Are Cell Phones Hurting or Helping your Workouts? by Chris Falcon and Team Reactive


Are Cell Phones Hurting or Helping your Workouts? by Chris Falcon and Team Reactive

In 1996 the Macarena held the number 1 spot on the billboard top 100, while The Smashing Pumpkins' 1979 sat sullenly at number 44. As backwards as that seems, there were plenty of things that made sense about the late 90's. If I needed to talk to my best friend I would call him. If I wanted to send a letter to my grandma I would go to the post office. Fast forward 20 years and the world has changed immensely. There is still a nonsensical song sitting at the top of the charts, but how we go about our daily doings has evolved. Phone calls have yielded to text messages, and mailboxes got transposed for inboxes. There are smart devices in the hands of what appears to be every human on earth, and these glorified pieces of modern ingenuity are holding our minds and our bodies hostage. 

When I asked my team of trainers if our desire to be logged on, and connected to the outside world has negatively impacted our workouts, the conversation ushered in a wealth of insight, with a thread of insecurity. 

"I think cell phones can create some serious pitfalls for those that take their workouts seriously." said Nasm Cpt Brittany Bechtold. "While you are on your phone checking your Facebook status, you could be getting more reps and sets in." For those of us who have a hard time logging off, this couldn't be more true. I often find myself doing a set, and updating my Instagram. Performing another set, and poking around on Google. In my quest to be more productive, I have put aside the purpose behind my central activity, and that is to get a good workout. 

Certified Trainer Natalia Proscinski admits at times she could swap the handheld device, for dumbbells, but also understands it's harder said than done. "I understand how checking social media accounts could provide some motivation, but for the most part I think it is a hinderance. It simply opens up a world of reasons and excuses to put your workout on hold. There is no way you could be training at your highest intensity if you are constantly on your phone."

"It seems like people aren't even working out anymore. They are just going to the gym to get some selfies in." ~Brittany B.

Working out can not only do wonders for you body, but it can also have positive effects on your mental well-being. It gives you an opportunity to connect with yourself on a deeper level. Are we missing out on this opportunity by tuning in to Twitter? "I think focus and intention can greatly determine what you get out of your workouts." said Cpt Justin DeGuia. "If you are on your phone, you cannot be mindful of what you are doing." 

Physician and award winning author Deepak Chopra says that, "Mindfulness is a conscious unattached nonjudgemental awareness that is useful to bring clarity to mind, and more insight, intuition and creativity into one's life." Should mindfulness be a part of our everyday workouts? Can separating ourselves from the outside world bring about more clarity of mind and insight? 

"Lifting weights is all about visualizing how you see yourself performing, and making that visualization a reality. It requires focus and preparation." ~Reygie P. Team Leader


Here are Team Reactive's top tips for tuning out.

  1. Schedule time to sign off. There is no better time to do it, than when you are working out.   (Basia)
  2. Check accounts and email before you start training, so that workout time is for you.             (Justin)
  3. Plan your workouts ahead of time. This will force you to stay on course. (Chris)
  4. Build your mind/body connection by developing rituals like stretching and warming up.       (Reygie)
  5. Save phone usage for sets that require high recovery time. (Natalia)
  6. Keep social media usage positive and motivating. Stay away from content that brings you down. (Brittany)
  7. Take the battery out of your phone, or leave it in your car or locker. (Team Reactive)


Growth is not possible without struggle. In order for something to grow it must press up against things around it. It must move the old out of the way, to make space for something new. Challenge yourself by embracing new habits, and making room for a stronger more mindful you.

Team Reactive regularly gets together to do a “Brain Dump.” This sharing of ideas creates opportunities for digging deeper into the needs of our clients, as well as discovering new ways to connect with them on a daily basis.







Shedding light on the seasonal blues


Cutting a rug is not an activity that requires a pair of scissors, or spools of tightly woven fabric that have seen better days. The only things you need in order to leave your mark on the dance floor are reams of untamed inhibition, and a dash of good ole’fashioned rhythm.

    Not everyone’s natural capacity for rhythm allows them to exhibit a well timed tango, however there is a rhythm that everyone has, that when finely tuned, can have you two stepping to better health. The Circadian Rhythm is the internal body clock that regulates the 24-hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants. With daylight saving time behind us, and shorter days ahead, many people end up suffering from a wealth of complications due to changes in our biological rhythm, and less exposure to sunlight.

There are many symptoms to what experts call Circadian Rhythm Disorder, and equally as many remedies that people use to soothe them. Glenview resident Irene Shaughnessy finds that an extra cup of green tea in the afternoon helps her fight the fatigue that comes from the shorter days. Fellow village inhabitant Bridget Carter believes that 20 minutes of outdoor physical activity helps her beat the seasonal blues. No matter what practices you have for keeping your energy up, the sun setting over the Glen’s Naval Air Station tower at 4:30pm, has a way of bringing you down. 

Here is a list of the affects of Circadian Rhythm Disorder, and a few tips on how to nip the symptoms where the sun doesn’t shine. 

Insomnia- Sleep is necessary for the reproduction of tissue, and the regulation of hormones. The specialists at the North Shore Sleep Center (2100 Pfingsten rd) can evaluate, diagnose, and treat common sleep disorders.

Obesity- Irregular Circadian Rhythm patterns have been shown to affect satiety levels.  The longer the duration of irregularity in the 24-hour cycle, the more individuals tend to eat. Take the guesswork out of what you put on your plate, by taking out a little muscle. Muscle Maker Grill, located at 2532 Waukegan rd, caters to the health conscious by serving plenty of low-carb, plant-based, and sugar-free foods, all while posting the nutritional content on the wall for patrons to see.

Depression- Disruptions in your body’s timely functions can alter your brain’s regulation of mood. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins, which can improve your feelings of well-being. Get your endorphin rush while tearing it up at Shred415 (300 S. Happ Rd.) Their treadmill based high intensity interval training classes claim to work all the major muscle groups while building a stronger, faster, and leaner physique. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder-Those suffering from Circadian Rhythm Disorder may also suffer from SAD. SAD is a recurring seasonal pattern of depressive symptoms that may have serious mood altering affects. Bright light therapy, or Phototherapy has been shown to help ease the symptoms of SAD.  Shed some light on SAD symptoms by trying a Light Therapy Massage session with Kasia Krupa at Reactive PEC. ( This 30 minute massage combines the use of the safe and effective Bioptron Light Therapy unit, and a relaxing foot and hand massage.

Falcon Fit Tip: Biological rhythm disorders can range from mild to severe. Stay on top of your game by recognizing the symptoms, and consulting your physician before trying to remedy any of them on your own.

~Chris Falcon







Set a better pace for running



In the 1994 Academy Award winning film Forest Gump, Forest ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, before stopping to say “I’m pretty tired...think I’ll go home now.”  With Glenview being host to a growing number of running events like the Chase the Bear Glenview Run, and the Firehouse 5k, I think it’s safe to say that our village would be “Gump” approved.  With more than 26 parks to choose from, Glenview residents know where to go when the plantar fasciitis has backed off, but not all of us have a solid understanding of how to organize our runs to get the biggest bang for our cardio buck. 

For avid runners, training strategies like Fartleks, recovery runs, and hill repeats are common terms in a language that most ‘proper foot strikers’ use daily. But for those of us that are still running in 100% cotton t-shirts, gym shoes we bought back in 2004, and a healthy dose of over foot pronation, a simpler way of viewing things would be greatly appreciated. 

Similar to cars and bikes, our bodies are machines that benefit from the use of gears. Prepare yourself mentally before each run by recognizing which gear or gears you are running in that day. 

Here is your “keep it simple” list for how to gear up your runs.

Walk-Your walking pace should be the alpha and omega of your runs. Use it to warm-up your core temperature, as well as to cool down after a good cardio session. You should be able to maintain a constant pace for extended amounts of time, and engage in deep lengthy conversations with friends. 

Jog-Your jog pace is essentially your slowest run. Use this to transition out of walking and into a more aggressive speed. Jogging should be moderately stressful, but you should be able to engage in mild conversation, and sustain this pace for moderate to long distances.

Run-Your run pace is the fastest speed you can sustain, without reaching full exertion. This pace is stressful, does not allow you to keep up conversations, and may not be sustainable for long periods of time.  Alternate between your jog pace and run pace for added cardio conditioning. 

Sprint- Your sprint pace is your absolute top speed. It requires 100% of your effort, and is only sustainable for brief amounts of time. These short bursts are extremely taxing. Use them periodically to raise the intensity of your cardio session, or to finish up a run in record time.

Race- Your race pace is a hybrid mode of running which requires a specific, measurable, and time framed effort. This pace involves planning and strategy, and will typically include managing all the other gears of running.  

Paying close attention to how your body feels in the days, hours, and minutes leading up to your run, can help you plan your pace, while removing miles of unwanted stress.

Falcon Fit Tip: Set realistic expectations. Life may be like a box of chocolates, but your run shouldn’t be.



Breath your way to better Cardio


When most people set out to do their Cardio Training they usually have a time, or distance in mind that they strive for. Some of the more aggressive cardio doers might even try to beat an old PR (personal record), or incorporate some intervals. Regardless of the activity you pick, making sure that you get all the potential benefit out of your effort is a top priority.

Everyone knows that it is important to breath while they exercise. Without breathing you wouldn't even make it through the first minute of the warm-up phase of your cardio session. Proper breathing plays an important role in our ability to enhance our performance, but many people underestimate how important it is to focus explicitly on our breathing habits during training.

The lungs and the heart form the Cardio-Respiratory System. The two work hand in hand to pump blood and oxygen through the body.  This miraculous example of teamwork happens autonomically without any of your input, but don't think that you have no effect on it's efficiency.

Based on our actions we can either make it easier or harder for our Cardio-Respiratory System to do it's job.  A sedentary lifestyle, and poor eating habits can have an adverse effect on our heart and lungs ability to function. But what about improving their ability to work?  Most will agree that exercise and nutrient-dense eating can boost our body's capabilities, but I also believe that focused intention on what I call Conscious Breath Training can have a huge affect on our Cardio-Respiratory health.

Conscious Breath Training is the deliberate act of focused and controlled inhalation and exhalation while engaging in physical activity. Over time, the act of consciously controlling how we breath while engaging in physical activity may boost our micro and macro recovery rates. 

The next time you go for a run, or stride it out on the elliptical machine, pay close attention to how you breath. Here are a few tips.

  1. Challenge yourself to inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Avoid using your mouth for inhalation as it can accelerate the evaporation of moisture in the mouth and bring on dehydration.
  2. Notice how your body responds to taking deeper breaths, versus shorter breaths. Occasionally try to breath deep into your belly and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  3. Periodically try to slow your breathing while moving. Trying to lower your heart rate while engaged in physical activity is a form of meditation.
  4. If you are an advanced "Cardio Freak" try doing all of these without the use of your mouth. Only rely on your nose for inhalation, and exhalation.

Use your cardio activities as the method for which you engage in Conscious Breath Training.  Focusing on training yourself to breath better, instead of simply trying to run for a set amount of time may give you greater Cardio-Respiratory fitness, and enhance your performance in the long run.

-Chris Falcon NASM Cpt Pes Ces




The Importance of Weight Training


There are a million reasons not to go to the gym.  If you do happen to find yourself in a health club, there are even more reasons why you should skip lifting heavy dumbbells, in favor of coasting on the elliptical machine for 20 minutes.  Many people pass over the heavy metal plates in the weight room, to go sit in a pilates class, but the truth of the matter is that if you want to make the most dramatic changes to your body, you should really find the courage to lift some weights.

If you are resistant to weight training, or skeptical, check out these benefits. 

  1. Boosts metabolism- the more muscles you have, the more calories you can burn.
  2. Strengthens bones- Increased bone density and strength reduces joint pain by building muscle around these areas. Weight training has also been proved to lower your chances of developing osteoporosis. 
  3. Look better-the conditioning effect will result in firmer, better defined muscles. 
  4. Improves posture - Stronger muscles can help you stand taller and sit straighter.
  5. Avoid injuries- weight training not only strengthens muscles, but also strengthens the surrounding tendons and ligaments making them less likely to give way under stress. 
  6. Better state of mind- Studies show that regular exercise is one of the best tools for effective stress management. 

Strength training can be intimidating. It is important that you use proper form and technique in order to take full advantage of all of these health benefits. If you feel you need some guidance, or have any questions, find a fitness professional that can help steer you in the right direction. 

 -Luigi Degirolamo Speed and Agility specialist 

Click here to connect with Luigi. 




Athletes turn to Plant Based Eating.


Over the past 18 months I have discovered the benefits of plant based eating. Similar to the idea that Columbus "discovered" a country that already had inhabitants for thousands of years, I know that what I have found is not revolutionary. Recognizing that my discovery does not entitle me to my own holiday led me to begin talking to other plant based eaters, and reading articles about their experiences.

Amazingly, people today need to be convinced that eating from the Earth could be good for them. What is even more interesting is that the people that recognize the importance of eating this way are still shocked at the benefits of taking on this lifestyle.

More recently, high level athletes have been among those who have been taken a back, by how adopting a plant based lifestyle can propel your performance forward. Plant based eating has been shown to decrease inflammation through out the body, ultimately leading to quicker recovery.

Here is an article on how plant based eating is turning the world of high level competition green.

-Chris Falcon



The Power of Leftover Cupcakes


Several weeks ago my eldest son turned 3. The occasion was every bit the "to do" being that it was thrown by a pair of first-time post terrible 2's survivors.  We booked a venue, sent out invitations, and of course, made arrangements for the only thing we as human beings look forward to, as another year of our lives falls off the radar...cake.

My wife decided to go with cupcakes, and I for one had no complaints. Being a self proclaimed specialist of all things spongey, I quickly insisted that we go with an assortment of yellow and chocolate cake, crowned by vanilla and chocolate butter cream.  She agreed. As the big day drew closer, my visions of biting into a soft, sweet, round, cake formed by cup became clearer.

The day had come. After 3 cupcakes at the party I was feeling confident and proud of my Mr. Miagi-esque restraint and discipline.  All seemed to be going well, but what started out innocent ended up criminal.  Once the goodbyes had been said and the goodie bags had been given, I was left with the leftovers.

The next 24 hours were epic.  Alone I faced almost 2 dozen warriors of the dessert table, skilled in the art of temptation. The battle was fierce, but in the end, only one was left standing...hardly. I took on more than my fair share in hand to mouth combat, and after a full day at arms, I was left to revel in the aftermath.  I was boisterous in my triumph over the soldiers of sweet until the fruits of my labors caught up with me.  The stomach ache, pain in my right knee, and migraine all didn't bother me as much as realizing I completely lost control of myself. At first glance it would appear that I was the victor, but in reality, it was my will power that had been defeated.

Here are a few tips to prep you for battle against your favorite foods.

1.  Never underestimate your opponent. The foods you love are powerful.  Make peace with the fact that they are going to pick a fight. 

2. Preparation is the key. Prep your stomach for exposure to your guilty pleasure by  filling up on spinach leaves and tomatoes at the salad bar. You will feel full, but that's  better than making 3 trips to the dessert table for cinnamon rolls.

3. Sharing is caring.  Bringing that leftover coffeecake to the grumpy neighbors across the hall could be a good way to score a smile in the elevator the next time everyone is standing there feeling awkward. 

4. No one likes getting dumped. That includes your grandma's famous shrimp casserole. But when you are out of options, and feeling vulnerable, sometimes the trash can be your savior.  

The foods you love should be enjoyed.  Don't ruin those opportunities to indulge by losing control of yourself.  

 ~Chris Falcon