Fitness Success Story: Janet Murff

Janet and Candice

Club Fit Member Janet Murff and Personal Trainer Candice O’Brien — working together to help Janet reach her goals.

Healthier and happier — Club Fit Member Janet Murff started training with Personal Trainer Candice O’Brien in 2015 and is now stronger, fitter, and happier.

I’d like to express my appreciation to my trainer Candice and Club Fit. I am thrilled! The physical & mental benefits of exercise are amazing.

When I made my decision in November 2015 to have a personal trainer, I was out of shape and feeling stressed from two years of the life changing activities of caring for one’s parents; too much driving, too much sitting. Realizing what a difference a trainer would mean to my success, I signed up — and as luck would have it, I was paired with the right trainer from day one. I began with the goals of improved health and fitness. I knew that I could only commit to two or three gym visits per week. Consistency would make it work. Weight loss was far down my list. Today, I am much stronger, fitter, more toned, and happier than I was a year ago. Weight loss has been a bonus. I know that I could not have done this alone. I am excited to set new goals for 2017 and look forward to continue working with Candice to help me reach these.

Congratulations to Janet on her hard work and her commitment to health!

Benefits of Tai Chi

by Master Trainer and Exercise Physiologist, Jie Yang

Master Trainer Jie Yang

Master Trainer Jie Yang will be leading a New Tai Chi class at Club Fit Brircliff

Born in Xi’an, China, Jie Yang is trained in various martial arts forms including Taichi and Xingyi. He holds his Master’s in Exercise Science and Rehabilitation and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist by American College of Sports Medicine.

Jie will be leading a new Tai Chi fitness program at Club Fit Briarcliff, beginning October 21st.

The core training in this class involves a slow sequence of movements (solo form) which emphasize a straight spine, abdominal breathing, and a natural range of motion, with the form being performed over their center of gravity. Accurate, repeated practice of the routine can retrain posture, encourage circulation throughout our bodies and maintain flexibility through the joints.

Research-established benefits

  1. Promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy young performers and elderly patients [2, 15], and those recovering from chronic stroke [3], heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia [4-5].
  2. Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing [6].
    Tai chi, along with yoga, has reduced levels of LDLs 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks [7].
  3. Compared to regular stretching, tai chi showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee [8]. In addition, a pilot study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, has found preliminary evidence that tai chi and related qigong may reduce the severity of diabetes [9].
  4. In a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education [5].
  5. A recent study evaluated the effects of two types of behavioral intervention, tai chi and health education, on healthy adults, who, after 16 weeks of the intervention, were vaccinated with VARIVAX, a live attenuated Oka/Merck Varicella zoster virus vaccine. The tai chi group showed higher and more significant levels of cell-mediated immunity to varicella zoster virus than the control group that received only health education. It appears that tai chi augments resting levels of varicella zoster virus-specific cell-mediated immunity and boosts the efficacy of the varicella vaccine. Tai chi alone does not lessen the effects or probability of a shingles attack, but it does improve the effects of the varicella zoster virus vaccine [10].

Stress and mental health
A systematic review and meta-analysis, funded in part by the U.S. government, of the current (as of 2010) studies on the effects of practicing Tai Chi found that, “Twenty-one of 33 randomized and nonrandomized trials reported that 1 hour to 1 year of regular Tai Chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between Tai Chi practice and psychological health [11].”
There have also been indications that tai chi might have some effect on noradrenaline and cortisol reduction with an effect on mood and heart rate. However, the effect may be no different than those derived from other types of physical exercise [12]. In one study, tai chi has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seem to persist after the tai chi sessions were terminated [13].
In June, 2007 the United States National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine published an independent, peer-reviewed, meta-analysis of the state of meditation research, conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center. The report reviewed 813 studies (88 involving Tai Chi) of five broad categories of meditation: mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. The report concluded that “the therapeutic effects of meditation practices cannot be established based on the current literature,” and “firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence [14].

In 2003, the National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world and subdivision of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a grant to American Tai Chi and Qigong Association to build a website titled “The Online Tai Chi & Health Information Center.” The information center was officially released in 2004 and has since then been providing scientific, reliable, and comprehensive information about various health benefits of Tai Chi – for arthritis, diabetes, fall prevention, pain reduction, mental health, cardiovascular diseases, fitness, and general well-being.

References
1. Wang, C; Collet JP & Lau J (2004). “The effect of Tai Chi on health outcomes in patients with chronic conditions: a systematic review”. Archives of Internal Medicine 164 (5): 493–501
2. Wolf, SL; Sattin RW & Kutner M (2003). “Intense tai chi exercise training and fall occurrences in older, transitionally frail adults: a randomized, controlled trial”. Journal of the American Geriatric Society 51 (12): 1693–701.
3. Au-Yeung, PhD, Stephanie S. Y.; Christina W. Y. Hui-Chan, PhD, and Jervis C. S. Tang, MSW (January 7, 2009). “Short-form Tai Chi improves Standing Balance of People with Chronic Stroke”. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair 23(5): 515.
4. Taggart HM, Arslanian CL, Bae S, Singh K. Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA, USA. Effects of T’ai Chi exercise on fibromyalgia symptoms and health-related quality of life. PMID: 14595996
5. McAlindon, T, Wang, C; Schmid, CH; Rones, R; Kalish, R; Yinh, J; Goldenberg, DL; Lee, Y; McAlindon, T (August 19, 2010). “A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia.”. New England Journal of Medicine 363 (8): 743–754.
6. “Calories burned during exercise”. NutriStrategy. http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist3.htm.
7. Brody, Jane E. (2007-08-21). “Cutting Cholesterol, an Uphill Battle”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/health/21brod.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1190862080-FWYKVQhkU70Kz/P+y3V9pw.
8. Dunham, Will (October 25, 2008). “Tai chi helps cut pain of knee arthritis”. Reuters.
9. Pennington, LD (2006). “Tai chi: an effective alternative exercise”. DiabetesHealth.
10. Irwin, MR; Olmstead, R & Oxman, MN (2007). “Augmenting Immune Responses to Varicella Zoster Virus in Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Tai Chi”. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 55 (4): 511–517.
11. Wang C, Bannuru R, et al (2010). Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis.
12. Jin, P (1989). “Changes in Heart Rate, Noradrenaline, Cortisol and Mood During Tai Chi”. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 33 (2): 197–206.
13. Hernandez-Reif, M; Field, TM & Thimas, E (2001). “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: benefits from Tai Chi”. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 5 (2): 120–123.
14. Ospina MB, Bond TK, Karkhaneh M, Tjosvold L, Vandermeer B, Liang Y, Bialy L, Hooton N,Buscemi N, Dryden DM, Klassen TP (June 2007). “Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research (Prepared by the University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0023)” .Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 155 (Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) (AHRQ Publication No. 07-E010): 6
15. UMR 6152 Mouvement et Perception, CNRS and University of the Mediterranean, Marseille, France (April, 2008). How does practise of internal Chinese martial arts influence postural reaction control? Journal of Sports Sciences 26(6): 629 – 642

 

To Keep You Inspired … Our Club Fit Members!

For our members and for us, fitness is a way of life.

For our members and for us, fitness is a way of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our members inspire us every day. YOU are why we do what we do. Listen to what some Club Fit members had to say during last month’s Member Appreciation Weeks.

Tess Cerra
“Shortly after joining Club Fit 3 years ago, my husband suddenly passed away. Thanks to all of the club activities, and the friendship of the members, I was able to get through that difficult time. Club Fit was a wonderful lifesaver for me. I will be forever grateful!

Beth Klewan
Club Fit is more than a health club to me. It’s a place that enhances my life. I have made friendships and have improved my health. I feel that Club Fit is a place to enhance your physical and emotional health. I feel like the people that work here are my family and my friends. Thank you for being my health club. Everyone at Club Fit seems to be concerned about myself and all members.

Ophelia Hill
Club Fit is an environment which houses a group of multi-ethnic, highly professional individuals focused on giving us a program of healthy, varied, motivating exercises for all. Special events and other surprises keep things exciting and inspire us.

Deb Ross
Club Fit motivates me to stay young, stay fit and to keep going for my kids. Once day, when they are strong athletes I can keep up with them and not be old!

Usha Ragheran
Hmmm…where do I begin? Many Group Fitness classes, like Zumba (with awesome instructors) Danceology (unique to Club Fit) and Barre! The M.E.L.T. class and Definitions class are amazing. And…drum roll…the incredible socialization and sense of community we bet. Some of my best friends are my “exercise mates”. I love the Energy Center — very reasonable and wow…lots of toys!

Sandy Olsen
Club Fit motivates me to be as fit as I can get. I became a member with my daughter who was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis her freshman year in college. The water classes were suggested for her joints and it helped greatly. That was over 15 years ago and I’ve met wonderful friends here. Love it!

Theresa Prestopino
This last year, I lost 13 pounds. My best friend encouraged me to get strong and gave me her guest pass to go to Sunday’s Definitions class with Shelby. The class includes a lot of equipment for an hour — it absolutely challenged me. It also made me realize I needed to take back my health. It is never too late to make time for happiness.

Andrea Sonenberg
Going to Club Fit and working out gave me emotional strength during a very difficult time in my life. I’ve been able to keep healthy and physical as well. It’s been a life-saver (and a life investment) for more than 25 years!

Michael Carozza
Club Fit is a great club. I Have been a member for the past 18 years. Always upgrading equipment… What keeps me motivated is that I will be 69 years old and don’t take any medication. Doctor tells me it’s all because of my exercise routine!

Elizabeth Plager
I like that there is something for the whole family to do at Club Fit!

Catherine Zsiday
Club Fit has helped me maintain my weight loss for the past 9 years. Your staff is an awesome group of people. Keep up the good work!

Brian Lett
I enjoy the variety of equipment and classes that allow me to achieve a well-balanced level of fitness.

Paul Pecoraro
Was a Club Fit member years ago, and now I am motivated to get back in excellent condition.

Janet Lyman
Group Fitness classes motivate me! Cycle, 20/20/20 and BODYPUMP. Love seeing my successes through MYZONE!

Janet Tinari
The Chair Yoga class is great. Instructor, Lucy, is so good. She motivates me to get here!

Karen Lett
Club Fit has healed me and keeps me healthy… physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. It is truly my second home. I love the classes, the instructors and the racquetball opportunities! I love that I can take the Yoga Teacher Training at Club Fit!

Fitness Success Story: Kathi Grossman

Kathi before and after

Kathi before, and how she looks today. Amazing progress on her fitness journey!

Kathi Grossman joined Club Fit in October of 2013 at the recommendation
of her doctors. Read how Club Fit has helped to impact her life and help her reach her fitness goals.

I have been morbidly obese all my life. I ended up with Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, arthritis, and no cartilage in one of my knees. I was injecting insulin up to four times a day and taking numerous medications. I finally had enough! I had WLS (weight loss surgery) on September 22, 2011, and lost 210 pounds, which changed my life more than I ever could have imagined. Within hours of the WLS I was off all medications. I am still medication free, except for supplements. Having been obese all my life, as the weight came off, other issues arose. No core, no muscle tone, loose skin EVERYWHERE!! My doctor gave me a prescription to join Club Fit on the HelpRx program, which was the best thing that could have happened to me. Personal Trainer Russ was my first encounter with a trainer. I was pretty intimidated, but Russ took his time, listened to me and my physical limitations, and designed a routine just for me. This was the beginning — I started taking classes, and I mean everything, even things I thought I couldn’t do just to challenge myself. I started with Retro-Low, Low-impact Zumba, Kickboxing, Definitions, 4×4, Corebar, Spin, and Yoga. If they had a class I was there. I started to see where I fit and what I liked to do. This could have been overwhelming as exercise was NEVER a part of my life. Now I love to spin and weight train and do a few machines. The instructors were excellent and most helpful. There are so many wonderful people who have escorted me on my journey. There is, however, one person who stands out and that is General Manager Mark Cuatt. He took me under his wing and gave me a crash course in nutrition and then an exercise regimen for me to follow. He didn’t have to do that; he has enormous responsibilities running the club on a day-to-day basis. Nonetheless, we would meet at the gym, I would email him my food menus and things started to change again! This has not been an easy journey. I had a few setbacks but, to date, I have lost 250 pounds!! As I type the number it seems surreal.

I take advantage of most of the things Club Fit offers. I have a MYZONE belt, I use it always and should I forget it, I am lost. I do the FIT-3D scans, which help you see the transformation you are attaining. This experience would not have been as successful without the help of so many of the personal trainers, instructors and coaches. I wish I could name all of you, as you are all very special to me, because at one time you made it a point to help me with your time, advice or even a friendly “Hello!”. ALL of you have made an impact in changing NOT only my outward appearance but teaching me that being healthy is an everyday choice. Mark Cuatt told me once, I am always going to wage this battle in my head with my weight. Some days I’ll win and some days I’ll lose; but “never give up” is the moral of this story.

So I thank Club Fit for helping me find ME — the me I was meant to be. You have helped
to give a healthy me back to my husband, children and granddaughter. Hopefully I
will be around a long time still working out, and if I can inspire ONE person
through my story, then I have made a difference!

Your Commitment and Our Equipment

Reach your fitness goals with our exciting new equipment arriving soon in the Fitness department.

Keiser Squat and Keiser Runner 

Keiser Technology: With Keiser Pneumatic Technology, the muscles remain active and engaged throughout the entire range of motion and velocities, with reduced shock loading to muscles, connective tissues and joints, which allows for workout regimens that can safely improve physical performance in ways not seen with traditional strength-training methods.

Keiser Squat: Combining a low impact workout with the ability to move safely at higher speeds, the AIR300 Squat enhances explosive Power. The AIR300 squat work for all users through its self-adjusting comfort pads and a sturdy wide base. A range-limiting feature helps prevent ligament and joint injury to the knee. Adjust the air pressure at your fingertips for a functional, safe, and explosive workout!

Keiser Runner: The Air300 Runner is a unique and innovative product designed for the athletic performance and functional training market. It allows users to train speed, resistance, and form of the lower body to improve functional movement and pattern. Whether you are looking to improve your acceleration for sport or form and strength in the lower body, this equipment is for you!

THE FROG!

This Total Body Training Device will work every major muscle in your body with a variety of exercises in unique planes of motion. Get ready for a killer core workout. Stay tuned to see the Frog in our new CORE-FIT class starting soon.

CORE-FIT — Core and Cardio Circuit:

We will be incorporating three new pieces of equipment into this NEW Circuit class on the Group Fitness Schedule (formerly known as Abs Express).

Total Gym Core Trainer: A unique piece of core exercise equipment that strengthens the abdominals, while engaging the entire core musculature.  The Core Trainer helps enhance basic core stability for beginners while providing advanced strengthening and a competitive edge for the most seasoned athletes.

Total Gym Row Trainer: A new and unique rower that emulates a rowing movement pattern using adjustable bodyweight resistance, the Total Gym Row Trainer produces a full body workout, integrating a strength component into a traditional cardio machine. Built on an incline, the Total Gym Row Trainer targets all the muscles groups simultaneously and enables a smooth consistent load through the entire range of motion, due to loaded concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise. Designed for multi-planar movement including exercises such as biceps curls and an alternating side to side row, the Row Trainer is fun to use and user friendly, accommodating all fitness levels.

Cybex Eagle Abdominal Machine: Innovative design isolates abdominal muscles and allows different body types to enjoy a comfortable range of motion. The counterbalance mechanism offsets the user’s trunk weight for more consistent loading and greater effectiveness, and the patented pelvic stabilization eliminates hip flexor involvement while rear foot pegs provide for expanded training variation.

See a Fitness Coach to learn how to use any of our new equipment. We strive to bring you the best and newest machines on the market to help you achieve your fitness goals at Club Fit.

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Instructor Lisa Coffman

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

Lisa Coffman and her family

Club Fit instructor Lisa Coffman and her family of four.

For the last twenty years, Mahopac resident Lisa Coffman has helped the greater Club Fit community to reach their goals and overcome life’s challenges both in and out of the water. An aquatic exercise instructor, swim instructor and one of the assistant coaches for Club Fit’s swim team, Lisa has helped many members to strike back against potentially sidelining injuries and arthritis through aquatic exercise classes like H20 Waterwalking and Cardio Splash. She has helped members of all ages master the life skill of swimming both recreationally and competitively. Perhaps most impactful, she has also helped members overcome their fears of the water and learn to swim.

Lisa’s passion and loyalty to the Club Fit aquatics program has been a steadfast anchor over the years. These same qualities have also colored the pages of Lisa’s life from her childhood in the Dakotas and Minnesota to her career as a standout collegiate swimmer at Division III Cornell of Iowa where she swam the 50 meter butterfly at the NCAA Championships and then as a walk-on member of the Division I University of Minnesota Golden Gophers team. While in college she had her first taste of teaching people to swim, a feeling of reward and purpose that remains with her today. “One of the most rewarding aspects of what I do,” says Lisa, “is when I’m teaching somebody, and it just clicks.” Whether it’s in a class, in a swim lesson or on the swim team, Lisa has made a real difference to countless members of Club Fit.

Lisa brings this same passion and loyalty to her volunteer work as a member of the Yorktown Heights chapter of P.E.O. Founded in 1869, P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. An international organization, P.E.O. has over 6,000 chapters in the U.S. and Canada and over 250,000 members. P.E.O. strives to increase women’s opportunities for higher education through scholarships, low-interest loans, grants, emergency funds and the Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. In addition to supporting P.E.O. programs, the Yorktown Heights chapter donates funds to local organizations Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Friends of Karen, and Hope’s Door. They also sponsor local women for P.E.O. assistance and programs. To learn more about P.E.O. and the Yorktown Heights chapter visit www.peointernational.org.

Lisa has always led a busy life working at Club Fit, volunteering with P.E.O., and raising her family. She and her husband Paul have two children Paul, 28, and Stephanie, 25 — who works full time at Club Fit Jefferson Valley as the WSI coordinator, a swim instructor, and a swim coach. While Lisa has a full schedule, her goal is to log at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Sometimes she’ll work out before her classes in the women’s section or on cardio in the fitness center. Some days it’s lap swimming, and some days it’s just walking outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. Lisa feels daily exercise in any form is important to keep physically and mentally healthy. “Get thirty minutes of something in every day,” says Lisa. “Whether it’s cardio, weights, or swimming, just do something.” From Nike’s “Just Do It” to the NFL’s “Play 60”, Lisa’s E-30 philosophy is something we can all strive to incorporate into our lifestyle.

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo

Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo

At 85 years young, Club Fit aquatic exercise instructor Harriette DeCarlo is an energetic powerhouse whose confident, welcoming handshake is indicative of the joie de vivre in which she lives her life. Always moving, always educating, Harriette leads those around her to a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy lifestyle.

A swimmer in high school, Harriette has always been an athlete — an avid runner, rower, and follower of Tai Chi, which she practiced at the Chuang Yen Monastery, a Buddhist monastery on 225 acres in Carmel, NY. But it wasn’t until joining Club Fit 30 years ago, that exercise truly became a part of her daily routine. Recognizing Harriette’s passion and knowledge of aquatic exercise and Tai Chi, Club Fit hired her two years later as an aquatics instructor, and she helped the club launch its first aquatic Tai Chi class in the 1990s. Since then Harriette has been enlightening members at Club Fit to the strengthening and restorative power of mind-body fitness in the water. Currently, Harriette teaches “Mind/Body Aquatics” on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am. The class — a blend of yoga, Pilates, balance, and tai chi — is a full body workout integrating breathing, core strengthening, balance and relaxation.

So, how does Club Fit’s version of the Energizer Bunny keep going? “I can’t imagine a week without exercise,” says Harriette. “The Club is so much a part of my life that I don’t feel good if I’m not here.” Her routine at the club anchors her day, and she works out three to four days a week. On Tuesdays before her 10:00 am Mind/Body Aquatics class, she arrives at the gym around 7:00 am, and does her normal workout of cardio, weights, and stretching. Then she goes to the Café to meet with her longtime breakfast group of almost 20 years. Next, she heads to the Aquatic Center for her class, and then it’s back to the café to meet her lunch group, which has been meeting since she started teaching in 1988. Yes, her lunch group is 28 years old and an amazing testament to the friendships formed over the common bond of exercise, camaraderie and healthy lifestyles.

“I don’t think there’s a club in Westchester that compares to this,” says Harriette, “I will never give up Club Fit.” Harriette also feels the club is not afraid to lead, to take the initiative to do things that haven’t been done before — and not only in programming. “This is the only club I know that hires people with special needs,” Harriett says proudly. “I’ve never worked in a club that had the guts to do that — that took the initiative to do that.”

So, what’s next for Harriette? Rest assured, it will be more of the same with the current aquatic trend featuring yoga and Pilates — components she already integrates into her Mind/Body Aquatics class. And, rest assured, Harriette stands ready to welcome newcomers and regulars, alike, to Club FIt, the Aquatic Center, or even her breakfast and lunch groups, with her captivating smile and and that joie de vivre that make her not only an amazing instructor, but an amazing friend.

Welcome new Jefferson Valley Fitness Director Joe Riley

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Fitness Director Joe Riley

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Fitness Director Joe Riley

Club Fit Jefferson Valley is pleased to welcome Joe Riley to his new position of Fitness Director and Parisi Program Director. Joe grew up in Ossining, and attended Ossining High School. After High School, he attended The College At Brockport and received a double major in Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, and a minor in Biology. At Brockport, he played 4 years as a linebacker for the Golden Eagles. Following undergraduate studies, Joe received a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from St. John’s University. While completing his Master’s, he  began working at Club Fit Briarcliff as a Fitness Coach, a Personal Trainer and eventually a Manager on Duty. Joe’s fitness experience is extensive, working with a wide range of clientele; college athletes at the Division 1, 2 and 3 levels, exercise testing, youth populations, elder populations, cardiac rehabilitation, and many more. Joe has coached high school football and his hobbies include football, ice hockey, baseball, golf and, of course, fitness. His passion for fitness began when it helped him overcome obstacles to achieve his goals. Since then, his goal has been to help as many people possible through fitness. Joe feels Club Fit is an extraordinary place and is excited to help others accomplish their goals!

Joe’s full bio:

Education/Experience:
• Master’s Degree in Sports Management — St. John’s University
Undergraduate Degree B.S. Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology, minor in Biology — The College at Brockport
• Experience in Division 1, 2 and 3 strength and conditioning programs
• High School Football Coach
Division III Collegiate Football Player
• NCCPT Certified Personal Trainer
• CPR/AED/First Aid Certified

Specialties: Power Training & development, Strength Training & Development, Sport-Specific Training, Agility Training, Functional Lifestyle Training.

Hobbies: Football, Hockey, Weight Training, Baseball, Golf.

Philosophy of Exercise: “Fitness is a competition with oneself. Work hard, love what you do and strive every single day to be better than you were yesterday.”

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?

superhero

Club Fit Briarcliff Fitness Director Susie Reiner

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Briarcliff Fitness Director Susie Reiner loves
helping Members improve their well-being.

Club Fit Briarcliff Fitness Director Susie Reiner

Club Fit Briarcliff Fitness Director Susie Reiner

When you put yourself in the hands of a Personal Trainer, that’s exactly what it is for many people… personal. You trust that your trainer has your best interests at heart, and you need to feel comfortable opening up to them about your goals, your insecurities, your expectations. And feel comfortable letting them see you pre-shower, in all your workout glory!

If the thought of using a Personal Trainer intimidates you, spend some time with Club Fit Briarcliff Fitness Director Susie Reiner… you’ll feel totally comfortable in no time. Susie has served as Director since June 2014, and not only is she one of the most approachable staff members here at Club Fit Briarcliff, she is highly qualified for the position. She began as a dancer, earning her BA in Theater from CUNY Hunter College, but through her own experience with fitness regimens soon realized that personal training was a better fit. “I realized that personal training could accomplish more than just treating someone’s injury or disease. I could get instant feedback, and felt I was actually affecting and preventing disease.”

Susie went on to earn her Master’s in Exercise Science & Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania, and began at Club Fit Jefferson Valley as a Group Fitness Instructor in 2009. Her personal training career began in 2010 with her appointment as Personal Training Coordinator. She took a break from Club Fit with a few other positions, including time spent at Texas A & M University, where she served as Fitness Coordinator in the campus gym and as Lecturer in the Health & Kinesiology Department. Lucky for us, she’s back at Club Fit!

“I’m not a salesperson, and I don’t hire salespeople,” says Susie, who is a Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM) and a Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM). “All I know is that fitness is good for you, and I want to make sure everyone is here for the right reasons. I want to improve our members’ well being and quality of life.” That explains Susie’s focus on staff, and their development and growth. She also emphasizes that she does not want any of her staff members to focus on one demographic group. “I want the Club Fit Trainers to be in a position to help everyone, at every age and ability level.” In order to do this, Susie has been putting an emphasis on education and certifications.

Since Susie started, the Personal Training staff has taken an important step in differentiating itself from other health club trainers – Smart Fitness certification. The program was rolled out at Club Fit in January 2015, and in six months, every trainer had successfully completed the program. “It sets us apart from the competition because the training equips the trainer with a baseline knowledge that qualifies them to work with and handle certain medical conditions if a doctor suggests a client begin a fitness regimen,” says Susie. The program also helped put our veteran trainers and the new hires on the same level. For more information on each of our Personal Trainers, click here.

Club Fit is also partnering with CUNY Lehman and Mercy College, with students interning in our Fitness Center. Susie and Club Fit Briarcliff General Manager Mark Cuatt have also been guest lecturing at Mercy College. “It’s a growing relationship, in a growing field,” says Susie.

Susie is also working to create more options for members within the Fitness Center. “Ideally, we can offer a variety of different small group programs at different price points,” she says. “But almost all of our Fit Coaches are now certified Personal Trainers, so you are getting the biggest bang for your buck no matter what you do!”

For more information on Club Fit’s Fitness programming and Personal Training packages, contact Susie at sreiner@clubfit.com, or 914-250-2795. And begin to make the most of your workout time!

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.

superhero

 

Parisi Speed School has a New Director

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Prescott Perry comes to Club Fit as the New Director for Parisi Speed School.

Parisi Speed School’s mission is to help young athletes become better, faster, stronger.

Who, then, is better equipped to help them than a young man who is on the fast track?

Enter Prescott Perry, the new director of the Parisi Speed School at Club Fit.

Prescott played lacrosse and studied kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. He snowboarded competitively and worked as a personal trainer on Coronado Island (off the coast of San Diego). He also sailed competitively, participating in races in Newport and Larchmont. And he earned his MBA from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

One can only imagine what he’ll do when he finally turns 26.

“I’ve always thought that I wanted to be successful more than I wanted air to breathe, “ Prescott says, “so I try to do as much as I can with what I’ve got. ”

Indeed. And the success he’s chasing after now involves getting more athletes and teams to jump on the Parisi bandwagon. While noting that Westchester and Putnam counties have no shortage of gyms, health clubs, and exercise facilities, Prescott says that the type of training that Parisi offers is a cut above.

“Parisi has a measurable standard. When you’re able to show how much a certain drill or exercise is improving an athlete’s performance, there’s a certain amount of buy-in. ”

Prescott will be reaching out to local coaches to encourage them to bring their teams in to train with Parisi. Eventually he hopes to get a tie-in along with the buy-in; since a company he once worked for helps athletes get recruited for college, Prescott wants to introduce a similar protocol at Club Fit and post the stats of our Parisi-trained athletes on a nationally-recognized recruiting database. In this way, college coaches nationwide could view the athletes’ progressions and measure their athletic potential. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

But while the focus on jocks and jockettes is important, it shouldn’t be the entire Parisi picture. Citing an upward trend of childhood obesity, Prescott says that Parisi needs to make room for couch potatoes, too.

“We want to focus more on the kids who get picked last in gym,” he says. “We want to let them see that what we’re doing is not hard, that it doesn’t take much to be considered athletic. You can be athletic and not know it. You just have to tap that inner athlete inside yourself. And that’s one thing I think Parisi is able to do. ”

Typically, Parisi’s small group sessions are broken up by age. The Jump Start program (ages 7–11) sets the foundation for success in any sport by focusing on speed, agility, and overall coordination. The Total Performance program (ages 12–16) focuses on techniques used in speed, agility and strength to maximize improvements in athletic performance. And the Peak program (ages 17–21) is an individualized coaching program for the elite athlete. It focuses on individual needs, goals and improvements needed to compete at a competitive level.

Although upwards of 100 young people are involved in the program right now, a demographic shift may be in the wind. Prescott hopes to see more adults train with Parisi—tennis players, swimmers and Weekend Warriors who could benefit from agility and strength drills that are tailor-made for their sport. “I don’t think it’s ever too late for adults to try and do something like that, to make themselves into better athletes,” he says.

His competitive snowboarding days are behind him, but Prescott, a bachelor, still plays in an adult lacrosse league. And although he hasn’t done much of it lately, he still sails competitively. “Yeah…. with a name like Prescott, I kinda had to do sailing,” he jokes. “I’m a stereotypical guy; my name is Prescott, I’m from Connecticut, I sail and do everything that goes with it…. ”

But all jokes aside, Prescott is committed to taking Club Fit’s Parisi program to the next level. Besides watching the bottom line and drumming up new business for the program, Prescott, along with Vince Wright and Jen Ritz, will also be one of the Parisi instructors. “I want to get this facility to be the new standard of training for this area,” he declares.

Better. Faster. Stronger. Now.

If anyone can get Parisi on the fast track, Prescott can.

New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

— Written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

 

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Welcomes New Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe.

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Club Fit Jefferson Valley Assistant General Manager Laura Crowe

Laura Crowe is no newcomer to the Club Fit family. Since 1997 she’s worked at the club in a variety of capacities—from receptionist to member services manager, from salesperson to Membership Director. Now, as Jefferson Valley’s newly-appointed Assistant General Manager (AGM), she’s taking on an altogether different challenge. And so far, so good.

“I’m delighted to have her as AGM because of the diverse experience she brings to the team,” says Lynn Welling, J.V.’s General Manager. “I love her decisiveness, her frankness and the fact that she’s just so upbeat. You never see her without a smile and that open, welcoming greeting.”

As AGM, Laura oversees four departments: Sports, Membership, Reception and Group Fitness. She says that having served as membership director for the last eight years helps her greatly with her current assignment.

“Membership is tied to pretty much every department, and I know that department inside and out,” Laura says. When members wanted to know anything about what the club had to offer—from summer camp to Pilates class—it often fell to Laura’s team to point them in the right direction. Consequently, Laura’s knowledge of the club grew with every question that was asked. “Membership is the base of the organization, so I feel like I had an advantage.”

Still, she admits that the AGM job has its learning curve. For one thing, she’s discovering the ins and outs of acquiring certifications for group fitness instructors. Ditto the intricacies involved in marketing a bunch of programs in multiple categories. But Laura’s biggest on-the-job training challenge involves the sports department; while waiting for a new sports director to come on board, Laura is laying the groundwork for this year’s summer camp.

Not that Club Fit’s Summer Camp program is a foreign concept to Laura.

Au contraire. In fact, Yogi Berra might say “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Why? Because all three of Laura’s children either have attended (Kyle and Terence) or will attend (Erin) Club Fit’s Summer Camp. And Laura’s Club Fit connection goes deeper than that; her parents were original members when the club opened its doors in 1973.

“I went to the nursery, my parents played tennis —everyone in my family was into fitness,” says Laura, whose siblings include five brothers and one sister. Laura grew up in Yorktown Heights, was a member of Lakeland High’s first girl’s lacrosse team and earned a degree in finance from Iona College. She and her husband, Woody, moved around a little bit before returning to the area in 1996. The following year Laura began working part time at the club as a receptionist and the rest, as they say, is history.

Laura’s mother, Marygrace Torggler, still takes classes at the club, and apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Stating that she “would be miserable” if she didn’t exercise, Laura works out four days a week and is a big fan of trainer Justin Meagher’s intense Mudd-Up or Shudd-Up class. Laura also runs about four miles at a clip, does some elliptical work, and lifts weights. She loves to read and travel; the plan, this year, is to go to Hawaii with her husband to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

Right now, however, folk around Club Fit are celebrating Laura’s promotion.

“During these last few weeks of having Laura on board, I’ve seen a tremendous difference in the management team at the club,” general manager Welling says. “ They’ve received her with open arms. They know that Laura is out there —supporting the membership and our staff, from front line to executive. We’re all in alignment.”

Sounds like perfect harmony. But nothing less should be expected from the not-so-new kid on the block.

Welcome to the ranks of AGM, Laura!

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.

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!

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.

How to choose your workout shoes.

A number of people have recently asked me about how to choose good workout shoes, and I must confess: I have absolutely no idea. Being on a tight budget, I have tried to find what appear to be the best quality shoes within my price range. I use a comfortable and supportive cross-training shoe for any exercise that absorbs impact, but for spinning and weight training, when my feet are constantly in contact with the pedal or floor, I use low-cost workout sneakers from Old Navy. I find them to be very lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and supportive enough for exercise without impact, but I wasn’t sure when I bought them that I was making the right decision for reasons other than cost. Thankfully, I was at least smart enough to ask my amazing personal trainer, Jenn Gannon, who has offered us all her expert professional advice!

I asked Jenn my top three burning questions about choosing workout sneakers, and here’s what she had to say.

Q: What should I look for in a good pair of all-around workout sneakers? Do they have to be expensive?  A: Think about what types of activities you are involved with at the gym, or even at home! If you are utilizing cardio equipment and weight training, even our group exercises classes, the best shoe is a cross trainer. They are going to provide you with stability, comfort and are the most durable to withstand all the various activities. With that being said, the price does not have to be astronomical but because a cross trainer will be of value for all of these activities you might want to splurge on a reliable shoe. Try outlet stores, Reebok is notorious for “2 for $99” deals. Even some online searching for shoes you’ve already owned, research is key!

Q: Is it okay to use “running shoes” for general exercise?  A: No, Running shoes are a specific kind of shoe that is tailored for runners. Running shoes provide extra cushioning to absorb the impact of foot striking. Not only that but running shoes come in different varieties that give extra support for a persons’ foot mechanics, such as their arches or the degree of pronation or supination. Most running shoes are designed with the intention of improving a runners performance. Any good sporting goods store will be able to judge all of these mechanics and find a proper shoe. Do your research if you are a runner if you are looking to improve!

Q: When should I replace my workout shoes?  A: Shoes should be replaced between every 300-500 miles. It ultimately depends on how you wear and tear the soles of the shoe. If you find a shoe you like and there is a deal, buy more! I like to rotate through shoes so that they last longer, especially if you are an avid exerciser. Shoes are the most important part of a work out, if you feel that they no longer are providing you the support or you can start to see your socks showing through a hole you are way over due for a new pair!

I hope you find these responses as helpful as I do. Happy exercising!

I finally picked up a MyZone belt, and here’s what happened.

Signing up at the service desk for my MyZone activity belt.

This past week, I celebrated my birthday, which I have a very different perspective on in my cancer-remission world. Before I started out seriously on a path to health and wellness, I would celebrate my birthday in less healthy ways, but now, I see my birthday as an opportunity to reward myself with a gift that will help me on my new path. Last year on my birthday, I celebrated with an early morning workout and a massage. This year, I gifted myself with Club Fit’s newest toy, the MyZone belt. (If you haven’t heard of MyZone, check out this video to learn more.)

The MyZone belt is an ingenious little device that tracks your heart rate during your workout, and emails you a summary of your results after you’re finished! (What a world we live in, huh?) If you’re working out in the gym, you’ll be able to see your current heart rate, calories burned, and more, right on the nearest screen. I can keep one eye on it to see if I’m working too hard, or if I need to put more effort in, to get the most out of the time I’m putting into my workout. You can also take it with you outside the gym – it will store 16 hours of workout data, and then sync up again next time you get to the gym.

When I first started using my belt, I was really surprised to find that I wasn’t working as hard as I thought, and I needed step up my game a little bit. It also helped me identify the fastest activities to get my heart rate up, so I can use cardio intervals more effectively. It’s super comfortable to wear, easy to put on, easy to clean, and it’s just a really cool piece of technology that is so gosh darn fun to use! I mean, who doesn’t feel like a superhero with a bright red band around their chest?! (Secret superhero handshake, anyone?)

I’m SO, SO glad I made this investment. It has helped me immensely, and I’d recommend it for anyone who is serious about results from their training (or just wants to feel like a superhero.)

 

 

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?

When the going gets tough…literally.

I'm a big fan of the rowing machine, thanks to my trainer, Susie.

This week has been unusually frustrating for me.  A multitude of personal commitments outside of work, both morning and night, have kept me from visiting the gym for the last 3 days.  I won’t say that’s any kind of devastating fitness drought, but it is a big deviation from my recent 5-6 visits per week.  When I exercise, I feel better and sleep better, and when I don’t, I feel stiff and lethargic.  So, feeling “blah” instead of great on top of a busy week was really starting to grate on my nerves.  Once this thought crossed my mind, a shocking realization came to me: I have become one of those people!  A person who craves exercise!

I can’t even tell you when it happened.  It’s been about 6 months since I started working out regularly, and it feels like only yesterday that I was so concerned about my ability to commit and stay motivated enough to get to the gym every day.  But when scheduling is your obstacle, and not motivation, it can be especially irritating.  The feeling of not having enough time for yourself is not a good one.

We’re now in mid-March where the weather warms up, social calendars start filling up again, and New Year’s resolutions sometimes fall by the wayside.  I can see that this is a turning point where a person could be tempted to say “this isn’t working with my lifestyle anymore, I’ll take a break and get back to it when I have more time.”  I’ve even done it myself in years past, which only led to me shamefully cancelling my gym membership a few months later.  Not this time!  The gifts that exercise has given me are too wonderful to let go of now.

This week has taught me an important lesson: no matter what you’re doing (exercise or not), it’s important to always make time for yourself, or you may find yourself tempted to give up on the thing that keeps you going.  Thankfully, one thing that IS on my busy calendar today is an appointment with Susie, and she won’t put up with any of this giving up nonsense.