Exercising can be a frustrating thing. You are probably still haunted by memories of being the last one picked in middle school P.E., the target in volleyball, frustrated that you could not keep up or are afraid of sports injuries. Or maybe you used up your glory days in high school.

In this modern age, the workout world has expanded, allowing individuals to experience fun, exciting and even relaxing ways to work out that follow the four types of exercise.

Whatever your struggle, whatever your fitness goal, you can accomplish it by participating in the exercises listed below.

Pumping Iron

Working out, lifting weights, muscle

LIES THRU A LENS | Flickr Creative Commons

The ultimate workout method for traditionalists. By hitting the gym and pumping out those reps, you can either be trying to get lean or just trying to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lifting weights and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have recently been proven to be healthier for you and burn more fat and calories than cardio. So if you’re trying to lose weight, get off the elliptical and try your hand at deadlifts, this is the workout for you,

Also, (I run into this a lot) ladies, lifting weights will not make you huge. Many women are afraid that lifting heavy weights will turn them into this, which they feel is unappealing and manly:

Body building, muscle, woman

ADRIAN FALLACE | Flickr Creative Commons

Ladies, it takes so much work to get to that point. I mean in a cutting-out-all-sugars-and-carbs-and-drinking-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-strict-workout-schedule kind of hard. If you enjoy the occasional piece of pizza, you are not going to get bulky.

Well, you might in other ways…


Zumba, exercise, workout

JEFFERY PIOQUINTO | Flickr Creative Commons

Though Zumba is trending more in the women’s community and sometimes seen as “girly,” it takes guts to get out in front of a bunch of strangers and dance. If you are emotionally secure enough to dance in front of others, Zumba can be an excellent way of increasing your heart rate.

And really, no one cares how you look when you are in Zumba. Everyone is so focused on the moves and how they look that no one has the capacity to judge you, as well. This is one of the few times that it is nice to be anonymous.


Fitness, workout, plate, health, crossfit

JUSTIN CONNAHER | Flickr Creative Commons

Aside from picking on the kids who favor cardio, weightlifters love bashing on CrossFit. CrossFit is an exceptional way of working out, though, as the form combines the positives (and sometimes negatives) of both cardio and weightlifting, giving the participant an intense, full-body workout.

CrossFit has helped thousands of people get in the best shape of their lives, as it caters to the young, old and anywhere in between. It provides the old workouts, such as deadlifts, presses, snatches, clean and jerks, squats, running, rope climbs and so many more, working out various muscles you did not even know you had.

A word of caution to those who are interested in CrossFit: never forfeit a quality form over quantitative Personal Records. Often people become too caught up in the culture, forgetting they are a mortal human being with flaws. Injuries happen; you are made of skin and bone!

Multiple sources have expressed their warnings to people involved with CrossFit. When heavy weight is involved and when multiple people and competition are involved, you must take extreme caution when investing your whole self in CrossFit.

CrossFit is also expensive. Make sure to prioritize accordingly so that you are caught up on your student loans before the debt collectors come after you.

Exercise Classes

Image via Dijon Rolle, Flickr Creative Commons

DIJON ROLLE | Flickr Creative Commons

Taking a fitness class can be extremely beneficial to your health. You arrive and participate at a regular and predetermined time, receive training from instructors and allow yourself to indulge in a social atmosphere. Many people enjoy fitness classes because of the social atmosphere and structure, and depending on your area, classes will vary, providing you with a lot of options.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), spinning, dance, cardio kickboxing, pilates and yoga are just some of the classes that may be available to you.

Even if you’re not social and extroverted, taking a fitness class can definitely help you raise your heart rate while having a good time and getting into shape.

Swimming and Water Fitness

Swimming, competition, fitness, exercise

IAN BARBOUR | Flickr Creative Commons.

Swimming is an incredible skill and an exceptional form of exercise. It provides a full body workout by defamiliarizing the swimmer through a watery environment. They’ll be working muscles they do not use on a regular basis.

Just like any other form of exercise, swimming is extremely useful. If you do not know how to swim, taking swimming lessons is a powerful and fun learning experience, as it cannot only help you get fit, but can maybe save your life or someone else’s.

Swimming and water classes are excellent forms of exercise for those who suffer with joint, nerve or brain damage, as it alleviates much of the pain associated with the disorder. Water exercises have helped change people’s lives for the better!

*Word of Caution from the author : I was a lifeguard for two and a half years, and during the majority of that time, I worked during the exercise and personal fitness period. I saw a lot of people who had their bodies trained to the water, as they would become increasingly buoyant. To be honest, they would often look like buoys: largely overweight in their upper body with stick-thin legs. Swimming is great, but make sure not to spend all of your time in the water.*

Home Workout Videos 

Workout, home fitness, p90x

CHARLES OKI | Flickr Creative Commons

Over the past decade, home workouts have made a surprising comeback. Programs such as P90x, Insanity, T25, with other variations and fitness vlogs on YouTube, have altered the lives of stay-at-home moms, and really anyone who is pressed for time or experiences anxiety while working out in a public setting.

You can now get abs at home!

Just like any other workout, make sure to stretch and consult your doctor before starting an intense program.

Also, what most of these programs do not tell you is DIET IS EVERYTHING. You will only see visible results if you are eating healthy and following the program regularly.

Martial Arts 

Tae Kwon Do, Martial Arts

KYUNG KIM | Flickr Creative Commons

Various forms of martial arts, such as judo, jiujitsu, tae kwon do, kung fu, karate and so many more, offer students incredible ways of building strength and self-defense. The martial arts combine fitness with self-defense, allowing students to build “hard-to-reach” muscles. For example, performing various forms of kicks can work your glutes, obliques, hamstrings and quads all in one, simple (but repetitious) move.

Make sure that while you are doing your forms, warm-ups, kicks, punches, knife-hands, etc., that your form is correct. The last thing you want is to wear out your tendons and joints by participating in a martial arts class.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, outdoors, mountains

LOREN KERNS | Flickr Creative Commons

Some people struggle with working out because of social anxiety, and sometimes individuals just do not enjoy exercising in a structured setting. Whatever the situation may be, there is always another option. Rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, surfing, snowboarding and ultimate frisbee are just a few of the ways you can get outdoors and get your body moving. One problem with exercising outdoors, though, is that you are constantly relying on the weather. Many of the outdoor exercises that can so easily be done in the spring and summer months must be halted during fall and winter, depending on your location.

If you want to keep yourself active and healthy throughout the year, try some other form of workout which can be performed indoors.


Yoga, meditation

JASMINE KALOUDIS | Flickr Creative Commons

For many people, yoga is a staple for their mental health. Yoga has helped thousands manage stress for centuries, as it has been affiliated with Eastern meditation forms for many moons. Yoga specifically focuses on building strength and improving balance, but other benefits include stress and anxiety relief, increased mental function, and a full-body detox.

You can find yoga DVD’s online as well as programs on YouTube, or you can join a yoga studio or class near you.


Cardio, stationary bike, spinning class

TERRY MATLOCK | Flickr Creative Commons

Like CrossFit and bodybuilding, cardio is essential for millions of people. Many of these people do cardio exclusively, relying on stair-steppers, treadmills, running or biking routines, interval classes or spinning to help them sweat out any extra calories.

Cardio is fantastic, especially for your heart, and it is even better when you incorporate various forms of it into your normal workout routine, but doing cardio just by itself may not be helping you lose weight or obtain specific fitness goals. The repetition cardio requires can be taxing on your joints and tendons, wearing them out and causing tendonitis and potentially arthritis in your knees, shoulders, ankles and elbows.

Cardio also has negative effects on your metabolism, and to a point, will halt fat loss progress.

Just remember that everything, including working out, is better in moderation.

What You Should Take Away from This

Our bodies are meant to be active and always have been. From our evolutionary roots, human bodies have been tempered for fat storage and physical labor, and finding that balance in the age of abundance is essential for modern day survival. Keep in mind that working out and eating healthy are not just two opposites in the fitness world. Both are essential for overall body health and seeing positive physique results.

Being in shape will only get harder with age. That is why it is important to develop a consistent workout routine you enjoy and works with your schedule. Make working out a priority, whatever form of exercise you choose. Trust me, you will not regret it.