When it comes to fitness, there is almost no way of knowing which style is better for you until you try it. If you grew up playing team sports, chances are, you’d be drawn to working out in a community setting – CrossFit, outdoor Bootcamps, or gyms like F45. If you are the kind of person who uses fitness as their window of personal space and “me time”, you’re likely to do better with a personal trainer. This kind of distinction helps you to figure out where you’d perform and feel your best.
We’re spoilt for choice nowadays with fitness, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Nowadays, with the tap of your finger, you can access thousands of different fitness studios each serving up a different type of workout. I find, though, that the average person cannot tell you what type of workout they actually prefer. There’s a kind of training ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) that sets in - people want to try a little of everything without ever getting good at any one thing.
Before you change your workout style or add variety to your training, ask yourself honestly if you’re ready for it. For example, if you’ve only been training for 2-3 months, you have no business mimicking a Pro Crossfitter's training regime. The workout video that you see on Instagram that you want to try? Think again. These random fitness routines published in magazines or on social media don’t mean anything unless you have a foundation that has prepared you for them.
A good fitness program uses progressive overload to make sure that you get stronger, and are able to handle more activities. If you’re an absolute beginner, this typically happens at the three-month mark. You need to be building up your strength instead of jumping into an intermediate-level workout designed for people at a different stage in their fitness journey.
I personally don’t think it’s important to add variety to your workout style. Going to a spin class one month, doing HIIT the other, and then moving on to boxing and 10k runs all in the name of changing things up is silly and short-sighted to say the least. Instead, I would recommend leaning upon fundamental movements and building variety around that. I’ll lay this out in my second Power Read: The 7-Day Balanced Workout. Variety is great, but you need to be curating it carefully. How would doing this benefit YOUR specific function as a human being? If this is something you cannot answer on your own, meet up with a fitness professional for advice.
I’ve spent enough time in the fitness industry to be well acquainted with the myths and misconceptions that float around. I’ve heard it all. Most times, I hear women telling me they want to “tone their butts” and “shrink their calves”. Fact is, there’s no such thing as “toning” in this context, and the only way you can shrink your calves is by getting a surgeon to cut them out. Another big myth is that lifting heavy will make women look big and bulky. Absolutely not, unless that’s what you choose. When you lift weights sensibly and supplement that with a healthy diet, you will be stronger and leaner. On the other hand, if you’re training the wrong way, binging on desserts, or drinking too much, you’ll find yourself getting bigger. It has to be said.
Men, on the other hand, come to me with statements like “I don’t need to train my legs because I run every other day”. Running isn’t resistance training. So while you bench press and do pull ups (all of which are resistance training), your poor legs get zero attention. The result? You guessed it - twigs for legs. I also get people who think that doing HIIT workouts is enough to be fit. Sure, they’re aerobically efficient at it. But if I were to put them in another environment where loads exist and they have to push and pull at near maximal efforts with a heightened heart rate in the presence of lactic acid - they won’t be able to perform.
Perhaps the most frustrating statement I hear is "I cannot afford a fitness professional”. Most times, this is simply the case of prioritising what matters to you. If you are going out for drinks regularly or splurging on designer outfits, you definitely could be channelling some part of that money towards your own health instead. Make your own health a priority.
Now that you know what you might be doing wrong, let me show you how to change your focus from hopping between fitness trends to building strength and mobility that will help you stay healthy in the long run.
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