Why yes, I DID end up with a tread-mark right across my crotch! Also, the Gym Buddies tried to leave me stranded on the big tire that randomly appeared in the Y since I couldn’t get down on my own. Ha ha ha.
One of the questions I get asked the most – and am probably the least qualified to answer, right after “Can I catch a yeast infection from the spin bikes?” – is “What workout should I try?” And because I love talking about workouts I’ll do my best to help them. (After warning them I’m not a doctor, fitness professional or even all that sane, naturally.) I start by asking four questions:
1. What are your goals? No sense in giving someone a weight-lifting only program if their fondest desire is to win a ballroom competition. (And who wouldn’t want that?!)
2. What do you enjoy? I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: If you hate running, don’t run. Period. You can be perfectly healthy and never run a step. There is a way to move your body that you will enjoy. We just have to find it.
3. How much time/resources do you have? There’s a big difference in the optimal workout for someone has two hours a day and a gym membership compared to somebody who has 20 minutes on their lunch hour and a conference room with nothing but a rolling chair and a window that opens into the cafeteria. (And you’d be surprised what I can do with naught but a rolling chair when it comes to workouts!)
4. How much pain are you willing to tolerate? Certain programs – CrossFit, Tabatas, Richard Simmons – are based on the premise that the more pain you can handle in the moment. the faster you can achieve great results. But it’s a recipe for never-working-out-again disaster to throw someone into one of those if they don’t think that feeling like dying is fun.
At that point, I draw up a complicated matrix (no seriously, I have one) into which I stick all the workouts I’ve tried and try to offer some recommendations that you will like. So when the Minneapolis Star Tribune asked if I’d do a feature article about 12 workouts to try in 2012, I immediately pulled that sucker out. Kidding. Nobody wants to see my matrix. Instead I came up with a broad overview of 12 popular programs to try out.
You may notice they mention my new book – The Great Fitness Experiment: The Exercise Strikes Back (working title). It’s the sequel to my first you-either-loved-it-or-despised-it book and covers my 12 favorite experiments in the 3 years after the first book came out. So all new material! 12 new embarrassing moments to make you glad you’re not me! And it’s coming out…ta -da!… I HAVE NO IDEA. Yeah. My publisher has the manuscript. When they are releasing it I still don’t know. Soonish I hope. I’ll keep you posted.
What is the question people ask you the most? What workout do you recommend to people?
And hey, I may not have a book yet but I’ve totally got the author photo taken care of! Priorities, people… (Thanks to Gym Buddy Allison and her mad photog skillz for making me look good! And kinda chesty – which is hard to do!!)