Can you Hop Around in Fitness?

Sure you can! Alright, post done see you all on Wednesday then! Lets the start with why you’re asking that questioning the first place. In life and in fitness we tend to view dedication as a good thing, that’s what leads to accomplishment after all. If you want to get good at something or even great at something you need to stick with it. We’re also programmed to be trying to get good at everything we attempt. We should be in it to win it after all. And we can’t really get good at something if we don’t stick with it. But do you have to? Is there some benefit to sticking with the same thing through thick and thin? Maybe in terms of achievement but not really for your health or fitness overall if you keep a couple of points in mind. It can even be better for you! But we’ll go over that too.

Sons of anarchy update: we’re finally on the last season and should be getting our lives back soon. Send popcorn!

Ummm it’s fun!

I am really mostly a runner but having an evening paddle or getting on my bike every once and awhile really is less monotonous and fun than my sometimes everyday runs. Honestly if all the cool classes weren’t almost an hours drive away I would probably dabble more myself. Taking a 10-week pole dancing lesson was a crazy fun experience and I’m not sure anything else I bought ever made me giggle as long. But at the end of the 10 weeks that was enough for me and that’s when I found my favourite yoga class I still go to today. Truthfully most activities you try are the most fun you’ve ever had at first but working on more advanced skills is way less fun. Personally, I would love to try surfing, adult dance classes and soul cycle which all sound like a time but probably none are a great fit long term for me. If you’re feeling like it’s time to move on to the next fun thing that I say go for it!

It costs a lot of cash to be a high achiever

I’m hard pressed to think of a sport that is super duper cheap to do at the higher levels. At the very least you often have to travel to compete and that ain’t cheap! It’s great to be a weekend warrior and a semi local legend but competing at that level costs big bucks but isn’t likely to lead to sponsorship. Being sponsored by the bike shop gets you 15% off and a free Jersey a year. 15% off of a butt load of dough is still a butt load of dough! Plus the jerseys are never that cute. Once you get good at something you outgrow the beginner equipment pretty dang fast. The good stuff costs more and that process just keeps repeating itself. Every time you upgrade your old stuff depreciates and your target market to sell it shrinks.

If you flit from one thing to another you can easily pick up some used gear and sell it for what you paid when you move onto the next thing. If you circle back to it at some point you’ll know what to look for next time. A few activities that stick out to me as really expensive and are rarely long term endeavors are physique competitions, peloton style bikes and bootcamp classes at the crack of dawn. Even if you’re a flitter try to flit to low cost activities like running, lifting, walking or hiking from time to time. It’s all still fun right?

Why do you want to be great at something

If you do feel some pressure to get really good at something ask yourself why that is? It’s pretty unlikely that any of us will ever hold realistic Olympic ambitions. Winning a competition is a really nice way to have your dedication recognized (so I’ve heard) but what will it change about your life? Will being really good at something ever make you money or even pay for itself? There’s no shame in spending time doing something you love and that just makes you happy. Why do you have to be good at it? I’m actually a pretty good cyclist, paddler and am weirdly flexible at a yoga class but I don’t enjoy any of those things more because of it. I’m an average runner for my age and it’s totally fine! I’m a sub-par cake decorator, knitter, probably sewist and I’m never the strongest person on site but that doesn’t mean being good enough makes me like those things any less. If you like going from thing to thing than view it as being awesome at variety and change and leave it at that!

You get to be a jack of all fitness trades

I haven’t flitted around that much from activity to activity. I have my go to activities and some of those drop off from time to time. I run (mostly) but also cycle and swim. I love to paddle and hit a yoga class whenever I get the chance still but that’s pretty much it now. I have however tried a few of the trends in the past. I have friends who have tried it all getting into ballroom dancing, cardio hip hop classes, archery, heli-skiing, long distance canoeing, cheerleading and so much more over the years it’s literally a crazy long list. And those skills come in handy at the weirdest times. It’s crazy to watch a couple who was once into ballroom at a wedding, or a chick sight in a crossbow with one of the guys. Personally a cheerleading friend and yoga me were able to ‘break into’ a remote research station we locked ourselves out of with our respective skills. She lifted and I contorted. And… well… sorry mom… one of the kids 20 something friends had a pole installed in their hang space because 20 year olds are trashy. It’s okay I was too. And showing off my swings and inversions (while fully clothed) from that pole dancing phase years ago might have just bought me some cool cred with the kids these days. At the very least they were all thoroughly shocked!

Why it could be better than sticking it out

Here’s a message to those that are super dedicated athletes out there, you probably have to mix it up at least a little bit. That’s called cross training. There is some discussion on exactly how and why that works but science proves that switching up your activities makes you better at your primary sport. Certain sports like running stress your body and develop only certain muscles. The other underdeveloped muscles then leave you venerable to overtraining injuries. Ideally, you’ll have a second thing you love to do that uses the same body parts in a very different way. So running and walking not great but running and kickboxing could be an awesome combination. 

Here’s something you’re not going to hear all the time. If you are getting super serious and spending lots of time training for an event you should keep up with a second love sport for your cross training days. If you need to some weeks you can even skip a regular workout and sub in that second sport. Having another activity you’re familiar with, have the gear for and enjoy doing already puts you ahead in terms of performance and injury prevention. So having varied interests might make you faster on race day and more likely to get you to the start line in the first place.

How to maximize your fitness while switching it up

Whether you stick with one or a few things or switch it up all the time if you’re putting lots of time into something you might as well reap all the rewards possible. You can do that all with just a little bit of forethought. If I could give you one piece of pretty direct advice it would be to make sure to incorporate some cardio and strength training into what you do. Maybe that means you try two things at once or switch back and forth. Either is great but both bring separate and important benefits for you health. If you want to manage this more than that think about things like weight bearing exercises (bone health), balance, flexibility, co-ordination and endurance too. Hitting all those points as you switch it up could be your big achievement too!

Are you someone who sticks to one thing or skips around a lot. If you do either why do you think that is? Or let’s have a list of your top 5! Leave it in the comments below!

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