Lunden Souza: Cross-training can spice up your workout routine

02/08/2014 12:00 AM

02/07/2014 7:38 PM

I know I write a lot about staying motivated, but it is a constant in my life and a fire I want to keep burning the rest of my life.

Mixing up my training and trying different types of workouts is always a new challenge that releases a bit of my competitive edge. Just because I am fit doesn’t mean that I am good at every type of workout or can do any exercise on the first try, but I love to do just that – try.

Mixing up your workout routine by incorporating different styles and training techniques is called cross-training. I cannot stress enough how important cross training is to your normal workout routine. If you are feeling bored and repetitive with your workout, chances are your body is feeling it to.

Not only is it boring doing the same thing all the time, but your muscles adapt and get used to that amount of output for that particular workout routine. It’s time to really step it up, change it up, and challenge yourself physically and mentally.

At first, my training was a very strict five- to six-days a week in the gym alternating muscle groups and really pushing myself. That was great for a while, but I got bored being in my same surroundings day in and day out, and I was ready for a new challenge.

The first type of cross-training I started was yoga. I took a two-hour class, two days a week in college for three years. Not only did my core strength and flexibility improve, but my stress level was reduced. I realized this was a great way to still workout, but in a completely different way. Not to mention the mental break and mind-body connection yoga provided – something that has become essential in my life.

Now my newest endeavor is Kumdo martial arts. I have only been doing it for about four months, but it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.

Not only is the endurance from sparring a whole new ballgame for me, but the body weight training that goes along with it really brings every part of my being to the surface. Not only have I improved in martial arts (slowly but surely), but keeping the variety in my workout is making me stronger all around.

I love to run. It’s something that makes me happy and focused.

As a kid, I hurt my knee in soccer, and I still will experience pain every now and then if I do not keep up with the stretching and foam rolling every time I go out for a run.

Keeping up with my yoga, martial arts and strength training is increasing my running endurance and reducing my pain – probably due to better body alignment all together. I am getting better at running by continuing to run and recover as well as pushing myself to new heights in new fitness areas.

Not only is switching up your routine ideal to avoid boredom, but it’s excellent to experiment with different types of training (within your own training thresholds) to broaden the areas you develop and strengthen.

Maybe you have really strong cardio and can go full force on an elliptical machine for an hour, but could you hold a one-minute plank? Try new things that interest you and challenge you – never be afraid to try.

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