Diversifying your routine:

Picture this: you’ve spent the majority of the past couple weeks working off the seemingly endless supply of turkey and Christmas treats, and you’ve hit a bit of a fitness “wall”.  This doesn’t have to spell doom for your (SMART) fitness goals, or your New Year’s Resolutions!  Just take a moment and step back, and diversify your fitness habits.  There are so many variations in the types of exercises you can do, and often times there are several exercises that can be completed that work the same group of muscles.  It’s amazing how creative one can get if they take the time to research.  It’s also worth noting that there are many different types of physical activities, and by incorporating some new ones into your routine, can really help give shape to a well-rounded and fun exercise profile.

A major contributor to any proper fitness routine is weight-bearing exercise, and typically we fall into a bit of a track when it comes to repeating the same exercises in our routine.  I encourage creative thinking in using different forms of weight in order to hit the same muscles.  At any given time, you’re able to choose from free weights, barbells, kettlebells, body weight exercises and machines, among others.  This is an amazing amount of variation that we can truly use to our advantage.  Some exercises even utilize the same muscles, but in different ways.  For example, let’s think of shoulder press.  We can alternate our types of weights between sessions.  Session one can be using a weighted barbell, session two can be using dumbbells, and session three can be using a kettlebell.  There are tons of different stabilizing muscles that are used in each, but are fundamentally the same exercise.  Using the barbells, the weight is suspended in 2 points equally on either side of our bodies. Using dumbbells, the weight is suspended equally above our hands, in 4 more closely-spaced areas.  Using a kettlebell, the weight is placed behind our hands.  You might notice that this small bit of variation in one exercise can have a tremendous affect in the targeted muscle group.

Additionally, we can change up our forms of cardiovascular activity.  We have a walking track, treadmills, skillmills, cross-trainers, and a variety of classes to choose from, as well as many other options such as spin bikes, a climbing wall and your own programming variation.  These options keep our minds active, and provide interesting challenges to try and overcome.

All in all, there are many things that we can do to keep our bodies active, and I believe it’s very important that we take the time to brainstorm new and effective ways to train.  It’s amazing what a bit of cross-training can do for overall performance.  It’s similar to the way that pro-athletes train:  a great example is hockey players playing soccer to improve hand-eye coordination.  They are utilizing a new form of activity to improve on their existing skills.  We should be treating our routines the same way.  Diverse forms of activity to build and round-out a diverse and fun fitness program!