Whether you write your own workouts or follow a routine someone else put together for you, it can be difficult sometimes to know which program is right for you. Have you ever been in the position where your best friend has great success with a certain workout routine, but when you try it, you don’t have the same results? That’s because we’re all different and have different needs. For today’s post I would like to give you some very basic guidelines for what you should look for when selecting a workout program for yourself.
- Choose a program that will address your weakness. Everyone has a weakness physically, which is a good thing for athletes, because those weaknesses give us something to work on. 2 weeks ago, my weakness was in my chest and bicep strength. I focused for so long on improving my pullups (which strengthen your upper back and triceps) that I ended up neglecting my chest and bicep muscles. If you have been following my blog, you know that around that time I found Erin Stern’s Elite Body 4-Week Fitness Trainer on bodybuilding.com. One thing I like about this program is that the routines Erin has you do have a slight emphasis on upper body strength, including lots of chest and bicep specific exercises. This has worked out perfectly for me, as the program has addressed my weaknesses while maintaining my strengths. When you are trying to find the right routine for you, take into account your weaknesses. What is the main weakness you are trying to overcome? Are you trying to lose weight? Is there a specific muscle group that could use some extra attention? Don’t be afraid to face your weaknesses. That’s the only way you will ever have any lasting improvement.
- Find a routine you know you will finish. Be honest with yourself. Can you stay motivated to complete a full 6-month workout program, or will you find it easier to finish a 3 week challenge? I find that I get bored with long workout programs, so I try to find a new routine every month or so. Think about how long you think you can realistically stick to a program, then select one that fits that amount of time. It is self-defeating to start something you know you won’t finish. Following a workout program or challenge to the last day is one of the most satisfying feelings, and one of the greatest joys of working out.
- Do something that excites you. A good workout is a combination of two things: exercises that scare you, and exercises that excite you. Doing an exercise that scares you is a great way to improve your self-discipline and expand your horizons. Now I’m not talking about doing something stupid like trying a back flip without any prior training, I mean something that scares you, but in an exciting way. I remember when I first read about how handstands are so good for your health and physical strength. It scared me to think of putting all my weight on my hands, but it also excited me because I knew that if I worked up to it, I could do it. By regularly incorporating new, exciting, and even scary exercises into your routine, you won’t get bored, and you will be fueled by the prospect of achieving new goals. Who ever said working out has to be boring?
Finding a new workout routine can be really fun, and that’s exactly how it should be! Fitness isn’t just about slaving away for hours on a treadmill. Allow yourself to dream big, work hard, and enjoy the results.
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