It’s a funny thing…Westchester’s finest spend their time protecting us, keeping us safe and healthy, but often don’t pay attention to their own well being. Enter Dr. Franklin Zimmerman and Club Fit, who in January 2013, joined forces to start the “Chief’s Challenge”, an incentive program designed to improve the health and wellness of active police officers, firefighters and EMTs in Westchester and surrounding counties.
One person in particular took notice of the program and decided to take on the challenge. John Marcel, a volunteer fireman at the Briarcliff Fire Department and Club Fit member for more than 20 years, exceeded everyone’s expectations and clocked more time in at the club than any other participant. The fire department and police department with the highest average club usage was awarded $500 each, and the department with the highest average number of visits at the end of a year will receive a $1,000 donation.
Yes, fitness was already part of John’s daily routine, but he saw this program as an opportunity to raise the bar for himself, and encourage his fellow firefighters to get in shape. “Being able to see some of the guys that were not in good shape, create a habit by coming to the club, and eventually sticking to it and keeping healthy was rewarding”. A financial advisor by day and volunteer firefighter in his spare time, at the age of 60, John maintains a rigorous lifestyle and feels that his attention to fitness helps him maintain that pace. He took up running many years ago on the advice of a colleague, and he went so far as running marathons. He currently uses Club Fit’s Fitness Center, indoor track and weight area on a daily basis, and has been encouraging his colleagues at the firehouse, a diverse group including executives and medical professionals, to take advantage of the Chief’s Challenge.
“I find that most people want to look good and feel good, but are missing the discipline to reach their goals,” says John. “Emergency personnel in particular should be in top shape because the work we do can be extremely strenuous. I’ve encouraged others at the firehouse to follow my lead, and I’ve seen some of them make tremendous progress.” One reason he sees for their success is that Club Fit is set up to serve people at all levels, even novices. Everyone is welcomed and gets the proper instruction and encouragement.
“My family and I have been Club Fit members for so long, and the Chief’s Challenge was a no-brainer once I realized that, even as an existing member, I was eligible,” he says. “It’s not such an easy decision for some of my counterparts, but the membership incentive is usually enough for them togive it a try.” And just giving it a try has opened the door to good health for many. Kudos to all who accept the challenge!