You are being bombarded with information about your health and fitness and how important they are every day from all directions.
It is easy to see this shift toward health by looking at the emphasis the media is placing on weight loss and the way grocery stores and restaurants are marketing to us. Fast Food restaurants are offering “healthier” choices. Supermarkets are enhancing their organic food selection and are offering more variety. The fitness industry is booming as well with new programs, more gyms and new ways to workout!
Where do you even begin? There are so many diet fads, wraps and pills out there. Gyms and online programs are also going after our attention. How do you not become overwhelmed?!? How do you begin to choose? There are so many choices that instead of picking something and trying it, do you end up not choosing anything at all?
How do you decide the right program for you?
I have done several programs and various nutrition plans over the years. Some have been fantastic, some, not so much. I have achieved success and a lot of failure. Some of the failure was my own, some of it was the unrealistic expectations of the programs and plans I followed.
When choosing a program It is important that you look at it as a whole. There are several factors you must consider:
1. Does the program offer a nutrition plan?
You can’t outwork a bad diet. If you are looking to drop weight, you must follow a nutrition plan. You can't solely rely on working out? You also want to make sure your plan is simple, sensible and sustainable.
Is the plan simple? Do you understand it, is it something that you can follow? Can you adapt it when you go out to eat, order in, are on vacation and at social events?
Is it sensible? Are you choosing something that allows you to drop weight quickly just to put it right back on? Are you looking at a plan that allows you to eat bacon but not fruit and veggies? You may lose weight quickly on the front end, but be sure to look at the toll you are putting on your body with the plan you choose? What damage might you be doing following a "fad"?
Is it sustainable? Are you choosing a plan that you can follow long term. Are you learning how to properly fuel your body in a way you can continue? Are you eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, good proteins, lean meats, healthy fats and oils and carbs? Yes, I said carbs....FYI...you NEED those for energy!
2. What kind of workouts do you enjoy?
It is important that you choose a workout that you will enjoy doing. If you choose something you hate, you won’t stick with it. If you are someone who does not enjoy cardio, you don’t want to pick a program that is all cardio. If you don’t like lifting weights, you won’t want a program that is all weightlifting. Yes, you may have to try new things, but if you have choices, lean towards the ones you like most!
3. How much time are you willing to make?
Notice this question isn’t asking how much time do you have. Most of us don’t have time in our day, but we make time for things that are important and things that matter. Your health is important and needs to matter!
You can get in a fantastic workout from home in 20 minutes a day (in fact, that's all I am doing right now)! I choose from a catalog of programs that range from 10 to 90 minutes. If you know you absolutely can't workout for an hour a day, DON'T choose a program that is that long...you are only setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
The other thing you must consider when it comes to time is whether you have time to go to a gym or need an at home option. Gyms offer you amazing support, equipment, space and atmosphere, but you must calculate the time to get to and from along with the chance you will have to wait to use the equipment you need.
4. What kind of space and equipment do you have and are you willing to invest?
Space and equipment are often concerns when looking to workout from home, but they don't have to be. Programs can range from no equipment to needing bands, chin up bars, benches or needing several different dumbbells. It is important to consider what you will need in order to fully participate in the program you choose. If you don’t have the equipment needed, are you willing to invest in it?
When it comes to figuring out space, most people don’t have gyms in their homes. Most of people don’t have spare rooms to use as workout space either. If you want to workout from home, be sure to look at the amount of space you need. Most of the programs I have successfully completed with phenomenal results used about a 6x6 space.
5. Do you have injuries or medical conditions you need to work around?
I have a knee injury that limits my running and jumping. I must factor that in when deciding what program I want to follow. If you are looking at a program that is higher impact, you need to figure out if you can modify moves around your injuries and still benefit from the workout. If not, you will want to look at alternatives.
Many programs today will provide modifications you can follow if need be. The programs I follow even have a modifier tract that allows me to follow along on a split screen!
6. What are your goals?
Are you looking to become more flexible? Are you looking to slim down? Are you looking to tone up? Are you looking to add some bulk? These are all questions you want to consider when choosing a program. Many programs out there are designed with a specific purpose, so know your goals before selecting.
You must not neglect considering the cost. How much are you willing to invest in your health? How much is your health and fitness worth to you? What is the cost vs. benefit? Gym memberships are amazing....if you take full advantage of them! If you are only going to go 2x a week, are you getting enough out of it? What are you spending in gas to and from the gym? Are you following a plan that is laid out or are you also needing to pay for a trainer in addition to your membership. I am NOT discouraging a gym membership, but I see so many of you go this route and end up spending too much money and not reaching goals. On the flip side, I have seen amazing results that come from gym memberships by people who maximize them and are willing to make that kind of time and financial investment in themselves.
I have also seen the positive and negatives of working out from home (which is what I personally do). For less than about $10 a month I have access to hundreds of workouts that I can do at home. This is a phenomenal bargain, however, if you don't every open it up and use it, it is not worth the cost. While I have dropped a ton of weight and toned my body from home, you won't if you don't actually do the workout and nutrition laid out. I have seen this style work for many (like the gym) and also seen others not take advantage and waste money (like the gym).
When it's all said and done, the program that is going to get you the BEST results, is the one you will actually do! As you are searching, be sure you choose one that has a simple, sensible and sustainable nutrition plan (that you will follow), that you choose one that you can fit into your schedule and budget and that you stick with it long enough to see the benefits!
I would love to talk to you more about finding a program that is specific to your needs and goals. Let's connect! I would love to share the tools and resources that have worked for my for the last 4.5 year! I would love to share about the team of support I have that keeps me going!
I am a former dual sport collegiate athlete sharing my story, how you can gain strength, confidence and discipline too, and how I apply lessons learned from competative sports and how to turn them into real life success.