My clients often ask me what the best way to exercise is.That’s an incredibly loaded question, because there is absolutely no right answer to it.
‘But what about squats?’ You might ask. ‘You always talk about those!’ And squats are great.
One of the best exercises in the world. But I have some clients who just won’t do them. Bad knees are often one reason. A wonky lower back is another, and a general aversion to them, or an inability to perform a pelvic tilt because of mobility issues also can be reasons for avoiding squats.
All of those are valid reasons. No matter how much I think of squats as a trainer, if my client can’t do them safely, they shouldn’t do them. It’s as simple as that.
Fitness is incredibly personal. Spending time on your wellness is important and must be personally satisfying. You have to get what you need not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.
So, do what feels good.
Do you want to go into the gym and do a solid hour of cardio training? Fill your boots. Do you want to get in there and do Olympic lifting until your nervous system is on overload?
Want to sweat a bit, test your body a bit and feel great after? You can do those things too.
Do you want to train biceps and nothing but biceps? Great. Just don’t swing your arms when you do curls.
The simple fact of life is that you have to do what feels good and give yourself permission to enjoy what you’re doing because it’s got to be something you’ll go back and do time and time again.
Want to do 500 crunches? Sure. Just make sure you’re doing an equal number of back extensions for every spinal flexion you do.
It’s not important what you do every day in the long run. It’s just important to develop the consistent habits – because you will then reap the consistent rewards that your body will give you. They’re tangible, like better sleep, better appetite and a better ability to manage stress and trauma.
But you’ve got to get there. That’s why I never care too much what my clients are doing on the days they are not training with me, because they are doing something. It could be swimming. It could be playing soccer. It could be taking walks with their grandkids.
Kettlebells. Yoga. A Zumba class. Cross-country skiing. They’re all great ways to move our body and feel good.
Habits matter. Getting into them matters. And it doesn’t really matter what path – or what exercise – you choose to get there.
This piece was originally published in Iori:wase Feb. 1, 2024.