Back to sport, back in shape

Finding the right workout for you

The end of summer and the return to work and school bring with them new resolutions! It’s the time to take up a new sport or jump back into your usual workout, time to sign up at a gym or sports club or go it alone at home. Most of all, it’s time to return to a fitness routine. To make sure you stick with your chosen workout beyond September’s good intentions, discover which fitness routine is made for you. Just read on and follow this guide!

The homebody athlete: Working out at home

If you joined a gym but you’ve only been twice because its schedule doesn’t match yours well, you don’t really like the ambience or it’s too far away, these are all fine excuses, but if your gym isn’t working for you, why not bring it home?

From the completely equipped home gym with weights, dumbbells, elliptical or treadmill to the yoga or pilates nook stocked with a mat, a block and a strap, when you work out at home, it's up to you and you alone to determine your favourite workout and intensity.

Even if you’ll be working out alone, it’s a great idea to take some private lessons with a coach and have them make you a program in which you set goals and can follow your progress. Another option is to follow workouts online or on DVDs. You’ll find there are plenty of disciplines to choose from, from yoga to bootcamp workouts. Once you get started, it’s up to you to stay disciplined. If you’re the type of person who finds it easy to be self-motivated, then a home workout should fit perfectly into your busy days; it can even be done when the kids are asleep in the evening or morning.

Fitness party: Group dance classes

If you love music and shaking your hips, then you’re the perfect candidate for Zumba, hip-hop, aerobic or Bollywood dance workouts. Ideal for both beginning athletes and experienced sports buffs, they offer fun – but sweaty – good times! While the beat and the music pump you up, you may not even notice that you’re actually strengthening your cardio, muscles and flexibility, all while pulling off funky dance moves. Even better, such classes are great for meeting new people and socializing outside your usual circle.

If you find your group class workout a little intense, most gyms also offer gentler group classes that start slower then amp up the intensity gradually. Or you might want to consider ballroom dance classes. These are much less cardio-centric, yet still good for overall fitness and mental health. All while learning knew kinds of dances and having tons of very social fun!

The autumn athlete: Working out at the gym

Perhaps the best way to guarantee yourself that you’ll follow up on your gym membership is to choose a place close to the home or office. Visit a few gyms first, of course, to meet up with a trainer and check out the equipment, the change rooms - and ideally, try out a free introductory day.

In fact, to really know what you can get out of a gym, book a session with a trainer there who can not only introduce you to the equipment, but also design you a safe, effective workout plan tailored to your needs.

If you already have a gym memberships and a coach or trainer, the next step is to determine the best times of the week for your schedule so that you can ease into a regular routine without frustration. And remember that if on occasion you’re really not in the mood, for example, if you’re beat after work, tell yourself to go anyway. Let yourself off the hook by promising yourself a gentler or shorter workout, but keep the routine regular. Finally, for maximum motivation and quicker results that you can see and feel, keep a workout journal to establish manageable goals and then follow your progress toward them.

Group sports: Join a sports league

Some personality types aren’t meant to enjoy solo exercise. Very social people, for example, will find the motivation they need by joining a “gang” – in other words, a sports league. Your local fitness centre likely offers league sports like hockey, soccer, futsal, basketball or badminton at different levels and ages. Once you register, you’ve committed to a once- or twice-a-week social outing, where at the same time you just happen to get some exercise as a bonus. To best enjoy your new activity, make sure you have appropriate, comfortable footwear, clothing and gear and get a little warm-up in beforehand. Plan to arrive early, for there is no “fashionably late” when it comes to social engagements of the sporty kind.

If you’re a social person, you’ll be swept up in the game and motivated by your team. If you feel you’re not in the mood for a workout, give yourself a talking to just as you would for a purely social event: tell yourself that once you get to the fitness centre or the field, simply being around others will lift your mood and make you forget your day.

Knowing yourself is the biggest part of choosing your workout. Are you driven yet solitary, or social and looking to be with a great gang of people, or are you naturally competitive? Once you choose your sport, don’t forget that any good, effective workout requires both discipline and a sense of fun.

Now get out there and give it your 110%!