Category Archive: News

Fit for Two: Exercising While Expecting

Olympic runner Alysia Montano competes in 2014 Track & Field Championship while 34 weeks pregnant

“Who Run the World?”

We have all heard the stories, passed down from generation to generation, of our sisters of old bearing children through everything from surviving the Ice Age and global epidemics, to colonization and traveling to new lands, to widespread industrialization and the chaotic modern career. Let’s face it, women are pretty resilient.

We understand, as with all things pregnancy, there are risks to placing exertion on growing life. Yet, pregnant women crossed the Wild West and spent weeks in jail for protesting for our right to vote (We see you, Emmeline Pankhurst.) So, why does there remain a stigma behind the contemporary fit and pregnant lifestyle?

The truth of the matter boils down to ill-informed word of mouth, misconceptions and outdated guidelines. There seems to have always been a dichotomy between what should or should not be done while carrying a child. “Pregnant women were traditionally told ‘don’t move’ and ‘eat for two,’” says Raul Artal, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Many myths and misconceptions about what is good and healthy for women and their unborn child have traditionally replaced information with trepidation: “There’s been a lot of fear, and that’s really been a disservice,” says Catherine Cram, MS, an exercise physiologist and coauthor with Tere Stouffer Drenth of Fit Pregnancy for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, 2004). Stories passed down from nosy neighbors to frantic, expectant mothers have perpetuated this cycle for years. Lack of accessible information coupled with archaic medicinal practices led to many misconceptions which have unfortunately carried over late into the 20th century.

New Age Information

Fast forwarding to the 1980’s, one forward thinking gentleman would embark on a journey whose work and studies continue to be analyzed and postulated to this day. James Clapp III, MD set out to study what he assumed would be the health risks associated with exercising during pregnancy. With his research many misconceptions, including the following, were put to rest:

  1. “Exercise can cause infertility, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities and preterm labor.”
  2. “Running and other forms of weight-bearing exercise can cause miscarriage.”
  3.  “Don’t exercise for more than 15 minutes at a time.”
  4. “Don’t start a new exercise regimen once you become pregnant.”

His work revolutionized the modern woman in a decade that was all about fitness (We see you Jane Fonda) and helped spread the word on a topic that had been, up until then, kept mum (pun intended).

With these misconceptions being put to rest, why do we continue to hear opposing advice from professionals? “Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) updated its guidelines in 2002, lifting most restrictions on exercise during pregnancy (including keeping your heart rate under 140), many healthcare providers still aren’t aware of the revisions” states Sheila Mulrooney Eldred for the Experience Life Magazine article, Fitness for 2.

Thanks to that other revolution of the 80’s (hello internet), this information became readily available and widespread. According to Clapp’s studies, which can be found in his book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, there is a plethora of benefits to exercising while pregnant such as:

  • 50 percent less likely to need induced labor or to require Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin)
  • 50 percent less likely to need intervention because of abnormalities in the fetal heart rate
  • 75 percent less likely to need forceps or a cesarean section

Not to mention that these women tend to feel better about themselves during and after the pregnancy. In addition, Eldred continues: “Clapp discovered that the placentas of fit moms tend to function better, creating a better blood flow between mother and fetus. Exercising also increases blood volume in moms, preventing varicose veins and swelling.”

Now that you have the green light, what now?

We are not suggesting that you enroll in Extreme CrossFit with spiked boulders (please don’t) but you do have options on various exercise regimes from running to swimming in order to keep you active and fit while carrying your little bun in the oven. Release the fear of the past and embrace the possibility of the future. Eldred notes these following general guidelines:

  • Fuel up. Eat enough to satiate hunger, Clapp says – preferably in small, frequent meals balanced with proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, and preferably from whole-food sources.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink enough to keep your urine relatively clear (that’ll require approximately 91 ounces a day).
  • Be gentle with yourself. Expect to ease up here and there. Pregnancy, after all, will cause more dramatic changes in your body in a short period of time than anything else in your life. Your body is also putting a lot of energy and resources into making another body – not a trifling effort!
  • Rest as much as possible. Clapp suggests spending an extra hour at leisure for each hour you work out (in addition to your regular rest), and avoiding exercising to the point that you feel stressed out about it.
  • Adjust your athletic expectations. Regardless of your activity or fitness proficiency, it’s important to monitor the intensity of your exertion.

Pregnancy is a beautiful and cherished moment in a woman’s life. “I like to see women trusting their own bodies, and that’s what I generally advise them to do. There’s no reason to let everyone around you make you feel tentative about this really wonderful experience.” says Cram when asked for his best advice. While there are some changes that are forced upon us (until next time, Malbec…hello maternity clothes), exercise shouldn’t be one of them.

For the full article, please visit Experience Life, Fitness for 2 (Eldred, 2005).

Photo: Andy Lyons for Getty Images

2017 Chicagoland Series Medals

This past weekend, we unveiled the 2017 Chicago Spring Half Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon medals on their respective social media platforms to an uproar response! We are thrilled to see that you are just as excited for these events as we are. But, did you know that these medals are pieces of a whole? Check out the video below as we officially introduce the 2017 Chicagoland Series Challenge medal and see how they all come together to highlight the beauty and splendor of our beautiful city of Chicago! Will you take the challenge?

Official Medal Reveal Video

Chicago Spring Half Marathon

May 21, 2017

Chicago Half Marathon

September 24, 2017

2017 Chicagoland Series Challenge

The 2017 Chicagoland Series Medals

Saying No to the Plateau!

For those of you training for the upcoming Chicago Spring Half Marathon in 2 weeks (or any race in general), there comes a time in your training when you hit that “blah wall.”  You know the one we’re talking about- the point in your training where you no longer find any excitement or challenge in your routine. Or even worse, where it seems that you are not making any progress whether its gains or losses. Ladies and gentleman, we have with us here today: The dreaded plateau.

Now, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. This is a good thing and it is absolutely normal. In fact, you should be proud that you have stuck through your training and put in 100% day in and day out to even get to this plateau. The truth is, there are many reasons why we reach a plateau; it can be anything from boredom to an unbalanced diet. Your body is constantly changing and while training, we put it through a rigorous path of exertion. Let’s look at some reasons why we hit a plateau and the best ways to shake some life back into our routine.

Mind Games

First and foremost- do not get discouraged! Most people will hit a plateau, believe they are not making any progress and give up. Don’t you dare! You’ve made it thus far and you should not give up on the progress you have made. Running is all mental. Sure it takes stamina and endurance but we all know it is a persistent ’84 year old couple bickering’ between you and that annoying voice in your head. Don’t let it get to you. Often times, our discouragement comes from not achieving the ‘X results’ we thought we would see by ‘X time’. Please remember that everyone is different and while Stacy from the gym was running at a 9:30 pace by Week 10, that doesn’t mean you will be too – and that’s perfectly ok. Focus on you. Take encouragement from your own personal victories. How far have you come in the past couple of weeks? Think of where you were when you started your training and where you are now. Reminding yourself of your own small victories will help clear the cloud of discouragement that overwhelms the spirit during a plateau.

Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat

Our bodies, like machines, are a finely tuned and oiled machine; we get what we put into it.  A big reason behind a plateau is our lack of adjusting our eating and sleeping patterns to match our training patterns. We won’t get into how many calories you burn while running as this varies immensely depending on distance, terrain, weight, etc. What we will focus on is the fact that the calories burned running should be compensated with your daily calorie intake. Do not make the mistake of cutting back on calories while training. Your body will not perform at optimum level if its running on vapors. This will lead to lack of energy, decreased endurance and you called it- the plateau. In addition, make sure that the calories you intake are good, healthy calories. Protein and vegetables will take you a lot further than a night out at the local pizza joint.

Lackluster and stalled performance can also be a sign that you are not getting enough ZZZ’s at night. Let’s be real. It is the sweet embrace of soft sheets and the tender peace of counting sheep that we look forward to after a long day of adulting. Yet, sleep is the first thing that we shove headfirst to the backseat as we go through our non-stop and chaotic daily lives. Sleeping is essential when training. Just as a machine gets routine maintenance, your body needs routine rest. The key word being routine. Depending on your schedule, the optimal 7 hours a night may not be possible. Keeping your sleep amount consistent will allow your body to get the most from your rest.

Cross Training

Hitting a training plateau is the equivalent of hearing your significant other say “we don’t do fun stuff anymore.” It is your body telling you that it is time to spice things up! This is a great time to incorporate cross training as it helps immensely to refresh what may seem like a stagnant routine in addition to helping those who feel like they are getting “stuck” – whether it be physically, emotionally or mentally.

Why cross train?  Well, it can improve your aerobic fitness level, increase power, improve performance, help with injury prevention or even rehabilitation, and certainly help with any boredom factors.  When you incorporate cross training, you focus on other muscles and moves that aren’t usually dominant during running.

Recommended Cross Training Activities

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Plyometrics
  • Strength Training
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Water aerobics or water jogging

You want to avoid activities that put a lot of strain on your knees or that are overly weight bearing.  As always, if you try something new, be careful and monitor your body’s response!

Join Our Event Team – Sports Marketing Internship

Are you an active, passionate, athletic-minded individual looking for a fun and flexible job that will allow you to interact with athletes, prospective athletes and those needing a little encouragement to start their athletic career? Sound like you in a nutshell?  Life Time Fitness may have the opportunity you’ve been looking for as part of the Life Time Athletic Events Staff.

Life Time Athletic Events is actively recruiting Sports Marketing Interns as part of the Life Time Street Team supporting our companies marketing presence in and around Chicagoland. The Street Team is a promotions squad representing not only Life Time Fitness, but also a broad range of athletic events. This part-time position involves working on a team and requires a flexible schedule. Team members will promote Life Time Athletic Events at Life Time locations, other athletic and non-athletic events, health & fitness expos, retail partner locations and more. This will require heavy interaction with all types of people, which may include data collection of email and phone numbers for email campaigns, on-site event registration, promotion and give-away opportunities, and capturing photos of those you interact with as a member of the Life Time Street Team.  Interns will also get hands on experience as members of the events team at our Chicago area races.

Follow this link for a complete description and details on how to apply. Marketing Internship – Job Description

All the Awesome To-Dos in the New Year

New Year’s vows to change often bring more pain than actual gain. Here’s how to get real about your good intentions.

Expert Source: Cheri Huber, Zen teacher and coauthor of The Big Bamboozle: How You Get Conned Out of the Life You Want and What to Do About It.

For many people, the New Year feels like a fresh start. With the slate wiped clean, it’s an ideal time to spruce up our lives. So we make resolutions to lose weight, to play the piano daily, to learn Mandarin. These vows are an ancient practice: The Babylonians and the Romans also made solemn promises to their gods at New Year’s, though they may have been no better at fulfilling their resolutions than we are now.

We typically throw ourselves into life-changing pursuits with unbridled enthusiasm — for about a week or two. Then we find ourselves halfway through a dinner-plate-size cookie at the coffee shop or lounging in front of the TV, having “forgotten” the scheduled language class or the workout. After this comes the self-reproach: Why do I even try?

Fewer than one in 10 Americans actually keeps resolutions, according to University of Scranton research. The reasons have less to do with a failure of character or consistency than with unrealistic resolution-making and inadequate resolution-keeping techniques, says Zen teacher and author Cheri Huber. Her insights can help make your New Year’s vows more achievable, less stressful, and even more fun.

Challenges to Overcome

  • Holiday guilt. One of the biggest problems with New Year’s resolutions is that they come at the end of a season when you tend to yield to your cravings. “During the holidays, your overindulgence has broken the structures that support you in being the person you want to be, so you feel guilty and are hard on yourself,” Huber says. “Now’s the time, you think, to really clean up your act.”
  • The rebellious negative. We’re inclined to assert our autonomy by breaking rules — even ones we set for ourselves. “Often, ‘I don’t want to’ or ‘I don’t feel like it’ is much stronger in people than ‘I want to,’ ” she explains. “It’s our ego talking us into doing things that we are going to feel bad about later.”
  • Unrealistic expectations. Resolving to finish a marathon after training for two weeks is unmistakably impractical. But self-deception can also sneak into our most pragmatic intentions: “We have a problem if we make resolutions that are completely counter to our day-to-day choices,” Huber asserts. “If I have an ingrained habit of drinking a Frappuccino every morning and then vow to stop drinking anything sweet in the morning altogether, I’m going to rebel, and then the power of the negative is going to kick in.”
  • Magical thinking. “We hope that making a resolution at New Year’s will have a magical effect,” she says, “and that magic will somehow overcome our resistance.” But overcoming habits almost always requires a series of carefully considered steps.
  • Forgetting. “At our meditation center, we regularly check in with people on the vows and decisions they’ve made,” Huber notes, “and it’s amazing how often they say, ‘Uh, what did I decide?’” She adds that the more far-fetched a resolution is, the more likely it is to simply slip our minds.
  • Feeling better. You feel good after practicing guitar every day for a week, then you lose focus. Or after dropping some weight, you reward yourself — with a doughnut. The moment we’re no longer motivated by misery, says Huber, is often the moment we’re in danger of forgetting our resolve.

Strategies for Success

  • Make small resolutions. “Don’t let the voices in your head talk you into something extreme that is just going to set up another failure,” says Huber. Instead of vowing to lose 20 pounds, commit to 5. Instead of resolving to give up all sugar, start by replacing your daily pastry with a banana and almond butter. “Wholesale change almost never works,” she says. “But incremental changes do — and then you build on them.”
  • Celebrate little successes. If you vow to lose 5 pounds or practice yoga five days in a row, Huber believes that’s five chances to praise yourself. “Celebrate each lost pound — or each day you stay on your training regimen,” she recommends. These celebrations don’t have to be a big deal. You could listen to a podcast you’ve been saving, or treat yourself to a box of fancy tea.
  • Enjoy the process. Huber suggests that if you’re having fun during the first five days, you’re more likely to say to yourself, Hey, I might really enjoy practicing yoga these next five days, too.
  • Be accountable to someone. “Finding somebody outside of yourself who can keep you on track can really help,” Huber advises. Join a class, get a coach, or partner with a friend. Accountability can make all the difference.
  • Listen to yourself. Make a recording of yourself stating your goals, and listen to it every morning, she suggests. You can also write your resolution down on a daily calendar as a memory prompt.
  • Go for positive change. If you’re discouraged by past resolutions gone wrong, try simply setting some good intentions: Write down things you’re grateful for once a week. Make a list of friends you’ve missed and contact them to make dinner plans. These changes will have plenty of positive impacts on your life while steering you clear of the achievement conundrum — because you can’t fail at them.
  • Cultivate self-kindness. “All change is easier if we are kind to ourselves,” Huber says, because self-kindness isn’t the same as self-indulgence — that’s more ego-driven and rebellious. “Kindness to ourselves is doing those things we know we will never regret.”

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life.

Give the Gift of Running this Holiday Season

Looking for the perfect gift for the runner in your life? Order a Life Time Run gift card!

We are now offering physical gift cards for the following Life Time Run events:

  • Miami Marathon & Half Marathon
  • Tropical 5K
  • Miami Beach 13.1 & 5K
  • Sarasota Half Marathon
  • Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K
  • Chicago Half Marathon & 5K

Order your gift cards by 12/20 12:00pm CST to receive them before the holidays!

Click here to ORDER NOW!

*Gift cards will come with unique code on the back for redemption.

Must be redeemed on the corresponding event website that it was originally purchased for.

If you have additional questions, please email us at chicagoregistration@lifetimefitness.com.

2017 Chicago Half Marathon Registration Blitz and Chicagoland Series Registration Now Open

Join us on Sunday, September 24 for the 2017 Chicago Half Marathon! Blitz registration is open until Sunday, October 2 at 11:59 p.m. CT. We hope to see you again next year for this Chicago favorite.

BLITZ PRICING
Tuesday, September 27 to Wednesday, September 28 – $70
Thursday, September 29 – $75
Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2 – $80

> REGISTER NOW

*Discount off full price. Does not apply to 5K registrations.

2017 CHICAGOLAND HALF MARATHON SERIES
Ambitious participants have the opportunity to be recognized for their outstanding athletic achievement in taking part in our two Chicago races with the 26.2 Challenge award. The Chicago Half Marathon will be the second event in the 2017 Chicagoland Half Marathon Series, which also includes the Michelob ULTRA Chicago Spring 13.1 on May 17. Participants who complete both half marathon distances will earn a custom 26.2 Challenge finisher medal at the final event.

> REGISTER NOW

2016 Chicago Half Marathon Athlete Guide Now Available

We’re excited to bring you the 20th Annual Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, September 25! We have an incredible event in store for you as we welcome nearly 15,000 runners from 49 states and 47 countries to the greatest sports city on earth on one of the flattest, most scenic road races around.

The Chicago Half Marathon course starts and finishes within Jackson Park, a historic 500 acre parkland located seven miles south of the downtown Loop. You all deserve tremendous credit for everything that has led up to this day. Remember to enjoy the moment and take it all in. It is an honor to have you at our race, and hope you all have a successful and safe weekend. Make sure you check out the 2016 Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, course information and more.

> 2016 Chicago Half Marathon Athlete Guide

Cheers to an amazing race weekend!

2016 Chicago Half Marathon Medal Reveal

We’re excited to present the 2016 Chicago Half Marathon medal celebrating our 20th year. Measuring 6 inches and weighing a full pound, you’ll want to rep this accomplishment everywhere you go! It’s not too late. Register today to get yours!

5-Ingredient Smoothie

Smart-Juicing-News-Postby Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II

A smoothie is a quick way to get some calories in when short on time! I encourage my clients to consume a maximum of one protein shake per day and focus the rest of the day on getting protein from food sources. And by no means is a daily protein shake a requirement for endurance athletes.

When building a smoothie, be sure to have all macronutrients represented – a carbohydrate, a fat and a protein. This will help to keep blood sugar stable as well as energy levels. Here is one of my favorites:

  • 1 scoop whey or vegetarian protein powder (protein)
  • 1 banana (carbohydrate)
  • ½ avocado (fat)
  • 2 T chia seeds (fat)
  • 1-cup fresh spinach

 

Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS Level II is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having completed many triathlons of all distances including three IRONMAN races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific, metabolically efficient fueling plans for her clients. For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at www.fueltothefinish.com.