This question is one that I get asked all the time, the answer?
One that you enjoy, is sustainable and achievable, and paired with the right nutrition for you and your goals.
There you go...... No need to carry on writing this really 😁
In all seriousness, I am going to delve a little deeper in to why people are generally getting it wrong and sweating the small stuff, rather than looking at the overall picture.
As I have discussed in previous blog posts, our body composition and the way it looks is largely down to how much energy (calories) that we consume vs how much energy our body burns. If we consistently, over time consume more than we burn we will gain weight, if we consistently, over time burn more than we consume then we will loose weight.
BUT weight doesn't = fat, for example - if someone wanted to build muscle, then they would have to eat more calories than they burn to enable new tissue growth, but getting the right balance between gaining enough muscle, without adding too much fat can be tricky - this is where a good coach will be able to help
At the other end of the scale, if you wanted to loose fat, but went too aggressive with nutrition, you would burn muscle as well as fat which can lead to the 'skinny fat' look that people end up with. Being too low in calories can cause a whole host of other issues too which I will be covering in my next blog!
So, back to exercise..... Exercise actually doesn't burn as many calories as most people think, which is why I promote its importance for many other benefits (increased energy, improved power, strength and stamina, improved mental health, better sleep etc) alongside a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Some types of exercise can be better at achieving a certain 'look' if you are aiming purely for aesthetics, however in my experience it is far better to have a performance related goal rather than a body focused one - it's likely you'll never be happy with what you see in the mirror if it is the sole focus for the way you are living your lifestyle.
But for the average person, that wants to be fit, healthy and feel their best, when it comes to exercise really anything goes!
If you enjoy lifting weights then do that, if you enjoy running then do that, if you enjoy zumba classes then do that.... You get the drift. If you do not enjoy it then you will not stick to it in the long term! The sky is the limit when it comes to exercise, you can do anything when you put your mind to it so don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new.
I think it is important to add, that certain types of exercise can place more stress on the body than others, such as Hiit (high intensity interval training) which should not be done more than a couple of times per week. Excessive cardio can also place the central nervous system under a greater degree of pressure which can lead to burn outs, injuries, and lowered immune system.
For this reason, I tend to take a very mixed approach to my clients fitness (and in my own training) by incorporating a good amount of different activities that allow adequate recovery, and keep things interesting (I mean, who actually enjoys running on a treadmill for 6 hours plus per week?!)
Exercise has so many benefits other than just being a tool to burn calories, once you embrace that you will never look back!
So try something new, mix things up, but just move your body as much as you can, in a way that you can sustain long term, and by doing something that you look forward to, rather than something that you dread.
Always make sure you include a good warm up and cool down, and take adequate rest days to prevent injury and aid in recovery.
And remember to listen to your body, look after it (you only get one!) don't punish it with constant aggressive exercise, make rest and recovery a priority, nourish it with good food, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and I promise your body will repay you 10 fold, and you'll look and feel your best as a byproduct.