Meet Marc Quintiliani, Master Swim Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard

July 30, 2014 by karen

Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani
Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani

“One step at a time” is a common sense approach, but not everyone practices it. For a child with special needs, it’s a recipe for success. So says Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani, who teaches students of every age and skill level, but has a definite connection with this particular group of students.

Marc, a former mechanic who has been with Club Fit for five years and has been a swimming instructor for close to fifteen years, loves to see his students realize they can accomplish what once seemed out of reach. “I like breaking down their walls,” he says of his special needs students. “It’s especially rewarding when I hear parents say they can’t believe what their child is doing, milestones they couldn’t imagine reaching,” he says.

Most parents opt for private lessons, which is helpful because Marc can focus on a child’s particular needs. And “one step at a time” is key. “The first thing I focus on is getting them to be comfortable with me,” he says. He tries to schedule these lessons when the Aquatics Center is quiet, so the student doesn’t have to deal with sensory overload. On the other hand, a certain amount of distraction can sometimes be helpful with children who are nervous about being in the water. “One of my students had a previous bad experience, so I gave him things to do like counting drills to take his mind off of being in the pool.” Another boy would get in the water but actual swimming was a particular challenge…today he is comfortable swimming in all areas of the pool. “I try to get the kids to let their guard down and just relax,” says Marc.

Kaleb is a current student whose grandmother Linda Schulman can’t say enough about the strides he’s made. Kaleb, who turns three on August 2, had a stroke at a very early age, leaving him with motor issues, and one side of his body weak and less functional. Hoping swim lessons would strengthen him, but not completely optimistic, Linda turned to Marc, and has seen improvement in the short amount of time that Marc has worked with her grandson. “Kaleb has a great attitude, and our sessions got even better after I realized that he sometimes uses sign language to communicate,” said Marc, who now supplements his vocal praise with encouraging signs. “We focus a lot on getting him to use his left side more, since that is his weaker side.” Linda is extremely happy with his progress. “Kaleb is almost fearless in the water now,” she says.

Marc’s experience includes more than 10 years of competitive swimming, including Junior Olympic, County and State meets. He currently has a diverse clientele at the club, including everyone from his special needs kids, to triathletes, to seniors. He also serves as Assistant Coach for the Club Fit Swim Team under Head Coach Bill Walsh, and has seen a great improvement with the team. “We had some work to do, but the kids are starting to come together and I’m excited about the upcoming season,” he says, which begins in September.

As for kids like Kaleb, Marc will continue to work his magic and help them achieve what once seemed impossible. “It’s great to see the kids succeed,” he says. “They come in thinking they have so many limitations, and realize that it’s not so hard to overcome them.” For more information on programs available, contact

Adaptive Swim Program Benefits Special Needs Children

July 30, 2014 by karen

Adaptive Swim Coach Helen Peters
Adaptive Swim Coach Helen Peters with happy student Adam

“I DID IT!” Those three words are probably the sweetest three words a parent can hear from a child with special needs. And it’s a phrase that Club Fit’s Helen Peters has the privilege of hearing from her students in the Adaptive Swim program.

Helen, who has been a swim instructor at Club Fit for more than 20 years, is also a Special Education teacher in the Newburgh School District. When Club Fit decided to incorporate the Adaptive Swim lessons into the Aquatics programming about seven years ago, Helen’s experience in both teaching and swim made her the perfect candidate to teach. She holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Fordham University, and has been a swim instructor since the age of 16.

“We teach kids all along the spectrum, and we try to group the kids by age and ability,” says Helen. Some parents prefer to do private or semi-private lessons, but the 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio does allow Helen to give each child the needed attention. The small-group classes are offered three days a week, and are available to members and nonmembers.

Helen works with each child in the group and modifies her approach based on each child’s limitations. She is currently working with two blind children, who cannot see her directions so she needs to actually do the movements with them. Some children have sensory issues, which may require trying different types of goggles to see which are more comfortable, as well as a little more time to get used to the water. Helen has actually found that with most kids, the water is a soothing environment. “The water can calm them down, and usually the hardest part of the entire lesson is at the end, when they don’t want to get out of the pool!” she says.

There have been students as young as three years old, including two three-year-olds with cerebral palsy. The program is available to kids up to age 13. “It’s a unique program that isn’t offered many places,” says Helen. “Our students run the gamut, from those afraid of the water to those who can do laps on their own, but at whatever level it is so rewarding to see their sense of accomplishment.” One student recently passed the Aquatics Center swim test required for him to swim independently in the pool. Another, who is blind and started out with a fear of swimming, recently mastered jumping in the pool by himself. Others are involved in sports programming outside the club, and Helen loves to hear about their accomplishments out of the water. “The kids get so much out of any activity where they can work toward a goal, not matter how big or small, and master it.”

Helen, married and a mother of three, lives in Peekskill and uses the club herself to keep in shape. She does cardio and plays racquetball, in addition to her time in the Aquatics Center. “People sometimes don’t recognize me outside of the pool!” she says.

The next session of Adaptive Swim will begin September 8. If your child or someone you know would benefit from this unique program, please contact Kristina Wolak at It’s a win-win for everyone involved, including Helen! Visit us online to learn more about Adaptive Swim Lessons and to register!

Superhero Transformation: Busting through a weight loss plateau!

July 28, 2014 by Kendra

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.


Social Media Contest: Buddy Up for Workouts!

July 17, 2014 by Liz

What better way to get and stay motivated than to buddy up for workouts? To help keep you motivated this Summer, buddy up to workout and we’ll reward the effort! Snap a picture of you and a friend working out together at the club or outdoors, share it on our facebook, instagram or twitter account and we’ll give you a $5 Club Fit café gift card! It’s that simple! Tweet at one of our Club Fit handles @cfbriarcliff or @cfjeffvalley, post it to one of our facebook pages or tag us on instagram @clubfitny. Feel free to use the hashtag #fitbuddy in your posts!

We have a great refer a friend deal now until August 31st. Refer a friend- get $100 e-cash AND you and a friend will have a chance to win a $200 AMEX gift card.

Everyone who submits a photo will receive a $5 Club Fit Café gift card. One Gift Card per person regardless of number of photos entered. Gift Cards will expire 10/31/14. Club Fit reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time if it is determined that the entry is offensive or inappropriate. Each participant grants to Club Fit an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide and transferable license to use his or her submitted photograph, name, hometown, likeness and/or prize information, without limitation, for promotional purposes without further permission or compensation. Club Fit reserves the right to change these Official Rules at any time, in its sole discretion, or cancel the promotion at any time.

How Can Acupuncture Help Me?

July 14, 2014 by Liz

Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac.
By Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac

People often seek the help of an Acupuncturist for aches and pains, but did you know acupuncture is also great for coping with stress, emotional balance, and achieving your optimal health? In fact, Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive modality and offers relief from seasonal allergies, headaches, digestive upset, sleep disorders and more!

Acupuncture is a safe, holistic form of medicine that has been used in Asia for thousands of years. Now, many Americans are finding great results reducing the need for medication and invasive surgeries. Even insurance companies are in favor of acupuncture. Each year more and more plans extend coverage as a way to offer preventative care as well as pain relief.

If you’ve always wondered about acupuncture, or how it could help you, now’s your chance to find out. Leah’s happy to answer any questions you might have or schedule a session for you to try it for yourself. We can also verify if you have insurance benefits for acupuncture care.

Club Fit Briarcliff Welcomes Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac. this September!

Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz is expanding her practice to include new Sunday hours within the Physical Therapy office at Club Fit Briarcliff starting September of 2104.

Leah Sasha Schwartz, NY State Licensed Acupuncturist is Nationally Certified and has been in private practice for 8 years. Leah works with patients of all ages and treats a wide range of health and wellness concerns. She is happy to talk with you about how Classical Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you too.

Club Fit Briarcliff Welcomes Acupuncturist Leah Schwartz, L.Ac.

The Benefits of Gentle Yoga

July 9, 2014 by Liz

Yoga can at times seem intimidating for someone who has never taken a yoga class, someone with physical limitations or someone who has mentally psyched him or herself out. Some thoughts one might be harboring . . . “I’m not flexible” or “I’m not strong enough” or simply “I’m okay with just doing cardio workouts”.

Let’s wipe that slate clean and talk about the benefits of Gentle Yoga. There is a way to benefit from a Yoga practice no matter whether you are taking Advanced Vinyasa, Hatha, Intro to Yoga or a Gentle Yoga class, but let’s focus on Gentle Yoga!

Here are some of the benefits:

– Combat stress
– Help improve posture
– Increase positive energy
– Relieve muscle tightness
– Develops strength and balance
– Great compliment to any workout

This class is taught at a slower pace which is much easier to follow if you are new to yoga. It is great for people of all ages and all fitness levels. Another great yoga class for beginners or those looking for the benefits above with an added focus on a healing practice, is R & R yoga. Yoga R & R is a Hatha yoga class with focus on rejuvenation and restoring energy.

So if you are looking for a great way to ease into a yoga practice that will help you physically and mentally, these classes are great places to begin your journey.

Try Gentle Yoga and Stretch at Club Fit Jefferson Valley with Wendy Wolf, Wednesdays from 6-7pm in Studio 3. This slow paced class will help you develop strength and balance, includes stretching and breathing exercises and yoga postures ending with relaxation. For more information contact Liza at Visit the Group Fitness Schedule for more classes.

Try Yoga R & R at Club Fit Briarcliff with Sharon Shapiro Sundays from 11:30AM-12:30PM. Contact Irene at for more information. Visit the Group Fitness Schedule for more classes.

Gentle Yoga
Gentle Yoga

The Benefits of Exercise during the Childbearing Year

July 7, 2014 by Liz

Denise Weber
Perinatal Specialist Denise Weber

Exercise and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a perfectly normal time in a woman’s life. Sure, there are “bumps and hiccups” along the way, literally, but exercise can help us to deal with all of the changes we experience, physically, mentally, and, emotionally.

Prior to beginning ANY exercise program, it is advisable to seek the approval of your

One question I get asked a lot is,” WHEN do I start a Prenatal exercise program?” The answer is as soon as possible! While you may continue to do your regular exercise regime, a prenatal class or training session will target specific topics and exercises that pertain to pregnancy and prepare you for birth and beyond! Also, you are with other women and the camaraderie you share and friendships you make, can stay with you for a lifetime.

Here is my list of the top 10 reasons to exercise during pregnancy:

1. Improves fetal growth

2. Decreases maternal symptoms of pregnancy.

3. Maintains/Improves cardiovascular fitness levels.

4. Maintains and/ or improves muscle strength and tone, thus decreasing the risk of

injury, and increasing the stabilization of the joints.

5. Improves circulation which lessens swelling and helps to prevent varicosities.

6. Improves balance.

7 Improves body image, self esteem, and emotional well being.

8. Helps to achieve and maintain, a healthy pregnancy body weight.

9. Enhances sleep

10. Labor is hard work! Regular physical exercise increases stamina and
endurance, which can actually lead to a shorter, easier labor, and a faster

Read what the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has to say about Exercise During Pregnancy.

Denise Weber teaches various prenatal and postnatal classes. She is available for Personal Training, private and semi-private. Do you have a group of friends you would like to take a prenatal or postnatal class with but nothing is scheduled? No problem! Small group classes can be arranged!

Click here to check out the current sessions of prenatal and postnatal group classes at Club Fit Briarcliff!

For information on Prenatal and Postnatal classes at our Jefferson Valley location Click here or contact Tricia Weinbaum at for more information!

Prenatal Yoga

Click here to check out the current sessions of prenatal and postnatal group classes!

Run Smart, Run Safe: Tips from Club Fit Personal Trainer, Tim Robinson

July 3, 2014 by Liz

Tim Robinson
Tim Robinson

Okay, so it’s hot, and you’re asking, can I (should I?) be running outdoors in these temperatures?
Sure, just do it right and be prepared – HYDRATE ahead of time, wear light, moisture-wicking fabric, and take it down a notch (or two).

Listen, there are folks who run races across Death Valley, so it’s totally doable. Just get your ducks in a row. If you can, get your miles in early, when the cooler night air is still hanging around. Either that, or wait – block out some time in the evening. I often run in the dark, or near dark, but I’m careful.

Pick a route that’s well-lit and low on traffic. Wear bright, REFLECTIVE clothing. And please, save the speed work and the long run for a later day when the forecast is friendlier. On these hottest of Summer days, just get some miles in and don’t amp it up to high. Think. If you have to strike out more towards midday, wear a cap to keep the sun off your head (I wet one and throw it in the freezer beforehand… seriously).

Drink more water than usual, steadily, through the day before you head out. As soon as you finish up, drink more. Once you stop sweating, take a cool shower to get your core temperature back into a comfortable zone.

As always, if you’re out there and it gets to the point where you’re feeling it too much, pack it in. Heat exhaustion is no picnic and heat stroke is seriously dangerous, so don’t push past any signals that your body is offering up. If you’re thinking, I should probably slow down, you certainly should. Your body will acclimate to the heat if you give it time and you’re cautious. Get used to it and keep your first hot runs shorter than usual.

All that said, I’m not a huge lover of treadmills, but for the timid, this just may be the time for them. Now, and when snow is falling, knee-deep, all over creation – that was a rough winter for us runners. Be safe. Be smart.

Want to get into running, but don’t know where to begin?
Check out the variety of Running Programs at Club Fit Briarcliff!

Not sure if your clothes are reflective enough for an early morning or late evening run? Click here to check out all the great kinds of reflective running gear!

Tim Robinson has a B.F.A. from Syracuse University, he is an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer and Heartsaver CPR/AED Certified.

His specialties include: Running, Cross Country, Track and Roads, Triathlon, Swim, Bike, Run and TRX. In his spare time, Tim enjoys Trail running, Hiking, Kayaking, Cooking, Gardening, Music and Art.

His Philosophy of Exercise: There are no gimmicks – Dig deep and dedicate yourself to real, lasting fitness. Your body is all you’ve got – there’s no place else to go, so lets take care of it.

You can contact Tim at or come schedule a training with him in at Club Fit Briarcliff!