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Bring the F-word Back

When did living healthfully become such a chore? I say, bring the fun back! (That is the f-word I was referring to, of course.) When we were kids we could make a game out of anything. Tap into that silliness and free-spirit again and let your body move.

I’m inspired by my brothers and husband who last Sunday grabbed a few Frisbees and started playing a rather intense game of catch. This escalated into an impromptu photo shoot of unbelievable shots (uh-um). We were laughing, moving and having a fantastic time acting like goof balls. Let’s bring the f-word back to being fit and have a good time while doing it.







Michelle and Patrick Silly at Wedding

Conversation between my husband and me:

Michelle: “I don’t really like it when people assume I only eat low fat foods.”

Patrick: “Well, it’s kind of a compliment. They’re indirectly assuming that you practice what you preach.’”

Michelle: “It’s not the misconception about me that’s upsetting, it’s the misconception about how to live healthfully.”

The path to consistent exercise and healthy living are (at times) misunderstood. Infomercials, elevator talk, misinformed friends or family, and poor reporting have left some of us mistaken about the effective and accurate guidelines for healthy living. Like the new kid in class, I hope you make the time to get to know the truth about effective ways to live healthfully. Below are the top three wellness misconceptions repeatedly crossing my desk:

Misconception #1: Healthy eating for weight loss is primarily about fat and calories.
Food is more to our bodies than weight management. Nutrients are an important part of the equation. Focusing solely on fat grams and calorie intake will leave you unsuccessful (and very unsatisfied.)

Misconception #2: Lifting weights will make me big and bulky.
I have met VERY few women in my line of work that are genetically predisposed to “bulk up.” Lifting weights has tremendous benefits for your health, longevity, injury prevention and weight loss. As long as you are with a skilled trainer, there is nothing to fear.

Misconception #3: Faster, harder or more intense is better.
Unless you are a serious athlete or training for a VERY specific event, faster, harder and more intense is NOT necessarily better. Moderate exercises performed on a regular basis is generally an excellent exercise prescription for individuals wanting to lose weight and improve their wellness and health.

Connect today to start your change: 773-680-6824

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL

You Might Have It All Wrong…

TortoiseI’d like you to question if you have a fear of success. I’d like you to consider if you are afraid of achieving and arriving at a healthier state. Maybe your fear involves maintaining that lifestyle once you’ve arrived? I wonder if you mistakenly believe that said journey is a lot of work.

Because the truth is, it’s not.

The actual work of living healthfully is not hard. If you believe differently, maybe the problem is not your work ethic but your understanding of the path to success. I am rightly concerned that too many people out there believe that they have to turn their whole lives upside down to improve their health. For most of us, that is untrue. Because here is the secret so many of us keep missing: it is simple, habitual behavior that delivers, selected carefully and implemented consistently. It is not sexy. It does not grab headlines. And it is not great cocktail party chatter. (I should know.) But it works. It delivers. And it pays dividends.

So as New Year’s resolutions begin to enter your mind, I most sincerely ask you to consider the small, daily, habitual habits as your secret to success. Because after ten years of Blakely Fit, witnessing success and failure time and again. My money will always be with the slow and steady, unsexy, hard-shelled tortoise at the finish line, not the hare.

Skin Saver for the Holiday



Going to be out in the sun thisweekend? Do your skin, beauty and health a favor by staying in the shade, wearing sunblock and donning sunproof clothing. Not that fair? Doesn’t matter. As Dr. Emily Arch of Aesthetics and Dermatology of Wicker Park (love her) insightfully stated: “Bob Marley had melanoma.”I recently spoke with Dr. Arch. My two daughters have very different skin tones. I wondered, if I need to be as vigilant with sun protection with both children? (I realize this question sounds horrible on the surface, but you may not have ever had to slather lotion on two elusive toddlers while trying to get out the door.) The short answer: “Yes.” So whatever your skin tone, protect your health and beauty. Be smart in the sun this weekend.
Sun proof clothing sites:
No time to shop? Dark denim will provide sun protection. And what fabric is more American than denim?

Be safe! Have fun!

Happy Fourth of July!!!

You Go Girl! But Only When You Want To

You Go Girl Book
In honor of World Continence Week, I recommend You Go Girl: But Only When You Want To by Women’s Health Foundation Founder Missy Lavendar and Dorothy B. Smith. An excellent summer reading suggestion for those really important (and sometimes tough to ask) questions. Click here to purchase the book in digital format.
We’re interested in knowing if you would attend a class or training to strengthen your pelvic floor. Email Blakely FIT with training/class interest.

Does Motherhood Make You Healthier?

park with my girls and nephews photo

My past Mother’s Day Friday Quickies addressed gift ideas and gratitude but thought I would bring something new to the table. I asked myself if being a mother made me healthier. I’d love to have you consider the same. 

The good…

  • I my whole life, I had never consumed more nutrient rich foods then when I was breastfeeding (and once the nausea subsided, pregnant)
  • Children don’t listen to hypocrites (mine especially) I buy fruits and veggies for them to eat – I eat them too.
  • Pregnancy and it’s aftermath taught me A LOT about my body and I’m someone who loves anatomy so, this was a surprise. Becoming aware of what you didn’t know you didn’t know is mind bending and empowering. I am definitely a better advocate for my health as a result.
  • The data on the childhood obesity epidemic is heartbreaking. That responsibility as a parent is impactful. My family takes “family walks” and enjoys park play time at least once per week. My girls are pretty daring – so I’m moving and climbing right next to them – it’s exercise for me too.
  • I don’t multitask while driving because my kids are in the car / need me. That’s healthier for me and other drivers.
  • I take better care of my car because my kids will be in it. That’s healthier for me and other drivers.
  • Breastfeeding can reduce your risk of breast cancer – I did my best there.
  • Pregnancy may lessen the symptoms of endometriosis, uterine fibroids and PCOS. Happy to have that in my pocket.
  • Although a little less quantifiable, my connection to other individuals is stronger than before I had children. I am more empathetic and compassionate. That contributes to a healthier state and a stronger sense of community.
  • I took on the role of cooking for my family which I didn’t do when it was just Pat and I.  I know I consume fewer carryouts and heavily processed foods because of it.
  • I am very sensitive to setting a healthy body image example for my girls which comes in handy as I age.
  • There is no better stress reliever for me than seeing my girls smile, laugh, hug or even look at their pictures. Priceless.
  • I am most definitely more resilient since having children. (I firmly believe that there is a strong parallel to military boot camp training and motherhood – future Friday Quickie fodder)

The bad… 

  • Meal planning/cooking for the family is a lot of work. I could do with less of that responsibility some weeks.
  • I don’t sleep as much even though my bedtime is earlier. Seriously, the other night I was in my pajamas at 5:30pm. (See incriminating photo.)
  • My stress level is higher – I worry about my kids / work harder because of my kids. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
  • It’s harder for me to make time for myself. I don’t know if anyone ever told you this but, children are time consuming! Worth it – but terribly time consuming (Like to give suggestions? Feel free to send any and all ideas for remedying this problem – I’m open.) 5:30pm pajamas photo

The bottom line…

It’s not why I did it, but I suspect I am quite healthier because I had kids. We all have different paths, different choices and each life is challenging and unique. If you are a mom, hopefully you will have a little time to consider if your journey as a mother has helped you be healthier or challenged certain areas for healthful living. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, remember that you are precious and important and make a little time to care for your health and be well for your life. I wish each of you time to enjoy your loved ones this weekend! Happy Mother’s Day!

The Good Dumbbells

ParkDistricGymBlakelyFITThe other day, I overheard another trainer’s client lament “Ah, these aren’t the good dumbbells.” I smiled a little and continued training. This person preferred the newer gym dumbbells – shiny handles and rubberized heads, a strong contrast to the worn and weathered metal variety.
I smiled because, how much more irrelevant could appearance be than with dumbbells? What is a dumbbell’s job? Be a consistent external load, must have handle. Appearance is irrelevant. Shiny and rubberized are not going to make your biceps any stronger, form any better or feet any safer than the older, uglier weight in the corner.

Above is a photo of where I have been working out lately – a Chicago park district gym across the hallway from where my daughter takes a tumbling class. Yes, Chicago Reader’s 2012 Best Personal Trainer works out at a $17 per month 1,000 square foot public gym.  It is very simple and limited in it’s equipment but it doesn’t matter. It fits my schedule and my needs. I get in a quick workout while my daughter enjoys a class 100 feet away. Any one of you could get in a great workout at a gym like this. Sometimes it’s important to resist being charmed by the new and shiny. The old dumbbells in the corner will work just as well.

What NOT to Do This Holiday

I always tell clients, “your goal around the holidays should be to maintain your current weight.” The parties, indulgent foods, added stress and obligations, all challenge our efforts toward moderation. Over the next two weeks, do NOT try to lose weight or add a new work out regime or diet plan (yes, that includes starving yourself before parties.) Instead, keep it as simple as possible. Do your best to get enough sleep and remember that some exercise is better than none. Don’t forget alternative stress relievers: listening to a hilarious podcast, five minutes of deep breathing, calling a girlfriend, looking at favorite pictures, gentle stretching – all are just as accessible as food, drink or smoking with out the downside.

Hold on or Let It Go

Well, how did you do? Thanksgiving week has come and gone. The turkey, planning, appetizers, stress, alcohol, family dynamics, travel, eating on the go, left overs, parties, family dynamics (wait, I said that already)…  As you look back at how well you took care of yourself regarding stress, sleep, exercise and eating, where do you land? Whatever the case, I have a little advice.

If you did well, hold on to it! Remember the feelings of satisfaction, success and calm in managing all those choices and commitments, the good feelings that come from taking care of ourselves. It will inform and empower you in the future (more holidays are coming), catapulting you into more good decisions.

If you feel as though you didn’t do so well, let it go! Guilt is a lousy motivator (a much better debilitator.) Brush yourself off and start fresh. There are plenty of opportunities ahead to make good decisions. For goodness sake, it was Thanksgiving. You can and will succeed. Let go of those not so good choices and put your best foot forward.

Change Is Not a Straight Line

If we take a look at creating new habits laid out over time we will see that it does not create a linear path. Initially, sometimes we are successful in drinking eight cups of water, sometimes we are not. Sometimes we complete our cardio three times per week. Sometimes we only stop in once. Maybe you know this, maybe you have experienced this, but maybe you have forgotten to apply it to your healthy living efforts.I appreciate an individual’s sense of urgency and drive when moving from thought to
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