Latest News Around the Clubs

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Everyone’s Training for Something

training-best-chicago-gymEveryone’s training for something, whether it’s your overall health or just being fit enough to catch that darn El. FFC wants to help you get there, and is so confident it can, it offers the Results Guaranteed promise for new and existing members: Try the club or personal training for 30 days, and if you don’t see results, get your money back.

With so many options for fitness and wellness in the Chicagoland area, FFC stands out by being a one-stop shop. Whether you like to work up a sweat or prefer to be pampered, FFC has something for everyone, including staffed registered dietitians, rock climbing walls, unlimited group exercise classes, boxing and martial arts, fully loaded Pilates studios, hot yoga studios, sundecks, steam and sauna rooms, laundry service, a full-service spa, custom airbrush tanning, and one of only two USA Triathlon Certified Training Centers in the Midwest.

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Lose to Win

lose-to-win-weight-loss-challenge-best-chicago-gym-clubIt’s back Jan. 19-Feb. 28!

Includes:

  • A technical shirt
  • Weekly weigh-ins: Attend for entries into a drawing for prizes!
  • One nutrition lecture
  • One strength/cardio workout twice per week
  • 10% discount on fitness services purchased between Jan. 19-25 (after payment of Lose to Win contest is processed)
  • Each club male and female champion will be entered into company-wide raffle for training services!

$49 for members, $99 for non-members. For more information, visit the website.

Running-Banner

Make Your 2015 “Runolution!”

Running-BannerThis new year, resolve to motivate yourself to get outside! While it’s very popular to feel peer pressure to workout indoors at the gym in January as a New Year’s Resolution, try to challenge yourself to run outside more, and reap the benefits of being outdoors! Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem for Chicagoans who frequently deal with commuting in the dark to and from work, rarely seeing the sun during the winter months.

With shortened days, you have to get creative to make the most of your opportunities, so use our tips below to make the most of your winter training!

Committing to a “challenge” is a great way to motivate yourself through the winter, whether it be through an online run-logging competition or an in-person weight loss challenge!

Sign up for a race - Even though the weather is unpredictable, signing up for an outdoor race during the winter can be a fun adventure. If Mother Nature throws a curveball, embrace the winter challenge and simply treat your race as a fun run with no expectations of a finish time. Simply enjoy being outdoors in the middle of the winter (it’s possible, we promise)! Join the FFC RunMonster Running Club at the F3 Lake Half Marathon this January – use our FFC team discount code TRIMONSTER to save $8!

Run with a group – Running with a group is fun and motivating, and breeds accountability to show up! Recruit some friends and you’ll never miss another training session. You can also join FFC’s Running Club, RunMonster for weekly workouts, whether it’s the interval-focused indoor track workouts at FFC Gold Coast every Thursday at 6:30 pm, or the FFC South Loop long runs at 8 am Sundays (followed by the popular BeerMonster Brunch social hours at the Scout Waterhouse). Meet new friends and enjoy the outdoors!

Run during lunch – Get outside during the day when temperatures are warmest and sunshine is brightest (we hope). Simply bring your run gear to work and take a lunch break to run outdoors instead of in! Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day alongside FFC’s Running Coaches for a lunchtime Fun Run Monday, Jan. 19 at Daley Park!

Try an Indoor Tri – If getting outdoors is a challenge, consider simply motivating yourself with a different indoor challenge. Don’t know how to swim? Join FFC’s Swim Technique classes or the FFC Indoor Triathlon Training Program and learn to improve your swimming. Then sign up and compete in the FFC Indoor Triathlon & Duathlon Series, the best indoor triathlon in all of Chicagoland! Even if swimming is not your thing, we have new a duathlon (run-bike-run) and team relay divisions this year, so truly anyone can compete to win prizes. Beginners even get their own award divisions! You never know, you might earn an age group medal while discovering a new passion and hobby!

We hope you can enjoy taking advantage of a few of these tips to make the most of your winter.  Staying motivated and consistent is a great way to avoid cabin fever and breeze through your winter months. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a great spring running season!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin, Head Endurance Coach. Contact Chris with questions or for more information about any of the TriMonster programs at endurance@ffc.com.

This new year, resolve to motivate yourself to get outside! While it’s very popular to feel peer pressure to workout indoors at the gym in January as a New Year’s Resolution, try to challenge yourself to run outside more, and reap the benefits of being outdoors! Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem for Chicagoans who frequently deal with commuting in the dark to and from work, rarely seeing the sun during the winter months.

With shortened days, you have to get creative to make the most of your opportunities, so use our tips below to make the most of your winter training!

Committing to a “challenge” is a great way to motivate yourself through the winter, whether it be through an online run-logging competition or an in-person weight loss challenge!

Sign up for a race - Even though the weather is unpredictable, signing up for an outdoor race during the winter can be a fun adventure. If Mother Nature throws a curveball, embrace the winter challenge and simply treat your race as a fun run with no expectations of a finish time. Simply enjoy being outdoors in the middle of the winter (it’s possible, we promise)! Join the FFC RunMonster Running Club at the F3 Lake Half Marathon this January – use our FFC team discount code TRIMONSTER to save $8!

Run with a group – Running with a group is fun and motivating, and breeds accountability to show up! Recruit some friends and you’ll never miss another training session. You can also join FFC’s Running Club, RunMonster for weekly workouts, whether it’s the interval-focused indoor track workouts at FFC Gold Coast every Thursday at 6:30 pm, or the FFC South Loop long runs at 8 am Sundays (followed by the popular BeerMonster Brunch social hours at the Scout Waterhouse). Meet new friends and enjoy the outdoors!

Run during lunch – Get outside during the day when temperatures are warmest and sunshine is brightest (we hope). Simply bring your run gear to work and take a lunch break to run outdoors instead of in! Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day alongside FFC’s Running Coaches for a lunchtime Fun Run Monday, Jan. 19 at Daley Park!

Try an Indoor Tri – If getting outdoors is a challenge, consider simply motivating yourself with a different indoor challenge. Don’t know how to swim? Join FFC’s Swim Technique classes or the FFC Indoor Triathlon Training Program and learn to improve your swimming. Then sign up and compete in the FFC Indoor Triathlon & Duathlon Series, the best indoor triathlon in all of Chicagoland! Even if swimming is not your thing, we have new a duathlon (run-bike-run) and team relay divisions this year, so truly anyone can compete to win prizes. Beginners even get their own award divisions! You never know, you might earn an age group medal while discovering a new passion and hobby!

We hope you can enjoy taking advantage of a few of these tips to make the most of your winter.  Staying motivated and consistent is a great way to avoid cabin fever and breeze through your winter months. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a great spring running season!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin, Head Endurance Coach. Contact Chris with questions or for more information about any of the TriMonster programs at endurance@ffc.com.

Indoor-Triathlon-best-chicago-gym

Calling All Triathletes!

Indoor-Triathlon-best-chicago-gym16th Annual Indoor Triathlon/Duathlon Series

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie who has yet to test the waters, have you ever considered trying an indoor tri? FFC has events spanning four clubs February-March, and a Chicago Championship Final Saturday, April 4. Compete against your friends and fellow athletes to come away as the top individual or team!

If you need help training, we’re here for you. Indoor triathlon-specific training will run January 13-March 7. Attend the informational session Tuesday, Jan. 6 at FFC Lincoln Park, 7:30 pm, visit the website, or contact Coaches Chris and Cassidy at endurance@ffc.com for more information.

National Challenge Competition

Are you a member of USA Triathlon? If not, you can still sign up and join FFC’s team in the National Challenge Competition (NCC)! Get excited to train offseason and log the most miles to win prizes!

  • Log your bike workouts in January and your runs in February
  • Get ranked with athletes in your age group nationwide
  • Win prizes each month and at the end of the competition

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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“Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time…”

This month’s blog-post title is borrowed, of course, from the inimitable David Bowie and his song of the same name. The title holds a few different meanings for me at present. Most time-sensitive, and perhaps obvious to some, is the about-to-close David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago. It’s a sight to see whether you’re a Bowie fan or not. You’ll get a glimpse of the enigma that is his creative process and his art. You’ll see Bowie’s evolution from young musician, to androgenous performer, to legendary artist. There are a few walk-up tickets still available through Sunday, Jan. 4. It’s ridiculously cool and you shouldn’t miss it! The second meaning is that when I think of the repetition of these lyrics, it reminds me of a person trying to articulate words anywhere outdoors in Chicago’s arctic winter temps. Being that we’ve entered January in the midwest, I think you can expect to experience this shiver-speak once, or a hundred times, in the next few months. S-s-s-sorry, but it’s true.

The last reason, though, to me, is the most important, and incidentally with the most literal meaning: the root of the word:  Change. (Noun).  \ˈchānj\ to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., (of something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.

How does this word resonate with you? What feelings does it evoke? Fear? Excitement?  Anxiety? In January, as many are proclaiming (or at least thinking about) their New Year’s Resolutions, changes are imminent. It’s time to let go of old patterns and habits, and adopt a new routine which will help you keep on track with your goals. If this feels scary to you, I can certainly relate, but if the goals are yours, then no one can judge how quickly or by which method you choose to approach them.

Fear not! We’ll be right there with you, letting go of unsuccessful methods, moving on from toxic people, putting down that chocolate caramel cookie and running that extra mile. The exercise of making changes in your life shouldn’t be isolated to January, though. Seasonally, take the time to evaluate, assess, purge and change course as needed. Here are some seeds of thought, in case you’re coming up short on what things to evaluate to determine whether or not a change is needed:

Your Crew. Are you friends “A” players? What value or joy do they bring to your life? If your friends are a time or energy suck, maybe the hour has arrived to cut the cord. Friends should bring laughter and support to your life, not drama and stress. So go ahead, unfriend or unfollow them on Facebook and Twitter, and say “no” to the next obligatory lunch date. It’s OK to move on from people that don’t lift you up as a person.  B-b-b-b-bye.

Your home environment. Your home should be a sanctuary for you to relax and clear your mind in, and a space for you to heal your soul. Yadda Yadda Yadda, I know. At a minimum, you should be able to carve out a corner at your place to which you can retreat. If you don’t already have this space, it’s time to make room. Start by donating electronics, clothes, toys and furnishings that are creating clutter and get little use. Someone else will benefit from your kindness, and you might be surprised at what an impact such a simple act can have on your sanity. Next, shred all that nasty paperwork you don’t need and update your accounts to paperless. Unsubscribe to magazines and newsletters you don’t read anyway. Follow that by rearranging a nice chair, or some pillows, so that you have a comfy place to think, read, listen to music or doodle. Ahhhhhhh.

The time you spend free of media. Remember the pre-tech 90’s? That is, before cell phones, iPads, Droids, iPods, even email. You didn’t take selfies with duck lips at the bar and post them while your “besties” did the same. You didn’t read your news feed while waiting for the El. You definitely didn’t play Candy Crush while sitting in the Loo. You talked. You actually talked to people. You looked them in the eye. You held a door open, and someone held one open for you.  You were perfect, everyone knew it, and it wasn’t because of your latest Instagram or Facebook status. Try it again sometime. I think you’ll like it.

The work you do. Maybe you have a job. Perhaps a vocation. Or is yours a career? A calling?  No? …it’s an occupation? Believe it or not, these different labels can be quite indicative of how you feel about what you do during the working hours. Regardless of what you call it, it’s the way you’re bound to spend at least ⅓ of your day, so it’s probably good to make sure it counts. It’s never too late to be what you want to be when you grow up. Figure out what it is you want to do. Make a plan. Then work on it.  Every. Single. Day. No, it’s not original, but it fits, so there.

Bundle up, embrace the change, and turn and face the strange. Happy New Year to All. See you at the Spa!

Blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Director of Spas and Retail. Contact Lisa at lellis@ffc.com.

 

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Spin to Break the Cycle 2015

Spin-to-break-the-cycle-best-chicago-gym-club-studioGoing the Distance to Stop Violence. Why Do You Spin?

Join teams and individuals from across the city to come together for a great cause, raising funds for World Sport Chicago, an non-profit organization that teaches positive values and leadership through sport to Chicago’s underserved youth, building stronger, safer communities in Chicago.

Programs that will benefit from this event include:

Nine of your favorite FFC instructors will get your hearts pumping as a live DJ blasts high energy music to keep you inspired on your ride Saturday, April 18 at the House of Blues Chicago! The first workout starts at 8 am, with a new workout every hour through 5 pm. Riders can look forward to massage, pampering and more after you’ve spinned your socks off. And, if you go above your fundraising goals, you could earn exciting rewards like airline certificates, sports tickets or exclusive experiences!

Sign up for your favorite FFC instructor’s team!

  • 8 am: Kandace Kaiser – FFC Union Station
  • 9 am: Bill Bower – FFC Oak Park
  • 10 am: Melissa Gurule – FFC Halsted Street
  • 11 am: Jennifer Dahl – FFC East Lakeview
  • 12 pm: Arthur Reipenhoff – FFC Gold Coast
  • 1 pm: Aaron Foster – FFC South Loop
  • 2 pm: Chris Navin – FFC Lincoln Park
  • 3 pm: Ellyse Kummer – FFC West Loop
  • 4 pm: Aaron Foster – FFC Old Town

If you can’t or don’t want to ride, be a supporter as a member of the FFC Crew! The reception will include a complimentary drink, appetizer lounge, spectator lounge, games, prizes and more! FFC raised more than $160,000 last year. Think we can do better than that in 2015?!

For more details, and to join an FFC team or start your own, visit World Sport Chicago.

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Fashion and Beauty Trends 2015

Ortanic-best-chicago-spray-tan-salon-spa2015 is here to deliver lots of new colors and laid-back styles. As fashion history tends to repeat itself, we have seen some of these looks before. That said, I’m happy to say they have a fresh flare! Need a frame of reference? Think retro 70s Joni Mitchell-meets-runway-femme-fatale.  Here are a just a few of the trends about to hit the stores… And your closet!

Military green has made its way onto the runway of many fashion designers in the Spring 2015 collection. This look can be achieved easily with cargos and an army jacket. There are affordable options at many retailers.

Loose denim is making its way back into our closets and it’s a good time to try out a wider-leg jean or bell bottom. But don’t throw out those skinny jeans just yet! You can capitalize on another 2015 trend… Bright (but understated) bags. Why not pair a Tangerine boho bag with black or dark skinnies and a flowing custard blouse to add a splash of color?

Makeup for 2015 has gone plum crazy! Plum can be subtle or dramatic, depending on shade and how it’s applied. Lighter shadows in the daytime with a dark lipstick, or try dark shadow and liner in the evening with a soft lip for a nice contrast.

Last but not least, natural beauty simplified… Air-dried hair! Let your hair dry naturally and add a little frizz taming serum for a tousled, feminine look. You can wear it down with your natural waves, or throw it into a loose bun or extra long ponytail for to add a little more drama.

It probably goes without saying, but no look is complete without an Ortanic airbrush tan to enhance your natural beauty. Looking forward to seeing you at Ortanic! Happy New Year everyone!

Blog courtesy of Kat Maj, Ortanic Coordinator. Contact Kat at kmaj@ffc.com.

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Small Changes. Big Rewards

Nutrition-best-chicago-dietitianHave you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or “be healthier,” only to find that, come February, you’ve reverted back to old habits? You’re not alone. In fact, 88% of Americans who set resolutions fail to make them work. There are are number of reasons why this happens – the resolutions are too lofty, we pick too many, we give up when the going gets tough – but it’s not an inevitable fate. Check out our tips below, and make 2015 the last time “getting healthy” is simply your “New Year’s Resolution.”

Include protein in every meal and snack – Protein helps us feel fuller longer, which helps keep hunger pangs at bay, and ultimately may reduce the likelihood of overeating. Not sure how much to have? A good rule of thumb is to make at least a third of each meal and snack a source of lean protein.

Don’t fear fat – “Healthy” fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados and salmon, not only help to prevent belly fat, but they’ve also been shown to raise “good” HDL cholesterol, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, boost brain function, and keep the eyes and skin healthy.

Eat breakfast – While every meal is important, breakfast is arguably the most important because of all of the benefits it incurs. Eating breakfast is incredibly beneficial for weight loss because it helps to reduce hunger throughout the day, thereby preventing overeating. Eating in the a.m. has the added bonus of revving your metabolism back up to speed after being slowed overnight during sleep. Additionally, starting your day with a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase concentration, help stabilize blood sugar, boost energy levels and improve memory.

Shop the perimeter – What do candy, soda, juice, chips, snack cakes and other highly processed foods have in common? Other than being unhealthy, they can all be found in the center of the grocery store. Foods that are perishable – think fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy – are located around the perimeter of the store due to their need for refrigeration. These foods are typically healthier than their “convenience food” counterparts in the middle aisles.

Cut out soda – The average American drinks more than 38 GALLONS of soda per year, which contributes enough calories to cause a weight gain of more than 16 pounds! Cut it out of your diet and you’re well on your way to a healthier body.

Drink more water – What will you drink if you can’t have soda? Water is your best bet. Adequate hydration is one of the best things you can do for you body. It’s necessary for almost all components of proper physiological function, including digestion, waste and toxin removal, nutrient distribution throughout the body, temperature regulation and brain function. The optimal amount varies person to person, but generally speaking is roughly half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day.

Watch your portions – Our perception of proper serving sizes is often skewed by restaurants’ giant portions, or confused by the food industry’s labeling practices. It’s no wonder portion control is challenging for many of us. Next time you’re preparing food, use measuring cups and spoons to dole out servings so you can begin to retrain your brain to eat more appropriate amounts. Still feel like you aren’t eating enough to be satisfied? Try using smaller bowls, plates, and cups, which will make you feel like you’re getting more, even if you aren’t.

Get some sleep – Like breakfast, water and many of the other things mentioned above, sleep is crucial for a healthy body. One of the main reasons adequate sleep is vital from a weight loss perspective is for its ability to regulate appetite. When we get fewer than seven hours of sleep, two important hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are thrown out of balance, resulting in increased hunger and decreased appetite control. In addition, lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance and stress hormone levels, which can also be detrimental to weight loss and overall health.

Blog courtesy of Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN. To learn more about FFC’s nutrition services, contact Carrie at clinke@ffc.com.