To Keep You Inspired … Denise D’Amico

Our Club Fit Members Keep Us Inspired

{by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger}

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Member Denise D'Amico

Club Fit Member Denise D’Amico chose to take care of her health through diet and exercise.

Club Fit Jefferson Valley member Denise D’Amico is a change maker and a problem solver, a trusted force in the Yorktown community. As a local real estate broker for over twenty years, a co-founder and past president of the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, and a charter board member of Support Connection, helping others and creating meaningful change is simply what Denise does. In 2015, however, she discovered a new person in need of help — herself.

In January of 2015 a visit to the doctor revealed a serious weight-related health issue — pre-diabetes. That was the day that forced Denise to face weight issues that she had battled for years. Her doctor laid two options before her: take several medications every day; or 2) lose weight and see if her body responds. Amidst a flood of emotions, Denise called upon her inner grit — and chose option two. She also chose Club Fit as her partner in getting there.

Quarterly doctor appointments became the new norm for Denise, and after three months her doctor noticed a difference. After six months, everyone was noticing a difference. By the time July of 2016 rolled around, Denise had lost 125 pounds, thanks to her new routine at Club Fit, her modified diet, and her steely resolve and can-do attitude. Most importantly, Denise reversed her health issue, and as a result does not need any medications.

So, how did this inspiring transformation occur? After consulting with her doctor on nutrition and exercise, as well as her daughter who is a nurse and athlete, Denise changed her diet, eliminating most carbohydrates and sugar. Over time, she switched from meats to fish and from yolks to egg whites. Water is a constant throughout her diet as well, and she drinks half her weight in ounces, daily. Advance journaling of her food has been a key ingredient in her success as well. “If you know what you’re going to eat in advance, you’re less likely to fail,” Denise says. “Food is medicine, and the planning is vital to success.”

Denise exercises at Club Fit five to six days a week and feels it sets the pace for her day, keeping her centered. Her balanced blend of activity is a vital part of her daily routine. A typical day for Denise begins in the locker room with a weigh-in, and she feels it has been one of her most important habits throughout her weight loss. “It keeps me accountable to my goals,” she explains. By 6:30 am Denise is in the Club Fit lap pool where she swims one mile, daily. At 7:50 am, she switches gears and powerwalks two miles in the Fitness Center. Next, it’s time to get her dancing shoes on, and she meets her friends for the 9am Danceology class — her favorite Club Fit activity. On specific days, she now does kickboxing as well as the Circuit for her bone strength. Denise laughs that exercising is a love-hate relationship for her. “Sometimes, I hate to do it, but I love the way it makes me feel,” says Denise. “I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. It’s euphoria.”

Denise’s husband, Lou, joins her daily at the gym, taking a spin class, after which they return home for breakfast at 10:30am. In the afternoon, Denise takes advantage of the track where she lives and powerwalks two more miles. At 2:30pm she has lunch—typically a large salad with homemade dressing. Many times, Lou will join Denise for her afternoon walk, as well, but forgoes the powerwalk opting for a leisurely, relaxing pace. In the evening, Lou and Denise have a dinner around 4:30 of protein — typically salmon — and a variety of vegetables. Her special treat (from time to time) has become a square of Ghirardelli chocolate.

Weaving nutrition and exercise together was key for Denise in losing weight and reclaiming her health. She credits her Club Fit routine as essential in her weight loss success — both physically and mentally. “Club Fit is #1 and sets the pace for the rest of your day,” says Denise. “Exercising makes you happy; it makes you want to engage with others.”

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!

Committing to Big Change.

Kendra2croppedI’m making a big commitment to weight loss and setting a huge goal for myself. Over the next two years, I aim to lose 100 pounds.

With a 50 pound weight loss under my belt, I have the confidence and the tools to develop a sustainable plan to lose the rest of my excess body weight, and hopefully for good. This is a huge decision, and an enormous undertaking, but I know that I’m ready.

Setting a goal of losing 100 pounds is not about obsessing over the scale pound by pound, and achieving this specific goal “or else.” Instead, it’s about putting a big stake in the ground to keep my eyes on the horizon of long-term change. With the gratitude that comes from cancer survivorship, I’m ready to do whatever I need to do to minimize health risks in my future.

I’ve carried extra weight all my life. In fact, I have developed a strong sense of identity around being bigger and stronger than average, and in being comfortable and confident taking up space and having a powerful presence. That is a lot of really great work that I have absolutely no intention of undoing. I’m not setting out with the intention of changing the shape of my body to fit into a smaller clothing size. My goals are pinned on good health, longevity, and improving my athletic abilities to have more fun!

To eventually accomplish this Herculean task, here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. Having already gotten the thumbs-up at my annual physical, I’m now going to check in with my doctor periodically, to make sure I’m on the right track.
  2. Do my homework to build a nutrition and exercise plan that I know I can support with the time I have to put in.
  3. Move at a sustainable pace. I’m not going to do anything now that I intend to stop doing when I lose my excess weight. This means, I’m going to exercise several times a week and continue to enjoy the foods I love on occasion, even if it means I move at a less aggressive pace.

Here’s what I’m NOT going to do:

  1. Allow negative self-talk.
  2. Obsess over calories.
  3. Quit.

At this point, I know myself well enough to know that when my mind is right, my body will follow. So, by that logic, if I remain my own number one fan, I can’t lose.

Wish me luck! If any of you have had success with big changes, I’d love to hear about it.

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Fueling Your Workout

by Registered Dietitian, Kristen Klewen Kristin

As a Registered Dietitan at Club Fit, I frequently get asked, “What should I eat before and after a workout?” This question depends on the client, but there is some common knowledge I can share that apply pre- and post-workout nutrition when it comes to fueling your workout!

1. Don’t skip the carbohydrates!
• Carbohydrates are known as fuel for your “engine” (ex. Muscles). The harder you work your engine, the more carbohydrates you need.

2. How soon should you be eating before a workout?
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to not eat immediately before you workout, because while your muscles are trying to function, your stomach is simultaneously trying to digest the food. This competition of demands is a challenge for optimal performance. Eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train or play. Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, depending on how your body tolerates food. Experiment and see what time frame works best for your body. If you’re a competitive athlete, this is something you need to explore during your training days and not during game day. Notice that each of the suggestions below includes protein and carbohydrate. We know that carbohydrates are fuel, and are a necessary part of our diet. Protein is what rebuilds and repairs, but also “primes the pump” to make the right amino acids available for your muscles. Getting protein and carbohydrates into your system is even more vital post workout.
• Below are some suggestions for pre-workout fuel:
– A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
– Greek yogurt with berries
– Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
– Apple and peanut or almond butter
– Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins: one part nuts)

3. Post Workout Nutrition:
Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or game, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost. What to do?
• As soon as possible post workout, get carbs and protein immediately into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.
• I suggest fueling within 15 to 20 minutes post training with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery, eating a regular mixed meal 3 to 4 hours after.
• Post-workout meals include:
– Post-workout recovery smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit)
– Low-fat chocolate milk
– Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
– Yogurt with berries

4. Take Home Points
• Your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your working muscles.
• Protein is there to help build and repair.
• Get a combination of the two in your body 1 to 3 hours pre-workout and within 20 minutes or so post-workout.
• Never try anything new on race or game day!! It’s always best to experiment during training to learn what works best for your body.

High-Protein Snacking

KristinBy Kristin Klewan, B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics

Studies show high-quality protein can improve satiety, help manage weight, and prevent chronic disease.

It seems as though snacking may have replaced baseball as America’s favorite pastime. National dietary surveys have found that about 90% of adults, 83% of adolescents, and 97% of children snack every day, sometimes several times per day. Whether or not that’s a good thing largely depends on the quality and quantity of the snacks being consumed. Many of the most common snacks, such as chips and soda, are high in both salt and sugar. It’s no coincidence then that increased snacking is associated with decreased protein intake. However, there’s much research to suggest that choosing snacks high in protein, rather than high in salt and sugar, could provide a host of health benefits.

Satiety and Weight Management
High-protein snacks, as well as balanced meals, have been linked to increased satiety. Protein-rich snacking may boost satiety and facilitate weight loss. In a longitudinal study, researchers gave 17 men and women with type 2 diabetes moderately high-protein morning and afternoon snacks (7 g to 12 g of protein) for four weeks, and compared the results with their normal eating habits for four weeks. The subjects who ate the two high-protein snacks lost a modest but significant amount of weight (1 kg) during the four-week period. Researchers noted that the subjects’ weight reduction occurred without changes in total energy intake.

In a study that examined the effect of high-protein snacking on satiety and appetite control, researchers found that healthy women who ate a high-protein yogurt snack (14 g of protein) in the afternoon experienced improved appetite control, satiety, and reduced subsequent food intake compared with eating other common, energy-dense, high-fat snacks.

Blood Glucose
High-protein snacks also can help maintain normal blood glucose levels. In a study of 20 healthy males, who were given a variety of mid-morning snacks, those given the snacks with the greatest protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, including plain yogurt and skim milk, had the lowest blood sugar levels. Researchers determined that the improvement in blood sugar was due to improved insulin action, rather than to increased concentrations of insulin.

Blood Pressure
A high-protein diet also may help lower the risk of developing hypertension. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g per day) had a 40% lower risk of high blood pressure compared with those consuming the least. Adults who consumed the most protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. Because high-protein snacks contribute to overall protein intake, based on the findings of this study, it would appear that high-protein snacks could aid in lowering blood pressure.

Athletic Performance
For athletes, protein powders and high-protein snacks are easy to find. But how necessary are they, and can they really improve performance? The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming high-quality protein, and singles out milk-derived whey protein isolate and casein, egg white powder, and soy protein isolate as proteins that provide essential amino acids that readily aid in muscle tissue synthesis.

Athletes should include protein at all meals and snacks, especially post workout. Ideally, 20 g of high-quality protein should be consumed within 45 minutes after exercise to promote the recovery process. Athletes demand a higher level of protein intake (1.2 to 1.4 g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.6 to 2 g/kg for strength athletes), and they have to work harder to obtain it, because of the larger quantities of high-protein foods they must consume, she adds. High-protein snacks, such as low-fat dairy foods or protein bars, are a good way to work more protein into the diet.

While dietary protein is important, research suggests that the combination of physical activity (eg, resistance, interval, stretching, and endurance) and 20 g of whey protein may be particularly beneficial for weight loss, fat loss, increasing lean body mass, and improving insulin resistance.

Protein Distribution
Just as important as consuming high-quality protein, is the time of day when it’s consumed. The typical American dietary pattern is a consumption of about three times more protein at dinner than at breakfast. Most Americans don’t eat an adequate amount of protein in the morning, which may cause decreased performance, hunger, and poor eating habits throughout the day.
Evenly distributing protein intake throughout the day has been found to be optimal.

The idea of 30% of daily protein intake at each meal is being promoted, with some protein snacks between meals.
Maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health, especially in older individuals. Research shows that proper protein distribution also may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass with age. To lower the risk, research suggests 25 g to 30 g of protein per meal in older people. Protein synthesis response is blunted in older adults when protein is less than 20 g per meal or snack, research suggests, so getting enough protein becomes even more important with age, she says.

Counseling Clients
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called micronutrients. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. Find sources of protein in Fish, Lean meats, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

I personally recommend to clients and patients to snack on foods that provide a good supply of protein compared with fat and carbohydrate, both for possible appetite and blood sugar control. Mix up your proteins throughout your meals, and make sure the rest of your meal is colorful (the more color in fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense).

If you have medical conditions or concerns, please consult your Club Fit Registered Dietitian, or your MD for further information. It is always recommended to consult an RD or MD before making any dramatic changes to your diet.

Learn more about Kristin, schedule an appointment and see what else is happening at the club!

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.

The Health Benefits of Diet and Exercise

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

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

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

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

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

Regular Exercise is important for your heart and overall health.

Regular Exercise is important for your heart and overall health.

Healthy advice from Dietitian Cathy DiSomma

Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist  at Club Fit Jefferson Valley

Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist at Club Fit Jefferson Valley

We often pick one approach over the other… exercise more so you can eat more, or eat less so you can exercise less. But a healthier approach, especially with the calorie-heavy, time-consuming holidays around the corner, is to balance your exercise and nutrition. They work together to get you optimal results, whether you are trying to lose weight or just maintain.

Just ask Cathy DiSomma, who joined the Club Fit Jefferson Valley staff this summer. Cathy, a Registered Dietitian, certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health (ACSM) Fitness Specialist, is very excited to help our members out. She has an undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from Fordham University, and earned her Master’s degree in the same at Lehman College. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College.

Cathy will be playing an integral part in the club’s Healthy Holidays program, a new version of our popular Merry Maintenance program from past years. “I’ve already gotten very good input from the Club Fit members on what they are interested in, from a survey I put out for possible presentation topics, and interaction at informational tables and presentations,” says Cathy. “The topics we’ve come up with are very diverse, from food allergies to proper diet for athletes, healthy lunches, and post-cancer nutrition.”

Healthy Holidays will be a bit different from Merry Maintenance. There is no weigh-in or weigh-out, just a focus on maintaining healthy habits and keeping members moving during the holiday season. Cathy is working closely with Fitness Director Joelle Letta on weekly emails that will be sent to participants on topics such as maintaining a fitness routine, better food and drink choices, low calorie recipes, reducing holiday stress, and keeping up the motivation to stay on track.

According to Cathy, statistics show an average 5- to 6-pound weight gain through the holiday season. It starts with munching on Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving feasts, followed by Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Christmas, then the big finale, New Year’s. Some helpful topics Cathy wants to cover include how to approach holiday party food and drinks as a guest, how to offer healthy options if you are hosting, alternate recipes for high-calorie or high-fat dishes, and portion control. “People are very interested in portion control at this time of year. You don’t want to skip your favorites, but you don’t want to overdo it, either,” says Cathy.

“We felt the weigh-in and weigh-out process may have intimidated some people who were just interested in maintaining their weight through the holidays. What makes this program fun is that you can earn points for activities throughout the club, and for each 100 points you are entered into a raffle for great prizes rewarding your efforts,” says Cathy. No limit on entries!

Beyond Healthy Holidays, Cathy is enjoying working with the entire population at Club Fit. Even the staff members are using her as a resource. “Instructors and trainers have many questions that come to them from their clients,” says Cathy. “They want to be in the know on nutrition, so they can help our members separate fact from fallacy.” There is so much information out there that it can be confusing for everyone, even the professionals! “We can give them the real story.”

Outside of Club Fit, Cathy is also Fitness Director at Kendal on Hudson, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Sleepy Hollow, on the campus of Phelps Memorial Hospital. Her schedule is flexible, allowing her to also serve our Club Fit members, and she loves the combination of jobs because it allows her to work with people of all ages with a variety of needs. “I so enjoy working with the seniors at Kendal, but then I can mix up my day at Club Fit working with kids, athletes, and other seniors with other issues and questions.” She also notes that Kendal and Club Fit share many of the same values and practices, and Club Fit Briarcliff has shared space in the past with Kendal residents when they are in need of the pool. “Both are very community-oriented, and I’m proud to be a part of organizations that have that focus.”

Cathy, a resident of Ossining, loves the outdoors, and is an avid hiker and cyclist. She also loves Pilates, and is certified to teach but that has taken a back seat to her work helping others with fitness and nutrition. She is available evenings and weekends, but her schedule is flexible if those hours don’t suit your schedule. Cathy looks forward to hearing from you, and can be reached 914-245-4040, ext. 1214 or cdisomma@clubfit.com if you would like to set up a consult or would like more information on Healthy Holidays. “It’s great that the fitness and nutrition connection is finally coming full circle,” says Cathy. “Our goal at Club Fit is to help our members reach their goals, and by incorporating knowledge from both areas, we can do that!”

 

 

Five things you can do to help prevent childhood obesity

habits begin early

habits begin early

Did you know that one in five children is overweight or obese by age 6?
You can help.

As parents, your role as a mentor and educator for your child are essential influencers in their lives. Help them learn habits that prevent childhood obesity and can keep them healthy for life.

Focus on a few goals:

1. Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
2. Screen Time: Try and limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day.
3. Food: Incorporate fruits or vegetables at every meal and eat foods closest to the original form
Ex> potato instead of mashed potatoes, or potato chips.
4. Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugary drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
5). Sleep: Be sure children get adequate sleep. It is essential for proper functioning. At least 8 hrs. Per night.

If you are looking to get your children involved in sports, fitness and other great activities that will keep them active, visit Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Jefferson Valley and Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Briarcliff for information on some of the things we offer.

Just how important are our habits?

A recent viral video, “Rewind the Future”, has inspired us to write about the importance of healthy habits from the beginning of life.
We asked Fitness Director, Susie Reiner to share some thoughts with us and this is what she had to say . . .

“This video is a stark reminder of the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle not just for ourselves but for the people we care for in our day to day life. Wellness is a lifelong commitment to maintaining and improving the human body and in essence, its resilience to aging. In most instances, we are responsible for our own health and sooner or later succumb to the facts that a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity enhances our lives more than indulgent food and sedentary habits. When bringing children into the world, as this video depicts, it is a slippery slope to letting unhealthy habits reign supreme in a child’s life. It is the parent, guardian, schools, community, and youth programs’ responsibility to establish a healthy environment for children to flourish in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of the United States’ population is obese and the chances of an adult being overweight or obese is greatly influenced by the behavioral habits instilled with them as a child and adolescent. We have the power in our own lifetime to change the quality of life for the next generation through consistent efforts to support a healthy lifestyle. Including fitness and lifestyle activities in a child’s life and developing a healthy relationship with wholesome food is crucial at an early age. And remember, it is never too late to make a change; health complications can be prevented by taking small steps to a longer future.”

Alzheimer’s and dementia education — “Sharp Again Naturally”

Jacqui Bishop - Sharp Again Naturally - Alzheimer’s and dementia education - Club Fit

Jacqui Bishop, founder of Sharp Again Naturally, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed to educate the public about causes of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Jacqui Bishop’s “Sharp Again Naturally” promotes Alzheimer’s and dementia education.

Here’s something you don’t hear every day… we have some really good news about Alzheimer’s and dementia! No, unfortunately no one has come up with the magic pill, and traditional medicine has yet to post a single turnaround. However there are people who’ve been diagnosed with the disease by highly respected researchers and physicians who have reversed their symptoms and are now living normal lives again. And there’s documentary footage available to prove it.

This news comes from Jacqui Bishop, Club Fit Briarcliff member and founder of Sharp Again Naturally, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed to educate the public about causes of dementia that are reversible but little known and rarely tested for or treated. The Sharp Again vision is a world free of unnecessary pain from reversible causes of dementia, and they are working to make comprehensive testing and treatment of those reversible causes part of the standard of care for all dementia patients.

Jacqui herself was directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, which took her mother in 2010 after an 18-year slide. At that time, even with all the money and time that could have been poured into effective treatment, it was assumed that nothing could be done. Jacqui was helpless to make more than a palliative difference for her mother.

Then, in November 2011, Jacqui saw footage from an unfinished documentary film that changed—and may even have saved—her life. Two filmmakers had discovered cases of Alzheimer’s being reversed, resolved to make a documentary, and traveled across the country filming interviews with researchers, physicians, and Alzheimer’s patients who had gotten their minds back. Upon seeing this stunning footage, Jacqui and several others from the Westchester Holistic Network decided to help the filmmakers complete the documentary. That day, Sharp Again Naturally was born.

The research is astounding, and makes clear that diagnoses of dementia, even Alzheimer’s, can be successfully treated. What percentage of cases can be arrested or reversed? Nobody knows because no one’s ever done the research. But it’s a significant number. And if it’s just 20 percent, which is a conservative estimate, that’s a million people in the U.S. alone.

The organization’s web site, www.sharpagain.org, outlines seven causes of dementia, including nutritional factors, hormonal imbalances, and stress. Another cause, which has not been officially added pending additional research, Jacqui calls stagnation. “We are finding many correlations between healthy brain function and activity—intellectual, social/emotional to be sure, but especially physical,” she says. “As a matter of fact, my mother was an athlete, a swimmer, hiker, and competitive skier, well into her sixties. It was when she could no longer exercise that her functioning went downhill really fast.”

She recommends reading Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey, MD, which explores comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It includes amazing case studies, including the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, IL, that is credited with putting the children in the local school district fifth in the world in math and first in the world in science test scores. Jacqui also says that research has shown that people with the APOE-4 gene, often referred to as the “Alzheimer’s gene,” have generated especially impressive improvements through physical exercise.

Jacqui’s passion isn’t only about saving the rest of the world: She herself started noticing symptoms. “I was losing words, having trouble following conversations and experiencing memory loss.” After being tested by a physician trained in functional medicine, she learned she was pre-diabetic and suffering from a mild version of hypothyroidism, two factors strongly associated with cognitive decline. Based on those and other indicators, she has been practicing the following “treatments”: taking natural desiccated thyroid supplements, cutting out sugar, increasing sleep, increasing her intake of omega-3s and taking large quantities of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), an alternative fuel for starving brain cells. MCTs are most readily (and cheaply!) available from coconut oil, which has been documented as turning around a significant number of cases.

Exercise is also a big part of Jacqui’s quest for wellness. It wasn’t so hard for her as she had always been active and came from an athletic family, but she had never included regular workouts in her schedule. Club Fit entered her life when her best friend encouraged her to come in and check it out, and the rest was history. “We’d make workout dates, and we both looked forward to them. I loved laughing with my great friend—30 minutes went by on the elliptical like no time at all. To anyone who wants to get into fitness, I’d suggest buddying up with a friend!” says Jacqui. “It changed my life.”

Jacqui now gets to the gym 2 to 3 times a week and spends most of her time in the Fitness Center on the machines and in the stretching area. She also spends about 20 minutes in the pool each visit as she’s an avid swimmer and “the pool is top-notch—no chlorine.” When she doesn’t make it to the Club, she walks at least 30 minutes every day. “Carving out the time is the challenge, but my mind is so much clearer when I do.” The work at Sharp Again, she says, has become a “time-and-a-half job.” But it’s a job worth doing, and an exciting one—so many discoveries are being made every day and Alzheimer’s affects so many people and families, not just here but worldwide.

Sharp Again is making great strides, but they need help to continue their mission. “We welcome anyone who wants to help us spread the word!” says Jacqui. There’s a volunteer information meeting on March 27th in White Plains, and donations are welcomed to help fund educational materials, community presentations, website work, and additional research. Sharp Again is also building an information clearinghouse, which will include a database of holistic practitioners. Do you know a great holistic physician? Let them know!

To find out more about Sharp Again or to sign up for their informative newsletter, visit www.sharpagain.org, which contains videos, educational data, and links to associated organizations. You can also find a schedule of Sharp Again’s free presentations at libraries, churches, and other organizations at sharpagain.org/category/calendar. They are presenting next at the Awaken Fair on March 30 in Tarrytown (see AwakenFair.com).

If you or someone you know is being affected by a diagnosis of dementia, Jacqui urges you to visit the web site. “I would have gone halfway ’round the world for this information when my mother was in decline.” Or, if you want to talk to an actual human being, feel free to write Jacqui herself at jacquibishop@sharpagain.org to set up a date, or call her at (914) 997-9611. She’ll be glad to hear from you!

Holiday Season: surviving the stress


We all know that the holiday season is a stressful time. Whether you are the sort of person that welcomes the holidays, or if your the type that does not really get all the hoopla, you feel the stress regardless. The mayhem begins with the crazed shopping efforts, extends through the decorating shenanigans and all the cooking and entertaining means we are eating more and thinking of other people more than ourselves. It’s great to consider other people- it’s largely what the holidays should be about. They should be about who we care about and being thankful for people and things we have and love.

Some things to think about:

1. Don’t forget yourself. Without your sanity, you can’t accomplish much. Take time for yourself whether it’s treating yourself to a massage, reading a book, taking a walk to clear your head or getting a manicure or pedicure (that goes for both Men and Women by the way). Club Fit also is offering a great special on massages through the holiday season. Click here to read more about the benefits of massage therapy.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So your garland fell off the railing, the kids missed the bus, you’re stuck in traffic and are late for work. Let it roll off your shoulders. Those are small things that inconvenience us. We tend to get more worked up about the fact that they happened. Don’t dwell, let it go.

3. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
If you need a hand, ask someone! Too often we take on too much by ourselves when our friends and family would be more than happy to help us out.

4. Stay active. Fitness is a great stress reliever. Take a class, stack some wood, go for a jog . . . doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do it.

5. Spend some quality time with your spouse or significant other. Take a hike, go for a drive or even plan a quiet evening together at home. It’s easy to take relationships for granted during this stressful time so make sure to appreciate each other.

6. Remember and reflect on what is truly important. Don’t go crazy over gifts, appearances and food. The important things, are health, family, thankfulness and friends.

For those of you that suffer from seasonal depression, The Mayo Clinic has some exceptional advice. Click here to read Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping.

This season, don’t forget to take care of yourself. There ARE things we can do to prevent the state of panic, stress or even depression. From a perspective of well-being, it behooves us to mention that you should not sacrifice your fitness regime through this time. Your body is used to being active. Make sure you make time to fit in your workout. Consider them this season!

Understanding Nutrition

THE GLYCEMIC RESPONSE:

 

 It is important for the body to maintain optimal blood glucose levels. As I have indicated, this is 80- 120 ml/dl of blood. If blood glucose level falls low you may become lethargic, irritable, extremely hungry and unable to think clearly. If glucose level rises to high, you may become very sleepy. Either instance is dangerous, and can cause severe consequences.

The body normally regulates your blood sugar levels by releasing two hormones secreted by the pancreas.  Insulin is secreted when blood sugar concentrations get to high, and Glucagon is secreted when blood sugar levels get too low. (Remember). Diabetes and Hypoglycemia are two conditions where glucose regulation is hindered.

Although our body regulates these responses, it is important for us to eat properly to maintain optimal blood sugar levels, and all body responses. Every cell in our body depends on glucose for fuel, especially the brain and nervous system, which I will discuss later.

So what can you do to maintain optimum levels? First, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. You should be eating approximately every 2½ hours. Second, when you do eat, make sure the meal or snack consists of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Fats slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.  Protein triggers the release of many important substances including glucagon, which hinders the effect of insulin. By adhering to these practices, you prevent fluctuations of blood sugar level and help prevent surges of glucose in the blood .You will also feel much better both physically and mentally.

There are times when an athlete may want a surge of blood sugar to get nutrients into the cells quickly. The prime opportunity for this is directly after exercise when the “window of opportunity’ is the best. More glucose and nutrients will replenish deleted

stores used during exercise. The longer you wait after exercise the less amount is restored. How does this translate into something useful? Well, the more glycogen and amino acids that are replenished quickly, the better your recovery and preparation for the next bout of exercise. You will notice increased strength and more energy.

The glycemic effect of food is in relation to our blood sugar and insulin response. It is the effect of how fast and how high blood sugar concentrations rise, and how quickly our body lowers the levels back to normal.

Some carbohydrate foods are rated very high on the Glycemic index. This is another reason why carbohydrate foods often targeted for propaganda and fad diet claims. On the contrary to many fad diets that advocate you should not consume carbohydrates or carbohydrates eliciting a high glycemic index rating, most of these provide an excellent source of nutrients, and are healthy for you.

It is believed that these carbohydrates provoke hunger, food cravings, and cause too much of a release of insulin which claim to promote fat storage. By following special eating patterns, and consuming lower carbohydrates they claim you will lose weight, and fool the body into producing the right amounts of insulin.

Generally, it is wise to choose foods with a low glycemic rating if they are going to be consumed alone, to achieve sustained energy. However, as I have stated earlier, the overall glycemic response of a food is influenced by other foods eaten at the meal.  Keep in mind, people take a little bit of validity, and manipulate others into believing.

 

THE GLYCEMIC INDEX:

 

The glycemic index is a physiological based method used to classify foods according to their response to raising blood glucose.

 

 

  • The index compares how rapidly carbohydrates are converted to blood sugar compared to glucose, which is 100 %.

 

  • The lower the rating, the less of a glycemic response.

 

 

  • The glycemic response of a food is not dependent upon the sugar content or the content of simple versus complex carbohydrate. Carrots eaten alone will increase insulin more than a candy bar with nuts.

 At present, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has not endorsed the glycemic index for patients with diabetes. The ADA recommends that people with diabetes moderate their carbohydrate intake to keep their blood sugar low, eat less fat, more fiber, and fewer calories to lose weight, rather than attempt to follow a glycemic correct diet. Weight loss alone can bring blood sugar down to healthy levels in type II diabetes.

                                  Glycemic Index Of Common Foods

 

100 %                         80-99%                       70-79%                       60-69%

Glucose                       Maltose                    Bread                         Brown Rice

                                    Parsnips                       Millet                          Bananas

                                    Carrots                        Potato                         Raisins

                                    Potato Chips               White Rice                  Mars Bars

                                    Corn Flakes                                                     White bread

                                    Honey

 

50-59%                       40-49%                       30-39%                       20-29%

Sucrose                     Oranges                       Apples                       Fructose

White spaghetti           Peas                             Ice Cream                 Kidney Beans

All Bran                      Navy Beans                 Most Meats                 Lentils

Yams                           Oats                           Most cheese               

Corn                                                                Yogurt

 

10-19%

Soy Beans

Peanuts

Adapted from Source: Jenkins, D.J.A., Lente carbohydrate: A newer approach to the dietary management of diabetes. Diabetes Care, 5:634, 1982: as adapted by ISSA Performance Nutrition: The complete guide, 1997.

Understanding Nutrition

                        MENTAL ATTITUDE

The human mind is a very powerful tool. The statement has been made, “If the mind can conceive and believe, than the body can achieve”. This concept is true. To obtain anything in your life, you must believe you can. We all have the inner strength to take control, and create our paths. Some people may never believe this to be true, while others accept the challenge and embrace it. Success is an attitude. Success is a state of mind. It is easily available to all who want it, believe they can have it, and follow the necessary path to achieve it.

There are many books written about mental attitude, and the powers of positive thinking. A positive mental attitude is the foundation for everything in your life. The most often noted key words in most of these books are desire, determination, perseverance, and focus. Success than, cannot be attributed to fate, but to your own application of the above principles. Mark Fisher sums it up very well in his book, “ The Millionaires Path”. Fisher states,“ You may have reached that critical point that will change your life. No matter how old you are or what circumstances you may be in, all you have to do is be alert and receptive and believe. Know that it is possible to start from scratch as so many others have done and achieve your loftiest goals. It’s just a matter of believing it is possible and becoming determined to create the life you desire”.

There are several steps in the decision making process, and most people remain in what is called the contemplation or preparation phases. These are phases, in which you think about making a change, because you know you should. You even start the process.  Please understand, that in order to succeed you must pass these stages and take action. Also, do not stop until you reach your destination. Weather your goals are to lose weight, to improve your nutrition, or to become a better athlete, take the first step, and never lose sight. Stay focused.        

What usually happens when someone makes a decision to change? Let me use the example of someone trying to lose weight. They know that they are overweight, but usually are focused on other things. Statements are made like “I should really lose some weight”. This is a pre-contemplation stage. Then, in the contemplation stage they say, “My clothes do not fit properly”, I am going to start a diet on Monday.  At this point, being overweight is affecting their self- esteem. They may also notice increased difficulty performing everyday tasks. For example, walking up stairs and experiencing shortness of breath.

An attempt to lose weight begins. Upon awakening the first morning, the attitude is “Today is the day”. Breakfast usually consists of something like bran cereal or oatmeal, skim milk, and a piece of fruit. These are considered some typical diet foods, so the feeling of accomplishment is achieved. After breakfast, another meal is not consumed until lunch- time, which is usually about five hours later. Lunch consists of tuna fish on whole wheat bread, a salad, and maybe fruit. The mental attitude is good. Even dinner is a success with three ounces of chicken, and some vegetables.

Then comes the difficulty. About two hours after dinner, sitting around watching television. The body is now starting to notice some type of depravation. Much less food was consumed. Hunger starts to set in, and the refrigerator or cupboards are visited. The amount of food consumed is more than what should be eaten. The mental attitude diminishes, and failure is perceived. Lets start again tomorrow.

This is a typical pattern that is followed. I have counseled many people who have experience it. Sometimes it may take two or three days before too much is eaten, but the body will usually win over will power. There are physiological reasons why the body responds this way. I will discuss this in future blogs  

If this pattern looks familiar to you, I want you to think about how positive you felt when you were in control. That is the power that must be sustained. Not many things life comes easily. Certainly not dieting. It all begins with the mental attitude. To that end, it is important to understand the decision making process, and the power of goal setting.

 STAGES OF READINESS TO CHANGE

 

PRECONTEMPLATION

A PERSON EXPRESSES AN INTEREST TO CHANGE.

CONTEMPLATION

A PERSON IS THINKING ABOUT MAKING CHANGE.

PREPERATION

A PERSON IS DOING SOMETHING, BUT LESS THAN DESIRED.

ACTION

PERFORMING THE REQUIRED BEHAVIOR FOR LESS THAN SIX MONTHS

MAINTENANCE

ADHERES TO THE BEHAVIOR FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS.

 

Any health or behavior change must start from within. The first step is to identify the problem. As I used in the example, the clothing not fitting comfortable, and it was harder to perform everyday activities. Second, was the commitment to make a change. Third, is setting goals. You must have a goal, a focus to achieve. Without goals, is like sending a sports team out to play, with no plan book, or reason why they are playing. When you have a plan of action, you are likely to remain focused, and committed to achieve.

            There are several books that reiterate the importance of setting goals. One such book is “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen R. Covey. In his book, Covey states, “ An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than on activity. It identifies where you want to be, and in the process, helps you determine where you are. It gives you important information on how to get there, and tells you when you have arrived. It unifies your efforts and energy. It gives meaning and purpose to all you do. And it can finally translate itself into daily activities so that you are proactive, you are in charge of your life”.

Always remember, for a goal to be truly effective, you must believe that you can achieve it. Never give up, or lose sight of your desired outcomes. Once you lose sight, it is a long and disappointing journey that will lead to feelings of failure.

 FOCUS

“IF YOU CHASE TWO RABBITS, BOTH WILL ESCAPE”.

ANCIENT PROVERB

The first thing I would like you to do is to determine what your long- term goal is.What is your final outcome?  Then, you must set a series of short- term quantifiablegoals. When you achieve the first short-term goal, move on to the next one. It is a stepby- step process. It is necessary to learn how to crawl, before you can run a marathon.

Keep in mind it is the journey that is the exciting and rewarding process, not the finaldestination. You appreciate the end results much more when you know you busted yourbutt to achieve them. This process is what makes true champions and leaders.

Understanding Nutrition


 “If you give a person a fish, they will eat for a day

But teach a person how to fish, and they will eat for a lifetime”

Diet and exercise are two words that seldom go unheard. Just turn on your television, search the internet or read any magazine, and you will be inundated with advertisements or claims promising quick fix results. Unfortunately, nutrition and exercise are two very marketable concepts in today’s society. Many people are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle or lose weight, which has lead to an influx of information and gadgets for this “Industry” to capitalize on.

With all this focus, I want you to ask yourself, why is America getting fatter and becoming more unhealthy? Studies have shown that fifty five percent of Americans are overweight, and health problems have increased.

It is my intentions with this blog, to provide information that is reliable and useful. My philosophy is that “Knowledge is power”. This is not another quick fix diet and exercise sale that promises miraculous results and contributes to the statistics mentioned above. This blog is an informational guide for you to obtain practical applications and apply it towards your goals.

Nobody can get results for you. You fulfill this sense of achievement alone. People can provide you with the right path to follow, or unfortunately lead you the wrong way with fads and gimmicks created to influence you and make money. My goal is to provide you with information based on scientific and clinical principles that give you the tools to accomplish a wellness lifestyle change. Whether it is weight management, controlling diabetes, lowering risks of heart disease, or optimizing sports performance, I intend to empower you to empower yourself.

Follow me monthly,

Sincerely,

Mark T. Cuatt

General Manager