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XPAC Fitness Studio: Hard Training with Big Payoffs

By Marina I. Jokic

Cross training is at the heart of Albuquerque-based XPAC's workouts. Students are encouraged to sign up for an array of classes so that their muscles are consistently exposed to different and challenging movements. Boxing, calisthenics, cardio circuits, spinning, and full body circuits are just some of the options on the XPAC exercise menu, giving participants a sampling of a range of training methods.

Owner Marsha Gonzales knows that the quality of the trainers and equipment are the two most important factors that can make or break a gym. So, she has invested in the latest equipment brands such as Pegasus, Master Stretch, and Elvis and has employed trainers with years of experience under their belts. The standard gear like medicine and stability balls, diversified balance devices, and dumbbells undergoes regular quality checks and is kept in tip-top condition.

Cross training in sports and fitness refers to the combination of exercises that work various part of the body. Often times, one kind of activity or sport tones only certain muscle groups, and cross training intends to eliminate that limitation. In fact, the name XPAC was inspired by four core areas of activity: X for cross training, P for power that is manifested in swiftness and strength, A is for agility, and C is for core or the powerhouse of the body as Gonzales calls it.

The XPAC gym, in the spirit of being a cross training facility, has a full weight-training room, an AstroTurf section for sleds, agility equipment, monkey bars, and even climbing walls.

Perhaps the most important area that most XPAC workouts focus on is the core. Gonzales points out that the abdominal muscles should never be entirely isolated in training since they work in coordination with the hips and back. In yoga and Pilates, for example, nearly all positions and movements are rooted in the strength of the core. Sometimes even professional athletes don't have a well-developed core and find difficult some of the basic yoga and Pilates movements.

In martial arts, power is transferred from the leg through the trunk and into the shoulder, relying on a strong core to deliver a powerful punch. This transfer of energy happens in other sports as well with the core as the common denominator for all these transfers.

"Cross training provides us with the best programs for having a fit and healthy body," Gonzales said. "It also provides the body with a functional pattern of movements that translate[s] best to real life situations."

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind in Gonzales' opinion. The most cherished reward after a hard workout is the sense of accomplishment it affords us as well as the rush of endorphins that literally improves our mood. Physical and mental health are two sides of the same coin to Gonzales, and she propagates that idea through the rich panoply of exercises offered at XPAC.

"It gives us energy, helps us want to share our healthy spirit with friends and family and helps us be more giving [members of] society," Gonzales said. "The fringe benefit of working out is we get a great looking body and a healthy lifestyle."

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