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FFC Old Town member Bryce shares her inspirational weight loss story: triumphs and trials, her experience finding a trainer that fit her needs and everything she learned along the way.

Ever since my senior year of college I have been on a roller coaster of gaining weight and losing weight. I couldn’t go a season of being the same weight. In the summer of 2014, my sister got engaged. I knew that if I wanted to look good in the bridesmaid dress, I needed to lose the weight. I joined Weight Watchers for what would have been the billionth time and joined FFC Old Town for the first time. By the spring of 2015 I had successfully lost almost 50 pounds with the help of a trainer and nutrition plan.

That July I was let go from my job due to budget cuts and essentially gave up and returned to my old ways. I stopped eating healthfully and returned to fast food; I also stopped going to the gym. Within 16 months, not only did I regain the weight I’d lost, I gained an additional 25 pounds, for a total of 75 pounds. It was like a BOGO sale – ‘gain back 50 plus half more!’ You would have thought the pain in my joints walking short distances, falling to the floor with a large thump while squatting to play with my then 6-month old niece, the fact that people at Jimmy/Papa John’s knew my order by the sound of my voice or the realization that I was barely one size away from only plus-sized clothing would have encouraged me to lose the weight, but it didn’t.

One Foot in Front of the Other – The Journey Back to Healthy Habits

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom and was fed up with my situation that I finally faced the facts and stepped on the scale in November of 2016. I should also mention that one of the main motivators to lose weight was due to my plantar fasciitis. I had been experiencing pain since September and when I saw my podiatrist two months later, he confirmed the diagnosis. I have flat feet and have been wearing custom orthotics since I was a child. The excess weight only flattened my feet more and contributed to the diagnosis. Once I stepped off that scale I was mortified and disappointed to learn I had gained 75 – making me now over 200 pounds. Seeing ‘2’ as the first number was extremely painful. I joined Weight Watchers the next day and entered a grocery store for the first time in forever. I didn’t want to rejoin the gym, though, because I was embarrassed to walk in and show that I’d gained back all the weight, plus more.

Related: read about what led up to member Eric’s life-changing decision and what impact it had on his health.

With the persuasion of my mom (because she knew I was so successful on my last weight loss journey) and the fact that it was a good stress reliever, I rejoined the gym in December that year at 13 pounds down. I signed up with a trainer (I’ve had 3 since I restarted). In my mind I was going to have a good connection with my trainer because I’d experienced that the last time, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.

Trainer 1 never ‘got me’ or understood my limitations (especially with my plantar fasciitis). I don’t think he ever thought I could successfully lose the weight; in some ways I don’t blame him, I wasn’t full committed, partially because I wasn’t the biggest fan and he didn’t motivate me. Every exercise I did was painful. I couldn’t walk over 3.2 mph on the treadmill without feeling winded; using the elliptical was nearly impossible. I felt truly defeated – it wouldn’t be a lie to say I hated the gym. After a little more than a month with Trainer 1, I started working with Trainer 2. I liked her more, but didn’t feel 100% comfortable with her. She was passive aggressive and I am the opposite; I avoid confrontation at all costs. She also spent more time looking at herself in the mirror, talking about herself and cleaning up the equipment than helping me. I never shared my concerns because I thought that was the best I was going to get and I avoid confrontation at all costs. She moved away and in December of 2017 I began training with Trainer 3, Eric, who met my needs.

Eric is by far the best trainer I have ever worked with – he is kind, attentive to my injuries and motivating. Before every session he greets me with a, ‘Hi champ – how was your day?’. He also has the ability to put me in my place, and I truly appreciate it. Professionally, I work with kids with special needs, and often am utterly exhausted when I get to the gym. As soon as he sees me, if he notices my face/attitude look defeated, he tells me to ‘fix my face and walk back in’, which totally changes my attitude. It’s the kick in the butt I need.

Overcoming Obstacles and Seeing Sustainable Success

As soon as I started working with Eric, I started enjoying the gym. I once noticed someone deadlifting and told Eric I wanted to do that one day – he said I could, but I didn’t believe it. He gave me the tools and I am forever grateful. The very next session we started using kettlebells to work up to a deadlift. After that, I practiced my form on the bar. Finally, he put weight on the bar, and I officially did my first deadlift. Over time, I was able to create a bond with Eric – he not only was my trainer, but became a friend as well.

Eric is by far the best trainer I have ever worked with – he is kind, attentive to my injuries and motivating. Before every session he greets me with a, ‘Hi champ – how was your day?’. He also has the ability to put me in my place, and I truly appreciate it. Professionally, I work with kids with special needs, and often am utterly exhausted when I get to the gym. As soon as he sees me, if he notices my face/attitude look defeated, he tells me to ‘fix my face and walk back in’, which totally changes my attitude. It’s the kick in the butt I need.

When I first started my weight loss journey, walking was the only exercise I did outside the gym. I used my Fitbit as a motivator to see how many steps I could get in a day. I would walk back and forth down the halls at my school during all my breaks and even at lunch. At first, I think my coworkers thought it was weird, but when they noticed I had lost weight, they would root me on and ask how many steps I was at. We did a Fitbit challenge to see who could get the most steps in for the month of April in 2017 – I won. It was during that challenge that I became motivated with Myzone.

Myzone for weight lossI remember going to the gym and getting on the treadmill because I wanted get the most steps for that challenge. I remember looking at the Myzone display screens and for some reason I was dead set on burning 1000 calories. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I just wanted to see how far I could go. Well after an hour and forty-five minutes of walking fast on an incline on the treadmill I hit that 1000 calories. I was so proud of myself I took a picture of it because I was in shock that I was able to do it. I have used my Myzone as a motivator to add more movement to my day. Before my sessions with Eric I’ll dance around my apartment, walk back and forth down the halls at school or climb stairs to gain MEPs. I have participated in three Myzone challenges. I was never motivated to actually win – the motivation for me is to be healthier and to be the best I could be.

Related: how Laura, despite living in Mexico City, sustainably lost weight with Myzone.

As I said earlier, I have never been able to maintain my weight. This time I am keeping the weight off. Part of it was knowing my “why” and “how”. My ‘how’ is through my workout and nutrition. I would like to think I eat pretty clean. I love fruit. Now, I’d rather have fruit than a candy bar. My fitness goals now include continuing to get stronger and add more tone. I am proud to say that so far, I have lost 80 pounds, and for the first time since I was a senior in college have been able to keep the weight off for many seasons.

My why is because I couldn’t keep riding the roller coaster of weight changes. I realized I needed to make my health my priority I needed to take care of myself. Now, I feel better about myself. I have more confidence and I carry myself differently. I am a happier person.

Post written by FFC Old Town member Bryce L.

I remember going to the gym and getting on the treadmill because I wanted get the most steps for that challenge. I remember looking at the Myzone display screens and for some reason I was dead set on burning 1000 calories. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I just wanted to see how far I could go. Well after an hour and forty-five minutes of walking fast on an incline on the treadmill I hit that 1000 calories. I was so proud of myself I took a picture of it because I was in shock that I was able to do it. I have used my Myzone as a motivator to add more movement to my day. Before my sessions with Eric I’ll dance around my apartment, walk back and forth down the halls at school or climb stairs to gain MEPs. I have participated in three Myzone challenges. I was never motivated to actually win – the motivation for me is to be healthier and to be the best I could be.

 

I had to make a change. I’d known I had to for quite some time, but never fully committed. I made countless New Year’s resolutions, “starting January 2nd I’m limiting drinking, eating healthier, and working out.” I would commit to my plan for a couple weeks, then fade away and return to old habits. Pushing it off to “next Monday” or “next week” became the norm.

It was during and after college that my eating and exercise habits became poor. I also experienced an increased appetite from medication side effects. I would get home from work and make up an excuse for not being able to work out. My cholesterol was high and I felt sluggish and had no energy.

Fast forward to July of 2018 and it hit me: ‘I can’t do this anymore; I have to make a lifestyle change. I want to feel better and live a healthier lifestyle.’ I knew it would not happen overnight and I quickly learned that patience was key. It was all about progress; I set a small goal for myself each week. The most motivating factor was looking at pictures and realizing how unhealthy I had gotten.

Making Changes

I recognized that altering my diet was going to play an integral role in my journey. Rather than eating junk food and buying my lunch, I started cooking and eating lean meat, fish, fruits and veggies. I purchased an app called MyNet Diary to help track my macros. I drank at least a gallon of water a day to stay hydrated and to flush out any toxins in my body. I cut out alcohol (which was a difficult task for a twenty-something guy living in ‘Summertime Chi’!).

FFC became my best friend. The 606 Trail became my second-best friend. It was at these two places where I felt I was actually making progress. Yes, my food choices were important, but it was at the gym where I noticed real change. I started running and ran a LOT. I ran 10 miles every Sunday to start the week off on the right foot (pun intended). I either ran or went to FFC every day for three months straight. Some days I didn’t feel like going, but I pushed myself. Once I got there, I never regretted going.

Related: FFC member Shelby committed to trying Pilates – here’s what she learned and how her life changed.

Compromising & Lessons Learned

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s easy or fun, for that matter. It’s not, but you have to make sacrifices if you really want to improve. I implemented an 80/20 rule for myself: 80% of the time I eat lean, clean meals, but 20% of the time I am still able to eat what I enjoy/crave. Sometimes I have a taste for fried chicken or pizza. Some food is just good for the soul! I don’t restrict myself from anything, however have learned that moderation is key. It is important to focus more on what I’m adding into my diet versus what I’m taking out.

For the first time ever, I was able to take a noticeable “before and after” picture. I dropped 40 pounds and six waist sizes in three months, and have maintained my progress since then. My friends, family, and colleagues all noticed a change. I mentioned earlier that pictures had motivated me, but it was the comments from others that kept me going. Since switching to a healthier lifestyle, I feel more energized in every sense of my being.

When people ask “my secret,” I tell them it was not rocket science or some fad diet. I did not restrict or punish myself, which I know is the reason behind the sustainability. I still go to the gym often, cook nutritious meals, and enjoy my healthy and active lifestyle. The best advice I can give is to be patient with yourself. Transformation will not happen overnight, but if you stay focused and dedicated, change is possible and worth it. And finally, it wouldn’t be fair to conclude without a heartfelt thank you to my fiancé and family for motivating and supporting me every step of the way.

You can follow along with John on Instagram here or Twitter here!

Post written by FFC member John Ziegler.

 

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How FFC member Ian LaBelle overcame a devastating sports injury, found a new passion and life purpose raising funds and awareness for an amazing cause.

I was a pretty average kid growing up in New England. I had a supportive family, was decently athletic through my early childhood and high school, had a large group of friends from home, and was extremely involved at my college. This may seem like an ideal way to grow up, but for me, those years felt like I was just going through the motions of what was expected of me. As my college career came to, I realized that person was not who I was. So I did something I never thought I would have the courage to do – I decided to come out to my family and friends. I knew that by doing so, everything from that moment on would capture who I really was as a person, friend, brother, son and an athlete.

As if this decision wasn’t life changing enough, I moved to Chicago just a short 2 months after graduation. I had no job and no friends. Only a signed lease for a one-bedroom apartment that I had never seen a picture of, (some may say this was very brave). I reflect back and try to imagine what on earth my parents were thinking, letting me sign a lease without seeing a single picture! They must have seen a lot more in me than I ever did – something I will forever be grateful for. That spontaneous, slightly stupid (and do I dare say brave) moment has led me to this very appreciative spot I find myself in. I have a partner who I can’t imagine a moment without, a group of friends and family that have always supported me and my crazy passions, and a massive goal to raise $25,000 dollars for the 2019 AIDS/LifeCycle bike ride this June.

Becoming an Olympic Hopeful

My partner, Chris, introduced me to FFC about 6 years ago when we first met. Soon after, I became a member and fell back in love with being physically active, setting goals, and accomplishing them. FFC allowed me to explore new outlets that I previously did not have access to. Chris always encouraged me to push myself to achieve more than I ever though I was capable of. Pipe dreams soon became realities, and two years later, I found myself toeing the line of the Boston Marathon, only a few feet behind the elite leaders, competing for the Fleet Feet Men’s Elite team.

Training at FFC East Lakeview had allowed me to discover a potential in distance running that I never knew I had. As a first-time runner, I trained for my first marathon at this location. Not really knowing what I was doing, I completed the majority of my runs through the disturbingly cold Chicago winter months on the treadmill. Living in the building the gym was located in allowed me easy access to the facility I soon became close with some of the trainers as they offered me their experience and advice as how to best optimize my training. My goal was to somehow obtain a Boston Marathon qualifying time. That spring, I ran my first race in Louisville, KY and qualified for the Boston Marathon on my first attempt.

There were tears in all of our eyes as I crossed the finish line – an overwhelming emotional response for all, comprehending what I had just done. I instantly knew that I had a talent for distance running and qualifying for Boston soon became not enough. My sights were immediately set on something much larger: the Olympics. My new goal was to run an Olympic qualifying time at the Boston Marathon. A year and a half later, I ran my best race (and time) in Indianapolis, IN. I finished the marathon in 2 hours and 28 minutes. I felt there was nothing that could knock me down after that because I felt so strong after I finished. I knew I would achieve that standard.

Dealing with Devastation

About two months after Indianapolis, I found myself at doctor #3 trying to get to the bottom of my sports injury and figure out why my ankle and calves would lock up every single time I would try to run. I would spend the next year and a half trying to get back to where I was. Every time I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, I’d stumble back twice as far. I was upset, furious and depressed. I felt my identity was stolen from me.

Then one day I just stopped running. I stopped caring. I turned around and realized that the only reason I was able to still stand when I felt so defeated and torn down was because Chris, my friends and my family were still standing behind me. Even when I put them last.

In hindsight, this goal had a large price tag on it, and I almost paid that price – not only with a sports injury. Running at a high level is a very individually-focused endeavor. The running community is one of the most welcoming, friendly and passionate groups I have ever been a part of. I loved my running family. Their support was amazing, but I was only concerned about my goal and getting myself over that finish line. I was willing to sacrifice everything for that one gratifying moment. What I’ve come realize now was that my obsession to achieve an Olympic qualifying time was coming at the cost of some of those I hold so close to me now.

Related: how ultra-marathon runner Nisha recovered from her mentally and physically taxing events and found a community at FFC.

Rerouting and Recovery

The began to invest the enrichment I found in competing elsewhere: in people, friends, family. My active lifestyle became focused around doing things I wanted to do. My focus wasn’t on consuming 100+ mile weeks, monitoring my food intake to make sure I was always running at my prime weight. I realized that my previous obsession was not healthy, mentally or physically.

Chris encouraged me to get a road bike and explore a different type of endurance outlet since my sports injury were still not allowing me to run much. I still yearned the feeling of just being out on the road for hours, that feeling of an endurance high. Dave Zimmer, the owner of the Fleet Feet Spots locations in the Chicagoland area, encouraged me to come into their Deerfield location to get fitted for a bike. I will always be forever grateful to Dave, Fleet Feet Sports and my teammates on the Men’s Elite team for how they supported me through my running successes, through injury, and with my decision to pull out for running competitively.

I began riding daily, whenever it was nice outside. 50, 60, 70, 90+ mile rides, whatever I felt like doing that day. I loved where my bike was able to take me. But knowing how I got to this happy place, I knew that something was still missing. I could ride my bike for hours and hours and hours; I loved it. I wanted to find an outlet that I could channel this passion for a positive change. That is when I discovered the AIDS/LifeCycle ride in California.

Channeling Energy into a Cause

The AIDS/LifeCycle ride is a 545-mile bike ride that begins in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles 6 days later. This ride raises funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

This was it. This was what the past few years was leading me to. This was what my talent for endurance sport was preparing me for. I had spent the last few years selfishly competing not caring who was caught in the hairs of obsessing a number. Here was a chance for me to give back to something so much bigger than myself – a chance to give back to my community.

Now, I am obsessing over a different type of number. I’m setting out to raise $25,000 for the 2019 AIDS/LifeCycle Ride in June. I am riding as a supporter of those who are living, those who have passed, and those who do not yet know their AIDS or HIV status. Most importantly I am riding for those that I personally know who have been diagnosed with HIV.

As a young, confident, gay man who doesn’t care anymore about who does or does not see me for who I truly am, I recognize that there are a lot of individuals that have sacrificed to pave the way for me.

Better, harder, faster, stronger is how I plan on taking this goal down, but this time I am not doing it alone. I am relying on a lot of friends, family, the LGBTQ+ community, my old Fleet Feet teammates, my new CÜR (Chicago Urban Riders) teammates, and FFC, to help me reach this goal. Fundraising is only half the battle, training for a 545-mile ride over six days is the other side of the coin I can’t forget about.

If I have learned anything though this experience it’s that sometimes you think you know where you are supposed to be, what you are meant to do, and who you are. Then you realize that everything you just went though was to prepare you for what’s coming next. Everything will be alright in the end, and if things don’t seem right, then it’s not the end for you.

If you are inspired by my story and want to help me reach my goal of $25,000 for the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride please visit my personal donation page: http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/IanLaBelle

Post written by and photos courtesy of FFC member Ian LaBelle.

My story began in 2011, and in a way that is slightly different than you’d initially expect or assume when the topic of a gym or exercise gets brought into the conversation. At the time I joined FFC, I thought I became a member because my ‘crush’ was also a member. This was the perfect excuse to spend more time together (yikes, *cringing hard*) However, what I quickly realized was that the underlying reason I joined FFC was far deeper than a 4-month crush that my naive 21-year-old self wanted to admit.

For the first month, I was slave to the elliptical machine, the bicycle, the treadmill — really, anything that I could monitor the amount of calories burned on a second-to-second basis. There was an unspoken (but consistently abided by) rule that I couldn’t leave the gym unless – at the very minimum – an hour of exercise was completed. Looking back, I’m pretty certain my younger and gym-obsessed self didn’t actually enjoy it. That being said, I would never miss a day of the gym; it was an obligation I began to resent and yet couldn’t do without. It was a dependency I had built.

Uncovering the Cause & Exercise Addiction

Let’s backtrack for a moment here to get a fuller picture of what was really going on at the time. At 15 years old, I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. To shorten a rather long story, I was placed in treatment, was discharged after a month at a ‘restored weight’, and yet I wasn’t recovered. I was nowhere near recovered. Anorexia itself isn’t solely about the food, or one’s body weight: rather, these things were “tools” I was using at the time to avoid what I was actually feeling and experiencing. So, somewhat ‘inevitably’, I relapsed during my freshman year of college.

By the time I joined FFC, I had also decided to recover on my own this time, free of treatment. I was overcoming the ‘food issues’ that had been at the foundation of my life for the past 5 years, and was able to gain about 20 pounds on my own. And yet there was a new obsession beginning: control over my body’s movement (exercise) and what it looked like. Exercise became my replacement to food restriction.

Resisting the Routine

I walked into FFC Gold Coast at about 90 pounds, still extremely malnourished. I was scheduled with Jeremy, one of the trainers who I will forever be grateful for (THANK YOU). On the day of our ‘free consultation session’, he walked me right past my ever-beloved elliptical, and to an open area near the free weights. We used only my body weight to perform squats, lunges, and tested my mobility.

In my head, all I could remember thinking was: ‘this isn’t doing enough. How many calories is this making me burn? I feel like we only worked out for 15 minutes total. Guess I’ll have to do more right after. This isn’t ENOUGH.’

However, the other side of my mind (the rational side), said that something about the session was empowering. It was scary and filled with uncertainty, but empowering enough that I decided to give up my usual routine. It didn’t happen overnight – rather, over the course of a year. The most common goal we hear upon joining a gym is to lose weight. My goal transformed into one of weight GAIN. And so I did: FFC helped me gain 25 pounds through exercise. In other words: FFC was part of what helped me gain my life back.

My words make it sound somewhat simple. It was far from: there were days of doubt, of wanting to relapse back to a life of obsession and of routine. And yet, the strength I built – both emotionally and physically – kept me pushing forward. I cannot fully explain in 2 pages, much less even 50 pages, what it’s like to feel alive within your body after it was destroyed and disrespected for so long. I cannot completely describe the amount of joy I find in movement: and this time, not for its purpose of burning calories, but rather for ADDING strength and power to my life. I can’t express the appreciation I have for a gym that provided such a safe space for the growth I experienced.

Related: an FFC trainer weighs in on the argument for weight lifting and why it will help you create a more well-rounded routine.

Recovered & Rewriting My Story

FFC will forever hold a special place in my heart. It is where my body changed, evolved, and transformed. It is where my MIND transformed, where I overcame exercise addiction, I rebuilt the relationship I had with my body and exercise, and where I continue to maintain such a healthy mindset around exercise. It was part of nearly every stage of my recovery. Its floors and walls hold painful conversations, fear, joy, and excitement. It witnessed my initial spoken goal of “toning my body” (AKA, maintaining my exercise addiction), to my recovered self saying, “I’m just here to feel good within my body.”

Our bodies are truly incredible; they are the vehicle to everything that we do. While I understand every individual has a different goal upon walking into a gym, I am hopeful that at the foundation of it is to show our bodies the highest level of respect that we possibly can.

There are days I want to lift weights and feel like a strong, mighty little badass. Other days, my body is craving slower movement – or no movement at all! In both cases: my body knows exactly what it needs. My role is just to listen and honor it. Exercise was never meant to be an obligation, an addiction, or a source of control over our bodies. Rather, it’s one of the greatest ways to show ourselves respect, compassion, appreciation, and to find the joy in movement.

Our bodies are truly incredible; they are the vehicle to everything that we do. While I understand every individual has a different goal upon walking into a gym, I am hopeful that at the foundation of it is to show our bodies the highest level of respect that we possibly can.

Post written by FFC Gold Coast member Nicole Ness.

About Nicole

Nicole is 27 and was born and raised in Chicago. She currently works as a behavioral therapist in private practice – and loves absolutely everything about it. Outside of the therapy office, Nicole would bring her yoga mat everywhere she goes if she could, could eat sushi for every meal (and sometimes does), and is borderline obsessed with traveling and experiencing new cultures. Her most recent trip? Bali, Indonesia, where she completed 200-hours of yoga training. She also will talk your ear off if you see her at FFC – so let this be your warning!

FFC Old Town fitness director and master trainer Eric Alexon shares the story of family member Laura, how she got involved with Myzone and FFC (which functioned as a sort of weight loss community) and lost over 70 pounds – while in Mexico, no less, along with his own takeaways on how she found success.

When It Was Time for a Change

Laura: I was my heaviest at 181 pounds about 5 years ago. My heart and the mirror were the two biggest reasons for making a change.

Eric: There is always an ‘it factor’ behind major changes related to fitness goals. The ‘it factor’ can be buried deeply. Identifying the real ‘it factor’ behind wanting to make healthy fitness changes is key. For Laura it was not liking what she saw in the mirror one day. Laura also talked about being sad, overall, with how she was feeling and what she was seeing and in her reflection.

These two ‘it factors’ propelled Laura to make lifestyle changes. Laura joined a gym in Mexico City and got a Myzone heart rate device. She met with a trainer and a nutritionist on a regular basis. These changes gave Laura knowledge and accountability and provided an environment for positive physical changes.

Related: check out FFC group fitness instructor Omar’s first-hand account of what happened when he tried Myzone.

How I Started to Change

Laura: Food was my first change. I started with a nutritionist and walking 30 minutes a day, every day, but that was initially too much, so I had to try for 15 minutes a day. With the help of a nutritionist and my brother Pablo, I started cutting carbs and focusing on portion control.

Eric: Laura turned to experts and people who were inspirational and supportive. The trainer and nutritionist helped educate and guide Laura. In the fitness industry, we say that you are the sum of your 5 closest friends when it comes to your own fitness.

Laura surrounded herself with friends and family that had/have similar healthy lifestyles. Laura’s brother, Pablo, is an amateur bodybuilder and member of FFC Old Town. Pablo introduced Myzone to Laura so he could encourage and support her from thousands of miles away!

Taking It to the Next Level

Laura, 5 years ago

Laura: I received a Myzone belt from Pablo and started going to the gym regularly, Monday through Friday, for one hour. The belt and the colored zones motivated me from the start. Initially, I was only able to achieve gray and blue. Little by little, I was able to achieve green during some workouts. Over time and with consistency, I was able to eventually reach yellow and some red during my toughest workouts.

I liked the social component – it helped encourage me. I set my cardio workouts for the yellow zone, which would give me a definite target so I knew I was getting maximum MEPs (Myzone effort points). I could see Pablo and Eric, and even encouragement from people in Chicago I’d never met, giving my workouts a thumbs up or bicep emoji. This encouragement helped me a lot.

Eric: Myzone is a great tool for accountability for people not only in the same gym, but even as far away as Mexico City. It creates a community (like a weight loss community might) and a sense of belonging. Laura has competed in many M2W competitions and uses the social component to stay connected and feel like she is on the Old Town team!

Maintaining the Results

Laura: Seeing the clothes I can fit into now is a great motivation. Seeing my old pictures helps me not want to gain weight again. I’ve maintained my weight of 136 pounds for about 2 years.

Eric: Consistency is the key. We know that even a ‘safe’ fitness program performed consistently can provide low-level results. When consistency is added to factors such as a trainer and nutritionist, real results can be achieved and maintained. The more support and accountability, the greater the chance of long term, sustainable results.

Keys to Success

Laura: Myzone, my diet and consistency have been the keys to my success. Knowing that people at FFC in Chicago can see my workouts has helped me maintain and encourages me!

July workout results

Eric: The competitions have helped motivate Laura and keep the weight off. Even though she lives in Mexico City, she can see how hard the competition works in Chicago at all the FFC clubs. For example, in July, she worked out 29 out of 31 days during one of the competitions, which makes her feel like she belongs to the Myzone and FFC communities, even though she’s never been to the United States.

Laura with brother Pablo

Future Fitness Goals

Laura: I want to keep going! Balance and definition are the two goals moving forward in 2019.

Eric: I believe that Laura having realistic goals from the beginning was the key to her success. Her initial goal was to get moving. The next was to get moving consistently. After that, it was adding fitness experts (like a trainer and nutritionist) and the Myzone belt for education and accountability. Lastly, Laura added the final appearance and performance goals of definition and balance after achieving the many other sequential goals. Through short, medium and long-term goals from the beginning, she has continued the formula to success, one step at a time.

Post adapted by FFC fitness director and master trainer Eric Alexon.

About Eric

Eric is the fitness director and a master trainer at FFC Old Town and is also NASM-certified. He specializes in TRX, PTR and kettlebell training, among other areas. Want to check out a class? Stop by FFC Old Town for one of his PTC/TRX classes, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 – 7 AM, or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 – 1 PM. Questions? You can also email him at ealexon@ffc.com!

 

FFC Oak Park member Gary shares his experience with fitness and wellness, becoming a stroke survivor and how it altered his course of life.

In the fall of 2007 I was 56 years old, tired, overweight and my back hurt. My job involved a lot of sitting, either by a desk or in a car. I was approaching 200 lbs, way too much for my frame. I would often get back spasms or sciatica down my legs. I was a wreck and the quality of my life was in decline. I had two choices, do nothing and continue down this slope or do something about it.

I chose the latter and joined FFC. My immediate goals were to lose 30 pounds, do a pull-up and run a 5k. The first month, I went to FFC almost every day while I altered my diet. Within 6 months I met all three of my goals, including my first 5k in April 2008, at a very respectable pace. Over the next six years, attending FFC three times a week or so, kept me sane and healthy. I continued to run one or two races each year.

Related: how this FFC member was able to avoid surgery with nutrition and exercise.

On June 9, 2014 I woke up, ate breakfast and read the Tribune. Then I dressed and went into my second-floor office to work. My wife had left for work and would be back mid-morning. I was sitting at my desk working on a report. It was about 10:35 AM and my head exploded.

I put my head in my hands and waited for the fireworks to stop. I could not imagine what was happening. With great difficulty I got up from my chair and stumbled through the hall to the bedroom and collapsed on the bed. “Maybe if I lay down for a while, this will go away.”

It didn’t. It was like July Fourth was going off in my head. After a few minutes, I finally realized it was serious. I struggled to get out of bed. One side wasn’t working right. I still didn’t understand what was happening. I dragged myself back to the office and flopped back down into the chair. With my right hand I found a pencil and a piece of paper and wrote: “Feeling woozy, it’s 10:35.”

The next thing I knew, my wife was shaking me and talking. She had found me slumped over my desk. She said she called the paramedics and that I had a stroke. I looked at her. It still didn’t register. “What do you mean?” I thought. “I had a stroke?” I pointed to the note with my right hand and tried to speak. My mouth wasn’t working the way it should and the words weren’t coming out correctly.

The paramedics arrived and asked if I could move my left side. ‘What a silly question,’ I thought. I tried to move my left arm and nothing happened. Same thing with my left leg. It was about this time that I realized that my head had stopped hurting but that I could be in trouble. I pointed to the note. They said good, that was just a few minutes ago.

I was put on a stretcher and was told they were taking me to Rush Oak Park. A fire truck and ambulance were outside the house. They carried me to the ambulance and I heard them speak to the hospital. We were there in a couple minutes. A doctor said I needed a CAT scan and they slid me in the device. Everything was happening very quickly.

Stroke Survivor

I was laid out on a bed in the ER, when they rolled a monitor up to me and said a doctor from Rush downtown would speak to me in a minute. She gave me the good news. Yes, I had a stroke. The CAT scan confirmed it was a clot and not a bleed and that was a very good thing. I would be put back in an ambulance and taken to the downtown Rush facility. On the way the paramedics would infuse me with the anti-clot drug TPA. Since I had reached this point so quickly, there was a good chance it could work. I waved at my wife with my good arm. I mumbled, “See you downtown.”

The paramedics connected me to the miracle drug and kept asking me if I was all right and if I felt anything. They asked me to try and move my left arm and leg. I began to have sensation and they moved. As the ride continued, the movements improved. I told the paramedics “look what I can do!”

We made it to Rush and they rolled me into Intensive Care. I saw my wife and waved my limbs; all of them. I had never seen a bigger smile. I was pretty excited too. Over the next hour or so, different doctors came in to examine me. I had two smaller TIA’s where the stroke symptoms would partially reappear. Then it was over. I was tired and finally had begun processing what had happened.

Later that afternoon, I was visited by other doctors. They put me through a number of mental and physical tests. I was able to answer all of their questions but it seemed to take me just a little bit longer. I could stand and walk but my left side was weaker. I did not have the same strength in my left arm and it shook when I lifted it. When I went to point at something or pick up an object, my aim was off. Not bad considering what could have been. They gave me some exercises and some toys to squeeze and play with.

Recovery – Slow And Steady Wins the Race

I was in the hospital three days and each day I felt stronger. After I came home, I immediately wanted to see if I could still drive. My wife sat beside me as I drove through the neighborhood. She noticed I was driving slower and more carefully, but the more I drove, the better I felt.

The next day, I sat down at my desk to work. My typing, which is mediocre at best, was really bad as I struggled to get my left hand to go precisely where it needed to be. That too improved. About a month later, I went back to FFC and slowly increased my workouts. In November, I ran a 5k. It was four minutes slower than the previous spring but I completed it. My work, my workouts and my grandkids were my therapy.

 

Over the next three years I ran seven races including an 8k and a 10k. My left side would always remain a little weaker but I continued to work on it. Life returned to normal but then I had surgery for Thyroid cancer. Luckily for me, there has been no recurrence. Due to my continuing workouts my recovery from the stroke and cancer has been strong and quick.

In the past year and a half, I’ve run four more races including an 8k. I’ve reached retirement and am still stretching, running and lifting and doing my best to maintain the quality of life I desire. FFC has been there with me every step of the way and I’m not done yet.

Post written by FFC Oak Park member Gary Belenke; images courtesy of Gary Belenke & Chad Marek.

 

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Countless movies, books, and fairy tales feature magic mirrors of one kind or another. Some are portals to another world. Others have a spirit living in them, or can show the past, or reveal events far off but important to the mirror’s user. The full-length mirror in the men’s locker room at the Park District’s Rehm pool in Oak Park isn’t any of these. It can’t even work the mundane magic of a department store mirror in making clothes look better on you than they do anywhere else. But it’s where my fitness journey began.

I remember the date. It was Memorial Day weekend 2015; the pool had opened for the summer that day and I had my three kids with me. We’d all just changed into our suits and were heading out to have some splashy fun. I happened to glance in the mirror as we moved to the door.

A fat old man stared back at me from the glass. Everything that wasn’t flabby was sagging, and the lingering winter pallor and fluorescent lighting didn’t help. I was shocked. Like fork in the outlet shocked. I couldn’t move, in fact, because I couldn’t believe what I saw. After a certain age and weight, you tend to avoid mirrors unless it’s necessary.

Okay, appearance isn’t everything. But it wasn’t just how the fat old man looked, it was how he felt. Here I was with my kids just exiting the locker room, hadn’t even waded in yet, and I was already tired. The act of equipping at home, transporting, and transitioning my kids from street clothes to their pool stuff had exhausted me. I was ready to lie down on a chaise and have a nap.

I had just turned fifty a couple months previously. This was no way to enter the decade (what Spalding Gray called “the Bermuda Triangle of life” meaning that it’s the time that something tends to go wrong that’ll dog you for the rest of your years). There are still plenty of experiences I’d like to have, plus the kids to launch into life.

Right then and there I decided to change.

Now, I’d bounced around a lot in the previous twenty years, gaining twenty pounds way too often, losing ten far too rarely. That ratio needed turning around, and quick. My doc was making noises about blood pressure medication and the word pre-diabetic had been thrown into the health mix. When I went to see him the next week (he was happy to hear I wanted to turn things around) he suggested just some walking to start off and a step counter. So I went to CVS and used a coupon from one of their Legion of Honor Sash-sized receipts to buy a cheap heart rate monitor. And I was off.

Related: check out this infographic to see why it’s worth considering a heart rate monitor.

Steps to Lasting Change

I started just trying to get 10,000 steps in a day and to quit snacking at night in front of the TV. Within a week or ten days I could feel a difference in me. I started swimming laps and doing things like not using my car or parking way, way out at the edge of the lot. I lost ten pounds and hit the same plateau I always seemed to hit. The scale quit moving, no matter how many steps I had on that cheap wristwatch.

After some loin-girding I joined FFC Oak Park so I’d have more options for training to keep my body off-balance. I started a strict intermittent fasting program (I found out about that from Terry Crews – I like to read celeb workout programs now and then, like how Jason Momoa turned himself into Conan). I did a little bit of everything, types of exercise I’d never tried in my life, from ballet barre (kind of a twofer, I was researching ballet for a book anyway) and battle ropes to kickboxing.

It took time. It took steady effort. It took constant change and challenge and training from people who knew a lot more than me (most of my barbell knowledge dates to the 80s). Happily, my effort and constant shifts in my types of training paid off: the weight kept falling off, and better yet, the muscle started growing. I said “hi” to my abs for the first time in decades.

Hopefully three years of new habits means this is permanent. I’d like it to be. I feel great, and now it’s the kids who can’t keep up with me.

I keep this on my desktop. Yeah, it’s refrigerator-magnet philosophy, but it reminds me of where I was and that moment in front of the glass. Maybe it was a magic mirror after all.

Post written by FFC Oak Park member Eric Frisch.

Eric F is an author who lives with his wife and three children in Oak Park, IL.

 

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When I first joined FFC as a new Chicagoan in 2004, my kids were two and four. I remember watching people do Pilates through the studio window and thinking, they look so graceful and… healthy. Not to mention lean and strong. I said to myself, I’ll never be those things. No way can I do all that stuff on those machines. No way will I ever lose this baby weight I’ve been carrying for five years now. Fast forward to 2016, when my kids convinced me to join again. I convinced my best friends Alan and Emily to join, and Emily happened to be a devotee of Pilates and tuned into all the Pilates benefits. So I sucked it up and agreed to try it, psyching myself up to have a positive attitude and a beginner’s mind.

Do what with my what?

I went home and cried roughly the first four times I took Pilates mat class with Carl Corry. It was humiliating and hard and upsetting. He was patient but firm, as were Cameron and Charles, who also teach there. There was so much I couldn’t do.

I kept coming back, though, because I committed to my friends that I’d try it for 6 months, twice a week, at least, to take advantage of all those Pilates benefits. And I worked on my attitude by thinking about what I’d say to my kids if they came home feeling like I did. I’d say this: “You can’t expect to be good at things right away. But if you like what this is, keep going. Get better. There’s nowhere to go but up.”

It is SO HARD to take your own advice.

But I kept going.

But… there was other stuff in the way.

There were two more things holding me back: a bunch of extra weight and some health problems that left me unable to use most of my abdominal muscles. I went to PT to address the problem which was a huge first step. (I also cried the first time I felt those muscles fire.)

And the weight was literally in my way in class. I’ve been struggling with it since I had children almost twenty years ago, and I lived with severe endometriosis my whole adult life, until five years ago. I also had some disordered eating and body image issues holding me back.

So while I sorted through my ego issues about Pilates and went to PT, I also did things like buy a full length mirror and a scale for the first time. I started to tease apart how I felt about my body from what I ate every day. Not because anyone told me to — it just seemed like they were different things.

About the weight.

After almost a year of working on something as simple as walking by a mirror without grimacing or feeling guilty about what I had for lunch, I decided to talk to FFC’s registered dietitian, Amy Silver. I have a friend who was working with a nutritionist and her success made me think, maybe this is be worth trying. After all, my insurance covers it. What did I have to lose?

My friend Alan joined me. We both knew it was good to have a buddy; that whole accountability thing. We could help each other.

At our first appointment I cried (are you seeing a pattern?). As she passed me the box of Kleenex I’m certain is always ready for this moment I said, “I’m just so tired of having this relationship with food.”

So. Much. Chewing.

At first, food felt like a part time job. I had to think about it all the time. I had to learn how to plan a whole new way of eating, I had to figure out how to get the right food to my office. I had to learn how to cook vegetables — all kinds, so I wouldn’t get bored.

And the chewing. I have to eat SO MANY vegetables. I didn’t have the chance to be hungry because of all the vegetables I was constantly shoving in my face.

Related: check out this member story about how a trip to Turkey changed FFC South Loop member Oscar’s perspective and how chewing more slowly changed his life.

Within days I noticed that my blood sugar was always… fine. I was never hungry. I never felt woozy or shaky or so hungry I could eat everything in sight. My digestive system was… happy. And then… the pounds started coming off.

But… not 100% happy.

Contrary to current wisdom around feeling confident and able to “see” yourself as healthy, I didn’t believe I could lose this weight at first. I also didn’t believe all of life’s problems would be solved if I succeeded.

Mostly I just thought, I’ll try this. Maybe I’ll feel better. Maybe it will work. Maybe not. “Don’t get too excited. These pounds have been part of you for 20 years,” I said to myself.

After seven months of mostly good behavior and making the changes more and more permanent, I currently weigh only 7 pounds more than I did 20 years ago – right before I got pregnant when I was 26. (My highest recorded weight was 193 and as I type this, I’m at 163 lbs. I’m 5’2″.)

Now and then, I feel sad for former me because I waited so long, but we do what we can when we’re able. I’ve spent a long time not believing in myself and it’s like an old record with deep grooves.

And I feel conflicted about all the success I’m having because I can’t seem to believe it. But Amy keeps showing me my sheet, and it keeps showing that the weight is coming off. I can’t argue with the data, as much as something in me wants to take success away from myself.

So now I have more attitude adjustment to make. Better late than never. And I know I can conquer my own attitude because I still go to Pilates, sometimes four times a week.

Now and then, I feel sad for former me because I waited so long, but we do what we can when we’re able. I’ve spent a long time not believing in myself and it’s like an old record with deep grooves.

Putting it all together.

FFC Oak Park Pilates benefitsI’ve been taking advantage of Pilates benefits for over a year now. It’s the only exercise thing I’ve ever done that gets both harder and more fun as I get better at it – roughly every six months. It gives me more energy and focus than even yoga, swimming and running used to. My Friday 7 AM group reformer class with Carl is one of the best hours of my whole week, and I have a pretty great life. I might even get licensed to teach, if only to learn something totally different and understand how my body works.

And the weight? Well, I’m working on my attitude even as I have to replace clothes almost constantly. 30 pounds is what a huge bag of dog food weighs, after all. And when I look in the mirror now, I see someone who looks the way I believe I am “supposed to,” which sounds odd, but it’s the most accurate thing I can think of. I mean, it also feels good to appreciate my own body, don’t get me wrong. REALLY good.

I also have noticed that in life overall, since I started working on myself consistently, I’ve started to take a longer view of virtually all things. My dad tells me it’s old age. I prefer maturity.

In the end, it’s only sort of about the weight. It’s more about feeling like myself, and feeling like my body can do anything I want – including whatever Carl, Cameron and Charles can come up with in Pilates mat class. Bring it on. I’ll be able to do it really well in a decade or so.

Post written by FFC Oak Park member Shelby Bower.

I didn’t grow up in a crunchy-granola, windbreaker-wearing, athletic family. Like many children of the Midwest, I was raised in a rural community full of good, old-fashioned folks with good old-fashioned mentalities. Was I fat? Hell no! I was “big-boned,” y’all! I was a growin’ boy with a growin’ boy’s appetite and big bones to match! The real question being… big bones.. For what, exactly?

I was the son of a marketing director and drove an Astro van to art classes after school. What on earth did I need big bones for? Sure, in some Slavic hovel on the frozen border of Lithuania, I believe there to be a need for the heartiness of truly big-boned people. But I wasn’t birthing calves in a field in the perpetual darkness of Russian winter. I was chugging Capri-Suns and going to theater camp. The reality was, no matter how much ridicule I endured at school, or how humiliated I felt needing to shop for Big & Tall clothes at the age of 13, I was told, “You’re just big-boned, baby…”

Genetic Mentality

To put it briefly, I was trapped (like so many children and, even still, adults are) in the cozy-comfort weighted blanket of “there’s nothing you can do about your genetics.” What was meant to salve the pain of unbearable otherism became a prison of accepting unhappiness as an unavoidable reality. While there is an abundance of scientific study that shows how our DNA can dramatically affect our ability to store, develop, and lose fat, the intoxicating mantra of “You come from a family of big people. That’s simply the way it is.” taught me only one thing: it’s ok not to try. Everyone is big and that’s just the way it is here.

I’m living proof that this is not, in fact, the way it always has to be.

I am a proud January Gym Baby. Though I had been working out at home since October, a friend slapped me into reality by insisting that, eventually, I would outgrow what could be done in my small, 1-bedroom apartment and I would have to join a gym. It was time to swallow my fear of working out in public and belly up to the bar. But did I know what I was doing? Absolutely not! Not a single lick of knowledge was stored in the “physical fitness” folder of my brain. When I started, all I had was a bad left knee and a body that weighed in at 400 pounds.

When I joined FFC, Tyler Sutphen was assigned to me for my new membership sessions. Internally, I groaned and begrudgingly thought, “Ok, let’s get these sessions out of the way… hopefully they won’t be as agonizing as I expect.” True to form, nothing I worried would happen came to pass. Tyler didn’t ridicule me. He didn’t make me feel foolish for trying (or for failing). In fact, no one here ever has. Tyler became more than a trainer to me. He became a rock in my journey.

In nine months, I transformed from a limping, 400-pound, 30 year-old with a fear of working out, to a 5-time-a-week weight lifter with a strong stride and a body clocking in at 275.

Member Stories: Chris Lewis - weight loss journey and 1 year anniversary

I did not do it alone, though. Having Tyler, the resources of FFC, the Myzone heart monitor… my life could not have been as easily changed without each of these. Not because any of these did the work for me, but because they provided the help to change my life on my own, on my terms. When I began, I lacked the knowledge, understanding, and ability to synthesize how to work out properly. Now, I know exactly what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how to continue challenging myself.

We don’t all grow up with the privilege of having guidance on how to live healthfully – mentally or physically. Helping me to overcome the constant barrage of fad diets, miracle machines, and programs that guarantee results, Tyler explained to me that, quite simply, the gym is a microcosm of life with one ruling equation: consistency over time.

Related: how to be the best version of yourself (for you). Check out this refresher!

The Long Game

Working out one day a week for six hours will not yield the results that six one-hour days will. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. The same is true for all aspects of life. Being a better partner? One night of attentive listening will not yield the results of several months of being present. A better professional? One day of really great work at a job is not going to guarantee success the way that slow, dedicated, thoughtful effort to a cause, a project, a process will. What trips the trolley is believing that success lies in how quickly you achieve your goals:

  • “I’ve been working out a whole week! Every day! Where is my weight loss??”
  • “I showed up to work on time every day this month! Where is my promotion??”
  • “I wrote that essay a while back! Why isn’t anyone publishing me yet??”

A need to see immediate change is the death knell of many a motivated person. And that was the lesson I learned at FFC. That was the value I was able to take away. This is a long game. A lifelong one. And even in the short amount of time I’ve been on this journey—a scant year—I’ve had tremendous ups and downs. Feelings of failure, times when the scale didn’t budge one single bit, regardless of how hard I threw that medicine ball. When the body dysmorphia struck and prevented me from being able to see the changes I have made… I trusted that this game is not a match of winners or losers. It’s simply a game of those who try, in the face of tremendous adversity, and those who convince themselves they shouldn’t.

Not everyone’s story is the same and I will not condescend to believe that this is the case. We all have different abilities, different needs—mentally, emotionally, and physically. If my story motivates you to lose weight, I think that’s wonderful—feel free to drop me a line on Instagram any time and I’ll pep-talk your ear off. I’m sharing this to make a point: simply because you’ve been told one thing your entire life, does not make it unflinchingly true.

There is a stark difference between rhetoric and reality. Find your stride. Find what is worth the consistency over time. Be kind to yourself, utilize your resources, your friends, your loved ones, the team here at FFC. But first and foremost, let your efforts be for you.

Post written by FFC Union Station member Christopher Lewis.

About Chris

Chris is a home cook, baker, and a food stylist. He styles food/drink for commercial film and print. His Instagram is an extension of that work, as well as shots of his own, and links to his food writing. Check it out here!

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When FFC asked me to write a blog for the website my first reaction was, “It’s me, Pete. You got the wrong guy!” When they asked again, I said, “When did you get a liquor license… because you must be drunk!” I finally agreed to do this because I wanted to share with everyone the secrets to success. Yep, they’re all right here for you to grab and use.

The question we ALL need to ask ourselves is, “What is MY why?” What motivates me? Find your “WHY” and run with it. I like BEER, so I work out. Thanks. The end.

(What? I need to type more? Really? Damn it. Ok.)

4 Secrets to Success by Pete McMurray1. SCHEDULE your workouts.

I’m just like you: It’s a struggle to work out some days. I have a kid. Both my wife and I work. We have a dog. I work a few jobs. I volunteer. I coach. It’s nuts. But, we ALL juggle life. Get over it. Think about the most successful things you’ve done in life. Sports, work, volunteering – they ALL have one thing in common; they have a schedule.

You don’t randomly show up for work whenever you want. You don’t randomly show up for a game whenever you want. Make a SCHEDULE and stick to it. Work out at the same time weekly. If someone said, “Hey, if you work out the same time every week for a month, I’ll give you a million dollars.” Could you? Yep, you could. So, do it! Schedule, schedule, schedule.

2. Have a PLAN.

What do you like to do? You hate spinning, but love floor work? Great – do floor work.
Love the elliptical, but hate Jacobs Ladder? Great – do the elliptical. When you go to the club, have a PLAN and know EXACTLY what you’re going to do. DON’T waste your time (you’re busy, remember).

I take classes – Austin or DC’s spinning class, Tread Express or (I ABSOLUTELY HATE) Lois’ Saturday Formula 94 class. It’s 94 degrees, you hold dumbbells in your hands & move your body for 45 minutes – what’s fun about that? The END of the class, that’s what. I try and do it every Saturday morning. Why? Because Lois and the people make it fun. When I’m done I feel like a million dollars (she is the best and her 80’s & 90’s playlist rocks!).

Related: failure to plan is planning to fail. Check out this post on how to set smart, actionable goals so you can get ahead!

3. Find your WHY.

Bear with me on this, because I’m going deep here. I come from a family of 12 kids (I’m #6). High cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease runs in my family. As for my immediate family? My dad died of liver cancer, my sister Mary is a breast cancer survivor, my brother Jonny is a prostate cancer survivor and my brother Mark is a kidney cancer survivor. Yep, cancer runs in my family. I have a beautiful wife, wonderful son and a pooch. I love traveling, having beers with friends and living life to the fullest. THIS is my WHY.

Pete McMurray with fellow member Linda at FFC4. Radar UP – #PEAKSTATE

I try to say hello to a lot of people when I get to the club. I’ve found that if you say, “Good morning! What’s your name?” People will tell you. I have met so many people just by saying hello. Linda is one of my faves. Linda turned me on to Formula 94 class, Chisel class and knows everyone in the club. My guys, like Richard lifting weights, Dan the Monday & Wednesday workout guy, MAT specialist Bill Busch (usually giving me a motivational speech), Ainsley running like crazy on the treadmill, big Kirby, Ari, Greg, the trainer talking sports or club general manager Bob taking turns with me on Jacobs Ladder.

LIFT your head, turn your RADAR on and say hello to people. When the radar is up, life happens. We call that #PEAKSTATE

Putting it all together.

Do you think running is fun? Lifting weights on a rainy Monday at 8 AM enjoyable? No, but we work out because we feel so much better… AND WE WANT TO BE HEALTHY. I keep motivational quotes in my phone because I’m a nut bag. Let me leave you with this:

“Life has no remote. Get UP and change it yourself.”

About Pete

Pete McMurray can be heard as a host on the radio on WGN Radio 720 AM, seen on television on “Fox Kickoff Sunday” Fox 32 and usually seen at FFC Lincoln Park. You can follow along with him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @petemcmurray. #PEAKSTATE

 

Pete McMurray and Lois at Formula 94 heated group exercise class FFC in Chicago

 

 

 

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