Cross Training For Consistency

I’ve really started to notice recently that I’ve been feeling a bit…stagnant.

Now, that could be something to do with the lovely depression episode that crept up on me last week, but it’s also a pretty good sign anyway that I need to start changing up some parts of my weekly routine to stop me from getting bored.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the best ways for your fitness to progress is to have a consistent training routine. Doing a full pole session even once a week is going to affect your pole progression way more than doing a half-assed workout whenever you feel like it.

Yep, I’m calling myself out there.

It’s always frustrating, though, when you have all intentions of consistently making it to your pole class, and life just gets in the way.

Like getting hit by a depression episode after missing the classes over the Easter Bank Holiday, so you end up not going to pole classes for 2 weeks.

The Pressure of Consistency

a man standing against a blackboard with his arms folded. On the blackboard is pictures of two muscular arms in a strength pose

Like I said, having a consistent training schedule is far better for progression than a non-consistent one. It’s the same as any skill, really – the more you practice, the better you get.

If your goals revolve around your fitness progression – whether that’s getting stronger, finally getting that dreaded shoulder mount or just being able to do one damned pull up – then consistently training those things will help you build muscle in the right places and reinforce the proper techniques.

On that front, there’s definitely a lot of pressure within the fitness community to stay consistent. Particularly within pole we often here the best way to train inverts is to do certain conditioning moves a certain number of times a week, but here’s the thing:

Consistency is not fun.

Well, not always.

If you’re the kind of person who loves having a plan and sticking to it, then it’s great to know what moves to train and when. My boyfriend is a weightlifter and knows on each day what part of his body he’s training and what martial arts training he’s going to do.

I can’t work like that.

At most, my entire plan at the minute revolves around just knowing what classes I’m going to. I go to Pole on a Monday and Friday and Clubbercise on a Tuesday, and that’s if life doesn’t get in the way of things. Aside from that, I don’t know what I’m training. I can’t always consistently make those classes, as much as I wish I could.

But when you’re being pressured to remain consistent, it’s difficult.

Here’s the thing:

Consistency is Unique, Just Like You

Martial arts students in white gis with orange belts

My boyfriend’s consistency is that he knows exactly what he’s training on different days. He knows each exercise, how many times he’s doing it, how many reps, and at what weight. He knows what kata he’s working on and when.

My consistency is that I do a minimum of two classes a week.

And we’re both happy.

Nick loves planning. Hell, he has a Trello board set up and arranged to keep track of his martial arts goals and what he needs to work on, which he constantly rearranges so he doesn’t get bored. He has an app on his phone that’s connected to his personal trainer for inputting his workouts.

To me, Nick has what might be considered the standard definition of consistency.

He knows exactly what he’s training, how many times he’s training, and when he’s training it.

This, however, is far too much planning for me (which is saying something!).

I try to do a minimum of two classes a week, with at least one of those being pole. Preferably, both of them are pole, but that’s not always achievable.

Flexible Consistency

a woman doing a yoga warrior pose

My fitness routine is what I like to call ‘flexibly consistent’.

While I do have goals for the end of year around what pole things I want to achieve, my fitness journey is much more focused on loving my body, becoming stronger, and promoting my own mental strength.

To achieve that, I want to be able to consistently work out at least twice a week, for around an hour each time.

I say at least, because sometimes, life just gets in the way and I can’t manage more than twice. Sometimes I can manage once, or not at all. While I try not to skip out of classes where possible, sometimes I’m too ill to go, or I have other pressing life admin to address.

This is what works for me.

On Mondays and Fridays, unless I’m ill or have other commitments, I know I’ll make it to Pole class. It’s a 10 minute tram ride away from my work, so if I’m in the office I’ll go. However, I am a bit of a lazy bum at times, so if I’m working at home or on holiday, I don’t always make the 40 minute drive from my house to the studio for class.

This is where flexible consistency works for me because I’m lucky enough to have three good Everyone Active gyms around me that offer a decent variety of exercise classes, all within a 15-minute drive of my house.

Alternative Training for Flexible Consistency

an older woman and young girl do push ups on tarmac facing each other

For me, I’ve found the key to staying consistent is having alternatives. For example:

With Monday being a bank holiday, there are no classes on at my studio, and my local gym isn’t running classes. However, the next closest gym to me is still running Virtual LesMills classes (the class is run from a video, rather than a live instructor), so today I’ve booked on to a Virtual BodyPump class. I’m still training on a Monday, as part of my plan – I’m just not at pole.

If Nick is out on a Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll book on to a BodyBalance class so I’m not home alone.

If I’m working at home on a Monday or Friday and am too lazy to drive into Nottingham to get to my studio, I know there’s classes nearby I can book on to so I’m still training.

Here’s the thing about consistency:

It’s not about what you do, but how often.

Pole Isn’t the Only Way to Train

pregnant women doing yoga

If you’re only training your core at pole class, it’s going to take you far longer to progress.

If the only time you do flexibility work is in the stretching part of your pole class, it’ll take you longer to get your splits than if you found opportunities to train outside the studio.

As polers, we can often get caught up in the current of only doing pole-based conditioning work, but here’s the thing:

While pole is damned awesome, there’s a whole fitness world beyond it.

And sometimes – gasp! – I get bored with pole.

It’s hard to maintain consistency when your main route into fitness in the first place is starting to feel almost mundane.

Boredom is the Killer of Consistency

a group of women in a spin class

This is really the crux of having a consistent training schedule. If you’re bored with your routine, you need to fix it. Pronto.

If your routine is becoming, well…routine, and you’re no longer excited to go to your normal classes, you need to do something about it. I know from experience as soon as that boredom kicks in, it kills any motivation you have to get better at your chosen sport or fitness activity. Before you know it, you’re finding excuses to skip out of class and sit at home with Netflix because you’re tired of how you train.

It’s all well and good having a plan to train your core three times a week, stretch every day and do every pole class your studio offers, but if you’re finding that you’re having to drag yourself there and convince yourself that you need to go, that’s a good sign that something needs to change.

Life is too damned short for getting bored.

TL;DR:

a woman doing a pose on aerial silks

Maintaining a consistent training schedule doesn’t always have to mean that you train the exact same thing, all the time, for the rest of your life.

There are literally thousands of different disciplines and sports outside of the pole world that utilise core training, strength training and flexibility – you just have to find what you’re interested in.

If your interests solely remain within the pole world, but you still want to cross train, there are definitely ways to go about this. You could focus on floorwork at home if your classes tend to be heavily trick based, or vice versa. If you’re in advanced classes, you could go back to learn the basics again and polish them.

In a similar vein, if your routine of only going to pole classes is getting mundane, start to sub in other classes and disciplines that interest you.

In a moment of boredom with my training, I decided to try a Clubbercise class, because I liked the idea of a dance-focused cardio class. Now I’m going consistently every week, because I’m finding the cardio aspect compliments my pole training – and I’m actually enjoying cardio for once, which is rare for me!

If you want flexibility and core work, I can definitely recommend finding a BodyBalance class near you. It’s a fun mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates, with plenty of variation during the class to keep you interested.

The most important thing when you’re trying to maintain a consistent training schedule is finding what you love, and doing the hell out of that thing. If you have a moment of boredom, it’s not necessarily a sign you should throw in the towel – just that you need to train smarter, not harder.


Let us know over on our Facebook and Instagram what you do for cross training, and particularly if you have any recommendations!

Hey, was this post helpful? If it was, please consider buying me a coffee. I can’t guarantee I won’t spend the money on pole classes instead.