Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Row, row, row your way to fitness

April 26, 2016

What if you could find a piece of exercise equipment that burns calories to help you lose weight, strengthens and tones muscles and provides a great cardiovascular workout —  a total body workout, in fact. 

There is such a piece of equipment — a rowing machine. Just a few years ago, rowing machines could be found near the back wall in health clubs and you never saw anyone using them. Why the change in popularity?  The secret of it’s amazing benefits have been revealed.

Actually the biggest reason why people don’t just hop on a rowing machine placed in a health club cardio room is simple: They don’t know how to use it.  Almost anyone can figure out how to walk on the belt of a treadmill or pedal a recumbent bicycle. A rowing machine takes a little more finesse, but you’ve got this.

Let’s go over the benefits for choosing a rowing machine for your workout, learning basic rowing techniques and avoiding common mistakes and ways you can start rowing today.

Since rowing constitutes a non-impact exercise, it’s easy on the back and joints, making it an excellent form of exercise for older fitness enthusiasts. Rowing burns substantial calories, making it a great tool for weight loss. Since rowing is an endurance exercise, there are cardiovascular benefits, including improved lung, heart and circulation systems.   

Since Quick read more or view full article rowing uses almost every major muscle group in the body, stronger toned muscles are another benefit. Rowing works both the upper body (shoulders, arms and back) and lower body muscles (legs, hips and buttocks) with each stroke. It’s also a performance abdominal exercise since the core stays engaged throughout the exercise. 

Learning proper rowing technique might not be as difficult as it seems.  According to Concept2, a maker of rowing machines, there’s a four-step process to the rowing stroke:

  • The catch: This is your starting position where your legs are compressed, arms extended and you’re gripping the handle. 
  • The drive: Focus on pushing with the legs first, next pivoting backward at the hips so your shoulders pass your pelvis (you should be in a slight lay back) and then pulling the arms into your chest.  
  • The finish: This is where the abs stabilize the body and the glutes and quads are contracting as well as the biceps and back muscles. 
  • The recovery: This is the final stage where the arms are pushed away from the body and the torso moves forward as you slide up to the catch position.

Some of the most common rowing technique mistakes are to row only with your arms or hunching your back during the stroke.  It takes practice to get the technique sequence down and create a smooth stroke. 

“This sequential engagement of the kinetic chain is the natural sequence in which muscles are supposed to engage for efficient, safe and effective movement,” said Allen Russell, a personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness who has an extensive background in biomechanical performance. “The rowing machine provides an excellent evaluation tool in order to better provide quality training which will improve overall performance and function of my clients.”    

There are many ways to incorporate rowing into your exercise routine. It can be performed as a warmup prior to a strength training class or as a cooldown. You might choose to row during a high-intensity interval training program in which you engage in short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of slower-paced rowing. You might incorporate rowing as your primary cardiovascular workout as you would exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill. 

Rowing machines are used by cardiac rehabilitation patients to Olympic athletes and everyone in between. Because of the wide range of health benefits associated with rowing, you might consider making rowing part of your lifelong fitness routine.

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Small group training more than a workout

May 27, 2014

Most people are familiar with the term one-on-one personal training sessions. These sessions are available at most health clubs and independent studios. But what has changed could surprise you: the increased popularity of small group personal training.

Although it seems to really have hit the market recently, we’ve been offering small group personal training at Crossroads Fitness for years. 

So why is this best kept secret a hit for reaching fitness goals?

Many people say they can work out alone, and it's true many can. But for most of us, the reality is we won’t do it with success. Did you know an individual who exercises on their own has a 45 percent dropout rate within the first year? The second year it’s a 52 percent dropout rate. That leaves only a 3 percent rate for someone to succeed with an exercise plan.

Small group training is successful for many reasons. One is the fact the leader, a personal trainer, specializes in anatomy, exercise science and nutrition. Because of their education and experience, participants feel comfortable in abilities of the leader to train them. 

Small group training is also a cost-effective way to work out with a trainer. Because there’s a group, the trainer divides the cost of his or her time among a few people. Everyone benefits by sharing the cost.  

Another benefit of small group training is the variety. Each workout is carefully designed for a particular group. Classes could include cardiovascular exercise, weights, interval training, circuit Quick read more or view full article and core work. In small group training, participants also get to incorporate some fun and innovative exercise “tools” into their workouts. Many of these tools require proper technique and form, though, not only to gain the most health benefit, but more importantly, to reduce injury. Some of these exercise tools include kettle bells, plyo boxes, slam balls and suspension training.

One of the most important benefits to achieving your fitness goals through small group training is structure. By having a class you attend two or three times each week with the same trainer and same people, you begin to develop the workout habit. All you have to do is show up. That structure becomes not only part of your weekly schedule, but also your lifestyle.

The part I like best? The social aspect. A small group training class can become a close-knit group of people all trying to achieve their individual goals. I have seen it over and over at Crossroads Fitness. These people who start out exercising together don’t know each other when they begin. But after a while, they become friends both in and out of the club. 

Some classes might be conducted for businesspeople exercising before work. Other classes could be for mothers with young children. Some are a mix. The fact these people now have a support group that cares about them is one of the most beneficial aspects of small group training.  

Working out in a group yields more success than attempting to do it on your own. Give small group training a try and see the benefits for yourself. You’ll be amazed to find a trainer and group of people who are there to cheer you on.

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Group training: Gain strength in small numbers

January 22, 2014
Most people are familiar with the concept of the one-on-one training sessions available at most health clubs and independent studios. But what has changed might surprise you. 

Crossroads Fitness in Grand Junction is an industry leader in the field of small group personal training. Although it seems as though it just hit the market, we’ve been doing it for years. So why is this best kept secret a hit for reaching fitness goals?

Many people say that they can work out alone, and it’s true. But for most of us, the reality is we won’t do it with success. Did you know that an individual who exercises alone has a 45 percent dropout rate within the first year and a 52 percent dropout rate in the second year? That leaves only a 3 percent  rate for someone to succeed with an exercise plan. 

Small group training is successful for many reasons. The first is the fact that the leader, a personal trainer, has specializes in anatomy, exercise science and nutrition. Because of their education and experience, you feel comfortable in their abilities to train you.

Small group training also offers a cost-effective way to work out with a trainer. Because there’s a group, the trainer is able to lower the cost of their time between a few people. Everyone benefits by sharing the cost.   

Another benefit of small group training is the variety. Each workout is carefully designed for your group. Classes could include cardiovascular Quick read more or view full article exercise, weights, interval training, circuit and core work. In small group training, you also could get to incorporate some fun and innovative exercise tools into your workout. Many of these tools require proper technique and form to not only produce the most health benefit, but also reduce injury. Some of these tools include kettle bells, plyo boxes, slam balls and suspension training. 

One of the most important benefits to succeeding in your fitness goals through small group training is structure. By having a class you attend two or three times every week with the same trainer and same people, you begin to develop the workout habit. All you have to do is show up. That structure becomes not only part of your weekly schedule, but also part of your lifestyle.

The part I like best? The social aspect. A small group training class can become a close-knit group of people all trying to achieve their individual goals. I’ve seen it over and over at Crossroads Fitness. These people don’t know each other when they first start.   After a while, they become friends, both in and out of the club.  Some classes cater to businessmen exercising before work.  Others classes feature mothers with young children. Still other classes offer a mix. The fact these people now have a support group that cares about them is one of the most beneficial aspects of small group training.  

Working out in a group yields more success than attempting to do it on your own. Give small group training a try and experience the benefits for yourself. You’ll be amazed to find a trainer and a group of people who are there to cheer you on. Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
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Personal trainers are not just for celebrities anymore

July 24, 2013
 
It used to be only Hollywood celebrities who attributed their fabulously fit bodies to personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets hire personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals.
While a healthy lifestyle has become a top priority for many people, they 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 a trainer who constitutes the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider. Many trainers provide a wide variety of services and have 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 point from which to move forward.
Personal training certifications let you know your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology, anatomy and injury Quick read more or view full article prevention. Many trainers also hold a four-year college degree in a fitness-related field. The higher levels of experience and education offer additional confidence to you 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 fits into 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 the concept of 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 in many instances reduces the cost of the sessions.
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.
Give careful consideration to the importance of 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.
Making the decision to hire a personal trainer can help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to carefully choose your personal trainer 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.   Read Less
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Ready to overcome obstacles? Races offer opportunities

July 3, 2013
Have you heard about the events in which people race up a mountain, crawl through mud and jump over fire? It’s called obstacle racing, and its gaining popularity at a rapid pace. Last year, more than a million people in the United States participated in an obstacle racing event. This new sport is not for the faint hearted, though: It takes some serious training, determination and endurance.

Obstacle racing involves more than just running a race. Participants run from one obstacle to another.  These obstacles vary from event to event, but often include obstacles similar to ones used in military training, like rope courses and wall climbing. Swimming through a pool of ice, climbing a hay bale stack and crawling through a series of pipes are unique to obstacle racing events. Each event varies as to the distance of the course and degree of difficulty.  

An event called the Tough Guy claims to be the first official obstacle event with its origin in 1989. Two of the most well-known races — the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder — both began in 2010. The Warrior Dash is a 3-mile event with 12 obstacles. The race offers a competitive, yet also fun and social event. Designed by British Special Forces, the Tough Mudder is a 10- to 12-mile course with many obstacles. This hard-core event is not technically a race, however. Not everyone completes the course.

Why are these obstacle races so appealing to athletes?  There are Quick read more or view full article many reasons. These events are team oriented. A group of friends get together and train for months. Many have matching clothing to designate their team spirit.  “It’s a way to set a goal you can accomplish with your friends,” said Suzanne Hatch, who just completed her second Tough Mudder. “We are competitive, so we push each other. There are obstacles that we have to work as a team to complete.”

Athletes like these events for other reasons as well. Some like the idea of doing something different. There are always such traditional races as a 5K, triathlon or biking event. But the appeal seems to be competing in an event in which participants push themselves almost in a war-like setting and cross the finish line covered in mud. There’s nothing boring about an obstacle race.
“It was a real eye-opener,” said Lisa Carroll, who has completed two Warrior Dash races. “It’s quite an accomplishment to finish.” 
Although obstacle races aren’t for everyone, most people with the desire to participate can train and do it. Training for an obstacle race involves strength, speed and endurance. Running is the main activity of the event. John Ball, a certified personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness, helps his clients by bumping up their cardio workouts to train for such an event. “I include running stairs, doing line sprints and mountain climbers in their routine,” he said.

Total body strength training is also important. The “burpee” is a favorite training exercise used by race participants. This exercise engages the lower body, core and upper body in one fluid movement. Concentrating on balance and strengthening the core helps with many of the race obstacles. Health clubs offer a boot camp exercise class that could include some forms of obstacles, just on a smaller scale, that would be helpful during training. 

If obstacle racing seems like a sport you might want to try, check out the different races available in the area. Choose one that best fits your activity level. Round up some friends and start training. 

Who said grownups can’t climb monkey bars and play in the mud? Read Less
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How to choose a personal trainer

September 15, 2011
There was a time when just Hollywood celebrities attributed their fabulously fit bodies to their personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets are hiring personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals. Living a healthy lifestyle is becoming a top priority for many people, but they lack the direction and guidance needed to be successful.

This is where the personal trainer can help. After you have decided to hire a personal trainer, it’s important to find a trainer who will be the best fit for you, and there are many factors to consider. Trainers provide a wide variety of services and have different areas of expertise. Finding a trainer whose work schedule matches your schedule or fees that match your budget are also areas to consider.

First, you need to identify what you want. What are your goals--not only fitness goals, but your overall lifestyle goals? Making a change in lifestyle is rarely easy. You may only have the goal of being “healthy.” Your trainer can help you set realistic, attainable and specific goals.
To accomplish this you need to be able to talk openly with your trainer about yourself, not only telling them why you are there and what you want to achieve, but your medical history, as well. This is a very important first step in training: communication. Beginning a program with goals set, you now have a starting point in which to move forward.

Personal training certifications Quick read more or view full article let you know that your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology, anatomy and injury prevention. Many trainers also hold a four-year degree in a fitness-related field. The higher level of education and experience may provide additional confidence to you when making your choice. Some trainers also specialize in a certain area, such as a sports specific training, dealing with certain injuries, or age specific training. Seek out the trainer who specializes in the type of training you desire.

Another important factor is the availability and price of a trainer. You may want to work out two or three times a week during your lunch hour. Finding a trainer who fits into 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 may even ask if a trainer will give you a free session to see their training style in action. Many trainers build their training business through referrals, so don’t hesitate to ask for references.

Give careful consideration to the importance of personality. Make sure that your trainer’s style fits your personality style. You may want a trainer that is more aggressive or maybe your style is more relaxed and low-key.

Making the decision to hire a personal trainer can help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to carefully choose your personal trainer will motivate you, keep you on track and make sure your work outs are safe, enjoyable and effective. Above all, find a trainer who “inspires” you!
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