Adding Variety to Your Movement Routine
Updated: Jul 1
We all grew up being told that there was a food pyramid, a method of eating the right proportions from several different food groups: grains, dairy, protein, fruits, and vegetables, etc.
Now, as an adult, I have my proteins, my vegetables, and my carbs. Yes, there are some meals in which I eat exclusively dairy and carbs (Ummm hello, see you at Cheese Plus this Sunday morning. I'll be the one shoving a Cheese Pluffin down my throat at an apocalyptic rate), but that's not what I'm generally aiming for.
I grew up dancing competitively and, like most young athletes, stretching the same muscles over and over and over again. By the time I got to college, I had ground down a bone in my foot so badly that it was completely shattered- a doctor had to go in and surgically remove the pieces, likening it to sweeping out the broken glass. My point? We all know the saying "Too much of a good thing is not always good" (or something like that). No matter how much I loved spinning, leaping, even tap dancing, it was too much repetitive movement and not enough counter movement, not to mention recovery.
Enter Yoga Tune-Up. As a young yoga instructor and movement addict, I came to Yoga Tune Up to learn more about how to help my yoga students learn to get the most out of each pose. What I learned instead was invaluable: I was taught to set down everything I had been taught about yoga alignment. The key to a long, healthy, injury-free life? No, not alignment. Variety.
Trina Altman, my instructor, asked us: Do you eat the same thing for every meal, every day? Then why are we doing the same thing with our movement diet?
Do you have a fitness routine that you stick to? Routine can be fantastic, especially if you feel like you've really found that fitness routine that just "works for you". But routine can also be limiting, even dangerous. When it comes to our movement diet, most of us probably find ourselves in one of two camps:
1) Maybe you're addicted to efficiency and tend to do classes that burn as many calories as possible- HIIT, cardio kickboxing, spinning, if it'll have you keeling over begging for mercy, you're there. The pros? Calorie burn. Muscle toning. Working out so hard that you don't have time or energy to think about the 5,000 emails in your inbox. That feeling of having accomplished something REALLY HARD!!!!!!!! The cons? Muscle soreness. Repetitive stress injuries. Risk of even bigger, scarier injuries due to limited joint mobility. And, most likely, fatigue.
2) Okay, that doesn't sound like you? May you're one of those "take it easy" types. You don't want or "need" the cardio, you don't sweat, you glisten. You like things like barre, pilates, yoga, texting, walking to the refrigerator and back, and enjoying the heart-thumping anticipation of waiting for Game of Thrones: The Final Season. The cons? Maybe you feel some toning without over-exertion. Maybe you get those quick 30-40 minute workouts in while going about your busy day. Maybe you get a lot of mobility and flexibility (thanks, yoga!). The cons? For many of us, back stiffness (if we're sitting a lot of the day and don't get a lot of time moving around). Over-stretching, which can lead to injury.
What it all comes down to is this: Picture me eating Cheese Pluffins for every meal (if you have not had a Cheese Pluffin, do yourself a favor and get to Cheese Plus immediately). Healthy? No. Happy? Yes. Cute? Depends on who you ask. Not the point. Now, picture the opposite: we all have friends who have done juice cleanses. Maybe you are one of those friends. If yes, go ahead and write that apology letter to your friends: "Tiffany, I didn't mean to tell you your pop socket is stupid. I love your pop socket. IT WAS THE CELERY JUICE!!!!!"
That is essentially what you are doing to your body when you choose one workout. Done is the excuse that we don't have enough time, money, or resources to add variety to our movement diet. Many of us live in cities where fitness studios are a dime a dozen, and apps like ClassPass make it easy to mix it up. Not convenient enough? Most of us have awesome companies like FitPros in our offices offering different classes throughout the week- all you have to do is take that one little step out of your comfort zone and try... something... new! Yes, you can.
Eat your vegetables. They're good for you.
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