There are about a billion and one opinions on which workout program is the best. Should you run? Should you lift weights? Should you swing your legs gaily on a Richard Simmons' Gazelle?
There's one answer that will work for pretty much everyone: Crossfit.
Crossfit is designed to be a total workout system. It addresses the 10 areas of fitness (strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, cardiovascular health, balance, and four more that I've forgotten). The end result? You get in such good shape that you can tackle any sport or activity, from basketball to mountain climbing.
Best of all, it's free. Go to Crossfit.com and do their workout of the day. Some are difficult (running 10 kilometers), some are quick fifteen minute workouts. Two or three days out of every week are rest days.
No fancy machines are needed. Just basic weights, a pullup bar, and your bodyweight. They have lists of substitutions if you can't do a certain exercise, and there are videos showing you proper form for everything.
It's also possible to do some of their exercises without any equipment at all, so you can stay in the groove while you travel. I've been personally doing Crossfit for 5 months now and couldn't possibly recommend it more highly.
With the vegan diet in full swing for six months now, something occurred to me. It doesn't make since to be eating a perfect diet (according to my understanding of food) if I'm not physically active.
In fact - if I'm going to be physically active, I should be doing the best exercise, right?
And so the Tynan research machine's gears started turning. Soon I realized that there was really only one option that fit into my idea of how to do things.
I was lifting weights, and before I had even finished my warmup, I quit.
I wasn’t in pain and there was no logical reason for me to stop, but I did. I had just taken a few extra recovery days the week before so the problem wasn’t overtraining. I had slept well and eaten healthy the day of the workout, but for some reason I quit.
There appears to be some mechanism in our brains that’s geared toward survival and when I had the thought that maybe lifting weights wasn’t 100% necessary my body decided to conserve energy and give up on me. I allowed my body to control me as if I was an animal so, I had the idea to treat myself like one.
During my next workout I decided that not only was I going to finish my whole workout, but as punishment for giving up on myself I was also going to add 5 pounds to each lift. I decided that no matter what happened, I wasn’t going to leave until I got through my whole workout. And it worked. I completed each lift, and strangely enough the weights actually felt lighter than before.
I can’t tell you why the weights felt lighter, but I can tell you that increasing the amount I had to lift worked. Maybe it’s because I was more inspired by the higher goal and my body produced more adrenaline than it typically does. Maybe my body thought I would increase the amount of weight it would have to lift if it failed. I don’t know, and while I’m still not sure this is the best long term strategy to be using in the gym, I’ve been able to apply it to others aspects of my life quite successfully.