how to choose the best exercise routine for your goals
how to choose the best exercise routine for your goals
Or read the post below in 5 minutes
You have a lot of choices when it comes to fitness.
In this article we will go over how to choose a gym and how to decide on an exercise routine that is right for your specific goals.
We will also discuss whether or not you should join a group class, train with a friend, or train by yourself.
After reading this article, you may also want to know what you should look for when choosing a personal trainer, a group fitness class, and the friends with whom you exercise.
Choosing an exercise program
How do you choose an exercise routine that is right for your goals?
Everyone has their own goals which will require special consideration before starting out on a fitness program. As I mentioned in this article on why we exercise, there is no one training methodology that can effectively help everyone reach their goals, regardless of what those goals are.
Having said this, almost without exception most people’s goals are to regain a body that feels and looks healthy, moves without pain, and allows for participation in the things they love most in life.
If you think about it, most people are simply after a normal functioning, healthy looking and feeling body.
With so many approaches to fitness these days it’s easier than ever to over think which exercise routine best suits your needs.
Adding to the confusion, it would seem everyone has their own opinion (which they are more than happy to share). They know which form of exercise produces the best results in the shortest amount of time.
“Do this, but don't do that.”
“Drink this, but don't eat that.”
Fitness methodologies have transformed into fitness ideologies.
For some, their very identity has become wrapped up in the gym culture they have chosen to follow. With so many people espousing the benefits and virtues of their particular church of fitness, you may find yourself questioning which form of exercise is the best?
Should you join a CrossFit gym? Are kettlebells the answer? Maybe you have a friend who swears by the latest at home workout video series.
I ‘d argue that, rather than worrying which new fitness craze will get you a tight and toned body as quickly as possible, we need to step back and look at what all of these fitness programs are doing to help you achieve success in the first place.
Remember the idea of adaptive tissue response which we went over in the post on exercise? We discovered adaptive tissue response is the process of cellular recovery following damage from the influences of environmental pressures.
Said in more practical terms, It is the body’s way of building itself back up to a stronger state so as to deal with the environment in the future in a more proficient way than before. Think of a child who lives on a farm.
That child will grow up to hold much more muscle on his or her frame than their city counterpart.
Their whole life the farm kid was helping out on the farm, digging up dirt and throwing heavy bales of hay around while the city kid took the bus to school, sat in a chair eight hours during class, and played video games when they got home.
Each child’s body had to adapt to its external environment differently. The farm kids body had to get strong in all planes of motion to keep up with the physically demanding environment. The city kids body did not.
What am I getting at with this? Well, if you want to get good at throwing bales of hay around, then you need to throw bales of hay around. If you want to get good at playing video games, then you need to play video games.
Playing video games will not help you get better at throwing bales of hay around, just as throwing bales of hay around will not help you get better at playing video games.
Now, let’s consider what might happen if both the farm kid and the city kid decide to try skiing later in life?
Would one likely be better at skiing than the other right away?
Would their ability and skill at skiing progress the same, or would one get better than the other at a faster pace based on their previous lifestyle?
While they are both new to the sport, the farm kid has a body which adapted to be strong, mobile, and able in all planes of motion, whereas the city kids body did not.
Likely, the farm kid will pick up skiing much faster and progress at a faster rate as their muscles are stronger and respond better to the environment of skiing down a mountain.
That is not to say they will be skiing double black diamonds straight away, but they will be sufficiently setup to see rapid improvement. What’s more, this scenario would play out much the same no matter the sport.
What does this have to do with choosing an exercise routine? The farm kid didn’t pick up skiing more quickly than the city kid because he went to a CrossFit class three times a week, swung kettlebells around, or followed an at home boxercise DVD set.
The farm kid improved more quickly because his body was used to regularly moving the way the body is meant to and against varying degrees of resistance. Simple.
This idea is how you should approach your exercise routine. Unless you are a professional athlete, who needs highly specific training for your particular sport, choosing the form of exercise to accomplish your goals should be a relatively easy task.
If you wanted to break it down to the bare essentials as to what an exercise routine should offer you it’s:
1.) Exercises that require the body to move in all planes and ranges of natural motion
2.) Exercises that allow for progressively mobilizing, loading and intensifying through those motions
3.) A set of guidelines for the safe and efficient progression.
What do you mean you still don’t know which exercise routine is best?
There is no best way of exercising.
There is only the best way to exercise which allows you to improve your level of fitness safely and at your current ability.
The way in which you exercise will likely change over time, just as your goals will evolve as you achieve old ones and set new ones. For your consideration, I will offer you two suggestions for choosing your exercise routine.
The first suggestion is to decide on a way of exercising you believe you can positively enjoy. Don’t take a class, go to a gym, or see a trainer if you are not enjoying it.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise should never be easy, but it should never be something you dread either. If you simply do not like going to the gym then don’t go to the gym. You can instead go hiking regularly, start practicing martial arts, or take a cardio focused yoga class.
It doesn’t matter how you get your exercise, but it does matter that you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.
My second suggestion is that you choose where you get your exercise, whether it’s a gym or not, based on how easy it is for you to get there or adopt it into your current routine.
Removing as many obstacles and excuses which might get in the way is essential for long-term success. Don’t choose a gym because it’s nice or cheap if it’s halfway across town.
Select a gym that is on your way home from work. Every time you pass by you will remind yourself of your goal. Sure, it may not be as nice as the gym across town, or maybe it’s more expensive than you would like, but you’re much less likely to miss your workout if you have to pass by every day, recalling the goal you created.
It's likely that you have chosen the gym as your first step toward achieving your health and fitness goals.
You have the membership; it’s on your way to work, but now what? Do you exercise by yourself?
Do you hire a trainer?
Do you take classes?
Should you train with friends?
I've covered all three of these topics in other articles and videos (I've linked the text above to each post )
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