Finding the right thing for you inside and outside the gym
I am a 23 year old who enjoys training but more than that I like the rewards of the training sessions, things like being able to pick up heavy objects and move them without the need of help, feeling comfortable not wearing a shirt and being able to do things without specifically training for them. I am a 23 year old who likes to be outside, hike mountains and climb. I am a 23 year old that cares about his physique but more than that I care about how I can enjoy my fitness in every aspect of life.
I am a 23 year old who enjoys going to the gym, I like going going there because I want my muscles to get bigger, more defined and I want to look good when I go out on the weekends. I am a 23 year old who likes to have some drinks during the weekend and my ideal vacation spot would be Mexico because they have some of the nicest beaches. I am a 23 year old who works out because I want to be happy with what I see in the mirror and feel satisfied about my results and efforts in the gym.
I am a 23 year old and I don’t enjoy going to a gym but I am forced to do so because I have this shoulder injury and I want to get back to my sport. I am a 23 year old that likes to play football and I am still in university. I am a 23 year old who trains because I love playing football, it makes me happy and I want to get back to it as soon as possible.
There are a couple of similarities between these 3 stories, obviously one of them being that they’re all 23 years old (what a coincidence). The main thing being that they all have a reason to show up at the gym and put the work in. Not all of them are excited or happy about it but they get it done. On the flip side of this similarity stands that all of their goals and reasons are very different from one another. None of them better or more important than the other, but different in every sense of the word. So why would someone that wants to use their fitness outside of the gym do the same fitness program as someone that just wants to get bigger/leaner or someone that’s trying to recover from an injury? It would be easy for me to say that I’d recommend anyone reading this to do CrossFit. I have stepped off that train over the past couple months. I truly believe that anyone can do CrossFit and that it’s the most efficient training program out there but I also understand that CrossFit is not for everybody and that’s the way it should be. No two people are the same and everybody enjoys life in a different way.
Alright, now that we got that out of the way I want to help you find the program or regime that is going to make you the happiest and get you to the goals you want to achieve. To be quite honest, it’s very simple to find out if you know what questions to ask yourself and answer them truthfully. Here are the questions you should ask yourself and why:
- What do I want to get out of this?
This question seems so simple but so easy to underestimate at the same time. You need to know exactly what you want to gain. Who do you think is going to last longer, someone who follows a specific program and keeps showing up, the person who knows exactly what they are training for or the person that’s just there…… ? If you don’t know what you want eventually you will start to ask yourself: ‘’Why am I here?’’ or ‘’Why am I still spending money on this thing. And the longer time goes on those questions will start to come up more often. So figure out what you want to gain and dive into what program is tailored to your needs.
- How committed am I to these goals? / What am I willing to do to achieve this?
No matter what your goal is you will have to spend time and effort to achieve it. Each goal has a different definition of what effort is. If you want to get bigger, you better eat the right way, train hard, but more importantly be smart about your recovery and rest. If you’re injured this includes things like dedication to the program your trainer writes up and being able to resist the urge to play the sport you like until you’re ready. If you’re looking to be in shape/ be fit you will have to get some workouts in that have a progressive stimulation and not just sit around in the gym looking at your phone. This is probably the question where people lie to themselves and say yes but know on the inside that they are not sure. I am just telling you, know what you want and also be okay with what you have to do to get it.
- What is the time frame that I want to achieve these goals
If you have a long timeline for yourself to get to your goals in and outside the fitness realm you have more time to experiment with your fitness and see what you enjoy. When you start off doing any sort of training at the right intensity you’re going to improve no matter what because your body is getting such a shock that it has to adjust, that’s what the body does. When you have a shorter time period for example you have to be more specific with your training, you will have to focus on what training will give you the most amount of ‘’gainz’’ in that timeline. If you want to look good for your wedding or school reunion, go and do high intensity functional fitness. If you want to get bigger to look good at the beach in 6 months then go lift heavy ass weights with compound movements and focus on that. Establish what your timeline is and act accordingly.
- How much money Am I willing to spend on my goals/fitness
What I mean by this question is are you willing to pay money for the program you need? the personal coach you need? the right food you need to eat? Sometimes it takes more than effort and time to reach your goals.
- What is my lifestyle like? Can I put up the effort to follow a program?
Are you partying on the weekend? Do you go to bed late every night? Are you going to the gym/ get that workout in before or after your 10 hour work day? I am not saying you have to adjust your lifestyle to reach your goals, your goals should tell you that. If your excuse is that you don’t have the energy after your work shift just remember that millions of people are doing it, so why not you? trust me I have worked 10/12 hour shifts daily and gotten that workout in, it sucks at the time but it’s oh so rewarding after it.
- Am I injured?
Simple, are you injured? yes? should you be doing the program you’re following now and is this helping you progress to get back? if the answer is yes than keep doing what you’re doing. If the answer is no to the progression question, stop and look for something else that will help you. If the answer is no to the are you injured question, than get your butt in the gym to get to your goal.
Everybody will have their own specific answers to these questions and of course you could put more questions on this list but I believe these will get you there. I won’t be able to answer them for you and neither can anybody else. This also means that you are the only one that can make the decision about what the best program is for you and your lifestyle. But I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I wasn’t going to try and help you make a decision, now or in the future. Just on a side note, this is not just fitness related, you can and probably should apply some of these questions to other aspects of your life too. So let’s go through some stereotypical answers. If you already know that you’re not going to commit fully or not put the time in to show up to a gym it might not be the best decision for you to sign up to a gym and buy a fitness program. Instead try to workout in and around your house, there are thousands of ways for you to get fit at home/ reach your goals. There are more routes to get somewhere. Now let’s take a person who like story number 2 has figured out that they want to get bigger and stronger. This is where you can go into multiple different directions and now it’s important to know what your time frame is. If you try to get bigger in let’s say 6 months it’s your best bet to commit to a pure bodybuilding/ weightlifting program. If you don’t have a tight time frame like that you might want to explore some more options, yes one of them being CrossFit. There are other options out there too, thousand of different programs to choose from. There are also programs that combine ‘’CrossFit/ Functional fitness with bodybuilding, maybe check one of those ones out ( I am bringing one out later this year). Pick one that sticks to the basics and not all the unnecessary bullshit that is out there now. The basics have been around for a long time for a reason, because they work really well. You should also know that whatever you’re doing, if you do it at high intensity and don’t just mess around in the gym you will see results no matter what because your body has no choice but to adjust to intensity and change.
I hope you figured out and understood that all of these lessons and questions can help you outside of the gym too.
Whatever program or road you choose, choose it because it makes you happy! There’s no point in doing something that’s not going to make you feel happy because it’s not going to last.
Go reach your goals and be happy.