I see it in my gym all the time: The same person, at the same time of day, doing the same routine they did yesterday. Usually, it is someone on a treadmill or stair climber thinking of nothing else but burning calories. While it’s better than nothing, time to think differently and strive for total fitness rather than just calorie reduction. No matter what you choose, you must modify and/or control your nutrition to see results.
As a tried and true distance runner, the thought of doing anything other than running was of no interest to me when I was much younger. While I am still a road warrior, I have come to appreciate over the years that my running vastly improved when I balanced my miles with a much broader exercise regimen than single-minded running. I actually ran faster and minimized injury as I improved core strength and reduced body fat.
If you want to make a resolution to yourself (New Year’s or otherwise) commit to breaking the same old same old routine by cross training. Start to incorporate different exercises into your fitness schedule to give your body a more balanced workout and make your body stronger. For example, if you only run, you will have strong legs and good cardio but your core and upper body will be weak. If you only lift weights, your cardio will be weak and jogging to your mail box can seem like a chore. Do them both and a whole lot more.
It is not as hard as it seems. It all starts with mindset. Commit yourself to a balanced regimen. Although I constantly change my workout routines, here is a typical week:
Monday: Boot Camp at the gym. This is a group class that makes you feel like you are in basic training for the Marines. It’s a total body work out using your body weight (push ups, crunches, etc) and a variety of props like weights, medicine balls, and elastic bands. 45 minutes of no holds barred fitness mania.
Tuesday: Pilates group class in the gym. The Pilates method seeks to develop controlled movement from a strong core through a variety of exercises either on a floor or Swiss ball. Core strength is so neglected yet critical to achieve fitness balance. It is involved in everything we do.
Wednesday: Rest Day. Don’t underestimate the power of rest. It’s a weapon to avoid over-training.
Thursday: Yoga group class. Yoga is critical as the dedicated stretching minimizes injury when cross training with other exercise disciplines.
Saturday: Distance run: 6 mile run.
Sunday: Interval training at the local high school track. I incorporate sprints and a variety of interval techniques to improve both speed and fitness. I’ll expand on interval training on subsequent blog posts.
Don’t’ put fitness into “cardio today” or “weights only”. Think of fitness as cutting across a wide range of disciplines to shock your body into constantly having to adapt to something new. Happy Cross Training.