Winter Exercise



February 07, 2016



For these vibrant and busy people, staying healthy is not just about hitting the gym – meditation and good nutrition play an important role. Here is a our question this month and if you have a question you’d like asked please e-mail it to

What do you do to stay fit and healthy, when it seems so much more tempting to hibernate, during Chicago’s cold winters?

Elizabeth Cole

Elizabeth Cole, second from left, with trainer Philip Chung at center, and her group at the Salveo Wellness Retreat in Lake Geneva last fall.

Elizabeth Cole, second from left, with trainer Philip Chung at center, and her group at the Salveo Wellness Retreat in Lake Geneva last fall.

“Salveo,” or to live well in Latin, not only names Elizabeth Cole’s newly created and highly popular spa series, but also sums up her own mission towards a healthy and happy life.

“When my daughter was in a hospital for over a month with complications from a ruptured appendix, and my father was ill, it really crystallized for me how fragile our health is. I had been involved previously in event planning and would find myself reading about supplements, sleep, and all sorts of topics and found it overwhelming.

“So, when my daughter recovered, I went away to The Ranch at Live Oaks in Malibu for a wellness retreat and on the last day on one of our four hour hikes I decided I could do this, but better. I take people away for a three-day sessions, deep dives rather than little snippets.”

Leading numerous urban retreats, close to home and far afield, for women – with couples’ sessions newly added to the menu – the glowing blonde has put together a program that emphasizes a better sense of self.

In these workshops, Elizabeth advises reflecting on what really makes you happy and incorporating those things into your daily routine. She shared, “It is important to have time to pause. We are all so full speed ahead that we lose our sense of self; where have we been and where are we going. You should ask yourself, ‘When am I the happiest?’ and incorporate that into your daily life.”

Some of Chicago’s most engaged and attractive women have participated in Salveo retreats, which Suzette Bulley describes as “for today’s woman—fully immersive, quick, and kind.” Suzette went on in more detail, “Elizabeth offered food for the mind, body, and heart – and swag for my inner shopper – everything from essential oils to essential reading. During Salveo, we were introduced to many new ideas and concepts in a fun and friendly environment. I returned to my life refreshed and ready to start the New Year.”

Elizabeth Cole with trainer Philip Chung, Suzette Bulley, and the other participants of Salveo Chicago: An Urban Retreat, which took place just last month.

Elizabeth Cole with trainer Philip Chung, Suzette Bulley, and the other participants of Salveo Chicago: An Urban Retreat, which took place just last month.

When not leading her Salveo groups, Elizabeth does at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, which in the winter months, means indoors. She also acknowledges the importance of considering your own age and body type. She explained, “For a woman in her mid-forties, weight training to build bone density, and for its overall effect, is great. I work out with Phil Chung, who I absolutely adore, three times a week at Jim Karas Personal Training.”

Cole notes that exercise is only one piece of the puzzle. She highlights the importance of nutrition, as well, saying that eating “real food” is the way to go. She elaborated, “I try to eat less packaged food – particularly items where you can’t pronounce the listed ingredients – and cut down on anything with more than five ingredients. Choosing less sugar, more simple grains, and the right protein is important. Our family eats a lot of tofu, chicken, and quinoa.”

With Elizabeth’s guidance, salveo suddenly seems all the more attainable.

Steve Zick

Auctioneer and man of action, Steve Zick.

Auctioneer and man of action, Steve Zick.

At many of Chicago’s most successful galas, Christie’s Auction House Vice President and Auctioneer Steve Zick gets heart rates going as he boosts the live auction bidding for at least 20 great causes a year. A friend of absolutely everyone in town, and an on-the-go executive for Christie’s throughout the Midwest, Steve somehow makes time for exercise three or four times a week:

My regime never changes, winter or summer. It’s swimming a mile in laps, Pilates for the core, and Vinyasa yoga for the flow of going through many poses. Of all the three tortures, Pilates is the hardest. I think women are more limber than men.

We are lucky that Christie’s has a corporate membership in the Equinox across from our office. With all the plane rides and an old herniated disc, I really need this. At a yoga class I once heard a woman say, “all I want to be able to do is to be able to tie my own shoes when I am 90.” That sounds pretty good to me.

Each day, Steve’s seven-year-old Shih Tzu Stewie accompanies him to work. Steve admits, “It is so healing to be able to push away from the computer and take Stewie for a walk.”

A native Chicagoan and former trial lawyer, Steve worked for a time as an appellate lawyer for the Illinois Attorney General’s office. In 1999, Steve felt ready to make a career switch and joined Bonhams & Butterfield, now Bonhams, to be trained as an auctioneer.

“As a trial lawyer I was used to being on my feet, as well as having judges and opposing council being ready to yell at you. It definitely wasn’t a tough transition. At an auction, people are happy to have you up there if you have great items.”

After he joined Christie’s in 2004, Laura de Frise told him that the Botanic Garden’s gala “A Rare Affair” needed an auctioneer, which would be the start of many charitable contributions of his time and talents to come. Steve recalled, “I had driven the tour tram there as a volunteer so I of course said yes. The live auction world has changed. Auctioning off a live golden retriever puppy is long gone, although there is often a surprise offering like an ivy cutting from Wrigley Field.”

While we had Steve on the line, we wanted to stray from exercise for a moment and get his expert advice on another type of heavy lifting altogether:

Steve, do you have any advice for charities planning live auctions?

“Don’t leave any money on the table. The paddle raise, often called a Dutch auction, encourages people to feel good about the evening and write a check to support it. Many people often have enough trips and other tangible things. Also, be sure to have a large spread in the categories – young couples might not be able to go to the top, but want to participate. This is really a very fine way to maximize participation.”

Thank you to Steve for all the work you do for charitable organizations who find that their live auctions really do make all the difference in their yearly budgets!

Julie Harron

Julie Harron, at left, sailing with her family.

Julie Harron, at left, sailing with her family.

A radiant beauty with a seemingly effortless Grace Kelly style, Julie Harron says she exercises and eats well all year long, even in the winter when comfort foods beckon. A competitive figure skater, who trained in Colorado as a child, Julie loves to mix things up.

“I am a passionate paddle tennis player; it gets me through the winter. I’m on a social team and play a match weekly for about two hours. We also play for fun every Friday. I am not on a top team, but play for fun, and love the social aspect as well as the competition. It is great to be outside in the fresh air, but you have to of course dress accordingly and use those new hand and toe warmers. Lululemon, Patagonia, and Running Away have active down jackets and thermal tights which really keep you warm.”

Julie and her paddle tennis group.

Julie and her paddle tennis group.

Paddle is not her only hobby when it comes to staying active, however. Julie revealed, “I must remain active, and work in a variety of regimes, including a Bikram hot yoga class once a week, heavy weights at CityWide SuperSlow, and time on the TreadClimber at the Woman’s Athletic Club or the East Bank Club.”

Julie is not the only member of her family that thrives on fitness. Her son Conrad, now a Williams College junior, was ranked number one in the country for his age category in tennis at 12. Julie commented proudly that her husband Michael, who manages a global investment fund, “has played every sport well, including tennis and rugby, and daughter Alex, a senior at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, is coxswain on her crew team.”

Like Elizabeth Cole, Harron also focuses on healthy eating. She exclaimed, “I love kale and ginger juices and think wheatgrass is delicious!”

In addition to calorie-burning physical activity and clean eating, Julie keeps busy with many other pursuits.

“I am seven months away from being an empty-nester and so I am focusing on my real estate group at Baird & Warner, where I have been active in the luxury home market since 1992. Barb Steinhauser has joined me and we are working on marketing and building business.

“I love serving on the University of Chicago Woman’s Board, the board of the Saddle & Cycle Club, and the Women’s Athletic Club’s 626 Foundation, and volunteering at my children’s schools. I am a past president of the Women’s Athletic Club and a founding member of the Joffrey Ballet’s Women’s Board.”

The key to living well seems to be living passionately – be it on the tennis court, in the office, or through philanthropy.

Tom Wynn

Tom Wynn, architect and martial artist.

Tom Wynn, architect and martial artist.

Architect Tom Wynn of Wade Weissmann Architects travels the country to oversee projects, including a 1000-acre biodynamic farm featuring only organic products in Santa Barbara, and luxury homes in Cincinnati, Indian Hill in Winnetka, and Nashville. What always travels with him? His dedication to martial arts, yoga, and meditation. Whether at home or on the road, Tom works out three times a week for an hour to an hour and a half.

“Whether its English boxing, French kickboxing (which is called Savate), or Filipino knife and stick fighting, I find martial arts to be the best way to work all the diverse parts of your body and circulate your energy. There is danger of injury, though, and it is important to start with an expert. And for the Filipino fighting, you can definitely use rolled up newspapers or magazines, as well as a ballpoint pen.”

Where do you learn mixed martial arts and which one is the best entrance to the sport?

“It is generally hard to find a school that offers all of these disciplines, but when I am in Chicago I go to the Degerberg Academy in Lincoln Square, where I was a student for ten years and consider myself family there. Grandmaster Fred Degerberg has been on the cutting edge of mixing martial arts in Chicago for 35 years, long before it gained the popular appeal it has now. In fact, what is currently practiced as mixed martial arts today is only a small portion of our curriculum.

“I first studied Tae Kwon Do when I was 10 or 11. There are so many wonderful disciplines and each has its strengths and weaknesses. It really depends on you and what you are interested in; a school which teaches a variety of arts certainly has an advantage in that regard. It takes discipline, and the body and mind both benefit from the challenge.”

Tom showcasing the strength and flexibility he has achieved through martial arts.

Tom showcasing the strength and flexibility he has achieved through martial arts.

Savate, which has been adapted from its origins as a 19th century form street fighting in Paris and Marseilles, known for its high kicks and open slaps, has become quite in demand. Just as in other disciplines, in Savate there is a color system in place to designate rank. Wynn explained that “the glove color, at least ceremonially, connotes rank in a similar way that the belt color connotes rank within another discipline” like Karate.

Savate, the French word for “old shoe,” shares things in common with other disciplines outside of the martial arts world. It requires participants to wear shoes that share similarities with the footwear used in ballet. Which leads us to wonder:

Are there other ways street fighting is like ballet?

“The toe of the shoe the savateur wears is hard. Some of the terminology for kicks in Savate might sound familiar to a ballet practitioner, such as ‘coup de pied,’ which is a low kick, striking your opponent’s shin with the instep of your shoe as a distraction. A ‘fouette’ is essentially a roundhouse kick, striking with the point of your shoe – only something you could do with a reinforced toe like you have in Savate, so you don’t break a toe.”

Do you have specific diet recommendations to help fuel your practice of martial arts?

“I have no specific diet that I combine with my routine, but what I eat is based on the season. In summer I eat more lightly, lots of fruits and vegetables. Moving into September, it is fall vegetables, such as squash and cabbages, and in the winter, when you want to generate heat, I include lots of meats and hearty broths.”

Of his game plan, Tom said it “improves my attitude as well as all the parts of my body after lots of time sitting at my computer. In the winter it is important to regain or focus on balance. It is just so easy to fall on slippery sidewalks. With martial arts you learn your body mechanics and how to protect yourself in several ways.”

For those who think all forms of boxing are only for the young, the most recent Harvard Health Letter recommended fitness boxing as a way for older adults to get aerobic exercise. No, we are not encouraging seniors to jump into the ring and start taking punches, but rather to utilize the movements of this sport and add them to your existing routine. This will get your heart pumping, boost endurance, and lift your mood – three things we all need help doing during Chicago’s inhospitable winters!