When I first got into exercising, it was pretty much just to look a certain way. Quickly that shifted into performing better in sports but when sports ending, I slowly shifted back to exercising to look a certain way. Luckily, I had mental growth and found a certain amount self-confidence that let that go and reverted back to my goals of performing better rather than looking a particular way.
Over the last couple of years, I tried many different kinds of physical activity. From Pilates to the activity that shall not be named (starts with C and ends with Fit). I’d become obsessed with challenging my body in different ways. I even started ‘Joy’s Gym Chronicles’ to see how many different gyms I could get into last year (don’t worry, they are coming back very soon!). I fell in love with fitness as a long-term journey – as a life style some may say. I wanted to find activities that I can comfortably and happily do for the next 60 years. I also wanted to increase my exercise repertoire to keep my clients engaged and constantly challenged.
So, what have I learned? What training is best for me? What training style takes the cake, and which is best for you? Let’s break them down…
Thou That Shall Not Be Named
This type of training has a very bad reputation. Not only because its previous President (and really all the executive team) is a terrible human, but because the injury rate and cult-like vibes are a huge turn-off. In this form of activity, unless you have smart, knowledgeable coaches, it becomes a free-for-all. It’s a competition on who can lift the most, the fastest, by any means necessary. In this form of training there are different ways to ‘cheat’ in certain movements that do not always correlate to overall functionality or strength. The term functional fitness is sometimes used as synonym for this activity, but I disagree (will explain later). Overall this activity isn’t completely terrible if your coach has the best intention for you, if your form is superb and if your ego isn’t as big as the guy with the lifted truck and loud muffler down the street. I wouldn’t recommend this form of fitness for the beginner but more for the retired athlete or someone who’s training age is +3years.
Alright, here I am talking about those who train to compete on stage; not the average gym goer. This one is tough. I had my negative presumptions of this activity for many years. I found it very superficial, unnecessary and a sad excuse to workout. Since working at a gym filled with these kinds of people, working a long side and be-friended them; obviously my views have changed. I have mad respect for the top competitors. Those who push themselves physically and mentally for 12-16 weeks prepping for a show and for their work ethic outside of those weeks. I am not sure on how healthy it is for you in the long-run, especially when you mix in the other stuff (#drugzz) but I do find it interesting on how you can manipulate your body through strength training and nutrition to build a certain physique. Though, I am not a huge fan of isolation work and using machines and don’t think the average gym goer should only be using them.
Joint Friendly (Pilates, Yoga, Barre)
Bruh, you think you’re fit? LOL think again. I have all the respect for every single one of these activities. I don’t care who you are, who your parents are or what you do for a living.. you better try one of these out! I enjoy these classes because it has you working areas you forget about or do not think about engaging properly during a gym workout. They are typically low impact, making it safe for almost everyone and there various styles. Do I think it’s enough to only do these? No. But it’s an amazing start or addition to your current routine. (I recommend the RStudios in Halifax)
Squat, bench and deadlift, also known as the ‘Big 3’. This type of lifting is to get as strong as possible. Your workouts are all based around those three movements. It’s a great way to build solid strength and to build up underdeveloped areas. The accessory work is very specific and is almost comparable to a body building style. Typically, the only cardio you see in this kind of training is high repetition volume training.
This training makes the most sense to me because it’s what I am most confident with. My favourite thing about this type of training is that it is so versatile. Basically, it takes a piece of every training listed above to create a well-rounded version of training. A mix of Olympic lifting (power training), Powerlifting (strength training), metabolic conditioning and mobility work. I like the word functional to describe this activity because many of the movements done can correlate to real life situations. Although this type of training is performance orientating versus chasing an aesthetic you can still through in some ‘bro’ stuff too!
For me, obviously functional/athletic training takes the cake and I think everyone else should work their way there too (completely biased opinion). But dabbling in each category for 3 months isn’t a bad idea at all! I get bored sometimes with my training and love switching it up. I love switching it up so much that for the next 3ish months I’m doing a bodybuilding program (drug free of course)…. Pray for me.
Anyways, whatever activity you choose just make sure you really enjoy it and you are fueling your body properly!