National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: Focusing on Healthy Living

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

With September being National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, it’s important for members of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle. At the Y, there are a wide variety of classes available for every member of your family. From adult group exercise classes to youth sports, and everything in between, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your family’s needs and busy schedule.

Here are some great tips to help your family incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into your fall schedules:

Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, consider choosing a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Remember to keep full water bottles available in the car and your children’s backpacks.

Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).

Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night. Adults should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

If you’re looking for other ways to keep your children active, the Y’s youth sports programs are a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time! Registration is currently underway for the Y’s youth basketball program. Open to kids in preschool through high school, the Y’s basketball program teaches kids the fundamentals of the game and the importance of teamwork. Register today and participate in our free clinics to gear up for the upcoming basketball season!

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active lifestyle or for more information on our youth basketball program, visit or contact the sports director at your local branch.

Galowich and Smith Family YMCAs:
Michael Taylor
[email protected]
(815) 744-3939, ext. 307

C.W. Avery Family YMCA:
Maria Romero
[email protected]
(815) 267-8600, ext. 217

Morris Community YMCA:
Ken Iverson
[email protected]
(815) 513-8080, ext. 512

Fitness Apps to Enhance Your Workout Routine

C.W. Avery Family YMCA Wellness Center

If you’ve been in our newly expanded Wellness Center, you may have noticed some new machines with new technology available.  We are excited to offer our members a place where they can achieve their health and wellness goals with the latest technology features.


Want to watch your personal entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu?  By signing up for a Preva account, you get access to personal entertainment, set and track workout goals and more while working out on the Precor treadmills!

First simply follow the steps on the screen to set up an account or you can download the Preva app and create your account beforehand.

Next, you’ll need your entertainment app credentials.  This is the same login you created when you purchased the app. You can save all your credentials within your Preva account for hassle-free access while working out.

Finally, you will want to use the “My Profile App” to manage your login and password.  From there, you can track your workouts, watch your favorite shows or listen to songs you love.


LFConnect App

If you’re looking for an easy way to track your workout and love the Stair Climber Machine, you’ll want to create a LifeFitness account or download the app.  This cool feature allows you to track your workouts on your app profile or you can scan a barcode to sync it to your phone’s health apps.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Create Your Account (This includes setting up a Username and Password)
  2. Select Your Desired Workout (Selections can include: time, calories, heart rate, level, floors climbed and interval)
  3. Follow the Instructions for the Selected Workout
  4. Start Your Workout!
  5. Once your Workout is completed, save your workout and exercise data by hitting save or scanning the barcode.)

Want to skip the steps above?  Hit “Quick Start” to begin. From there you can adjust your workout speed, duration, and intensity by the “Setting” icon. Use the blue thermometer for cool down.


ICG Training App

If you love cycling, you’ll want to get the ICG Training App!  The C.W. Avery Family YMCA wants to share this exciting new app with you while you enjoy our Group Cycle Coach by Color classes.

All of these new bikes are compatible with a cutting-edge technology app which lets riders measure performance and track workouts all in one place!

Getting Started with the ICG Training App:

  • Download the free app for IOS or Android.
  • Set up an account on the app.
  • Pair the App with any IC6 indoor cycling bike to save, view and track your workout history by calendar date.
  • Color Match your workout: choose from free workout plans in the app guided by the color system.
  • Share your workout activity (if you choose) with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Want to try this fun new App on an IC6 indoor cycling bike?  The C.W. Avery Family YMCA offers many opportunities to take cycling classes.  Check out our class schedule and stop in for a ride!

Member Profile: Mark McGaffic


IMG951430Determined to lose weight, Mark McGaffic tried it all. Exercise. Trendy diets. Weight loss programs. You name it. Mark simply wasn’t seeing any results. That is, until he signed up for Nutrition for All and the Get Fit Challenge at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA. Because of these weekly classes, Mark has undergone a complete transformation. In 2014, not only has Mark lost 60 pounds, he’s also completed a triathlon—a feat he could’ve never possibly imagined.

“It’s been phenomenal. I’ve loved the journey,” he said, while sitting in the lobby of the Avery Y. With a slight grin on his face, Mark paused and added, “Shirts I bought that I was disgusted buying, I’ve now given to Goodwill.”

Mark’s transformation began in January when he started Nutrition for All, a 12-week class that helps members eat right and stay healthy. He took on a paleo diet, kept food journals and completed weekly weigh-ins. With the support of instructor Julie Miller and his peers, he cut 30 pounds.

By springtime, Mark’s momentum hadn’t let up. He began the Get Fit Challenge, continued the paleo diet and started prepping for his first triathlon. By this point, Mark had shed upwards of 50 pounds. In August, Mark’s hard work paid off when he completed the Naperville Sprint Triathlon.

“I’d have to say, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said. “The triathlon itself. The training. Working with Julie Miller and the group. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

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What is Nia?

“What is Nia?”—That’s the million-dollar question, says licensed Nia instructor Kendra Dicker-Deutsch. Is it a dance class? A martial arts program? Well, according to Kendra, it’s both. In fact, Nia even draws inspiration from yoga. Nia, which is now offered at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA, is perfect for those looking for a change of pace, but still want to focus on cardio, strength and meditation. Learn all about Nia in our Q&A with Kendra below:

How would you describe Nia to someone who has never heard of it?
Nia is a fusion-based fitness class that combines the fun of dancing and expression, the power and intensity of martial arts and the meditative feeling of yoga.

To what ages would you recommend this program?
I think it’s great for any age. I found it in my late 20’s. Nia is perfect for anyone who is looking for a cardio workout that is fun, gentle and healing for the joints.

What kind of movements do you do?
We have so many routines that have their own flavor and feature their own style of music. Nia is based in seven cycles. We work to get your body moving as to how it was designed, usually focusing on a body part or a sound.

What else should be our readers know about Nia?
It’s a time to connect with yourself. Nia blends so many things into one class—cardio, meditation and strengthening. Each hour hosts a variety of expressive movements. We don’t simply jump into high intensity. We take time to warm up the joints so that the body is ready to go and ready to move.

Member Spotlight: Angela Townsend

YMCA member Angela Townsend has made quite a transition since she began coming to the Y, and she has seen amazing results. Below, she describes her past, talks about Y staff, and tells us why she hasn’t weighed herself in more than six months!

My story is simple and not too different from others. I never thought about my weight/figure during my younger years. I always ate whatever I wanted and I didn’t think twice about it. Sweets were my weakness and still are. I don’t know what it was that forced me to get off the couch, but thanks to a good friend, Marenda Eison, who put me in check, I’m looking and feeling the best I have in years.

Thanks to the C.W. Avery Family YMCA’s awesome staff and classes, it’s been “easy” to get fit. Kristen Derengowski has been my teacher and whipping me into shape. She puts us through the wringer, but makes it fun at the same time. It’s great to change it up to target different parts of the body, so I’ve tried to take advantage and get into whatever classes I’m available for.

I’ve also slowly modified my eating habits. I’ve gone from candy bar snacks and ice cream EVERY night, to kale smoothies, double servings of veggies and significantly less sugar. I say “forget the scale”—I haven’t weighed myself since October 2013. Be proud of yourself and be satisfied when you start to see and feel a difference—even if you haven’t reached your ultimate goal. Enjoy the view while you’re on your road to greatness!

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