What is cross-training and why should we all do it? I sat down with Tim Aben (pictured), a PT who will also be opening Eindhoven Gym this coming September, for some professional advice.
What is cross-training anyway?
Put simply, it’s mixing up your exercise. So if you’re a runner, you combine other sports into your weekly running schedule, such as swimming or bootcamp. But it also means combining different kinds of exercises into one training session. So rather than just focusing on legs or just arms, you work on multiple areas of the body each time you workout.
What’s the point?
According to Tim, there are quite a few benefits of cross-training. These include reducing the risk of injury, faster improvement, and better all round conditioning. By making your training sessions more comprehensive, you are working different muscle groups rather than the same one over and over again. By cross-training, you give your overused muscles a bit of a break, and the underused muscles some extra strength.
Where to start?
At the beginning! Tim stresses that going from zero to ten will only result in a decrease in motivation, and the potential for injuries. Instead of trying to do more advanced exercises straight away, start with the basics and build them up. For example, learn how to squat correctly first before you move on to squatting with weights. Then learn that properly before trying to do something as advanced as a clean. Tim also advises to find a PT, or someone in your network, who can teach you how to get your form right.
“Mix it up, build it up, and enjoy the process” – Tim Aben, PT / Owner Eindhoven Gym.
Don’t forget to enjoy it
We can often get lost in our goals of losing weight, or training for a half marathon, or strengthening our core, that we forget to have fun. And having fun, says Tim, is one of the key ingredients of exercise. If you’re not enjoying it, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Why not find another sport that you love? If you can’t stand working out alone at the gym, join a team sport, or a class with other people. Or play a game of squash, if not for a serious competition, but to have a fun time with a friend. Side note: Tim also mentioned that squash is the best exercise for burning calories, co-ordination, agility, mobility, stability and conditioning! It’s like the perfect cross-training.
Last words of wisdom
“Remember that progress takes time. But also remember that your body can do anything if you want it to.” – Tim Aben
Tim will be opening his new gym in Strijp-T in September. His website will be ready soon, but in the meantime, you can see the progress of Eindhoven Gym on Instagram. You can also get a daily dose of fitness inspiration via Tim’s personal Instagram.