Every Superhero Needs a Sidekick.

Squat rows are my new favorite. Thanks, Susie!

If you’ve been reading along with my blog posts, you are well aware by now that I am a devotee of group exercise classes.  I enjoy the group mentality, the social energy, the instructor’s availability to answer questions, and the need to be on time, all of which are motivating to me.  But if I hit traffic on the way to the gym and missed the first part of a class, I felt lost.  With the whole gym available to me, all felt confident in was plugging into my workout playlist and power walking on my favorite treadmill for a while.  One day, I came to a stunning realization: I had absolutely no idea how to structure my solo workout time.

I was relying on classes because it was a built-in workout that I could just step into. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but I knew that in order to make permanent changes, I needed to be proactive and learn how to make the most of my workout time on my own.  I thought about it for a while, and decided to invest in a series of personal training sessions.  Enter Susie; my amazing, energetic, supportive, intelligent Superhero Sidekick who’s here to coach me on to fitness glory!!

Susie takes me through great workouts that are tailored just for me, and I feel so energized afterwards.  Those hulking weight machines that intimidated me before are my friends now.  Instead of wondering if they’re torture devices, I’m setting them up for squat rows and tricep pushdowns.  Being able to work out on my own makes me feel like I have more time to do it – instead of racing to get to a class on time, I can squeeze in 30 minutes here or an hour there.

Working with a personal trainer is a big deal for me.  It’s an investment that I’ve had to make a few personal budget cutbacks to afford, but even after only two sessions I know what this is the best investment I’ve ever made in myself.    I know this will be the support that I needed to help me make permanent changes in my health and fitness, and I can’t wait for my next session!

Fitness Success Story: Joe Giorgio

Joe with Personal Trainer Russ Schum

Joe with Personal Trainer Russ Schum

Joe Giorgio (pictured with Personal Trainer Russ Schum) joined Club Fit in December. He had some health issues, submitted a physician’s recommendation form and met with Ted Gilsinger our Fitness Director to review his program.

Joe is thoroughly impressed with the club and has nothing but great praise for our reception and fitness teams. Reception greets him warmly each morning, and everyone refers to him as Uncle Joe!

Fitness has been on their “A” game since the first day he met with a fit coach and was set up with a basic routine on the Circuit and given specific guidelines for treadmill activity. He raves about our fitness staff as being knowledgeable, receptive and extremely attentive each time he is in the fitness center.

He truly looks forward to his visits on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and is proud to give us updates on his progress and “graduation” to new levels and equipment. His new goal is to get to 400 on the Keiser leg press after starting at 130 on his first day (he’s increased his strength threefold!) He never expected to stick with the club and certainly never expected to enjoy his time at the club.

To be set up on the Circuit or meet one of our Fit Coaches, all you have to do is come into the building! We are on call at the Service Desk 5:00 am–11:00 pm Monday – Friday and 6:30–9:00 pm Saturday & Sunday, and we strive to perpetuate the same welcoming environment each and every day!

A Message From the Cafe Corner and JV Cafe Manager, Diane Rich


Diane’s Café Corner Don’t forget, if you don’t see it, ask for it. If we have it, we will make it. Our food is made fresh daily with love. Nothing is pre-made. Look for lunch specials during the week. Check out our menu online!

Foodie News:
I love this! After working in big box retail, I know these are true statements . . .

Check out this great article by Rosalyn Hoffman:

Want to eat a healthy diet but are worried about the cost? Here are ten simple — and coupon-free — tips to saving at the supermarket. Use the money you save to bulk up on whole grains, fresh fruits and legumes.

1. Look for sale items on end-caps — they’ve been purchased at an advantageous price from the supplier; the savings are then passed on to you.
2. Seasonal fruits and vegetables as they come to harvest offer the best value; markets cut deals with suppliers. You may find great prices on brussels sprouts and pears one week, on string beans and strawberries the next.
3. Avoid large feature presentations not on sale since they are probably precursors to sale events, and the retailer is trying to get as much full-priced business before the sale event
4. Use the unit pricing as a guide to find the best buy. Just make sure the basis for the unit pricing is comparing apples to apples. For example, you can buy tea either loose or in bags. The loose tea will be measured by ounce, the bagged tea by quantity.
5. The house brands lowest priced products are often the cheapest available in a category.
6. Pay attention to expiration dates. Unless you are going to be using it right away, a bargain with a short shelf life is no bargain.
7. Most retailers want to get you in the door with highly recognizable items, such as lettuce, ketchup or cans of tomatoes either on sale or at an everyday low price — check circulars.
8. Cut down your portion sizes. When you do buy meat, fish or chicken, this will allow you to buy healthier hormone- and antibiotic-free product. (We are a nation consumed with big things, but bigger is not always better — you already know quality trumps size any day!)
9. Do NOT buy health and beauty aids at the grocery store; they are sold as a convenience to the shopper and you will likely pay full margin unless they are on sale.
10. Finally, be flexible. I know it’s hard, but think of your recipe or shopping list as an outline. If thighs are on sale, sub them in for breasts, green beans for broccoli, Chobani for Fage. Click here for the original article posted on Huffington Post

Congratulations to Club Fit Jefferson Valley Swimmers

Congratulations to Club Fit JV swimmers for their outstanding achievements during the 2012-2013 season! Nearly half of the team’s swimmers will be attending the Metropolitan Swimming Silver Championships North this weekend. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our blossoming team and we are very proud of all CFJV swimmers. Best of luck!

At the Zone Qualifiers Meet at Lehman College – Miki Ostrofsky, Laura Jocelyn, Frances Redpath, and Danielle Taps were all top 8 finalists. Laura Jocelyn qualified for the Metro Zone Team in 5 events! This past weekend at Senior Mets, five swimmers – Miki Ostrofsky, Aisling Feighery, Skylar Adams, Claire Dillon and Haley Niggel – represented CFJV at the highest level of our region’s competition.

Click here for more information on the CFJV Swim Team.

A Superhero Birthday

After my big birthday workout, my family and I celebrated with dinner (and cake, of course.)

Earlier this week, I celebrated my birthday.  The one day out of the year where you are absolutely permitted to sleep late, and guess where I was by 8am?  Sweating my butt off at Briarcliff!

As I was packing my gym bag the night before, I thought to myself “Tomorrow is my birthday, why don’t I take the day off and relax?”  Then I realized… I wanted to work out on my birthday!  What better way to kick off my first birthday as a cancer survivor with a healthy and fun sweat session? (Except, of course, a massage. I booked that, too!)

When I look back to my last birthday, I am truly amazed at how far I have come.  Last year, I was anxiously awaiting test results to tell me what stage of cancer I had, I barely felt like celebrating because I was heartbroken at the thought of dropping the “C-bomb” on my friends, I had already failed on my New Year’s resolution to quit smoking, and I had never felt further from the fun, healthy, adventuresome girl I used to be.  I had never felt less like a superhero in all my life.

This year, the difference I can see and feel in myself, both inside and out, is staggering.  I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, I quit smoking six months ago and haven’t looked back, my blood pressure is lower, and I feel about a million times stronger than ever before!  I am already where I thought I’d never be, and there’s still so much more I know I can do.

Thank you all for being on this journey with me.  Your comments and kind words are so inspiring!  I look forward to sharing more with you.

What’s on my Workout Playlist.

Call me a wimp, but I really just can’t get motivated for a cardio workout without music.  I just can’t.  I mean, I can put one foot in front of the other, but the music I listen to really affects my pace, intensity, and frankly, enjoyment.  As a former singer, actor, and dancer, my energy responds instinctively to the melody, the beat, and even the lyrics.  Sometimes, it takes a lot of restraint for me not to belt out singing while walking on my favorite Woodway treadmill. (You’re welcome, fitness center!)

But I don’t only use my workout playlist for keeping my workouts motivated.  Sometimes, after an exhausting day at work, the temptation to drive straight home and hop right into pajamas is almost irresistible.  It’s moments like those that I use my workout playlist as my secret weapon.  Once my workout tunes start pumping through my car’s stereo, it’s easy to drive straight to the gym, instead of home.  Here are some songs that have been on heavy rotation in my workout playlist lately:

1. “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. What workout playlist would be complete without Gaga?  The motivating lyric “I’m on the edge of glory…” gives you a great burst of energy, right when you need it most.

2. “Waking Up in Vegas” by Katy Perry.  Motivating lyric: “Shut up and put your money where your mouth is…”  You got it, Katy!

3. “I’m Not Going to Teach your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” by Black Kids.  A great upbeat song with an infectious melody.  (Motivating lyric: He’s got two left feet, and he bites my moves…)

4. “So What” by P!nk.  A workout is always more fun with the queen of girl-power rock.  Motivating lyric: “So, so what? I’m still a rock star…I’ve got my rock moves…

5. “Some Nights” by Fun.  The changing tempo in this song is great for intervals, and also to give yourself a little rest when you need it.  Motivating lyric: “This is it, boys, this is war – what are we waiting for? Why don’t we break the rules already?

So, what’s on your playlist?  I need some new recommendations!

Meet the FitBit One: Trainer Jane’s New Fitness Sidekick

FitBit One

Meet my new fitness wingman!  This ultra cool gadget tracks steps taken, stairs climbed, distance travelled, calories burned, and monitors sleep patterns.  It links to charts and graphs where you can set goals, chart progress, log workouts and food eaten, journal, make friends and more.  I wear it close to my heart during the day, and wrap it around my wrist when I go to bed at night.

So far, it’s pretty interesting! This tiny device greets me by name, and has a virtual flower that grows the more I move about in my daily life. I probably shouldn’t have started using it the week I taught the two “Pour your Heart Out” classes, as I now have unrealistic expectations about how many calories I can burn in a day!

The food log is easy to use, and has great information about not just numbers of calories consumed, but grams of carbs, fats and proteins eaten. More on that another day. I am always amazed how quickly I adjust my mindless eating habits when I know I have to write it down. Good reminder for anyone watching their calories.

I have also learned I am a very efficient sleeper, no surprise there! But good to know, as it’s when we are sleeping that our bodies rebuild and repair.

Stay tuned for more feedback!

So tiny!

A Balancing Act

Thanks to Nancy in fitness for capturing this glamour shot!

I was inspired by a post on Club Fit Briarcliff’s Facebook page to try the new Balance Class that I’ve seen popping up on the Group Exercise schedule.  I’m always looking for new ways to strengthen and stabilize my core, and I know balance training is a great way to do it – I just wasn’t sure how.  So I signed up for a class and gave it a go.

We started with some really simply balance exercises; balancing on one leg for 30-second intervals, then switching, and the like.  I was surprised at how hard it was just to stand on one leg!  I thought, how is this something I haven’t done recently??  I got nervous for a moment about moving on to the balance equipment I saw spread out in front of us, but I just tucked my abs in more, paid closer attention to our instructor, and worked as hard as I could at staying balanced.  (A tip: find a stable focal point to look at to help keep your balance. Not your own wobbly reflection in the mirror!)

As we moved onto a floor-stabilized balance bar and eventually the very unstable Vew-Do Nub Board, I was really surprised to find that the exercises got much easier very quickly, despite the increasing difficulty.  I learned that once you find your balance, it gets easier to hold it, and easier to find it again.  I certainly wobbled (we all did), but I wobbled less and less as the class progressed.  Balance class also taught me that you don’t need a hard core sweat session to get a “good” workout. I definitely felt an energizing difference in my core strength as I left the gym that night.  It was also really fun!

Have you tried a balance class yet?  What did you think?

Motivation from the Heart: Club Fit members take to the trails at Rockefeller for Sandy Hook Memorial Virtual 5K


It’s not always about doing something good for ourselves. In fact, the most inspiring stories are often born of the things we do out of the goodness of our hearts, our wanting to make a difference and the depths of compassion we embrace. That’s why We want to share this story with you. Not just because these women we’re about to tell you about are Club Fit members, but because they are exceptional individuals that are trying to make a difference in whatever way that they can.

Martha Klein and her fellow teammates; Laureen Fitzgerald, Sharon Edmonds, Kathleen Crowley, Janet Hartman, Mary Oliver, Gerry Mattia, Caroline Curvan, Kim Carrafiello and Ann Zimmerman all took to the trails at Rockefeller State Park on January 27. Why? To run a Virtual 5K of which all the proceeds went to the United Way for the victims of the recent and tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Martha was originally contacted by a group from Tampa, FL. The group was promoting a virtual 5K/Half Marathon fundraiser for the victims of Newtown. The event was nationwide with over 10,000 participants and it didn’t take long for Martha and this team of extraordinary women to get on board!

Martha had a lot to say about her experience but a few things struck to the heart of the matter right away: “I knew without missing a beat that this was something that would resonate with all of us. We run all the time, not always together but always there for each other . . . And now we could share it. With those who have lost so much and lives are changed forever. How could we not?” Martha went on to say, “Personally I felt incredibly lucky that I was able to do something. Anything. Every time I run Rockefeller now I will always take a moment to be thankful that my children are safe. And hope that the families in Newtown find peace.”

Janet Hartman said “My experience with this run also made me feel so good being able to do something for the families who lost a child or loved one on that tragic day in Sandy Hook. In addition, after our run I bumped into a few other running friends in a Starbucks. They asked me about my bib – and with teared up eyes – touched it and said, “I’m going to get a group of friends together to register and run in their memory as well.” It is certainly evident that the goodness we put forward can spread when we are willing to support a cause we care so much about. Simply, these ladies inspire others to pay it forward.

Laureen Fitzgerald, an avid runner who is also in part responsible for putting together the annual Rockwood Ramble, said “It was a way for us to honor the victims of this tragedy and reflect upon their memory.”

Knowing that there are ladies like this right next to us should certainly give us a little nudge to use what we have in order to do something good. Whether it is one small act of kindness or a huge collaborative effort, it begins with the thought. We will all take something positive away from their experience. A sincere “thank you” to all of you compassionate ladies for sharing your experience with our community.

For more information on the virtual 5K/Marathon, visit the
Sandy Hook Memorial Half Marathon and 5K Facebook page
If you wish to make a donation please click here: Our Hearts With Sandy Hook

Want to start training for a 5K but need a little help? Contact sreiner@clubfit.com for more information on Club Fit’s Couch to 5K program. Maybe you’ll even see Laureen at the Rockwood Ramble this year! Who will you run for?
Remember, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu

Getting into Yoga

I didn't think it was appropriate to take a selfie in class, so here's a gorgeous image from DaPino Graphics instead.

A few months ago, I wrote about my fitness goals and how I wanted to improve my flexibility enough to feel comfortable in a yoga class.  Then, I really didn’t think about it for a while. I had outlined it as a goal, but really did nothing about it.  Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure where to start.  I was doing a lot of other things that felt great for my body (and stretching, of course) but I hadn’t taken any real steps toward increasing my flexibility.  Suddenly, it dawned on me that I probably had it all backwards.  Shouldn’t yoga be the thing that increases my flexibility, instead of having to prepare my flexibility for yoga?  Had I simply started out in the wrong place; jumping into the middle, instead of starting at the beginning?

I saw Gentle Yoga on the group exercise schedule and decided to give it a try, hoping to ease into the practice.  We used blocks and straps to aid some of the poses, which helped me to get the maximum benefits from each pose even though I couldn’t quite reach as far I was supposed to.  I soon realized that I had been completely mistaken when I thought that I wouldn’t get any benefit from yoga if I couldn’t get my arm here, or my foot over there, etc.  By the time class was finished, my whole body felt so warm, so relaxed, and so open; like I could scratch the top of my head with my big toe!  I was so calm and stress-free, and I wanted to wrap myself in blankets to keep that feeling as long as I could.  Needless to say, it was an amazing class, and I’ve been able to get this great feeling from each yoga class I’ve taken.  I know that I’ll work my way up to more challenging poses eventually, but I know now that the only way to get better at something is to practice it, and yoga is a practice.

If you’re hesitant about trying yoga, try a Gentle Yoga or a Yin Yoga class. Plan to arrive 5 minutes early, and don’t be shy about letting the instructor know that you’re new.  Also, check out these five common misconceptions about yoga for a little clarity and inspiration. Obviously, I cannot recommend it enough!