Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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Health clubs offer healthy options

September 25, 2019

There are many ways to improve health and fitness, but exercise tops every list. Health clubs offer a healthy option as a place to exercise. Clubs aren’t the only option, however. Other options include exercising outdoors or using your own exercise equipment at home. The best option might be to combine all three. 

Whether you’re joining for the first time or joined health clubs in the past, many factors are involved in making your decision a successful one. Joining a health club won’t make you fit. What you do when you get there is what’s important. 
Here are some essential factors to consider in making your health club choice:

Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey, at a different stage in life and face personal obstacles to overcome. Define before joining a health club your obstacles, goals and expectations. What’s important to you? 

Choose a club that makes you feel comfortable the moment you enter. Take into consideration  the friendliness of the staff, other members, music and smells. Can you picture yourself there? Sticking to a consistent exercise program can be difficult. If you don’t enjoy being at the club, your chances of a success will diminish. A health club should be more than just a building with exercise equipment. Quick read more or view full article You should enjoy a relationship with your club.

What about the members? Take a tour of the club at the same time you plan to use it. This will give you an idea of the type of members with whom you’ll be exercising. Look around and see if you can relate to the other members. Asking members why they belong to a club could be a helpful, especially if you ask those who’ve been members for a long time.

Knowing what to expect after you sign on the dotted line is important. Is there a free introductory program that will help you become acquainted with your new fitness home? A brief tour of the club isn’t sufficient to get you started on the right foot. You should feel comfortable knowing what you plan to do on your first visit.  

There should be a variety of equipment options. Equipment should be clean and in working order. This will indicate the club takes pride in its facilities and maintenance is important. If you’re a runner, make sure there are high-quality, runner-specific treadmills available. If you like to stretch, make sure the carpeting is padded and clean. Make sure everything is touchable.   

Variety in a club will not only add value to your membership, but also keep you motivated. Check out the group exercise schedule for classes. Get to know the instructors and personal trainers along with their credentials and teaching styles. Take the time to watch a small group training session or group exercise class.   

Choose a club that offers educational pieces, including beginning classes, newsletters, seminars and workshops. The more you learn, the more engaged you’ll become.  

Making a health club decision is an important one. You need to find value, comfort, motivation and education. When all these pieces come together, you’ll be on your way to developing a successful relationship with your club and healthy lifestyle.

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Say yes to living a more positive life

May 22, 2019

When I think about positivity, I think about how important that approach has become in my life. 

I’ve learned being positive is not the absence of things going wrong. No matter how positive you are, things will still go wrong, cause conflict and upset you. What I’ve learned is being positive gives you a different way to look at things, other people and events. The more your attitude remains positive during not-so-perfect times, the easier it becomes to remain positive in your everyday life.
Have you ever noticed if you go into the grocery store on a bad day, it seems like everyone around you is crabby, too? Attitudes are contagious. I was taught from a young age to remain nice to the people in which I came in contact even if they weren’t nice to me. Mom always said, “You don’t know what challenges they might be facing.” I’ve always remembered that.

It helps keep my attitude in check.  

How do you go about thinking positively? Consider the word yes. This little word is mighty.  
We’re often asked to do something we might not have time to take on — or don’t know how to do and risk failure. Eric Schmidt,  the former chairman of Google, said: “Find a way to say yes to Quick read more or view full article things.  Say yes to meeting new friends.  Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport.  Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life and likely in others’ lives as well.”

Saying yes to do something for ourselves seems to be the hardest. Why is it we don’t take time to put ourselves, our health and our happiness first? I’ve found this true, especially in my life and career of reaching out to others who don’t yet realize the importance of health and fitness. Not knowing how to exercise can make getting started scary. But making exercise a part of your life comes with high rewards.  

Using the word yes can do so much for us. It becomes an action word. Yes starts conversations. It can open doors and opportunities.  Yes takes commitment and work. The best part is you get to decide what things and opportunities you want to take on. Keep in mind not everything that comes your way is something to which you want to say yes. Don’t say yes to things unless they improve your life. Don’t say yes to things that keep you from saying yes to the things that really matter.
Here are some ideas to help you live a more positive life:

Practice being grateful for something in your life every day. It’s important to remain grateful for not only all the good stuff, big and little, but also the struggles that strengthen us. 

Use positive self-talk. We need to be our own best cheerleaders in life. It starts in the morning, when you first look in the mirror. Say something nice.  

Remember your attitude — good or bad — is contagious.

Say yes to being positive.

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