Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Plan to make vacations more fitness-friendly

May 24, 2022

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can disrupt our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane or 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 could be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.”

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 snack or meal, remember many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming Quick read more or view full article 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 center, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. 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 bedpost or doorknob. 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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Small group training provides big advantages

April 20, 2022

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.

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. Individuals who exercise on their own have a 45 percent dropout rate within the first year. The second year it’s 52 percent. That leaves only a 3 percent rate for someone to succeed with an exercise plan.

  Small group training is successful for many reasons. Leaders are personal trainers 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 trainers. Trainers split 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 Quick read more or view full article designed for your group. Classes might include cardiovascular exercise, circuits, core work, interval training and weights.

Some of these tools used in workouts include kettle bells, plyo boxes, slam balls and suspension training.Many of these tools require proper technique and form to not only get the most benefit, but also reduce the risk of injury.

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 a 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. The fact these people now have a support group that cares about them constitutes 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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Row, row, row your way to fitness and good health

March 23, 2022

What if there was an exercise machine 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?

You’d probably say, “Tell me more.”

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 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 Quick read more or view full article lung, heart and circulation systems.

Because rowing involves almost every major muscle group, stronger, 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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Functional training preparation for daily activities

February 16, 2022

Think of the movements you go through every day: getting into and out of your car, reaching for an item on the top shelf at the grocery store or bending down to pick up a child. Most of the time, we don’t even think about these movements — until, that is, we can’t do them with ease.

This is where functional fitness exercises can help by training your muscles to handle everyday activities efficiently and safely.

Functional fitness training has become popular in training regimens. Personal trainers include this type of training in their client workouts. These types of exercises train your muscles to work together to simulate common movements. This is different from conventional strength training and working on isolated muscle groups.

Working a combination of muscle groups — your upper and lower body, for example — at the same time could duplicate the movement you make while lifting something off the floor. The exercise that might be performed for this movement would include a squat and then a bicep curl.

The body can perform seven basics movements: gait, hinge, lunge, pull, push, squat and rotate. All exercises constitute variations on these movements. In performing these movements, you’ll exercise all the major muscle groups of your body.

Functional fitness exercises concentrate not only on upper and lower muscle groups, but also the core muscles in your middle from Quick read more or view full article your chest to your pelvic bone. By strengthening core muscles, you gain flexibility and stability. As your core strengthens, your balance and posture improve. Strong core muscles reduce injuries, promote stability and improve overall health.

Functional fitness exercises are low impact and can be performed by almost everyone, from beginners to athletes. Step-ups and lunges focus on balance. Try a lunge where you step back instead of forward with hand weights. Develop core strength by performing sit-ups with a medicine ball you move from side to side.

Use such props as weights, kettle bells, fitness balls and aerobic steps. Many exercises can be performed without equipment, though, using only the resistance of your body weight.

Athletes often use these multi-joint and multi-muscle exercises are also used by athletes. Sports specific training can benefit from functional training as well.

Personal trainers often use a Bosu — both sides utilized — ball, which is rounded on one side and flat on the other. If you stand on the flat side, you must engage your core to retain balance. Moving a weighted medicine ball from one side of your body to the other while standing on the ball simulates the movement in a golf swing. This can be used for many other sports as well, such as basketball and hockey.

Functional fitness training offers numerous benefits.  Think of it as life training that creates a balance between your muscles and prepares you for your daily real life activities.

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Trends show there are a variety of ways to stay fit

January 18, 2022

Every year for the last 16 years, the American College of Sports Medicine has compiled a list of what’s hot in the fitness industry for the coming year.

As with any industry, trends are established by the people who use the products and services. What’s great about the fitness industry, though, is trends offer not only new ideas about how to stay healthy, but also variety we all could integrate into our lives. Some fitness trends date back a century, but have come back because the basic principles remain sound. While technology and education have changed, the basic need for movement hasn’t.

Here are the top 10 trends for 2022, keeping in mind the fitness industry continues to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire to return to normal lifestyles:

The No. 1 trend is wearable technology, including such devices as fitness bands, GPS trackers and heart rate monitors. These devices count calories and steps, track heart rates and monitor sleep. They’ve become so popular because they provide immediate feedback, making users more aware of their fitness levels and motivating them to achieve their goals. Moreover, anyone at any fitness level can wear them.

Home exercise gyms placed second. As more people work from home, such equipment as bikes, treadmills and small weights can help them keep fit. Home gyms haven’t Quick read more or view full article taken the place of health clubs, but have added to overall fitness options.

Outdoor activities came in a third. Walking, riding, and hiking are among the most popular forms of outdoor exercise.

Strength training with free weights ranked fourth. This includes using barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls.

Exercising for weight loss placed fifth. An exercise program often combines with a nutrition plan to promote weight loss.

Personal training ranked sixth. Hiring a certified personal trainer or other experienced fitness professional is on the rise. By working out with a trainer, people not only enjoy the benefits of strength training, but also a coach who’s preparing a workout program to fit their needs, personalities and goals.

High-intensity interval training came in seventh.This type of workout involves short bursts of exercise followed by short periods of recovery. HIIT provides a dynamic workout with many health benefits and is performed in a short session, usually less than 30 minutes.

Body weight training placed eighth. Using body weight to create an effective workout goes back to the basics. Think of the such familiar exercises as lunges, squats and pushups. These types of exercises require little to no equipment and can be incorporated into many different types of workouts.   

Online live and on-demand classes dropped from the top spot to ninth. By using digital streaming technology, group exercise and training instruction can be accessed online. Many of these services are fee- and subscription- based and can be viewed at your convenience.

Health and wellness coaching ranked 10th.Whether it’s one-on-one or in small groups, a trained health coach can combine behavior, exercise and nutrition — as well as encouragement — to promote healthy lifestyles.

This list offers some ideas of what’s available.  Whether you’re looking for a fitness facility or just getting started on your fitness journey, the goal is to keep you moving. Whether it’s a studied trend or something new, finding activities you enjoy is the key.

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