By Coach Paige
There is an amazing variety of programs and exercise options out there, all claiming to be the BEST. However, the reality is that although they all have benefits and have stories of people who have gained benefits from them, there is no one size fits all fitness program. With so much variety, how do you decide which program is best for you?
What is Your Goal?
What you want to achieve is very important in deciding on a fitness program. If you want to run a 5K Charity Run, then clearly you need a running program. If you want to improve your strength, you will have to lift weights several times a week. If you are looking to lose weight a combination of resistance training and cardio can get you there, and there are varying methods of achieving this however bodyweight circuits and interval training have been known to yield positive results.
The best goals are the ones we write down – the act of writing it on paper increases our commitment to achieving the gol.
Be S.M.A.R.T. about setting your goals by making them Specific, Measurable, Action-orientated, Realist, and Time-Bound.
Where Are You Now?
When starting a new fitness regimen it is important to be realistic with where you are at this very moment. Perhaps in university you were a star athlete but haven’t done much in terms of activity since then – and maybe that was 10 or 20 years ago. It is unrealistic to expect that you can perform to that level immediately. Realize that your lifestyle and body has changed. You may feel like a beginner again and that is OK. A beginner may also need some guidance so consider a personal trainer or a coach to get you started on the right path. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends the average adult to accumulate about six hours of exercise a week.
Know that you can start small and work your way up. Small things like walking for 15 minutes a day add up and help you achieve your exercise goals. The recommendations also do not tell you what you have to do, so if you prefer to play soccer rather than lift weights then be fast and furious on the pitch.
Where Do You Prefer To Be Active?
Not everyone loves going to the gym – and that is Ok, just find what works for you.
Do you like to socialize? Then a fitness class or boot camp might be your thing.
Do you prefer to be outdoors? Outdoor bootcamps, running clubs and sports could be for you.
Feel more comfortable alone? Workout videos or private training studios could be your solitude.
The options are endless, if you are not sure what you like, then give it a try to find out!
How Does It Make you Feel?
Whichever program you decide to do, it should meet these 3 requirements to make it successful.
It makes you Happy: You enjoy doing it; well maybe not 100% during the doing part – but afterwards it makes you feel amazing. If the program is really awesome, you feel happy about the workout. In addition you are more likely to stick to something you enjoy, so above all choose do something you like, be it dance, sports, hiking, biking, yoga, parkour, kickboxing….whatever will help you stay active.
It makes you Healthy: Not only does your Doctor start giving you the thumbs up over improved lab reports, but you feel it. You have more energy, you are sick less often, and your body moves better allowing you to do the things you want to do in life.
It makes you feel great and look good: You feel more confident, you clothes fit well and comfortably, your eyes and skin glow, you hair shines (even if no one sees it), you radiate happiness and good health.
The best program for you is the program you will stick to and be consistent with. With consistent activity and healthy behaviours you can achieve just about any goal. Always remember to check with your physician before beginning a new program, and to listen to your body during and after your workout. If you find you are having more challenges, reach out to fitness or healthcare professionals to help guide you. Health and Fitness is more than just the ‘right program’ it is a daily decision to do what is best for your body, your mind, and your soul.
About the author:
Coach Paige has been in the fitness industry for a decade, specializing in helping women achieve their health and fitness goals. She offers 1-on-1 training in her private studio, small group boot camps, and online training and nutrition coaching. Her Lifestyle Studio is in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. You can also reach her on her Facebook page here.