Making the Right Fitness Choice
As a fitness expert, by far one of the most popular questions I’m asked is, “What is the best program?” Not an unusual question, after all we’re all looking for the same thing: results. But every day we’re bombarded with exercise options. A new yoga studio appears in your neighbourhood, everyone’s talking about CrossFit and the flyer for the local gym is on your kitchen table. What do you do?
As inconvenient as this may sound, the best workout and nutritional plan for achieving real, lasting results is the one you’re actually going to do. Meaning, you must find the program that speaks to you, your lifestyle and your motivations. This is key to finding a program that generates the results you’re looking for and that you’ll stick to. When considering a new plan, ask yourself if you would actually enjoy it. Can you visualize yourself getting hooked or does the idea make you run (in the non-literal way)? Keep in mind that workout programs that are effective for others just might not be as effective for you. It’s essential to research what’s available and how it suits your needs so you can make an informed decision.
The best way to see if your program of choice is working is to check how you feel. These are the three metrics I use to tune in on my decision: happiness, health and positive self-image. When we’re happy, we enjoy what we’re doing and, as crazy as it sounds, actually get excited about exercising. When we’re healthy, we’re able to do the things we want to do without our bodies slowing us down. And when we feel comfortable in our own skin we tend to have more confidence and don’t think badly about ourselves.
Consider the need to become your own guinea pig. Every two weeks, take measurements and/or photos to track your progress. Take notes on your workouts and ask yourself, “Am I feeling better? Am I looking better? Am I happy?” If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes,” then keep doing it. You’re on the right track.
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” however, then you need to find out what’s not working. Are you actually following the plan? Be honest, have you deviated from it or cheated? Is there something that is potentially throwing you off and are there adjustments you can make to improve your progress? Are you trying to do too much? Consistency and laser focus is everything. However, diving in too quickly can lead you to lose interest just as fast. Be realistic with your plan so that you can set yourself up for lasting workouts.
Don’t forget, the best program will be the one that you’re actually going to follow. You’ll stick with it if your goals are met and you see the desired results. Achieving goals is far easier if they’re realistic and you’re able to focus on one or two at a time instead of a multitude of them. Remember, success is a cycle that needs to be followed and continuously tweaked in order to remain on track.
Guest Fitness Editor
Stephanie Joanne is a Toronto fitness guru dedicated to helping others find the most powerful versions of themselves. Through mentoring and personal training, Joanne has guided thousands of clients to reach their fitness goals and has become one of the most publicized fitness experts in the country. She’s released her own fitness DVD, F-31 Workout, been featured in Hello! Canada and the Toronto Star and makes regular appearances on Cityline and Breakfast Television.