How to Choose The Right Workout For You

I always think it’s funny that we need research to confirm what most of us already know. Of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Years’ Resolutions, 82 percent set their sights on losing weight.  Only 8 percent of people who set out to lose weight at the beginning of the year actually achieve that goal. 

The story is all too familiar—the beginning of the year, the gyms are full of committed people ready to make a change. But by Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day? Forget it. Those treadmills will be wide open again. Believe me. I’m not being mean. It’s statistics. And the older you are, the less likely you are to be successful. What gives?

I think the biggest obstacle to perseverance in fitness goals is a lack of accountability. It’s great to get a brand new membership at a commercial gym. But when the going gets tough (and it will)—who is going to be there to make sure you’re pushing yourself and not letting up? Accountability is essential to my work as a personal trainer in Nashville. Some of my clients choose to partner with me one-on-one, but others choose to join a boot-camp style class. So what kind of accountability is best for you?

1. Are You a Social Butterfly or a Worker Bee?

Boot camp classes are a great way to ramp up your fitness in a social environment. There’s a certain camaraderie that develops among people who sweat together. It’s natural, and it can be a ton of fun! But for those people who’d rather not make friends while grunting and sweating—personal training can be a great way to focus on your fitness without distraction. That means if you’re uncomfortable jumping around with a group of people—you might not be comfortable in a boot-camp style class. (Sorry, but it’s true!)

2. Are You Overly Competitive?

Not all fitness classes are created equal. At Marathon Fitness, I’d like to think our boot camp classes aren’t overly competitive, but they are more independent. If you’re attending a high intensity workout for the first time, it’s healthy to expect to struggle through exercises that other people seem to breeze through easily (well, not really, but at least they’ll be able to accomplish the circuit without muscle failure). That being said—if you are hyper competitive, it may be best to avoid the boot-camp setting, if you know you’ll push yourself too far and risk injury.

3. What’s your budget?

Another factor to take into consideration is cost. Personal training, of course, is the more expensive of the two options. But as you’re shopping for a boot camp class in Nashville, take note if the class feels too big or that you’re getting lost in a crowd. It’s important for your instructor to pay attention to form and be able to coach you through new moves as you learn. We try to limit our classes at Marathon Fitness to no more than 15 people. Beyond that, and it begins to feel like a mad house, not a boot camp.

4. What baggage are you carrying?

We all come to the table with personal fitness “baggage.” If you’ve suffered injuries in the past, or have a fear of repeat injuries — you don’t need to be in boot camp. Personal training can help you regain confidence. And if you choose to hire a personal trainer, make sure you feel that you’re getting value for the cost. It’s important that your trainer listen to your concerns and goals. If they don’t ask you about your prior history—your baggage—that should be a huge red flag.

5. What’s your fitness level?

10:15 Boot Camp meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our 12South location.

10:15 Boot Camp meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our 12South location.

Boot camps generally attract a younger crowd—45 and under—people who are interested in a high-intensity conditioning workout. But I typically encourage my clients who are over the age of 45 to work focus on building strength rather than excess cardio. (Muscle mass and bone density are both highly important as we age, and are enhance by your strength, not your mile time.) Because of that, I often recommend that my older clients enlist a personal trainer, simply because one-on-one, you’ll be able to reach your goals much faster.

No matter what you choose, if you’re making fitness goals for 2015, you’re not in it alone. Ultimately—accountability is your personal responsibility, and your own personal decision. As always, I’m happy (and here) to help you sift through the options. Feel free to contact me here.

Posted on January 9, 2015 .