Kicked in the Shins and Thankful for It

It’s hard to believe it’s September and still this beautiful in Chicago! So before I share my thoughts for the day I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for the sunshine and warm temps.

While I appreciate the colors of fall, I love the non-stop activities of summer and want to take advantage of warm weather opportunities. But instead of running the Prairie Path, hitting the gym for a good hard personal workout, or hopping on my bike I find myself sitting with my feet propped up.

Not ideal activities for days like these.

And I’ll be honest, slowing down is something that bums me out. But slowing down also gives me that chance to evaluate what it means to be moving through life at full throttle. So here’s why I’m thankful for being kicked in the shins…

The pain was necessary for growth

The pain was necessary for growth

I recognize that I need to slow down.

After an action packed summer with no ‘true’ schedule, other than work, the Schindler’s need time to settle into the coming school year. It’s not possible to keep up with everything if I don’t slow down once in a while.

Even with a calendar on my phone, a written calendar on the fridge and reminders for just about everything, I am confusing dates, almost missing important birthday calls, and finding myself swimming in communication from the schools.

I am fortunate that my schedule allows me flexibility, and rather than constantly moving through those flexible hours, it’s time to slow down.

I recognize that my body needs the rest.

One thing I missed the most about the summer was my personal workouts. So once school started I jumped in with both feet. And in doing so, my activity levels skyrocketed and why I am sitting with my feet up…

I jumped in doing entirely too much too fast and as a result I’m stuck with shin splints.

It seems to be a lesson that I need to learn over and over, but once again, when I don’t have the sense to take the rest and healing time I need, my body forces me to.

I recognize how many people truly care.

From my husband helping to apply pressure to my sore muscles, to my mom who has been dealing with foot pain for months now and still asks me everyday how I am doing, to a friend offering help as a clinical massage therapist, to thoughtful friends near and far… I am thankful to all of you.

I’m also thankful to my clients and group fitness participants who also express their concern. It’s good to know they also see me as a person not just the one who puts them through their workouts.

I recognize that being bummed doesn’t mean it’s time to ‘eat’ my way back to health.

Some of you may have read my blog a few weeks ago, “3 Reasons Comfort Food Isn’t the Answer,” when I shared my horrible decision to over-indulge because I didn’t want to face my emotions.

I’m thankful to say that even though this week had me bummed out, I didn’t waiver from my healthy food choices. I know that drowning my feelings in sugar and fat will only leave me feeling worse physically and make me angry with myself about not putting this in proper perspective.

Healing comes from healthy eating. You can’t feed your body junk and expect to be strong and healthy.

And REALLY? It’s shin splints. Do they hurt, yea, will you get over them, YEA. Take the time and heal; get over yourself – be blessed knowing it’s such a small problem.

I recognized I ignore my online presence.

I enjoy teaching and training probably just as much as I enjoy writing my blog posts. When I get wrapped up in the physical aspect, I sometimes lose track of how important it is that I stay in touch online as well.

There are a number of people who read and comment and my lack of presence is potentially a lack in their motivation to make healthier decisions about their own life.


I’m slowly learning that life is about perspective. Instead of being bummed, I’m taking away an important lesson learned: the pain was necessary for my growth and totally worth it.

5 Reasons You Should Come to PiYo at CustomFit

As I walked in to teach PiYo this morning, (offered at CustomFit on Mondays at 5:30pm and Wednesdays at 7:00pm) my muscles were aching and I was wondering how on earth I was going to make it through leading the class. I’ve taught a few hard classes this week and have gotten back to my own workouts so the soreness today was a bit more than usual.

During the warm-up my legs screamed at me, on to heat building and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep up with the lunges, but by the time I hit lower body I was in full stride for a great workout.

Try my PiYo class at CustomFit on Monday at 5:30pm or Wednesday at 7:00pm for FREE!

Try my PiYo class at CustomFit on Monday at 5:30pm or Wednesday at 7:00pm for FREE!

This got me thinking…I need to share the benefits of PiYo on my blog! Here’s why you should take the time to come to a PiYo class:

One: PiYo is a great compliment to other types of workouts

It doesn’t matter if you are a runner or a BootCamper, a weight lifter or a swimmer, PiYo offers an excellent workout to compliment what you are already doing. As I mentioned, I was very sore heading into this workout, however, the stretching helped me tremendously. By the time I left class I felt far less sore and my muscles were much less tight.

Many of us don’t take the proper time to stretch following a hard workout. Failing to stretch can lead to additional soreness, muscle tightness and increased inflexibility. PiYo is an excellent way to get in a great workout while stretching and toning your muscles.

Two: PiYo is an excellent full-body workout

If you are unfamiliar with PiYo you might think, how could it really be a tough workout? So let me tell you more about the format:

  • Warm-Up – the warm up takes you through a few upper body and lower body moves to do just that – warm you up.
  • Heat Building – this is where you really start moving; from chaturangas to lunges your heart rate increases and your entire body will be ready for the workout.
  • Lower Body – can you say squats and lunges? But it’s all choreographed to fun music so before you know it you have really worked your legs and are ready to move on.
  • Full Body Fusion – in this section you combine both upper and lower body exercises, maximizing your workout efforts. Between tricep push-ups and variations of downward dog you’re certain to be challenged.
  • Power – this is the ‘cardio’ section of PiYo, and believe me your heart rate is going to rise! There are always low impact options for those who need them.
  • Flow – this is my very favorite part of class. Everything slows down a bit and you get an opportunity to hold some really great stretches.
  • Core and More – we all know what ‘core’ work is, but PiYo offers the ‘more.’ The moves are challenging and at times you won’t even be thinking about your abs because other muscle groups are being challenged just as much.
  • Strength and Stretch – this portion of the workout incorporates deep stretching with a final strength move like push-ups.
  • Cool Down – just like the warm-up you get the idea…we cool down and do some more stretching.

Believe me, PiYo is not a joke workout – it’s challenging, while giving your muscles a great stretch, strengthening your core and toning your body.

Three: There is a new routine every month

We do the same routine for a month. This offers you time to get to know the moves and become more comfortable with them which in turn helps to increase your strength and flexibility.

So that means if you start at the beginning of the month you are at the same level of everyone else – everyone is new to the routine. But every week we have newcomers so don’t feel intimidated if you miss the first week.

Rest assured I take time to preview moves when necessary so that no one feels lost in class.

Four: It’s FUN

Seriously one of my favorite formats to teach! I love the music and I love the choreography. Believe me, I am not your ‘dancy’ type instructor but I totally get the moves in PiYo. Everything is timed perfectly to the music (all hits you know) so before you know it you’ve made it through the entire hour.

Five: It’s offered twice a weeek

PiYo classes meet at 5:30pm on Mondays and 7:00pm on Wednesdays. Some of my class members attend once a week as a compliment to their BootCamp classes, while others come both days to maximize their work on toning and flexibility. Either way, you surely can make one of the classes work with your schedule.

Interested in giving PiYo a try? Contact me by emailing Your first class is FREE so you have nothing to lose!

Check out our full list of classes!


FREE Classes in September at CustomFit


Don't miss out on your chance to attend FREE classes for a month!

Don’t miss out on your chance to attend FREE classes for a month!

Soon after moving to Lombard, CustomFit became my workout place of choice. A group of my friends would drop our kiddos off at school and head to class. I loved that the classes were always fun and challenging and that I got to take them with my friends.

Fast forward to now and it won’t be long before I’ll be celebrating my first year as an instructor at CustomFit. When presented with the opportunity to join the staff I knew I couldn’t hesitate.

CustomFit isn’t your typical big box gym – we are a studio that knows our members by name and cares about their individual needs and building relationships with them. Using positive reinforcement we encourage everyone to push to do their very best and offer modifications when necessary.

Beyond what the staff brings to CustomFit, our members treat the studio like it’s their home. They take the time to greet each other and ask how they are – and not in a superficial way – genuinely asking how each other is doing. When the going gets tough during class, they support one another.

Since starting there last fall our classes have grown and I’m so excited to announce that in September we are launching another new class on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at 9:00am.

This class will be FREE for the entire month of September to all new members. All you need to do is sign up in advance as the class is limited to 25 people.

Ready to get started? Just email Julianne at! Can’t wait to see you in class!



5 Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches

One thing I think most parents dislike about the return to school is having to once again pack lunches.

Packing lunches doesn't have to be painful.

Packing lunches doesn’t have to be painful.

Here are 5 things that you can do to make packing lunches easier.

One: Plan

Just as with most things in life, you are more successful when you have a plan. By creating a list before you go to the store you are sure to have what you need for the coming week. There’s nothing more discouraging to reach for a sandwich bag and find an empty box.

Two: Prep Work

Once you get home with your groceries take a few minutes to clean your produce. Not only will this help you with lunches, it will help with dinner and easy snack choices. So often we don’t reach for the healthy option because it’s more convenient to grab something prepackaged.

Three: Do it the Night Before

If your home is anything like ours, mornings are hectic. Don and I are both out the door with the sunrise to get to the gym and when we get home there are many stages of getting ready happening with our three children so the kitchen can get a little crowded in the morning from everyone trying to get their breakfast. (Yes, I make my children get their own breakfast.)

This is why we have moved lunch prep to the evening. Once dinner is cleaned up the lunches are packed and put in the fridge. This not only helps minimize the kitchen chaos in the morning, in the event that an alarm doesn’t go off, we aren’t scrambling to take care of another task we don’t have time for.

Four: Get the Kiddos Involved

So I mentioned above that my children make their own breakfasts, well, they also make their own lunches. My husband and I set ground rules for their lunches:

  • A source of protein – deli meat (you don’t necessarily have to make a sandwich, wrap deli meat in a slice of cheese) yogurt or gogurt (can also double as an ice pack if placed in the freezer and put in the lunch box in the morning), cheese (string cheese or other cheese sticks are always yummy)
  • A serving of veggies – carrots and celery can be the easiest but go with what your child likes, avoid sending dipping sauces for veggies if possible, help them discover the true taste of the food
  • A serving of fruit – each of my children prefers different fruits, one great tip for sending apples is cut them up and wrap the slices around the core in press and seal – they won’t brown
  • A small treat – if it is a cookie, it’s one or two depending on the size, if it’s candy, it’s one fun size piece, you get the idea
  • A bottle of water – juice boxes and other drinks can be expensive and high in sugar, drop the cost and the sweetness for a good old drink of water

We double check their lunches each night to make sure they didn’t forget anything or try to pull a fast one on us. This process not only teaches them responsibility, it teaches them about food and what a balanced lunch looks like and healthy portion sizes.

Five: Take Control

And while our children certainly have food preferences, we have the power to make sure their lunches are filled with quality nutrients. You know I’m not opposed to a small treat, but the entire lunch shouldn’t be a ‘treat.’

If you currently struggle with getting your child to include fruits or veggies in their lunch start with one of them (preferably a veggie). Let them make the choice, oddly enough my son will choose broccoli over carrots or celery if it’s an option. If they have the power they will be more likely to eat the food. By slowly introducing the changes you have a better chance at success.

So before you hit the store this weekend, make a list. When you get home, prep the produce and enlist the kids to help. Talk to your family about the benefits of packing lunches the night before and start empowering your kiddos to make positive food choices by packing their own lunches. Here’s to another great school year!

3 Reasons Comfort Food Isn’t the Answer

Something that has always been important to me about being a trainer is that I’m honest with my clients and about myself. In order to help people make life changes they have to trust me, which means I need to be transparent.

So I have a confession to make…I totally thought I could eat my feelings away last night. It was a difficult day for me dealing with sadness and anger and every emotion in between.

I asked Don to join me for dinner after work, I wanted to take a deep breath and put those feelings behind me.

We went to one of our ‘go to’ places where I normally order fish tacos. I know the nutritional information about them and for being restaurant food they aren’t that bad. But instead, I looked for probably the most fattening thing that I could find on the menu. When I told Don that is what I planned to order he advised me against it, but I didn’t listen.

Not only did I order something insanely unhealthy, I ate it ALL. The dish was so rich that the minute I was done eating I felt sick. Sick from the realization of what I had eaten and sick from the dish itself.

Ugh, I ate the whole thing and really wish I hadn't.

Ugh, I ate the whole thing and really wish I hadn’t.

As I sat staring at the empty dish, it became abundantly clear to me that comfort food wasn’t the answer. In fact, that dish was probably about the least comforting choice I could have made and here’s why:

One: Feelings can’t be fixed by food. Emotions need to be processed not binged away. The plate may have been empty but the emotions were still there and needed to be dealt with.

Two: A bad food choice added guilt to the pile of emotions I wanted to leave behind. I felt guilty for making a poor choice when I know better, guilty for eating all of it, guilty for thinking it would change anything.

Three: Unhealthy food choices don’t help to make you stronger, they make you weaker. We all need quality nutrients to maintain a healthy body and junk food definitely doesn’t provide that.

I hope that sharing this will help you the next time you are tempted with ‘comfort’ food. It’s truly anything but comforting.

5 Ways to Make Sure You Include ‘Me’ Time in Your Back to School Schedule

As a mom of three it’s always a bit of a bummer to see summer come to a close. I’m reminded of the fun we had and of how quickly another year has passed.

And just when I start to feel a bit overwhelmed by the ‘routine’ of everything – making lunches, checking homework, organizing carpool schedules…I’m reminded of how much better our family functions when we are in a routine.

We eat better, we sleep better and we have less time for ‘excuses.’

For our family routine means that I plan for lunches and dinners more deliberately; bedtimes and waking times are consistent; and sticking to our schedules is crucial to keeping everyone on track with their commitments.

One major commitment of mine that gets off track during the summer is getting in my own workouts. Now I know what you might be thinking, “Why would you need an additional workout when teaching multiple classes a week?”

I need my own workouts because when I teach class I am doing just that – teaching. While I may be performing the same moves, I’m also monitoring my class participants. Are they using proper form? Do they look as though they are pushing too hard or maybe not hard enough? Should I lengthen or shorten the next cardio burst? You get the idea.

Over the summer it becomes a challenge for me to stay on my personal workout routine because most of my free time to attend classes or hit the gym on my own lands right in the middle of the day. Because my time is limited with the kiddos over the summer, I put those workouts aside to hit the beach or pool, take them mini golfing and go karting or to cuddle and watch a movie on a rainy day.

And though I use all of those excuses above to not hit the gym personally, I’m still fortunate enough that my job keeps me active and these ‘excuses’ don’t take me completely off track.

In conversations with others I know how difficult it is to find that ‘me’ time. The guilt can be a little overwhelming for some and ultimately prevents them from taking time for themselves.

Don't forget your 'me' time in your back to school schedule.

Don’t forget your ‘me’ time in your back to school schedule.

My encouragement for all of you as school gets ready to start is to consider where you can fit that ‘me’ time in your schedule. Just as it’s important to keep your children on their schedules, it’s important you make yourself a priority in the routine as well.

Here are some things you can do to make sure you get ‘me’ time of your own:

  1. Schedule it – just like a child’s sports practice, be intentional about scheduling your workouts.
  2. Don’t make excuses – you don’t let your child skip out on practice because they just don’t feel like it, don’t skip out on yourself.
  3. Plan – take the time to plan meals and carpools around your ‘me’ time. If it means a crockpot meal a couple nights a week, do it. If it means carpooling with a couple other families, do it.
  4. Find something you enjoy – whether it’s a class, personal training or working out on your own, find activities that you enjoy so you will be disappointed if you have to miss it. Check out our class schedule and sign up to try your first class FREE.
  5. Communicate with your family – express to your family how much ‘me’ time means to you, they love you and they will understand.

So rather than letting the end of summer and the beginning of a school routine get you down, get EXCITED to embrace the ‘me’ time that awaits you if you just take the time to embrace it.


Top Five Reasons You Should Try A Boot Camp Class

If you are new to fitness or have been away for a while Boot Camp might seem like the last place you want to start. After all, the title alone can seem intimidating for even the seasoned gym goers.

So let me give you the 5 top reasons you should consider giving Boot Camp a try at CustomFit.

Boot Camp classes designed for ALL levels of fitness.

Boot Camp classes designed for ALL levels of fitness.

One: Our Boot Camp classes are designed to meet all fitness levels.

Whether just starting out or in peak physical condition, our Boot Camp classes will provide you with a challenging workout. From low impact cardio options to modified moves to accommodate for previous injuries, you can be confident that the workout will meet you right where you are and help you take your fitness to the next level.

Two: We take the time to get to know your needs.

Unlike big box gyms, we offer a more personalized approach to the group fitness setting. CustomFit is a studio where you can be confident we will know your name and how to best challenge you physically.

Three: We don’t yell or use ‘belittling’ tactics to motivate you.

We are about positivity and self-growth – neither or which comes from being yelled at or made feel bad. You can expect encouragement through the challenges of the workout and praises for a job well done.

Four: We’re a team…and I don’t just mean the instructors.

As the instructors, Julianne and I do all we can to help you grow, but it doesn’t stop there. Our members work together to encourage one another. I’ve seen some really great friendships grow all while getting healthy.

Five: We have a good time.

Believe it or not there are a lot of laughs and a lot of smiles during our Boot Camp classes. Fun upbeat music coupled with unique challenging exercise sets makes the hour fly by in no time.

Our Boot Camp classes meet several times a week near downtown Lombard so there’s not excuse to say you don’t have time. Classes combine strength, cardio and core work and you’ll never get bored because the workouts are always different.

Check out our schedule here and sign up to try your first class for FREE!