How to choose a fitness program to suit your goals
So, you’re all fired up with enthusiasm and energy to get started on a fitness programme, and suddenly realize you’re faced with a daunting situation – which workout should you do?
There are so many options available, all promising the best results, that you’re not sure whether to feel spoilt for choice or simply overwhelmed and confused.
What should you do – just follow your friends in what they’re doing? Sign-up for the workouts with the best discount? Go with the workout being endorsed by your favorite celebrity? Follow the advice of someone who swears by the results of a particular workout?
Or, stop and consider what your reasons for starting a fitness programme are – keeping in mind factors such as your lifestyle, current health, and fitness levels. Is there a specific goal you want to achieve – do you want to run, cycle, play a sport or are you planning an activity-based holiday?
Whether it is to re-build, or further strengthen your fitness levels, or train for a specific activity goal, the first important step should be for you to focus on getting the foundation and the basics strong. This is a simple truth that we often ignore – we take our ability to move for granted – but, it is important to ensure that our body knows how to move in a strong and efficient manner, putting minimal stress on our joints and body structure.
Whatever workout you choose, you need to consider – will this be able to address my specific strong and weak areas, or is it just a one-size-fits-all approach that I will have to keep up with?
And it doesn’t matter if your friends can do it or it’s the most popularly endorsed workout currently – that in itself does not ensure it is right for you.
Music and dance-based workouts are very popular. We all know music can be a great motivator and dancing to vibrant music as a workout takes away the daunting aspect that many associate with exercise.
Keeping your workouts fun is one of the ways to ensure you stay on track with your fitness programme, but those very elements – the music and dance moves – can often take away from the real purpose of you being there: to get fitter and stronger. If you are starting out with a fitness programme, a better way forward would be to first get stronger and more body-aware before enrolling for group dance workouts that fuse dance and fitness moves. These workouts are not just about allowing your body to move to music but involve speed, control and choreography that can be challenging.
Trying to just keep up with the group is not only frustrating but also leads to potential injuries with little attention being given to how you are doing the moves.
There are many indoor and outdoor extreme fitness workouts being promoted as calorie-burning and high-intensity workouts that encourage you to train and push yourself to extreme points of fatigue and pain. Many of these workouts are based on training programmes of elite sportspersons and professionals.
These workouts assume a level of fitness that includes core-control, balance, stability, strength and body-awareness that most people do not have without specific training. And though these programmes are meant to have levels for different groups how the exercises are taught and supervised for good form and safety is often lost when working in a group.
Also, fitness is one element of your lifestyle, if the workouts you do leave you fatigued, sore and depleted of energy, taking away from other aspects of your day, then it is obviously not the right choice for you.
Fitness programmes based on a specific activity or sport, such as running, cycling, racquet-sports, are gaining popularity – factors such as group energy, being outdoors, playing a sport, make them very appealing on a body-mind level. However, such activities involve repetitive movements that, over time, lead to muscular imbalances, postural concerns and injuries.
It is important to include functional whole-body integrated workouts to balance your fitness programme. An added benefit of such workouts is better performance in your chosen sport or activity.
Remember, the best results you will get from your exercise efforts depends not on the popularity or cost of the workout you choose but the effectiveness and relevance of that specific programme for you.
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