The 3 I's of Exercise


We are all over-exposed to workout advice from experts and gurus that flood Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and infomercials. How do we know who to follow and what exercise program to choose? How do we find the thing that will finally work for us? Before you start a new routine or jump into a new workout fad, follow the 3 I’s of exercise: Intensity, Inspiration, and Individualization. There is no right or wrong program, but there is a better or worse program depending on your age, goals, capabilities, and experience.


Making changes to your body requires discomfort. If you can read or watch TV while working out, you will not make changes. If you are not sweating or breathing heavily, you will not make changes. The only way to get better is to prevent yourself from going on autopilot. Making changes requires exertion, it requires awareness. Slowly galloping on an elliptical while watching your favorite cooking show may be enjoyable, but take a moment to ask yourself, “what am I doing here?” If you desire to get in better shape and lose body fat, you must increase the resistance, increase the intensity and get uncomfortable. The amount of intensity that you use will be determined by what your fitness level is today. For someone who is sedentary all day at a desk job and proceeds to go home after work and continue to sit, watch TV, and go to bed, the right amount of intensity may be purposefully parking your car further away at the grocery store. For someone who jogs 10 miles/week, parking further away from the supermarket will serve little benefit. The right amount of intensity may be to mix up their workout with short sprints of 200-400 meters with short rest in between or integrating high-intensity interval training.


The best exercise program is one you are going to stick to. A training program that has been hailed as the most effective workout and has claimed to helped thousands of people lose weight and improve their health only works if you do it. If you do not have the motivation or feel uninspired to stay consistent with the routine, you will never make progress. Think about your goals. What is it that you want to get from an exercise routine. Is it better health? Get stronger? Fat Loss? Do you work better alone? Do you like competing with yourself or others? Do you work harder in a group, competing with other people for the best time or most amount of weight lifted? Do you need to hire a personal trainer or workout with a buddy to hold you accountable?


Any method you choose for exercise must be right for you. Not for the person next to you, but for you! Many people pick up the latest issue of a fitness magazine, find a model that they want to look like, and immediately copy the program that the fitness model is doing. If you are 50 lbs or more overweight and never worked out a day in your life and attempt to do a workout that someone with 20 years of workout experience is doing, disappointment and loss of motivation are inevitable. If you wish to copy someone with 20 years of workout experience, you must first start where they started. You must work with your ability level and limitations. No matter your age or skill level, you must start light and make gradual improvements with every workout. Your fitness goals may seem like a mountain to climb, but each workout is an opportunity to chip away.


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