Archive for January, 2013

Staying Healthy During the Winter Months

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Staying healthy during the winter months can be a challenge.  Don’t let those holiday parties and cold weather be an excuse!  Chicago Family Fit has created easy, and tasty, tips and tricks to fight that winter weight. Just because its cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.  For instance, taking a ten minute break at work and climbing stairs is considerate activity and burns about 150 calories.  Most winter sports are very aerobic and can be fun for the entire family.  Chicago Family Fit recommends:

  • Ice skating: 60 minutes burns an average of 400 calories
  • Cross country skiing: 60 minutes burns an average of 730 calories
  • Downhill skiing: 60 minutes burns an average of 350 calories
  • Stair climbing at work: 10 minutes burns an average of 150 calories
  • Fast paced walk at work: 30 minutes burns an average of 150 calories
  • Aerobic exercises in your office (jumping jacks, squats, push ups): 30 minutes burns an average of 170 calories

Healthy eating during the holidays doesn’t have to be boring!  By making some small adjustments to recipes, and your holiday party plate, you can maintain a healthy weight during the holiday season.  Chicago Family Fit recommends:

Recipe modifications!

  • Use fat free Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese, oils or sour cream (equal amounts)
  • Use egg whites instead of whole eggs (1/4 cup yields one egg)
  • Increase the amount of veggies and meats and decrease the amount of oils and cheeses
  • Use lean meats such as chicken, buffalo, ground turkey or extra lean (96%) ground beef
  • Use applesauce instead of oils in desserts

Party eating!

  • Divide your plate into fourths and fill 2/4 with veggies, 1/4 with meats, and a 1/4 with carbs
  • Stick with brut sparkling wines (prosecco or brut champagnes contain about 100 calories per glass or 5 ounces)
  • Always bring a veggie tray so you have a healthy option
  • Eat prior to your party

Follow these tips and you won’t have to make a New Years resolution about shedding unwanted holiday weight gain! As always, if you’d like more information or would like to schedule a workout, visit us a www.chicagofamilyfit.com

Tips for Cutting Calories during your Super Bowl Party

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

As the big game approaches, many of us are getting ready to either host or attend a big party. In addition to watching the game, many Americans eat about the same amount of calories as they would on Thanksgiving due to all of the greasy food, beer, and high calorie dips. This inspired our latest blog post that can help your waistline while still having a great time.

1. Watch for hidden calories in your drinks! Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, which is more than carbohydrates that have 4 calories per gram. One easy tip is to set a limit before you start, whether your drinking pop, beer, or mixed drinks, they can all add up to a lot of calories if you’re not careful.

2. Look out for dips! A lot of dips have tons of calories, and traditional super bowl favorites such as ranch and blue cheese dressings are not going to help the waistline. Not to even mention sour cream and nacho cheese. Instead of going with all of the unhealthy condiments, opt for hummus, fat free Greek yogurt dips, or homemade salsa. If you leave them on the side, it will also help with portion control as opposed to pouring it on before (think nachos).

3. Watch the Chips! In addition to a lot of fat, chips are also high in salt. If you need to have chips, opt for baked instead of deep fried, and try to find something with lower sodium. Having a veggie tray or pretzels can be a good alternative or fillers on your plate.

4. Make your own food! Highly processed foods are typically higher in fat and sodium than if you made them yourself. Using less cheese and greasy toppings is also helpful. Plus it could be a fun family activity to make pizza’s or wings before the game.

Hopefully these simple and relatively pain free tips will help you save a few calories…or a few extra workouts trying to burn it off! If you would like more information, please email us at chicagofamilyfit@gmail.com

Off-Season Training Tips for Motocross/ATV Riders

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Unlike sports such as football and basketball, motocross riders typically do not have year round coaching or strength training programs available.  However, off-season training is essential for improving a rider’s strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility.  All of these aspects affect rider’s capabilities on the bike, which can lead not only to decreased lap times, but decreased injuries as well.  As a general rule, you should be working out 3-4 times per week for 45-60 minutes.  Some specific things to target include:

  • Grip strength-Do Olympic style lifts to improve overall body strength, but make sure not to use lifting straps.  Also aim for sets of 15-20 to improve conditioning and endurance. You will also work the same muscles that you will need to pick the bike up in event of a crash.  Some exercises include: Power Cleans, Overhead snatch, Dead Lifts, and Front Squats .  If you do not have access to this type of equipment, or want some different exercises, you can’t go wrong with Push Ups and Pull Ups; try different grip variations to emphasize different muscles.
  • Leg Strength/ Endurance- In addition to the Olympic lifts, try adding in Spinning, or climbing a Jacob’s Ladder.  Both of these will build up leg endurance for when you’re in the middle of a race.  Try to vary intensity up and down while working up to 30-45 minutes straight to simulate riding.  If you are on a budget or don’t have equipment available, do squat/lunge jumps and jump rope to work similar muscles.
  • Core Strength- In order to stay on the bike, one must have a strong core.  The most effective exercises will be done in a standing position to mimic the riding position.   Some suggestions are: Cable Press/Row, Wood Chops, and Planks.  If you do not have a Cable Machine available, exercise bands can be anchored to doors/walls.
  • Balance- Make sure to incorporate balance training into your workout.  Try doing single leg exercises like lunges, or squats on one leg.  Try doing some Range of Motion exercises on a BOSU ball, Balance Pad, or Wobble Board
  • Flexibility- Don’t forget to stretch! In order to be nimble on the bike, and limit injuries in case of a crash, make sure to allocate at least 10 minutes of every workout to stretching!

Hopefully this helps and gets your riding to the next level! If you have questions, or would like help on making a detailed workout plan, please contact us at chicagofamilyfit@gmail.com

Tips for Keeping Your New Years Resolution!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

If you’re like most of the us, the idea of sticking to your  New Year’s Resolution is getting tougher and tougher by the week.  Have you already given up?  Think back to the end of December, when you were ready to start working out and eating healthier, what was your goal? Was it to lose weight, get in shape, or be healthier? If so, how are you doing so far?

When it comes to reaching a your New Years resolution or any other goal, developing a well thought plan will greatly increase your chance of being successful.  More often than not, people just wing it and end up quitting/failing by February.  In order to have an effective fitness plan, we need to be specific.  For example, instead of, “I am going to start working out” we should specify which days and what times, what type of workouts, and make plans you can commit to.  For some people, scheduling a personal trainer or joining a team really helps them stay on track.  Whatever you decide, it’s essential that you stick to it!

Next is the dietary side of things…While “eating better” sounds great, it’s not really going to be a great long-term strategy.  Instead, make small daily goals like:

  • Eat X servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Limit fast food to X times per week
  • Cut back on high calories condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, bacon, ect..
  • Make a goal of cooking something new a couple times per week
  • Limit greasy snacks
  • Cut back on Alcohol intake

These are just some suggestions to get you thinking, and as each person’s goals are different, so should your approach to attaining them.  If you would like some help making a plan or scheduling an appointment, feel free to contact us at chicagofamilyfit@gmail.com