Tips for Finding a Fitness Program
You know why I think blogs are so great? Because it allows human beings to connect with one another on a level of “relate-ability” (yes, I will make up words if I want to!) that you can’t always get from friends and family. I was just talking to a friend about a blog that I recommended she read. We were commenting on how it’s great to be able to read about others who are going through similar things as you. Every person is unique. Everyone’s situation is unique. But just when you feel that you are all alone in the world you talk to someone or read an article or blog and you find commonalities, and within those commonalities you can find inspiration.
Remember that epiphany I had about needing to exercise? At one point, I started to feel like I was the only person in the world who struggled to eat right and exercise (ok I knew that wasn’t true, but you get the point)….especially the exercise part…I mean really how hard is it to go outside and take a walk or throw in an exercise DVD and get to work? These days we are constantly bombarded with information. Eat this, not that. Do this workout, not that. Look at this skinny girl. Look at that ripped guy. It is never ending and it can be a real downer sometimes. Even with all of this information at my fingertips, Old Me just couldn’t seem to find my place in the world of fitness, but stumbling upon others who shared similar struggles inspired me not to give up. What made me successful this time is that I genuinely considered what I NEEDED…not just what was popular, not what my friends or family were doing but really considering my NEEDS. Then based on my needs I made goals for myself…that is, what would I accomplish through an exercise program?
A few weeks ago I posted about starting CrossFit and what lead me to it. Mainly I thought about what would make me successful…I knew I had an issue with boredom, lack of accountability and lack of knowledge of fitness beyond cardio equipment…mix all this up with my introverted self and I was sure to fail in a regular gym. So I looked for something that would provide me with:
~Variety (different WOD…workout of the day, every time)
~Mixture of weight training and high intensity workouts (knowledge is power! No more treadmills!)
~Coaches (to teach me and hold me accountable)
~Social group (the support of other members is unbelievable!).
I love CrossFit (and can’t believe I just admitted that…*wink, wink*) and I feel like I have finally found something that works for me and that I will stick with in the long run. But I am not telling you that you should go out and join your nearest Crossfit box…I am telling you that you need to do what works for you and that may involve trying different things and keeping an open mind. Here is the perfect example…although Hubs and I started out on our fitness journey together we are complete opposites…he loves the gym, putting in his ear buds and blocking out the rest of the world. He has his routine and has done an amazing job learning what mix of cardio and strength training works for him. Prior to this, he also considered Crossfit but after we shopped around he knew it wasn’t going to meet his personal needs so he looked at other options.
So if you are ready to take that first step and start exercising make sure you take the time to figure out if something is right for you or not. If your heart isn’t into it, you will not succeed and you will be back to that couch potato you loathe!
Here are some tips on how to find the right program for you:
- Research – Talk to others about what they like and their experiences. Read about different types of exercise programs and the pros and cons of each. This means reading reputable journal articles and making sure the information is from a trustworthy source. Then when you know about the benefits, read blogs and personal opinion pieces to see what other people are saying and experiencing.
- List Your Needs – What do you need in an exercise program to be successful?
- Set realistic goals – What goals do you want to achieve through your exercise program? Do you want to gain more energy, lose weight, and gain muscle? For example, my main goal was to workout at least 3 times per week and to gain more energy. I had to consider whether or not a crossfit program would help me achieve this goal.
- Shop around – Don’t be afraid to call around or drop in at different places. Most gyms will give you a free tour and allow you to observe. Some will even allow you to “drop-in” to a class. Make sure you are asking a lot of questions and take into account the feelings you get about the place (trust your gut!). Do you feel comfortable? Do the staff/coaches/trainers seem knowledgeable? Are they friendly? Are they condescending and arrogant? Do you feel intimidated?
- Consider online support – There are a ton of free fitness groups on the internet, including on Facebook. I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this, but prior to going on vacation over Christmas I was a little nervous about not doing Crossfit for over a week! I joined a free online “accountability group” that was run by a fitness and life coach for the 10 days prior to Christmas. The purpose of the group was to stay accountable with fitness and nutrition even during the holidays. Not only did it provide me with support but it gave me ideas about other exercises, DVDs, programs, etc. that I could do when I wasn’t doing Crossfit. I am still involved in a similar group that is more ongoing and I find it very beneficial.
- Try and try again – So even if you follow the steps above and decide to start a program you may find that it’s not working out like you expected. This means it’s time to re-evaluate and find something else. Don’t try to stick with one thing that you don’t care for because this will probably lead to failure. And most importantly, don’t give up on exercise all together. Try other things and keep looking until you find what works for you!
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