Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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This year, set goals — not resolutions

December 20, 2016

We’re approaching a new year and the overwhelming tradition of resolutions. Jan. 1 of every year has become that day when we make our lists and proclaim this will be the year we change our lives for the better. Losing weight, breaking bad habits and saving money usually top the lists.  

Will your New Year’s list look like last year’s list? For most of us, it will be very similar. So why are New Year’s resolutions unsuccessful? Simply put, it’s because there’s no plan to follow.   

This year, don’t call it a New Year’s resolution list. Call it your goals list. The reason I encourage the change is this: Goals work. Goals mean action. Goals involve a plan. 

Most of us make a list for the grocery store or errands to run or create an agenda for a meeting. These activities have one thing in common — they detail what needs to be done and how we intend to do it. Whether you realize it or not, you set goals each day whether they’re written down on paper or compiled in a mental list in your head.

When you write your goal list for 2017, begin by asking yourself some basic questions. Why do you want to achieve these goals. How will it change your life if you do? 

The second step is Quick read more or view full article to prioritize the items according to what’s most important to you. Limiting a goal list to only a few items you’re really serious about will make it easier to devote the time and attention needed to make you successful.

Take one item at a time and turn it into a goal. Try using the SMART system when writing your goals:

Beginning with “S,” make your goal specific. You might write down your top goal is to “lose weight.” How much? 

The “M” stands for measurable. You have to be able to measure your progress. 

The “A” stands for attainable. Divide a big goal into smaller goals. Remember the joke about how to eat an elephant? The punch line: One bite at a time.

The “R” stands for reasonable. Many people set unrealistic goals. Create a goal you can actually see yourself completing.

Last but not least, the “T” stands for timely. Goals take time to achieve. You need to know how much time you’re willing to spend to achieve your goal. Most importantly, give yourself a timeline of when you want to achieve it.

Another important factor in realizing your New Year’s goals is accountability. Decide ahead of time each week what you plan to do. Take two group exercises classes, attend a strength-training class or exercise with a buddy, for example. Tell someone who’s close to you about your plan, then ask for help in keeping you on track.

Setting goals that follow the SMART plan and holding yourself accountable will lead to success. Planning and commitment make the difference between realizing the goals you want to achieve to enhance your life or waiting until January 2018 and putting the same items back on your list. Challenge yourself to set goals this year, not resolutions.

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Follow five tips for fall fitness

October 19, 2016

Fall can be a season when exercise routines waiver. 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 or visit a park. Raking leaves or getting in some yard work is a great way 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 fall 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 Quick read more or view full article overdressed. Follow the three-layer rule. Your first layer next to your skin should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric, often called DriFit. 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 may 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 during the holiday season between Halloween and New Year.  Halloween is a time when you stockpile bags of candy from the store for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters might come to your door. The day after, there’s leftover candy and the kids have a sugar source that will fuel unhealthy eating habits into the holidays. Then, people put off losing weight until after New Year’s. Remember: Halloween is just one day.

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. 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 birthdays, parties and special events.

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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What’s your reason for working out?

March 29, 2016

There are many reasons people work out, but finding the reason you work out is what really matters. The benefits of daily exercise and a healthy lifestyle are numerous. But why should you exercise? What’s important to you?

There’s an underlying reason, so take a moment to find out what that reason is for you. Once you have it in your mind, it’s much easier to work out because you have a reason to do so. After working for years in the fitness industry, I’ve discovered each person has his or her own reasons to live a healthy lifestyle each and every day. 

Here are some reasons with which you might be able to identify. Maybe one of these reasons fits you now or perhaps one will inspire you:

You’ll feel less stress. Life is full of stressful situations, from family to work and everything in between. Schedule your workout time so you don’t miss out. Take a mind and body class, such as yoga or Pilates. Pull in a deep breath and stretch tall. Don’t you feel better already?

You’ll make healthier food choices. It’s so true, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Knowing you’ve already exercised, you’ll want to continue your great start to the day. It’s much easier to make bad food choices if you haven’t taken the Quick read more or view full article time to exercise. 

You’ll become stronger. By exercising today, you’ll be one day closer to the stronger, amazing person you’ve always wanted to be. Tone your muscles with strength training. Begin by lifting light weights and build up.   

You’ll burn more calories. The key to any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. Exercise in a variety of forms will allow you to burn more calories and, in turn, burn off pounds. By exercising, you’ll continue to burn calories for the day, long after your workout is over. 

You’ll feel happier. Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel happier. Exercise to your favorite music or take your pet for a walk. Smile as you burn those calories.  

You’ll feel more confident. Confidence comes from a variety of sources. When you feel and look your best, you naturally become more confident. Exercise, flexibility and a strong core all help to improve your balance and posture. So walk tall with your head held high. Smile in the knowledge you’re taking good care of yourself. This can’t help but radiate both inwards to yourself and outwards to others.

You’ll become more motivated. By exercising today, you’ll feel more motivated than ever to accomplish both your fitness and personal goals. Once you start seeing and feeling what exercise can do, there’ll be no stopping you.

You’ll become more mentally alert. Whether you’re studying for a class or focusing on your job, exercise helps to clear your mind and gives you more energy. Numerous studies have evaluated what contributes to workplace wellness, and the results repeatedly show employees who exercise are not only more alert, but also more productive.

Do something for you today. This is probably one of the most important reasons of all to exercise. Combine this reason with other reasons if you’d prefer, but do it for you. The funny thing about exercise is that it doesn’t matter who you are, no one can do it for you.  

So find your reason to work out and then do it. Nothing can get in your way when you decide what’s best for you and your health.

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Fitness Trends for 2016

December 15, 2015
Every year the American College of Sports Medicine creates a list of what’s hot in the fitness industry for the coming year.  As with any business, trends are designed by the people who use the products and services.  What’s great about the fitness industry is that it not only gives new ideas on staying healthy and fit, but also adds a little variety that we can all incorporate into our lives.
A little history about fitness trends – they become an evolution.  Some ideas that are a century old have come back because the basic principals were good ideas the first time.  As we all know, the human body is still created the same.   Although, technology, physiology and education have grown by leaps and bounds, the basic need for movement has not changed.
Keep in mind the differences between a fitness fad and a fitness trend.  A trend is “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving, whereas a fad is a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period.” according the ACSM.  Remember the Thigh-Master®?  This is a great example of a fitness fad.  (I think I have one of those in the basement somewhere.)
Let’s get on with the results.  The fitness trends for 2016? Drum roll, please.  The number one trend is Wearable Technology.  This includes devices such as fitness bands, heart rate monitors and GPS Trackers.  The newest wearable technology is Quick read more or view full article the smart watch.  The reason these have taken the fitness world by storm, is that they provide immediate feedback.  This form of recording activity helps the user become more aware of their current fitness level and can help to motivate them to achieve their own fitness goals.    Another reason for being rated number one is in the fact that it can be worn by anyone at any fitness level. 
Body Weight Training came in at number two on the list, dropping from its number one spot last year.  Speaking of evolution, the basic principal is not new.  Using our own body-weight to create an effective workout goes back to the basics.  Think of the familiar exercises such as push-ups, lunges and squats and you are thinking about body weight training.   These types of exercises require little to no equipment and can be incorporated into many different types of workouts.   
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is ranked third.  This type of workout involves short bursts of exercise followed by a short period of recovery.  HIIT Training provides a dynamic workout with many health benefits and is performed in a short session, usually less than 30 minutes.  
 The next four fitness trends involve a personal trainer and / or strength training.  Hiring a certified personal trainer or other experienced fitness professional is on the rise.   Strength training is one of the main components of a fitness program.  The others are cardio and flexibility.  By working out with a trainer, you get not only the benefits of strength training, but an educated coach that is preparing a workout program to fit you and your needs, personally.  Functional fitness is also a trend that uses strength training and emphases balance and the movements required for daily living.
Other areas that made top spots for 2016 include weight loss, Yoga, and age appropriate fitness for older adults.
This list gives you the knowledge of what’s available to you.  Whether you are looking for a fitness facility or just getting starting in your fitness journey, it provides you options.  The number one goal of providing this information is for you to keep moving.  Whether it is a fitness fad, a studied trend or something new, finding fitness that you enjoy is the key.   Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
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It’s time to take on an important project: you

April 28, 2015

Working on you is the most important project you have. Whether it’s improving nutritional habits, exercising regularly or living a more balanced life, there’s only one of you. There will only ever be one of you. Making the most of your life each day is the goal. Aren’t you important enough to make yourself, your health and your life a priority?

Of course you are. So why do you fail when it comes to one of the most important things in your life? Actually, there could be many reasons you fall short in your quest for better health. Pinpointing your goals and identifying what’s keeping you from achieving them is the key to success.

Your goals could be very specific: losing a few pounds, looking great for a special occasion, preparing for an athletic event or addressing a medical concern. Perhaps your goals are simply life-long healthy habits.  Once you’ve written down your goals, identify what keeping you from achieving them. This is when you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself.   

There are many reasons fitness goals fail. One of the main reasons is underestimating how hard it is to change a pattern or habit. It’s all about making many small changes that collectively make a big change. Exercise should be a non-negotiable part of your life. You don’t need to be a fitness saint. But when you accept fitness isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, you’re more likely to stick with it for life.

Quick read more or view full article class="s1">Exercise and fitness programs can be intimidating. Strong, lean and perfect bodies aren’t the goal. Being the best you can be is. Fitness goals can fail if you don’t know how to achieve them.  Learn the four cornerstones of fitness: cardiovascular (gets your heart pumping), flexibility (stretching and lengthening muscles), strength (build muscles and core) and nutrition (giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive). Ask a personal trainer to help you learn how to exercise, achieve your goals and avoid injury.  Walk into a health club where you feel comfortable and picture yourself belonging.

If you’ve been riding the started and stopped roller coaster of fitness, you already know the benefits of exercise. But there’s an underlying reason you stopped. Realize your health and fitness goals are for life. Schedule time each day for exercise.  Make an appointment you can’t miss. The more it becomes a routine, the easier it is. By making exercise fun, you won’t want to miss out. Fitness goals fail not only because you don’t make time for yourself, but also because exercise becomes boring or just another task on our to-do list.

A healthy lifestyle is a choice. If you’re someone who’s had or have serious medical concerns, lacked self-confidence, put others ahead of your needs, lived a “too-busy” life, lacked energy or wished you could be happier, then, today’s the day. Today’s the day you stop procrastinating about the most important project you have — you. Like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Take the shot.

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Healthy living leads to healthy rewards

April 24, 2013
It’s been said we’re a society that loves to be rewarded. We want to be rewarded for everything. Whether it’s credit card rewards, fuel points or discounts, positive reinforcements motivate us in making purchasing decisions. 
But let’s talk about rewards of a different sort, those you could achieve from leading a healthy lifestyle.  

First decide what your wants, needs and goals look like. Everyone’s list will be different. These rewards can motivate you to participate in an activity. Some rewards are instantaneous, like washing your car, while others are long term, such as studying hard for years to earn a degree. 
One way to view the things you do is to look at the benefits and rewards first and then decide how you’ll achieve them. You might want to participate in water sports. It’s important, then, to first learn to swim.  

Think about all the choices we make in which we’re unaware of the rewards we receive. These are habits, and many habits are instilled in us at a very young age. 

Consider creating awareness in the family in which children understand that leading a healthy lifestyle through food, exercise, hygiene and safety is a choice. You could benefit from putting some kind of reward system in place in your own family setting.

Decide how this will work for your family. Make it a game. This teaches the family there’s a goal, rules and accountability. Your family could make Quick read more or view full article a reward chart for each member.  You could have such categories as exercise, chores, food and school work. Each member of the family works towards a reward each week or each month. Maybe it’s praise for work well done, a family retreat to the park or getting ice cream.

Healthy living rewards are numerous. Exercise is one of the best examples of action followed by reward that anyone can do for themselves. By exercising, you’re taking care of your body inside and out through strength, cardiovascular and flexibility training. The reward is not something that can be bought. It only comes to those who make it happen.

Healthy living is more than just exercising, though. It’s taking care of you — all of you. Not everyone loves going to the dentist, but everyone loves a great smile. A dazzling white smile is a reward of care. Eating a healthy diet, brushing and flossing your teeth every day and visiting the dentist for routine cleanings and check ups all lead to healthy dental hygiene that will reward you for many years.

The outcomes of some activities are the reward — good grades, fresh produce from the garden or a clean house. But what about when you lose your first 5 pounds, quit smoking or save money? All these things come with rewards. It’s okay to tell yourself “good job” and reward yourself with something that’s meaningful to you. Maybe it’s a new pair of jeans, a good book or a massage.

None of the things we do or want just happen. They’re a reward of effort. By making choices that lead you closer to your goals, you’ll reap the benefits that leading a healthy lifestyle provides. 

A healthy and fit body is an amazing reward, wouldn’t you agree?
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For 2013, set goals, not resolutions

December 20, 2012
We’re approaching a new year and the overwhelming tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Every Jan. 1 becomes the day in which we write down the list of items that proclaims this will be the year we change our lives for the better. We’ll lose weight, break bad habits and save money.
Will your list for the new year look like your list for last year? For most of us, they’re  very similar. Why are New Year’s resolutions unsuccessful? Simply put, it’s because there isn’t a plan to follow.  
This year, don’t call your good intentions for change New Year’s resolutions. Call them  goals. The reason I encourage the change is this: Goals work. Goals mean action. Goals mean there’s a plan.
Most of us make lists for the grocery store or errands that need to be run. We create an agenda for a meeting. These all have one thing in common — something needs to be done and here’s how we intend to do it. Whether you realize it or not, you set mini goals each day, regardless if they’re on paper or a mental list in your mind.
When you write down your goals for 2013, begin by asking yourself some basic questions as to why you want to do this and how it will change your life if you achieve your goals. The second step is to prioritize the items according what’s most important to you.  Having a goal list of only a few items you’re serious about Quick read more or view full article will make it easier to devote the time and attention needed to achieve success.
Take one item at a time and turn them into goals. Try using the SMART system when writing down your goal. For example, you may have written down that your No. 1 goal is to lose weight.  Beginning with “S,” make your goal specific. The “M” stands for measurable. You have to be able to measure your progress. “A” stands for attainable. Put your goals into smaller mini goals. Just think of the punch line to the joke “How do you eat an elephant?” You eat it one bite at a time. The “R” stands for reasonable. This is where many people create unrealistic goals. Create a goal that you can actually see yourself completing. The “T” stands for timely. Goals take time to achieve. You need to know how much time you are willing to give to achieve your goal. Most importantly, give yourself a timeline of when you want to achieve your goal.
Here’s how I’d write the goal of losing weight using the SMART system: “I will lose a total of 15 pounds this year. I will lose 5 pounds by Valentine’s Day, 5 more pounds by March 15 and the final 5 pounds by May 15 in time for my daughter’s college graduation.  I will achieve my goal by exercising at least three to five days a week. I will include cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises. I will record my exercise and keep a food journal to hold myself accountable. I will ask my family to help me. I will buy a new dress for the graduation when I reach my goal.”
This goal has all the parts that can lead to success. This system is what makes the difference between actually achieving the goals you want to achieve to enhance your life or waiting until January 2014 and putting the same items back on your list.  Challenge yourself to write goals this year, not resolutions.
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