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Which Training Style is Best for Me?

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My favourite aspect about the health and fitness industry is the abundance of different approaches to training and healthy active living. This is also simultaneously problematic as it confuses those who are not properly educated on how they should be training to achieve their goals. It also opens the door for a large majority of “insta” trainers, fitness models and enthusiasts to give their uneducated advice to those eager to see results. Creating transparency as well as regulation in the health and fitness industry will be extremely important as the trend for new and innovative ways to train continue to pop up.

Let’s review the pros and cons of common modes of training and I will provide my educated opinion on each one, so let’s dive right in!

 

CIRCUIT/GROUP TRAINING (Muscular Endurance):

This is by far the most popular and easily accessible version of training currently available. F45, Orange Theory, Beachbody, Bootcamps and group fitness classes are all versions of this type of training. Circuit training is designed to elevate your heart rate and burn as many calories as you can in as little time possible.

Here are reasons why it is a popular training method: 

  • Burns a lot of Calories/makes you sweat
  • Gives you the feeling of a good workout
  • Social Community Environment

Here are reasons why it shouldn’t be your only training method: 

  • High injury risk with high levels of burnout
  • Likelihood of plateau due to lack of periodization 
  • No individualization for personal goals

In summary, this style is great 1-3 times a week for someone who has a strong foundation of basic movement patterns and some experience with exercise technique.

 

BODYBUILDING (Hypertrophy):

This workout style has become increasingly popular as the access to knowledge about which exercises work which muscle groups has become mainstream and easily accessible information. The basis for this style of training is building lean muscle mass by isolating specific muscle groups. There is a large nutritional component to this style of training revolving around a high protein intake.

Here are reasons why it is a popular training method: 

  • Builds strength, muscle tissue and a lean physique
  • Generally low impact and low injury rate
  • Postural and structural benefits when done correctly

Here are reasons why it shouldn’t be your only training method:

  • Commonly associated with poor relationship with food
  • Less emphasis on cardiovascular health
  • Very time consuming

In summary, by far one of the safest and efficient ways to train for a lean physique. For those looking for general health, you should decrease the emphasis on strict nutrition targets in order to reap the mental health benefits of this training method.

 

POWERLIFTING (Strength)

The theory behind powerlifting is simply to be as strong as possible, generally in what is referred to as the “BIG 3” movement patterns: deadlift, squat and bench press. If you have a strong training background and understand good technique in these movements, this style of training will most certainly build incredible strength. However, unless you are a competitive powerlifter, it would be beneficial to build strength through all of the different movement patterns that would relate to your lifestyle.

Here are reasons why it is a popular training method: 

  • Increased overall strength
  • Progressive and goal-oriented 
  • Increased muscle mass

Here are reasons why it shouldn’t be your only training method:

  • Little emphasis for cardiovascular health
  • High intensity increases risk of injury 
  • Rigidity and stiffness take precedence over mobility and flexibility 

In summary, powerlifting is more of an advanced training modality that improves overall strength but should be supplemented with other training modalities for greater health outcomes.

 

YOGA (Stability and Mobility)

Yoga is a popular form of exercise that incorporates breathing mechanics, spiritual and emotional well being, as well as, stability and mobility. It is also low impact and easily accessible as there is not much equipment required. Yoga is a great supplement to many of the other styles of training.

Here are reasons why it is a popular training method: 

  • Relaxed mindset and stress relief
  • Improvements in mobility and stability
  • No equipment requirements

Here are reasons why it shouldn’t be your only training method:

  • Doesn’t provide much cardiovascular benefit 
  • Stigma for males is a barrier to entry
  • Doesn’t build much strength or hypertrophy

In summary, Yoga should be incorporated in all training programs whether it is for recovery or improvements in imbalances, stability and mobility. This form of training should be used in combination with strength training and cardiovascular training for optimal health benefits.

 

AEROBIC TRAINING (Cardio)

Aerobic Training can be accomplished through interval training, tempo training or steady state cardio. There are many different modes of aerobic training including rowing, running, skipping, cycling, swimming etc. Many use this style of training to compete in marathons, triathlons, ironman, spartan races and other long distance events. Others use it to try and burn a large number of calories.

Here are reasons why it is a popular training method: 

  • Improvement in cardiovascular health
  • Variety of training modes
  • Burns a lot of calories

Here are reasons why it shouldn’t be your only training method:

  • Can be repetitive and boring
  • No improvements in muscle mass or strength
  • Can be high impact and risk of injury/imbalance

In summary the cardiovascular benefit of aerobic training is extremely important for producing a healthy heart. But, there can be a high risk of injuries due to high impact of repetitive motions in some modes of training. Supplementing this with strength training is highly recommended.

 

SO WHAT’S THE BEST FOR YOU? 

After reviewing 5 very different training styles with a wide range of physiological benefits, which one produces the best and desired effect for you? This is a trick question and the correct answer is produced by having an understanding of what your goal is and using a combination of different training modalities that best suits your goal. 

For example, a client joins the StrongerYou Program and has a goal of running 5km in 25 minutes, as well as, improving their body composition and decreasing their body fat. To achieve this client’s goal, we would design a structured plan that involves a combination of strength training, aerobic training and high intensity interval training in their program.

Always remember that the best training modality for you is based on:

  • Your individual needs (personal injuries/limitations)
  • The desired effect (goal-oriented)
  • A structured and periodized plan sustainable over time

Ask or reach out to a coach who is well educated and knows how to get you from A to B in the safest and most effective way possible!