I watched the Super Bowl with some friends of mine last weekend, and I have to admit, I enjoyed it! I haven’t watched a football game in years, but my friend, Laurie, and I drummed up a rivalry, so that upped the ante. I’m a Colorado girl, so I had to root for the Broncos and Laurie was impressed with Cam Newton’s character, so she decided to go for the Panthers (and she liked their logo). We each wore our respective team colors to church, with matching coffee mugs. As you can tell, we’re die-hard football fans (er…not), so here is just a snippet of our pre-game smack talk.
B: My team is so going to beat your team!
L: My team is going to throw the ball so hard!
B: Yeah, well, we’re going to push you out of bounds!
L: My team is gonna knock your team down!
I’m pretty sure our game commentary could have made for a pretty entertaining podcast.
Okay, so on to the workouts. People often ask me what I believe the most effective exercise is, and it’s a valid question! You don’t want to be wasting your time and energy on something that won’t give you results. And there are 10 gazillion exercise options out there to choose from, so it can feel a little overwhelming when you’re trying to decide where to start.
Do you join a gym? Get a trainer? Run on a treadmill or a track? Join a Baare class, learn Zumba, or buy a Jillian Michaels DVD? Do hot yoga to cleanse your body or pick up CrossFit to challenge it to the max?
There are absolutely pros and cons to every single workout out there, and we could get into a conversation about HIIT training versus endurance training. But, the answer is more obvious than it seems. The most effective exercise is the one that you’ll do.
It doesn’t matter what the pros and cons are if you don’t actually follow through and do it. If you hate running and dread pulling on your shoes and going out, then you’re not going to run very often. If you can’t stand the music they play at Zumba, then you’re not going to look forward to going. And if the commute to your gym through rush hour traffic stresses you out to the max, you’re not going to go as often. You most likely already struggle to work up the willpower to exercise, so make it as easy to workout as you can.
Build Exercise Into Your Day
In my opinion, the absolute best way is to build as much exercise into your day as you can. Walking is the easiest of all, because you can do it wherever, whenever, for however long you want to. Park at the end of the parking lot at work and at the store. Instead of just sending an email or picking up the phone, walk to your coworker’s office to deliver the message. Walk your dog or pace your house while you are talking on the phone. Walk with your kids to the neighborhood park instead of driving. Stand more often – it’s better for your posture, it burns more calories, and it engages your leg muscles. Clean up around the house – vaccuuming, mopping, and scrubbing the bathtub keeps you moving and can bump up your heart rate. Try to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time and just try to move more during your day.
Find Exercise That You Actually Like
If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to do it. It’s as simple as that. But “exercise” doesn’t have to mean sweating at the gym. Maybe you like going on hikes in the mountains, relaxing with yoga, or meeting up with your friends to walk around the park. A friend of mine loves going with her husband to an indoor climbing wall and playing volleyball on a team in a rec league. I had a really fun instructor that taught a cardio kickboxing class that made the 60-minute workout fly by and I looked forward to going to that class with a friend. There are endless options out there – try something new! Play Dance Dance Revolution on your Wii. Try cross country skiing or water aerobics. Go line dancing or put in a Richard Simmons video (bonus – you’ll burn extra calories laughing at the cheesy-ness).
Get A Workout Buddy
It is much easier to talk yourself into waking up to go workout when you have a friend waiting for you. The best thing is for them to be physically next to you, walking with you, doing hip hop next to you, or running on the treadmill beside you. If you have a friend that wants to get healthier with you but they live farther away, the next best thing is to connect with them in other ways. Be their friend on My Fitness Pal and Fitbit, so you can cheer on each others’ exercise and see their progress. Text each other and workout at the same time. Some of my best workout buddies have been long distance.
Like I mentioned earlier, you want to take down as many barriers that might prevent you from working out as you can. Schedule it into your day, so that you don’t just keep saying, “I’ll do it later” (the earlier in the day that you exercise, the more likely it is you’ll stick with it!). Lay out your clothes the night before. Plan your breakfast.
I am a homebody. I love being home with my dog in my house with my things in my comfort zone. I also don’t like driving all that much. I know that if I have to drive to the gym, I’ll go every once and awhile in an attempt to get my money’s worth, but it’s not something I’ll do regularly. I also know that for all of those reasons, I am much more likely to do pretty much any exercise that I can do at home. I love exercise DVDs and Spark People workouts. I use hand weights, a stability ball, my yoga mat, and a foam roller. I’ve kept up with running because all it takes is walking out my front door and now I own a treadmill, so I’m even more likely to run more often. Look at your likes, dislikes, tendencies, and quirks, and plan around them.
What you do isn’t important. What’s important is that you do something.