Packing Your Fitness Suitcase
By Julian A. Amedee, CSCS, Owner and Head Sports Performance Coach at Sports Fitness Experience
Part I: Things you like to do.
Trying to figure out what to do for your workout routine is one of the hardest things you may go through. Many people just go and lift weights. Others spend their times in group classes. While others step outside on the pavement and run for their routine. All of these are good examples of fitness programs, but is doing just that optimal for you? To get the most out of your fitness regimen you have to change things up. If you continue to do the same thing over and over the results you get will decrease exponentially. With so many different fitness options out there right now trying to determine what you should do can be a daunting task. Many pieces of equipment or classes really work on the same thing and if you decide on one, how can you know if it is the best choice. The strategy broken down in this series of articles will discuss a general way to set your regimen or pack your fitness suitcase
Building your general fitness regimen consists of three major components. Each component is designed differently based on how often you do it, how much time is spent on it and how much you enjoy doing it to name a few. The actual exercises or routines that you do for each component is unique to each individual, thus it is like packing your own suitcase. The three components are;
- Things you like to do
- Things you know are good for you
- A few things you hate to do
Today we are going to talk about the first component and probably the most important in your suitcase; Things you like to do. When I get asked about what to do when starting a workout program my first response back is the question “What do you like to do?” This is important because most people will not stick with anything that they do not like to do. If you do not enjoy your workout after that first surge of adrenaline is used up the excuses of why not to go will grow. Remember we all have reasons why we can’t work out each day. If you really don’t like what you are going to do, then it becomes much easier to stay away.
The things you like to do are the biggest pieces in your suitcase. It doesn’t mean that you will do them all the time, but when you do them you get a big dose of them. They are the things that fuel the rest of your program. They have to be exercises / routines / classes / activities that you cannot wait to do and when you do them you feel ready to take on the world. If you do not put these components into your suitcase first you will never know how to fit everything else in.
Part II: Things you know are good for you
So, we just talked about the first step in packing your fitness suitcase, things you like to do. Now let’s cover the second step; Things you know are good for you or things you need to do. These are the practices that everyone knows are good for them. They help build lean muscle. They burn excess fat and they improve your cardiovascular fitness level. They are undoubtable essential to anyone’s fitness routine. The problem here is that they are not necessarily the favorite things to do. They may not bring that level of euphoria that you desire when working out. Whatever the reason may be these exercises are not the ones that you can’t wait to do. This is why individually they are a smaller part of the suitcase, but overall there are more of them than anything else.
Remember no matter what, any fitness routine is about getting results. If you are not getting results or moving towards getting results in your program then you are just wasting your time. This doesn’t mean that the things you like to do are not good for you as well, but I guarantee that you will not love all the things that are good for you. For example, I know that a consistent conditioning program is important for my overall health. But since I stopped my competitive career I know that it is the toughest thing for me to do consistently. I do my best to get it in as much as I can, but I know that it is not my favorite and it takes some effort to get it done.
The things that you need to do are important for your overall health in one way or another. If you do just one or two things you will get you better at those one or two things, and that is it. Your overall health is dependent on many factors and needs variation to achieve its full potential. So to get faster results and be able to continue doing what you like to do you need to make the effort to add in those necessary components. These components will fill up a lot of empty space in your suitcase because there are many smaller pieces to put in. Once you get these in you are almost ready to go, but not just yet. You will still have a little bit of space left to make your packing complete.
Part III: Things you hate to do
The last part of your suitcase falls to the category of things you hate to do. These are exercises or routines that either don’t feel comfortable doing or don’t like how you feel afterwards. Many times the things you hate to do coincide with the things you need to do so don’t worry about the overlap. If you notice from the picture the things you hate count for a small amount of your space. If you do not like to do it, it cannot be your primary form of exercise or you will not do it. These are the things that you plug in here and there to give yourself a complete program.
On good strategy to get these components in is to add it into a day that you are doing something you like to do if possible. In this manner you will never have to dwell on getting through what you don’t like. Learning how and when to incorporate these components into your program, you will have learned how to designed a better training program. They are important enough that they need to be in your suitcase, but small enough to fit between other components so that everything fits nicely.