Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

What’s your fitness personality? Find exercises that match

May 24, 2023

Understanding your unique personality helps you enjoy success in your career, your relationships and even your fitness. Physical activity is an expression of personal choices and comfort. Health and fitness goals are easier to achieve when they fall into your natural style.

Identifying activities you enjoy makes it easier to reach fitness goals.Performing activities you don’t enjoy or match your style are difficult, if not impossible, to do long term.   According to the American Council on Exercise, fitness personality types can be sorted into four groups:  planner,
go-getter, social butterfly and adventurer.

The planner: This personality type leans towards what’s familiar. You know if you’re a morning person or evening person. You plan your exercise routine around not only time, but also what you know. Attending the same group exercise class, for example. You’re often more reserved about the way you approach fitness. Handling change doesn’t come easy. You also might enjoy being left alone when you go to the gym. You have a favorite cardio machine, listen to your music and complete the same workout day after day.  

The go-getter: If you fall into this category, you welcome change and are first in line to try something new. You might compete with others. But most of all, you compete with yourself. You’re disciplined and highly motivated. You thrive on personal Quick read more or view full article improvement. Those taking high-intensity group exercise classes or working out with a personal trainer would fall into this group.  

The social butterfly: The social butterfly is just that — social. You want to be around friends, visit and have fun. Exercise is part of your life. Your gym activities would definitely include group exercise and perhaps small group training. You’re an extrovert who radiates positive energy to those around you.  

The adventurer: You’re willing to try anything at least once. You take group exercise classes for everything from kickboxing to Zumba. Signing up for challenge events and obstacle courses wouldn’t be out of the question. If you’re an adventurer, you have confidence in yourself. This fitness personality doesn’t mind change, loves variety and thinks outside the box.  

Another personality trait type that wasn’t mentioned is the true introvert. If you’re an introvert, you might be hesitant to go to a health club.  Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t come easily. You could have a difficult time asking for assistance, motivation and instruction. If this fits you, find a true, passionate health club with professionals to help you at your pace to discover exercises that fit your personality. 

Did one of these fitness personalities strike home?  

Limiting the complexities of personalities to only a few categories is a bit constrictive.  Many people actually fall into more than one type. You might feel a little more social or adventuresome some days than others. Age, lifestyle changes, time of year and many other factors all play a role in determining our feelings and fitness personalities. Overall natural tendencies don’t change, however.

Find fitness that fits for you. Taking into consideration your personality makes fitness and health goals more achievable. Doing activities you enjoy and fit into your lifestyle is key to long-term enjoyment and, in turn, your ultimate success.

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Get the hang of it: Suspension training offers benefits

April 25, 2023

 Developed by the Navy’s elite special operations forces, suspension training offers body weight exercises that develop balance, flexibility, strength and core stability.  

Suspension training equipment consists of straps securely anchored to a bar.  The straps can be adjusted to accommodate an individual’s height as well as different exercises. 

Suspension training offers advantages over traditional weight training — using barbells and dumbbells, for instance — in that the  training systems use little equipment and are portable. Exercises aren’t performed on the ground, which provides a level of instability. Core muscles must be engaged while using the trainer.

The major benefit to suspension training, though, is its suitability for all levels of fitness. You’re able to adjust the difficulty of each exercise merely by changing the position of your body. If you’re doing a bicep curls, for example, a more upright position allows for an easier workout. If you move your feet away so your body is in a more horizontal position, more exertion will be required to pull you up into a bicep curl.

A variety of exercises can be performed on a suspension trainer. By learning just a few of the hundreds of different positions, you can enjoy a total body workout.

That’s why all four branches of the military as well as some of the top athletes all use suspension trainers in their fitness programs. Quick read more or view full article Drew Brees, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback, endorsed TRX suspension trainers and incorporated it into his workout program.

According to personal trainers, yet another benefit of suspension training is that it can be used to take pressure off joints when performing such exercises as squats and lunges. By having straps to hold on to, clients can get into a deep squat or lunge and then more easily come up.

Suspension trainers are portable and easy to install on your own. But having a personal trainer show you the exercises using proper form and assist you in getting into position helps you obtain the maximum benefit from exercises while reducing the risk of injury. Learning what positions and exercises work what muscles will help you reach your strength training goals.

While there are many ways to get fit, suspension training offers a powerful and successful tool. Learning to leverage your body weight with gravity creates a unique fitness experience. 

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Kettlebells: Old concept gains new fitness following

March 29, 2023

Kettlebells might seem like a new fitness trend, but the concept is actually centuries old.  

This funny shaped weight resembles a cannonball with a handle.  Often made of cast iron or steel, this weight originated in Russia in the 18th century. It wasn’t originally used for exercise, but rather for weighing crops.  

A century later, it became part of physical training and conditioning programs and competitions. Today, gyms across the country offer kettlebell training.

What is kettlebell training and what are the benefits? The simple answer is kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance. This training focuses primarily on the lower back, legs and shoulders. It also builds strength in the hands, known as grip strength. Kettlebell exercises work many muscles at the same time, including the core of the body for stability. Because of the repetitive nature of kettlebell workouts, they build endurance over time.  

Key benefits of kettlebell training include improved strength, cardiovascular endurance, range of motion and agility. It’s a form of functional fitness training in which the movements are similar to such daily tasks as bending and reaching.

A kettlebell weight is different from such other strength training tools as a dumbbell. A dumbbell consists of a straight handle with equally sized weights on each end.
A kettlebell, on the other hand, has a bell-like shape. The ball is Quick read more or view full article flat on one end and has a curved handle on the other end, which positions the weight directly under the handle. This facilitates the swinging movements of kettlebell exercises.

To better understand the different kettlebell exercises, it’s important to break down the parts of the kettlebell.  The bottom of the kettlebell that’s flat is called the base.  Next is the bell — the rounded body. The beginning of the handle that’s attached to the bell on each side is called the horns. Above the horns are the corners that bend into the handle. The open section below the handle is the window.  

Before beginning any kettlebell workout, it’s important to understand many of the movements can be dangerous to those who have shoulder problems, back issues or weak core muscles. Using this tool requires proper form at all times. Like many other fitness programs, it takes time and consistency to build up muscles and cardiovascular endurance. Some of the basic kettlebell exercises include the swing, snatch and clean and jerk. Since proper form and execution is essential, it’s best to have a trainer show you how to perform these exercises.  

Kettlebells also can be incorporated into strength training routines that aren’t a specific kettlebell workout. They can be used as a weight.  

“I use kettlebells throughout training sessions with my clients,” said Tina Nelson, a personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness. “I may have them hold a kettlebell while doing sumo squats or a standing side crunch. They have unique properties that many other traditional weights do not have.  They increase core strength when used properly.”

Kettlebells offer another tool for fitness training.  There are many benefits to this type of training, including improved strength and cardiovascular endurance. Try one of these funny shaped weights next time you’re at the gym.

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Strength training comes with strong benefits

January 24, 2023

We all want a high quality of life and independent living. Consistent strength training offers a path to that goal.  

Did you know adults lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle mass every decade after age 20? Strength training is important for everyone at every age. For most of us, it’s about creating muscle that not only helps us look better, but also provides life-changing benefits.

Let’s back up a bit and review some anatomy. There are more than 600 muscles in the human body.  These muscles do everything from pump blood to kick soccer balls. They’re a type of elastic tissue that resembles a rubber band and are made up of thousands of small fibers.  There are different kinds of muscles, but we’ll concentrate on skeletal muscles. These are the muscles that work with bones to give you motion and power.

There are some amazing benefits to lifting weights. There’s a direct link between strength training and weight control and loss. When you increase muscle mass, your metabolic rate increases. Even after lifting weights, your muscles keep working and burn more calories.  Other health benefits include an increase in bone density that decreases the risk of osteoporosis, lower blood pressure and slower aging.

Not only does strength training help tone muscles to provide a fitter, healthy looking body, it also improves posture. Quick read more or view full article Everyday activities become easier through increased balance, coordination and stability. When you think about getting in and out of a car, reaching for an item on the top shelf of a grocery aisle or pushing a lawnmower, all these tasks depend on a strong muscular system.

Strength training can be performed in a variety of ways. Examples include circuit machines, free weights, functional fitness, resistance bands and strength classes.

Circuit machines enable you to work different muscle groups, adjusting the machines and weight to fit your body and strength level. It could be helpful to work with a trainer to make sure you use the proper form and appropriate weight.  

Free weights are just that — individual hand weights or weight bars you can lift in a number of ways.You could use hand weights for bicep curls or shoulder presses.

Functional fitness involves training that mimics everyday movements using different types of equipment or body weight for resistance. 

Resistance bands engage your muscles in both directions — the pull and release. The amount of resistance varies with the type of band and how it’s used.  

Structured fitness classes — including Bodypump, Pilates and Yoga — engage and strengthen your muscles.

Consistency is the most important aspect of strength training. Aim for two to three times a week, resting for 48 hours between workouts to allow your muscles to heal.  Include upper body, lower body and core exercises to work your entire body.  

Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  

We all strive to achieve quality of life. It’s never too late to begin strength training. Every one of us at any age needs to work on increasing muscle mass and bone density.  Strength training offers many benefits in promoting a healthy and independent lifestyle.

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This holiday, give the gift of health and fitness

December 21, 2022

If finding the perfect holiday gift for that special someone poses a challenge, consider giving the gift of health and fitness. You’ll not only offer something they’ll love, but also a gift that keeps on giving. 

Whether you’re buying for a spouse, parent or friend that’s either a fitness enthusiast or beginner, here are some ideas sure to bring motivation and movement into their lives.

A fun way to share a fitness gift with your loved one is to join a gym together. This will give you both unlimited resources to help attain your fitness goals. By doing this together, it’ll be more fun and hold you both accountable.

If you’re already gym goers, try some personal or small group training. This is a great way to get a jump-start on a fitness journey. It might be the gift they need, but wouldn’t buy for themselves. You don’t have to be a celebrity to hire a personal trainer. And people from all walks of life — young to old, beginners to athletes — benefit from the motivation and knowledge they receive from training classes.

High-tech fitness gadgets also top many Christmas wish lists this year.

What does almost every fitness enthusiast love? Their music. There’s nothing better to help Quick read more or view full article get through a tough workout than a great playlist. Some gift ideas include music cards or a fun pair of ear buds or headphones.

The sale of such wearable fitness gadgets also is on the rise. This technology not only measures steps, but also activity, calories burned, heart rate and sleep quality. While different models offer different features, the one common trait among them is the ability to create awareness of your physical activity and inspire you to make healthy changes. These devices are available in a variety of types, sizes, colors and prices. Heart rate monitors are another device that offer information that can be beneficial during exercise.

Other technology inspired gifts include a multitude of phone apps. Did you know you can get an app with GPS and record your runs or bike rides? There’s an app for almost every type of activity you can imagine. While some apps are free, others are available for a minimal cost.

Another gift idea is a subscription to a favorite magazine that specializes in their sport or area of interest.Want to be an amazing gift giver? Give them a certificate for a massage after a hard workout.

On the eccentric side, a little research will lead you to some unique gift ideas. Did you know you can give a yearly subscription to have a healthy snack box delivered each month?  How about a cap for runners with lights in the brim of the cap so they can see during a night run? 
Or a bike that folds up for city dwellers? The list goes on.

A fitness-inspired gift list would be incomplete if you were unaware of the gifts NOT to buy. Readers of Fitness Magazine asked to chose the worst fitness gifts cited a diet book and sauna suit. Remember those suits that made you sweat and looked like you were wrapped in foil?
Of course, the No. 1 worst gift is a talking scale.

These are just a few ideas to help with gift buying for the loved ones on your list. 

Christmas is followed by a new year filled with resolutions to live healthier lifestyle. Giving a gift that helps your loved one be healthier is a gift they’ll enjoy every day all year.

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