Archive for July, 2011

What is Functional Training?

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Functional Training seems to be a buzzword in the fitness industry, but what is it?  I often see other people or trainers doing “functional” exercises such as balancing on one leg while lifting a weight over their head, or dumbbell bench pressing on a stability ball.  For me, these are not functional moves, but instead a hoaky interpretation of what Functional Training is, and what it should be.

At Chicago Family Fit, Functional Training is this: Training a movement pattern that mimmicks something you do outside of the gym.  For example, Lifting a weighted medicine ball from the floor is a great exercise to simulate picking up a child.  Or getting up/down from the floor for total body conditioning and strength.  Functional moves can also be simple such as pull-ups or push-ups.  Some interpretations of this type of training can lead to serious injuries, so please evaluate your exercises before you do them.

If you would like more information, please contact us at (773)706-8705 or via email at

Tips for Staying Hydrated.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

With near record setting temperatures, staying hydrated is a must.  Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, cramps, and decreased performance.  Even if you don’t feel thirsty, keep something handy.   Water and sports beverages tend to work best, but it only works if you drink it constantly.

Just make sure to check the label before you buy anything! Many beverages are full of sugar, caffeine, and empty calories that add up fast, and can some drinks actually dehydrate you further.  Below are some Do’s and Don’ts for selecting a refreshing drink.


  • Water
  • Sports Drinks (If you will be active over an hour)


  • Pop or Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea (caffeinated)
  • Beer or other alcoholic beverages

Why Sit-Ups Aren’t Helping Your Waistline

Monday, July 18th, 2011

In the midst of summer, many of us are trying to improve our midsection before going to the pool, party, or beach vacation.  Typically we look to the most familiar exercises to help get the job done, sit-ups or crunches.  What you may not realize, is that this is often times not the best type of core training for you and here is why.

  • Due to sedentary jobs, most people tend to have tight and weak stomach muscles.  Over time, this leads to slouching forward either at a desk, standing, or all the time.  Sit-ups promote strengthening and shorting of the abdominal muscles…which leads to more tightening, and more slouching.  You will eventually have back and neck pain due to spinal misalignment caused by poor posture.
  • Sit-ups also promote Lumbar (lower back) flexion and extension which can and will eventually cause lower back pain.  The lower back is designed for stability and to be weight bearing, that’s why the bones are much bigger and rigid than those in your neck which are more flexible.  If it is continuously bent and twisted around, this can cause problems on your lower back muscles, bones, and discs. Another interesting fact is that Lower Back pain is the number one cause for missed work…

Instead of training exercises that cause more problems. You may want to try some core stability exercises like Planks, Bridges, Single-arm presses/pulls, that will help improve all of the muscles in your core.  If you are not sure what exercises are best for you, or the proper technique, please contact us at (773) 706-8705 or