Did you set a goal to exercise more this year? Are you having a hard time getting started and picking a workout routine that works for you?
It can be really hard to figure out what you “should” be doing when it comes to your workouts, especially since everyone on the internet claims that their workouts are the best and will give you the most noticeable results in the shortest period of time.
If this is the case for you and you’re confused about what kind of workouts to do, I’m here to help! Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure out the best workout routine for you.
Any Workout Routine Is Better Than No Workout Routine
I think I’ve made it pretty clear in past posts on this blog (such as this one) that I really do believe everyone ought to be strength training. There’s a lot of room for variety when it comes to the amount of strength training you do and the intensity of your workouts, of course, but I think strength training will give you the most bang for your buck when it’s put up against pretty much any other type of exercise.
That being said, I get that some people just don’t like strength training, at least not in the traditional sense. For these people who aren’t exercising on a consistent basis because they don’t like the idea of lifting weights, I see you.
And I’m not judging you. This is the point where I step down from my high horse for a minute and tell you that any workout routine is better than no workout routine at all.
If you like doing Zumba, do Zumba. If you love CrossFit, do CrossFit. If you don’t want to do anything but walk outside, by all means, walk outside. I’d rather lower the barrier to entry and get you in the door doing something you enjoy than try to force you in with something you hate. That’s not an ideal way to build a healthy habit.
Don’t worry about what other people on the internet are doing. If you’re just trying to create a habit of exercising, any type of exercise counts. The goal here is to help you show up for yourself and start establishing a pattern of doing something on a consistent basis that’s good for you, and you can achieve that goal in lots of different ways.
Choosing the Best Workout Routine for YOU
Okay, I’ve given you a pep talk and, hopefully, you’re feeling a little more encouraged knowing that there’s no “wrong” way to workout. You might still be wondering how you can decide which type of workout to do, though.
Maybe nothing sounds appealing to you. Maybe you want to try everything and don’t know where to start.
If you’re overwhelmed by options, here are some questions you can ask yourself to narrow things down:
What Do I Want to Accomplish?
This is one of the first questions I recommend asking yourself when choosing a workout routine.
What are your specific fitness goals? Are you trying to build muscle? Shed body fat? Reduce stress? Do you want your workouts to be quick? Do you want to find a workout routine you can do anywhere, without having to pay for a gym membership?
If you get really clear on what you want, it’ll be much easier for you to narrow down your options.
What Do I Like to Do?
Contrary to popular belief, working out doesn’t have to be a chore or something you white-knuckle through.
If you feel like Anna Kendrick whenever you’re working out, you might need to find a different routine to follow.
Now, let’s be clear. Working out can’t be super fun and exciting all the time. Even if you love your program, there are going to be days when you don’t want to do it. However, as a general rule, you should probably look forward to your workouts more often than you dread them.
So, let’s get back to the question at hand. What do you like to do? Do you like lifting weights? Do you like workouts that don’t get you super sweaty? Do you like workouts that combine multiple training methods (strength, cardio, stretching, etc.)?
At this point, when you’re just trying to create a habit of consistent exercise, how enjoyable you find a particular workout is one of the most important things to consider. You can optimize later, but if you’re having trouble just getting your butt off the couch and moving in some way, start by finding something that you like to do.
What Can I Do Long-Term?
This is where a lot of people run into trouble. They go to a workout class or do a particular type of workout and really enjoy it. They don’t think about whether or not they can continue going to that class or doing that workout long-term, though.
Sure, you can do it for a day, or a week, or maybe even a month. What about six months or a year, though? Does that seem feasible to you?
Be really honest with yourself when you’re asking this question. Think about the worst-case scenarios.
Will you still be able to do this workout if your work schedule changes? What about if your kid gets sick? What about when the weather’s bad and you don’t feel like leaving your house? Do you have old injuries that are going to flare up if you do this workout five days a week for months on end? If that’s the case, can you modify exercises, or will you be sidelined altogether?
It’s okay if, after you ask these questions, you decide that the answer is “no”. It’s better to ask them now, though, than to wait until you’re in a difficult situation and find yourself skipping workouts for weeks at a time.
What Has Worked for Me in the Past?
Finally, spend some time reflecting on your past.
When you’ve been consistent with workouts before, what worked for you? Was it the fact that you were working out from home? Did you have a workout partner? Were you doing a class you really enjoyed?
If you can answer these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what types of workouts are likely to work again this time around.
Be sure to consider, though, why you stopped exercising in the past. Think, too, about how your life has changed since the last time you were exercising consistently.
Going to CrossFit five times per week might have been totally realistic when you were single. Will it work now that you’re married and have three kids, though? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. It’s up to you to decide.
If You Never Try, You’ll Never Know
At a certain point, you have to put away the pen, step away from the pro/con list, and actually take action. You’ll never know what workout routine works best for you if you never try any of the options you’ve been considering.
Don’t let endless amounts of research stop you from doing the damn thing and making exercise a regular part of your life. Consider the answers you gave to the questions above and pick an option that seems to align the best with them. If, after a few weeks, you decide that you hate it, you can try something else and see if it’s a better fit. No harm is done.
What types of workout routines have you been considering for 2020? Comment down below and let me know!