Trainer Linda Meyer and I have resurrected the free Walking Clinic.  We meet at the top of the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park every Friday at 5:30pm.  This is an hour of walking, stairclimbing, calisthenics and balance training, followed by stretching. Participants must be able to walk at a moderate pace.  Faster walkers are also welcome and we usually have two groups, one for moderate walkers, and one for faster walkers.

Participants will be asked to sign a liability waiver if they are not already PFTL clients. Please notify Debora at if you plan to participate.


Regretfully, we will have to start adding a late fee to invoices that are not paid on the due dates.  Our business depends on receivables especially since the pandemic.  We have not raised prices for personal training since 2012, even though our operating expenses are increasing dramatically. 

Beginning June 20, we will be adding an automatic 3% late charge to invoices that are not paid within 3 days after the due date.   Most invoices are payable 15 days after clients receive them; so if we have not received payment by the 18th day, the late fee will be added.

Some clients have opted to have the monthly invoice amount charged directly to their credit card. If this is of interest, please contact Jenn Carrasco at to make this arrangement.


As indicated above, business operating expenses for PFTL have been increasing steadily for the past wo years, and we have not raised prices since 2012 (except for Group Training).  We must now increase the cost of some types of training.  While the majority of clients are coming to the studio, we do not plan to increase the cost of in-person, one-on-one personal training at the studio.  We will, however, be moderately increasing the cost of In-Home, Virtual and Group Training.

Beginning August 1. 2022, In-Home training will be raised to $100/hour for current clients ($105-$110 for new clients).  Virtual Training will be raised to $78 /hour.  Group Training will increase to $150 for each 6-week session ($25 per session).  If you would like to discuss this, please contact me at (847) 722-2115.

RESEARCH: PETS AND WELLNESS (Excerpt from IDEA Fitness Journal Spring 2022)

Numerous studies have shown the positive effects that animals can have on our lives. Yes, improved physical fitness is one benefit!

According to a study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, walking dogs promotes engagement in and adherence to regular physical activity. Another study noted that, on average, dog walkers spent 22 minutes more per day walking compared with people who didn’t own a dog.

Having a pet is believed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, according to the CDC (2021). Research also suggests that cat owners are 30% less likely to have a heart attack and nearly 40% less likely to have a stroke.

For people recovering from joint-replacement surgery, Fido could help them depend less on pain pills and potentially heal faster. People who used pet therapy—the guided interaction between a person and a trained animal—while recovering from this type of surgery used less pain medications than those without a pet.

And what about stress? A March 2022 poll released by the American Psychological Association found that 87% of those surveyed said that their “mental health was greatly affected by what has felt like a constant stream of crises without a break over the past 2 years”. This is yet another reason why pet ownership can be more than just rewarding. It’s potentially lifesaving.

Five Ways Pets Improve Mental Health (from American Heart Association 2021)

  1. A reduction in work-related stress. Two out of three employees say work stresses them out, and 40% say their job gets in the way of their health. Studies show that pets in the workplace help reduce stress and improve employee satisfaction.
  2. An increase in productivity. When a dog joins a virtual meeting, group members rank their teammates higher on trust, team cohesion and camaraderie.
  3. Pets help manage anxiety. Pets provide companionship and support, which helps people who are struggling with mental health.
  4. More exercise, better health. Pets provide a reason to get outside, get some fresh air and get active, which is proven to improve mood, sleep and mental health.
  5. Pets provide a sense of togetherness. This special bond helps people feel less alone. When owners see, touch, hear or talk to their companion animals, it brings a sense of goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness.

WATER WALKING WORKS (Excerpt from IDEA Fitness Journal Spring 2022)

Did you know that science has established that low cardiorespiratory fitness is an independent predictor for cardiovascular disease and all causes of death? The good news is that even a small improvement in aerobic capacity has been shown to decrease mortality from cardiovascular disease. But not all land-based exercises that improve aerobic capacity work for all people! For some older people and those at risk for falls, water-based exercise programs and water walking are a good option. That’s because of the lower gravitational forces and reduced impact on the skeletal system.

What does the research say? Two studies compared the aerobic benefits of land walking and water walking.  The water was chest-deep and warm (about 80 degrees); the land was level, paved or grass.

Results: Thumbs Up for Water Walking! – Maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) improved equally in both exercise groups—about 4% as compared with the control group. That’s important because your VO2max shows how well your heart and veins push blood to your muscles and the rest of your body. Knowing your VO2max can help you measure fitness and heart health improvements over time.

An improvement of this kind of VO2max is an indication of a meaningful improvement in heart health. As your VO2max increases, you become an overall healthier person. Researchers also saw a significant difference in body composition in the percentage of trunk and upper-body fat.  Both walking groups (land and water) also saw a significant decrease in visceral fat, the fat pattern associated with major diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance).

Interestingly, the water-walking group showed a significant improvement in lower-limb lean muscle mass. Researchers propose that this may be because water walking may offer a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise.

The bottom line is that water walking is as effective for health as land walking is. It’s a safe option for many older people—and those at risk of falls—to consider.

PFTL News December 2016

CLASS INFO:  Free Qigong Intro Class – Thursday, December 8 from 4pm – 4:45pm. Taught by Regina Wolgel.  No charge

Basic Full-Body Tune-Up – 6- weeks, starts Wednesday, December 7, 3pm-4pm. Taught by Linda Meyer. Cost for the 6-weeks is $100.


Has anyone told you to “warm up” before you exercise or play sports? It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? What’s easy to do is also easy not to do, and the biggest mistake people make is skipping this important component of exercise. Here’s what you need to know to warm up properly (and why it’s so important) so you can be more effective with your physical activities.

WHY Most people sit for long periods of time or lie in bed before they exercise. Warming up helps you shift gears both mentally and physically. When You Warm Up…

  • The brain shifts its attention to physical activity mode.
  • Joints move through their full ranges of motion.
  • Your heart rate increases gradually instead of abruptly.
  • Blood circulates through your system.
  • The muscles practice movements to come.
  • The likelihood of injury decreases.

HOW When it comes to exercise, there are three main activities that all require different types of warm up:

  • Resistance training
  • Sports
  • Cardiovascular exercise

It’s not that there’s a right way and a wrong way to warm up, but there are better and more effective methods you can apply. Your time is valuable, so why not get the maximum benefit? To be most effective, warm-up movements should change based on the activity you’re about to do.   Warm up for one to three minutes before activity and perform each warm-up move five to 10 times. Choose from the ideas below and pay attention to the common mistakes mentioned.

RESISTANCE TRAINING– Common mistake: static stretching. This means holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and sometimes forcing a limb into a position. Save static stretching for after your workout because it signals your muscles to relax instead of activate.

Instead: Use dynamic stretches. This means moving your joints with no resistance through their full ranges of motion rather than holding a position steady (static). You use your muscles to move. Arm circles and ankle rolls are examples of dynamic stretches.

Upper Body – Do shoulder rolls, arm circles and torso rotations. Or simply go through the motion you’re about to do without the resistance (weight). Reach forward before push-ups and pull back to open your chest before rows. Don’t force it. Make your muscles do the movement. Your body has a chance to sort out the kinks and signal problems or pain before you add resistance and challenge.

Middle Body (Abs) –Inhale and exhale deeply and completely three to four times to exercise your diaphragm and activate your transverse abdominis. Kegels, which are performed by squeezing the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine, are also a good preparation for abdominal exercise.

Lower Body – Do ankle rolls and hip circles to warm up the lower body. As with upper body, go through the motion you’re about to do before adding resistance. If it’s a lunge, swing your leg up, knee to chest and then extend back behind you a few times. Be slow and controlled.

SPORTS – Common mistake: ballistic stretching. This means using a bouncing movement such as hopping or jumping jacks to warm up. It can be a good secondary warm-up, but is abrupt to your body as the first move. Ballistic stretching is better done after dynamic stretches.

Instead: Mimic the movements of the sport. For rotational sports such as softball, tennis and golf, rotate the torso without weight to warm up. For basketball, you can do hopping after you warm up with movements such as ankle rolls, high knee marches and lunges.

Think about the movements and demands of the sport you play and mimic them before you begin. Once you start playing the sport, the mind gets focused on performance and puts movement on autopilot. Focusing on the movements and muscles before you play gives your joints a preview of what is to come and creates motor patterns or muscle memory that is useful for your brain.

CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE – Common Mistake: Not warming up and jumping right into the activity. Most people view cardio itself as a warm-up. Before you start throwing your body weight around, repeat the same process discussed above: Use dynamic stretching to signal the system of what is to come.

Before you bike ride, run, swim, use the elliptical, etc., it’s best to start slow and ease into the activity. Bring your heart rate up steadily instead of abruptly. Depending on the activity, warm up your ankles, shoulders, wrists and spine with simple movements.