Club Fit Employee Chris Becker

Club Fit employee Chris Becker with some happy campers!

Club Fit employee Chris Becker with some happy campers!

Beyonce enters a room and people holler “B!!” or “Queen Bey!!” Justin Bieber hits the stage, and followers scream “Biebs!!” or “JB!!” And when Chris Becker strolls into the energy center, his fan base is equally animated. Unlike Beyonce and Bieber, Becker has no nickname. Still, the sound of children calling out to him is sweet music to Chris’s ears.

“When I walk into the energy center and the kids are like, ‘Chris, Chris’ — and they want to hang out with me — it’s such a rewarding experience,” he says. “It’s hard to call it ‘friendships’ when you’re talking about 2 or 10-year-olds — but there’s a real connection, there’s a bond between us. I love the kids here, I really do.”

Chris Becker has worked at Club Fit since the summer of 2011. Initially hired to work as camp counselor to four and five year olds, Chris returned periodically to work at the club during breaks from his studies at SUNY Buffalo (where he majored in early childhood education). Since December 2013, Chris has worked nights and weekends at the club while pursuing his masters in elementary and special education at Mercy College. The only thing consistent about Chris’s schedule is that kids are involved…otherwise, it’s up for grabs. Sometimes Chris is watching infants in the nursery. Sometimes he’s monitoring older kids after school in the energy center. And sometimes he’s hosting weekend birthday parties. That’s the task he enjoys the most.

“Parties are fun; there are so many different options. You could do a two-year-old’s birthday party — where there’s a maze and then you go into the bounce castles — or you could do a 12-year-old’s birthday party where you’re playing dodge ball and capture the flag,“ Chris says. “I like seeing how excited each kid gets.”

The oldest of three children, Chris grew up in Mahopac. He says that a few excellent teachers he had along the way inspired him to want to work with kids. His education on how to handle children has occurred on multiple fronts. Through college classes, substitute teaching, and interactions with kids at Club Fit, Chris learned that to successfully manage children you must a) be patient, b) have the confidence to lead, c) be quick on your feet, and d) be compassionate and empathetic.

“I feel like being able to interact with the kids on their level is really important because the way you interact with one kid is different than the way you interact with another,” he observes. “If one kid has a very strong personality, you’re going to deal with him in a different way than a kid who is very sensitive or shy. I think [working] camp and birthday parties have helped me out most by making me a leader of 20 kids. I have to be completely in charge.”

One thing no one is completely in charge of is life; life has a way of throwing curveballs at us. That certainly happened to Chris. Although he didn’t play baseball in high school, Chris pitched on a college development team and wound up receiving an offer (and academic money) from Clark University in Worchester, Mass. Enter… curveball. “I turned it down because I tore my Tommy John (elbow) ligament,” he says. “But everything happened for the best. I was able to find a different athletic path and still be able to compete.” That path turned out to be running. Chris is a marathoner whose best time is 3 hours and 50 minutes; his goal is to get under 3 hours and 30 minutes. He finished 103rd out of 450 runners in the Brooklyn Marathon and plans to run the New York City half marathon in March.

Chris’ s professional and personal plans for the future are simple. Ideally, after completing his masters, he’d like to land a teaching job somewhere in the Yorktown, Mahopac, Putnam Valley area. And he’d also like to settle down. “A bunch of my friends want to travel the world and do all these crazy things — I just want to have what my family has: A very stable house, dog, kids, family — that’s what I want,” he says. “ I just want the traditional family.”

Know this: The Club Fit family is proud to call Chris one of our own. And if you enter the energy center on any given evening, you may hear loud, verbal evidence that this is true. “Chris, Chris, Chris!!”

Bey and Biebs….eat your heart out!

— by Guest Blogger Joy Cain 

The Health Benefits of Diet and Exercise

The new year is upon us, a time for reflection, reevaluation and change. Even if what you are doing is working, there is always room for improvement! Just ask Bill Lulow, a Club Fit Briarcliff member for 20 years who used good judgment when faced with a recent health scare. He is now taking steps to educate himself on the benefits of a good diet to supplement an exercise regimen he has fine-tuned over the course of 30-plus years.

Bill, a commercial photographer, has been working out steadily since 1979. But the 70-year-old Chappaqua resident has had a few hiccups, including shoulder surgery and a recent angioplasty brought on by some unusual symptoms. “My dad died of a heart attack, so I’ve always been on top of my cardiac health,” says Bill. “He was a doctor himself, and was experiencing chest pain. He waited a few days to get to his own doctor, and it was a few days too late. I was determined not to let that happen to me.”

This past February, Bill felt a pain in his collarbone, in the carotid artery area, and couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs. The feeling passed, but a few weeks later it happened again while shopping with his wife of 32 years, Judith. When it didn’t pass by morning, he went to the Emergency Room. An angioplasty was performed, and revealed that he did suffer from coronary disease but did not have a heart attack. His attention to the pain probably saved him from a worse fate, and he was back in the gym doing cardio rehab almost right away.

Today, Bill spends six days a week in the Fitness Center, with three 20-minute days of cardio and weights and three days of an hour-long cardio workout. He’s modified his routine over time, getting tips from Assistant General Manager Ted Gilsinger after his shoulder surgery last year and help with his form from Master Trainer Sean Weil. “What I like about Club Fit is that the staff is so knowledgeable,” says Bill. “I feel comfortable taking direction from the Fitness Coaches there.”

A commercial photographer with studios in Chappaqua and Manhattan, Bill’s focus on fitness helps him maintain his active lifestyle. He spent many years teaching photography in the New York City public schools, and now does freelance corporate work and teaches photography privately and in local art programs. He also teaches in the Kaplan Test Prep program, and enjoys golf and skiing in his free time. His photography is currently being exhibited at the Katonah Village Library (click here for more information), and will be featured at the Scarsdale Public Library in April. Visit Bill’s web site, www.williamlulow.com, to view his work and to read about his journey through the world of photography. And if you see Bill in the Club, congratulate him on his proactive approach to good health — an approach we can all learn from!

Regular Exercise is important for your heart and overall health.

Regular Exercise is important for your heart and overall health.

Teamwork to find a cure for Arthritis

Now this should make you feel all warm and fuzzy! We’d like to share what Group Fitness Instructor, Carol Migliorelli, sent us about what she and some of our members were up to this weekend . . .

“This weekend at the Arthritis Foundation 5K, lots of Club Fit members joined the honoree, Denise Olsen to walk/run the event.

Denise was gravely ill a couple years ago and never thought that she would be able to walk again after a horrific flair up with her arthritis. However, she fought hard and long and has recovered. This year they honored her for her tremendous spunk and hard work!

We participated last year and raised over $3500 this year we pulled in over $8000!

Club Fit donated a gift card for a raffle (see young lady below) she gave a scream when she found out that she won “such an awesome prize!” So thank you Club Fit for supporting our efforts to hopefully one day find a cure for arthritis, but also for offering quality fitness programs that provide a safe place for people with arthritis to work out and promote a healthy quality of life. Denise said the aquatic center and classes were an important part of regaining her strength. When I see people improve and get their life back it makes me so proud to be a part of Club Fit.”

To Carol and all who participated in this great fundraiser: you are what makes us tick! You are all a fantastic example of what it means to be a team, working toward a goal for an excellent cause. We will continue to support these great works whenever possible! Great job!

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Are you living a healthy lifestyle?

Don’t laugh! It’s a good question to ask yourself! Some of us are super motivated when it comes to health and fitness, some people may even go a little too far with their workouts, some of us need a little push, some of us would really rather not workout, but we do for health reasons and some of us just simply don’t do it.

Here is a little factoid: There is no “too late” for anyone. Do you have a friend, relative or even a neighbor that needs to get active? It begins with encouraging them. Our society puts a great deal of pressure on us and sometimes we do not even notice it. It doesn’t automatically register in our minds that all the models we see in magazines and on TV are all photoshopped and airbrushed to the nines. We are fed unrealistic images of how people look and feel, and we assume that these “beautiful people” are all also healthy. This is not always so, but it sure does a number on our self esteem to be inundated with these images. Sometimes all it takes is a little push from a loved one or friend to get us to do something that is good for ourselves. Even when we are in the habit of working out, we still need that encouragement to stay motivated.

There is more to health than just working out. We need to consider our diet (including consumption of alcohol), our sleep habits, and our daily behaviors. It doesn’t always occur to us to check how many calories are in that Latte or what the side-effects of a particular medication are. Many times we don’t look behind the curtain. It’s time to start. Start by asking questions. Take a more active role in understanding health as whole and not just a piece of a puzzle. Where are we without our health? Probably not where we would like to be.

If you need some guidance and are ready to make a change, we are here to help you on your journey. We have registered dietitians, personal trainers and many programs that were designed specifically for your needs no matter where you are with your health. Whether you have been instructed by a doctor to start working out or are an avid fitness enthusiast, we want you to be a part of our community. We also have a Cancer Wellness Program that is open to anyone actively undergoing cancer treatments.

Get started today at our Jefferson Valley or Briarcliff location! Visit the Club Fit website for more information!

Club Fit Alert Jefferson Valley – Operational Update

December 4, 2014

To Our Valued Members,

It is with great sincerity and candor I send this update to you. As members you have every reason to feel disappointed and disillusioned with the intermittent disruptions to your regular visits to the club. I’m sorry there were times you ventured out to the club only to find the club closed and perhaps the offer of using Club Fit Briarcliff unreasonable. We find this just as disheartening as you.

We have certainly seen our share of troubles these past two months with the power supply to our facility.  The issue and resolution has been complex. We have made it a priority to keep our membership updated every step of the way. Occasionally these efforts were thwarted due to circumstances beyond our control. We have done our best to remain open under these difficult circumstances. After the initial power failure we placed e-cash on members’ accounts as a gesture of appreciation of their patience. We immediately began the process of restoration and repair of the primary lines to the facility. We not only repaired the existing lines but felt a long term solution included laying new lines to assure we would not find ourselves in this predicament again. The new primary lines have not been connected by our energy supplier to date. While waiting for an installation date from our energy supplier, the older primary lines failed on Sunday leading to the reinstallation of a generator. Unfortunately yesterday the generator caught fire spurring an evacuation and closing of the Club for the day.

On a positive note, we believe we see an end in sight to this dilemma. We have received word from our energy supplier that the scope of work to connect to our new primary lines should be completed by this evening and with good luck we should be on full power by Friday morning. We share the same feelings of disappointment and frustration as our members over this situation.  We will be placing e-cash on your account to thank you for your patience during this disruption. Please enjoy using this e-cash in good health at the club.

We are a resilient group and we will continue to be an organization that supports our community, opens our doors for those in need after other power outages and storms, and will do our best to be there for our members in their times of need. We would like to believe our members share these core values and are pleased to be in partnership with Club Fit to make our community healthier. I do hope you choose to remain with us as a member.

I look forward to seeing you in the club soon,

Lynne Welling
General Manager
(914) 250-2746