The Value of Mixing it Up
(Devon, Fred DeVito (the founder of Exhale Spa & Core Fusion, and yours truly).
Variety is the spice of life, as they say. We humans take great comfort in routine. We like knowing what to expect. Comfort zones are so called because they help us manage our expectation. Fear of the unknown is as common to mankind as breathing. And this is all well and good and in evolutionary terms, staying within certain boundaries and limitations provides safety. So, it's perfectly natural that we should want to stick to the habits and routines we've found that work for us. This idea is easily generalized to our workout routines, too.
Once I really got into running, I didn't want to do anything else. I actually feared the days I was meant to cross train. CROSS TRAIN? Why the heck would I want to do that?! I like running. Running makes me feel good. I don't wanna do calisthentics! Waaaah!! I don't think I did a single strengthening session throughout the entire first two marathon trainings I undertook. Why? Well, though I would never have admitted it to myself at the time, I can clearly see now that I didn't strength train because I was afraid to. I had taken up distance running for God's sake! Hadn't I proved myself fearless in the face of exercise? Well, no. I had learned how to become comfortably uncomfortable in that one particular discipline. And I was pretty good at it. But guess what? I could've been a lot better had I done a few push-ups, squats, and other simple strengthening exercises on just ONE day per week. I now know that.
I meet people all the time who just can't understand why they can't lose that extra five pounds, or tone a specific body part "even though they go to six Soul Cycle classes a week," or "run five miles every single day." You need to mix it up, friends! Soul Cycle and running are fantastic cardiovascular activities but they are only challenging your body in that one particular modality. For real, true, sustainable results, you need to add in some resistance training. And can we please, for the love of ice cream, all just get over the idea, once and for all, that lifting weights is going to make you bulky? It will not. Make. You. Bulky. (Unless you want to become bulky and then that's a whole other mode of training). I, too, once believed that doing squats and working out with weights would instantly make me turn into the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And actually, you know what? It kind of did...because isn't the female version of Arnold in The Terminator, Linda Hamilton?
I mean, she looks pretty bloody amazing, if you ask me. And I guarantee you Linda Hamilton did not achieve that body by running or Soul Cycle alone. Anyways, the point is, strength training and adding in different activities that challenge your body in different ways can go along way towards helping you achieve your targeted ideal.
Today, for the second time in two weeks, I took an amazing Core Fusion/Barre class with my good friend & partner in (fitness) crime, Devon (whom I also lead Mindfulness Bootcamp with). And it royally kicked my behind. I workout a lot. I try to mix it up as much as I can between running, boxing, and yoga, but there are still areas where I need improvement, and the minute muscles challenged by barre class definitely need some work. My legs were shaking the entire time. (In exercise science, we say they were in the "alarm" phase. And trust me: they were very, VERY alarmed).
I've made it a habit to try to step out of my comfort zone whenever possible, be it related to fitness or in other areas of my life. And it never feels natural or necessarily pleasant at first, but I always, ALWAYS, grow as a result of it. I try to let go and tell myself that whatever happens is OK. I try to keep a sense of humor about it. Many times during class today, I found myself laughing out loud at how difficult certain moves were, and how much my legs were shaking!
Life is short, and it's not a dress rehearsal. Get out there. Try new things. And just enjoy the journey. Be willing to be a student and you'll most certainly be pleased with the results.
In Good Health,