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Exercise 301: Bo Knows…Cross Training

Remember the Bo Jackson commercials that highlighted his outstanding athletic abilities in two major national league sports, the NFL and Major Leagues. He is the only athlete to be named an All Star in two major American sports. Anyway, my point is he was (and still is) applauded for being so athletically diverse AND world class. Nike ran a series of ads called “Bo Knows” where it showed him knowing everything from baseball to surfing. You too know what Bo knows, or at least your body does.

The body plateaus at some point as it adjusts to an exercise routine. The more in shape you become the quicker your body adapts. You want to stir it up by cross training. This is different from the cardio versus strength training debate. By now you have worked out your fitness plan, goals, nutrition and your cardio-to-strength routine. What you’re looking for now are ways to change it up regularly. I like to bike, run, swim, dance (Zumba), boot camp, etc. I have to mix it up. My body adjusts so quickly, roughly within 2-3 weeks. This is what programs such as Insanity, TurboFire and P90x are based on, along with some other fitness concepts.

How do you know the best routine? That’s a trick question – the point is not to have a routine, but a plan of what workouts you will do on what day. Putting the extra “stress” on your body of not knowing what’s coming actually causes your body to be prepared for anything. You may have heard this also referred to as muscle confusion. Muscle confusion is mainly associated with strength training, but the same applies if you’re doing cardio. If you run 5 miles every other day your body knows to expect it. If you’re familiar with circadian rhythm you know your body works in cycles, it attempts to wake you up at the same time every morning. Therefore your body will prepare to run 5 miles every other day. The premise here is if your body is prepared for a 5 mile run and you throw an hour of Zumba at it, it has to rework it’s preparation. WebMD has a great article about cross training. It talks about the benefits and how to put together an effective plan.

If you find that you aren’t getting as much benefit from your workouts as you used to, stop blaming your body or complaining about it. Just change it up. Really doesn’t what you do. I get bored easy so I give myself lots of options. Doing the same exercises over and over again can lead to injury as well as doing something new. So if you don’t know, ask a professional before getting started.

I’m just keeping it new.

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