PFTL News April 2020


Pursuant to the Governor’s orders, we are still closed to the public. But weekly cleanings and disinfecting will still be done until opening again. Trainers may still use the facility, but not for training clients.  We have always used disinfecting wipes and sprays, and these will be abundant when we re-open as well. 

Trainers will maintain contact with our clients through emails and calls.  We will be providing exercise and other health information electronically from time to time.  We are working on ways to stay connected using Zoom and other apps for virtual interactions.


Editor’s note:  There are many articles written about how individuals can best understand and cope with the fear and anxiety of this unprecedented life event.  Some of this is good advice, some not so good.   I have selected one that appeared in which I thought would be helpful.

The COVID-19 pandemic has filled life with a lot of unknowns. Will we get sick? Will a family member or friend end up hospitalized? Will we lose our jobs? Will we need to cancel our wedding? How long will the virus be at the forefront of our everyday lives?

All these what-ifs piling on top of one another are a recipe for panic. This is because we can’t control what we don’t know, Karla Ivankovich, PhD, a clinical counselor says “ The fear of the unknown becomes terrifying because no matter how many ways we try to perceive an outcome, we understand there may be so many more scenarios that we couldn’t even consider,” she explains.

Fight-or-flight response kicks in when we start to fear, which is a “natural mechanism to protect ourselves,” says Ivankovich. “But when the circumstances remain unknown, we stay in a heightened state of awareness, which wreaks havoc on the mind and body. This causes us immense stress, which leads to panic, turning to anxiety. The unknown steals the one thing that gives us comfort in scary times, and that’s control.”

Jud Brewer, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist, says “powerlessness” can lead to a couple of different responses.  A feeling of powerlessness might tell your brain to kick things into gear and “do something to regain control,” says Dr. Brewer. “It might not be obvious what to do, but it doesn’t stop us from trying something. What do you do at a time like this? Just do something. That gets into the loops of the brain, that doing something is better than doing nothing. But no, it could in fact make it worse.”

Panic is motivated by such thinking, and it’s exacerbated by social contagion. When everyone is rushing to grocery stores to buy up all the supplies, and respected newspapers are filled with constant negative headlines, you panic. And it’s called “blind panic” for a reason, he says; you’re not really thinking things through. “Toilet paper became the meme, because it’s ridiculous,” says Dr. Brewer. “It doesn’t make sense. There’s not a shortage of toilet paper.” Basically, you don’t see clearly at all when you’re worrying.

No one is immune from anxiety right now.

Here are some ideas for coping with the unknown and feeling better about it.

Slow down your thoughts by organizing them – Anxiety speeds up your thoughts, and that can cause you to make rash decisions or take quick actions.

The key is to force your body and mind into slowdown. First off, you have to tell yourself to breathe; take deep breaths. Slow your thoughts down. Maybe the quick way to do that is just to get out a word document or a notebook. Start writing to-do lists. Nothing controls anxiety better than putting a checkmark on a to-do list.

This does two things: it compels you to focus on something concrete and creates a sense of control over something you actually can control, whether that’s a walk outside or an assignment at work.

Reach out to others for gut checks – Ivankovich says to consider contacting a therapist if you are struggling. “Many therapists are offering short-term assistance for free,” she says. You can connect with counselors digitally. There are also text-based tools and apps for therapy available, which many are utilizing amid the COVID-19 crisis.

We all have uncertainty right now. “Part of coping with uncertainty is being willing to manage it with lists and processes and people,” she says, noting it is sort of like chess. You can only plan a few moves ahead, because a lot can change. We have to be willing to control what we can, and adapt when we need to.

Stop checking the news so much – Constantly tuning into the 24/7 news cycle means you never know what you’re going to get and it can become addictive. Check the news only twice or three times a day, so you’re getting updates that are similar in scale each time. If the negative headlines are still causing anxiety, shut off those live updates.

“If you want to get news or accurate information, the best way to learn what to focus on is to get accurate info,” he advises. Dr. Brewer suggests the World Health Organization (WHO) or Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because “they are not going to put anything up that isn’t rock solid,” he says, whereas other news outlets have evolving story updates.

Engage in mindfulness and deep breathing – Ground yourself in the familiar. When you are anxious, it helps to go to a space you know and love. Maybe you relax in a comfy chair in front of a window, do some cooking in your kitchen, or snuggle into a cozy reading nook. A hot bath or shower can also help slow you down. Practice gratitude; write in your journal. Walk, exercise as much as you can.

Sleep should be prioritized right now, even though you might be far off your regular schedule. At least one hour before bed, turn all your screens off. Start slowing your day down. Ten minutes before getting ready for bed, find a dimly lit room and focus on your breathing. Slow your breaths to the point where you are most comfortable with it, as slowly as you can get it, and do this for 10 minutes.

After you do that, continue with your nighttime routine, get into bed and “start slowing your breathing down” once again. You will fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer if you start slowing down well before bed.  Deep breaths allow more oxygen to fill your lungs, and focusing on them can help you let go of more stressful thoughts.


Home Workouts

Dear Valued Client,

Although we cannot be open for business, pursuant to the “Stay At Home” order from our governor, we want you to continue to exercise and stay healthy at home.  Below are a few exercises that you are familiar with, which most anyone can do in addition to taking walks or jogs outside.

Doing 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. 3X/week will go a long way to help to keep you fit, until you can resume training with your trainer.

Just remember for each exercise:

  • Warm up about 5 minutes or more before doing the exercises
  • Maintain a neutral spine by engaging deep core muscles
  • Keep breathing; never hold your breath

Push-up – this is a great exercise for beginners and/or advanced clients.  It can be done the easiest way, against a kitchen counter. Progressing to the floor with knees bent; then a full pushup with toes on the floor.  This can be made more challenging with legs elevated, with hands close together, or the ultimate…one-handed.

Squat – Every time we sit, we squat;  but doing this correctly is important. There is no need to squat more than with thighs parallel to the floor.  Knees should  not move forward of toes.


Lunge – Done correctly, this is a challenging exercise.  You can increase the challenge by walking lunges. Make sure knee does not go forward of ankle.


Single-Leg Balance – This should be practiced every day.  More challenge can be added by doing arm movements one side at a time while maintaining single-leg balance.  If this is too easy, close your eyes.


We are all looking forward to seeing everyone back as soon as we can start training again. During the time we are closed, we will continue to clean, dust and disinfect the studio weekly.

Stay healthy,



As you probably know, Gov. Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order which begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 and will remain in effect through Tuesday, April 7, 2020. 

Essential services – such as grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies – will remain open, but all non-essential businesses will be forced to stop operating. Pritzker said residents will still be able to leave home to buy food, obtain medication, go to a medical office or hospital, and take walks outside.

So, we have no choice but to close our studio and not allow any training sessions or open gym to occur.  Your trainer has been advised as well.

This is truly a challenging time…economically, physically and mentally.

Stay safe and healthy. Keep exercising outside whenever possible.



Personal Preventive Measures Against COVID-19

Dear Clients and Trainers,

As was indicated in my last newsletter, we at PFTL are serious about protecting your health. With the current coronovirus pandemic, we are being extra cautious at this time. We are taking measures to disinfect all surfaces, disinfecting wipes are provided throughout the studio, hand trainers will limit hands-on training, rubber gloves are provided for your use.

In addition, since no vaccine exists to protect against COVID-19, public health experts recommend the following personal preventive measures:

  • Wash hands frequently. Wash hands thoroughly and often, either with soap And water for 20 seconds or with a 60% alcohol-based rub, to kill any viruses on your hands. Hand dryers alone are not effective at killing COVID-19. For effective hand-washing practices, check out this video.
  • Avoid touching your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, as any virus on hands from a touched surface can enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth, according to current information.
  • Maintain social distance. Keep a distance of at least 3 feet between you and apparently healthy persons and stay 6 feet away if a person is coughing or sneezing (WHO 2020).
  • Limit contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you’re sick with respiratory symptoms like a fever, runny nose and/or cough, STAY HOME. Seek medical advice if your condition worsens with a high fever and/or difficulty breathing.
  • Cough into an elbow or a tissue. Cover coughs with a tissue or cough into an elbow. Dispose of tissues immediately in a covered bin and wash hands with warm, soapy water. Wash clothing into which you cough. It is unknown how long the virus can live on hard and soft surfaces. According to the WHO, coronaviruses may survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. The best way to ensure that surfaces you touch are germ-free is to clean them with a disinfectant.

PFTL NEWS March 2020


— But You’re Probably Doing It Wrong  (excerpted from

Proper hand-washing is an art, and you may be making some common mistakes that are putting you at higher risk of getting sick. From sudsing to drying, there is a science-backed, best way to cleanse.

Learn how to wash your hands properly — the next time you’re face-to-face with the bathroom sink, avoid these five common mistakes.

1. You Skip the Soap – For most people, this seems like a no-brainer. But skipping the soap is a common mistake, says Philip Tierno, PhD, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Health. If you’re passing up the suds, you may want to re-think your choice. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Washing with water alone will reduce bacteria to 23 percent, according to a January 2011 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. But using soap will reduce the total bacteria to about 8 percent, researchers found. So, skipping this extra step does make a difference.

2. You Don’t Scrub Long Enough – Most people also fail to spend enough time at the sink, Tierno says. Technically, you should lather your hands for at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC. For reference, that’s about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through.

3. You Don’t Lather Your Entire Hand — Nails Included. When you wash your hands, surface area matters. And although you mostly use your fingers to grab objects or type on your computer, it’s important to also get the soap on the backs of your hands and between your fingers, according to the CDC.

Don’t forget to thoroughly clean under your fingernails, too, where a lot of germs can be lurking, Tierno says. The best way to do so is by scraping your soapy palm.

And don’t stop at the bottom of your palm. You’ll want to wash about an inch up toward your wrist to make sure you’re eliminating as much bacteria as possible.

4. You Re-Contaminate Right After Washing – Most public bathrooms have automatic sinks these days. But if the sink you’re using shuts manually, don’t turn it off immediately after washing, Tierno says. By touching the sink with your freshly washed hand, you expose your skin to the same germs present before you washed them.

The same goes for the paper towel dispenser. If the dispenser isn’t automatic, you’ll want to dispense the paper towel prior to washing. Then, after you dry, turn off the water and open the bathroom door handle using the paper towel, not your squeaky clean hand.

5. You Rely Too Much on Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer is convenient, and an alcohol-based sanitizer is a decent on-the-go alternative to hand-washing. But it isn’t a replacement for washing your hands, according to the CDC. Hand sanitizers don’t get rid of all types of germs and may not be as effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

There’s a proper sanitizing protocol, too. Apply at least a quarter-sized dollop of sanitizer and rub it on your hands for at least 20 seconds, Tierno recommends. As with hand-washing, make sure to get the product between your fingers, under your nails and up your wrist.

Don’t rub any of the excess sanitizer off onto your clothes if it doesn’t dissolve right away. Either keep going up your arm or just keep rubbing your hands until they’re dry.

Look for a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol (this will be listed as the active ingredient on the back of the bottle, typically in the form of “ethyl alcohol”). Brands that typically include this amount are Germ-X and Purell.


  • After using the bathroom
  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before you eat
  • Before and after you come in contact with someone who is sick
  • Before and after diaper changes
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • After touching shared surfaces, such as in the gym or on a train

“The whole idea is to cut down on the number of [germs] you introduce from your hands to your mouth, eyes or nose, which are the conduits of entry into your body,” Tierno says. “That’s how you get sick 80 percent of the time.”


More than ever before, we are trying to keep you healthy.  We have sent clients home in the past when we think they might be contagious (couging, sneezing, hoarseness, sore throat, etc).

With the heightened attention to new viruses, we will be even more diligent.  Please do not come to the studio if you are feeling ill.  Also, if you have travelled to a location where the Coronavirus is active, do not come into the studio for at least 2 weeks after you arrive home.

We will continue to provide hand sanitizers at the studio, and we will also make rubber gloves available to you upon request (but even with gloves, you must remember to never touch your nose, eyes, mouth).