By Daniel Patton | Staff Writer
The will to exercise more and spend less may be strong on the first of January, but most studies show that half of such resolutions won’t make it past March. Sometimes the best way to follow through on goals set during midnight champagne toasts is to hire a specialist.
Personal Training Director, Lakeshore Sport & Fitness
“The major challenge of the New Year’s resolution is waiting until the New Year to make it,” explains Drew Scacciaferro. “You’ve got to make a decision now. Not tomorrow. Not the next day.”
Scacciaferro has been a personal trainer for 12 years. Besides holding a degree in the field, he wields nearly a dozen professional qualifications including Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), “the gold standard” of the largely unregulated fitness industry. The most frequent desire he hears from new clients in early January is “absolutely weight loss.”
But Scacciaferro never advises his clients to strive for the typical New Year’s “outcome-based goal” like “I want to lose fifty pounds.”
“There’s no specificity or timeline or behavior-based changes,” he says. Instead, he walks new members through a “discovery process” to identify effective individual fitness solutions.
“It’s critical to making that connection,” he says, “asking a series of strategic questions about lifestyle, nutrition, behavior and mindset.”
While weight loss may be discussed, Scacciaferro works with each client to develop an ongoing routine that focuses on “preventive health care” and rarely identifies a particular individual poundage reduction target.
“When you set behavior-based goals, it’s very specific,” he says. “‘I’m going to walk for fifteen minutes three times each week and decrease portion sizes by one spoonful at every meal.’ The numbers, in the end, will take care of themselves.”
Programs include one-on-one, duet, and small group training. Membership includes access to the extensive facility, which includes a pool, a basketball court, a boxing room, squash courts, the country’s tallest rock-climbing wall and 100 complimentary fitness classes per week. On at least one occasion, it doubled as a filmset for Chicago PD.
Illinois Center, 211 N. Stetson · (312) 856-1111
Dr. Dawn Webster
Chiropractor, Universal Wellness Source
No matter how frequently someone works out, according to Dr. Dawn Webster, vigorous exercise can actually complicate individual health under certain circumstances.
“Sometimes hitting the gym is not the definition of wellness,” she says.
“Weekend warriors out running, training, hitting the gym… if their posture is off, they leave themselves really receptive to injury.”
Dr. Dawn holds a PhD in Chiropractic from Cleveland University in Kansas City and a decade of experience in the field. She joined Universal Wellness Source in Lakeshore East — one of the company’s four Chicago locations — when it opened three years ago. She guides new patients on the path of self-improvement year round.
“It could be January or June, but at some point people say ‘this is the year to get my health together,’” she says. “Especially in this neighborhood, because people work long hours and get so stressed.”
Initial consultations involve a thorough neurological exam, a structural exam and a series of X-rays. Recommended treatments include corrective as well as chiropractic care. Although the goal is often “to restore the full natural posture back to the person,” the results generally exceed the back-realignment cliché.
“When you start working on chiropractic, you start working with every aspect of your health in general,” she explains. “The most common thing people notice first off is that they are able to move more freely.”
When it comes to her own wellness, Dr. Dawn definitely practices what she preaches.
“We’re bent over all day long,” she says. “Of course I see a chiropractor.”
333 E. Benton Pl. · (312) 565-0655
Jade Path Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
Claretha Yeager admittedly takes longer than most specialists in helping clients achieve their post-holiday goals, but the acupuncturist has a record of success to validate the “three-thousand year-old medicine” that she practices.
Since 2012, her office at Michigan and Lake has helped hundreds of people seeking control over insomnia and PMS. But come January, the doors spin with dreams of losing weight, quitting smoking, and taking less uncomfortable trips to the bathroom.
“Some people overdo it through the holidays,” she says.
One of the greatest factors contributing to her clients’ symptoms is career pressure, which is abundant in the neighborhood. “We see a lot of people between their early 30s and 50s who work in the Loop and have a lot of stress in their life,” she says.
Since stress tends to increase levels of cortisol, one of the body’s natural steroid hormones, Yeager treats the condition by “working with the natural energies of the body to reduce the natural stresses and help down-regulate the fight-or-flight response.”
In addition to lifestyle and nutritional changes supplemented by natural remedies, Yeager recommends acupunctural treatments when necessary.
“For stress, the number one place to put pins in the body is the ears,” she says. “They are very strong points to help the body relax.”
70 E. Lake St., Suite 630
(773) 669-5724 · www.jadepathacupuncture.com
Personal Banker · Fifth Third Bank
According to Diego Socorro, the greatest individual challenge to building a healthy financial portfolio is “procrastination.” But he insists that saving for the future is not as painful as it seems.
“People work very hard all year, and many of them choose to take a vacation instead of saving money when the holidays arrive,” he says. “And that’s okay.”
A robust personal portfolio, he explains, does not require any sort of massive lifestyle sacrifice. Rather, it can be achieved by modest but regular saving habits. Since every customer’s financial situation is different — and since every customer ultimately designs his or her own customized program — he hesitates to describe any particular formula during an interview.
But when dealing with people who have never thought about saving before, Socorro asks them to consider an “emergency fund.”
“Imagine if you experienced some sort of emergency that cost $1,000,” he explains. “Do you have the funds set aside to cover that expense?”
Many customers build their emergency funds with minimal lifestyle disruption by depositing small amounts every month — “as little as $50,” Socorro says — until the ideal amount is achieved. After completing that process, people are often enthusiastic to work toward longer-term objectives.
The best way to shape those objectives, Socorro explains, is built on a relationship that he takes pride in developing.
“When I meet new customers for the first time,” he says, “I like to get to know them before making any recommendations.”
The Fifth Third branch on East Lakeshore Park appears designed to do just that. Besides serving the financial needs of local businesses and residents, Socorro and his associate, Licensed Banker Jason Philipp, have turned a portion of the bank into a miniature gallery filled with the work of local artists. On select occasions, they’ll host openings and other related events that help bring residents of the New Eastside community together.
The current collection features a number of dragon-inspired themes by Maria Raducanu and a variety of work by 3D environmental modeler Amanda Snoozy.
400 E. South Water St.
(312) 279-7939 · www.53.com