Find Your Workout Preferences By Asking These 3 Questions
As the months go on in 2019, we are approaching the timeline when gyms start to lose members. You know, those who are ready to make this year the year they got in shape.
And they give up.
But it's not their fault. Many will try to mold their workouts or nutrition around someone that is in better shape than them. Some, however, like to take a look in the closest muscle magazine to see what's going to get them jacked.
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Many can trudge through this for a while, but after a few months, it gets old. You aren't seeing the gains they promised, and you really don't even have fun.
This is why you need to find your workout preferences.
What do you mean workout preferences?
Should you use machines, free weights, or a combination of both? Should you go to the gym or build a home gym? Should you train with or without a partner?
Figuring out your workout preferences will help create a sustainable way to get exercise in and reach your fitness goals.
Let's dive into the three things you can ask yourself to find your workout preferences.
3 Questions You Should Ponder
#1 - Should I Use Free Weights or Machines?
When it comes to improving your health, anything is better than nothing.
Using a machine is generally referred to as safer and easier to use. Machines provide an efficiency that you would not be able to have as a beginner lifter since the machine moves in a predefined path. Machines give you more built-in safety and you do not need a spotter like you would using free weights.
A potential downside to not trying some free weights is that you could cause repetitive stress issues.
Free weights are great for people who have poor posture or certain injuries. Lifting heavy free weights will require a more precise technique, but the results are worth the effort.
You should choose free weights if:
- You are not an average size
- You have an injury that you are recovering from
- You want to put the work in to get the results
- You performed a long cardio session
- You are feeling tired or fatigued
- You use them alongside lifting free weights
#2 - Should I Train With a Partner or Alone?
When it comes to training with a partner, the idea of a partner is great... but it doesn't always work out as you plan. Is your workout partner always late? Do they miss more sessions than they attend?
Having a workout partner can help you feel more committed to performing better both in and out of the gym. This can also boost your happiness. A study published in the Royal Society journal's Biology Letters found that exercising in a group can increase your endorphin release. Communal workouts provide a sense of belonging.
Another study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that people will gravitate toward the exercise behavior of those around them. For example, if the people you workout with are pushing it, everyone else will follow that same intensity level. This is also why you notice as you improve your nutritional choices, friends and people around you start to change, too.
But training alone could be better.
Do you have fitness goals that are wildly different than your friends? Are you more worried about bending bars from deadlifting 600 pounds and they just want to be shredded for the beach? That's okay.
Training alone can provide the focus you need to achieve those goals. Training a heavy workout day with a partner that's not into it can ruin your session and ultimately hinder your progress. If your fitness goals aren't similar to your friends' goals, you may consider training alone.
Choose a workout partner if:
- You need motivation
- You thrive off other people's energy
- You hit a plateau in your training
Train alone if:
- You want to push yourself hard
- You don't have the same fitness goals as friends
- You don't want distractions
#3 - Should I Find a Gym I Like or Build a Home Gym?
To me, this is going to be one of the hardest preferences to nail down. The reasoning behind that is because you need to be real honest with yourself.
Working out at home is great if you have the equipment you need, the motivation and dedication to get things down, and if you are self-conscious. Working out at home is terrible if you are distracted by things in your home, you aren't willing to put in the work, and if you need to feed off of other people's energy.
When you head out to the gym, you don't have any of your normal distractions. You probably sit on your phone too much, but that's none of my business. Going to the gym can help you stay motivated because you are surrounded by like-minded people. Taking a class could be great because the instructor can provide encouragement and teach you proper form.
But not everyone loves the gym.
Gyms cost money and if you don't go, you're wasting your money. Working out at home allows you to train at your pace in the comfort and safety of your own home. No prying eyes watching you struggle with that weight, no one to make fun of the sweat you are dripping, and no one to make you feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you are a self-motivated person, training at home can allow you to dig much deeper for big, heavy lifts.
Choose the gym if:
- You need other people's energy to perform
- You get easily sidetracked at home
- You need motivation
Choose home if:
- You can afford proper equipment
- You are self-motivated
- You are self-conscious
Wrapping It Up
It's important to listen to your body and how you react to your surroundings. If going to the gym makes you self-conscious or anything that pulls you away from being focused, you need to take that into consideration.
Does your workout partner always run late and essentially ruin training days? Seeing if you are able to push yourself and train alone could be a game changer.
Do you dream to lift without a shirt without scaring everybody? A home gym is where it's at. Trust me, there's nothing more primal feeling than deadlifting naked with heavy metal playing.