Being a fitness professional, sometimes its assumed that people like myself participate in every type of fitness activity. Let me tell you that simply isn’t true, any more than it would be true for a non-fitness professional. We all have our different likes and dislikes about fitness and are drawn to certain types of exercise. Some people prefer cardiovascular exercise, some prefer strength training. Others like to have fun in a dance or group exercise setting, and some prefer competitive outdoor events. We are all different, and that’s OK.
It’s important to know, that there is no one exercise that is better than the rest, though someone trying to sell a particular workout plan may tell you otherwise. The right exercise is whatever is the right exercise for you. With so much to choose from, however, what should you do?
Ask yourself the following questions:
* WHY do I want to exercise? In other words, what are you trying to get out of it? Do you want to lose fat tissue, build muscle, build stamina, improve cholesterol levels, be generally healthy, run a marathon, etc…? Your goal will determine what you choose. For example, if you want to burn fat tissue and lose weight, you may be better off doing interval training combined with some endurance training and some weight training. If you need to gain weight, you probably want to go light on the cardio, and focus on strength training. Maybe you want to build overall body conditioning? Then try something like CrossFit or boot camp classes.
* WHAT do you like to do? What’s your personality? Some people prefer the outdoor environment, some people prefer to exercise indoors. Do you like to stay on the same machine for a long time or have a more varied workout? Do you like to exercise alone or in a group? Do you like machines or do you prefer to move more freely in space?
* Do you have any health concerns? Do you have back problems or other conditions that may worsen with particular exercises? For example, if you have back problems (like myself and many others) doing explosive or high-impact workouts would not be a good idea. For example, as a runner, I love running outside, but my back prefers the treadmill due to the extra cushion and impact reduction. So I try to limit my outdoor running.
* What will you stick with? This is an important question that is often forgotten. Maybe the workout where you jump until you puke is something you’re not likely to do long term. Choose something that feels natural enough to you that you can see yourself doing it for a long time.
Remember, the exercise that is the best, is the one that is best for you. Don’t let anyone tell you different.