PFTL News June 2016

NEW CLASSES STARTING IN JUNE  – Contact Julie Cohen to register for any of these classes.  Email or call 847-251-6834.

Basic Full-Body Tune-Up” – 60-minutes – 6-weeks – Starts Wednesday, June 15 from 4pm-5pm. Taught by personal trainer, Linda Meyer, CPT, this group class (min. 4; max. 5 participants)  focuses on flexibility, stability, strength, balance and endurance. It is designed as a full body workout with the aim of helping each person improve their overall fitness level.

Beginner level of fitness: this is a perfect class for motivated individuals who currently lack the strength, balance and flexibility they once had, and want to regain these qualities. The cost for this 6-week class is $100 per participant.

Functional Strength and Cardio – 60 minutes- 6 weeks- Starts Thursday, June 16 at 3pm (may meet on Tuesdays as an alternative).   This class uses various forms of equipment, with intervals of cardiovascular exercise. A core segment would include balance and Pilates exercises. It  also includes some game-like activities, e.g. obstacle courses and partner activities to achieve a fun whole body work-out. Taught by Ellen Flaxman, MS, CPT, this class is designed to be fun as well as an effective way to improve fitness. This is an intermediate level class. Cost is $100 for the 6-week course. We will need a minimum of 4 participants; max 5. The cost for this 6-week class is $100 per participant.

Theme-based Yoga Classes – Two new classes- Sundays at 10am and Tuesdays at 3pm. 60 minutes each – 6 week session- Starts Sunday June 12 at 10am and Tuesday, June 14 at 3pm. Taught by Jenny Klein, who incorporates Ashtanga style with other types of yoga into a hatha or basic practice. Each class is based on a different mind-body theme, where the poses match the theme. Classes are suitable for the beginner, the intermediate and even the more advanced student who wants a back-to-basics practice. Jenny guides alignment and breath, but with the understanding that every person has to respect what his or her body can do on the mat on any given day. We will need a minimum of 4 participants; max 5. The cost for this 6-week class is $100 per participant.

Free Walking Clinic -Learn how to get the most benefit out of walking as exercise, while walking in beautiful Gillson Park, Wilmette. Mondays and Thursdays starting June 13 through September 29; 5:30pm-6:30pm.  Debora Morris, Julie Cohen, Linda Meyer and Leslie Cohen will be leading and/or assisting.   Each meeting Includes warm-up, stretching, inclines, steps, balance and coordination. All fitness levels welcome. We meet at Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park.


If you think drinking a lot of coffee all day long will give you more energy, think again.

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system. Specifically, the chemical gooses the adrenal glands into releasing hormones — namely cortisol and adrenaline — that tell the body to go faster. The short-term result can be increased focus and better hand-eye coordination. But overdo caffeine on a regular basis and, eventually, the central nervous system runs out of gas. If you don’t restore yourself with sleep, proper nutrients and relaxation, you’ll quickly get into a cycle of short-term energy bursts followed by increased fatigue.

Besides fatigue, heavy coffee drinkers may also experience jitters, agitation, insomnia, heartbeat irregularities, frequent urination.

What can you do: It is advised to limit your daily dose of caffeine to less than 300 milligrams (mg). As a reference, a 12-ounce cup of Starbucks brewed coffee packs 260 mg of caffeine, while a 12-ounce Americano (two shots of the coffee chain’s espresso added to hot water) contains 150 mg. A 12-ounce cup of black tea, on the other hand, contains roughly 100 mg and green tea only 50 mg.

What’s a healthy amount for you? Most people know what amount their system can handle.  You may also want to support your adrenal glands with B vitamins (especially B5/pantothenic acid), vitamin C and licorice. Also, fuel up on healthy, whole foods that boost and maintain your energy.

TIPS FOR BIKE SAFETY (from State Farm newsletter May 2016)

Biking riding (instead of car riding) can save money, fight pollution and help you stay in shape. The bike rider, however, should be aware of the following to stay safe on the road.

Give a Good Once-over – Before you set off, make sure the brakes and gears work properly and that the tires are inflated correctly.  Over inflation can cause blow-outs.

Know the Rules of the Road-Your bike is considered a vehicle, so laws that apply to motorists also apply to you. If you’re biking on the road, you should:

  • Obey all traffic lights, road markings and stop signs.
  • Ride with traffic, and use the right lane or bike lane.
  • Use hand signals to indicate turns and lane changes.

Wear a Helmet – A properly fitted helmet is a must-have. Helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury or other head trauma if you’re involved in a crash. But remember: Helmets are designed to withstand only one crash. Replace yours after any crash, and never wear a helmet with cracks, missing pieces or other damage

Exercise Readiness

One of the most frustrating situations for a personal trainer is meeting a new client whose body is not physically ready to do challenging exercise, but he/she wants to lift heavy weights and do high intensity cardio training.

 In my opinion, physical readiness means the following:

1.  The client knows how to breathe using his/her diaphragm.  Improper breathing means the diaphragm (which is an inner core muscle) is not working optimally, and therefore, the other inner core muscles, transversus abdominus, multifidi, and pelvic floor muscles will not work optimally either.  These muscles must be activated to provide spinal stability and maintain a neutral lumbar spine, which is necessary for almost all exercise movements.

2.  The client has no major muscular imbalances or asymmetries while walking, squatting or standing on one leg.  While no one is perfectly symmetrical, significant asymmetries are usually indicative of overuse of stronger (sometimes tighter) muscles, and inhibition of weaker (sometimes over-stretched) muscles.  If better balance is not achieved before heavy resistance or high intensity exercise, the imbalances will be exacerbated and become worse; therefore, setting the stage for injury.

3.  The client has good (not perfect) postural alignment.  Once again, perfection is impossible (and should not be the goal); however, most postural misalignment can be improved to some extent, and focusing on postural improvement should be an early goal. Poor posture is usually a result of muscular imbalances caused by activities of daily living: therefore, a review of daily activities and focusing on ways to improve movement through modifications (i.e. limiting amount of time sitting at a computer) is a necessary step toward improving exercise readiness.

Corrective exercises, which are specifically designed to help the client attain these basic exercise readiness factors, are the best way to begin an exercise program.  Patience on the part of both the trainer and client need to be part of the first training sessions.  Many of these exercises can be simplistic and unexciting, but the longer term benefits are immeasurable.

Once all the basics are achieved, more challenging exercises can be done safely and more effectively for better results without the risk of injury.

PFTL NEWS June 2013

NEW EARLY MORNING CLASSES  (Call or email to register)

Qigong – A great way to start your day!  A new early morning 4-week session will begin on Tuesday, June 18 through July 9; this 45-minute class will meet at 7:15AM-8:00AM.   Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is a form of mind/body/spirit integration through specific physical movement, breathing and awareness.  Similar to Tai Chi, but much easier to learn and practice, Qigong can increase vitality, improve balance, coordination and flexibility among other benefits. Appropriate for all fitness levels.

Regina Wolgel teaches this amazing class; she is also available for one-on-one instruction in the studio or at home. Minimum of 5 participants: maximum of 8. Cost is $80 for the 4 week session.

Open Yoga – Start your summer weekend with a fun and safe yoga foundation.  Early morning session begins Saturday, June 15 from 7:00AM – 8:00AM.  6- Week course will run through July 20. Five student minimum; maximum of 8. Cost is $120 for the 6-week session.

Taught by Trish Nealon, RYT500, this course is an introduction to the fundamentals of yoga, which includes breathing, stretching, strengthening and balance for the entire body.


Our bodies are about 60 percent water. Water regulates our body temperature, moves nutrients through our cells, keeps our mucous membranes moist and flushes waste from our bodies. Our lungs are 90 percent water, our brains are 70 percent water and our blood is more than 80 percent water. Simply put, we can’t function without it.

Most people sweat out about two cups of water per day (0.5 liters). Each day, we also lose a little more than a cup of water (237 ml) when we exhale it, and we eliminate about six cups (1.4 l) of it. We also lose electrolytes — minerals like sodium and potassium that regulate the body’s fluids. So how do we replace it?

We can get about 20 percent of the water we need through the food we eat. Some foods, like watermelon, are nearly 100 percent water. Although the amount of water that we need each day varies, it’s usually about eight cups. But instead of worrying about getting in those eight cups, you should just drink when you start to feel thirsty. You can get your water by drinking other beverages — but some beverages, like alcohol, can make you more dehydrated.

If your urine is dark yellow, you might not be drinking enough water. Of course, you need more water when you’re exercising; ill with diarrhea, vomiting or fever; or in a hot environment for a long time. Most people can survive only a few days without water, although it depends on a number of factors, including their health and environment. Some have gone as long as two weeks.

When you don’t get enough water, or lose too much water, you become dehydrated. Signs of mild dehydration include dry mouth, excessive thirst, dizziness, lightheadedness and weakness. If people don’t get fluids at this point, they can experience severe dehydration, which can cause convulsions, rapid breathing, a weak pulse, loose skin and sunken eyes. Ultimately, dehydration can lead to heart failure and death. (PFTL note: Older adults lose their ability to detect thirst and must be reminded to drink water, even when they are not feeling thirsty.)


 First of all, ankle weights should NEVER be worn when walking.  Weights worn at the ankle force the knee joint to torque unnaturally and these shearing forces will cause damage to knee ligaments and tendons.

I frequently see people walking briskly on the street carrying dumbbells and swinging their arms; I assume they think they are increasing the intensity of the exercise of walking and, therefore, burning more calories.  They are wrong on many fronts.  Studies have shown that here is very little difference in the amount of calories burned and, more importantly, they are running the risk of shoulder injury as well.  Even people with perfect posture (and very few have this) will tend to round the shoulders, strain the upper back and put undue stress on the rotator cuff muscles by swinging even light dumbbells while walking.

There is no good reason to carry dumbbells while walking.  If extra weight is desired for the slight difference in calorie expenditure, then wearing a weighted vest is the best way to do that.  A weighted vest that is evenly weighted will center the weight on the torso (think core) where the body is better able to adapt to the increased load. We recommend core training with a weighted vest prior to activities where a backpack will be used (i.e. hiking, camping).

To increase calorie expenditure, increasing intensity, through interval training or sustained speed, will effectively result in burning more calories.


Intuition, or a sixth sense, is something many of us rely on for snap judgments and often life-altering decisions. But what exactly is it? A 2008 study in the British Journal of Psychology defined intuition as what happens when the brain draws on past experiences and external cues to make a decision — but it happens so fast that the reaction is at an unconscious level.

But that’s only part of it, says Judith Orloff, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA. “Just like the brain, there are neurotransmitters in the gut that can respond to environmental stimuli and emotions in the now — it’s not just about past experiences,” she says. When those neurotransmitters fire, you may feel the sensation of “butterflies” or uneasiness in your stomach. Researchers theorize that “gut instinct,” which sends signals to your brain, plays a large role in intuition, and should not be ignored. If you “feel” something isn’t right, it’s probably not.