Cross-training is simply varying your exercise. Typically with exercise, once we find something that we like, we continue to do that form of exercise because it is enjoyable and comfortable. To some that could be running, cycling, swimming laps, or lifting weights; others enjoy dance classes, kickboxing, yoga, or Pilates. Whichever form of exercise you prefer usually ends up being the only form of exercise that you participate in…and that’s not always a good thing.
When we do something repetitively, our bodies (more specifically our muscles) become more efficient and acclimated. As a result, we may not end up seeing the same results we did before when we first began. You may go from seeing your weight and body fat percentage dropping consistently for the first 2-6 months into a gradual plateau where nothing seems to change. While you are still doing the same thing you started out doing (and it’s still fun), you aren’t getting the same results. That is why it is great to cross-train!
If you vary your workouts throughout the week (or month), your muscles will never get used to one thing, so you will continue to burn more calories with each different workout as opposed to what you would burn doing the same workout every day.
Benefits of Cross-Training
- Reduces exercise boredom
- Allows you to be flexible about you training needs and plans (if the pool is closed, you can go for a run instead).
- Produces a higher level of all around conditioning
- Conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups
- Reduces the risk of injury
- Work some muscles while others rest and recover
- Can continue to train while injured
- Improves your skill, agility and balance
If you are used to only doing lap swim or water aerobics, maybe you should check out the gym! Talk with your trainer at your next follow-up appointment about adding strength training to your routine. We could even switch up your cardio to doing the elliptical or Arc Trainer. If you’re a regular gym attender, then you could check out the pool. If you’re thinking water aerobics wouldn’t be as good of a workout, I think you will be surprised! Some people may just not be “water people” and that’s okay– stay in the gym! Just ask your trainer to change up your strength training routine or show you how to mix up your cardio. If you don’t have a follow up scheduled, just give us a call at (478) 333-6777 and we’ll be happy to meet with you and what we can do to help!
About the Author
Wellness Trainer, Jessie Tanner, was born in Winder, GA and moved to Macon in 1991. She joined the Cantrell Center Team in 2006. When asked what she loves most about her job at the Cantrell Center, she responded, ” I enjoy being able to interact with wellness members. By getting to help them with their exercise goals and fitness routine, and also in getting to know them personally, it helps me to guide and direct them in the best way possible. To be able to play a small role in getting people healthy and/or maintaining a healthy lifestyle is of great joy to me.”