What Are Cross Training Workouts?

cross training for weight loss
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Cross training is a method of exercise training that includes a variety of different athletic activities to improve your level of fitness or performance in a particular sport. Cross training benefits include injury prevention, improved fitness, reduced boredom, and weight loss.

What Are Cross Training Workouts?

A cross training workout is simply an exercise session that uses movements or activities that are different than the ones you normally do.

Sounds simple, right? But new exercisers and even veteran gym-goers get confused about what it means to cross train. Examples of cross-training workouts may help you to understand.

If you are a runner, for example, your regular workouts include a lot of high-stress leg movement. To cross train, you might add a swimming session or a rowing workout to your weekly workout schedule. The cross training session will use different muscles and give your legs a break.  

If you like to ride the stationary bike at the gym, your cross training workout might include upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or using an elliptical. You can even walk or run the stairs in your office. This allows your body to take advantage of the benefits of a weight-bearing activity without taxing your joints every day.  

Benefits of Cross Training Exercises

New exercisers might avoid of cross training because it can be challenging to come up with cross training ideas.

And even veteran exercisers might avoid cross training because they don't want to change their routine. But cross training is important if you want your body to stay healthy.

If you include one or two cross-training sessions in your weekly workout schedule, you may see any of these benefits;

  • Reduced workout boredom. No one likes to do the same thing every day. When you mix things up with cross training, you reduce boredom and increase your chances of sticking with your exercise program for the long term. 
  • Decreased risk of overuse injuries. When you exercise every day using the same muscles and the same joints, your body can begin to wear down. Cross training helps to balance your body by using different muscles and different joints. This reduces your risk of injury. 
  • Improved athletic performance. By reducing the risk of injury and creating a more balanced body, your muscles are able to move more efficiently. This may help you to perform better in your favorite sport. You may notice that you are stronger in the weight room or faster on the track.
  • May help you break through a plateau. Every exerciser eventually hits a wall when they stop seeing improvements in their body. Cross training can reinvigorate your program by forcing your muscles to work in new and different ways.
  • Increased motivation. It's hard to stay motivated when you do the same workout day after day. When you take a day or two off each week to cross train, you may be more enthusiastic about your regular workouts when you get back to them.
  • Improved weight loss. The increase in motivation, improved exercise performance, and reduced boredom can help you to work out more often. This means that you burn more calories on a regular basis and lose weight more effectively.

How to Cross Train to Lose Weight

If you want to enjoy the benefits of cross training to lose weight faster and feel better about your body, it's easy to begin. Simply schedule a few different types of workouts in your regular exercise schedule. Try to think of cross training activities that use different muscles and involve different types of movement.

Sample cross training activities:

  • If you usually bike, sign up for a weekly dance class 
  • If you like to walk or jog, swim or take an aqua aerobics class 
  • If you use the elliptical at the gym, try the rowing machine once or twice during the week
  • If you enjoy a variety of aerobic workouts, hit the weight room for strength training
  • If you're a runner, try indoor rock climbing

Whatever cross training exercises you choose, you're likely to see a positive result in your workout program. And the cross training benefits you enjoy are likely to help you stick to your program and lose weight faster.

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