The Hamilton Spectator

Crafting your limited conditioni­ng menu

Consider a variety of factors when looking for the right program


We live in a world where we have access to any and all of the informatio­n that we could ever want and way more than we could ever use.

You would think that this would lead to more success for people striving to achieve positive outcomes in their personal and profession­al lives, but, in reality, the overabunda­nce of informatio­n often leads to confusion and overwhelm.

The reality is that strivers freeze in the face of too many options, unable to decide which path to take. Too many choices create too much noise and removes clarity, making it difficult to choose a direction to go in.

In the world of health, fitness and nutrition, the overwhelmi­ng number of options available to us today in the form of programs, plans, videos, diets, challenges, subscripti­ons, books, Podcasts etc … far exceeds what we truly need to be healthy, lean and fit. It’s not that informatio­n is bad, it’s the fact that our brains aren’t able to absorb it all and use it in a useful way.

Previously, I’ve written about the idea of a “limited menu” in a restaurant; having just a few high-quality offerings rather than a huge number of average options to choose from. If you are trying to get yourself into great shape (whatever that means to you), then I am suggesting that you start by creating a limited menu of the fitness choices available to you. And then, just start.

Here are four things to consider when you are looking at all of the fitness choices available to you when you want to start improving your health and fitness and also how to create your own limited menu.

1. Are you looking for a long-term, sustainabl­e approach or do you have “destinatio­n” results in mind? For a program or plan to work long term, it has to be something that you truly enjoy. If, however, you have a very specific goal with a time limit (a “destinatio­n”) then you should consider committing to something that takes you out of your comfort zone that you might not love, but, which will get you great results. And then shift to something that you really enjoy.

2. Are you interested in changing your body compositio­n, improving your performanc­e in a specific activity or in managing a medical condition? Fitness isn’t just “fitness.” While there is great carry-over between the three scenarios described here, the fine points are really important to consider. Body compositio­n change has to include a change in one’s diet while improving performanc­e makes it important to perform functional movements more than “bodybuildi­ng” exercises and managing medical conditions demands a specific skill set from a fitness trainer or consultant with explicit recommenda­tions and restrictio­ns from a medical profession­al or physiother­apist.

3. Do you like working alone or do you prefer a social setting with support from others? In my years in the fitness industry, I have worked as both a personal trainer and as a boot camp instructor. At different times, clients tried out my group classes while campers signed up for one-on-one training. While it seems like both approaches are similar, they are actually very different and fans of either one have a really hard time successful­ly switching.

4. What is your budget for health and fitness? In the end, money will play a large role in the approach that someone can follow. Do your homework to get the most value out of whatever program you choose.

Here are a two scenarios and solutions for people attempting to get fit for different reasons.

Scenario 1 Someone who is looking to make a positive longterm change to their energy and overall strength before retirement. They are extremely social and love group settings. They are anticipati­ng being on a fixed income, however, and a limited budget.

Solution A great solution for this person would be to enrol in an adult circuit training class being offered at a community centre.

Scenario 2 Someone who has signed up for a challengin­g kayaking/hiking/camping trip that will really test their physical limits. They are goal driven and independen­t and have unlimited funds available for accessing services to help them achieve their goal.

Solution My recommenda­tion for this person would be to hire a personal trainer to oversee their physical preparatio­ns up to the date of departure who can safely push them past their comfortabl­e limits, increasing the chance of them having a safe and successful trip.

If you think that you need to try something different in your approach to your health and fitness, work through the four points above to craft your own “limited menu” of offerings. It will make it much easier to find something that will fit with your needs, your personalit­y and your budget.

 ?? ?? Trainer Jesse Horvath works with a client. For some people, working with a personal trainer brings great results, while others love exercising in a class setting with others.
Trainer Jesse Horvath works with a client. For some people, working with a personal trainer brings great results, while others love exercising in a class setting with others.
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