Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Follow a few tips to beat the summer heat

June 24, 2020

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here. When most of us think of summer, we think about outdoor fun and a chance to kick back. Although this year might seem different because of the pandemic, summer still offers many opportunities to stay active. 

Remain aware, though, that changes in schedules present challenges in keeping your fitness routine on track. So what can you do to have the most active, productive and fun-filled summer ever?

Warm weather provides many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities. Take the family camping, fishing or hiking.  Work in your garden. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with.    

During the summer months, your normal schedule could be altered — especially this summer with social distancing and the feeling of being cooped up. Those changes affect daily routines, including exercise schedules.

Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year on your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas, but not in others. You could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different Quick read more or view full article goal. Call it summer 2020. What will that goal look like?  It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park.

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days include some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Stay busy. Without your appointment book filled, it could be easy to fall into a trap of becoming bored. Boredom goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will give you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day. But with more daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities the family already enjoys as well as something new.   

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. During these times, move your activities elsewhere. Go to the gym or splash in a pool. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to stay safe. Wear sunscreen or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin as you perspire keeps you cooler. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit available. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events, though. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage the best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. 

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

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Small changes yield big fitness results

May 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tired of feeling tired? Then get moving

February 19, 2020

Everyone knows what it’s like to feel tired. Fatigue is our body’s way of telling us it is time for rest. But with busy schedules that include work, meetings and deadlines as well as children and their activities, it’s common to ignore these signs and power through with another cup of coffee or energy drink. 

These quick fixes merely subdue the symptoms of fatigue for a brief period. The feeling of tiredness should come naturally. Depriving your body of its required rest will leave you with symptoms that aren’t only unhealthy, but also unproductive. 

Sure, you can resist the urge to sleep to accommodate your busy lifestyle for a short amount of time. You can stay up late and get up early. But you could discover you actually accomplish less. 

Studies show adults need 6 hours to 8 hours of sound sleep daily. Without this allotment, the brain and body won’t properly function. Work becomes complacent, family time scarce and workouts nonexistent. 

While they sound like contradicting impulses, exercise improves the fight against fatigue. According to researcher Patrick O’Connor, more than 90 percent of studies showed the same thing. Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported less fatigue compared to groups that didn’t exercise. Moreover, the effect remains consistent.

When you are find yourself in the middle of a fatigue battle, move. If you can’t Quick read more or view full article make it to the gym, do something to release those endorphins. Complete a series of jumping jacks or take a brisk walk. Moving will keep you going. 

The best choice is to set aside a time in your day just for physical training. Whatever your fitness level, start doing something.

You are what you eat. If you hurriedly scarf down a fast food burger and fries every day for lunch, your body will treat you accordingly. If you prepare meals ahead of time that consist of all the food groups, you’ll have more time to enjoy the nutrients you give yourself. Your body works hard for you all day. Give it the essential things it needs, and it will provide the energy you need. That’s a diet full of real food, not processed. 

Combat the urge to eat sugary snacks. Chose foods that are sustainable and will help you feel full mid-day. Try a rice cake with almond butter rather than a candy bar.

Being dehydrated also leads to feelings of fatigue. Keep that full bottle of water near you and sip on it all day. Sometimes you aren’t even hungry, just thirsty. It works.

Fatigue can also come from stress. Try taking a yoga class.  The breathing and stretching can help you feel better and more centered and confident.  

To become the productive, family oriented and present individual to which you aspire, make yourself a priority. Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night, eat healthy meals, stay hydrated and exercise 30 minutes at least five days a week. You’ll stay focused on tasks and enjoy the life you live with the people who matter most. Making yourself a priority will make you a better you.

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My journey leads to a healthy place

January 22, 2020

Each month, I search for the newest topics in health and fitness about which to write. I also get to share my passion for  working at Crossroads Fitness. Sometimes I write about nutrition, motivation or exercise tips.  

But this month, I’d like to share my personal story. My goal is to motivate some and inspire others to reflect on their own journeys.

I enjoyed a normal childhood growing up in Wyoming — albeit windy and cold. Playing with friends on the block was our form of exercise. I never played organized sports in high school, but was a cheerleader and baton twirler.  

After my two children were born, I followed in my mother’s footsteps to be the best mom I could. Family came first.  My kids were involved in golf, gymnastics, soccer and volleyball. It was my duty to attend every event and try to be the super mom volunteering in their schools. There was no time left for me. Lesson learned.

At age 36 and after some life changes, I was introduced to exercise. I started working at Crossroads Fitness, but didn’t know anything about equipment or programs. Most of all, I didn’t know what it felt like to actually exercise. Since I was thin, I thought I was fit. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I had no Quick read more or view full article muscle, bruised easily and always felt tired. I assumed that was how I’d always feel.   

With time, I started to feel better. I had energy.  While visiting my parents one Thanksgiving, I decided on a goal — to run a marathon. My husband, Dale, encouraged me to start with a 5K since I could barely run at block at that time. But a year later, I completed my first marathon. I cried at the finish line. I never believed I could set a fitness goal and achieve it, let alone hear my husband call me an “athlete.”

Continuing my fitness journey, I added a small group training class. I built muscle and for the first time in my life, felt strong.
I ran another marathon.  

I knew my body better than ever. But this is where my journey took a sharp turn. Because I knew my body so well, I was concerned about what I thought might be a muscle strain that didn’t go away. 
I decided to see a doctor. After months of appointments, ultrasounds and surgery, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

I went through all the normal feelings, but there was one thing that was different. I thought to myself, “Paula, can you imagine if you hadn’t been fit and strong? You would have never found this in the early stage.” It’s so true. I went through numerous surgeries, months of chemo treatments and, finally, recovery.  I’m so blessed to be able to say now, eight years later, I’m cancer-free.

I guess the moral of my story is you only have one body. If you want it to last, to feel your best and live life to the fullest, make time for you. It doesn’t matter at what age you start. Just start. Don’t put it off your journey one more day.

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Instead of resolutions, set SMART goals

December 18, 2019

We’re approaching a new year and the overwhelming tradition of making resolutions. It seems Jan. 1 of EVERY year has become that day when we compile our lists and proclaim this will be the year we change our lives for the better. Losing weight, breaking bad habits and saving money usually top the lists.

Will your New Year’s list look like last year’s list? For most of us, it will be very similar. So why are New Year’s resolutions unsuccessful? Simply put, it’s because there’s no plan to follow.   

This year, don’t call it a New Year’s resolution list. Call it your goals list. The reason I encourage the change is this: Goals work. Goals mean action. Goals involve a plan.

Most of us make a list for the grocery store or errands to run or create an agenda for a meeting. These activities have one thing in common — they detail what needs to be done and how we intend to do it. Whether you realize it or not, you set goals each day whether they’re written down on paper or compiled in a mental list in your head.

When you write your goals list for 2020, begin by asking yourself some basic questions. Why do you want to achieve these goals. How will it change your life if you do?

The second step is to prioritize Quick read more or view full article the items according to what’s most important to you. Limiting a goals list to only a few items you’re really serious about will make it easier to devote the time and attention needed to make you successful.

Take one item at a time and turn it into a goal. Perhaps you’ve written down that your No. 1 goal is to lose weight. Try using the SMART system when writing your goals:

Beginning with “S,” make your goal specific. You might write down your top goal is to “lose weight.” How much?

The “M” stands for measurable. You have to be able to measure your progress.

The “A” stands for attainable. Divide a big goal into smaller goals. Remember the joke about how to eat an elephant? The punch line: One bite at a time.

The “R” stands for reasonable. Many people set unrealistic goals. Create a goal you can actually see yourself completing.

 The “T” stands for timely. Goals take time to achieve. You need to know how much time you’re willing to spend to achieve your goal. Most importantly, give yourself a timeline of when you want to achieve it.

Another important factor in realizing your New Year’s goals is accountability. Decide ahead of time each week what you plan to do. Take two group exercises classes, attend a strength training class or exercise with a buddy, for example. Tell someone who’s close to you about your plan, then ask for help in keeping you on track.

Setting goals that follow the SMART plan and holding yourself accountable will lead to success. Planning and commitment make the difference between realizing the goals you want to achieve to enhance your life or waiting until January 2021 and putting the same items back on your list. Challenge yourself to set goals this year, not resolutions.

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Follow these timely tips to keep fit this fall

October 22, 2019

Fall can be a season when exercise routines waiver. It’s no longer summer, but not yet winter. 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 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. Visit a park. Raking leaves or getting in some yard work offer great ways 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 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 overdressed. Follow the three-layer rule. The first layer next to Quick read more or view full article your skin should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric, often called DriFit. This fabric keeps 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 button on the alarm. With less sunlight, you might want to increase consumption of Vitamin D. Eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. Remember, too: 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 between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Halloween is a time when you stockpile bags of candy for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters come to your door. The day after, the leftover candy constitutes a sugar source that promotes unhealthy eating habits. Remember that 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. 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 other 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.

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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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Fitness and health bring freedom to do things

July 25, 2018

Freedom means different things to different people. Most would agree freedom in the United Stables enables us to learn, work, speak and generally enjoy life. 

Consider, though, that fitness and a healthy lifestyle also give you freedom — the freedom to do things, whether it’s routine chores or favorite activities. 

It’s never too late and no one is ever too old to improve fitness. Start with the basic four areas of fitness: flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength and nutrition. When you combine these four areas, you’re on the right path.

Flexibility involves more than just touching your toes. Such daily activities such as getting in and out of vehicles, walking through the grocery store and housework all requirement movement. 

Doing exercises such as yoga will improve your posture and strengthen the core muscles in your abdomen, hips, lower back and pelvis. 

Think of all the small movements you do in a day in which you use these muscles, from reaching for a glass from the cabinet to making your bed. Another major benefit of core strength is balance that can reduce the risk of injury from falls.

Cardio fitness keeps your heart strong and cardiovascular system working properly. 

Starting slowly, if you are beginner, will enable you to enjoy such simple pleasures as playing with your grandchildren or traveling. 

Walking, hiking and dancing are all forms of cardio exercise. Quick read more or view full article Choose an activity you enjoy — you’ll be more apt to want to do it. While starting slowly is a good idea, it’s also important as you become more cardio fit to challenge yourself. Try different types of activities.

Strength training for all ages has become more popular in recent years and for good reason. The benefits are numerous.

Studies show lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. Strength training also can help to reduce the effects of such diseases as arthritis and osteoporosis as well as depression.

Nutrition constitutes yet another key component in total health. Feeding your body the nutrients it requires will provide the fuel you need to not only feel better, but also look better.  

The first step toward freedom is to get started. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and then get moving.

Try a fitness class, such a gentle yoga class. There are many beginner classes as well as classes tailored for highly fit individuals. Ask a friend to join you.

Whether you’re already on the path to fitness or just starting out, you’ll enjoy the freedom that comes from being fit and healthy.

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This holiday, give the gift of healthy living

December 19, 2017

Finding the perfect holiday gift for that special someone presents a challenging task. Consider giving the gift of health, fitness and nutrition. You’ll not only offer something they’ll love, but also a gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re buying for a spouse, parent or friend that’s either a fitness enthusiast or beginner, here are some ideas sure to bring motivation and movement into their lives.

A fun way to share a fitness gift with your loved one is to join a gym together. This will give you both unlimited resources to help attain your New Year’s fitness goals.  By doing this together, it’ll be more fun and hold you both accountable.  

If you’re already gym members, try some personal or small group training. This is a great way to get a jump start on a fitness journey. It might be the gift they need, but wouldn’t buy for themselves. You don’t have to be a celebrity to hire a personal trainer anymore. People from all walks of life — young to old, beginners to athletes — benefit from the motivation and knowledge you receive Quick read more or view full article from a training class.

What does almost every fitness enthusiast love? Their music. There’s nothing better to help get through a tough workout than a great playlist. Some gift ideas include music cards or a fun pair of ear buds or headphones.

The sale of such wearable fitness gadgets as fitness bands is on the rise. This technology not only measures steps, but activity, heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality. While different models have different features, the one common trait among them is the ability to create awareness of your physical activity and inspire you to make healthy changes. These devices are available in a variety of types, sizes, colors and prices.

Still other technology inspired gifts include a multitude of available phone apps. Did you know you can get an app with GPS and record your runs or bike rides? There’s an app for almost every type of activity you can imagine. While some apps are free, others are available for a minimal cost.

Another idea is a subscription to their favorite magazine that specializes in their sport or area of interest. 

Want to be an amazing gift giver? Give them a certificate for a massage after a hard workout.

A little research will lead you to some unique healthy gift ideas. Consider a gift subscription to one of the many healthy meal delivery services available. These healthy meals offer that busy person on your list some help in the kitchen at dinner time. A gift card to a healthy grocery store or consultation appointment with a nutritionist would be welcomed by anyone anxious to pursue a more healthy — and nutritious — lifestyle

A fitness-inspired gift list would be incomplete if you were unaware of the gifts NOT to buy. Readers of Fitness Magazine asked to chose the worst fitness gifts cited a diet book and a sauna suit. Remember those suits that made you sweat and looked like you were wrapped in foil? Of course, the No. 1 worst gift is a talking scale.

These are just a few ideas to help out with gift buying for the loved ones on your list. Christmas is followed by s new year filled with resolutions to live healthier lifestyle. Giving a gift that helps your loved one be healthier is a gift they’ll enjoy every day all year.

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This summer, make time for fun and fitness

June 27, 2017

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here. When most of us think about summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer also offers many opportunities for staying active.  

Remain aware, though, that changes in schedules can present challenges in keeping your fitness routine on track. So what can you do to have the most safe, fun-filled, productive — and active — summer ever?

Warm weather provides many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities.  Take the family camping, fishing or hiking.  Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game — as a participant and spectator. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with.    

During the summer months, your normal schedule could be altered, whether through work or just having children at home. These changes can affect daily routines, including exercise schedules.

Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year on your New Year’s resolutions.  You might have succeeded in some areas, but not in others. You could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. Call it summer Quick read more or view full article 2017. What will that goal look like for you?  It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park. 

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days include some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.  

Keep busy. Without your appointment book filled, it could be easy to fall into a trap of becoming bored. Boredom goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will give you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day, But with more daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities the family already enjoys as well as something new.   

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. To beat the heat, move your activities inside. Head to the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling.  When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to stay safe. Wear sunscreen or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin as you perspire keeps you cooler. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Drink plenty to stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit at grocery stores and farmers markets. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage our best laid plans of staying fit through the summer.

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer 2017 goal and work toward realizing that goal. 

Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever.

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Take a step — 10,000 a day, in fact — to fitness

September 20, 2016

Of the many physical activities that improve our health, walking constitutes one of the most beneficial. Nearly everyone regardless of age or fitness level can participate in this simple exercise and enjoy the benefits of maintaining weight, improving heart health and enhancing mental wellbeing. Moreover, people tend to stick with walking, making it a life-long fitness choice. 

We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the goal. You might wonder where that figure comes from. Research indicates that isn’t a magic number, but rather a good indicator of how much activity a person achieves in a day. An inactive person takes about 3,000 steps or less per day, while 10,000 steps is equivalent to about 5 miles of walking.

Unless you work in a very active job, you probably won’t get that many steps in a day. To reach that goal of 10,000 steps, you’ll need to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, the minimum daily recommendation by health authorities. So 10,000 steps offers a simple way to measure movement.

You can measure your steps in a variety of ways. Many smart phones now have the capability to measure your activity if you have your phone with you. Pedometers also measure steps and come with a variety of options that not only measure steps, but also distance and calories burned. Fitness Quick read more or view full article bands offer the latest in technology to measure steps. Most of them are wrist bands that sync to a phone app and include many features to help you in your fitness journey.

Keep in mind you don’t need to measure your steps to be successful. The most beneficial aspect of measuring your steps is that you gain information. Being able to set a goal and track progress toward that goal is what’s really valuable.

There are many ways to get your daily steps in. Go for a walk, hike or run. Attending an exercise class will boost your step count quickly. Try a dance class or any other cardio-type class. You can even get steps taking a water class. If your step counter isn’t waterproof, you can count on an average of 2,500 steps during a one-hour class.  

Other ways to gain a few extra steps is to park away from your destination, take the stairs or take your dog for a walk. Without even knowing it, you’re increasing your step count and reaping the benefits. To increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism and burn more calories, try increasing the intensity of your efforts by walking on an incline or quickening your pace.  

 Another reason walking is an excellent exercise that’s easy to do and stick with is you don’t need a lot of special equipment.  All you need is a positive attitude and a good pair of sneakers and you’re on your way.

It all starts with a single step. Are you ready to step in and step up?

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Summer a season for fun and fitness

June 22, 2016

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here.

 When most of us think about summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer offers many opportunities for staying active.  Be aware, however: Changing schedules also could present challenges to keeping your fitness routine on track.  

So what can you do to have the most fun-filled and relaxing — but also fit — summer ever? By all means take the family camping, fishing or hiking. Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors as well as family and friends. Just keep in mind that changes in daily routines — whether at work or having children at  home — could disrupt your exercise schedule. So here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost  the middle of the year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year in achieving your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas and not in others. You also could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe Quick read more or view full article you didn’t even set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. What will that goal look like for you? It might 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, including getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Stay busy. Without your filled appointment book, it’s easy to fall into a trap of being bored. Being bored goes hand-in-hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will foster 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’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, pursue activities the family already enjoys as well as try 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 or try bowling. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to take precautions. 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 in grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Beware of some of fun activities 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. This doesn’t mean you can’t have them —  just make them  an occasional treat.

Make summer a time to enjoy and stay fit. Write down your summer goal and strive to achieve it. Make the most of every day, and make this summer your best ever.

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What’s your reason for working out?

March 29, 2016

There are many reasons people work out, but finding the reason you work out is what really matters. The benefits of daily exercise and a healthy lifestyle are numerous. But why should you exercise? What’s important to you?

There’s an underlying reason, so take a moment to find out what that reason is for you. Once you have it in your mind, it’s much easier to work out because you have a reason to do so. After working for years in the fitness industry, I’ve discovered each person has his or her own reasons to live a healthy lifestyle each and every day. 

Here are some reasons with which you might be able to identify. Maybe one of these reasons fits you now or perhaps one will inspire you:

You’ll feel less stress. Life is full of stressful situations, from family to work and everything in between. Schedule your workout time so you don’t miss out. Take a mind and body class, such as yoga or Pilates. Pull in a deep breath and stretch tall. Don’t you feel better already?

You’ll make healthier food choices. It’s so true, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Knowing you’ve already exercised, you’ll want to continue your great start to the day. It’s much easier to make bad food choices if you haven’t taken the Quick read more or view full article time to exercise. 

You’ll become stronger. By exercising today, you’ll be one day closer to the stronger, amazing person you’ve always wanted to be. Tone your muscles with strength training. Begin by lifting light weights and build up.   

You’ll burn more calories. The key to any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. Exercise in a variety of forms will allow you to burn more calories and, in turn, burn off pounds. By exercising, you’ll continue to burn calories for the day, long after your workout is over. 

You’ll feel happier. Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel happier. Exercise to your favorite music or take your pet for a walk. Smile as you burn those calories.  

You’ll feel more confident. Confidence comes from a variety of sources. When you feel and look your best, you naturally become more confident. Exercise, flexibility and a strong core all help to improve your balance and posture. So walk tall with your head held high. Smile in the knowledge you’re taking good care of yourself. This can’t help but radiate both inwards to yourself and outwards to others.

You’ll become more motivated. By exercising today, you’ll feel more motivated than ever to accomplish both your fitness and personal goals. Once you start seeing and feeling what exercise can do, there’ll be no stopping you.

You’ll become more mentally alert. Whether you’re studying for a class or focusing on your job, exercise helps to clear your mind and gives you more energy. Numerous studies have evaluated what contributes to workplace wellness, and the results repeatedly show employees who exercise are not only more alert, but also more productive.

Do something for you today. This is probably one of the most important reasons of all to exercise. Combine this reason with other reasons if you’d prefer, but do it for you. The funny thing about exercise is that it doesn’t matter who you are, no one can do it for you.  

So find your reason to work out and then do it. Nothing can get in your way when you decide what’s best for you and your health.

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Many areas of our lives affect wellness

July 28, 2015

“Wellness” has become a buzzword. We’re a country where being healthy really is the new push. It’s always been there, but not until recently has wellness appeared in all areas of our lives — exercise, nutrition, sleep, work, relationships and many other areas. Every aspect of our lives contributes to our overall wellness. 

Just watch a few minutes of television or open a magazine. More often than not, there’s an advertisement, regardless of the product, showing someone in an active and happy state — the state we all consider to be “ideal.”  This multi-faceted state encompasses many areas of our lives. It’s the consistent quest of keeping our lives in balance.

Here’s a visual to consider. Draw a circle.  That’s you. Think about you — your entire body — and what you would see if you looked into a full-length mirror. Around you, there are many other circles, all leading back to you in the center. Each one of those circles represents something that affects your wellness.  

Exercise: Our physical body that carries us through the day and allows us to do all of things we do is our source of freedom.  Taking care of this vessel is a priority. Our vital organs, muscles and limbs need exercise. A healthy balance of cardio, flexibility and strength exercise works the entire body to keep blood flowing, muscles strong and weight at a healthy level.

Quick read more or view full article class="p1">Nutrition: The fuel we put into our bodies affects everything we do. There are thousands of chemical reactions that occur in our bodies when we consume food. Consuming quality fresh foods rather than junk food affects our health, energy level and weight.  When our bodies constantly work to flush out foods that offer no benefits, we’re no longer in a state of wellness.  

Sleep: One of the most underestimated circle is the one representing sleep. Our bodies are meant to rest. A good quality night of sleep gives our bodies a chance to recover and rejuvenate from the day’s activities. Without sleep, we’re unable to make good decisions. Lack of sleep affects our mood and zaps our energy.

Work: Going to work every day is such a huge part of our lives. You spend so much of your time in your work environment that it should be healthy and productive. Some jobs are demanding and stressful. Keeping work hours in balance is often difficult, but take time to evaluate the “wellness” of your work.

Relationships: Taking care of you first makes relationships better. Remember: You’re the circle in the middle. Your spouse, children, friends and parents are all part of the wellness puzzle.  Relationships require attention, work, energy and time, but constitute one of the most significant rewards of wellness. 

Other areas: Not everyone has the same circles attached to their wellness picture. For some, it’s finances. Money issues vary from a college student to a billionaire. They can cause stress and take away from the balance a life of wellness provides. Maybe its spirituality — taking time for church, prayer, volunteering and helping others. Hobbies also could be part of what you choose to include in your wellness picture. Keep in mind that your diagram changes in different stages of life.  

There are many factors to consider in the pursuit of wellness.  Keep in mind there isn’t anyone who has a perfect diagram with everything balanced. It takes the mindfulness of knowing what’s working and what needs to be worked on. 

It’s your life. Embrace the journey, and smile every step of the way.

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