There are many great exercise programs out there, for a variety of different goals. However not all will be the right fit for you. A good program is only good if it is appropriate for the person using it. Likewise, a good program is not very good if – for whatever reason – it is ineffective for the person using it.
Right for Your Goals
The first step in finding the right exercise regimen is clearly identifying what your goals are. Different programs will provide different outcomes. Your program needs to align with the results that you wish to achieve. Otherwise it will not be a good program for you.
So, what do you want to achieve?
When considering any exercise routine, you should always pair it against this question and make sure the program matches up with what you want to get out of it.
If not, keep looking. Don’t let other people’s dogma influence you. If you’re trying to get muscular and gain weight, you want a bodybuilding program. No matter how much your friend loves CrossFit and wants to recommend the socks off it. Not that there’s anything wrong with CrossFit. For many people it’s great. It’s just not the right solution for people training to get as muscular as possible.
Right for Your Level
Once you know a program is right for your particular goals, you need to make sure it is the appropriate level for you.
A beginner level program and an advanced level program will look very different and you need to make sure the regimen you are looking to complete is aligned with your ability and experience level.
Within any particular sport or style of training there will be commonly recommended regimens for different ability and experience levels. These are generally developed by industry leaders and experienced coaches. Take their advice and embark on a regimen that is the appropriate level for you.
It’s a common idea to think that doing what the advanced level athletes do must be the best. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that and they will not have done in their first year what they now do in their tenth year of training.
Right for Your Lifestyle
Once you have identified the appropriate level plan that you need, along with the outcomes you are looking to achieve, you need to look at it from a practical perspective.
- How much time per session can you train?
- How many sessions per week can you do?
- Do you have the required equipment or facilities?
- Do you have the capacity to complete this workload and recover sufficiently?
All of these questions will point you toward or away from certain regimens.
Any routine is only going to be as effective as the compliance you give to following it. If it’s too time intensive, requires special facilities or equipment you don’t have access to, or is simply exceeding your capacity to recover from the workouts, it will not be an effective plan for you.
Look at the reality of your schedule. The commitments that you have for both time and energy at work, at home and elsewhere. Consider the facilities, travel requirements and cost of your options. Find the right plan and it will be way more effective for you. Try and stick it out on a plan that doesn’t fit well with your lifestyle and you will always be fighting your circumstances, diminishing your results.
Is It Fun?
Are you going to enjoy doing this regimen?
If you’re not, you will always struggle with compliance. It’s probably ok if you’re a professional athlete. It is your job and there is a lot on the line. You will do whatever it takes to win.
Most of us are not professional athletes unfortunately. We are going to be a lot more engaged with, and dedicate a lot more effort to a routine that we enjoy doing.
Look for a regimen that is fun and rewarding. Exercise shouldn’t be a miserable part of your life. If you aspire to making working out a permanent fixture for the remainder of your life, it’s a good idea to find ways to enjoy it.
To choose the right exercise regimen for your lifestyle you need to look at a number of factors including:
- Is it appropriate for your goals?
- Is it appropriate for your experience and ability?
- Is it appropriate for your time and schedule?
- Is it fun for you?
If you can say yes to all of these, then you will have found the right exercise regimen for your lifestyle. If not? I suggest you keep looking around for a program that will be a better fit for you.