by Charles Weller November 20, 2014
Mix It Up, Keep It Fresh with some alternative workouts. You don’t have to be a gym rat, a trail icon or a spin queen to make gains. Most often, “spicing” up your workout routine with a workout that’s a bit different, out of your normal comfort zone, is just what you need to spur some additional growth. Keeping yourself motivated can be a bit simpler than you think.
Here are a few great and effective alternative workouts to try:
Many people don’t realize that you can get great cardio and muscular work benefit from some time spent in the pool. There are many benefits to swimming that you may find enjoyable, different and energizing. Swimming has many benefits – in particular, it is a low-impact activity. This means that your joints (particularly your knees), won’t suffer long-term damage from overuse typically associated with many forms of repetitive cardio exercises (ie. running, cycling etc.). In addition, swimming is great for cardio respiratory fitness, as well as strength building, particularly the upper body. What’s more, when it’s hot or overbearing outdoors, you’ll find yourself pleasantly refreshed after a great swimming session.
You don’t have to be stuck in the gym to carve out that muscular physique you’ve been working toward. Go to any major city and you’re likely to find a number of crossfit and functional training gyms. At their core, crossfit workouts include a series of varied high intensity mixed aerobic exercises, gymnastics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weight lifting movements. Designed to improve many facets of human activity – cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy, crossfit workouts can be intense, invigorating and just what you need to revitalize your gains.
One question you may ask yourself is “Have you ever seen a really out of shape rock-climber?” More than likely you’ve only seen lean, muscular and incredibly strong mountaineers. No explanation necessary, a solid workout at your local rock climbing gym can be a phenomenal way to work your entire body, including some areas you wouldn’t think possible!
No only fun, but incredibly beneficial. Have a look at any professional ballet, ballroom or contemporary dancer and you will see a lean, graceful and very sexy body. Of course, learning to dance professionally takes years of dedicated practice. However, even the most fit and agile athlete can get some benefit from an organized dance class. Stretching, cardio and sweat are just a few things that you can expect from a solid dance class – so why not step up and try a Zumba, Hip Hop, Swing or even Pole Dance class (women!)…you body and soul will appreciate it.
Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to be an ultimate fighter to get the incredible cardio and muscular benefits from a great MMA workout. A full workout including rounds of kicking/punching on heavy bags, focus pads, as well as some ground work is a great (and fun!) way to really spice up your workout. Although there are some basic skills you’ll need to learn at first, once you’ve gotten the hang of some fundamentals you will be on your way to really kicking your goals into high gear. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect to take your workout into the ring, but the cardiovascular and anaerobic benefits from a full kickboxing, boxing or jujitsu workout are second to none.
Whatever you do, don’t get bored with your fitness routine. Remain active and eat a healthy, plant-based diet to stay fit and energized!