7 Trainers Share the Workouts That Got Them in the Best Shape of Their Lives

Photo: Getty/Westend61
There really is a workout for everyone. After all, exercise isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. With a variety of goals, personalities, and preferences comes a variety of options in the fitness world. And no one knows that better than trainers, who are experts in some modalities and near beginners in others. To celebrate the diversity of movement, we've asked seven trainers for their favorite workouts. You know, the ones that leave them feeling like they're not only in the best shape of their lives, but that they also enjoy doing on a daily basis.

What we found after hearing their answers was honestly kind of expected. Across the fitness universe, people like different workout types and their bodies respond to their modalities of choice in different ways. Ahead, you'll hear about the workouts that they fell in love with, and hopefully, you'll leave feeling inspired to move your body however feels right for you.

1. Adriana Vargas, founder of Live+Love Pilates in La Jolla, CA: Pilates

“When I found Pilates, I thought, ‘So you're telling me I can not only build strong, lean, and flexible muscles but also enhance longevity through proper breathing?’” says Vargas. “As an athlete I was always taught to push through, so I developed a lot of injuries. Pilates helped me to reconnect with my body, and I began to listen to what it needs. This allowed me to build strong, lean, and flexible muscles while I healed from old injuries.”

Try this Pilates workout:

2. Luigi Aldon, trainer, founder of Smudge Wellness: Cross Training

“Technically, CrossFit got me in the ‘best’ shape of my life,” says Aldon. “But this ideal physique I was trying to achieve came at a cost… that really meant I wasn’t in the best shape of my life. For me, CrossFit wasn’t sustainable, and I had too many injuries; I would constantly be out of commission. I found that cross training (a mix of bootcamp, Spin, and yoga) helped me feel good and prevent injury, while keeping myself healthy.”

Try this energizing yoga flow:

3. Amina Barnes, NASM CPT: Squats

“A simple squat helped me get in the best shape of my life,” says Barnes. “The squat targets your entire core and lower body, toning and strengthening your muscles. No matter where I’m at in my training I always go back to basics with this exercise move, because it works every time.”

Here's the right way to do a squat: 

4. Caleb Marshall, creator of The Fitness Marshall: Dance

“I started dancing because it was healing,” says Marshall. “It made me feel confident, free and unstoppable. I never went into it thinking, 'I’m going to workout'. As someone who used to view working out as a punishment, the idea that I could burn as many calories dancing that I could on a treadmill, all while having a complete and total mental and emotional release was absolutely life changing.”

Give this dance-cardio workout a go:

5. Danni Tabor, personal trainer, co-founder of Lift Studio LDN and Kettleboobs: Weightlifting

“I used to be on a six-day-a-week rhetoric, doing exercises I hated—like burpees—and ascribing to a program that emphasized the more-is-more mentality,” says Tabor. “Once I shifted out of that and started doing less—lifting weights to feel strong, three days a week, in a space I loved, with people I loved—everything changed for me. I noticed the biggest change not in my physique, but in my mentality, my energy, and the love I have for myself and my body. I realized just how important rest and recovery are to my mental health and my progress.”

Try this full-body HIIT workout with weights:

6. Garry Jedkins, PFIT, ISCA, creator of aktv app: HIIT

“Personally, I feel that HIIT workouts have helped me get into the best shape of my life,” says Jedkins. “Not only does this type of training assist with muscle gain... but it also helps me with mental focus and toughness that can be applied to daily life challenges.”

We love this full-body HIIT workout, as well:

7. Liam Bradley, SoulCycle instructor in San Francisco: SoulCycle

“SoulCycle without a doubt transformed me as a person,” says Bradley. “SoulCycle came into my life in the winter of 2014 after struggling through an eating disorder—finding a workout I enjoyed was a big deal, because I hated working out. My energy was low, my self-esteem was nonexistent, and I was a shell of myself. But SoulCycle... SoulCycle is fun. It inspired me... and I actually started to enjoy working out. I looked forward to taking class when I used to dread having to hit the gym. It became an outlet for me to heal. As I started to heal mentally, I noticed I started to feel physically strong. It brought me to a place where I came into my power, and felt the best I’ve ever felt. It was then—and still is now—the best workout I’ve ever done.”

Underwater spin class, anyone?

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