What’s the Best Exercise Program for Me?

15 Sep

Written by Matt Brockhaus

Do you remember what it was like the first time you decided to exercise?  Not just a stroll through the park, or a pick-up basketball game with friends, but a true endeavor into the world of fitness and wellbeing.

How did you decide upon an exercise routine?  Did you follow what a friend or colleague was doing?  Did you blindly jump into a program based around a series of machines and exercises based on what others were doing?  Or did you put together a thorough plan based on science and sound judgement?  How did you decide on the “right” amount of sets, reps, and rest?

No matter how it started, I am sure that there were doubts and questions along the way.  Glance around any gym in the country, and you will see a multitude of exercises and program designs in practice by people of varying shapes, sizes, and ages.  But how do you know which plan is right for you?  The popularity and doctrine of training philosophies have been as varied and sporadic as the last century’s fashion trends.  In the 1970’s, with the rising popularity of “high-intensity exercise” and bodybuilding, Nautilus machines were all anyone needed to reach the pinnacles of health, strength, and physique.  Yoga and Pilates became dominating forces in the late nineties and early 2000’s, but are they as superior as they are purported to be?

Within strength-and-conditioning, wellness, and athletic performance circles, these debates wage on time immemorial.  There really does not need to be – nor can there really be – one true and best form of exercise.  Often times, the notion of exercise dominates the conversation, and the idea of physical activity is forgotten.  The goal, after all, is to make small incremental improvements.  Without improvement, what are you after anyways?

BiggerFasterStronger believes that it is the best and most effective resistance program for developing athletes.  Don’t tell that to Rob and those who live and die by weightlifting.  And what about powerlifting?  A lot can be said for the strength that those 300 pound behemoths have – 1000lb. squat anyone?  Coming from a high school setting, I have wrestled with these questions for years.

New exercises (Killer Delt Triad) and programs (The Cure for Ostrich Legs)* are introduced daily; how do you wade through all of the hype, and find what will actually help you on your course to a stronger, healthier, more beautiful you?  My contention in all of this is that there is a lot of trial and error.  Nobody can know your body better than you, and nobody can perform the exercises for you.  If a jog on a crisp Saturday morning sounds like a better idea than crushing yourself under the weight of a barbell, then maybe that day it is.  What about not feeling bad about missing your swimming session?  You were out carrying and throwing boulders while hiking after all.

Physical activity – in all its form – must be the motivation for any exercise routine.  Once the joy of getting out, moving, and breaking a sweat become habitual and welcoming, then you can try your hand and putting together the “Ultimate Training Program X-3000”.  I look forward to trying it out.

**Note: Those are actual exercise and training program titles – I did not make those up.

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