If you're anything like me, finding a new workout routine can seem to be an incredibly daunting task. Between millions of personal trainers, all the social media influencers you follow, and everyone putting their two cents in, I know just how hard it can be to decide WHICH workout routine will be the perfect fit for you.
Being somebody that has downloaded a number of free trials and 20+ guides & eBooks (most of them paid), I speak from experience when I say it's easy to waste money on programs you THINK you will enjoy and then never make it past week four. SO I've created a list of what I've learned along the way that will help you find the best fit for you, especially if you're just starting out on your fitness journey. Consider the following:
1. What is the format of the program?
Plyometrics? HIIT? LISS? Circuit training? Pilates? Yoga? Weight lifting? A combination of these? What exactly is the guide all about? I'll be the first one to tell you, plyometrics and I DO NOT get along. IF you want me to do burps followed by jump squats followed by tuck jumps, keep dreamin'. That being said, if a workout guide is plyomterics-based, I can almost guarantee you that I will not be finishing the program. If you don't enjoy cardio, then a guide with 3-4 days/week of cardio is not worth investing your money in.
2. Is there accountability available?
Is there a large following on social media that you can interact with? Or, if you don't have an instagram or feel comfortable documenting your fitness journey on social media, is there somebody else that you can complete the program with? I can't tell you enough how much having someone to hold you accountable helps to keep you on track. Being able to reach out and ask questions is PIVOTAL. That's part of the reason communities like BBG (if you're unfamiliar, BBG = Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines) and Lauren Gleisberg's LG Sisters are so successful. If you have someone to share your experience with, the less likely you are to fall off the wagon; not only do you have someone to rely on, but someone is relying on you to hold up your end of the agreement.
3. What equipment is necessary?
Is it an at-home workout guide? Does it require a gym membership? OR if it doesn't require a gym membership and it can be done at home, do you have the available equipment/are you willing to buy it? For me, I know that I THRIVE in a gym atmosphere. I attempted the at-home workout thing for a while, but I found myself half-assing workouts and getting distracted too easily. If you're someone who is going to be tempted by your bed being 20 feet away from where you're working out, going to the gym is probably going to be your better option.
4. Can you fit it into your schedule?
Is it 30 minutes per day? An hour? Three days a week or six? If you're someone who realistically isn't going to be able to make it to the gym six days a week, then purchasing a guide that requires this of you is only going to stress you out. If you're a full time student that only has an hour and a half between classes and an incredibly busy extracurricular schedule, finding a guide with quick workouts is likely going to be best for you.
And finally, I saved the most important for last...
5. Will you find this program enjoyable?
This is BY FAR the most important deciding factor. At the end of the day, if you're not looking forward to your workout program, you're NOT going to give it your all. How in the hell are you going to convince yourself to get out of bed at 5AM to go to the gym if you are dreading each and every workout. Sure, you may see a guide working fabulously for other people on instagram, but if they love lifting weights and you'd rather do pilates or yoga, you're not going to put forth the same energy AND you're probably not going to see the same results. YOU HAVE TO FIND A WORKOUT PROGRAM THAT YOU LOVE.
So what program am I currently doing? Right now I'm just starting my second round of SSBM by Paola Marquez. It's a twelve week guide that focuses primarily on lifting weights and circuit training. This plan caters to ME and everything I LOVE about working out. It's easy for me to get to the gym because I look forward to it. That being said, just because I love it, doesn't mean it's the perfect fit for you. Do your research. Download a free trial if it's available. Find someone with similar taste that will do a workout program with you. And if you make it through three weeks and you hate it? Don't make yourself finish the remainder. Move on, do more research, and find a program that inspires you to give it all you've got.