Latest News Around the Clubs

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Labor Day Hours 2014

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This Labor Day, take advantage of your three-day weekend! Stop by your favorite FFC location for a workout or class before taking advantage of fun activities throughout the city (including the LAST weekend of Navy Pier classes and fireworks)! Scroll through to see an updated list of group class times, and click though the links below if you need ideas how to stay active, safe and happy all weekend!


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Storm the Stadium

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SAVE $15 off (Code FFC11) of entry to Storm the Stadium, one of the longest consecutive stair challenges challenging participants to scale up and down a total of 6,000 steps on Saturday, September 6th, at U.S. Cellular Field.

It’s the ultimate in water cooler bragging rights! Storm the Stadium is Chicago’s only open-air and, easily, most challenging stair climb: almost triple the number of stairs in the Willis Tower!

Distance:
6,000 stairs (Full Climb)
3,000 Stairs (Half Climb)

Survivors from the hit CBS Television reality series captain teams to the finish line, blaring music spurs on climbers Rocky-style, and the charity Partner Program benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Ladder Up and Special Olympics.


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Fit Fest

14-oak-park-fitness-fest-best-gymEnjoy a full day of fun fitness activities and healthy living ideas for the whole family as Fitness Formula Clubs and Downtown Oak Park present Fit Fest Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 am – 3 pm! There’s something for everyone, including a live DJ, activities for the kids, fitness classes, representation from health care providers, healthy food options and more!
For sponsorship and vendor opportunities contact Jeff Long at 708-383-1114 x210 or jlong@ffc.com.


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Nutrition Solutions

1-nutrition-solutions-best-chicago-gym-weight-lossDon’t fall for the fads. Proper nutrition is 80% of your results! FFC is rolling out a new, comprehensive nutrition program*, designed to help you set yourself up for success both at the gym and at home. *Minimum three-month commitment. $49 per month. Members who choose to participate can look forward to:

    • One-time 60-minute consultation
    • One-time 30-minute follow-up with personalized meal plan
    • ActivTrax Nutrition Module Subscription
    • Weekly check-ins
    • Unlimited email and phone support with FFC’s registered dietitians

Click here to register.

 Keep it Real

Sometimes we forget that proper nutrition is as, if not more, important than exercise. If we want to be our healthiest, we can’t depend solely on working out. We need to remember to eat properly, get enough sleep and avoid stress, on top of staying active. That can seem like a lot to juggle, but it’s not impossible.

Did you know we dedicate an average of eight-and-a-half hours a week to eating and drinking, and only about two-and-a-half to exercising? That gives us nearly three times the opportunity to make healthy choices in the foods we put into our bodies. In the age of having anything and everything at our fingertips, we can forget that our food is raised, processed and distributed differently than it used to be. The use of chemicals and fillers in our food source has led to a surge of allergies and diseases that didn’t exist even 100 years ago.

The quality of our food, and our lives, decreases the farther we get from REAL, UNprocessed food. The average American drinks up to 38 gallons of soda per year, contributing to enough calories to gain 16 pounds.

FFC’s Registered Dietitians, Jessica Dogert, RD, LDN, CPT, and Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN, say that it’s important to keep in mind that we are meant to take in calories, and that the right food is a powerful medicine that can ease anxiety, enhance energy levels, boost immunity, help you sleep, boost brain power and heal our bodies.

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to eat healthy is cutting down on how much they are eating. Jessica says it’s not about eating less… it’s about eating smarter. You need to remember how important it is to give your body the nutrients it needs. Carrie says another mistake people make is following a “diet” rather than trying to make a lifestyle change. Nutrition is individualized, and what works for one person may not work for everyone. There are certainly universal truths about healthy eating, but everyone’s dietary needs are inevitably different, so educating yourself should be step number one before making any drastic changes.

When it comes to fitness, you can’t hope to PR your next half marathon if all you’ve been doing is running, without paying attention to what you’ve been eating. Jessica reminds us that food can greatly enhance, and also hinder, athletic performance. Carrie reiterates that we need energy in order to sustain any sort of activity, in the gym or otherwise, and that food provides that fuel. Eating what’s right for you before a workout can give you the boost you need to push harder throughout, while eating the right foods afterward will help repair your metabolism-boosting muscles and reduce fatigue. Proper nutrition is the key to keeping us energized and healthy. Period.

Motivation to succeed is all you need! Carrie says sometimes we hit roadblocks on our way to accomplishing our goals, and that having an accountability partner allows us to check in with someone who can offer encouragement, motivation and support, helping us stay committed. Jessica says it is her passion to inspire others to fuel their bodies with real foods so they can fuel their purpose in life. Our certified, experienced, passionate dieticians want to be your sidekick in helping you reach your overall health goals, and know you will, without a doubt, feel a difference once you experience real food on a regular basis!

Jessica and Carrie, both registered dietitians (RD), want us to remember that while every RD is a nutritionist, not every nutritionist is an RD. Look for the right credentials for advice you can trust!

Guest blog by Allie Kuopus, Marketing Intern. Contact Jessica at jdogert@ffc.com and Carrie at clinke@ffc.com.


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New Arrivals

2-new-arrivals-best-chicago-gym-equipmentAt FFC, we always want to give you our best, so we’re making improvements, company-wide!

East Lakeview
FFC East Lakeview recently upgraded its Pilates Studio from 250 to 450 square feet. New pieces of equipment have been added to increase availability and programming, including four Peak Pilates Chairs with Low Handles, two Balance Body Studio Reformer with Towers and four retrofit kit towers for the current reformers.  By the end of July, the Pilates Studio will have a total of five Peak Pilates Chairs and six Balance Body Studio Reformers with Towers!

We’re also adding two Cybex Arc Trainers, proven to be gentler on your joints, and the three-in-one cross country/elliptical/stair climbing machines can burn 16% more calories than an elliptical! A refiguration of the Life Fitness Multi-Jungle will provide an additional 40 square feet of stretching and functional space!

Gold Coast
FFC Gold Coast is adding two Concept 2 Model E Rowers, which include the most advanced performance monitor for accurate rowing and heart rate data. The 20-inch high frame makes getting on and off easier for those with joint or mobility issues. Two Cybex Arc Trainers are proven to be gentler on your joints, and the three-in-one cross country/elliptical/stair climbing machines can burn 16% more calories than an elliptical! The Life Fitness Dual Adjustable Pulley gives you the freedom to move limbs independently of one another, one at a time, both at the same time, or use different weights for each limb.  It also provides users with the ideal functional training tools to help add more strength to their everyday, real-life activities. There will also be two Octane LateralX machines, which go from a vertical elliptical stepping motion to an active side-to-side motion for a functional exercise that challenges the entire body. Five Precor 835 Open Stride AMTs round out the new equipment, with their patented open stride, providing you with an infinite variety of motion planes and a stride length up to 36 inches.

Halsted Street
FFC Halsted Street will be adding a Hammer Strength HD Elite Power Rack that will allow you to perform upper body, lower body and band exercises, and features additional accessories to add variety to your training.

Lincoln Park
FFC Lincoln Park will add three Stairmaster SM5 Stepmills, which closely mimic actual stair climbing motion, allowing you to get a great cardio and lower body strength workout. There will also be four Life Fitness Integrity Cross Trainers, which offer a variety of low-impact workouts on an elliptical-like machine with adjustable resistance on the pedals and arm handles. Two Octane LateralX machines go from a vertical elliptical stepping motion to an active side-to-side motion for a functional exercise that challenges the entire body.

Union Station
FFC Union Station is adding equipment including a Hammer Strength HD Elite Power Rack that will allow you to perform upper body, lower body and band exercises, and features additional accessories to add variety to your training. There will also be two Octane LateralX machines, which go from a vertical elliptical stepping motion to an active side-to-side motion for a functional exercise that challenges the entire body. Two Cybex Arc Trainers are proven to be gentler on your joints, and the three-in-one cross country/elliptical/stair climbing machines can burn 16% more calories than an elliptical! Three Precor 835 Open Stride AMTs round out the new equipment, with their patented open stride, providing you with an infinite variety of motion planes and a stride length up to 36 inches.


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Injury Recovery and Prevention

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If you have neck pain, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches or other ailments, we can help! Speed up your recovery, prevent further injury and ease your pain with therapeutic massage. This August, purchase a 6- or 12-pack of Performance Massages and receive a Bonus Spa Punchcard with offers for 40% off any facial, a $20 credit AND 25% off a single item in the Sport Shop. See a Spa Associate for details or purchase your Performance Massage pack online today.
*Offer expires Aug. 31, 2014. May not be combined with other offers or discounts.

My Journey to 13.1

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico for my cousin’s wedding, I rolled my ankle, spraining it badly enough to keep me from dancing the Salsa and Merengue. Now, I’ve sprained an ankle before, once on a rigorous rock climb in New Hampshire, and another time while simply taking a downhill climb of a staircase at my last job.  Not adventurous, but it got the job done. This time, however, was especially deflating. It happened on my last long training run before for my first-ever half marathon, which was meant to be run in Massachusetts just nine days later. While still in the Caribbean, I followed the proper protocol for injury with inflammation, and took liberties with a couple of more enjoyable steps…..Rest, Ice, Swim in the Ocean, Compression, Elevation, Pina Colada. You get the idea. The salty air, warm ocean currents and rum drinks made up for my pain and frustration for a few days and, of course, my background as a massage therapist came in handy.

It wasn’t until nearly a week later when I returned to Chicago and visited the Ankle and Foot specialist, that the real pain set in and I received the news that I had sprained two ligaments and was most certainly not going to be running 13.1 miles that Sunday. I felt a pinch in my soul trump the pain in my ankle.  After a couple of years of turmoil, I’d finally gotten myself back to a place where I could train consistently, and had done so for several months.  Forgetting about my injury for the time it took to put that beast of a soft cast on, I thought about my journey leading up to training for this race.  The previous four years had been full of colossal life events, some exciting, some downright devastating:  Making the move from Pennsylvania to Chicago, getting engaged, getting married, honeymooning in Africa, the passing of my husband’s beloved mother, the nervous breakdown of someone very close to me, my Mom’s war with (and triumph over) Acute Myeloid Leukemia, among of host of other hurdles.  As a matter of perspective, this seemed small, yet I wasn’t ready to release the idea that all my training was for naught. I needed that run to make up for all that had gone wrong in just the last year alone.  This run was meant to be my victory lap over my tribulations! They finished my casting and I left the office saddened, disappointed and bewildered.

I spent the next few days complaining and whining to anyone who would listen, telling and retelling the story of how “my race” would not be happening and how crushing that was.  I tried to make light of it, but I was still bugged. On top of my own injury, my husband, who was also training, was suffering from Achilles pain and decided the run would not happen for him either.  Still, we elected to keep our plans to travel to Boston to watch my sister-in-law complete the run that we had all planned together.  We flew to Logan and I silently brooded in my uncomfortable Southwest seat.  Our flight was delayed and we didn’t land until almost four hours behind schedule. Ugh. Roadblocks.

Saturday the mood lightened with the presence of my curiously funny and sweet 3-year-old niece, and then dinner and drinks with an old friend, but it wasn’t until the next morning that the self-pity party disbanded.  Sunday was a beautiful New England early summer day. I was with my family. The coffee was perfectly brewed. When we got to the site, I could feel the race-day energy all around me.  In a flash, I had my moment of clarity. It wasn’t about running a half marathon. It was about the countless hours of early-morning, lunchtime and evening training runs, the cross-training, the sweating it out, and the crying it out, and now it was about supporting the several thousand others who had done the same.  I had run more than 350 miles during the few months leading up to the Newburyport Half Marathon, so what did it matter that I couldn’t run on that day? I was suddenly grateful and elated that I was able to be there, healthy and happy, to watch many others breeze through and struggle alike, with every mile,

During my recovery time, I improved my swimming and cycling skills, socialized more with friends, and dusted off and read the books that had fallen behind the pack because of my training. There was always a tiny inner voice whispering to me that if I didn’t recover faster, it would take forever to get back at it, but I quieted it as best I could, and remained patient. It took me seven weeks to run my first miles after my Isla Verde ankle sprain. I only completed two miles that first day, but over the course of several days I found my stamina and strength. That first week I ran what amounted to 13.1 miles (as accurately as my GPS would allow). My own intentional half marathon. There was no medal. No finish line. There was, however, the satisfaction of having set out on a journey, arriving at a destination, taking a deep breath, and continuing on to find new pathways and purpose.  Satisfying indeed.

Guest blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Spa and Retail Director. Contact Lisa at lellis@ffc.com.


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Ortanic

4-ortanic-best-chicago-custom-airbrush-tanSave the Burn for Your Workout. Get A Flawless Tan Without The Sun.
When the weather, your schedule or your skin’s sensitivity does not cooperate before your date, meeting or special event, a tanned look can boost your confidence and bolster your ranking on the fun-o-meter.  Purchase an Ortanic Membership or Series this month, and we’ll give you 15% off any retail item*!  Our bronzers, tan extenders and body products ensure that your custom airbrush tan looks stellar and extends the life of your color.
*Offer expires Sept. 15, 2014.  May not be combined with other offers or discounts on retail products.  

Visit the website for more information, or book your appointment now.

Save Your Skin

Well we’re here — smack dab in the middle of summer.  Indeed all the things we love about summer are the very same things our skin hates!  A warm, breezy beach day, a dip in the pool, an afternoon at your BFF’s backyard barbecue are oh so much fun, but the sun is wielding its powers all the while, leaving you with damage that may not be seen until it’s too late. Think about following these simple steps to save your skin and still enjoy all of your favorite summertime activities:

Step One: Stay Hydrated
Heat, chlorine and a few martinis can take a toll on our bodies, and it reflects on our skin. Combatting the effects of summer does not need to be an extravagant ordeal. Something as simple as not drinking alcohol for a week and eating a healthy diet will make a tremendous difference to your skin. Make sure you try to stay away from sugars, salts and processed foods.  Don’t forget to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and, when drinking alcohol, be sure to enjoy a glass of water between cocktails to help to avoid a hangover. Your body and skin are thirsty, don’t deprive them!

Step two: Exfoliate and Moisturize
Your body has a buildup of dead skin cells from the sun and other outdoor elements. Give it a proper exfoliation for good skin turnover. This is easily done in the shower once or twice a week for both your face and body. For the body, I recommend Hempz Sugar Body Scrub Polish, since it’s gentle, yet effective.  It also smells amazing!  For the face, I have been using Derma Peel by Rhonda Allison. It’s an enzyme exfoliator and helps with deeper cell penetration for greater cell turnover. Once all those dead skin cells are gone you can nourish your skin with a great moisturizer to unveil the gorgeous skin underneath.  We all know there’s nothing like soft, silky smooth skin.

Step Three: Add a Nighttime Anti-Aging Regimen and Get Some Sleep!
Most of us are already using some type of moisturizing serum or face cream post shower. It’s time to switch it up for a month or two… or even for longer than that.  Add an anti-aging moisturizer or cream specific for nighttime to your daily regimen. Why? Because when you’re sleeping, your body is working to renew and regenerate itself. Nighttime is the best time to use any type of serums or anti-aging products. After you apply, brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea and get some zzz’s.  And make sure you are getting at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. You’re welcome.  ;-)

Step Four: Protect with SPF
Just because summer is coming to an end in a few weeks, or you already have a tan, does not mean it’s time to put away the SPF. The sun’s rays are just as damaging in the colder seasons as they are in the summer time. Always include an SPF moisturizer in your daily skincare regimen. By taking the time to revitalize your skin now, you’re protecting it from future damage.

Step Five: Get a Custom Airbrush Tan!
The summer will inevitably come to an end, but that doesn’t mean your tan has to! Remember, our Ortanic tans are free of nasty smelling chemicals, and never leave you streaky or orange. So come get an Ortanic custom airbrush tan and keep your summer glow all year long!

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


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FFC Community Events

5-community-events-best-chicago-gymCheck out what’s happening about town!

August

Laugh Factory Chicago: Month of August
Laughter is the best medicine, and it isn’t bad for your abs, either! Enter code BESTMEDICINE for an exclusive FFC offer for VIP tickets at general admission price*. That’s a $10 savings on early entry, priority seating and no waiting in line!
*Excludes charity and special events. Must be 18 years or older.  There is a two-drink minimum.

Get a Leg Up in the Park: First and third Sunday, second and fourth Monday, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Devil’s Lake Topropers: Saturday, Aug. 9 – Sunday, Aug. 10
Join FFC Old Town for an overnight Weekend Toprope Anchoring Class at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin, the premier climbing destination of the upper Midwest, from Saturday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 10. The weekend will include in-depth training in setting safe toprope anchors and climbing various sites in the park. $200 for members and non-members, not including camping fees. Contact Tom Petraitis at tpetraitis@ffc.com to sign up or for more information.

Northalsted Market Days: Saturday, Aug. 9 – Sunday, Aug. 10
Stop by the FFC tent, conveniently located in front of FFC Halsted Street, and say “hi!” to our team at what is sure to be one of the hottest street festivals of the season!

Steelhead 70.3: Sunday, Aug. 10
Join FFC’s IronMonster team at Southwest Michigan’s Ironman 70.3! Sign up for the IronMan newsletter, select “IronMonsters” as your TriClub via http://ironman.com/triathlon/subscribe and you will be automatically added to the FFC IronMonster triathlon training club team roster! For more information visit http://ffc.com/ironmonster or contact endurance@ffc.com. Enjoy perks like a team tent, team dinners, photo opps and more!

Out at the Sox: Saturday, August  16
Join FFC and Equality Illinois for the Second Annual Out at the Sox game and cheer on Chicago’s White Sox as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays! The fun begins at 3:30 pm with a pre-game Tailgate Party at Crew Bar & Grill, 4804 N. Broadway, followed by the game at Cellular Field at 6:10 pm. Visit here for more information and tickets. See you there!

Bash on Wabash: Saturday, Aug. 23 – Sunday, Aug. 24
Stop by the FFC tent at the 11th annual South Loop community festival and say “hi!” to our South Loop team!

Chicago Triathlon: Sunday, Aug. 24
Join FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the first page). Or join FFC’s TriMonster triathlon training team so you never have to train alone!

Neighborhood Parents Network End of Summer Soccer Bash: Saturday, Aug. 30
NPN connects families with resources for navigating city parenting and offers fun and family-friendly events. Stop by Chitown Futbol between 9:30 am and Noon for face painting, raffles, soccer demonstrations and more! Watch FFC’s Zumba instructor get the kids moving from 11-11:20 am!

September

Get a Leg Up in the Park: First and third Sunday, second and fourth Monday, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Storm the Stadium: Saturday, Sept. 6
Register online and use code FFC10 for a 20% discount at checkout. http://www.stormthestadium.com/
It’s the ultimate in water cooler bragging rights! Chicago’s only open-air and, easily, most challenging stair climb: close to triple the number of stairs in the Willis Tower! Survivors from the hit CBS Television reality series captain teams to the finish line. Blaring music spurs on climbers, Rocky-style. Charity Partner Program benefits Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, and Special Olympics. Pictures with “Survivors” and autograph signing following the event.

IronMan Wisconsin: Sunday, Sept. 7
Are you taking on the monster of all endurance events – a full Ironman? Good! For! You! Sign up for the IronMan newsletter, select “IronMonsters” as your TriClub via http://ironman.com/triathlon/subscribe and you will be automatically added to the FFC IronMonster triathlon training club team roster! Enjoy perks like a team tent, team dinners, photo opps and more! For more information visit http://ffc.com/ironmonster or contact endurance@ffc.com.

TriRock Lake Geneva: Saturday, Sept. 13
If you haven’t already signed up, enter code FFCTRIROCK for $15 off all entries! Then join FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the first page). Or join FFC’s TriMonster triathlon training team so you never have to train alone!

October

Get a Leg Up in the Park: First and third Sunday, second and fourth Monday, August – October
Get your fitness on with art and fresh air in South Loop’s Grant Park, located on the northeast corner of State and Roosevelt. Complimentary classes are open to all and benefit Grant Park Conservancy.

Chicago Marathon: Sunday, Oct. 12
Did you get a spot in one of the country’s most sought-after races? Congratulations! Stop by FFC’s TriMonster team on race day for VIP perks! RSVP here (click continue at the bottom of the page).Or join FFC’s TriMonster training team so you never have to run alone!


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