Just how important is it to warm up before doing CrossFit, yoga, or a standard workout? Brian Bartel of Snap Fitness makes sure his students know that it’s absolutely essential. “Warming up allows us to first engage [our] nervous system and create a healthy blood flow to the body to help prevent injury.” The Minneapolis CrossFit instructor isn’t the only one who thinks this way. The Mayo Clinic urges exercisers to warm up as well, noting that it “gradually revs up your cardiovascular system.” This helps you stay loose and ready during all aspects of CrossFit (or any other workout). Here are some other tips Barthel has for exercisers: 1. Warm-Ups May Vary“[T]here is no perfect single stretch,” Barthel said. He does recommend dynamic stretching exercises, which accomplish several key pre-workout steps—from opening up the hips to engaging the entire core. As an example, here’s a multi-part stretch that can be used to warm up or cool down: Get into pushup position.Bring your left foot to the outside of your left hand. (Be sure not to raise your hips.)Shift weight into your right hand and lift your left arm to the sky.Return to the starting pushup position.Go into downward-facing dog.Repeat steps 1–5 for the opposite side.2. Protein Translates to PowerWithin 30–40 minutes after a workout, Barthel recommends that exercisers take a protein supplement, which is designed to “replenish the body to help the muscle growth and recovery process.” Women should take 25 grams of protein; men should take 40–55 grams. 3. Ask Questions“This whole industry is about learning new things,” Barthel said. Whichever of the CrossFit gyms in Minneapolis you visit, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer about something you don’t know. Snap Fitness gives each client a free fitness consultation for this very reason. 4. Where to ExerciseConsider these down-to-earth gyms in Minneapolis when you’re ready to go through a workout from start to finish: Snap Fitness | 3810 E. 46th St.Benefits: Open 24/7; CrossFit classes with Barthel; free fitness consultation; onsite tanning and nutrition counselingCrossfit Uffda | 6538 Edenvale Blvd., Eden PrairieBenefits: CrossFit classes in a judgement-free environment; nutrition guidance; kickboxing and mobility classes; children’s area; private showerAX Fitness | 575 SE 9th St.Benefits: All-levels classes blending strength, cardio, and plyometrics; organic, comfortable environment; featured in Lavender magazine as an LGBTQ-friendly space
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