I get a lot of questions from people asking me what’s better – weight training or running, HIIT or Zumba, etc?
The question is an interesting one because it leads to a misguided answer. So I follow up and ask “better for what?”
Of course, people are asking what’s better for weight loss. And that’s where the problem lies.
Don’t Exercise For Weight Loss
When people start choosing the exercise they do based on a potential outcome it might provide, they tend to pick physical activities they don’t really enjoy. And as I’ve talked about before, if you don’t enjoy the exercise you do, you’ll never stick with it long enough to see the side effects it can provide.
Weight loss is simply a function of engaging in a physical activity you really like, while doing it consistently and long enough in order to see the changes in your body.
When you exercise for weight loss you’re trying to skip to the end of the “story”. You’re missing out on the present moment and you never make the association between the exercise you do and how it makes you feel right now.
This instant gratification that comes from moving your body is what keeps you motivated long enough to reap the benefits of physical activity. It’s what enables you to see your weight loss.
Weight loss and habit change are slow processes. So if you’re continually focused on the outcome, you’ll never stick with your program (lifestyle) long enough. You’ll give up due to frustration and burnout.
We expect positive things from the work we put in. The positives are here and now – not in the future.
What Do You Like To Do?
Certain physical activities will give you different results. There’s no doubt about it.
Walking and strength training have different side effects. Running and powerlifting make your body look different.
So what do you do when you want a particular body but you don’t really like the exercise you have to do to get it?
I wish there was an easy answer to that question, but in reality, you have two options:
- You can change what you think your ideal physique should be. Ask yourself why you want that particular physique. Is it due to societal pressures? Do you think people will see you differently? Will you see yourself differently?
- You can experiment with trying new physical activities you enjoy that can lead to a similar result. (ie dancing instead of jogging, or bodyweight workouts instead of weight training)
You have to close the gap between what you think your ideal body should look like and the exercise you really enjoy doing.
Those two things have to be one-in-the-same if you are to ever see long-term results of any kind. If they don’t mesh you will always be struggling.
So ask yourself what physical activities you really enjoy doing. That’s your starting place. Doing that is what’s going to keep you moving your body consistently for weeks, months, and years.
That’s what will give you a favorable outcome.
Once that exercise becomes a part of your lifestyle you can make small adjustments that will influence the outcome. But this time you maintain a connection to the process and the joy moving your body brings you.
Start the body transformation process by finding the physical activities you really enjoy – regardless of the outcome they give you. Make moving your body a part of you and your lifestyle. Then adjust your body image expectations to end your internal struggle once and for all.