Spring (Cross) Training

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a Certified Health Coach and a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.

By Cathleen Kronemer

What a great time of year for baseball fans! Spring Training is always a glorious event, igniting the spark of excitement for another summer of peanuts, Cracker Jack, and cheering crowds. Baseball players around the nation are keenly aware of the physical toll their chosen profession can take on their bodies. In their off-season, most will engage in some form of cross-training to enable them to be in ideal shape to deliver a summer’s worth of peak performances at bat.

 At this writing, I am easing my way back into civilization, having just enjoyed an amazing 5 days with the family in Grand Cayman.  Sun, surf, sand — and sure, I’ll admit to a frozen mango daiquiri while watching a perfectly splendid sunset — paved the way for some much-needed rest and relaxation. 

My husband travels extensively for business, and has grown quite accustomed to either jogging outdoors in between meetings, or visiting hotel gyms.  This trip was no exception for him; while Jillian and I slept late, Mark dutifully engaged in his workouts. I had decided prior to departing that I was going to adroitly avoid the Marriott’s Fitness Center, a task which has proven challenging for me on past vacations.  Little did I know that a cross-training opportunity would present itself!

Seeking the unique adventure of viewing bioluminescent plankton at night, we signed up for the 2-hour excursion. Since the optimum viewing spot on the island was 1.5 miles out in the water, we were required to kayak. The moon was radiant, the stars were plentiful, and our guide even pointed out the bright visibility of Venus in the sky. The fish were breathtaking, glowing in the pitch darkness at 8:30 pm. At the conclusion of our adventure tour, we of course had to kayak another 1.5 miles back to shore. 

I have only kayaked once before, nowhere even near 3 miles, and was starting to worry if I possessed the strength and stamina for this activity.  I reasoned that my arms were strong as a result of years of bodybuilding, but still…different movements, different energy. As it turned out, kayaking was a tremendous cross-training exercise! No soreness was experienced at all, neither that night nor the next day.  

When it comes to awakening the body to new fitness challenges, this unlikely but opportune kayak adventure will forever top my list. If your journeys lead you to a place where you have a chance to engage in a fun yet unfamiliar exercise with a purpose, I encourage you to do so. Perhaps you will be as pleased as I was with the body’s ability to adapt and respond. This is my kind of spring training, for certain!