This is the #1 question I get from people asking me what exercise is better for weight loss – weight training or running, HIIT or Zumba, high intensity or low intensity?

The question is an interesting one because it doesn’t take individual factors into account. Many people have the “one size fits all” mentality when we are all very different inside and out.

So, the better question would be “what’s the best exercise for me to lose weight?” The answer needs to take several variables into account, the most important of which is the emotional reason someone exercises.

Don’t Exercise For Weight Loss

When people start choosing the exercise they do based on a potential outcome it might provide, they tend to pick physical activities they don’t enjoy. And as I’ve talked about before, if you don’t enjoy the exercise you’ll never stick with it long enough to see the side effects it can provide.

Weight loss is simply a function of engaging in a physical activity you like, while doing it consistently and long enough to see the changes in your body.

When you exercise for weight loss you’re trying to skip to the end of the “story”. You’re missing out on the present moment, and you never make the association between the exercise you do and how it makes you feel right now.

This instant gratification that comes from moving your body is what keeps you motivated long enough to reap the benefits of physical activity. It’s what enables you to see your weight loss.

Weight loss and habit change are slow processes. If you’re continually focused on the outcome, you’ll never stick with your program (lifestyle) long enough. You’ll give up due to frustration and burnout.

We expect positive things from the work we put in. The positives are here and now – not in the future.

What Do You Like To Do?

Certain physical activities will give you different results. There’s no doubt about it.

Walking and strength training have different side effects. Running and powerlifting make your body look different.

So, what do you do when you want a body but you don’t like the exercise you must do to get it?

I wish there was an easy answer to that question, but you have two options:

1. You can change what you think your ideal physique should be. Ask yourself why you want that physique. Is it due to societal pressures? Do you think people will see you differently? Will you see yourself differently?

2. You can experiment with trying new physical activities you enjoy that can lead to a similar result. (i.e. dancing instead of jogging, or bodyweight workouts instead of weight training)

Ask yourself what physical activities you enjoy doing. That’s your starting place. Doing that is what’s going to keep you moving your body consistently for weeks, months, and years. If you don’t know what you’d enjoy then find friends who exercise and ask to tag along.

You may enjoy exercising with a group or you might like it better if you exercised alone listening to a podcast or music. Experiment to find what gives you the “That wasn’t so bad, in fact, I enjoyed it” feeling

That’s what will give you a favorable outcome.

Once you find what you enjoy, that exercise becomes a part of your lifestyle, and you can make small adjustments that will influence the outcome. But this time you maintain a connection to the process and the joy moving your body brings you.

Start the body transformation process by finding the physical activities you enjoy – regardless of the outcome they give you. Make moving your body a part who you are, then adjust your body image expectations to end your internal struggle once and for all.