Congrats to our Club Fit Flag Football Team!

Our winning Club Fit Flag Football Team

Our winning Club Fit Flag Football Team

We are very proud of our Club Fit Flag Football team. Staff, members, family and friends joined forces to participate in a local football league, winning the trophy after only three seasons.

Their success story…

We started out as a group of friends just playing a pick-up two-hand touch game of football on Christmas Day, 2015. A few days later, Personal Trainer Russ Schum suggested playing in a Holiday Flag Football Tournament coming up the next month. Excited and ready to get started, we began to recruit more employees from Club Fit, as well as family and friends. Eventually, we changed leagues, and joined the Tappan Zee Flag Football League (TZFFL), entering in the Spring B Division.

Under the name “Squadd” we started the 2015 season with a well-deserved 7-6 victory. Throughout the season, we took our fair share of bumps and bruises – we struggled at times, but finished our season with a 2-6 record. Despite the losses, we were determined to improve and push ahead.

With one season of experience under our belts and a crop of new players on our team, we began the second season filled with hope and an expectation of winning more games.  We won the first three of four games – and it was evident the changes we made were coming to fruition. Unfortunately our early success was short lived – we stumbled during the middle of our season, but managed to carry ourselves to the playoffs.  Although we felt confident in our abilities to win, we were outmatched and ultimately lost.

Our third season brought renewed vigor and determination, under our new name – the Westchester Spartans.  With the help of a few key players, we devised new strategies. We kicked off the season with an outstanding 19-0 victory. We went into our second game with renewed confidence, only to be quickly humbled by a 26-21 loss.  Nevertheless, we won the last 6 games of the regular season and entered the playoffs with seven wins and one loss – ready to tackle the championship game. We fought hard and won!

After two seasons of accomplishments, and a few setbacks, we finally came out as the success story we were hoping to become. Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of this journey for us was that we started out simply as colleagues from around Club Fit, and ended as close friends and champions.  Through the seasons, we got to know more about one another and learned how to play football successfully together as a team.  We may have lost a few people along the way, and added some new players, but we’re all dedicated and determined to play more football and play it well into the future, as a team.

Our Winning Team:

Club Fit Staff
Brandon Brailsford — Team Captain (BR Fitness)
Bobby Drinks (BR Energy Center)
Jordan Archible (BR Reception)
Russ Schum (BR Fitness)
Jesse Drinks (BR Energy Center)
Tyler Hamberg (BR Fitness)
Sam Lacour (BR Energy Center)
Tommy Weingart (BR Fitness)
James Johnson (BR Energy Center)
Joe Riley (JV Fitness)
Jason Fancie (BR Energy Center)
Tarik Stovall (BR Energy Center)

Club Fit Members
Matt Laccetti
Ryan Tompkins

Family and Friends
DeVonte’ Brailsford
Mike Olave
Alejandro Rodriguez
Ryan McNiff
Tyson Agler
Nick Miranda
Al Brailsford
Kevin Miranda
Chris Fucci

Fitness Success Story: Mary Healy

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Mary Healy joined Club Fit in February 2015 and began personal training with Master Trainer Beth Kear in March. Here is what she has to say about her fitness journey with Club Fit:

Most of my life I have been overweight. After much time and effort, at this point in my fitness journey, I have lost over 65lbs and I am now off Hypertension medications. My main interest in joining Club Fit was to use the pool for exercise post back surgery. Once I felt stronger I wanted to learn how to use the Fitness Center but was anxious regarding safety. Soon after, a club manager suggested working with a personal trainer to ease my way into a new fitness regime and help with my balance and strength weaknesses. Master Trainer, Beth Kear stepped into my life and everything changed. She has shared her knowledge as tools to use everyday until they become part of you. My strength, balance, and endurance has all increased, but most of all — my confidence. This is my first experience joining a health club, it has been one of my best decisions I have made. It is true you never stop learning!

We are so happy for your success Mary, congratulations in your progress and your accomplishments!

Mary before and after

Mary’s fitness journey had yielded amazing progress, as shown in these before and after photos.

These are photos of Mary before her weight loss and after.

Rosemary’s Fitness Success Story

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My name is Rose Burgos-Bennett, and I have been struggling with weight loss for most of my life. I am the type of person that loses interest quickly, and I have explored many different ways to lose weight. I have even taking my plans to the extreme. After I had my son, I was at my heaviest — 280 lbs! I tried various home programs to lose weight; the P.I.N.K method, Shaun T’s Insanity and T-25. From these programs, I lost approximately 45 to 50 lbs. I also tried Crossfit and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but due to a shoulder injury and then a neck injury, I had to stop. I was in physical therapy for almost 2 1/2 years, but my weight remained at 230 lbs. I needed to get into Physical Therapy, and this is when Club Fit came into my life. Once recovered, I wanted to try to get fit and healthy and continue my weight loss journey.

My husband and I decided to join the Summer Shape Up program with personal trainers Tiana Gonzalez and Nick Paganelli. Both my husband and I had completely different goals. Steven’s goal was to gain muscle mass and mine was to lose weight. I was hesitant at first to begin personal training but Tiana has been a class act! She has been extremely helpful, and worked with my abilities and pushed me to do more. She has been an incredible coach and cheerleader and has celebrated my success every step of the way. She was also attentive to form and intensity to ensure I never injured myself during the workouts. During the 8-week program I lost 17lbs! MYZONE has been an essential tool in the process. Tiana used it to monitor me during training and paced me accordingly. I love that it tells me how many calories burned during an activity and that it shows how much I am pushing myself during my workouts. I am always trying to get to the red…LOL. It has been excellent — and I love it.

My husband and I use our MYZONE belts even when we are not in the Club. We monitor each other when jogging/walking on the outside track. We go out there as a family and we try to engage both our kids in all we do. I know I am not at my goal weight yet, but I am going in the right direction. I am taking it a day at a time and celebrating my successes in my continual journey to lose weight.

Staying on track, out of town.

Kendra2Earlier this fall, I traveled out of town for a few days on a business trip. I was excited, but also worried about staying aligned with my diet and fitness goals on the road. In the past, I haven’t been great about navigating or recovering from interruptions to my usual routine. This time, I spent some time packing and planning in advance.

Here’s what I did:

I packed multiple changes of workout clothes, and an alarm clock, which allowed me to grab a fresh set of clothes whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes at the hotel gym.

I packed a ton of healthy snacks, and tracked my calorie intake using an iPhone app. (I use MyFitnessPal.) On a business trip, you eat out a lot, and it can be hard to “guesstimate” an accurate entry for meals. By having healthy snacks to munch on during the day, I was able to keep my take-out meals (and the guesswork) to a minimum.

I brought my new MyZone 3 belt to track my workouts. By using the smartphone app to view my heart rate zone during my workout, I was able to make the best use of my limited workout time, just like when I’m at the Club.

I carried a water bottle to refill between work sessions to stay hydrated. This helped keep food cravings to a minimum, and kept me feeling great while I spent most of my day sitting in a seminar.

Sounds perfect, right? I am the queen of planning! I am a superhero and none shall put my forward momentum asunder! Still, the best laid plans can go awry, and I did learn some very important lessons. Here’s what I also could have done to set myself up for success.

Brought a lightweight exercise or yoga mat for my hotel room. I was surprised to find that the hotel gym was even smaller than my super-tiny hotel room. There was one elliptical machine, one recumbent bike, one treadmill, one rack of free weights, and not much room to swing a sweat towel, or even do some simply bodyweight exercises. Having extra cushioning for the floor in my hotel room would have helped me use that space for stretching, yoga, or a little core work.

Packed a bigger variety of healthy snacks, and more than I thought I needed. I brought enough to sustain me during my time out of town, but by the end of the trip, what I missed was choices. On my last day, I just didn’t feel like peanut butter chocolate chip protein bars anymore. I’d rather carry home a few uneaten snacks, but have enjoyed my snacks along the way, than get sick and tired of some of my favorites.

Penciled in workouts on my calendar for the days AFTER I returned. Sometime after I returned home, I was shocked when I realized that three days had passed without exercising. Even though I had kept myself on track pretty well during my trip, somehow that attention just flew out the window when I got back! I should have written a workout into my calendar for the days following, to ensure that making time for exercise was an intentional part of resuming my normal schedule.

Any other tips, Club Fitters? What has worked for you?

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Club Fit Instructor and accessories maven Barbara Aronowitz

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Instructor Barbara Aronowitz is co-owner of In2Style accessories, available in The Shop at Club Fit

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Barbara Aronowitz in The Shop at Briarcliff, which carries In2Style accessories.

Many of us know and love Barbara Aronowitz for her heart-pumping Spin classes at Club Fit Briarcliff. But what many members DON’T know is just how long Barbara has been a part of the Club Fit family, and the roles she has played in the Club’s history!

Barbara, who now lives in White Plains, was a member at Club Fit Jefferson Valley when she joined the staff as a Group Exercise instructor in 1988. But it wasn’t about Spin back then. “We taught any and every Group Exercise class, Step… any new program that came along,” she says. In 1997 she moved to the Briarcliff club as Group Exercise Manager, and then became part of the club’s original Human Resources Team when it was established in 2001.

All the while, she continued to teach and eventually became a certified Spin instructor, which is her current role at the club these days, where she teaches four classes. Along the way, Barbara has become close with co-workers and club members alike, including Spin class participant Patti Loomis. Patti, who lives in Briarcliff Manor, has been a Club Fit Briarcliff member for 15 years, and loves it. “I take all of Barbara’s Spin classes, and also enjoy Pilates and Definitions.” The friendship between Patti and Barbara began about three years ago, and has now bloomed into a business partnership.

Patti, a former paralegal, was running a gift and accessories business from home, attending distributor shows at the Javits Center in Manhattan and visiting New York City showrooms and selling through local shops. Barbara started tagging along to these shows and one day, about six months ago, the light bulb went on: “Why don’t we go into business together?” And In2Style was born.

Today, Barbara and Patti are selling their wares at The Shop at Club Fit, where shop manager Lauren is helping move their merchandise along. “We love to get feedback, so we hope that shoppers let Lauren know what items they’d like to see offered,” says Patti. “We’re out all the time looking for the latest, newest trends in accessories.” Barbara and Patti also pride themselves on offering multiple price points. “We have things for everyone’s budget!” Keep that in mind when holiday shopping time comes around!

Interestingly enough, this new venture brings things full circle for Barbara, who has a degree in Fashion Merchandising! She says has loved being with Club Fit for these past 27 years, especially because of the flexibility she has had to grow within the club, as well as outside the club. “I feel like I have a special relationship with Club Fit,” she says. “It’s just a great place!”

To get in touch with Barbara and Patti about their venture, or to offer suggestions on what you’d like to see in The Shop, you can email in2stylebp@gmail.com. They’d love to hear from you! Or just tap Barbara on the shoulder after Spin class, she’s always ready to talk shop!

Recommitting to Fitness Goals

Kendra3When I walked back into the gym after several months without exercise, I encountered one really big surprise: even after having lost fifty pounds through diet and exercise, I suddenly felt like the new kid at the gym. I had trouble figuring out where I should start!  

It reminded me of how I felt almost three years ago, walking into the gym for the first time after years of battling illness, and being terrified of putting a toe in the water, for fear of hurting myself, doing too much, doing too little, or doing something ineffective. 

Fighting the urge to turn around and go home, I got on the treadmill for a few minutes and just started walking, slowly. Just so I could get my head together and clear my thoughts. I felt like everyone was staring at me. (They were not.) I felt like I didn’t have everything I needed to accomplish a good workout comfortably. (I did. Headphones, iPhone, armband, water bottle, sweat towel, check. No excuses.) I thought that I didn’t know how to build my own workout. (I did.)

While it was true that I hadn’t exercised in some time, I knew that deep down, I knew what to do. It was just a matter of digging up that knowledge and putting it to good use. In the time since that “first day” almost three years ago, I’ve worked with personal trainers, and enough to know what works to motivate my mind and my body. As I walked, I coached myself silently, in my head: “You love spinning. You still hate running. You like strength training. You hate the track. You like the Woodway Eco-Treadmill. You love stretching, so save time for that. Remember?”

Slowly, I put the pieces back together. Once I got my head on straight and my confidence back, I cranked up the incline on my treadmill, put in my ear buds with my favorite workout playlist, and had a great powerwalk. So great, that I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. (That may have drawn a few stares.) I felt like singing along to my playlist and punching the air in front of me. (I resisted. You know, you don’t want to be THAT person.) In the end, I was surprised by a new feeling: freedom and joy.

On my way home after my workout, I remembered some really helpful advice I had gotten from a trainer: slow and steady wins the race. When you’re recommitting to fitness after an absence, it’s hard to resist temptation to overcompensate for your “time away.” What a recipe for injury and setbacks! Writers don’t write novels in a day, and likewise, we don’t build our healthiest, strongest bodies overnight, or even in a few weeks of hard effort and the best of intentions. In the past, I have been guilty of having fierce fitness energy for about a month, and then crashing when I felt like I was spending “all my time” at the gym. Working with a sustainable pace, and on a healthy schedule, is truly the best way to minimize setbacks. I’m so grateful for everything that I have learned that has brought me to this healthy place of mind and body. It makes the difference between starting over and starting anew.

If you’re struggling with getting to the gym for the first time, or getting back there after some time away, remember this: don’t bring yesterday with you. If you’re struggling with frustration or guilt, you need to leave those things at home. They are not tall enough to ride this ride.

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Getting back on the Superhero track

KendraheadshotHi, Club Fit friends! I’ve missed you!

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action for a while. Around 10 months ago, I was celebrating a huge milestone accomplishment of losing fifty pounds since the beginning of my fitness journey. (Somehow, that feels like yesterday.) I was elated, re-energized, and couldn’t wait to lose fifty more. But then, as it sometimes does, life took another turn.

Thankfully, my own health continues to be stable, and I am still cancer-free. But shortly after my last post, I suffered the loss of two close family members. In the months that followed, I struggled to balance my time between work and family obligations, and taking care of myself and my health and fitness was the furthest thing from my mind. I was in “helper mode”, and anything and everything I could do to help others in my family, others at work, was my first instinct when it came to managing my time. I actually felt guilty about spending my own time and energy on myself.

Thankfully, my body woke me up. The lower back pain I experienced when I was out of shape returned, and I felt tired all the time, but didn’t sleep well at night. A handful of pounds had creeped back on, and I knew that I needed to make time for my fitness again. I’ve also learned some really valuable lessons about balancing my time and energy, and making sure to include myself in the mix.

Super-optimists will tell you “each day has the same number of hours”, but the truth is that some are much, much longer than others. Some days, there genuinely isn’t any time. What is true is that each day is a new day, and any small thing you have time to do for your health and your body is never wasted, and never “not worth doing.” There is no need to wait for a day that you can dedicate two hours at the gym to “make up for lost time.” Putting in a very small amount of effort can lead to putting in more another day, and, at the very least, it will remind you that you are deserving of your own time and energy.

I will still drop everything to be there for my family when they need me, but I have learned that it’s important to remember to do the same for myself. My first day back at the gym this morning felt amazing, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning as well. After all, I’m a superhero on a mission…

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Stroke Awareness and Recovery

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

Club Fit’s Syd Berman shares her experience to promote stroke awareness.

Syd Berman promotes stroke awareness.

Syd having fun with friends from the Club Fit “Dance ‘N’ Funk” crew.

The morning of June 6, 2012 was like any other beautiful spring morning at Club Fit. Swim classes were going on in the program pool, treadmills and stair climbers were being used in the fitness area, and up in Studio I, Syd Berman was leading her Dance ‘n’ Funk class, just as she had done hundreds of times before. But about 15 minutes into this particular class, things went awry. And Syd Berman’s life was changed forever.

“I didn’t feel anything,” Syd responds when asked if she felt pain. “I was just teaching a dance, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. I’m an instructor, and it’s almost like I’m stumbling.’ Then I said something over the microphone and two of my students recognized what was going on and stopped the class.”

What was going on was that Syd was having a stroke. The alert students who saw Syd’s unusual stance and heard her slurred speech reacted immediately. They notified the front desk, and 911 was called. Syd was whisked off by ambulance to Hudson Valley Hospital. A day later, she was transferred down to Columbia Presbyterian, where she remained in the ICU for a few days. When doctors determined that she wasn’t in imminent danger of having another stroke, Syd was transferred to Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains for what turned into a six-week stay.

For those in the Club Fit family, the overwhelming sentiment surrounding the entire episode was one of shock and incredulity. This wasn’t some weekend warrior, some wannabe jock who suffered the stroke — this was SYD! Syd… who had begun working here when the facility was known as the Jefferson Valley Racquet Club. Syd… who, since 1993, had been the Club’s dance coordinator and was later put in charge of all the group exercise programs. Syd… who ate all the right foods and slept the right number of hours and who, at the age of 59, was in better physical shape than most women half her age. The stroke had happened to Syd! And the underlying thought was this: If a stroke can happen to someone like Syd, what chance do the rest of us have?

“I had none of the precursors,” Syd says. “I’m just happy I was here when it happened because our emergency response was excellent.” What Syd had was an ischemic stroke, which means that a blood clot interfered with the flow of blood to her brain. Doctors told her that the clot probably formed after she made a sudden movement with her head. “When I do the warm up, I get very high energy, so I might have just twisted too hard or something,” she says. “My doctor told me that was it. I said, ‘Well why hasn’t Beyonce stroked out ?’ and he said it’s just the luck of the draw. My GP told me that sh*t happens — so I said, ‘Thanks a lot — that really helps me out.’ But you know what? I’m still here and I feel very lucky because everyone has a story. Everybody has a tragedy in their life and I’m lucky I survived, because stroke is the No 4 killer in the country.”

Syd is speaking from the bridge area overlooking the pool at Jefferson Valley, waiting for a chair yoga class to begin. She has gained weight in the three years since her stroke, which is to be expected given that she is so much less mobile than she used to be. She needs a cane to get around, and her left arm is virtually useless. But her speech is back to normal and the smile on her face is real. She’s wearing a black Club Fit shirt with the words Live, Laugh, Love on it, and around her neck is a rhinestone turtle, a gift someone sent to her when she was rehabbing at Burke. The turtle is her reminder that recovery from stroke is a slow process — but the idea is to keep moving forward.

When she arrived at Burke, Syd had absolutely no movement in her left arm or her left toes, and her left leg felt like it was in a bucket of cement. The left side of her face drooped slightly. She was riding on an emotional roller coaster, going from a place of initially joking about her predicament in the hospital (“little did I realize the joke was on me,”) to a place of feeling no emotions at all. It wasn’t until some instructors from Club Fit sent 100 red roses to her room at Burke that Syd finally broke down and cried.

She knew that she would do whatever she could to restore her health.“Any testing they had at Burke, I volunteered for it,” she says. “Electrical stimuli (I felt like Frankenstein), a low carb diet that was supposed to help the brain — I was game to try anything I could.“ She went to physical therapy three times a week and eventually made such amazing progress that, in 2014, she was asked to return to Burke to share her story at a clinical conference.

Which brings us to today.

“I’m good. It’s a struggle everyday to live with a disability — boy, do I have appreciation now for people that have disabilities! — but I get along. I still have a good arm, a good leg, and my husband (Howie) is so good at taking care of me!

“I can do pretty much everything myself — except I can’t cook on the stove because that’s dangerous. I’m left-handed, so I try to write, but I can’t write too well — I sort of scribble with my right hand.

“I feel very lucky. I get to take care of my grandkids, I see my friends, I get out and about. I joined a singing group — we’recalled the Sweet Seasons — and we have such a good time! Everything I read says that the more you do for your brain, even without a stroke, the better it is for you.”With that in mind, Syd tries to keep mentally busy. One of her goals is to learn Spanish. Also, Syd recently took the written test to recertify herself as a group instructor; perhaps one day she’ll be able to lead a fitness class for those with special needs.

Still, she fatigues easily. An occupational therapist regularly visits Syd at home, and, among other things, makes Syd get down on her hands and knees to try and do push ups. That, along with trying to lift her left arm by itself, are two of her most challenging physical tasks. Although doctors have told her that her disabilities are permanent, Syd refuses to accept that. “I’m not gonna stop working,” she says. “I’m never gonna give up hope.”

Life has a way of teaching us everything we need to know. Prior to the stroke, Syd says that she was super critical of her looks. “I was very self conscious and didn’t think I was good enough. Now, of course, I look at pictures and say, wow, I was pretty good,” she says. The lesson here? “Appreciate your body — no matter how big it is, how thin it is. Embrace yourself — don’t let society tell you that you have to be perfect. Embrace yourself and just make the best out of it.

“A lot of people just don’t want to go out when they’re like this [with physical challenges] — but you know what? I’m here and I’m gonna live my life the best I can.”

She’s also doing what she can to make a difference. Syd’s proud of the fact that Club Fit partnered with her to raise funds for the National Stroke Association (NSA). Among other things, the NSA seeks to educate people about strokes, help stroke victims receive extended therapy, and advise hospitals on how to become better equipped to deal with stroke victims. In May, this Club Fit fundraiser was held in conjunction with the So You Think You Can Choreograph contest and raised over $4,000 for the NSA. Last year’s fundraiser raised over $3,500.

Syd is also proud of the fact that so many of the women she taught in Dance ‘N’ Funk contributed in some way to the fundraiser, and that they are still there for her — and for each other. Says Syd: “The dance girls are unbelievable. It makes me so happy to see them bonding and being friends.”

More than 30 years have passed since Syd Berman and Club Fit first crossed paths, a path that has seen its share of twists and turns. And as Syd looks back over what’s transpired these last three years, some more of life’s lessons are revealed.

“Family is more important than anything — and keeping your spirits up, no matter what happens, is important.,” Syd says. “I’ve discovered that I have so many wonderful friends at the club, it’s like my second home. And I also discovered that I am strong. I used to wonder what would I do if something happened [to me],

From Couch to 5K… and beyond!

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Member Linda Adair goes from couch to 5K, and farther — losing 45 lbs and getting stronger in the process!

Linda before and after

Linda lost 45 lbs — gained speed, strength and fitness!

Change is good! But only if you make the right changes. Linda Adair decided that she wanted to get back into shape last summer, and 45 pounds later, she has achieved that goal.

Last June, Linda reached a point where she was tired of being overweight, and wanted to return to her former fit, energetic self. With the support of fellow Club Fit Briarcliff member and friend, Denyse, a marathon runner, she attempted the Couch to 5K program, and by August she was running 3 miles every other day. “The first day was tough, but then I got back up on day two and did it again,” she says.

In the fall she joined Club Fit, and she feels it made a huge difference in her fitness quest. “I had adjusted my diet and increased my exercise, but Club Fit pushed me over the top with the addition of Group Fitness classes and access to the Fitness Center,” she says. Linda, a paralegal (she graduated in March!), is a regular in the Spin Studio, and uses the treadmill, the women’s circuit and the free weight area. She completed her first 5K, slowly, last July, and now she has thirteen 5Ks and one 10K planned for 2015!

So the exercise increased, but what did she change in her diet? “I eat tons of fruit, cut out carbs and replaced white rice and potatoes with healthier starches like yams and brown rice.” She adds, “My diet is constantly evolving, and I continue to do research, but I definitely don’t starve myself. If I want something that doesn’t fall into my ‘healthy’ list, I don’t deprive myself.” The key is to become educated, and learn how to maintain a good balance, something she feels should also be stressed to young people, who today can so easily succumb to eating disorders.

Speaking of young people, two of the reasons Linda was motivated to regain her health were her daughters. Both girls are active and athletic, but her younger daughter also suffers from cystic fibrosis. Because of this, Linda and her family have become active supporters of Team Boomer, a program within the Boomer Esiason Foundation that encourages people with CF to incorporate exercise into their everyday lives, and supports athletes in raising money for CF through fundraising events. The Foundation, launched by former New York Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason, works to heighten awareness, education and quality of life for those affected by CF. “One hundred percent of the money they raise goes to research, so I am happy to support them!”

At this point, Linda has achieved what she set out to do… “I am healthy now!” She dropped from a size 16 to size 6, and feels much stronger and faster since her decision to commit to fitness last summer. Her husband and daughters also are benefitting from the adjustments she made to her diet, which of course impacted the foods she brings into their Pleasantville home. “There are always things you can work on at the gym, but at this point I am simply grateful to be healthy!”

For more information on the Couch to 5K program that started Linda on her way, visit www.fromcouchto5k.com, and if you want to give a philanthropic twist to your fitness plan and join the Adairs in their support of Team Boomer, visit www.teamboomer.org.

Operation PROM Fundraiser at Club Fit

Greater Than We founder Susie Mordoh

Greater Than We founder Susie Mordoh

Some people just have the knack for turning an overwhelming situation into a great experience. Event planner and life coach Susie Mordoh, a Club Fit Briarcliff member for the past 12 years, is one of those people! Susie’s company, Greater Than We, is just one part of her personal mission, which is to alleviate “the overwhelm,” and break things down into what she refers to as simple and easy “nuggets of love.”

Greater Than We began three years ago as a company focused on event planning and fundraising, but has grown into an invaluable support system for those looking to achieve a better work-life balance. Susie is hired for speaking engagements, runs workshops and coaches individuals looking for some clarity in their lives. “I strongly believe that when we raise each other up, extraordinary things can happen,” she says. Her mantra? “Feel the Love!”

Susie’s efforts are also directed at supporting nonprofits, including one that is near and dear to her heart, Operation PROM. Club Fit Briarcliff has supported Operation PROM as a dress drop-off location for the past few years, and is the location Susie chose for the 2015 Operation PROM Charity Ride held in February, which raised almost $4000. “The event was a win-win for everyone involved, and a welcome change, for some, from the regular gala dinner format,” said Susie. “The ride was fun, the room looked fantastic, we raised a lot of money, and everyone had a great workout!”

Susie is on the board of Operation PROM, and has witnessed firsthand the impact the organization has made over the years. The organization was originally established in 2005 to help low-income students attend their proms by providing free dresses and tuxedo rentals, but has since expanded to include scholarships and donations of clothing and school supplies to students who are sick, homeless, or live in shelters and don’t have family to assist them.

“When you put it on a collective scale, small donations add up and make a big difference to someone in need,” says Susie. “We’ve reached the point where we can fund an entire prom for a deserving school, including dressing each guest.” This year’s beneficiary is Hope Academy in Orange, CT, which accommodates students who struggle in traditional academic settings due to various learning differences.

Club Fit was a natural choice for the Operation PROM spin event Susie organized. “The club has been a very supportive environment for events like this,” she says. Susie, a Briarcliff resident, uses almost every area of the club, from Group Fitness classes to USTA tennis. She is also a big fan of MYZONE, which she considers a “pivotal upgrade” to her membership. “I definitely have experienced measurable results.” Her husband and two children also frequent the club, and if dogs were allowed, her two Labrador Retrievers would probably be there, too.

Whether you are looking for a little personal inspiration or trying to make a difference for someone in need, follow Susie’s advice, and “Feel the Love!” Her success is proof that it works. For more information on Susie and her company, Greater Than We, visit www.greaterthanwe.com. You can also find information on how to join Susie and Club Fit in supporting Operation Prom at www.operationprom.org.

 by Lisa Skelton

Doing a Bosu Burpee

If you’re a fan of the burpee this is for you! The Bosu Burpee is a variation on the traditional burpee. This exercise adds weight to the upper phase and stability to the lower phase.

Here’s a closer look at what a Bosu Burpee should look like:

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Demonstrating this move is Maura Maloney. Maura is training for the NYC Half Marathon and is a hopeful for the 2015 NYC Marathon! Good luck Maura!

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!

Vince Wright shares “Some of the Good Stuff”

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Meet Club Fit Personal Trainer Vince Wright

Vince Wright is in the Club Fit café, happily munching on a plate of chicken tenders and mashed potatoes from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hmmmm. This is not the typical type of meal you’d expect to see Jefferson Valley’s newest personal trainer eat . . . but then again, Vince is not your typical type of trainer. “It’s not about restricting yourself,” he says in defense of his occasional foray into KFC-land. “It’s about getting into a healthy lifestyle and making it so that you can enjoy some of the good stuff.”

Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Vince was a small, sickly kid who suffered from asthma. He vividly remembers not being able to climb the rope in gym and not being able to play with his classmates at recess. Vince couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. And he was bullied. Determined to get stronger, he asked for and received a set of weights from his father—not that he really knew how to use them. But Vince desperately wanted to change his physical condition. He just didn’t know how.

Then one day a friend challenged him to see who could jump furthest on a bike. What happened next was Light Bulb Moment No. 1. Vince’s fifth-grade mind reasoned that jumping on a bike was basically a matter of lifting the bike, while in motion, and then landing. So to train for the upcoming bike jump challenge, every day for two weeks Vince lifted his bike. When competition day came, he was more than ready. “I smoked him– just smoked him, “ Vince recalls. “I remember the bike felt so light when I went to lift it, and I thought—‘Wow, that really worked!’ So that began my fascination with weight training and how it could improve my performance and make me better.”

During high school, Vince spent countless hours in the family garage lifting weights and reading Muscle and Fitness magazine, but his results were mixed. On the plus side, his asthma symptoms disappeared. But on the minus side, despite eating healthfully and working out for hours each day, Vince wasn’t bulking up. His 5’8” frame wouldn’t budge above 140 pounds.

It wasn’t until he was 21 years old that Vince experienced Light Bulb Moment No. 2, which basically came down to this: Simpler is better. Everyday, Vince had been spending hours trying to exercise each muscle group—when in reality he should have been focusing on one muscle group for just 45 minutes a day. Moreover, he was doing some of the exercises incorrectly. And although Vince often ate a healthy dinner, he never ate breakfast and lunch, at best, was a crapshoot. Bottom line: His food intake was off. Vince made some adjustments.

“I looked at my workout program and whittled it down. I made it lean and effective. I started focusing on certain muscle groups on certain days, and I didn’t go beyond a certain period of time in each session,” Vince says. “And I made sure that I was providing the proper nutrition for myself in order to sustain those workouts. The result was like night and day. My body—it was like a plant. It finally got the light. It finally got the water. And it finally got the food to grow. “ By making those changes, Vince gained a much-desired 40 pounds in one year. He felt empowered by his newfound knowledge and the transformation he had made in his life. And he hasn’t looked back since.

Vince has been certified by the National Strength Conditioning Association and currently holds an International Sports Science Association certification. Since moving east, he has worked in three Westchester gyms and experienced numerous success stories among his clients. One woman had shin splints, terrible posture, and bad feet-–but she wanted to be a marathoner. Says Vince: “I thought I was a little bit out of my league because I wasn’t a runner, but I always had a need for information so I researched what was going on with her and what she needed to do.” Long story short—after training with Vince for over a year, the woman’s body was transformed. She developed a little six pack, some muscle definition in her arms and her posture improved. Most importantly, she ran in two marathons, completing the second one in under four hours.

Another success story was that of the high school swimmer who, after training with Vince, won a New York State swimming championship. And no, Vince isn’t really a swimmer, either. But as with the marathoner, Vince’s persistence, his knowledge base, and his willingness to research and cross-train made all of the difference for his young client. Here at Club Fit, Vince hopes to create group classes that help women transform themselves and eventually, he hopes to work with all types of athletes through the Parisi program. Naturally, personal training sessions are on his agenda as well.

“I’m in this to help people,” Vince says. “ I’m in this to make a change in someone’s life, just the way I made a change in my own life. That’s what I look forward to. That’s what drives me and keeps me going.”

Vince Wright

What else keeps Vince going? Here’s a quick connection with Vince Wright, Club Fit style:

Favorite guilty pleasureMoosetracks ice cream.

Most exciting G-rated experience– Going across country, from Chicago to San Francisco, with my mother on a bus. I was in the fourth grade. It was an amazing trip, seeing the countryside.

Favorite type of musicDrum and bass (electronic dance music from England)

Favorite TV show—Breaking Bad.

Least favorite vegetableRed beets.

Favorite actor, and whyI like Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman’s my man. You know why? When I was a kid, he was on the Electric Company, and then as I grew up, he was always out there somewhere. I’ve always respected Morgan Freeman.

Fitness goalRight now I’m at about 12 percent body fat; I want to be at 8 or 9 percent. And I want to be bigger. Right now I’m about 190 pounds, but I want to be like 200, 205. It’s almost like being anorexic. When I look in the mirror, I see a small guy. For as hard as I work out, I don’t feel like my body represents that.

Weightlifting routine– On my heavy days, I’ll deadlift 430 pounds for 5 reps. On my chest day, I’ll bench press 325 for 5 reps. On my leg day, I’ll squat 430 for 5 reps.

But that’s on my heavy days. Then I have lighter days and I have moderate days—you can’t always go heavy, not at my age, you’ll beat yourself up. I’m 43. When I was 20-something I could do that, but at 43, you have to cycle it a little bit.

Favorite Sports teamEither the Chicago Bears or the New York Giants. I’m torn because I’m a hometown boy, but at the same time, I’m here now–and I love the Giants. I love my football.

A perfect day consists ofSpending time with my three sons (ages 21, 16, and 8) and going to the beach and barbequing. I enjoy cooking out.

What would people be most surprised to find out about you? That I’m a nerd. I’m a tech nerd. I enjoy computers, I like talking about the technical aspects of things.

Learn more about Personal Training at Club Fit! Click here for Personal Trainer Bios.

Personal Trainer Nick Paganelli shows how a well executed squat is performed

Over the weekend an old friend brought one of our posts to our attention. It was of a poster that offered a holiday special on personal training packages. The form of the person doing a squat was not spot on. We asked Personal Trainer, Nick Paganelli, to demonstrate what a squat that is done using proper technique looks like:

And as a bonus for the more advanced gym-goers . . . here he is doing an advanced balance exercise!

We are proud to have a staff that exemplifies professionalism! If you are interested in learning more about our Personal Trainers and their extensive backgrounds, click here. From now through December 31st we are offering a holiday special on Personal Training packages. For more information, email Susie at sreiner@clubfit.com.

For the Love of Tennis

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

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.

Read more about Hal and the Club Fit Tennis Pros here.

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

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.

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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.

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.
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