There are a lot of “perfect recipes” for weight loss routines out there. Different fitness experts swear by different routines – high-intensity, low-intensity, intervals, circuit training, supersets…the list goes on and on. But which one is the right one for you? Trying to dig through the sea of possible workouts can be just as exhausting as exercise itself. Do yourself a favor and stop looking to the experts for answers; instead, look to the people who are in your shoes. The fitness experts are already in good shape, so their advice won’t carry as much weight as those of us who are going through the struggle with you. That’s not to say to ignore the experts entirely, just that not all answers are academic. Sometimes colloquial wisdom from people in similar situations is simply more useful in the moment.
So what is the best workout for someone looking to start their weight loss journey? Take it from this former yo-yo dieter and chubby gal: the best workout routine for you is the one that you don’t give up on in your second week! It’s the routine that you feel comfortable doing day after day, the routine that makes you feel you can improve over time, and the routine that makes you feel great, not exhausted and miserable, when it’s over.
For some people, that routine will be Pilates. For others, weight training does the trick. Swimming, running, rowing, workout DVDs, jumping jacks, tennis: any of these activities will get you on your way to your weight loss goals, as long as you can stick with them! That being said, don’t let these common excuses stop you from doing and being your very best.
“Exercise is So Boring!”
That’s just not true! Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happy and excited. It’s fun! You just haven’t found the right exercise yet. Maybe it’s time to step off the treadmill and pick up a medicine ball, or try the new Zumba class at your local gym. Just because you don’t find crunches fun doesn’t mean your weight loss journey has come to an end; it just means you should exercise your imagination and figure out what would be fun for you!
“I Just Don’t Have Time!”
Between work, school, family, and chores, it might seem like you don’t have an extra thirty minutes to spare. After all, it’s not just the workout, it’s getting to the gym, putting on athletic clothes, showering, stretching…all sorts of things that take you away from where you might actually want to be. But, when you find a routine that excites you and makes you feel awesome, all those bothersome little steps won’t be stressful things you dread anymore. Instead, they will be things you look forward to as part of your awesome workout!
“I Just Don’t Get These Workouts”
What is a rep? I’m supposed to breathe when? What is this machine even do? Going into a gym and seeing people expertly using contraptions you had never even imagined to exist can be thoroughly overwhelming. If you are truly new to exercise, it can be embarrassing and confusing to try and learn new workouts. Don’t let it stop you – stick to the exercises you know. Everyone can walk on a treadmill, and doing something as simple as that can be the doorway to your new, healthy lifestyle. No need to jump right into the heavy machinery or complicated moves – go at your own pace, do what is comfortable for you, and you might find yourself mastering some of those contraptions sooner rather than later as you become more confident and able!
“I Can’t Afford it”
Gyms can be expensive. If you can’t afford a membership, don’t use that as an excuse to give up on your goals. You can walk around your neighborhood, use a local school’s track for running, borrow exercise DVDs from your library, and even use household objects like soup cans and chairs as weights and workout accessories.
“It’s Just Too Hard For Me”
You’d be surprised how many athletic people probably felt that way at one time. If you find yourself out of breath, miserable, and hating life after every workout, you are probably working out too hard. Go easy on yourself in the beginning. Go at your own pace. Don’t try to keep up with the marathon runners and heavyweight bodybuilders. Accept that there are things your body can’t do right now, but remember that if you don’t give up you could someday surpass your wildest dreams in terms of fitness. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, be realistic about what you expect of yourself. No one goes from couch potato to Mr. World in one month! Exercising too hard in the early stages of your weight loss journey can lead to injury or feeling burned out, so go at a pace that feels comfortable to YOU!
We are all born with different gifts, in different circumstances, and develop different likes and dislikes over the course of our lives. The important thing to remember is that everyone is capable of doing something, including you! Even if it starts out as just a stroll around the block with your husband three times a week, it’s better than staying on the couch wishing you were more fit. Real change takes time, and repetition. So pick something you can do, and can do often, and stick to it. You won’t see a difference overnight, but you will see a difference!