So, you’ve had a pretty good relationship with the gym lately. You guys see each other quite often and it always makes you feel great even when you’re apart. It’s true love ❤️
And the thing about true love is that it makes you be the better version of yourself, right? Since you’ve been putting exercise into your regular routine, and you’ve finally gotten past (for good and for all) the hurdles of getting started – you’re feeling pretty damn good. And so you should! You have more energy, more enthusiasm and a better focus. You are happier overall and it feels like no problem is too big now that you’ve let fitness into your life. You’re ready to jump for joy and take on the world. You’re on fire!
But, nothing is worse than that flame burning out. The classic scenario of feeling amazing, and having one little detail slowly deteriorate your mood or kill your vibe. Like a kid who’s dropped their ice cream cone… it’s such a good thing, ruined. I know that’s a pretty dramatic example, kids and their ice creams are a serious matter – but so is doing the wrong exercise for your body. Especially if you’ve been hitting the gym frequently. Doing exercises that add little benefits, but consume a lot of energy are just a waste of time. But even worse, doing exercises the wrong way can be a serious harm to your body. The thing that matters most about finding a routine that fits you, is if it is in line with your goals and if it is good for your body. Maybe your friend that is a stay-at-home mom has more luck with home exercises and HIIT, while your best friend Dan may have the most success going on long, scenic runs. We all have vastly different schedules, bodies and goals, so it only makes sense that there are going to be vastly different workout routines that work the best for each person. Just like any process, or optimization of some sort – it starts with defining goals and objectives. Finding go-to fitness regime starts with defining what exactly you want to achieve and what matters most to you. Is it weight-loss, strength or flexibility? Or maybe, you just want to maintain good health and somehow fit it in your busy schedule.
How to Define Your Goals
It can be hard to jump into the fitness world and know exactly what you’re doing. With the copious amounts of options for different types of workouts, training and lifestyles, it can be seriously overwhelming. You read blogs about CrossFit saying it is hands down the best fitness routine and have even read up on all the tactics. And how do you know you’re doing cross-fit correctly? Well, of course, you’re supposed to end up on the floor, out of breath thinking what just happened?, right? But, then you’re scrolling through Instagram seeing influences with the perfect “not-too-toned” bodies, and think to yourself – maybe I should just keep it simple and say my goal is to look like them. You know, it doesn’t matter that they’re 5’4″ and naturally petite and you’re 5’9″ and have broad shoulders – besides, it’s not like their photos are Photoshop or anything. I think we all know that it seems a little bit like that’s a recipe for failure, doesn’t it? Even if you’re just wanting to stay fit and keep up with your busy lifestyle, it can be hard to decide how much or what you should do. 3 sets of 5? Or, 5 sets of 4? Do you have to do more of this exercise because you sweat less? Or, are these squats supposed to make my knees feel weird? Yikes…. it can get pretty scary trying to develop your routine alone. There’s a number of factors you have to consider when choosing a routine to stick to. To get a routine that actually works, you need to ask yourself these three things to define your goals:
- Do I have time for it?
As much as we wish differently – this is the one that takes home the cake. What use is a fitness routine, or any routine for that matter that you wont be able to stick to? Don’t kid yourself, you need to be realistic when thinking about this one. As amazing as it sounds on paper, waking up at 5am everyday to do 1.5 hours of exercise may be slightly on the unrealistic side. No doubting that you could do it, but do you really want to do that? Deep down inside, do you think you’re going to want to show up over 50% of the time? Or, would you rather sleep that extra 45 minutes and try out some yoga classes 3 times a week? The best thing about creating your own fitness routine is that you can fine tune it exactly to your schedule. Maybe every Wednesday in the summer, you take your kids to the splash park and break a sweat chasing after them for 1.5 hours. On days like that, maybe it’s better to use for your rest day, or do a light exercise. If you’re current fitness routine seems straining, sorry to say – it probably is. We often don’t realize that working out also takes up a decent amount of mental capacity, in addition to physical. When we over-promise, we often under-deliver, which results in defeated expectations, in other words – loss of motivation.
2. Is it good for me?
You have to ask yourself is this good for my body and my routine? It is now easier than ever to get your hands on quality fitness routines, for free. But the question is – how well can someone follow a workout video that quickly goes through a sequence, and have complete confidence that they are doing it right? If you’re going in on this blindly, maybe it hard to tell if you’re doing the exercises correctly, and it more common than you think that simple exercises, like a hip bridge, side lunge, plank, squat or even step ups are often done wrong and can result in serious injury. To avoid this, it’s important to be aware of your body. Know where you might be more susceptible for injury, or where you should take it a little bit more easy. Study the degrees at which your joints are safe to make extensions and contractions, and never push yourself too much. Now that’s a pretty ambiguous statement, isn’t it? It can be a little overwhelming – but like I said, there are so many resources out there. And luckily, if you own a gym membership you’ll be able to ask for advice there. Now, determining if something is good for your routine is pretty straightforward. You want to put health first, but at what cost? If it feels like your workout routine is making you physically tired to the point where you’re changing your sleeping habits, running out of energy or your body physically aching it’s time for a change.
3. Am I optimizing all that I can?
There’s no doubt that the ever growing fitness scene has gifted us with a huge variety of targeted workouts which make is much easier to reach a specific goal. Say you want to gain flexibility and strength – you can opt in for some power yoga classes at your gym, or do a series of unique workouts. For example, if you do a twisted lunge on your toes, you actually get a full spiral stretch while strengthening muscles throughout your whole body. It’s pretty amazing the customization you can add to simple workouts. You want to ask yourself the why in this stage. Why are your stretching? Is it to decrease muscle soreness after a workout, or to improve your range of motion? What about risking injury or improving performance? Ideally, you’re going to want to get the best out of your workout, in the most efficient ways. If your weight of your workout overrides the benefits, somethings gotta give. Your workout routine should give you energy, be easy to do, but still push you, and most importantly bring you joy! That’s the whole idea of a healthy lifestyle – actually enjoying the lifestyle.
So, once your goals are set its actually quite easy. Your routine will be good for your if you’re able to successfully hit your goals. That’s how you measure success! Now, remember where we started? All happy and in love with the gym? Keep that mindset going, and go kill your newly improved workout 🙂