One thing that has confused so many people over the years is how to keep one’s body at an ideal weight and maintain good physical condition. You walk into any bookstore, go online, or turn on any TV and you’re sure to find more differing opinions on the subject than you would want to digest. And this has been going on for decades. In the 70’s it was aerobics, the 80’s brought in new exercise tools like the thigh master, the 90’s gave us buns of steel, and since the turn of century we’ve seen a major rise in the popularity of CrossFit and Zumba. How can you determine exactly which type of exercise program is best for you? According to fitness expert Rebecca Brown, we have to first determine what is our motivation, which is not always easy.
It’s not always so black and white – there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to intentions. Some people want to build muscle, but also improve their endurance or flexibility.
Once you know what you hope to accomplish from your exercise program, you can start looking at the types of routines that will yield you the best results.
For Weight Loss
By and large, the vast majority of people are motivated to exercise to either lose, gain, or maintain their current weight. If your goal is to shed those excess pounds there are a number of highly effective options. Spinning or Zumba classes have become quite popular as effective strategies for trimming the fat. They both give you a high calorie burn while keeping you working at your maximum but safe heart rate. Both programs can be very effective but experts believe that since spinning requires you to be in excellent cardiovascular condition before starting, if you’re a true beginner you might want to start out with Zumba until your body is better conditioned.
Toning and Building Muscle Mass
If you want to build muscles, you need to choose a program that will work those muscles to the max. In the past, we were told that aerobics was the way to go but recent studies now show that in order to build and tone muscles you need to focus on resistance training. This is where programs like CrossFit can be extremely practical. The functional movements offered in CrossFit take every day movements and hone them to perfection so that you get a high intensity workout along with a high calorie burn at the same time. Add a few kettlebell routines in the mix and you can easily get a total body workout that will give you visible toning in no time at all.
When it comes to building up your endurance most people think of running or cycling, both of which can provide incredible results. However, some experts will tell you that these two exercise routines are only part of the solution. Your level of endurance can only improve so far if you don’t also include strength training in the equation. According to personal fitness trainer Will Torres,
By building your leg muscles, you’ll be able to propel yourself further in every step you take while running. The added muscle also helps absorb the impact that would otherwise put stress on your joints.
In order to build up your level of stamina you need to look at a routine that adds strength so that you can get the maximum effect out of each of your workouts. Programs that combine cardio with strength will give you the best results. Consider boxing drills that help to tighten up your core and enhance your speed and coordination and see what happens.
Flexibility is important for everyone as it can enhance one’s workout in other areas as well. No matter what type of exercise regimen you decide to embark on, being flexible will make your experience that much better. In addition, with a good level of strength and flexibility, you can protect yourself from accidents as you go about your daily life and routine and not just while you’re working out in the gym.
Routines that use isometric exercises can help improve your extension and flexibility. Dance classes that include the bar can provide low intensity workouts where you can isolate individual muscles and tone up those smaller ones that are often harder to get to with a regular workout routine. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are also popular options for improving your flexibility. It not only helps you to stretch out those strained and overworked muscles but with regular sessions you’ll increase your level of concentration so that you have better control of your body overall. And if you prefer outdoor workouts as opposed to going to the gym you can try going for a regular hike that forces you to extend those muscles to their max.
The Total Body Workout
For those who are not focusing on a specific area or goal for their body, the sky’s the limit. If you want to get the maximum effect for your blood, sweat, and tears that you pour out on the gym floor there are a number of fitness choices you can take advantage of. There are different types of yoga classes that can work every muscle in your body. For the more brave at heart, there is also bodybuilding and CrossFit that can get you ship shape in no time at all.
No matter what program you choose, the one key factor that will help you to get the most out of your program is to find something that you enjoy doing. As The Better Health Channel explains,
Look for a type of physical activity that you’re likely to enjoy. You are more likely to abandon a healthy lifestyle change if your chosen activity doesn’t suit your preferences or lifestyle.
By knowing your personality and preferences and matching them with your personal goals for improving your health, you’ll be in a much better position to choose a routine and fitness program that will meet your needs perfectly.