How to Choose the Right Workout for You

Angela Moore
Angela Moore

| 5 min read

Working out is an important part of staying healthy and fit. There are many types of workouts available, from group classes to personal training, weight training to calisthenics, cardio with machines to bodyweight cardio. It can be hard to determine which type of workout is best for you. 
As a NASM Master Trainer with certifications and specializations in Performance Enhancement, Corrective Exercise, Personal Training and Group Personal Training, I know the benefits of all types of workouts as well as the importance of choosing the best workout for you.
In this article, we will explore the different types of workouts available and how you can decide which one is best for you. We will also discuss the benefits of each type of workout and how the right workout can help you reach your fitness goals.

Group classes or personal training

Group classes and personal training are popular training methods for fitness enthusiasts. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider the pros and cons of each before deciding which one is best suited for your needs.
Group classes offer a more affordable option compared to personal training as they allow you to train with other people at the same time for a significantly lower rate. Group classes also provide the opportunity to build a community providing a sense of camaraderie and competitive team spirit.
On the other hand, while personal training is more expensive, personal trainers can provide more personalized attention and tailor a program specifically for you. Personal training also provides the opportunity to form a partnership that is built on a spirit of commitment and dedication to each other.
Group classes are great for experienced exercisers that know how to perform exercises with proper form and technique and for those individuals looking to surround themselves with like-minded individuals with similar fitness and health goals. Personal training is great for beginners or those that are inexperienced and need one-on-one guidance as well as for those looking for more of a personal coaching relationship.
If you are on a group class budget but feel that you need the personalized attention of a personal trainer, you might want to consider saving for a session or two with a personal trainer to understand proper form and technique and then try a group class. Remember always to “exercise with your mind, not your ego” and stay within your current fitness level.

Weights or body weight

Weightlifting and calisthenics are two of the most popular workouts for those looking to build strength while also getting in shape. Both types of exercise offer a range of benefits, including improved muscular strength, muscular endurance, core stabilization, joint stabilization, and cardiorespiratory efficiency. 
Whether you're looking to bulk up or slim down or simply “get in shape”, weightlifting and calisthenics can help you reach your fitness goals. The type of weightlifting or calisthenics you perform is determined by what you are hoping to achieve as well as your access to equipment. 
Weightlifting, either using free weights or selectorized equipment can help you achieve your strength building goals.
If you have a gym membership, using selectorized equipment allows you to perform exercises per specific body part with the guidance of a machine. Selectorized machines are designed to keep you, for the most part, in proper position while performing each exercise within a safe range of motion.
On the other hand, free weights such as dumbbells and barbells allow you to perform exercises per specific body part without the guidance of a machine. You guide the weight and are allowed to “freely move.” Note that strict attention must be paid to body position and alignment. Tubes and bands are also a great alternative for traveling or if you don’t have access to free weight equipment.

No equipment? Try calisthenics

Calisthenics or exercises that don’t require anything but your body, became more popular during the pandemic. As gyms closed and access to weights became limited, former “gym rats,” athletes, fitness enthusiasts, had to find ways to stay fit and healthy without their normal tools and accessories.
Calisthenics are my favorite form of exercise because these types of exercises can be performed anywhere, at any time using only your body, “the perfect machine.”
Calisthenic exercises can include upper body pushing exercises such as push-ups, pike push-ups, upper body pulling exercises such as pull-ups or inverted rows (requires a pull-up bar or pull-up tool), lower body exercises, such as squats or split squats, core exercises, such as planks or bent arm planks. There are tons of calisthenic exercises, too many to list in this article. 

Cardiovascular machines or bodyweight cardio

Cardiovascular machines or bodyweight cardio are both effective methods of improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory efficiency. Whether you are looking to lose weight, stay at a healthy weight or most importantly take care of your heart, cardiovascular machines or bodyweight cardio will help you achieve your fitness and health goals.
Cardiovascular machines such as the elliptical, stair climber, stationary bike or treadmill are great tools for cardiovascular health that can be found at the gym or purchased for home use. 
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a gym membership or buy expensive cardio equipment. Just as your body can be used as a strength building machine, your body can also be used as a cardio building machine.
Calisthenic exercises such squats can be intensified by exerting more power in a jump squat or moving laterally in a side-to-side jump squat. You can also simply run in place or perform jumping jacks. There are many ways to burn calories as well as work your heart.
As you start working out or resume your workout routine, always remember to choose the right workout for you. Talk to your health care provider before beginning any new exercise routine. The right workout is the workout that you can do and do safely with proper form and technique, as well as the one that aligns with your current fitness level and overall health goals.
Opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its subsidiaries and affiliates.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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