Find the Right Fitness Program for You – Part I

by Janet Luhrs
Find the Right Fitness Program for You – Part I

By Janet Luhrs,

What to do? What to do? You’re motivated and ready to start your fitness program, but hearing about the huge list of options is not only overwhelming, but holding you back.

The fitness industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds with no end in sight, as more and more people look for a fit and healthy lifestyle.

So, to simplify your options, I’ve written a little fitness dictionary. I’ll take you through some of the most popular fitness programs to help you decipher what the terms mean and how to determine which ones will work for you.

Today I’ll share fitness programs that are designed for full body and strength training workouts. Next week I’ll highlight some flexibility approaches.

  • CrossFit has been the rage for quite a few years, and it’s not slowing down. It is an HIIT fitness approach (High Intensity Interval Training) that emerged from training for police, military, and special ops units.  CrossFit exercises are based on a variety of functional movements performed at high intensity that utilize body weight, HIIT, and various free weights and other tools. These core movements are a part of life such as squatting, lifting, pushing and pulling. CrossFit focuses on education for safe movement, and its goal is to effectively challenge your muscles and heart, as well as nutrition. If you enjoyed PE drills as a kid, a team approach, and intense workouts that leave you dripping with sweat, then CrossFit is for you. Don’t be deterred by the young, incredibly fit individuals at the CrossFit games because CrossFit is designed for everyone, including the elderly and those with heart disease. The load and intensity is scaled and personalized to each individual.
  • Bodyweight Training includes various methods such as TRX suspension training, resistance bands, and density acclimation training. Each method varies from the other, but they’re all essentially weight training programs that use your own bodyweight instead of machines or free weights. Most practitioners mix in HIIT training to incorporate cardio within the total workout. This is great for people who want a full body workout, but perhaps are intimidated or bored by weights and machines.
  • Zumba is a Latin-inspired,full body dance cardio workout using music and choreographed steps in a group, party atmosphere. Zumba gets participants charged and energized and offers more room for interpretation than do rigid aerobics classes.There have been questions about Zumba’s effectiveness for increasing fitness as compared to other approaches. Zumba certainly works all parts of your body and you will see an increase in tone, but not to the extent that you’ll get from weight training. Participants who push themselves to maximum output will see the most results. For people who are intimidated by HIIT and other strength training approaches, the party and dance atmosphere of Zumba can be just the thing to get them moving again.
  • Boot Camp is a military camp-inspired method that takes place in a charged, group atmosphere. Participant are taken through some traditional callisthenic and body weight exercises, interspersed with high intensity cardio training and strength work with dumbbells, kettle balls, or other equipment. The last portion of sessions usually incorporates some form of stretching and core work. If you enjoy an energetic, full body, social group approach, boot camp is for you!

There are many more approaches than I have highlighted here. Remember, there is no one perfect or most effective workout plan for everyone. Finding the one that you like and will be consistent with is the key to success. Whichever approach you take, make sure to include cardio, strength building, and flexibility and you’ll have a well-rounded, effective fitness program that works for you!

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