Chicago Home Fitness health and fitness blog

As You See Fit

How do you see fit? To “see fit” can be defined as: how you want it, if it makes sense and, if you want to. We define our priorities as we see fit. When it comes to shaping up, your workout and your corresponding behaviors will inevitably align with how you see fit. So, let's see fit to be fit this summer and for a lifetime.

I see fit to practice yoga just about every day. I set an intention for my time and energy on my mat.  I have an expectation to discover all I can about my physical edge during the next hour or so and a vision for how I want to look and feel well beyond my workout and into my senior years. What I do, about what I see and want, matters. I want a strong core. Linked below is one way to go about getting it:

I love the pragmatic wisdom of this ancient Japanese Proverb: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare!”

Daydreams and nightmares do not make for a healthy reality. Wishful thinking about dropping 10 or 20 pounds or terrorizing your body with random binge workouts to make it happen, wreak havoc on truly being productive toward getting what you want. 

Create a vision for your wellbeing that you can embrace – one that inspires you. Your vision takes up about a third of your brainpower. Our eyes are very persuasive. They guide our steps. And, that third eye - the one we all have, the one that sees our potential – guides our actions even more so! Once you see fit, the journey begins toward fitting that image so that what you see, really can be what you get!

Have a vision for your betterment in all aspects of your life. See fit to envision your health, wellness, and success. This foresight will help you create unifying strategies toward reaching your goals.

The sharper your vision, the more focused your actions, the more gratifying your results. Good visions enforce and fortify good decisions. When we choose to align our actions with our vision, we choose to create change.

                    See fit. Be fit. Stay fit. Benefit. IMG_4357sm straight.jpg

By: Karen Cutrona Turner, E-RYT500; Owner/Lead Trainer, UbU Yoga & Fitness, LLC; Eyes on the Prize Advocate; & Visionary Beneficiary


For The Best of Your Life

We all get the “use it or lose it” challenge. We get it because it’s true. When we act upon this challenge, we promote sustainability and improvement. When we ignore it, we risk atrophy and decay.  We can lose our minds, our health, and our hearts if we don’t put them to good use. One of our greatest gifts as reasoning and critical thinking human beings is that of choice.  Even when we can’t change our circumstances, we can choose our responses to them.

We have the power to enhance our own wellbeing, or not; improve our health and fitness, or not; and grow the goodness in our lives to greatness, or not.  Why would you “not” when you can choose otherwise? What are you doing for the best of your life?

For the best of your life, take time to discover what innovates and rejuvenates you.  This can change and evolve as your life and circumstances change and evolve, so do some mesearch. Yes, that’s me-search.  Check in with yourself regularly to see what makes you tick a little stronger, faster, louder and explore ways to infuse your life with the stuff that makes you feel more alive.

Innovation takes what’s already in existence to a new level. Innovation is sparked by passion. For me, innovation and rejuvenation begin with physical challenge. I enjoy mixing up my fitness routine, adding or trying something new, or doing it – whatever it may be, differently. This keeps my mind active and my spirit adventurous in my workouts. As a yogi, there’s something innovative in bringing my head below my heart and my foot above my head. One life application for this is that I always want to feel grounded while reaching for more. I want what’s in my heart to spill into my head so that I lead my life from what resonates within my core rather than what may be fleeting thoughts in my brain. A yoga practice gives me clarity and definition. Because I’m passionate about the practice of yoga, it has a life application for me and therefore, has the power to innovate and rejuvenate my mind, and spirit while toning my body. Achieving results requires a passionate connection to the work needed to attain them.

            standing split.jpg         Crow.jpg         Bird of paradise.jpg                                                               

Any innovation mandates a willingness to get out of your comfort zone and explore new methods and ideas. Have an enterprising spirit! Entrepreneurs know what’s good and determine to make it great. They find better ways to do things, and build businesses upon their ideas.  We are all CEOs of our own business. We are the only ones supremely capable of expertly minding our own business! Your body is your business and choosing to exist in your flesh and bones, or really live in it, is your executive decision. Take an audit of your wellness department. Discover and implement ways to manage your being better. Be all about your business and build a better you! Why not - when you can!

What we build into our lives will exude from them. We attract the likes of who and what we are. Explore ways to implement more of what you love into your days, and discover how your passions propel you from good to great for the best of your life!

By: Karen Cutrona - Instructor/Trainer E-RYT500; Master Me-searcher; CEO, My Own Business; and Director, UbU Yoga & Fitness, LLC

What to Look for in a Precor Treadmill

Just cuz you think it, don't make it true.

Last week my esteemed colleague Dr. John Briffa posted two article on his website that I found interesting and informative. The first one is entitled “More evidence that ‘modifying’ cholesterol does not necessarily have broad benefits for health” is about exactly that. Of course my readers, patients, friends, family and anyone sitting a table or two away from me at a restaurant knows I agree with that sentiment, but being alerted to the “more evidence” was the kind of self affirming news that helped me enter the weekend with a little bit of a swagger.

In the article he sites a recent review published in the British Medical Journal that assessed data from studies that had compared the impact of agents known to boost HDL levels. HDL-cholesterol also know as the “good cholesterol” is widely believed to have health benefits when in larger numbers, as it is thought to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. B-vitamin niacin (vitamin B3), fibrates, and cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors (CETP-inhibitors) are the three classes of agents known to boost HDL levels.

The BMJ review found that when added to statins none of the agents brought any benefits to fatal and non-fatal heart attacks or overall mortality. But when taken without statins niacin and fibrates were found to reduce the risk of non-fatal heart attack with no mortality benefits. The CETP inhibitors had no benefits and one CETP (torcetrapib) actually increased the risk of death.

Evidently an accompanying editorial from the head of cardiology at Sydney University “suggests that we should not give up on HDL modification just yet …there is some evidence that HDL may be genuinely protective for cardiovascular disease”. But does concede that: “…it probably is time to abandon our assumption that fibrates, niacin, or CETP inhibitors will improve clinical outcomes in contemporary populations taking statins simply because they have favorable effects on surrogate lipoprotein biomarkers.”

To which Dr. Briffa writes:

This is a key point: we cannot judge health effects of pharmaceutical agents on their effect on so-called surrogate markers such a cholesterol levels. The only important thing is their effect on overall health. What a shame, then, that we still have regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration in the US and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK recommending the use of drugs based solely on their impact on surrogate markers (the drug ezetimibe is a case in point).

It is lamentable that those whose job it is to provide reliable guidance on medical treatments are so stupid and/or corrupt as to recommend doctors prescribe treatments which have no proven benefits and may in fact do considerable harm.”

Hear, hear.

The same day Dr. Briffa posted “The UK Government encourages health checks, but the evidence suggests they do no good at all”. Which is fairly self explanatory and the Gist of it is basically this, the British National Health Service (NHS) started a program of health checks on top of normal health care in an effort to “catch something early”. Dr. Briffa admits this can seem like a “no brainer” and asks, “It sounds good in theory, but do health checks actually do any good?”

A three-year study set out to answer that question by screening 16,669 patients. They focused on five conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease atrial fibrillation and diabetes. The study found that all of these conditions would have been picked up in the normal course of events. The conditions where no higher in screened patients than in those patients who received normal care.

Another review from Cochrane Collaboration pooled the results from 14 studies of health outcomes of people who participated in the health check program found no benefit in overall risk of death and they concluded:

“General health checks did not reduce morbidity [illness] or mortality, neither overall nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes, although they increased the number of new diagnoses. Important harmful outcomes were often not studied or reported.”

But the NHS continues to recommend health checks and claims evidenceless benefits to the practice.

So just two more glaring examples of standards of care and widely held beliefs that are baseless when it comes to actual science and evidence but continue due to laziness, stupidity, ignorance or corruption.

To quote Dr. Briffa one more time:

 “It’s high time we doctors were made more accountable for the recommendations we make and services we offer, including those sanctioned by our Government.”

Hear, hear…

How to Build Your Own Home Gym - By Precor



Have you ever thought about having a gym located within the comforts of your own home?

Reasons for creating a home gym are many. To some, the thought of going to a commercial gym evokes feelings of apprehension or intimidation. For others, having a home gym would mean being able to get a workout in while staying with the kids. Perhaps the price of a gym membership and the transportation time and costs are too much for you.

Having a home gym will give you the opportunity to maximize your workout potential, and we’ve got some tips to help you get started building yours today.

Find the Room

Depending on the size of your humble abode, you may or may not have a lot of spare room to devote into becoming a gym.

See if you can free up some space by clearing out your garage, guest bedroom, or even the corner of your living room. You’ll want to make sure that the space has sufficient lighting, electrical outlets (if necessary), and appropriate flooring. Having speakers for music and at least one full-length mirror are smart ideas, and if you’ll be doing cardio or watching instructional DVDs, make room for a TV in your gym.

Plan Space Strategically

The Precor website has a great Space Planner tool that allows you to play with and strategically design the layout of your future gym. You can use a gym template or create your own gym space using your room’s unique dimensions.

Precor Space Planner

We love this idea: how about replacing your couch with an elliptical, treadmill, bike, or AMT®? They practically take up the same amount of space as a couch, and this way, you can burn some serious calories while you watch all your favorite shows or movies.

What to Have

Fill your home gym with the equipment that you know and love – cardio machines, stability balls, free weights, mats for yoga and Pilates, and whatever else your heart (and muscles) desire. Factor ease-of-use into your exercise equipment choices, and choose items that are durable and long-lasting. Make sure that you are properly trained in how to use the equipment in your home gym, because the last thing you want is an injury or to damage part of your house.

Make Smart Investments

Avoid sending your wallet into cardiac arrest by planning your gym investments wisely.

Take time to think about what you would actually use in your own home gym. (Is a set of dumbbells and a workout bench realistic to meet your at-home strength training needs? Or do you need more equipment?) Being practical about your home gym needs will allow you to make the most of your space and save money.

Shop Around

If money is tight and you are sticking to a strict budget, sparkly new equipment may be out of the question.

Don’t be afraid to look into buying used equipment. Often times, gyms and hotels will put their equipment up for sale if they are upgrading. Sites like Craigslist, Amazon, and eBay also offer individuals the opportunity to sell exercise equipment that they don’t use anymore.

When buying used equipment, be cautious – make sure to find out why the seller is selling their equipment. It may have technical problems or be in need of repairs. When possible, try out the used equipment to make sure it functions properly. Also consider whether the equipment comes with a warranty; this could prevent a headache months or years down the road.

Here’s the bottom line: strategic planning is the key to optimizing your home gym. Be smart about the layout, the equipment you utilize, and the money you shell out for it. Pay attention to these factors, and pretty soon you’ll find your neighbors asking how you got in such amazing shape.