IT wasn’t all that long ago that dumbells and Pilates mats were at opposite ends of the gym, as were the people using them.
Workout segregation was in full force; cardio junkies sweated it up in the front row of spin class, lifters loitered around the benchpress and yogis were the posers in the next room, ohm-ing and ahh-ing in the latest Lycra.
But today’s exercise gurus are advocates for integration; mixing up your weekly workout regimen with combinations that incorporate multiple training techniques to boost results and banish boredom.
Sanchia Legister, a former marathon runner turned yoga instructor, says that combining different fitness disciplines increases the range of muscles you’re working and keeps the body guessing so your results don’t plateau.
“As the body adapts so quickly to the same repeated activity, it is important to mix up workouts to stay physically challenged and boost mental stimulation,” she says.
The London-based yogi is leading her popular Yogahood – Vinyasa sequences set to hip hop beats – at the third annual lululemon Sweatlife fitness festival this weekend.
Thousands of Lycra-clad fitness fanatics are expected to take over Tobacco Dock on 23 and 24 June for two days of health and wellbeing activities including 250 classes led by some of the biggest names in boutique fitness like 1Rebel, Heartcore, Third Space, Kobox and Frame.
Workouts run the gamut from yoga and Pilates, bootcamp and boxing, and spinning and HIIT so that devotees of a particular discipline can try something different and find a combination that works for them.
“Hybrid workouts challenge the body as they constantly feed it with small shocks that can improve body composition and build muscular strength much quicker than aerobic exercise alone, creating the ultimate workout,” Sanchia says.
But as we’ve learned from Love Island, not all matches are made in heaven so it’s important to think about what each exercise is achieving and how they complement each other.
“The general rule of thumb is to mix a cardio based workout that focuses on endurance and speed with a sculpting element such as a HIIT class with Pilates,” Sanchia advises.
“Incorporating both of these workouts makes your body work as one unit – not overdoing one element of training and undermining another.”
Here are three workouts that work better together:
Spin x Weight Training
“Combining a high-intensity cardio session such as spinning with some weight training can be really effective and a great way to switch up your workout,” according to trainer Esmee Gummer, who will lead 1Rebel’s popular Ride classes at Sweatlife.
“Spinning is an intense cardio workout, largely focused on the lower body. By adding some weighted arm movements, you can completely transform your workout, turning it into a full-body session for the ultimate calorie burn.
“This also helps to mix up the spin workout, giving your legs a small break whilst you focus on sculpting those arms.”
Yoga x HIIT
“HIIT and yoga are the perfect duo, especially if you like to go hard in the gym,” Sanchia says.
“The body is so intelligent and after taking it to its maximum, pumping up the endorphins and energy levels, there’s nothing better than gently bringing the body back down and feeling grounded whilst channelling the energy you’ve cultivated.
“In my experience I’ve often felt very hyper and energised after doing HIIT, but not always known what to do with that energy. Yoga helps me come back to myself, but keep my vibes high.
“The body needs time to digest and integrate the experiences and challenges you put it through. HIIT and yoga can balance the yin and yang in your life.”
Barre x Strength
“Mixing Pilates or barre movements with a strength workout can be a really fun and effective workout,” Esmee says.
“Whilst barre tends to focus on smaller ‘pulse’ movements with a higher rep, it really works at sculpting those muscles, whilst being very targeted to thighs, bums, arms and core.
“Incorporate this with some exercises which focus on building strength and you are really getting a ‘two for one’ full body workout.
“An example with this would be exercises where you use your body for weight such as press-ups, planks, squats, walking lunges and moves using a TRX.”