Don't be afraid to adjust your routine to reflect your goals.
It’s helpful to re-evaluate what you are actually trying to accomplish with your cross-training from time to time. Whenever your goals change, your cross-training usually needs to change, too.
It can be tempting to just do the same fitness routine over and over again because it's familiar and what got you results at one point or another, or it's what everyone else is doing (a.k.a. "the cool new workout fad"). But, that may actually hinder your progress as your life evolves and situations change. In other words, don’t get caught in the trap of working out just to work out. Work out with a purpose. And, depending on what that purpose is…that is what should determine your workout design.
For example, this summer I had a goal of gaining as much muscle and strength as possible (just as a fun experiment on my body…and because I enjoy feeling invincible😉). Since my companies were all on break, I had an opportunity to adjust my training regimen to support this goal. While it was a fun and successful experiment, I can’t keep up with that training routine now that my ballet season has picked up. If I kept training the way I did over the summer, I wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of my dancing. I want the majority of my energy and focus going towards mastering the multiple variations and ballets I’m learning. Plus, my goal is no longer gaining muscle, but trimming down to my “fighting weight”- the ideal ratio between power and size (you can read more about this here). So, my cross-training routine looks completely different now that I'm dancing 25-30 hours a week.
The bottom line is that you have to consider what your actual goals are when you train. Dancers are notorious for driving ourselves into the ground with the physical demands we place on our bodies. We are exceptionally good at torturing ourselves with excessive pain...thinking, the more it hurts, the better we will be. But, more is not always better…especially when it comes to cross-training. If you want to be a CrossFit champion…go ahead and work out like a maniac. If you want to be a dancer…keep in mind that your workouts should help you dance better, not leave you so destroyed that you can barely get out of bed in the morning.
On the other side of the spectrum, you don’t want to avoid all cross-training either. That scenario has its own downfalls, the most nefarious being weakness and susceptibility to injuries. The sweet spot lies in doing just enough to challenge your body to maintain & enhance strength…but not so much that you risk stealing precious energy away from your dance art.
Photo Credit (top): Rachel Neville Photography