PFTL News February 2023


Our first Balance Class was well- received by the participants. Improvements were evident after the first three classes.  The new 6-week Session will begin on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:30pm (min. 4 and max 5 participants) and end April 5.  The cost is $150 for the 6-weeks.  The focus will again be on improving balance, coordination, core control and agility.  All these areas are important for fall prevention.  For NEW clients, we will perform a modified fitness assessment ($30), and all participants will be tested for balance prior to the first class. If there are more than 5 participants, but at least 8 we will consider adding an additional class. The class will be taught alternately by Debora Morris, Linda Meyer and Keri Werner. Call Debora for more information and to register (847-722-2115).


So, you have increased the time you spend doing physical exercise…good for you.  But you can’t seem to lose any weight…shouldn’t the extra expenditure of calories result in weight loss?  Well, yes, if you really are burning enough calories to offset what you eat. The problem is, most people underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they exercise.

Numerous studies have indicated that exercise alone will not result in significant weight loss. Doing enough exercise, coupled with not eating over the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your weight, will result in weight loss. However, the level of exercise necessary to burn a significant amount of calories is far more than most people can sustain.  Reducing calories alone will also result in weight loss, but not as much as the combination of adequate exercise and adequate diet over time.

Please remember that the health benefits of exercise, any physical activity, go way beyond potential weight loss. Many studies detail how physical activity can improve outcomes in musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases and depression. But research does not support weight loss as one of the benefits.

Pay attention to the general quality of your diet, instead of eliminating specific foods or food groups.. Emphasize whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seafood, and lean poultry, and minimize highly processed foods (sometimes called “ultra-processed” foods) such as chips, cookies, refined grains, soda, hot dogs, and fries. Research suggests that this eating pattern is effective for not only managing weight long term but also optimizing our health.

So, my advice is to be realistic about how much you really eat (and what you eat).  Add physical activity of some sort every day, even a little is better than nothing.  Don’t expect big or quick results without a reduction in calories. If you don’t see results after about two months, you need to decrease your food intake further.

MAGNESIUM IS IMPORTANT  (from IDEA Fitness Journal Autumn 2022)

People tend to forget about magnesium, but health experts increasingly recognize the key role it plays in boosting health. Magnesium is critical to muscle, nerve and heart function; blood glucose control; energy production; and bone structure.

While Americans rarely suffer from magnesium deficiency, some groups—older men, adolescent girls, and people with gastrointestinal disease, type 2 diabetes and alcohol dependence—are more likely to need higher levels in their diets. Not getting enough magnesium can contribute to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, migraine headaches and possibly depression.

Federal nutrition guidelines suggest that adult women consume 310–320 milligrams of magnesium per day, while adult men should take in 400–420 mg per day.

PFTL News November 2022


My email to clients on September 29 notified everyone of a necessary rate increase effective November 1, based on specific criteria. Below is copy from that email:

To continue providing the level of service and uncrowded environment that you’ve come to appreciate, I must reluctantly raise our hourly training rates. Therefore, effective November 1, 2022, the following new rates will apply for Studio training sessions.

•   One-on-One Training

  • 1X/week – $100
  • 2X/week – $95 per session
  • 3X/week – $85 per session

Multi-client Training & Pre-Pay

  • Two Clients/One trainer: $130 (split $65/$65)
  • Three Clients/One Trainer -$150 (Split $50/$50/$50)
  • 10 Pre-paid Sessions – $90 per session

We’ve been providing high level personal training for 31 years and hope to be here for you as long as you need us.  Feel free to contact me at or 847-722-2115, if you want to discuss the new rates.

SPATIAL AWARENESS AND PROPRIOCEPTION FOR OLDER ADULTS  (Excerpt from IDEA Fit, August 2022. Author: Tracy Markley)

By adulthood, most of us have a fairly good ability to judge where our body is with respect to the objects around it and where our limbs are in relation to our body. This is one of the things that allows us to be safe as we move through the world. Without thinking about it, you can judge the height of an object you need to step over so your foot lifts high enough up and steps far enough out before landing back on the floor.

However, as people enter their senior years, the cognitive skills that allow for this type of movement can diminish. I like to describe it as having a “malfunction” of spatial awareness and proprioception. When these skills decline, older adults find they must coordinate cautiously through many daily activities such as taking steps forward and backward, using stairs, and turning around. Fortunately, these skills can be relearned.

Spatial Awareness and Proprioception Defined.  Spatial awareness and proprioception are often viewed as the same, but they are they are different skills.

Spatial awareness is a complex cognitive skill that allows us to be consciously aware of where the body is in space, how much room there is around it, and how far away the body is from objects in its surroundings.

Proprioception is more specific to knowing where the limbs are in space and the force needed for moving them in relation to the body. The sensory receptors that provide this constant feedback to the brain are called proprioceptors.

A simple example of the brain working with spatial awareness and proprioception is when you walk towards a chair and sit down. Both processes help the brain calculate the distance between you and the chair, and you walk accordingly. You begin taking smaller steps when needed, adjusting the speed of each step as you approach the chair. You calculate the turn, including the size and the direction of the steps required to place your body in the right position to prepare to sit. You calculate the height of the seat and coordinate where the body is in space before using the appropriate speed and force to lower into sitting position without slamming into the chair or falling to the floor.

I’ve posted a 15-second video of one of my stroke-recovery clients performing a reenactment of this sequence. You’ll see how it looks when his spatial awareness and proprioception were malfunctioning alongside a second video of his regained ability of these cognitive skills (Markley 2017).  This client followed a program of exercises like the one described in this article.

Getting to the Core of the Matter – Spatial awareness and proprioception work with the skeletal muscles in the body as they move the body through motion. It’s essential to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvic region and keep the body in proper posture so the limbs can move safely and efficiently. For safe and effective movement, these muscles must gain strength before the legs and arms can be strengthened to their full potential.

A weak deep core in the body is like an apple tree that has a hollow trunk. The tree’s trunk may appear normal, but it’s unstable because it is weak. The tree’s limbs cannot sustain the weight of many apples, and the tree cannot sustain itself in a windstorm.

In my years of studies, I have found research that states that the brain sends a message to the deep center of the body to stabilize the body, which happens microseconds before the limbs are going to move (Le Mouel & Brette 2017). If the center or core of the body is weak, it cannot obtain its best stabilization to keep the body at its safest while in movement. If the brain sends messages to those weak muscles, the communication with the legs and arms will function poorly—or malfunction.

Put more simply: Walking begins deep in the spine, not in the limbs. Therefore, it’s important to strengthen the core and spine from the inside out.

Muscles Involved in Spinal Stabilization – Let’s look at some important muscles and groups of muscles involved in spinal stabilization.

Deep Core Muscles

The multifidus is a small and powerful group of muscles and stabilizes the spine. It begins to activate before the body moves, which helps to protect the spine (Kumar 2019). It’s one of the muscles in the spine that extends, abducts, adducts and rotates the spine.

For a person to gain a better spatial awareness, posture and balance, this muscle must be strong. It’s important to know this muscle is on the same neuromuscular loop with the transverse abdominis, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles.

It’s best if all these muscles are functioning properly: They need to perform jobs individually and as a team. If the transverse muscle is weak, the pelvic floor, multifidus and diaphragm cannot gain the proper strength needed for a healthy, functioning body.

Note: PFTL trainers can show you how to improve spinal stability, balance and posture.

Improve Balance and Prevent Falls


Beginning Friday, September 9 at 2pm, we will be offering a new small group class (min. 4 and max 5 participants).  It will run for 6-weeks and cost $150 for the 6-weeks.  The focus will be on improving balance, coordination, core control and agility.  All these areas are important for fall prevention.  For NEW clients, we will perform a modified fitness assessment ($30), and all participants will be tested for balance prior to the first class. If there are more than 5 participants, but at least 8 we will consider adding an additional class. First-come, first-served…call Debora for more information and to register (847-722-2115).