Did you know that there is a Biggest Loser Resort right here in Chicagoland?
Similar to the popular television reality series, Chicago's Biggest Loser Resort promises an intense, boot camp-style program, as well as physical and mental challenges that will motivate participants to step into a healthier lifestyle. As an added bonus, you'll have a chance to bond with other participants, sharing the ups and downs of the journey toward a healthier you.
I headed out to Chicago's Biggest Loser Resort in Itasca to give the experience a try for one day and hopefully gain some inspiration that will help me stick to my New Year's resolutions: to maintain a workout plan and a more balanced diet.
Part of the AAA Four Diamond rated Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago's Biggest Loser Resort not only has bright and well-equipped workout spaces, but also a 76-foot swimming pool, an on-site bowling alley and a championship golf course - so you won't be spending your days solely in the gym. There's also a tranquil spa with a wide array of services, which makes focusing on personal wellness a whole lot easier.
I started my day with a workout led by the resort's executive program director and certified personal trainer, Santiago Cervantes. Friendly and upbeat, Santiago encouraged me as I pumped iron, worked a crossfit program and then completed a cardio workout. Along the way, he shared some great ideas for improving my fitness and well-being in 2014, including his top three tips:
1. Start with at least 30 minutes of activity, three times a week. Just move!
2. Add more fruit, greens and water to your diet. Focus on what you can add to your diet to make it healthier.
3. Set realistic goals. Baby steps!
After my exercise-filled morning, I enjoyed lunch with other program participants. Though it was low calorie, it was very filling. We started with a potato and artichoke soup, followed by a main course of grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and a mushroom barley risotto. Participants also have the option of a salad bar brimming with fruits and veggies and low cal dressings. Dessert after dinner and fiber-rich snacks mean you won't spend your time here at the resort feeling hungry.
I felt sore thanks to the intense working out, so after my day, I was sure to book a 60-minute therapeutic massage at the resort spa. I was in heaven. Afterwards, I relaxed in my comfy robe in the spa's tranquility room, where soft lighting and hot tea further pushed me into the total relaxation zone.
I left the Biggest Loser Resort Chicago feeling relaxed, energized and ready to take on 2014! OK, I felt pretty sore, too, but Santiago told me this was music to his ears. If you're looking to make a big change towards better wellness in 2014, check out the week-long programs and consider spending some time focused on YOU this year!
Amy Bizzarri is a writer, Chicago public school teacher and mom to two kids - a preschooler and a middle schooler - living in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
See more of Amy's stories here.