What is your workout style? Knowing your workout style can make or break your fitness goals for summer (and maybe even for life). Because physical activity is another expression of your personal style, choosing and sticking with a new exercise regimen depends upon compatibility. Your demeanor and your workout must be in sync to ensure longevity, enjoyment, and ultimately success.
I am a fairly mellow person, but I also love a challenge. I practice yoga. A lot. I take classes. I teach classes. I practice with my dog. Yoga speaks to the mellow side of me, but I needed more cardio. A couple years ago I signed up for Spinning. The teacher was a cool woman I knew, the class was not too expensive, I knew I loved to be in a fun community, and the timing was perfect. It seemed like a win/win…until I took the class.
I thought it would kill me! I hated the music. I had no desire to climb the imaginary hill or win the imaginary race as the spinning instructor encouraged us sweaty cyclers to do. My heart raced, my head ached, and I just wanted to get through the class without passing out or throwing up. But I really wanted to be one of those perky Spinning women so, I went to the class three more times! A girlfriend was in the class and I wanted to give myself a chance to start to like it. ‘Like’ never happened. Disdain happened. Disappointment happened. Because I felt like such a Spinning failure, I fell off my balanced fitness plans entirely and went back to just yoga.
I still love yoga and I still wanted more. I tried Running, BodyPump, BodyAttack, NordicTrack, Concept II, Zumba… My search was all over the place. Until I tried CrossFit. Bingo. I love it! But it took me a long time to find it! If I knew then what I know now, my search would not have taken so long.
I write this today so that you can learn from my mistakes and know your workout style before you start your search. Ask yourself these questions and then get moving:
How are you motivated?
Do you get inspiration from peers, from a teacher, from great music, from a voice inside your head?
CrossFit is great for peer support; Bootcamp teachers encompass the best aspects of drill sergeants; Dr. Google has great suggestions for music (here’s one: https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/music/popular-playlists/100-best-workout-songs/).
Do you love challenges?
A climbing gym might be your answer.
Are you competitive?
Try a Timed Strongman Circuit.
Are you driven?
CrossFit or Free Weights will keep you pushing your limits.
Are you self-conscious?
Yoga is your baby.
Do you prefer to be alone?
Try swimming, biking, or running.
Are you too solitary at work and need to get out?
Try a Group Fitness class at the YMCA or at a local university or college – these classes are often open to the public at fairly good prices.
Are you easily distracted?
You’ll need something fast-paced and challenging to keep your attention. Try Zumba, Spinning, or HIIT (high intensity interval training)
Do you like to try new things?
Aerial Fitness is your jam.
Do you prefer routine?
Astanga Yoga – Primary Series is the same every time. It is vigorous and challenging and always the same (in a good way).
Do you have any injuries?
Talk to your healthcare provider before you jump in.
In any case, do a little bit of online research before you sign up. You’ll probably be able to find a YouTube version of the workout that interests you. Watch the video. Sign up for a trial class – most gyms offer intro course at intro rates. Have fun with it and get moving. Happy Spring!