180 Nutrition: When you first start a new exercise regime, choosing the right program for you will make a significant difference between creating a routine you can stick to long-term, and starting one which is over before your new runners have even made it out of the box!
Each area of exercise has its advocates, each shouting louder than the next about how their way of exercise is the best way. Cardio, CrossFit, weightlifting, yoga, cycling, boot camps… there are so many different styles of training and programs to choose from but the reality is that not each area is right for everyone, so it’s not as simple as just picking one and jumping right in.
Some say that cardio makes you skinny, others say that lifting weight can make you bulky; the fact is there are pros and cons of everything and the minefield of, often conflicting, advice out there can make it hard for a beginner to know which is the right choice for them.
There are many fads and new programs coming onto the market all the time, and similarly, there are those that have been around for years. Without knowing you and your physical condition, it’s impossible for me to tell you today which form of exercise is right for you.
To achieve optimal health, if you can avoid stopping and starting you will get much faster and longer lasting results so before you start a new program, there are a few things that you should consider.
1. What’s Your Long-term Goal?
Your exercise of choice needs to work in conjunction with your goal. If weight loss is your goal you will achieve faster results from a more cardio based activity such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or a weight training program based on fat loss.
If you’re training to be at the peak of your performance in any area, a strict weight based program will build strength in your bones and muscles and will work well in conjunction with specific training in that a healthy way of life of focus.
If you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle and want to move every day, then my best advice is to pick something you enjoy. Exercise is an essential part of a healthy way of life, but there are many individual motivators which should be identified, and your program developed around them.
2. What’s Your Current Level Of Fitness?
There’s little point in joining the local boot camp if your fitness level isn’t currently up to par. By biting off more than you can chew in the early stages you’re likely to cause an injury or get put off before you’ve even started. Choose a program that matches your current fitness condition and as you increase strength and fitness, adapt the program to suit you.
3. Do You Have Any Injuries?
It’s pointless signing up for a regular boxing class if you’ve got a delicate neck or hips from an old or recent accident or injury. It’s important that you discuss any injuries with a qualified expert before undertaking any exercise program. A trained professional will advise you accordingly before you begin your training regime. Excuse the pun, but as far as training is concerned, if you run before you can walk and put your body through a program that is above what it’s capable of, you could end up doing long term damage.
4. What Is Your Financial Situation?
There’s no doubt that while fancy gym memberships are tempting, you need to be committed. Of course, situations change however if you’re scraping the barrel each week just to pay your membership fee, you might be better to look for alternative options. It’s recommended training under the guidance of someone qualified so if you’re not as flush as you could be, try some of the smaller, community gyms rather than the big chains – you’ll get better value for money and possibly a more personalised service too.
If you would rather an exercise program that is completely free, a quick Google search will bring hundreds of exercise regimes that you can complete at home or outside at no cost with minimal equipment. Again, be careful of taking part in exercise that is above your physical capabilities and if you’re taking advice from an online tutor who has never met you, always start off slowly.
As far as your exercise routine is concerned, there is no one size fits all. You need to take into consideration what you enjoy, what your body is capable of, and choose a program that your current lifestyle allows you to stick to on an ongoing basis.
As long as you’re moving within your physical capabilities for 30 minutes on the majority of days in conjunction with a healthy diet, your body will thank you for it. Always listen to your body and if it’s telling you to stop then make sure you do, and we recommend you take advice from a trained professional before undertaking any gruelling exercise program.
With exercise, it’s important that you do something which you enjoy to make sure you get the best results and health benefits, but more than that – it’s important that your routine is sustainable.