What Exercises Should You Be Doing?

Do You Know What Exercises You Should Be Doing?

If you’ve been trying to figure out what type of exercises you should be doing for your body type, you’re going to want to read this article from top to bottom. When I was still in the midst of my weight loss journey, one of the most confusing things (for me) was that there seemed to be nothing but conflicting information, online.

In magazines and even at fitness facilities, it was the same – utter confusion.

Everywhere you look, EVERY blog article claims to be the only right one. Every fitness professional claims that “their” way is the right way. And all the magazines seem to recycle the same, often-useless information that doesn’t get you any closer to your fitness goals.

It’s enough to make you cry if you’re desperately in need of information that you can actually use. On one site, you’ll read that cross-training is the way to go. On another, you’ll read that yoga or pilates are the only types of exercises people should be doing.

Running enthusiasts promote running. Weight lifters tell you to lift weight. Swimmers tell you to get in the water. And martial arts practitioners recommend their particular art. It’s all too much for regular folk like you and me.

I’ve been thinking about writing an article like this for a long time. If you just want to know what to do to either get in shape, lose weight, or eliminate/less pain in your body, I think I might have the answer for you…

…so before you groan inwardly, give me a moment to show you what I mean.

See, after all my years of research and working with people, what I discovered is that the need for exercise falls into three, basic categories with very little overlap.

No matter who you are, you’ll fit pretty neatly into one of these categories.

From here, you can decide – for yourself – what kinds of exercises you need to be doing. Without too much more preliminary information, let’s look (in detail) at what you should be considering, below.

The Best Exercises For Your Body Are Based On Three Sets Of Criteria

I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years, now. Recently, I realized that I keep noticing the same desires in people who are trying to improve their physical health. These desires come up over and over, again, no matter how many clients I encounter.

The really interesting thing is that people’s desires tends to fit into one of only three categories. People tend to want to…

  • Improve their core strength/Eliminate joint pain – I’ll show you in a few minutes how joint pain throughout your body and your core are intimately connected to one another.
  • Improve their flexibility – This covers a whole host of challenges from limited range-of-motion to muscle toning. The more flexible you are, the better results you can get from whatever exercises you choose to do.
  • Improve their endurance/strength – Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or transform your body, your ability to *endure* is involved in all three. Respectively, if you don’t improve on your ability to exercise, lift weight, or workout and eat in a very specific manner, you will never reach your fitness goals.

In fact, the principle in the last sentence is kind of true for all three categories.

If you don’t learn how to exercise so that you activate and strengthen your core, you’ll never improve your joint pain. And if you don’t have enough flexibility, your workouts aren’t going to do a thing for you except frustrate you.

It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. *insert angry face*

Follow along as I break down each category.

By the time you are finished reading today, you will be able to decide for yourself what kind of exercises you need to be doing and the cloud of confusion should lift – finally!

Let’s Talk A Little Bit About Joint Pain And Exercise

A few years ago, when I became a new father, my wife Katie discovered that she simply could not get back to her former body. She thought – like many new moms do – that her body would just eventually revert to its old self.

Unfortunately, her abdominal muscles didn’t get that memo. They absolutely REFUSED to cooperate and get flat again after giving birth. She was devastated…

…and my heart broke for her. It was really hard watching her wear shirts that were over-large just to cover her belly.

Ultimately, we found a specialist who helped her to regain her core strength, and meeting him was a pivotal point in my life and in my career. See, my wife’s specialist is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

His name is James Vegher. Every day, Dr. Vegher helps people overcome joint pain challenges by showing them the right way to move.

From Dr. Vegher, I learned that around 95% of people who suffer with joint pain have a weak core. Your core muscles are the foundation of ALL your movements.

Whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, or lying down to go to sleep at night, you can’t do it without strong core muscles.

Having a weak core will create bad posture. Bad posture leads to an aching back, neck, and shoulders. You won’t walk (or run) as comfortably as you want. You won’t breathe as deeply as you should…and a weak core can even negatively affect your digestion!

For my wife Katie, her core was very weak, and her abdominal muscles were separated. She had it pretty bad, to be honest.

By working with Dr. Vegher, she was able to rectify those issues. Her tummy flattened the way she wanted it to, and she found that she had the added benefit of learning the best ways to move her body whenever she did ANY kind of exercise.

But What Do Joint Issues Have To Do With Your Core?

I know that it might not be immediately clear what a weak core has to do with joint pain. So, if you’re feeling like there is a disconnect between my wife’s story and how much pain you have in your body from day to day, trust me. I get it.

The way that Dr. Vegher explained it to me was like this: When we are born, our brains give us cues on how to start moving.

Have you ever noticed that you don’t have to tell a baby how to hold up its head or how to roll over for the first time?

Well…there’s a reason for that. And that reason is that the proper way to move is encoded into our DNA from the moment we are born. A baby will learn to sit, stand, walk, and run without your ever helping him or her.

The movements we make as children put very specific pressure on our tendons. Our tendons then shape our joints. This is why few to no babies or young children have joint pain.

They are moving in ways that are natural, and natural ways of movement simply don’t hurt 95% of people. I know that there are autoimmune diseases and the like that cause pain, but these things are rare in the human population.

It’s not normal to see children complaining of joint pain like it is with adults and senior citizens…and the reason is because children know how to move.

Their cores are always activated because they learned how to sit, stand, and walk properly.

The older you get, the more likely it is that you’ve forgotten how you used to move as a child…

…and so you have joint pain!

If you want to get rid of your joint pain, you’re going to have to learn how to move the right way, again. And that starts with the right kind of exercises.

I could write about this all day long, but I don’t want to bore you.

Instead, let’s move on to the issue of flexibility because it’s the next biggest issue that people come to me about when they are trying to figure out what exercises they should be doing for their body type.

If You Aren’t Flexible Enough, Your Exercises Will Never Work For You

In the same way that people usually don’t connect their core to their joint pain, lots of people never correlate flexibility with fat loss, muscle building, or calorie burn. Another way to talk about flexibility in exercise is to simply call it “range-of-motion.”

You’ll find range-of-motion issues anytime you can’t squat deeply or anytime you can’t do a full push-up. You’ll find that range-of-motion affects you anywhere where you have to rely on your joints to do an exercise.

Burpees, lunges, presses, and anything that needs you to rely on your joints will be a problem for you. You won’t be able to go as deep or bring presses down as low as you want to if you have range-of-motion challenges.

I saw this up close and personal a number of years ago when a client named Evans came to me for help. Evans was at the end of his rope. He was weak, he was very overweight, he felt tired all the time, and his doctor had even told him his health was a death sentence.

It wasn’t immediately evident what the real problem was. All I knew was that Evans couldn’t do a squat. He’d stumble forward every time he tried to go down even the smallest bit. And push-ups?

Forget it. He consistently fell flat on his face anytime he tried to do a push-up.

It took me a couple of weeks and a fitness event to figure out that Evans’s problem was based on a lack of range-of-motion/flexibility and coordination.

Once I solved those problems, his exercises really started to work for him.

He came off all of his medication, his doctor gave him a clean bill of health, and he was able to lose weight and transform his body like he’d always wanted to do.

But How Does Flexibility Improve A Workout?

Well…studies show that when you improve flexibility, you allow more oxygen into your muscles. When you allow more oxygen into your muscles, two other things automatically happen: you increase your calorie burn and you significantly improve your strength with each exercise session.

This information is backed up in two, different scholarly journals, and it explains why Evans started dropping pounds like a teenager after just a couple of weeks using my flexibility-enhancing exercise routines.

I simply added some very easy flexibility routines to the beginning of his workouts. They were routines he could have done at any point during the day, and they took less than 4 minutes to do.

If you’ve been working out for a long time but you have not been seeing the results that you think you should be seeing in your body, there’s a high likelihood that you’re having range of motion and coordination problems.

Once you solve those problems, you’ll probably solve everything and start to tone up, lose weight, and feel like your exercises are effective.

But What If You’re Trying To Build Strength And Transform Your Body?

If you’re not in pain, and if you’re not trying to improve your flexibility and coordination, you might fit into the third category where you’re just trying to sculpt your body or lose weight, put on muscle, and/or get stronger.

I’d consider this the endurance category for a number of reasons.

Whether you want to….

  • Melt fat…
  • Burn a lot of calories every time you exercise…
  • Lose a lot or a little bit of weight…
  • Transform your body…
  • Increase your muscle definition…or…
  • Get stronger through weight lifting…

…all of these require endurance.

No one starts out being able to do 25 pull-ups on day one. That’s something that people have to build up to, over time.

If you try to do what you want to do at your end goal on your very first day, you could end up hurting yourself or getting so discouraged that you quit on day one.

That’s why I recommend progressive exercises.

Simply put, progressive exercising gives you the time and space to build on previous abilities so that you can easily get to the next level of your ability.

And you don’t have to workout for 30 minutes, 5 days a week either. You can build strength, grow muscle, and lose weight by working out just three days a week for under 15 minutes per session.

People think that exercise has to be painful to work, and that’s just not true.

Exercise only has to be effective and progressive to work.

What I mean by progressive is that you’ll do exercises that are one of the following:

  • More complex over time…
  • Include more reps over time, or…
  • Use a bit more weight over time.

Sometimes, your exercises will have all three of these. It just depends on your goals. And it also depends on what you are physically able to do.

Progressive exercises progress. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind.

So, What Kinds Of Exercises Should You Be Doing?

I have laid out the three main areas of concern for people who are trying to figure out what exercise type is best for them. If one of these categories spoke to you, and you’re purposely trying to improve your health and fitness, you now have a choice to make.

You can either keep doing things the way you have been doing them…

…and stay frustrated that you’re not yet reaching your fitness goals.

Or you can double down and get clear about your next steps.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have lots of joint pain and a weak core?
  • Have you been exercising for a while but the exercises don’t seem to be having any effect, at all? Are you having any trouble with flexibility?
  • Or are you aggressively trying to lose weight, get stronger, and build muscle?

Though you might have a bit of overlap in the categories, everyone I have counseled or worked with has has one area that’s a bigger concern than all the rest. No matter what any professional or website might tell you, you know your body better than anyone else.

And you are the only one who can adequately figure out where you might need to start in your exercise journey.

I think it’s really important to embrace the fact that you’re unique from anyone else on the planet. It’s perfectly fine if your fitness goals are different from other people you admire; however, it’s going to be a challenge to get results if you’re not 100% clear on where you’re starting.

Hopefully, this article helped you to get clear and to cut through all the conflicting information that’s out here in the world of fitness.

Let me know what you think!

Where do you need to be focusing your fitness activity and what exercises do you think would benefit you the most?

Feel free to take this quiz to see what your optimal exercise type is.


The Garage Warrior