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Learn weight loss and personal fitness tips by reading this wellness blog on diet and the Chicago personal training experience.

The Big Aha Moment:

My 18 month old son, Preston, taught me how to manage stress more effectively without knowing it! What a smart little man! 😊

The reactive assumption, without breaking down this claim: Babies teach us nothing! They are little animals trying to survive in nature. What do they know!!!

The real breakdown: Giving birth to a child will change your life forever. You will always need to think about others, be mindful of your risk-taking behavior, plan ahead, focus on meaningful interaction, show empathy and sympathy…..wait a minute, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway (with or without a child)! In all honesty, my wife, Sammy, and I haven’t felt the drastic change in life that most people claim. The responsibilities and day-to-day specific approach may have been reshaped but the principles are the same. Although that’s true, Preston has inspired new approaches to managing stress. He unknowingly prepared a Stress 101 curriculum for his Dad: A model of human instinctual behavior. Without a doubt, it made rethink about my needs and how I structured my life to minimize stress. Here’s how:

Observation: I need to make my primary (survival) needs a priority before pursuing any secondary tasks/projects.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: A long time ago (when Preston was 0-8 months) Sammy and I relied on Preston’s cries to alert us of his basic survival needs: Changing his diaper, laying him down to sleep, giving him milk, making sure he’s not too cold, and making sure he’s not too hot. While a parent will always look for serious signs of discomfort or sickness as a caution, the primary focus is this list. If we fail to meet these demands, Preston’s cries, will, uhm, continue for a very long time (rightfully so).

Now, Preston’s ego has certainly kicked in, and life is more complicated (e.g., crying is a result of the inability to communicate in a way that we understand, the lack of attention, or the societal restriction of haphazardly tossing toys down the stairs). Although his cognitive brain may muddle what he needs in the moment and how he communicates it, Sammy and I still consider Preston’s survival needs as a first option. I take the same approach with myself when I experience discomfort or stress. Poor Preston can’t move on until we meet these needs, and I can’t either. And, yes, I’m a big baby.

Unfortunately, my advanced cognitive brain taught me to ignore or distract myself from these innate physical needs for most of my life. With my new observations of Preston in mind, I began asking the following questions: How often do I hold off eating lunch or visiting the restroom because I need to finish a computer project? How comfortable do I feel while ignoring these cues? What level of stress do I experience while "h-angry" or squirming in my chair? How often does it redirects my focus from the project at times? Does it contribute to a subtle (or not-so subtle) anxiety?

Once I considered these questions, I started to realize the level of discomfort and stress I created by ignoring my need to eat, sleep, or potty (think like Preston). Despite my efforts to suppress the need, it was still sitting in my unconscious and manifesting itself in a number of ways, including impatience, irritability, reactiveness, etc. In terms of creativity, effectiveness, and efficiency, I never want anything to become an obstacle to my success. Sometimes the most stressful situations in my life have been resolved with this renewed focus on my physical self. President Bill Clinton always fed diplomats before an important meeting and I will certainly continue to take the same approach with myself.

Observation: Routine Rules!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Babies are creatures of habit and routine. Please let me rephrase this: ALL of us are creatures of habit and routine. Babies thrive on the predictability of a schedule. It isn’t a result of feeling cognitively satisfied with their adherence to a routine. They rely on physical cues to trigger action for food and sleep. The core system of their bodies loves to efficiently and effectively prepare for both (think hormonal release). Ever wonder why babies typically wake the same time every day? For some reason, Preston never realizes that it’s the weekend and that Mama and Papa want to sleep an additional 1-4 hours. He continues to wake at 7:15 am almost within 5 minutes every day (even on Saturdays!!!). While less convenient for sleeping parents, it contributes to a healthy lifestyle and proper recovery time. In a perfect world, I don’t need an alarm, and my body begins a systematic approach to slowly wake the body starting three hours before that typical time. What an efficient machine! The same process takes place with a consistent eating schedule. The human body wants to predict the next influx of fuel to use it in the most efficient manner (hence, the reason you’re hungry at noon on Saturdays if you typically eat every weekday at noon).

Of course, if we miss one of Preston’s naps, he reaches an epic level of irritability that’s difficult to calm. I can’t it’s much different when I’m overtired. If my body typically rests for the night at 11:30, it certainly gives me an internal physical smack until I succumb to its demand. I easily recognize when I’m pushing these limits and fighting my physical self (especially if I’m working on a work project late night). Unfortunately, the anxiety I feel as a result ends up affecting my ability to fall asleep when I eventually hit the pillow. A routine helps me become an efficient machine, and it will protect it as much as it comes. The more I fight it, the more discomfort I feel, and the same applies to the timing of meals.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
What Being a Parent Taught Me About Managing Stress Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 12/5/2018 7:50 AM Michael Moody Fitness
text 4 Ways to Approach Holiday Eating
Wed, 21 Nov 2018 03:44:39 +0000
Challenge: My holiday eating is out of control!

Reason You Give: "I can’t escape it!"

It’s that time of year….turkey roasting in the oven….the scent of rosemary and thyme floats through the air while the savory stuffing and sweet cranberry sauce absorb your stares. Soon your indulgence reaches maximum effort, and you’re ready to sleep off your food coma on the host’s hardwood floor. The official kickoff to 41 days of eating: An annual tradition of celebrating the best of life from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day!

While it is a time of celebration, it is also a time of stress for people who are interested in weight loss or maintaining their health. Although I believe that "if you do it, you should do it well", you may not feel or look well if you do "it" for 40 nights. With this being said, here are 4 approaches to help you handle Thanksgiving and other festive eating holidays this fall and winter.

Establish a day-to-day routine, enjoy the holiday indulgence, and then return to your routine.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Whether it’s a holiday or not, your indulgence, or cheat meal, truly needs to be an outlier. Why? You want a routine that is so impeccable and nutrient-dense perfect that a celebration won’t undo everything you worked hard for….it’ll just slightly skew it for the moment. If you find that the simplest smell of a pumpkin pie sends your weight through the ceiling without returning, you need to question your day-to-day approach (which means rethinking your daily meals). Ultimately, the routine you integrate before and after a holiday will determine how restrictive that holiday becomes. Take the time to establish an effective diet (normal way of eating) that meets your health goals and make the celebrations a small blip on the radar of health.

Set food rules.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: No matter how you spend the holidays you most likely will be enticed by the many belt-busting traditional dishes. While you can’t avoid it all, you can establish a framework to guide your choices. It will help you achieve bottom-line nutrition with each meal and the proper exchange system to manage holiday eating. Here are several rules to consider:

-Minimize the "Big 6": Dairy, grains, alcohol, refined sugar, processed food, and meat. The combination and amount of each of these foods have played the biggest role in whether or not my personal training clients lost weight over the last 13 years. Choose the pastries with the least amount of sugar. Cut your portion of turkey in half and replace it with roasted vegetables. Eat half of the cheese that you normally select when drinking wine. Little changes can go along away!
-Fill half of every plate with vegetables.
-Drink a glass of water between each glass of alcohol.
-Precede each treat with a healthy option.

Bring two healthy dishes.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Recently, my wife, Sammy, and I hosted a Friendsgiving (an early Thanksgiving party with friends). Although I have a dairy intolerance, our friend, Zelle, is allergic. We took special care to identify which dishes had butter, milk, and cheese. Funny enough, nearly half of the potluck dishes had fit this criterion (and were some of the favorites). Not taking any chances, Zelle typically brings a couple of dishes knowing most people’s habits. If you have a similar restriction or concern about the food at parties, take the same initiative. At the bare minimum, you’ll have a couple of dishes to choose from without feeling guilty.

Host the party and make the food.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Don’t like what other people are serving at holiday parties? Host your own party then! There’s no better way to control the type of food being served. It’ll give you the chance to control every ingredient of your meal. You limit the temptation of another host’s treats and organize a party that supports your goals. If cooking is too much of a burden, cater from Whole Foods or ask guests to bring a specific dish (with your restrictions in mind).

Photo Credit:
trendsinusa .com–How will you approach this table over the holiday season?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Ways to Approach Holiday Eating Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 11/20/2018 9:40 PM Michael Moody Fitness
text 5 Ways to Make Your Child a Healthy Eater
Fri, 09 Nov 2018 13:37:16 +0000
Myth: Kids can eat whatever they want.

Reason Parents Give: "They’re children…they can get away with it."

Many parents believe the myth that children can really eat whatever they want. As a parent, I wish this was true! It’s a lot of work showing my 17-month old son, Preston, a powerpoint presentation about the benefits of broccoli. Unfortunately, that first statement is false (and it makes sense why). Think about the period of 0-11 years of life for a child. Do you see any other period of physical and mental development as drastic in a human’s life? Absolutely not. The growth during this span of time is tremendous and pivotal to the physical foundation of one’s life. Why wouldn’t you give your child the proper fuel to not only build it efficiently and effectively but also protect the process with the best immunity? The good Dr. Fuhrman says it best:

The poor dietary habits of today’s children are contributing to the development of obesity, reduced brain function, higher incidence of allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and emotional and behavioral disorders, such as depression and ADD. Poor nutrition also increases occurrence and severity of infections and results in chronically reoccurring infections such as sinusitis and otitis media (ear infection). It is also laying a foundation for poor academic performance, chronic disease later in life, violent behavior, and premature death. A Nutritarian diet is essential for a disease-free, healthy, and happy child.

I know what you’re thinking, "Good luck getting your kid to eat a plant-based diet." I fully realize the difficulties here. At times, Preston will refuse everything until he gets what he wants (a very difficult customer at times!). You need to remember that our little ones aren’t much different from adults. Here are several strategies to dramatically improve your child’s diet and health without running for cover:

Introduce new foods…and try it again next month.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Do you want to eat the same thing all the time? Unless it’s pizza, bacon, and ice cream, you’ll probably answer "No" (and rightfully so). Not only does neural stimulation greatly diminish after the 5th bite, but you also lose the mental and emotional excitement of eating a new dish. Poor Preston suffers whenever we discover he likes a new dish. "Do you like frozen peas and butternut squash, Master P?" Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss! And then we feed him that for 10 straight meals until he throws it on the ground (and we don’t have a dog).

If your approach is on repeat too, I get it. Be mindful of your (and my) laziness, though. Chalk up a new food gobbled up in seconds as a victory but continue your experimentation. Your child has not tried the wide array of dishes that our world offers (and you most likely haven’t either). Move onto something new and help your child stimulate her senses. You’ll always have the peas and butternut squash in your back packet. And if it doesn’t work today, try the dish again in 4 weeks. Your child’s pallet and senses are evolving, and his or her preference or sensitivity will change over time too. With this being said,….

Add a variety of different tastes, smells, and textures (including different seasonings and sauces).

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Babies and kids are curious animals exploring the world. I honestly admit to restricting Preston’s scientist tendencies. After all, who wants to see their eggs cracked across the kitchen floor for the sake of learning physics! Appeal to your child’s curiosity by opening her senses to the culinary world. Not only let your child physically touch and feel the difference between different fruits and vegetables but also encourage her to smell and taste the bites of goodness (and it’s okay to get messy).

Take your experiment to a new level and assign a different ethnic style of food to each day. Simply add a combination of the seasonings and sauces most commonly found in that culture. For instance, if Monday is Mexican Day, add salsa and/or a taco seasoning to the meals (Tuesday can be Italian, Wednesday, can be Indian, etc.).

Model good behavior.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you’re serving a dish to your child, it’s a great time for you to eat too! Everybody loves company while they eat….and your child is no different. Ever been out to dinner at a restaurant and you notice a friend not ordering anything. You probably wondered, "Is Amy on a diet?"…."Is Amy upset?"….."Does Amy not like me?"….etc., etc. Your child might be thinking the same about you in those moments! Interestingly, Preston will not eat at times but will not hesitate to sit on my lap moments later to lovingly (and grub-bingly) grab the same food off my plate. Little P just wants to share the experience with Papa!

Modeling good behavior goes beyond simply eating in front of your child. Eating the right foods is just as, if not more, important. What message are you sending while telling "No candy" to your child while eating the candy bar in front of her? It scares me to think about the things that Preston witnesses me doing. I recently started the habit of throwing his shoes to a rack near the door. What a surprise when I witnessed Preston tossing a bell strap across the daycare room….hitting the helpless victim, baby Liam, in the forehead. Shame on Papa! It’s a good reminder, though, that I have the opportunity to positively shape my son’s behavior by acting like a good healthy citizen (especially while eating dinner). Take the initiative and demonstrate healthy eating behavior by eating healthy food WITH your child.

Determine your child’s food preferences and find the healthiest versions.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Let’s be honest: Your kids will be introduced to unhealthy foods at school, friends’ homes, parties, and more. It seems that many kids could eat an endless amount of candy and pasta (and they’ll let you know). If it’s a constant fight, not all is lost. Don’t forget that a piece of food can be a comprehensive experience for the senses. It’s possible to replicate the experience with a healthy substitute. Not surprising, Preston instantly loved pasta (who doesn’t?). Instead of feeding him the enriched flour, blood-sugar spiking versions found on most American tables; we cook a pasta noodle made of chickpeas. It is a wonderful, more nutrient-dense option with protein and fiber compared to the white flour, wheat, AND whole wheat versions. Although it may take research, there are other thoughtful substitutes for your child’s other unhealthy preferences too!

Explain the benefits of every meal and the reasons why you’re eating it too.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Why has parenting become so complicated????? Life was so much easier when you can respond to your child’s Socratic question, "Why do I have to do this?" with the answer, "Because I said so." Now you have to explain things and….wait, nevermind….we should’ve been doing this all along! Why? Because they don’t know better and need the message reinforced repeatedly (a lesson I now understand as an obligation of effective parenting). Your kids may not understand why they need hemp seeds, nuts, collard greens, and a piece of fish on one plate. They haven’t established any value of eating healthfully. Take the time to illustrate why it’s important so that your kids eventually make the same independent choices without your supervision.

Photo Credit:
Shaw academy .com–Could your child’s answer to eating healthy be sitting in your lap?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
5 Ways to Make Your Child a Healthy Eater Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 11/09/2018 7:30 AM Michael Moody Fitness

The Personal Trainer’s Grocery List

Whether my Personal Training clients are trying to lose weight and/or optimize their health, the general nutrition guidelines are the same. These guidelines are based on the percentages below and "The Simple Plate" photo at the bottom of this post.

· 45-55% Plant Nutrients/Vegetables (dark green, starchy, red/orange, etc.)
· 25-40% Protein (lean white meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.)
· 25% Fiber (beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, vegetables, etc.)
*****Although I haven't specifically mentioned it, you should still be mindful of the amount of good fats (nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.) in your diet, too. You shouldn't exceed 15% in any given meal unless deemed necessary.

Great! Now you know what every meal should look like! How do you know what to buy from the grocery store, though? I’ve taken the hard work out of your hands by supplying my grocery list below. Take on the challenge and create quick and easy meals with these ingredients in mind!

Fresh Fruit

Green Kiwi
Produce Organic Pink Lady Apples
Organic Blueberries
International Harvest Organic Dried Mango Slices, Bulk

Fresh Veggies

Organic Red, Green, and Orange Bell Peppers
Hass Avocado
Local Asparagus
Organic Sliced White Mushroom
Organic Baby Broccoli
Taylor Farms Angel Hair Coleslaw
365 Organic Micro Tipped Green Beans
Organic Broccoli Florets
365 Shredded Organic Carrot
Organic Red Grape Tomato
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Broccoli Slaw
365 Organic Baby Spinach
365 Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Organic Limes

Frozen Veggies

365 Organic Frozen Quinoa With Roasted Vegetables
Organic Frozen Broccoli
Organic Brozen Butternut Squash
Organic Frozen Peas


365 Organic Large Omega 3 Brown Eggs (If the package says Omega 3, it means the chickens were fed seeds)
Nature's Rancher Turkey Ground Organic
Wild Fresh Salmon Coho Fillet

Dried Goods

365 Organic Pinto Beans (Dried)
Organic Black Turtle Beans (Dried)
365 Organic Whole Raw Cashews
365 Organic Sliced Raw Almonds
Organic corn tortillas
Hemp Seeds
Chia Seeds

Canned Goods

365 No Salt Added Garbanzo Beans
Amy's Organic Soups Fat Free Chunky Vegetable
Canned Stewed Tomatoes

Sauces, Seasonings, and More

Frontera Salsa Mexicana Red Tomato With Jalapeno + Cilantro
Frontera Fajita Sauce
Creole Seasoning
Jar of Minced Garlic
Jar of Minced Shallots

Photo Credit:
hotforfoodblog .com–Even your favorite meals can be healthy with the right grocery list.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
The Grocery List that Will Help You Lose Weight (and Live Healthy) Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 10/31/2018 4:30 PM Michael Moody Fitness  This is your ultimate guide to losing weight. Use it to guide your approach to every meal.

This is your ultimate guide to losing weight. Use it to guide your approach to every meal.

text How to Overcome Your Anxiety at Work
Wed, 24 Oct 2018 21:55:20 +0000

The Challenge for my Personal Training Client:

"I experience anxiety in many professional scenarios including interactions with clients, managers and/or colleagues."

The reactive assumption, without breaking down the problem: "I’m not educated or equipped to handle the professional demands of my position."

The Personal Trainer Breakdown: The following cyclical process that can steer you through most anxious situations: Awareness->Acceptance->Adaptation


I wish I had a simple solution to overcoming any form of anxiety. It often begins as situational but most commonly becomes generalizable. You probably experience a spectrum of anxiety in different areas of your professional AND personal lives and sometimes need a specific plan of action for each.

Before you choose a path, though, step one will always start with a focus on YOU. How do you think, behave, and interact with the world? Your success will depend on this awareness. Your observations will help you understand how you approach challenges and the underlying influences on your decisions and feelings. Eventually, you might be able to understand the "why" to your approach to life.

Study yourself for 2 days by recording every anxious feeling you experience in a pocket notebook (no matter the strength). Attempt to answer these questions: What are your thoughts in the moment? What were you thinking prior to the moment? Did you feel in control? Do you feel in control now? What external factors contribute to this feeling (e.g., last-minute demand, unrealistic demands, a colleague critically assessed your results and/or productivity, etc.)? What internal factors contribute to this feeling (e.g., you don’t feel that you can’t adequately meet the demands of your work, you feel insecure about your role in the company, you fear that your colleagues will unfairly scrutinize everything you do, you fear making a mistake in front of others, you don’t trust your reactive ability to effectively respond to a problem, you perceive your peers’ efforts as superior to yours, etc.). These questions not only steer the reflection process but also help identify the root of your feeling.


Once you become aware of the root of your anxiety or at least the feeling of it, can you accept it? Can you accept the current status of "being"? Can you accept the anxious feeling and what led to it without judging yourself? Before you move forward to the next step, you need to decide whether you can accept your current findings. You’re a human scientist, after all. If not, your emotional connection could steer you down the wrong path or at least blind you from the correct one.

By accepting the moment, your findings, your tendency, and YOU, you are deciding to take an objective path to minimize your anxiety. You’re choosing to adapt your approach in a logistical, strategic way. If you have truly honored the process up to this point, then you are ready to adapt your approach.


Here are specific strategies to overcome your anxiety at work. You’ll notice that many of the solutions involving examining your approach, reframing your mindset, and being assertive. With the use of self-talk consistently over time, you can develop the right mindset to handle any challenge with minimal anxiety. It will require reflection as well as confidence in the professional environment. With the proper examination of yourself and your approach, some solutions will definitely come easier than others. Your diligence and respect for yourself will help overcome the more difficult challenges.

What makes you anxious:
Your manager has unrealistic demands and expectations of you
Be assertive and communicate your feelings
What to keep in mind:
Being assertive doesn’t equate to failure. If you sense unrealistic (or unfair) demands and expectations of you, it’s acceptable (and encouraged) to communicate this feeling with your manager. While you may fear looking weak or incapable of meeting demands, you’re only setting yourself up for greater success with this action. In fairness to your manager, she may not be aware of your workload and might be willing to subtract a task or two, or she may see strengths in you that you haven’t quite identified yet. Instead of stressing yourself to produce what could be less than your best effort, seek more understanding of the assignment and why you are chosen to complete it. Use that time to communicate your strengths and current status on projects, too. If needed, seek the manager’s advice on how to more efficiently handles a large task load. If the intention is to do your best, always know that your wisdom and productivity will only grow with the guidance of others.

What makes you anxious:
Your manager has last-minute demands daily
Reflect on your processes and stay ahead of your day-to-day responsibilities or build-in a buffer zone
What to keep in mind:
Nothing is more frustrating than being swamped with projects….and then your management adds a last-minute task on your list. To make it worse, your manager probably needed today’s request completed yesterday. While it’s always tough to drop everything that you’re doing to complete a task you didn’t expect, you should ask yourself if it’s really a surprise. Professionals gripe daily about the fire alarm demands from their bosses but rarely realize that (1.) this is consistent and a buffer zone most likely needs to be carved into their daily schedules and (2.) their professional approach is just a set of inefficient systems and time is wasted daily. At what point, will you accept that last minute demands are part of your position and that you need to create a 30 or 60-minute period each day to handle it? Schedule it as a free period. If nothing pops up by the day's end, then use the time to complete another project. At least you’ll approach the day with the healthy mindset that something may randomly appear on your desk and you won’t be stressed by the expectation to complete it in a short frame of time.

If your schedule doesn't allow this free time, then you’ll want to examine your day-to-day approach. Ask yourself these questions: How much time do you waste reading entertainment articles, perusing social media accounts, or indulging in mindless activities? Do you have a specific strategy to handle urgent and non-urgent emails? Do you strategically plan your day and week with looming projects in mind? Do you effectively and efficiently communicate with colleagues and participate in group meetings? Do you inefficiently waste time on tasks that can be automated or left to a colleague with greater expertise? Do you spend more time than necessary on a decision? Looking at your approach with a fine-tooth comb could identify some areas that are essentially stealing time away from you. The time to complete this last-minute demand from your boss could be sitting in front of you.

What makes you anxious:
You’ve built efficient systems and a buffer zone, but your manager’s last-minute demands are still overwhelming
Be assertive and communicate a realistic turn-around time or help your manager reassign the task
What to keep in mind:
While the world may demand the most out of you, it doesn’t mean you need to accept the responsibility. Unfortunately, many professionals will continue to ask for more of YOU until you draw the line. If you truly understand what you can effectively and efficiently manage within a timeframe, then you will know when 1 additional task is 1 task too many. Everybody has a cutoff line (a boundary line), and you should absolutely communicate this to your colleagues and managers (and you shouldn’t lose your job as a result). You don’t need to say, no, though (in case you’re worried). Instead, tell them your real timeline (4 days instead of 1 day) and/or help them reassign the task to someone else. Ultimately, if you have a hardworking and productive reputation, they should respect your response. If there’s a negative response, you may want to recognize their frustration and put them at ease that you’ll do your best to accommodate, but it must be within a realistic time frame (your time frame).

What makes you anxious:
You feel that your experience and/or age makes you inferior
Recognize the skillsets and experience that make you unique and learn from your colleagues
What to keep in mind:
No matter your age everyone brings a unique set of skills and experience that integrally contribute to the culture and success of a company. What a young colleague lacks in experience might be made up in his or her fresh creative ideas (especially when relating to another generation). What an old colleague lacks in fresh perspective might be made up in her or his experience handling conflict in the workplace. You wouldn’t want 100 people with the same skill set and experience within a company you own, and your employer most likely doesn’t either. Honor the differences between you and your colleagues. You don’t need to be a product of every generation or have decades of experience to productively participate. Feel enlightened when YOU recognize your weaknesses, shortfalls, or failures. You now have the opportunity to gain wisdom from other trained professionals in the same room. Take advantage of this paid education and accept where you stand at a given point. Make a list of 3-5 ways you can contribute to each project while also identifying 3-5 ways you can learn from your counterparts.

What makes you anxious:
A colleague (or manager) critically assessed your results and/or productivity
Understand the reasons for your emotional response and seek understanding
What to keep in mind:
Any criticism can be difficult to accept if you have an emotional investment in what you’re doing or believe. Any insecurities about your value and experience will certainly add fuel to this fire. Your reaction may be anxiousness, anger, or disbelief. No matter your response, though, you should always seek understanding. Perhaps, the message wasn’t communicated properly or effectively or you misheard it. Give the person the opportunity to explain him or herself….seek understanding. If there’s an absolute truth in the criticism, think about your insecurities. Do you have unfair expectations of yourself? Is your self-assessment skewed? Do you accept that you’re not perfect? Are you willing to work on improving these areas? Are you willing to ask for help? If you wholeheartedly disagree with the criticism, seek understanding and explain in related terms the reasons why. Communicate the goal: To be your best and to contribute effectively. Even in disagreement both of you might find a way to at least be on the same productive page.

Photo Credit:
The Content Wolf .com–Do you have anxiety at work? You may need to rethink your approach….literally.

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
How to Overcome Your Anxiety at Work Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 10/24/2018 4:50 PM Michael Moody Fitness

The Big Challenge:

It's very difficult to eat healthy and/or lose weight while traveling professionally each week.

The reactive assumption, without breaking down the problem: It's IMPOSSIBLE to eat healthily and lose weight on the road. Between limited options and the demands of work, friends, and family, I'm left with very few options and control! Insert dramatic sigh here. :)

The breakdown: It's amazing how often I jumped to wrongful, emotionally-driven assumptions when I first noticed a problem-especially when it came to my health at an earlier age. What a state of stress trying to take care of my health....which is ironic, of course! I easily blamed a lack of resources, work, and everyone else. While at times for fair reasons, I lose sympathy when I allow it to happen consistently.

Last year my wife, son, and mother-in-law drove 13 hours over 2 days from Chicago to Washington D.C. last summer. The food options were sparse and, regarding health, absolutely awful. Meat, cheese, bun, cola....meat, cheese, bun, cola....a consistent offering down highway 94 throughout Indiana, Ohio, and more. I feel you!!!! I can't imagine traveling to rural and small towns across America with the limited offerings of McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Applebees, and Chilis.

Maybe you are guilty of these same tendencies or dealt with similar challenges. Ultimately, if you recognize this, it's probably time to change it. If you feel a lack of control, then it's time to take control of the situation. Instead of saying, "There are no options in the middle-of-nowhere Ohio, Michael," try to say "I will find viable options in a 5-10 radius of my hotel and workplace. Instead of saying, "Work is so demanding on the road that I don't have the time to travel somewhere for healthy food options," try to say "I will travel to the nearest grocery store and stockpile my refrigerator-equipped room with healthy lunch options." The theme: Changing the defeatist self-talk to "I will" statements. What I suggest moving forward will be fruitful unless you are willing to find a solution...wanting to make a change. I've made a list of the usual excuses/reasons why eating healthy is tough on the road and the solutions with their respective implications. Use each of the strategies when deemed most appropriate for your current situation and carefully consider the drawbacks of each as well. Ultimately, you can make at least one of the options work daily with a change of mindset, a reflection on priorities, and a willingness to dedicate an additional 0-30 minutes towards your diet. No matter what you choose, though, don't forget that PLANNING MATTERS.


I don't know what to eat
Determine the best nutrition combination for you
We should always eat and move with intent. If you don't know what to eat, you need establish to establish your nutrition guidelines and principles beforehand (with a personal trainer, your Google machine, or other trusted professionals). This foundation will be your starting point for any eating decision and the measure of how far you pushed beyond the perfect combination. Use the article "Read How to Lose Weight Without Exercise" and use "The Plate" as your reference to eating on the road. On the other hand, this process takes the time, and you simply don't have it. Unfortunately, this is a non-negotiable solution. You must do complete this action before attempting anything else (especially it guides all approaches). You don't have to do this alone. Be patient and learn what you need to do while sitting on a plane.

I find myself constantly snacking on unhealthy options when I fly
Pack non-perishables for the trip
You can easily packed dried, unsweetened and unsulfered fruit, nuts, and more for your travels. Although they will not meet all of your nutritional needs, they will hinder some indulgences. On the other hand, space could be a factor with your checked and/or carryon luggage and may limit your available space.

There aren't any healthy options at the airport
Review your guidelines on nutrition and determine if you’re overlooking something or have something delivered before you depart to the airport
Now airports are offering more and more options that fall in the range of the dietary suggestions you’ll find in the article "Read How to Lose Weight Without Exercise". You will also find specific healthy fast food menu items in the article "37 Snack Ideas for Weight Loss (And You Won’t Be Bored)"…..which really gives small meal ideas for at home and on the road. On the hand, smaller airports truly may have limited options. In that case, though, you could pick something up on the way to the airport or have it delivered wherever you are before your departure.

When I arrive, I rarely have time to fit anything else into my schedule
Schedule your flight to arrive an hour earlier than normal
Since lack of time typically impedes the healthy eating process, you can give yourself more time to prepare and research healthy food options by scheduling your flight an hour earlier than normal. On the other hand, the hour must be taken from somewhere (hopefully not sleep), and you may not have any time to spare.

I don't know where to eat healthy food
Find viable options in a 5-10 radius of my hotel and workplace
With technology and the endless phone apps, you can easily find restaurants, diners, and more along the route from your hotel to the workplace. Go to Google Maps and type in "Restaurants (Town or City)" and find the options on your path. Visit the website and review their menus. Although diners or family restaurants typically offer many unhealthy options, you might be surprised by 3-4 alternatives on a usual expansive menu (think stir fry or skillet). You will also find specific healthy fast food menu items in the article "37 Snack Ideas for Weight Loss (And You Won’t Be Bored)"…..which really gives small meal ideas for at home and on the road. On the other hand, do you have time to wait for a restaurant to prepare your food? You may need to order ahead and quickly pick it up at the door.

There aren't any healthy options or restaurants near my hotel or workplace
Cook your meals
I think we've taken many conveniences in society for granted, including the access to meals. Although people say "I don't cook," it truly translates to "I refuse to cook." You don't need to be a chef to create quick and simple meals daily. In fact, I create 3 meals each morning within 13 minutes. It is possible....as long as you're willing to do the initial experimentation phase to determine what you like best (and it's quick to prepare). On the other hand, cooking (and grocery shopping) still requires time and could be tough during a tight schedule. You may need to creatively carve out little chunks of time from different areas (e.g., cutting a meeting short by 5 minutes, having groceries delivered to your room or apartment, etc.).

I'm surrounded by unhealthy options at the hotel and workplace
I will travel to the nearest grocery store and stockpile my refrigerator-equipped room with healthy lunch options
Book hotel or an apartment with a fridge. If the hotel doesn't have a fridge, book an Airbnb. If you can't book an Airbnb, stockpile your room with non-perishables and fruits/vegetables that won't perish within a few days. On the other hand, time could be a huge factor, and you won't have the wiggle room to sneak away to a grocery store. You may need to go to a small convenience store nearby (Google "convenience store" or ask your hotel).

I don't have access to a kitchen
Expense an Airbnb apartment instead of a hotel room
While a hotel room may give you the luxury and ease....actually I'm not sure what it gives you that's better than an Airbnb apartment. The Airbnb options have grown so much that you can secure a space 3x the size of a hotel with the same level of luxury of comfort. The check-in process is comparable, and you have the option to cook your meals. On the hand, the closest Airbnb option to your workplace could be an additional 10-30 minutes away...not ideal for a tight schedule.

There aren’t healthy options off the highway on my road trip
Identify small towns and cities on your route and type "(the town or city) restaurants" in Google Maps.
To eliminate the roadside desperation, you’ll need to prepare ahead once again. Take 5 minutes to review your route on Google Maps and then type in "(the town or city) restaurants". You might be surprised by the number of options that will pop up roadside or within a 5 minute drive of the highway. On the other hand, you are requiring an additional 3-30 minutes during this process….time you don’t have.

The workplace only offers unhealthy options during my meetings
Bring your own prepared meals for lunch or have a meal delivered during the same timeslot.
Preparation is the key here. Anything you can prep or schedule in advance will give you the alternative that you're looking for. On the other hand, you may have not had the time to prepare the meal or schedule a food delivery in advance. Let's be honest, though, if you know what to order from a place you selected in advance it won't take more than 2 minutes to order delivery.

My meetings run into each other, and I have no time to eat
Be more assertive
This is rarely a reasonable excuse. You definitely need to be more assertive. It is fair to expect that you need a 30-minute break at some point in the day. You need to make it a priority and remove some of the irrational time urgency you constantly place on your life. On the other hand, it is possible that meetings run late and any free time becomes obsolete. In these cases, though, you can easily have food delivered.

I don’t want to be judged by my colleagues while special ordering
Be assertive and order what you want….but find ways to still participate in the experience.
There is an underlying and, often, overt theme here: Be assertive. While you need your job, your job needs you. It should be fair to carve time for healthy eating in an already demanding 13-hour workday (which you can argue is a generous offering to your company….no matter what they pay you). Putting aside the time challenge, though, many people still feel awkward ordering what they want when eating with colleagues. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your colleagues think. Nevertheless, you understand that they just want you to share the experience with them….especially if you’re the one who invited them to dinner. Then, still indulge in the experience with them! Under your control though. Order 1 drink (instead of 3) and discuss its unique taste profile. Order a plant-based dish (instead of the cheeseburger) and discuss your favorite restaurants and dishes. Essentially, contribute to the conversation of the experience but control what you eat. If anything, order 1-2 appetizers for the table and steal a small bite of each to exhibit your tasting participation. On the other hand, this strategy requires to be more assertive and confident (both of which take time to foster).

Photo Credit:
beyondwords .life–Are there more healthy option on the road than you realize?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
The "No Messing Around" Guide to Eating Healthy on the Road as a Professional Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 10/18/2018 7:50 AM Michael Moody Fitness
While I strongly encourage a plant-based diet for anyone interested in weight loss or optimal health, I will admit that not all are created equal in vegetarian options. In fairness to my endless green banter, CNN author Lisa Drayer shares the other side of the spectrum.

Plant-based diets have been associated with many health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. So it might naturally follow that vegetarian fast food, which is inherently plant-based, would be more nutritionally appealing than its traditional relatives.

The truth is that, although the notion works in many cases, it's not a guiding food principle you can count on.

"Just because a restaurant or fast food menu item says it's vegetarian or vegan, it doesn't mean that it's automatically 'healthy.' It can have just as much, if not more, calories, saturated fat and sodium as non-vegetarian options," said Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian and author of "Plant-Powered for Life."

It makes sense. After all, ingredients contribute calories, whether plant-based or not. And while fiber and protein can be higher in vegetarian meals, thanks to plentiful amounts of beans, vegetables and whole grains, so can things such as saturated fat and sodium, depending on how the food is prepared (fried vs. grilled, for example) and the amount of cheese and condiments a meal contains.

"Vegetarian and vegan food options that are deep-fried, covered in cheese or creamy sauces and piled over huge portions of fries, rice, wraps or breads may not be the healthiest option on the menu," Palmer said.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The final paragraph of this program is typically the way many of my vegetarian and vegan personal training clients get into trouble. Just because you’ve cut out the meat, it doesn’t you should load up on cheese, oil, and simple grains.

For example, Veggie Grill's Fala-Full sandwich -- two pitas filled with falafel, hummus, pepperoncini and schug and tzatziki sauces, with a side of tabbouleh -- has 1,100 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat and more than a day's worth of sodium (2,380 milligrams). That's more than double the calories, 2½ times the sodium and the same amount of saturated fat as a McDonald's Big Mac. (A Big Mac has 540 calories, 950 milligrams of sodium and 10 grams of saturated fat).

On the other hand, the Veggie Grill's grilled "chickin' " sandwich made with soybean, wheat and pea-based protein has only 530 calories, 900 milligrams of sodium and 3 grams of saturated fat.

The takeaway: Menu items can vary widely, depending on the type and amount of ingredients used, and sauces and deep-frying will contribute extra calories, fat and sodium.

Speaking of burgers, the Amy Burger at Amy's Drive Thru -- a meat-free fast food restaurant with ambition to expand to other markets, owned by the company that makes Amy's vegetarian supermarket foods nationwide -- includes two veggie patties with cheese and sauce. The burger has 770 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat, 33 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber and 1,420 milligrams of sodium. Veggie Grill's Beyond Burger with a single patty has more saturated fat (13 grams) and the same amount of sodium as Amy's.

Surprisingly, the McDonald's Big Mac has fewer calories and less sodium than both veggie burgers, and it has less saturated fat than Veggie Grill's single-patty veggie burger (10 grams).

Still, both veggie burgers have more fiber, and Amy's has more protein than Mickey D's Big Mac, which can keep you feeling full. Plus, Amy's ingredients -- aside from being meat-free -- are locally sourced and organic, all of which may be more important than nutrition numbers, especially for those who don't need to be counting them.

Veggie Grill's Mondo Nachos, for another example, made with "chickin' " and "queso chorizo" sauce, have more than 900 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat and almost 1,600 milligrams of sodium. By comparison, Taco Bell's BellGrande nachos with beef have fewer calories (760), slightly less saturated fat (6 grams) and less sodium (1,290 milligrams). Once again, however, the Grill's has more protein and fiber.

It's important to remember that not all beef tacos are created equal. Del Taco's queso loaded nachos with beef top the list, with more than 1,000 calories, a day's worth of saturated fat and over 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

When it comes to mac and cheese, both Amy's Drive Thru and Veggie Grill's vegan versions have less sodium, more fiber and a lot less saturated fat than Panera's small traditional version, though Panera's packs much more protein.

As with other menu items, the nutritional contributions of salads are a direct reflection of the ingredients used, so it's difficult to make broad generalizations. For example, Veggie Grill's All Hail Kale salad and Amy's Super Salad with tofu, hummus, quinoa and roasted pumpkin seeds are nutritional winners, but a falafel-containing salad at Veggie Grill is going to have a lot more calories, sodium and fat.

Then again, that's really the takeaway message for all menu items, whether they are vegetarian, vegan or neither. That is, a meal is only as healthy as its ingredients.

So just because a food is "vegetarian" or "vegan" doesn't guarantee that it's a nutritionally superior option. French fries may be vegetarian, but that doesn't mean they should fill your plate on a regular basis.

Palmer recommends looking for options that include plenty of vegetables, such as salads, bowls or wraps; whole grains, such as quinoa or whole-grain bread; and simple protein options, like beans or a veggie burger patty. She also advises "going easy on sauces, creams and cheeses," which makes good health sense, whether you choose to eat vegetarian or not.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The moral of the story is that you still need to dissect the menu anywhere you eat. Often, you may need to ask the right questions: How is the dish prepared? Do you use butter or oil? Is the dish prepared with dairy? Do you sautee the vegetables with butter? Most people fear asking anything when dining with others…afraid of their perception. What perception would you rather have (not that it really matters what they think in this matter)? That you don’t care about your health/body or that your health is a priority? If your "friends" judge you for the latter, you may want to help them begin reflecting on their health as well.

Photo Credit:
serious eats . com – Are vegan nachos as healthy as you think?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with the except sourced from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/09/health/vegetarian-fast-food-drayer/index.html
"Is vegetarian fast food actually good for you?" Review Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 10/09/2018 12:30 PM Michael Moody Fitness
Are you looking for a great workout for your core and butt this weekend at home? Try this 30-minute circuit in your living room (minimal equipment required) and then binge on your favorite Netflix show while it’s raining!

Time: 30-35 minutes
Frequency: 1-2x week
Focus: Lower Body/Core
Reps: 15-20 reps
Format: You may choose whatever exercise you want from each category but perform the categories in order (Squats, Planks, Lunges, Planks, Random Legs). You may exchange any of the following based on availability: a dumbbell (DB), medicine ball (MB), a suitcase, or book. You must complete every exercise (25 total).

1. Squats

-Explosive air squats (quick stationary squats while thrusting your arms upward)
-Squat with weight raise (raise the weight from your chest to the overhead position while squatting)
-Squat weight slam motion (start with the weight overhead and swing it downward as you squat) or weight swing squat (like a kettlebell swing)
-Explosive squat with weights at your side (explode upward without leaving your feet, squeeze your glutess at the top of the movement)
-Explosive squat with weight on the chest (explode upward without leaving your feet, squeeze your glutess at the top of the movement)

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Please keep in mind that you need to keep your lower back in a neutral position and straight feet hip width (no wider). Basically, maintain the natural curve with your heels under hips. If you notice a posterior tilt (rounding of lower back) in your hips as you squat, stop just before and squeeze your glutes as you return to the standing position.

2. Planks (30-60 Seconds)

-Different variations using the floor, couch, or chair

Personal Trainer Wisdom: You will maintain the neutral spine no matter the exercise….especially on a plank. Too much flexion (rounding of your lower back) or extension (arching of the lower back) will wreak havoc on your sweet little disks (the impact buffers between the vertebrae of your spine). With this being said, maintain the neutral spine with your elbows planted below your shoulders and your hands placed in the "I’m holding a square box" position (not trademarked yet). Think: Your thumbs up and hands spaced shoulder width. If your hands are any closer, you are transferring the energy from your core to your shoulders (and you don’t want to do this).

3. Lunges

-Walking lunge with light dumbbell twist (slightly rotate the weight two inches past your bent knee, keep your shoulders and hips squared up, and don’t lean while rotating to each side)
-Walking lunge with overhead weight press (press weight overhead as you lunge downward….like a shoulder press)
-Walking lunge with weight on chest (keep the weight in the same position)
-Walking lunge with weight swing (swing weight up as you lunge downward from your hips….like a kettlebell swing)
-Forward and back lunge (only drop knee halfway and return to the starting position as if you’re performing a single leg squat….which means limit the weight on the back foot or your knee will be barking at you)

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Unfortunately, lunges shouldn’t be named lunges. An "alternating stepping kneel" may be more appropriate (less sexy though). Think about it: A lunge insinuates that you’re allowing forward momentum (energy) to push forward at a downward angle while sacrificing your knees and overusing your quads (similar to lunging at a person with a sword in a movie). We’re cutting out other important muscles of the leg and reinforcing a dysfunctional dependence of the quads. Instead, you should step forward into a kneel and then return to a standing position like a single leg squat (isolating your hamstrings and glutes on the leg in front of you). Use the big muscles in the posterior chain and explode from the kneeling position! While the quads are part of the equation, they shouldn’t be the main focus here!

4. Planks (30-60 Seconds)

-Different variations using the floor, couch, or chair

5. Random Legs (30-60 Seconds)

-Mountain climbers, 2x (hold onto a chair with your straight arms and drive your knees toward your chest (alternate) without compromising your neutral spine)
-Stairsteppers or chairsteppers while holding a weight at your chest, 2x (start by standing on a chair against the wall and step down with each foot, return each foot to the top before dropping the other)
-Mountain climbers with a twist (hold onto a chair with your straight arms and slightly drive your knee towards the opposite shoulder to engage the obliques (alternate) without compromising your neutral spine)

Photo Credit:
fitnessmagazine .com–How will you lunge into this weekend?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
You’ll Want to Try this At-Home Core and Butt Workout over the Weekend! Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 10/05/2018 11:30 AM Michael Moody Fitness
text 5 Easy Ways to Amp Up Your Workouts
Wed, 26 Sep 2018 18:41:13 +0000
Have you hit a plateau of interest and results in your workouts? You may just need to amp them up with these 5 easy changes.

Choose a set number of reps and be certain you perform each set until failure.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Whether a work project or living in a relationship, you never want to "just go through the motions". It is a status quo approach that rarely enhances your life or helps you achieve your goals. This especially applies to your fitness program. I often see people incorporate the quantity of time in the gym (e.g., 5 days per week, 60 minutes per day) but rarely the quality (e.g., low intensity instead of moderate to high….and sweating isn’t the indicator of this effort). Are you "just going through the motions" for each exercise you perform? Can you barely complete the remaining 2 reps of a given set? If you’re shooting for 12 reps and can perform 15-20 reps, you may be robbing your muscles of the appropriate challenge to rebuild stronger and toner. Instead, do a check-in on the 3rd rep of the set and ask yourself "Can I perform 12 more reps (or whatever number you chose) at this point (for a total of 15 instead of 12)?" If so, you may want to increase the weight and push that muscle to exhaustion.

Perform your fitness routine within a circuit while focusing on more than 2 muscle groups.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Many eager gym rats grew up performing the traditional workout program: Choose a muscle group (e.g., chest) and 3-5 different isolated exercises (e.g., presses, flyes, pushups, etc.) and then perform each for 3-4 sets with a 1-2 minute break in between. While you will certainly build strength and size in this format, you are missing muscular and aerobic endurance development….elements of a workout program necessary for optimal health. To avoid this shortfall, perform consecutive exercises while focusing on more than one muscle group. Performing exercises within a circuit (e.g., 5-10 exercises without a break) will increase your heart rate and improve your aerobic capacity while also increasing your muscular endurance with the constant demand on your muscles. By focusing on several muscle groups, you can give 1 muscle active recovery while you work on the next (e.g., band chest press followed by a step-up with a dumbbell hammer curl). Since there is a aerobic element to this format, you may not achieve a 100% max strength output (e.g., bench press for 1-2 reps) due to this type of fatigue, you can still build your strength with lesser a weight (e.g., bench press for 12 reps at 70% output). Definitely an approach that can achieve many facets of physical health!

Add balance to your program.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Even with an effective routine you might easily lose interest in any particular exercise and consequently approach each exercise with less intensity. Occasionally, you may need to adapt the exercise to bring a new level of stimulation. If you dread your next set, throw it off balance….literally. If you plan to squat, perform a cable row as you stand from the squat. If you plan to perform a dumbbell chest press on the bench, lunge forward as you perform a standing press with a resistance band instead. By adding instability to your exercise, you not only increase your heart rate by firing other muscles, but you also recruit new stabilizers and increase your laser focus to complete the movement. With this being said….

Swap out the piece of equipment for each exercise.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Although you perform relatively the same movement to fire a particular muscle (e.g., Presses and flyes for chest, rows and pulldowns for back, etc.), the type of equipment you choose can completely change how and which muscles are recruited. For example, you swapped your stable, isolated dumbbell chest press on the bench for the standing resistance band press above. Even without an added lunge, you are changing the dynamic of this movement. Both chest exercises involve the press movement but substituting the dumbbells for the resistance bands will force you to fight a counterforce that didn’t exist while lying on the bench. As you press forward with the bands, their rubberband effect throughout the movement will force you to now recruit more back and shoulders muscles to counter the force. Using cables, medicine balls, kettlebells, and other attachments can also add a little spice to your normal routine.

Change your workouts from 60 to 30 minutes.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: How do you effectively and efficiently use the time you allot for fitness? Most people schedule 60 minutes for a fitness session. What are you really doing during that time? I’ve seen people take different lengths of breaks aimlessly walking from one exercise to the next. Why not move with intent and cut out the fluff? If you really intend to only exercise for 30 minutes, why don’t you complete it within 30 minutes? This could be the answer to maintaining a higher level of intensity and interest, too.

Photo Credit:
Fortlelock .com–Could new equipment be the answer to amping up your workout?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
5 Easy Ways to Amp Up Your Workouts Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 09/26/2018 1:30 PM Michael Moody Fitness

Ill never forget the time it took me 30 minutes to stand from a seated position. The spasms debilitated my body over and over as it sent me back to the floor each time in excruciating pain. After 4 nights in the hospital for 2 bulging disks (L4/L5, L5/S1), I quickly changed my approach to fitness and my overall health. The following tips have nearly eliminated my back pain since, and they will help you too (with the help of Kelly Starrett's book Becoming a Supple Leopard)!

The Neutral Spinal Position

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Poor spinal mechanics can lead to a host of biomechanical compromises and increase the potential for injury. Organizing your spine in a braced neutral position means that your ears are aligned over your shoulders, your ribcage is balanced over your pelvis, and you're engaging the musculature of your trunk to stabilize (brace your position). (Starrett)

Keep the natural curves of the lower back and neck! When you maintain this position, the pressure on your disks (the green) is minimized. On the other hand, the flexion spinal fault (rounding your shoulders forward) and overextension spinal fault (tilting your hips forward and downward) seen in Image 2 will increase the pressure on the disks. Translation: Rounding or arching your back can produce a destructive effect on your disks...possibly leading to a bulge or herniation (among other physical problems and imbalances).

Any time a fitness professional asks you to "flatten your back" always adjust your alignment to reflect the neutral position instead. If you literally flatten your back, you are not only using force on your spine to achieve this instructed effect but you are also adding pressure to your disks and compromising the principles of the Neutral Spinal Position. Every time you bend your spine out of this line you risk injuring yourself (even if you're just sitting or standing in a stationary position).

 Image 1: Neutral Spinal Position

Image 1: Neutral Spinal Position

 Image 2: Flexion and Overextension Spinal Faults

Image 2: Flexion and Overextension Spinal Faults

Perfect your Posture: How to Organize Your Spine

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The bracing sequence is the blueprint for organizing your spine in a braced neutral position. You should run through the bracing sequence every time you set up to perform a movement, get ready to sit down, or need to reset your posture (until it becomes automatic/autopilot). Here's the step-by-step setup in a nutshell:

1. Stand with your feet straight and your posture upright. Squeeze your butt and externally rotate from your hips to set your pelvis in a neutral position. 

2. Align your ribcage over your pelvis.

3. Engage your abdomen to lock in the position.

4. Pull your shoulders back into a stable position and align your ears over your shoulders, hips, and ankles. (Starrett)

 Image 3 The Bracing Sequence Step by Step

Image 3 The Bracing Sequence Step by Step

 Image 4 The Bracing Sequence Step by Step Step 3 to Finish

Image 4 The Bracing Sequence Step by Step Step 3 to Finish

Braced Neutral Sitting and Texting Positions

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Sitting and standing are skills that take practice. Use the bracing sequence to set your posture and maintain a neutral position while sitting and standing (even if you are leaning forward or back). Refer to Image 5 for an example.  (Starrett)

 Image 5: Braced Neutral Sitting and Texting Positions

Image 5: Braced Neutral Sitting and Texting Positions

Pelvic Rotation While Sitting

Personal Trainer Wisdom:  I know...all this talk about a neutral spine position makes you want to curl up into a ball. I will assure you that most of your injuries and discomfort are, in one way or another, a result of how you have been compromising your spine. You may want to think twice about curling up. In fact, you may want to think twice about sitting. Not only does this position keep your hips flexed (causing an imbalance), you are likely to lose your neutral spine over the course of your stressful day. Take a look at Image 6. Every time you fall out of the neutral spine position by rounding or arching your back, you are compromising your spine (specifically the disks). Although it doesn't seem like enough force or pressure on the spine, the compression will certainly add up over time. Just ask the 1 in 3 people around you who experience chronic back pain.

 Image 6: Pelvic Rotation While Sitting

Image 6: Pelvic Rotation While Sitting

Standing Up Out of the Bottom (Seated) Position

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While Image 4 demonstrates the proper way to squat or sit with a neutral spine, Image 5 shows you how to stand up out of the bottom (or seated) position. Please keep in mind that Starrett is referring to a neutral spine whenever he mentions a flat back.

1. Sitting is just a squat with a long pause in the bottom position. Even if you remain seated for an extended period, your back stays neutral, shins vertical, and knees out. 

2. When you stand up, reclaim tension by loading your hips and hamstrings by hinging forward at the hips. 

3. Keeping your back in a neutral position, shove your knees out and stand up, just as you would when performing a squat.

 Image 7: Standing Up Out of the Bottom Seated Position

Image 7: Standing Up Out of the Bottom Seated Position

My Specific List of Lower Back Rules

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Here is my specific list of lower back rules:

-          Sleep on my back in a neutral postion. Sleeping on your stomach will put you in extension (arching your back) and sleeping on your sides (rounding your back and internally rotating your precious shoulders) will put you in flexion. No bien for sustained periods of time.

-          Only sit in chairs or stools where my knees fall just below my hips. Most booths and chairs compromise my neutral spine by forcing a posterior pelvic rotation (rounding my back).

-          Use a self-inflating back pillow for the natural curve of my lower back on flights. I adjust the inflation based on whatever is a natural fit for my lumbar curve and allows me to sit comfortably in a neutral spine position.

-          Carry my work gear and computer in a backpack (using both straps over my shoulders). Slinging any bag on a single side will create an imbalance. That includes a purse of any weight and size, my female friends.

-          Don’t run. I train many marathon runners and certainly encourage you to continue if you don’t feel discomfort. If you do, though, accept that running (or jumping) can be quite a bit of compression on your spine. Remove the unnecessary stress and walk on the beloved Stairmaster instead (less impact on the joints).

Photo Credit:
sqactive .com–No matter the cause of your back pain, all of us should take the same preventive approach.

 Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness

How I've Prevented More Lower Back Pain in the Last 12 Years (After 2 Bulging Disks)

Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

09/18/2018 11:30 AM

Michael Moody Fitness

Although I haven’t attended school in years, Labor Day Weekend still prompts me into a different mindset. The fall is usually the time I review systems, habits, needs, and wants, and these are the inspirational quotes that are steering my approach this year!

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Personal Trainer Wisdom: This quote is always at the top of my list. If you want something different in the world, you certainly should be the example of it first. With the current streams of consciousness, it seems like society needs to be more selfless. It needs to think beyond its selfish needs and become more empathic and sympathetic. And so do I. I too succumb to my basic needs of survival and often think of myself first.

Now, though, I ask myself: How will my action affect others? Is it for a greater good? Who will suffer from this decision? How can others benefit from this decision?

From this introspection, I recently have taken more strategic action like starting a neighborhood watch group with my wife, Sammy, to build a community and curb criminal activity. Meanwhile, I continue to guide my personal training clients in their transformation process. All little efforts close to home that, hopefully, spark a fire for greater change.

"Ignore the unfairness – there is no fair. Play the hand that you’re dealt to the best of your ability. People are highly consistent, so you will eventually get what you deserve and so will they. In the end, everyone gets the same judgment: death." – Naval Ravikant

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I typically don’t look at challenging situations as unfair. Instead, I see them as games with most of the pieces out of my control (and I accept this). While I’m not the gamemaster, I certainly hold a pawn that can produce results, too. There will be times when I will have the advantage and then times when others will. Either way, I put my best foot forward and hope that it’s returned to me over time. And so this is life, and everyone has the same judgment at the end (at least in the physical sense).

"We accept the voice that talks to us in our head all the time as the source of all truth. But all of it is malleable, every day is new, and memory and identity are burdens from the past that prevent us from living freely in the present." – Naval Ravikant

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I like the thought of the voice in our head as malleable. It insinuates that I have some level of control over who I am and what I choose to do. While my memory and identity are certainly the foundation of who I am, I fully recognize how they can be burdens from my past that affect my present awareness (e.g., fears, insecurities, etc.). I think we should recognize how the chains of our past (whether good or bad) ultimately filter the world in front of us and assess their value in the moment. It might help us make more fruitful decisions that will lead to a more satisfying life.

"Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want." - Naval Ravikant

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Desire is a sexy and dangerous word. While it infers a lustful, passionate stream of feeling towards something, it does teeter on obsession and wishful thinking without a strategic effort to achieve a purpose or want. A person might end up fixated and unmoving instead of productively pursuing this goal. Since he or she is leaving this attainment to chance, he or she may consistently feel dissatisfaction, frustration, and/or deprivation instead. Why lust over that "something" when it simply leaves you in an emotional cloud unattached to a specific path? There are trips, products, and experiences that I want but I quickly jump to the question "What do I need to do to obtain or achieve it?" instead of sitting in place wishing passionately for such things.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Quotes That Steer My Approach to Life Right Now Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 09/11/2018 16:30 PM Michael Moody Fitness
Helping my personal training clients with weight loss is the easy part! How do you get out of a submerged car? Where is the best sound in a movie theater? How do you stop a runny nose….with your finger? How do you instantly stop someone from towing your truck? These are the real questions in life….and Keith Bradford’s book "Life Hacks" gives the answers to these life problems and more! Test them and see for yourself!

1. Use leftover coffee from the morning to make coffee ice cubes (which will cool down your coffee without diluting it).

2. When making hard-boiled eggs, throw one teaspoon of baking soda into the water. The shell will come off without a problem once the egg is cooked.

3. Any citrus fruit like an orange, clementine, or grapefruit becomes easier to peel when you gently press and roll it on the table before peeling.

4. Take pictures of friends holding items you’ve lent them with your phone, so you remember down the road who borrowed what.

5. If your car is about to get towed, get in it. Tow trucks are forced to stop to avoid kidnapping charges.

6. If you’re with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, you can now text the police (911) in case of emergency.

7. If you ever get trapped underwater in your car, use your car seat’s headrest to break the window.

8. If you ever get kidnapped, and they tie your hands together and put tape over your mouth, lick the tape. It will eventually fall off, and you’ll be able to yell for help.

9. When you call 911, the first thing you should always say is your location. They immediately send police when they have an address.

10. When you get a call from a telemarketer, don’t say anything and press "9" on your phone. This will automatically add your number to their "don’t call" list.

11. For the best sound in a movie theater, sit two-thirds of the way back and as close to the middle as possible. This is where audio engineers sit when they mix sound for movies.

12. When you feel like you’re about to yawn, touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue to prevent it.

13. Clogged drain? Unclog it with 1 cup of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of white vinegar.

14. The most effective cough syrup that exists is honey.

15. Believe it or not, rubbing a walnut on damaged wooden furniture can cover up a lot of dings and scratches.

16. Place a rubber band over any stripped screw to easily unscrew it.

17. Nothing kills weeds and keeps them dead for longer than white vinegar straight from the bottle.

18. Placing an envelope in the fridge for an hour will unseal it. Good tip to know if you forget to include something in a package.

19. Runny or stuffy nose? Push your tongue against the top of your mouth and push a finger between your eyebrows. Hold it for about twenty seconds. Your nose should clear.

Photo Credit:
Splendidtable .org - Can honey stop your cough?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
19 Hacks to Solve the Biggest Problems in Your Life Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 08/01/2018 12:30 AM Michael Moody Fitness
Recently I asked my personal training clients and friends "Which lifestyle changes in the last year positively affected your life the most?" and here are their answers (they may give you an idea for a change you can make today)!!!

* Diet! I have made this change recently, but I can already read my body so much better based on what I eat. - R.K.

* Adopting a more plant-based diet as well as (trying to) reducing alcohol consumption! The second one is more of a work in progress...lol - A.S.

* Two things coming to mind: Weight training twice a week and cutting out any sweetener/flavor syrups from coffee drinks! - J.K.

* I have definitely become more veggie-centric in my life, as opposed to my former cheese-centric existence. That, tracking my meals without becoming obsessed about every little thing I'm doing, and generally looking at my overall health and fitness goals in the macro, not the micro have affected me most positively. I know I have a long way to go and have had some setbacks, but I also know I am on the right path and that has made all the difference! - C.M.

* Beyond Sausages. - W.W.

* Starting each morning with light workout. Stopped purchasing and eating breads and pasta during the week. - D.P.

* Removing negative people. - S.R.

* Seriously, hitting the gym, even if only 30 minutes a day. I don't look drastically different, but feel much better! - B.L.

* Cut out (simple) carbs, down 30lbs. - A.H.

* Starting out each day fresh and putting yesterday behind you! - A.R.

* Sleep. - A.Z.

* Doing more things for myself. - K.H.

* I’ll give you two. I started calling my mom nearly daily after my dad passed. Also, it sounds bad for someone my age, but I cut time spent playing video games, which led to less time on devices, which led to being more engaged with my family. - G.S.

* Eliminating caffeine, gluten, dairy & soy for almost 6 months now. Total Game Changer! - S.M.

* It’s very simple. I decided to be more active. Get up and move. Stand. Walk. Go outside. Stretch. Practice breathing. Continue to be more active than the previous day. I use steps on Fitbit as one form of measurement. - R.L.

* Going to church every week. - J.L.

* Picking what is worth fighting for and what will not matter 5 minutes from now. - J.O.

* Moving home from San Francisco. I now have time to exercise again!! - L.V.

* Moving to VA. That and eliminating dairy. - M.C.

* Working it, everything, from the TOP DOWN. Going after the big things relentlessly, instead of wasting effort on building small step by steps. - R.J.

* Listening to others rather than just hearing...and being more patient (it's automatically increased if you have a toddler at home :-) ). - C.C.

* Letting go of unhealthy/ toxic people in my life. Learning to lower my expectations in a lot of situations so I will not be disappointed as often. - M.D.

* Reading God’s word and praying daily. Brings light into darkness and peace over despair. - B.H.

* The lifestyle change that affected me the most was the consistency of doing workouts and other activities like sleeping at the same time. This helped me in being able to work out efficiently as well as feeling more rested in my life. Overall feel like the most healthy person I can be! - B.C.

* Getting help from others. Eating better (not as much sugar and salt). - S.S.

Photo Credit:
The Independent. Co. com–What are you running towards in 2018?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
My Clients (and Friends) Share the Lifestyle Changes that Positively Affected Their Life the Most Over the Last Year Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 07/25/2018 11:30 AM Michael Moody Fitness
After nearly 17,500 hours of one-on-one personal training sessions, here is a list of my client’s worst habits that have quietly affected their weight loss and fitness goals. Are you a prisoner of these habits too?

They eat the same amount as their spouses

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Your weight loss or fitness success will always depend on how well you understand your body, determine your needs, and set appropriate boundaries. It’s safe to assume that your partner in crime will have a very different combination (and need) from you. It’s as simple as this: You determine how much fuel you need….no one else. If you eat exactly the same amount as your partner, chances are that you may be eating too much or little.

They eat snacks

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Please keep in mind that "snacks" are really filler foods or indulgences that rarely meet your entire nutritional need at a given time (such a tease!). You’re probably seeking food because you’re hungry, and a small meal is most ideal (even if it’s only 100-300 calories). Since you now eat with intent, you want to choose a nutrient balance of vitamins, fiber, protein, fat, and more.

They depend on exercise for weight loss

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Never forget that usually, the one thing you're avoiding to do is probably the one you need to do the most. You can exercise 2 hours per day 7 days per week, but it will still be avoiding the dietary change you probably need to make. Eventually, you should figure out what you can get away with (drinking beer, restaurant dinners, etc.). Right now, though, you should figure out how you should really eat. And if you read Dr. Fuhrman’s book End of Dieting and begin disqualifying the claims, you should consider where those opinions stem from. Are they threatening your current habits? Would you rather believe a theory closer to your wants?

They eat too many simple carbs (and the good carbs at times too)

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Is more than 25% of each of your meals fruit, whole grains, and simple carbs? Ever wonder why vegans and vegetarians struggle with weight loss? It's most likely a result of their fruit sugar, whole grain, and simple carb (delicious Girl Scout cookies, ALL breads, rice, crackers, chips, candy, ice cream, and everything else devilish that you crave) consumption. Anything above 15 grams of fruit sugar per meal will spike your blood sugar levels...not ideal for losing weight and maintaining stable insulin levels (refined sugars have a worse, quicker acting effect). Simple carbs, as well as whole grains, can do the same. Disclaimer: The fiber in the whole grains will offset this effect in smaller amounts. What is the refined and fruit sugar breakdown of your favorite meals? Are there more nutrient dense alternatives than your typical fruit sugar, grain, and simple carb choices that will provide the fiber you need?

They drink more alcohol than their body can handle

Personal Trainer Wisdom: How many calories do you think you consume in a single week from alcohol? If you live in the Midwest, eating and drinking is most likely part of your culture (not your fault :) ). Since alcohol is basically a liquid grain packed with a lot of sugar (of course, there are exceptions), it will also spike your blood sugar levels. If drinking alcohol is part of your diet, what are you willing to exchange in return? In other words…when you order alcohol, what other simple carbs or sugars are you exchanging (i.e., 1 beer instead of 2 scoops of rice)? What low calorie, low sugar alcohol options are you willing to consider to achieve your weight loss goals?

They don’t develop an eating routine

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I’m sure you can imagine that a life on the edge of a cliff could be destined for trouble with a big enough wind. That’s exactly what’s happening when you don’t develop a healthy eating routine as a foundation. While most of us would like to think we shouldn’t have to think about food constantly, I have bad news: We’re human…and this is what we need to survive. Lucky for you, a solid, consistent routine with the right system in place will help you operate on autopilot (which means that you don’t have to consciously obsess over food). If you choose to do otherwise, any big event or binge will certainly send you into the weight gain abyss.

They believe that injury prevention begins inside the gym

Personal Trainer Wisdom: No matter what any personal trainer tells you, the greatest indicator of your success isn't what you do inside the gym-it's what you repeat daily. Your body is an amazing adaptive system that loves to learn quickly. Although you don't realize it, you've been training your body to handle a vast variety of movements and postures in auto-pilot over a lifetime (after all, your body doesn't have 10 minutes to fully assess your movement as you sit in a chair every time). How wonderful! Now you can think about the million other things you need to do instead!

While this ability is a great strength, it most likely has led to the weakness, discomfort, pain, or injury that you have experienced. Your body wants to work efficiently, and it also can be easily convinced. If you always drive your knee forward while lunging to pick an object off the ground, your body will most likely (automatically) guide you the same way the next time you do it without thinking (even though the movement overuses your quads and imposes additional force and stress onto your knees). Call it the "Fight or Flight System." It wants to learn quickly so that it can react quickly (when demand is placed on it).

"Fair enough, Michael...I appreciate your lecture. Can we just workout now?" Well, maybe. I could simply throw you into a circus act of a fitness program (a crazy Cross Fit, ballet, Cirque de Soliel, bodybuilding, marathon extravaganza), but do you really know your body well enough, though, to confidently say that it can handle this demand on the body? Have you ever studied the way you move? Have you identified all of your imbalances and weaknesses? Most likely, your answer is no. If you are like my 20-year-old self, you probably haven't stopped and listened to your body. Instead, you jumped into the hottest new program that Joey the Trainer (not real) is selling and ended up hurt 1-3 months later.

Nothing against Joey, but you don't need a personal trainer to achieve a lifetime of injury and imbalance. You can simply choose a new workout on Men's Health, Youtube, or anywhere and blindly attempt it. If you truly want to minimize ALL pain and tightness and achieve peak fitness, now is the time to NOT take a haphazard approach. It is the time to rewire your system. Understand you so that you can efficiently and effectively adapt ANY program to fit your needs. Look at the way you sit, stand, run, walk, sleep, etc. Become a human scientist and identify your tendency to move out of a neutral position. Your observations might shed the true narrative on your physical self and what you need to change.

Photo Credit:
Matt Armendariz (2015) and Whats Gaby Cooking .com–Are granola bars really healthy?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
A List of my Personal Training Clients’ Worst Habits from the Last 13 Years (and Why it Affected their Weight Loss and Fitness Efforts) Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 07/11/2018 11:30 AM Michael Moody Fitness
Not surprisingly, most of my personal training clients are incredibly busy and must resort to whatever’s most available for breakfast. Unfortunately, many of the breakfast choices at Starbucks may reverse their (and your) weight loss efforts. Stay away from these choices if you’re trying to tighten not stretch the waistline of your pants.

Chicken Sausage & Bacon Biscuit

Calories 450, Fat (g) 22, Fiber (g) 1, Protein 26, Sodium 1160 (mg)

Double-Smoked Bacon, Cheddar & Egg Sandwich

Calories 490, Fat (g) 27, Fiber (g) 1, Protein 21, Sodium 910 (mg)

Sausage, Cheddar & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Calories 500, Fat (g) 28, Fiber (g) 1, Protein 15, Sodium 920 (mg)

Seared Steak, Egg & Tomatillo Wrap

Calories 410, Fat (g) 18, Fiber (g) 2, Protein 21, Sodium 780 (mg)

Slow-Roasted Ham, Swiss & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Calories 450, Fat (g) 22, Fiber (g) 1, Protein 24, Sodium 790 (mg)

Spicy Chorizo, Monterey Jack & Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Calories 500, Fat (g) 30, Fiber (g) 3, Protein 26, Sodium 860 (mg)

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I think we see a glowing trend among these Starbucks breakfast items: high amount of calories, fat, and sodium; adequate amount of protein; and very little fiber. Perhaps we’re being unfair to Starbucks….especially in comparison to other fast food competitors (i.e. the 1000 calorie options at McDonalds). There are always worse options, right?

Surprisingly, though, these choices are deceptively more dangerous than you think. Each sandwich is just a little "more and above" than what’s recommended for a healthy lifestyle (not just weight loss). If your healthy goal is only 350-450 calories and 20-25 grams of protein per meal, maybe you’re not doing too bad. What happens when you add 50 extra calories, twice the amount of sodium, and 12-24 grams of extra fat per meal (instead of 3-6 grams of fat), though? You might not realize that this subtle flexibility could be the reason why you’ve gained 1 lb of weight per year….for the last 20 years.

As the book Compound Effect explains, 50 extra calories and 12 extra grams of fat becomes troublesome when the pattern continues for every meal (not just breakfast) over the course of time. Consequently, you really won’t have any wiggle room for those days that you really indulge (like holidays and special occasions).

While I understand the need to grab something quick in the morning, don’t fool yourself into thinking that the amount of calories and protein make up the total equation. Ultimately, your health (and weight) depend on a balance of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, phytonutrients, and more. Do your homework and choose the best items ahead of time instead of choosing when in a rush.

Photo Credit:
Yelp .com: Do you have as much weight loss wiggle room as you believe choosing this breakfast option at Starbucks?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with nutrition facts from Starbucks . com.
6 Breakfast Items at Starbucks that Will Lead to Weight Gain Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 06/26/2018 12:13 PM Michael Moody Fitness
Recently, Sammy, Preston, and I had set out for a European adventure to explore earthquake ruins, port, and Spanish tapas. We started in historic Lisbon, Portugal and headed North to Porto before finishing in the Spanish metropolis, Madrid. Here is the quick itinerary of interesting places to stay, historic things to do, and an expansive list of restaurants to indulge in.

General Itinerary

25-26: Fly to Lisbon from Chicago
26: Lisbon
27: Lisbon
28: Lisbon
29: Lisbon
30: Train from Lisbon to Porto
1: Porto
2: Porto
3: Fly to Madrid from Porto
4: Madrid
5: Madrid
6: Madrid
7: Fly to Chicago from Madrid

Sprint International Call Settings

Iphone 7

Go to settings, click on cellular, click cellular data option, click roaming (turn voice and data on), International CDMA should be off. We’ll receive a welcome message when we arrive.

Samsung Note 8

Go to settings, click on connections, click on mobile networks, click data roaming, turn off all domestic roaming (voice, text, and data), turn on all international roaming (voice, text, and data). We’ll receive a welcome message when we arrive.

Money Overseas

Charles Schwab Brokerage Checking Account

Transfer cash for free ATM withdrawls and no transaction fees.

Credit Cards

Bring the Chase Sapphire, Mileage Plus Explorer, Chase Business Ink, and Delta Skymiles Gold Amex for no transaction fees. Call to see which exchange rate is lower (Most base it on the Wall Street Journal).

 Preston is excited for his first flight overseas....and so is the guy sitting behind him.

Preston is excited for his first flight overseas....and so is the guy sitting behind him.


25-26th: Fly to Lisbon from Chicago

United Flight UA972 from Chicago to Brussels
Total cost: 60k miles per person plus taxes and fees
Seats: 34E, 34G (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 6:00 pm (04/25) ORD (8 hr 5 mn with bassinet)
Arrival: 9:05 am (04/26) BRU

TAP Portugal Flight TP647 from Brussels to Lisbon
Seats: 16B,16A (Priority boarding with a child , check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 11:30 am (04/26) BRU (2 hr 50 mn)
Arrival: 1:20 pm (04/26) LIS

30th: Train to Porto from Lisbon (Unconfirmed seats)

Train 125
Total cost: $130 (1st Class, choose seats at checkin, child on lap), arrive 1-2 hours to book train time and seat
Depart: 12:09 pm Lisboa Oriente (flexible time)
Arrival: 2:44 pm Porto Campanha

3rd: Fly to Madrid from Porto

Ryanair Flight 5423 from Porto to Madrid
Seats: 2F, 2E (Already checked in month early)
Total cost: $217.94 (Priority with 2 cabin bags per person, child on lap)
Depart: 3:35 pm OPO
Arrival: 5:50 pm MAD

7th: Fly to Chicago from Madrid

Lufthansa Flight LH1113 from Madrid to Frankfurt
Seats: 20A/20B (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 12:55 pm (05/07) MAD (2 hr 30 mn)
Arrival: 3:25 pm (05/07) FRA

Lufthansa Flight LH432 from Frankfurt to Chicago
Seats: 34G/34F (Priority boarding with a child, check stroller with car seat at the gate)
Depart: 5:15 pm (05/07) FRA (9 hr 5 mn with bassinet)
Arrival: 7:20 pm (05/07) ORD

 View of Lisbon at sunset

View of Lisbon at sunset


26-30th: Lisbon

Listing: Comfortable, versatile best quarter with Fadoflats
Travessa João de Deus 8 (2nd floor right)
Lisbon, Lisbon 1200 Portugal
+351 91 985 8312
Check-in: 4:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
-Directions: A taxi from the airport should take you to the flat in about 30 minutes and cost you around 15-20 euros (please tell the taxi driver flat is in Chiado quarter, very close to Cervejaria Trindade - Trindade Brewery). In alternative you can take the subway and drop out at Baixa-Chiado station. It will take you about an hour and cost you 2 euro per person.Third alternative is hiring our private transfer service (for you only): a 7 seats van will be waiting for you at the airport for the price of 30 euros to be paid directly to the driver. In any case I would appreciate if you could text me or call me after picking up the bags and passing passport control at the airport.
Notes: Great 2 bedroom, vintage space that once was a palace before the 18th century earthquake. Great location and size for our needs. Plenty of nearby restaurants and more. The Alfama neighborhood to the East is another option (more historic and quaint).

30th-3rd: Porto

Listing: Caldeireiros Home Two - feel at home with Fadoflats
Rua dos Caldeireiros, 4050-250 Porto, Portugal
+351 91 714 1223
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Directions: Walk to the flat from the Sao Bento train station 2 blocks away.
Notes: Great modern space with the perfect location. Truly a wonderful host.

3rd-7th: Madrid

Listing: Pta. del Sol- Pza. Sta Ana, Madrid with Miriam
Calle Núñez de Arce 10 2b, 28012 Madrid, Madrid, Spain
+34 699 915 788
Check-in: 2:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
-Taxi: You will find taxi stands ouside all the airport terminals. Always use the official taxi services and do not take offers from drivers inside the terminal. Trip duration up to 30 minutes depending on traffic. -Bus: The yellow airport express bus runs 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. You can take the bus from terminals T1, T2 and T4 and the ticket costs 5 euros. The journey takes aproximatelly 40 minutes and the bus makes only 3 stops along the way, the corner of O’Donnell and Doctor Esquerdo, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha train station (from 6:00 am until 23;30 pm).
-Metro: You can take metro line 8 from all the terminals of the airport and head to Nuevos Ministerios station at the center of Madrid. From there you can hop to another metro line until your end destination. The journey until the Nuevos Ministerios station is 15 minutes and the metro operates daily from 6:00 am to 2:00 am. Tickets can cost up to 5 euros depending on your end destination.
Notes: A very central location but we don’t recommend staying here unless it’s cheap and you don’t mind a Super 8 hotel experience.

 Exploring the historic Belem area of Lisbon

Exploring the historic Belem area of Lisbon

Things to do in Lisbon, Portugal

Random Notes

-Use ‘The Fork’ phone app or call to book restaurant reservations
-Restaurants (5-10% tip and bread/olives aren’t free), most restaurants open 12-3 and 7-10
-Most museums free until 2:00 on Sundays
-Taxes after 9 pm cost more
-Lisboa card for attractions (askmelisboa.com)
-Buy 24 hour pass (metrolisboa.pt)
-Book a tour: https://www.withlocals.com/experiences/portugal/lisbon/?adults=2&children=1
-Travel with kids: https://kindertravelguide.com/destination/europe/portugal-with-a-baby-or-toddler-2/lisbon-with-a-baby-or-toddler/

Belem Ruins

-Jerónimos Monastery, Praça do Império (free entry to the church, €10 for the rest of the monastery) -Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos-entry fee €4) -CCB (Belém Cultural Center), Coach Museum (Museu dos Coches) -Statue to Afonso de Albuquerque

Rossio Neighborhood

-Parque Eduardo VII (northwest of Rossio Fountains, down the Ave da Liberdade)
-Confeitaria Nacional near the Praca de Figueiro for pastries
-A Ginjinha – Local sweet liquor spot near Igreja de Sao Domingos
-Rossio Fountains/Park (24 hour cafes nearby)
-Churches: Igreja de Sao Domingos, Praca da Figueira (next to each other)
-Elevador da Gloria: Take you from the Praca dos Restauradores up to the Bairro Alto neighborhood
-Ride the Tram 28 to see the historic parts of the city on a ride. Expect lines.

 Rooftops of the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon

Rooftops of the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon

Chiado Neighborhood

-Elevador de Santa Justa down to Baixa Neighborhood
-Convento do Carmo & Museu Arqueologico
-R Garrett Street: pedestrian street
-2 Michellin Star Restaurant: Bellanto
-Nightlife strip: Tv Carvalho

Baixa Neighborhood

-Nucleo Arquelologico (free underground tunnels)
-R Augusta: Pedestrian street from the Praca de Comercio on the water

Bairro Alto Neighborhood

-Church: Igreja & Museu de Sao Roque
-Elevador de Gloria
-Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara
-Restaurant: Lost in Coffee Café (corner of Tv da Agua da Flor and R Sao Pedro de Alcantara)
-Public toilet under Largo Trindade Coehlo
-1800’s Beer Hall on R Nova da Trinidade
-Fado bars on R da Alalara

Alfama Neighborhood

-Tram 28 stop: Near Se (free Gothic Cathedral)
-Restaurants and Fado: Cruzes Credo Café, Clube de Fado (8 pm – 2 am), Memmo Alfama Rooftop Bar, Guitarras de Lisboa – Food and Fado, Senhor Fado (8 pm -2 am), Mesa de Frades (Fado in old small chapel 11 pm)
-Museu do Teatro Romano (free Roman Ruins)
-Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora (monastery)
-Panteao Nacional (10 am – 6 pm)

 A taste of Lisbon....plenty of seafood and fish!

A taste of Lisbon....plenty of seafood and fish!

Restaurants in Lisbon

-Pasteis de Belem
-Café A Brasileira
-Cervejaria Ramiro
-A Taberna da Rua das Flores
-Bica Do Sapato
-Café Tati
-Merendinha do Arco
-Cantinho Lusitano
-A Baiuca
-Marisqueira Nunes
-Tasquinha do Lagarto
-Beco dos Surradores 5
-Tasco do Vigario
-Varina da Madragoa
-Zé da mouraria
-Bairro do Avillez (went twice)
-Time Out Market (Such a neat food scene on the weekend)
-Cantinho do bem estar
-Solar dos Presuntos
-Palácio Chiado: Renovated palace turned into food court
-Restaurante Carmo
-The Sandeman Chiado (best salmon we’ve ever eaten, try the 40 year Tawny)
-Royale Cafe (best octopus we’ve ever eaten)

 Exploring the rooftops of Porto

Exploring the rooftops of Porto

Things to do in Porto, Portugal

Sightseeing in Porto

-São Bento station
-Use ‘The Fork’ phone app or call to book restaurant reservations
-Take the train or drive to Duoro Valley for wine tastings (2 hour ride)
-Walk over the Ponte de Dom Luís I and take viewing cart (teleférico) over the river to the port warehouses (major port producers have their warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south side of the River Douro)
-Visit the bar Vinologia for port flights and charcuterie
-Garrafeira AMS (wine shop)
-Sé do Porto (free admission)
-Ribeira Square
-Handy Resources: What to Do in Porto: http://portoportugalguide.com/porto-guide/porto-in-2-days-itinerary.html, https://catavino.net/travel/portugal/porto/
-Clérigos Tower (Igreja E Torre Dos Clérigos)
-Lello bookshop (Livraria Lello): Inspiration for the book store in the Harry Potter movies
-Sao Bentro Train Station
-Porto Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace (Sé Do Porto)
-Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa)
-Igreja de São Francisco
-Villar d’Allen

 Spoiled with shrimp in Porto

Spoiled with shrimp in Porto

 A raw approach to food in Porto.

A raw approach to food in Porto.

Restaurants in Porto

-Confeitaria Serrana
-Cantinho do Avillez
-Michelin-starred Pedro Lemos restaurant
-Centro Português de Fotografia (free)
-Torre de Clérigos (admission 3 euros)
-Porta’O Lado
-Brasão Cervejaria
-Fonte dos Leoes for a francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich filled with cured ham
-Café Guarany
-Café Majestic
-Vila Nova de Gaia
-Flor dos Congregados
-Rei dos Galos de Amarante
-Adega Quim
-Casa Aleixo
-Tasca da Piedade (Adega Rio Douro)
-Casa Nanda
-Adega Vila Meã
-Taberna do Largo
-Taberna Santo António
-Maus Hábitos
-Guindalense Futebol Clube
-O Buraco
-Cantina 32
-Café Candelabro
-Casa de Ló
-Bar Tolo
-Bite Me
-Boa Nova
-Vinum restaurant at Graham’s port lodge: Gorgeous rooftop
-Ode Porto Winehouse
-Pedro Limos
-Casa da Horta
-O Comercial
-Bufete Fase
-O Paparico
-Grelhador da Boavista
-Pateo das Flores (loved the francesinha and tuna poke cones)

 Gorgeous cathedral in Madrid

Gorgeous cathedral in Madrid

 Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Things to do in Madrid, Spain

Random Notes

-Many dine out at 9 pm or later
-Handy Resources: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/madrid-food-tour/, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/21/travel/what-to-do-36-hours-in-madrid-spain.html, https://www.eater.com/maps/best-madrid-restaurants-38

Sightseeing in Madrid

-Plaza España
-Gran Via (shopping)
-Palacio Real
-Plaza Oriente
-Barrio de la Latina
-El Rastro (Spain’s largest flea market, Sunday)
-Puerta del Sol (popular plaza)
-Chocolateria San Gines
-Plaza Mayor
-Mercado San Miguel
-Watch a flamenco show at Cardamomo
-Retiro Park (huge park)
-Palacio Cristal
-Reina Sofia
-Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
-El Prado (world famous art museum)
-El Bernabeu Stadium
- Las Salesas (shopping)

 Our food tasting tour of historic bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Our food tasting tour of historic bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Restaurants in Madrid

-Bocadillo de Jamón y Champán
-Duquesita Pastelería (century-old pastry shop)
-La Venencia (sherry bar)
-Bar Cock
-Pum Pum Café
-Círculo de Bellas Artes (drink with a panoramic view)
-Amazónico (an opulent jungle-inspired space)
-Chocolatería San Ginés (since 1894, a mug of hot chocolate and six churros)
-El Imparcial
-San Mamés
-Lakasa Restaurant
-Sala de Despiece
-Quesería Cultivo
-Bread at Panic
-Tortilla de Patatas at Casa Dani
-Coffee at Toma Café
-1862 Dry Bar
-Bodega de la Ardosa
-Vermouth at Ángel Sierra
-El Cisne Azul
-La Tasquería
-La Tasquita de Enfrente
-Casa Salvador
-Del Diego Cocktail Bar
-Tapas at La Catapa
-Takos al Pastor
-Pastries at La Mallorquina
-Sherry at La Venencia
-Chuka Ramen Bar
-Cocktails at Salmon Guru
-Casa Revuelta
-Corral de la Morería Restaurant
-La Sanabresa
-Yoka Loka
-La Copita Asturiana
-Bar El Boqueron
-Cocido Madrileño at Cruz Blanca Vallecas

 Our personal tour guide

Our personal tour guide

With the recent increase of crime, there's no better time to make your home and street safer. Here is a quick list of ways to deter any uninvited guests:

Increasing Safety on Your Property

-Lock the doors and windows of your cars and homes at all times (only keep inaccessible windows open).
-Triple lock your patio doors with the door lock, bolt, and a stick and install door plates on the other entrances.
-Install an alarm system and display signs and stickers on your property.
-Install live cameras and display signs on your property.
-Lock access gates to the back of your property.
-Place your exterior lights on your patios and front stairways on a timer starts at dusk. The street lamps shouldn't be the only lights that turn on after sunset.
-Install motion sensor lights on the sides and back of your property.
-Pull down your curtains in the evening and/or remove valuables visible outside of your windows.
-REPORT a crime after it occurs to increase police attention to your street.

Bringing Your Street to Life and Making It a Community

-Say hello to a neighbor or any one on your street when you see them.
-Turn on patio/exterior lights to minimize blindspots (the street lamps aren’t enough light).
-Build a community to exchange ideas, organize events, etc.
-Contact owners of unkept properties (i.e. the empty lot).
-Organize quarterly events to increase communication among neighbors and to create more presence on the street including an annual garage sale, block party, neighborhood cleanup, holiday events, etc.
-Add neighborhood watch signs up and down the block.
-Build a relationship with the alderman to close off dangerous pathways.
-Invite an officer to provide a safety assessment. Ask local law enforcement to a street sponsored event to give safety tips.
-Encourage your neighbors with cameras to also post video monitoring signs and register their camera with local law enforcement (for crime review when necessary).
-Develop an immediate response phone tree.
-Help residents create a less appealing appearance for burglaries (i.e., lights on timers, electronics away from the windows, etc.).
-Beautify the neighborhood (i.e. create areas for gardens).
-Help nearby streets take the same steps.

Photo Credit:
wjbf .com–How can you stop the crime before it occurs?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
22 Ways to Make Your Home and Street Safer in Chicago Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 05/31/2018 12:13 PM Michael Moody Fitness
Recently, a friend reached out about his frustrations with trying to lose weight. Here is my advice. It might help you overcome the weight loss wall you’ve hit too.

My Advice to a Friend

Hey! Thanks for the specific notes and questions! It says a lot about your dedication to this process.

Losing weight is a complicated goal. It is a constant battle with your needs and wants. No matter hard you try...you will compare everything to your long-term eating habits and what you want. This makes change very challenging. You've already established a foundation on autopilot that is comfortable and free of deciding or testing (even though it hasn't helped you reach your goal). It's no wonder you may be more likely to talk yourself out of the new food than figure out a way to integrate it into your diet. Unfortunately, you may end up spending a lifetime of dietary cycles and weight fluctuations to protect what you love the most (of which I understand firsthand).

If you follow the guidelines in the article How to Lose Weight Without Exercise, though, you will....absolutely....without a doubt....achieve your weight loss goal number. Surprisingly, it can be achieved without killing yourself in the gym. Other people would rather never attempt this approach for reasons that make sense: It is a drastic contrast from their norms (as mentioned above). They basically have to revise their social lifestyle (to a degree not as great as most people think) and their decision-making process, as well as conduct necessary check-ins on their health, etc. It's a lot of work (in the beginning). Once you set your new normal on autopilot, though, it's no longer work-it's automatic (similar to your food interests now). Essentially, you're building a new physical and emotional relationship with your food.

Your questions are fair, and you deserve an extensive, comprehensive answer. At this point, I've reframed the answers in many different ways. Nothing will explain them more thoroughly than Dr. Fuhrman's book End of Dieting. I highly recommend reading the first 180 pages of this book this weekend. If you need a copy, I have an extra one for you!

Never forget that usually, the one thing you're avoiding to do is probably the one you need to do the most. You can exercise 2 hours per day 7 days per week, but it will still be avoiding the dietary change you probably need to make. Eventually, you should figure out what you can get away with (drinking beer, restaurant dinners, etc.). Right now, though, you should figure out how you should really eat. And if you read the book and begin disqualifying the claims, you should consider where those opinions stem from. Are they threatening your current habits? Would you rather believe a theory closer to your wants?

This isn't an easy road, and I have the most respect for you hitting it dead on! Let's reach that number! Let's make this happen!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: When Tom (name changed) originally emailed me about his recent frustrations with the weight loss process, his pain, anguish, and frustration bled through each of his written words. He battled 2 cycles of losing 9 lbs and gaining it back in the months that followed. At the time of the email, Tom reached his highest weight once again. You can imagine the emotional ups and downs for him during that time. While it appears on the surface that Tom failed over the last year, it did indeed reveal a mindset and set of habits that have led to these patterns….valuable information for a long-term change. It also showed that he is persistent and possesses the ability to set boundaries…even though these boundaries aren't ideal right now for his health.

I wish I could say that weight loss is as easy as commonly advertised. No matter what any personal trainer, advertisement, or "weight loss professional" tells you, it REQUIRES a mental, emotional, and physical approach. While it may seem like a daunting task, it could be the push to truly learn about yourself. It’s time to think about the advice above. Update: Tom has lost 12.5 lbs with consistency, patience, and persistence since my email response.

Photo Credit:
Health US News .com–What will really cause a change on your scale?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
My Advice to a Friend’s Frustrations While Trying to Lose Weight (And Why it Worked) Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 05/23/2018 10:49 AM Michael Moody Fitness
I’m currently helping one of my personal training clients train for the FBI physical test. Using their guidelines and scoring system below, see if you have what it takes too!

The PFT test consists of four mandatory events that are administered in the following order with no more than five minutes of rest in between each event. There is a strictly defined scoring scale and protocol for each event. Applicants entering under the Tactical Recruitment Program (TRP) must also complete the pull-up event.

1. Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
2. Timed 300-meter sprint
3. Maximum number of continuous push-ups (untimed)
4. Timed one and one-half mile (1.5 mile) run
5. Pull-ups (TRP applicants only)*

Passing Score: Applicants must achieve a minimum cumulative score of 12 points, with at least 1 point in each of the four events.

TRP applicants: TRP applicants must achieve a total of 20 points, with at least 1 point in each of five events (including pull-ups).

Personal Trainer Wisdom: When training for such a test, determine your strongest and weakest events (your baseline). From there, evaluate the amount of time you’re willing to spend on each and whether or not it’s worth it based on the point system.

PFT Protocol and Scoring Scales: Sit-Ups

Trainee lies back with tops of shoulder blades touching the floor; hands behind the head with fingers interlaced. The knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with the feet placed flat on the floor (feet are held in place by a partner with partner's hands at the tongue of the trainee's shoes and knees on the trainee's toes). Trainee raises upper body until the base of the neck is in line with the base of the spine (back is perpendicular to the floor); trainee then returns to the starting position (i.e., the tops of both shoulder blades must touch the floor). This is a timed one-minute continuous motion exercise.

Score Female Range Male Range
-2 29 and below 31 and below
0 30-34 32-37
1 35-36 38
2 37-40 39-42
3 41-42 43-44
4 43-46 45-47
5 47-48 48-49
6 49-50 50-51
7 51-52 52-53
8 53-54 54-55
9 55-56 56-57
10 57 and over 58 and over

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Sit-ups are soooooo 1950….but I can see why the FBI still includes them on their test. We need to jump out of bed and get off the floor after all! Unfortunately, you most certainly will be compromising your neutral spine while completing the movement. Instead of building up inflammation during training, don’t be afraid to focus on the transverse abs (lower abs) while performing a crunch.

PFT Protocol and Scoring Scales: 300-Meter Sprint

The 300-meter sprint event usually takes place on a 1/4 mile oval track (although this may change based on individual circumstances). Trainees will start from a standing position and run 300 meters (3/4 of one lap).

Score Female Range Male Range
-2 67.5 and over 55.1 and over
0 67.4-65.0 55.0-52.5
1 64.9-62.5 52.4-51.1
2 62.4-60.0 51.0-49.5
3 59.9-57.5 49.4-48.0
4 57.4-56.0 47.9-46.1
5 55.9-54.0 46.0-45.0
6 53.9-53.0 44.9-44.0
7 52.9-52.0 43.9-43.0
8 51.9-51.0 42.9-42.0
9 50.9-50.0 41.9-41.0
10 49.9 and below 40.9 and below

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Interval sprints within a progressive program will help you reach a faster time in no time.

PFT Protocol and Scoring Scales: Push-Ups

Trainees begin in front leaning rest position (i.e. hands on the floor one to two hand widths beyond the shoulders with elbows away from the body, arms fully extended, and body held straight, with the feet no more than three inches apart and the toes touching the floor). As the arms are flexed, the body is lowered toward the floor until the upper arms are parallel to the floor (straight line from center axis of elbow to center axis of shoulder). Trainees complete the exercise after returning to the starting position. This is a continuous motion exercise.

Score Female Range Male Range
-2 4 and below 19 and below
0 5-13 20-29
1 14-18 30-32
2 19-21 33-39
3 22-26 40-43
4 27-29 44-49
5 30-32 50-53
6 33-35 54-56
7 36-38 57-60
8 39-41 61-64
9 42-44 65-70
10 45 and over 71 and over

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While most people compromise their shoulders, elbows, and wrists during a pushup, you can build up the necessary strength through planks, dumbbell chest presses, band chest presses, and a mix of shoulder and tricep exercises.

PFT Protocol and Scoring Scales: 1.5 Mile Run

The 1.5 mile run event most often takes place on a 1/4 mile oval track (although this may change based on individual circumstances). Trainees run six laps around the track.

Score Female Range Male Range
-2 15:00 and over 13:30 and over
0 14:59-14:00 13:29-12:25
1 13:59-13:35 12:24-12:15
2 13:34-13:00 12:14-11:35
3 12:59-12:30 11:34-11:10
4 12:29-11:57 11:09-10:35
5 11:56-11:35 10:34-10:15
6 11:34-11:15 10:14-9:55
7 11:14-11:06 9:54-9:35
8 11:05-10:45 9:34-9:20
9 10:44-10:35 9:19-9:00
10 10:34 and below 8:59 and below

Personal Trainer Wisdom: While long endurance runs should be included in your program, your sprint training will exponentially increase your speed in this area too.

PFT Protocol and Scoring Scales: Pull-Ups

*Note: Only candidates in the Tactical Recruiting Program (TRP) will complete this event. The candidate hangs from a horizontal bar, hands and least shoulder width apart (but no more than twenty-three inches apart as measured from the outsides of the hands) with palms turned away from face and arms fully extended. As the candidate flexes their arms, they pull their body upward until the candidate’s chin is higher than the bar. There can be no swinging or jerking of the body or use of the legs in an effort to propel the body upward. The candidate then lowers their body back to the hanging position with their arms fully extended. This is a continuous motion exercise.

Score Female Range Male Range
0 0 0-1
1 1 2-3
2 2 4-5
3 3 6-7
4 4 8-9
5 5 10-11
6 6 12-13
7 7 14-15
8 8 16-17
9 9 18-19
10 10 and over 20 and over

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Very few people can perform a proper pull-up. Have no worries, though. A progressive approach with planks, pulldowns, assisted pull-ups, and exercises for your scapula could help reach and surpass the minimum for this event.

Photo Credit:
Theintercept .com–Do you have what it takes to pass the FBI physical fitness test?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with the excerpt sourced from https://www.fbijobs.gov/sites/default/files/PFT_Guide.pdf.
Do you have what it takes to pass this physical test to join the FBI? Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 05/17/2018 12:13 PM Michael Moody Fitness
Let me help you take the guesswork out of your planning. My wife, Sammy, and I took our babymoon in London about 2 months before our son, Preston, was born. Here is the DETAILED itinerary from that memorable English long weekend of history, food, and afternoon tea! I’ve also included a list of the top 141 restaurants in the Queens land! Thank you, Allison, for all of your help planning this unforgettable trip (Thank your friend for us too!).

General Itinerary

March 1: Fly to London
2: London
3: London
4: London
5: London
6: London /Fly to Chicago


1st: Fly to London
United Flight UA 938 from Chicago
Depart: 9:15 pm (03/01) ORD
Arrival: 11:05 am (03/02) LHR

6th: Fly to Chicago
United UA959 from London
Depart: 3:25 pm LHR
Arrival: 6:25 pm ORD


2th-6th: London
Gorgeous Central Luxury Apartment with Henry
10 Craven Street Flat 6, Greater London, WC2N 5PE, United Kingdom
44 7482 158077
Checkin: 2:00 pm
Checkout: 10:00 am

Specific Itinerary for Each Day

Day 1 Thursday

-Check-in at the Airbnb: Sleeping is for the dogs! Get exploring!
-Take a stroll through the nearby Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden Market Square. Watch street performers embarrass your spouse.
-Eat Spanish tapas at Barrafina.
-Stroll through the streets of London until you fall asleep.

Day 2 Friday

-Visit the free British Museum and grab an audio tour guide to see the Rosetta Stone and statue representations of Hugh Grant from each of his ironic romantic comedies (not true) under an hour.
-Shop at Harrods Dept. Store and Oxford Street.
-Sip a cocktail at Rules Restaurant (one of London’s oldest restaurant from 1798).
-Eat dinner at Ivy Restaurant: Look for English politicians and celebrities.
-Grab an after-dinner drink at the skyscraper, The Shard, to see London alive at night.

Day 3 Saturday

-Eat an early breakfast at NOPI.
-Watch the changing of the guard at the Buckingham Palace at 11:00 am and stroll through St. James Park and Kensington Gardens.
-Walk around Parliament Square and observe Big Ben looking down on the protestors. So judgmental! Too bad your name isn’t really Ben!
-Take the audio tour in Churchhill's War Rooms.
-Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Savoy (Thames Foyer): Make reservations ahead of time and prepare your tiny fingers for little tea cups, sandwiches, and sweet goodies.
-You’re dressed up and ready for a night out! Go to see ‘Wicked’ or another musical in the Piccadilly Circus area.

Day 4 Sunday

-Grab breakfast at Dean Street Townhouse and then a walking cup of Monmouth Coffee.
-Sign up for a free 45 minute Beefeater tour with the men in red at the Tower of London. No samples of gin apparently. See the royal jewels and remind your loved one of your upcoming birthday. Take a look at the London Bridge and wonder why you thought the other bridge was the London Bridge.
-Visit the Tate Modern Art Gallery.
-Head to Lamb and Flag Pub for bangers and a beer (the favorite watering hole of Charles Dickens from the 1700s).
-Explore Covent Garden until you find an antique map store. Purchase geographic representations of England, France, and Spain from the early 1700s for your son’s nursery/man cave. Continue exploring the surrounding neighborhoods.
-Eat dinner at the Italian indulgence, Bocca Di Lupo, and sneak across the street for gelato.
-Grab an after-dinner cocktail at the Ham Yard Hotel.

Day 5 Monday

-Grab a quick bite near the Airbnb.
-Take a tour of the Westminster Abbey: Arrive early to avoid long lines or attend the Choir Evensong at 3:00 pm on Sunday instead.
-Fly home!

London Restaurants for Dinner (Be sure to make reservations on Opentable.com at least a few days in advance)

10 Greek Street (British)
28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen
8 Hoxton Square (sis of 10 Greek St)
Amaya (Indian)
Anchor & Hope (gastropub)
Andina (Peruvian)
Bar Boulud (French American)
Barbecoa (Jamie Oliver's, meat)
Barnyard (meat)
Barrafina (Spanish, sis of Fino)
Berners Tavern (British)
Bistrotheque (European)
Bocca Di Lupo (Italian)
Brindisa, London Bridge (Spanish)
Bubble Dogs (hot dogs & champers)
Bull & Last (gastropub)
Busaba Eathai (Thai)
Ceviche (Peruvian)
Cecconi's (Italian)
Chiltern Firehouse (European)
City Social
Coq d'Argent (French)
Dabbous (British/ burgers)
Dean Street Townhouse (British)
Dinner by Heston (British)
Ducksoup (wine bar)
Eight-over-eight (Asian) Ember Yard (basque tapas)
Fino (Spanish)
Flat Iron (cheap steak)
Flesh & Buns (Asian)
Four Seasons (roast duck)
Foxlow (steak, owners of Hawksmoor)
Galvin at Windows (French)
Granger & Co (Aussie brunch)
Gymkhana (Indian)
Hakkasan (Chinese)
Hawksmoor (steak & burgers)
Hereford St (gastropub)
Honey & Co (Middle Eastern)
Honest Burgers
Hummus Bros (Middle Eastern)
Iberica (Spanish)
Il Baretto (Italian)
Jin Kichi (Japanese, Hamstead)
Kitchen Table (private dining)
Koffmans (British)
Koba (Korean)
Kopaya (tapas)
Koya (Japanese)
Kurobata (Japanese, sis of Nobu)
La Bodega Negra (Mexican)
La Petite Maison (French)
Latium (Italian)
Lantana (Aussie brunch)
Le Poulet au Pot (French)
L'Entrecote (French steak)
Lima (Peruvian)
Little Social (French)
Lupita (Mexican)
Lyle's (degustation)
Mandarin Kitchen (lobster noodles)
Meat Liquor (steak/burgers)
Medlar (French)
Mele e Pere (Italian)
Mien Tay (Vietnamese)
Momo (African)
Morito (tapas, next door to Moro)
Moro (tapas)
NOPI (Israeli)
Ottolenghi (Isreali)
Patty & Bun (burgers)
Pitt Cue Co (BBQ)
Pizza Pilgrims
Pollen Street Social (British)
Polpo (Italian)
Polpetto (Italian, sis rest of Polpo)
Providores (tapas)
Red Bull Expert (Argentinian steak)
Riding House Cafe (brunch)
Roka (Japanese)
Royal China (dim sum)
Salt Yard (Spanish)
Scott's (seafood)
Señor Ceviche (Peruvian)
Signor Sassi (Italian)
Smiths of Smithfield (meat)
Social Eating House (British)
Song Que (Vietnamese)
Spuntino (Italian)
St John (British)
Story (degustation)
Sumosan (Japanese)
Sushisamba (Peruvian Japanese)
Sushi Tetsu (Japanese)
Tay Do (Vietnamese - Sammy's rest)
Tayyabs (Indian)
Terroirs (French wine bar)
Texture (European/ Scandinavian)
The Eagle (gastropub, Farringdon)
The Garrison (gastropub)
The Grazing Goat (gastropub)
The Ledbury (French)
The Palomar (Israeli)
The Punch Bowl (gastropub)
The Square (French)
Trishna (Indian)
Trullo (Italian)
Typing Room (British)
Ukai (sushi)
Vinoteca (wine bar)
Yalla Yalla (Middle Eastern)
Yauatcha (Chinese)
Zafferano, Knightsbridge (Italian)
Zoilo (Argentinian tapas)
Zuma (Japanese)
Zucca (Italian)

London Restaurants for Brunch

The Modern Pantry
The Riding House Cafe
The Breakfast Club
Duck & Waffle
Jackson & Rye
Granger & Co Workshop Coffee Co, Clerkenwell
Village East, Bermondsey
Electric Diner, Portobello Rd
Tom's Kitchen, Chelsea
Sunday Cafe, Islington
Caravan, Kings Cross or Exmouth
Honey & Co, Fitzrovia
Quo Vadis, Soho
Plum & Spilt Milk, Kings Cross
Kin Cafe, Fitzrovia
Curators Coffee Gallery

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
The Detailed Itinerary You NEED for a Long Weekend in London (And a List of 141 of their Best Restaurants)! Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago. 04/22/2018 5:20 PM Michael Moody Fitness  The British Museum (Not Pictured: Hugh Grant)

The British Museum (Not Pictured: Hugh Grant)

 Afternoon Tea at the Savoy in London

Afternoon Tea at the Savoy in London

 Oxford Street in London

Oxford Street in London

 Westminster Abbey in London

Westminster Abbey in London

 Italian Delight in London

Italian Delight in London