How to Choose A Training Style

There are a number of different training styles out there, and they all have their own benefits. Enthusiasts of each one of the styles will tell you that their style is the best because of reasons x,y & z. Some will also tell you to avoid the other training styles for their own prejudicial reasons. That’s not necessarily a bad thing…they just take pride in what they do. But the mix of pride and ignorance (not stupidity…well sometimes stupidity) leaves some people wondering if the training style they’ve chosen is right for them. Which can lead to a pattern of being inconsistent with their training.

Generally speaking, you are consistent with things you enjoy and those things you don’t – well, you get to it when you can. The same applies to exercise and being consistent. I mean really, what if you actually enjoyed working out? You’d stick with it right? So why not play around with a few different training styles to see what fits you?

Let’s look at a few different styles/methods of training.

Resistance Training is typically associated with bodybuilders, meat-heads and the like. But in all reality, resistance training provides a ton of benefits to include: weight loss, strength, muscle “tone” aka building muscle. PSA: Ladies, you will not look like a man if you lift weights. You don’t produce enough testosterone and weights alone won’t make you bulk up. Eating in a caloric surplus will make you bulk up, but resistance training alone won’t do it. That muscle definition you admire when you scroll down your timeline on Instagram, Facebook and whatever other sites you are on where you follow fitness enthusiasts? Yeah, those ladies are hitting the weights…HARD. Fellas, if molding your body into a lean or well structured physique is the goal, then resistance training is the best choice.

Crossfit gets a bad rap for being “cult like” or being just a bunch of groups of people who perform ridiculous exercises with bad form. The truth is, that “cult like” thing people are referring to, comes from peer support and pride. And you can find people lifting with improper form in any gym you go to, so it’s unfair to the Crossfit community to single them out. And it’s unfair to you because you may actually enjoy the Crossfit training methodology, but the stigma scares you away. Crossfit is a brand name, but what people are actually doing has been termed “functional training”; Crossfit just adds its own spin to it. It’s not necessarily for looks, but results are a by-product of training and following a nutrition plan. If you want a combination of strong support, lifting heavy weights and a good variety of exercises; then give Crossfit some consideration. If you’re worried about the stigma of flirting with injury, then take a close look at the coaches who instruct at the box you are looking to join. 

Powerlifting is exactly what is sounds like. You are lifting heavy weight. Some REALLY heavy weight, using Olympic Movements. If you like picking heavy things up and putting them back down…maybe you should consider powerlifting. Some people think you have to be massive to become a Powerlifter or that you will eventually become huge from all of the heavy lifting. Not true. Powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes. Many of them compete in Powerlifting Meets, where they are shooting for trophies, medals and placement in their different regions. But those are categorized by weight class, and the athletes gain/lose weight according to how they want to “class” at these different meets. You don’t have to compete to adopt the Powerlifting style of training; just like you don’t have to step on stage if you want the physique of a bikini competitor or bodybuilder. The Powerlifting community is very close knit and supportive of one another. 

Endurance Training includes running, biking, and swimming. Sometimes for extended periods of time. If you are a fan of cardio (I am not), then endurance training is probably a good option for you. A lot of people lean towards excessive cardio because they feel it’s the fastest route to weight loss. That can’t be further from the truth. Does it help? Yes of course. (Research Article Below) But so does resistance training and other forms of exercise. If you enjoy cardio, then by all means have at it. Adopt it as your preferred training style and make it a part of your training regimen. Join running or biking groups. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing. 

When you are deciding on which training style to go with, choose the one that fits your personality, fitness goal(s) and one you can stick with. Not every training style is for everybody. And there’s nothing wrong with doing more than one; if you find two or more doable and they keep you focused. The key to it all is…doing what you enjoy. When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll stick with it. -T.H.E.