For the Love of Tennis

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.

Climbing for a Purpose

By Kurt Kannemeyer

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:

Dear Mom,
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

Kurt and Mom

Physical Therapy at Briarcliff Welcomes Back Lynn Culbertson, DPT!

Lynn Culbertson, DPT

Lynn Culbertson, DPT

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.

Healthy advice from Dietitian Cathy DiSomma

Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist  at Club Fit Jefferson Valley

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 cdisomma@clubfit.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!”

 

 

Digging deeper into Fall running

Tim Robinson

Club Fit Personal Trainer, Tim Robinson

by Tim Robinson

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!

Need a little added help with your running? Check out some of our structured programs from beginner to marathon training: Running Programs at Club Fit Briarcliff.

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!

Superhero Update: 50 pounds gone and STILL cancer-free!

Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo!

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.

superhero

 

 

Alice Daly’s US Round Robin Recap

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 at Club Fit

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.

Check out our Pictures from Club Fit Jefferson Valley’s Tennis Events on Flickr!

Support Connection Director Kathy Quinn

 

Support Connection Executive Director and Club Fit Member Kathy Quinn

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.”

Welcome to our new guest blogger and Club Fit family, Joy Cain!

Joy Cain

Published Author and Guest Blogger, Joy Cain

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.

Our newest project keeps with our mission of going green: Net-Works Project

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)

Carpeting Net-Works

Carpeting Net-Works

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Visit www.interface.com to learn more about their products and Net-Works.

Five things you can do to help prevent childhood obesity

habits begin early

habits begin early

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.

If you are looking to get your children involved in sports, fitness and other great activities that will keep them active, visit Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Jefferson Valley and Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Briarcliff for information on some of the things we offer.

Just how important are our habits?

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.”

Meet Marc Quintiliani, Master Swim Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard

Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani

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 braquatics@clubfit.com.

Adaptive Swim Program Benefits Special Needs Children

Adaptive Swim Coach Helen Peters

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 kwolak@clubfit.com. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, including Helen! Visit us online to learn more about Adaptive Swim Lessons and to register!

Superhero Transformation: Busting through a weight loss plateau!

Boxing helped me break through my weight loss plateau... I think?

Boxing helped me break through my weight loss plateau… I think?

I’d heard about it: the dreaded “weight-loss plateau.” The so-called dead zone where, despite your best efforts, your weight loss slowly rolls to a dead stop – like a car running out of gas. I have to admit, I didn’t really consider that it might happen to me, despite hearing lots of other well-intentioned gym-goers complain about hitting this wall. I figured, a plateau must be what happens when you get busy and have trouble making time for the gym, or when you’re not paying proper attention to your diet. I learned that isn’t necessarily the case! You can be doing everything right: exercising regularly, eating and sleeping well, hydrating properly, and still the scale won’t budge.

I got frustrated (no surprise there) and started researching weight-loss plateaus: why they happen, and what you can do to get yourself un-stuck. Celeb trainer Jillian Michaels calls it a myth, and thinks poor habits are to blame. Some other sources say it’s real, and recommend eating less, while others recommend eating more, while at the same time others recommend exercising more, while others still suggest taking a break from exercising all together to allow your system to “reset.” Argh! Clearly, there isn’t much information out there that is concrete and helpful (and these “tips” even come from medical-oriented websites.)

For a while, I followed bad internet advice. I took a self-imposed one-week “break” from the gym to try and reset my system, which only succeeded in throwing a wrench in my previously-established good habits. Before I knew it, three whole weeks had gone by, and I had to work harder to make time for the gym again. I tried eating more, I tried eating less; nothing seemed to do the trick. Instead of spinning, I strapped on some boxing gloves and went after the punching bag. If nothing else, it used different muscles, gave me a new kind of cardio stimulation, and was incredibly satisfying and fun!  Not too long afterward, the scale started to move again, and I can’t say what it was that did it. It wasn’t one trick or one food item, or one routine – maybe it was just time and persistence, but it happened.

I didn’t learn the secret to breaking through a plateau, but I did learn three really important things:

  1. Don’t take bad internet advice.
  2. Plateaus are a real thing, and there’s no guaranteed formula to see you through. Everyone’s body responds differently to routines and to changes. Try changing things up a bit (gently, please!) and see what works for you. At the very least, hitting a plateau reminds us to assess where we are and where we want to be, and if we’re doing the right things to get there.
  3. No amount of exercise will do you wrong. Don’t focus on the calories you burned, or whether or not the time and energy you spent was “worth it” for your goals – any kind of exercise is worth your time. It’s good for your heart, good for your mood, and makes your body happy. THAT is worth it, and is far more important than a number on your scale.

superhero

Social Media Contest: Buddy Up for Workouts!

What better way to get and stay motivated than to buddy up for workouts? To help keep you motivated this Summer, buddy up to workout and we’ll reward the effort! Snap a picture of you and a friend working out together at the club or outdoors, share it on our facebook, instagram or twitter account and we’ll give you a $5 Club Fit café gift card! It’s that simple! Tweet at one of our Club Fit handles @cfbriarcliff or @cfjeffvalley, post it to one of our facebook pages or tag us on instagram @clubfitny. Feel free to use the hashtag #fitbuddy in your posts!

We have a great refer a friend deal now until August 31st. Refer a friend- get $100 e-cash AND you and a friend will have a chance to win a $200 AMEX gift card.

Everyone who submits a photo will receive a $5 Club Fit Café gift card. One Gift Card per person regardless of number of photos entered. Gift Cards will expire 10/31/14. Club Fit reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time if it is determined that the entry is offensive or inappropriate. Each participant grants to Club Fit an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide and transferable license to use his or her submitted photograph, name, hometown, likeness and/or prize information, without limitation, for promotional purposes without further permission or compensation. Club Fit reserves the right to change these Official Rules at any time, in its sole discretion, or cancel the promotion at any time.
Hannahandkalumforblog

How Can Acupuncture Help Me?

Acupuncturist

Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac.

By Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac

People often seek the help of an Acupuncturist for aches and pains, but did you know acupuncture is also great for coping with stress, emotional balance, and achieving your optimal health? In fact, Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive modality and offers relief from seasonal allergies, headaches, digestive upset, sleep disorders and more!

Acupuncture is a safe, holistic form of medicine that has been used in Asia for thousands of years. Now, many Americans are finding great results reducing the need for medication and invasive surgeries. Even insurance companies are in favor of acupuncture. Each year more and more plans extend coverage as a way to offer preventative care as well as pain relief.

If you’ve always wondered about acupuncture, or how it could help you, now’s your chance to find out. Leah’s happy to answer any questions you might have or schedule a session for you to try it for yourself. We can also verify if you have insurance benefits for acupuncture care.

Club Fit Briarcliff Welcomes Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac. this September!

Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz is expanding her practice to include new Sunday hours within the Physical Therapy office at Club Fit Briarcliff starting September of 2104.

Leah Sasha Schwartz, NY State Licensed Acupuncturist is Nationally Certified and has been in private practice for 8 years. Leah works with patients of all ages and treats a wide range of health and wellness concerns. She is happy to talk with you about how Classical Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you too.

Club Fit Briarcliff Welcomes Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac.

Acupuncture

The Benefits of Gentle Yoga

Yoga can at times seem intimidating for someone who has never taken a yoga class, someone with physical limitations or someone who has mentally psyched him or herself out. Some thoughts one might be harboring . . . “I’m not flexible” or “I’m not strong enough” or simply “I’m okay with just doing cardio workouts”.

Let’s wipe that slate clean and talk about the benefits of Gentle Yoga. There is a way to benefit from a Yoga practice no matter whether you are taking Advanced Vinyasa, Hatha, Intro to Yoga or a Gentle Yoga class, but let’s focus on Gentle Yoga!

Here are some of the benefits:

– Combat stress
– Help improve posture
– Increase positive energy
– Relieve muscle tightness
– Develops strength and balance
– Great compliment to any workout

This class is taught at a slower pace which is much easier to follow if you are new to yoga. It is great for people of all ages and all fitness levels. Another great yoga class for beginners or those looking for the benefits above with an added focus on a healing practice, is R & R yoga. Yoga R & R is a Hatha yoga class with focus on rejuvenation and restoring energy.

So if you are looking for a great way to ease into a yoga practice that will help you physically and mentally, these classes are great places to begin your journey.

Try Gentle Yoga and Stretch at Club Fit Jefferson Valley with Wendy Wolf, Wednesdays from 6-7pm in Studio 3. This slow paced class will help you develop strength and balance, includes stretching and breathing exercises and yoga postures ending with relaxation. For more information contact Liza at lforster@clubfit.com. Visit the Group Fitness Schedule for more classes.

Try Yoga R & R at Club Fit Briarcliff with Sharon Shapiro Sundays from 11:30AM-12:30PM. Contact Irene at isakamoto@clubfit.com for more information. Visit the Group Fitness Schedule for more classes.

Gentle Yoga

Gentle Yoga

The Benefits of Exercise during the Childbearing Year

Denise Weber

Perinatal Specialist Denise Weber


Exercise and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a perfectly normal time in a woman’s life. Sure, there are “bumps and hiccups” along the way, literally, but exercise can help us to deal with all of the changes we experience, physically, mentally, and, emotionally.

Prior to beginning ANY exercise program, it is advisable to seek the approval of your
OB.

One question I get asked a lot is,” WHEN do I start a Prenatal exercise program?” The answer is as soon as possible! While you may continue to do your regular exercise regime, a prenatal class or training session will target specific topics and exercises that pertain to pregnancy and prepare you for birth and beyond! Also, you are with other women and the camaraderie you share and friendships you make, can stay with you for a lifetime.

Here is my list of the top 10 reasons to exercise during pregnancy:

1. Improves fetal growth

2. Decreases maternal symptoms of pregnancy.

3. Maintains/Improves cardiovascular fitness levels.

4. Maintains and/ or improves muscle strength and tone, thus decreasing the risk of

injury, and increasing the stabilization of the joints.

5. Improves circulation which lessens swelling and helps to prevent varicosities.

6. Improves balance.

7 Improves body image, self esteem, and emotional well being.

8. Helps to achieve and maintain, a healthy pregnancy body weight.

9. Enhances sleep

10. Labor is hard work! Regular physical exercise increases stamina and
endurance, which can actually lead to a shorter, easier labor, and a faster
recovery!

Read what the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has to say about Exercise During Pregnancy.

Denise Weber teaches various prenatal and postnatal classes. She is available for Personal Training, private and semi-private. Do you have a group of friends you would like to take a prenatal or postnatal class with but nothing is scheduled? No problem! Small group classes can be arranged!

Click here to check out the current sessions of prenatal and postnatal group classes at Club Fit Briarcliff!

For information on Prenatal and Postnatal classes at our Jefferson Valley location Click here or contact Tricia Weinbaum at tweinbaum@clubfit.com for more information!

Prenatal Yoga

Prayer

Click here to check out the current sessions of prenatal and postnatal group classes!

Run Smart, Run Safe: Tips from Club Fit Personal Trainer, Tim Robinson

Tim Robinson

Tim Robinson


Okay, so it’s hot, and you’re asking, can I (should I?) be running outdoors in these temperatures?
Sure, just do it right and be prepared – HYDRATE ahead of time, wear light, moisture-wicking fabric, and take it down a notch (or two).

Listen, there are folks who run races across Death Valley, so it’s totally doable. Just get your ducks in a row. If you can, get your miles in early, when the cooler night air is still hanging around. Either that, or wait – block out some time in the evening. I often run in the dark, or near dark, but I’m careful.

Pick a route that’s well-lit and low on traffic. Wear bright, REFLECTIVE clothing. And please, save the speed work and the long run for a later day when the forecast is friendlier. On these hottest of Summer days, just get some miles in and don’t amp it up to high. Think. If you have to strike out more towards midday, wear a cap to keep the sun off your head (I wet one and throw it in the freezer beforehand… seriously).

Drink more water than usual, steadily, through the day before you head out. As soon as you finish up, drink more. Once you stop sweating, take a cool shower to get your core temperature back into a comfortable zone.

As always, if you’re out there and it gets to the point where you’re feeling it too much, pack it in. Heat exhaustion is no picnic and heat stroke is seriously dangerous, so don’t push past any signals that your body is offering up. If you’re thinking, I should probably slow down, you certainly should. Your body will acclimate to the heat if you give it time and you’re cautious. Get used to it and keep your first hot runs shorter than usual.

All that said, I’m not a huge lover of treadmills, but for the timid, this just may be the time for them. Now, and when snow is falling, knee-deep, all over creation – that was a rough winter for us runners. Be safe. Be smart.

Want to get into running, but don’t know where to begin?
Check out the variety of Running Programs at Club Fit Briarcliff!

Not sure if your clothes are reflective enough for an early morning or late evening run? Click here to check out all the great kinds of reflective running gear!

Tim Robinson has a B.F.A. from Syracuse University, he is an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer and Heartsaver CPR/AED Certified.

His specialties include: Running, Cross Country, Track and Roads, Triathlon, Swim, Bike, Run and TRX. In his spare time, Tim enjoys Trail running, Hiking, Kayaking, Cooking, Gardening, Music and Art.

His Philosophy of Exercise: There are no gimmicks – Dig deep and dedicate yourself to real, lasting fitness. Your body is all you’ve got – there’s no place else to go, so lets take care of it.

You can contact Tim at timrobinson@mindspring.com or come schedule a training with him in at Club Fit Briarcliff!