Published on January 2nd, 2014 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles
Where To Start For Your Workout
by David Smith
It is no doubt that this time of year is a popular time to go to the gym. After gorging on holiday treats and countless ginger bread lattes, as well as a renewed sense of optimism come the new year everybody wants to take steps to be more active and healthy. With that kind of gung ho optimism people often go to the gym but are so overwhelmed by the environment and all the options that it can be quite humbling. It’s hard to know where to start when you see all this craziness happening all at once. Even just doing a little research there are countless types of workout programs that everybody touts as “The Best Workout” or “The only workout you will ever need” and blah blah blah along with countless “miracle products” on the market. Each program and product never quite lives up to the hype. There are many different types of exercise as well as many different ways to go about said exercise, but realize that there is not one method or way, and certainly not one that is the best. It’s important to find what works best for you and what you enjoy doing! Remember if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?
There are many different types of exercise and a good, comprehensive training program should incorporate all of them. Including…
Resistance Training: Not just weight lifting but any kind of load and additional resistance you can add. This can include body weight, kettlebells, TRX, Olympic Lifting. It is important to train your muscles for strength and endurance as appropriate to your goals. Strength is being able lift more weight but perform less repetitions. Endurance is lifting less weight but able to perform more repetitions. A good strength training program should include elements of both.
Endurance Cardio: Cardio doesn’t just mean plodding along the treadmill or elliptical for an hour. Going for a good run or bike ride, learning how to swim or taking an aerobics class. Anything that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a sustained period of time. It’s good to warm up with and to include intermittently throughout your workout.
H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training): Pretty popular and is definitely a fun, new way to challenge yourself. It involves short bursts of high intense exercise that gets your heart rate up to the max followed by extended periods of rest. This may involve plyometrics and power lifting as well. On the rest period it is definitely good to add a lower intensity exercise to do, especially if you are running short on time.
Core and Flexibility: Your core is essentially the center of your body. The muscles around your lower to mid torso that set the stage for your overall balance and function. This doesn’t mean abs necessarily but a combination and engagement in all the muscles within that area (abs, obliques, glutes, back muscles, transverse abdominis) in which the base of everything you do is derived. Focusing on balance and endurance to help you better hold yourself and perform other exercises and tasks as safely and efficiently as you can. This includes yoga and pilates as well as various forms of stretching, core exercises and even recovery components such as foam rolling.
Stepping foot into a gym can be overwhelming, if you can fight your way past the high pressure sales people and personal trainers, you’ll find a large room full of all sorts of equipment that look like a medieval torture chamber, so where do you start? Most gyms offer a wide variety of ways for people to be engaged and active. It all just comes down to your interests and goals, what works for someone else may not work for you and that’s perfectly okay. Don’t feel pressured to invest into something you simply don’t want or feel comfortable with. Take the time to try different things and see what you like; there are a variety of different options to choose from. Your body is capable of so much and so limiting yourself to only certain types of exercise will not only make it more challenging and limiting for you to reach your goals but can also lead to injuries, overtraining and pure boredom.
One on one/ buddy training (personal training): One of the most common and helpful ways for you to learn how to structure a workout and step outside your comfort zone is to hire a personal trainer. Focused, individualized attention and program planning that is custom to your goals and capabilities as a person. A personal trainer can help you learn new exercises and even push you outside your comfort zone more so than you ever thought possible. Having that accountability of working with a trainer as well can help you stay motivated.
Group Fitness Classes: Very popular format and a fun way to meet new people, it is a general workout that is designed for a wide variety of people and goals. There are many types of classes offered that all have their own particular benefits; they are more high energy, bring in a diverse group of people and can be a great way to really get engaged in a program.
Small Group Training: Similar format to both group fitness and personal training. Consist of a smaller group, usually no more than 8 with a more focused and specific workout to the goals of the people within the group. More one on one attention but with the benefits and challenge of working with other people.
Athletics: Adult sports are becoming much more popular, there are many leagues and teams out there of every sport you can think of. Whether it be a team sport or an individual sport. Getting involved is a great way to meet new people, get active and help establish more substantial goals for you to accomplish. There are a variety of leagues, and sports out there to choose from including Colorado Gay Volleyball Association, Denver Gay Flag Football, Colorado Frontrunners, Squid Swim Team among hundreds of others. It’s a great way to get in touch and have something in common with people, it’s fun and is a great way to set goals as well!
In the end, nothing beats just putting on your headphones and zoning out from the rest of the world, just you and exercise is all you need. These different things are great to help you add some variety and spice to your workout. Stay motivated and have fun!
David Smith is an exercise professional and specializes in exercise, nutrition and wellness programs for the GLBT community. He is the owner of Stonewall Fitness and is working to bring the LGBT community together through physical activity.
His passion lies in promoting the physical, mental and social benefits of exercise and healthy diet and to unite the LGBT community by breaking down the stigmas and barriers often associated with exercise and fitness to make it accessible for everybody. He currently leads several fitness programs, one on one personal training and athletic conditioning programs. He is a regular contributor to MileHighGayGuy and HealthyGayLifestyles with articles in regards to physical activity, health and wellness.
In his personal endeavors, He is also an active athlete having competed in swimming, taekwondo, triathlon and running events. Highlights of his athletic career include winning six medals and setting a meet record at the 2010 Gay Games in swimming. Competing on the national collegiate level in taekwondo and swimming, training to compete in his first full Ironman, having completed several half Ironmans and finishing severak marathona. David currently swims and coaches with the Denver Squid Swim Team and is training for the 2014 Gay Games and to swim the Greek Isle’s as well as run the original marathon course from Marathon to Athens, Greece. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in exercise science from Metropolitan State University of Denver and holds several fitness certifications including ACSM Personal Trainer and Group Fitness.