Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

With planning, vacations can still be fitness-friendly

June 26, 2018

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can all lead to major disruptions in our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, staying in hotels or with family, you can keep fitness a part of each day. 

Here are a few tips to help make your vacations more fitness-friendly:

Sitting in a car for a few or many hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Moreover, car trips are notorious for combining little physical activity with eating the wrong foods. Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn. Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It can be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.” 

At times, airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry on luggage? You’ve all seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are many places to walk and climb stairs in most airports. When it comes to having a snack or meal, Quick read more or view full article remember that many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming fewer calories while being less active is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water offer good choices.

Many hotels and resorts offer fitness centers. Although your choices could be limited, remember that any movement is better than nothing. Try to combine some cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with some strength training. 

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands for strength training. They can be purchased at many health clubs, local retailers or online. Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences reflect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. Wrap your bands around a bed post or door knob. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a lightweight workout. Be creative. Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, offer a great upper body strength exercise and don’t require anything but you to perform. Situps, leg lifts and arm circles are just a few exercises that can be performed without equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise remains important when traveling, too. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring water and wear sunscreen. You’ll get more heart-healthy exercise just by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead, you’ll keep your workout routine on schedule. No matter the mode of travel or destination, you still can exercise and eat right on vacation. Remember, too, it’s a vacation Enjoy.

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This summer, make time for fun and fitness

May 30, 2018

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here. When most of us think about summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer also offers many opportunities for staying active.

Remain aware, though, that changes in schedules can present challenges in keeping your fitness routine on track. So what can you do to have the most safe, fun-filled, productive — and active — summer ever?

Warm weather provides many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities.  Take the family camping, fishing or hiking.  Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game — as a participant and spectator. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with.    

During the summer months, your normal schedule could be altered, whether through work or just having children at home. These changes can affect daily routines, including exercise schedules.

Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year on your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas, but not in others. You could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. What will Quick read more or view full article that goal look like for you?  It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park.

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days include some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Keep busy. Without your appointment book filled, it could be easy to fall into a trap of becoming bored. Boredom goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will give you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day, But with more daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities the family already enjoys as well as something new.   

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. To beat the heat, move your activities inside. Head to the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling.  When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to stay safe. Wear sunscreen or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin as you perspire keeps you cooler. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Drink plenty to stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit at grocery stores and farmers markets. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage our best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. You can still enjoy these foods, just keep them to occasional treats.

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer goal and work toward realizing that goal. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever.

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Add cross training to make your fitness routine anything but

April 24, 2018

It’s been said variety is the spice of life, and there’s some truth to that statement. We get into daily routines and complete many of our tasks without thinking about them. We go to work at the same time, eat at the same time and take out the garbage on pickup day.

Routines can be a good thing in many situations. But what about your fitness routine? Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weights? Maybe it’s time to change that routine. 

With fitness, adding a little spice could make boring more exciting and motivating. Sometimes you hear “change” or “different” and associate that with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s OK to like your comfort zone and its familiar surroundings, people and activities.  

Although doing the same thing over and over might be comforting, it has drawbacks. Without variety, things can get pretty boring. With fitness, it’s important to spice it up a bit.  

Let me introduce you to cross training, which combines two or more types of physical activities. 

There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is the motivational piece. Keeping interested and motivated to exercise is important. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you Quick read more or view full article won’t do it. Cross training also can help you burn more calories by using different muscle groups. Plus, you reduce the chance of injury by doing a variety of exercises —  participating in a high-impact activity like running one day, followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day.

It’s simple to create a varied exercise program. Plan a workout that includes the three areas of physical activity: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Under each area, write down what activities you like to do or want to try. Some activities fit under more than one area. Cardiovascular activities include running, jumping rope, riding a bike or even walking the dog. Strength training can include everything from push-ups to lifting weights to yard work. Flexibility activities include stretching or yoga.

Changing a fitness routine can be beneficial in more ways than just eliminating boredom. It can help improve your fitness level. Our bodies are adaptive and get used to an exercise routine. It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once they’ve adapted to a specific fitness routine. It’s important to keep our bodies guessing and mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do we change our workouts? Try something new. If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give it up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging and not routine. Remember, when changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Once you choose your activities, plan them into your week.  Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find what really interests you.  Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Go ahead: spice it up.

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Share fitness pains and gains with a friend

February 28, 2018

 You’ve decided to get into shape. It won’t be easy and there’ll be days you just don’t feel like working out.  Do you want to know a secret to a successful plan? Work out with a friend.

Statistics show that having someone who shares in your health and fitness goals will make your journey more successful. It’s important to choose the right person. You might select a friend or co-worker. A spouse or family member constitutes a good choice, too. When you’re working towards similar goals in your household, it’s easier to make time to exercise as well as eat healthier meals.

Here are five reasons you’ll enjoy more success getting in shape when you do it with a friend:

Accountability: A friend will help you get going and stay consistent. No more lame excuses why you can’t workout. A good friend knows all your excuses, and they won’t work. This is why people who participate in group exercise have more consistent workout routines.

Motivation: A friend can offer words of encouragement to keep you going. If losing weight is a key goal, you could encounter times where you become frustrated and want to quit. An exercise buddy will help put things in perspective. There might be times when you just aren’t feeling up to working out, and they can help pump up your enthusiasm and Quick read more or view full article remind you why you’re doing this.

You push each other: A training partner can push your limits. They create a challenge and help you work harder than if you worked out alone. How about a burpee challenge? Who can do the most?  There’s nothing better than a little friendly competition when it comes to exercise. Remember, though, that you might be at different levels than your partner, and keeping track of how you’re doing and improving is the key.

Sharing information: As they say, two heads are better than one. Think of how many more things you could learn. Maybe it’s a new exercise class, fitness tips or healthy recipes. Share music that inspires you. Your friend also can serve as a sounding board. Talk about what’s working and how you might benefit.

Fun: Working out with a friend offers a lot more fun than working out alone. It can be a time to work hard, catch up on each other’s lives and be silly and laugh together. Exercise might not always be fun, but when you combine the social aspect, you open up a whole new world.

Pick whoever you want for your exercise buddy just as long as they’ll make you a better person. Choose a person you want to be around and who has your best interests at heart. Then prepare to share in the challenges and successes.

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Healthy lifestyle too important to put off

January 29, 2018

Do you procrastinate? Do you tend to put off things you don’t want or know how to do? Maybe you have good intentions, but let other things move to the top of your to-do list.   

Although there are many areas of life that one can “put off,” the one that stands out like a neon sign is health and fitness. The overwhelming tradition of New Year’s resolutions means that Jan. 1 of every year becomes that day we’ve put off. This is the day we all get a fresh start. Everyone wants to reach their goals. So why do we wait until a new year rolls around, hoping this finally will be the year we actually change our lives for the better?  

Let’s start with the obvious: why people start a fitness program. Health issues dominate the top of the chart. Many times, people say their doctors told them it was necessary. For others, it might be an important event like a wedding. Still others just decide it’s important.

 Maybe you don’t fall into those categories. Then what?  There are many reasons why people put off starting a fitness program. For one thing, it’s not a quick, one-day task. Starting a fitness program is starting a healthy lifestyle. It’s ongoing. It’s for life. This can be intimidating for most people, especially someone who’s Quick read more or view full article just beginning.  

So, what’s the first step?  Start thinking about it.  Ask yourself these questions:  Why am I considering it? What is my life lacking without it? What are my goals? 

Identifying why a healthy lifestyle is important to you will help you get started. This goes back to having a goal that lacks specifics with no measurements or time limits. Without a plan, it’s much easier to procrastinate.

After you’ve answered these questions, then comes the hardest one: How do I do this? Maybe there’s something that seems to be stopping you. Perhaps you have tried before and didn’t succeed.  

We all know the benefits of exercise and that it’s important for every one of us. Try telling yourself it can’t wait another day, another month or another year.   

Taking care of your body and feeling better should be the reason you stop procrastinating.  If you’re really ready to do it for yourself, you will. Put aside the excuses you don’t know how to exercise, you need to get fit before you go to a gym or don’t have time. Just take the first step and get started. 

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