Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

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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Follow a few tips to beat the summer heat

June 24, 2020

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 and a chance to kick back. Although this year might seem different because of the pandemic, summer still offers many opportunities to stay active. 

Remain aware, though, that 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. 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 — especially this summer with social distancing and the feeling of being cooped up. Those changes 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 in 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 Quick read more or view full article goal. Call it summer 2020. 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 — 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. Go to the gym or splash in a pool. 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 fruit available. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events, though. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage the best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. 

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer 2020 goal and work toward realizing that goal. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever.

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Small changes yield big fitness results

May 19, 2020

Change by definition means to make something different.  Things are certainly different as we adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects. 

Most people prefer what’s comfortable and familiar. How do we make changes, then, to better our lives?  Taking small steps toward change is easier and more successful than trying to make big changes all at once. This theory applies to so many things in life, including health and fitness.

Instead of making huge changes, enhance your daily routine with small changes. Here are a few ideas for making those small changes through exercise and activity:

Get in your cardio. About 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity a week is recommended. You can break that down to a more manageable 30 minutes of cardio five times a week. 

If you’re short on time, try Tabata training. Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training that’s great for burning calories. A traditional Tabata session is only four minutes long.  For example, you could perform a Tabata session on an elliptical trainer. Go for 20 seconds at your maximum and recover for 10 seconds. Repeat eight times. This small change can yield big results. Try it for one of your cardio workouts this week.

Include strength training in your fitness Quick read more or view full article routine. The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to complete many of your daily activities. Another big plus for weight training is it increases your metabolic rate and causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. Try adding an extra day of strength training.  Shoot for two to three days a week. When selecting a weight, it should be heavy enough you feel the muscle working, but light enough you can do 12 to 15 repetitions. Continue to challenge yourself by adding a little more weight or repetitions as you grow stronger.

Don’t forget about flexibility. By keeping your muscles long and lean, you improve your range of motion as well as your posture. Try daily stretching.  A little change could mean you stand up from your work chair and reach up high to the sky.  

Make a conscious effort to get in just a little more activity.  Park a little farther away from work or the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put on your tennis shoes and go for a walk rather than going out for a high-calorie lunch.  

Measure your workouts. Measure your workouts in terms of not only in minutes, but also exertion. Wear a heart rate monitor.  Figure out your target heart rate and this will help you to reach your goals. Sometimes you might feel as though you’re working hard, when you really aren’t. Use your workout times for maximum benefits.

Start with the big picture of exercise and break it down into smaller parts. Ask yourself which of these tips might work for you.  These are a few of the ways you can easily make small changes in your exercise routine. By making small changes, you very well could be amazed at how big the results become.

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Get a workout — no equipment required

April 21, 2020

Machines, weights and props can all help in a daily exercise routine. But with a little creativity, you can still enjoy a great workout without anything but you and a pair of good athletic shoes.

Given so many changes and temporary health club closures related to the coronavirus outbreak, it’s never been more important to maintain your efforts to stay healthy and fit. Here are a few ideas to help keep you on track to achieve your fitness goals, including body weight training, cardio workouts, online classes and fresh air exercise.

 Body weight training is just that – using your weight to provide resistance.  Body weight exercises improve strength, flexibility and balance. Many different types of body weight exercises can be performed to work all the major muscle groups.  

One of the best exercises for the chest is the pushup. This exercise uses almost every muscle in the body, but especially the chest muscles. Modify the traditional floor pushup by performing them on your knees or leaning from a counter. Complete a triceps dip with the aid of a stable chair or step by raising and lowering your body. For the thighs, try lunges. Lunges work a range of muscles and also improve core strength and flexibility.

Core exercises include the bicycle maneuver. This ab workout strengthens your internal and external obliques.  Like a traditional Quick read more or view full article crunch done on the floor, move your legs like you’re riding a bicycle. Try a plank, another quality core exercise. Using either on your hands or forearms, keep your body straight like a plank and hold this position for 30 seconds.  

With bodyweight exercises, keep your movements smooth and controlled. It’s important to use proper form and technique to get the most benefits while also avoiding injuries.   

Cardio exercises that get your heart pumping offer a great way to keep extra weight at bay. One of the simplest and most beneficial cardio exercises is brisk walking. Record your steps, distance and time.  Reaching for 10,000 steps a day in a week will make you successful in a 70,000-step goal.

For some inside cardio exercise, try jumping jacks. Shoot for 50 at a time and repeat.  If you need to modify, do step outs on each side instead of the jump. High-knee marches, taking the stairs and even dancing all offer great ways to get in some cardio exercise.  

Missing your group exercise classes?  Log on to the website at www.crossroadsfitness.com and join in on one of the many group classes listed there. Our giving and talented instructors also teach live classes on Facebook. These classes might help you keep a routine and see some familiar faces.

With warming spring weather, getting outdoors is particularly welcoming. A walk, hike, bike ride or even yardwork offer not only fresh air and sunshine, but also some calorie burning.

Now is the perfect time to use the excuse to exercise — not an excuse to miss out on exercise. Maintain a weekly routine and make it non-negotiable. Try some of these workout tips and embrace your new fitness routine.

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