Looking for a mid-winter challenge? Come and do the Tough Guy and Gal in Palmerston North on June 7th, with us. A contingent of Results Room trainers and members will be heading up on the day to test their fitness and toughness.
What will you prove by doing it?
Besides having some ammo for trash talking and generally teasing other 'less tough' people, this type of event is true cross training; a measure of a persons fitness, endurance, strength, and their ability to overcome those out of the comfort zone situations. For a single-sport athlete, cross training can mean anything outside of that persons primary sport or activity.
It can be beneficial to get out of the controlled environment of a gym or studio class sometimes and to measure ones self against more 'real world' tasks. Not everybody ever needs to perform a perfect power clean in life, but many times will be challenged with hiking a muddy hill, climbing a slippery ladder, or having to swim in deep or dirty water.
One of the key reasons to cross train is to avoid the injury that can come from using just one set of muscles repeatedly, as is common when performing your main exercise code. The harder you train your body for just one activity, the more stress you put on all the muscles and bones involved in that one activity. But, this is also where there is more risk of overuse, and a greater risk of injury.
This is where cross training can be most effective, by alternating your workout routines in a way that can increase your performance - whether that be fitness, improved movement, or increasing any weaker areas of the body - all without stressing your body detrimentally.
Getting your active recovery sessions in is also a good way to use these different activities, as it is when you have an injury that may be hampering your main activity. Doing something different gives you a chance to still exercise and be physical while working around the injury. This keeps you moving forward, while still giving some healing time to a niggly area of the body.
The last and perhaps best reason to cross train is to provide a mental 'freshen up'. If you're plateauing in your main code, feeling unmotivated, or just need to refocus, taking a break and doing something different can be very beneficial, and provide the breakthrough needed.
How to get more Cross training in
For people devoted to a particular fitness activity or sport, there are specific activities that make up an ideal cross training routine. If running has been your only activity, your "programming" for overall better fitness would include strengthening exercises for the core, hips, and upper body. If you've been primarily doing weight lifting, you'd do well to add in some cardio.
For people who are simply looking get the most out of their workout time, cross training doesn't require specific exercises. As long as there is variation in the activities you're doing then you are cross training. Vary between aerobic conditioning, strength training, endurance, balance, and don't forget getting outdoors, having fun, and skill games -- all these modalities are important for keeping you balanced.
For optimal success at Results Room we suggest focusing on a week with 4-5 sweaty sessions; each of which can include the above elements.
Keep in mind you can also get the effects of cross training if you live a varied and physically active life, so rock climbing, rollerblading, cycling, kayaking, hiking, jogging, or skiing, are all excellent ways to stay socially active and keep the body fit, and be prepared for whatever challenge crosses your path...... like this one!
Here's a taste of what to expect.....