With that said, I will tell you the top 4 things to add to your checklist when deciding if a workout regime is the right out for you:
1. Is it something that excites you?
First and foremost, it needs to be something that you will be motivated to do every day. Many times our gym routines get boring and repetitive. This is when people just kinda ya know slowly but surely stop going to the gym. I mean come on how exciting is it to walk on the same treadmill for the same distance at the same pace listening to the same music every day? There are tons of ways that you can make an ordinary gym routine bounds more exciting (and I will devote an entire post to just that at some point). You just have to be willing to do so. Find something that, even on the days where the last thing you wan to do is to get out of that cozy bed in the morning or stop at the gym before reaching your couch, keeps you excited enough for the workout for that day that you can’t imagine NOT hitting the gym.
2. Does it really challenge you? Does it push you out of your comfort zone?
I mean really really challenge you. Be honest with yourself. Are you doing yourself and your abilities justice with these workouts? I will tell you that before I started CrossFit I had NEVER touched a barbell in my life. I didn’t even know what half these lifts meant. I was shaking in my little Nikes the first time I set foot in my box (or gym for non CrossFit enthusiasts haha). So clearly I was challenging myself then but it is easy to get complacent in anything. There are people who have been CrossFitting much longer than myself who still scale down workouts I don’t or avoid heavier weights simply because they are scared to fail. Think of it like you should be able to leave each workout with pride in your eyes and know you did something that pre-fitness you would have never even imagined doing. It isn’t until you are pushing yourself past your “breaking points” that you will see yourself change.
3. Is it realistic for the long term? Is it something you can envision yourself doing not a month from now but a year from now?
There are a million fad diets and workouts that go so far to the other side of extreme that it becomes impossible for people to hold them up over a longer period of time. Very often we are impulsive and get so “gung ho” about things that we go 2,000% in and burn out much more quickly than we intended. Once we hit the burn out stage, it is easy to “give ourselves some time off” and end up never really getting back into a routine. Then eventually we are right back where we started before we decided to get fit. It is good to be enthusiastic but be weary of things that require too much too soon. Work yourself into a good routine at a pace that is right for you.
4. Is there potential for growth?
One of the most important things is the potential for growth. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting new results. This is so pertinent when talking about fitness. When I was in college, my usual day at the gym consisted of an hour on the elliptical or treadmill or stairmaster or any combination of them and then messing around with some variation of crunches. I still got my ass to the gym every day because I was mostly concerned with my appearance (like most adolescent females). Now, unless I had set some clear goals for time or distance on these cardio machines, what was I really getting out of this routine? Not a lot. That’s why it did not last past graduation. It’s been researched time and again that humans are more inclined to push themselves when there are goals to be reached. Aren’t you much more likely to get that work done at the office when there is a deadline versus if say your boss told you to do whatever you’d like? Yeah, I thought so. Think of your fitness in the same way. When we have something to work towards not only are we more likely to follow through with workouts but we are also much more likely to put in double the effort. We want those bragging rights.
So just remember, nothing is instant. Results will take time, sometimes more time than we want ideally. Do not be afraid to try everything under the sun until you find that one thing that really clicks. I tell people all the time that if you belong to a gym already go to every single class they offer. Try them all. You never know what is going to strike a cord and end up being that perfect thing that ignites a flame within you and encourages you to do everything in your power to never give up the feeling you get during a workout.