American Heart Month

February 6th, 2017

Wondering what to get your loved on this Valentine’s Day? We of course know the best gift. It’s the gift of heart health. February has all of our hearts because it is American Heart Month, a great time to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and how to make changes in the way that you like so that you can have a lifetime with a healthy heart.

Here are some small changes that you can make. These changes, although small can make a big difference:

Schedule a visit with your doctor. Use this visit to not only get a general check-up but to talk about heart health.Keep in mind that it is important to schedule regular check-ups. It is good to keep on top of your health, don’t just visit when you are sick.

You’re not in this alone! Partner up with your doctor to set achievable goals for improving your heart health. When working together, make sure to ask questions and trust their advice, they are looking out for you.

We can help with this next tip…Add exercise to your daily routine. Do something small like starting off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

The next thing you cam do is try do is eat healthy! Start by cooking heart-healthy meals at home. You should aim to do this at-least 3 times each week. Also when you can, try to make your favorite recipe lower sodium. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Always remember: Take medication as prescribed. Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Keeping things in balance can help you from a health related disaster. For more information please consult you doctor.

Come visit us soon! #chicagofamilyfit

Tips on Healthy Holiday Eating

December 19th, 2016
When we eat during the holiday seasons, our observances and gatherings often involve foods that are high in calories, fat and sugars
A common statistic out there is that, over the holidays, the average american gains close to 5 pounds between the Thanksgiving Holiday and the New Year. Many people feel that \losing weight during the holiday season is too difficult, therefore we suggest that you strive to maintain your current weight.

Here are some tips to help you along the way:
Avoid: high-fat fast food when days become hectic
Instead: Pre-plan several quick, healthy meals
Avoid: Large portions of high-fat holiday foods
Instead: Choose  choose small portions of high-fat holiday foods

Ideas:
Center your festivities around entertainment and other non-food events, Focus on friends at holiday gathering; not food
Have a healthy snack before a big gathering to edge off hunger, this will make you less inclined to make bad food choices
Make an effort to continue a regular exercise program. If you can’t do this, just aim for a walk everyday, or some kind of activity.

Foods to help get you through the season:
Dairy Products
Use skim milk or low fat product in recipes
Look for low fat cheeses and cheese products
Meat Products
Choose leaner cuts of meat
Choose breast meat rather than darker meats
Trim visible fat off meat
Prepare meats by broiling, stewing or baking (avoid fried foods)
Gravy
Make gravy from low fat broth rather than drippings from meat
If you must use drippings let drippings get cold then spoon off fat that forms at top
Vegetables
Contain little or no fat
It is what we add to them that increase fat content
Don’t smother vegetables in thick creamy sauces or butter
Desserts
Angel food cake contain little or no fat
Make pies with evaporated skim milk when you can
Have smaller portions of your favorite high fat or calorie dessert
Beverages
Choose low fat egg nog
Alcoholic beverages can lead to overeating, have a pre-determined limit
Try to drink one glass of water before each glass of an alcoholic beverages

Some final thoughts:
Choose low fat or reduced calorie items in recipes
Try to balance the need to eat everything on your plate, rather select those seasonal treats that you don’t have all year
Try to continue to exercise regularly during the holidays even if sessions are shorter
Enjoy family and friends instead of food!
Happy Holidays from your family at Chicago Family Fit
Christmas Tips on Healthy Holiday Eating

Sleep, the important stuff!

August 29th, 2016

Sleep is a wonderful thing, it helps you rest, regenerate and be healthy. The average adults needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night and the proper amount of sleep can be an essential piece to any fitness routine. After all, you need energy to workout. Food fuels the body in a different way than sleep provides you the needed energy in a day. The issue is that sleep habits often get overlooked as necessary parts of your fitness routine. We are going to cover some tips to help you get more sleep!

First tip, make sleep a priority. Yes, you probably have 1,000 other things to go, but you need to make sure you have focus and energy to do those things. This reminds us of a good story:

Once upon a time there was a very strong wood-cutter. He asked for a job from a timber merchant and he got it. The pay was very good and so were the work conditions and for that reason the wood-cutter was determined to do his very best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area in the forest where he was to work. The first day the wood-cutter cut down 18 trees. His boss was extremely impressed and said, “Well done. Keep it up. You are our best wood-cutter yet.” Motivated by his boss’s words, the wood-cutter tried even harder the next day, but he only cut down 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder but only cut down 10 trees.

Day after day the woodcutter cut down fewer and fewer trees. His boss came to him and told him that if he did not chop down more trees each day he would lose his job. The wood-cutter needed the job, so he tried harder and harder. He worked during his lunch breaks and tea breaks, but still he could not cut down enough trees. “I must be losing my strength” the wood-cutter thought to himself. He worked over-time, but still it was not enough. Eventually his boss came to him and told him he was fired. The wood-cutter was really upset, but he knew that he had worked as hard as he could and just did not have enough time to chop more trees. He sadly handed his axe back. The boss took one look at the axe and asked, “When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” “Sharpen my axe?” the wood-cutter replied. “I have never sharpened my axe. I have been too busy trying to cut down enough trees.”

You need to sharpen your axe! Get some more sleep!

Second tip, get rid of the things in your bedroom that detract from your sleep. This means, tvs, computers, books, work-related material and other distractions. The bedroom should be for sleeping, it is an important part of your healthy lifestyle.

Third tip, invest in a good bed. A good bed will help you get the rest you need. Just like it is important to wear the right shoe when you are working out or running, it is important to have a good bed to sleep in. If you are going to spend 7-8 hours in something 7 days a week, it is a worthwhile investment.

Fourth tip, don’t skimp on the sleep to fit in things. For example, if you like to wake up early to workout, make sure you go to bed early so you can get a good workout in. When you are tired, you can make mistakes. Also, don’t skimp on sleep to make other things happen.

Fifth and final tip. Get a routine going! Routines aren’t just for kids. Plan to wind your day down about 30 minutes before bed. Try to keep consistent bed times and wake times. Also, do things to calm yourself. Drink tea, listen to relaxing music, read a relaxing book on the couch (or read the kids a story).

Overall our lesson here is clear. Sleep is right below eating healthy and exercising. You need it to feed your body. Take this as a sign, if you are reading this, you need to get more sleep.

Exercise: The Wonder Drug

June 20th, 2016

We here at Chicago Family Fit are firm believers in exercise as a cure for many things. There is no magic pill to swallow to cure many ailments, and of course there is no magic weight loss pill. We came across this interesting article and learned a few things.

Here is the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/upshot/why-you-should-exercise-no-not-to-lose-weight.html?partner=538&_r=0

And here is what we read, that we wanted to share:

1. “After the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wrote its report, an editorial in the BMJ, a prominent medical journal, countered that exercise wasn’t a “miracle cure.” Instead, the authors argued it was “the best buy for public health.” If that’s the best “counterpoint,” then physical activity seems like a no-brainer.”

2. “The recommendations for exercise are 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity for adults, or about 30 minutes each weekday.”

3. “For people (mostly middle-aged men) who had had a heart attack, exercise therapy reduced all causes of mortality by 27 percent and cardiac mortality by 31 percent.”

4. “Doctors and clinics that made efforts to promote exercise to patients needed to engage 12 adults on the subject to get one additional adult to meet recommended levels of activity one year later. That might not sound impressive, but it’s one of the better such results.”

Although diet is key in weight loss, exercise is key in staying healthy overall. We hope you enjoyed the read and the article find.

As always, stay healthy and enjoy life..

The Best of the Best

April 18th, 2016

Sometimes at the gym, we often give advice on what products to buy, from vitamins to protein powders to exercise gear. We do have tons of experience using different products and are usually happy to make a recommendation. We came across this site that we wanted to let you all know about. It is a review site that searches through and finds some of the best stuff for you to use. We aren’t endorsing them, we just find their recommendations incredibly useful. Instead of us doing all of the homework, this site has done it all. Here are some fitness categories that might help you purchase your next product.

Article on best fitness trackers: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-fitness-tracker/

Article on best water bottles: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-water-bottle/

Article on best home scale: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/the-best-bathroom-scales/

Article on best GPS running watch: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-running-watch/

Article on best wireless exercise headphones: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wireless-exercise-headphones/

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

The Wirecutter New Logo The Best of the Best