In a sense, current fitness landscape is very reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. It is intriguing, it’s impressive to look at, and it’s a horrible mess. Don’t believe us? Just look at the things that are considered “fitness” – power yoga, BodyPump, CrossFit, swimming, power lifting… The list goes on and on. What makes this confusing situation even worse is that each of these activities represents a viable fitness approach. Which one will work the best for you depends entirely on you. So, let’s see how to make the right choice.
Make the list of things preventing you from exercising
These would be the common roadblocks people face on a daily basis. We won’t preach you that it’s all in your head – some of these obstacles are legit. Instead, we’ll try to offer the solutions.
- You don’t have enough time – Try focusing on the bodyweight options you can do at home or at work. This approach can be applied if you can’t stand the gym environment as well.
- You are way out of shape – It’s better to start late than never. But, don’t expect the changes to occur over night. Start your fitness journey by introducing casual physical activities like walking in your daily routine, and work your way up.
- You find working out boring – Just find a fitness partner or sign up for a group activity and turn a physical activity into a social activity.
- You are on a tight budget – Though hiring a professional trainer or at least enrolling for a program that offers a certain level of mentorship, extensive research and a couple of fitness DVDs will do sufficient of a job at filling your blanks.
Determine your fitness goals
Now that you have a somewhat clearer picture about your future approach to fitness, let’s take a look at another huge determining factor – your fitness goals. They can roughly be divided into three groups:
- Endurance – The most common endurance-building activities are running, swimming, cycling, and rope exercises. When you are building endurance, you are burning calories that would, otherwise, be spent for muscle building, so we can say that building muscles and building endurance are two mutually exclusive processes. However, you can combine strength days and cardio days, cut the rest between sets, and do fast-paced lifting and marry the best of both worlds.
- Bigger muscles – Building muscles means eating more, so you’ll find combining this approach with losing fat reasonably hard. Also, the most conventional way to build muscles is in the gym. If you have a natural aversion to the gym, you can build your self-confidence and make your stay there more pleasant by finding a gym companion, buying quality gym wear or bringing your headphones.
- Burning fat – The thing with losing fat is that you simply need to outrun your fork so as long as you’re burning more calories than you are ingesting you’re good to go. The most efficient way to do this, on the other hand, is through high-intensity interval training. The good news is that you’ll also be able to pack some muscles along the way. Not as much as with plain old body-building, but you’ll definitely look leaner.
Last but not least, you have to take into consideration your special affinities. For instance, if you are impressed with nature, you may put the fitness goals on the backseat and simply go hiking. Spiritual persons may find the most enjoyment in yoga or tai chi, while people who like music will probably appreciate dance lessons the most.
All you have to do now is to put these three categories together and find the lowest common denominator that works your needs. Every one of us has a distinct personality and distinct needs. You don’t need to force anything upon yourself. Just find the approach that suits your goals and your qualities the best.
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in fitness and alternative medicine. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.