The benefits of physical exercise have been known since the days of the ancient Greeks, and “strength training” began to take shape in the late 1800s/early 1900s. So chances are when it comes to what activity or type of training you decide to take part in when it comes to your fitness, someone has already created it and there are plenty of others currently doing it.
Now we all know that physical activity or exercise can be broken down into 4 main categories: aerobic, muscle strengthening, bone strengthening, and stretching. But within each category there seems to be an unlimited amount of options available to us, so much to the point that it can either become overwhelming to someone when looking to choose what avenue to take for themselves or heated debates can take place at the drop of a hat over which form of training is “best”. I apologize beforehand because I know I am going to leave a few out and my intent is not to offend anyone or make anyone feel like their preferred training isn’t as important as others, I just want to provide a relative example of how many different choices we have available to us. Many times within a single training facility you will see groups of people taking part in each of these different types of training (and if it’s not available specifically at the place you train, I can guarantee with almost certainty that it’s only a few miles away.)
- Group fitness/Spin
- “Bodybuilding”/Hypertrophy (this section could have its own article written specifically for all the different training methods being used here
- MMA Training/Boxing
- High Intensity Interval Training/Overall Conditioning
- Olympic Lifting
Like I said, I know I am leaving some out, and this list doesn’t even include any of the outdoor activities that one can take part in to get moving, get the heart rate up, and just burn some calories and build muscles, I wanted to just demonstrate many of the options that I see people using to be active, and when performed with the right intent and intensity level, I believe each one of these can be considered a great option for “training”.
One of the problems I see though and what I really want to address here is that within each one of these groups (some more than others, but it happens with them all), there begins to develop a “cult like” following once someone becomes fully engaged in the lifestyle that the training carries with it. And while yes, being passionate about what you are doing is great, and I think one of the key pillars for success in anything, there is a fine line you have to walk when you passion becomes so aggressive and unappealing that it disregards the beliefs of anyone who isn’t a part of your group or environment. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you have created a negative persona around yourself or your training activity, then I believe you are actually working against what the whole idea of physical exercise, and that’s creating a healthy body and mind.
For a very select few, and probably not the group that is reading this article, their bodies are their business, whether it be a sport, competition, meet, or fight they have to train for, so with them, the options aren’t really there, they have to train in a specific way to stay competitive with their competition. But for the rest of us, training is something we do outside of our work day.
Maybe we use training as a way to let out some steam after a long day at the office (heavy lifting, MMA training, long distance biking, etc). Maybe we’re looking for some “balance” in our life and ourselves (yoga, pilates, jogging). Some people enjoy the social engagement that comes with being part of a fitness community (gym, crossfit, group fitness). And then there’s those that look to stay competitive in physical activities but do it at the amatuer level because they enjoy the discipline of working towards a goal and going against others.
Whatever “group” or “category” you fall into, and it may not be any of the ones listed, I first applaud you for taking your health serious enough to invest your own time into working towards improving it, when you have so many other options available to you with how you can spend your time. I am not here, nor do I believe that anyone has the right to tell another person that one type of training or exercise is better than the other. We all our individuals with our own likes and dislikes, and everyone has different goals.
I myself have taken part in many different types of training in the 17+ years that I have been training, some I enjoyed and have implemented into what I do on a consistent basis, and others I didn’t get as much pleasure out of, but I enjoyed the experience of doing it and learning something new, but know it wasn’t right for me.
So I encourage everyone to start by getting moving first, choose an activity and commit to it, but don’t be so narrow minded to think that there is only one type of training that’s right for you. As you grow and evolve, try out something else, who knows, you may find a new passion for yourself.
But at the end of day, do what you want to do, don’t let anyone else dictate what type of exercise or training is right for you, because it’s YOUR TRAINING DAY!