Take a deep breath, and think twice before jumping straight in or out of a workout. The American Heart Association recommends a good warm-up and cool-down routine to minimize stress and avoid injuries. These steps prime the muscles for activity and gradually bring the heart rate up and down. You’ll need all of those systems ready when working with a Sacramento CrossFit instructor like Arturo Nicolas Fernandez. Fernandez leads the team at Land Park CrossFit, where he did his part to get the city to No. 1 on our list of America’s Top Cities for CrossFit in 2014. We chatted with Fernandez and learned some of his best practices for CrossFit workouts—before, during, and after. Preparation Is Important “A proper warm-up nourishes the body with movement patterns that prepare it for the work to be done.” For Fernandez, the best warm-up bridges the gap between sedentary (sitting at an office) and active (working out at the gym). He looks for routines that accomplish the following: raise core temperatures, awaken the cardiovascular system, lubricate the joints, and warm up the central nervous system.Incorporate Warm-Ups into Daily ActivitiesFernandez recommends something called the “couch stretch,” which caters to people who spend a lot of time sitting down. “Usually people are coming to the gym from a job where they sit 8–10 hours a day and from a car where the position is also sitting,” he says. “It’s called the couch stretch because you can do it against a couch or against a wall.” Performed in a kneeling position with the back knee against the couch, the exercise opens up the hip and undoes a lot of the effects of sitting. One or two minutes is all it takes to perform the stretch, and you can do it several times as you read or watch TV.Don’t Be Too Quick to Leave“A great post-workout stretch, especially if you're lifting weights, is to hang from a pull-up bar,” Fernandez says. While seemingly simple, this exercise stretches the spine and allows it to decompress from all the day’s activity. Fernandez recommends hanging for 10–15 seconds and performing the exercise three to five times.You’re Ready to Start Right NowFernandez doesn’t see CrossFit as an intimidating workout. “[W]e don't have you jump on boxes until you can squat the proper amount for your body weight. We don't have you do gymnastic pull-ups until you have strict ones. We take the time to prepare you, at your own pace.” Furthermore, clients can participate in Land Park CrossFit’s foundation courses as long as they need. Not Everything Happens in the GymThough good fitness instructors like Arturo Fernandez pay dividends, you shouldn’t wait until your next CrossFit class to burn calories. Fernandez guides each of his clients toward a “naturally active lifestyle.” That might mean walking to a healthy restaurant during lunch, drinking more water, or just getting outside and playing recreational sports.Where to Find CrossFit in SacramentoCheck out these Sacramento gyms:Land Park CrossFit (Arturo Fernandez’s home base) 6235 Belleau Wood Ln. Ste. 3CrossFit Sacramento, 1146 Fulton Ave.El Dorado Hills Crossfit, 4970 Robert J. Mathews Pkwy.
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