Diversifying your workout routine can have major payoffs. Just like you may get bored with the same meals over and over again, your body gets bored with the same exercise time after time. Your muscles become immune to the routine movements and exertion – making your workouts less effective over time.
Adding variety keeps your body guessing – making it easier to not only accomplish your fitness goals, but to hit the full spectrum of mental health benefits that you might be looking for, too.
Variety can help make sure that your workouts continue to “work for you.” We all have different fitness goals; whether it’s to lose weight, gain strength, blow off steam or get in some “me” time. With that said, how can you choose the right fitness classes to help you reach your fitness goals and add in some much-needed diversity?
Here are the fitness classes you should be taking, based on your goals.
If you run long distance (hi, Forrest).
You wake up each morning, slip on those sneakers, head out the door and jog until you reach that runner’s high. Of course, running has countless benefits and is a fantastic option to maintain overall health. However, your body can easily grow accustomed to that three-mile loop everyday. Since you are already getting your heart pumping regularly, the right class for you involves the integration of flexibility and strength training.
You can combine the two at yoga, Pilates, or barre classes. Running is hard on the joints, so these options are perfect for activating muscles without putting pressure on your joints. The muscle isolation involved in these classes really helps to build strength in certain areas that benefit your running (think: glutes, core), and the stretching involved helps to get rid of muscle tightness.
“Workouts like yoga, Pilates, or barre are great because they are able to provide stability throughout the body, which is reduced with long distance running, due to a breakdown of muscle.” -P.J. Orgass, ATC, LAT, Saddlebrook Sports Performance
If you’re a CrossFit beast.
You’re a WOD wonder. You are so dedicated to your gym that you eat, sleep, think, breathe CrossFit. However, your body needs a little something else every once in awhile.
It’s no secret that CrossFit is an intense workout. It encompasses elements from Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, high-intensity interval training, gymnastics and other forms of exercise to create a major sweat-inducing workout. Your muscles are often sore and you push through the next WOD because ‘no challenge, no change’, right? Well, the addition of a calming, muscle-relaxing yoga class will do your body good.
Stretch out those muscles, focus on restorative poses, breathing and clearing your mind.
If you’re a seasoned yogi.
You ‘Namaste’ almost everyday. You’ve mastered the art of meditation, your muscles are strong and your body is lean, but you are looking for something with a little more intensity and cardiovascular work. Zumba or indoor cycling are great options for you.
Quite the contrast to yoga, Zumba offers a fast-paced, dance-style workout that surely keeps your heart healthy. This class also keeps you engaged the entire time. Classes are about an hour long- that’s sixty straight minutes of salsa dancing and hair flipping. In addition to being a good complement for yoga, Zumba is a good replacement for those who despise running or the elliptical. And who doesn’t love a good dance party?
Indoor cycling is a great option for yogis because of its low-impact nature. You can get a killer cardio workout in, a distinct change from your yoga routine, without putting much stress on your joints. And just like Zumba, spin class is a great place to get lost in the music while you sweat. Most spin classes ride to the rhythm of the beat, allowing you to work with the music.
If your stress has taken over.
You’re extremely busy, your sleep schedule is out of whack, and you’re just looking for something that fits into your work week and allows you to relieve some stress. While yoga may sound like an obvious answer, sometimes the best option is a higher intensity workout.
Kickboxing and/or boxing classes are great alternatives. Let out your anxieties on a punching bag and simultaneously learn how to defend yourself. The constant kicking and punching motion required in these classes not only works your arms and is a great form of cardio, but you will definitely be feeling it in your core, too.
These types of classes are also great for beginners or those looking to re-start their workout routine. We may have to rebuild the stamina and motivation to workout but throwing punches and kicks is something that comes naturally.
If you can feel not only your mind, but your body, becoming bored of your fitness routine, it’s likely time to switch it up. Try something you’ve never tried before, or be strategic about which fitness classes you start to implement. Regardless, fitness is more fun when you keep your body guessing.
What’s your favorite way to switch it up?