What is the best workout? This may seem like I’m dodging the question but the best workout is whichever one you’re most likely to do on a regular a basis.
The reason for this is that consistency is the key in fitness.
It’s vital that whatever workout you choose it’s something that you both enjoy and that will fit into your schedule.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up a couple of factors which any good fitness plan must have;
It has to have some resistance training and it has to elevate your heart rate consistently enough to maintain good cardiovascular health.
However, there are many different ways to achieve those two goals.
Read on to learn about the three key factors which all workouts must have:
1) It Has To Fit Your Schedule
First, any good workout has to be able to fit your schedule.
You might really love the idea of doing an hour long hot yoga class after work every day but if you can’t find the time to do it there’s no point in buying that expensive package from the gym.
You might also like the idea of putting together an elaborate set of weight lifting exercises that takes about an hour and a half to complete that you learned about from some bodybuilding magazine but if you aren’t ever going to be able to fit that into your real life schedule then you should start thinking about other options.
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make when they start a new workout is forget to factor in how realistic it will be to do it on a regular basis.
People will make a New Year’s resolution to spend six hours a week in the gym for the whole next year.
That’s a great resolution, if it’s actually possible for you to change your schedule that dramatically to do it.
When you decide that you want to start working out and get fitter it’s vital that you pick an exercise schedule that will actually fit with your life.
Everyone has some spare time to fit in some exercise but make sure that you don’t completely forget about your other responsibilities because if you do you’ll find yourself slowly pushing aside the workouts you planned since they just don’t fit with your life.
A better way is to start slow.
Just make an effort to walk more everyday and design a bodyweight workout that you can do easily at home.
Then, once you’re comfortable with having fitness being a part of your life you can expand and create more elaborate goals.
Remember, consistency is the key. The greatest workout in the world isn’t worth anything if you don’t do it regularly.
You’re better off spending 30 minutes a week doing circuits of push-ups and squats regularly than trying to do a fitness routine that was approved by the head of the Olympic coaching team for gymnastics if you can only do that one once a week.
2) It Has To Be Fun
Another important thing to remember is that you have to fun!
If you don’t like a certain workout you’re never going to do it consistently and that will make it worthless.
You may have read that high intensity interval training is the most efficient way to burn fat but if you don’t like HIIT then it’s going to be difficult to get yourself to do it regularly enough to get any benefits from it.
In that case you might be better off just going for a long walk every night rather than forcing yourself to do bursts of HIIT twice a week.
Even though the walking takes more time you’ll get more from it because you enjoy it more and won’t skip a workout often.
Another example is a friend of mine who was a little overweight.
The real problem, however, was that he was leading an extremely sedentary lifestyle.
He would work all day in an office and then come home to watch T.V. and eat junk food.
Even though he was only in his mid-thirties his doctor told him that he was now entering the danger zone for heart attacks.
Now, probably the most efficient way to help him would be to place him on a low carb diet and have him do regular cardio and resistance training to get him into shape.
The problem with that, however, is that he’d never lifted a weight in his life and didn’t know his carbohydrates from his proteins so the chances of him sticking with that kind of plan were slim.
Instead he decided to start playing basketball.
He always loved basketball but hadn’t played since he was a kid so he decided to join up with some local guys who played at night near where he lived.
After about a year he’d lost close to twenty pounds and his doctor said he was back on the path to wellness.
Now, are there more efficient ways to strengthen your body than playing basketball a few nights a week?
Yes. But what does that matter if my friend would never do them because they weren’t fun for him.
Be sure that when you’re deciding how to get fit that you enjoy whatever you’re doing as it’s the best way to make sure you follow through and reach your goals.
3) It Has To Have Measurable Gains
One of the reasons I like lifting weights so much is that it’s easy for me to track my progress and see that I’m advancing.
When you’re designing your own workouts make sure that they can give you that same feeling.
Your workouts have to be able to show measurable gains that you can track in order to stay motivated.
When I increase the number of reps in a set or move up to a heavier weight I immediately gain a sense of satisfaction that I am now that much stronger.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to lift weights but you should pick an activity that you feel you can track.
If it’s running you can regularly see how fast you can run a 5K.
You can also set goals, like being able to run a twenty minute 5K by the end of the year.
Whatever the exercise is doesn’t matter as long as you can track your advancement and feel a sense of accomplishment from it.
That’s one of the reasons I avoid exercises like sit-ups and crunches.
It really doesn’t matter to me if I can do 200 sit-ups vs. 300 sit-ups so I quickly get bored of doing them and just avoid them all together.
What I’m basically saying is that you can choose almost any kind of physical activity and as long as you do it regularly and push yourself to become better at it you will be healthy.
Just make sure that your workout:
- Fits into your schedule;
- Is fun;
- And can show measurable gains
Stick to these simple guidelines when you’re planning a new workout schedule and I promise that you’ll get what you want out of it.
Until next time; stay healthy, happy, and strong!