FITNESS- WHAT WORKS?
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t want to be fit, but that doesn’t mean everyone loves fitness. Fitness is a broad term with extending branches and many personalities. We tend to categorize fitness into groups such as runners, yogis, cross-trainers, CrossFitters, ballerinas, cheerleaders (yes, they are athletes too!), cyclists, and swimmers, just to name a few. Then there are people like me who don’t claim any specific category simply because we enjoy dabbling in a little of each.
Growing up fitness and running were one of the same. My dad was in the military, and the Army organized several family fun runs throughout the year. We trained for it and then ran it as a family, competing with each other for the best time. I have fond memories of those moments and I am grateful that my parents got me “moving” at an early age. Fast forward a number of years later, and here I am working with a variety of fitness studios and organizations. No matter how different each exercise is, the one consistency is that wellness is their nucleus. Some of us have our favorite styles, but as far as identifying one as the most effective, it depends.
What is the most effective workout? That question comes up a lot from my amazing followers. For the record, I do not claim to be a fitness expert. I can, however, speak about my experiences, which in the Hampton Roads area are plentiful. I have tried almost every fitness workout this area has to offer.
First, let’s define “effective” fitness. What does that mean? Does that mean that you will lose weight? Gain weight? Does that mean that you burn the most calories? Gain the most muscle? Does it factor in stamina, endurance, and skill? Is it about control? Does it satisfy cardio? Are there meditative elements? As someone who chooses a diverse workout style that incorporates many philosophies, I strongly believe the answer is that most fitness options available today are effective so long as they allow you to achieve your intended goal. We are fortunate to live in a time when the efficacy of most fitness programs have been tried, tested, and proved to work. Yes, there could be arguments about which fitness programs achieve the quickest results or which ones are the most sustainable, but that is not my point. Most of them work, their philosophies make sense. The question is personal: Is it effective for you? And the answer depends on you and your needs. What is it that you want, what is it that you enjoy? A bodybuilding workout is great, but if you are hoping to gain flexibility or to run a marathon, you may want to direct your attention elsewhere. On the contrary, perhaps you want to build muscle; spending all of your time solely running isn’t going to cut it.
Before you jump into the latest fitness trend, first let’s define your needs and your wants. With clear expectations choose your fitness program with intention.
Here are a few questions that will help you narrow down your options:
How much time are you willing/able to dedicate to your workout(s)? I understand that it can be difficult to find time to exercise. Oh, the memories of the months when my very colicky son would not sleep unless nuzzled next to me. I broke all the rules with him and even let him sleep in our bed! I was sleep deprived but determined to get the baby weight off. I would roll out of bed at oh dark thirty, tiptoe out of the room, trip over baby swings and breast pumps, just to arrive in the playroom to do Bikini Body DVD workouts. So I get it, time can certainly be a factor. But there are answers. Some people enjoy and need that time to unwind, focus, etc. I loved running because it gave me that time to unwind after a long day, but running (at least at my slow pace) takes TIME. Think about how much time you have to dedicate to your fitness goals and then plan accordingly.
What is your current physical ability? Are you recovering from surgery or do you suffer from chronic illness? If so, you will want to consult with a doctor first as some exercises could do more damage than good (I learned the hard way, more to come on this subject later). If you aren’t in pain but are weak from lack of exercising or inexperienced, don’t worry. Most coaches in this area are happy to work with beginners and offer modifications, so be bold and go for it! Just be sure to communicate your current state to your qualified trainer to avoid injury.
What are your goals? Is it to looks smashing in your bikini by beach season, is it to compete in a body-lifting program, or perhaps to run a marathon? Is it to feel better on the inside and help relieve stress, settle down that dreadful anxiety, or is to bring you clarity and focus? Maybe your goal is to simply get your blood moving. That’s perfectly acceptable too! I, myself, crave fitness classes that incorporate a sense of mindfulness and promote mind/body connection.
What kind of workout setting do you prefer? The Latina in me loves a hot, humid run outside during the warmer months, it brings me a sense of freedom that I long for during the winter. However, I will laugh in your face if you ask me to run to the mailbox when the temperature drops below 30 degrees. Something else to consider, are you motivated by others? Remember fitness is FUN! If you don’t feel like it is, you are unlikely to sustain your newly found exercise regimen. A big benefit of exercise for me is the social aspect of it. I enjoy making friends with like-minded people, and they motivate me to keep moving. Some of you may lean more toward the independent side, and find it easier and more comfortable to workout at home to a DVD. Those work too! Many people enjoy a box-gym, which offers convenience and a little of everything. And some of you, like me, prefer a specialized studio with a boutique feel and more personal attention than most larger gyms offer.
What is your fitness budget? Of course, the cost is a factor, and all workouts cost something. Whether that be for the DVD, the personal trainer, the barre class, or race fees, they all cost money. If you are dead broke, don’t worry. There are plenty of FREE workout options in our area, some of which I highly recommend!
By defining your needs and wants, you are already a step ahead in achieving success in the workout style you choose. Don’t be afraid to dabble in the unknown. I understand that it can be intimidating to step into a new studio or gym. However, I encourage you to try. I am confident that you will be greeted with friendliness and open arms as you take your first step towards a healthier you. The fitness community in the Hampton Roads area is strong and new supportive friends are all around you. It is up to you to take the leap!
Do you have a question about a workout, want a testimony, or simply want a workout buddy? I’m your girl! Send me a message. I’d be happy to help or join you if I can.
Also, check the list of The Rooted Hook events for fun fitness opportunities in the Hampton Roads area HERE.