For elite athletes and amateurs alike, cross-training is just as important as training your favorite sport. To name a few of the benefits of cross-training, we have: increased conditioning, injury prevention, active recovery and a more social approach to exercise (many cross-training activities are either social or group-based). Cross-training during my ironman-training is what brought me out of the gym and led me in the doors of many Zurich-based fitness studios for the first time. Plus, it adds variety to our routine; it breaks up the monotony of doing the same workout day in and day out. There are, of course, major muscles that contribute to most exercises, but many activities involve the smaller, more agile muscles surrounding our major ones and elsewhere in the body. It’s important to train them safely and effectively to become even stronger. If you’re a cyclist (indoor or outdoor), here are some of our favorite ways to introduce cross-training into your weekly routine.
Pilates is another way to add a little variety to your workouts. And don’t be fooled; it is much more physically demanding than it appears (or is stereotyped to be), especially if you include a megareformer. Unlike a boot camp or cross fit style class, the focus is on form and the quality of movement rather than speed, weight or quantity of reps. The movements done are long, slow, controlled movements. Think balance and core strength, both key factors in agility, which is vital to any traditional athletic pursuit. Proper form and focus is a requirement of the instructor and of the client. There is an element of trust and a personal interaction between the client and instructor, as well as a deep connection between the client and his or her body. This is why Pilates is so specialized… and special! If lengthening and toning is what you’re after, definitely check out Pilates.
- Martial Arts
There’s a reason kickboxing classes have gotten so popular in the last five years. Martial arts offer strength, speed, agility and flexibility training that can be applied to basically any sport requiring hand-eye coordination. And it’s only a matter of time before a fit-box studio comes to Zurich.
Literally everyone, no matter what their primary discipline, age, weight or background, can benefit from yoga practice. Not only are there the obvious benefits of flexibility and toning, but there’s also the added bonus of stress-relief, mental clarity and the deep relaxation at the end of each class.
Hiking is a fun activity to do on a beautiful day with a friend, visitor or loved one. Plus we live in undeniably one of the best places to get into the mountains quickly, safely and easily for a breath-taking hike. It gets you outside, in nature, breathing fresh air and experiencing beautiful views. But did you know it is also one of the best things you can do for joint stability, endurance and glute (i.e. butt) strength? Hikers burn insane calories, even at a slow pace, so make sure you bring enough snacks.
Dudes, listen up. Just like Pilates, Barre is not just for ladies. Barre classes build strength, flexibility, speed, agility balance, mental focus and endurance. They are also incredible for core strength, which may explain why ballet-based workouts are some of the hottest fitness classes sweeping across North America and London.
Joining a run club not only helps you to meet like-minded people, it’s a great source of inspiration and motivation. Plus, it tends to be easy on the wallet. (ed. note – Team Awesome was started by a Velocity Instructor and Rider. Runs leave from the Velocity lobby every Sunday morning). As we all know, cardio exercise can have a dramatic anti-depressive effect on the mind. It blocks the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress and boosts the neurotransmitters associated with mood and happiness. But that’s not the only mood based benefit of cardio. It also activates the pleasure center of the brain… there is a proven, hormonal link between body composition and strength of libido 😉
- Meditation & Mindfulness
Perhaps you read my recent post on Mindfulness. If there is one thing we can recommend to transform yourself — physically, professionally, personally — it is mediation and mindfulness. It is the ultimate cross-training activity for everyday life. And, to take it one step further, if you’re doing a particularly challenging part of a workout — a sprint in a Velocity class — try being mindful in that moment. Bring it back to your breath and quiet any negative self-talk. Your fitness game will only go up.