Shake It Up

October 2020 View more

When Sam Suleiman took the first step into changing his lifestyle and health habits, he never thought it would lead him to becoming part owner of a nutrition bar. He had spent the last decade working in the seafood industry—and was drinking and smoking and had some weight to lose. He began researching different methods of weight loss and came across a protein shake store that one of his friends owns in Indiana. “I lost 46 pounds and never felt like I lost the weight too quickly or lost vitamins and muscle,” Suleiman says.

He was hooked. He then spent a lot of time studying how protein shakes can help with weight loss and gain, and frequently visited Nutrition Hub, a bar serving shakes, smoothie bowls, and teas in Frankfort. He was inspired to open up a Nutrition Hub of his own in his hometown of New Lenox in November 2019, and just opened up the doors to the downtown Naperville location in September.

Naperville’s Nutrition Hub (26 W. Jefferson Ave., 815.919.1660, is in the former Marcus space next to Everdine’s Grilled Cheese Co., and Suleiman has high hopes of improving the nutrition habits of the Naperville community. “My family visits Naperville all the time, so when I saw the empty space I took it without even thinking,” Suleiman says. “I know how great downtown Naperville is. I called the landlord and asked to see the space and I signed the lease right there. I couldn’t resist.”

With six locations around the Chicago area and Indiana, Nutrition Hub offers complimentary one-on-one nutrition coaching in addition to protein shakes, teas, iced coffee, aloe vera shots, protein bowls like acai berry, and oatmeal. The shakes, which can be made and purchased in the store each day—or bought as protein powder with recipes to make at home—serve as the first step in Nutrition Hub’s coaching program. For customers wanting to lose or gain weight, Suleiman’s team will coach them through challenges, ranging from three days to one month, with meal plans, challenges, workout plans, and weigh-ins.

Here’s how it works: Clients are given a detailed meal plan with the amount of shakes recommended per day, meal and snack ideas, and at-home workouts tailored to the client’s age and type of exercise they are interested in. The team keeps clients accountable by having them come in for weekly weigh-ins and measurements, and by editing the meal and workout plan based on each week’s goals and how many days the client wants to spend on the challenge.

The menu is primarily made up of protein shakes meant to be breakfast and lunch replacements or a quick snack. The shakes can be purchased on their own, or paired with an aloe vera shot to aid digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and an energy and metabolism boosting sugar-free tea to create a meal ($7.50–$9.50). Customers have a choice between basic, boosted, loaded, and mega energy levels that determine the amount of caffeine, ranging from 45 to 180 milligrams, and over 100 shake flavors—optional add ons include anti-aging collagen, probiotics, and fat burner. The shake flavors—split into categories like Peanut Butter Boss, Candy Cravers, and Fruit Lovers—are healthier than their names suggest, with 20 to 28 grams of protein, 200 to 250 calories, 10 to 14 grams of sugar, and 15 to 18 grams of carbs. They’re safe for all ages and pregnant women and can be made with regular, dairy free, or whey protein powder.

Whether you want an afternoon pick-me-up while spending the day shopping in downtown Naperville (masked up, of course), are looking for a new protein powder for your breakfast shakes, or want to be coached through a weight loss or gain challenge, Suleiman’s team of fitness lovers will tailor your visit and guide you to be your best self.

Photos courtesy Nutrition Hub