Archive for August, 2011

Tips to Improve Your Balance

Monday, August 29th, 2011

I often see other trainers, clients, and people in the gym trying to improve their balance; however, nearly all of them are going about it the wrong way.  If you ask many trainers how to train your balance you will probably hear, “exercise on a stability ball, or balance on a Bosu ball, foam roller, wobble board, foam pad, or anything that provides an unsteady surface to stand on.”  All of these modalities are going about the situation all wrong, and here’s why.

If you want to train your balance, you have to first understand what controls your balance.  Your proprioceptive system (limb control) is important, but not the most significant.  Most people without a good understanding of balance and implementation of a training strategy do not realize this, and may be training your balance to be worse.  If your training by using an unsteady surface while you exercise, your body is not focused on doing the exercise properly (proper mechanics, muscle recruitment, and technique) because a lot of your energy is wasted on not falling.  An example that I would like to use is if you stand at the edge of a cliff, although the ground is not moving, it’s hard to stand at the edge because your body will tense up so you don’t fall off.  Now add weights, and call it a balance exercise? This sounds more like a recipe for an injury, falling off of a ball with weights than it does to improve your balance.

Instead, you should focus on what really matters by training your vision first.  Can you keep your balance with your eyes shut? Chances are not very well.  How about training your vestibular system inside your inner ear?  Both of these are more important, and will yield much higher balance improvements than balancing on a ball.

If you have any other questions or would like specific exercises, call (773) 706-8705 for more information or email us at

Tip for Staying Active…Be Prepared

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A good tip for improving daily activity is to be ready to exercise.  Sometimes it is hard to get in 3-4 workouts during the week, but sometimes last minute schedule changes or cancellations can leave time for impromptu exercise.  Sometimes when your with the family, you may stop by the forest preserve or park so having appropriate clothing can avoid the excuse of, “I’m not dressed for exercise.”  A few tips for staying prepare are:

Keep the essentials in your car-Make sure you have a good pair of shoes, gym socks, shorts/shirts in your trunk.  Make sure to rotate clothes with the weather in case you plan on going outside.

Leave some sporting equipment in the Trunk-This is great for multiple participants.  Ideas for this include a couple baseball gloves and a ball, a football, volleyball, frisbee, soccer ball and some plastic cones. You can rotate equipment with seasons, or to switch it up occasionally.

Encourage activity-If you are proactive, your kids and family will be more likely to follow.  Don’t make your kids beg to go to the park, and if you have equipment already, it is that much more convenient.  It is also helpful to capitalize on the sporting season since interested is usually peaked during this time.

If you have any other questions please contact us at or call us at (773) 706-8705

Chicago Family Fit is Endorsed by United Way of Metro Chicago!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

We are proud to announce that the United Way of Metro Chicago is currently promoting Chicago Family Fit in their recent “Get Fit” section.  They describe how to use this blog to get ideas about staying fit and active as a family.  To see for yourself, the link is

I would also like to challenge you to help spread the message of a healthy and active lifestyle either by forwarding information from our site, or by being an ambassador yourself.  With many unsure trends in our current economy, stock market, and healthcare situation, you will always have the opportunity to control your health, activity, and what you eat.  Here are some things to do on a daily basis to help you look and feel better:

  • Eat balanced meals-Each meal should have protein, carbohydrates and good fats. This keeps you energized, thinking clearly, and performing your best physically and mentally.
  • Do something active everyday-This can include walking the dog, taking the steps instead of the elevator, washing the car, or yard work. The goal is to get moving and off of the couch.  You should also add daily activity in addition to formal exercise such as sports, classes, or going to the gym.
  • Motivate yourself and others to do better-Try to challenge your close friends or family to be healthier, even a friendly competition can spark motivation.  Why not work out together? Who worked harder? Who is showing the most improvement? Are all questions that you can challenge each other with.
  • Utilize outdoor parks-When the weather is nice, go to the park with your friends or pet.  An hour playing with your dog, or soccer/volleyball/football with your friends will burn a lot of calories while having fun.  This is also a great way to exercise on a budget because it’s free.

Back to School, Back in Shape!

Monday, August 8th, 2011

In case you have taken the summer off from working out to enjoy vacations, the pool, or a break in general, now is the time to get back on track!  Utilizing a schedule can help you and your family stay healthy and active. Staying to a normal regimen is also helpful to plan meals, workouts, or use the time your kids are back in school to visit the gym. Listed below are some tips that will help to keep you going in the right direction.

  • Eat Breakfast!-Make sure that everyone has something for breakfast, including yourself.  This can range from cereal, eggs and toast, fruit, or a sandwich.  Tests show that eating breakfast helps to burn more calories, jump start metabolism, and improve grades.
  • Pack a Healthy Lunch!– Eating a well-rounded and healthy meal during the daytime goes a long way for staying alert in the afternoon.  Often times buying pizza, cheeseburgers, and other junk food leads to feeling groggy and sluggish in the afternoon.
  • Exercise-Picking 3 days to exercise during the week is much easier when you have a set schedule.  The trick is to actually do it.  Once you make your plan, stick to it.  For most people, three strenuous workouts per week are enough to see health benefits and weight loss, but depending on your age and activity level, this may vary.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (773)706-8705 or by email at

Read the Nutrition Label to Lose Weight!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

If you are trying to lose weight, and not reading the nutrition label, chances are your not very successful at this point. In order to lose weight, we must eat less calories that we burn.  While personal training will get you started in the right direction for exercising properly and safely, it is only half of the equation.  I suggest giving yourself an extra 20-30 minutes the next time you go to the grocery store to read the label on everything you buy.  Some things to look for are:

Calories-ultimately how much energy your consuming, or will have to burn off.

Sodium-many pre-packaged foods are loaded with sodium.  This will contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other health problems if not controlled.

Fat-This sounds like a no brainer, but some fats are good for you, and even an essential part of your diet.  Look for Monounsaturated Fats, they are okay.  Unsaturated fats are the bad ones that attribute to blocked/clogged arteries.

Sugar-Sugar will add on a lot of calories to any foods while not adding nutrition value.  Sugar is tricky because it is commonly listed as, but not limited to: Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Maltose, Sucrose, Cane Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey, Molasses, syrup, and Fructose.  High sugar intake is linked to diabetes and a variety of other health concerns.

Ingredients-The first couple ingredients are mostly what is in your food.  Are they words that you can pronounce? many times our current foods are loaded with chemicals and preservatives.  If you can’t pronounce it, put it back on the shelf.

The key is to really investigate what your putting in your body.  Chances are you and your family will lose weight, look better, and feel better than ever before!