Personal Trainer in Chicago

Your Business Plan to Lose Weight (or Achieve Optimal Health)

Why do we develop business plans in the corporate and entrepreneur worlds but never for our personal health? If you're looking for a strategic change, consider this simple plan.

Section 1: Your Mission

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you want to end the cycle of guessing and lack of control, you need to move and choose with intent. Be specific. What is your true, realistic weight loss goal and what is the objective based on? For example: To maintain a weight of ____ and a body fat of ____ while living a life with intent. Can your mission be summed up in one sentence? Do you have a bigger transformation goal in mind? This is the time to state it clearly. It will steer your approach (and the rest of your plan).

Section 2: Summary of You

Personal Trainer Wisdom: How can you build a solid foundation if you don’t know the material you’re working with? A contractor wouldn’t move forward without this awareness and you shouldn’t either. Now is the time to become a human scientist and study you! Who are you? What are the trends and patterns of you? How would you describe your emotional, mental, and physical selves? What is your approach to fitness? Do you like fitness? Why or why not? What do you prefer to eat? Why? When do you eat? How do you choose your meals? How do you handle stress? What is the relationship between this stress and other areas of your life? Be honest and list all of your attributes, strengths, and weaknesses here.

Section 3: Competitive Analysis Summary

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While your plan should be tailored to your wants and needs, you will need to analyze other weight loss and health plans to fully understand the full scope of practice. What are the most effective and efficient health models that you’ve researched? Should you reinvent the wheel or adapt a popular, successful plan? How have different body types responded to these theories? This section will not only shape the process you choose but also justify it.

Section 4: Strategy and Obstacles Summary

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Once you have observed yourself and considered the research, it’s time to develop your strategy. You will generally describe the implementation of your plan here. Include the answers to the following questions: How will this strategy reflect your strengths and weaknesses? What boundaries will you develop? How will you implement this plan? Will someone help you? What do you think will be the biggest obstacles to your goal? How will you overcome these obstacles?

Section 5: Specific Implementation

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Considering that losing weight or achieving optimal health requires a multifaceted approach, break down your strategy into several categories and specifically list what you need to incorporate into your lifestyle. Use this structure as an example:

Weight/Body Fat Accountability
-Check weight and body fat when you workout and record it on your phone (app Monitor Your Weight???? or Notes).
-Record what you're eating every day (no calorie count needed).

-Limit drinking alcohol to only 2 days per week.
-Print and stick the "Eating Pie Chart" (from this diet article) on your fridge as a reminder of healthy eating habits.
-If you're eating overnight....Eat a small meal before bed and when you first wake up. Post a note on your fridge that says "You will eat again when you wake up in the morning."
-Eat no more than 1 meal per day containing meat, dairy, grains, and/or refined sugar.
-Aim for a daily caloric range of 1200-1500 calories.
-Follow the recommendations for this month in the following article: Weight Loss: The Diet Questions You MUST Ask Yourself.
-Minimize caffeine to 2 cups (equals 1 small mug) of coffee per day.
-Print 1 restaurant menu: Choose a restaurant you love or want to visit and ask someone to help you figure out the best menu items.

-5-day workout: 3 days strength/2 days cardio

-Minimize any news content to 5 minutes per day. It will eliminate quite a bit of negativity in your life.
-Embrace new challenges as opportunities to refine your problem-solving ability.

-Write down 10 personal/professional goals on individual post-it notes and place them on your closet wall or another private place that you'll see at least once per day.
-Setup up alerts with positive messages on your phone using the app Simple Routine as reminders of goals and what you're trying to achieve.

Social Life
-Choose 1 new activity or interaction per week to satisfy your curiosity.
-Surround yourself with positive-spirited people daily.
-Seek out at least 1 person when you're in need of help.

What's missing from your business plan? What categories would you add? Tailor this section to support your mission.

Section 6: Timeline and Milestones

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Once you have decided on your steps of action, you need to develop a timeline. This section is not only important for accountability but also reflecting on your goals, what is a realistic timeframe to achieve them? What points of this process should serve as milestones? What are your realistic expectations for each of those milestones? How will you adapt this process if you don’t reach your mark?

Section 7: Financial Plan

Personal Trainer Wisdom: A financial plan can be interpreted a number of ways. In terms of monetary obligation, the range of money you spend really depends on your interests and the type of help you desire. What will you budget for a new gym, clothes, food, or personal trainer/fitness class? What areas are you willing to splurge on?

In terms of time, how many minutes will you dedicate to research, diet, meditation, and/or exercise? Within a strict schedule, what are you willing to sacrifice to make room for these endeavors? No matter what you prioritize during this section, you’ll definitely need to determine the true cost of your mission.

Photo Credit:–How will you race to this finish line?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
Your Business Plan to Lose Weight (or Achieve Optimal Health)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

7 ways to improve your mood in less than 5 minutes

Some days staying positive and upbeat can feel like an uphill battle. Maybe it was a stressful day at work, a fight with a friend, or even just an off day — whatever it is, there are definitely things you can do to improve your mood.

And it's no wonder bad moods can sneak up on us so often. According to psychologist Guy Winch, author of the book Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts, a bad mood can be caused by anything from guilt over forgetting someone's birthday, to outstanding tasks on our to do list, to not getting enough likes on a personal or important Facebook share. Basically, humans are sensitive creatures, and it's not abnormal or even uncommon for little things to get us in a funk.

What's more, according to a psychology study featured on ABC News, while a portion of our individual happiness is pre-determined by genetics and circumstance, research shows that up to 40 percent can be controlled through our daily thoughts and actions.

This means that there are definitely a number of proactive things we can do when we start feeling ourselves getting down. If you're looking for ways to turn a bad mood around, here are seven ways to improve your mood in less than ten minutes.

1. Listen To Upbeat Music

According to a 2013 study published by the University of Missouri, listening to upbeat music can actually improve your mood. The study's author, Yuna Ferguson, noted that it's important not to overthink, "Am I happy yet?" while listening, and instead just allow yourself to enjoy the experience. So don't be afraid to turn up the jams when you're feeling low.

2. Get A Good Laugh

According to an article on Prevention, a study conducted by Stanford University showed that laughter increases dopamine in our brains, which is a chemical that elevates mood. And according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter also increases oxygen to our bodies and cools down our stress response system, resulting in a positive, relaxed feeling. So the next time you're in a bad mood, try pulling up some Amy Schumer or an SNL digital short on YouTube — you'll probably feel a lot better!

3. Walk Around The Block

Daniel Kripke, M.D. at the University of California said that, "Studies show that people who get more light exposure during the day have fewer sleep problems and less depression, and evidence suggests that light can keep you alert and productive." Additionally, mental health and exercise expert Jack Raglin, Ph.D., says that, "Studies have shown that even mild exercise, about 40 percent of your max heart rate, can lift your mood," and recommendsdoing activities that match your mood instead of trying to force yourself to do something you're just not feeling — like working in your garden instead of going to a loud Zumba class.

4. Declutter

Author of The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron, Ph.D., said that "clutter is a reminder of things that should be getting done, but aren't," and can help fuel feelings of failure, and mentioned that you don't have to spend an entire day reorganizing to feel better, as "just the illusion of order is enough to ease the mind." Aron recommended just putting things into neater stacks and piles for an instant boost in mood.

5. Give Someone A Hug

Tiffany Field, head researcher at The University of Miami's Touch Institute, said in an article in Psychology Today that, "when you stimulate the pressure receptors in the skin, you lower stress hormones," and also that touching others stimulates oxytocin, which also has positive effects on our mood. Field also recommended rubbing your own forehead, hands, and neck, as self-massage has been shown to decrease heart rate and reduce the stress-hormone cortisol in our systems.

6. Think About What Went Well

In another article in Psychology Today, doctor and wellness expert Susan Biali, M.D., said to reflect on three things that are going well or three positive moments in your day, and even replay them in your mind. According to Biali, that mentally revisiting these moments will help bring back the good mood and feelings they initially created.

7. Allow Yourself To Vent

Psychology Today contributor and psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., said there are actually some advantages to venting about a problem to a friend, and helping with your mood is one of them. "In many (though not all) situations it’s better for you to discharge negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside," he says, and also that, "venting helps restore your equilibrium." So while you don't want to be the person at home or work who is always focusing on the negative, there is definitely a time and a place — not to mention a therapeutic reason — to vent when needed.

There's no reason a bad mood should ruin your day — or even a portion of your day. Often times when we're down about something at work or a minor interpersonal conflict, a quick boost is definitely within your grasp; you just need a conscious desire to feel better and a willingness to take a few mindful steps towards it.

And if you're finding that your bad or low moods are lasting longer than they should, or as if you can't seem to shake them, never be afraid to reach out to a professional. You can or for information on how to get help in your area.

****If you ever need more weight loss tips, never hesitate to send Michael an email ( He is a personal trainer in Chicago and has been serving weight loss personal training clients since 2005.

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Author: Bustle at Business Insider
7 ways to improve your mood in less than 5 minutes
Improving your mood while personal training in Chicago.

5 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise

You expect your workout to come with a good amount of sweat, soreness, and B.O. Less expected is itchiness, the runs, and snot. But these bodily dysfunctions—and a slew of others—can be strange-but-normal side effects of exercise. Keep reading to find out if your weirdest and grossest workout woes make the list.

1. Your muscle twitches while lifting

Why it happens: Those tiny spasms are called muscle fasciculations, says Christopher Minson, PhD, a professor of human physiology at the University of Oregon, and they're caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in your muscle fibers as they fatigue.

Your move: Hydrate before and during a workout. This helps maintain the equilibrium of electrolytes in your muscle cells, explains Minson. Cold water is best for most workouts, but if you're working out for longer than 30 minutes, grab a sports drink. These beverages offer potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes to replenish what your body lost through sweat.

If the twitch continues for days or disrupts your sleep, you should see a doctor. In rare cases, severe pain or a sustained twitch could be a sign of a tear or strain, says Michael J. Ryan, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Fairmont State University. What's more, spasms that last a long time or occur on a regular basis may be a sign of kidney or thyroid dysfunction, fibromyalgia, or other neuromuscular disorders.

2. Your nose and eyes run faster than you do

Why it happens: Exercise dilates and constricts blood vessels in your sinuses, making your eyes and nose drip, says Minson.

Suffer from more than just a drip? If your nose mimics a hose spraying full blast, you may be allergic to exercise, says Ryan. It's called exercise-induced rhinitis, and its symptoms are very similar to seasonal allergies: runny nose, congestion, sneezing, or watery eyes. You'll notice that it usually occurs when you increase your workout's intensity, because your blood vessels are constricting more than normal, he says.

Your move: Exercising indoors will help you steer clear of irritants like pollens, car exhaust, which can flare up sinuses, says Minson. Using a nasal spray—particularly one containing secretion-decreasing ipratropium bromide—before your workout can also help.

3. Your skin itches

Why it happens: Your heart pumps more blood to your working muscles—like your thighs while running or your chest while bench pressing—during exercise, filling millions of capillaries. "As the capillaries expand, they push outward, stimulating surrounding nerve cells, which in turn sends signals back to your brain," says Ryan. Your brain translates these signals as an itch.

Your move: The only thing you can do to lessen the itch is to maintain a workout routine. If you exercise regularly, your brain gets accustomed to the signals and starts to ignore them. But the longer the break you take, the more intense the itch will be when you return, says Ryan. If your itching comes with welts, hives, or a feeling of faintness, call your doctor. This could be a more serious case called exercise-induced urticaria.

4. Your stomach feels like a block of ice

Why it happens: Your body isn't overly concerned about digestion when you work out—it's more worried about keeping your legs jogging or your biceps curling. "So it shifts a lot of your blood flow away from your stomach and intestines in order to supply more blood to the muscles for exercise," says Minson.

And those working muscles produce a lot of heat that's transferred to the skin, too, says Ryan. This warms up areas besides your stomach, which makes your belly feel colder in comparison, he says.

Your move: There's no work-around for this one: It's a natural and normal part of exercise, and you don't need to sweat it, says Minson. However, if you feel nauseous, have a headache, are dizzy, lightheaded, feel cramping, chest pain, or have cold, clammy skin elsewhere, stop exercising until you see your doctor, says Ryan. Clammy skin can signal heart attack or heat exhaustion, so take it seriously.

5. Your head starts spinning

Why it happens: Vertigo, a dizziness that can lead to fainting, can be caused by blood pooling in the legs when you're standing, being too hot, or stopping exercise abruptly, says Minson.

Unfortunately, the fitter you are, the more likely you are to experience it. That's because while exercise increases the size of the ventricles of the heart—a sign of good fitness—it can also reduce blood flow back to the heart during prolonged standing, Minson says. With less blood returning to the heart, less blood is being replenished with oxygen—and your brain isn't a huge fan of this. After a few minuts, you'll feel lightheaded. Dehydration and low blood sugar can contribute, too.

Your move: Keep moving after exercise or sit down. While this seems contradictory, both of these actions push blood back toward the heart. Minson explains. Flex and unflex your thigh and calf muscles to keep blood flowing, and stay hydrated, too, he says. You may only need to rest and drink some water, but play it safe. "Let a medical professional tell you when you can return to physical activity," says Ryan. Vertigo isn't always a cause for medical attention, but it can be an early sign of a heart attack or stroke.

****Adapted from Prevention Magazine's article 8 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise

****If you ever need more fitness or weight loss tips, never hesitate to send me an email ( I'm a personal trainer in Chicago and I've been serving weight loss personal training clients since 2005.

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Author: Prevention Magazine
5 Bizarre Side Effects Of Exercise
Understand the symptoms you experience during your personal training sessions in Chicago.

"5 Summer Foods That Cause Bloating" Review

Check out Will this list cause bloating?

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Author: Article sourced from Eat This, Not That!
"5 Summer Foods That Cause Bloating" Review
Personal Trainer's tips for summer weight loss.

Do This Every Day, and You May Lose 20 Pounds in 6 Months

When's the last time you weighed yourself? If you can’t remember or you don’t even own a scale, read on to find out how weighing in may help you peel off pounds.

According to a first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers from Duke University Obesity Prevention Program and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill reported that those who weighed themselves daily lost about three times as much weight and body fat, compared to those who were less diligent about stepping on the scale.

The six-month study included 47 overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to the “intervention” group, which included the use of electronic scales that were networked to the researchers' computer network. All 47 subjects were instructed to weigh in daily and were given some basic advice about healthy eating and exercise behaviors to promote steady weight loss (i.e., increase water consumption, walk more, eat fewer snacks, enjoy more fruits/veggies). Using objective data from the subjects' e-scales, the researchers could objectively track the frequency of weigh-ins as well as the subjects’ weights.

Results? Compliance to frequent weigh-ins was very high, with 75 percent of the subjects weighed in at least six days a week. Those who weighed in daily (51 percent of all subjects) lost an average of 20 pounds, compared to an average of 7 pounds lost among those who weighed themselves an average of five days per week. Subjects who weighed themselves daily were also more likely to report following through on recommended diet and lifestyle behaviors.

According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Deborah Tate, director of the Weight Research Program at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, “Daily weighing helps with self-regulation and directly linking eating and activity behaviors with weight. You can quickly see very small daily changes in weight of 0.1 or 0.2 lbs. that tell you whether your current eating and activity are enough to help you lose weight or if you need to do more.” This study adds to previous studies that also reported that those who weigh themselves more frequently lose more weight and are less likely to gain weight over time.

However, many dietitians don’t recommend frequent weigh-ins for fear that their weight loss clients will be discouraged if the number increases or obsessed with the scale. However, according to Tate: “We conducted two other studies – both included overweight and obese adults without eating disorders – and both studies showed that beginning to weigh daily was not harmful in terms of eating disorder or depressive symptoms.”

Other dietitians are against traditional scales because they can’t account for body composition. “I don't recommend using the scale at all,” says registered dietitian Stephanie Mull of the George Washington University Weight Management and Human Performance Lab in Ashburn, Virginia. “We have many clients who see little changes in overall weight, but have significant reductions in body fat. That is why we use dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or InBody assessment to accurately measure fat and lean tissue of our clients."

Bottom line: If you like setting goals and can use the number on the scale as objective data (without judging or attaching negative emotions to the number), I recommend trying frequent weigh-ins. If you're in the market for a new scale, consider a scale with bioelectric impedance so you can see changes in percent body fat. Other ways to help determine if you’re losing body fat is to measure your waist circumference every three weeks; if you’re losing inches from your waistline, you’re reducing body fat. You may just be surprised to find out how this simple daily habit can help improve your diet and your success during personal training sessions.

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Author: Julie Upton (U.S. News & World Report)
Do This Every Day, and You May Lose 20 Pounds in 6 Months
Personal trainer tips for weight loss.