Fitness, nutrition, and health pros dish out tips all the time on how to live better. And we appreciate all of it (and share it too!), but we wanted to know: What advice have they been given that has most helped them live a healthy, happy, and successful life? There’s only one way to find out!
We asked some of this year’s most influential people in health and fitness to share the little gems that have made a powerful impact on their lives. Get ready to fill your inspiration board with new quotes.
David Katz, M.D.
“Most of the relevant priorities came naturally to me. The hard one was to embrace the inevitability of failure in both personal and professional efforts.” — David Katz, M.D., founding director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University
“The most important thing I’ve learned is to completely dissociate my physique from my happiness. Whether I gain or lose five pounds has nothing to do with my inherent happiness or my zest for life, and I can absolutely love my body no matter what it may look like at the moment. I’ve been through pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, orthorexia, and multiple health issues—and my body has been different every single step of the way. What’s kept me grounded—and ultimately healthy—is the knowledge that my physique doesn’t dictate my worth. ” — Neghar Fonooni, co-founder of Girls Gone Strong
“There is no perfect diet, workout, exercise, or overall health plan. It’s the big secret that all the smartest people know, and yet it’s the least shared health message. Make your focus what works for you, and anything you do in fitness and nutrition becomes a lot more effective and a lot less stressful.” — Adam Bornstein, founder of Born Fitness
Ellie Krieger, R.D.
“With health and fitness trends constantly changing, it is so helpful to remember this. It is important not to get stuck in a dogma of what you think is best just because it is something you have been doing for a while—there may very well be a better approach. But it is also key to think critically about food and fitness trends and not to blindly jump on every bandwagon.” — Ellie Krieger, R.D., nutritionist and best-selling author
“An incredible doctor friend of mine and I were talking about how to get people to eat totally healthy and incorporate exercise into their lives. He said this, and when it comes to lifelong change, it is so true. Small changes over time lead to extraordinary long-term results!” — Chris Powell, personal trainer on Extreme Weight Loss
Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.
“About a year after I graduated from medical school, it was near the end of a busy and trying day of practice. I was seeing an elderly man who I’d known for some time, and he could tell I was harried and asked me about my day. I muttered something like, ‘I can’t wait for it to be over,’ and he paused, looked at me, and said this. It really stuck with me and has helped me actively cultivate happiness on days when, in the past, I might have sulked.” — Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., founder of Ottawa’s non-surgical Bariatric Medical Institute
In other words, missing one workout or going overboard on the ice cream one night (or maybe two) isn’t going to cancel out all the times you chose healthy. It’s the sum of all those small decisions that truly makes a difference in overall health and happiness. (And just for the record, eating dessert should never make you feel guilty.)
Alan Aragon is a continuing education provider for the Commission on Dietetic Registration and National Strength & Conditioning Association.
“When you choose to perceive a situation in life, you then have to live in that perception, so if you choose to look for the negative, then you will live in a negative experience, and if you choose to look for the positive, then you will live in a positive experience. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.” — Jeanette Jenkins, founder and president of the Hollywood Trainer fitness company
Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University.
Mike Roussell, Ph.D.
“Certain foods are better at certain times of the day (e.g. carbs right after exercise), and there is a big difference between eating a piece of pizza and an entire pizza. Being moderate and methodical with your diet isn’t sexy, but it is wildly effective.” — Mike Roussell, Ph.D, nutrition consultant
Tony Gaskins, Jr.
Shaun “T” Blokker
“My grandfather told me this, and while he was a pastor and his mental drive was focused on religion, I was able to transfer that meaning to me to be a positive thinker. Making my thoughts more positive help me become stronger mentally, which helps me push past any barrier, be it physical or mental.” — Shaun “T” Blokker, creator of the Insanity workout series
Frank Lipman, M.D.
Not feeling inspired at work? It might be time to make a change (Click here to read one woman’s inspiring story about finding a job she truly loves—and how you can too!) Not in the market for a new job? We have other tricks to be happier.
Frank Lipman, M.D., is the founder and director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City.
“To paraphrase the Golden Rule… ” — Mike Boyle, co-founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
James Hamblin, M.D.
“Usually the best option is great training partners and a motivating environment in which to exercise. For me, the tip to try out powerlifting—and get involved with a successful powerlifting gym—was one that had a profound impact on my training for the rest of my career.” — Eric Cressey, president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance