What I hear from many people is that they hate working out. My response: you just haven’t found what ‘works out’ for you! Finding a fitness style that you enjoy is key! It’s similar to when we talk about career choices and say "do what you love, love what you do.” You have to wake up and do that job every day, so we better like it or we'll be miserable. It's the same with fitness! If you wake up and dread heading to the gym then it will be a huge challenge for you to stick with your plan. In fact, that might be where you find yourself now: completely over the whole fitness thing.
So how do we figure out what we love to do, while also making sure it's something that's actually good for us? With the gobs of workout styles out there, I certainly can’t list them all here for you to pick from; it would go on forever! So let’s instead start by finding a good initial direction for you. Let’s talk about what makes up a good workout program and then look at how your preferences fit into that equation.
First, when picking a workout, you need to make sure it has these foundational elements:
● Total Body incorporation
● Both Resistance Training (working against some type of force- weights, gravity, water...etc.) and Cardio (high heart rate work)
● Some form of flexibility work
This list isn't exhaustive, but it's important to achieve all of these requirements and you could even mix and match different workout styles; yoga a couple days a week for flexibility and resistance and boxing for a few days for more resistance and cardio. You could also sum up all three things in one workout style like swimming or circuit training. In the end, just try to incorporate as many of those listed elements as possible.
Now for finding something you will enjoy!
Answer the questions of this short quiz, then check in with the answer key below:
1) What settings do you thrive in:
a) At home or in a quiet place chilling on my own
b) Hanging out with a small group of friends over some coffee and games
c) Getting hyped up with high energy at a concert or big party
2) How do you like to be challenged:
a) Make me work for it! I’ll take as long as I need to conquer the task.
b) I don’t mind a little extra effort, but I want to feel successful immediately.
c) I need something that I can pick up quickly and feel good about from the get-go.
3) How do you best succeed:
a) Setting goals for myself and sticking to them
b) Having someone hold me accountable to stick to my plan
c) Knowing that people are counting on me to do my part
4) You can stick with a task if:
a) It is stable and constant and I can see measurable growth
b) It is ever changing and keeps me from being bored
c) I like a little of both
1) Key Value: Who should you workout with:
a) You might enjoy a more individual workout.
Good options include swimming, individual circuit or weight training, bicycling, one-on-one personal training, home video-based training.
b) You might enjoy a partner or small group setting.
Good options include Boxing/MMA/Martial Arts, small group training (circuit class/ boot camps), small CrossFit classes, niche classes (aerial yoga, kickboxing, etc.).
c) You might enjoy a large group setting.
Good options include yoga classes, HIIT classes, recreational sports, gym offered classes (barbell, pilates, POUND), Zumba, outdoor boot camps.
2) Key Value: Your ideal learning curve
a) You might enjoy workouts that have a large learning curve, but have a big pay off in the end. Good options include yoga, technical dance, boxing/MMA/Martial Arts, aerial fitness.
b) You might enjoy workouts that challenge you throughout but include progress all along the way.
Good options include CrossFit, powerlifting/weight training, HIIT classes, barre, circuit training.
c) You might enjoy workouts that have a quick introduction and provide you an instant sense of accomplishment.
Good options include swimming, cycling/spinning, Zumba, gym offered classes (POUND, water aerobics, aerobics, step).
3) Key Value: Commitment accountability and success
a) You might enjoy working out alone and keeping a gym journal with your goals and progress. You can achieve this through a home gym or large franchise gym with individual membership)
b) You might enjoy working with a personal trainer, or having a gym buddy to hold you accountable.
c) You might enjoy joining a group class (small or large) where fellow members and the instructor will notice your presence or absence and can hold you accountable to attend. You can find this at niche gyms, small fitness studios with group training, large gym group classes or boot camps.
4) Key Value: Consistency in format
a) You might enjoy a workout that has the same basic format every time you do it but keeps you adding more and more challenges as you grow.
Good options include swimming, Cycling/Spin, Boxing, Recreational Sport.
b) You might enjoy a workout that constantly changes it up, keeps you guessing and is mentally entertaining.
Good options include Zumba, boot camps, aerobics classes, HIIT.
c) You might enjoy a workout that is changing in smaller variables but has a generally consistent format.
Good options include circuit training, CrossFit, powerlifting/weight training, pilates, yoga.
Based on your answers in light of the answer key, did you see any suggested workouts show up more than once? Maybe it’s time to give that one a try! Do one of these four values matter more to you than the rest? Try a workout based on that answer. If none of these options seem right for you, or you have tried them all and disliked them all, then please get in touch with me! I know these suggested options are not extensive and there is much more out there. I would love to work with you on finding a workout that suits you!
I hope some of my suggestions and guidance has helped! Please don’t give up on the fitness part of the health partnership. The bottom line is that when you pick a workout style that you enjoy, you are much more likely to see the results that you want because you are much more likely to stick with it so pick what suits you and go after it!
Taylor Bluebaugh, CPT
Ground Zero Fitness