The bad news is most people who start an exercise program eventually stop. Then, they beat themselves up for being lazy, weak and undisciplined. The good news is that it's not about character flaws, it's just that their exercise program wasn't a good 'fit' for them. Exercise is very personal.
Choosing the best workout to achieve vitality, rejuvenation and longevity, is more about understanding yourself, your lifestyle and your life responsibilities than about mastering downward dogs, spinning cycles, or completing hundreds of crunches. You don't need to prove anything to anyone else- you want something that works for you.
To find your ideal exercise program and save yourself the time, money and discouragement of a failed effort, I recommend asking a few quick questions:
1. What are your fitness goals?
What do you want out of your training? If you're not going to run a marathon, you don't need to run for 45 minutes a day. I recommend that you train for what you need for an active, healthy life.
2. Are you just training your muscles... or training your whole person?
Most people are so focused on their muscles (including the heart) they neglect their joints, breathing, circulation, coordination and balance.
The parts we neglect are more important to our long-term fitness and well being than our musculature! So make sure your workout helps you achieve these larger long-term goals.
3. Can you separate your fitness goals from your weight loss goals?
They should be separate. You'll never be able to burn off the excess calories caused by taking in too many refined calories. Science is clear on this point. To burn off one pound, you have to burn off 3,500 calories. Jogging for six hours should do the trick!
Your unrealistic goal of burning off calories may be "forcing" you into the wrong types of exercise. And when you don't see any progress in burning off the weight -- you quit.
4. Does your training schedule fit your life schedule?
Do your job, children, or responsibilities make some types of training difficult? Plan around them. If you don't' have time for two hours at the gym -- then exercise at home. If it's too boring at home for you -- then find a friend to workout with. YOUR EXERCISE PROGRAM IS DESIGNED TO REDUCE STRESS, NOT CREATE STRESS; make it easy on yourself.
A focused 20-minute workout in your living room is better than a stressed out hour at the gym.
5. Does your exercise program incorporate more than one training benefit?
Yoga, for example trains both body and mind at the same time. CrossFit is a combination of strength and stretching. Tai Chi trains balance and joints.
In the West, we tend to separate workouts into categories -- strength, stretching, meditation, cardio etc. In Eastern disciplines, a single training program is expected to develop your whole person -- mind, body, nervous system, and breathing. You can get greater "value" for your training time by choosing a multi-faceted program
6. Does your training program carryover into your daily life?
Unless you are a piano mover, you don't need a heavy weight lifting program (unless you enjoy it). Unless you are a triathlete you don't need to push your endurance to the point of joint damage (unless it feeds your soul).
Instead of proving anything to anyone, decide on what is important to you, for now and for your future, and train for that. The more your training program improves how you think, feel and move in your daily life, the more likely you'll be to stick with it.
As a fitness teacher, I'm often asked,"What do you do for exercise?"
The answer is I discovered the perfect exercise program for me. A fusion of a 4,000-year-old Chinese discipline in combination with the latest modern medical research, which I call Mudwalking. It provides a multi-faceted internal/external workout in less than 30 minutes. When I shared it with a few friends, I was delighted to see that it worked for them too!
We all have the same goal...to live as long as we can, as well as we can.
So spend some time and energy finding the perfect exercise for you, you'll be making a wonderful investment in yourself and your future. Good luck with your training!
Questions, comments, success stories? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.mudwalking.com.