Cross Training is a powerful and effective way to get and stay fit. However, before you begin your own workouts, take note of the five important facts that will boost your performance and keep you in peak condition.

1 – Eliminate Boredom

Cross training is the perfect remedy to boredom. Most people stick to the same routine day after day, week after week and this can make it really hard to stay motivated. In fact it’s probably one of the biggest reasons why people stop exercising! Runners and bikers especially risk becoming increasingly bored with their workouts. Fortunately, this type of training is a great way to not only mix things up and keep your training sessions interesting, but it’s also great for your body as well, because a diverse workout helps to increase strength and flexibility over your entire body. It also gives fatigued muscles a chance to rest while you work on other muscle groups.

2 – Three is the Magic Number

Cross training almost always involves three different phases that incorporate flexibility exercises, strengthening activities and aerobic training. If you’ve ever watched a triathlon, you’ll know that these events include all three: swimming, running and biking. But you’re not limited to those. Just think of three different activities that you enjoy, one from each type of workout. These could be three different sports or just three different machines in the gym, just whatever you think you will enjoy doing most. Mix these up and do 30 minutes per day with one or the other.

3 – Even the Pros Do It

There’s a reason why even the pros cross train – because it works! Professional athletes, marathon runners and many others all cross train to stay in peak condition.

4 – Make Smart Choices

When you make the decision to cross train, it’s important to make smart choices about what three activities you’re going to be doing. While it’s important to pick activities that you enjoy, it’s equally important to choose ones that aren’t counter intuitive to your goals, especially if you’re a serious athlete that is preparing for a competition or race. Picking the wrong activities could lead to injuries that take you out of the competition. For example, if you’re a marathon runner, you wouldn’t want to cross train using any sports that might lead to twisted ankles like racquetball or tennis. Likewise basketball players should avoid training with activities that add unnecessary strain to their shoulders, like chin-ups.

5 – Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

Regardless of what kind of cross training activities you choose, it’s important to always incorporate plenty of stretching into your routine. Pay particular attention to the specific muscle groups that you are working on but only stretch mildly before your routine. Leave the big stretches for after your workouts when your muscles are loose and heated. Over time, consistent stretching will lead to increased flexibility.