Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trying Out Different Exercise Programs

A while ago, I saw several posts and positive reviews of Charlotte Hilton Andersen’s book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. Charlotte writes the blog The Great Fitness Experiment, and I enjoy reading her blog, so I decided to order a copy of the book, and I am glad I did as I very much enjoyed reading it.

In the book Charlotte describes her fitness experiments (Functional Training, Double Cardio, CrossFit, The Celebrity Workout, The  Action Hero Workout, Jillian Michaels, Primal Blueprint, Suspension Training, Kettlebells, High Intensity Interval Training, Going Vegan, and Karate). Charlotte and her gym buddies try out each plan for one month, and she then  writes about what worked and what didn’t work for her and her gym buddies. The book is a fun read, and I learned quite a bit about different exercise and eating plans.

While the book is overall very funny and entertaining, there is also a serious side to it when Charlotte describes her unhealthy, obsessive relationship with exercise at one point in her life. She describes her struggles to have to make it to the gym “no matter what” and to have to work out for a certain amount of time each day.

While I was never as obsessive as Charlotte was at one point, I can relate to her struggles as I had a very difficult time finding the right exercise balance myself. As I wrote a few weeks ago, just a year ago, I had to do a “real workout” every day. If I didn’t, I felt guilty, anxious, restless and wasn’t very much fun to be around. In my mind, a “real workout” involved the gym and great amounts of sweat. In the process, I didn’t listen to my body and caused more harm than good.

Reading the book made me look at my own relationship with exercise and how this relationship has evolved over the past year and is much healthier today. Just as general relationships can evolve and grow and get better, so, too, can your relationship with exercise! But it takes some serious work. I was able to “let go” and do less on my own, but I know that if the problem is more serious, it is often necessary to get professional help.

If you are looking for a predominantly fun, yet informative, read about different types of exercises with some food for thought about exercise obsessions, I think you’ll enjoy The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. Also, if you are in a rut and are looking for something new, I think the book will leave you with many ideas of what to try (and not to try) next.

Questions: What new exercises have you tried lately? Did you like them? Why or why not? What’s your favorite workout? I really want to try P90X, but I’m a bit worried about the time commitment, and I don’t want to start obsessing over it. Has anyone tried it? Any advice? 

Be well,