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Muscles I Never Knew I Had

by

When you read all the running magazines and the running books and all the running websites they all tell you that you ought to do cross training.

This basically means “Something that isn’t running”, or more specifically it means “an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness.”

Frankly, when in May you were achieving the grand total of the occasional brisk walk and now you’re going running at least 3 times a week you tend to think “pfft, I have to do OTHER STUFF?” well, you do if you’re me. I’m having a go at a few press ups and doing some squats and planks and all that stuff. I can feel muscles in my thighs tightening up, my posture is better and my stomach is (a bit) flatter. Surely that covers it?

Last week I left my running shoes in the car. So I decided to pull out an old Davina exercise program I had saved on iTunes to get some exercise because I’m THAT dedicated (and I keep eating like a pig). I did the Buff Boxing and Buff Abs sections from the Body Buff DVD. It didn’t feel that hard really. Nicely out of breath, but not as hard as running.

Then I tried to get out of bed the day after. Turns out there are muscles in my rib cage. Who knew? There are also muscles in my inner thighs, but not the ones I already knew about, oh no. These are whole new inner thigh muscles, just toward the back of my inner thighs, ones that really hurt when you walk.

So it seems that if you just do the same sorts of exercise all the time, eventually you stop getting better at them and you only work the same muscles and maintain your fitness levels rather than improving. It also seems that despite feeling all smug about all this running I am just as much of a muscle free slug as I always was. I have therefore made one of my winter fitness goals to commit 45 minutes each week to some additional cross training.

Does Bouncy Castle count as cross training?

I’ve discovered I love running, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune from ever getting bored, or not wanting to go out in the cold. I’m also still quite a slow runner by the standards of most runners! My fastest pace over a 5k is just under 9:30 a mile, but I can’t sustain that over long distance and I mostly plod happily somewhere around the 10:30 minute mile mark. I don’t mind this, but I would like to be faster, just because I’m sure I can be. To do that I need to not only run, but work on some muscles running doesn’t. I also run partly because I want to enjoy those toning and slimming effects, and to keep those going I need to do other stuff too.

When people talk about cross training they always talk about exercise bikes, cycling, rowing machines and elliptical trainers. Quite where I’m supposed to get one of those I don’t know. Even if I wanted to buy one I don’t have room in my house and I’m not paying extortionate gym fees to go once a week and use a rowing machine for 45 minutes. Basically I want to do something else with a cardio element that will work some different muscles than I already use, so the obvious choice, especially at this time of year, is to turn to the trusty exercise DVD.

I have 3 or 4 old Davina McCall exercise DVDs kicking around which I plan to rotate. Plus if I ever get my living room in a decent state then the EA Sports Active and Wii Fit can be fun when I’m at home.

If you’ve got any more suggestions for cross training that doesn’t involve expensive equipment then I’m all ears!

15 Responses
  • Wendy
    November 9, 2012

    if you have a wii then I love the zumba fitness “game” (seriously, its not a game!). I’m planning on doing that at lunch time. They even have a starter routine which is only 20 minutes long so perfect for slotting in on a busy day.

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 9, 2012

      I’d seen that but wasn’t sure if it was any good! Hopefully I’ll have my living room floor sanded today so I might look into getting that!

  • Perdita
    November 9, 2012

    I find different styles of dance work different parts of the body. Both in terms of classes and just mad dancing in my house.

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 9, 2012

      I need more room in my house to mad dance! Doing a dance class or something once a week isn’t a bad idea though!

  • Miss Magpie
    November 9, 2012

    I love dancing around the room when I get the chance, however I have resurrected the 1980’s fitness classic ‘Callanetics’, (via Ebay as I needed it on DVD, I no longer have a video to play my Mother’s old tape!) I needed to find something that was going to be kind to my knees and back, both of which are buggered and one of my friends was raving about doing Callanetics. I remembered it from back in the day when my Mother used to do it,I even tried it with her for a while. I have to say I am most definitely not as flexible as I was when I tried it all those years ago! and I am a LONG way off the 300 stomach exercises in the programme but my back is very happy with it so I shall keep it up and see how I go.

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 9, 2012

      OH.MY.GOD. I used to love Callanetics!

      It was only the endless repetitions that stopped me doing it.

      I have the book. I might bring that out again!

  • Ali Bunn
    November 10, 2012

    Try the 30 Day Shred (link to youtube video on my blog – http://runningbunn.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/buddying-up.html if you need it!) You don’t need to do it every day to feel the benefit it really gets you working!

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 11, 2012

      I have heard much about this! Keep thinking I should give it a try!

  • Fran
    November 11, 2012

    Second the Wii Zumba, it’s an absolute killer if like me you haven’t done more than get out of a car for years but strangely made me laugh. (and anyone who was watching I suspect) Definately reaches the parts that other workouts don’t. Am almost tempted to get out the old Jane Fonda videos but not sure my floorboards could take all that jumping around anymore!

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 11, 2012

      Ok, I will definitely have to investigate the Zumba!

  • straighttalkingmama
    November 11, 2012

    I do realise that because I love swimming I am in the same situation as you in that my body although more toned is just getting used to it. I am – again like you – trying to up the pace but again know I need to do other stuff. I am a member so I can use the gym and did used to once a week but might have to do 2 swims and 2 gyms instead, which isn’t a bad thing, I just prefer swimming. I also need to get the Wii out again, will look into the Zumba one, I like the boxing although I do tend to go overboard, I once pulled just about every muscle in my arms ;o)

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 11, 2012

      Ha ha! I’ve done that with the boxing one! It gets easier after a few goes!

  • propriocomeaudrey
    November 11, 2012

    I love Pilates and tap dance. Tap dance expecially, as I can pretend to be Ginger Roger and still have a decent workout…. have a lovely Sunday!

    • Lady Lipstick
      November 11, 2012

      Tap dance sounds fun. Don’t know if there are any classes near me. I’m not very good at getting somewhere regularly.

  • propriocomeaudrey
    November 11, 2012

    oups sorry, I meant Ginger Rogers …..