How I Became a Morning Exerciser

Werkin' it with my awesome trainer, Jenn.

I didn’t think it would happen. Ever.  I knew they existed: the gym-goers who arrive bright and early, work themselves into a sweaty mess, and then clean up and make their way to work.  It seemed like torture to me!  I just could not fathom that I would ever become a Morning Person, let alone a Morning Exerciser.  I had always exercised after work, so that afterward I could shower up and deservedly collapse on the couch for the evening when I got home.  That worked for a while, but eventually I got frustrated at having a smaller amount of time to myself in the evenings, and having to cook/clean/etc. when I was exhausted from a day of work AND a gym session.  So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a change, and try working out in the morning.

I started my morning workouts during a week when my evenings were totally occupied, because I knew I would be committed to fitting my workout in, and therefore less likely to hit the snooze button.  It was an intense week, but I didn’t burn out like I thought I would.  In fact, I had MORE energy to accomplish everything on my agenda beyond my regular workday.  Here’s what I learned:

  1. After a morning workout, the improved quality of the rest of my day was enough motivation to get myself out of bed early again the next day- and that cycle just kept repeating itself.
  2. I never hit an afternoon slump that tempted me to over-snack or over-caffeinate.  After a morning workout, the day passed by without even thinking about it.
  3. Changing your schedule, like any other big changes, requires planning.  Now, when I sit down over the weekend to plan meals and groceries, I also plan my workouts.  I write down which days I’ll do cardio, which days I’ll do strength training, and exactly what exercises to do.  I keep this note in my smartphone, so that I know exactly what to do when I get there.
  4. Being specific helps.  Telling myself “I’ll workout at 8am” worked much better at getting me there than simply thinking “I’ll stop at the gym on my way to work.”
  5. It’s best to set yourself up to grab-and-go.  At night, when I pack my lunch for work the next day, I pack my gym back with work clothes, a water bottle, and anything else I need.  I even put everything near the front door – so that no matter how tired I am in the morning, I can throw on my workout clothes, and drag everything out the door behind me while I’m still in a zombie-like state.
  6. When in doubt, just get dressed.  Every time I thought about skipping the morning workout, I put my workout clothes on anyway, and it gave me the motivation I needed.  Something about my bouncy workout sneakers perked me right up.  Another benefit of this trick is that if it doesn’t work, it’s a good indication that maybe it really is the right day to take a break.

Are you a Morning Exerciser?  How does it work for you?

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Jack Werther
Director Parisi Speed School at Club Fit

Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid. Excessive loss of fluid can occur from many reasons, but most commonly in sports through sweat. During an intense workout, an athlete can lose up to 3L of fluid per hour. To help prevent dehydration one should drink at regular intervals, not only when they feel thirsty, as one may already be dehydrated at this point. Water and sports drinks are excellent ways to prevent dehydration. By drinking every 15 to 20 minutes one can help replace not only lost body fluids, but necessary minerals as well.

Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe. It is extremely important to recognize the signs and symptoms as to not allow mild dehydration to progress. Some of the signs and symptoms of dehydration include thirst which is greater than usual, urine which is darker than usual, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, head ache, and muscle cramps. Extreme dehydration can impair one’s ability to think clearly, lead to loss of consciousness, and ultimately lead to death. In most cases, dehydration can be treated by increasing fluid intake and ceasing strenuous activity, however extreme cases may require medical attention.

The bottom line with dehydration is that it is a real threat to anyone and is a preventable problem. Stay properly hydrated this season by increasing fluid intake before physical activity and maintaining fluid intake at regular intervals during activity, regardless of thirst. Stay safe; stay hydrated.

Bubble Up!

It’s almost bubble time! Twice a year, our tennis players wait with baited breath as we raise or remove the infamous tennis bubble. And some wonder why it can’t be done overnight. What goes on behind the scenes, the amount of planning and muscle it takes to make the transformation, is quite a story. No one knows better than Club Fit Project Manager Clint Hodder, who has been overseeing the operation at both clubs since the bubbles were installed 18 years ago.

“The bubble is a great concept in a climate like ours,” says Clint. “But it involves so much more than what people are aware of. There are so many details, and one of the biggest parts of the planning process is anticipating and being ready for things that could go wrong.”

The process starts weeks before the physical work begins: hiring temporary staff, scheduling equipment and ordering materials. Then dates are pinpointed, but if there’s rain in the forecast, everything can change. It’s one of the reasons Clint keeps the operation in-house. “When you use outside vendors, a rain delay could be a disaster because they have other clients and are trying to fit everyone in at the same time,” he explains. It also saves the club money, because hiring outside help usually means hiring multiple vendors to deal with different phases of the process.

What is involved once the staff and materials are in place? In the spring, a team takes down the hang lines, curtains and nets, then the lines are pulled up because the courts are repositioned. The lights are removed and the bubble is given a couple of days to dry out. Then it’s time to take it down. After a good cleaning, the bubble is folded up, put away and reconstruction begins: putting up poles and curtains, resurfacing the courts (which requires nearly 20 tons of material), putting new lines down, repairing any electrical issues and digging out the sprinkler system, which is covered up for the winter. And in the fall, it goes back up again! Which is always a little more work, because of all the details that need to be taken care of to make sure all is in place.

Resurfacing the courts is an essential part of the process, according to Clint, and is the reason the whole process is a little more time consuming than at other clubs. But it ensures that our players have optimal court conditions no matter what time of year they play. And to help accommodate members who can’t wait a few days to play, the work at each club is staggered so the Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley courts are not closed at the same time.

But the work doesn’t end with installation or takedown. Maintenance of the courts and the bubble is a year-round project. The courts need to be watered and groomed daily, and each night staff is on hand from 10pm to 5am to water and groom the courts for the next day, and deal with any issues or repairs. Also, when the bubble is up, a close eye is kept on the weather. “We don’t sleep much in the winter!” says Clint. Heavy snowfall calls for an overnight crew to continuously shovel the buildup of snow around the bubble. A few years ago, a major snowstorm caused a rip in the Briarcliff bubble that required repair. And when Hurricanes Irene and Sandy came to town, the bubble was taken down as a precaution.

There are also the occasional staffing issues. It’s not always easy to find the 22 temporary employees to complete the bubble installation or takedown. And once they are hired, some have walked off the job when they decide it’s a bigger job than they anticipated. But there are others who have gone above and beyond, and are now Club Fit staff members.

All in all, Clint and his crew have it down to a science, and are the reason that issues are kept to a minimum year after year. This year’s “bubble up” will take place first at Briarcliff from September 3rd – 15th and at Jefferson Valley from September 14th – 22nd. So while you’re waiting those few days in between seasons, know that your courts are in good hands!

Why I bought a scale.

Me, one year after starting my fitness journey.

For a long time, I refused to own a scale.  Not because I was in denial about being overweight, or refusing to change, but because I associated my weight with very complicated feelings of self-worth.  Just the sight of a scale brought immediate flare-ups of guilt, and sometimes shame.  For years, I have excused myself from the practice of weighing myself regularly by rationalizing that those feelings could not possibly be healthy.  As long as I was in good health, why did I need to lose weight?

I have been overweight for my entire life.  As a child, I was among the tallest and the strongest in my age group, and always a bit on the heavy side.  My extraordinarily tall friends laugh when I tell them that I understand how they feel being a head taller than the rest of the world, but the truth is, I have never known what it’s like to feel small, even after all my classmates grew taller than me.  I was an athlete – a strong and fast swimmer – and I ate like one, especially on meet days.  My dietary habits formed at a time in my life when I exercised for hours a day – and later on, when my pursuits changed from athletic to artistic, my weight ballooned, and I didn’t see it – all because I was no stranger to being “big.”  So when my weight was criticized, I took it very personally because I thought it was just the way that I was.

When I started my health and fitness journey, around this time last year, I had to do some serious soul searching before I could even set foot in the gym.  I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about getting thin, it was about being healthy.  I didn’t start with a goal of losing weight, I only focused on improving my health by getting more exercise.  Of course, weight loss came in short order, especially after I made healthier changes to my diet.  When I felt my body changing, I got on a scale out of curiosity, and I saw that I had lost ten pounds since the last time I had been weighed at the doctor’s office.  For the first time, I realized that it is totally within my power to shed every pound of extra weight that’s keeping me from being as healthy as possible – but I couldn’t do that without a scale to measure my progress.  I had to face my fear head-on.

So I bought one.  My husband came with me, not knowing that he was accompanying me to a simultaneously painful and triumphant event.  I made it not a big deal.  We stopped at the store on our way to do something else, picked out one we liked, tossed it in the trunk, and went on our way.  Even while I was driving away, I was aware of that scale sitting in the trunk of my car, and what it meant for me: that there is no turning back.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I realized that just because it’s always been sunny, doesn’t mean it will never rain.  Obviously, being heavy did not cause my cancer, and I can’t control it by losing weight, but doing everything in my power to get as healthy as possible means that I’ll be stronger to fight it if it comes back.  While my cancer diagnosis has taken many things away from me, it has actually given me an incredibly powerful gift.  It has allowed me to move forward on my journey to good health, free from the guilt and shame that I associated with my body, my weight, and how I got to this point.  I have lost 30 pounds so far, and I’m still have at least 100 pounds to go.  It will not be fast, and it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Prenatal Massage Paradise!

First let me just begin by saying I am 8 months pregnant. It also behooves me to tell you I work here at Club Fit- just wanted to provide full disclosure so you don’t think we are being sneaky. I don’t work in Fitness, I am not an instructor and I don’t chase around kids all day at Summer Camp! I’m more of a behind the scenes kind of gal. I’ve been fairly lucky throughout my pregnancy to not have suffered with too many ailments. I’ve stayed fairly active (nothing compared to my usual workouts), but active none-the-less . . . Well, until I hit the 3rd trimester!

I feel like someone turned on a switch at 28 weeks PG and said “go go gadget pregnancy body”. My feet have been swollen for a few weeks- they look like giant potatoes, my back has felt like a bent piece of steel, my hips are achy all the time and my fingers resemble hotdogs. I guess this is the not so fun part of pregnancy. Especially a pregnancy in the Summer!

I’ve done my exercises, gone to prenatal yoga (which also was fantastic), taken my walks, spent time in aquatics and I generally eat a very well balanced diet. Basically, I’ve tried to do everything right for me and the baby on board. Yet, I still ended up feeling sore and sluggish. I finally decided to get a Prenatal Massage due to all the discomfort I have been experiencing. BOY AM I GLAD I DID!

I booked my appointment with Mary Frances Lyons, a long time Staff Member of the Massage department at Club Fit and a very experienced massage therapist. Generally, I am not a “touchy feely” type of person and I am not one to get comfortable very easily in a massage. My experience with Mary was simply fantastic. She put me at ease right away by telling me what to was going to happen. She provided me with options to make me as comfortable as possible. Do I want to lay on my back propped up, would I be more comfortable on my side? Do I want to start with my tummy down? In case you’re wondering about the tummy-down thing: there is a circular part of the massage table that is removed when you have this big belly! So I told her what I wanted to do, she left the room so I could change and get on the table and get situated and when I was ready, she came in and the massage began. She used just the right amount of pressure to relieve tension, and was gentle enough that it didn’t cause any discomfort. She was sure to ask me how I was feeling which was also comforting because I felt that she cared about my experience and comfort. We chatted for a while about pregnancy and what happens to your body, why certain areas might hurt more than others, the unreal amount of swelling that seems to have taken over and so on. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep for a little while too!

Basically, I left the massage feeling like I had a new back. I also felt like I could probably go jogging (not that I would right now mind you) even though I was very relaxed. What was also fun was that I could even feel the baby start to relax during the massage. He usually jams himself into my rib cage, but he loosened up big time which was a really nice break from the constant tightness I feel in my ribs. I guess he took a nap because he was mellow for the rest of the day!

In short, I wanted all you expecting moms to know that Prenatal Massage can really be a nice treat! I felt a sense of relief and relaxation afterward that is worth every penny! So if you are like me and you get to a point where you are having all these unpleasant symptoms, maybe you should give it a try. I will be booking another appointment in a few weeks and I will be looking forward to it until then!

We have great Prenatal Massage therapists available at Club Fit Briarcliff and Club Fit Jefferson Valley. If you have questions or would like to book a massage, email the Massage Director Denise at dharrington@clubfit.com!

2.5 Ladies Tennis Team Comes Out on Top!

An update from our ladies 2.5 Club Fit tennis team! These ladies ARE WESTCHESTER LOCAL CHAMPIONS!

NAIL BITER!

Ok tonight came down to the wire!
On the first doubles court Steady Stacey and Cheerful Casandra were fighting hard they lost the first set 6-3. The second set looked like they were making a comeback tiring their opponents out by long long points but they lost 6 -3. They should be very proud of themselves they played very tough opponents.

Dangerous Danielle and Smashing Silvia won the first set 6-4 and it was looking good. They gave us a scare in the second set but they prevailed 6-4. They were conferencing on the court and we thought they were talking strategy but turns out they were talking about mojitos! Obviously it was very helpful! Now we needed to win the singles match. Cruise Missile Claire destroyed her opponent in the first set 6-1. In the second set Claire was up 3-0 then had had some really long and tough points. Claire lost the second set 4-6. So our fate had come down to a super tiebreaker! Talk about a heart attack inducing moments! Cruise Missile Claire became Clutch Claire! She beat her opponent 10 to 2! She was absolutely fantastic! However it was nerve wracking to watch so Adam started talking about mojitos with Danielle instead and that seemed to work too.

SO LADIES WE ARE WESTCHESTER LOCAL CHAMPIONS!(kept you suspense didn’t I?) I’m so proud of everyone on this team! Every single one of us helped get us to this point.

We are now going to play in Orangeburg NY at 1pm on Sunday August 4. The facility is called Match point. As soon as Adam makes the line up I will put it out.
Tonight was so close but I never lost faith in this team and knew this wouldn’t be my last recap!!

I love being captain of this team and this has been a wonderful summer because of all of you! Thanks to our fabulous coach Adam, and wonderful pros David and Heath who came out to support us tonight.

Oh by the way I forgot to mention we all get a prize!!! For those of you who could not be with us tonight they are in the tennis office and you can pick it there. It is a insulated bag that says Westchester local champion! I love the sound of that”local champion”!

Xoxoxo Carri:)