Remember the days of back-to-school prep, making sure you had enough pencils, a cool backpack, and the good ole’ trusty lunchbox? The lunchbox was key: it housed your most precious snacks, giving you enough energy to sprint the bases during gym class kickball and stay awake in math class (maybe). Fast forward into adult years… what happened to your lunch box?

After several years as a registered dietitian, I’ve noticed that lunch tends to be the most neglected meal, with dinner and breakfast getting most of meal prep attention. That leaves a quick 15 minute, on the go option for lunch — whether a sad sandwich on white bread, a run to the drive through, or a “protein” bar (FYI there is probably more sugar than protein in your bar). Lunch deserves to be planned out! It’s the time of day you need a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to give you energy to finish out the work day, replenish your energy from your morning workout, and prevent late night sweet cravings. Let’s bring some of that childhood excitement back to lunch!

The Lunchtime Essentials

A complete meal should include four main components: non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Your lunch isn’t complete unless you can check off all four of these categories. And don’t forget 8-10 oz. of water!

Back to Packing

Don’t let your brown bag lunch history deter you! All the cool kids bring their lunch to work. It gives you the most control over your intake, which translates into your goals being achieved. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Leftovers: I know, it was probably a stretch to get you to consider packing your lunch and now I’m suggesting leftovers. But hear me out — we don’t all have the time to meticulously plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a balanced and timely way that gives us all necessary nutrients, can be stored properly for the week, and tastes good. That’s where leftovers come in: cook once, eat twice (or three or four times). Hello efficiency.
  • Quinoa bowls: Quinoa is a high fiber whole grain that absorbs flavor; make a batch for lunches and it will taste better as the week goes on. Try a Mexican-inspired quinoa bowl with grilled chicken, black beans, chopped tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and bell peppers topped with olive oil and lime juice dressing (add garlic, cumin, and sriracha for a little more flavor and heat).
  • Snack lunch: Sometimes you may not have time to put together a cohesive meal for lunch and that’s okay. As long as you include all four components, you’re set. A snack-lunch could consistent of one cup baby carrots, one cup sliced cucumbers, one stick grass-fed jerky, an apple, and one brown rice cake topped with an individual packet of guacamole. Need more protein? Swap jerky for two hard boiled eggs. Plant based? Omit the jerky and use hummus instead of guacamole. Simple and satisfying.

When You Have to Buy Lunch

Of course, there will be inevitable days when you need to buy a lunch. Keep it simple. Avoid making huge substitutions and changes to pre-made menu items as this often changes the taste and volume of food so you may be hungry an hour later. First pick your protein, whether it’s animal or plant based; aim for 3-5 ounces (size of the palm of your hand). Then add veggies: a salad, grilled seasonal veggies, or a cup of broth-based vegetable soup. Lastly, choose complex carbohydrates. This can be brown rice, sweet potato, or farro. A carb serving should be approximately the size of your fist.

Get Packing!

Now that you’ve thought about what to pack, create an action plan of how you will achieve this goal. Start realistically, committing to a packed lunch twice per week. Slowly add more days each week until your lunch packing pro. If you’re feeling extra proud of yourself, tag FFC in your lunchbox pictures on social media!

Want to set up a complimentary consultation with Liz? Email her at edejulius@ffc.com!

In honor of National Relaxation Day on August 15, check out FFC’s August playlist, curated by FFC Gold Coast massage therapist Neale Baldyga! Neale says, “Hi, I’m Neale and music is my life. I work as a massage therapist at FFC Gold Coast, and I DJ, drum, and facilitate sound healing events throughout Chicago.”

Go-to workout song: “truly an impossible task. Rock would be my go-to genre.”

Why music is important for fitness: music has a limitless potential to help people create the feeling that they want for any particular workout. It can inspire you to dig deeper or to end in relaxation.

Check out the full playlist below!

Make the Spa at FFC your finish line! Bring in a race bib from 2019 for:

  • $5 off a 30-minute massage or petite facial
  • $10 off a 60-minute massage or FFC facial
  • $15 off a 90-minute massage or signature facial (80-minutes)

*No two discounts apply.

Pedicure Special

Enjoy a spa pedicure for $40
*Service must be received in July. No two discounts apply.

Sunless Airbrush Tanning With Ortanic

Enjoy a $25 Custom Airbrush Tan with any FFC Spa Service in the month of July.
Show your FFC Spa receipt from any July service and receive a $25 Custom Airbrush Tan through the end of August.

Use Your FSA/HSA to Pay For Massage Therapy!

Did you know: in many cases, a massage can be covered by your insurance plan if you have an FSA or HSA account! For more details, visit http://ffc.com/docs/HSA-FSA-for-Massage.pdf.

Here we grow again! NovaCare is excited to announce our expanded presence within the Fitness Formula Clubs network with the opening of their newest location inside FFC Gold Coast!

Under the direction of center manager, Mike Kelly and physical therapist, Casey Gray, the Gold Coast center will offer physical therapy, IASTM therapy, low-back rehabilitation, manual therapy, TMJ rehabilitation, and more. Call 312.900.9595 or stop in and schedule an assessment today, No referral, no problem!

If you are experiencing pain or have sustained a recent injury, please see one of our clinicians for a complimentary injury screen and experience the power of physical therapy. See below for July’s schedule of injury screen times:

  • FFC Boystown – July 21; 9 AM
  • FFC East Lakeview – July 13; 9:30 – 10:30 AM
  • FFC Elmhurst – July 13; 8 – 11 AM
  • FFC Gold Coast – July 9; 5 – 7 PM
  • FFC Lincoln Park – July 30; 5 – 7 PM
  • FFC Oak Park – July 23; 12 – 2 PM
  • FFC Park Ridge – July 16; 3 – 5 PM
  • FFC South Loop – walk-ins welcome
  • FFC Union Station – July 17; 11:30 AM – 1 PM
  • FFC West Loop – July 9; 4:15 – 5 PM

Are you looking to change or break a habit of yours? Changing your habits is the key to successful, sustainable health outcomes. Not only can having healthy habits reduce our risk of certain chronic health conditions, it can also help us feel our best, have more energy and have a more positive outlook.

If you’ve ever tried to change or create a habit before, you’ve probably experienced how hard it can be! Try not to be discouraged by this. What helps is viewing the habit change the same way as learning a new skill. Learning a new skill takes time. While you may hear that it takes 2 weeks to 30 days to build a habit, in reality, it may take as long as six months to a year to be fully ingrained in your routine.

Whether you want to go to the gym more often, eat healthier food, get more sleep, improve your productivity or save more money, changing your habits comes down to the same process. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Think about why you want to make the change. It’s really important to understand why changing your habit is valuable to you. What makes you emotionally invested in putting the effort into changing? Our emotions are very powerful in dictating our thoughts, behaviors, actions, and choices. While it may be logical to change i.e. getting more sleep will give you more energy, this fact alone is usually not enough for people to change. Why is feeling more energized important to you? Why do you care? Think about it! This should really spark something in you!
  2. Maybe you’ve been thinking about changing this habit for sometime, but the thought of doing it is overwhelming you. Decision fatigue sets in and you’re feeling hopeless and give up. Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Catch yourself if you’re falling into the “all or nothing” thinking and take a moment to slow down. Break down the goal you’re trying to achieve into much smaller steps, segments or pieces. By breaking down the goal this way, you’ll be able to accomplish the task at hand in a much easier way which will help you build momentum and motivation.
  3. Another way to make a change in your habits is to set up your environment to help you succeed. Examples of this include keeping healthier foods stocked in your kitchen, packing your lunch the night before a busy morning, keeping your gym clothes/shoes at work, or decluttering your desk to maximize productivity. This extra step of setting up your environment is a powerful way to keep yourself consistent and have your habit change be at the forefront of your mind.

Try out these 3 tips to get you started on changing your habits little by little overtime and see your success rate grow until you reach the point when you’re doing it without even thinking about it!

Want more tips or to set up a complimentary consultation with Emily? Email her at emarshall@ffc.com!

Check out FFC’s July playlist, curated by Chicago DJ duo Milk n Cooks! Paul and James are twin brothers who started their lives as athletes that always loved being in the fitness world. They developed into music producers and DJs and now are figuring out creative ways to combine both of those passions.

They will be spinning live at the Raise on the Roof rooftop fitness party at FFC Elmhurst on Friday, 26 – which will raise money to find a cure for ALS. Visit www.ffc.com/raise for more info and to get your ticket!! Event will start with a high-energy cardio class set to live tunes and conclude with mingling, light bites and cocktails, the opportunity to win some amazing prizes and of course, more live music from Milk n Cooks Music!

Listen to some of their favorite workout tunes below:

https://open.spotify.com/user/ffc_chicago

 

 

 

The FFC Union Station Facebook group will be your one-stop, all-inclusive location to learn about breaking news, events, staff, education and various other fun information.

Stay up to date with everything happening in the club and the fun that our members and team are having! https://www.facebook.com/groups/FFCUnionStation/.

Stop by the local’84 Cafe at FFC Union Station to see the artwork of featured artist Victoria Martin! Visit and check out her Botanical Cures collection, pieces of oil paint on clear gesso canvas, hung as tapestries. Some featured works include ‘Turmeric Root’, ‘Cayenne Fruit’ and ‘Red Clover’.

An artist reception will be held in June, and the work will be on display through August! Questions? Email dkania@ffc.com.

On two Fridays in June (June 14 and June 28), we will be waiving the daily guest fee for guests! Show off everything you love about your club and invite a coworker, family member or neighbor to experience FFC Union Station. For questions, email ewachs@ffc.com.

Did you know: in many cases, a massage can be covered by your insurance plan if you have an FSA or HSA account!

For more details, visit http://ffc.com/docs/HSA-FSA-for-Massage.pdf.