The Best Workout Routine for YOU

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Best Workout Routine

It can be confusing and frustrating trying to choose among the 10,000 exercise methods and workout routines that are available. Don’t be fooled by clever advertising, or some fad celebrity workout. In my opinion, the workout routine you choose should pass the following 5 conditions:

1) The Best Workout Routine is aligned with your fitness goals

There are tons of workout routines out there, but do they match your primary fitness goal? Here are some goals that require different exercise strategies:

  • Losing Fat
  • Building Muscle
  • Increasing Strength
  • Improving Function
  • Improving Balance
  • Improving Flexibility
  • Can you accomplish several of these goals using the same workout routine? Of course you can, but it’s smart to have a workout routine that focuses on your primary goal, so you are not disappointed with the results.

    2) The Best Workout Routine is appropriate for your fitness level

    Assessing your fitness level is an extremely important part of choosing a safe, effective workout routine. If I design a workout for you that’s too easy, your results will be compromised. If I design a workout that’s too demanding, then you may lose motivation, or be at risk for injury. The key is to find a workout routine that is appropriate for your fitness level, but becomes more challenging over time so that your body constantly improves.

    3) The Best Workout Routine feels awesome

    I’ve never seen this criteria in any academic journal, but it’s top on my list. If a workout doesn’t feel great, then it’s probably not that effective. When it comes to feel, what I’m looking for in a strength training workout is that I sufficiently engage the muscles I’m targeting, get a nice muscle burn, but my heart rate is still relatively high throughout the workout. With a cardio workout, I want to be breathing really hard (not for beginners of course), get a great sweat, and get it done in 15-30 minutes. The workout should be challenging, but not too challenging. By the time I leave the gym, I want to feel like my body has been thoroughly worked out and I don’t have any extra energy left.

    4) The Best Workout Routine is sustainable

    I think it’s unfortunate how many people are yoyo dieters and exercisers. One common mistake is always looking for the “best” workout program, which is a fallacy. It doesn’t exist. The best program is the one that motivates you to workout, that gets you desired results, and that you can sustain over time. Ideally, the workout routine you choose will have strength training, cardio, and flexibility components.

    You know by now that I’m a big fan of strength training for getting lean, but there are still many methods of strength training out there. One of my motivations for starting this website was helping you find effective, efficient workout routines that you enjoy to stay healthy, lean, and fit for the long haul.

    5) The Best Workout Routine changes over time

    There’s a saying among hardcore exercisers that “The best workout routine is the one you are not on.” Just so we are on the same page, when I say “best workout routine”, I mean that there is a general framework that you follow, such as lifting 3x per week with cardio 2x per week, flexibility after every workout, and guidelines you follow for each specific workout.

    So a workout routine doesn’t mean you are doing the same exact exercises, in the same sequence, with the same amount of reps for months on end. Once you have found a general framework you enjoy, there are a ton of ways to spice it up and keep it changing so your body continues to improve. I’m going to give you a TON of ideas to make your workouts more effective and efficient, but you’ll have to stay tuned!

    If I left out any conditions that you think are important, or you have anything to add, please leave a comment below!

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    8 Comments on “The Best Workout Routine for YOU

    1. Pat
      April 6, 2010 #

      You’re very right about #3! I know I feel way better after a workout. It’s not always easy to get motivated to go to the gym but once I’m there and the blood starts flowing, I really feel like I’m accomplishing something.

    2. Leila
      April 6, 2010 #

      Yes, sustainability is key! Still trying to get that one right! One must try not to psych herself out about going back for another gym visit because the previous workout was too rigorous! But it’s a delicate dance because, as Pat mentioned, once you get started, you want to keep going and challenging yourself to exceed your performance in the previous workout.

    3. Hank
      April 6, 2010 #

      I think the perfect workout does not exist. I do know that after a “good” workout I feel relaxed and confident. The key for me is consistently keeping my heart rate up during the exercises and achieving a burn on most of the reps. Lastly, if you do not stretch after your workout you will diminish your gains significantly.

    4. Greg
      April 6, 2010 #

      I thought this was very interesting because its different from what most magazines and trainers tell you. I couldn’t agree more with number 3 – when I work out and don’t feel satisfied afterwards its a major disappointment. Are there any exercies you would recommend? I can never make up my mind on which to do.

    5. Marc Perry
      April 6, 2010 #

      Hey Greg,
      I’m going to be adding some video exercise demonstrations and more sample workout routines soon. Some of my favorite exercises are squats, lunges, pushups, pullups, shoulder press, hanging leg raises for abs, and bird dog on an exercise ball for lower back strength. Just some ideas.
      -Marc

    6. Mary
      April 7, 2010 #

      Thanks to your articles, I have started to challenge myself by increasing the weights I use. I was in a routine that was becoming boring with inadequate results. The increase in weights has helped me to feel better and much stronger. I could really use a new routine. I am looking forward to your suggestions and ideas.

    7. Ryan
      April 2, 2012 #

      Hi Marc,

      Been reading your articles on here for a while now; really good, interesting stuff that provides a lot of perspective and clarification for all the conflicting arguments out there.

      I’m 24, 5’7″, and currently at 150lb. I don’t know what my body fat percentage is currently, but the last time I remembered liking the amount of fat that was on my body was when I was about 18 and weighed around 140. I don’t really care what the number on the scale says, all I know is I want to get stronger, and from the pictures I’ve seen, get my body looking basically like yours does, which for me I would assume to mean around 10% body fat and quite a few pounds of muscle.

      I’m looking for some direction as far as planning my long-term routines; not interested in wasting my time or making common mistakes if I can help it. I’m currently hitting the gym 4-5x a week, and have no issues keeping my nutrition under control. If I post my current information, could you let me know what you would change, both in my diet and workouts?

      1. April 2, 2012 #

        @Ryan – I would love to, but that would really be best for a coaching call that could really dig deep into your exercise/nutrition program. It’s really tough for me to look over an entire routine without all the other information. I wouldn’t be doing you a great service and wouldn’t be fair to my private clients who pay me a lot of money for my time! I do encourage you to check out the BuiltLean Program I developed, as that’s a structured program you can use for a long time, far beyond the 8 weeks it takes to complete. If you just had a couple quick questions about some aspect of your program, I’m happy to help out.

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