My Pet Peeve with Workout Programs (And How to Pick a Good One!)

As I scroll through my Facebook feed lately, I’ve been developing a bit of a pet peeve for most of the workout programs out there. It’s not the effectiveness of these workouts that bugs me; in fact, most of them are fantastic programs. Any plan that gets you moving and sweating (and hopefully eating a bit less) is generally going to give great results.

It’s not even the cost of the programs, even though some of them are pricey McPricerson. 

And finally, no, it’s not that some programs tend towards being a bit of a pyramid-scheme.

I can get over all those aspects of these programs.

What really irks me is their marketing. It seems that many programs (and some of their participants) are claiming that their way is the ONLY way to actually lose weight or get toned. That if you aren’t following this certain plan, then you are wasting your time and never going to see results.

I’ve seen claims of these kinds by pretty much every exercise and diet program out there. CrossFit, BeachBody, weight lifters, cardio junkies, Paleo, Whole30, vegans, no carb-ers, low fat… They’ve all been guilty from time to time (and some programs are pretty consistent offenders). Even us runners can be guilty of this.

Sometimes it’s the actual company that makes these outrageous claims. Other times, people who use the program with wonderful results get a little overzealous. Wherever the claims may be coming from, I come across them regularly on the internet.

There’s nothing wrong with loving how you work out. Workouts give us edorphins that make us feel all sorts of warm and fuzzies towards our latest big workout. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with talking up your favorite workout program. Please, share your successes and give all the dirty details of how you did it! You should be proud of your athletic endeavors and the results you’re getting.

But we go a step too far when we claim that a certain program is not only effective, but is the best and only method for getting fit.


Can we really buy into the fact that there is only one way to lose weight or get toned? Does that make any sense?

In my experience, I have friends who have lost a ton of weight using all sorts of different approaches. Running a ton of miles. Heavy lifting with minimal cardio. 20 minute BeachBody workouts. CrossFit combined with some running. Calorie counting with minimal to no exercise. And they’ve all had amazing results!

What was the key to their success? Dedication. Perseverance.  Grit. And hopefully finding a way of working out and eating that they actually enjoyed. At the end of the day, the most effect exercise and diet is that one that you will actually do consistently.

So what should you be looking for as you scroll through your Facebook feed, hoping to find a new workout program to start? Ignoring the over-the-top claims many workouts claim, I’d say there are a few key things you should be looking for in any workout.

How to Pick a Workout Plan

  1. Find a workout you can get excited about. Listen, I get it. No one wakes up every single day pumped to get in their workout. While I love running in general, I still struggle to get out the door more days than I’d care to admit. But running brings me more joy than other forms of exercise and much more joy than if I didn’t run at all. Find something that you can feel similarly about. Your workout might not be your new BFF, but hopefully you can find a workout that doesn’t make you want to poke your eyeballs out and run away screaming.
  1. Find a workout that makes you work. If your workout isn’t pushing you in some way, then you’re probably not going to see results. This is going to be pretty relative based on your previous fitness. Just be honest with yourself while you’re working out. Are you sweating? Breathing hard? Giving it your all? If not, maybe you need to pick up the intensity or choose another workout. Important note: Be smart here! Don’t get injured and blame me for it. Make wise decisions about your level of activity with advice from your trusted doctor.
  1. Find a workout that keeps you motivated. Community is huge for this! Real life workout buddies are great, but don’t despair if you can’t find one. The internet works wonders for this. Join a Facebook group, follow a blogger, check in on forums. Every different type of workout has its own little internet community. If you need help finding the running one, let me know. Seeing other people dedicate themselves to a healthy lifestyle is motivating and encouraging! In a world where we’re constantly tempted to do anything and everything unhealthy, it’s nice to remember that there are other people out there making healthy choices. It’s easier for me to get a Saturday morning long run in when I remember all my friends – real life and internet – that are doing the exact same thing.

It’s as simple as that! Unfortunately, the “picking” part of the workout program is the easy part. To get actual results, now you have to start actually doing the workout consistently and with a good effort (ie get your sweat on!). And as you see results, brag on yourself!

Just please, don’t become convinced that your method of working out is the only reasonable one out there. That’s a divisive attitude, not to mention just plain wrong.

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