People are more mindful of their weight and body image today than ever before. Trying to find a workout routine to reduce your body fat and get fit is not an easy task though. From retail stores to online sites, you can find workout videos just about anywhere.
While there are thousands of workout videos to choose from, many people don’t even know where to start. Having so many options can be overwhelming and confusing. We’ll show you the pitfalls based on real people’s experiences, and most importantly we’ll list the criteria to get a workout routine that fits you and your lifestyle.
Pitfalls of Fitness Programs
Pitfall #1: Repetitive and boring exercises. One workout goer, Lauren, just finished her first workout of a popular program. She is excited to be exercising again and feels accomplished with Day 1 behind her.
Lauren checks what the first week of the program looks like and to her surprise she has to repeat the workout she just did for not only the next several days, but for the next several weeks. “What?” She says to herself, “I just spent my money to get only 1 or 2 workouts?! What a rip-off”
Lauren decides to give it a try now that she bought the program and doesn’t want the hassle of returning it. Day 2 of the workout is ok, giving her some hope that maybe it’s not so bad doing the same workout. But as the week goes on, the workouts drag. She eventually gets bored and quits.
Pitfall #2: Intros that waste your time. Another story I heard was from this lady named Krissy who bought a well-known workout series. She said that every time she played her video, she was “greeted” by several minutes of intros that couldn’t be skipped. Even worse, was that the commercials were for the trainer’s other workout programs and products.
Krissy is frustrated because she wants to start working out, but the very program that is supposed to be motivating her is actually DEMOTIVATING her. After the fitness propaganda run its course, the workout trainer shows up on the screen and gives their intro. When the program is ready to begin and Krissy looks at the elapsed time. The introductions ate up about 5 minutes of her time.
The reason why Krissy wants to work out at home is because she’s crunched for time and likes the convenience of home workouts. Unfortunately, the program she bought didn’t fit in with her expectations.
Pitfall #3: Extras not included. Our third case is of Ralph. Ralph purchases a program that he sees on TV. In addition to buying the program, he has to get some extra equipment like weights, resistance bands, and also a pull up bar.
He spends additional time researching where to buy this equipment and waiting for it to be shipped to him. He adds up the costs of the pricey program and the additional items he has to buy.
To make matters more difficult, Ralph has limited storage space in his house. He does not know where to put the pull up bar contraption, the weights, resistance bands, and the 2 workout matts (one for him and one for his weights). He finally finds a corner closet he can barely fit everything into, but he realizes that taking this in and out every day is going to be a pain.
Pitfall #4: Lack of structure (something I personally experienced!) And last is a story of my own experience with a workout program. There are two things that this program needs to drastically improve.
First is the post-purchase follow up and support- it is seriously lacking. I did not hear from the company for at least 2 months after my purchase. Also, I did not know what tools, if any, were available for me to support, guide and motivate me through the process.
Secondly, the format of the workout is flat out horrendous. All the workouts are in separate short video clips. It comes with a printable PDF that has names and descriptions of the exercises as well.
I had to carry this piece of paper with me and take the time to read each instruction for the exercises. This has to be done every single day of the entire program.
Also, some of the descriptions were confusing and lengthy. To see a physical demonstration of the videos, I would have to log into the site to find that video and watch the video clip of how to perform it. By the time I did that I already wasted several minutes. Imagine wasting that much time in between every set.
I’m like 99.9% of the people out there. I want to finish my workouts as quick as possible. The structure of the workouts does not make this possible.
Besides the hassle and frustrations with having my workouts interrupted, it was impacting the quality of my workout. I was sitting there, reading exercise instructions, scrolling through video clips and trying to make sense of the workouts. I felt my heart rate start to drop and knew that these interruptions were significantly reducing the fat burning and cardio benefits.
Checklist of Finding a Workout Program
These are just some of the main reasons people do not have good successes or experiences with buying workout routines. It’s a shame that most fitness companies come out with mediocre content with the intent to make a quick buck rather than help people achieve the best results possible.
I’ve compiled a checklist of the criteria that is crucial for ANY program to meet. If you don’t use this checklist then you can fall in the same trap like Lauren, Krissy, Ralph and even myself!
1. The trainer is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Go to the trainer’s website, read their content, and get to know them more. This is a great way to interact with the trainer and build some type of connection with them. You can get a good read off the person by reading content they write or watching free videos that they’re in. This is important because having your personality matchup with the trainer’s personality will make the program more enjoyable.
Credentials, like a Certified Personal Trainer, makes trainers more reputable and trustworthy. The trainer has to commit a little extra time into understanding the physiology behind developing a solid workout plan and having proper form for exercises. Certified Personal Trainers are taught how workouts should be performed and the ways to engage and maximize your muscle output.
HOWEVER having credentials is not at all necessary and can sometimes be misleading. People often associate higher value and trust to someone with more certificates or awards, but someone without the same credentials can run circles around those so called “experts”.
Where the difference lies is in how committed the trainer and overall program are to helping you. Extensive knowledge and experience in the health and fitness realm carries more weight in my opinion. So get someone that lives and breathes fitness and hopefully the passion they have will rub off on you.
2. Has a genuine interest in helping you succeed.
It’s extremely important to look at things from the buyer’s perspective and not only look at the bottom line. So many products force feed consumers to buy their stuff without getting to know them first. The end result: everyone loses. The customer’s not happy with their purchase and the company in the long run loses out on other business because that bad experience echoes throughout the internet.
How do you know if a company is in it for your success or their success? Simple. Go through their website and read everything they have to offer.
Also, a huge warning sign that a program is only looking out for themselves is if they try to upsell you. Upselling is a sales tactic to get the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or add-ons to make a more profitable sale (Source 1). Programs that try to upsell you during the checkout process is banking that you’ll make an impulsive buying decision and not a decision that will really benefit you.
Approach this sales tactic with a lot of skepticism. Say no to any type of upsell offerings because you should do research to see if what they are offering is actually a benefit to you. I am not saying that all upselling is bad. Sometimes the product or service offerings are an excellent pairing and could really help you out.
But anyone that pressures you into a sale saying to take it or leave it, ALWAYS leave it. If it was really so great, that offer will still be available when you come back.
I had an experience of my own with purchasing an online workout program that was very negative. They threw so many offerings at me during the checkout process. It was clear that their goal was to try to make as much money off of me.
At that point seeing that in the checkout process, I was thinking if it was worth for me to buy the program. I went against my initial gut feeling and bought it anyway. My suspicions were unfortunately right.
Looking back on it, I should have taken their aggressive upsell tactics as a warning sign that this may not be the best fit for me. I got my money back shortly after buying the program and would never recommend that program.
I come from a sales background, so I am very familiar with the right way and wrong way of selling. I share the same philosophy with Dan Pink, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. Dan says, “Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone, stop what you’re doing and up serve instead.”
3. Offers support.
This can come in the form of additional resources you get with the program like a meal guide or a community forum. Ideally you want one that offers both.
These are important because working out isn’t just about burning calories. It’s about the calories you eat too. It’s crucial to find a program that understands there cannot be success unless you eat right, train right and get all the support you need.
4. Has strength training and a variety of movements in the workouts.
All workouts are not created equally. You have yoga, Pilates, dancing, and dozens of other workout options to help you get in shape. Just as all workouts are not the same, all people are not the same as well. People have different fitness goals and interests, so there's not just one solution for everyone.
There is extensive research, however, showing that strength training, plyometric and cardio exercises have numerous health benefits for your heart and muscles. In case you’re not familiar about those movements, plyometric is a set of explosive movements (for example specialized repeated jumping), cardio movements keep your heart rate up and strength training builds lean muscle.
If you’re looking to strengthen your body and get lean definition, then a good option for you is to get a workout that incorporates at least 2 of the 3 movements (strength training, plyometric, cardio) into the fitness routines. Workout programs that have a wide range of movements challenge your muscles and keeps you from being bored!
5. Works your upper and lower body in the same workout session.
If you’ve been on my homepage, you already know that I am a huge supporter of working both upper and lower body muscles either simultaneously or at the very least in the same workout routine. I do not like programs that only focus on a section of your body.
Sectional workouts do not burn as many calories or strengthen your body like full body exercises. The reason is because your leg muscles have more mass than your upper body, so it burns more calories.
How do you know what type of workouts are in a fitness program? Do some research on Amazon.com or simply type in google “what exercises are in (said program here).”
6. Is easy to watch and is entertaining.
There’s two things that make videos BORING.
First is when they have lengthy intros as we talked about earlier in Krissy’s story. It’s shocking how many programs have lengthy intros that you can’t skip over. Why do they do this? Simply because they want to sell more DVDs and products to you. Instead of the company asking “How can we provide more value?” they are asking “How can we increase our profits?”
Second is when the trainer is boring or the music is boring. I’ve watched many workouts on demand and I’ve been amazed that people actually watch them. I would rather watch Mr. Rogers put his shoes on and sing it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood for 5 hours straight than listen to those trainers. I want to splash cold water on their face and say “Wake up! You’re putting everyone to sleep!”
Exercising should be lively and energetic. It should help you rid your body of anxiety and pent up energy, and help you clear your mind. The only way to do that is to put intensity and energy into your workouts consistently. It is extremely difficult to do that if you don’t have a trainer fueling that energy inside of you.
Do you have your own horror story of purchasing a fitness program? Comment below to let us know!