HIIT, yoga, CrossFit, Pilates, circuit training, bootcamp, power lifting, gymnastics, barre.... how on earth do you determine what is the best type of training for you?
In this instance it’s important to remember that every BODY is different and different forms of movement will serve you at different times in your life. Listening to your body, monitoring your recovery, sleep, energy and stress is of utmost importance when it comes to discovering the type of training is right for you right now.
Exercise is a stressor on our body. Done well it results in muscle growth, mobility, flexibility, strength and increased fitness, not to mention the mental health benefits of regular physical movement. However, it is important to be aware that intense exercise might just be the tipping point to a body burn out if there are other types of acute or chronic stress in our lives as well. So, let’s dive in.
HIIT training is not a new concept but has made a huge resurgence in the past few years with the evolution of F45, FitStop and the like popping up on every corner. So what is it exactly? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is timed periods of intense work sets followed by timed periods of rest. This type of training has been shown to be highly effective for increasing fitness, fat burning, boosting metabolism and is very time efficient as short sessions can be highly effective.
CrossFit is based on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. It incorporates aspects of weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing and more. Workouts are programmed daily to focus of different aspects of strength, fitness and mobility and can be scaled to suit various abilities. CrossFit has gained mass appeal largely due to the sense of community that comes with belonging to a CrossFit box. Some say it’s a bit of cult but we’ll let you decide that.
Barre and dance classes are based on a mix of Pilates, dance, ballet, yoga and functional training. They incorporate elements of body weight strength work and cardio fitness. If there’s a promise of anything even close to the strength of the body of a professional ballet dancer then we are sold. Minimal impact and a great challenge.
Pilates is a system of exercises designed to increase strength, flexibility and posture. It comes in the form of either reformer or mat classes. Reformer Pilates uses specific machines to provide resistance to movements and can allow a greater ability to increase strength. Mat Pilates uses body weight mostly and sometimes the addition of bands to improve mobility, strength and posture. Both are a great low-impact option and can be excellent for those recovering from injury or just prefer a lower intensity option.
Yoga comes in many forms including hot yoga and Bikram but is based on a spiritual discipline originating in India which incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, strength and flexibility. Classes can be very gentle and relaxing or quite fast and intense depending on the type of yoga you opt for. Yoga can be a great stretch session and way to incorporate some rejuvenating movement into your life.
There are so many different forms of training and many are a blend of various modalities. So which one is right for you? Whichever one feels good for you at the time. Try different options, find movement that you enjoy and listen intuitively to you body to determine if that movement is serving you for now. Be open and flexible to adapting your exercise routine as changes occur in your life, your body and your stress levels.