When it comes to fitness goals we all have unique desires. However most of our goals surround two things: either getting leaner/losing weight/trimming down/toning up or getting stronger/faster/more athletic in some capacity.
When determining how to attack our goals, various websites, books, fitness gurus etc. tell us their way is the best way.
But here’s the problem, we all have varying backgrounds, athletic abilities, lifestyles and access to equipment. So when it comes to answering the following questions, there’s no perfect answer for everyone.
Should you follow a program?
Should you workout every day?
Do you need to do cardio every day to stay sane and keep your waist line?
How many times a week should you lift?
Disclaimer: I tell my fat loss clients that anything works when your nutrition is in check, but for *best* results in getting leaner, some type of strength/resistance training 2-3 times a week is best.
My clients come to me with specific goals and after talking with them about their “fitness personality” I’m better able to help them help themselves. Today’s article will help you identify your exercise personality in order to best determine what steps you can take to attack your goals.
This article idea came up when I started to write and article I’m releasing tomorrow called My September Experiment.
In My September Experiment I discuss what it was like to step away from a strategic strength training program and venture into an exercise lifestyle characterized by vigorous, daily sweat sessions. Before I discuss the experiment with you, I want to go over three different (general) approaches or “personality types,” if you will, to exercise.
Read below to see how I generally categorize different “exercise personalities” or training styles. Then perhaps you will feel better about your exercise-style, or be able to see where you could potentially make some changes in order to better reach your goals.
Three types of fitness personalities:
A) Everyday movers
-works out every day, or at least 5 times a week
–Main goal: burning off extra energy, break a good sweat, stress release, longevity, consistent active lifestyle
–Methods: jogging, running, light cardio, walking, stretching, fun play, moderately intense group fitness classes
-Prerequisites: motivation to move every day, enjoyment of the daily activity, good physical health
-Lifestyle: suited for the desk-job lifestyle, someone who sits a lot and/or lives in a suburban area where people drive everywhere
-Pros: consistency with movement, predictable energy expenditure for the body, routine, endorphins from the sweat session, moderate relationship with fitness, healthy heart
-Cons: not making any progress or changes in physique/fat loss (if that’s what person wants), unable to increase aerobic capacity if the same 30 minutes on the elliptical for ten years is all they do, frustration of feeling like you’ve plateau’ed
-Tips for how-to:
-choose three days of the week to do an activity to get started and try three different activities.
-the next week, pick the one you liked best and do it 3-4 times. If you liked all three, try and do them all again to make it a habit
-the night before each active day, lay out your exercise clothes or pack them so they are ready and you have no excuse!
-write the goal down in a to-do list. It will feel so great to check it off!!
B) Exercise enthusiasts
-likes to go “beast mode” every day, is up for a good challenge
-Main goal: crush it daily. You can find them at intense workout classes, crossfit, not scared to try anything. Is most likely seeking progress in some aspect of their aesthetic, or level of physical preparedness/athleticism
-Methods: variation is their middle name. This person is probably yon Class Pass and enjoys everything from body pump classes to cross fit, power yoga to running class.
-Prerequisites: good health, lots of energy, highly motivated, lives in a place that has a lot to offer or have a creative brain to come up with tough workouts on your own daily. Having equipment to use, mountains to climb etc.
-Lifestyle: sedentary other hours besides the workout hour, former athletes enjoy this rigorous type of training, willingness and ability to spend a fair amount of money on fitness boutiques, coaches, gyms, crossfit boxes, equipment or travel for the workout
-Pros: gets to feel like an athlete every day, feels accomplished every day, healthy heart, active lifestyle, strength
-Cons: potentially increased hunger, potentially susceptible to injuries or over-use injuries, slight frustration from lack of progress– (but unsubstantiated frustration because they aren’t following a strategic program to get desired “progress” they are just killing it in the gym with a more conditioning-based style of training). Must do laundry frequently 😉
-Tips for how-to:
-find a studio that you love and try various instructors there. Finding a group fitness instructor you love is key. They will push you to your limits when you can’t push yourself. If you live in Boston, go to Cycfitness.com and book your bike with me, of Barrysbootcamp.com and come to a class!
-Consider joining Class Pass if you are new to an area and want to get a deal on various fitness boutiques before choosing one you love and buying a package
-grab a friend! Having a workout buddy will hold you accountable and make the workout more enjoyable when you can laugh with a friend.
-set a goal to attend ___ classes a month, pack a bag the night before, or make a Saturday out of it by planning a fun healthy brunch afterward!
-make sure you chat with your instructor or coach, they might have some tips for you to get the best experience each time! Also, letting the know your goals can also help keep you accountable.
C) Strategic Goal Seeking trainee
-is following a program that prescribes “x” workouts each week over a certain period of time, designed to help trainee achieve specific goal in strength, endurance, flexibility, power, skill, physique etc.
-Main goal: follow program on specialized timeline to see desirable results, prepare for competition, or race
-Methods: whatever the coach prescribes. Typically a holistic approach combining nutrition, recovery and training considerations on a weekly basis
-Pre-requisites: finding the right program or coach, high motivation to succeed, specific goal/timeline
-Lifestyle: Affords the time to put into training “x” times a week, gives equal attention to recovery as they do training. Wants to track/measure progress and results. Has a moderately active lifestyle so training every day isn’t needed.
-Pros: seeing something through, approaching fitness like a science experiment, achievement of goal, learning along the way, getting stronger/leaner/faster etc. Can be cheaper than paying for fitness classes.
– Cons: possibly getting bored if person isn’t truly dedicated to said goal which the program is designed for, losing motivation, having to work around injury or stray from one strategy to another if something doesn’t work. Working with certain coaches can be expensive.
– Tips for how-to:
– Identify a specific goal
– Reach out to a personal trainer, online coach, or find a fitness book with a program that may help you reach your unique goal
-give yourself ample time to accomplish the goal
-be patient and work hard
You probably noticed that for every personality type the prerequisite of “highly motivated” was present. Which one requires the most motivation? Well, that comes down to personal opinion because certain things feel more difficult for different people.
Figuring out your current exercise personality can be helpful when you are setting off on a new journey or want to achieve a specific goal. I work with clients who fit all of these molds and knowing what my client’s style helps me help them with strategies for nutrition and training.
Do you need to exercise every day? No. Can you exercise every day? Absolutely.
Is one strategy better than the other? No. The “right” strategy depends on your goal.
Any of the above strategies work, if you’re OK with them, happy with the schedule, commitment, program, plan etc.
For example, if your goal is bigger glutes and bigger biceps, you need to get on a strategic program to achieve that outcome. The “workout every day” program of doing general cardio is not going to work.
However, if your goal is to blow off steam, interact with others, get your butt kicked and have FUN, then living the Type B lifestyle and venturing to all the Class Pass studios is a huge win.
I am a Type C personality. I like measuring progress and seeing certain mini-goals through. I’ve obtained a certain level of strength which I’m very proud of and work very hard each week to maintain it and improve it. However, I know there will come a time when I want to just do light daily movement, (Type A) and when it comes, I will be OK without seeing certain results and be thankful for the energy daily movement cultivates.
Very recently I tried to be a Type B personality and had a very interesting experience with it. Check back in tomorrow afternoon, I will be posting My September Experiment, an article which goes into what I learned from taking a step back form powerlifting programming and a step into the group fitness world for three and a half weeks!
Also, if you liked this piece, check out this article I wrote about the Five Pound Fuss, that categorizes my different types of nutrition clients.
If you’d like to get on a #Daretomove strength training program, shoot me an email and we can talk about your goals! firstname.lastname@example.org