By Tia Norris, March 2016 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.
CrossFit. Bodybuilding. Marathon running. Zumba. Yoga. Orange Theory Fitness. Local team sports. These are just some of the hottest fitness trends that have emerged in recent years.
The world of fitness is an infinite landscape with endless possibilities of combinations of activities to choose from. So, how do you figure out which magical combination will work best for you and your goals?
As temperatures are on the rise this spring, I know many of you will be heating up your fitness program. Depending on how hot your motivation is (on a scale of 1 to 10) and how hot you’d like your body to be, here are three sample situations to help you pinpoint what kind of workout program it is going to take to achieve the results you’re looking for.
LUKEWARM MOTIVATION (5-7 out of 10)
Your goal: to improve/maintain basic health markers, look decent naked and feel the benefits of exercise.
What to do: anything you enjoy. Just do something, and make it consistent.
How often: 30- to 60-minute sessions three times per week (minimum).
Impact on your diet: minimal change required.
Honesty is the best policy. Don’t pretend you’re a world class athlete, and a 10 out of 10, if you’re really not. In this program, as long as you do something, you’ll probably achieve your goal. The key here is to find activities that you genuinely enjoy. If you hate the gym, don’t go. If you hate yoga, don’t go. Do what you like and start to change your habits. The only rule is that you MUST plan to do something active at least three times per week. Keep in mind that this program will produce the least noticeable/measurable results, but it also requires the least effort to maintain.
WARM MOTIVATION (8-9 out of 10)
Your goal: to burn fat, get toned and look pretty good naked.
What to do: a variety of activities, but with emphasis on weight training.
How often: 45- to 60-minute sessions four to five times per week
Impact on your diet: moderate change required.
If you’re an 8 out of 10, to me, that means that you’re ready to sacrifice some parts of your life in order to reach the goal, and you’re not allergic to hard work. Key focal points for you include working out four to five times per week at high intensity/exertion – primarily in the gym with weights. In order to take it to this level, start researching and educating yourself on what you need to do to reach this goal. This could be through reading books, searching online, talking to friends who already have fitness success or, of course, hiring a professional.
And you’ll need to start paying attention to your diet. Sorry, there’s just no way around that. Now, which diet is best for you is a question for another issue. But you’ll want to start making changes, tracking your diet (I use the free app MyFitnessPal), and seeking professional guidance either through written materials or in person. You will not achieve your goal at this point without dietary changes, PERIOD.
HOT MOTIVATION (10-11 out of 10)
Your goal: whatever it takes to look my best.
What to do: exclusively weight training.
How often: 60-minute sessions (or longer) five to six times per week.
Impact on your diet: maximum change and discipline required.
If you are truly a 10 or 11 out of 10 and are really ready do whatever it takes to reach your fitness goals, you wont even flinch when the hard-ass trainer barks “it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not; enjoyment is irrelevant.” So don’t necessarily expect to like the program if you fall in this category. You don’t have to love the gym, but you will love the results if you stick with it. Weight training is simply the most efficient way to change your look, fast and completely. Suck it up, princess. We’ll see you in the weight room.
Remember, the difficulty and expectations of your fitness program all depend on your goals. Figure out what you want, and how badly you want it, first; and then crank the heat up on your program accordingly.