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Cross training, the new fitness mantra
Brinda Sapat
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January 08, 2007

It's a new year and time to get serious about your resolutions for 2007 -- to get slim, trim and fit.

Losing weight is one of the top resolutions made by most, only to be forgotten by the middle of the year.

There could be many reasons for that. But you have to persevere. The same goes for those who want to gain weight and for those who want to simply get fitter and healthier.

New fitness routine

You may have trudged away on the treadmill and gotten painfully bored. The weight lifting has become monotonous and you have no motivation to work out, which makes your fitness goal seem miles away.

Cross training is the way to go this year. This means training your body in as many different ways as possible. Not only does this keep your interest levels up, but it actually gives you greater results than doing the same type of workout repeatedly.

You lose weight faster, the muscles get toned from every angle and your body gets stronger overall. Cross training can make you dance like a pro, lift heavy weights, pull your leg up over your shoulder a la yoga and breeze through a one hour aerobics class -- all with ease!

Design your routine

You can put together a workout schedule that you enjoy. It's better when you add as much variety as possible so that you keep constantly challenging yourself.

You can stick to just two types of workouts in one week and change to another type the next week; or keep jumbling them up. It all depends on what you like.

Remember this formula

While planning your schedule keep this formula in mind for overall fitness benefits.

* Pick one cardio workout 3-4 days a week (30 minutes to 1 hour). For weight gain, stick to just three days of cardio.
* Pick one strength-training (toning) workout three days a week.
* Flexibility training should be done every time after you exercise (15 to 30 minutes).

~Cardio

* Aerobics/Step class
* Dance
* Stair climbing
* Walk/jog/run
* Swim
* Sport (tennis/badminton/football -- any sport with a lot of movement)
* Boot camp class

~Strength training (toning)

* Weight train
* Stability ball workout
* Tube workout
* Power yoga
* Pilates

Try to alternate the days of strength training, giving your body one day of rest from this type of training.

~Flexibility training

* Yoga
* Stretch and relax

A sample schedule

Notice the different combinations of workouts and number of days of working out in the week.

~Week 1

Day 1: 30 minutes stair climbing followed by yoga.
Day 2: Weight training followed by stretch and relax.
Day 3: Aerobics class followed by stretch and relax.
Day 4: Rest.
Day 5: Walk 45 minutes followed by stretch and relax and ball workout followed by stretch and relax.
Day 6: Weight train followed by yoga.
Day 7: Rest

~Week 2

Day 1: Sport followed by stretch and relax.
Day 2: Aerobics class followed by stretch and relax and power yoga (includes stretching).
Day 3: Rest.
Day 4: Aerobics class and weight training, followed by stretch and relax
Day 5: Rest.
Day 6: Aerobic class and weight train followed by stretch and relax.
Day 7: Rest.

Along with your new exercise plan, you will need to watch what you eat. Cut out the junk foods and stock up on wholesome nutritious food. It takes less than a minute to gobble down 500 calories and more than one hour to burn the same 500 calories. Think before you eat.

Achieving your goal

Weight loss or weight gain are long-term goals and should be treated as that. Next, the long-term goal needs to be cut down to small short-term goals.

For example, if 12 kilos is what you want to lose by December 2007, you must aim at losing one kilo per month.

This makes it easier for you and each time you lose that one kilo you know you are one step closer to your goal. Achieving this short-term goal keeps you motivated towards making it to your final 12 kilos. One step at a time, it is!

-- Brinda Sapat is the head of the Group Exercise Department at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for the last nine and a half years. 

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