"I don't have time to go to the gym"
Years ago when people asked me if I exercised, I would reply no, and say, "I don't have time to go to the gym." In my mind, going to the gym was the only avenue for true exercise. I thought that people who went to "the gym," were serious body building fitness enthusiasts, and to be honest that avenue intimidated me. It wasn't until I got serious about my health that I started to explore all the different avenues for exercise and realized that the gym is not as intimidating as I once thought. However, finding an exercise program is not a "one size fits all" kinda deal, it's personal and we all have different preferences.
So, what are some of the different avenues in the workout world? I think it comes down to asking yourself a few questions first:
-Do you like the benefit of socializing while you exercise or do you prefer to just get in and get it done?
-How much time are you able to commit to an exercise program and what time of day?
-What type of exercise do you enjoy (i.e. high-intensity interval training (HIIT) type exercises, slow and/or strengthening exercises)? After all, unless it is something you enjoy, you are less likely to stick with it.
-Do you need accountability to get a workout in or are you good on your own?
These questions can help you narrow down an exercise program that feels comfortable for you.
Social exercising? Yes, some people really enjoy going to the gym with a buddy or going to a class where they either know someone or may be looking to expand their friendship circle. Many people feel a connection to showing up to a place where they know people and it creates a way to have fun while doing something they otherwise would rather not. Some great avenues here are:
The local Y
Walking/jogging with a partner
On the flip side of that is the non-social exerciser. People in this category do not want to socialize while they exercise. They may just want to get in and get it done, and don't have the time or desire to socialize. Some good choices to consider here are:
Personal trainer at a small local gym
Workouts done at home via an online program
Peloton/stationary bike/home gym
Running/walking on your own
Now the question is how much time are you able to commit to an exercise routine and what part of the day is most feasible for you? Can you make space for it in the morning? During a lunch break? In the evening? Some people can get up early and get their exercise in first thing. Some are able to get it in during a lunch break, and some need to fit it in after work or in the evening.
If you're an AM exerciser, some things to consider are: Will you have enough time to travel to a gym? Factoring in time travel and traffic will be key here. Will you shower there if going to work after? Making sure to allot time for either showering at the gym or running home to get ready will also be important to consider. Are there classes near by that you can fit in? Will it be less of a time crunch if you did your exercise at home? All of these questions will help you determine if you stay at home or go out to exercise.
If you're a lunch time/noon exerciser, how much time can you dedicate to exercise? Will you be exercising during a lunch break? If so, how sweaty can you get during your exercise if you need to get back to work after? Are you able to attend a class during your break hours, (be it work break or a babysitter)? Figuring out these questions will help you determine if you partake in a light or heavy exercise, or if you do some moderate walking outside your office or in the neighborhood.
If you a PM exerciser, how much time are you able to dedicate? Do you have kids that are in aftercare and or after school sports? Do you have time to get to a gym or a class before any night time obligations? If you choose to work out from home, will you be able to complete it without getting interrupted? Assessing these questions will help you narrow it down and decipher the best option for your unique lifestyle and constraints.
Now is the question of what type of exercise you like. Do you feel that you have not worked out if you have not conjured up a good sweat? Do you have joint issues and need a more low impact exercise? Do you like to incorporate a mix of light and heavy exercises in your routine?
If you're the type that needs to be drenched in sweat to feel you have worked out, HIIT, bootcamps, and cardio programs are going to be where it's at for you. These programs can be done at home with little to no equipment required, or at a gym or with a class. If you go to the gym and prefer to lead your own intense workout, there are so many great online printouts and/or programs you can take with you to follow. If you want a class or group, those are super easy to find by doing a local search in your area. If you are looking to workout from home, tons of pdf guides and online videos are available.
Do you need accountability? Here is where you need to be really honest with yourself. Are you motivated enough on your own to show up to exercise? Do you need that extra little push to get it done? If so, belonging to a class helps keep you accountable as undoubtedly you will be asked where you have been or if you're coming to class next time. However, if you prefer to workout at home or solo, you can still make use of accountability via a friend. Having a friend text you to remind you to get your exercise in can be a very powerful way to keep you on track. Sharing your progress with each other will also help keep you accountable to your goals and aids in your success as well.
So now that you have narrowed it down to the type, the time, and the place, it's time to get going. Whether you're a novice or a pro, setting yourself up for success in an exercise program is pertinent. I've listed below a few of my personal tried and true exercise modalities. Exercise is important to your health and I encourage you to invest some time in keeping yourself in a healthy state. As always, do check with your doctor first to discuss any health related issues before starting any exercise routine.
My List of Tried and True:
Beach Body on Demand (runs a free trial) - programs in there I have tried:
-21 Day Fix - a mix of weight lifting, HIIT and cardio - 30 minutes a day for 21 days (great for those starting out, it's challenging but they have modifiers to follow).
-80 Day Obsession - anywhere from 40-60 minutes a day, 6 days a week for 80 days (this is great for those who are used to exercising regularly as it does push you, the time can be hard if you don't have 40-60 minutes to dedicate the program).
-LIIFT4 - an emphasis on weight training but many sessions have a HIIT and ab component to them as well (beginners can certainly start here). You will need some various weights, and they run anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes 4 days a week.
-T-25 - great high impact workout for 25 minutes six days a week. This is a great get in, get super sweaty, and get out in 25 minutes (this is more of an advanced workout).
-Transform 20 - same great workout, but 5 minutes shorter and super intense HIIT workout. This will certainly get you drenched and in a small amount of time (this does have a modifier to follow, but if this is day one of no exercise ever, I would build up to this program).
-Piyo - great workout that incorporates fluid yoga moves at a fast pace. Great muscle toning program that is anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes six days a week (great for beginners and advanced)
There are many more programs on Beach Body that I have not tried, it costs around $119.00 a year and you have access to meal plans, recipes, cooking and meal prepping videos, blogs full of all sorts of tips, etc...you really get a lot with the membership.
Melissa Wood Health - this is an amazing program that works at a slower pace, so no HIIT here, but very effective in toning up those hard to access muscles. I feel this is a great fine-tuning workout program where you do see results and you are SORE! It's very much Yoga/Pilates/Barre inspired. She has a schedule for you to follow and she is always adding fresh new content, so it never gets boring. This is great for those looking for lower impact type workouts. It costs $9.99 a month.
Tone It Up - tons of workouts for all levels. From HIIIT to low impact to fine sculpting, it’s all here. You can find many of their workouts for free on YouTube with varying time frames. Their membership is $12.99 a month and they are actually running a 21 day challenge starting October 1st.
BBG - or Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines. You can get her app "Sweat with Kayla" for $19.99 a month or get her e-book guide for $47.00. The e-book shows you two circuits of work with 4 exercises in each. You set a timer for 7 minutes and run through the four exercises as many times as you can in the allotted time. Then you move on to circuit 2 and so the same. You repeat each circuit twice. So, in 30 minutes you are done (you get two one minute breaks). The program is set up to do the circuits 3 days a week, Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Then you are to follow a 35 to 45 minute LISS (low intensity steady state) exercise (like walking) on Tuesday/Thursday/ Saturday.
Pop Sugar Fitness - so many great exercises for free. If you go to YouTube and search Pop Sugar workouts, you can pick and choose the length and type of workout you want. This is a bit more free style as there is not a workout guide to follow to my knowledge. You create an a la carte program that suits you best.
Blogilates with Cassey Ho - This is a great program for all levels! Cassey is so great at motivating you thorough workouts and is always super positive and makes you feel uplifted. She has TONS of programs on her site that you can follower free as well as a paid program.
One very important note abut exercise and exercise programs that I would like to say. The goal of exercise should be to improve your health with the added benefit of a more leaner, sculpted physique. Many times, myself included, we look at the instructor and or others in the class and feel we should look like them. The reality is that most likely they've put in many more hours outside of the class than is shown. So, it is important to have realistic expectations when following an exercise video or class. You may never see the sculpted abs or lean mean arms or booty that is posted all over social media, and that's perfectly natural, and perfectly fine! Having your main reason to engage in exercise be that of health vs appearance will take the negative body comparison, shaming and all those feeling of lack out of it. I encourage you to engage in an exercise routine purely out of loving yourself into great health.
I am a Certified Health Coach, helping women live their best life. I'd love to connect with you during a free 30 minute health history to discuss how I could help you to live the life you want.