Here’s the truth, there really isn’t one!
The industry is littered with individuals selling programmes or new ideas on the single best way to get ripped fast, or to get big quick, or lose body fat faster than anyone in history. The truth of the matter is that getting results is all about adherence to an exercise programme and remaining consistent with your nutrition.
Even simpler than that it’s about energy balance (calorie income over expenditure). If you are looking to lose body fat, then it’s about consuming less calories than you are expending. Equally; if you are looking to gain muscle mass and body fat, then it’s key to consume a surplus of calories.
Early on with my clients I am keen to point out that you can actually achieve a reduction in body fat through nutrition alone. However, exercise will help to accelerate this process whilst increasing your muscle mass and strength.
But what really is the best exercise programme?
To hit the nail on the head…. it is whichever programme you as an individual can stick to over a sustained period of time!!!! Whether that be yoga or powerlifting, rowing or free running, organised sport or road running, it really is all about what you enjoy in that period of time. Even if this interest shifts and you transition into another form of training in a completely different environment. Providing you maintain consistency, then this is the best programme in the world!
I often flitter between traditional bodybuilding training, cross fit, cycling, power lifting, a sprinkling of organised sport and am even contemplating beginning muay thai in the near future! But the key, to maintain a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, is to be active!
Yes, if I were to stick to one specific mode of training I would be able to lift heavier weight, or grow greater muscle bellies, but I enjoy the variety of my training currently. I also am under no illusions that I am highly unlikely to develop in to a world class athlete in any of these categories, so why put so much pressure on myself to focus on one area only!?
For instance, I currently enjoy a combination of heavy lifting leading to finishing off each session with HIIT and I find that it gets me results faster than anything I’ve done previously. But like I said, I’m looking in to the possibility of doing muay thai in the near future, as I feel I would enjoy this format of training. So my current ‘successful’ programme will change to factor this in!
Often I hear people in and around the gym state that they don’t really enjoy being there but they feel they have to….. NO! NO YOU DON’T! Unless you are looking to develop into a powerlifter, bodybuilder, olympic lifter or cross fitter, then you really don’t NEED to be in the gym!
It may take time, but my advice would be to trial lots of different types of exercise until you find one that you really enjoy! Most gyms/studios/centres offer free introductory sessions, so why not take advantage of these!?
The options and variety that are available to us currently in the UK are outstanding, so why spend time doing something you despise? I personally recommend exercising for at least 4 hours per week, you may as well make these 4+ hours enjoyable and physically beneficial.
Don’t get stuck in a rut! Exercise should be a release from the stresses of day to day life! So make it fun!
If you are struggling to come up with ideas on which areas to look at for training, give any of these a try (a few ides off of the top of my head):
High Intensity Interval Training
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Yours in health.