Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

No excuses: Seek solutions and get moving

August 25, 2021

When there’s something we don’t really want to do, we make excuses. Sometimes our excuses are quite creative.

“I don’t know how to exercise.” This common fitness excuse is actually valid. Sure, we all know getting off the couch to do something physical and get our bodies moving is exercise — to a point. A brisk walk or gardening could be considered exercise, for example. Not knowing what to do at a health club could be different, however. Weight machines, new technology cardio equipment and group exercise could require some instruction. Solution: Many of the new exercise machines come with instructions and diagrams to help you get started. Crossroads Fitness offers a getting started program to teach the fundamentals — everything from basic knowledge of exercise machines to measuring your heart rate.

“I’ve tried exercise, and I keep quitting.” If this applies to you, maybe you haven’t found an exercise you love. Variety spices life. We all get bored doing the same things and not experiencing results. Solution: Try different activities. Group exercise classes offer a fun way to exercise. The group atmosphere is motivating. Once you find the right exercise, you’ll be excited and much more apt to go do it.

“I don’t have time.” This one is Quick read more or view full article a classic. When we don’t take time to care for our health, we could lose it. Everyone is busy — from stay-at-home moms to business executives. Yet, we all have 24 hours in a day to make sure we take time for ourselves. Solution: Schedule exercise as an appointment you can’t miss. Even if you can’t get in a full 30 minutes, some exercise is better than none.

“I don’t want to get hurt.”  Exercise doesn’t have to hurt. Solution: Start slowly in an exercise program and build up. Participate in a getting started program or hire a personal trainer to not only get you started on the right foot, but also teach you proper form.

“I have kids.” Having a family and young ones at home can make going to the gym more difficult. Solution:  Crossroads Fitness offers a kid’s club. Little ones from age 6 weeks to 12 years can come with you when you exercise. They’re not only cared for, but also enjoy a chance to play and socialize You won’t have to feel guilty while they’re having fun.

“I’ll lose weight and then join a health club.” While health clubs might seem intimidating, maybe you just haven’t found the right one. Solution: Find a place that fits your personality, location and personal goals. Since you’ll likely be going to a health club numerous times a week, you’ll want to find a place where you feel comfortable. Everyone there started at the beginning of their own fitness journeys. People of every age, size and shape will be there to welcome you.

Whatever your excuse is or has been, there’s a solution. So stop making excuses and get moving.

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Five tips to beat the summer heat and stay fit

June 29, 2021
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, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer offers many opportunities to stay active. Beware, though: 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. Enjoy a baseball game. 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 whether through work or having children at home. Those changes can 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 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 goal. 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 — Quick read more or view full article 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. Exercise at the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling. 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 fruits available. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events, though. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can ruin the best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. You can still enjoy treats, but keep them occasional.

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer goal and work toward realizing that goal. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever. Read Less
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Think ahead to keep vacations fitness-friendly

May 26, 2021

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can disrupt our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, staying in hotels or with family, you can keep fitness a part of each day. Here are a few tips to help make your vacations more fitness-friendly.

Sitting in a car for a few or many hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Moreover, car trips are notorious for combining little physical activity with eating the wrong foods. Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn. Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It can be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.” Meanwhile, consider packing a small cooler with nutritious snacks.

At times, airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry-on? You’ve seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are places to walk and climb stairs in most airports. When it comes to having a Quick read more or view full article snack or meal, remember many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming fewer calories while being less active is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water offer good choices.

Many hotels and resorts offer fitness centers. While your choices could be limited, remember any movement is better than nothing. Combine cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with strength training.

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands. They can be purchased at many health clubs, local retailers or online. Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences reflect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. Wrap your bands around a bed post or door knob. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a lightweight workout. Be creative. Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, offer a great upper body strength exercise and don’t require anything but you to perform. Situps, leg lifts and arm circles are just a few exercises that can be performed without equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise remains important when traveling. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring water and wear sunscreen. You’ll get more heart-healthy exercise just by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead, you’ll keep your workout routine on schedule. No matter the mode of travel or destination, you still can exercise and eat right on vacation. Remember, too, it’s a vacation. Enjoy.

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Variety not only spices, but also improves, fitness

April 27, 2021

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

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.

Adding a little spice could turn what’s become a boring fitness routine into something more exciting and motivating.   Sometimes you hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s okay to like your comfort zone with its 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 and motivated to exercise is an important piece. If Quick read more or view full article 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 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 by mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do you change 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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It’s time to row, row, row your way to good health

March 24, 2021

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 —  in other words, a total body workout?

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.

The No. 1 reason why more people don’t hop on rowing machines is simple: They don’t know how to use them. 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 of benefits for choosing a rowing machine for your workout, basic rowing techniques, avoiding common mistakes and ways you can start rowing today.

As a non-impact exercise, rowing is easy on the back and joints and 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.

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

Learning proper rowing technique isn’t 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 hunch your back during the stroke. It takes practice to get the sequence down and create a smooth stroke.

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 everyone from cardiac rehabilitation patients to Olympic athletes. 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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