Back when I was first getting into fitness, I would wander the gym aimlessly. I stuck only to the elliptical and machines because I didn’t know anything about cables or free weights, and bodyweight exercises were not my jam (I was mentally scarred from high school track conditioning). I never had a plan, never knew which exercises to do or how many reps/sets to do; I would just kind of wing it and then go get donuts at the Tim Hortons across the street. Not surprisingly, I got zero results, but I was having fun. I worked out because it gave me energy and made me feel good. As I continued going to the gym, I started to love it and got more serious about it. I read all the magazines and spent hours on bodybuilding.com trying to learn the ins-and-outs of fitness. I was like a sponge, I absorbed so much information that I got stuck in analysis paralysis.
There are a million opinions, workouts, diets, and trainers out there. One website says girls shouldn’t lift weights, while another says weights are the holy grail to a hot bod. My fit friend says to do 3 sets of 15 reps, while my shredded neighbor claims that 4 sets of 8 reps is the way to go. Who do you know who to believe??
I was so confused. I spent years floundering my way through fitness jumping from one workout to the next because I thought if I just did it all, I couldn’t go wrong, right? No. Still no results in sight. Sure, I still loved working out, but after years of putting in so much effort, I at least wanted to see something change.
I’m sure if you’re reading this article, you too have been stuck in analysis paralysis or overwhelmed by all of the information! So many people are afraid of doing the wrong workout, that they end up doing nothing! People ask me all the time, “What is the best training routine?” “How many days per week should I work out?” “How many reps and sets should I do?” “Should I lift weights or is cardio better?”
I can answer all of these questions with the same answer: IT DOESN’T MATTER
Most of us ladies are just trying to get in better shape so we can look good and feel confident, am I right?? We just want to be healthy and feel good! We’re not training for a competition, we’re not cover models, so we don’t need to train like it!
The key to simplifying your workout routine is: BE CONSISTENT. When I started showing up and putting the work in, this is when I started seeing results. You don’t need to worry about following a particular program, you don’t need to have an exact blueprint of every workout, just show up and work hard and results will start to come.
1. Focus on compound movements: these are movements that use many different parts of your body (think squats, lunges, push-ups, deadlifts). These kind of exercises will burn more calories and increase the intensity of your workout because they require more of your muscles to work and you can usually go heavier.
2. As for reps and sets: pick a number and stick to it: I typically do 3 sets of 12. My guess is that most of you just want to feel strong, capable, and healthy, so you really don’t need to worry about specifics here.
3. Find exercise that you enjoy: if you hate running, chances are you’re not going to be consistent with it. If you love Zumba, do it. If you love lifting, do it. Doing what you enjoy will lead to consistency, which will eventually get you results.
4. Lastly, just do the work. Don’t be watching TV, chatting with your friends, or staring at your phone the whole time. Your workouts will be much more efficient if you get in the moment and focus on YOU.
If you have a specific goal in mind and would like help figuring out the best program for you, shoot me an email at Kristin@freetobe-fitness.com and I would be happy to help! But for the rest of you who just want to be fit and healthy, just remember it doesn’t have to be complicated, you got this!