Monday, June 22, 2009

Choosing the Right Exercise

Before you start any sport or exercise program there are a couple of questions you should be able to answer:

1. What are your goals? This will determine the kind of workouts you will want to do.

2. What do you feel confident doing? How much experience and knowledge do you have/need?

3. What do you like to do? What physical activities or types of exercise do you enjoy doing?

4. How much time do you have to workout? This will also determine what you do in the gym that will benefit you the most, in the least amount of time.

What are your goals? This is important because it will help you chose the right exercises to help you get to your goals as fast as possible. For instance, if you are looking to gain more flexibility then your goal should be to warm up and stretch or take a yoga class. If your goal is to increase your lean muscle mass and lose body fat then your exercises should be based more on high intensity weightlifting. If you are looking to get into better overall shape and increase strength then you should be do more complex full body exercises.

What do you feel confident doing? Do you have a ton of free weight experience? Have you never used a Free Motion machine before? Do you know how to use the elliptical but have never seen a Stepmill before? It's important to stick with stuff that you are comfortable with. Making sure your are doing exercises correctly, making sure you are not self-conscious about what you are doing, and making sure that your not wasting time wondering how to work something. Make sure you choose the equipment that you have had experience with is a good place to start.

What do you like to do? Do you hate running? Are you a die hard swimmer? Especially when you first start in a routine make sure to pick out the exercises that will keep you coming back. If you hate free weights but insist on making yourself do them make sure that doing so doesn't keep you avoiding the gym because you are dreading your workout. You have to be enjoying (at least somewhat) the things that you are doing in the gym. It's all about getting on a routine and sticking to it so make sure you having something to look forward to and that keeps you coming back.

How much time do you have to workout? If you are really limited with time, say 30 minutes, make sure you come into the gym with a plan of action. Make sure you know what you will be doing. A good example would be using Cybex equipment and going through a quick circuit making sure you hit all muscle groups. Or if you are dying to come in and work on your upper body strength make sure to have all the muscle groups you want in mind and make sure you know if you want to use dumbbells or barbells, etc. But most of all make sure to pick exercises (or exercise modes) that you know how to do so you don't waste time trying to figure out how to do something. A short amount of time means getting the best bang out of your buck, efficiency is key!

Written by Adriana Brown, Personal Trainer at the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown.
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