Cross-Train and Add Cardio for Best Results

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By Lisa Turpin, Health and Fitness Coach

Lisa Turpin

You’ve probably heard of cross-training before. Not to be confused with Cross-Fit, Cross-training just means to do a variety of exercise modalities so as to gain strengths and benefits from each to work synergistically for your entire body. Modalities include cardiovascular training (Cardio), strength training, stretching/flexibility, functional and core training.

Cardio is so very important! There are several misconceptions floating around that cardio will make your muscles smaller or that it takes too much time and you don’t need it. Quite the contrary. Your cardiovascular SYSTEM is comprised of your heart, lungs, veins and arteries. By training this system, your body becomes more efficient in delivering oxygen to your muscles, organs and brain because of a stronger heart and clearer veins and arteries. This cardiovascular system’s efficiency is even more important if you are going to put such high demands on it with heavy weight training or certain other training styles. When you have an efficient cardiovascular system, all movement in life seems less labored. Further, studies show you regulate blood sugar and cholesterol, sleep better, have a better immune system, and recover faster from daily stressors (including physical training). Mix up the different intensities of cardio training: Endurance, Interval & HIIT. Endurance training, aka moderate intensity aerobic exercise, trains your body to handle longer bouts of energy expenditure. This is the foundation to an efficient oxygen transporting cardiovascular system. Your muscles cannot grow or recover if they are not getting proper amounts of oxygen and nutrients through the blood stream.

High intensity interval training is just that—the higher the intensity, the less amount of time you can sustain that activity before exhaustion. That’s why this is done in intervals. The shorter the interval, the harder or more intense you can go. HIIT circuits are great examples of high intensity training. You have to have an efficient cardiovascular system to handle this type of training. But if calorie expenditure and weight loss is what you are after, then you will want to slowly begin adding this type of training into your routine. Indoor spin classes cover both aspects of training intensity which makes it an excellent exercise choice and I would love for you to join one of my classes at Destin Health & Fitness. You can think of training in layers; endurance training is your foundation needed to establish a stronger heart and vascular system. Then every time you raise your intensity, you make your body an even stronger machine capable of handling almost anything.

Embrace variety when working out. If you are seeking total health, try not to be weighted too heavily on just one aspect of training. Cardio, along with flexibility, weight training and a healthy low-sugar diet with lean protein, lots of raw veggies and a focus on unsaturated omega 3 fats will give you the perfect health and fitness formula!