Workout; the word that so many of us dread. I wish that we all woke up one day and just had the inspiration to do it naturally like some, but many of us don’t. For me, my relationship with working out has been a love/hate relationship. I love how I feel afterwards, but I hate waking up early and getting motivated to do it. For me, I know that if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, I will not come back around to it, and by the end of the day I feel defeated that I didn’t get my workout in. Here I will give you a few tips on how to choose the perfect workout for you to help you be more motivated to work out.
The first thing that you need to do is figure out the what? This for some is harder than others. Some love weight lifting because they want to focus on building their muscles and gaining strength. Others love running because they can focus on the open road, or treadmill and beat all the stress away on the pavement or rubber. Some love swimming because it’s low impact. Some love yoga because it allows you to workout and connect with yourself all at the same time. These are just a few I’m mentioning, but there are so many more including group fitness classes like spinning, Zumba® , Body Pump™, kick boxing, and so many more. The first thing you must ask yourself is what will I enjoy doing? If the idea of running completely disgusts you, more than likely you will not enjoy it while you’re doing it, and you won’t be able to maintain your workout regimen. If you need something with a higher intensity, then yoga will not challenge you enough. Everyone is different, and that is perfectly fine. Don’t feel pressured to go to a group fitness class because your friend invited you and you feel obligated. You don’t want to be miserable the entire time and leave the class defeated feeling like exercise isn’t for you. I suggest trying a few things out. Go into these exercises open minded allowing yourself to accept that it may not be meant for you, and that it is okay if you don’t finish it. This will help your mindset as you feel your way through this journey. Keep a journal of the exercises you enjoy; this will give you a wide variety to choose from so that you don’t burn out doing the same thing over and over, and so that you can challenge your body. Also make sure to keep a journal of any physical responses you notice when you are trying different exercises out. Did you notice that you had more pain when you lifted weights? Did you notice that you had difficulties when doing certain poses in yoga? Observe any possible causes of pain. Is it that you were out of practice, and need to get back in shape? Or is it that your positioning or form may be wrong? If it’s something you truly enjoy these are a few ideas that you will want to take into consideration when discerning not only whether an exercise is for you, but also when to get some professional help when starting out until you feel more comfortable doing that specific exercise on your own.
Once you have found an exercise you enjoy, hopefully several exercises you enjoy, the next step is when and how often. Take an honest and open look at your day. Do you enjoy your peaceful mornings and want to have your mornings to yourself? Do you need a midday pick me up? Will you workout in the afternoon or evening after a long day at work or will you make excuses? This may take a little bit of time to figure out, just make sure you are trying things out instead of avoiding it all together. You will also have to take your schedule into consideration; that may be a huge deciding factor. I will say that having a specific schedule helps me to stay focused and accomplish my workouts easier. I know what time I will work out, and I don’t have to think about it, it’s now just a habit. The best piece of advice I can give you when it comes to determining how often, is to listen to your body. You don’t want to burn yourself out by aiming to workout 5 days a week your first week. If you haven’t worked out in a while, your body will have a huge shock and need a break. Make sure to give yourself a day between workouts that you can rest and recover. Once you get on a regular workout schedule, if you decide you want to add in more, that’s perfectly fine, you may see you have more energy and enjoy the positive response. The last thing you want to do is to over exert yourself in your first week only to give up in your second because you were exhausted. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week.
Your workout, and workout schedule needs to be made specifically for you. Only you know your body, and what you enjoy. Don’t try to compare yourself to others. It’s okay to enjoy walking versus running, running versus yoga, or yoga versus weight lifting. Finding a workout schedule that includes your favorite exercises will set you up for success, and help you to reach whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.