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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!