Choosing Exercise Programs
There are lots of exercise programmes to choose from, so how can you be sure to get the right one for you?
Success with an exercise programme is about getting the right match between your goals and the workouts different workouts will help with different things, so it is vital to be sure that what you do on a regular basis is moving you towards your goals.
For example, while regular cardiovascular exercise is great for improving overall health and fitness levels, there are other types of workouts that are more effective for weight loss. Choosing the right program therefore starts with being clear what your goals are.
In general, people work out to achieve one or more of the following:
- Improved health
- Weight loss
- Increased muscle size
- To achieve a specific goal (run a 5K race, etc)
While any workout will help someone who is very out of shape, once you have a basic level of fitness, you training needs to be more specific if you are to achieve your goal.
Another key consideration is your starting level of fitness and workout experience. If you are totally out of shape and have no real idea what to do, you should talk to a fitness professional in order to get started.
For anyone who is either new to training or returning to training after a lay-off, it is also important to start out slowly and allow your body to adapt. That way you will avoid injuries and not get burned out before you have really got started.
To address the main types of goals above, you will find the following forms of exercise most effective:
- Improved health: For improved health, a combination of aerobic (cardio) and resistance training will yield the best results.
- Weight loss: Contrary to popular opinion, cardio is not the most effective way to lose weight. The most effective forms of exercise for weight loss are high intensity weight training, and interval training.
- Increased muscle size: Increased muscle size means one thing hard resistance training. You can also perform a little cardio, but too much will undermine your strength program.
- To achieve a specific goal (run a 5K race, etc): Specific goals require specific training. Whether you are training for a 5K or a marathon, for football or tennis, working with an exercise professional is the only way to ensure good results.
Many people quit an exercise program because they simply don't see the results they expected. Aligning your exercise program with your goals will ensure that you make progress and have the encouragement to continue.