Vince Wright is in the Club Fit café, happily munching on a plate of chicken tenders and mashed potatoes from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hmmmm. This is not the typical type of meal you’d expect to see Jefferson Valley’s newest personal trainer eat . . . but then again, Vince is not your typical type of trainer. “It’s not about restricting yourself,” he says in defense of his occasional foray into KFC-land. “It’s about getting into a healthy lifestyle and making it so that you can enjoy some of the good stuff.”
Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Vince was a small, sickly kid who suffered from asthma. He vividly remembers not being able to climb the rope in gym and not being able to play with his classmates at recess. Vince couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. And he was bullied. Determined to get stronger, he asked for and received a set of weights from his father—not that he really knew how to use them. But Vince desperately wanted to change his physical condition. He just didn’t know how.
Then one day a friend challenged him to see who could jump furthest on a bike. What happened next was Light Bulb Moment No. 1. Vince’s fifth-grade mind reasoned that jumping on a bike was basically a matter of lifting the bike, while in motion, and then landing. So to train for the upcoming bike jump challenge, every day for two weeks Vince lifted his bike. When competition day came, he was more than ready. “I smoked him– just smoked him, “ Vince recalls. “I remember the bike felt so light when I went to lift it, and I thought—‘Wow, that really worked!’ So that began my fascination with weight training and how it could improve my performance and make me better.”
During high school, Vince spent countless hours in the family garage lifting weights and reading Muscle and Fitness magazine, but his results were mixed. On the plus side, his asthma symptoms disappeared. But on the minus side, despite eating healthfully and working out for hours each day, Vince wasn’t bulking up. His 5’8” frame wouldn’t budge above 140 pounds.
It wasn’t until he was 21 years old that Vince experienced Light Bulb Moment No. 2, which basically came down to this: Simpler is better. Everyday, Vince had been spending hours trying to exercise each muscle group—when in reality he should have been focusing on one muscle group for just 45 minutes a day. Moreover, he was doing some of the exercises incorrectly. And although Vince often ate a healthy dinner, he never ate breakfast and lunch, at best, was a crapshoot. Bottom line: His food intake was off. Vince made some adjustments.
“I looked at my workout program and whittled it down. I made it lean and effective. I started focusing on certain muscle groups on certain days, and I didn’t go beyond a certain period of time in each session,” Vince says. “And I made sure that I was providing the proper nutrition for myself in order to sustain those workouts. The result was like night and day. My body—it was like a plant. It finally got the light. It finally got the water. And it finally got the food to grow. “ By making those changes, Vince gained a much-desired 40 pounds in one year. He felt empowered by his newfound knowledge and the transformation he had made in his life. And he hasn’t looked back since.
Vince has been certified by the National Strength Conditioning Association and currently holds an International Sports Science Association certification. Since moving east, he has worked in three Westchester gyms and experienced numerous success stories among his clients. One woman had shin splints, terrible posture, and bad feet-–but she wanted to be a marathoner. Says Vince: “I thought I was a little bit out of my league because I wasn’t a runner, but I always had a need for information so I researched what was going on with her and what she needed to do.” Long story short—after training with Vince for over a year, the woman’s body was transformed. She developed a little six pack, some muscle definition in her arms and her posture improved. Most importantly, she ran in two marathons, completing the second one in under four hours.
Another success story was that of the high school swimmer who, after training with Vince, won a New York State swimming championship. And no, Vince isn’t really a swimmer, either. But as with the marathoner, Vince’s persistence, his knowledge base, and his willingness to research and cross-train made all of the difference for his young client. Here at Club Fit, Vince hopes to create group classes that help women transform themselves and eventually, he hopes to work with all types of athletes through the Parisi program. Naturally, personal training sessions are on his agenda as well.
“I’m in this to help people,” Vince says. “ I’m in this to make a change in someone’s life, just the way I made a change in my own life. That’s what I look forward to. That’s what drives me and keeps me going.”
What else keeps Vince going? Here’s a quick connection with Vince Wright, Club Fit style:
Favorite guilty pleasure—Moosetracks ice cream.
Most exciting G-rated experience– Going across country, from Chicago to San Francisco, with my mother on a bus. I was in the fourth grade. It was an amazing trip, seeing the countryside.
Favorite type of music—Drum and bass (electronic dance music from England)
Favorite TV show—Breaking Bad.
Least favorite vegetable—Red beets.
Favorite actor, and why—I like Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman’s my man. You know why? When I was a kid, he was on the Electric Company, and then as I grew up, he was always out there somewhere. I’ve always respected Morgan Freeman.
Fitness goal—Right now I’m at about 12 percent body fat; I want to be at 8 or 9 percent. And I want to be bigger. Right now I’m about 190 pounds, but I want to be like 200, 205. It’s almost like being anorexic. When I look in the mirror, I see a small guy. For as hard as I work out, I don’t feel like my body represents that.
Weightlifting routine–On my heavy days, I’ll deadlift 430 pounds for 5 reps. On my chest day, I’ll bench press 325 for 5 reps. On my leg day, I’ll squat 430 for 5 reps.
But that’s on my heavy days. Then I have lighter days and I have moderate days—you can’t always go heavy, not at my age, you’ll beat yourself up. I’m 43. When I was 20-something I could do that, but at 43, you have to cycle it a little bit.
Favorite Sports team—Either the Chicago Bears or the New York Giants. I’m torn because I’m a hometown boy, but at the same time, I’m here now–and I love the Giants. I love my football.
A perfect day consists of—Spending time with my three sons (ages 21, 16, and 8) and going to the beach and barbequing. I enjoy cooking out.
What would people be most surprised to find out about you?That I’m a nerd. I’m a tech nerd. I enjoy computers, I like talking about the technical aspects of things.
With just over two months to go until my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, we are very excited! We are getting closer and closer to our goal – raising $30k! That $30k will be put toward the renovation of an ILS (Independent Living Services) Center for our developmentally disabled children on our Valhalla Campus.
To keep my workout going and to continue my momentum, I want to invite you to join me for a Zumba class on Tuesday, November 18th from 5:00-6:00pm at Club Fit of Briarcliff! Join me and together we can learn Zumba and either kick start our workout together or add a new challenge to our routine. The Zumba class is FREE and we encourage you to come and bring some friends! It is sure to be a great time to learn a new workout routine and have fun with friends, old and new! See you there!
Over the weekend an old friend brought one of our posts to our attention. It was of a poster that offered a holiday special on personal training packages. The form of the person doing a squat was not spot on. We asked Personal Trainer, Nick Paganelli, to demonstrate what a squat that is done using proper technique looks like:
And as a bonus for the more advanced gym-goers . . . here he is doing an advanced balance exercise!
We are proud to have a staff that exemplifies professionalism! If you are interested in learning more about our Personal Trainers and their extensive backgrounds, click here. From now through December 31st we are offering a holiday special on Personal Training packages. For more information, email Susie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the best possible early career opportunities as a mature teen or young adult is becoming a certified Lifeguard. Here are 5 reasons why Lifeguarding might be a great fit!
1. Developing Leadership Skills:
Being charged with People’s Safety is no light matter. A lifeguard must be responsible, alert and assertive when they see warning signs or unsafe behavior. Being in a position like this, means there is truly no option to be timid. Even when certain rules may be difficult or touch on sensitive subjects, a lifeguard must find a way to communicate and enforce them. When a lifeguard begins his or her career, they may not feel 100% about their leadership qualities, but after a few weeks to a few months, you can see that persons’ sense of self-worth and leadership grow.
2. Increased Communication and People Skills:
For many of the same reasons mentioned in number 1, lifeguards must interact with people. Even when they are not in their comfort zone. A good lifeguard will know how to handle unsafe behavior, aggressive patrons, or potential dangers/threats to swimmers. Everyone is certainly different in their approach to communicating these issues to patrons, but their job requires them to do so. This allows them to develop their personal communication skills and etiquette, helps them to speak up, and in many instances helps them to make more mature decisions.
3. Improved Self-Confidence:
Being a lifeguard is a position that requires a great deal of responsibility. Lifeguards are responsible for the safety of all patrons under their watch. This means enforcing rules and guidelines, noticing the first signs of distress, making sure the surrounding areas are safe for swimmers and even saving peoples lives when it comes to that. This can really boost self-confidence. Doing a job they know is keeping people safe makes them feel good about the work they do! Plain and simple.
4. Working as part of a Team:
Lifeguards often work together. Whether it is at an indoor facility, outdoor rec center, Lake, River or Ocean. In most of these environments, working as a team is key. Not only do the use those communication skills, but their is often an understanding about who needs to do what when there are multiple guards on duty. Lifeguards may be a different stations and will often have to follow a rotation. Now their coworkers are counting on them to stick to that rotation to avoid on the job fatigue. They are also responsible for watching different “zones” of the water or elements within their facility/settings. This means their must be a mutual understanding of the division of zones and who is responsible for which. Sometimes, a lifeguard will even need more than just him or herself to perform the rescue depending on what the circumstances are. This requires an incredible amount of focus and teamwork. Finally, most places that employ lifeguards require what is known as “In Service Training”. These are cooperative trainings that simulate potential real-life scenarios in which a guard may have to participate in. It always requires working together and role-playing rescue situations.
5. Lifeguards Possess Desirable Skills for Future Careers:
Let’s face it . . . navigating the job market can be tough when someone is just starting out. Being a lifeguard gives you skills that other professionals and hiring managers like to see in potential employees. Teamwork, Self Confidence, Communication and Leadership are all vital skills that are often not learned in school. They are learned through life experience. Lifeguards certainly have a jump on their competition when it comes to possessing these skills and they can often adapt to their surroundings by leveraging those very skills.
The question is not why you should become a lifeguard, but more importantly, why you shouldn’t?
Giving back is something that heightens the spirit and cleanses the soul. It is a good feeling to be able to do something that you are passionate about, and at the same time, help someone in need, or brighten their day – or week, for that matter!
In steps Jack Werther, Club Fit employee / Parisi Speed School Director. On a typical day, you can find Jack managing his speed trainers or heading up a local sports team’s training on the Parisi turf. His passion is working with kids… helping them to become stronger, faster, ultimately better athletes. This is a far cry from his college days, where he attended Western New England College and graduated with a degree in Finance. His love for personal training, pushed him to pursue his certification as a personal trainer in 2011, and in 2013 joined Club Fit and became a certified Parisi Performance Coach.
At about the same time, Jack was introduced by a friend to an organization based out of White Plains — Family Services of Westchester. FSW offers a broad range of innovative programs designed to meet the needs of children, teens, and the elderly through several family centers. What interested Jack the most was a program called “Camp Viva”. Camp Viva’s mission is simple — to serve HIV affected children, families and care partners in Westchester County, who are living with or affected by HIV and/or Aids.
For the past 3 years, Jack has been volunteering as a camp counselor there. Every August for the past 3 years, he has packed up his bags, and spends a full week at Camp Viva, a sleep away camp, located at the Ramapo Anchorage Camp for Children in Rhinebeck, NY.. “Making a difference in these kids’ lives has made me a better person. One of the things that I reflect back on is that kids are kids…they all want to be accepted, they all want to be “cool”, they all want to have friends. At the start of the week, their defenses are up. They come in with a “too cool for school” attitude. By Tuesday, their defenses are down, and they just want to be accepted…they just want to be kids”.
Jack spends the majority of his seven days as a Sports Specialist there, planning activities and running sports programs for these kids. Very similar to his job at Parisi. It’s the love that he has for kids and the love that he has for sports that makes him the perfect person for both jobs.
Inspired by Jack, we will be doing a give back to benefit Family Services of Westchester — a “Mitten, Scarf and Hat Drive” from November 28th through December 13th. New or gently worn items can be dropped off at the Club, and the proceeds will go to families in need throughout Westchester County.
During the month of November, we give thanks and share thanks. A big thanks to Jack Werther — for his unselfishness and the time that he gives back to Family Services of Westchester. If anyone is interested in learning more about Camp Viva, click here.
Summer Camp is something kids look forward to all year long! So, it’s never to early to start researching the best fit for your child. We hope you will consider Club Fit your home away from home (during the day) all Summer long!
1 – Climate Controlled Facility – Rain or shine our campers have the best camp experience EVERYDAY!
2 – Daily hot & healthy lunch is included – One less thing for you to worry about!
3 – Extended Care – As early as 7:30am and as late as 7pm!
4 – Daily FREE Swim – For an additional fee Instructional swim is also available with our fantastic Water Safety Instructors.
5 – Early Registration discounts – The earlier you register the more you save!
6 – FUN – We guarantee your child will have endless fun all summer long!
7 – Flexibility – Come for 1 week, 2 weeks, or the whole summer, you choose. Our registration options are a la carte
8 – Specialists – We have the best Tennis Pro’s, Water Safety Instructors and Soccer Coaches available to your child all summer long
9 – Theme Days – Carnival Day, Mad Science Day, Color Wars & Lego day are just a few of our exciting theme days.
10 – Not just a Camp – Our membership options provide you and your entire family with access to everything Club Fit has to offer!
For JV’s Director of Tennis Hal Touissant, tennis is all about love.
Either that, or it’s a rerun of Groundhog Day. Why? Because at 8 in the morning, you may find Hal giving a lesson on the tennis court. At 3 in the afternoon, you may find Hal giving a lesson on the tennis court. At 8 at night—you guessed it— there’s Hal, giving a lesson on the tennis court. And here’s the crazy part: Lately, Hal says, he’s been cutting back.
“My days can easily run 12 hours, whether it’s on the court or off the court. But I’ve slowed down a little bit. Before I used to work 6 or 7 days. Now I try to work 5 or 5 ½.”
Yes, it must be love. And there’s a lot to love in the tennis department these days, especially with the arrival and installation of a sleek new tennis bubble. After 22 years of service, the old bubble was laid to rest, making way for a modern $350,000 covering. Featuring a skylight and a glossy-painted interior that will make everything seem brighter, the new bubble’s vastly improved heating and condensation system should make tennis more enjoyable for everyone. After all, if this bubble is good enough for John McEnroe’s Lake Isle tennis facility—well, it’s good enough for Club Fit! “It’s going to be a whole new experience, ”notes Hal.
JV’s slender, soft-spoken tennis director certainly has had a wide range of experiences. Born in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Hal attended Catholic school and was around 12 years old when he began picking up tennis balls behind his older brother, Yves. Eventually, Hal—the youngest of four brothers—became the “beneficiary” of Yves tennis wisdom. “He gave me two lessons, and after that, I was on my own,” Hal says with a smile. “So I hit against the wall.” Soon, Hal’s friends also began playing tennis, but the game took on greater importance during the military coups that followed the departure of Jean Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. “School was sometimes closed because of political issues, but I was busy with sports, ” he says.
Along the way, Toussaint became friends with Ronald Agenor, who represented Haiti on the professional tennis tour and in 1989 was the 22nd-ranked player in the world. Whenever Agenor returned to Haiti, he and Hal would hit together. “He didn’t like to play matches, but he’d just hit just for the fun,” Hal says. “He’s a good guy. I learned a lot from him—whether it’s in terms of playing or being a coach.” Around this time, Hal often did double duty: He’d train in the morning and compete in tournaments in the afternoon. Hal’s game improved to the point where he spent five years on the men’s satellite circuit. In 1992 Hal was ranked No. 4 in Haiti; in May 1996 he was ranked No.8 in the USTA’s men’s 25 and over. Things were going well—until tragedy struck. Hal was about to play in the finals of a men’s tournament in Florida when he learned that his brother Jacques was killed during political unrest in Haiti.
“That was a big turning point for me in my life,” he says. “We were very close. I stopped playing because I could not focus. Teaching was a way for me to escape, to help people, and to deal with what was going on. And here I am.”
After teaching in Florida for a few years, Toussaint was hired by Briarcliff in early 2003 to run their Advanced Tennis Performance (ATP) program for juniors. He became JV’s Director of Tennis later that year. When he came to Jefferson Valley the staff consisted of himself and two other people; today’s staff has four pros (Toussaint, Michael Chitu, Laura Gabella, and Paul Fielek) and an office manager (Alice Daly). The department has seen other changes as well. “When I first came, you could do a walk on nice and easy. We were not charging for courts. Then it came to the point where we had to charge because people were fighting for courts. So the courts have gotten a lot busier. Our club is small, but there is a lot happening.” On the adult level, approximately 100 people are signed up.
But the biggest happenings are with the younger players. Toussaint credits former tennis office manager Maureen Heaslip with helping to get the junior program off the ground; at its peak, three years ago, it had 150 members. The funny thing about kids, however, is that they grow up, graduate, and move on—so the program now has between 80-100 members. But new classes, like the 10 and under group session, have been created to pump fresh blood into the tennis pipeline. Since kids like to play with other kids, Hal believes that teaching tennis in a group setting is a win-win situation. When he isn’t giving lessons or clinics on court, Hal’s in the office doing the behind-the-scenes work (returning phone calls, answering e-mails and working on programming and scheduling) that keeps the tennis programs moving.
“We offer tennis at all levels–whether people want to play college or just for fun or whether they want to play competitively,” Hal says. “So that’s really our goal…to be the best program around. We’re small, but the work and the structure are great.”
Speaking of great, lately a few great things have been happening in Hal’s life. In November 2011 he became an American citizen. And recently–although they have yet to set a date—Hal asked his girlfriend, Sophie Moins, to marry him. Naturally, Sophie is a tennis player. And fortunately, she is also a member of Club Fit….so she’ll know just where to find her beloved. Because at 8 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon or 8 at night, Hal might very well be out there on the tennis court.
Proving once again, in every way possible, that tennis is all about love.
Two months ago, I lost the most important person in my life – my Mom. I am still struggling with the reality that she is gone. Every day comes with new challenges and opportunities to make her proud and live out her legacy. She was indeed a great woman.
As a result of my Mom’s battle with breast cancer, I made several trips to be by her side in South Africa. I haven’t truly updated my blog, and I must be honest – I have not been training. Finding out about my Mom’s diagnosis, truly hit me hard. It was as though my life literally stopped. Everything I held dear became of little importance and all I simply wanted to do was to be by her side. Even writing this short blog brings back so many memories and I am still missing her so dearly. Life is short and sometimes we take opportunities for granted – opportunities of showing affection, placing a call and sending our loved ones a text telling them that we love them. Fortunately, I always did that with my Mom – and I SO miss doing it again. I am back in the US now and the mountain I am about to climb in a couple of months from now will not only be for our children BUT also for my Mom.
I dedicate this last paragraph to her as an endearing gesture for the woman that she was:
I am so proud to be your son. Not a day goes by that I do not long to hear your voice, feel your touch and simply say, “I love you.” You taught me how to love, treat people with respect, care for the needy and destitute, brush my teeth, tie my shoelaces, sign my name and so much more. I will forever treasure these memories and I will never forget the life lessons and values that you’ve instilled in me. Mom, as I climb, I do so for you. Every step I am about to take will be a step of victory, knowing that you will be with me. You were in so much pain but through it all, you stayed strong and you fought a good fight. I will always love you and I am so thankful to have had you as my Mom. Your legacy will live on in and through me, dad, your daughters and grandchildren. I will NEVER forget you – LOVE you so much! Your Son, Kurt
Here’s what Lynn has to say, “I am so glad to be back at Physical Therapy at Briarcliff located inside Club Fit. The staff is always so warm and welcoming. It has been a long road back and along the way I have acquired many skills that I am excited to share with the entire Club Fit community.
My career as a Physical Therapist and Yoga Instructor has inspired me to study Women’s Health Physical Therapy and Osteopathic techniques. As a Women’s Health Physical Therapist, I am able to provide women help and treatment with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders of the pelvic region. Conditions that are often difficult to treat and even to discuss include chronic pelvic pain, sexual pain and dysfunction; and incontinence. Some of these pain conditions severely interfere with a patient’s entire life and cause problems with work, relationships and self-esteem. However, with treatment, these conditions can be helped and a patient can return to a normal daily life.
In addition to my love for Yoga; knowledge of energy systems, mindfulness and each individual’s ability to heal from within, this has inspired me to learn and incorporate Osteopathic techniques with my patients. These techniques include: 1) Visceral manipulation, which helps improve the organ’s mobility by using a very gentle pressure to the organ being treated, and allows the body to function more efficiently; 2) Craniosacral therapy for balancing the nervous system and to reduce chronic pain and relieve tension caused by stress or chronic medical conditions; 3) Myofascial Release techniques which work gently on the fascial tissues of the body; and allow for subtle areas of tightness or restrictions in the body to release; and 4) Reiki techniques to balance the body’s energy imbalances and restore positive energy back into the body. This is accomplished by utilizing “zero balancing” to energize or relax the patient depending on what the patient needs at each session.
These techniques have been shown in studies to improve bowel and bladder dysfunction and decrease musculoskeletal pain. I work strictly on the “Whole” person approach to Physical Therapy, finding where the dysfunction is coming from. Whether you come to me for knee pain, back pain or pelvic dysfunction your story and your body leads to your healing.”
For more information and to schedule an appointment please call Physical Therapy at Briarcliff (914) 762 – 2222. www.ptrehab.com. Most Insurance plans accepted.
Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist at Club Fit Jefferson Valley
We often pick one approach over the other… exercise more so you can eat more, or eat less so you can exercise less. But a healthier approach, especially with the calorie-heavy, time-consuming holidays around the corner, is to balance your exercise and nutrition. They work together to get you optimal results, whether you are trying to lose weight or just maintain.
Just ask Cathy DiSomma, who joined the Club Fit Jefferson Valley staff this summer. Cathy, a Registered Dietitian, certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health (ACSM) Fitness Specialist, is very excited to help our members out. She has an undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from Fordham University, and earned her Master’s degree in the same at Lehman College. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College.
Cathy will be playing an integral part in the club’s Healthy Holidays program, a new version of our popular Merry Maintenance program from past years. “I’ve already gotten very good input from the Club Fit members on what they are interested in, from a survey I put out for possible presentation topics, and interaction at informational tables and presentations,” says Cathy. “The topics we’ve come up with are very diverse, from food allergies to proper diet for athletes, healthy lunches, and post-cancer nutrition.”
Healthy Holidays will be a bit different from Merry Maintenance. There is no weigh-in or weigh-out, just a focus on maintaining healthy habits and keeping members moving during the holiday season. Cathy is working closely with Fitness Director Joelle Letta on weekly emails that will be sent to participants on topics such as maintaining a fitness routine, better food and drink choices, low calorie recipes, reducing holiday stress, and keeping up the motivation to stay on track.
According to Cathy, statistics show an average 5- to 6-pound weight gain through the holiday season. It starts with munching on Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving feasts, followed by Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Christmas, then the big finale, New Year’s. Some helpful topics Cathy wants to cover include how to approach holiday party food and drinks as a guest, how to offer healthy options if you are hosting, alternate recipes for high-calorie or high-fat dishes, and portion control. “People are very interested in portion control at this time of year. You don’t want to skip your favorites, but you don’t want to overdo it, either,” says Cathy.
“We felt the weigh-in and weigh-out process may have intimidated some people who were just interested in maintaining their weight through the holidays. What makes this program fun is that you can earn points for activities throughout the club, and for each 100 points you are entered into a raffle for great prizes rewarding your efforts,” says Cathy. No limit on entries!
Beyond Healthy Holidays, Cathy is enjoying working with the entire population at Club Fit. Even the staff members are using her as a resource. “Instructors and trainers have many questions that come to them from their clients,” says Cathy. “They want to be in the know on nutrition, so they can help our members separate fact from fallacy.” There is so much information out there that it can be confusing for everyone, even the professionals! “We can give them the real story.”
Outside of Club Fit, Cathy is also Fitness Director at Kendal on Hudson, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Sleepy Hollow, on the campus of Phelps Memorial Hospital. Her schedule is flexible, allowing her to also serve our Club Fit members, and she loves the combination of jobs because it allows her to work with people of all ages with a variety of needs. “I so enjoy working with the seniors at Kendal, but then I can mix up my day at Club Fit working with kids, athletes, and other seniors with other issues and questions.” She also notes that Kendal and Club Fit share many of the same values and practices, and Club Fit Briarcliff has shared space in the past with Kendal residents when they are in need of the pool. “Both are very community-oriented, and I’m proud to be a part of organizations that have that focus.”
Cathy, a resident of Ossining, loves the outdoors, and is an avid hiker and cyclist. She also loves Pilates, and is certified to teach but that has taken a back seat to her work helping others with fitness and nutrition. She is available evenings and weekends, but her schedule is flexible if those hours don’t suit your schedule. Cathy looks forward to hearing from you, and can be reached 914-245-4040, ext. 1214 or email@example.com if you would like to set up a consult or would like more information on Healthy Holidays. “It’s great that the fitness and nutrition connection is finally coming full circle,” says Cathy. “Our goal at Club Fit is to help our members reach their goals, and by incorporating knowledge from both areas, we can do that!”
The Fall has arrived and that means prime running weather. The air is crisp and cool and this means it’s easier to dig a little deeper, exploring your limits as runner . . . just do it safely. Yes, you will find it easier on these cooler days to step up the pace, but do so in a considered way. It’s too easy to feel that extra seasonal bounce and go out too hard, without a warm-up, or to push that long run at too frisky a pace and then regret it later. There are lots of races in the Fall and it’s a great idea to pick one, a month or more down the road, and use the favorable conditions to build your strength and speed. Incorporate intervals and tempo runs twice a week and maybe even venture onto the track, where the real nitty gritty gets done. Put a stopwatch to your workouts and see exactly where you stand. It’s a good time to meet with other runners, outdoors, to push each other into that zone where the body really starts to transform. It’s also a good time of year to shift some runs to the morning. The evening light is going away and soon enough the clocks will shift. If you’re used to getting up early for a run, surviving the winter in good shape becomes a real possibility. In short, get out outside, enjoy the perfect temperatures and push yourself. Dress for the temperature, hydrate, even if you don’t feel as thirsty as you did in August, and make sure your shoes are still in decent shape. Go for it – this is the time!
Tim received a B.F.A. from Syracuse University, he is an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer and a certified Heartsaver CPR/AED.
Tim’s specialties include Running, Cross Country, Track and Roads, Triathlon, Swim, Bike, Run, TRX. Some of his hobbies are Trail running, Hiking, Kayaking, Cooking, Gardening, Music and Art.
Do you have questions for Tim? Ask him in the comments!
I am thrilled to be able to celebrate a special milestone today. So far, on my journey of health and recovery, I have lost a total of FIFTY pounds, and after two and a half years, I am STILL cancer-free!!
When I started out on my fitness journey, weight loss was not my primary goal. I didn’t even buy a scale until a year ago (check out this post from last year about my scale-buying experience.) I just wanted to be healthy, and to be able to do some of the physical activities that I did before I fell ill. More than anything, I wanted to be in fighting shape, so if cancer came knocking again, I could knock it down with one punch. At the time, I certainly didn’t feel like a fighter – but now I do.
Being plagued by health problems for so long led me to have serious doubts that I could ever become a “healthy person” again. I thought I was stuck being a “sick person”, because I really didn’t believe that my body could recover from everything it had been through. It breaks my heart, even as I type these words, that I could ever think or feel that way about myself – but I did. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that Club Fit saved me.
In addition to the incredible support of my family and friends, I am so grateful to have had the support of Club Fit and its stellar staff. Every group fitness instructor who shouted a motivating phrase, every trainer I have worked with who helped me get a little bit better every day, and every staff member who flashes me a thumbs-up when I’m sunk down on a bench, totally exhausted, has helped me on my way to being a healthier, happier me! I still have a long way to go, but now I know that it’s possible.
Celebrating this milestone gives me the opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come. It reminds me that fitness and good health are within my grasp, and that I am empowered with the tools to obtain them! Taking the first step towards better health and fitness is the greatest gift I have ever given myself, and I’m so glad I did it.
What a wonderful way for Club Fit JV to celebrate the last Grand Slam of the season with our US Open Round Robin and BBQ from late afternoon to under the lights on a balmy summer August day!
Tennis fun at Club Fit Jefferson Valley
The event began with some of our junior players and their parents show casing their fancy footwork and court coverage. When their play time came to an end, Hal and Paul played an exhibition match that took our breath away with blistering serves and volleys not to be believed! During this time, Diane Rich and Peter were preparing the first round of BBQ for our early participants.
As dusk began to settle, JV tennis players began to arrive for the evening festivities. Hal got our players on the courts to begin the Round Robin Slam. Music was playing while ground strokes were being finessed and lobs were peppering the sky.
Diane’s delicious BBQ was enjoyed between rounds of play outdoors and indoors keeping 25 members moving the entire evening. The evening ended with raffle prizes galore and everyone having a fabulous time.
Thanks to our team of our awesome Tennis Pros and Staff, this was a fantastic event! We all had a great time providing our Tennis members and their friends and families an enjoyable evening at Club Fit JV.
Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn
In this day and age, turning a negative into a positive is definitely a reason to celebrate. This October, local nonprofit Support Connection is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first Support-A-Walk for Breast & Ovarian Cancer. This grassroots event today draws close to 10,000 participants, and laid the foundation for the organization itself, which opened its doors in the Roma Building in Yorktown Heights in September of 1996.
One of the driving forces behind Support Connection is Executive Director and Club Fit member Kathy Quinn, who was inspired to get involved after attending that first walk in 1995 in support of a close friend who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She found out about the walk while researching support services for her friend, and was moved by the turnout, which quadrupled the expected numbers from 200 to 800. She reached out to walk organizers Nancy Heller and Rich Adamski, and together with other supporters came up with the idea to use the funds raised to start up Support Connection as an educational and emotional resource for breast and ovarian cancer patients. The rest is history. “The unique thing about our organization’s model is that all of our professional Peer Counselors are cancer survivors,” says Kathy. “When we began, our idea was to give patients access to others who had gone through the same experience, and could truly understand their situation.” Support Connection has stayed true to that model to this day.
“Because we work very hard to operate within a very modest budget and use volunteers to assist with fundraising and outreach, nearly 90 percent of all funds raised goes directly to funding our free, confidential programs and services. I am blessed every day to see what a difference is being made, how a difficult situation can be helped by offering an anchor to someone in need.” Today, the number of support groups has grown to twelve, and services are offered nationwide. What started as a local resource is now an educational and emotional support system for thousands, with well over 5,000 people benefitting from the services offered to date. In our area, many take advantage of the one-on-one and group counseling, wellness seminars, toll-free educational teleconferences, and social workshops offered, including a yoga class held on Saturdays at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, for which Club Fit donates space.
“Club Fit has been a staunch supporter for many years, also sponsoring our golf outing,” says Kathy. “It’s really wonderful how they promote good overall health throughout our community, to all populations and age groups. Our survival is based on the support we get from local individuals and businesses like Club Fit.” Kathy, a Shrub Oak resident, is passionate about Support Connection’s mission, often working nights and weekends. “It’s so rewarding to see the end product of the work we do,” she says. “I come back every day for that reason.” She also devotes time to her husband, four children and two grandchildren, and tries to take time to take care of herself, using the Fitness Center and Aquatics Center at Club Fit. “I now understand the value of places like Club Fit, not just for the cancer patient, but also for the entire family,” she says. “Going to the gym is a step in the right direction for anyone physically, but it’s also a great stress reliever for those either going through or supporting a family member or friend going through cancer treatments.”
As successful as Support Connection has been, there is still much work to be done. “Our ongoing challenge is that while people value the support we provide, they don’t put a dollar amount on it,” says Kathy. “So much of the money that is raised in other nonprofits is used to fund research, but the emotional support our programs provide is also so critical in a cancer patient’s journey.” Kathy’s friend Isabel, who was the reason for Kathy attending that first walk, passed away not long after Support Connection was established, but Kathy considers her the inspiration that keeps her going. “Every day I work in loving memory of Isabel,” she says. And at every walk, the thousands of participants and volunteers are working and walking to honor those who have won as well as those who have lost the battle against breast and ovarian cancer.
For more information on how you can get involved or how you can access the services offered by Support Connection, visit www.supportconnection.org, or call the Support and Information Hotline at 1-800-532-4290. You can also register for or make a donation to this year’s Support-A-Walk, to be held at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights on Sunday, October 5th, on the website. If you have never attended, Kathy highly recommends that you come, if just to experience the camaraderie. “As big as our event has become, the wonderful thing about it is that we are all there as one big family, celebrating and paying tribute to loved ones and letting people dealing with cancer know we are walking right beside them.”
Joy Cain joined Club Fit in 2001 as a member, then five years later was hired to work in reception at Jefferson Valley. After six years behind the reception desk, Joy left it to return to her first loves, writing and editing. Joy also enjoys going to the movies, listening to gospel and R&B music, and reading the occasional trashy novel. Now once again a member of Club Fit, when she isn’t swimming or taking a yoga class, Joy can be spotted on the tennis court in search of that elusive down-the-line passing shot. Sadly, she hasn’t found it yet.
As a company, Club Fit is committed to making environmentally responsible decisions when it comes to our business operations and choices in products. We are happy to fill you in about the latest project we have started at Club Fit Jefferson Valley! We are having new carpeting installed. Not only is it a nice change, but the carpeting itself is made of recycled fishing nets through a project called “Net-Works.”
Here’s a little more about the project straight from the source: “The innovative collaboration of Interface, Inc. and the Zoological Society of London, called Net-Works™, has been created to tackle the growing problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities. By establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded nets, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers while providing Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.” (Source: Net-Works Project)
Did you know that one in five children is overweight or obese by age 6?
You can help.
As parents, your role as a mentor and educator for your child are essential influencers in their lives. Help them learn habits that prevent childhood obesity and can keep them healthy for life.
Focus on a few goals:
1. Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
2. Screen Time: Try and limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day.
3. Food: Incorporate fruits or vegetables at every meal and eat foods closest to the original form
Ex> potato instead of mashed potatoes, or potato chips.
4. Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugary drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
5). Sleep: Be sure children get adequate sleep. It is essential for proper functioning. At least 8 hrs. Per night.
A recent viral video, “Rewind the Future”, has inspired us to write about the importance of healthy habits from the beginning of life.
We asked Fitness Director, Susie Reiner to share some thoughts with us and this is what she had to say . . .
“This video is a stark reminder of the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle not just for ourselves but for the people we care for in our day to day life. Wellness is a lifelong commitment to maintaining and improving the human body and in essence, its resilience to aging. In most instances, we are responsible for our own health and sooner or later succumb to the facts that a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity enhances our lives more than indulgent food and sedentary habits. When bringing children into the world, as this video depicts, it is a slippery slope to letting unhealthy habits reign supreme in a child’s life. It is the parent, guardian, schools, community, and youth programs’ responsibility to establish a healthy environment for children to flourish in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of the United States’ population is obese and the chances of an adult being overweight or obese is greatly influenced by the behavioral habits instilled with them as a child and adolescent. We have the power in our own lifetime to change the quality of life for the next generation through consistent efforts to support a healthy lifestyle. Including fitness and lifestyle activities in a child’s life and developing a healthy relationship with wholesome food is crucial at an early age. And remember, it is never too late to make a change; health complications can be prevented by taking small steps to a longer future.”
Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani
“One step at a time” is a common sense approach, but not everyone practices it. For a child with special needs, it’s a recipe for success. So says Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani, who teaches students of every age and skill level, but has a definite connection with this particular group of students.
Marc, a former mechanic who has been with Club Fit for five years and has been a swimming instructor for close to fifteen years, loves to see his students realize they can accomplish what once seemed out of reach. “I like breaking down their walls,” he says of his special needs students. “It’s especially rewarding when I hear parents say they can’t believe what their child is doing, milestones they couldn’t imagine reaching,” he says.
Most parents opt for private lessons, which is helpful because Marc can focus on a child’s particular needs. And “one step at a time” is key. “The first thing I focus on is getting them to be comfortable with me,” he says. He tries to schedule these lessons when the Aquatics Center is quiet, so the student doesn’t have to deal with sensory overload. On the other hand, a certain amount of distraction can sometimes be helpful with children who are nervous about being in the water. “One of my students had a previous bad experience, so I gave him things to do like counting drills to take his mind off of being in the pool.” Another boy would get in the water but actual swimming was a particular challenge…today he is comfortable swimming in all areas of the pool. “I try to get the kids to let their guard down and just relax,” says Marc.
Kaleb is a current student whose grandmother Linda Schulman can’t say enough about the strides he’s made. Kaleb, who turns three on August 2, had a stroke at a very early age, leaving him with motor issues, and one side of his body weak and less functional. Hoping swim lessons would strengthen him, but not completely optimistic, Linda turned to Marc, and has seen improvement in the short amount of time that Marc has worked with her grandson. “Kaleb has a great attitude, and our sessions got even better after I realized that he sometimes uses sign language to communicate,” said Marc, who now supplements his vocal praise with encouraging signs. “We focus a lot on getting him to use his left side more, since that is his weaker side.” Linda is extremely happy with his progress. “Kaleb is almost fearless in the water now,” she says.
Marc’s experience includes more than 10 years of competitive swimming, including Junior Olympic, County and State meets. He currently has a diverse clientele at the club, including everyone from his special needs kids, to triathletes, to seniors. He also serves as Assistant Coach for the Club Fit Swim Team under Head Coach Bill Walsh, and has seen a great improvement with the team. “We had some work to do, but the kids are starting to come together and I’m excited about the upcoming season,” he says, which begins in September.
As for kids like Kaleb, Marc will continue to work his magic and help them achieve what once seemed impossible. “It’s great to see the kids succeed,” he says. “They come in thinking they have so many limitations, and realize that it’s not so hard to overcome them.” For more information on programs available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adaptive Swim Coach Helen Peters with happy student Adam
“I DID IT!” Those three words are probably the sweetest three words a parent can hear from a child with special needs. And it’s a phrase that Club Fit’s Helen Peters has the privilege of hearing from her students in the Adaptive Swim program.
Helen, who has been a swim instructor at Club Fit for more than 20 years, is also a Special Education teacher in the Newburgh School District. When Club Fit decided to incorporate the Adaptive Swim lessons into the Aquatics programming about seven years ago, Helen’s experience in both teaching and swim made her the perfect candidate to teach. She holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Fordham University, and has been a swim instructor since the age of 16.
“We teach kids all along the spectrum, and we try to group the kids by age and ability,” says Helen. Some parents prefer to do private or semi-private lessons, but the 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio does allow Helen to give each child the needed attention. The small-group classes are offered three days a week, and are available to members and nonmembers.
Helen works with each child in the group and modifies her approach based on each child’s limitations. She is currently working with two blind children, who cannot see her directions so she needs to actually do the movements with them. Some children have sensory issues, which may require trying different types of goggles to see which are more comfortable, as well as a little more time to get used to the water. Helen has actually found that with most kids, the water is a soothing environment. “The water can calm them down, and usually the hardest part of the entire lesson is at the end, when they don’t want to get out of the pool!” she says.
There have been students as young as three years old, including two three-year-olds with cerebral palsy. The program is available to kids up to age 13. “It’s a unique program that isn’t offered many places,” says Helen. “Our students run the gamut, from those afraid of the water to those who can do laps on their own, but at whatever level it is so rewarding to see their sense of accomplishment.” One student recently passed the Aquatics Center swim test required for him to swim independently in the pool. Another, who is blind and started out with a fear of swimming, recently mastered jumping in the pool by himself. Others are involved in sports programming outside the club, and Helen loves to hear about their accomplishments out of the water. “The kids get so much out of any activity where they can work toward a goal, not matter how big or small, and master it.”
Helen, married and a mother of three, lives in Peekskill and uses the club herself to keep in shape. She does cardio and plays racquetball, in addition to her time in the Aquatics Center. “People sometimes don’t recognize me outside of the pool!” she says.
The next session of Adaptive Swim will begin September 8. If your child or someone you know would benefit from this unique program, please contact Kristina Wolak at email@example.com. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, including Helen! Visit us online to learn more about Adaptive Swim Lessons and to register!