It may not be the most obvious thing to ask yourself, but how much do you know about fitness? Like most of us you probably see exercise as an active pursuit rather than something that is learned.
However, there is a lot to be learned about fitness. But do you know where to go to get this information? We have looked at 8 ways to improve your fitness knowledge from taking a course in fitness and nutrition to reading books and watching videos.
Take A Course
If you are serious about learning more about fitness then the best way to do that would be to take an accredited course on fitness and nutrition.
Depending on where you choose to do this type of course the fees can range from $2,500 to a few hundred dollars. Duration and content can vary substantially, and you need to know that the course provider is accredited. Accredited courses will be more expensive.
NASM is the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has been the standard in fitness for more than 30 years. If you take their fitness and nutrition course you can become a personal trainer and nutrition coach, both of which are certified by NASM.
There are other fitness course providers out there, and you may have no wish to become a personal trainer or nutrition coach. If you only want to learn more about fitness to improve your own knowledge of the subject then this level of training may be a bit excessive.
Consult A Professional Trainer
Probably the easiest way to improve your fitness knowledge is to hire a professional trainer. They should be certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine or the American Council on Exercise. Personal trainers also need to have CPR training.
A personal trainer knows a lot about body mechanics, human physiology, exercise science and behavior change among other things. They can teach you about the proper form for different exercises, how to use gym equipment and which exercises will work for you.
When you hire a personal trainer you should take the opportunity to learn as much as you can from them. Of course, they are there to help you get fit and eat a nutritious diet but ask questions about things that you are doing or why certain things are beneficial to you.
They can teach you about subjects that will impact your health and fitness now and in the future. So take full advantage of having a personal trainer and don’t be shy about asking them questions.
Take Fitness Classes
Apart from taking a course or hiring a personal trainer, attending a regular fitness class is one of the best ways to improve your fitness knowledge. Perhaps the most important benefit is that you have someone right in front of you that can teach you proper form.
Getting your form right is clearly vital in order to avoid injury, but there is another important reason. Poor or incorrect form when exercising will be less effective and may not achieve the result that you want.
When you exercise alone or watch fitness videos there isn’t the opportunity to ask questions or have someone check that you are doing the exercise correctly. Not only that but you know that this person is a professional trainer and the information they are giving you is correct.
If you do have any questions about your fitness, exercises or nutrition chances are your trainer will be able to answer them for you. A trainer will also be able to help you focus on aspects of your workout that will most benefit you.
Read Books & Articles
There are countless books available about fitness and nutrition either in print or as an ebook. Whether you are looking for a beginner’s guide to exercise or you are interested in delving deeper into the subject there are hundreds if not thousands to choose from.
However, fitness books are typically written from someone else’s fitness philosophy, so you need to choose carefully.
You’ll also need to select the kind of exercise niche that you are interested in. This might be fitness for runners or the best strength training or how to stay flexible.
The same is true for articles online, there are many different approaches to fitness, so you’ll need to narrow down your choices to find the best ones for you. There is an abundance of information and advice that you can draw inspiration from.
Fitness magazines are another great resource for learning about exercise and nutrition. Find a few well established and reputable magazines and subscribe to either the print or digital format.
Sometimes you need something more interactive than books, magazines or online articles. Fitness videos are a great way to gain better knowledge about health, fitness and nutrition. Recently the most popular way to watch fitness videos is on YouTube.
If you find a channel that is about the fitness subject you are interested in such as yoga, HIIT, or strength training then you can subscribe and get new content regularly. Some of the more popular YouTube fitness channels have millions of subscribers.
This is a low cost and convenient way to access knowledge about fitness. However, you need to be cautious about which channel you watch as many are hosted by people with no formal training in fitness and nutrition.
Find two or three accredited fitness instructors that specialize in the area you are interested in and subscribe to their channels. You may find that you prefer one channel in particular maybe because of the presentation style, or it is more specific about what you want to learn.
Reputable Websites & Blogs
There are just as many websites and blogs about fitness as there are YouTube channels, so again you will have to narrow down your choices. If you do some research in the fitness area you want to learn about you will find information about the best people to learn from.
Look for qualified fitness instructors who have been in the fitness industry for a number of years and are established and reputable. The same goes for blogs. Anyone can write a blog or set up a website about fitness, but it doesn’t automatically make them an expert.
When you do find a good website you will be able to look at past as well as current content to improve your fitness knowledge. Good fitness channels will have more than workout videos. They will have break-downs of how to do certain exercises safely to avoid injury.
You may also find some fitness channels that offer recipes for healthy foods and give nutrition advice.
Online fitness communities shouldn’t be your first port of call when it comes to improving your fitness knowledge, but they can be a useful resource. Many are aligned with a YouTube channel, but others are stand-alone forums or online communities.
They are a good way to exchange information, advice and ideas. This can help with accumulating information about fitness techniques, or exercises that work well or things that don’t work particularly well.
It can save you time and money particularly when it comes to buying fitness equipment and products. Getting recommendations can be very helpful if it comes from people who have already had experience with a product or workout.
There are also fitness apps that you can download to your mobile making it possible to work out anywhere. Many are quite niche, for example some will focus on toning fitness for women while also incorporating a healthy diet.
You can get good information from online fitness communities but always do your research to verify any information too.
With all of the above ways in which you can improve your fitness knowledge there is one that only you can do, practice regularly. As we know practice makes perfect and this applies to exercising and fitness programs too.
When you have been exercising for a while you will get to know which workouts best suit you, how they benefit you and what you can do to make them even better.
You may have started out thinking that you just need to do aerobic exercises but have learned that strength training is also important for all round fitness, not just for looking buff. Learning while doing is one of the best ways to improve your fitness.
Like most things in life you will always learn something new especially if you keep yourself informed and up to date with what is happening in the fitness world.
There is not just one way to learn about fitness or to increase your knowledge. Even if you were to take a fitness and nutrition course you would still be learning new things all the time as the industry grows and develops.
Combining as many of the resources that we have suggested as you can will give you an excellent foundation of knowledge about exercise and fitness.