Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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This holiday, give the gift of healthy living

December 19, 2017

Finding the perfect holiday gift for that special someone presents a challenging task. Consider giving the gift of health, fitness and nutrition. You’ll not only offer something they’ll love, but also a gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re buying for a spouse, parent or friend that’s either a fitness enthusiast or beginner, here are some ideas sure to bring motivation and movement into their lives.

A fun way to share a fitness gift with your loved one is to join a gym together. This will give you both unlimited resources to help attain your New Year’s fitness goals.  By doing this together, it’ll be more fun and hold you both accountable.  

If you’re already gym members, try some personal or small group training. This is a great way to get a jump start on a fitness journey. It might be the gift they need, but wouldn’t buy for themselves. You don’t have to be a celebrity to hire a personal trainer anymore. People from all walks of life — young to old, beginners to athletes — benefit from the motivation and knowledge you receive Quick read more or view full article from a training class.

What does almost every fitness enthusiast love? Their music. There’s nothing better to help get through a tough workout than a great playlist. Some gift ideas include music cards or a fun pair of ear buds or headphones.

The sale of such wearable fitness gadgets as fitness bands is on the rise. This technology not only measures steps, but activity, heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality. While different models have different features, the one common trait among them is the ability to create awareness of your physical activity and inspire you to make healthy changes. These devices are available in a variety of types, sizes, colors and prices.

Still other technology inspired gifts include a multitude of available phone apps. Did you know you can get an app with GPS and record your runs or bike rides? There’s an app for almost every type of activity you can imagine. While some apps are free, others are available for a minimal cost.

Another idea is a subscription to their favorite magazine that specializes in their sport or area of interest. 

Want to be an amazing gift giver? Give them a certificate for a massage after a hard workout.

A little research will lead you to some unique healthy gift ideas. Consider a gift subscription to one of the many healthy meal delivery services available. These healthy meals offer that busy person on your list some help in the kitchen at dinner time. A gift card to a healthy grocery store or consultation appointment with a nutritionist would be welcomed by anyone anxious to pursue a more healthy — and nutritious — lifestyle

A fitness-inspired gift list would be incomplete if you were unaware of the gifts NOT to buy. Readers of Fitness Magazine asked to chose the worst fitness gifts cited a diet book and a sauna suit. Remember those suits that made you sweat and looked like you were wrapped in foil? Of course, the No. 1 worst gift is a talking scale.

These are just a few ideas to help out with gift buying for the loved ones on your list. Christmas is followed by s new year filled with resolutions to live healthier lifestyle. Giving a gift that helps your loved one be healthier is a gift they’ll enjoy every day all year.

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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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