What's the Best Workout for You?

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As someone who’s really passionate about working out (seriously, I get excited when I’m going to do a burpee or sprint workout), I do have guidelines I’ve set for myself when it comes to my workout program. I encourage you to do the same.

Here is a list of guidelines I use for myself and when I’m working with a private client.

Fitness Goals

I always start with the end goal in mind and work backwards from there. For example, I’m currently training for the Toughest 10K (6 miles) trail race in the beginning of December and a 21K (13.1 miles) trail race in January. I create workouts that incorporate movements that will train my muscles to develop slow-twitch (endurance) muscle fibers. This consists of strength training with low weight and high repetitions. I also incorporate cardio training sessions keeping my heart rate no higher than a medium intensity. I enjoy riding my bike, going for trail runs, or going for a long hike.

If a private client just wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I would program a workout routine that involves basic movements that incorporate basic push and pull movements for upper and lower body based on movements they enjoy doing. Push and pull movements helps maintain muscle balance and avoid muscle imbalance. When you have muscle imbalance it can negatively effect your basic daily movements. I would start with body weight and build up to heavier weights as needed. Step ups with a plyometric box or bench are great movements for basic healthy lifestyle maintenance.

Enjoyable Exercises

I very rarely do a workout that I don’t enjoy. I’m a big believer in only doing workouts that are fun and enjoyable to you. Life’s too short to be doing things we really don’t want to do. When I was going to a local crossfit gym I always participated in the workouts regardless of whether or not I enjoyed them. I always want to be a team player when I’m in a group setting so I suck it up and do the workout. Occasionally there are things that we have to do to survive (i.e. pay bills) that are not the most enjoyable but working out should always be fun. Our bodies are designed to move frequently so why not move them in a way that brings us joy and puts a smile on our face.

Exercise should be viewed as a time to play not just maintain or improve our health. When I was a kid I was always outside playing. I remember laughing a lot with my friends as we were chasing each other playing tag or racing around the neighborhood on our bikes.

If a clients tells me they dislike running, I don’t incorporate running into their workout program. Instead, I give them exercises to do that they do enjoy yet are challenging enough.

Challenging Movements

I absolutely love challenging myself from a fitness perspective. I believe the only way to improve ourselves (and our life) is by stepping out of our comfort zone and doing things that are difficult for us. This is one of the reasons why I’m training for a 21k trail race in January. I’ve completed two half marathons but the course was on asphalt and there was not much elevation change. This trail race has steep hills to run up (and down, which can be more difficult) and there is a three hour time limit. After three hours they pick you up and kick you off the trail. I’m confident in my training program that it will get me to my goal of finishing the race in under three hours.

Once a client (or myself) have mastered the movements in their workout, it becomes too easy for them. When I see them just going through the motions I know it’s time to change up their routine and give them more difficult movements. This could be anything from increasing the weight for a particular movement or doing exercises on a BOSU ball. Anything to help them get stronger, learn a new skill, and improve their balance.

Time

Time is one of the most common objectives I get when I ask people why they don’t workout. There’s been a shift in the fitness world about the amount of time needed to exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The old school way of thinking is to get at least 60 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise five days a week. That’s five hours of your week spent exercising. What research is saying now is this is not necessary and can even be harmful to your health.

Through my training as a health coach and personal trainer, I’ve learned that we should move frequently at a slow pace about 2-5 hours a week, strength train two times a week, and sprint or complete a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. A slow pace being low to medium intensity cardio. This can be anything from walking a mile to and from the grocery store once a week or going on an easy to moderate hike with your family or friends on the weekend.

If you are limited on time, spend 10-15 minutes in the morning or evening working out. Choose 2-3 movements and complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each movement. You can do a quick 2-3 minute warm up and walk around for a few minutes after your workout to cool down. You can also incorporate your movements in throughout the day. If you have quick five minute break do 10 burpees with full push ups. This gives you a full body workout. Do this five times throughout the day and you’ll have completed 50 burpees (and push ups) by the end of the day. It’s not necessary to complete your entire workout all at once.

Commuting to work, if possible, is a great way to incorporate workouts into your daily routine. When I was an office manager for a local collectibles company I used to ride my bike to work and home when my schedule permitted. Our office is about 8 miles from our house and it was an easy ride. There were a few hills on the way home but it was fun to be challenged a bit.

Workout with Family and Friends

A large group of us decided to hike to the summit of Mt Whitney in the Sierras last fall. We knew it would be a challenge as some of us had already attempted it and failed while others succeeded. We decided it would be a good idea to train together to encourage each other along the way. There was something so powerful about being on that journey together every step of the way. We inspired each other to keep on keeping on when it got hard. This carried over to the day we hiked Mt Whitney. There was a sense of camaraderie as we were making the 6,000 foot climb to the top of the highest peak in the lower 48 states. I believe a lot of this came from our training together.

Having a workout partner is helpful for accountability purposes. I have a lot of self motivation when it comes to working out but I understand not everyone is like me. Know how you operate. If you have to commit to meeting up with or checking in with someone else to get motivated to workout then do it. Find someone who is will hold you accountable. If need be, both of you could sign a “contract” committing both of you to it.

I’m here to help you learn what the best workout is for you. I offer private and group training. I’m also happy to design a workout program for you to do at home. Just reach out to me at melissa@honeybee.kitchen.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Thanks for reading!