by Jennifer Harkins, owner of TreadFit

While the COVID 19 virus has impacted our lives in so many ways over the last six months, it has also taken a toll on our mental and physical health. Many of us adapted to the changes brought on by state and local closures by hunkering at home with our families and taking a break from our day to day routines. This break was well needed for many of us and we placed a focus on family meals, reading, board games, and household projects. Unfortunately, the impacts of the virus have continued and we find ourselves craving routine and normalcy. Many of us are feeling the stress of the unknown and the impacts of these changes for our children, finances, and health.

In the last few weeks, many of our Treadfit clients have expressed a frustration with their “corona” weight gain and the lack of structure to their day. Many fitness studios have reopened with limited capacity and ample safety procedures in place while also offering live or on demand offerings. Whether you feel comfortable returning to the studio or are attempting to workout at home, it is very important to get a workout in! Time and again studies demonstrate the benefits of a heart pumping workout for both our mental and physical health.

If you are looking for some suggestions for losing weight, returning to a workout routine, or to reboot, check out these tips I share with my clients.

1. Make yourself a priority! Sit down on Sunday evening and plan out 4-5 workouts for the week. Schedule them in your calendar and stick to them. Take advantage of introductory offers, free online classes, inexpensive apps. It is easy to come up with excuses to not squeeze in a workout, but when we carve out time for ourselves, our day goes better.

2. Track your food! Use an app to track your food. I always recommend My Fitness Pal but there are a variety of great tracking apps. Measure your food for the first week of tracking so you are accurately accounting for calories.

3. Think whole, real, good food! Stay away from packaged and processed food. Squeeze in those veggies! Nine out of ten people do not get the recommended daily dose of vegetables!

4. Limit alcohol. This has been a culprit in many of my clients recent weight gains. Two large glasses of wine at night is the equivalent of a McDonald’s cheeseburger in calories!

5. Limit sugar. The average American consumes on average 20 pounds of sugar a year. That’s 5 full bags of sugar! The research is mixed on sugar substitutes however Stevia has been proven as a good option.

6. If you are struggling with staying on track and getting your workouts in, consider hiring a health coach. Accountability and guidance is key to staying on track!

Jenny Harkins, founder of Treadfit and Jump Start Health coaching, is an ACE certified group instructor and nutrition specialist. Jenny is a life-long fitness enthusiast with over twenty-five years of running and strength training experience. Treadfit has locations in the Beverly neighborhood on the southside of Chicago, Western Springs, IL., and Palos Heights, IL. For information on Treadfit classes, Treadfit On-Demand, or the Jump Start program head to