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  • Ben

What Training Style is the best?

Let me just start by saying this – there is pretty much an endless list of different training styles. These range from lifting tonnes of weight in strong man, powerlifting, or Olympic lifting to focusing on contracting each muscle fibre in body building, or to yoga and Pilates which is more holistic. If we move onto cardio we could be here all day with Running, swimming, cycling (triathlon if you’re super clever and want to combine all three) rowing and skipping to name but a few. With their growing popularity in mainstream fitness, it’s hard to ignore the combat sports such as boxing, kick boxing and MMA. Last but by no means least, there’s also specific sports training which literally means training for your chosen sport- be this football, rugby, tennis etc!

The point I am trying to make is that there are an endless number of training types and styles. Some are worlds apart while others are almost identical. With such a range of training styles to chose from, the real question becomes which is the best?

The real answer to this question is a pretty cliché one, but unfortunately it is the truth, people always want to think that there is a complex formula to the perfect training programme and schedule but in reality, for the large majority of us, I believe it comes down to 4 words: WHAT SUITS YOU BEST!

Wow there it is….thank you for reading!!!

I’m glad that this completely obvious answer has helped and changed your life!

Okay no seriously, although it is cliché, the best training style is the one that suits you best, but also the one that you enjoy the most, helps you reach your goals, and is practical! Let me break each of these down a little further:

· “Suits you best” – I’ll use an example to illustrate a training style which might not suit certain people; if you have a reoccurring back injury or other joint, muscular or bone problems then heavy powerlifting or strong man style training where you are lifting the maximum amount of weight possible may not be for you! This isn’t to say that it is impossible to do this style of training, but due to your increased injury risk it may be worth considering seriously whether this style of training is suitable for you in the long run.

· “That you enjoy” – Something I’ve always found strange as a PT is when I meet new clients and they say what training styles they enjoy- they’re very quick to say, “none of them”. This is because they have it ingrained in their minds that exercise is uncomfortable and not for them!

Okay, this is a space for honesty and truth so I’m not going to lie to you, you may not enjoy exercise as much as you enjoy watching a film or relaxing with friends etc but I can guarantee with a little experimentation you will find some form(s) of exercise that you prefer to others; so long as these suit you and your goals, stick with these to your hearts content! If you absolutely dread exercise and hate the thought of it, your likelihood of sticking with it is almost non existent because every reason against it suddenly becomes a rock solid argument to stay indoors.

· “Helps you reach your goals” – While enjoyment is crucial, in my experience if trainees don’t see progress in the first 4-6 weeks they start to lose faith in the process, so training that is relevant to your goals is also an important factor! If the training style you enjoy doesn’t directly help you reach your goals, you can make a compromise. For example, if you enjoy Yoga but want to lose weight by all means go to your yoga class but run on a treadmill for 30 minutes before the class – best of both worlds!

· “Practicality” – This point is often forgotten but is one that is arguably the biggest determinant as to whether you will stick with the exercise or not! I will fully dive into this point and how best to approach it in my next blog post, but for now I’ll sum it up with this. If with your current work/life schedule you can realistically only commit consistently to training 3 days per week 45 minutes each time, then don’t tell yourself you will exercise 5 days a week for 1 hour 15 each time because then you are setting yourself up to fail before you have even started! (I know this sounds obvious but believe me 90% of new trainees do this, they want to achieve their goals yesterday and in their rush to get their pledge, they do far more than they can practically do and when after 1 week they’ve already dropped off their impossible schedule, they see the process as a fail and give up!

As cliché as it is, remember, YOU CAN ONLY DO THE BEST YOU CAN AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT! If your best this month is 2 days a week for 30 minutes, it is 60 minutes more a week than if you did nothing!

So to round up this week’s blog post I’ll just say this, the best training style for you is the one you enjoy, that will help you reach your goals and that fits into your lifestyle! If one person has got in killer shape doing running but you hate running, then chances are that training style isn’t for you. Each of us is an individual and we just need to find what works for us!

As always if you have any questions feel free to send them to me and I’d be happy to help!

Next weeks topic: Training practicality – how to maximise and implement it into your programme

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