Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Tired of feeling tired? Then get moving

February 19, 2020

Everyone knows what it’s like to feel tired. Fatigue is our body’s way of telling us it is time for rest. But with busy schedules that include work, meetings and deadlines as well as children and their activities, it’s common to ignore these signs and power through with another cup of coffee or energy drink. 

These quick fixes merely subdue the symptoms of fatigue for a brief period. The feeling of tiredness should come naturally. Depriving your body of its required rest will leave you with symptoms that aren’t only unhealthy, but also unproductive. 

Sure, you can resist the urge to sleep to accommodate your busy lifestyle for a short amount of time. You can stay up late and get up early. But you could discover you actually accomplish less. 

Studies show adults need 6 hours to 8 hours of sound sleep daily. Without this allotment, the brain and body won’t properly function. Work becomes complacent, family time scarce and workouts nonexistent. 

While they sound like contradicting impulses, exercise improves the fight against fatigue. According to researcher Patrick O’Connor, more than 90 percent of studies showed the same thing. Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported less fatigue compared to groups that didn’t exercise. Moreover, the effect remains consistent.

When you are find yourself in the middle of a fatigue battle, move. If you can’t Quick read more or view full article make it to the gym, do something to release those endorphins. Complete a series of jumping jacks or take a brisk walk. Moving will keep you going. 

The best choice is to set aside a time in your day just for physical training. Whatever your fitness level, start doing something.

You are what you eat. If you hurriedly scarf down a fast food burger and fries every day for lunch, your body will treat you accordingly. If you prepare meals ahead of time that consist of all the food groups, you’ll have more time to enjoy the nutrients you give yourself. Your body works hard for you all day. Give it the essential things it needs, and it will provide the energy you need. That’s a diet full of real food, not processed. 

Combat the urge to eat sugary snacks. Chose foods that are sustainable and will help you feel full mid-day. Try a rice cake with almond butter rather than a candy bar.

Being dehydrated also leads to feelings of fatigue. Keep that full bottle of water near you and sip on it all day. Sometimes you aren’t even hungry, just thirsty. It works.

Fatigue can also come from stress. Try taking a yoga class.  The breathing and stretching can help you feel better and more centered and confident.  

To become the productive, family oriented and present individual to which you aspire, make yourself a priority. Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night, eat healthy meals, stay hydrated and exercise 30 minutes at least five days a week. You’ll stay focused on tasks and enjoy the life you live with the people who matter most. Making yourself a priority will make you a better you.

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My journey leads to a healthy place

January 22, 2020

Each month, I search for the newest topics in health and fitness about which to write. I also get to share my passion for  working at Crossroads Fitness. Sometimes I write about nutrition, motivation or exercise tips.  

But this month, I’d like to share my personal story. My goal is to motivate some and inspire others to reflect on their own journeys.

I enjoyed a normal childhood growing up in Wyoming — albeit windy and cold. Playing with friends on the block was our form of exercise. I never played organized sports in high school, but was a cheerleader and baton twirler.  

After my two children were born, I followed in my mother’s footsteps to be the best mom I could. Family came first.  My kids were involved in golf, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball. It was my duty to attend every event and try to be the super mom volunteering in their schools. There was no time left for me. Lesson learned.

At age 36 and after some life changes, I was introduced to exercise. I started working at Crossroads Fitness, but didn’t know anything about equipment or programs. Most of all, I didn’t know what it felt like to actually exercise. Since I was thin, I thought I was fit. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I had no Quick read more or view full article muscle, bruised easily and always felt tired. I assumed that was how I’d always feel.   

With time, I started to feel better. I had energy.  While visiting my parents one Thanksgiving, I decided on a goal — to run a marathon. My husband, Dale, encouraged me to start with a 5K since I could barely run at block at that time. But a year later, I completed my first marathon. I cried at the finish line. I never believed I could set a fitness goal and achieve it, let alone hear my husband call me an “athlete.”

Continuing my fitness journey, I added a small group training class. I built muscle and for the first time in my life, felt strong.
I ran another marathon.  

I knew my body better than ever. But this is where my journey took a sharp turn. Because I knew my body so well, I was concerned about what I thought might be a muscle strain that didn’t go away. 
I decided to see a doctor. After months of appointments, ultrasounds and surgery, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I went through all the normal feelings, but there was one thing that was different. I thought to myself, “Paula, can you imagine if you hadn’t been fit and strong? You would have never found this in the early stage.” It’s so true. I went through numerous surgeries, months of chemo treatments and, finally, recovery.  I’m so blessed to be able to say now, eight years later, I’m cancer-free.

I guess the moral of my story is you only have one body. If you want it to last, to feel your best and live life to the fullest, make time for you. It doesn’t matter at what age you start. Just start. Don’t put it off your journey one more day.

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Instead of resolutions, set SMART goals

December 18, 2019

We’re approaching a new year and the overwhelming tradition of making resolutions. It seems Jan. 1 of EVERY year has become that day when we compile 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 goals list for 2020, 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 to prioritize Quick read more or view full article the items according to what’s most important to you. Limiting a goals 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. Perhaps you’ve written down that your No. 1 goal is to lose weight. 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.

 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 2021 and putting the same items back on your list. Challenge yourself to set goals this year, not resolutions.

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Variety spices up fitness routines

November 20, 2019

It’s been said variety is the spice of life. There’s some truth to the adage. You get stuck in your daily routine and complete many tasks without thinking too much about them. You eat at the same time, go to work at the same time and take out the garbage on the same day.  

Now, think about your fitness routine. Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weight for every workout?  Maybe it’s time to change that routine.

When it comes to fitness, adding a little spice could turn what’s been boring into something more exciting and motivating.   Sometimes you hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” Being creatures of habit, it’s okay to like your comfort zone with familiar surroundings, people and activities. 

Although doing exactly the same thing over and over might be comforting, it also could have drawbacks.  Without variety, things can get pretty boring. It’s important to spice it up a bit. 

Consider, for example, cross training. Cross training is simply combining two or more types of physical activities and offers one way to create the change you might need.  

There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is motivation. Keeping interested Quick read more or view full article and motivated to exercise is an important piece. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. 

Cross training can help you burn more calories by exercising regularly and using different muscle groups. You reduce the risk of injury by doing a variety of exercises — performing a high-impact sport like running one day followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day, for example.

It’s simple to create a varied exercise program. Plan a complete workout that includes the three areas of physical activity:  cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Under each area, write down the activities you like to do or would like to try. Some activities fit under more than one area. 

Cardiovascular activities include jumping rope, riding a bike, running and walking the dog. Activities that build strength include everything from lifting weights and push-ups to yard work. Activities that promote flexibility include stretching and yoga.

Changing a routine can be beneficial in not only reducing boredom, but also increasing fitness. Our bodies are adaptive and grow accustomed to an exercise. It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once they’ve adapted to a specific fitness routine. Because of this adaptive nature, it’s important to keep our bodies guessing and mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do you go about changing up your workouts? Try something new. Often times we get our minds set on what we think we can do instead of what we really could do if we tried. If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging. Remember, though: When changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.  

Once you choose your activities, schedule them. Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find out what really interests you. Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Spice it up.

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Follow these timely tips to keep fit this fall

October 22, 2019

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 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. The first layer next to Quick read more or view full article your skin should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric, often called DriFit. This fabric keeps 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 button on the alarm. With less sunlight, you might want to increase consumption of Vitamin D. Eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. Remember, too: 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. Halloween is a time when you stockpile bags of candy for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters come to your door. The day after, the leftover candy constitutes a sugar source that promotes unhealthy eating habits. Remember that 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. 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 other 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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