For the Love of Your Body, Here’s Why Trainers Want You to Flirt With More Than One Workout Modality

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Many of us like to practice workout monogamy. You might be so smitten with running, dancing, or hula-hopping that you drop other fitness flames to be with them 24/7. There's nothing "wrong" with having a darling in your exercise regimen, but ask any trainer and they'll tell you that mixing up your movements is essential. To stay healthy, dextrous, and strong, it's necessary to flirt with a few different forms of movement.

"Starting a cross-training program is a wonderful way to challenge body endurance and movement skills," says Jose Duncan Jr., a trainer with Crunch Gym. "Cross-training not only challenges the body's cardiovascular system, it requires optimal function movement mechanics."

Duncan says that an ideal workout regimen is polyamorous. It constantly challenges your proprioception (your sense of awareness toward your own bodies movement patterns) to make you more resilient in the face of injuries. "Choosing a workout routine to compliment your main choice of physical activity is vital and can make you a lot happier than randomized training cycles," says Duncan. Keeping a triathlon mindset for all your fitness ambitions pays off in spades, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Psst: For you, it doesn't have to be swimming, biking, and running. It can be any well-rounded combo of your choosing!)

To find out which sweat modalities will work in tandem with your main squeeze, first break down its physical components. For example, a spin class will set your core, glutes, and hamstrings on fire, but it won't do much for your chest, back, or arms. To give those parts of your body due exertion, you could pick up rock climbing and/or swimming. Or, you could target left out networks of muscles in specific training moves. "Combining barbell squats with box jumps, kettlebell cleans, and reverse lunges in one program that challenges all levels of movement," says Duncan.

That way, you're not just pedaling forward on your spin bike or pumping your legs on the treadmill. You're going right to left, up and down, and constantly keeping your body on its toes. And that's exactly what your body craves. "The danger of limiting your exercise or training program is that you will plateau quickly. At that point, those limitations would become counterproductive if not supported with a variety," he says. "An exercise like running will help you maintain optimal cardiovascular shape. However, if not combined with mobility training and/or strength training, it can lead to injury due to constant breakdown of muscle and connective tissue."

When it comes to workouts, playing the field will strengthen your relationship with your one and only. So don't shy away from giving your running shoes the day off and hopping on the megaformer to feel your midsection light up.

This workout will kick your butt: 

No matter how you like to sweat, your core should be front of mind. So don't forget to plank before your workout starts, and try these standing abs exercises.

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