Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Benefits of Cross Training

"Everyone has limits on the time they can devote to exercise, and cross-training simply gives you the best return on your investment balanced fitness with minimum injury risk and maximum fun." - Paula Newby-Fraser

When I look back at my incredible day at IMLOU, I can attribute my success to one thing: CROSS TRAINING. During the training period leading up to race day, I taught 3 classes a week each of Body Flow and Body Pump as well as 2 classes of ZUMBA. Some days my legs were so tired I didn't think I'd make it through my workouts. Instead I had to rely on my mental toughness to find a way to get through the endless hours of exercise. Could that be another form of cross training? Well, I definitely think it helped to prepare me for my Ironman.

Now that we are in off season it's time to discuss some serious cross training. Not only does cross training help prevent injuries, it also rejuvenates you allowing you to focus on some activities which are actually fun. By focusing on activities which do not feel like work, your motivation can soar according to an article by Runner's World.

The goal of Strength Training? Muscle definition
We can all benefit from some strength training especially during the off season which is why I love teaching Body Pump. Ladies!!! I don't want to hear it! Strength training is not going to turn you into a bulky body builder. You do not have the testosterone for it. Building lean muscle mass will make you a stronger swimmer, cyclist or runner and rev up your metabolism. Can't make it to the gym to attend a Pump class? Try this cross training program for cyclists. Google cross training programs. You have tons of resources at your finger tips.

In addition to strength training, I believe yoga and stretching are keys to your fitness. So many times I watch runners finish their daily training and then plop their butts down on the nearest seat. My muscles tighten up just watching! Instead use a stretching program to wind down your heart rate as well as trying to lengthen your muscles. I always tell my Body Flow classes we have to do our hamstring stretches in order to prevent us from shuffling as we enter old age. We want to take nice, long confidant strides in order to get from point A to point B.

Strength training and stretching are just two options for cross training. If you are tired of running, take up cross country skiing. If you are tired of cycling, start a pick up league for basketball or volleyball. Just be active and challenge your body in a new way.

You won't be sorry.

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