In the 1980s, there was this actress who is now in her 80s and still getting arrested for protesting things she feels are unjust. Her name is Jane Fonda and while our parents might best know her for Barbarella or being called Hanoi Jane, she’s the one most credited for launching home workouts and an overall fitness craze that has only grown since then.
You can still find her workouts on Amazon Prime, and if you do check them out, you’ll notice some of her moves are still in play today in many group fitness classes. Now if you were down to don shimmery tights, a high cut leotard, and leg warmers, from an aesthetic point of view, her workout might have been right up your alley. But what if you weren’t? In this block of time where anyone who wanted to be bodaciously fit and young-looking subscribed to the aerobics trend and that wasn’t your cup of tea, were you relegated to a life of unfitness?
If you could track the trajectory of fitness trends since the 1980s, you would be well familiar with Reebok Step, Tae Bo, Hip Hop, Body Pump, dance cardio, dance sculpt, Insanity, Tracy Anderson, P-90X, Les Mills, Yoga, Pilates, OrangeTheory, Pure Barre, etc… I could go on. And this list doesn’t include walking, running, swimming, and traditional weight training.
Are we supposed to dip our toes into the pool of all of them? Of course not!
As fitness modalities have become better developed and accessible to the masses, it has become easier and easier to find activities that speak to us—your exercise personality.
A lot of people on the fence about committing to a fitness lifestyle find the idea of physical activity daunting. If you were to believe Instagram or Beach Body informercials it would appear that the path to a better body and greatly improved health involves doing some really hard stuff. Well, it doesn’t.
So, if you feel awful because you dread intense, high-energy workouts and when you have tried them you feel closer to death than anything, that’s ok. Does yoga numb your mind and body to absolute boredom? Do you need burpees and EDM to feel better? That’s cool too.
The point I’m making—and this is gleaned from a lot of years trying many different workouts, earning a personal training certification, and finally understanding that we are wired to do different things—is that each person has unique exercise DNA. The key to reaping all the benefits from a workout plan is to do what you are already hard-wired to do—and feel good about that.
How do you find out your exercise personality? You already know. Think about activities—if you aren’t intrigued, your body might be telling you that isn’t your workout. Even better is if you try something and feel worse for it, or don’t find a connection to it. If that’s the case, move on.
Your workouts should be something you feel good about returning to. They should be something you look forward to doing (for the most part—we all have our days it all sucks). We are lucky to be living in a digital age that has transformed the fitness world. Your greatest asset to finding modalities that are meant for you is YouTube, IG Tv, etc. Look up things. Watch how they are performed. Try something out. See how you feel and how you connect to it.
Most of all, don’t compare yourself to people you know or people you wish you knew on social media. You will get the most out of fitness if it is right for you. Find your unique path forward in the world of movement. At the end of the day, that’s all exercise is: moving your body. So align yourself with the style of movement that makes you feel good and be consistent.
And watch the Olympics this month. I tell you what—nothing is more inspiring to the goal of getting in shape than watching all those badasses tear it up in their particular sport!
You got this!
If you want to hear more about this topic, including the story of my first experience with OrangeTheory, subscribe to my podcast, The WiloPod.