Choosing the Right Workout for You

Good morning, and welcome back! I’ve been writing less and moving more as of late, and I’m bringing that energy to you now. Since becoming a Peloton member on December 18th, I’ve been hard at work learning what workouts I love most to get my body moving. To answer the immediate question I get every time I mention Peoloton – no, I do not have a bike or a treadmill! What most people don’t know is that Peloton has thousands of workouts available online (including live classes) that use nothing more than a workout mat and possibly some weights – no expensive bike or treadmill needed!

You can join programs – I did a two-week boxing program and a four-week core program – join challenges, even create a schedule for the week right within the app with the specific classes you want to take. It’s an a la carte way to customize your very own routine. It keeps track of streaks (the number of days in a row you work out) and the number of classes you’ve taken, awarding you for certain milestones. You can also join a community of other people and follow real-life friends to encourage each other.

It’s like a community gym right in your own home, for $13/month – much cheaper than most gyms. And the best news is – you might be able to get it for free! That is how I came to join Peloton – I got an email from my health insurance company (United Healthcare – but you should check with yours too if you have a different provider) with an offer for one year of Peloton for free. I checked it out and realized what all Peloton has to offer, so I jumped on it! And in case you’re wondering – no, this isn’t sponsored. I doubt Peloton knows I even exist, I’m just loving it so much that I wanted to share with my Beetitudes family 🙂

It’s safe to say I’ve officially retired from using random YouTube workout videos. Search results were so inconsistent, and so were my workouts. My routine consisted of daily walks, with occasional yoga and cardio sessions. The first thing I noticed with Peloton was the amount and quality of the content, and I dove right in trying out all the things that interested me. In the process, I discovered things I loved and things I hated, and narrowed it down into something that works perfectly for me.

I tried Pilates, Barre, Dance Cardio, HIIT Cardio, Strength, Walking, Yoga, Stretching and Meditation classes. I learned I’m not coordinated enough for Barre or Dance, and I didn’t enjoy Pilates. But I love HIIT! I didn’t find much use in the walking classes – if I want to walk, I just walk, don’t really need a video for that. I found some beginner yoga that targets hamstrings, which is my major problem area with flexibility. And I thought stretching…duh, why do I need a video for that, I know how to stretch. But I have discovered some stretches that WORK, that I’d never done before.

I also learned that the reason I’ve never stuck to a workout routine before, aside from daily walks, is that I get bored easily with repetition. I need something new every day so that I don’t know what’s coming and it keeps me engaged. I learned this from doing two programs – boxing and core. I was excited for the boxing and thoroughly enjoyed learning something new – for the first week. During the second week, I found myself getting bored with it. I’d already learned all the moves, so it was just a bunch of 30 minute classes reiterating those moves and putting together different combos, so I was glad the class was only two weeks long.

It was the same for the core class. I enjoyed it at first, but then the classes started repeating themselves. It wasn’t just repeat moves, but the exact same class on repeat. And I started to grow bored with it too. I feel like I should have known this about myself because I don’t like repetition in other areas of my life either. In music, for example – I get annoyed by songs that use the same lyrics or riff over and over again (I’m looking at you, Cypress Hill). And most movies I’m good with watching once and never revisiting – I already know what happens now, the fun is over (except a handful of favorites that I can watch over and over again). The engagement is gone and I’m ready to move on. It turns out I’m the same with my workouts.

So with that in mind, and knowing now which workout types are my favorite, I was able to create a routine for myself. I do 20 minute HIIT cardio Monday through Friday, and there are hundreds and hundreds of different HIIT cardio classes so I can choose a new one every day and don’t get bored. I follow that up with a 10-minute core, which there are also hundreds of on Peloton so I can do a different one each day. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I also include a 10-minute strength – again, so many options I don’t have to repeat. And on Tuesday and Thursday I do a 20 or 30 minute yoga session in the evenings. Then on the weekends I take a break and just do stretching – which I need to pause and go do right now because I have a 15-minute lower body stretch scheduled for 8am, which is three minutes away and I’m still in bed in my robe!

Done! I may or may not have stayed in my robe and just slipped on a pair of leggings and socks! It was a lower body stretch so that was all I needed, and now my legs feel warmed up and ready to go.

Back to business – if you’re new to your health journey and trying to figure out where to start with workouts, or if you’ve been doing this for a while and dread working out or just haven’t found your groove, I recommend some trial and error. If you decide on a workout and realize you hate it (exactly how I feel about running) – then don’t do it! There are sooooo many ways to move your body, so keep experimenting until you find one that works for you.

I absolutely recommend the Peloton app, but you don’t have to pay for a membership to anything in order to find what is right for you. There are lots of free apps – one I liked before joining Peloton was the 7-minute workout app – that you can try. There are lots and lots of videos on YouTube, so you can find videos with different types of workouts – barre, pilates, HIIT, old-fashioned aerobics, yoga, dance…the list goes on. Try several and figure out what you enjoy.

If you find yourself disliking something, instead of just writing it off, examine why you don’t like it. This will help you to determine whether you don’t like that style of workout, or if it’s something about that particular routine you didn’t like. Like me, for example, discovering that I don’t like repetition. But maybe you love repetition and would prefer to find a routine you love and do it over and over again. Or maybe you really liked a HIIT class, but discover you hated mountain climbers – find a HIIT routine that doesn’t use them.

Don’t be afraid to modify, either. For example, I pulled a lower abdominal muscle in my second week while doing thrusters. I took a couple of days off, but when I went back in I couldn’t do certain moves that worked the lower abdominals. So if a class I was taking used those moves, I would opt to repeat a previous move or substitute something else in. You don’t have to follow exactly what the instructor is doing – you can modify to make it work for you! If you want, find moves that you like and develop your own routine with no class needed!

If you want to stick to a workout regimen, then the first step is not hating it. If you do, then you’re destined to give up on it. So keep trying different things until you find something that feels good to you. The second step is building a schedule for yourself.

A lot of the Peloton spin classes are 45 minutes long, so sometimes I feel like I should be doing 45-minute cardio classes. But I know me, and I would likely get bored with it by the 30-minute mark. So I choose to do 20-minute sessions, then follow with a 10-minute cardio session. Three days a week I add in a 10-minute strength session, so the time and types of exercise are split up, but still come to 40 minutes. The other two days per week I’m adding in a yoga session, which brings my total to 50-60 minutes.

It’s all about discovery, and getting to know this side of yourself. I’m still a beginner at this myself, only five weeks in, so this isn’t “expert” advice. I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it might help you as well. As I continue forward and gain more experience, I will share anything new that I discover as well. For now, I’m off to have breakfast, then get to work on prepping my kitchen backsplash for new tile. This means a trip to Lowe’s for supplies, with a stop at TJ Maxx while I’m out because, well, I can never resist a TJ Maxx run!

Happy Saturday!

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