After having many years of training under my belt, it is interesting to reflect on the different types of training. To say that I have a magic formula on the best method is incorrect, but I definitely do have some tips that I have learned from doing many different forms of training. I will also preface this post by saying a few things:
1) No matter what type of training it is, it takes time to get in the shape you really desire. When I say time, I am talking about years. The gimmicks and fads of getting you "shredded" in 6 weeks is not true. Don't believe the hype.
2) Anything that is getting you to exercise is better than nothing. So I am not knocking or disapproving the different types of training. Being active is much better than inactive.
3) This is my opinion. Someone doesn't need to do these exact same things to get in shape. There are a ton of different ways that can get you in shape. What I am simply offering is some clarity to the different types of training and what you can expect.
So, let's get started.
Bodybuilding: First, let's clarify what I mean by bodybuilding. I am referring to having specific days to target specific muscle groups. Working with large compound movements but slowly moving towards smaller, isolation exercises to define muscle. Having workout days and splits based on specific muscle groups. What I like about bodybuilding is that if you are implementing the big compound movements, it will still give you a solid foundation of strength. However, for someone who needs to lose 50lbs, working the isolation body parts may not be the most beneficial. In addition, diet is hugely important with bodybuilding. Honestly, a lot of it comes down to your diet. But, if you want to look good naked, then bodybuilding is something to explore.
Powerlifting: Now my first avenue of fitness that I enjoyed was powerlifting. It was fun to lift heavy weights, hit PRs and throw chalk everywhere. It does help build muscle but it can be easy to continually test your strength and not build it. I would definitely suggest supplementing your powerlifting with other movements so your body does not create imbalances. My only problem with powerlifting is that since you are focusing mainly on 3 lifts, you are not developing overall athleticism. You can be the strongest guy/girl in the gym, but if you cannot run a mile then what is the point?
Circuit Training/Bootcamps: I have worked at a bootcamp gym before and while I think it is a good environment (everyone training together creating a community), but it really lacks the strength movements to build muscle which will help your fitness goals in the long run. It is more on the cardio side and doesn't have heavy big compound movements to build strength.
Crossfit: One of my new favourite methods of training. What I like about Crossfit is that there is no other method of training that has the same type of intensity. This causes more calories to be burned and the combination of strength and endurance is unparalleled. A few things that I do want to touch on though: with the intensity being so high, many people sacrifice form to complete the movements. Also, a good Crossfit gym will incorporate the big strength movements before the actual WOD (workout of the day) so that you can build the muscle necessary to become fitter. Both of these criteria require good coaches so ensure that you have good coaches to help you with this.
In general, I recommend having big compounds movements to start and then get some sort of high intensity training at the end of your session. However, whatever you enjoy that gets you moving is fine by me!