Tired of doing the same old thing when it comes to your weekly fitness routine? Well, even if you aren’t, your body probably is! Doing too much of the same thing when you exercise is the leading cause of training plateaus, chronic injuries, boredom and burnout. So how about fooling your body this spring with a cross training program.
What is Cross Training?
Cross training has an overall as well as a more specific meaning. From an overall perspective it means making sure that your weekly program includes all three of the primary components of physical fitness. Those components are cardio-respiratory fitness, muscular strength and flexibility.
All too often we get caught up in only one or two of these components due to lack of time or personal preference. Think about it; Picture yourself working out right now. What pops into your mind? A jog? Hitting the weights? Taking a yoga or Pilates class? We all have workout preferences and they are usually based on the things we are already comfortable doing and feel pretty proficient at. If you are in good cardio shape you probably walk or jog a lot and that is what you feel like doing most of the time. If you are flexible, you more than likely enjoy yoga, dance and Pilates classes. And if you have big muscles, I’ll bet you are a regular in the weight room.
Unfortunately, the things we don’t naturally want to do are the ones we avoid. These are also typically the activities we need most to balance or cross train our fitness program. So, the next time you get the urge to exercise try doing the thing you like least first and saving the thing you are already good at for last. Fool your body and watch how you’ll benefit. That means you cardio animals better start hitting the weights and you weight lifters need to find a good Yoga class!
Cross Training Specifics
Cross training can also be specific to each of the three components of fitness. Take a look at what you typically do for cardio fitness, strength training and flexibility enhancement and think about trying different modes or ways to reach those goals. For example, if you always run or walk, try swimming or cycling or a dance class. If you always train in the gym with machines, switch to free weights or body weight exercises, like pull ups and push up, every so often. If you have been pretty good about doing regular stretching exercises, try a yoga or dynamic stretching workout such as Tia Chi.
By changing the way we stimulate our heart and skeletal muscles you challenge them in new ways causing new results. You also shift the movement stress, which will reduce overuse injuries that can occur from doing too much of the same thing. And last but certainly not least, you refresh your mind and build greater self-confidence in the new skills you master.
Here is a sample of a well-balanced Cross Training Schedule
Monday – power walk and athletic stretching
Tuesday – body weight calisthenics
Wednesday – Cycle workout and yoga stretches
Thursday – Free weight workout
Friday – run/walk intervals and athletic stretching
Saturday – cardio/strength circuit
Sunday – Tia Chi
Ideally you should try to do some type of activity every day of the week. So don’t let your old fitness program pull an April Fools joke on you … get out there and apply the principles of Cross Training.
No matter what kind of exercising you are doing, be sure to get your essential nutrients each day to help support your body. Take a liquid glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to support mobility, flexibility and lubrication for joint health. A multivitamin with B complex is a great daily wellness support plus energy booster. Make these a part of your daily routine to help keep you healthy and exercising all spring and summer.