Cross training is a way to work on more than one aspect of your physical fitness at the same time. It’s doing something other than your “favorite” sport or exercise and doing another that complements and adds to your overall fitness level. There are so many good reasons to cross train — the real question should be: if you’re not cross-training, why not?
It’s a great way for any level of exerciser to make sure they get a well rounded workout, to challenge your body in all directions, to reduce the risk of injury, to see faster results, and — one of the top reasons to cross train — to avoid boredom!
If you are dedicated to having a fit and healthy body, it is important to vary your exercise routine whether you are a beginner or a professional. Learning a new skill or strengthening neglected body parts opens up a new world of possibilities. After months of the same workout, your body becomes efficient performing the same movements; rather than continuing to improve, you will simply maintain. So to reduce the risk of overuse-injury, expand your training. Do things that will challenge you to improve over all fitness mentally and physically. Just mix and match your sports.
I love to combine elements of yoga, kickboxing, dance and traditional fitness exercises. These exercises keep my attention, and I know that by mastering them I gain a new level of skill, strength and fitness.
Try this combination at home for a new workout challenge:
Begin by isometrically holding the pose I call “warrior” for 30 seconds. The warrior pose symbolizes courage and increases body temperature safely and effectively. Then bring your feet together for tadasana or what I call “Ready” pose. Alternate these two for one minute while repeating to yourself either out loud or silently, “I am a warrior! I am ready.” This engages you mentally and helps you train yourself to keep an empowering attitude. A powerful attitude inspires powerful action and that gives you powerful results.
Next add this martial arts workout: Do a series on nonstop one-two punches in a neutral stance for at least one minute. This will increase cardiovascular endurance, coordination, and it will define and shape your core and your upper body. To engage your mind and to inspire yourself to a higher level of strength, repeat out loud, “I am strong now.” It is extremely challenging to speak out loud while working out — so if you are too out-of-breath to speak while performing the exercises, do shorter segments or just whisper the words. This way you are still engaging your mind. It has the power to influence you negatively or positively. You choose.
The last part of this cross-training workout will keep your heartrate up; reshape your hamstrings, buttocks and thighs; and help improve balance. Step out to one side and bring your hand to the floor or to your thigh. I call this the power lunge. Push back to center with power, and try to catch your balance before going to the other side. Do at least one minute of lunges on each side and mentally or verbally hold the statement, “I am powerful now.” The louder you say it, the more challenging it is — and the more power this mind-body exercise will have to increase your energy. How you feel impacts how you train, and how you feel is directly related to what you are thinking.
Cross-training means doing exercises that increase your overall fitness — heart, mind, and body. See yourself as an athlete and make cross-training a fun way to improve your fitness level and self esteem. You deserve it.
P.S. Check out the new Gaiam cross-training DVDs we just shot for a great and challenging addition to any sport or physical activity you do. Expand your fitness, expand your mind and increase your skill: Try something new!