Insightful fitness gems from people who do this for a living.

1. Stop doing so much cardio.

“The most harmful misconception is that more is better, especially when it comes to cardio. Spending long periods of time doing cardio, particularly continuous, low-intensity cardio, can actually be counterproductive. It can cause the body to hold on to its energy sources … for fear that it will need them for future long, continuous exertions.”

Alternatively, short bursts of high-intensity exercises (also known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT) has been shown to burn fat, and lots of it. Thirty minutes of HIIT is much more efficient and effective than an hour of steady-state cardio.”

—Annie Mulgrew, director of programming, CityRow

2. Step off the scale.

“The most harmful misconception about getting in shape is that you need to weigh less. For many people, the number on the scale shouldn’t matter. It isn’t what you weigh … The ratio of muscle to fat is far more important than the scale can reveal.”

— Alycea Ungaro, owner/founder, Real Pilates

3. Be harder on your body but easier on your self-image.

“Our bodies can handle WAY more than we usually ask of ‘em but our self-image can use a little pampering.”

Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S., founder of Bandana Training

4. Start doing anything. Just make sure you like it.

“There are lots of ways to achieve your health and fitness goals. Trying to figure out what you should do, how often, etc, … can stop you before you start.”

Just find something you enjoy, make sure it’s something you can do at your current fitness level, and go for it.”

—Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., Naked Nutrition and Soho Strength Lab

5. Fall in love with exercise that changes your mood and your life, not just your body.

“[The most harmful misconception about getting into shape is] that looking better on the outside is the best part — it’s not! Of course getting fit and losing weight are important and huge motivators, but in my experience, mood and energy changes are the most immediate and gratifying part of getting into shape.”

Being in shape helps you in every aspect of your life — it helps you sleep better, boosts your energy throughout the day, and puts you in a better mood. (Endorphins are a beautiful thing, right, Elle Woods?)”

—Natalia Roberts, instructor, ((305)) Fitness

6. Whatever you’re doing for exercise, Switch. It. Up.

“Our bodies are incredible at adapting, so much so that when you perform the same exercise repeatedly, your muscles adjust to make that exercise easier. Basically, your body is no longer being challenged to the same degree, and therefore has no reason to continue to develop strength.”

Think about playing with tempo, resistance, or duration, and work to incorporate all the key elements of fitness into your training regimen: cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.”

—Jill DeMarco, SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone)

Source and continue reading: 17 Fitness Tips That Will Actually Make You Psyched To Work Out