PFTL News October 2020


Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet. 

It looks like Positivity Rates in Cook County are decreasing, but new cases are still more than the established safe threshold of 50 per 100k (currently 97 per 100k).

WHY YOU NEED MAGNESIUM (excerpted from August 25, 2020)

The mineral is involved in hundreds (yes, hundreds) of enzymatic reactions in the body, making it a key player in carrying out critical functions like blood sugar control and muscle and nerve function, among others.

Magnesium is one of the most commonly occurring minerals in our bodies, so it is not surprising that it plays many critical roles. “Magnesium is a mineral that is part of the bone-building team, along with calcium and vitamin D,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN. “It’s also essential for keeping the heart healthy, as it’s needed for muscle contraction and relaxation.”

“Magnesium is necessary for activating ATP (or adenosine triphosphate), which is the main source of energy in the body,” Largeman-Roth notes. “It’s also involved in the sleep-wake cycle.”

Despite how important magnesium is, it’s considered one of the shortfall nutrients, meaning that many U.S. adults don’t consume enough of it, per the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In other words, most of us would do well to up our magnesium intake from healthy whole foods.

How Much Magnesium is Needed Per Day according to NIH: 

Men (over 31 yrs of age) – 420mg Women (over 31)) – 320 mg

Magnesium Foods – Some of the top sources of Magnesium are:

Almonds: 80 mg, in 1 ounce
Spinach: 78 mg, in ½ cup (boiled)
Cashews: 74 mg, in 1 ounce
Soy milk: 61 mg, in 1 cup
Black beans: 60 mg, in ½ cup (cooked)
Edamame: 50 mg, in ½ cup (cooked)
Peanut butter: 49 mg, in 2 tablespoons
Baked potato with skin: 43 mg

The Benefits of Magnesium

1. It Helps Keep Bones Strong – About 50 to 60 percent of the magnesium in the body is stored in the bones. Much like calcium, magnesium helps maintain bone mineral density, bolstering the bones’ structure and strength, per the NIH. It’s not all that surprising, then, that magnesium deficiency has been linked to a greater risk of osteoporosis

2. It Helps Promote Healthy Blood Pressure – Magnesium may possess anti-hypertensive, or blood pressure-lowering, effects thanks to its ability to relax blood vessels. What’s more, research suggests magnesium supplementation may be a beneficial intervention for those with high blood pressure.

3. It’s Linked to Maintaining Blood Sugar Control -Magnesium plays a role in reactions in the body that regulate insulin secretion and sensitivity and, in turn, affect blood sugar balance.

Additionally, higher dietary magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and 25 to 38 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes have been shown to possess hypomagnesemia, or low magnesium levels in the blood, per a September 2013 PLOS One study.

What You Need to Know About Magnesium Deficiency – Low magnesium levels may increase one’s risk of a variety of conditions, including migraines, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease, among others, according to a September 2015 review in the journal Nutrients.

Here’s why that’s problematic: “The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly 45 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets,” says Largeman-Roth.

That means nearly half the population is missing out on the critical nutrient — and potentially upping their risk of chronic disease as a result.

 Magnesium deficiency, according to the NIH, may lead to:

High blood pressure
Decreased insulin sensitivity and glycemic control Loss of appetite
Muscle cramps
Heart rhythm abnormalities
Additional electrolyte disruptions (low calcium, low potassium)  

What Happens if You Get Too Much Magnesium? – “In healthy people, there is no risk of taking in too much magnesium from food because any excess is excreted by our kidneys through the urine,” says Largeman-Roth.

“However, high doses of magnesium from supplements or medications (like laxatives) can cause diarrhea and other problems.” For adults 19 years and older, the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for supplemental magnesium is 350 milligrams per day (so be sure your supplement doesn’t contain more than this, if you’re taking one).

Did You Know?

Exercising improves brain performance. … Working out sharpens your memory. … Running burns calories! … More muscle mass = burning more fat while resting. … Exercise prevents signs of aging. … A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat. … You get sick less often if you exercise.

PFTL News September 2020


Clients who have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

As of August 28, the Chicago Tribune reported “Cook County is among the 30 counties the Illinois Department of Public Health sounded the alarm about Friday for a resurgence in coronavirus cases. hat’s the largest number of counties that had reached “warning level” since the agency began issuing those weekly reports earlier this summer, and the first time Cook County has been on it. The warning level applies to suburban Cook County and does not apply to the city of Chicago.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet. 

WHAT WALKING REVEALS ABOUT YOU (from WebMD Good Health 8/20/20)

Walking is a complex process. It involves your body from head to toes, including several parts of your brain. Some strides do more than just get you from point A to point B. Your gait, posture, and pace may also be broadcasting clues about your health and personality.

Longer life: Studies on people over 65 show that a natural need for speed when walking tends to mean you’ll live longer. But it doesn’t work in reverse; you can’t expect to extend your years if you push yourself to move quickly. It’s likely a slow stride reflects underlying issues that may be taking a toll on your overall health.

Anxiety: When you’re tense and worried, you’re less likely to be right — when you walk, that is. Researchers tracking peoples’ movements as they walked blindfolded found that the more stressed someone felt, the farther left they strayed when aiming for a target straight ahead. This may be because the right side of your brain is working harder to handle your doubts and dread.

Mechanical trouble: It’s normal for a young kid to walk on their toes as they learn to be upright in the world. But if that doesn’t stop as they get older, it can mean their Achilles tendon is too short to let their heel touch the ground comfortably. Or it could be a sign of muscle issues like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Toe-walking is also common in kids with autism.

Osteoarthritis: An unexpected or unnoticed injury could cause a limp, but it could also be a sign of something more. If you’re favoring one leg over the other, or if your legs seem to be buckling from time to time when you walk, you may be showing symptoms of the type of arthritis that wears away your joints over time.

Alcohol abuse: The line-walking test that police give possible drunk drivers on the side of the road can help you tell whether someone’s brain is able to keep them steady when they walk. Alcohol abuse can lead to things like muscle weakness and loss of your sense of orientation. This causes an uneven, stumbling walk, even if you’re not drunk. After you give up drinking, you’ll likely get better at moving around, though it may take a while.

Weak muscles: If it looks like you’re climbing invisible stairs, you may have foot drop. This typically causes your toes to drag as you walk, and you may step higher to make up for it. It’s more common for only one foot to be floppy, but sometimes it can affect both. It may mean you’ve injured a nerve in your leg, or it could be a sign of a nerve, muscle, brain, or spinal disorder like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis.

Brain injury: Do you rock back and forth to keep it together as you walk? Assuming it’s not an alcohol problem, you may want to have a doctor take a look at your head. A knock to your noggin can cause mild brain damage that makes the world spin for a while. Athletes, take note — this is common among people who play contact sports.

Bad back: It might mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing! When you’ve pulled a muscle or have a herniated disc in your lower back, you’re likely to turn your chest and shoulders to match your hips as you stroll, to avoid twisting. Your arms will sway with your legs as you walk briskly, instead of the opposite hand and foot being ahead of you at the same time. Depression: This mental illness may feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders, and your walk can show it. It’s not unusual for depression to make you walk with slow, short steps. Luckily, it’s not permanent — you’ll get more pep in your step as your mood improves. Studies show you can even lift your spirits by walking briskly, as if you were happy. Your posture helps reroute your thoughts toward the positive.


The Rotary Club of Wilmette will be holding a Walk-a-thon, “Walk For COVID Relief” fundraising event starting October 1 – 10. This will be a personal event for anyone who wants to walk to raise money for COVID Relief.  Volunteers will pledge to walk 10 miles in 10 days (or any amount they can) and get their friends and neighbors to pledge $2-10/mile walked.  Tee shirts will be given to walkers and they hope to get some photos for their Facebook and Instagram postings.

 Participants can sign-up to walk on the Rotary website, just by clicking the blue and red button. Entrance fee is $25 for students, $50 for adults and $100 for families.

 COVID has been difficult for everyone, but especially those in need, the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, the economically disadvantaged.  Donate what you can and let your friends know they have a way to help the Wilmette Rotary Club to help others.

I would love your support!  Put on your walking shoes, OR pledge to support me in my walk. Contact me for pledges or more information about the Walk-a-thon.  Debora Morris 847 722 2115 or [email protected]

PFTL NEWS August 2020


Our studio has been open since June 8.  Several clients have come back, and slowly others are returning as they feel comfortable with our environment and precautions.  We will continue to require masks for all people entering the studio.  We are limiting the number of people in the studio at any one time to 7.  We will continue to take temperatures and ask in writing about current symptoms. Hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, alcohol wipes are scattered throughout the facility.

All trainers are wiping surfaces and equipment both before and after being touched. Professional disinfecting and cleaning is done twice per week.  No equipment that cannot be wiped easily will be available for use.

We hope we will see more clients return, but we understand that it is a very personal decision and we respect whatever our clients decide.

SELF-COMPASSION (excerpted from June 21, 2020)

During these challenging times, when emotions tend to run high and change from moment to moment, a little compassion can go a long way. Not only can this kind of kindness benefit your interactions with others, but it may also help you manage any distress you feel. Really.

A practice called self-compassion has been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression, boost optimism, and even benefit your health. Put simply, self-compassion is “treating yourself with the same compassion, kindness, care, and support you would show to someone you care about,” explains. Kristin Neff, PhD, associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Positive Self BehaviorNegative Self Behavior
We can choose to offer kindness to ourselves.We can choose to judge ourselves.
We can choose to remember that we are part of a common humanity, which means to remember that all people struggle and know what it is like to hurt.We can choose to isolate and think that no one else could understand
We can choose to mindfully recognize our experiences and what we can learn from them.We can choose to over-identify with those emotions and let them take over.

When we feel anxious, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in, and as our body goes into fight-or-flight mode, our levels of cortisol and adrenaline increase. Self-compassion, on the other hand, tips the scales in favor of the parasympathetic nervous system and taps into our mammalian care system, Neff explains. This leads to an increase in oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel safe, secure, and cared for. Self-compassion also decreases cortisol and increases heart rate variability. “This signals you are flexible and ready to respond” to any perceived threat, Neff explains.

Self-compassion may also help if you’ve been feeling down, as research shows it may help depressive symptoms and rumination. “Depression is linked to being self-critical,” Neff says. But the mindfulness aspect of self-compassion may help you “step outside” of yourself and gain a clearer perspective rather than getting lost in negative thinking, while the connection aspect can help you see you’re not the only one in your situation. Combine that with self-kindness, and you may be able to overcome that critical, repetitive judge in your head.


Before we go any further, it’s worth clarifying that it’s impossible to calculate the exact number of calories you may burn doing any of these things. It depends on all sorts of things, including the actual elevation of the course itself. Take these as ball-park numbers, which is what they’re intended to be:

Walking while carrying – No surprises here. Walking while carrying your golf bag is the best form of exercise golf can offer. Walking 18 holes equals about four undulating miles, and doing that while swinging and carrying your bag probably pegs your total calories-burned number to around 1,400, according to an experiment conducted by the Director of the Center for Health and Sport Science and reported on by the New York Times, and sometimes up to 2,000.

Walking while pushing a cart – Interestingly, walking with a push cart, according to the same New York Times article, actually burns a similar amount of calories as carrying, albeit a fraction less.

Walking with caddie – The simple act of walking and swinging, while employing a caddie to carry your sticks, is still a great form of exercise. A short blurb on Harvard’s website pegs that calories-burned figure at between 800 and 900 calories, but that article isn’t an official study itself and only quickly references unnamed “studies,” so it’s unclear what the exact number is, and could be closer to 1200 calories.

Riding a cart – Of course, while lots of golf snobs insist on walking only, doing so obscures three important factors:

  • First, carts are good for golf, as NPR reports here, because they create added revenue for courses themselves: They enable golf facilities “to get more people on the course and get them around the course faster,” Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation.
  • Second, carts allow the game to remain more inclusive to many elderly golfers who may enjoy golf but don’t possess the ability to walk 18 undulating holes.
  • And last but not least, because you’re still walking to and from (often elevated) tee boxes, and swinging your clubs, you still burn lots of calories playing golf with a cart — anywhere from between 800 to 1,300, according to a WGF study.

It’s safe to say golf is a fantastic form of exercise, so whatever you choose, play lots of it!


PFTL News July 2020


Our studio has been open since June 8.  Several clients have come back, and slowly others are returning as they feel comfortable with our environment and precautions.  We will continue to require masks for all people entering the studio.  We will continue to take temperatures and ask in writing about current symptoms. Hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, alcohol wipes are scattered throughout the facility.

All trainers are wiping surfaces and equipment both before and after being touched. Professional disinfecting and cleaning is done twice per week.  No equipment that cannot be wiped easily will be available for use.

We hope we will see more clients return, but we understand that it is a very personal decision and we respect whatever our clients decide.


You exercise and eat well during the day. Then at night, there’s not much else to do — everything except sleep. But just like you need to invest in your fitness and food intake, you also need to catch the right amount of zzzs, especially if you’re trying to build muscle.

“Diet, exercise and sleep are the pillars of health and the key to building muscle,” Kasey Nichols, NMD, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who specializes in sleep disorders. “Without one of these pillars, your muscle-building routine will be suboptimal at best and permanently damaging at worst.”

Why Sleep Is Key to Muscle Growth – After a strenuous strength-training session, your muscles are in need of repair. When we sleep, our bodies are flooded with muscle-building, or anabolic, hormones including insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and testosterone, which help build and repair the damage, Nichols says.

“Missing sleep or not getting enough disrupts the amount and timing of anabolic hormone secretion, which means that you will not get the growth and strength increases you work so hard for at the gym,” Nichols says.

A December 2017 study of over 10,000 people in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions found that good sleep quality is associated with greater muscle strength, while sleeping fewer than six hours a night may be a risk factor for decreased muscle strength. The authors point out that the number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of sleep you’re getting each night matters just as much.

“Each phase of our sleep cycle contributes to muscular repair and growth in different ways. This is why it is important to not just sleep enough but to sleep well,” says Sarah Ray, a National Strength and Conditioning Association-certified trainer and head of business at Volt Athletics. “If you are breezing through or missing stages of sleep due to poor sleep environments, you’re not optimizing the recovery window.”

Too-Little Sleep Can Sabotage Your Workouts – How much sleep is enough? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults get seven or more hours of sleep per night. If you happen to have a spare hour in the day and the choice between a full night of sleep and an extra hour of exercise, choose the sleep, says Sujay Kansagra, MD, doctor of neurology and sleep medicine, director of the Duke Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program.  “If you don’t sleep, your workouts are likely to not be as effective anyway, since you won’t perform as well,” Dr. Kansagra says. “Sleep deprivation lowers motivation to exercise. It can also negatively impact exercises that require persistent effort for long periods of time.”

A systematic review published March 2018 in Sports Medicine looked at 10 sleep intervention studies and concluded that getting more sleep was the intervention most beneficial to athletic performance.

And according to a February 2015 study in Sports Medicine, sleep deprivation causes a nervous system imbalance and ultimately slower and less-accurate cognitive performance, such as slower reaction times and suboptimal endurance, which are detrimental to any fitness performance.

ALL EARS (from March 2020)

From infections to hearing disabilities, you may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to the ear. This complex system of tiny parts not only helps us to process sound but also keeps us balanced and performing well during physical exercise.

The structure has three parts: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.

The outer ear is composed of the pinna, or auricle—the rounded cartilage visible outside—and the auditory canal, which connects to the middle ear through the tympanic membrane, or the eardrum.

The middle ear includes the ossicles, three small bones that vibrate and transmit sound waves to the inner ear; and the eustachian tube, a mucus-lined canal that connects to the back of the nose and helps to equalize pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

Finally, the inner ear comprises the cochlea, a spiral-shaped nerve receptor that translates sound vibrations into electrical impulses for the brain; and the vestibule and semicircular canals, which contain receptors that regulate our sense of equilibrium.

Here are more sound facts that you may not have heard about ears:

Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve ear health, since cardiovascular fitness ensures an ample supply of oxygen-rich blood to the ears and surrounding organs (Patino 2010).

In the cochlea, researchers have identified a biological circadian clock that controls how well hearing damage heals at different times of the day—a discovery that may influence future treatment of hearing disabilities (Karolinska Institutet 2014).

Eating a healthy diet that includes antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vegetables can reduce the risk of hearing loss (BWH 2019; Le Prell et al. 2011).

The ear’s reputation for endless growth rings true: As people age, the ear’s circumference increases, on average, about half a millimeter per year, due to age-related changes in collagen (Bradford 2016).

Stress and anxiety can increase the production of earwax, also called cerumen, since this protective substance is produced by the same class of glands that secrete sweat as an emotional response (HuffPost 2014; Bradford 2016).

PFTL News June 2020


Pursuant to the Governor’s orders, we will be able to re-open on June 8.  But we will be operating very differently to ensure the health and safety of clients and trainers.  A detailed description of the new operating procedures was sent out last week.  If you want an additional copy, please contact Debora or your trainer.  A brief summary is below:

  1. No more than 2 clients per hour will be scheduled, with at least 30 minutes between sessions. Appointments only, no Open Gym.
  1. Admittance to the studio – Masks will be required for entry. Temperatures will be taken at the door. Health questionnaires and waivers will be completed and signed. Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be practiced at all times
  1. All surfaces that are touched will be wiped with a disinfectant before and after touch or use by both trainers and/or clients.
  1. Equipment that cannot be easily cleaned will not be available (e.g. cloth mats, rollers, massage tools, ankle weights, etc)
  1. Professional disinfecting cleaning of all surfaces will be done 2X/week.
  1. Water will not be dispensed from the water cooler.  We will provide small water bottles at the entrance.
  1. No items should be brought into the studio.  If phones must be kept nearby, we advise wearing a waist pack and carrying it. We will provide bags for your belongings at the entrance if necessary, but we ask that you keep most things at home or in your car.


Some of you may have received this thought-provoking article, but it is worth reading again, and again. Two things stood out to me, one, an understanding of the resilience of our grandparents and parents, and two, that we cannot always control what happens in life, but we CAN overcome.


On your 14th birthday World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You are not even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40′s, as it killed 300 million people during your lifetime.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. From your birth, until you are 55 you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed and/or die. 

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? Perspective is an amazing art. Refined and enlightening as time goes on. We will endure this as well.”


Although diet can be a factor in many chronic health conditions, surprisingly, U.S.-trained doctors receive little or no formal training in nutrition. (Estimates are that, on average, students in medical schools spend less than 1% of lecture time learning about diet.) Staff and students at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic would like to see that knowledge gap rectified.

In the report Doctoring Our Diet: Policy Tools to Include Nutrition Training in U.S. Medical Training, the group issued recommendations for improving nutrition education in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education. The report says that nutrition education should be required in medical school and that physicians should be required to take continuing education courses in nutrition to maintain medical licenses. The end goal? Supporting better health outcomes for patients.

SARTORIUS MUSCLE  (from IDEA Fitness Journal May 2020)

You may not be familiar with the sartorius muscle, but you’ve no doubt flexed it during countless lower-body exercises, stretches and yoga poses.

The long, bandlike muscle runs down the length of the thigh, starting at the upper, outer edge of the hip bone and wrapping inward to the inside surface of the lower leg bone behind the knee.

As a two-joint muscle, the sartorius seamlessly serves both the hip and the knee. When acting on the hip joint, it works to flex, abduct, and laterally rotate the thigh. At the knee joint, the sartorius helps to flex the leg.

This versatility of movement is what allows you to sit cross-legged and to rotate your leg upward to inspect your heel or rest your foot on your knee (Barclay 2017; Kenhub 2020).

Here are more facts to stitch up your knowledge of the sartorius:

  • Its name is derived from the Latin word for “tailor,” since the hip and knee movements it facilitates mimic a tailor sitting cross-legged to work (Barclay 2017).
  • The sartorius is the longest muscle in the human body (Barclay 2017).
  • Strengthening exercises for the sartorius include standard squats and lunges, lateral step-ups, lateral band walks, plié squats, and clamshell exercises (Williams 2020).