I wish I could run every day. As much as I’d love that, my body just won’t have it. I wish I could ski every day. I wish I could bust out a badass flow on my mat every day. My body just won’t have it.
My body just isn’t capable of going hard in any of my favorite activities every single day. Not only does it crave diversity in my sweat sessions, it always performs better when I mix it up. And rest.
I’ve learned to not only accept the benefits of cross training, but to really love it. Bootcamp sessions with friends are fun, restorative yoga is relaxing, HIIT yoga and spin classes are about the sweatiest I’ve ever been, boxing is incredibly empowering and therapeutic.
Cross training allows your body to work, sweat, and get stronger in other, dynamic ways. If all I did was run on the beach, my muscles would only get strong in one way. And would get overworked. And so bored. As would I.
So let’s talk cross training favorites:
This is a great way for me to sweat impact-free. I know a ton of runners and athletes that train on bikes. Spin classes and circuit training on the bike are no joke! I never thought bikes could be that challenging until I started doing Burncycle classes and sprint circuits, not to mention mountain biking in Colorado (the very little I did).
Surfing and Swimming
I love how long and lean I feel after surfing or swimming. You’re using your entire body for free style, my favored stroke. Swimming laps in a pool is wonderfully meditative for me. And surfing, while I don’t get to do it very often and I totally suck at it, is one of my favorite activities. When it’s flat out I love paddling around on my board in the ocean. And then I Superman splash in a wave every so often, aka every time I catch a wave.
I thought boxing would be great therapy. Since finding out about my dad’s illness, there are times I just want to punch the s*** out of something. Boxing inherently allows me to do that! It’s also incredibly empowering. As I’m alone a lot around town, out running, traveling, it gives me a little extra something to whip out of my back pocket in case something happens. (Don’t worry, I’m not itching to start a bar fight any time soon.) But it’s also a great workout! We work agility with foot work, stamina with long combinations, core and shoulder muscles, and general badassery.
Power Vinyasa and HIIT Yoga
I’d say Power Vinyasa is definitely one of my main activities. But it makes for great cross training for running and all of my other sports.
Now HIIT yoga is it’s own entity entirely. You would think working in HIIT circuits to a yoga flow would be that challenging but holy s*** would you be wrong. And it never gets any easier! It’s always kick butt, you think you’re going to puke or die at various times throughout the workout, but you’re always glad you did it. I’ve noticed my running endurance has improved greatly in the last year of doing HIIT yoga!
I love that HIIT yoga weekly workouts are now available! Subscribe now and get your sweat on anytime, anywhere!
Bootcamp and PT
Squats, burpees, pushups, and weight training are classics for a reason. They work! I have my physical therapy exercises I do for my knees. Outside of that I love going to bootcamp classes at Flex & Flow. Tasha and Jamie kick my butt every time, but we have so much fun every time, even as our muscles are burning.
When I can’t make it to classes, I need a little inspiration. Sometimes I’ll work circuits into my runs and bust some lunges, squats, and pushups. I’ll participate in challenges, like the #AthleteInside Challenge with Designer Protein, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Zorn Fitness (today is the last day!).
Hiking and Skiing
Nothing works my quads like hoofing it straight up a mountain. Especially if I have all my ski gear with me when I’m skinning.
Standup paddle boarding works it all: core, arms, balance, coordination. Using your core is kind of the secret to paddling, and helps save your shoulders. Not to mention, it’s beautiful being out on the water! Sometimes it’s calm and an easy paddle, sometimes I feel like I’ll never make it home fighting against wind and current.