Thursday, November 26, 2015

Elizabeth Street


Exercise Diversity Can Make or Break Your Fitness Routine

Sep 04, 2013

Exercise Diversity Can Make or Break Your Fitness Routine

Our bodies are clever little creatures. When they start to recognize an exercise routine they go on autopilot and stop working nearly as hard as we’d like them to. The solution is to bombard your mind and muscles with new movements, new classes and new sports on a regular basis and as a result you will create stronger, smarter muscles and burn far more calories while you’re at it. Let’s call it exercise diversity—the key to a lean, healthy physique and a foolproof technique to avoid gym boredom.  

Your goal should be to expose your body to as many unpredictable movements, intervals and changes in speed and direction as possible. Those unexpected demands for energy force your body to literally throw fat on the furnace to deal with the hard work you are presenting it with. Challenging yourself physically with new activities is especially important as we age; it boosts your metabolism, which is harder to do with each passing year and keeps your mind stimulated.  

Start by looking at your week as a whole and if previously you would routinely book in a favorite spin class twice a week, focus on mixing it up. Try a new barre class, do the advanced version of a class you’ve already tried or ask your trainer to completely surprise you with a new routine. Although it may seem somewhat OCD, it is helpful to color code the exercise time you input into your calendar. For example, cardio is green, strength classes are blue, and stretching exercise is red. Then you can visually see every week if you are diversifying your exercise enough. Aim to have a rainbow each week!

And being promiscuous (a good thing in this case) with exercise has never been easier. Nearly every city is overflowing with studios offering everything from yoga, barre and pilates to bootcamp, spinning and TRX. If you need even greater convenience, downloading classes and tutorials from the web and practicing moves in the comfort of your own home couldn’t be more simple. You no longer need to lock yourself into a gym membership or chat with a trainer for an hour if you don’t want to. Be imaginative with your exercise choices, challenge yourself to try new activities and watch your body thank you—one toned muscle at a time.  

By Calgary Avansino 

Calgary Avansino has worked at British Vogue for 13 years, most recently as Executive Fashion Director and is now Contributing Editor. Her love for fashion is matched only by her passion for all things healthy! She is currently building a wellbeing website (you can sign up now at and is working on a line of tasty and very good-for-you snacks.  

A bit of a health nut? Calgary has plenty of other ideas on healthier living, like how to eat more green vegetables and chia seeds.

Pressed for time but still need to add a little exercise diversity to your routine? Get started with Heidi Powell’s total body workout in the slideshow above.