Crossroads Fitness Blog
No excuses: Seek solutions and get moving
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.Read Less
Follow five tips for fall fitness
Fall can be a season when exercise routines waiver. It’s too cold to continue with many of the summer activities you enjoy. You could even become a little blue with the realization summer has ended and your favorite activities are over for a while.
Still, fall brings with it many other opportunities. Here are five tips to help keep you active and ready to embrace this beautiful season:
Take it outside. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful Grand Valley. With so many options from which to choose — like mountain biking and hiking — there’s no reason not to get out and enjoy the scenery and vibrant colors. Go exploring. Hike a new trail or visit a park. Raking leaves or getting in some yard work is a great way to get the heart pumping. Spending time out in nature and the fresh air does wonders for your mind as well as your body.
Layer your fall clothing. Learning the proper fundamentals of layering for fall and winter activities can mean the difference between comfort and misery. It’s important to layer while exercising in chilly weather. You might feel cold at first. But then as your body warms, you could feel Quick read more or view full article overdressed. Follow the three-layer rule. Your first layer next to your skin should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric, often called DriFit. This fabric wicks moisture away from your skin so you don’t feel wet and cold. The second layer should be a warmth layer and the third layer a protective layer, such as a windbreaker or something water-resistant depending on the weather. Don’t forget your sunglasses.
Don’t be blue. Many of us experience the winter blues as the weather cools and days shorten. Although it’s tempting when waking up in the dark, don’t hit the snooze alarm. With less sunlight you may want to increase your consumption of Vitamin D. Eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. Remember, too, that exercise releases endorphins that enhance your mood and feelings of happiness.
Watch the treats. It’s estimated the average American gains between 5 pounds and 9 pounds during the holiday season between Halloween and New Year. Halloween is a time when you stockpile bags of candy from the store for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters might come to your door. The day after, there’s leftover candy and the kids have a sugar source that will fuel unhealthy eating habits into the holidays. Then, people put off losing weight until after New Year’s. Remember: Halloween is just one day.
Plan for the holidays. Take out a calendar early — like now. Mark off time for exercise each day. Schedule a little exercise between things on busy days — 10 minutes is better than nothing. Keep your goals in mind throughout the holiday season. The time you allow yourself for exercise, sleep, nutrition and organization will make the busy season more manageable. Remember to eat right and buy healthy snacks. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll start after the new year. This is really saying you’ll find an excuse no matter the time of year. There will always be birthdays, parties and special events.
Enjoy the change of seasons. Fall is a perfect time to keep fitness routines on track. Instead of using cooler weather as an excuse not to exercise, try using the season as an excuse to exercise. Happy fall.Read Less
Fitness excuses don’t burn calories
With New Year’s resolutions perched on our shoulders, we can try to ignore them, shrug them off or embrace their presence. We often take the path of least resistance when it comes to doing something we perceive as uncomfortable or a change in our lifestyles. We do this through excuses.
There are many good reasons to exercise. We’ve all heard them, know them and agree with them. But what about the excuses for not exercising? While the excuses are different for everyone, here are some of the most frequent and the ways to overcome them:
“I don’t have time to work out.” This is the No. 1 reason why people say they don’t exercise. It’s true that many of us have a longer to-do list than time to complete it. The solution takes work. Remember: There’s no other appointment more important than one involving you and your health. Exercising for 60 minutes constitutes only about 4 percent of your day. If someone told you that spending 4 percent of your time each day would help you feel better, give you more energy, make you more productive at work and help you sleep better, wouldn’t you find time? Schedule exercise like you would any other important appointment you just can’t miss.
“I feel intimidated by fit people.” This is a normal feeling, one which everyone experiences when they start out. There are many people in your same boat. But it’s important not to fall into the excuse of trying to get fit before Quick read more or view full article you start at the gym. Contrary to popular belief, there are people of every size, shape, age and fitness level there. Go to a gym where you feel comfortable. Start going regularly, and you’ll feel more comfortable in no time. Stick with it. Anyone can become fit, but it takes time and effort. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Every day you exercise, you get closer to your goal. Remember: You can have results or excuses. Not both.
“I don’t know how to work out.” Walking into a gym and watching people go through their exercise routines can definitely make a newcomer feel wary. There are machines, weights and equipment that’s foreign to many people. The feeling of uncertainty is a strong human emotion. Knowing that everyone has to start somewhere can ease this feeling. Take a gym orientation class. Learn what options are available. Taking a group exercise class that appeals to you constitutes a great start. Most classes have modifications aimed towards your abilities and fitness level. A personal trainer is another tool. They’re educated and devoted to helping people. Find one who can teach and motivate you to learn how to achieve your goals.
“I’ve tried to exercise, but I keep quitting.” Ask yourself why? There’s a reason. Maybe you tried exercise and did too much too soon. Sore muscles can make it hard to keep at it. Try starting again, but slower. Some muscle soreness lets you know you’re working your muscles, and that’s a good thing. Perhaps you didn’t see results fast enough. I can guaranteed there were more results than you realize. Weight loss and toned muscles are a benefit of exercise on the outside, but so are a healthier heart and lungs on the inside. Life has its ups and downs can can sometimes get in the way of our routines. Just don’t let them sideline you for long.
Getting fit isn’t a destination, it’s a lifelong journey. Get started on your journey. No excuses.Read Less
Stop putting off your health and fitness goals
Procrastination — a term with which I’m all too familiar. Consider this column, for example. I’ve had weeks to write it. But here I am again, a day past deadline. I’m hardly alone in this syndrome of self-inflicted worry.
Although there are many areas of life one can “put off,” the one that stands out in my mind like a neon sign is procrastinating when it comes to improving health and fitness.
There’s a long tradition of New Year’s resolutions. The first day of every year becomes that day we’ve put off. This is the day we all get a fresh start. Everyone wants to reach their goals. Everyone. But why do we wait until a new year rolls around in the hope this will be the year we actually change our lives for the better?
Let’s start with the obvious — why people start fitness programs. Health issues dominate the top of the charts. So many times I hear people say their doctor told them it was necessary. For others, it might be an important event like a wedding. For still others, they just decided fitness was important.
Maybe you don’t fall into those categories. Then what? There are also many reasons why people put off starting a fitness program. One common reason is that it’s not a quick, one-day task. Starting a fitness program is starting a healthy lifestyle. It’s ongoing. It’s for life. That can be pretty intimidating for most people, especially someone who’s just beginning.
So what’s the first Quick read more or view full article step? Start thinking about it. Ask yourself these questions: Why am I considering a fitness program? What is my life lacking without it? What are my goals? After you’ve answered these questions, next comes the hardest one. It’s the question most people would rather not answer. Why haven’t I done this?
We all know the benefits of exercise and that it’s important. Try telling yourself it can’t wait another day, another month or another year. Feeling better and taking care of your body should be the reason you stop procrastinating. If you’re really ready to do it for yourself, you will. Forget the excuses — that you don’t know how to exercise, you need to get fit before you go to a gym or are too busy. Just take the first step and start. I’ve learned to put my workout before many of my other daily tasks so I feel better and can accomplish more things.
I don’t know why I procrastinated writing this column instead of just doing it. I’ll start thinking about my next column ... tomorrow.Read Less
Turning Olympic inspiration into perspiration
Thinking about what you want is actually similar to how Olympic athletes achieve their goals. The philosophy is quite simple. Set a goal, make a plan to achieve it, work hard, follow your plan, allow for some setbacks, stay focused and you will succeed. It works.
Many children become inspired by the Olympics. Watching such event as swimming or gymnastics makes them desire the excitement of winning and cheering fans and also gives them role models to follow in pursuing athletic dreams. I remember tuning into the 1976 Olympic Games and watching Nadia Comaneci compete in gymnastics and score her perfect 10. My goal: to do a cartwheel. Although I wasn’t learning gymnastics at the time, I was convinced I could do it. Practicing in my basement — and after many bruises from running into furniture — I did it!
The Olympics also teaches us the fundamentals of many sports. Even if we’re unaware and unknowledgeable about a sport, viewers enjoy an opportunity to learn. We become familiar with these impressive athletes as they swim, cycle, fence and row their way to the podium. Sports that are featured in the Olympics seem to Quick read more or view full article have an increased following and participation.
It’s interesting how we relate to the athletes when we learn their stories. Often times we are inspired when we learn about an athlete’s personal journey to the Olympic Games. Many athletes have had to overcome hardships. The path to get to the Olympics isn’t easy. Stories give us an opportunity to relate to athletes as real people. They’ve had to overcome many of the same issues we have when trying to achieve our own fitness goals, including motivation, injuries and time restraints.
Inspiration can help us to identify and achieve our goals. They might be goals we’ve had for some time or maybe we’re inspired to create new ones. It could mean that you work a little harder in your exercise routine, lift a little more weight or run a little faster. Successful goals are very specific and measurable. And there’s no feeling like successfully achieving YOUR goal. Succeeding and winning doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work and dedication. One of my favorite quotes comes from college basketball coach Bobby Knight: “The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.”
Watching the Olympics doesn’t just inspire pride, it also inspires motivation. This is a time when we’re more motivated than ever to turn inspiration into action. The Olympics also inspires many of us to live healthier lifestyles.
Take the time to cheer for our athletes, but also think about your goals. What’s holding you back from being the best you can be? Jump off the couch and maybe try a cartwheel! Read Less
Beat the heat with summertime fitness strategies!
Warm weather allows many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities. Take the family camping, fishing or hiking. Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game; both in which to participate and to be a spectator. Part of summertime fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you are with.
During the summer months, your normal schedule may be altered, whether through work or just having the kids at home. These changes can also contribute to changes in our daily routines, such as your exercise schedule. Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:
- Make a summer goal! It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you have done so far this year on your New Year’s Resolutions. You may have succeeded in some areas and not in others. You may need to re-evaluate the goals you have set to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t even set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. Call it Quick read more or view full article “summer 2012.” What will that goal look like for you? It may be trying a new sport, learning to swim, or visiting a National Park.
- Stick to a schedule! Make sure your summer days have some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times, like exercising before breakfast, for example.
- Stay busy. Without your filled appointment book, it’s easy to fall into a trap of being bored. Being bored also goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will gain you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day, but with longer daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you are taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities that the family already enjoys along with trying something new.
- Manage the heat! Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. During these times, move your activities inside. Go to the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to be safe. Wear sunscreen and / or a long sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too! Clothing that wicks away moisture from your skin keeps you cooler, as you perspire. 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 that line the grocery stores. Beware of some of the fun activities we’ve mentioned, when it comes to the food associated with these events. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage our best laid plans of staying fit through the summer.
Make summertime a time to enjoy! Write down your “summer 2012” goal and set it in action! Make the most of everyday and make this summer your best ever. Read Less
High tech fits in your fitness regimen
“Communication” technology relates to how we get our information. Speaking as a health club owner, finding ways to continue to motivate, teach and educate remains high on our priority list. With one-third of Americans falling into the obese category it’s important to get the message out on proper exercise and nutrition. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or more of a couch potato, you probably are influenced by the technology of smart phones, I-pads and electronic devices. These “tools” can help simplify a fitness program. Scheduling work-outs, recording your weight and keeping a food log are just a few ways to use technology to your benefit. Communication technology for fitness also includes social networking. It is here that you can participate and talk with others about health issues. And it can become a motivator and help you feel like you are a part of a group with similar interests.
When setting a fitness goal, technology has made getting results more quantifiable. It seems that there is some kind of a gadget that will measure just about everything. A Quick read more or view full article heart rate monitor is one such gadget. These monitors measure, not only heart rate, but fat burning zones, calories burned. You can even track your results on-line. Fitness equipment plays into this technology. You can get on a piece of equipment, for example an AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer®) by Precor. With this machine you can go from short to long strides, walking to running, and climbing to lunging. In addition, you can monitor speed, time, heart rate and more. Remember when all you did was step on a treadmill and press “start?”
As technology advances, so does our desire to be entertained. Fitness now comes with entertainment. Small personal viewing screens adorn many pieces of cardio equipment. With so many channels to choose from, it’s hard to get bored. I-pods for music and Kindles for reading accompany many people during their work-outs. You can now buy an mp3 player and headphones for use while swimming!
We, as humans don’t really like change. However, it does become necessary in many facets of life. Even if we don’t want to play along, it’s nice to know what is available and you can make the choice. High tech has made exercise more fun. Enjoy the benefits that high-tech gadgets and equipment can provide. A healthy lifestyle can’t be obtained without you participating. Be inspired by motivational people. Engage in something that makes the connection for you. Embrace this time of technology, but remember healthy bodies and happy lives still need the human touch! Read Less
Dream on, but with a good night's sleep
There are many reasons why you may not be sleeping well. Stress may top the list for many people.
Sleep is so important to the well-being of your body and mind. Without it, you are unable to concentrate on your work and you can become irritable and fatigued. The feeling of being rested and fresh gives the world the “best you.”
There are so many things you can do to help insure you a good night’s rest. One way is to create a “sleep hygiene”, which is a routine that you do each night before bed. It prepares your body and mind for a good night’s rest. Part of this routine is to make your sleeping environment comfortable. Be aware of the temperature of the room and the lighting, keeping in mind that this is where you wind down. Balancing your Quick read more or view full article checkbook or even watching television should not be done in bed as it causes you to be alert. Pet lovers may even consider having pets sleep in another room. Although I do not take my own advice on this one; my snoring golden retriever does affect my sleep.
Other parts of your nightly sleep hygiene can include wearing comfortable pajamas, brushing your teeth and washing your face. Anything you do to prepare your body and mind for sleep will help you to unwind. “You need to be able to shut down your mind and clear your thoughts.” suggests Crossroads Fitness Yoga Instructor Rhyssa Ferris, during one of her relaxation and restoration workshops, “There are distractions all around you. Learning to concentrate on your breathing and not letting your mind wander will help.”
There are other tips to help beat insomnia that may require changing your lifestyle and some of your behaviors in order to sleep better. Try to wake up at the same time each day. This consistency will help your body begin to know when it’s time to sleep. Another tip is to avoid consuming stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Also, some medications can cause a restless night’s sleep. In addition, eating and drinking right before going to bed activates the digestive system and can keep you up.
Another remedy for insomnia is exercise. By exercising regularly, you can improve your sleep, both in quality and duration. It is important to exercise at least three hours before you plan to sleep. Engaging in Yoga or other mind and body exercises can also teach you relaxation techniques that can be practiced when trying to improve your sleep habits.
Most adults need seven to eight hours a night of quality sleep. It’s during that time that we relax and rejuvenate our bodies. Sleep is so important for your health and well-being, your concentration and your mood. By trying to improve your sleep hygiene and creating healthy habits, you will be sleeping soundly in no time. Your “to-do” list will wait until morning! Read Less
New Year's Resolution Road Map
Every January, people across the country make New Year’s Resolutions. The number one item is, not surprisingly, to lose weight. Over the years, I have learned that this is a recipe for failure. Why? It doesn’t identify anything about how you plan to change your routine, your mind-set, and why it’s important to you. I’d like to help you learn about making resolutions with solutions, so that you can actually be successful. People often fail because they did not identify what it is they actually want to accomplish when it comes to their health.
Let’s treat this like a journey, not a destination. It’s not something you achieve and cross off your list. Some important items to help make you successful include: creating specific goals, planning a road map and preparing for those bumps and wrong turns that may occur along the way. Creating your goals is the first step. It is also the most important step.
Keep in mind that you are creating YOUR goals. They are individual, like you. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. I have found that a helpful plan when making your goals is Quick read more or view full article using the S.M.A.R.T. program. It stands for Simple-Measurable-Attainable-Reasonable-Time. Here’s how it works. Take the New Year’s Resolution of “losing weight.” Using this program, this goal now becomes “I will to lose 10 lbs. by March 15th.” Now, ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” Your reason and motivation is just as important. Maybe your goal is because your doctor suggested it for health reasons or maybe there is an important event coming up that you want to look and feel your best. Whatever the reason, make sure that you want to achieve this goal for YOU. It becomes a commitment to you.
The next step is planning a road map. How are you going to get there? Think of it like jumping in the car and taking off. Would you ever consider taking a road trip without knowing where you are going? Your road map is the map to the success of your goals. Taking the goal of losing weight; decide what needs to be done to start on the right path. Divide your goal into smaller parts; for example, nutrition and exercise. Taking the time to plan healthy and nutrition meals and snacks is essential in losing extra pounds.
When starting an exercise program, start slow. Believe it or not, exercise can be fun. Try a group exercise class or start walking on your lunch hour. By doing activities you enjoy, you will be more apt to continue to stay on the path of your goal. Write down what you plan to do each day and stick with it. Starting an exercise regimen every January and stopping it every February can become a habit. That is why many times the same New Year’s Resolutions show up on the list year after year.
The path towards successful goals is also filled with bumps and detours. There will be times when you fail to follow your plan. You many chose to eat the buttered popcorn at the movies, the toffee leftover from Christmas or both! Try not to fall into the trap of feeling like you have failed and just quit altogether. It’s only a slight detour. Start again the next day, not the next week, but the next day. There will be many times that you feel like quitting, but nothing tastes or feels as good as it is to be healthy! Remember that you don’t cross off living a healthy lifestyle; instead it becomes part of your life. Enjoy the journey!
Finding comfort in your health club choice
When you are looking for a health club home there are many factors you may consider to help you choose the right one. There are obvious reasons such as location and amenities. Let’s also consider some of the “not so obvious” ones: what they represent, programs they offer, and the member experience.
One idea is to do a little homework before you go into a health club. Call them ahead of time and see how you are greeted. A friendly and knowledgeable voice which invites you to come to their business leaves a positive impression. Check the website and see what they offer.
Location is important to many people, but not always the most important. If the club is too far away from home or work, you may find yourself using the “excuse card” and not going. The amenities need to fit your activities and lifestyle. Amenities may include weights, group exercise, pool, racquetball, locker rooms and /or childcare. Make sure that the club has what you currently like to do or need in a health club. Extra amenities are nice, so you have the option to try something new!
Quick read more or view full article Try it first. Before making a commitment, see if it feels right to you. Find a health club that offers a “free” trial or a money-back guarantee policy. Then, actually go in and work out a couple times. By actually using the club, you can tell how well it is maintained and cleaned. Ask yourself if everything is touchable?
One of the most important pieces of advice – Meet the members! Nothing tells you more about a place than the people who are there using it. Moms who take their little ones to the Kid’s Club are very careful with whom they leave their kids. Ask the person next to you on a cardio machine about their member experience.
Your member experience begins with the first phone call. The salesperson should be concerned about YOU and your wants & needs. Not everyone joins a health club for the same reason. If you are new to exercise, see if the club offers an orientation program to get you started. Maybe you want to hire a personal trainer. Ask for trainer bios, certifications and training specialties. Finding the right match for you will help in your success.
Our members tell us what’s important to them. They find comfort in coming to a place numerous times a week to find their favorite activity in a clean environment. Hearing their name when they walk in the door, visiting with friends, getting motivated & energized by a workout from an instructor who really cares about their needs, is what it’s all about. Choosing a health club where you feel at home, becomes familiar, fits your needs, where you are welcomed – that’s comfort! Read Less
(Not enough) time to work out!
Excuse No. 1: “I don’t have time for a full workout, so I guess I will just skip it today.” What makes us think that no exercise is better than a little? Keep a resistance band in your desk drawer at work. A few sets with one of these will give you that extra burst of energy you may need to get through the day. Since this wouldn’t be considered a full workout, run up and down the stairs a few times, do lunges to the bathroom, and park a block away at work. These little changes can really add up.
Excuse No. 2: “I don’t have time to go home and change before and after a workout.” After years of racing back and forth across town, I finally made the change to a gym bag. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? It is a perfect solution to store your workout clothes, shoes, music, and whatever else it takes to get ready. Now, at least you can cut out driving time.
Excuse No. 3: Quick read more or view full article “My lunch break at work isn’t long enough.” If it is an express workout you need on a day such as this, there are ways to squeeze it in…if you really want to. Thankfully, others recognize the busy schedules most of us have. Crossroads Fitness offers 30 Minute Lifestyles Express Training Classes. Not everyone can fit an hour of training in their schedule, but almost everyone can fit in a half hour.
Excuse No. 4: “My days just fill up.” Try scheduling your workout in your daily planner. Plan it as if it were an appointment you can’t miss even if you are working out on your own. If you are like me, once a task makes it to the “daily list,” it has to get done.
Excuse No. 5: “I am a people pleaser. I make sure everyone else is taken care of before I am.” Keep in mind that if you don’t make time for you, why should anyone else make time for you? You need to be healthy and happy first, and then the responsibilities of everyone else will be more manageable.
Excuses are just ways to make us feel better about not doing the things we should be doing. Small daily changes to your lifestyle will make for a happier, healthier, and more productive you. From express workout classes to packing a gym bag, there are many creative ways to manage your time and include exercise in your routine. Now, time is no longer an excuse.