Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

No excuses: Seek solutions and get moving

August 25, 2021

When there’s something we don’t really want to do, we make excuses. Sometimes our excuses are quite creative.

“I don’t know how to exercise.” This common fitness excuse is actually valid. Sure, we all know getting off the couch to do something physical and get our bodies moving is exercise — to a point. A brisk walk or gardening could be considered exercise, for example. Not knowing what to do at a health club could be different, however. Weight machines, new technology cardio equipment and group exercise could require some instruction. Solution: Many of the new exercise machines come with instructions and diagrams to help you get started. Crossroads Fitness offers a getting started program to teach the fundamentals — everything from basic knowledge of exercise machines to measuring your heart rate.

“I’ve tried exercise, and I keep quitting.” If this applies to you, maybe you haven’t found an exercise you love. Variety spices life. We all get bored doing the same things and not experiencing results. Solution: Try different activities. Group exercise classes offer a fun way to exercise. The group atmosphere is motivating. Once you find the right exercise, you’ll be excited and much more apt to go do it.

“I don’t have time.” This one is Quick read more or view full article a classic. When we don’t take time to care for our health, we could lose it. Everyone is busy — from stay-at-home moms to business executives. Yet, we all have 24 hours in a day to make sure we take time for ourselves. Solution: Schedule exercise as an appointment you can’t miss. Even if you can’t get in a full 30 minutes, some exercise is better than none.

“I don’t want to get hurt.”  Exercise doesn’t have to hurt. Solution: Start slowly in an exercise program and build up. Participate in a getting started program or hire a personal trainer to not only get you started on the right foot, but also teach you proper form.

“I have kids.” Having a family and young ones at home can make going to the gym more difficult. Solution:  Crossroads Fitness offers a kid’s club. Little ones from age 6 weeks to 12 years can come with you when you exercise. They’re not only cared for, but also enjoy a chance to play and socialize You won’t have to feel guilty while they’re having fun.

“I’ll lose weight and then join a health club.” While health clubs might seem intimidating, maybe you just haven’t found the right one. Solution: Find a place that fits your personality, location and personal goals. Since you’ll likely be going to a health club numerous times a week, you’ll want to find a place where you feel comfortable. Everyone there started at the beginning of their own fitness journeys. People of every age, size and shape will be there to welcome you.

Whatever your excuse is or has been, there’s a solution. So stop making excuses and get moving.

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Think ahead to keep vacations fitness-friendly

May 26, 2021

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can disrupt our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, 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 can be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.” Meanwhile, consider packing a small cooler with nutritious snacks.

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 Quick read more or view full article snack or meal, remember many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming 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 area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. 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 bed post or door knob. 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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Variety not only spices, but also improves, fitness

April 27, 2021

Variety is the spice of life. There’s some truth to the statement. You get stuck in your daily routine and complete many tasks without thinking about them. You eat at the same time, go to work at the same time and take out the garbage on the same day.

Think about your fitness routine. Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weight for every workout?  Maybe it’s time to change that routine.

Adding a little spice could turn what’s become a boring fitness routine into something more exciting and motivating.   Sometimes you hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s okay to like your comfort zone with its familiar surroundings, people and activities.

Although doing exactly the same thing over and over might be comforting, it also could have drawbacks. Without variety, things can get pretty boring. It’s important to spice it up a bit.

Consider, for example, cross training. Cross training is simply combining two or more types of physical activities and offers one way to create the change you might need.

There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is motivation. Keeping interested and motivated to exercise is an important piece. If Quick read more or view full article you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.

Cross training can help you burn more calories by exercising regularly and using different muscle groups. You reduce the risk of injury by doing a variety of exercises — performing a high-impact sport like running one day followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day, for example.

It’s simple to create a varied exercise program. Plan a complete workout that includes the three areas of physical activity: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Under each area, write down activities you like to do or would like to try. Some activities fit under more than one area.

Cardiovascular activities include jumping rope, riding a bike, running and walking the dog. Activities that build strength include everything from lifting weights and push-ups to yard work. Activities that promote flexibility include stretching and yoga.

Changing a routine can be beneficial in not only reducing boredom, but also increasing fitness. Our bodies are adaptive and grow accustomed to an exercise.
It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once they’ve adapted to a specific fitness routine. Because of this adaptive nature, it’s important to keep our bodies guessing by mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do you change your workouts? Try something new. Often times we get our minds set on what we think we can do instead of what we really could do if we tried.
If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging. Remember, though: When changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Once you choose your activities, schedule them. Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find out what really interests you.

Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Spice it up.

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Health clubs offer healthy options

September 25, 2019

There are many ways to improve health and fitness, but exercise tops every list. Health clubs offer a healthy option as a place to exercise. Clubs aren’t the only option, however. Other options include exercising outdoors or using your own exercise equipment at home. The best option might be to combine all three. 

Whether you’re joining for the first time or joined health clubs in the past, many factors are involved in making your decision a successful one. Joining a health club won’t make you fit. What you do when you get there is what’s important. 
Here are some essential factors to consider in making your health club choice:

Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey, at a different stage in life and face personal obstacles to overcome. Define before joining a health club your obstacles, goals and expectations. What’s important to you? 

Choose a club that makes you feel comfortable the moment you enter. Take into consideration  the friendliness of the staff, other members, music and smells. Can you picture yourself there? Sticking to a consistent exercise program can be difficult. If you don’t enjoy being at the club, your chances of a success will diminish. A health club should be more than just a building with exercise equipment. Quick read more or view full article You should enjoy a relationship with your club.

What about the members? Take a tour of the club at the same time you plan to use it. This will give you an idea of the type of members with whom you’ll be exercising. Look around and see if you can relate to the other members. Asking members why they belong to a club could be a helpful, especially if you ask those who’ve been members for a long time.

Knowing what to expect after you sign on the dotted line is important. Is there a free introductory program that will help you become acquainted with your new fitness home? A brief tour of the club isn’t sufficient to get you started on the right foot. You should feel comfortable knowing what you plan to do on your first visit.  

There should be a variety of equipment options. Equipment should be clean and in working order. This will indicate the club takes pride in its facilities and maintenance is important. If you’re a runner, make sure there are high-quality, runner-specific treadmills available. If you like to stretch, make sure the carpeting is padded and clean. Make sure everything is touchable.   

Variety in a club will not only add value to your membership, but also keep you motivated. Check out the group exercise schedule for classes. Get to know the instructors and personal trainers along with their credentials and teaching styles. Take the time to watch a small group training session or group exercise class.   

Choose a club that offers educational pieces, including beginning classes, newsletters, seminars and workshops. The more you learn, the more engaged you’ll become.  

Making a health club decision is an important one. You need to find value, comfort, motivation and education. When all these pieces come together, you’ll be on your way to developing a successful relationship with your club and healthy lifestyle.

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Ready for a good workout? Then play ball

December 19, 2018

Fitness ball workouts are becoming increasingly popular — and for good reason. If you’re looking for an exercise that will challenge you, consider a workout using one of the many different types of fitness balls.  

There are traditional stability balls and BOSU balls as well as such weighted balls as medicine, slam or wall balls. Each ball has unique characteristics and specific uses.

Stability balls come in various sizes and are made of a soft rubber that are inflated.  They’re used to strengthen and tone, particularly the core muscles. It’s important to find a ball that fits so it can be used effectively.  They range in size from 30 centimeters in diameter for children up to 75 centimeters in diameter for taller adults.

One thing that makes stability balls so popular is they can be used both in the gym and at home — and even in the office as a desk chair. Physical therapists also use stability balls for rehabilitation.  Some exercises that can be performed using stability balls include ab crunches, back extensions and elbow planks. A trainer can demonstrate how to do a full body workout using a stability ball.

Have you ever seen the funny looking balls that look like they’ve been cut in half? This is called a BOSU ball. It was Quick read more or view full article invented by David Weck and includes an inflated rubber side attached to a ridged platform. BOSU stands for “both sides utilized” since different exercises can be performed on each side. BOSU balls often are used for balance training.  

You’ll also find a variety of weighted balls in a health club setting, including medicine balls, slam balls and wall balls.
Medicine balls come in a variety of sizes ranging from small to large with corresponding weights. Medicine balls have been used since ancient times to improve strength and muscular power.  Medicine balls can be used in a range of poses and exercises that strengthen every part of the body — from lifting to rotating.

A slam ball is a weighted sphere designed for throwing exercises. Slam balls are available in different sizes and weights. The shell is made of a tough rubber that can handle the impact of being thrown down on a hard surface. Use a slam ball to develop power, strength and speed. Abs and core specifically benefit. Exercises using a slam ball will increase heart rate, making it a great exercise for burning calories. An example of using a slam ball is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Then just slam the ball to the ground, pick it back up and repeat.  

A wall ball is similar to a slam ball, but used by throwing the ball up onto a wall and catching it on the way down into a squat.  This movement works the upper body on the throw and the lower body on the catch and squat as well as the entire core. This exercise also is good for cardio and gets the heart pumping.

It’s no wonder why fitness balls have become so popular. If you’re ready for the challenge, find the type, size and weight and then play ball.

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Where do you turn for fitness information?

November 21, 2018

There are so many ways to learn about fitness. From Facebook to gaming systems and fitness videos to personal trainers, new information becomes available on a daily basis. It’s difficult for consumers to know where to turn for the information that’s most beneficial to them given their lifestyles, health, technological skills and fitness goals.

The internet offers a wealth of information, including fitness tips and recipes. Questions can be answered in seconds. It can be tricky, though, deciding what’s legitimate and what’s a sales tactic. One website might tout a cabbage soup diet that will enable you to lose 30 pounds in a month without exercise. Another site might  tell you stretching before a workout is harmful. Someone without a background in health and fitness might not know what to believe. The internet can constitute a valuable tool, but one with the risk of also conveying inaccurate information.

One of the latest fitness trends is the sale and use of gaming systems for fitness entertainment. I agree making fitness fun is a dream come true. The intention of these sports and exercise games is to get people moving. They might not provide a strenuous workout or generate the same results as running or lifting weights, but can get coach potato gamers off the coach. This goes Quick read more or view full article back to figuring out what you want to accomplish in your quest for fitness information.  

Although the next trend isn’t new, it’s one of the fastest growing and that’s the plethora of fitness apps on the market. It’s an amazing concept: you can join in such extreme workouts from your living room. Each class is led by an instructor, so you don’t have to wonder what you’re going to do for exercise that day. The idea revolves around a one-time purchase or monthly contract fee and the convenience of your own home. The pros are there are some people who are self-motivated and disciplined enough an app fitness routine works for them. They’ll exercise even when they don’t feel like it. The cons of these programs are most people aren’t that way. It’s easy to abandon a home fitness program, just like home fitness equipment that doubles as a clothes hanger because it’s never used. Without scheduled workouts and someone to help motivate you, this option is difficult for many to consistently follow.

Health clubs offer the services of personal trainers. Many trainers have studied exercise, health and nutrition in college and hold certified personal training certificates. Taking the time to find a trainer who fits your needs takes some research as well.  Whether you’re looking for someone who specializes in a certain sport or deals with injuries, finding the right trainer for you is important.  Trainers are experts in their fields, but also motivate you and hold you accountable. They are great for jump-starting a fitness program or becoming a part of your fitness lifestyle.

While it’s nice having so many options, sifting through all the information about fitness can be difficult. The best source of information is all about what works best for you, not necessarily what’s the easiest. 

Here’s something else to consider: Statistics show people who exercise in a group are more successful in sticking to their fitness programs than those who go it alone. Personally, I find nothing replaces social interaction and relationships when working towards fitness goals.

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With planning, vacations can still be fitness-friendly

June 26, 2018

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can all lead to major disruptions in our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, 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 can 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 luggage? You’ve all seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are many places to walk and climb stairs in most airports. When it comes to having a snack or meal, Quick read more or view full article remember that many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming 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. Although your choices could be limited, remember that any movement is better than nothing. Try to combine some cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with some strength training. 

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands for strength training. 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 bed post or door knob. 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, too. 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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How to choose a personal trainer

October 24, 2017

It used to be only Hollywood celebrities who attributed their fabulously fit bodies to personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all income brackets, ages and fitness levels hire personal trainers to help them meet their goals.

While a healthy lifestyle has become a top priority for many people, they sometimes lack the direction and guidance they need to be successful. Here’s where a personal trainer comes in. 

After you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer, it’s important to find one who constitutes the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider. Many trainers provide a wide variety of services and offer different areas of expertise. Finding a trainer whose work schedule matches your schedule or fees that match your budget also constitute important factors.

First, identify what you want. What are your goals — not only in terms of fitness, but also your overall lifestyle? Making a change is hardly ever easy. You could only have the goal of being “healthy.” Your trainer can help you set realistic, attainable and specific goals. Communication is the most important step in selecting a trainer. You need to be able to talk openly with this person about yourself — not only telling them why you’re there and what you want to achieve, but also your medical history. By setting goals, you have a starting Quick read more or view full article point from which to move forward.

Personal training certifications let you know your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology as well as anatomy and injury prevention. Many trainers also hold four-year college degrees in fitness-related fields. The higher levels of experience and education offer additional confidence when making your choice. Some trainers also specialize in a certain area, such as nutrition, sports specific training, dealing with certain injuries or age-specific training. Seek out a trainer who specializes in the type of training you desire.

Another important factor is the availability and price of a trainer. You might want to work out two or three times a week during your lunch hours. Finding a trainer who can accommodate your schedule will help set you up for success. Price is also important. Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in you. You have options as to the frequency of your sessions. Some trainers offer a discounted package if you buy a certain number of sessions.  You could even ask if a trainer will give you a free session to see their training style in action. Many trainers build their businesses through referrals, so don’t hesitate to ask for references.

One alternative to the traditional, one-on-one personal training session is small group training. This type of training allows a personal trainer to train up to five clients in a class at the same time. This not only allows you a chance to meet other people and hold each other accountable in class, but also reduces the cost of the sessions to the participants.

There’s also workshop-style training, another option that’s becoming increasingly popular. A small group workshop allows a trainer to focus on a specific type of training — such as functional fitness, kettle bell, sport specific, weight loss. Each session is usually six to eight weeks long.  If one of these approaches sounds appealing, find a trainer who teaches these types of sessions.

Carefully consider your personality. Make sure your trainer’s style fits your personality style. You might want a trainer who’s more aggressive, or perhaps your style is more relaxed and low key.

Hiring a personal trainer can help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Take time to carefully choose a trainer who will motivate you; keep you on track; and make sure your workouts are safe, enjoyable and effective. Above all, find a trainer who inspires you.  

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Row, row, row your way to fitness

April 26, 2016

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 —  a total body workout, in fact. 

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.

Actually the biggest reason why people don’t just hop on a rowing machine placed in a health club cardio room is simple: They don’t know how to use it.  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 the benefits for choosing a rowing machine for your workout, learning basic rowing techniques and avoiding common mistakes and ways you can start rowing today.

Since rowing constitutes a non-impact exercise, it’s easy on the back and joints, making it 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.   

Since Quick read more or view full article rowing uses almost every major muscle group in the body, stronger toned muscles are another benefit. Rowing works both the upper body (shoulders, arms and back) and lower body muscles (legs, hips and buttocks) with each stroke. It’s also a performance abdominal exercise since the core stays engaged throughout the exercise. 

Learning proper rowing technique might not be 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 hunching your back during the stroke.  It takes practice to get the technique sequence down and create a smooth stroke. 

“This sequential engagement of the kinetic chain is the natural sequence in which muscles are supposed to engage for efficient, safe and effective movement,” said Allen Russell, a personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness who has an extensive background in biomechanical performance. “The rowing machine provides an excellent evaluation tool in order to better provide quality training which will improve overall performance and function of my clients.”    

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 cardiac rehabilitation patients to Olympic athletes and everyone in between. 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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Small group training more than a workout

May 27, 2014

Most people are familiar with the term one-on-one personal training sessions. These sessions are available at most health clubs and independent studios. But what has changed could surprise you: the increased popularity of small group personal training.

Although it seems to really have hit the market recently, we’ve been offering small group personal training at Crossroads Fitness for years. 

So why is this best kept secret a hit for reaching fitness goals?

Many people say they can work out alone, and it's true many can. But for most of us, 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. One is the fact the leader, a personal trainer, specializes in anatomy, exercise science and nutrition. Because of their education and experience, participants feel comfortable in abilities of the leader to train them. 

Small group training is also a cost-effective way to work out with a trainer. Because there’s a group, the trainer divides the cost of his or her time among a few people. Everyone benefits by sharing the cost.  

Another benefit of small group training is the variety. Each workout is carefully designed for a particular group. Classes could include cardiovascular exercise, weights, interval training, circuit Quick read more or view full article and core work. In small group training, participants also get to incorporate some fun and innovative exercise “tools” into their workouts. Many of these tools require proper technique and form, though, not only to gain the most health benefit, but more importantly, to reduce injury. Some of these exercise 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 each week with the same trainer and same people, you begin to develop the workout habit. All you have to do is show up. That structure becomes not only part of 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 have seen it over and over at Crossroads Fitness. These people who start out exercising together don’t know each other when they begin. But after a while, they become friends both in and out of the club. 

Some classes might be conducted for businesspeople exercising before work. Other classes could be for mothers with young children. Some are a mix. The fact these people now have a support group that cares about them is 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 see 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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Group training: Gain strength in small numbers

January 22, 2014
Most people are familiar with the concept of the one-on-one training sessions available at most health clubs and independent studios. But what has changed might surprise you. 

Crossroads Fitness in Grand Junction is an industry leader in the field of small group personal training. Although it seems as though it just hit the market, we’ve been doing it for years. So why is this best kept secret a hit for reaching fitness goals?

Many people say that they can work out alone, and it’s true. But for most of us, the reality is we won’t do it with success. Did you know that an individual who exercises alone has a 45 percent dropout rate within the first year and a 52 percent dropout rate in the second year? That leaves only a 3 percent  rate for someone to succeed with an exercise plan. 

Small group training is successful for many reasons. The first is the fact that the leader, a personal trainer, has specializes in 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. Because there’s a group, the trainer is able to lower 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 your group. Classes could include cardiovascular Quick read more or view full article exercise, weights, interval training, circuit and core work. In small group training, you also could get to incorporate some fun and innovative exercise tools into your workout. Many of these tools require proper technique and form to not only produce the most health benefit, but also reduce injury. Some of these tools include kettle bells, plyo boxes, slam balls and suspension training. 

One of the most important benefits to succeeding in 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 begin to develop the workout habit. All you have to do is show up. That structure becomes not only part of your weekly schedule, but also part of 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. These people don’t know each other when they first start.   After a while, they become friends, both in and out of the club.  Some classes cater to businessmen exercising before work.  Others classes feature mothers with young children. Still other classes offer a mix. The fact these people now have a support group that cares about them is 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 a group of people who are there to cheer you on. Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
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Personal trainers are not just for celebrities anymore

July 24, 2013
 
It used to be only Hollywood celebrities who attributed their fabulously fit bodies to personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets hire personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals.
While a healthy lifestyle has become a top priority for many people, they lack the direction and guidance they need to be successful. Here’s where a personal trainer comes in. 
After you’ve decided to hire a personal trainer, it’s important to find a trainer who constitutes the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider. Many trainers provide a wide variety of services and have different areas of expertise. Finding a trainer whose work schedule matches your schedule or fees that match your budget also constitute important factors.
First, identify what you want. What are your goals, not only in terms of fitness, but also your overall lifestyle? Making a change is hardly ever easy. You could only have the goal of being “healthy.” Your trainer can help you set realistic, attainable and specific goals. Communication is the most important step in selecting a trainer. You need to be able to talk openly with this person about yourself — not only telling them why you’re there and what you want to achieve, but also your medical history. By setting goals, you have a starting point from which to move forward.
Personal training certifications let you know your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology, anatomy and injury Quick read more or view full article prevention. Many trainers also hold a four-year college degree in a fitness-related field. The higher levels of experience and education offer additional confidence to you when making your choice. Some trainers also specialize in a certain area, such as nutrition, sports specific training, dealing with certain injuries or age-specific training. Seek out a trainer who specializes in the type of training you desire.
Another important factor is the availability and price of a trainer. You might want to work out two or three times a week during your lunch hours. Finding a trainer who fits into your schedule will help set you up for success. Price is also important.  Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in you! You have options as to the frequency of your sessions. Some trainers offer a discounted package if you buy a certain number of sessions.  You could even ask if a trainer will give you a free session to see their training style in action. Many trainers build their businesses through referrals, so don’t hesitate to ask for references.
One alternative to the traditional, one-on-one personal training session is the concept of small group training. This type of training allows a personal trainer to train up to five clients in a class at the same time. This not only allows you a chance to meet other people and hold each other accountable in class, but in many instances reduces the cost of the sessions.
There’s also workshop-style training, another option that’s becoming increasingly popular. A small group workshop allows a trainer to focus on a specific type of training — such as functional fitness, kettle bell, sport specific, weight loss. Each session is usually six to eight weeks long.  If one of these approaches sounds appealing, find a trainer who teaches these types of sessions.
Give careful consideration to the importance of personality.  Make sure your trainer’s style fits your personality style. You might want a trainer who’s more aggressive, or perhaps your style is more relaxed and low-key.
Making the decision to hire a personal trainer can help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to carefully choose your personal trainer will motivate you; keep you on track; and make sure your workouts are safe, enjoyable and effective.  Above all, find a trainer who inspires you.   Read Less
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Ready to overcome obstacles? Races offer opportunities

July 3, 2013
Have you heard about the events in which people race up a mountain, crawl through mud and jump over fire? It’s called obstacle racing, and its gaining popularity at a rapid pace. Last year, more than a million people in the United States participated in an obstacle racing event. This new sport is not for the faint hearted, though: It takes some serious training, determination and endurance.

Obstacle racing involves more than just running a race. Participants run from one obstacle to another.  These obstacles vary from event to event, but often include obstacles similar to ones used in military training, like rope courses and wall climbing. Swimming through a pool of ice, climbing a hay bale stack and crawling through a series of pipes are unique to obstacle racing events. Each event varies as to the distance of the course and degree of difficulty.  

An event called the Tough Guy claims to be the first official obstacle event with its origin in 1989. Two of the most well-known races — the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder — both began in 2010. The Warrior Dash is a 3-mile event with 12 obstacles. The race offers a competitive, yet also fun and social event. Designed by British Special Forces, the Tough Mudder is a 10- to 12-mile course with many obstacles. This hard-core event is not technically a race, however. Not everyone completes the course.

Why are these obstacle races so appealing to athletes?  There are Quick read more or view full article many reasons. These events are team oriented. A group of friends get together and train for months. Many have matching clothing to designate their team spirit.  “It’s a way to set a goal you can accomplish with your friends,” said Suzanne Hatch, who just completed her second Tough Mudder. “We are competitive, so we push each other. There are obstacles that we have to work as a team to complete.”

Athletes like these events for other reasons as well. Some like the idea of doing something different. There are always such traditional races as a 5K, triathlon or biking event. But the appeal seems to be competing in an event in which participants push themselves almost in a war-like setting and cross the finish line covered in mud. There’s nothing boring about an obstacle race.
“It was a real eye-opener,” said Lisa Carroll, who has completed two Warrior Dash races. “It’s quite an accomplishment to finish.” 
Although obstacle races aren’t for everyone, most people with the desire to participate can train and do it. Training for an obstacle race involves strength, speed and endurance. Running is the main activity of the event. John Ball, a certified personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness, helps his clients by bumping up their cardio workouts to train for such an event. “I include running stairs, doing line sprints and mountain climbers in their routine,” he said.

Total body strength training is also important. The “burpee” is a favorite training exercise used by race participants. This exercise engages the lower body, core and upper body in one fluid movement. Concentrating on balance and strengthening the core helps with many of the race obstacles. Health clubs offer a boot camp exercise class that could include some forms of obstacles, just on a smaller scale, that would be helpful during training. 

If obstacle racing seems like a sport you might want to try, check out the different races available in the area. Choose one that best fits your activity level. Round up some friends and start training. 

Who said grownups can’t climb monkey bars and play in the mud? Read Less
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How to choose a personal trainer

September 15, 2011
There was a time when just Hollywood celebrities attributed their fabulously fit bodies to their personal trainers. Not anymore. People of all ages, fitness levels and income brackets are hiring personal trainers to help them meet their fitness goals. Living a healthy lifestyle is becoming a top priority for many people, but they lack the direction and guidance needed to be successful.

This is where the personal trainer can help. After you have decided to hire a personal trainer, it’s important to find a trainer who will be the best fit for you, and there are many factors to consider. Trainers provide a wide variety of services and have different areas of expertise. Finding a trainer whose work schedule matches your schedule or fees that match your budget are also areas to consider.

First, you need to identify what you want. What are your goals--not only fitness goals, but your overall lifestyle goals? Making a change in lifestyle is rarely easy. You may only have the goal of being “healthy.” Your trainer can help you set realistic, attainable and specific goals.
To accomplish this you need to be able to talk openly with your trainer about yourself, not only telling them why you are there and what you want to achieve, but your medical history, as well. This is a very important first step in training: communication. Beginning a program with goals set, you now have a starting point in which to move forward.

Personal training certifications Quick read more or view full article let you know that your trainer has been educated in the field of exercise physiology, anatomy and injury prevention. Many trainers also hold a four-year degree in a fitness-related field. The higher level of education and experience may provide additional confidence to you when making your choice. Some trainers also specialize in a certain area, such as a sports specific training, dealing with certain injuries, or age specific training. Seek out the trainer who specializes in the type of training you desire.

Another important factor is the availability and price of a trainer. You may want to work out two or three times a week during your lunch hour. Finding a trainer who fits into your schedule will help set you up for success. Price is also important. Hiring a personal trainer is an investment in you! You have options as to the frequency of your sessions. Some trainers offer a discounted package if you buy a certain number of sessions. You may even ask if a trainer will give you a free session to see their training style in action. Many trainers build their training business through referrals, so don’t hesitate to ask for references.

Give careful consideration to the importance of personality. Make sure that your trainer’s style fits your personality style. You may want a trainer that is more aggressive or maybe your style is more relaxed and low-key.

Making the decision to hire a personal trainer can help you on your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to carefully choose your personal trainer will motivate you, keep you on track and make sure your work outs are safe, enjoyable and effective. Above all, find a trainer who “inspires” you!
Read Less
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