Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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Group efforts offer training benefits

February 24, 2021

Most people are familiar with one-on-one fitness training sessions. These sessions are available at most health clubs and independent studios. But what’s changed might surprise you.

Crossroads Fitness Centers in Grand Junction is an industry leader in small group personal training. Although the concept seems to have only recently hit the market, we’ve been doing it for years.

So, why is this best kept secret so successful for reaching fitness goals?

Many people believe they can work out alone. Many can. For most of us, though, the reality is we won’t do it with success. Did you know an individual who exercises on their own has a 45 percent dropout rate within the first year. The second year it’s a 52 percent dropout rate. That leaves only a 3 percent rate for someone to succeed with an exercise plan.

  Small group training is successful for many reasons. The leader is a personal trainer with knowledge of anatomy, exercise science and nutrition. Because of their education and experience, you feel comfortable in their abilities to train you. Small group training also offers a cost-effective way to work out with a trainer. The trainer splits the cost of their time between a few people. Everyone benefits by sharing the cost.      

Another benefit of small group training is the variety. Each workout is carefully designed for Quick read more or view full article your group. Classes might include cardiovascular exercise, circuits, core work, interval training and weights.

You also might incorporate some fun and innovative exercise tools into your workouts. Many of these tools require proper technique and form to not only get the most benefit, but also reduce the risk of injury. Some of these tools include kettle bells, plyo boxes, slam balls and suspension training.

One of the most important benefits to achieving your fitness goals through small group training is structure. By having a class you attend two or three times every week with the same trainer and same people, you develop the workout habit. All you have to do is show up. That structure becomes part of not only your weekly schedule, but also your lifestyle.

The part I like best? The social aspect.

A small group training class can become a close-knit group of people all trying to achieve their individual goals. I’ve seen it over and over at Crossroads Fitness. People who start out exercising together don’t know each other. After a while, they become friends in and out of the club.

Some classes might include businesspeople exercising before work. Others classes might include moms with young children.  Other classes are a mix. Regardless, these people now have a support group that cares about them. And that’s one of the most beneficial aspects of small group training.   

Working out in a group yields more success than attempting to do it on your own. Give small group training a try and experience the benefits for yourself. You’ll be amazed to find a trainer and group of people who are there to cheer you on.

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Put the pieces together to achieve weight-loss goal

December 22, 2020

Your New Year’s resolutions likely will include weight loss. Given the year we’ve had, it’s understandable weight loss will be an even more common goal than usual.

You might think it’s easy to jump in on Jan. 1. Perhaps you feel excited, motivated and committed. Even with the best plans, weight loss constitutes a difficult endeavor. How do you stay on the right path to fulfill your goal?

Keep in mind that weight loss is a multi-faceted goal. That’s what makes it so difficult. You get set in your ways, and making changes can be tough. Successful weight loss involves nutrition, exercise, motivation, time and a specific mindset. Here are some tips to help you in each area:

Nutrition goes hand in hand with weight loss. It’s your fuel for everything you do. In simple terms, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Although it’s not actually that simple, try to think of it as “good” choices versus “bad” choices. Choosing to eat an apple is a better choice than eating a cookie. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Sometimes you’re just thirsty rather than hungry. Eating several small meals a day will keep you from becoming so hungry you snack and binge. The best tip? Avoid mindless eating — while you’re on the telephone, in Quick read more or view full article front of the television or in your car. Those are the calories that add up. Instead, take time to enjoy the foods you’re eating.

Exercise not only aids in weight loss, but also provides numerous health benefits. Strive for a workout to raise your heart rate. This strengthens your heart and burns calories. By adding strength training, you’ll gain muscle that burns more calories than fat. Not only will you be burn more calories, but you’ll also become more toned and look better. 

Setting a goal is the easy part. Sticking to it is the hard part. Staying motivated EVERY DAY can be a challenge. Consider weighing yourself once week and making a log of your progress. Tell others close to you what you goal is and share your ups and downs with them. This will keep you accountable. Write down a motivational quote every week and put it on your mirror where you can see it daily. Keep that goal in front of you. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Weight loss is a time-consuming process. That’s why it’s important to plan your weekly meals. Shop and cook on weekends to prepare for the coming week. Write down your exercise classes and workout times in your daily planner. Schedule them as if they’re an appointment you can’t miss. Make time for yourself. This goal is important to you, so make it happen. Make time for what’s important.

Achieving your weight-loss goal is a mindset. You’re the only one who knows how important it is to you. The reasons behind your weight-loss goal are unique to you. Maybe it’s your self-image, a special event or health issue. Make sure you remind yourself every day why you’re doing this.

By putting the pieces together, you’ll be successful not only in losing weight, but also creating a healthy lifestyle.

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Prepare now to enjoy winter sports

November 24, 2020

Leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter.  While some people see swirling leaves and experience drudgery, others anticipate their favorite winter activities drawing closer.  

It’s important for winter sports enthusiasts to perform specific conditioning exercises before hitting the snow and ice. After a spring and summer off season, muscles could need some time to adjust. And starting off the winter season with an injury would put a damper on the fun.  

Here’s a look at the specific conditioning to reduce the risk of injury and increase the performance and enjoyment of winter sports.

  • Skiing and snowboarding:  Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills, including agility, balance, endurance, flexibility and strength. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while skiing or boarding on uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are involved. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga offer a good compliment to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain balance and improve flexibility.
  • Sledding: Some people underestimate the difficulty of even the most basic of winter sports. Sledding is often viewed as child’s play, but it’s a fun activity for all ages. Pulling your sled up that big hill is a fitness feat that often gets overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening Quick read more or view full article exercises can prepare you for a day of sledding with the family. 
  • Cross-country skiing: This is a great cardiovascular workout. Like most cardio-related sports, endurance training is a must. To prepare for this fun winter sport, train with your favorite cardio exercises appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical offers a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level. 
  • Ice skating: Balance is a really important factor in enjoying ice skating, whether it’s figure skating or hockey. Without balance, there’d be no skating. Depending on your level of expertise, flexibility also is beneficial. Graceful figure skaters and tough hockey players require agility and flexibility. Bosu balls offer a great training tool to warm up muscles while also improving balance. 

Winter could be the most awaited season of the year. There are so many activities in which to partake. Taking time to condition and prepare for the season ensures you won’t miss out on any of the winter sports that entice us, entertain us and keep us fit.

Playing in the snow or on the ice is beneficial to your health. Quality time spent in the health club now for conditioning will pay off when winter gets here in earnest.

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Don’t overlook vitamin D in boosting immunity

November 11, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has infected millions of people in the United States and continues to spread faster than many expected. Without a vaccine, experts say the best way to avoid infection is to wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing, wear a mask and keep your immune system healthy.

Most people think first of vitamin C when considering immunity, but overlook another powerful vitamin that boosts their immune systems. And the best thing about this vitamin is they can get it for free.

Vitamin D is a unique vitamin most people don’t get enough of. By one estimate, 40 percent of American adults suffer a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because it is produced naturally when skin is exposed directly to sunlight. Unless you live in the northern part of the country, 20 minutes to 30 minutes of direct sunshine on your arms, legs and face several times a week should be enough to provide the vitamin D you need.

Vitamin D has long been recognized for its essential role in bone health. Working in concert with other vitamins, minerals and hormones, vitamin D promotes bone mineralization.

Lack of vitamin D can lead to a loss of bone density that can contribute to osteoporosis and broken bones. In children, a vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a Quick read more or view full article rare disease that makes bones weak and soft, stunts growth and, in severe cases, leads to skeletal deformities.

What many don’t know is that vitamin D provides other health benefits:

Fights disease: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and regulating cell growth and differentiation. A study suggests supplemental vitamin D could help prevent cancer, in particular breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Combats depression: Research has shown vitamin D could play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a lessening of their symptoms.

Promotes weight loss: Some evidence suggests getting enough vitamin D could enhance weight loss and decrease body fat. This study found that women who fulfilled their vitamin D requirements experienced more weight loss.

Researchers are also studying vitamin D for its possible connections to several medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and such autoimmune conditions as multiple sclerosis.

Most people don’t get enough vitamin D from their diets because few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Depending on where you live, the time of year and other environmental factors, you might not get enough vitamin D from the sun, either.

Here are some examples of people who might benefit from vitamin D supplements:

Vegans who avoid foods rich in vitamin D.

People who’ve undergone bariatric or gastric bypass procedures that affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Older people who’re less likely to spend time outdoors and whose systems are less efficient in synthesizing vitamin D from food.

People with darker skin tones who require more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as light-skinned people.

Supplementing with vitamin D is critical for so many people. But not all supplements are manufactured in a way that’s easily absorbed or have been tested for purity and efficacy. 

Use a vitamin D supplement that provides 2,000 international units of cholecalciferol, the most potent form of vitamin D.

Use a supplement that represents the culmination of recent scientific research, including two industry leading vitamin D studies. 

Use a supplement clinically proven to deliver vitamin D3 into the bloodstream to aid in calcium absorption to maintain strong bones and teeth, support a healthy heart and immune system and facilitate healthy cell development.

It’s important, too, to use a vitamin D supplement that’s gluten free and contains no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

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