To Keep You Inspired … Diane Purdy

Club Fit’s Payroll Specialist Diane Purdy Keeps Us Inspired

{by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger}

Club Fit’s Payroll Specialist Diane Purdy with Personal Trainer Lori Nigro

Club Fit’s Payroll Specialist Diane Purdy with Personal Trainer Lori Nigro

Club Fit’s highest staff honor is its Annual Service Award, presented under veil of secrecy each year at the Annual Meeting — a day of education, team building, and staff appreciation. So, when Diane Purdy, Club Fit’s Payroll Specialist of almost 20 years was asked to lead a Q & A about the Club’s new human resource management system, Dayforce, she was prepared and ready for any question that came her way. What she wasn’t prepared for was the proverbial table turn. Instead of being introduced as the afternoon’s next speaker, she was introduced through a cleverly written poem as Club Fit’s 2016 Annual Service Award winner!

Diane may have been the only person in the room surprised by the announcement. Her consummate work ethic and dedication strikes a lasting impression for all who meet her. Diane’s attention to detail and support to managers and staff has made her invaluable in every area of Club Fit. Diane takes her responsibility as Club’s Payroll Specialist seriously, and over the years she has braved many of Mother Nature’s wicked weather curve balls to get to work, even during weather closures, because, simply put, “Our people need to get paid.” The support she provides has become her calling card, and Diane has helped guide her team through two significant technology launches helping to maximize Club Fit’s internal efficiency and overall position as a leader in the fitness industry. But most importantly, on Diane’s watch, people come first, and everyone is taken care of with equal care and attention.

Diane grew up playing basketball, softball, and running track. As an adult, she enjoyed an effortless balance of health and fitness. But time marches on, and bodies change. As Diane entered her 50s, she realized that maintaining this balance was finally going to require a little more effort. So, she decided it was time to focus on improving her own health and fitness. She found her perfect partner in Club Fit Jefferson Valley Personal Trainer Lori Nigro.

“Lori knew that I was interested in getting in shape and losing weight,” recalls Diane. After their first session, the rest was history, and they’ve been training together since March of 2015. Every Tuesday at 3:30, the duo meets for a 30-minute personal training session. Lori has incorporated high intensity training (HIT) and functional training into Diane’s repertoire. Some days are dedicated to specific body parts, and each session includes stretching and cardio. Diane’s favorite machine is the cross cable machine, and she complements her Club Fit routine by staying active and bicycling through her neighborhood.

“Over the years, I’ve tried just about everything — spinning and cardio tennis, but, this is what I do on Tuesdays,” says Diane. It has been just over 18 months since Diane started her weekly sessions with Lori. She noticed changes right away, and is proud that she has maintained her fitness and weight loss. As for her future fitness goals, Diane is happy continuing her Tuesday sessions with Lori. “I’ll stick with my program,” says Diane. “Lori has shown me so many things. She is motivating, very encouraging and great to work with.”

This February will mark Diane’s 20-year Club Fit anniversary, and Diane most values the caring and friendly culture at the Club, from the staff to the members. “It’s my home away from home, and I love the people,” said Diane. “Everybody cares about their well-being, and the Club cares about helping the community. It’s a great place to work.”

As Diane closes in on the big 2-0, staff and members alike may already know of her love of traveling, NBA basketball, and her favorite team, the San Antonio Spurs. But, did you know that Diane is a huge country music fan with an ear that would make any Nashvillian proud? In 2016 she has already seen 16 big-name artists in concert such as Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Kenney Chesney, Miranda Lambert, and on October 26, Carrie Underwood. 2016 is not over yet, however, and in November she will see Keith Urban and Brett Eldridge, and Stevie Nicks is on the docket for December. Diane has already purchased her tickets for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Soul2Soul tour in October of 2017 — just another fun fact that exemplifies Diane’s attention to detail and strategic planning, a strength that can always be counted on by the Club Fit community.

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!

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.”

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!

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Member John Gillespie

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

John before & after

Picture 1: Before: May 2014: John, 14 days into his stem cell transplant at 260 pounds from the impact of his treatment.
Picture 2: After: March 2016: John, healthy, fit and cancer-free at 190 pounds.

If you’re part of the 5:00 am exercise crowd, chances are you’ve met Club Fit Briarcliff member John Gillespie, 57, whose natural energy and captive smile is hard to forget. John’s early-morning workout includes cardio and weight lifting and gives him the energy and jump-start he needs to start his day as a health care public relations professional in the City. John, who recently moved to New York from his native St. Louis, had always led an active lifestyle filled with golf, running, and exercise. That is until two years ago on March 27, 2014, when a normal day at the office became anything but routine.

John was working at a St. Louis hospital in the health system that he worked for when excruciating abdominal pain sent him to the emergency room. John’s bloodwork showed a hemoglobin level of 8 (very low) and an iron level of 0 (non-existent). John was bleeding from his intestines, and his body was unable to stop it.

Diagnosed with a rare and advanced form of lymphoma, called peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), and four tumors in his small intestine, John’s treatment included a dangerously aggressive six-round, high-dose E-CHOP chemotherapy regimen followed by an autologous stem cell harvest. The E-CHOP began destroying the four tumors, however, two of the tumors burst, forcing emergency surgery to clean up the toxic contents spilling into John’s stomach and to sew his small intestine back together. “The good news was that the chemo worked,” said John, “and the bad news was that the chemo worked.”

Because of the damage to his small intestine and the proximity of one of the remaining tumors to his large intestine, an ileostomy was ordered rather than reattaching his small intestine to the large intestine. The ileostomy diverted the end of his small intestine through his lower abdominal wall where it was attached to an external waste bag for 18 months, a painful experience that made it difficult to exercise and get proper nutrition and hydration. Upon completing his chemo, the stem cells were transplanted and successfully grafted which regenerated his bone marrow. After being cancer- and chemo-free for one year, John was given the green light for an ileostomy reversal on November 4, 2015, to reattach his small intestine to his large intestine which would return his body to normal functionality.

John’s two-year battle with PTCL had been the most painful experience of his life, and he credits the love of his family and two children with helping him persevere. After the pain receded from the ileostomy reversal, John was cleared to begin an exercise program. Enter Club Fit’s HelpRx — a three-month, physician-referral, new-member program for $150 that offers support, guidance and motivation to help people successfully and safely integrate the benefits of regular exercise into their routine. For John, who had lost all muscle tone and a level of fitness and health that had always been a part of his identity, HelpRX was the answer, and he started on the Rx program the week before Thanksgiving.

Restricted from exercise involving abdominal strain for eight weeks, John began his routine with cardio and resistance training, transitioning to weight lifting in January. Under the guidance of Club Fit’s training staff, John’s fitness, strength, and energy quickly improved, and at the end of his three-month Rx membership he signed on to a regular membership because he did not want to go backward. “Exercising is not work anymore,” explains John. “It’s become a routine, a commitment.”

In his four months with Club Fit, John has lost 20 pounds, six inches, and his strength has increased dramatically. “I missed being fit,” said John. “The Club Fit staff has always been very supportive of my goals. I’ve never had to pay for training or classes to access their expertise.” John tries to exercise 5-6 days a week with 35-40 minutes of cardio exercise on the StrideClimber elliptical machines and 30 minutes of weight lifting, with bench pressing being a favorite activity. “Weight lifting has become my favorite,” says John. “Reaching new benchmarks is very rewarding.” John’s latest benchmark is seven reps at 190 pounds, and this month he may hit his next benchmark of 200 pounds.

“I’ve gone from not being able to lift a carton of milk to bench pressing 190 pounds,” said John. “So if I can leave anyone with just one thought, it would be that it is possible to feel healthy again — to recover from cancer or severe injury or just to get healthy.”

Ann’s Ultimate Jump Roping Sequence for breaking Plateaus!

“Anytime I’m at a plateau in weight I break out the jumprope for a good 30 minute set of roping. It benefits my tennis footwork and I honestly feel like I am out dancing and just out having a blast.” -Ann Krobath

Here’s her ultimate jump roping sequence . . .

TREES- Marty Casey & Lovehammers

IS THERE A SWITCH FOR THAT-Cookies

CHASE THIS LIGHT- Jimmy Eat World

THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA- Outlaws (You’ll have to settle for this version since we couldn’t find the Outlaw video)

and finally wind down with…

FIX YOU….Coldplay

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!

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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Recommitting to Fitness Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TRX: The Benefits of Band Suspension Training

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher


By Jennifer Schildwachter, Master Trainer

What does TRX really stand for? Many members and clients constantly ask when in awe of those yellow and black dangling straps in our functional area where our TRX classes are held regularly each day. It stands for Total body Resistance Exercises. It is a type of training that uses your own body weight and forces of gravity to build strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core/joint stability. Plus it’s an excellent tool for corrective exercises and to ultimately prevent injuries.

TRX was originated by the US Navy Seals as a way to stay fit while on missions in remote areas. No matter what your fitness level, TRX is a perfect and versatile way for all. Several fitness types like: athletes, post rehab patients, stay-at-home moms, body builders, the young and the old are all reaping the benefits of TRX!

Whether you’re chasing after the kids or family dog or playing sports or cleaning the house, you are using your “core”. You are mostly in multiple planes. Simply, TRX is a total body work out!

For Starters, you can minimize your training time by working your entire body; at all times you’re keeping your “core” engaged. Also transitioning from one exercise to the next by making simple adjustments can be so easy and you can regress or progress the same exercise to fit the type of client you are working with. You can control the intensity of your work out by walking yourself closer or further away from the anchoring point. So instead of adjusting a seat position or having to grab a different set of dumbbells you simply adjust your foot placement. The direct benefit of transitioning through various exercises can help keep your heart rate up. You can even do great stretches, like stretching more than one body part at a time. TRX is also light weight and easily portable. Workouts could be done virtually anywhere: inside a gym, hotel room or in the great outdoors. To have an affordable, light weight, durable and easily portable band suspension system like the TRX, you can add a new dimension to your work out.

Hit those straps, you won’t be sorry!

If you are itching to take your training to the next level, check out Jen’s specialized class that focuses on Kettlebels, TRX Suspension Straps, and Balance Boards: KBells, Straps, Boards & BEYOND!

For a list of free classes offered at our locations:
Free TRX Classes at Club Fit Jefferson Valley Schedule of classes: Group Fitness Schedule.
Free TRX Classes at Club Fit Briarcliff Schedule of Classes: Group Fitness Schedule.

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!

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!”

 

 

Superhero Transformation: Busting through a weight loss plateau!

Boxing helped me break through my weight loss plateau... I think?

Boxing helped me break through my weight loss plateau… I think?

I’d heard about it: the dreaded “weight-loss plateau.” The so-called dead zone where, despite your best efforts, your weight loss slowly rolls to a dead stop – like a car running out of gas. I have to admit, I didn’t really consider that it might happen to me, despite hearing lots of other well-intentioned gym-goers complain about hitting this wall. I figured, a plateau must be what happens when you get busy and have trouble making time for the gym, or when you’re not paying proper attention to your diet. I learned that isn’t necessarily the case! You can be doing everything right: exercising regularly, eating and sleeping well, hydrating properly, and still the scale won’t budge.

I got frustrated (no surprise there) and started researching weight-loss plateaus: why they happen, and what you can do to get yourself un-stuck. Celeb trainer Jillian Michaels calls it a myth, and thinks poor habits are to blame. Some other sources say it’s real, and recommend eating less, while others recommend eating more, while at the same time others recommend exercising more, while others still suggest taking a break from exercising all together to allow your system to “reset.” Argh! Clearly, there isn’t much information out there that is concrete and helpful (and these “tips” even come from medical-oriented websites.)

For a while, I followed bad internet advice. I took a self-imposed one-week “break” from the gym to try and reset my system, which only succeeded in throwing a wrench in my previously-established good habits. Before I knew it, three whole weeks had gone by, and I had to work harder to make time for the gym again. I tried eating more, I tried eating less; nothing seemed to do the trick. Instead of spinning, I strapped on some boxing gloves and went after the punching bag. If nothing else, it used different muscles, gave me a new kind of cardio stimulation, and was incredibly satisfying and fun!  Not too long afterward, the scale started to move again, and I can’t say what it was that did it. It wasn’t one trick or one food item, or one routine – maybe it was just time and persistence, but it happened.

I didn’t learn the secret to breaking through a plateau, but I did learn three really important things:

  1. Don’t take bad internet advice.
  2. Plateaus are a real thing, and there’s no guaranteed formula to see you through. Everyone’s body responds differently to routines and to changes. Try changing things up a bit (gently, please!) and see what works for you. At the very least, hitting a plateau reminds us to assess where we are and where we want to be, and if we’re doing the right things to get there.
  3. No amount of exercise will do you wrong. Don’t focus on the calories you burned, or whether or not the time and energy you spent was “worth it” for your goals – any kind of exercise is worth your time. It’s good for your heart, good for your mood, and makes your body happy. THAT is worth it, and is far more important than a number on your scale.

superhero