Superhero Transformation, Part 1: Out of the Desert

Hi, Club Fitters! My name is Kendra, and I’m so glad to have been invited to share my fitness journey with you on the Club Fit blog. In many ways, I feel like I’m starting from square one – emerging from what I think of as a fitness desert. I’ll get right to it: for the past two years, I have struggled with major health issues, originally stemming from benign uterine fibroid tumors, and ending with a shocking diagnosis of a very rare uterine cancer. I endured multiple surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, severe pain, and even blood transfusions. I’m so glad to say that I’ve come through it, my strength is back, and I have more determination than ever to get (and stay) fit and healthy. I will call this journey my Superhero Transformation, because in my opinion, a superhero isn’t a smaller clothing size, or a shorter running time. A superhero knows that their personal best is being at their healthiest: preventing disease and health problems, and being ready to fight hard should it unexpectedly cross their path.

Here’s the problem: I have always hated “the gym.” The thought of getting on an elliptical machine for an hour and feeling like a hamster on a wheel truly makes me want to cry. Lucky for me (and for all of us), Club Fit is so much more. When I first took my tour, it was abundantly clear that Club Fit was not “the gym”, and that there isn’t just something for everyone; there’s plenty for everyone, no matter what your fitness interests are.

Somewhat overwhelmed with my options, I craved something familiar, and armed with my residual Olympic inspiration, I decided to hit the lap pool. I stuck to 30 minutes and took it pretty easy, but it felt so good! Supported by floating, and working through the water’s natural resistance helped me reawaken my muscles and feel totally invigorated. Just writing this now makes me want to dive back in! And I certainly will, but not before I try out some other new things and report back to all of you with another Superhero update.

A 300 Mile Bike Ride and the Motivation to Get There.

Sharon Rowe, a long time member of Club Fit Briarcliff, accomplished a great feat when she biked 300 miles from New York to DC. She hadn’t ridden a bike in years prior to deciding to do this. The organization she rode with is called climateride. “Climate Ride is a non-profit organization that organizes fully supported, charitable bike rides to support sustainable energy solutions, bike advocacy, and environmental causes.” ClimateRide What makes Sharon’s story unique, is that she decided to do this having absolutely no training experience with something of this magnitude. Her motivation? Riding for a cause!

Sharon’s training included a great deal of time on the e-spinners, pushing her limits each day to raise her endurance levels. After all, having to ride 60 miles a day is quite a switch from not riding a bike at all for a number of years! In addition to using the e-spinners to train and riding outdoors, Sharon found Yoga to be a helpful part of her preparation. “It offered a nice balance to my endurance training and helped with my flexibility and mindset.”

We asked her how this experience raised her awareness about her body and physical fitness. It forces you to have better awareness and raise the bar on better engagement. “It takes me about 8 miles to get through to the next level. Those 8 miles are the toughest, they are the ones that test you, that make you want to give up. Once I get through that phase, I am ready for another 40 miles!” Sharon is a conscious, friendly and positive person who is motivated to make a difference on a personal and global level. She is full of passion and life. You can tell that this experience taught her a lot about pushing beyond what you think is possible. You don’t have to be a super-human athlete to do something like this. All you really need is the motivation and the goal no matter how big or small. What are you waiting for?

Sharon Rowe is the founder and CEO of Ecobags. Their “primary purpose is to create and offer thoughtfully produced and sourced products that help people reduce, re-use and recycle.” You can learn more about the company by clicking the link. Ecobags

Cholesterol

CHOLESTEROL:

 What is Cholesterol ? Cholesterol is categorized in the fats group as a Sterol. It is fatty, waxy like substance that is produce in the liver, and is found in all animal products or any foods that come from an animal. (All animals have a liver). The foods that contain the highest amount of cholesterol are organ meats such as liver (no surprise) and kidney, as well as egg yolks.

In the body, cholesterol is vital for optimum health. It is part of all cells and is very important in the formation of brain and nerve tissue, and it is a precursor for vitamin D, and some important hormones such as testosterone.

         We do not need to consume cholesterol in our diet (Since we also have a liver). We produce our own cholesterol. Unfortunately, due to hereditary factors, some people may produce too much. Contrary to popular belief, the level of blood cholesterol has little to do with the amount we obtain from food. Although consuming a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat can lead to health risks. Consuming less than 300mg per day is recommended.                                                                                                                    

        A high level of blood cholesterol is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

 BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVELS:

Standards for risk factors:

 

Below 200 mg/dl             = desirable

200 to 239 mg/dl             = borderline high

240 mg/dl and above       = high

 

LDL:                                                                                                                                    Above 140mg/dl

HDL:   below 35mg/dl

 

         O.K., so what is considered “good cholesterol, and “bad cholesterol”? Also, can you eat” good cholesterol” or ”bad cholesterol”? Stay with me here, I will make it easy to understand, and this will be beneficial when you get a physical and your physician discusses cholesterol levels with you. Once again, cholesterol has important functions in the body, and we need a certain amount. However because it is a fatty substance, it has difficulty moving through water. Fat and water do not mix well. Our blood is 92% water. Therefore, in order for cholesterol to travel through the blood stream and get to the places where it is needed, something needs to take place.

         Here is a non-technical way to associate what happens. A protein “coats” the cholesterol along with some other Phospholipids to enable the molecule to travel through the blood stream. As the cholesterol is used, what is left is a molecule that is more protein then cholesterol. This is called a High Density Lipo Protein (HDL). This type is considered to be the “good” cholesterol because of this ratio. Once the body has enough cholesterol to fulfill its needs, the protein coated molecule remains filled with the unused cholesterol. These are considered the “bad” cholesterol and are known as Low Density Lipo Proteins (LDL). These are the type that can build up in the blood stream and clog arteries leading to atherosclerosis, which is the most common form of artery disease and can lead to cardio vascular disease (CVD).

            If you are unfortunate and are someone that has a liver that over produces cholesterol, you may want to speak with your physician about certain cholesterol lowering medications, because research has shown that a strict low cholesterol diet does not necessarily have a significant impact in lowering cholesterol. However, fiber does play a role in helping to lower cholesterol. Also exercise especially aerobic can have extremely beneficial results. In fact this may help to reverse atherosclerosis.

The stuff kid’s dreams are made of?

For some kids, getting involved in athletics is not always first nature. Maybe sometimes it is a matter of self confidence. If they are not naturally the biggest, strongest, fastest or even the most coordinated, they are not going to be the first ones to ask you to sign them up for football. Moreover, (and I feel this is more the case, in today’s society) there are so many things that take away the desire and motivation to be active. There are movies, video games and all sorts of technological advances that kids are drawn to- even we are! (I can’t remember the last time I left my house without my iphone and didn’t freak out or feel lost).

The Olympics make now a great time to get the kids excited about sports. With all of the amazing accomplishments of these proud hardworking athletes, we can teach our children the value of teamwork, discipline, talent and perseverance no matter which sport is vaulting ground for inspiration. Seeing the USA Women’s Soccer team win may inspire your daughter to be a soccer star, seeing the USA Men’s Basketball team blow away the competition may inspire your son to want to learn to dunk a ball one day.

I’m not saying that technology is to blame or that one of these reasons applies to all kids. I am merely saying that if your kid is one who has trouble getting into the active lifestyle, encouragement by world class athletes is a great way to inspire them and get them excited. We all need motivation and it behooves us to remember what dreams are made of and where they come from!

If your kids are interested in trying some new sports, the club is a good place to start!

To find out more about our sport specific camps and programs at Briarcliff, contact jwalsh@clubfit.com! To find out more about available programs at Jefferson Valley contact jritz@clubfit.com!