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Strong Body, Strong Mind: Remember Who You’re Here For

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group huddle

Our fitness editor talks about finding deeper meaning — and personal connection — in workouts.

It’s hard to work out simply for the sake of it. No matter how much you enjoy your fitness regimen (and I sincerely hope you at least sometimes find pleasure in exercise), it’s easy to put off a gym sessionuntil tomorrow, until next week, until January 1.

You might go to bed telling yourself you should wake up early to go for a run. But how many times do you hit snooze and linger in bed for an extra hour? I’ve lost count of the number of times that knowing I should simply wasn’t enough.

When it comes to goal-setting in fitness, identifying your why is a common first step. And for good reason: If you can connect your actions to something meaningful — be it improving your health to live long enough to meet your grandchildren, accomplishing a lifelong goal of completing an Ironman, or having the strength to carry all the groceries into the house in one trip — you improve your chances of showing up and doing the work to achieve these goals.

Saying I should get up to run has set me up for failure and disrupted my sleep. But identifying my why — for instance, my love of watching the sunrise on a cool morning or building up the stamina to run a race two months down the line — is plenty to get me moving. This links my workouts to something beyond just working out; it takes me out of some momentary discomfort by focusing on something I truly want or believe in.

In recent years, though, I’ve found yet another powerful source of motivation: naming my who.

The first time I worked out with someone else in mind was in 2010, when my cousin Louisa asked if I’d run a half-marathon with her to celebrate her 50th birthday. I wasn’t a runner and had never imagined running a 5K, let alone a 13.1-mile course. Yet I agreed without hesitation.

The reality of training hit me only later, but by then I was committed. I often tried to convince myself it was OK not to run — because it was hard, because it was hot, because it was cold, because I was tired, because I was self-conscious. But each time, I remembered that every step leading up to the race celebrated Louisa. It was easier to show up for her than to show up for the training, or even for the race. By showing up for her, I ultimately showed up for myself.

More recently, I was invited to name a new who: Kelly Richards. You might not know Kelly, and neither did I, but as soon as I heard her story I felt connected. The manager of Life Time’s Target Center club in Minneapolis, Kelly is a triathlete who loves dancing, Bitmojis, New Kids on the Block, the Seattle Seahawks, and her friends. And back in August, Kelly was involved in a horrifying bike accident that caused serious brain injuries. In a moment, she went from a fun-loving, big-hearted athlete to a woman in a coma fighting for her life.

Her colleagues rallied around her to design a benefit workout with a party atmosphere. Rally for Richards — a triathlon of sorts, comprising an Alpha workout, a cycling workout, and a yoga session — raised money for Kelly’s treatment and hoped-for recovery.

Additionally, it gave the people in her life a chance to come together to support her and each other.

That night, dozens of us worked out side by side, breaking a sweat and pushing our physical limits. But the workouts were more than just exercise.

“Remember who you’re here for,” drilled one of the coaches leading the Alpha crew as we slogged through an interval circuit of box jumps, kettlebell swings, burpees, jumping rope, and rowing. It was an effective workout, a challenging combo of strength and conditioning moves.

We all showed up to work out, and work out hard, but none of us was there for the workout itself. We were there for Kelly. For her family. For her friends. For each other. For ourselves.

Since then, as Kelly has made slow progress, I think of her — still a woman I don’t know personally — every time I feel my commitment to my workouts falter. I remember that if she could, she would. And I know that every step, every lift, every rep is a shot of positive energy. For her. For the people who love her. And ultimately, for me, too.

When it comes to working out, who are you here for?

 , RKC, is an Experience Life senior editor.

Original Article can be found here: https://experiencelife.com/article/strong-body-strong-mind-remember-who-youre-here-for/

2018 Athlete Guide Now Available

Get ready for the 2018 Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K taking place Sunday, May 20! We’ve been making preparations to make this year’s race the best one ever!

Whether you’ll be running the half marathon or the 10K distance, we can’t wait for you to celebrate the 10th running of this special race and experience race weekend; not to mention the Spring Market Finish Festival venue out of gorgeous Maggie Daley Park.

Check out the Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, packet pick-up dates and times, course information and more!

> View the 2018 Athlete Guide here

Please keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and emails for any additional updates before the race. We’ll see you at the Start line!

Ignited by Athlinks – Live Tracking and more!

MAKE RACE DAY BETTER

The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon and 10K has partnered with Athlinks to add to your race day experience and allow for your friends and family to share in your experience.

Athlinks brings you enhanced real time Athlete tracking using on-course timing data and predictive analysis and more. Download the Athlinks App from the App Store or Google Play and share your race day.

 

 

Made In Chicago – Champions!

LIFE TIME PARTNERS WITH USATF – ILLINOIS TO BRING STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS TO CHICAGO

10K and Half Marathon State Championships Coming to Chicago

Chicago, IL  (March 22) — The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, and Chicago Half Marathon & 5K produced by Life Time® Healthy Way of Life, are partnering with the USA Track & Field (USATF) – Illinois Association to host state champioinships. Together with Life Time, the nation’s premier healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment brand, USATF – Illinois will be a driving force in providing a premier race experience for local developing athletes.

Set for Sunday, May 20, the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K will host this years’ USATF – Illinois 10K Championship. While on Sunday, September 23, the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K will host the USATF – Illinois Half Marathon Championship.

“Life Time has grown the interest and demand for a quality race experience using an athlete first approach and including participants of all abilities” said Gregory Evans, Long Distance Running Chair for USATF – Illinois Association. “USATF Illinois is proud to bring the national governing body to the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K and Chicago Half Marathon, adding another level of benefits to the participants and other race partners.”

“Partnering with USATF – Illinois is the next step as we continue to build on providing quality, premier race experiences for our athletes.” said Life Time Run Brand Manager, Dan Lakin, says of the USATF – Illinois partnership,  “Life Time is dedicated to improving our local communities, and providing events that are best-in-class. Whether an elite athlete or a beginner,  Life Time and USATF provide a vehicle to foster athletes at every level along their healthy way of life journey. We’re excited to to welcome the State Championships to Chicago at this years’ event and for years to come.”

An estimated 8,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K and another 13,000 are expected to take on the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K this September.  In addition to age group and masters awards; each race will offer a prize purse to the top 3 men and women:

10K Championship Half Marathon Championship
1st Place $500 $1,000
2nd Place $250 $500
3rd Place $250 $500

To place in a championship race, registered participants must be a current member of USATF at the time of the race. Information on USATF membership and it’s benefits may be found at USATF.org

About the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K

The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, in its 10th year, benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants will run either 13.1 miles or 10K (6.1 miles) starting along famed Grant Park traversing South along Columbus Drive, and run through Museum Campus and along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront before finishing in Maggie Daley Park. In its inaugural year, 1900 people signed up for the race, today it is one of the most in-demand racecs in Chicago selling out at just over 8,000 participants.
More information is available at ChicagoSpringHalf.com.

About the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K
The Chicago Half Marathon & 5K, in it’s 22nd year, highlights Chicago’s south shore. Stepping off from historic Jackson Park, participants traverse through Hyde Park before navigating along a traffic-free Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago Half Marathon is a flat and fast course offering up stunning views of Chicago’s famed skyline and a triumphant finish at the foot of the “Golden Lady” (Statue of the Republic).
More information at chicagohalfmarathon.com

Both races are part of the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series which includes the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K (May 20) and the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K (September 23) and awards participants for completing 2 half marathons within the same year. 

About Life Time®, Healthy Way of Life

Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across 131 destinations in 37 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompasses the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit  lifetime.life. 

About USATF – Illinois

USATF – Illinois seeks to promote the sport and its local athletes across the state, and is one of 57 USATF Associations across the country. Visit illinois.usatf.org for more information.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. Information on USATF membership and it’s benefits may be found at USATF.org

Byline Bank Welcomed to 10th Annual Race

Byline Bank Named Title Sponsor of Chicago Spring Half Marathon

The Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, produced by Life Time® Healthy Way of Life, is welcoming premium, local financial brand, Byline Bank, to its ranks as title sponsor. Together with Life Time, the nation’s premier healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment brand, Byline Bank will be a driving force in providing a premier race experience for new and veteran athletes.

Set for Sunday, May 20, the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K is Chicago’s spring race celebrating the city’s emergence from winter hibernation where Elite and Age Group athletes from around Chicago, and the world, come to race. The race, which sold out in previous years, is part of the 2018 Chicagoland Half Marathon Series and will host this years’ USA Track & Field – Illinois 10K Championship.

“At Byline, we believe in supporting the communities where we live, work and play. We’re excited to be sponsoring the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, it is a natural fit. As we continue to grow and improve – we’re committed to working as hard as our neighbors to support them as they run towards their fitness and financial goals. We look forward to cheering on the participants at the finish line,” said Byline Bank President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberto J. Paracchini.

Run Brand Manager at Life Time, Dan Lakin, says of the Byline Bank partnership, “As two companies dedicated to improving our local communities, and providing products, services and events that are best-in-class, we couldn’t imagine a better partner when it comes to the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K. We’re excited to introduce Byline Bank to athletes at this year’s event and for years to come.”

An estimated 7,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants will run either 13.1 miles or 10K (6.1 miles) starting along famed Grant Park traversing South along Columbus Drive, and run through Museum Campus and along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront before finishing in Maggie Daley Park. More information is available at www.ChicagoSpringHalf.com.

About the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K
The Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, in its 10th year, is part of the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series which includes the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K (September 23) and awards participants for completing 2 half marathons within the same year. In its inaugural year, 1900 people signed up for the race, today it is one of the most in-demand half marathons in Chicago selling out at just over 7,000 participants.

About Life Time®, Healthy Way of Life
Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across 130 destinations in 37 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompasses the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit www.lifetime.life.

About Byline Bank
Headquartered in Chicago, Byline Bank, a subsidiary of Byline Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BY), is a full service commercial bank serving small- and medium-sized businesses, financial sponsors, and consumers. Byline Bank has approximately $3.4 billion in assets and operates more than 50 full service branch locations throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. Byline Bank offers a broad range of commercial and retail banking products and services including small ticket equipment leasing solutions and is one of the top 10 Small Business Administration lenders in the United States.

Stress on Our Bodies

Stress affects all people in very different ways. Whether it be stress from your work, home, or relationships, stress can take both a physical and emotional toll on our bodies. It is important that we cope with stress in ways that are healthy and effective.

According to Mayo Clinic, stress can effect our body, mood, and behavior. Some examples of these include:

BODY

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

MOOD

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

BEHAVIOR

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

 Your health and overall well-being are negatively affected by stress that comes from various aspects of your everyday life. It is important to become aware of these changes in your body, mood, or behavior in order to effectively cope with stress triggers.

Some activities for coping with stress:

Rest, meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, do something social with friends, take a walk, regular physical activity, deep breathing, etc.

While these coping techniques may be effective for many people in reducing stress levels, they may not work for everyone. If you have taken steps to reduce and better control your levels of stress and you still feel you need more, it is important to seek further help. High levels of stress can negatively affect our everyday lives, and it is important to take the appropriate measures in reducing it.

 

CK

Works Cited:
Mayo Clinic. “Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987?pg=1.

 

Less is More

When it comes to building muscle and weightlifting, there is an all too familiar notion that the heavier the weights you lift are, the more muscle you attain. However, a recent study may have just proven that to not always be the case.


THE STUDY

A recent study conducted by researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University studied the effects and differences between two groups of young men randomly divided into two separate groups. Group number 1 used weights 75-90% of their one rep max (8-12 reps) over a timespan of 12 weeks. Group number 2, however, used weights 30-50% of their rep max (20-25 reps). Throughout the 12-week time period, researchers measured the 49 participants muscle strength and size, along with the hormone levels of each of each of the young men.


THE RESULTS

After examining the young men’s muscles and hormone levels, the results were nearly identical! The men who used 75-90% of their rep max did not have any significant difference when compared to the men who did not use their max. Both the muscle strength and size of the participants seemed to mirror one another, supporting the idea that completing fewer reps with heavier weights does not necessarily make you stronger as compared to if you were to complete more reps with lighter weights.

When it comes to lifting heavier weights, the case can be made that your body exerts more energy to complete fewer reps (as little as 1-5 at times). However, by completing more reps with fewer weights, your body is trained in the art of muscular endurance. The two different approaches to weight lifting will train your muscles in different ways to ultimately give you the same final result.


MOVING FORWARD

At some point in anyone’s weightlifting or workout career, however, athletes reach the dreaded plateau. Your body adapts to your workout routine and seeks a change in order to continue seeing improvements. However, the idea that more reps with lights weights can warrant the same results as fewer reps with heavier weights could be a perfect solution. If you have reached the point in your workout where you simply cannot incorporate any more weight into your routine, it might be time to change it up! Confuse your muscles with a smaller weight amount and complete more repetitions. This will train your muscles in a new and effective way in order to ensure you are still improving upon and training the strength and size of your muscles.

CK

Works Cited:
https://greatist.com/move/strength-training-lift-heavier-weights-or-do-more-reps
https://experiencelife.com/article/strength-in-repetition/

 

Is Alcohol Ruining Your Workout?

 

Sometimes, a nice, cold drink after a long, hard day is necessary. But, have you ever wondered how that alcohol may affect your body and your physical performance during your workout? According to some studies, alcohol has the ability to interfere with your muscle growth as well as cause your post-workout recovery process to slow down. So, how can you enjoy a stiff drink without ruining your workout and your physical performance?


Let’s hear some facts first…

According to Women’s Health, when you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol as opposed to other fats and carbs. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone found in the body, also begin to rise in the presence of alcohol. In turn, this increases fat storage in different parts of your body. Along with a disruption in your muscle growth, recovery and metabolizing processes, alcohol also causes a disruption in your sleep patterns and nutritional intake. Because alcohol is not a nutrient, it cannot be stored as energy into the muscles. Therefore, it is stored into the body as a fat. According to an article posted by Laura Schwecherl on Greatist, “alcohol’s effect on the liver can also cause a shortage of oxygen, which interferes with the production of adenosine triphosphate synthesis (ATP) — a direct energy source for muscles.” Alcohol also goes hand in hand with dehydration. Alcohol dehydrates you and, as a result, slows down your muscle recovery process and can inhibit your workout performance.

While too much alcohol consumption puts you at risk for greater health problems, it is not all together bad. In fact, studies have shown that alcohol (consumed in moderation) can actually provide some health benefits for you as well! According to an article posted by Mayo Clinic, alcohol could possibly offer you benefits including reducing risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes. However, they also state that “the evidence about the health benefits of alcohol isn’t certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.”

So, while alcohol has been proven to hinder athletic performance and cause some unideal conditions for the body, it is not something you need to totally steer clear from. In moderation, alcohol can be okay for both men and women. While we do not recommend throwing a few back before your big race day, a post-race celebratory beer is something athletes (21+ of course) can enjoy without negatively affecting your body!

 

 

Works Cited:
N/A. Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol: If you drink, keep it moderate.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551
Schwecherl, Laura. Greatist. “Why Alcohol and Exercise Don’t Mix.” https://greatist.com/fitness/why-alcohol-and-exercise-dont-mix
Yeager, Selene. Women’s Health Magazine. “Drinking and Exercise: How Alcohol Affects Your Body.” http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/drinking-and-exercise

 

 

 

Musical Motivation

Have you ever noticed that when “your” song comes on when you’re working out, you feel a rush of adrenaline and a newfound sense of endurance?
Where does this come from? Why is music such a motivating factor when it comes to our workout performance?


The study of music and its relationship to working out was not studied in depth until the mid- 1990s due to the technological advances that made it possible for more and more people to listen to music on the run. Now, scientists have been studying the impact that music has on improving athletic performance.

One of the more widely accepted views on why music makes working out easier is that it serves as a mental distraction. The music we listen to serves as a distraction from the fatigue our body is facing and the exhaustion that comes after about 10 minutes of cardio and weightlifting. According to the Guardian Report, the distraction that comes from music can boost athletic performance by 15%.

Not only does the music you listen to distract you during your workout, but it can also help control and pace your run too! The songs you listen to while you run, bike, walk, or lift weights can help stimulate the motor section of your brain in order to help set the pace for your workout! According to the Huffington Post, “clueing into these time signals helps us use our energy more efficiently, since keeping a steady pace is easier on our bodies than fluctuating throughout a sweat session.”

So, next time you hit the tredmill or bike, make sure your playlist is one that is going to keep you motivated and “in the zone” throughout the duration of your workout!

 

Works cited:
Hughes, Virginia. “Why Does Music Help Us Exercise?” National Geographic. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/15/why-does-music-help-us-exercise/.
Staff, Experience Life. “Music=Motivation.” Experience Life.  https://experiencelife.com/article/music-motivation/.
 “7 Reasons You Should Listen to Music When You Workout.” Huffington Post.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html.

 

 

All the Awesome To-Dos in the New Year

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Do you set too-big goals and resolutions? What I’ve learned from life coaches on how to get real.

My New Year’s–resolution lists looked the same for years: Lose weight! Save more money! Take a trip! Spend more time with friends and family! Read more books!

They were broad, overarching ideas that seemed like the right things to aim for — the goals we all tend to set our sights on.

It wasn’t until I met with a life coach that I started to understand why these goals remained on my wish list each year, with little progress made toward completion.

STEP 1

First, I had to ask myself: Why were these goals important to me? Were these my goals, or other people’s consensus on the goals we should set for our resolutions? So I took stock of each one.

  • Lose weight: I’d like to feel good in my body and move freely without pain. I’d like to be strong so I can accomplish other fitness feats.
  • Save more money: Because why not? Someday my car is sure to need replacement, or we could use the money for an excursion, and it’s always nice to have a security blanket.
  • Take a trip: I love to travel, and there are so many places I’d like to visit. But the biggest barrier always ends up being: How to afford it?
  • Spend more time with friends and family: Is it really about more time or making that time we have feel like more quality time? I bet we’d all wish for more time for visits, but we all have demanding schedules, so really, it’s about setting plans that allow for deeper connections.
  • Read more books: Always worthwhile, but I do read a lot. Maybe I can skip this one?

STEP 2

Next, my life coach and other experts would say I need to make these goals more specific and doable. What actual steps will I take to accomplish them — each day, each week, and each month? What are my mini milestones to celebrate along the way?

  • Lose weight: Specifically, I’d like to lose 30 pounds in six months. It can be a very doable goal when I will: plan meals and pack healthy food for the week on Sundays; lift weights two to three times a week and walk three to four; set a timer to get up from my desk every hour; drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water each day; go to bed by 10 p.m. each night. Reevaluate my plan each month based on my progress, and decide on additional resources I may need to acquire, such as a workout buddy, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc.
  • Save more money: I will set an auto-deduction from my checking to my savings account for $50 per month, and will reassess in six months to see if I can increase the amount.
  • Take a trip: The savings will help with this, but instead of setting my sights on Fuji, how about a shorter, smaller, and cheaper trip to San Diego?
  • Spend more quality time with friends and family: Call up my loved ones and set up a fun adventure where we can make some great memories.
  • Read more books. Nix this goal and stay focused on the others.

STEP 3

This tip I found the most helpful for the big one we all talk about: lose weight.

When we think of this goal, one life coach told me, it’s all about deprivation. It’s about what we’ll force our bodies to do and what we’ll restrict instead of what we’ll gain and how our bodies will improve.

Instead of “losing weight,” she told me, say, “I want to get stronger.” By recasting this goal as one that will build on where you’re starting from versus what you’ll strip away, it makes it more desirable for your brain. It’s one of power — “I’m just going to get better in this body!”

Now, I will admit that it was hard for me to embrace: As a woman, I feel like society has long encouraged us to get smaller, slighter, more delicate. More recently, as we have been emboldened to love our curves and muscles, and to stand in a place of power, it’s become easier for me to go for that goal. And a surprising fact I learned from weightlifting, which you can read more about in “Lift to Lose Weight”: Building muscles helps you lose weight. Double win!

This excellent — and FREE! — six-month workout plan for our “Strong, Fast, and Fit” program offers a simple format for success with support.

STEP 4

Set mini goals and celebrations along the way, and for crying out loud, cut yourself some slack!

This bit of advice was the nicest any coach ever told me, the ever-crazed perfectionist. We’re all trying our best, and we should get an A for effort. As we move forward toward reaching our goals, they may evolve, or we may decide they weren’t crucial to our values after all. Once we get there, we may find our vision is different than we imagined, whether good or bad in our eyes.

Know that it’s your vision and your dream, and you can dictate what that looks like at any point, whether you’re setting New Year’s resolutions or revising a 10-year plan.

During my interview with author Danielle LaPorte, she shared this refreshing take on balance: It doesn’t exist. (Hear more from her in the video below.)

Really, I realized that this concept of “balance” was some magical ideal that we all shared, like the typical New Year’s resolutions. There’s been a mutual agreement that “balance” is desirable and amazing, and we think we know what it looks like, but really, it varies for everyone. It can’t be defined because it’s your own interpretation.

So as you consider your New Year’s resolutions, think about your own values that guide your vision.

Happy dreaming!

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life.