into heavy lifting, maybe don’t set a powerlifting comp as your aim.

It’s about stacking the deck in your favor, making the process fun and enjoyable. If you like what you’re doing, you’re going to work harder, you’re going to work more frequently and you’ll value the process.

11 Expert-Backed Fitness Tips To Crush Your Goals - Final Thoughts

We live in a word of over-complications and workouts shared for likes and clicks. You don’t need to join that world.

Follow the advice in this article. Train well, train frequently, do what needs to be done, rather than always doing what you like doing. Get yourself to bed at a reasonable time, do your cardio, do your mobility work and be consistent.

You’ll look, feel and perform really well.

And that’s a promise.


Steve is a personal trainer, qualified weightlifting coach, gym owner, and writer.

With a career spanning since 2004, he has been an influential figure in the fitness industry, guiding thousands of individuals towards achieving their fitness goals.

Steve actively contributes to the dissemination of the most up-to-date and accurate strength training advice. As the owner of My Gym (Hazel Grove - UK), his expertise has been recognized in notable publications such as Men’s Health, Kymira Sport, and various other media outlets.