Eye of the tiger: The best motivational quotes

Everyone can benefit from a few words of motivation from a top trainer. We talked to twenty of the best trainers out there to find out what they tell their clients, students (and themselves!) to get inspired to work out and eat healthy.

"It's not how long; it's how strong."

This is top trainer and BRAVO reality TV star Jackie Warner’s go-to quote for motivating herself and her many celebrity clients.

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“Ignore the scale, and make the process your goal.”

Harley Pasternak shares this great piece of motivational wisdom his famous clients (including Jessica Simpson, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian) to help them stay inspired to stick with it.

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“Everything is better after a workout.”

Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist, reminds her students (and herself) to get motivated to move.

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“If you never change, you never change."

Or, if you keep doing what you've been doing, you're going to stay where you are already, says Rick Richey, a certified personal trainer and owner of R2Fitness in New York City. “This is my quote to emphasize the importance of varied and progressive exercise programming, as well the need to actually do something if you're doing nothing,” he says.

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"Be a man! Finish the set!"

Elizabeth Burwell (a.k.a. "The Velvet Hammer" and "Cruella") shouts this at clients (and at herself) during tough workouts at her High Performance Gym.

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“Train insane or remain the same.”

This is Cassey Ho's all-time favorite motivational workout quote. She's a certified fitness expert and creator of Blogilates. She also loves these other quotes as well: "Train like beast, look like a beauty," "Your mind controls your muscles," and "Tell yourself you can, and you will."

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“There is no perfect body except the one you woke up in. Enjoy it!”

This is an inspiring (and awesome) reminder from Rachel Cosgrove, author of The Female Body Breakthrough and co-owner of Results Fitness.

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“You cannot be weak if you want to be sleek.”

This quote comes from fitness industry legend Richard Simmons’ moving – and very motivational - poem (perfect for posting on a mirror for daily reading): "You don't get a choice on how you are going to die / But you do get a choice on how you are going to live / You cannot be weak / If you want to be sleek / Tone what you own / Sweat ‘til you're wet / Don't cry... just laugh / That will help your body mass / You have to be a little vain / In order to maintain / Be your own hero / And your life won't be a zero."

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"Forget the ‘no’ in your head and listen to the ‘YES’ in your body."

"Impress yourself. Every workout should push you to a new personal record," says Paul Katami, a top Hollywood trainer, exercise DVD star and creator of the KatamiBar.

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“What you waiting for?”

Whenever she needs a dose of inspiration, certified personal trainer Jennipher Walters, co-founder of, quotes one of her favorite Gwen Stefani songs to push herself. “I use this phrase with myself or with others (with a little bit of sass) to help them see that right now is the only moment that matters,” she says. “It doesn't matter if you missed a workout yesterday or ate too much pizza over lunch. What matters is this moment right now and how you can make the absolute most of it -- both by being focused on the workout you're about to do and by believing in yourself to do it. When it comes to reaching our fitness and health goals, there's no time like the present. So what are you waiting for? Do it, and do it with your all!”

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“It's not how you start, it's how you finish.”

Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist and group fitness manager for EQUINOX, reminds her classes this to help them survive her tough workouts.

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“You can have results, or you can have excuses. You can't have both.”

“I tell my clients (and myself) this all the time,” says Bret Contreras, MA, CSCS, who maintains a popular blog at

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“It only takes one step to get started.”

That’s what Andrea Metcalf, a healthy fitness lifestyle expert and creator of “Naked Fitness,” reminds potential clients and beginner exercisers. She also likes to say: “There is more than one path to Oz, just keep finding a new yellow brick road!” “Don't let others define what you can do,” and “It doesn't matter if you walk or run the mile. It just matters that you did”.

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“If your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

That’s the personal philosophy of Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym, who notes that this picture was taken during the “Run to the Sun” race (a 36-mile ultra marathon starting at sea level and climbing to the 10,023 foot summit of the volcano Haleakala) that he completed recently in Maui.

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"The more muscles you have, the more energy your body can produce!"

Gilad Janklowicz, fitness personality and star of workout series “Bodies in Motion," says: “My take on Einstein's theory of relativity? It goes like this: When it comes to perusing fitness goals, I have developed two very important ‘theories of relativity' – my theory of relativity is: The more muscles you have relative to fat the more energy your body can produce! My second special theory of relativity is: Get your relatives involved!"

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“Any movement is good movement.”

“I think it’s important to let people know that it’s OK to go easy or modify since we are all at different levels. You should never feel bad about yourself for needing to do so because everything you do is beneficial,” says Nicole Nichols, a certified fitness expert.

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“5% of the people in this world make things happen.”

“5% of the People in this World Make Things Happen, 15% of the People in this World Watch Things Happen, and 80% of the People in this World don't know what the Heck is going on..." My father told me this when I was a child, and then asked me, what percent are you going to be?” says Jay Cardiello, a celebrity trainer (he’s 50 Cent’s strength and conditioning coach) and contributing editor to Shape Magazine.

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“Be willful about it!”

“I really do say this, and my students seem to love it,” says Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise science.

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"Good pain is change."

“That is my favourite quote that I like to use with myself and my clients,” says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, CSCS, a personal trainer and fitness.

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“Commit to being the very best version of yourself today!”

That’s what Lindsay Vastola, a certified fitness professional and owner of Body Project Fitness & Lifestyle in New York City, tells herself and her clients to stay motivated and on track.

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About the Author

As a certified wellcoach, author, fitness lifestyle expert and the star of numerous exercise DVDs, Jessica Smith is constantly writing and producing video content about the latest news and expert information on health, fitness and wellness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications.