Saturday, July 13, 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life - Spice it Up!

In the interest of full disclosure here, you should know running isn't my only form of exercise.  In fact, if you've been reading this blog since it started, you probably know it's not even my preferred form of exercise. 
I really do enjoy spicing it up. I don't think I would have it in me to run every day, physically or emotionally. I'm not saying it isn't great for other people to run and only run. But, personally, I know my body performs better when trained in multiple ways. The rest of this is specific only to me and I encourage you to figure out what works for you.

The Bar Method.  Ladies, this was such a game changer for me.  Over the years, I toyed with several strength training regiments (weight training, boot camps, yoga, etc).  Nothing ever stuck and I found myself always reverting back to cardio queendom.  I have been doing The Bar Method now for two years and it is safe to say I am addicted and have the muscles to prove it.  Personally, I have always preferred to use my own body weight to strength train and you wouldn't believe how hard body weight exercises (especially when done in one inch movements) can be!!  The Bar Method thigh work is great for runners.  Several moves get right into the muscles surrounding the knee and I am certain that this has had a major impact on stabilizing my knees while I run (I've had pretty big knee issues in the past).  The Bar Method not only tones and strengthens, it teaches perfect posture, which is also important when running (hello, air!).  And, let's all be honest here, after a long run, none of us are as good about stretching as we should be.  Insert The Bar Method here.  So many of the stretches are great for runners.  Flexibility is often overlooked and under appreciated, but flexibility can reduce the risk of injury, decrease soreness, and prevent pain.  I don't know if you can tell, but I am a huge fan of The Bar Method. I used to hit up a class five or more times a week, but with my current schedule, I am for three times a week. Like I said, this is all about me here, but if you interested in The Bar Method, let me know.
Body Combat - This is the class I take when I want to "get it all out."  Body Combat is a Les Mills program, so you can probably find it at most gym clubs (I go to 24 hr Fitness, but I know some Y's and other gyms offer Les Mills classes).  There is definitely something to be said for leaving the office stress and going to punch, kick, and sweat it out (complete with karate "Kiai's")!  Body Combat mixes multiple martial arts in an all out sweat-fest.  When I leave this class I am usually head-to-toe soaked and stress free.  I won't lie, I've pictured a couple of faces in front of me while I jab, cross, and hook.  I hit a Body Combat class usually twice a week.
Ol' fashioned cardio - I mentioned my affinity for cardio earlier.  I can't and won't break the habit.  I love plugging in and zoning out while I sweat.  At least once a week, I hop on an elliptical machine, spin cycle, or stair climber with my iPad and zone out.  I really prefer to do this in the earlier morning hours, when I don't have it in me to do anything high stress, energy, or focus. 
There is no one "right" answer when it comes to your personal routine.  This is just what works for me.  In and along the long run, what you find is that it isn't necessarily that it matters what you do, so much as that you get up and do something!

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