Cross- training can give you that fitness edge and get you off the plateau that you may have been sitting on for too long. Many of us get in that fitness rut. You know the one. Have you been going to the gym and watching those people who work out 4-5 times a week yet week after week, month after month, they never look any different. You might be one of those people as I was once. You go to the gym and you get on the exercise bike or treadmill for 30 minutes. You may be sweating but are you getting the most out of your workout? I did this for quite some time. I had my routine, treadmill or elliptical, then machines for the rest of my body, or some free weights, then end with some ab exercises. I did the same thing every time I went to the gym. Sometimes I would change things around, but obviously not often enough.
Well, let me tell you, my chicken wings were still there, and my abs didn’t look any better either. Until……..yes…….you guessed it…………P90X! Why did this work? Because of that whole muscle confusion thing. My body was used to the same old thing, it had adapted because I wasn’t giving it enough variety. Just like they say you should eat a variety of foods, well your muscles need a variety of exercises to get and stay toned so you’ll stay in shape. That’s where cross-training comes in.
Cross-training, what exactly is it?
What exactly does cross-training mean? Basically that you do a little of everything. You mix it up. That’s basically what P90X does for you without you having to think about it. Cross-training gets you out of that monotonous exercise mill, and brings some excitement into your exercise world. Cross-training will give you the body you want, and more strength which ultimately leads to more confidence. By Cross-training you’ll also be prone to fewer injuries. Cross-training means you’re doing some cardio/aerobic exercise, some sort of yoga or Pilates that will help you become more flexible, and some strength/weight training.
Cross-training, how do I do it?
How do you incorporate cross-training into your exercise schedule? Well, look at the activities you like to do and incorporate what’s missing.
- If you like to bike, walk, or play golf: do some weight training for your upper body and core exercises. Having a strong core is the key to all activities. It will make you more durable and less likely to get injured. I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…….oh yeah…..P90X.
- If you like to run: incorporate some type of yoga or stretching exercises to help lengthen your tight muscles, then also do some weight training and core exercises. Runners often have tight muscles, so it’s important to stretch them out, and especially make sure to stretch well before a run. Strengthening your core will help you run better. This is what I found out when I recently did a 5K after not running in 19 years. It made a big difference!
- If you like to swim: you might want to incorporate some lower body workouts since swimming tends to focus more on your upper body strength.
Cross-training, why should I do it?
Cross-training also makes sure that you don’t over use one muscle group. By not just hammering away at the same muscles every day, you’re able to reduce the stress on the same muscles and joints. This leads to less injuries, more durability, and longer and more frequent workouts. The key is to also make sure you take rest weeks otherwise you will be prone to injuries because you over trained and damaged your muscles. The rest allows your muscles to not just recover but to grow stronger.
Cross-training also makes you want to work out. This means you get bored less and will hopefully continue on your fitness journey which is really the goal. When all you’re doing is going to the gym and hanging out on the elliptical or treadmill for an hour, that gets a bit boring for you and your muscles. Well, more than a bit boring. Not only do you lose interest, but your muscles adapt to the routine and simply maintain, instead of grow stronger. That’s why there is so much variety in P90X and all the other Beachbody workouts. So you don’t get bored. We all know friends who have started a work out, then after a month they’ve given up. By cross-training, which means adding variety into your exercise program, you don’t get bored!
Cross-training, will it help me lose weight faster?
Cross-training will most likely help you lose weight faster provided you’re working out with the correct level of intensity. What does this mean? Intensity refers to how much you’re actually putting into the exercise. Are you pushing yourself enough, but not over the edge? One way to track this is by wearing a heart rate monitor. This can also help you understand what level of intensity you need to be working toward by teaching you what it feels like when you’re in your target heart rate zone. It is also important to write down your workout in a log. That way you can see if you are progressing or simply maintaining.
Cross-training, how do I get started?
Look at what you’re doing now and see how you can incorporate different activities. You basically want to alternate what you do each day. If you normally walk each day, try to incorporate some weight lifting and core routines into your exercise week. Track what you’re doing. Track how much weight you’re lifting and how many reps. Schedule all your exercise activities for the week or month so you can make sure you’re not doing the same thing each day.
OR you can go to Beachbody and order a fun workout that will give you the variety your body needs without having to figure it all out yourself. All their workouts come with schedules that tell you exactly what to do each day. That’s what I love about them. It’s easy because when you’re working out early in the morning, after a busy hectic day before, you don’t want to have to think about what you should be doing.
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