Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Follow these timely tips to keep fit for fall

November 21, 2017

Fall can be a season when exercise routines waiver. It’s no longer summer, but not yet winter. It’s too cold to continue with many of the summer activities you enjoy. You could even become a little blue with the realization summer has ended and your favorite activities are over for a while. Still, fall brings with it many other opportunities.

 Here are five tips to help keep you active and ready to embrace this beautiful season:

Take it outside. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful Grand Valley. With so many options from which to choose — like mountain biking and hiking — there’s no reason not to get out and enjoy the scenery and vibrant colors. Go exploring. Hike a new trail. Visit a park. Raking leaves or getting in some yard work offer great ways to get the heart pumping. Spending time out in nature and the fresh air does wonders for your mind as well as your body.

Layer your clothing. Learning the proper fundamentals of layering for fall and winter activities can mean the difference between comfort and misery. It’s important to layer while exercising in chilly weather. You might feel cold at first. But then as your body warms, you could feel overdressed. Follow the three-layer rule. Your first layer next to your skin should be Quick read more or view full article made of a moisture-wicking fabric. This fabric wicks moisture away from your skin so you don’t feel wet and cold. The second layer should be a warmth layer and the third layer a protective layer, such as a windbreaker or something water-resistant depending on the weather. Don’t forget your sunglasses.

Don’t be blue. Many of us experience the winter blues as the weather cools and days shorten. Although it’s tempting when waking up in the dark, don’t hit the snooze alarm. With less sunlight, you might want to increase your consumption of Vitamin D. Eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. Remember, too, that exercise releases endorphins that enhance your mood and feelings of happiness. 

Watch the treats. It’s estimated the average American gains between 5 pounds and 9 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Remember to eat right and buy healthy snacks.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll start after the new year. This is really saying you’ll find an excuse no matter the time of year.  There will always be parties and special events.

Plan for the holidays. Take out a calendar early — like now. Mark off time for exercise each day. Schedule a little exercise between things on busy days — 10 minutes is better than nothing. Keep your goals in mind throughout the holiday season.  The time you allow yourself for exercise, sleep, nutrition and organization will make the busy season more manageable. 

Enjoy the change of seasons. Fall is a perfect time to keep fitness routines on track. Instead of using cooler weather as an excuse not to exercise, try using the season as an excuse to exercise. 

Happy fall.

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How to choose a personal trainer

October 24, 2017

It used to be only Hollywood celebrities who attributed their fabulously fit bodies to personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all income brackets, ages and fitness levels hire personal trainers to help them meet their goals.

While a healthy lifestyle has become a top priority for many people, they sometimes lack the direction and guidance they need to be successful. Here’s where a personal trainer comes in. 

After you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer, it’s important to find one who constitutes the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider. Many trainers provide a wide variety of services and offer different areas of expertise. Finding a trainer whose work schedule matches your schedule or fees that match your budget also constitute important factors.

First, identify what you want. What are your goals — not only in terms of fitness, but also your overall lifestyle? Making a change is hardly ever easy. You could only have the goal of being “healthy.” Your trainer can help you set realistic, attainable and specific goals. Communication is the most important step in selecting a trainer. You need to be able to talk openly with this person about yourself — not only telling them why you’re there and what you want to achieve, but also your medical history. By setting goals, you have a starting Quick read more or view full article point from which to move forward.

Personal training certifications let you know your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology as well as anatomy and injury prevention. Many trainers also hold four-year college degrees in fitness-related fields. The higher levels of experience and education offer additional confidence when making your choice. Some trainers also specialize in a certain area, such as nutrition, sports specific training, dealing with certain injuries or age-specific training. Seek out a trainer who specializes in the type of training you desire.

Another important factor is the availability and price of a trainer. You might want to work out two or three times a week during your lunch hours. Finding a trainer who can accommodate your schedule will help set you up for success. Price is also important. Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in you. You have options as to the frequency of your sessions. Some trainers offer a discounted package if you buy a certain number of sessions.  You could even ask if a trainer will give you a free session to see their training style in action. Many trainers build their businesses through referrals, so don’t hesitate to ask for references.

One alternative to the traditional, one-on-one personal training session is small group training. This type of training allows a personal trainer to train up to five clients in a class at the same time. This not only allows you a chance to meet other people and hold each other accountable in class, but also reduces the cost of the sessions to the participants.

There’s also workshop-style training, another option that’s becoming increasingly popular. A small group workshop allows a trainer to focus on a specific type of training — such as functional fitness, kettle bell, sport specific, weight loss. Each session is usually six to eight weeks long.  If one of these approaches sounds appealing, find a trainer who teaches these types of sessions.

Carefully consider your personality. Make sure your trainer’s style fits your personality style. You might want a trainer who’s more aggressive, or perhaps your style is more relaxed and low key.

Hiring a personal trainer can help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Take time to carefully choose a trainer who will motivate you; keep you on track; and make sure your workouts are safe, enjoyable and effective. Above all, find a trainer who inspires you.  

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Functional fitness exercises offer training for life

September 27, 2017

Think of the movements you go through every day: getting into and out of your car, reaching for an item on the top shelf at the grocery store, bending down to pick up a child. Most of time, we don’t even think about these movements — until we can’t manage them with ease. This is where functional fitness exercises can help by training your muscles to handle everyday activities efficiently and safely.

Functional fitness training has become popular in training regimens.  Personal trainers include this type of training in their client workouts. These types of exercises train your muscles to work together to simulate common movements. This is different from conventional strength training and working on isolated muscle groups. Working a combination of muscle groups — your upper and lower body, for example — at the same time could be the same movement you make while lifting something off the floor. The exercise that might be performed for this movement would include a squat and then a bicep curl.  

Functional fitness exercises concentrate not only on upper and lower muscle groups, but also core muscles. The core muscles are those in your middle from your chest to your pelvic bone. By strengthening core muscles, you gain flexibility and stability.

Other functional exercises might include sit ups with a medicine ball you move Quick read more or view full article from side to side. Try a lunge with hand weights where you step back instead of forward. There are many props you can, including weights, kettlebells, fitness balls and aerobic steps.  If you’re beginning, use the resistance of your body weight for training.

These multi-joint and multi-muscle exercises are also used by athletes. Sports specific training can benefit from functional training as well. 

Personal trainers often use a Bosu (both sides utilized) ball, which is rounded on one side and flat on the other.  If you stand on the flat side, your core must be engaged to retain balance. Moving a weighted medicine ball from one side of your body to the other while standing on the ball simulates the movement in a golf swing. This can be used for many other sports as well, such as basketball and hockey.  

The benefits of functional fitness training are numerous.  Think of it as life training that prepares you for your daily activities. Try adding these exercises to your own workout.  

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Excuses, excuses: Don’t let them derail your workouts

August 22, 2017

When there’s something you really don’t want to do, you make excuses. My dog ate my homework. My alarm didn’t go off.

When it comes to fitness and exercise, though, your excuses could have some merit.  The trick is to identify your excuse, then figure out a solution. This  could be the way to put those excuses on a shelf and head to the gym.

People have been surveyed to find out why they don’t exercise on a regular basis. Many of the same excuses come up again and again. Do any of these excuses fit you?

“I don’t know how to exercise.” This common fitness excuse is real. People don’t think a brisk walk or gardening could be considered exercise. You know getting up and off the couch to do something physical and getting you body moving is exercise, to a point. Not knowing what to do when it comes to a health club could be different.  Weight machines, cardio equipment and group exercise classes could require some instruction. The solution: Make learning part of the fun. Take a getting started class or try a small group training class in which a trainer will help you every step of the way.  Like many sports, exercise can take time to learn and master. Make it your ambition to exercise and learn.

“I just don’t Quick read more or view full article have time.” This one is classic. When we don’t make time to care for our health, we could lose it. Everyone these days is busy, from the stay-at-home mom to the business executive. We all have 24 hours in our day to make sure we take time for ourselves. The solution: Schedule exercise as an appointment you just can’t miss. Remember that even if you can’t do a full 30 minutes, some exercise is better than nothing.

“I’ll lose weight and then join a health club.” While health clubs might seem intimidating, maybe you just haven’t found the right one. The solution: Find a place that fits your personality, location and personal goals. Since it’s a place you’ll be going to numerous times a week, you’ll want to find a place where you feel comfortable.  Everyone starts at the beginning of their own fitness journey. You’ll be surprised there are people of every age, size and shape to welcome you.

“It’s so boring.” Doing the same type of exercise day after day can become boring, prompting you to go through your workout on auto pilot. The solution: Shake it up, baby. Try something new. Try a variety of classes. Do different workouts on different days. Find a workout buddy who holds you accountable and makes it more fun. Turn your workout into something social.

“I’ve tried exercise, and I keep quitting.” If this applies to you, you haven’t found the exercise you love. Perhaps you did too much too soon and your muscles were too sore to keep it up, Maybe you didn’t identify the goals you were hoping to achieve. The solution: Set goals and measuring points when starting an exercise program. There’s an incentive when the scale goes down, energy levels go up and your clothes fit better. A key factor in starting a program is to start slowly. It’s miserable to be so sore you can’t move. A little muscle soreness is good, but go slow and build up.

Identify the fitness excuse you use most often. Then find something you love to do and make a commitment you won’t quit. Fitness isn’t a destination, but rather a lifelong journey. 

“You can have results or excuses. Not both.”  — Anonymous

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Take some comfort in your health club choice

July 25, 2017

Going to familiar places, doing things that come easy and spending time with loved ones and friends with which you can be yourself all constitute important forms of comfort. But what about your health club? Do you feel comfortable there, too?

Walking into a health club or gym for the first time can be intimidating. So what factors should you consider and what should you look for in choosing a facility that’s right for you? There are such obvious considerations as location and amenities. But don’t neglect the not-so-obvious considerations: what a facility represents and the programs and experiences it offers members.

Do a little homework before you go to a health club. Call ahead of time to see how you’re greeted. A friendly and knowledgeable voice that invites you to come to the business leaves a positive impression. Check the website and see what a facility offers. 

Location can be an important factor for many people, but not always the most important. If the club is too far away from home or work, you could find yourself making excuses not to go. 

The amenities offered at a health club or gym should fit your activities and lifestyle. Amenities might include weights, group exercise, pool, locker rooms and child care. Make sure a club offers what you need and like. Additional amenities are great, too, in affording you Quick read more or view full article the option to try something new.

 Try a health club or gym first. Before making a commitment, see if it feels right to you. Find a health club or gym that offers a free trial or money back guarantee. Then go in and work out a couple times. By actually using the facilities, you can tell how well they’re maintained and cleaned. Ask yourself if everything is touchable.

Meet the members. Nothing tells you more about a place than the people who are there using it. Moms who take their little ones to the Kid’s Club are very careful with whom they leave their children. Ask the people next to you on a cardio machine about their experiences.  

Your own member experience begins with the first phone call. The salesperson should be concerned about you and your wants and needs. Not everyone joins a health club for the same reason.

If you’re new to exercise, find out if the club offers an orientation program to get you started. Maybe you want to hire a personal trainer. Ask for trainer bios, certifications and training specialties. Finding the right match for you will help in achieving success. 

At Crossroads Fitness Centers, our members tell us what’s important to them. They find comfort in coming to a place to enjoy their favorite activities in a clean environment. Hearing their name when they walk in the door, visiting with friends and finding motivation and energy in a workout from an instructor who really cares about their needs is what it’s all about. 

Choosing a health club where you feel at home, becomes familiar and fits your needs — not that’s comfort.

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