Variety is the spice which gives my training its long-lasting flavour.
Without variety, training becomes tasteless and stale and unless underpinned by a very clear and very meaningful goal, can quickly turn unappetising.
I think this is what attracted me to triathlon and multisport as a teenager. That an event involved three sports and not just one meant I didn’t just have to only swim or only run five or six days a week. Boring!
Variety can also be the key to keeping your strength and fitness progressing. If you are doing the same run loop, same weights routine, same swim set that you’ve always done, your body will adapt to it and your fitness will reach a plateau. Keep your mind and body guessing with different modes of training that will also ensure you work different muscles and energy systems.
Variety is also the key to remaining strong and injury free. I’ve remained largely injury-free during the past 15 years. I believe the variety of exercise I engage in keeps me strong and balanced. The only times I’ve noticed repetitive strain injuries or niggles creeping into my body was when I was doing large volumes of the same modes of exercise, such as training for a marathon, ironman triathlon or back-to-back CrossFit competitions.
This kind of goes with the territory and is likely the same for any sportsperson dedicated to a major physical goal. To perform at the highest levels will take a toll on your body.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do these events but we can help our bodies recover and bounce back better by mixing training up. In between events keep your body strong, balanced and well-rounded by performing different modes of exercise. This can keep you fit and strong while letting your body recover from the demands of your last achievement.
Here’s a little lower body burner I put together this week. Instead of running for 40mins, I ran to these stairs (20mins) then performed 20mins worth of stair runs, squats, lunges and push-ups for a great all-round workout.
I did three rounds of:
- Stair squat jumps
- Lateral stair sprint (right leg)
- Lateral stair sprint (left leg)
- 15 x single leg squats (right leg)
- 15 x single leg squats (left leg)
- 15 x wall push-ups
- Stair lunge jumps (phew!)
You can modify rounds/repetitions to suit your fitness level.
Unless you are an elite sportsperson or have very specific training goals, mix up your exercise and expose your body to different modes of training. Run, jump, sprint, lift weights, join a class, cross-train, swim or stretch.