Updated: Aug 11, 2020
This blog covers a lot of topics revolving around strength training, specifically in a gym. Different workouts, exercises, ways to deal with injuries, etc. All of these have a specific purpose, a reason why they should be performed and what effect they can have.
That being said, these are not necessarily exercise prescriptions for every single person. Yes they might be good to do, but not everyone has to do them. Assuming your goal is to make a change in your life and with your body, the key is consistency. Consistency over perfection. Consistency over anything. Doing a lot of something, is better than doing very little of everything.
Now that’s not to say that if you decide that you enjoy different forms of strength training, that you shouldn’t be purposeful in your exercise selection. All that’s meant here is that the workouts that you should choose to engage in, are the ones that you can realistically be the most consistent with. Doing martial arts for 2 weeks won’t help you fight Floyd Mayweather. CrossFit for 4 classes won’t make you stronger than The Rock. Choose activities that you enjoy doing on some level, that you feel comfortable with, but still challenge you. Only then will you begin to see a real change.
FIND WHAT YOU LIKE (OR CAN AT LEAST TOLERATE)
We all know that nutrition plays an enormous role in losing body fat/weight. Some form of exercise of course goes hand in hand with this as it can help blood flow, improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, build muscle, the list goes on and on. It all depends on what kind of exercise you engage in.
There is no rule that says that you have to engage in some kind of strength training. Will it help you lose body fat? It can. Will it help you build lean muscle tissue? It definitely can. Do a lot of people enjoy it to a degree and is a way for them to do something different than they’re used to? Yes. Is there any one kind of exercise that you HAVE to do? No.
Do you have to do cardio to lose weight? No. If stepping on a treadmill or elliptical sounds awful then don’t do it! If you can pop on some Netflix while you pedal away for 30 minutes, then perfect! If not, then find something else you can wrap your head around.
An outdoor bike ride with a friend, going for a nice walk, taking a dance class. This is what is meant by consistency over perfection. You don’t have to nail down the most optimal workout. The most optimal workout is the one you enjoy doing. “But I don’t enjoy any workout.” Okay, well then the most optimal workout is the one you are most likely to do.
By picking workouts that you have no desire to do, you are setting yourself up to skip it and sit on the couch from the start. If meeting with a trainer keeps you consistent, then great (shameless plug). If it’s joining an intramural basketball league, excellent. If it’s taking a stroll with your grandmother, that sounds delightful.
There is no one perfect way you have to workout. No perfect amount. Whatever the frequency, whatever the workout, decide what works for you, and stick to it. Sticking to working out 1-2 times a week can lead to much more progress and enjoyment than failing at working out 4-5 times a week. It all depends on the individual. Of course the nutrition has to match the activity level, but you see the point.
GET AFTER IT...AND CHALLENGE YOURSELF!
Now this was written for the general population looking to make a change. If you have very specific goals, then of course you will need specific workouts. Athletes require sport-specific workouts. Someone looking to grow their biceps or glutes will need certain resistance movements. But for someone trying to create a lifestyle change, then it’s not going to make a huge difference if you do a spin class or a kickboxing class. Pick whichever one you prefer.
Now the one caveat here is to still make it relatively challenging. You still want to push yourself to a certain degree when exercising. Don’t make it so comfortable and easy that it doesn’t create much of a change. Every day try to walk a little further, lift a little more, or just increase the level of difficulty of whatever it is you’re doing. Change only occurs when some form of resistance has to be overcome.