To Keep You Inspired:

November 27, 2017 by jeanne

 Marie Senno & Barbara Dellicurti: Zumba-ing for a Cause….

by Lisa Olney

The Club Fit philosophy is all about empowering its members, its staff, and the community to be the change they’d like to see – whether in the world or in their own health and fitness journeys. Group Fitness instructors Barbara Dellicurti and Marie Senno have perfected this philosophy by merging their passions for fitness and philanthropy, touching many lives along the way.

Marie has been a fan-favorite on the Group Fitness schedule since 2013. Using her lifelong love of dance, she brings a distinct motivational style to her Club Fit classes, which include Booty Barre, Sculpt, 20/20/20, Pilates, and Piloxing (a cardio fusion of standing Pilates, boxing and dance). Barbara has been a Zumba instructor at Club Fit since September of 2016 and also teaches kids’ yoga. Her energy and happy feet are infectious, making her classes a can’t miss option for Zumba veterans and newcomers, alike. Her early morning Sunday class draws both early birds as well as night owls still yawning as they enter the Studio. Recognizing the early hour, after class Barbara will ask, “So who’s sorry they came?” Her students laugh and readily acknowledge that they never regret coming to class. Waking up early and dancing the morning away with a full-body workout makes them feel proud for staying committed to their fitness goals.

Marie and Barbara first met at a small exercise studio five years ago. They instantly recognized in one another the same effervescent energy, commitment to health and fitness, and the need to help others. Since that day, they have been devoted to making the world a better place, one charity event at a time. “Our energy together gets things done – we support each other and feel so blessed to give back to the community,” explains Marie. “We haven’t known each other forever, but we are forever friends. Forever moving forward together – helping people in need.”

Marie and Barbara organize approximately four fundraisers a year for causes such as the American Heart Association, local animal rescue organizations, breast cancer research, local food pantries, Toys for Tots, and disaster relief. This September, after watching Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact on Puerto Rico, Barbara and Marie knew that they needed to act.  “In October, our focus is usually breast cancer, but this year we felt that Puerto Rico was on everyone’s minds and hearts and decided that should be our focus,” recalls Barbara. It is the first year that Club Fit has served as the venue for one of their philanthropic events, and the level of support was overwhelming. The two were moved not only by Club Fit’s assistance, but also the way in which the Club Fit membership embraced the opportunity to make a difference. In the end, members raised over $2,500 for hurricane relief efforts at the October Zumbathon for Puerto Rico.

With frosty temps and a chill in the air, Marie offers the perfect complement to a winter workout with her sage and sincere advice, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” On Friday, December 8th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Club Fit Jefferson Valley, the dynamic duo invites you to do just that as they kick off the holiday season with their Toys for Tots Zumbathon. Collection boxes will be at the event and will also be at the Club for a few days afterward for those who would like to support the toy drive by bringing an unwrapped, new toy to brighten the holidays for those less fortunate. “This is our way of giving back,” explains Barbara. “It is also a way of thanking the members for their generosity with a great, holiday-themed Zumba class led with our fellow Zumba instructors.”

The Hiking Club

October 30, 2017 by jeanne

By Lisa Olney

Balancing the 24-7 responsibilities of everyday life while taking time for oneself can be as elusive as catching a cloud, and, often, the first casualties of this struggle are one’s own health, fitness, and sense of serenity. Experienced hiking leaders and Club Fit Jefferson Valley members Peter Meskin, Andrew Stein, and Michael Capsuto have the antidote, however, and it’s the longstanding Club Fit Hiking Club that has traversed the trails of the Hudson Valley for over two decades. A free activity for Club Fit members and their guests, hikes range from easy to challenging, and the only prerequisites are good physical condition, hiking boots, and a sense of adventure. The ability to combine exercise with the natural wonders of the Hudson Valley has never been easier … or more fun!

Peter Meskin is a former New York City high school English teacher whose innate gift for teaching earned him several awards for innovation in teaching his students desktop publishing in the days when computers were practically unheard of in the classroom. His inspiring teaching style still touches everything he does, whether in a classroom or in the great outdoors. The hiking bug first bit Meskin as a child growing up in Brooklyn, and as a young man, he went on day hikes with the American Youth Hostels hiking club throughout the Hudson Valley. Later, as a member of the Westchester Trails Hiking Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), he became a hiking leader and received extensive training from the AMC at the 1,800-acre Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill. Not limited to dry land, however, Meskin was also a sailing instructor for the New York Sailing School on City Island, received his Coast Guard Captain’s license, and had his own charter boat business in the British Virgin Islands. His hobbies also include sculpting in wood and stone along with photography, and he and his wife, Diane, volunteer at a humane society animal shelter and Guiding Eyes for the Blind where they foster puppies to help socialize the potential guide dogs at a young age.

22 years ago, Club Fit Jefferson Valley reached out to Meskin about creating a hiking club, and it was about this time that Meskin met fellow Club Fit member Andrew Stein. Another avid hiker who grew up in the Bronx, Stein has hiked all over the country including Alaska and the Rockies, and as a videographer he has documented some of his favorite experiences. Encouraged by friends to share his local hiking experiences, Stein decided to look into starting a hiking club. As if Mother Nature herself introduced these two, their meeting couldn’t have happened at a better time. “Andrew is a caring and engaged hiking leader and has hiked the local trails since he was a boy,” says Meskin. “He shares his vast knowledge of local history and lore with the hikers, and his friendly dog Molly accompanies him on the trails, greeting all of the hikers and giving them even more reasons to smile. Andrew has been very important to the success of the hiking club.”

Hand-picked from within the hiking club, Club Fit’s third hiking leader is Michael Capsuto, a Yorktown resident who has been hiking since childhood. Capsuto discovered the hiking club 10 years ago, and his vast knowledge of area trails along with his Red Cross certifications in adult first aid/CPR/AED make him a valued addition as a hike leader. “Michael has an intimate knowledge of the trails from many years of hiking with the Club Fit Hiking Club and on his own,” says Meskin. “He is a caring and compassionate person who only wants the best for our members.”

Meskin, Stein, and Capsuto all combine working out at Club Fit with their outdoor exercise routines and agree that daily exercise is the key to staying healthy. They can often be found in the cardio area on the treadmills and elliptical machines or in the strength training area using equipment like the FitLinxx circuit. “I’ve been working out at Club Fit since the 1980s,” says Meskin. “They are constantly reinventing themselves, integrating new exercise strategies and programs to keep everyone involved and motivated.” Combine that with the physical and mental benefits of hiking, and the result is a full mind-body workout that spells balance with a capital B.

The Club Fit Hiking Club is always ready to welcome newcomers and familiar faces, alike. Hikes take place all year long, ranging from easy to challenging. No sign-up is required, and as part of the Club Fit membership, all hikes are free to members and their guests. The next two hikes are November 4th at Teatown with a Teatown naturalist and November 12th at the Fahnestock Park Appalachian Trail.  To view a Hiking Club photo montage from Hike Leader Andrew Stein, click here. Happy hiking!

To Keep You Inspired: Katherine Stern

September 25, 2017 by jeanne

To Keep You inspired….. Club Fit Member Katherine Stern

By Lisa Olney

Days before embarking on the July 9, 2016, 31-mile Manhattan Kayak Circumnavigation, known as “The Circ”, 67-year old Club Fit member Katherine Stern received a diagnosis that would send her into unchartered waters:  early-stage breast cancer.  No one would have faulted her for pulling out of The Circ, but for Katherine kayaking offered a spiritual solitude in which to think, to clear one’s mind, and to take charge.  And 31 miles cutting through the currents of the Hudson and East Rivers provided her with the best therapy for what lay ahead.

Two days after completing The Circ, Katherine had a lumpectomy. “I consider myself one of the lucky ones because of early detection,” Stern says.  When her oncologist explained the diagnosis, prognosis, and everything in between, Katherine interrupted, simply asking, “Is it going to kill me?”  “No,” was her doctor’s answer. “Then I don’t want to bother with details” Katherine replied.  “Just tell me when and where to go.”  Chemotherapy began in August – every three weeks in four-hour sessions through February 2017 – followed by a six-week daily course of radiation.

While Katherine was strong and fit heading into her treatment program, the chemo and radiation robbed her of her strength and vitality making her feel like a prisoner in her own body.  After each chemo treatment, she would have ten days of extreme sickness and fatigue that worsened over the course of her treatment.  “Within months, I was an old lady, and as the months went on, those 10 days got worse and worse,” Katherine remembers.  “Food was difficult, and I could only seem to handle white foods – things that I had never kept in my house before.” With no energy, Katherine gained 40 pounds and remembers it as being a very isolating time.

Her treatments ended in mid-April, and Katherine was ready to take back her body.  Her doctor recommended Club Fit’s Help RX program, a physician-referred exercise program designed to ease patients back into exercising. A discounted three-month membership program, Help RX features personalized attention from Fit Coaches in order to set goals and achieve lifestyle changes.  To ease her re-entry into an active lifestyle, Katherine traveled to a yoga and boot camp spa in Mexico. “I had no idea how young everyone was going to be there, but I thought I would just go for it,” she laughs.  “It was the start of taking control of my body.”   Upon returning home, she began her Club Fit Help RX program, with a dual goal in mind: to regain her strength and to complete the 2017 Circ on July 15.

At the gym five days a week, Katherine’s workout included strength training, treadmill, and a Pilates class.  A fitness level that was once in her wheelhouse, however, was now difficult to recall – especially in Pilates.  But with the help of Club Fit’s Fit Coaches, instructors, and her laser-like drive, she stuck with it.  Everyone she encountered at Club Fit made her feel like she could reach her goals. “Eric, one of my Fit Coaches, treated me as if I was a regular person, but 20 years younger,” she recalls.  “He was no-nonsense with a sense of humor and would always say, ‘You can do it!’  He sensed that this was really important to me, and once I was at Club Fit, I knew I could do it.“  After just a couple months, her fitness level soared.  She could not only handle the Pilates class, but her goal of the 2017 Circ, became a reality on July 15 as she lowered her kayak into waters of the Hudson under unusually ideal weather conditions.

Today, Katherine has lost 28 pounds, kayaks on the weekends, is at the gym four days a week, but most importantly, she is cancer free.  Strength training remains her favorite activity and she still catches up on CNN while on the treadmill.  “I feel strong again and that’s my way of being in control of my body.”  Katherine continued her Club Fit membership after the three-month prescription period due to the supportive atmosphere throughout the Club. “I would never have considered coming to Club Fit without the Rx program, and I probably would have gone back to my old club,” says Katherine.  “It would have been a totally different experience, because I would have had no motivation to work on the equipment.  But at Club Fit, I knew that working on the circuit would help me to regain my strength, and this was the key.”

Owner of Katherine Stern Design, Katherine is an interior designer and stager.  She also volunteers with the Northern Westchester Hospital Cancer Wellness Center in Mt. Kisco and is the driving force behind promoting a lesser known cancer therapy option called Cold Capping, a method that prevents hair loss by freezing hair follicles. If she could impart any wisdom to her friends and the Club Fit community it would be to get annual mammograms.  “You’ve got to get regular mammos,” says Katherine.  “There is no history of cancer of any kind in my family, but I’ve always been very good at getting regular mammograms.  And, then they found something.”

Thanks to early detection, Katherine is now spending her weekends kayaking around local lakes, rivers and the Eastern Seaboard.  If you’re out in the Hyde Park area along the Hudson this October and see any kayakers, give a wave, because there’s a good chance one of those kayakers just may be our own Katherine Stern.

 

Club Fit Aquatics Director Patrick Montgomery

August 24, 2017 by jeanne

To Keep You inspired….. Club Fit Aquatics Director Patrick Montgomery

By Lisa Olney

Club Fit Aquatics Director Patrick Montgomery, a man of kaleidoscopic interests, has a simple, guiding philosophy that ensures his constant growth while steering him clear of the pitfalls of ennui. “Stay active, keep learning, and don’t sweat the small stuff.” As Patrick nears his 70th birthday in November, his life’s palette draws from vibrant art galleries and cultural centers, a not-for-profit organic farm, and the rebuilding of vintage motorcycles and cars. He is a drag racing aficionado, and most recently, Patrick has earned his place as a certified yoga instructor.

Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Patrick moved to Chicago one week after the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots to continue his post-secondary education at University of Chicago and the Chicago Art Institute. While in Ontario he lived in Toronto and Stratford, pursuing an art career in public museums and galleries. In the late 1970s his art career took him to New York City. Continually evolving and craving new experiences, in 1981 Patrick lived and worked on a not-for-profit organic farm on Cortez Island in British Columbia where he milked cows, cut hay, raised cattle, and pigs. “I often refer to it as a form of graduate school,” he laughs. After that experience he and his wife, Heather, moved to Vancouver where he returned to working in the arts in galleries, his own fine art services business, and as the Executive Director for the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

If you ask Patrick what brought them from British Columbia to his Duchess County home, he has one word: family. With two of their three daughters living in New York – and the other in New Orleans – the couple moved back, buying a house in Pleasant Valley. His first experience with Club Fit was on the maintenance crew taking down the bubble in the spring of 2012.   After working for Club Fit, his well-rounded resume, depth of managerial experience, and love of education and programming quickly earned him consideration in other areas of the Club, and in 2014 he became the Aquatics Director for Jefferson Valley. Patrick’s goals for the Aquatic Department are to continue providing high quality services in programming and safety education. “The single most important aspect of the positon is actively making hundreds if not thousands of people safe around water every year,” says Patrick. “In addition, we are introducing people of all ages to a lifetime of aquatics enjoyment that they can pass on to their families — making the world a better place one swimmer at a time!”

Throughout Patrick’s life health and wellness have always been a priority, and he dabbled throughout the years in yoga. At the age of 67, however, Patrick was inspired to take his yoga to the next level. “The week after my 67th birthday in 2014, I looked in the mirror, and realized that either I had to do something about my aging body, or prepare for a walker,” he laughed. To gain a deeper understanding into the yoga philosophy and practice, Patrick took the 200-hour teacher training course that Club Fit offers to current and future yoga instructors, as well as serious yoga students. At the time, he participated as a student of yoga, but after six months, Patrick found himself growing, once again, embracing a leadership role in yoga. Now, a certified yoga instructor, Patrick has been added to the Club Fit roster as a substitute yoga instructor and is excited to be working with Club Fit’s Group Fitness Manager to develop a yoga program focused on his peer group. “I hope to assist in prolonging an active and energetic lifestyle that is focused, flexible, and fit,” explains Patrick. Words to live by in everyone’s palette of lifetime experiences.

Club Fit Member Spotlight: Laura Bunt

August 21, 2017 by jeanne

To Keep You inspired….. Club Fit Member Katherine Stern

By Lisa Olney

Days before embarking on the July 9, 2016, 31-mile Manhattan Kayak Circumnavigation, known as “The Circ”, 67-year old Club Fit member Katherine Stern received a diagnosis that would send her into unchartered waters:  early-stage breast cancer.  No one would have faulted her for pulling out of The Circ, but for Katherine kayaking offered a spiritual solitude in which to think, to clear one’s mind, and to take charge.  And 31 miles cutting through the currents of the Hudson and East Rivers provided her with the best therapy for what lay ahead.

Two days after completing The Circ, Katherine had a lumpectomy. “I consider myself one of the lucky ones because of early detection,” Stern says.  When her oncologist explained the diagnosis, prognosis, and everything in between, Katherine interrupted, simply asking, “Is it going to kill me?”  “No,” was her doctor’s answer. “Then I don’t want to bother with details” Katherine replied.  “Just tell me when and where to go.”  Chemotherapy began in August – every three weeks in four-hour sessions through February 2017 – followed by a six-week daily course of radiation.

While Katherine was strong and fit heading into her treatment program, the chemo and radiation robbed her of her strength and vitality making her feel like a prisoner in her own body.  After each chemo treatment, she would have ten days of extreme sickness and fatigue that worsened over the course of her treatment.  “Within months, I was an old lady, and as the months went on, those 10 days got worse and worse,” Katherine remembers.  “Food was difficult, and I could only seem to handle white foods – things that I had never kept in my house before.” With no energy, Katherine gained 40 pounds and remembers it as being a very isolating time.

Her treatments ended in mid-April, and Katherine was ready to take back her body.  Her doctor recommended Club Fit’s Help RX program, a physician-referred exercise program designed to ease patients back into exercising. A discounted three-month membership program, Help RX features personalized attention from Fit Coaches in order to set goals and achieve lifestyle changes.  To ease her re-entry into an active lifestyle, Katherine traveled to a yoga and boot camp spa in Mexico. “I had no idea how young everyone was going to be there, but I thought I would just go for it,” she laughs.  “It was the start of taking control of my body.”   Upon returning home, she began her Club Fit Help RX program, with a dual goal in mind: to regain her strength and to complete the 2017 Circ on July 15.

At the gym five days a week, Katherine’s workout included strength training, treadmill, and a Pilates class.  A fitness level that was once in her wheelhouse, however, was now difficult to recall – especially in Pilates.  But with the help of Club Fit’s Fit Coaches, instructors, and her laser-like drive, she stuck with it.  Everyone she encountered at Club Fit made her feel like she could reach her goals. “Eric, one of my Fit Coaches, treated me as if I was a regular person, but 20 years younger,” she recalls.  “He was no-nonsense with a sense of humor and would always say, ‘You can do it!’  He sensed that this was really important to me, and once I was at Club Fit, I knew I could do it.“  After just a couple months, her fitness level soared.  She could not only handle the Pilates class, but her goal of the 2017 Circ, became a reality on July 15 as she lowered her kayak into waters of the Hudson under unusually ideal weather conditions.

Today, Katherine has lost 28 pounds, kayaks on the weekends, is at the gym four days a week, but most importantly, she is cancer free.  Strength training remains her favorite activity and she still catches up on CNN while on the treadmill.  “I feel strong again and that’s my way of being in control of my body.”  Katherine continued her Club Fit membership after the three-month prescription period due to the supportive atmosphere throughout the Club. “I would never have considered coming to Club Fit without the Rx program, and I probably would have gone back to my old club,” says Katherine.  “It would have been a totally different experience, because I would have had no motivation to work on the equipment.  But at Club Fit, I knew that working on the circuit would help me to regain my strength, and this was the key.”

Owner of Katherine Stern Design, Katherine is an interior designer and stager.  She also volunteers with the Northern Westchester Hospital Cancer Wellness Center in Mt. Kisco and is the driving force behind promoting a lesser known cancer therapy option called Cold Capping, a method that prevents hair loss by freezing hair follicles. If she could impart any wisdom to her friends and the Club Fit community it would be to get annual mammograms.  “You’ve got to get regular mammos,” says Katherine.  “There is no history of cancer of any kind in my family, but I’ve always been very good at getting regular mammograms.  And, then they found something.”

Thanks to early detection, Katherine is now spending her weekends kayaking around local lakes, rivers and the Eastern Seaboard.  If you’re out in the Hyde Park area along the Hudson this October and see any kayakers, give a wave, because there’s a good chance one of those kayakers just may be our own Katherine Stern.

To Keep You Inspired: Clifford the Big Brown Dog

May 26, 2017 by jeanne

Clifford the Big Brown Dog

{by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger}

Every year approximately 6.5 million companion animals arrive at community shelters across the nation — stray animals, surrendered animals, and animals rescued from cruelty (ASPCA, 2017). Last year, an older dog, a large pit bull mix, was abandoned at the Briarcliff SPCA with a broken kneecap — three strikes hard to overcome for any shelter dog: old age, severe injury, and being a member of the oft maligned and misunderstood pit bull group of dogs. This gentle giant weighed in at 85 pounds, and his size, calm demeanor, and loving personality quickly earned him the name of Clifford, after childhood favorite, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Supporting our members and community is an important thread in the social fabric of Club Fit — a thread that leads right next door to the SPCA of Westchester. In addition to Cat and Dog of the Month spotlights on the Club Fit Community Board, every month, the SPCA of Westchester hosts a table in the Club Fit lobby. The SPCA staff brings specially selected dogs sporting “Adopt Me” bandanas to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of pet adoption, its four-legged residents, and other programs. “We are so grateful to have such generous neighbors help us spread awareness about the importance and benefits of adoption,” says Lisa Bonanno-Spence, Director of Events and Communications at SPCA of Westchester. “I also hope it has been fun for the members to get a surprise greeting when they walk in to a cute dog!”

This past April, 8-year old Clifford earned his “Adopt Me” bandana as one of the dogs to greet members at the SPCA table at Club Fit Briarcliff. As fate would have it two Club Fit staff members and sisters, Cassie & Alexis Burke, connected immediately with Clifford and instantly texted their mom, Dawn Burke, to say they found her the perfect dog. Dawn recalls the rapid-fire texts inundating her phone: “Mom, they brought this dog into work, and you have to come see him — his name is Clifford.” Then, “Mom, you have to take him, he is your dog. He is so lazy, he’s calm, he’s…” Next came a picture of Clifford, gentle as could be, with a young Club Fit member. Dawn and her 18-year old son, Michael, agreed that it was time to get another dog.

With a recent move to a more secluded area, coupled with her kids’ ringing endorsement of Clifford, it seemed as though fate was dictating that the time was now, indeed, for another dog. Dawn visited the shelter on her day off to meet Clifford and was taken aback by Clifford’s strong 85-pound pit bulll frame. However, she quickly saw his easygoing and loving demeanor shining through. “When I first saw Clifford at the shelter, “I was like no way,” remembered Dawn. “But he came over and just wanted to lick everybody and play. He was a good boy.”

In just two months, Clifford has become an integral part of the Burke family, and Dawn can’t imagine being without her loving — not to mention fun-loving — four-legged friend. “He loves to ride in the car – if a dog could puff his chest out and smile, Clifford would,” says Dawn. “He just wants love. He’s such a mush and just wants to sit next to you, lay around, watch TV — he doesn’t care what you’re doing as long as he’s with you.”

Dawn feels Club Fit is offering the dogs a great opportunity and is raising awareness for pet adoption and the SPCA of Westchester. “Club Fit gives the SPCA the opportunity to bring these dogs over and show that they are good dogs that need loving homes,” she says. “Plus, I would have never found Clifford if they had not brought him to Club Fit.”

Clifford the Big Brown Dog — the loving, gentle, old dog with three strikes, finally hit a homerun with his new family thanks to fate, the Burke family, and Club Fit’s partnership with the SPCA of Westchester. But if you ask Dawn, she’ll readily say, “But we’re the lucky ones. We are lucky we found such a great dog.”

 

Reference:

ASPCA. (2017). Shelter intake & surrender. Retrieved on May 23, 2017 from https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender

To Keep You Inspired, Dr. Franklin Zimmerman

February 23, 2017 by admin

DrZimmerman

Club Fit celebrated American Heart month in February, helping members maintain their commitment to regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and a healthy heart. But if you ask cardiologist Dr. Franklin (Bud) Zimmerman, a Club Fit Briarcliff member affectionately known as Dr. Z., a healthy heart is a prize to celebrate and maintain all year long.

A graduate of the Brown University Medical School, Dr. Zimmerman is a Senior Attending Cardiologist and President of the medical staff at Phelps Memorial Hospital. He trained at Columbia University, St. Luke’s Hospital and has been a cardiologist at Phelps Memorial Hospital since 1989 alongside his partners at Phelps Medical Associates, Dr. Arthur Fass, Dr. Dina Katz (both Club Fit members), and Dr. Jay Doshi.

The field of cardiology has always excited Dr. Zimmerman, especially working with acutely ill patients and making them healthy again. As important and rewarding as that aspect of cardiology is, however, he has an equal passion for preventative care. “It’s very dramatic when you help a patient with a heart attack,” says Dr. Zimmerman, “but I’d much rather work to prevent the event than respond to an emergency”

Dr. Zimmerman’s commitment to preventative care and education has made a lasting\ impact in his field as well as his community. He is an assistant clinical professor at Columbia and created the Heart and Health Education Foundation with his partners. He is also the director of Phelps Memorial’s Center for Occupational Medicine and Public Safety Services (COMPASS), a center in development that is devoted to the health needs of first responders. Dr. Zimmerman shares his expertise directly with Club Fit on heart healthy initiatives such as training staff members to use automatic defibrillators, a move that has already saved lives at the gym. He consulted on the Health Rx program, a referral program for people beginning an exercise program, and he created the Club Fit Chief’s Challenge, an exercise challenge for policeman and firefighters. Preventing cardiovascular disease in police and fire department personnel is an important area of research for Dr. Zimmerman. “First responders have a risk of heart attack that is out of proportion to the general public, and this strikes close to home for me, because I come from a police family,” said Dr. Zimmerman, whose sister is the current Police Chief of San Diego. After sharing this concern with Club Fit president Bill Beck, the club began offering a half-price membership for active police officers and firefighters, and Dr. Zimmerman created the Chief’s Challenge to encourage first responders to keep their hearts healthy through exercise. Every year Dr. Zimmerman’s foundation awards $1,000 each to the local police and fire department with the most check-ins to the gym. Club Fit tallies the visits, and at year’s end reports the numbers to Dr. Zimmerman. The 2016 winners were the Yorktown Police Department and the Mohegan Lake Fire Department.

According to Dr. Zimmerman, the most overlooked preventative measure for heart disease is exercise, and he feels that “many people would rather take a pill than spend an hour at the gym.” He is always quick to share his favorite mantras with his patients such as “Exercise is medicine” or his wry “You only have to exercise … on the days that you eat.” In 25 years at Club Fit, Dr. Zimmerman says “the most gratifying thing about going to Club Fit is the number of my patients that I see there following my heart-healthy advice.”

Barring a medical emergency, Dr. Zimmerman works out at Club Fit four to five times a week during his lunch hour, focusing on cardiovascular exercise and weight training. He begins with a five-minute warmup on the treadmill, light stretching, and a half-mile run on the track – either an easy jog or more vigorous interval running. For weight training, he uses the Nautilus and Cybex machines along with free weights for his arms, varying his routine to devote certain days to different muscle groups. Cross training keeps his workout both physically challenging and mentally stimulating, and he feels that Club Fit offers a distinctive advantage in its variety of equipment. On the weekends, he includes some distance work on his home treadmill before going out to dinner with family and friends where he admits to “eating some things a cardiologist avoids during the week.”

Dr. Zimmerman and his wife of 37 years, Laurie, enjoy an active lifestyle, as do their children: Stacey, a devoted runner, and Rick, an avid cyclist. But something you might not know about the Cleveland native is his passion for baseball and the Cleveland Indians. A lifelong Indians fan, he attended his fifth Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp in January at the team’s spring training facility in Goodyear, AZ. A pitcher and infielder, Dr. Zimmerman modifies his Club Fit workout three months before camp to prepare himself for its physical demands and daily double-headers, drills, and practices. His managers this year were Mike Hargrove and pitcher Jaret Wright, who Hargrove started in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Dr. Zimmerman jokes, “Now, Hargrove’s managing me—how far he’s fallen.” Besides the joy of seeing his patients exercising and his love of Indians Fantasy Camp, what keeps Dr. Z. coming to the gym? “Exercise is fun—it makes you feel better and just keeps you healthy,” he says. “Plus, I want to get a few more miles on my fastball.”

To Keep You Inspired … Lizandra Vega

July 25, 2016 by karen

{by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger}

Lizandra with Tiana and Joe
To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Member Lizandra Vega with Tiana and Joe

In 2014, Club Fit Briarcliff member Lizandra Vega had a birthday epiphany, and it was time to reassess her lifestyle. On the surface, her life was in perfect balance; a proud wife and hands-on mother of two — personal life, check; a 20-year career as an executive recruiter in Manhattan’s luxury lifestyle market, a certified image consultant, and an author — professional life, check; meaningful work giving back to the community — volunteer life, check. What she realized with striking clarity, though, was that she had slowly ceased stepping out of her comfort zone, challenging her own personal growth — a trait that she instills in her clients. “I motivate people, that’s part of my job,” says Lizandra. “I like to be authentic, so I have always put myself in situations that may not be comfortable at first in order to see how I’ll thrive.” On her blog, The Career Confidante, at www.LizandraVega.com, she lists her 10 Commandments of Success. The second commandment is “Thou shall not nurture anything but a positive physical, mental, and emotional state of being.” It was time to get back to nurturing her own healthy lifestyle.

Lizandra looked to her bucket list and decided it was time to conquer her fear of swimming. Raised in the Bronx with no real exposure to the water, she developed a fear of swimming after trips to the beach and constant warnings of the danger of the water. But Lizandra refused to pass that fear on to her children, who are avid swimmers. “Outdoors was never my thing,” recalls Lizandra, “But I made it my thing.”

A Briarcliff resident for the last 19 years, Lizandra turned to Club Fit to start her journey. She chose to take private lessons with swim instructor Joe Cave, who had taught many adults to swim, and he proved to be a great match for her. Initially, Lizandra could only float — no propelling herself forward and definitely no putting her head in the water. Her biggest fear was not knowing how she would be able to breathe, and it was paralyzing.

The lessons started in September of 2014, and Lizandra remembers feeling comfortable with him immediately. “I instantly trusted Joe the minute I shook his hand,” she recalls. “He would say, ‘I’m not going to let you drown. You are not going to drown with me here.’” This declaration was cathartic for Lizandra, allowing her to let go of her fear and begin conquering it. Lizandra felt it would take a long time just to get her head in the water, but her first lesson was empowering. “I was already doing little strokes — not with my head completely in the water, but I made such progress in just one lesson,” she remembers. “It felt so good, and I knew that I was really going to learn this time.” Step by step, she did just that, and she’s been taking lessons with Joe ever since. Today, she swims laps, working on technique and endurance for every stroke.

Saturday mornings quickly became Lizandra’s “me-time” with swim lessons at 10am. She added a small group training class, Women on Weights, with Master Trainer Tiana Gonzalez. Lizandra connected at once with Tiana, and in January 2015, began personal training sessions with her. Tiana’s supportive and caring style has helped Lizandra achieve many fitness goals and given her the confidence to step outside of her fitness comfort zone and use all the fitness options at Club Fit.

From Joe’s patience and ability to empower, to Tiana’s empathy and motivational style, Lizandra credits them both with helping her regain a healthier and proactive lifestyle. “Because I work in recruiting, staffing, and hiring, I am very discerning about who I hire to teach me,” says Lizandra. “Joe and Tiana show such professionalism, and their communication goes beyond expectations.”

Next on Lizandra’s bucket list are singing and ice-skating. While her Club Fit bucket list includes yoga and tennis, it’s safe to say that any area of the Club that Lizandra has yet to explore has a spot on her list. “I really am a person that loves to continue to learn and challenge myself,” says Lizandra, “When I become a member of a place, I’m all in.”

Club Fit Walkers Take Manhattan!

May 28, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

 

It’s been an interesting road for this group of women — literally and figuratively!

Suzanne and Tess in Manhattan
Suzanne and Tess in Manhattan

Most goals, whether fitness-related or not, are met one step at a time. But Club Fit Briarcliff member Tess Cerra and her band of walkers have racked up MANY steps in reaching their goal: walking every street in Manhattan!

Sound like an insurmountable feat? It has taken this group of nine women, all members of the Chappaqua Neighbors Club, nearly three years to cover the approximately 1200-mile route, which they plan to complete in the next month. “We became more regimented as we went along,” says Tess. “Once we realized we could actually achieve our goal, we all became a little more obsessed with finishing!” One member is in charge of mapping out their routes, and distributes maps to each walker. Weather permitting, the group walks every Monday, and averages 6 miles per day.

But this isn’t their first project. And it is certainly not their last. The group first tackled the Old Croton Aqueduct route, which is approximately 37 miles long and ends in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. And after they tackle Manhattan, they plan to tackle the other boroughs of New York City, one by one.

Suzanne Keay, a member of the group who is also a member of Club Fit Briarcliff, says, “My endurance has definitely improved, and the mental boost we get from the camaraderie we have developed is priceless!” Tess adds, “Some walk a little harder than others, but we all have to keep up.”

One unexpected benefit the women have experienced is the fact that they have met many people along the way. Passers-by approach them to ask what they are doing, and some go out of their way to enlighten the women on interesting facts about their neighborhoods. “We’ve learned a lot!” says Tess. They have also have had a variety of culinary adventures, making sure a good lunch spot is part of the itinerary. Their favorite area? “The West Side was lovely,” says Tess. She says the most interesting road they traveled was a secret underground street in Chinatown that was once used by gangs.

When they’re not out walking, both Tess and Suzanne use various areas of Club Fit to work out. Both do The Circuit, with Tess favoring Aquatics and Tennis programming, and Suzanne using Group Fitness, the Hoist Roc-It circuit, and the Fitness Center. And as mentioned earlier, both are members of the 75-year-old Chappaqua Neighbors Club, of which the walking group is just one part. Tess heads up the organization’s cultural activities, and Suzanne is the club historian and works on the club’s newsletter.

How has the walking group added to their club experience? “I feel like I own Manhattan!” says Suzanne. The group has also gotten some press, with a profile in the Journal News and an appearance in USA Today, where they were pictured with well-known historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose publicist they came across on one of their walks.

It’s been an interesting road for this group of women — literally and figuratively! — but they haven’t reached the end of their journey! If you see Tess or Suzanne at the Club, congratulate them on their achievement, and be sure to find out where they are headed next!

 

What’s Happening at Club Fit- June 2014

June 20, 2014 by Liz

A Letter from Lynne:

June is a month for celebrations! Happy Father’s Day all to of our dads and grandfathers, and congratulations to all of our recent and upcoming graduates!

I’d also like to congratulate the winner of our recent “So You Think You Can Choreograph” competition, Carla Sams, and runners up Maureen Milazzo and Ellen DeGrazia! Each contestant choreographed a dance to their favorite song and presented it to our panel of judges. Carla’s routine will be used in an upcoming Dance*ol*ogy session. We also raised more than $3000 for the National Stroke Association. Congratulations to all!

As a give back to our membership, we would like to invite the first 40 members to sign up for an evening of Italian cooking! Come and taste the dishes prepared by Executive Chef Nazareno Daniele from Trattoria 632. Join us on June 11th for a four-course tasting in the Café, starting at 6pm. Reservations are necessary by emailing jgiannico@clubfit.com.

Join us at our opening Friday Lunchtime BBQ starting on June 13th, and every Friday through the summer (weather permitting). Enjoy either a burger or hot dog, chips and a bottle of water — all for $5! This month you can also cast your vote for your favorite Club Fit Smoothie, with the winning smoothie offered at a 20% discount during the month of July.

The beautiful weather is a great excuse to take advantage of our Hiking Club. Click here to get more information on the schedule and to read about our experienced hike leaders, Peter Meskin and Andrew Stein. The Hiking Club is open to both members and non-members, so bring a friend!

A big thank you goes out to our maintenance team, for a seamless and expedient “bubble down” process, yet again. As you know, we’ll be replacing the bubble with a new structure in the fall, and thought that in our efforts to “Go Green” these past few years, we would recycle the old material by cutting it into individual tarps and offering them to our members. We have 10′ x 10′ tarps available (size approximate) — if anyone is interested in taking some of the free tarps made from our old bubble please send an email to plestage@clubfit.com by Saturday, June 7th to arrange for pick up.

Parents, a reminder that Summer Camp begins June 30th, and registration is ongoing. I hope to see the whole family at the club!

Lynne Welling
General Manager
914.245.4040 ext.1183
lwelling@clubfit.com

Don’t be left out of the water this summer! We offer swim lessons for all ages and all levels. Click here to learn more about our Aquatics programs or to register online. For more info, call Aquatics Director Patrick Montgomery at ext. 1140 or email pmontgomery@clubfit.com.

Looking for a high intensity workout to improve your overall athleticism this summer? Look no further — Parisi is here to help with instructional classes on Mondays and Thursdays, and open times on Wednesdays. Call 914-245-6993 or email jwerther@clubfit.com for more info.



To Keep You Inspired . . . Club Fit Member and Cancer Warrior Diana 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.
Click here to read more…

“Today, two out of three cancer patients will become a survivor.”