You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole … so stop trying!
Sure, you can make yourself do the “best new” generic workout for a few weeks, but if you hate the plan (or it is too advanced, not convenient, too expensive) you will eventually quit or get injured. For sustainable change you must create a workout routine that is convenient, affordable, and enjoyable. Consistency is KEY. The benefits of anything are moot if you don’t do that activity.
You are unique and thus need a unique program. Stop with the comparison game. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. How other people work out is none of your business. Thrive in your own lane!
Instead of trying to find the “perfect” workout to follow, create a plan that reflects your personality and season of life. In my first book, Finding Your Fit, I outline four fitness personalities: the gym bunny, the homebody, the competitive-athletic gym bunny, and the busy multi-tasker. If none feel like “you,” no problem. Make up your [insert your name] approach.
Feel too busy to work out? Pulled in a million different directions by your family, friends, and job? Know that exercise is good for you but can’t contemplate getting yourself to the gym or a structured exercise class?
If so, at least for now, life must be your gym. Weave motion into your day.
Turn activities you already do into workouts. Do squats and lunges as you watch your child’s practice or game. Pace while on conference calls. Brainstorm with colleagues while walking instead of over a meal or drinks. Bike to and from work. Turn your dog walk into a workout. Stop at the dog park mid-walk or jog and throw a ball; while your dog is fetching it, do jumping jacks and lunges. Make family fun time active. Go for bike rides or hikes or try skiing or skating. Dance around your living room as you watch TV. Make active dates with your partner or spouse.
Do you find designated workout areas — like the gym — motivating? Does different equipment keep you motivated? Do you get bored if you aren’t constantly changing up your workout? Do you enjoy being with others when you train? Do you thrive off friendly competition? If so, you are a gym bunny.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go to a gym. The name denotes the ethos of the workout experience vs the physical space. If you enjoy designated workout areas and working with others, but at this moment you have decided to optimize for safety because of COVID, figure out how to get that “gym” feeling at home. Invest in a “gym like” squat rack or try something like the Peloton. The Peloton community offers a variety of different classes and social interaction.
Competitive-athletic gym bunny
If you answered yes to all the above questions, and an emphatic “yes” to the last two, then you are a competitive-athletic gym bunny. You enjoy the structured nature of exercise as well as friendly competition in athletic activities. Most likely you played sports in high school or university and feel like sports aren’t “exercise” but rather “fun.” Competition invigorates you. People invigorate you.
Consider joining a league or a running group. Make sure you have a fitness-related goal (not just an aesthetic goal) and people engaged in your process. Enter a running race or set a challenging travel goal like a charity bike ride or a hiking vacation.
Not into the gym vibe? Training with people isn’t motivating to you? Don’t want to waste valuable resources getting to and from the gym? You are a homebody. Again, think of the “vibe” of this personality vs the location. You want to get your workout in, but you don’t need an entire production. Your “why” isn’t connected to large athletic goals or proving something. You exercise for your health. You want to “do it” and then get on with your life.
Your “personality” can and should evolve as you move through different ages and stages of your life. You don’t need to find what will be perfect forever. You just need to find what works in this season. You might be a homebody now because you are self-conscious about your fitness level or worried about COVID. Feel the burn at home. Over time you might decide you are less worried about COVID and/or you might feel more confident about working out in public. Great. Standardize that you move. Optimize the program as you go. Just start. If you don’t start you will have nothing to tweak. Frame motion as a non-negotiable. Your question isn’t “will” I move today but “how” will I move today?