Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Follow a few tips to beat the summer heat

June 24, 2020

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here. When most of us think of summer, we think about outdoor fun and a chance to kick back. Although this year might seem different because of the pandemic, summer still offers many opportunities to stay active. 

Remain aware, though, that changes in schedules present challenges in keeping your fitness routine on track. So what can you do to have the most active, productive and fun-filled summer ever?

Warm weather provides many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities. Take the family camping, fishing or hiking.  Work in your garden. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with.    

During the summer months, your normal schedule could be altered — especially this summer with social distancing and the feeling of being cooped up. Those changes affect daily routines, including exercise schedules.

Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year on your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas, but not in others. You could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different Quick read more or view full article goal. Call it summer 2020. What will that goal look like?  It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park.

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days include some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Stay busy. Without your appointment book filled, it could be easy to fall into a trap of becoming bored. Boredom goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will give you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day. But with more daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities the family already enjoys as well as something new.   

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. During these times, move your activities elsewhere. Go to the gym or splash in a pool. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to stay safe. Wear sunscreen or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin as you perspire keeps you cooler. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit available. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events, though. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage the best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. 

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer 2020 goal and work toward realizing that goal. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever.

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Small changes yield big fitness results

May 19, 2020

Change by definition means to make something different.  Things are certainly different as we adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects. 

Most people prefer what’s comfortable and familiar. How do we make changes, then, to better our lives?  Taking small steps toward change is easier and more successful than trying to make big changes all at once. This theory applies to so many things in life, including health and fitness.

Instead of making huge changes, enhance your daily routine with small changes. Here are a few ideas for making those small changes through exercise and activity:

Get in your cardio. About 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity a week is recommended. You can break that down to a more manageable 30 minutes of cardio five times a week. 

If you’re short on time, try Tabata training. Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training that’s great for burning calories. A traditional Tabata session is only four minutes long.  For example, you could perform a Tabata session on an elliptical trainer. Go for 20 seconds at your maximum and recover for 10 seconds. Repeat eight times. This small change can yield big results. Try it for one of your cardio workouts this week.

Include strength training in your fitness Quick read more or view full article routine. The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to complete many of your daily activities. Another big plus for weight training is it increases your metabolic rate and causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. Try adding an extra day of strength training.  Shoot for two to three days a week. When selecting a weight, it should be heavy enough you feel the muscle working, but light enough you can do 12 to 15 repetitions. Continue to challenge yourself by adding a little more weight or repetitions as you grow stronger.

Don’t forget about flexibility. By keeping your muscles long and lean, you improve your range of motion as well as your posture. Try daily stretching.  A little change could mean you stand up from your work chair and reach up high to the sky.  

Make a conscious effort to get in just a little more activity.  Park a little farther away from work or the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put on your tennis shoes and go for a walk rather than going out for a high-calorie lunch.  

Measure your workouts. Measure your workouts in terms of not only in minutes, but also exertion. Wear a heart rate monitor.  Figure out your target heart rate and this will help you to reach your goals. Sometimes you might feel as though you’re working hard, when you really aren’t. Use your workout times for maximum benefits.

Start with the big picture of exercise and break it down into smaller parts. Ask yourself which of these tips might work for you.  These are a few of the ways you can easily make small changes in your exercise routine. By making small changes, you very well could be amazed at how big the results become.

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Get a workout — no equipment required

April 21, 2020

Machines, weights and props can all help in a daily exercise routine. But with a little creativity, you can still enjoy a great workout without anything but you and a pair of good athletic shoes.

Given so many changes and temporary health club closures related to the coronavirus outbreak, it’s never been more important to maintain your efforts to stay healthy and fit. Here are a few ideas to help keep you on track to achieve your fitness goals, including body weight training, cardio workouts, online classes and fresh air exercise.

 Body weight training is just that – using your weight to provide resistance.  Body weight exercises improve strength, flexibility and balance. Many different types of body weight exercises can be performed to work all the major muscle groups.  

One of the best exercises for the chest is the pushup. This exercise uses almost every muscle in the body, but especially the chest muscles. Modify the traditional floor pushup by performing them on your knees or leaning from a counter. Complete a triceps dip with the aid of a stable chair or step by raising and lowering your body. For the thighs, try lunges. Lunges work a range of muscles and also improve core strength and flexibility.

Core exercises include the bicycle maneuver. This ab workout strengthens your internal and external obliques.  Like a traditional Quick read more or view full article crunch done on the floor, move your legs like you’re riding a bicycle. Try a plank, another quality core exercise. Using either on your hands or forearms, keep your body straight like a plank and hold this position for 30 seconds.  

With bodyweight exercises, keep your movements smooth and controlled. It’s important to use proper form and technique to get the most benefits while also avoiding injuries.   

Cardio exercises that get your heart pumping offer a great way to keep extra weight at bay. One of the simplest and most beneficial cardio exercises is brisk walking. Record your steps, distance and time.  Reaching for 10,000 steps a day in a week will make you successful in a 70,000-step goal.

For some inside cardio exercise, try jumping jacks. Shoot for 50 at a time and repeat.  If you need to modify, do step outs on each side instead of the jump. High-knee marches, taking the stairs and even dancing all offer great ways to get in some cardio exercise.  

Missing your group exercise classes?  Log on to the website at www.crossroadsfitness.com and join in on one of the many group classes listed there. Our giving and talented instructors also teach live classes on Facebook. These classes might help you keep a routine and see some familiar faces.

With warming spring weather, getting outdoors is particularly welcoming. A walk, hike, bike ride or even yardwork offer not only fresh air and sunshine, but also some calorie burning.

Now is the perfect time to use the excuse to exercise — not an excuse to miss out on exercise. Maintain a weekly routine and make it non-negotiable. Try some of these workout tips and embrace your new fitness routine.

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Best advice? Take care of yourself

March 25, 2020

There’s so much advice going around lately I’m about ready to stop listening. Just thinking about all the things I should be doing — or NOT doing — makes my head spin.

The coronavirus outbreak has quickly changed our lives. We face dilemmas about not only our health, but also our jobs and money. That’s not to mention the fear of the unknown.

So this is what I’d like to offer readers.  I want to write about what I know to be true, and that’s the importance today and every day of self-care. 

How do you maintain your physical and emotional states at their best? You take care of yourself. That means exercising every day, eating nutritious meals, getting proper sleep and trying to manage stress.

Our bodies need exercise every day. Putting temporary closure signs on our fitness centers was an emotional task knowing how many people rely on us for their exercise needs. So it’s time to get creative with your exercise.  

Our website at www.crossroadsfitness.com offers some options. Our instructors and trainers are creating workouts and virtual classes.  There are links for Les Mills and Silver Sneaker classes. Join us on Facebook and Instagram for even more ideas.

There are many options for indoor exercise. Use home equipment if you have it. If not, get your heart pumping by climbing the stairs, jumping rope or doing Quick read more or view full article high knee lifts.  Weight training can be part of your home workout, too. Body weight training requires no equipment — just you. Try pushups, wall sits, arm circles and crunches. Fill water bottles with water and use them as light weights.  

Alternatively, head outdoors. Take a brisk walk, walk your dog or hop on your bike. The fresh air will make you feel better.

 If you’ve always been disciplined with your exercise, try to keep exercising at the same time you used to go to the gym or participate in exercise classes.  

There are opportunities now to include your family in your workouts. Kids love to join in exercise time. Make it a priority in your self-care routine.

Eat right. Don’t buy into the notion we have to eat processed foods out of cans. There are many healthy options. Frozen veggies are still better than chips. It’s a great time to consume power foods to help boost your immune system. For Vitamin C, try broccoli, strawberries and red and green peppers. For Vitamin E, try almonds, sunflower seeds and peanut butter. For zinc, eat baked beans, cashews and chickpeas. Fermented foods also keep your immune system strong. Such foods as pickles, olives and yogurt increase the good bacteria in your gut and in turn boost immunity.

Stressful times can affect your sleep. The need for quality sleep is more important than ever.  It helps your body and immune system stay strong. Make time to unplug, even if it’s for only a little while. No TV or phones. Just let your mind be still. Take advantage of your quite time to reflect. What are your blessings? What’s positive about your day?  

One of my blessings? The readers of this column. Thank you for letting me be part of your day.  

Stay safe, healthy and happy.

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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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