The Benefits of The Kettlebell Swing: One hand or two?

By Master Trainer, Jennifer Schildwachter

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher


The kettlebell swing has been found to bring forth therapeutic relief by preventing further injury and relieving pain. It also can have a corrective benefit, coupled with natural physics, which demands correct spine mechanics throughout the actual swing. The kettlebell swing also reinforces proper functional spine mechanics and in some studies, it has helped back pain sufferers. From a corrective standpoint, kettlebells can be a great tool for individuals with prior low back, shoulder, knee and ankle injuries.

So how does one embark on a kettlebell program? Does the person start with heavy or light weight? Does that same person, start with one handed grip or two?

In general, the kettlebell swing targets practically every muscle in your body, but in particular those of the posterior side; glutes, hamstrings and back. It would make logical sense the more muscles you can hit or fire in one go around with the kettlebell, the more energy(calorie expenditure) is required to fuel the movement. Kettlebell swings are huge fat burners as well as great for your posture.

So if the swing in general is so great, why would it matter if you wanted to do a two handed or one handed swing?

The one handed swing offers similar benefits of the two handed swing plus:

1) The one handed swing helps to recruit smaller and stabilizing shoulder muscles that help keep your shoulder joint in correct position and safely in its socket. That is the main reason, from a rehabilitative and corrective standpoint, the one handed swing is great to strengthen each shoulder and prevent future shoulder injuries.
2) Using the one handed kettlebell swing puts more rotational torque or rotational through the core muscles resulting in additional core recruitment.
3) When using the one handed kettlebell swing it basically doubles the amount of grip strength required to keep hold of the actual kettlebell. As we age, grip diminishes and it’s important to look after a steady and firm grip. Grip strength tends to illustrate a natural sign of overall full body strength.

So if you’re looking forward to starting a kettlebell program or you are incorporating them into your current routine, but don’t know where to begin with utilizing a one handed grip, it’s important to acknowledge mastering the double handed grip first before going to a single handed grip.

In general, there are so many wonderful benefits to kettlebell swinging and in some circles it’s almost revered as a “practice”. The Swing is dynamic and mechanical, but when done correctly, it is an art form because it demands perfect muscle activation which in turn protects and stabilizes the body.

Whether you wish to swing for fun, fitness or corrective reasons, swing with two hands first then ease your way into a one handed grip and stay in that sequence as you begin progressing to heavier kettlebells. So swing away!!

Double Arm Kettlebell Swing:

Single Arm Kettlebell Swing:

If you are interested in taking your training to the next level, Jen is currently teaching Kettlebells, Straps, Boards and Beyond. That is a great way to challenge yourself and change up old workouts. Not sure about taking a class, but would like some individual attention? Jen is available for personal trainings as well! Feel free to send her an email at jschildwachter@clubfit.com or call her extension at Club Fit Jefferson Valley: 914.245.4040 ext. 1216.

Oops! I did it again! Having your children wear swim liners is better for you, the environment and the pools!

Swim Liners at Club Fit
By: Ruth Garcia, Aquatics Director
Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 3.14.24 PM

Club Fit strives to provide our members and guests with the safest and cleanest facilities possible. In an effort to pool schedules running smoothly, Club Fit Briarcliff’s Aquatics Department has rolled out a new swim liner policy.

What is the new swim liner policy?

Accidents happen! In order to prevent as many fecal related incidents in the pools as possible, all children ages 4 and under are now required to wear 2 Reusable Finis Cloth Liners when using the pools. They are available for purchase at the Service Desk and in the Aquatics Center. Please do not use the pools or club if you or your child are showing any sign of a gastrointestinal illness. We take keeping a safe and clean pool environment very seriously. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruthie, the Aquatics Director, at (914) 250-2796 or rgarcia@clubfit.com. We are asking all our members to help us by making sure your child is wearing these great Finis!

Here are some benefits of using Finis Reusable Cloth Diapers:

1. They are reusable! Great news for the environment and for your wallet! Go green, use them at home and at other public pools over and over!
2. They are machine washable . . . no hand washing needed. Just throw it in with your laundry and your all set!
3. They are very effective at containing accidents. Unlike disposables which can leak and even fall apart in the water!
4. They are a comfortable material, just like a bathing suit! It’s not like wearing those bulky disposables which will make your child feel good!

Accidents happen, but why the change?

Due to the volume of swimmers in our pools, we have increased likelihood to have fecal related incidents over the course of time. In the past, our policy required children age 3 and under to wear two disposable swim liners, and we found that this policy was not effectively decreasing our incidents. We have found that disposable diapers are not the most effective way to prevent contamination.

Why is it important for us to prevent Accidental Fecal Release (AFRs)?

When we have a fecal related incident in a pool, we have to shut our pools down properly clean and treat the water. We are trying to minimize having to do this to enhance your experience with us!

Where can I pick up Finis Swim Liners for my kids?
Finis Swim Liners are conveniently available for purchase at our service desk for 2 for $24. You can also purchase them online from various vendors!

Jack Normoyle collects donations for local food pantry.

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Junior Club Fit member Jack Normoyle forgoes birthday gifts  to collect donations for local food pantry.

Jack Normoyle supports local food pantry

Jack and his mom, Suzanne, at Club Fit.

Ask any kid what their favorite thing about birthdays is, and the answer will invariably be, “Presents!” Number two on the list is probably parties. Nine-year-old Club Fit Jefferson Valley member Jack Normoyle decided to change things up, skipping the presents and using his party as a vehicle to help the needy.

Jack, who will be going into the fourth grade at Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, held his Minecraft-themed birthday party at the club in May, opting for the Surf & Turf package for his friends. But instead of sitting back and collecting presents from the partygoers, he asked them to bring a nonperishable food donation for the Church of the Holy Spirit Food Pantry in Cortlandt Manor, part of the Food Bank of Westchester. And this isn’t the first time he’s done this. He did the same at his 7th birthday party.

“Jack saw a Facebook post from one of my friends mentioning the idea, and decided he wanted to help people out by doing the same,” says Jack’s mom, Suzanne. “The work that the food pantry does makes a difference in our community, and Jack has seen for himself that what he is doing matters.” The Holy Spirit Food Pantry services approximately 160 families, helping to feed about 600 people.

“I was surprised to see how much food people brought!” says Jack. “It made me happy to help out the people who really needed it.” Suzanne and Jack delivered the food a few days later, and the staff was understandably appreciative, as well as impressed by Jack’s generosity. “The ladies at the pantry definitely make a fuss over Jack!” says Suzanne. As they should!

The Normoyle family, residents of Cortlandt Manor, joined Club Fit just this past March, but have quickly become regulars. Suzanne comes to the club about three days a week, and is working with a Personal Trainer to get her fitness routine back on track. She uses the Fitness Center and Women’s Fitness Area, and husband John is working on getting more time in around his work schedule.

Jack is definitely getting his time in, doing the Junior Cycle kids’ cycle class on Mondays, and the Yoga for Kids class on Wednesdays. “It used to be all girls, but more boys are doing it now,” he says. He also enjoys the Energy Center, where he’s made some new friends, and is looking forward to attending Energy Camp this summer. “I don’t really have a favorite thing, I just like that there are a lot of different things to do here,” he says. He also enjoys basketball, soccer and karate.

We could all take a lesson from this fourth-grader, whose willingness to help is benefitting so many of the neighbors we often forget about. Hopefully other young people in our community will get wind of Jack’s act of kindness and follow his lead! For more information on the programs run by the Food Bank of Westchester and how to contribute, visit www.foodbankforwestchester.org. And if you run into Jack, give him a well-deserved pat on the back!

Fueling Your Workout

by Registered Dietitian, Kristen Klewen Kristin

As a Registered Dietitan at Club Fit, I frequently get asked, “What should I eat before and after a workout?” This question depends on the client, but there is some common knowledge I can share that apply pre- and post-workout nutrition when it comes to fueling your workout!

1. Don’t skip the carbohydrates!
• Carbohydrates are known as fuel for your “engine” (ex. Muscles). The harder you work your engine, the more carbohydrates you need.

2. How soon should you be eating before a workout?
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to not eat immediately before you workout, because while your muscles are trying to function, your stomach is simultaneously trying to digest the food. This competition of demands is a challenge for optimal performance. Eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train or play. Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, depending on how your body tolerates food. Experiment and see what time frame works best for your body. If you’re a competitive athlete, this is something you need to explore during your training days and not during game day. Notice that each of the suggestions below includes protein and carbohydrate. We know that carbohydrates are fuel, and are a necessary part of our diet. Protein is what rebuilds and repairs, but also “primes the pump” to make the right amino acids available for your muscles. Getting protein and carbohydrates into your system is even more vital post workout.
• Below are some suggestions for pre-workout fuel:
– A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
– Greek yogurt with berries
– Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
– Apple and peanut or almond butter
– Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins: one part nuts)

3. Post Workout Nutrition:
Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or game, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost. What to do?
• As soon as possible post workout, get carbs and protein immediately into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.
• I suggest fueling within 15 to 20 minutes post training with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery, eating a regular mixed meal 3 to 4 hours after.
• Post-workout meals include:
– Post-workout recovery smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit)
– Low-fat chocolate milk
– Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
– Yogurt with berries

4. Take Home Points
• Your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your working muscles.
• Protein is there to help build and repair.
• Get a combination of the two in your body 1 to 3 hours pre-workout and within 20 minutes or so post-workout.
• Never try anything new on race or game day!! It’s always best to experiment during training to learn what works best for your body.

Welcome New Club Fit Briarcliff Manor Staff

 

20150429 Jean BlackmanJean Blackman

Briarcliff Manor Massage Therapist

Jean has advanced training in techniques which support recovery from injury, illness and trauma.  She has worked with Cancer patients at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC to relieve stress and pain.  She also has a special interest in providing massage therapy for the senior citizen community, and is a firm believer in the benefits of massage therapy in promoting lifelong health and vitality.

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20150506 JordanLassiterJordan Lassiter

Briarcliff Manor Lifeguard

Jordy likes animals, fishing swimming and snowboarding.  He loves working on computers in his free time, and resolving any issues that arise.  Jordy loves the friendliness of the Club Fit staff.  The staff genuinely seem to care for the members well being!

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20150511 GermanTeneGerman Tene

Briarcliff Manor Maintenance Worker

You know him as Reinaldo.  He has worked 13 years with Club Fit as an independent worker.  He likes to work – that is his hobby!  He has twenty plus years experience in all phases of construction and landscaping.

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20150526 VilmaVilma Scutari

Briarcliff Manor Retail Shop Worker

Vilma is a mom of 2 boys, ages 12 and 14. She has worked in retail for 5 years and is excited to join the Club Fit Shop team.

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 20150526 JessicaJessica Jaroff

Briarcliff Manor Lifeguard

Jess loves swimming, singing, reading, and cooking.  Her Professional expertise is in Childcare, sales and teaching.  She is really impressed with the cleanliness and size of the facility here at Club Fit.  She says our staff is really welcoming and personable.

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20150526 MikeMichael Vasquez

Briarcliff Manor Intern

Mike joins us as an Intern this summer.  He has played Varsity Basketball at Briarcliff High School. He would help out with the team workout, and enjoyed that very much.  He was called Big Mike throughout most of High School.  Mike loves to have fun, but still get in a great workout.  He enjoys shocking the muscles by doing a new workout. His passions are workout out and exercise, but he also loves playing basketball with my friends and seeing a good action movie.

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20150601 AnthonyCorvedduAnthony Corveddu

Briarcliff Manor Counterperson

Anthony is a returning Club Fit staff member.  He enjoys history and fashion.

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20150601 GabrielaMiceliGabriela Miceli

Briarcliff Manor Receptionist

Gabriela is a student at Mercy College. She is majoring in behavioral science.

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20150601 Stephen LevandoskiStephen Levandoski

Briarcliff Manor Receptionist

Steve is an avid weight lifter who also enjoys playing basketball. He graduated from Lakeland High School in 2010. Before joining the Club Fit team, he worked as a lifeguard and at Panera Bread.

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20150605 RussellBroderickRussell Broderick

Briarcliff Manor Lifeguard

Russell loves the NBA and WWE.  He possesses a degree in Journalism.  He really appreciates the environment and atmosphere at Club Fit.

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 20150611 NancyPerrettaNancy Perretta

Briarcliff Manor Intern

Nancy loves exercising, hiking, swimming, traveling and reading.  Her expertise is in exercise physiology.  She loves how much Club Fit has to offer our members.

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Check out our new Jefferson Valley staff here>>  Welcome New JV Staff!

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Welcome New Club Fit Jefferson Valley Staff

 20150421 Aaron KortyAaron Korty

Jefferson Valley Fitness Coach

Aaron is excited to become a part of the Fitness team. He comes to us from the NYC police department. He loves running, skiing, hiking and snowboarding. Fitness has always been an important part of Aaron’s lifestyle.

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20150428 Nicole RausNicole Raus

Jefferson Valley Receptionist

Nicole has a passion for exercise and dance.  She is studying General Business at Iona College.  Nicole is also a cheerleading  coach in her spare time.  She loves Club Fit for the healthy environment it provides as well as our great staff presence.

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20150428 Megan Kaen Megan Kaen

Jefferson Valley Receptionist

Meg comes to the Reception staff with a passion for art and photography.  Her education is in graphic design and communication.  Meg enjoys Club Fit and the wide variety of options it offers to meet every person’s interest. Meg is happy to be part of our team.

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P1080204Ryan Moynihan

Jefferson Valley Group Fitness Department Cleaner

Ryan’s hobbies are dancing and DJ’ing.  His professional experience includes working with children.  He loves the weight room and pool at Club Fit.

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 20150430 JohnathanWilsonJohnathan Wilson

Jefferson Valley Tennis Professional

Jonathan comes to our Tennis family holding a top 10 ranking in Men’s Open Singles and Mixed Open Doubles.  Besides his many tennis titles, Jonathan enjoys skydiving and traveling in his spare time.  Jonathan is happy to be a part of Club Fit with our friendly staff. and healthy atmosphere!

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20150506 MeganBradburyMegan Bradbury

Jefferson Valley Receptionist

Megan re-joins us as she takes a short break from her studies in Public Relations.  Megan enjoys watching movies, going to the beach, and reading.  She loves being a part of Club Fit’s Exceptional Staff!

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20150527 ZacharyBrown (536x600)Zachary Brown

Jefferson Valley Lifeguard

Zach has been a member of Club Fit and admires the club’s passion for health.  He loves to work out and participates in team sports.

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20150527 AnneNewman (602x800)Anne Newman

Jefferson Valley Membership Representative

Anne joined our JV membership team as a Membership Representative on May 27, 2015.  She graduated from Suny New Paltz with a major in Psychology and comes to us with a wealth of retail experience.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, crew and spending time with her Doxen beagle mix, Charlie.  She has a passion for fitness and works out on a regular basis.  Anne is excited to helps others with their journey to good health.

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 20150605 LaurenStancoLauren Stanco

Jefferson Valley Child Care Worker and Party Host

Lauren is joining the energy center as a child care worker.  She loves listening to music and finding new artists.  She is also a die-hard Yankee fan and loves all things baseball!  She loves working with children.  Lauren says Club Fit offers an active environment and is a great place for kids to be involved and have fun!

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20150610 GregHorowitzGregory Horowitz

Jefferson Valley Parisi Performance Coach

Greg is returning to Club Fit as a Parisi Performance coach.  He has numerous fitness certifications and  enjoys football, Ju-Jitsu and weight training. He says that Club Fit is a great place to train – he’s been a member/employee on and off since he was about 10 years old!

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 20150610 AllissaSchutAlissa Schut

Jefferson Valley Counterperson

Alissa likes rugby, reading and learning.  She is studying psychology,wilderness education and therapeutic recreation.

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Check out our new Briarcliff Manor staff here>>  Welcome New Briarcliff Staff

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High-Protein Snacking

KristinBy Kristin Klewan, B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics

Studies show high-quality protein can improve satiety, help manage weight, and prevent chronic disease.

It seems as though snacking may have replaced baseball as America’s favorite pastime. National dietary surveys have found that about 90% of adults, 83% of adolescents, and 97% of children snack every day, sometimes several times per day. Whether or not that’s a good thing largely depends on the quality and quantity of the snacks being consumed. Many of the most common snacks, such as chips and soda, are high in both salt and sugar. It’s no coincidence then that increased snacking is associated with decreased protein intake. However, there’s much research to suggest that choosing snacks high in protein, rather than high in salt and sugar, could provide a host of health benefits.

Satiety and Weight Management
High-protein snacks, as well as balanced meals, have been linked to increased satiety. Protein-rich snacking may boost satiety and facilitate weight loss. In a longitudinal study, researchers gave 17 men and women with type 2 diabetes moderately high-protein morning and afternoon snacks (7 g to 12 g of protein) for four weeks, and compared the results with their normal eating habits for four weeks. The subjects who ate the two high-protein snacks lost a modest but significant amount of weight (1 kg) during the four-week period. Researchers noted that the subjects’ weight reduction occurred without changes in total energy intake.

In a study that examined the effect of high-protein snacking on satiety and appetite control, researchers found that healthy women who ate a high-protein yogurt snack (14 g of protein) in the afternoon experienced improved appetite control, satiety, and reduced subsequent food intake compared with eating other common, energy-dense, high-fat snacks.

Blood Glucose
High-protein snacks also can help maintain normal blood glucose levels. In a study of 20 healthy males, who were given a variety of mid-morning snacks, those given the snacks with the greatest protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, including plain yogurt and skim milk, had the lowest blood sugar levels. Researchers determined that the improvement in blood sugar was due to improved insulin action, rather than to increased concentrations of insulin.

Blood Pressure
A high-protein diet also may help lower the risk of developing hypertension. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g per day) had a 40% lower risk of high blood pressure compared with those consuming the least. Adults who consumed the most protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. Because high-protein snacks contribute to overall protein intake, based on the findings of this study, it would appear that high-protein snacks could aid in lowering blood pressure.

Athletic Performance
For athletes, protein powders and high-protein snacks are easy to find. But how necessary are they, and can they really improve performance? The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming high-quality protein, and singles out milk-derived whey protein isolate and casein, egg white powder, and soy protein isolate as proteins that provide essential amino acids that readily aid in muscle tissue synthesis.

Athletes should include protein at all meals and snacks, especially post workout. Ideally, 20 g of high-quality protein should be consumed within 45 minutes after exercise to promote the recovery process. Athletes demand a higher level of protein intake (1.2 to 1.4 g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.6 to 2 g/kg for strength athletes), and they have to work harder to obtain it, because of the larger quantities of high-protein foods they must consume, she adds. High-protein snacks, such as low-fat dairy foods or protein bars, are a good way to work more protein into the diet.

While dietary protein is important, research suggests that the combination of physical activity (eg, resistance, interval, stretching, and endurance) and 20 g of whey protein may be particularly beneficial for weight loss, fat loss, increasing lean body mass, and improving insulin resistance.

Protein Distribution
Just as important as consuming high-quality protein, is the time of day when it’s consumed. The typical American dietary pattern is a consumption of about three times more protein at dinner than at breakfast. Most Americans don’t eat an adequate amount of protein in the morning, which may cause decreased performance, hunger, and poor eating habits throughout the day.
Evenly distributing protein intake throughout the day has been found to be optimal.

The idea of 30% of daily protein intake at each meal is being promoted, with some protein snacks between meals.
Maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health, especially in older individuals. Research shows that proper protein distribution also may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass with age. To lower the risk, research suggests 25 g to 30 g of protein per meal in older people. Protein synthesis response is blunted in older adults when protein is less than 20 g per meal or snack, research suggests, so getting enough protein becomes even more important with age, she says.

Counseling Clients
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called micronutrients. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. Find sources of protein in Fish, Lean meats, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

I personally recommend to clients and patients to snack on foods that provide a good supply of protein compared with fat and carbohydrate, both for possible appetite and blood sugar control. Mix up your proteins throughout your meals, and make sure the rest of your meal is colorful (the more color in fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense).

If you have medical conditions or concerns, please consult your Club Fit Registered Dietitian, or your MD for further information. It is always recommended to consult an RD or MD before making any dramatic changes to your diet.

Learn more about Kristin, schedule an appointment and see what else is happening at the club!

Club Fit Members Love MYZONE!

I love that when I am away I can now track my progress (with MYZONE). While it is great to have it tied to the gym and I love seeing it on the screen, I do go away for the summers and this allows me to keep up with my training in a consistent manner. And as we all know with fitness, consistency is key!

There are places in the gym where there are no MYZONE screens or they can’t be viewed (TRX room, certain spin bikes, the new ellipticals). I just realized today, I can just put my phone on and track my progress! So if I am bopping around on different machines/classes, I can continuously monitor myself.

— Club Fit Member Danielle O’Reilly

Club Fit Walkers Take Manhattan!

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

It’s been an interesting road for this group of women — literally and figuratively!

Suzanne and Tess in Manhattan

Suzanne and Tess in Manhattan

Most goals, whether fitness-related or not, are met one step at a time. But Club Fit Briarcliff member Tess Cerra and her band of walkers have racked up MANY steps in reaching their goal: walking every street in Manhattan!

Sound like an insurmountable feat? It has taken this group of nine women, all members of the Chappaqua Neighbors Club, nearly three years to cover the approximately 1200-mile route, which they plan to complete in the next month. “We became more regimented as we went along,” says Tess. “Once we realized we could actually achieve our goal, we all became a little more obsessed with finishing!” One member is in charge of mapping out their routes, and distributes maps to each walker. Weather permitting, the group walks every Monday, and averages 6 miles per day.

But this isn’t their first project. And it is certainly not their last. The group first tackled the Old Croton Aqueduct route, which is approximately 37 miles long and ends in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. And after they tackle Manhattan, they plan to tackle the other boroughs of New York City, one by one.

Suzanne Keay, a member of the group who is also a member of Club Fit Briarcliff, says, “My endurance has definitely improved, and the mental boost we get from the camaraderie we have developed is priceless!” Tess adds, “Some walk a little harder than others, but we all have to keep up.”

One unexpected benefit the women have experienced is the fact that they have met many people along the way. Passers-by approach them to ask what they are doing, and some go out of their way to enlighten the women on interesting facts about their neighborhoods. “We’ve learned a lot!” says Tess. They have also have had a variety of culinary adventures, making sure a good lunch spot is part of the itinerary. Their favorite area? “The West Side was lovely,” says Tess. She says the most interesting road they traveled was a secret underground street in Chinatown that was once used by gangs.

When they’re not out walking, both Tess and Suzanne use various areas of Club Fit to work out. Both do The Circuit, with Tess favoring Aquatics and Tennis programming, and Suzanne using Group Fitness, the Hoist Roc-It circuit, and the Fitness Center. And as mentioned earlier, both are members of the 75-year-old Chappaqua Neighbors Club, of which the walking group is just one part. Tess heads up the organization’s cultural activities, and Suzanne is the club historian and works on the club’s newsletter.

How has the walking group added to their club experience? “I feel like I own Manhattan!” says Suzanne. The group has also gotten some press, with a profile in the Journal News and an appearance in USA Today, where they were pictured with well-known historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose publicist they came across on one of their walks.

It’s been an interesting road for this group of women — literally and figuratively! — but they haven’t reached the end of their journey! If you see Tess or Suzanne at the Club, congratulate them on their achievement, and be sure to find out where they are headed next!

 

Tips for Water Safety this Memorial Day and All Summer Long!

Memorial Day is coming up and this is the time of year people begin opening their pools for the Summer. To ensure your family has a happy and safe Memorial Day and a great Summer packed with Swimming, here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe all season long!

Here is some helpful advice from Club Fit Briarcliff Aquatics Director, Ruth Garcia!

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 3.14.24 PM If you are a pool owner, make sure your pool is surrounded by an adequate fence or barrier to protect your family as well as potential wanderers.

Children should start learning to swim around 2.5 years of age. We recommend starting even sooner with infant/parent classes to get them acclimated to the water.

If swimming in an unsupervised area, make sure you have another person with you. Children should never be unattended.

Do not consume alcohol while swimming. It impairs coordination, judgement and your ability to function normally in an aquatic environment.

Use Coast Guard approved gear and non-inflatable pool toys and swim aids. Inflatable floatation devices pose an increased risk of drowning as they are prone to popping. We also do not recommend using mermaid-like/uni-fin fins. This new trend is cute, but not necessarily safe as it positions the body in an unnatural way and has the potential to cause a distressed swimmer.

Be sure to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Here are some suggestions from the American Cancer Society on how to stay safe in the sun!

Sign up for a CPR class so you are prepared in the event there is an emergency. Click here for dates in May.

If you need further information on water safety, visit the American Red Cross for their top recommendations.

Interested in swim lessons at Club Fit? Contact braquatics@clubfit.com or call and speak to someone in our Aquatics department for more information! Club Fit Briarcliff: 914.762.3444 ex. 2108)

Circuit Training Can Get the Job Done!

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher


By Jennifer Schildwachter

Timed Circuit Stations can get the job done for most at the gym!

Circuit training can be a time efficient and challenging form of body conditioning that develops strength, endurance (aerobic and anaerobic), flexibility and coordination all in one exercise bout. The term coined “circuit” actually describes the way in which the work out is structured. It usually consists of a series of exercises or “stations” completed in a timed succession with minimal rest in between.

Circuits are great because it allows the trainer or coach to become imaginative and add more variety to the training programs. Interval training tends to focus one exercise like cycling or running. However in a timed circuit you can run through a variety of exercises that focus on strength, stabilization, agility, flexibility and power.

A circuit can be used for general fitness, basic strength and for strength endurance. Depending if the circuit is for a sports specific need or for muscular endurance, you may have a varied work out based on criteria like; rest intervals, the number of exercises used and the number of circuit sessions needed to complete one total work out session at the gym.

Many advantages to a timed circuit station as it can help incinerate fat, promote stabilization and flexibility, maximize your time at the gym and also focus on muscular endurance and all out strength.Using whole body, dynamic movements can tap into all three energy systems our body uses to burn calories and taps into the longer and lower intensity energy systems referred to as the oxidative system and at the same time can also tap into the two others; ATP-CP and glycolytic systems responsible for the short burst of energy. Together, all three pathways of respiration contribute to your body’s ability to maximize fat loss, as well as preserve lean muscle tissue while increasing the body’s potential for functional and dynamic movements.

So whether you need to make a sudden dash for the bus leaving the bus stop, or go catch a dog that got off the leash and is already a block ahead of you or even weaving in and out of a large crowd of people in an airport or train station; you will be ready for what life throws at you with circuit training.

Jennifer is a Master trainer, Certified NASM trainer who is currently running a paid fitness program on the fitness floor every Wednesday morning at 10 am called; “KBells, Straps, Boards & Beyond!” Come see how fun you can have on the Functional Fitness Floor!

“Tough Cookie” Julianna Vano Fights Lymphoma

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

Young Club Fit Member Juliana Vano battles lymphoma with attitude and energy to spare. She is “One Tough Cookie!”

"Tough Cookie" Julianna Vano Fights Lymphoma

Club Fit Member Julianna Vano is “One Tough Cookie.”

“One Tough Cookie”! That is how Julianna Vano’s family and friends describe the energetic, nonstop 10-year-old. And she has proven this to be true since her diagnosis in December of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for up to 30 percent of newly diagnosed cases in the United States. It is an aggressive cancer, but the Vanos, members of Club Fit Jefferson Valley, reacted quickly, and Julianna is well on her way back to good health.

Mom Joann noticed something was wrong back in November, when Julianna became lethargic and was experiencing abdominal pain. “She’s my Energizer bunny!” she said of Julianna, an avid dancer, and soccer and basketball player. “I knew something was wrong when her energy dipped.” The initial bloodwork at their doctor’s office hinted at Hepatitis A, but when it didn’t improve over two weeks, they went to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and scans revealed masses on all of Julianna’s organs. Treatment was started immediately.

Julianna was on a 20-day chemotherapy cycle, checking in to the hospital every 20 days for 5 to 7 days, then taking a week or two off. But she remained active while she was home, continuing her dance classes 3 to 4 days a week (hip-hop, jazz, ballet…you name it, she does it!) and actually competing this past March! She also recently performed at the halftime show during a Westchester Knicks game. Because of the risk of infection, Julianna was taken out of school and her tumbling classes, but is being tutored at home. Does she miss school? “I think she misses her friends,” laughs Joann.

It was supposed to be a three-month process, but the treatment schedule became longer when a follow-up scan showed a small mass remained on Julianna’s kidney, but the hope is that the additional treatments she is receiving now will take care of that. Going forward, they expect her to have four rounds of “maintenance” treatments, then be free and clear by August. “Through most of this experience, if Julianna didn’t lose her hair or wear a face mask, you’d never know she was sick!” says Joann.

The whole Vano family is active, with Julianna and her two siblings, Bella and Tommy, frequenting Club Fit’s Energy Center, and Mom and Dad spending time in the Fitness Center. As mentioned earlier, Julianna plays travel soccer and travel basketball, and is also a Girl Scout, and plans to return to her activities once treatment is completed. Club Fit is showing their support by hosting two fundraisers for the family at both Club Fit locations, a Spin Class and Kids’ Zumba class. May 20th at Briarcliff and May 27th at Jefferson Valley. All proceeds are going back to the Vano family.

The Vanos are also starting a team for Yorktown’s Relay for Life, aptly named “Team Tough Cookie” (which at this writing is the top fundraising team so far)! Look for their tent on Friday, June 12 at Jack DeVito Field in Yorktown Heights. But you can also get in on the action early by joining us at Club Fit for the Spin and Zumba events, and showing your support for our Tough Cookie Julianna and her family!

Parisi Speed School has a New Director

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Prescott Perry comes to Club Fit as the New Director for Parisi Speed School.

Parisi Speed School’s mission is to help young athletes become better, faster, stronger.

Who, then, is better equipped to help them than a young man who is on the fast track?

Enter Prescott Perry, the new director of the Parisi Speed School at Club Fit.

Prescott played lacrosse and studied kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. He snowboarded competitively and worked as a personal trainer on Coronado Island (off the coast of San Diego). He also sailed competitively, participating in races in Newport and Larchmont. And he earned his MBA from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

One can only imagine what he’ll do when he finally turns 26.

“I’ve always thought that I wanted to be successful more than I wanted air to breathe, “ Prescott says, “so I try to do as much as I can with what I’ve got. ”

Indeed. And the success he’s chasing after now involves getting more athletes and teams to jump on the Parisi bandwagon. While noting that Westchester and Putnam counties have no shortage of gyms, health clubs, and exercise facilities, Prescott says that the type of training that Parisi offers is a cut above.

“Parisi has a measurable standard. When you’re able to show how much a certain drill or exercise is improving an athlete’s performance, there’s a certain amount of buy-in. ”

Prescott will be reaching out to local coaches to encourage them to bring their teams in to train with Parisi. Eventually he hopes to get a tie-in along with the buy-in; since a company he once worked for helps athletes get recruited for college, Prescott wants to introduce a similar protocol at Club Fit and post the stats of our Parisi-trained athletes on a nationally-recognized recruiting database. In this way, college coaches nationwide could view the athletes’ progressions and measure their athletic potential. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

But while the focus on jocks and jockettes is important, it shouldn’t be the entire Parisi picture. Citing an upward trend of childhood obesity, Prescott says that Parisi needs to make room for couch potatoes, too.

“We want to focus more on the kids who get picked last in gym,” he says. “We want to let them see that what we’re doing is not hard, that it doesn’t take much to be considered athletic. You can be athletic and not know it. You just have to tap that inner athlete inside yourself. And that’s one thing I think Parisi is able to do. ”

Typically, Parisi’s small group sessions are broken up by age. The Jump Start program (ages 7–11) sets the foundation for success in any sport by focusing on speed, agility, and overall coordination. The Total Performance program (ages 12–16) focuses on techniques used in speed, agility and strength to maximize improvements in athletic performance. And the Peak program (ages 17–21) is an individualized coaching program for the elite athlete. It focuses on individual needs, goals and improvements needed to compete at a competitive level.

Although upwards of 100 young people are involved in the program right now, a demographic shift may be in the wind. Prescott hopes to see more adults train with Parisi—tennis players, swimmers and Weekend Warriors who could benefit from agility and strength drills that are tailor-made for their sport. “I don’t think it’s ever too late for adults to try and do something like that, to make themselves into better athletes,” he says.

His competitive snowboarding days are behind him, but Prescott, a bachelor, still plays in an adult lacrosse league. And although he hasn’t done much of it lately, he still sails competitively. “Yeah…. with a name like Prescott, I kinda had to do sailing,” he jokes. “I’m a stereotypical guy; my name is Prescott, I’m from Connecticut, I sail and do everything that goes with it…. ”

But all jokes aside, Prescott is committed to taking Club Fit’s Parisi program to the next level. Besides watching the bottom line and drumming up new business for the program, Prescott, along with Vince Wright and Jen Ritz, will also be one of the Parisi instructors. “I want to get this facility to be the new standard of training for this area,” he declares.

Better. Faster. Stronger. Now.

If anyone can get Parisi on the fast track, Prescott can.

New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Welcomes New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe.

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Laura Crowe is no newcomer to the Club Fit family. Since 1997 she’s worked at the club in a variety of capacities—from receptionist to member services manager, from salesperson to Membership Director. Now, as Jefferson Valley’s newly-appointed Assistant General Manager (AGM), she’s taking on an altogether different challenge. And so far, so good.

“I’m delighted to have her as AGM because of the diverse experience she brings to the team,” says Lynn Welling, J.V.’s General Manager. “I love her decisiveness, her frankness and the fact that she’s just so upbeat. You never see her without a smile and that open, welcoming greeting.”

As AGM, Laura oversees four departments: Sports, Membership, Reception and Group Fitness. She says that having served as membership director for the last eight years helps her greatly with her current assignment.

“Membership is tied to pretty much every department, and I know that department inside and out,” Laura says. When members wanted to know anything about what the club had to offer—from summer camp to Pilates class—it often fell to Laura’s team to point them in the right direction. Consequently, Laura’s knowledge of the club grew with every question that was asked. “Membership is the base of the organization, so I feel like I had an advantage.”

Still, she admits that the AGM job has its learning curve. For one thing, she’s discovering the ins and outs of acquiring certifications for group fitness instructors. Ditto the intricacies involved in marketing a bunch of programs in multiple categories. But Laura’s biggest on-the-job training challenge involves the sports department; while waiting for a new sports director to come on board, Laura is laying the groundwork for this year’s summer camp.

Not that Club Fit’s Summer Camp program is a foreign concept to Laura.

Au contraire. In fact, Yogi Berra might say “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Why? Because all three of Laura’s children either have attended (Kyle and Terence) or will attend (Erin) Club Fit’s Summer Camp. And Laura’s Club Fit connection goes deeper than that; her parents were original members when the club opened its doors in 1973.

“I went to the nursery, my parents played tennis —everyone in my family was into fitness,” says Laura, whose siblings include five brothers and one sister. Laura grew up in Yorktown Heights, was a member of Lakeland High’s first girl’s lacrosse team and earned a degree in finance from Iona College. She and her husband, Woody, moved around a little bit before returning to the area in 1996. The following year Laura began working part time at the club as a receptionist and the rest, as they say, is history.

Laura’s mother, Marygrace Torggler, still takes classes at the club, and apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Stating that she “would be miserable” if she didn’t exercise, Laura works out four days a week and is a big fan of trainer Justin Meagher’s intense Mudd-Up or Shudd-Up class. Laura also runs about four miles at a clip, does some elliptical work, and lifts weights. She loves to read and travel; the plan, this year, is to go to Hawaii with her husband to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

Right now, however, folk around Club Fit are celebrating Laura’s promotion.

“During these last few weeks of having Laura on board, I’ve seen a tremendous difference in the management team at the club,” general manager Welling says. “ They’ve received her with open arms. They know that Laura is out there —supporting the membership and our staff, from front line to executive. We’re all in alignment.”

Sounds like perfect harmony. But nothing less should be expected from the not-so-new kid on the block.

Welcome to the ranks of AGM, Laura!

From Couch to 5K… and beyond!

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Member Linda Adair goes from couch to 5K, and farther — losing 45 lbs and getting stronger in the process!

Linda before and after

Linda lost 45 lbs — gained speed, strength and fitness!

Change is good! But only if you make the right changes. Linda Adair decided that she wanted to get back into shape last summer, and 45 pounds later, she has achieved that goal.

Last June, Linda reached a point where she was tired of being overweight, and wanted to return to her former fit, energetic self. With the support of fellow Club Fit Briarcliff member and friend, Denyse, a marathon runner, she attempted the Couch to 5K program, and by August she was running 3 miles every other day. “The first day was tough, but then I got back up on day two and did it again,” she says.

In the fall she joined Club Fit, and she feels it made a huge difference in her fitness quest. “I had adjusted my diet and increased my exercise, but Club Fit pushed me over the top with the addition of Group Fitness classes and access to the Fitness Center,” she says. Linda, a paralegal (she graduated in March!), is a regular in the Spin Studio, and uses the treadmill, the women’s circuit and the free weight area. She completed her first 5K, slowly, last July, and now she has thirteen 5Ks and one 10K planned for 2015!

So the exercise increased, but what did she change in her diet? “I eat tons of fruit, cut out carbs and replaced white rice and potatoes with healthier starches like yams and brown rice.” She adds, “My diet is constantly evolving, and I continue to do research, but I definitely don’t starve myself. If I want something that doesn’t fall into my ‘healthy’ list, I don’t deprive myself.” The key is to become educated, and learn how to maintain a good balance, something she feels should also be stressed to young people, who today can so easily succumb to eating disorders.

Speaking of young people, two of the reasons Linda was motivated to regain her health were her daughters. Both girls are active and athletic, but her younger daughter also suffers from cystic fibrosis. Because of this, Linda and her family have become active supporters of Team Boomer, a program within the Boomer Esiason Foundation that encourages people with CF to incorporate exercise into their everyday lives, and supports athletes in raising money for CF through fundraising events. The Foundation, launched by former New York Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason, works to heighten awareness, education and quality of life for those affected by CF. “One hundred percent of the money they raise goes to research, so I am happy to support them!”

At this point, Linda has achieved what she set out to do… “I am healthy now!” She dropped from a size 16 to size 6, and feels much stronger and faster since her decision to commit to fitness last summer. Her husband and daughters also are benefitting from the adjustments she made to her diet, which of course impacted the foods she brings into their Pleasantville home. “There are always things you can work on at the gym, but at this point I am simply grateful to be healthy!”

For more information on the Couch to 5K program that started Linda on her way, visit www.fromcouchto5k.com, and if you want to give a philanthropic twist to your fitness plan and join the Adairs in their support of Team Boomer, visit www.teamboomer.org.

Kind members thanking our wonderful staff…

“Just wanted to send a shout out to both of you. You have done a fantastic job this year. Rob and I are so proud to have our children swimming for you and we appreciate all that you have done for our kids. I know our guys are inspired to work harder. I think this helped them have more of a sense of what they’re working for. Thanks for all that you do.” 
 (Aquatics, Briarcliff) 

“I have been taking Jen Schildwachter’s Correct, Select & Never Forget class and it has helped me in a multitude of ways. The class is a wonderful way to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, to be more physically active, to experience a wide variety of exercises safely, to learn how to use the equipment on the ‘Fitness Floor’, to meet other health-conscious friendly members, and especially to feel more comfortable at the club.
Prior to the Correct/Select class I had felt intimated and never entered the ‘Fitness Floor.’ I felt it was for young athletes. Jen taught me (and other people) how to exercise safely and use the equipment as a way to achieve healthful goals. Jen is an excellent diagnostician who spotted my areas of weaknesses and has helped me work to correct them and strengthen my body. I lost 20 pounds in the last year and am stronger and more confident than I have been in years. I am able to do more and I look forward to going to Club Fit as often as possible! Thank you, Jen!! and Thank you Club Fit!”
(Fitness, JV)

Dear Mr. Montgomery, (Aquatics Director, JV)
I wanted to let Club Fit know how much I am enjoying my swimming lessons with Susan Gerena.
When I signed up for the first package of lessons, my goal was to improve my technique. Susan has really helped me accomplish that for the crawl and back stroke. And, she has taught me the breast stroke, which I had not learned before.Susan’s clear and encouraging method of teaching has helped me advance more quickly than I would have anticipated. But most important, I enjoy the positive feeling she projects, regardless of how well or quickly I master a particular skill.Working with Susan has turned me into an avid swimmer and I look forward to working with her on the next stages of becoming a proficient swimmer.

 Dear Ryan,(Membership Sales Rep, Briarcliff)
Thank you for reaching out to me.  Wow!  My experience at Club Fit over the last three months has been tremendous one of joy and excitement and part of my daily regiment. I joined because of the tennis but have found so many other things including the lap pool for swimming, the Aqua-cize classes, spa pool, workout equipment, gym (basketball), cafe and the cardio tennis and tennis drill sessions etc. Tennis is my heart but the other activities always give me something to do. The staff/instructors Dan, Miguel etc I have encounter have been kind and helpful.  I have also met some nice members who have also made my membership pleasurable.

 Lynne, (General Manager, JV)
I wanted to bring to your attention some above and beyond help that members of your staff did for my daughter.My daughters car had died in the parking lot on Thursday around 5:30.I was still at work and called the front desk to see if they could help her. Two staff members Chris and Briana went out and jump started her car. While she offered them money for helping they refused.I wanted to thank them again for their help. I think it is a great example of the fantastic staff you have working at the club.Please thank them for me. 

 Mr. Cuatt, (General Manager, Briarcliff) 
I recently joined Club Fit Briarcliff with a friend.  We both had some reservations.  But no more.  The staff is so welcoming and attentive, it’s refreshing.  From the time that we walk in,, we are treated respectfully and warmly. The young people at the reception desk always greet us and always say goodbye.  It feels like they really care that we are there.  The ladies who maintain the locker rooms are pleasant and provide a clean, well stocked ladies facility.  There are always plenty of towels and toiletries.The personal trainers are always available and provide wonderful guided classes especially TRX.The Zumba classes and Pilates are taught by very kind, gentle, and fun people.  I have never felt intimidated.  I actually look forward to attending.I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that the staff is doing a great job.  I am looking forward to winning the MyZone challenge.  Have a great weekend.     

 

 

My Love for Tennis

Tennis

Alice


By Alice Daly
Tennis and Reception Manager
Club Fit Jefferson Valley

What’s not to LOVE about the game of Tennis? A game that can be learned at any age; a game that can be played with two players or four players; a game that continuously evolves with better equipment; a game that creates relationships for a lifetime.

My LOVE for tennis began in my early thirties as a neighbor in my new neighborhood brought me to the Club Fit JV courts to play. Comical as it was the first few times, I was totally hooked. I met other players with young children and we began the beautiful ritual of “Do you want to play tennis today?” Early morning phone calls became the starting shot for getting court time, tennis dress ritual, and packing up the kids. Our daily lives became intertwined as we learned how to play tennis-sometimes self-taught (we thought we knew so much!) and, more wisely, with a Tennis Pro. With passing years, some of our players moved on or away, and we gained some new players, adding another level of friendship to our group. I, along with my friends, became participants in USTA teams and events, enjoying the competition and camaraderie for many years.

I strongly believe that lessons, clinics, and playing in leagues is a major component to keeping your game fresh and focused. Competition at all levels, whether singles or doubles, is one of the best tools for developing confidence and poise on the courts. An additional plus to competition is the enrichment of meeting different players that may, or may not, become a part of your life. There is no better time than now to make the move, grab a racquet, get on the court and play tennis-a game to LOVE for life!

To learn more about Tennis at Jefferson Valley, visit us on our website!

Blythedale Fundraiser at Club Fit

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

Club Fit member Hannah Nemerever raises funds for Blythedale

Hannah Nemerever hosts Blythedale Fundraiser at Club Fit

Hannah Nemerever swimming at Club Fit

For a 13-year-old, Hannah Nemerever has a pretty impressive resume. Her “day job” involves attending eighth grade at George Fisher Middle School in Carmel, but in her spare time she swims competitively, tutors, and has gained quite the reputation for her community service.

Hannah decided to combine her two loves — swimming and helping others — by organizing a fundraiser for Blythedale Children’s Hospital involving her teammates on Club Fit Jefferson Valley’s USA Swim Team. This is the second year Hannah has spearheaded this event, with last year’s event raising close to $12,000! “Blythedale made it really easy for me to do this,” says Hannah. “Their Development Department gives you suggestions, and helps you set up goals.”

For Hannah’s event, which will be held in the Aquatics Center on March 4th, each swimmer gets sponsors who can donate a lump sum or a certain amount per lap, and commits to a minimum number of laps, between 50 and 200. The team’s goal is to swim a total of 60 miles. “I hope to swim 200 laps myself,” says Hannah. All proceeds will go directly to Blythedale.

Why Blythedale? “We were driving by the hospital and I was curious so I did some research and found out what they did, and I thought it was interesting,” says Hannah. Blythedale, which is located in White Plains, is one of only 19 pediatric specialty hospitals in the United States, and is nationally recognized for its innovative, multidisciplinary inpatient programs. The money raised in last year’s swim team fundraiser was used to support transportation services for sick children and their families, and this year’s proceeds will go to an area where the money is needed most.

But Blythedale is not the only beneficiary of Hannah’s philanthropy. She is a volunteer at Green Chimneys, a local nonprofit that is recognized as a worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs. Hannah helps care for the animals, and is also planning to volunteer at a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Green Chimneys in the spring.

Be sure to stop by on March 4th at 4:45 p.m. to cheer Hannah and her teammates on! And if you miss it, donations will be accepted in the Aquatics office. Checks should be made payable to Blythedale Children’s Hospital and are tax deductible. To find out more about the Blythedale Children’s Hospital and their mission, visit www.blythedale.org. You can also find out more about Green Chimneys at www.greenchimneys.org. Maybe you’ll find one of these organizations as worthy of your time and energy as Hannah does! She is truly an inspiration for all of us, regardless of age!

Operation PROM Fundraiser at Club Fit

Greater Than We founder Susie Mordoh

Greater Than We founder Susie Mordoh

Some people just have the knack for turning an overwhelming situation into a great experience. Event planner and life coach Susie Mordoh, a Club Fit Briarcliff member for the past 12 years, is one of those people! Susie’s company, Greater Than We, is just one part of her personal mission, which is to alleviate “the overwhelm,” and break things down into what she refers to as simple and easy “nuggets of love.”

Greater Than We began three years ago as a company focused on event planning and fundraising, but has grown into an invaluable support system for those looking to achieve a better work-life balance. Susie is hired for speaking engagements, runs workshops and coaches individuals looking for some clarity in their lives. “I strongly believe that when we raise each other up, extraordinary things can happen,” she says. Her mantra? “Feel the Love!”

Susie’s efforts are also directed at supporting nonprofits, including one that is near and dear to her heart, Operation PROM. Club Fit Briarcliff has supported Operation PROM as a dress drop-off location for the past few years, and is the location Susie chose for the 2015 Operation PROM Charity Ride held in February, which raised almost $4000. “The event was a win-win for everyone involved, and a welcome change, for some, from the regular gala dinner format,” said Susie. “The ride was fun, the room looked fantastic, we raised a lot of money, and everyone had a great workout!”

Susie is on the board of Operation PROM, and has witnessed firsthand the impact the organization has made over the years. The organization was originally established in 2005 to help low-income students attend their proms by providing free dresses and tuxedo rentals, but has since expanded to include scholarships and donations of clothing and school supplies to students who are sick, homeless, or live in shelters and don’t have family to assist them.

“When you put it on a collective scale, small donations add up and make a big difference to someone in need,” says Susie. “We’ve reached the point where we can fund an entire prom for a deserving school, including dressing each guest.” This year’s beneficiary is Hope Academy in Orange, CT, which accommodates students who struggle in traditional academic settings due to various learning differences.

Club Fit was a natural choice for the Operation PROM spin event Susie organized. “The club has been a very supportive environment for events like this,” she says. Susie, a Briarcliff resident, uses almost every area of the club, from Group Fitness classes to USTA tennis. She is also a big fan of MYZONE, which she considers a “pivotal upgrade” to her membership. “I definitely have experienced measurable results.” Her husband and two children also frequent the club, and if dogs were allowed, her two Labrador Retrievers would probably be there, too.

Whether you are looking for a little personal inspiration or trying to make a difference for someone in need, follow Susie’s advice, and “Feel the Love!” Her success is proof that it works. For more information on Susie and her company, Greater Than We, visit www.greaterthanwe.com. You can also find information on how to join Susie and Club Fit in supporting Operation Prom at www.operationprom.org.

 by Lisa Skelton

“Play” Matters

Why “Play” Matters
By Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant General Manager, Ted Gilsinger

Ted

Don’t underestimate child’s play. It may look like leisure time, but when children are playing, fighting imaginary dragons or organizing a game of kickball, they’re actually developing crucial life skills and preparing their brains for the challenges of adulthood. The bad news, child development experts say, is that free playtime has been shrinking for children over the past three decades.

Play teaches kids to play nice!
Research published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2007 revealed that both free play and guided plan can help preschoolers learn awareness of other people’s feelings. Playing also teaches kids to regulate their own emotions, a skill that serves them well as they move through life. “You get to try things out with no consequences,” said Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a child development psychologist at Temple University. “Play allows you to wear different hats, to master social rules and that’s huge.”

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.
Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.

Summer Camp Play

Summer Camp play

The Club Fit Summer Camp aims to promote a healthy active life style while fostering the benefits of play. Our full-day campers build new friendships all summer long while engaging in a multitude of developmentally aligned activities. Campers from kindergarten through 8th grade have the opportunity to try out new activities such as yoga, tennis, karate, and Zumba, each taught by certified specialists. In addition, campers are encouraged to build positive relationships with their peers and counselors through a variety of sports and gym games where sportsmanship is key. Energy Camp is dedicated to fostering a spirited summer community through camp-wide events like weekly theme days and special events all summer long.

Club Fit’s Summer Preschool Program aims to attend to the whole child by nurturing their psychological, social, emotional, and physical needs. Through a daily morning circle routine, campers will engage with picture books and develop both their number and time sense. In addition, circle time is an opportunity for our young campers to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers. As a community dedicated to the health and physical well-being of our program participants, preschool campers will also engage in a variety of gross-motor activities such as Super Soccer Starts, Quick Start tennis, movement through music, and daily swim.

Check out the new Free Lunch Menu for Summer Camp! Meet our Summer Camp Co-Directors!