If you go to the gym regularly, you will see some of the same people in the same area of the gym probably exact same workout. The bodybuilder will be hitting the weights, probably throwing them around, and undoubtedly making loud noises. The runners will be in a zone on their favorite treadmill or trail. The cyclists will be spinning away. And the yogis will serenely be meditating and posturing in a lightly dimmed room with some zen music going. But the REAL athletic person will focus on all the different aspects of fitness: strength, skill, flexibility.
An athletic person has foundational strength, range of motion/flexibility, and the appropriate skill level for whatever activity or sport that they are playing/doing. Cross training (and that definition is self defining) helps an athlete improve even more. If a runner only runs, or a swimmer only swims, or a bodybuilder only weight trains, smaller, unused muscles may go untrained. But the athlete that cross trains in activities or sports outside of their speciality will gain more overall strength because they are using other muscles. Cross training is a benefit because it adds variety to a person’s workout. It may also help to prevent burnout or overtraining…which can lead to injury.
I only became athletic within the last couple of years. I started off weight training. And I started seeing results. And like most people that see results, I stuck with what I knew (for a while.) Then I added running to the equation, and the weight really started to come off and I became leaner. Then I started with yoga every now and then, but definitely stretching more often. And I really feel that this has helped with my recovery and building my strength. Here recently I have gotten more into mixed martial arts style workouts, functional movements, and plyometrics. All of these activities has kept me improving in my fitness and overall athleticism. I will be the first to admit that I am not a real runner, nor am I a mixed martial artist, but I will surely try. And this keeps me excited about going to the gym each week because I know that my routine will be different and fun.Clearly you won’t be equally strong in every single activity or sport you attempt, but train your weakness until they are strengths. Imagine how unstoppable you will be. I know I am aiming for unstoppability!! 🙂