One of the most frequently asked questions of fitness professionals is:
What is the “best” workout for me?
I honestly don’t know what they say, and since I’m not a fitness professional, at least not yet, I can’t answer as one. But, I can give you my answer as an aspiring FP.
The best workout for you is one:
- that you are capable of doing.
- that you are willing to do.
- that you are challenged by.
- that will grow with you.
That’s it. No acronyms, no big secrets, no formulas. All you need in a “best” workout are the four items listed above.
Now, does that mean all workouts are created equal? Nope. But if you’re not working out now, any workout you do will be “best.”
And for each of you, your “best” workout will mean different things depending on your own personal goals but the most important thing to consider for anyone wanting to start exercising is that, however you workout, you should come to enjoy it.
And it’s much easier to do that if you’re not fighting against your will every time exercise hour rolls around.
You have to fall in love with process – otherwise, you’re apt to quit before you’ve even really started.
Now, in terms of “workout programs,” there are four different types:
- Strength Training
- Aerobic Training
- Balance Training
- Flexibility Training
Ideally, your program will include components from all four.
Depending on your local gym you may have a choice of machines and/or free weights – try out each under the guidance of a trainer if you’re new to the gym. A word of warning though, if you’re tempted to go it alone, don’t. You owe it to yourself to develop a good foundation of technique.
If machines and free weights aren’t up your alley, you always have body weight exercises as an option.
Also, don’t lift weights heavier than you can safely handle – you’re not going to impress anyone in there with you.
The dreaded cardio. Actually, aerobic training includes a good variety of exercises from walking, to jump rope, all the way to CrossFit. The main point is that, however you do it, you want to get and keep your heart rate up for the period of the exercise to ensure heart and circulation health.
Balance is so important. And it is as important to your Weight Training as it is to your regular everyday life. Balance training is unique in that it targets and strengthens all the stabilizer muscles that help support our everyday lives. And where weight training is concerned, it’s particularly important because the addition of weights during a workout session changes our center of gravity causing the risk of falling to be higher.
Balance Training is good for the aged, individuals who have gained or lost a good amount of weight, or for people who have injured joints in the legs or feet. Why? Again, because good balance keeps us from falling which could cause further injury. Ironically, balance training can be the cause of falls so make sure you’re doing any balance training on a soft mat.
Typically when someone thinks of Balance Training, they think of Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates. Those are all fantastic examples; however, you don’t have to devote yourself to a yoga practice to reap the benefits of balance training. Balance boards, and balance balls offer a great alternative and provide excellent results…assuming you don’t fall and hurt yourself out of the willingness to use them. So, balance board at your own risk.
Stretching – it’s the oft avoided (Guilty 👋🏼) yet, most important part of any workout program. Stretching warms our muscles up and prepares them for strenuous activity which helps prevent injury. There are two types of stretch: dynamic (with movement) and static (still).
Dynamic stretches prepare various muscle groups to perform a movement series by taking it through the movement in a slower and more controlled way. An example might be a sprinter doing “knee-ups” and ankle stretches. It’s also why anyone performing weighted back or front squats will (read: should) do a few sets of air squats before they take on weight.
Static stretches should be performed at the end of any weight training session to release lactic acid build up and cool down the muscles. They also helps mediate some of the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness that comes on 1-2 days after a lifting session.
So, what might a “Best Workout” look like?
That’s gonna depend on what level of experience you have, the amount of time you have, your health needs, any physical restrictions you might have, and again, your willingness. But, whatever it looks like, it should contain components of all four. So really, it’s up to you, and your trainer, bruh.
If you decide the gym isn’t a place for you. Do Yoga. Yoga is an ancient, all-in-one powerhouse discipline that trains and stretches your muscles while simultaneously training your balance and getting your heart rate up. So, no gym? – then let Yoga be your workout: 3-5 days a week, 30 minutes – one hour.
Too bad you’re gonna miss all the fun of the gym, tho.
My best, best, best advice is to weight train for one hour, three days a week and do 30 minutes – one hour of yoga on the days you’re not weight training. You’ll get the best of both worlds.
Make sure that as you progress, so too does your workout. That means your weights should be getting heavier as you get stronger and your yoga asanas (postures) should become more advanced as you become more flexible.
There’s your “best” workout according to me. Now, go live your “best” life.
Om, Baby. Om!