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Cross Training Breaks Boredom

What is cross training, and why should I consider trying it? Let's start with a simple definition. Cross training is, training in different sports by using alternating regimens. One example is by combining running, bicycling and swimming. Three different sports. Three different types of exercise programs. Combine them, and you're cross training.

If you're an athlete who trains specifically for one sport, cross training involves training in exercise activities other than your primary sport.

Cross training programs are great because they help shake up boring workouts. You can use them to help recover from over-training injuries by targeting lesser-used muscles. It's also a good way to push yourself past plateaus.

You don't have to be an athlete or even athletic to cross train. For example, if you exercise by walking, you're primarily working your lower body. If you add some weight training for your upper body a couple of times a week, you're now cross training. It's that simple!

I'm going to give you a couple of different cross training routines that are island friendly.

The first routine is for those of you who don't like to workout in a gym.

It combines kayaking, running, snorkeling, and calisthenics. It's especially good for runners who are looking to build some upper body strength.

Monday run at a medium to high difficulty level.

Tuesday go kayaking. It builds your back, shoulders and biceps while giving your legs time to recuperate.

Wednesday is a light running day to help keep your body burning fat.

Thursday, you rest. Yaaay!

Friday, you're going to jog but with calisthenics added throughout the run. It should be at medium to high-intensity level, and you'll be making four stops. Spread the stops evenly through your run.

On your first stop, do a set of pushups. On your second stop, do a set of sit-ups. The third stop, you'll do a set of pull-ups with your palms facing away from you. This one is tricky since you need to plan your run to bring you near equipment to do a pull-up. You can get a pull-up bar in your home and make that's one of your stops, or scout out playground equipment you can use. Your fourth stop do pushups again, and when you finish your run, do one last set of sit-ups.

If you want to workout another day this week, add snorkeling. It helps build your legs with minimal stress on your joints, and you can explore at the same time.

This second routine includes strength training, yoga, and alternates rollerblading with an elliptical trainer.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are strength-training days. You work each body part once a week.

Tuesday and Thursday, add yoga, dance or martial arts. My favorite is Bikram Yoga, but ask around to find a class you're comfortable with. Make sure the classes you take on Tuesday and Thursdays work your cardiovascular system.

Saturday, if the weather's nice, try rollerblading. Don't forget your pads and helmet. On hot or rainy days, you can stay inside and use the elliptical trainer.

Quick Note: If your goal is fat loss, the optimal time to do cardio is first thing in the morning. Just don't combine your strength training and cardio workouts in the same session.

These are just a couple examples of cross training routines. If they're too advanced, change them to work within your fitness level. Instead of running you can walk. If you can't do regular chin-ups, do negative chin-ups. (On a negative chin -up, you start from the top position and let your body down as slow as you can.)

Try one of these routines for a couple months, and you should see improvements in your fitness levels, plus enjoy some of the beauty where you live.

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Updated 12/5/2011
Updated 12/21/2012
Updated 1/30/2021