Latest News Around the Clubs


Year of Wellness is Back!


November kicks off our Third Annual Year of Wellness (YOW) Contest! Entrees will be accepted beginning November 15 at Nominate yourself or a friend, non-members welcome, to win one year’s worth of health and wellness, complete with personal training, Pilates training, nutrition consulting, massages, Ortanic tans, and more! This year’s prize package, with additional goods and services from our sponsors will be valued at $15,000.

FFC’s first YOW winner, Quinetta Taylor, entered the contest after already starting her journey to weight loss. As someone suffering from chronic kidney disease, she was too overweight to be eligible for the Illinois state transplant list. At the end of her year, she had lost 120 pounds, and was placed on the list. She approaches fitness and nutrition with vigor, and is a champion for organ transplant education. Her kidney should be coming any day.

Last year’s winner, Dawn LaFleur, was nominated by her daughter after losing 100 pounds through nutrition alone. Now she understands the benefits of fitness for a well-balanced approach to overall health and well-being. Dawn and Quinetta have become friends and can often be found working out together.

To enter, visit on November 15 to submit your story.  On Monday, Dec. 15, all accepted nominees will be posted and you can begin collecting votes by sharing your story. Tell everyone you know to vote for you or your nominated friend. The top five most voted-for entrants will then go on to be decided upon by a panel of judges made up of our sponsors. The 2015 Year of Wellness winner will be announced in early January. Good Luck!


The Gift of Giving


Beginning Thursday, Nov. 6 and ending Wednesday, Dec. 24 – purchase $100 in FFC Gift Cards and receive a $25 bonus gift card*! Gift Cards are good toward any FFC product or service, but may not be applied to FFC membership dues. Purchase your gift card at the Club or online.
*Maximum 3 bonus cards per person. Restrictions apply.


Grateful For


Calling All Athletes
Improve your athletic performance, posture, form, range of motion and more with therapeutic massage. FFC therapists specialize in Sports, Deep Tissue and Myofascial techniques. Save $10 off a 60- or 90-minute Sports or Deep Tissue massage in November!
*May not be combined with other offers. Other restrictions may apply.

Invest in Yourself
Purchase a $100 FFC Spa gift card and get $25 to use on yourself. You deserve it!

Veteran’s Appreciation
We thank all active and veteran military for for your service. Present your valid Military ID and receive 25% off any spa services. Offer valid through Sunday, Nov. 30*.
*May not be combined with other offers. Other restrictions may apply.

In The Spirit of Gratitude

Before long, we’ll find ourselves scurrying around the grocery aisles fighting for the last cans of cranberry sauce and picking through sad heaps of herbs and spices for homemade stuffing.  Then, of course, there’s the inevitable waiting “forever” in line while flipping through OK! Magazine for the 30 minutes it takes to get up to the clerk because “some lady” took extreme couponing to a whole ‘nother level.

But hold on for just one second.  Before the complaining begins and the stress of hosting the in-laws takes over, maybe just take a short pause to remember what you’re thankful for.

It can be tough to do, yes.  Too often, we’re so caught up in our day-to-day grind, and the annoyance that is our job, our spouse, the wind, etc, that it’s hard to find gratitude for anything at all. Need some help? Breathe in, and picture the things that enrich your life. If you’re still coming up short, here are a few of the random things I am grateful for. Maybe one or two might resonate for you.

Mom & Dad, Sister & Brother.  Yeah, I know it seems like the obvious choice. But how often do we take family for granted? I’ve always been very close with my zany, wonderful parents and siblings and, as an adult I, like many, now appreciate them even more. Last year, when my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia (she was victorious!), the hugs got a little tighter, the calls more frequent, and the laughter louder and from a deeper place. We relish our time together and I can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving with them.

Wine.  OK, it’s out there. I like my wine. Like a trusted friend, my Cabernet (or maybe a Meritage tonight?) is there for me in good times and in marginal times. She (yes, my wine is my girl) warms my soul, enhances my dreams, and, for a fair price, she’ll take my cares away. We’re close, me and my wine, but no worries, not so close that I’ll be writing my next blog from Shady Wines – Home For Winos.

My Dog.  Suzy (“The Noodle)” has blessed our lives in so many ways since the day we took her home from the shelter three years ago. Every day she makes me laugh with just a little look or turn of her head to the sound of the word “treat,” and the way she flutters her paws in sync when I dare to stop petting her. She’s got living down-pat: eating, sleeping, running, getting massaged. The only job she has is as my canine alarm clock, and she never fails to deliver.

My Legs.  Maybe it sounds weird to you, but I’m pretty thankful to have these two imperfect limbs that walk and run me all around this city, through airports, to friends’ outings, to the beach and on my many travels. If you’ve ever had a leg or foot injury, or perhaps something even more debilitating, you know what I mean about the freedom of doing it on your own without any devices.

My iPod.  When I was little, my Dad would play Peter Tosh, Stevie Wonder or The Who at an alarmingly loud volume for a Sunday morning. Just to get us out of bed. By the time I turned 10, I had adopted his habit (payback’s are a naughty word), and not only was I playing several instruments, but learned how to get my music volume up to an 11!  Rock ‘n Roll, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Indie, Classical, any genre save Country (sorry folks), and I’m captivated by the sounds and nuances of the notes and how they band together to form a tune. Nowadays If I leave the house forgetting my iPod and/or headphones, a rush of anxiety spills over me. How will I get through this work (interchangeable with:  run/flight/ride/project/cooking/nap, etc)?  Can’t function without the iPod. No sir.

Now go make your own list! There is so much for us all to be thankful for. Happy November!

Guest blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Spa and Retail Manager. Email Lisa at



Autumn Glow


The leaves are turning orange… but your skin should not! Get a perfect, custom, autumn glow with Ortanic! For a limited time only: Two custom airbrush tans + one bronzer or extender for just $100 (reg. $136).


We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat.” That’s never been more true than it is today. With the chemicals found in and amount of processing of many shelf foods, our bodies’ organs are at risk for crisis. Skin is the body’s largest organ, so it is imperative to keep it as healthy as possible. Remember, you excrete toxins through your skin, so if you put non nutritious foods in your belly, when you sweat they come out only to sit directly on your skin!

Here are some yummy foods that do a great job of protecting skin from premature aging and promoting a healthy glow from the inside out.

Green Tea - Green Tea is filled with the amazing antioxidant EGCG, which provides protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Whether you apply it directly to the skin or drink a nice cup of tea, its antioxidants work to prevent DNA damage and help repair existing damage. Drinking green tea is also hydrating, one of the most important factors for healthy, glowing skin.

Yogurt - Yogurt is a great source for vitamin A, which is very important for maintaining vibrant skin. Vitamin A helps the body produce collagen, which is responsible for your skin’s elasticity.

Salmon - Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. Wild salmon contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin that helps fight wrinkles and sagging.

Kiwi - Kiwi is one of the most potent sources of vitamin C. It is essential for maintaining connective tissue. Kiwi, papaya and guava are all excellent sources of collagen producing vitamin C. Eating one kiwi a day can improve your skin over time.

Dark Chocolate - Surprise! Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. There is a myth that chocolate causes adolescent acne. Not true! When eaten in moderation, the flavonols in dark chocolate not only protects the heart and blood vessels, but also protects the skin from sun damage. When applied directly to the skin, natural cocoa butter is an excellent emollient that helps preserve the skin’s moisture and elasticity.

It’s never too soon, or too late, to start eating well!  Try incorporating a few, or all, of these foods into your diet and see how incredible your skin will look. Then stop into Ortanic and we’ll give your healthy skin a healthy glow!

Blog courtesy of Kat Maj, Ortanic Coordinator. Contact Kat at


How Sweet it Is


Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Health Benefits

As it starts getting colder, and we exchange our bathing suits and sundresses for sweaters and winter coats, it’s easy to put on a few pounds to stay warm. This autumn, plan to maintain your weight while consuming delicious fall produce, and do it on a somewhat of a budget. During the autumn months, sweet potatoes are growing abundantly, meaning they might be less expensive than usual.

This fall, get your fill of sweet potatoes by baking them whole for a healthy dinner side dish, or thinly slice, drizzle with olive oil and spices, and bake them to make healthy homemade potato chips or fries. You can also dice them to increase the nutrient quality of any dish, so add them to soup, chili or breakfast casserole regularly.

Why are sweet potatoes so beneficial to our health? For starters, their deep orange color means they contain large amounts of beta-carotene, an antioxidant, which the body converts into Vitamin A, an essential nutrient. And the nutritional perks don’t stop there!

Vitamin A: Beta-carotene is naturally converted to vitamin A in our bodies, which supports our vision, bone and tooth growth, and immunity. Vitamin A also contributes to healthy, bright skin. Cook sweet potatoes with a little bit of unsaturated fat, such as one teaspoon of olive oil, to better absorb this fat-soluble nutrient.

Vitamin C: This vitamin helps break down the foods we eat, as well as supports nerve cell maintenance and immunity.

Fiber: The high content of fiber in sweet potatoes (six grams per medium potato) helps regulate our digestive tract and blood sugar levels. Adults need 25-35 grams of fiber per day to maintain these health benefits.

Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, but also tremendously good for you. Be sure to add this nutrition-packed vegetable to your next dinner or Thanksgiving celebration to gain these sweet health benefits!

Contact Amy Silver, RD, with any questions or for recipe ideas.


Thanksgiving Hours


Wednesday, November 26th

  • All clubs close at 8 pm

Thursday, November 27th

  • East Lakeview, Gold Coast, Halsted Street, Lincoln Park, Oak Park, South Loop, West Loop: 7 am – 2 pm:
  • Old Town, Union Station: Closed

Friday, November 28th

  • All clubs: 7 am – 6 pm

Saturday, November 29th

  • All clubs resume regular hours
Winter running - Young woman running outdoors on a cold winter day

All Things Running

Winter running - Young woman running outdoors on a cold winter day

There’s a lot, so make sure to scroll all the way through!

Winter RunMonster

Getting motivated to run outside in subarctic temperatures can be tough… but not with friends by your side! Sign up for the 18-week winter training program geared to get you ready for spring’s destination races, including the Los Angeles Marathon March 15.

You will participate in weekly indoor interval track workouts at FFC Gold Coast, Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 pm, and weekly outdoor long runs meeting at FFC South Loop, Sundays, 8 am. In addition to these two weekly runs, one weekly HIIT class at FFC Lincoln Park’s Performance Training Center is included. Those who sign up can also look forward to nutritional sessions with our registered dietitians, select race discounts and an FFC winter cap.

The 18-week RunMonster winter training program starts Monday, Nov. 10. Email Coaches Chris or Cassidy at for more information.

100 Days. 100 miles

Take the winter running challenge and and win great prizes! Increased running frequency can improve your performance, not to mention your mood, in the dreary winter months. Whether you run on your own, or as a member of FFC’s RunMonster or TriMonster Endurance groups, sign up, log your miles and earn incentives to keep you motivated! From 100 miles to 100 runs in 105 days, hit the pavement (or treadmill) and watch your fitness increase as the pounds do the opposite!


Have you recently completed a marathon or major running event?  Wondering what to do next?  As you recover from the amazing feeling of your achievement, take in a few tips from your FFC Endurance Running Marathon Coaches. Having completed more than 250 marathons combined, they have learned a thing or two about bouncing back from a marathon. So read up and enjoy some fantastic tips that will help you avoid feeling like this, or especially this.

    1. HYDRATE
      Hydrating after your marathon is just as important as before and during the race. Continue hydrating two to three days days after you cross the finish line with a greater volume of electrolyte-rich drinks, like coconut water and fruit smoothies, to help your muscles relax and recover. Your metabolism will be elevated for days following a race, and you need to match this with elevated hydration. Make improving your daily hydration a year-round habit to avoid cramping up once you return to a regular running routine, too!
      Keep moving early and often. If you have a job that involves sitting down for extended periods of time, as many of us do, take frequent breaks and walk around your workplace to stay loose. If you have to sit for extended amounts of time, be sure to massage your leg muscles while you sit, and dorsiflex (point toes up) your feet and ankles while sitting to stretch out your calves!
      Eat whole food. Reward yourself with treats for a day or two, but then shift to rewarding yourself with some high quality foods. Make sure you have substantial amounts of protein (ideally lean, like chicken and fish), quality carbs and some healthy fats ( a.k.a. put guacamole or avocado on everything!). Your muscles will need to rebuild for several days, and with proper nutrition you may be stronger in a few weeks than you have ever been. Always aim for nutrient dense, electrolyte heavy, antioxidant rich foods to help your body return to a proper recovered state. Need more nutrition tips? Consider joining FFC’s Nutrition Solutions program!
      The best way to recover quickly is to engage in low impact exercise this week. Walk the long way from home/work/the train, do a yoga or Pilates mat class you’ve always wanted to try, hit the FFC pool (whether to swim laps or do a water jog) or join a spin class (keep the intensity low, cadence high, and hydrate well before, during and after!). Cycling is one of the greatest ways to increase bloodflow to the same muscles you used while running without the impact, so long, easy bike rides with low resistance and a high cadence are a fantastic way to bounce back quickly! Find a new yoga, Pilates, and Spin classes at Fitness Formula by visiting
      Foam roll as a form of self-massage and do light stretching, and/or get a massage at the FFC Spa (if you show your race bib, you even get a discount!). Just be careful not to abuse yourself too hard as your muscles repair – use the softer white foam rollers instead of the hard black ones.
    6. RICE
      Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. Treat your body post-marathon like you’d treat yourself post-injury and give yourself proper rest. Ice your joints or take a cool bath (aim for 10 minutes or less at 50-60 degrees). Elevate your legs on the couch. Wear compression socks or sleeves at night or when traveling, and you’ll wake up feeling much better. Compression is a proven recovery method, so embrace it (even if it’s not a great fashion accessory)!
      If you recently completed a major milestone, jot down some notes to remember the day. While the images and emotions are fresh, write them down in a race report. Even if you never share them, you may be thankful years from now when you want to remember the day, and photos just don’t do the day justice. You can also learn from both success and failure, so record what you did right or wrong with your nutrition, pacing and gear, and record any data from heart rate monitors – you’ll be able to use all of this to run your next race stronger and smarter! Facebook is a great tool for this but also consider websites like or to aid you in finding a place to write down your race reports.
      If you raised money for charity, or had friends or family supporting you to your milestone, be sure to thank your donors and support team. Share photos on your favorite social media channels, and even ask for more final donations to support the great cause you ran for. It’s never too late to thank others, and the upcoming holidays are the perfect time! Consider giving thanks with an FFC gift card this holiday season and motivate your supporters to join you in training for your next endurance challenge!
      After a few days off, plan your return to running – but start gradually!  “So when can I start running at 100% again?” you may ask yourself. The standard response is one day per mile raced, but that is not a golden rule for all. For first timers, you may want to be more conservative, particularly if you have any nagging pains. Veterans have more experience, and can listen to their bodies to know the right time and right intensity level.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Either way, don’t start back up with intense “race-pace” efforts of 6+ miles. Start from scratch with two to three mile runs that are two to three minutes per mile slower than your race pace for the first week before gradually ramping back up. Plan a gradual “Return to Running” program of no more than three-mile runs at minutes per mile slower than usual the first week, and each subsequent week add one mile and erase one minute per mile from your pace until you return to your normal pace. Use this opportunity to educate yourself to run smarter, not harder. You can even revamp your running form with technique instruction, guidance and coaching from FFC’s Endurance Running Coaches throughout the fall and winter by attending the FFC Running Club’s weekly RunMonster indoor track workout at FFC Gold Coast every Thursday at 6:30pm. Visit or contact for more information.
      Once you have recovered for at least three weeks, consider taking advantage of your newfound fitness level by testing your legs with a shorter distance race like a fall or winter 5k. Avoid falling off your training routine or hitting post-race blues by signing up today! This will keep you motivated for the future, whether weeks or months away. Pick a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot or Winter Fun Run. It doesn’t even need to be a serious event or attempt at a personal best, just pick something fun to look forward to!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         After signing up, consider getting back on track with a steady training routine. If you need motivation and encouragement, consider social group training programs like FFC’s TriMonster Endurance Training Club, whether it’s the next season of FFC’s Winter RunMonster or a TriMonster triathlon training program. Maybe even consider learning to swim and train for the upcoming FFC Indoor Triathlon and Duathlon Series!

Use these 10 tips to recover smart and stay motivated, and you’ll soon be on your way to achieving your next great fitness milestone!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin and Caeser Kinnier.

Coach Chris is Head Endurance Coach of Fitness Formula Clubs, a 10-time Ironman, and a Level II Certified Coach for USA Triathlon.  Chris is also a sub 3:30 marathoner with 19 marathons including 7 Chicago marathons under his belt.  You can follow Coach Chris’ and FFC’s endurance training club online at and

Coach Caeser is a 3-time Ironman and 46-time marathoner. He is a Head Running Coach for Fitness Formula Clubs and TEAM TO END AIDS (T2) and a Marathon Maniac, completing upward of 13 marathons in less than one year!

More Post-Marathon Tips:

T2 Informational Sessions

Join T2 for two Q&A sessions to learn more about the team and run training opportunities!

  • Monday, Nov. 10: 4:30pm-5:30pm at FFC Union Station
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12: 5:30pm-6:00pm at FFC South Loop

For more information, contact Coach Cassidy at



FREE Injury Screenings


Do you have an injury that pops up now and again, or a persistent pain that won’t go away? Stop by one of Fitness Formula Clubs’ following locations for a complimentary injury screening, courtesy of NovaCare.

Tuesday, Nov. 4: West Loop 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Nov. 12: Lincoln Park 10 am-12 pm
Wednesday, Nov. 12: Old Town 5:30-7 pm
Monday, Nov. 17: Halsted Street 5:30-7 pm
Wednesday, Nov. 19: East Lakeview 5:30-7 pm
Thursday, Nov. 20: Union Station 11 am-1 pm
Thursday, Nov. 20: South Loop 5:30-7 pm