Exclusive: Get serious health and fitness inspo from top trainer Natalie Uhling
For Natalie, exercising has been her “number one passion” since she was in elementary school. She grew up playing sports and started taking group fitness classes at the age of 11. "Fitness and moving and music were always kind of my thing...I always wanted to beat all the boys,” she said.
Natalie knows, though, that not everyone is quite so passionate about hitting the gym. To stay motivated and keep any workout fun, she suggests getting together a group of friends and having a great playlist. “I think just having that community, having a little family…gets you there because you know that other people are gonna be there too,” she says. Plus, she’s “big on music” and credits the fact that she changes up her playlist every day with helping keep her students interested.
Work it out
Natalie's advice for finding the workout that works for you? “Do what makes you happy, number one.…Do what you love to do.” From hiking to swimming, plenty of your summer activities are also great workouts, so you can “incorporate the things that you love into your everyday training as well.” Natalie’s favorite ways to exercise (other than her workout classes, of course) are hiking, Pilates, and dance. She also encourages girls to stop staring at their phone and computer screens and get outside. “If you can be outside and move and if you’re with your friends and you’re having fun, you’re just gonna want to keep doing more athletic stuff,” she says.
On super hot or rainy days, though, tech can actually be your workout friend. Even if you can’t afford a gym membership or to sign up for a local class, the internet is full of great workout tutorials and lessons that you can watch and stream, which Natalie totally recommends. “You have access to all this amazing content that you can do at home,” she says.
When choosing a workout, Natalie stresses the importance of listening to your body, because what’s right for someone else may not be right for you. “Do things that feel good,” she says, noting that many workout regimens are designed for grown men, not growing girls. And she totally doesn’t subscribe to the 'pain is gain' mentality. “When you’re a young girl and you’re still growing, if something doesn’t feel right, ask questions about it,” she advises. “If it’s physically [painful], stop and evaluate. Is this exercise good for my body?” She also notes that hardcore athletics can really bust up your body in the long haul, so know your limits.
What does Natalie consider fitness success? “I think fitness is number one to just be overall healthy, and that’s mind, body, spirit, the whole thing. Just feeling really good every day that you wake up and feeling good about yourself and having self-confidence. I really want people to start accepting what they have and the tools that they have and using them."
And what's the ideal attitude? "I want people to say ‘Okay, this is my body and this is what it can do and I want to maximize what my body can do, not what anyone else’s can do,’” she says. “That would be fitness success for me, really just knowing your body, understanding it, loving it and figuring out ways that work best for you.”
In terms of caring for yourself when you’re not working out, Natalie cites eating quality food, drinking water instead of sugary drinks, “being around really positive people that I believe in and believe in [me]" and seven to eight hours of sleep a night as key to her health. And of course, Natalie wants GL girls to achieve body confidence. "Love, love, love your body…it’s this vehicle that’s doing all these incredible things. Just be kind to it, do things that feel good.”
Are you inspired by Natalie’s tips? How do you get motivated to stay fit?
Photo credit: natalieuhlingfitness.com