Different Types of Fit. What comes to your mind when you read those words?
A bit of an epiphany hit me on Tuesday while attending a hot yoga class. The thought had crossed my mind before, but I realized how many different definitions of "fit" there really are. You can be yogi fit, runner fit, spin fit, weights fit, swimming fit, cardio fit, strength fit, endurance fit or sprint fit. Certainly there are even more ways to be fit than just these, but my point is this: Just because you can run 8 miles every morning doesn't mean you are necessarily also good at yoga. Spinning could be where your strength lies, while you still struggle to run just one mile.
As I was attempting the yoga poses in my class, I couldn't help but realize just how important cross training truly is to achieving a higher level of fitness. I personally would rather participate in a variety of fitness activities from weight training to running to spinning and yoga rather than excelling at only one of those activities. It is important to me to challenge my body in different ways, and this is something I hope to keep up during my training for my next half-marathon (the AthHalf in October).
While training for my first half, I concentrated solely on running. On the rare occasion I did make it to spin, yoga or body works, I found myself completely out of my league. Though I may have just run twelve miles the day before, lifting 2.5lb weights for an hour was harder than I remembered.
Before running, spinning was my thing. You could have considered me "spin fit." I could work off upwards of 700 calories in a one hour spin class but I could barely run for five minutes straight. At that time, I may have been spin-fit, but overall, I wasn't truly fit.
I certainly would not claim to excel in any area of fitness, nor at fitness across the board, but I do the best I can and truly that is all we can ask of ourselves. Each time I take yoga I have to laugh at my ability level compared to those who are true 'yogis'. But, you see, yoga is their passion. Yoga is their thing. They're "yoga fit." Perhaps I am no yogi, but each time I attend, I get better, which is something to be proud of. Comparing my yoga abilities to yogis is like trying to compete with one of the Big Bang Theory boys in chemistry competition when I specialize in business management. I know a bit about chemistry, but I'm not trying to get us all blown up, just like I'm not trying to pull muscles by attempting yoga positions beyond my skill level.
Constantly, I have to remind myself of my abilities when I start feeling down because I can't stand on my head in yoga, run eight miles every morning or lift 15lb weights in Body Works. All of that is OK, because I can do other things. I can run four miles any time I want to. I can survive an entire Body Works class using 5lb weights (which is better than the 2.5lb ones I started with!). I can participate in a spin class at full exertion. I can make it through an entire 75 minute hot yoga session without having to leave the room. Just because that dude just twisted his body in a way I've never even seen, much less attempted before doesn't mean he is "better" at fitness than me.
Cross training isn't anything new. In fact, many training programs for runners include cross training in the plan. I'm sure the same is true for training programs for all sports. I think, though, that many of us find a level of comfort with certain types of fitness or even specific machines, weights or routes. We go the same way every day and wonder why we don't see results. Consistency is certainly key when attempting to improve your performance whether it be running, spinning, swimming, walking or weight lifting, but making time to incorporate other types of exercise can exponentially beneficial our overall level of fitness.
So now you have my two cents on cross training and how people can be different types of fit. I want to hear yours! Tell me...
Do you think it is important to be "overall fit" or is it fine to just concentrate on one thing and excel in that area?
Would you rather be the best in one area of fitness or able to successfully participate in areas of fitness across the board?
What is your definition of "fit"?