I am frequently asked by my clients, “What kind of workout should I be doing when I’m not in session with you?” I give each one of them the exact same answer – do something you like. No workout will be more effective for you than one you actually enjoy. If going to the gym is an absolute chore for you, if you dread it with all of your being, you will not reach whatever fitness related goals you have. You will give up, and you will feel justified in giving up. You’ll say it’s because of money or time or something the gym was lacking. Here is something I know about people – we have money and time for what’s important to us. Period. If you give up on your workouts, it’s because they became less of a priority than other things in your life (notwithstanding injury, illness, or tragedy), and that can be diluted down to one issue – boredom.
Think of the people in your life who are very fit. Now go talk to one of them and ask her what she does to maintain that fitness. She will not tell you that she has a gym routine that she hates, that she suffers through. She might say it was tough in the beginning, but then she will tell you that she does ____________ and she LOVES it so much! She’ll list reasons why. She’ll try to convince you to come along. It could be anything from yoga to kickboxing to Crossfit to Zumba to power lifting to cycling to parkour… the possibilities are endless. You do not have to go to the gym and grunt your way through a machine circuit if you don’t like that (but it’s okay if you DO… it’s just one of many options!).
It’s the beginning of a new year. Rather than trying to teach yourself some hard won lesson about sticking with a plan and being disciplined, be kind to yourself. It really, truly doesn’t have to suck to be effective. Be introspective. Ask your body what it needs and what it LIKES. Does it want to stretch and become more limber? Do you want to punch and kick the crap out of someone holding Thai pads? Do you want to become strong enough to lift your own body weight? Are you interested in being able to traverse anything in your path? Do you want to dance? Do you want to play outside, like when you were a kid? Do you actually like to be in the gym, but need a trainer? Maybe the method isn’t as important to you as being in a group that supports each other, so you need a class that’s a genuine community, regardless of whatever crazy thing they’re doing. All of this is available.
If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, try ALL THE THINGS! It’s fun! Most gyms, dojos, and studios offer a free one week pass to new comers, so you can try out different classes, see what works for you. Personally, I like ALL THE THINGS! Okay, not all of them, but a whole lot of them, and when I am at my fittest, it’s because I’m immersed in a physical discipline (or two) that’s fun and that teaches me new skills.
So tell me, what do YOU want to learn to do with your body this year?