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    No More Excuses: Add Strength Training to Your Routine and See Results

    kettlePersonal Trainer Jenny Maloney from Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago is back to talk about the benefits of strength training and to dispute the myth that strength training is something only men should pursue.

    Many people do not strength train consistently.

    Perhaps it’s because they don’t experience that an immediate sweat right afterward, so they might not feel that the workout was effective.

    But it is, especially when you complete a high-intensity strength-training workout.

    Or maybe it’s because you’re a woman who thinks strength training involves heavy weights and therefore the workout is only for men.

    But really, you don’t have to use any weight at all, unless you choose to. You can use your own body weight and ladies, you aren’t going to get “bulky.” Women’s hormones are different than men’s and your genetic makeup plays a big role in how your muscles develop.

    Or maybe you think it’s too time-consuming, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

    But you can get a whole-body workout done in about 20 minutes. Or you can break up your workout into 10-minute increments twice a day.

    There really is no excuse for avoiding strength training.

    Here are some benefits of strength training that you stand to reap:

    • Stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons
    • Improved balance and coordination
    • Injury prevention
    • Weight loss and weight management (more muscles means more calories burned)
    • Lower risk of chronic diseases
    • Body change that you might achieve from doing only cardio exercise
    • Boosted energy
    • Better mood
    • Increased sports performance

    So how do you get started? 

    At the club, start with the machines. Many include pictures of how to do specific strength training exercises. Or, try taking a strength training class to get motivated.

    At home, try using resistance bands, free weights, or your own body weight. Check out YouTube for workout ideas, or ask a personal trainer for a workout plan.

    The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends working all your major muscle groups 2-3 times per week, giving at least 48 hours of rest in between. Aim for 2-3 sets, 10-15 repetitions, 2-3times per week. To see a true change in your body, leave your comfort zone behind. You’ll be able to feel the muscle burn during the last 4-5 reps. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights; you need some resistance to get results!

    So, if you’re not currently incorporating strength training into your workouts, start now.

    Club Renovation Update August 2015

    WIN_Outdoor_PoolAugust is a busy month for renovation progress at the club, and we couldn’t be more excited.

    Here is the latest information.

    Front Doors

    We are installing new front doors during the week of August 16. This may impact your entrance and exit from the building.

    Pressure Washing and Glass Repair

    We will continue to pressure wash the building and to repair the outside and inside glass over the next several weeks. We expect this project to be completed by the end of August.

    Tennis Courts

    Courts 1, 8, and 9 will be closed through August 7 for repair and resurfacing. Courts 2, 6, and 7 will close from August 10 – 14 for repair and resurfacing.

    Fitness Floors

    We will begin our second and third floor renovation the week of August 10.  This will result in a significant impact on your usage of these floors.

    During a four-day period, much of the equipment will not be available for use. Our personal trainers will be available to take you through a personalized workout. Please see the schedules at the Hospitality Desk.

    Beginning Monday, August 10, you will notice the presence of construction workers and moving companies on the second and third floors. We will provide a pathway for you to access the gymnasium and squash courts.

    Please note that the Weight Room, Studio A, Studio B, the Cycling Room, the Pilates Room, and the Multipurpose Room will be closed on Monday, August 10 and Thursday, August 13, so that we can remove and replace equipment. There will be limited space available in these rooms on Tuesday, August 11 and Wednesday, August 12.

    The track can be used for walking and running.

    First Floor Workouts

    You can enjoy a workout on the first floor during the renovation week:

    • Pilates Reformers and Chairs as well as Power Plates will be placed in the lobby.
    • Cycling classes will take place on the café patio (weather permitting).
    • Yoga and Pilates Mat classes will take place in the café conference room.
    • Dance classes will take place in the lounge area of the café.
    • Other group fitness classes and training programs will take place in the indoor pool area, the area near the tennis courts, and on the sand volleyball courts.

    Pick up a special Group Fitness schedule at the Hospitality Desk.

    Thank you for your patience during this exciting renovation period at the club.

    Head here for our previous update, which includes floor plans for the four new zones: Wellness, Strength Training, Performance, and Mind Body.

    We can’t wait to celebrate the renovation project and its associated new fitness programming with you.

    Recognize the 9 Signs of Overtraining

    post MXTPhysical activity is always beneficial for your body.

    Or is it?

    While the idea of working out too often seems implausible, it is possible.

    Whether you’re squeezing in multiple workouts over the weekend or trying to reach your goal too quickly, exercise is only beneficial when you’ve had the proper recovery and rest.

    Here are some signs you might be overdoing it from Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian Jenny Maloney from Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago, IL:

    • You are always injured or in pain; rest may be what your injury needs, but you aren’t giving it that time to heal.
    • You are so sore 24-48 hours after you exercise that you can’t perform everyday functional activities, such as sitting down, without pain.
    • You don’t take at least one day off a week from exercise. On rest days, you can stretch or do light cardio, but your workout should be low-impact.
    • You are too tired to perform exercise properly. This could be a sign that you are using poor form or that the weight is too heavy. Working out using proper form is crucial to avoiding injury and getting results.
    • You are seeing results too quickly. Weight gain from muscle should not exceed 5 pounds a week and weight loss from cardio should not exceed 2-5 pounds per week (weight loss might be a little more if a sedentary person starts a new exercise program and/or needs to lose a significant amount of weight).
    • You are constantly dehydrated and thirsty; your body may not be able to keep up with your workouts, which means you haven’t recovered enough.
    • You are getting sick often. Your immune system gets worn down if you are over-exercising and not fueling with the right foods.
    • You’re having problems sleeping. Overtraining can throw off your body’s nervous system and hormonal balance, which can affect sleeping patterns.
    • You are not achieving desired results anymore. Muscle needs a chance to repair, so if you keep going without recovery, you are stopping this process and your body reacts negatively.

    If any of these sound familiar, try shorter, more frequent workouts, with at least one day of rest each week.  You can make your workouts intense, but recognize the difference between “good” exercise burn versus muscle and joint pain.

    Weight train 2-3 times per week and give your muscles 48 hours to repair and recover between these workouts.  If you are injured or sore past 48 hours, give your body rest, ice if needed, and stretch tight muscles. Lastly, hydrate and fuel with healthy foods before, during if needed, and after exercise.

    Club Renovation Update
    Thank you for your patience as we finish up the first floor renovations.
    We’re continuing to work on improvements and upgrades to the air conditioning units that service the executive locker rooms. We hope this work will be completed shortly.  
    We have elected to postpone our second and third floor fitness renovations to accommodate our summer camps and the high usage of the club during the summer. These renovations will now begin the week of August 10.
    This work will include upgrades to our fitness equipment, the construction of a dedicated Mind Body studio, a new Pilates room, a dedicated weight room, and new performance and wellness areas.  

    We appreciate your patience during this exciting renovation period at the club. We can’t wait to celebrate the renovation project and its associated new fitness programming with you.

    6 Dieting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

    carbsTips and techniques on losing weight flood your Facebook and Twitter feeds daily, but which are really effective, long-term solutions to weight loss?

    Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jenny Maloney from Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago separates fact from fiction and offers common-sense ideas on how to lose weight and keep the pounds off for good.

    Dieting Myth: Eat a minimal amount of calories and you’ll lose weight quickly.

    Reality: While it’s true that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. However, when you don’t eat enough calories, your body and metabolism slow down and go into shut down mode. Taking in fewer than 1,200 calories per day is not recommended.

    Dieting Myth: Don’t eat carbs.

    Reality: I can’t count how many times someone has told me, “I’m trying to lose weight so I’m cutting out carbs.” In reality, the person isn’t cutting out all carbs, because vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, milk, and yogurt all have carbohydrates (and these foods are good for you). 40-50% of your total nutritional intake should come from carbohydrates. Watch your portions and choose whole grain, whole food carbohydrates.

    Dieting Myth: Choose calorie-, sugar-, and fat-controlled foods.

    Reality: Highly processed ”food” marketed as sugar-free, fat-free, or portioned into 100- calorie packages are not real food and they are not satiating. Have a real food dessert like a small piece of dark chocolate or a real food snack, such an apple and some almonds to feel satisfied without ingesting chemical additives and preservatives.

    Dieting Myth: Splurge days are diet-killers.

    Reality: Eating healthy and balanced meals are an excellent way to lose weight, but eating some not-so-healthy foods once or twice a week will help you feel like you’re not depriving yourself. Plan your splurges ahead of time and don’t overdo it; this will help you stick to your nutrition plan for the long term.

    healthy bfastDieting Myth: Skip breakfast

    Reality: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You’ve gone 6-8 hours or more since you last ate, so you should be hungry for breakfast if your metabolism is working correctly. Skipping meals and snacks can set you up  to overeat later in the day. Try to eat every 4-6 hours to keep your blood sugar stable and your metabolism working.

    Dieting Myth: Weekdays are for dieting, weekends are for overindulging.

    Reality: While it’s okay to enjoy “splurge” foods over the weekend, keep in mind that eating (or drinking) too many of these foods can and will negate all the hard work you put in during the week. Figure out what meals you want to eat out or splurge on and again, don’t overdo it.

    The 10-Minute Workout
    10 minute workout1

    Bicycle abs

    Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian Jenny Maloney from Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago is back to offer a short, yet highly effective workout for those days when you struggle to find time to eat lunch, let along squeeze in your daily exercise.

    We’re busier and more pressed for time than ever before, and our workouts are often the first thing to fall off the to-do list.

    What would you say if I told you that all you need is 10 minutes to get in a good workout?

    It’s true.

    The secret is to work out at a higher feeling of intensity. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most intense, perform the following exercises at an intensity of 8-to-10. This higher level of intensity is the key to an effective, yet short, workout.

    10 minute workout2

    Floor dips

    Perform two sets of these seven exercises for 30 seconds, with a 10-second rest in between each exercise:

    1. Planks on your elbows with toe taps out and in
    2. Squat jumps (modification is squats with 8 pulses)
    3. Push-ups  (modification is on your knees)
    4. Bicycle abs
    5. Side lunges both ways
    6. Dips on the floor or on a chair
    7. Skater jumps (side toe taps staying low)


    And your workout for the day is done.


    Member-Led Go Forth International Helps Those in Need

    Go Forth3Our members are among the most philanthropic people in their respective communities, and we love hearing about the good works they do for others.

    Angie DeLeon and her family, longtime members of Midtown Athletic Club in Willowbrook, IL, are true stewards of hope and charity.

    When Angie retired from Cook County Hospital as a registered nurse in 2004, she and a few other retired healthcare workers founded Go Forth International, a non-profit organization that provides healthcare services to global communities in need.

    The missions each run about three months at a time and are staffed by a team of volunteers. Most recently, the group went to the Philippines and provided health screenings, eye checkups, and dental hygiene to over 10,000 patients.

    Go Forth2

    Go Forth4

    We are truly inspired by Angie and her dedication to the global community.

    The world needs more people like her in it.

    Go Forth6

    Go Forth9

    You Should Be Eating Lentils

    lentilsJenny Maloney, Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago, IL, is back to talk lentils, and why you need them in your life.

    The inauspicious lentil doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but this delicious and nutrient-dense legume deserves top billing on your lunch or dinner plates for myriad reasons.

    Here are just a few:

    • Lentils are inexpensive; they are non-perishable and bought dry, and so therefore much cheaper than buying meat or fish.
    • Lentils are easy to make; you can cook them over the stove or better yet, in a crockpot while you are away for the day.
    • Lentils are not only an excellent source of fiber, potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, and zinc, but they’re also high in protein, and low in sodium and fat. In fact, lentils are higher in protein than quinoa per serving, and are a great dinner substitution for meat if you find yourself eating too much of it. Add in your own seasonings, sauces, and additional foods to your lentils, and you have a complete meal that provides you with the energy and nutrients you need to power through your day.
    • If you suffer from tummy troubles, lentils are great for the digestive system, as they are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, making them not only easy to digest but also an aid in disease prevention.
    • Lentils can also help keep blood sugars stable; they are a complex carbohydrate, which allows for slow digestion and feelings of satiety.

    Here’s an easy recipe that you can make in the crockpot:

    Lentil and Vegetable Souplentil soup


    2 cups dried and rinsed lentils

    14 ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)

    ½ cup chopped carrots

    ½ cup chopped celery

    16 ounces of vegetable or chicken broth

    2 cups raw spinach

    1 bay leaf

    2 cloves of garlic

    salt and pepper to taste


    Put all ingredients, except for spinach, in a crockpot for about 6-7 hours on low heat. Add spinach at the end for extra nutrition.


    Pilates is a Game-Changer

    Ban Pilates1Bill Schwartz is a 67-year-old member of Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, and while he loves playing team tennis, he never thought Pilates Reformer would work for his “tired, old body.”

    And yet five sessions of working with Pilates Instructor Kathryn Inda have been life-changing for Bill. His tennis buddies were so impressed with his on-court improvement that they are now Pilates class regulars, too.

    Ban Pilates2

    Bill’s friend Steve Jacobsen now joins him in a weekly Monday night Pilates Reformer session with Kathryn.

    Says Bill, “I have a history of lower back problems and had knee replacement surgery a few years back. I didn’t think there was any hope for this old body, but Pilates Reformer has completely changed my life. On the tennis court, I’m getting to balls that in the past I wouldn’t even bother going after.”

    Ban Pilates3

    For more information about Pilates Reformer classes at Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, contact Pilates Coordinator Kathryn Inda at kathryn.inda@midtown.com.

    Ban Pilates5

    Should I Take Vitamins?

    vitaminsMidtown Athletic Club in Chicago’s Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer Jenny Maloney takes over the blog today to discuss whether or not you really need to take a daily vitamin or a mineral supplement each day.

    About half of the American population takes at least one supplement or vitamin daily.

    Billions of dollars are spent on vitamins and supplements each year, for reasons that vary from sports performance to nutrient deficiency (perceived and real), weight loss, and disease prevention. And those taking them vary from professional athletes to senior citizens, from college students to young children.

    Supplements and vitamins are not well regulated by the FDA, so consumer beware. You may not be getting from the supplement what its outside packaging says you are. The FDA makes sure the supplement is safe to take, but that’s about it. And if you’re taking supplements your body doesn’t need, you could be at risk for vitamin toxicity.

    Here is what I recommend:

    1. Support your body’s needs through eating a proper diet full of nutrient-dense foods. Many Americans eat too many empty calories, which leads to poor nutrition. Take a look at how you can improve your meals before grabbing a bunch of vitamins.

    fruits and veggies

    2. Have your blood levels checked to see if you have any deficiencies, and talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you are having symptoms of deficiencies. Those at risk for nutrient deficiencies include people with poor diets, those who follow restrictive diets, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those with food allergies.  Your doctor might prescribe a specific vitamin due to a diagnosed deficiency. You can find more information about vitamin deficiencies here.

    Many people feel better both physically and emotionally when adding vitamins and supplements to their diets. As long as you are taking them responsibly, not taking too many, and eating a healthy diet as well, adding them to your daily routine can be worth it.

    But keep this in mind.

    We are all trying to take better care of our health, and that’s a good thing. However, research shows that vitamins and supplements don’t help with disease prevention.

    The best way to prevent disease and extend your life is through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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