Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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Providing a place for comfort, cleanliness and community

October 20, 2020

I recently faced some tough questions from a friend who’s also a local business owner. After the conversation, I took some time to reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected me personally, my business and the fitness industry as a whole. 

Personally, I learned there’s no handbook on how to handle life so different from those we lived less than a year ago. Instead of making lists, going to work and keeping busy, I learned to take time for the important things. That includes caring for myself through exercise and proper nutrition and connecting with others through phone calls and emails.  Evaluating my busy life, I learned to ask some important questions. What am I spending my time on? Why am I working on it? Does it really make a difference? The answers prompted me to make changes at work and at home.

On March 17, when my husband, Dale, and I locked up Crossroads Fitness, turned off the lights and lowered the shades, the feeling was somber. Our business became empty rooms and hallways.  It was then I had a revelation. This is just a building. Without our friends, staff and countless loyal members, it’s just a building. People and relationships are by far the most important things in our lives. It’s when the two come together in one place it becomes inspiring and Quick read more or view full article motivating.

While we did our best to stay connected to our members through weekly emails, Facebook posts, online classes and trainer tips, nothing can take the place of being together.

Reopening wasn’t easy. It was scary, in fact. But our team came together to make sure we could offer a place of comfort, cleanliness and community. Life and excitement came back. What an incredible feeling. As much as I hate to write this, it was a feeling I once took for granted, but never will again. 

There are many who remain fearful to come back. Honoring those who have different fears, expectations or beliefs is the only way to truly care about others.  

During the closure, I spent countless hours tuning into webinars from industry experts who tried to shed some light on what was going on and how to best take care of our biggest assets — our staff and members. The fact there were so many like me going through this tough time made it somehow easier to accept.

While the fitness industry has taken a significant blow, as have many other sectors, I applaud the industry for working diligently to overcome obstacles and to continue promoting the health and wellness of our communities. Along with our local leaders, the industry provides guidance to help steer our business into the future.

Who knows where this journey will lead. There’s no clear path through the woods. At times, it feels as though there’s no clearing on the other side. But there is a path, and we will find it.  

In the meantime, take care of yourself, reach out to others and know you live in a caring community.

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Yoga offers physical and mental benefits

September 23, 2020

Yoga is all about learning to balance life with calmness and positive thinking. Yoga means to join or yoke together the body and mind into one experience.

Yoga dates back more than 5,000 years and combines three main areas: breathing, exercise and meditation. Breathing techniques are based on the concept breathing is the source of life. Exercises put pressure on glandular systems and promote health and well-being. Through meditation, practitioners learn how to quiet their minds and heal from the stresses of life.

There are more than 100 schools of yoga.  The most common type and one most people associate with is Hatha yoga. This is an easy to learn form of yoga that combines physical movements and postures with breathing techniques. 

Another type is Bikram yoga that includes muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. This type of yoga is performed in a room heated to 95 degrees to 105 degrees. The heat promotes flexibility and detoxification while preventing injuries. Warm yoga is similar, but in a warm rather than hot environment.

Power yoga combines stretching, strength training and meditative breathing. Many of the poses resemble such basic calisthenics as push-ups, handstands and side bends. The pace of this type of yoga is faster, with each move flowing into the next without pausing.

Although there are many more forms of yoga, these give you an idea of what’s available. Many instructors incorporate different forms of yoga into one class.

Most adults with varying degrees of abilities can practice yoga. There are some advanced Quick read more or view full article classes that aren’t suitable for people with physical limitations from injuries or pregnant women. Always check first with your doctor before engaging in an exercise program. However, there are special classes that incorporate yoga into a workout with modifications. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and always listen to your body.

In taking your first yoga class, expect to enter a low-light room with soft music. You should wear comfortable clothing. You don’t need special shoes — most people are barefoot. You’ll have a mat and such props as bands, blocks and blankets. Your instructor will tell you when and how to use these. 

At the end of each yoga class, most teachers bring their hands together in front of their hearts, bow their heads and say “namaste.” Students bring their hands together and respond in kind. Namaste means “I bow to the divine in you.”

Yoga offers numerous benefits, including improved breathing, flexibility, posture and strength. Many people worry they’re too old or out of shape for yoga. In fact, you’re never too old to improve flexibility. Yoga not only stretches your muscles, but also the soft tissues of your body, including ligaments and tendons. Nearly all of the poses in yoga build core strength in the abdominal muscles. With this stronger core strength comes better posture. You also become more aware of your posture in daily activities. Most forms of yoga concentrate on breathing. Learning to deepen or lengthen your breath will stimulate relaxation. Yoga also improves mood and concentration.

If you’re already a yogi, you understand all this. If you’re not, hopefully this has answered some of your questions about yoga. Challenge yourself to try a few classes for a couple weeks and see if you experience some of the amazing benefits. Namaste.

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