Fitness: Where You Can Have It All
One of the biggest fitness trends of the last 12 months has been multi-sport workout and it’s not hard to find proof of this rise. There is the runner outside your office on his way to boxing, one of the 480 Australian F45 gyms on every block, and the nippers of all ages who take over your beach every single weekend. Don’t believe it? Just try to find a carpark at your local beach on a Sunday morning.
Multi-sport training and its participants are now no longer a sub-culture forced into the shadows of underground Crossfit boxes, but are becoming the new norm. In fact, 88% of Australians sport club members, are involved in supplementary workouts on a weekly basis (Medical Society for Sports Medicine). Our fitness idols and celebrities are also a reflection of this trend, with heroes no longer always bred in the isolation of a single sport. The greatest multisport athletes in the world have followings in the hundreds of thousands, dwarfing the 20k followings of our Olympic champions, and the sponsorship dollars that chase them are reflective of their influence. The reason makes sense; these athletes reflect our personal desires, they are good at everything. In a society where we want it all, fitness is now an outlet where we legitimately can, and the benefits of mixing it up when it comes to training keep adding up.
From a health and results perspective, keeping our body guessing by throwing in different styles of training into the one workout plan delivers great results, fast. Activating different muscles and energy systems through a variety of movements keeps metabolisms firing and always working to adapt to your next fitness outing. This variety and constant metabolic conditioning also ensures that athletes don’t adapt to monotonous routines, and results don’t plateau (European Journal of Applied Physiology).
Cross training also decreases the chance of serious injury by decreasing the continuous and repetitive load on single sport specific muscle groups, increasing flexibility, and building the necessary muscle to support joints through a range of movements.
When it comes to attrition and mindset, the big winner from mixing up your program is that your workouts are always interesting. Multi-sport workouts mean different locations, different movements, and different training groups. You can train outside with your mates, find your zen and recover in a yoga studio, and get some serious business sweat-working done in the gym.
Variety in your program doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice routine or structure in your training, and the chaos can certainly be organized to meet any objective or need. The greatest athletes in the world following multisport training are those that follow a plan with firm goals and targets, however they’re aware of the benefits of targeting all aspects of fitness.
Whilst the multisport trend has been gathering momentum over the past 18 months, the fit-tech sector has finally started issuing responses. Apps and tech that promote access to exercise variety are experiencing continuing growth thanks to our increasing desires. Classpass, the US based fitness app allowing users to book into a multitude of affiliate studios, has taken over the Australian market, whilst gyms and franchises that facilitate this variety have swept the nation, and even the world. Large tech firms Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple have all introduced new devices to not only measure running, but swimming and cross training also.
The uptake has been so strong that sport-tech now includes apparel. It’s no longer enough to wear a daggy workout singlet that doesn’t enhance our performance, and brands are responding to the way we’re training. Aussie brands such as ALL I SEA are pioneering transitional workout wear, dubbed “active swimwear”. The properties of pieces from these brands are conducive to all workouts, with high performance fabrics, moisture management for both sweat and water, and compression supporting athletes from all walks of the fitness world. These pieces are so versatile and performance driven that it will one day make athletes wonder how they completed multisport workouts without that functionality.
As excitement around multisport training continues to build, it’s the brands that know their consumers and their behaviors that will continue to innovate and pioneer this new category, rather than those who dictate the terms.
Fitness has always been an outlet and reflection for our desires and goals, and now “having it all” can be added to the list of reasons why we should continue to get our bodies moving.