Sky’s the Limit for Local Mt. Kilimanjaro Climber

May 30, 2014 by Liz

Ossining Resident to climb tallest mountain in the world to raise money for St. Christopher’s; partners with Club Fit for initiative

DOBBS FERRY, NY (April 2014) – In an environment where children are faced with their own “mountains” on a daily basis, Ossining resident Kurt Kannemeyer has become a role model. Kannemeyer, the director of development for the residential treatment center for special education students at St. Christopher’s, Inc. in Dobbs Ferry, announced today that he will climb the 19,500 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania this August to raise funds for St. Christopher’s. Club Fit, a comprehensive health and fitness facility in Briarcliff Manor, has agreed to be at Kannemeyer’s side throughout the training process to help him reach the top.

Kannemeyer sets out in August for his seven-day climb to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa.

Last year Kannemeyer climbed Mt. Kilimajaro for the first time and after 17,000 ft suffered from breathing difficulties and had to end his effort. “An important part of successfully summiting Kilimanjara is recognizing your body’s limits and I knew for safety reasons that it was best I stop. Now I know how to properly train and prepare.”

“Initially I performed an assessment of Kurt’s current fitness level in order to develop a customized program specifically for him and this effort. Meeting with the client is always essential so I, as the personal trainer, can get to know our client’s goals and driving forces,” said Club Fit Personal Trainer Sarah Benishek. “During the next five months, Kurt will need to increase his aerobic fitness, endurance and prepare him for the changing altitudes he will experience.”

Kannemeyer’s goal is to raise XX for St. Christopher’s with funding going to programming for the students in transitional cottages to ensure they receive the necessary life skills to become independent once they graduate.

Since its inception in 1881, St. Christopher’s has helped teens with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities by providing a residential program encompassing comprehensive therapeutic, social and family services coordinated with special education schooling.

“To have come so close last year only gives Kurt more of a driving force to finish the climb this time,” said Bob Maher, CEO. “Hard work pays off and dreams do become a reality. We all are supporting Kurt!”

Kannemeyer, a South African native, grew up in a ghetto outside of Port Elizabeth in the 1980s and early 1990s, when the apartheid regime that segregated blacks and whites, rich and poor, was only beginning to be dismantled. His mother and father raised Kannemeyer and his three sister in a tiny cottage. Despite an educational system lacking resources and morale, he was accepted to the University of Port Elizabeth and trained for a law degree.

Anyone looking to make a donation to Kannemeyer’s climb can contact him (914) 648-0817.

About St. Christopher’s, Inc.
St. Christopher’s, Inc. is an innovative adolescent development organization dedicated to helping children with special needs and their families by delivering a seamless continuum of care. We provide quality education; therapeutic intervention and life planning skills in a safe and nurturing environment with the goal of helping each child reach his/her full potential. For more information visit

Why do you train?

May 30, 2014 by Liz

Coach Jack wants to know . . .


Almost every athlete does it. Even non-athletes do it. There almost as many reasons why one would do it as there are ways to do it. Athletic training is a large investment in time, energy (both mentally and physically), and money. It is an investment that certainly pays large dividends if a quality investment is made. Why do you make the investment? Please respond below in the comments section with your reasons why you choose to make this investment, whether for yourself or a child. I’m sure you will find many have the same reasons as you do, and many you may not have even thought of!

Need some information on Athletic Training? Check out The Parisi Program!

Spartan Training: the final countdown!

May 29, 2014 by Liz

Well, it’s nearly go time for the race and all of the training, or lack of training, is about to pay off. Last night our Spartan team had their first official meeting, which was great. All the newbies, like myself, got some great tips about the race and everyone had a chance to meet, mingle and share some great food and war stories. It was a special treat to share the dinner with our coaches Jane Balter and Brian Levine. The appreciation for the coaches was clear to see.

Whether we have trained a lot or a little, whether its our first race or one of many races, everyone is looking forward to conquering the challenge on Saturday and celebrating the achievements afterward. We had a great time last night and we began the weekend of fun by celebrating Heather B’s birthday, our team captain. Check out the cake that was hand decorated by one our teammates. Incredible!

Good luck to all. I can’t wait to celebrate at the finish line. Arrooohhh!

Fitness and Pregnancy: Meet Our Perinatal Specialist, Denise Weber!

May 23, 2014 by Liz

Denise Weber
Perinatal Specialist Denise Weber

Prenatal Exercise is a topic that many women who are expecting are constantly wondering about. Can I exercise during pregnancy? How much should I do? What kinds of exercises are safe? How can I make sure that I am doing exercises the correct way? When should I stop exercising? What can I do in my first, second and third trimesters? The bottom line is, fitness is important, especially during pregnancy. Well-being, nutrition and stress management are also vital to the health of mom-to-be and baby. The aim of these upcoming posts are to help shed some light on these questions and we have the perfect person to help you through this journey! We want to introduce you to our resident expert, Denise Weber!

Denise is a Perinatal Exercise Specialist and was a certified childbirth educator in the Bradley Method for 15 years. This expertise led Denise to the position of Perinatal Exercise Coordinator at Club Fit. For 8 years, while Denise held that title, she designed and implemented classes and programs for the perinatal client, teaching and training many of those clients herself. She is responsible for creating and bringing innovative programs to the club for the Perinatal exerciser. Stroller Babies, Perinatal Yoga and Baby Boot Camp to name a few. She also trained other instructors. Denise continues to be involved with this aspect of her career.

Denise has 25+ years of experience as a fitness professional. A widely diversified background which includes certifications in Group Exercise, Personal Training, Yoga, Pilates Mat and Spinning, gives Denise the versatility and creativity to design fitness programs for anyone at any fitness level. Denise likes to use a variety of fitness modalities, mixing traditional training methods with intervals of cardiovascular exercise, and power moves to help her participants achieve their fitness goals.

“My desire has always been to help women embrace whatever stage of life they are in, and help them set and achieve their fitness goals. I have the privilege to see my clients’ confidence and pride grow as work towards their goals and make them a reality. For me there is no greater satisfaction than that. I love what I do. I can think of nothing more important than helping my clients feel good about their selves; not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. I believe wellness encompasses the whole person and I strive for that in my professional life.”

Denise continues to educate herself through various workshops and trainings, and is always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for her clients.

In the coming weeks Denise will be writing all about aspects of perinatal exercise, nutrition during pregnancy, stress management and relaxation techniques, prenatal yoga and overall fitness. If you have specific questions or topics that you would like to see us discuss, leave a comment on our blog! Who knows? You may just see your topic in our headlines!

For information on Personal Training with Denise, call her at the club (914)762-3444 ext. 2247. Click here to read more about her training philosophy.

Perinatal Exercise Programs at Club Fit with Denise

Diana Pernicano — Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member

May 20, 2014 by karen

Diana Pernicano, Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member
Cancer Warrior and Club Fit Member Diana Pernicano and her father, Club Fit Member Ted Pernicano

When you are a nineteen-year-old college student, the last thing you expect to hear are the words, “You have cancer.” But that’s exactly what happened to Diana Pernicano this past November, when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Luckily, Diana had a happy ending. On February 28, after three months of intense chemotherapy at Sloan-Kettering, Diana was declared cancer-free.

She decided to make a positive out of a negative by learning as much as she could about the disease, and devoting herself to educating others, kids in particular, about cancer. “Kids in middle school and high school need to understand that it’s important to go to the doctor and to stay healthy, that cancer doesn’t just happen to adults,” she said. But people of all ages also need to understand that cancer doesn’t always have to end badly. She said she was surprised by how many of her classmates assumed she would not survive. She’s happy to say, “Today, two out of three cancer patients will become a survivor.”

Diana has also devoted herself to fundraising, and is currently working with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds. She had already been participating in the Yorktown Relay for Life event before her diagnosis, partly because her father also suffered through a cancer scare nine years ago. He was diagnosed with a cancer of the spine that was also treated successfully.  (Their cancers are not related.)

After her diagnosis and treatment, Diana was invited to speak at the Relay for Life kickoff event in February, and did so well that she was invited to help with the speakers in the New York City office. “Survivors who I heard speak would talk about the experiences they had, but not about specific programs that helped them get through the experience.”

She impressed enough people with her story and attitude to be featured in an ACS video distributed to colleges across the country educating college students about the disease, as well as the importance of sharing stories about experiences with cancer and reaching out to others. Visit YouTube to see it for yourself! “It’s such a different perspective when you go through this at my age,” she says. “It’s also so hard, no matter what your age, to really understand what a patient goes through, unless you have cancer yourself.” Diana also invites everyone to read more about her experience on her blog, at

Diana will continue her studies in nursing at Mount St. Mary College in the Fall, where she was attending school when she was diagnosed. Her focus will be on oncology nursing, which she was already pursuing because of her father’s experience with cancer. But now she feels she can contribute so much more to cancer patients, because she has the unique perspective of knowing exactly how they feel.

Diana has a good role model in her father, a Club Fit member who was a runner before his diagnosis and used Club Fit to help him get back on track. He is still at Club Fit almost every day. Diana became a full member three years ago. She uses the Fitness Center, plays racquetball, shoots hoops in the gym and enjoys Zumba — an all-around member! She also attended a Cancer Wellness session or two, and although she was too sick to participate more, she thinks it’s a great resource for others going through what she did. Diana is on the cross-country team at Mount St. Mary, and intends to return to the team in the fall.

Diana will have her own team for the first time at this year’s Relay for Life, “Diana’s Lymphomaniacs,” and has already raised more than $10,000. Part of that number includes funds raised on May 18 with a foul-shooting competition for Mildred E. Strang Middle School teachers and students at Club Fit Jefferson Valley. Forty students and 17 MESMS teachers participated! The actual Relay for Life event will take place on June 13th at Jack DeVito Memorial Field in Yorktown, and the Lymphomaniacs are happy to accept donations at her Relay for Life page! For more information on how you can join the fight against cancer, visit

Spartan Training Continues . . . sometimes there are bumps along the way!

May 13, 2014 by Liz

by Bill Pagel

Well fellow Spartans, my training has not been going well. Very sporadic and inconsistent, but there’s still time and I was encouraged by my efforts in my last 2 workouts. Over the weekend I completed a 5 mile run consisting of 1/4 mile hill intervals. My pace was slow, but I completed the run, which was the goal. I’m lucky that my neighborhood has a perfect loop for this.

Yesterday, I completed a 4 mile progression run. (Treadmills are great for this kind of run.) A one mile warm-up followed by progressively increasing the pace over the next 2.5 miles and I finished with a half mile cool down jog and another half mile of walking.Topped it off with 20 yards of inchworm walks to help stretch and get a little upper body work in. It was tough, but the goal was to finish. Now I have to keep the consistency going over the next 17 days and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up on race day.


Club Fit Jefferson Valley Tennis Calendar

May 7, 2014 by Liz

Check out our calendar of Tennis events at Club Fit Jefferson Valley! Feel free to add any of these tennis events to your ical! Just click and save . . . it’s that easy!

Tennis Courts- What’s the big difference?

May 2, 2014 by Liz

Does the court you’re playing on really make a difference?
The answer to that is a resounding YES!

Let’s just start by saying there are over 100 different kinds of tennis court surfaces. Since we’d be here forever if we were to list each and every one, let’s just focus on the four main types of surfaces and talk about the benefits and drawbacks to each.

1. Hard Courts Hard Courts are the most common courts and often the ones you would find at public facilities but are also used in some tennis clubs and professional tournaments in this area. Compared to the other main type of courts, hard court conditions vary very little during the entire year and are fairly easy to maintain. The balls bounce fairly high and very consistently but players, specially “seasoned players”, often develop or aggravate lower body injuries playing on these hard surfaces. It usually favors all-around players.
2. Clay Courts Clay Courts are considered one of the slower surfaces to play on, balls bounce high and they favor those with a baseline game, and not the huge servers with the serve-and-volley style of play. Many players with “Big Games” (e.g. Pete Sampras and Federer) struggle to play their best tennis on these type of courts. Clay requires a lot of upkeep, as it must be “frequently watered, rolled and brushed, according to the USTA.” Most country clubs and high-end clubs in this area use them and this major upkeep is offset by the conditions of play these courts create for their players. These courts, as the name states, are softer than the other main types of courts and much easier on players bodies being the preferred type – or the ONLY type – by seasoned players play on. Since clay courts also slow down the game, it is also advantageous for players learning the game – adults or kids – to make use of them.
3. Grass Courts Grass Courts are the fastest surfaces that are played on. The world’s longest running and most prestigious tournament, Wimbledon is held on grass. You do not see many grass courts these days and one of the reasons for that, is that it takes a great deal more maintenance than any other surface. It can also be an unpredictable surface to play on due to the changing conditions of the grass itself, how recently it has been mowed and even how much it has been played on. Balls bounce really low on grass and because of that this surface is considered to be the most difficult surface to play on.
4. Carpet Courts Carpet Courts are used mainly on indoor facilities with cold Winters. This is one of the less popular surfaces and is not used to host many major tournaments. There is a very short season of professional tournaments in Europe and not many tournaments, on this surface, are found in the US.

At Club Fit we use Har-Tru clay surfaces for our main tennis courts. “Har-Tru is made from billion-year-old Pre-Cambrian metabasalt found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It is a natural green stone that is extremely hard and angular, two very important qualities when it comes to tennis court construction. The angularity helps the stone particles lock together to form a stable playing surface.

The hardness provides exceptional durability. The natural green color is classically clay and instantly recognizable. The stone is crushed, screened, and mixed in the precise proportions necessary to produce a stable playing surface. It is then installed over a porous base of crushed stone aggregate to produce the final product.” Read more about the benefits of Har-Tru Green Clay.

Rodrigo Hartru Club Fit Briarcliff Tennis Director, Rodrigo Schtscherbyna and Har-Tru Court Surface.

To learn more about our tennis program, contact Briarcliff Tennis Director: Rodrigo Schtscherbyna at or Jefferson Valley Tennis Director: Harold Toussaint at
Meet the Pros at Briarcliff!
Meet the Pros at Jefferson Valley!

Bill Pagel’s tale of training . . . The Spartan Race

May 1, 2014 by Liz

Well, it’s 6 weeks to go until my first Spartan Race in Tuxedo, NY. The butterflies started kicking in this week with anticipation of the unknown challenges and the excitement of competing with a team of well-conditioned Club Fit members.

I know my team will be ready because I see how hard they work every day in one of our CFX classes or in the Extreme Endurance class. I also know there will be a group that will be supremely prepared after going through the Obstacle Race Training with Jane and Brian. I just hope I’m ready!

The good news is that I still have some time to train and I’ll be kicking it up a notch to make sure I can keep up with the team. Things I’ve found helpful in preparing for the race are the support form staff and members, the daily Spartan WODs and the great Spartan recipes that I’ve been trying. My favorite recipe so far is the scrambled eggs with avocado and salsa. I have that for breakfast almost every morning in the café. Love it!

I’d love to find out what your favorite recipe is to fuel your training and any other insights on preparing for a Spartan race. I’ll continue to share my journey over the next several weeks and maybe have a post race video to share.

Happy Trails!