Which workout is best for you?

With all the workout options out there, it’s hard to decide which is best for you; especially since they all claim to be “the best.”

Yoga, Pilates, Crossfit, Zumba, mixed martial arts, running, swimming, body building, body pump, etc…. there is someone out there who swears by all of them, so what’s the answer?

There are two answers:

  1. All of them, but mixed up.
  2. Whichever one gets you moving.

Think of workout options like you think of eating. For all the healthy foods options, there isn’t one that you should eat exclusively. Ideally, you get a variety of foods AND workout styles. In my opinion, that’s the way to your best body.

Your body will thrive off the intensity, weights and plyometrics in Crossfit, the great sweat you get from dancing or running, the stretching, toning and meditation from yoga and Pilates, etc.

Some people release stress by hitting a bag or pounding the pavement, while others feel relief after gliding through the water during a swim.

Just as there are fad diets, there are fad workouts. There’s nothing wrong with trying them all, just be consistently active and kind to your body.

Answer #1 is my true number one pick for all bodies because it recognizes that, although you will see an initial change in your body by doing any of these full-on for the initial few weeks, keeping the pounds off is easiest when you crosstrain. Also, crosstraining guarantees you are ticking all the boxes to enhance your strength, cardio, flexibility, and, therefore, your overall physique.

Answer #2 is there to let you know that doing something is the most important thing. If you skip every body pump class because you hate weights, but will dance your butt off in Zumba 100% of the time, go to Zumba. Does your body need weights, absolutely, but, at the end of the day, the best workout for you is the one you’ll actually do.

 

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Booty-kickin, fat-burner ladder workout (no ladder required)

You do not need a ladder to do this workout, but you will need lots of energy and the will to push yourself toward a hotter, stronger physique.

Ladders are a combination of two exercises that alternate and increase number of reps from one on up to ten. You start out with one of each, then two of each, then three…four…five…….ten, as you climb up the ladder.

Below are three ladder examples. I suggest trying all of them together at your next workout, followed by at least 20 mins of cardio. They won’t seem too tough at first, but after you’ve done all of them (55 of each move), you’ll understand why they’re such booty kickers. If you are a beginner, start with modified pushups and smaller dumbbells, but if you’re in pretty good shape and want to really see results, challenge yourself with heavier weights and fully progressed form.

This workout can be done anywhere and is gender-neutral, so challenge your spouse or a friend. A little competition will make everyone work harder.

If you require additional instruction, comment and I’ll add to my explanations. Now, go burn some calories!

Pushup-Shoulder Press Ladder

  • 1st Set: 1 pushup, 1 dumbbell shoulder press (stand up with dumbbells at your shoulders, press them straight up)
  • 2nd Set: 2 pushups, 2 presses
  • 3rd Set: 3 pushups, 3 presses
  • 4th Set: 4 pushups, 4 presses
  • 5th Set: 5 pushups, 5 presses
  • 6th Set: 6 pushups, 6 presses
  • 7th Set: 7 pushups, 7 presses
  • 8th Set: 8 pushups, 8 presses
  • 9th Set: 9 pushups, 9 presses
  • 10th Set: 10 pushups, 10 presses

Lunge-Squat Ladder

  • 1st Set: 1 lunge each leg, 1 squat (feet shoulder width apart, lower your rear like you’re about to sit down, stand back up at the point your rear would touch the seat)
  • 2nd Set: 2 lunges each leg, 2 squats
  • 3rd Set: 3 lunges each leg, 3 squats
  • 4th Set: 4 lunges each leg, 4 squats
  • 5th Set: 5 lunges each leg, 5 squats
  • 6th Set: 6 lunges each leg, 6 squats
  • 7th Set: 7 lunges each leg, 7 squats
  • 8th Set: 8 lunges each leg, 8 squats
  • 9th Set: 9 lunges each leg, 9 squats
  • 10th Set: 10 lunges each leg, 10 squats

Bicep-Ab Ladder

  • 1st Set: 1 bicep curl (both arms at once), 1 seated heel touch (sit on edge of chair/bench with legs in front of you, lean back slightly with arms behind to support you, bring knees to your chest, then extend toward the floor until your heels touch, raise knees back up/in without fully touching feet down)
  • 2nd Set: 2 bicep curls, 2 heel touches
  • 3rd Set: 3 bicep curls, 3 heel touches
  • 4th Set: 4 bicep curls, 4 heel touches
  • 5th Set: 5 bicep curls, 5 heel touches
  • 6th Set: 6 bicep curls, 6 heel touches
  • 7th Set: 7 bicep curls, 7 heel touches
  • 8th Set: 8 bicep curls, 8 heel touches
  • 9th Set: 9 bicep curls, 9 heel touches
  • 10th Set: 10 bicep curls, 10 heel touches

Why weight? How to really speed up your metabolism and burn off fat

Two exercise misconceptions are, 1) all you need to do to burn fat and lose weight is cardio, and 2) if you use weights you’re going to get bulky. I refer to these as misconceptions instead of as myths because they aren’t completely true or false.

Yes, you need to do cardio in order to help burn up fat; however, if all you’re doing is cardio, you’re not working out efficiently, and neither the mirror or the scale is going to show you what you hope to see.

Yes, if you do the same movement all the time, specific areas can grow bulkier than others; but, you would have to do A LOT of the same thing – which I don’t suggest anyway, and you would need to possess a lot of testosterone. So, ladies, you can stop worrying about becoming manly, because you’re missing the necessary hormone balance.

Your body needs iron, and I’m not talking about taking a supplement.

A few quick facts to get you pumped for pumping iron:

  • The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn while doing absolutely nothing. Muscle and metabolism go hand in hand.
  • Muscle is denser and takes up less room than fat. So, the scale might not change, but you’ll need smaller sizes in your clothes.
  • Skin lies much more nicely over muscle than over fat.
  • Your body remains a furnace for up to 72 hours after a good strength training session.
  • Your skeletal system responds to resistance training by building itself up to be stronger. (Final score: Body:1, Osteoporosis: 0)

Even though you can burn more calories during the period you are actually doing cardio, the continued afterburn from a weighted workout more than makes up for the initial difference.

So, why not make every workout a weighted one? Your muscles need time to recover. You can break your body into sections if you want to use weights more than every other day (i.e. Monday-legs, Tuesday-arms, Wednesday-core…), but cardio IS important too, so my recommendation is to mix it up with some of both by alternating days.

How much weight should I use if I just want to tone up? My advice is to use what you can, and change it up frequently. Do some sets of 12-15 reps with lighter weight; some where you can only manage 4-8 reps with heavier weight; and other exercises with only your own body as resistance.

Trust me, I spent many years sweating all over cardio equipment for hours at a time in fear of getting bulky. In all honesty, the only time I’ve ever been bulky was when I rowed, and that was because I did the same movement over and over, which caused my body to shift fat to the areas of muscle it thought needed a fast fuel source the most. (This was compounded by the fact that my meal plan at the time included a buffet with an endless supply of ice cream, not to mention late night pizzas and keg parties.)

Now, after lessons learned through experience and education, I can tell you that the best way to get the body you want is to get over the fear of getting bulky, and go try to show up some of the guys in the weight room at the gym. When you notice them looking at you, don’t get self-conscious. They’re checking you out because a girl in the weight room is hot, and you probably look like a bad ass. They’re much more likely to make fun of the prima donna on the elliptical trying desperately not to break a sweat or mess up her makeup.