Dryland & Kids Conditioning October 2017 Athletes

November 14, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month: Marina Wheeler
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Marina Wheeler
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Marina Wheeler

Marina showed up this session raring to go! As it is her first year in Dryland I was unfamiliar with her and her abilities. She quickly demonstrated her athleticism and desire to excel. Marina is a strong runner, eager to learn and dedicated to take new drills to their limit. She encourages her teammates and always is a pleasure to work with. Keep on rocking Marina!

 

 

 

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Madeline Wolin
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Madeline Wolin
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Madeline Wolin

This is Madeline’s first year in the Dryland program. She showed up on day one eager to start. Her enthusiasm and energy is apparent and she always is looking to improve at the drills given to her. Madeline works hard and seems to enjoy everything she does. She will ask how to perform better with something that might be new for her and always comes from a place of determination and desire to excel. She has made marked improvements in a short period of time and I’m thrilled to watch as she continues to blossom. Way to go Madeline!

 

 

 

Fitness Success Story: Patrick Doanne

June 28, 2017 by karen

Club Fit Member Patrick Doanne is pleased with the fitness success he achieved during Tiana’s Training Challenge

 

Master Trainer Tiana Gonzalez helped Club Fit Member Patrick Doanne achieve fitness success
Master Trainer Tiana Gonzalez and her happy client Patrick Doanne

Patrick wrote us to thank Tiana for the great results she helped him achieve during the 40-day Training Challenge: “After rehabbing my injured knee for the past 10 months this program provided me with a great bridge bringing me back to fitness. During the 40 days I achieved all of my goals including improved strength and conditioning. Through the increased activity and Tiana’s nutritional counseling, I also achieved a substantial weight loss. Tiana is an excellent coach that has a tremendous understanding of fitness and movement patterns. She was able to modify each exercise to make it both safe and effective for me. Thank you for everything, Patrick”

The goals of the Training Challenge include losing weight, improving stamina and strength, and becoming the strongest version of yourself.  Keep an eye out for future challenges!

Congratulations to Patrick on his hard work and success achieving his fitness goals!

Dryland & Kids Conditioning July 2017 Athletes

June 7, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear
Dryland Athlete of the Month: Victor Zhou

 

Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Victor Zhou
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Victor Zhou

Victor has been with the program for a few sessions now and always tries his best. His speed and agility have seen much improvement as well as his coordination and running. Victor should see continue to see improvement due to his dedication during our conditioning sessions. Keep up the good work, Victor! 

 

 

 

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Daniel Luan
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Daniel Luan
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Daniel Luan

Daniel’s competitive nature is apparent when we perform team drills & activities. Daniel is a quiet force of nature and also a heck of a soccer player. Though not always available for our training sessions, he has still improved in many areas. Great job, Daniel!

 

 

 

Parisi Athlete: Golfer & Athlete Malachy Reynolds

June 6, 2017 by karen

Parisi Speed School
Athlete Spotlight June 2017:
Golfer Malachy Reynolds

Parisi Athlete: Malachy Reynolds
Parisi Athlete and avid golfer Malachy Reynolds finessing his putting stance.

“I enjoy playing soccer, basketball and golf. Last September, I decided to attend Parisi Speed School to improve my speed and agility. Jen and Vince provided me with exercises every week to improve my athletic skills. I feel that I have become faster, stronger and lighter on my feet. Thank you so much to Jen and Vince for helping me to achieve my goal.” – Athlete Malachy Reynolds

“Malachy has been working with us for the past nine months and has made great strides in his training. He has greatly improved his quickness and agility in the short time he has spent with us. He consistently comes in with a positive attitude ready to work hard and tackle whatever workout is scheduled. He is proof that being a great athlete isn’t always measured by being the fastest or strongest in class but by your determination, attitude and leadership.”

The Parisi Speed School, a state-of-the-art speed and agility training program, has become an industry leader in youth performance. Club Fit Jefferson Valley is the only facility in Northern Westchester to offer the program.

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning June 2017 Athletes

May 23, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month: Richard Liu
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Richard Liu
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Richard Liu

Richard has been with the Dryland program for several sessions. He has shown that he will give 100% effort in whatever drill we are doing. When the weather is nice you will see him using the bounding rings, jumping rope or running hurdles out by the pool. Keep up the good work, Richard!

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: James Wang
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete James Wang
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete James Wang

James is a pleasure to have in the Dryland program! He has shown a great desire in excelling with all the drills given to him. James has a competitive spirit and strives to do his best. He loves to improve his racquetball skill, and his balance and core strength has improved. Way to go, James!

 

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning May 2017 Athletes

May 9, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month:  Owen Sibinga
Owen Sibinga
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Owen Sibinga

 

Not being a fan of running, Owen joined the Dryland program with some trepidation. We spoke about it and made some modifications, and he has made remarkable improvements. He always gives 100% and his coordination, strength and agility have all seen great improvement. Always entertaining us with a story or ancecdote, Owen has become a fundamental part of our Dryland group. Congrats, Owen!

 

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Carter Corbett
Carter Corbett
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Carter Corbett

 

Carter was new to the Dryland program last fall. He immediately showed us he was a force to be reckoned with. Carter’s high energy level was at times a challenge to harness, however, he showed what he was made of and has made remarkable strides. His natural athleticism helps in the agility drills as well as strength and balance drills. Great job, Carter!

 

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning April Athletes

April 1, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month: Brittany Corbett
lub Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Brittany Corbett
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Brittany Corbett

This is Brittany’s second year in the Dryland program. She has shown her athletic talents from day one. Her enthusiasm and energy is apparent and she always is looking to improve at the drills given to her. She excels at the speed and agility stations, and always seems to be enjoying everything she does. Brittany is always willing to lend a hand with the earlier class when a partner is needed. Thanks, Brittany, for setting the example!

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Kaitlyn Bennett
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Kaitlyn Bennett
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Kaitlyn Bennett

This is Kaitlyn’s first year working with the trainers. She began in September learning about flexibility, balance, accuracy and speed.  Kaitlyn continues to show her personal best each and every time she is at Dryland class.  She is a pleasure to work with and to see her improvement. Keep up the great work, Kaitlyn!

 

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning March Athletes

March 1, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear
Dryland Athlete of the Month: Patrick Fang
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Patrick Fang
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Patrick Fang

Patrick, who joined the program in the fall, has really shown his talents this season. He has improved in all training aspects excelling on the track as well as at the SAQ drills that the trainers give him. He always gives 100% effort, challenges himself on a daily basis, and encourages the other class participants to do the same. Congratulations, Patrick!!

 

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Xander Sohng
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Xander Sohng
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Xander Sohng

Xander was new to the program and has made marked improvements since beginning this fall. He is very focused and stays on all tasks given to him. His skills on the obstacle course have improved and he always gives his best. Xander is a pleasure to work with. The trainers commend his hard work and efforts. You go, Xander!

 

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning February Athletes

February 1, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month:  Allison Corbett
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Allison Corbett
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Allison Corbett

This is Allison’s second year with the Dryland program. Her running has improved immensely and she is always looking to improve her time. She continually strives to improve and get faster, yet keeps it fun. Allison consistently goes “all out” and puts her heart into everything we do in class. She is often asked to demonstrate skills for her classmates. Love to have you in class, Allison!

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Elizabeth Kracht
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Elizabeth Kracht
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Elizabeth Kracht

Elizabeth was new to the Dryland this past fall. From the first day she has demonstrated her enthusiasm and desire to learn new skills, and to better the skills that she already knows. Her running continues to improve as she challenges herself on a weekly basis. We are thrilled to have Elizabeth in class. Way to go, girl!

 

 

 

Dryland & Kids Conditioning January Athletes

January 1, 2017 by karen

Dryland & Kids Conditioning programs with Club Fit Master Trainer Beth Kear

 

Dryland Athlete of the Month:  Susannah Radick
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Susannah Radick
Club Fit Dryland Athlete of the Month Susannah Radick

Susannah has returned to the Dryland program this season and already has shown great desire in excelling with all of the drills given to her. She has a competitive spirit and strives to do her best. Susannah loves to improve her SAQ skills and her balance/core strength has improved greatly. Always ready to do the “Carlton” dance and lighten a difficult set, she is a pleasure to have in class. Way to go, girl!

 

 

 

Most Improved Dryland Athlete: Hunter Skodzinski
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Hunter Skodzinski
Most Improved Club Fit Dryland Athlete Hunter Skodzinski

Hunter has made a name for himself and I love to see what I can give him next. His running has greatly improved and he always gives 100% effort in whatever exercises he is performing. Hunter’s coordination, strength and agility have all seen great improvement. Keep up the great work Hunter!

 

 

 

Congrats to our Club Fit Flag Football Team!

September 21, 2016 by karen

Our winning Club Fit Flag Football Team
Our winning Club Fit Flag Football Team

We are very proud of our Club Fit Flag Football team. Staff, members, family and friends joined forces to participate in a local football league, winning the trophy after only three seasons.

Their success story…

We started out as a group of friends just playing a pick-up two-hand touch game of football on Christmas Day, 2015. A few days later, Personal Trainer Russ Schum suggested playing in a Holiday Flag Football Tournament coming up the next month. Excited and ready to get started, we began to recruit more employees from Club Fit, as well as family and friends. Eventually, we changed leagues, and joined the Tappan Zee Flag Football League (TZFFL), entering in the Spring B Division.

Under the name “Squadd” we started the 2015 season with a well-deserved 7-6 victory. Throughout the season, we took our fair share of bumps and bruises – we struggled at times, but finished our season with a 2-6 record. Despite the losses, we were determined to improve and push ahead.

With one season of experience under our belts and a crop of new players on our team, we began the second season filled with hope and an expectation of winning more games.  We won the first three of four games – and it was evident the changes we made were coming to fruition. Unfortunately our early success was short lived – we stumbled during the middle of our season, but managed to carry ourselves to the playoffs.  Although we felt confident in our abilities to win, we were outmatched and ultimately lost.

Our third season brought renewed vigor and determination, under our new name – the Westchester Spartans.  With the help of a few key players, we devised new strategies. We kicked off the season with an outstanding 19-0 victory. We went into our second game with renewed confidence, only to be quickly humbled by a 26-21 loss.  Nevertheless, we won the last 6 games of the regular season and entered the playoffs with seven wins and one loss – ready to tackle the championship game. We fought hard and won!

After two seasons of accomplishments, and a few setbacks, we finally came out as the success story we were hoping to become. Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of this journey for us was that we started out simply as colleagues from around Club Fit, and ended as close friends and champions.  Through the seasons, we got to know more about one another and learned how to play football successfully together as a team.  We may have lost a few people along the way, and added some new players, but we’re all dedicated and determined to play more football and play it well into the future, as a team.

Our Winning Team:

Club Fit Staff
Brandon Brailsford — Team Captain (BR Fitness)
Bobby Drinks (BR Energy Center)
Jordan Archible (BR Reception)
Russ Schum (BR Fitness)
Jesse Drinks (BR Energy Center)
Tyler Hamberg (BR Fitness)
Sam Lacour (BR Energy Center)
Tommy Weingart (BR Fitness)
James Johnson (BR Energy Center)
Joe Riley (JV Fitness)
Jason Fancie (BR Energy Center)
Tarik Stovall (BR Energy Center)

Club Fit Members
Matt Laccetti
Ryan Tompkins

Family and Friends
DeVonte’ Brailsford
Mike Olave
Alejandro Rodriguez
Ryan McNiff
Tyson Agler
Nick Miranda
Al Brailsford
Kevin Miranda
Chris Fucci

Fitness Success Story: Grace Qiu

May 5, 2016 by karen

Personal Trainer Dan Lo Cascio helped Club Fit member Grace Qiu achieve the weight loss she wanted, and more!

 

Grace showing some of the hard work that helped her achieve her weight loss goal
Grace showing some of the hard work that helped her achieve her weight-loss goal

“My name is Grace, I came to America in August of 2015. Because of the rich food here I gained nearly 20 pounds in four months. I struggled with the food every minute when I went to supermarket and dining out. The struggle with food took up a lot of my energy and I became depressed so I decided to go to the gym to lose weight and reshape my body. I met with Personal Trainer Dan Lo Cascio and told him my goals were: 1. lose 15 pounds, 2. reduce the fat around my waist, especially abdominal fat, and 3. build lean muscle, look fit and slim! Dan created the plan according to my goals and divided the whole workouts as piece by piece. I never felt bored and I was always challenged! We had a lot of fun every day and I looked forward to the training the next day! I was excited to come to Club Fit each day! Finally we achieved every goal! I didn’t believe we could achieve the goals because we only had one month. My weight went from 53.6kg to 46kg. I lost 17 pounds; two pounds over my goal! Dan did it! I followed his plan step by step. He is amazing; everyone said my body is fitter when I went back China! I am so luckily to meet Dan! Thank you very much Dan! I really recommend Dan. He made a boring hard workout become an enjoyable workout! And most important thing is it really works and helped me a lot… allowing me to build my confidence and get active again!!!!”

Congratulations to Grace on her hard work
and her commitment to health!

Fitness Success Story: Deborah & Joe Dwyer

April 4, 2016 by karen

Master Trainer Leslie Kesselman helped Club Fit member Deborah Dwyer and her son Joe achieve results.

 

Joe's before and after pics show visible results!
Joe’s before and after pics show visible results!

 

Leslie transformed my life and has given me the confidence, ability, and knowledge to resume exercising after being afraid due to my hip replacements and dislocations at such a young age. I have been to multiple trainers in the past, and none of them compares to Leslie: she really understands how the body works and is able to individualize to her client’s needs; For example, her exercises have strengthened the muscles around my hips to prevent dislocation, strengthened my core, and improved my balance. I was ready to give up exercising altogether until I met Leslie! I do not fear of dislocating anymore, and even my surgeon agrees my hips and gait are much stronger. While in graduate school, my son put on excess weight, but has spent the last nine months committed to Leslie’s routine and has lost the weight. Leslie made him feel comfortable and confident that he could do it, and he now looks like a different person. Leslie knew exactly what to do to help Joe. Not only does he look great on the outside, but he more importantly improved his inner physiological health. Leslie is the best! We both recommend her with the highest regard. Sincerely yours, Deborah Dwyer”

We love hearing from happy members who have achieved their goals and gotten results. Congratulations to Deborah & Joe on their hard work and their commitment to health!

 

 

Fitness Success Story: Mary Healy

January 22, 2016 by Liz

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 12.27.49 PM

Mary Healy joined Club Fit in February 2015 and began personal training with Master Trainer Beth Kear in March. Here is what she has to say about her fitness journey with Club Fit:

Most of my life I have been overweight. After much time and effort, at this point in my fitness journey, I have lost over 65lbs and I am now off Hypertension medications. My main interest in joining Club Fit was to use the pool for exercise post back surgery. Once I felt stronger I wanted to learn how to use the Fitness Center but was anxious regarding safety. Soon after, a club manager suggested working with a personal trainer to ease my way into a new fitness regime and help with my balance and strength weaknesses. Master Trainer Beth Kear stepped into my life and everything changed. She has shared her knowledge as tools to use everyday until they become part of you. My strength, balance, and endurance has all increased, but most of all — my confidence. This is my first experience joining a health club, it has been one of my best decisions I have made. It is true you never stop learning!

We are so happy for your success Mary, congratulations in your progress and your accomplishments!

Mary before and after
Mary’s fitness journey yielded amazing progress, as shown in these before and after photos.

 

Rosemary’s Fitness Success Story

December 10, 2015 by Liz

Rosemary-Burgos-Bennett-w
My name is Rose Burgos-Bennett, and I have been struggling with weight loss for most of my life. I am the type of person that loses interest quickly, and I have explored many different ways to lose weight. I have even taking my plans to the extreme. After I had my son, I was at my heaviest — 280 lbs! I tried various home programs to lose weight; the P.I.N.K method, Shaun T’s Insanity and T-25. From these programs, I lost approximately 45 to 50 lbs. I also tried Crossfit and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but due to a shoulder injury and then a neck injury, I had to stop. I was in physical therapy for almost 2 1/2 years, but my weight remained at 230 lbs. I needed to get into Physical Therapy, and this is when Club Fit came into my life. Once recovered, I wanted to try to get fit and healthy and continue my weight loss journey.

My husband and I decided to join the Summer Shape Up program with personal trainers Tiana Gonzalez and Nick Paganelli. Both my husband and I had completely different goals. Steven’s goal was to gain muscle mass and mine was to lose weight. I was hesitant at first to begin personal training but Tiana has been a class act! She has been extremely helpful, and worked with my abilities and pushed me to do more. She has been an incredible coach and cheerleader and has celebrated my success every step of the way. She was also attentive to form and intensity to ensure I never injured myself during the workouts. During the 8-week program I lost 17lbs! MYZONE has been an essential tool in the process. Tiana used it to monitor me during training and paced me accordingly. I love that it tells me how many calories burned during an activity and that it shows how much I am pushing myself during my workouts. I am always trying to get to the red…LOL. It has been excellent — and I love it.

My husband and I use our MYZONE belts even when we are not in the Club. We monitor each other when jogging/walking on the outside track. We go out there as a family and we try to engage both our kids in all we do. I know I am not at my goal weight yet, but I am going in the right direction. I am taking it a day at a time and celebrating my successes in my continual journey to lose weight.

Staying on track, out of town.

November 23, 2015 by Kendra

Kendra2Earlier this fall, I traveled out of town for a few days on a business trip. I was excited, but also worried about staying aligned with my diet and fitness goals on the road. In the past, I haven’t been great about navigating or recovering from interruptions to my usual routine. This time, I spent some time packing and planning in advance.

Here’s what I did:

I packed multiple changes of workout clothes, and an alarm clock, which allowed me to grab a fresh set of clothes whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes at the hotel gym.

I packed a ton of healthy snacks, and tracked my calorie intake using an iPhone app. (I use MyFitnessPal.) On a business trip, you eat out a lot, and it can be hard to “guesstimate” an accurate entry for meals. By having healthy snacks to munch on during the day, I was able to keep my take-out meals (and the guesswork) to a minimum.

I brought my new MyZone 3 belt to track my workouts. By using the smartphone app to view my heart rate zone during my workout, I was able to make the best use of my limited workout time, just like when I’m at the Club.

I carried a water bottle to refill between work sessions to stay hydrated. This helped keep food cravings to a minimum, and kept me feeling great while I spent most of my day sitting in a seminar.

Sounds perfect, right? I am the queen of planning! I am a superhero and none shall put my forward momentum asunder! Still, the best laid plans can go awry, and I did learn some very important lessons. Here’s what I also could have done to set myself up for success.

Brought a lightweight exercise or yoga mat for my hotel room. I was surprised to find that the hotel gym was even smaller than my super-tiny hotel room. There was one elliptical machine, one recumbent bike, one treadmill, one rack of free weights, and not much room to swing a sweat towel, or even do some simply bodyweight exercises. Having extra cushioning for the floor in my hotel room would have helped me use that space for stretching, yoga, or a little core work.

Packed a bigger variety of healthy snacks, and more than I thought I needed. I brought enough to sustain me during my time out of town, but by the end of the trip, what I missed was choices. On my last day, I just didn’t feel like peanut butter chocolate chip protein bars anymore. I’d rather carry home a few uneaten snacks, but have enjoyed my snacks along the way, than get sick and tired of some of my favorites.

Penciled in workouts on my calendar for the days AFTER I returned. Sometime after I returned home, I was shocked when I realized that three days had passed without exercising. Even though I had kept myself on track pretty well during my trip, somehow that attention just flew out the window when I got back! I should have written a workout into my calendar for the days following, to ensure that making time for exercise was an intentional part of resuming my normal schedule.

Any other tips, Club Fitters? What has worked for you?

superhero

Club Fit Instructor and accessories maven Barbara Aronowitz

September 24, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Instructor Barbara Aronowitz is co-owner of In2Style accessories, available in The Shop at Club Fit

Barbara-Aronowitz
Barbara Aronowitz in The Shop at Briarcliff, which carries In2Style accessories.

Many of us know and love Barbara Aronowitz for her heart-pumping Spin classes at Club Fit Briarcliff. But what many members DON’T know is just how long Barbara has been a part of the Club Fit family, and the roles she has played in the Club’s history!

Barbara, who now lives in White Plains, was a member at Club Fit Jefferson Valley when she joined the staff as a Group Exercise instructor in 1988. But it wasn’t about Spin back then. “We taught any and every Group Exercise class, Step… any new program that came along,” she says. In 1997 she moved to the Briarcliff club as Group Exercise Manager, and then became part of the club’s original Human Resources Team when it was established in 2001.

All the while, she continued to teach and eventually became a certified Spin instructor, which is her current role at the club these days, where she teaches four classes. Along the way, Barbara has become close with co-workers and club members alike, including Spin class participant Patti Loomis. Patti, who lives in Briarcliff Manor, has been a Club Fit Briarcliff member for 15 years, and loves it. “I take all of Barbara’s Spin classes, and also enjoy Pilates and Definitions.” The friendship between Patti and Barbara began about three years ago, and has now bloomed into a business partnership.

Patti, a former paralegal, was running a gift and accessories business from home, attending distributor shows at the Javits Center in Manhattan and visiting New York City showrooms and selling through local shops. Barbara started tagging along to these shows and one day, about six months ago, the light bulb went on: “Why don’t we go into business together?” And In2Style was born.

Today, Barbara and Patti are selling their wares at The Shop at Club Fit, where shop manager Lauren is helping move their merchandise along. “We love to get feedback, so we hope that shoppers let Lauren know what items they’d like to see offered,” says Patti. “We’re out all the time looking for the latest, newest trends in accessories.” Barbara and Patti also pride themselves on offering multiple price points. “We have things for everyone’s budget!” Keep that in mind when holiday shopping time comes around!

Interestingly enough, this new venture brings things full circle for Barbara, who has a degree in Fashion Merchandising! She says has loved being with Club Fit for these past 27 years, especially because of the flexibility she has had to grow within the club, as well as outside the club. “I feel like I have a special relationship with Club Fit,” she says. “It’s just a great place!”

To get in touch with Barbara and Patti about their venture, or to offer suggestions on what you’d like to see in The Shop, you can email in2stylebp@gmail.com. They’d love to hear from you! Or just tap Barbara on the shoulder after Spin class, she’s always ready to talk shop!

Recommitting to Fitness Goals

August 21, 2015 by Kendra

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.

superhero

 

Getting back on the Superhero track

July 31, 2015 by Kendra

KendraheadshotHi, Club Fit friends! I’ve missed you!

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action for a while. Around 10 months ago, I was celebrating a huge milestone accomplishment of losing fifty pounds since the beginning of my fitness journey. (Somehow, that feels like yesterday.) I was elated, re-energized, and couldn’t wait to lose fifty more. But then, as it sometimes does, life took another turn.

Thankfully, my own health continues to be stable, and I am still cancer-free. But shortly after my last post, I suffered the loss of two close family members. In the months that followed, I struggled to balance my time between work and family obligations, and taking care of myself and my health and fitness was the furthest thing from my mind. I was in “helper mode”, and anything and everything I could do to help others in my family, others at work, was my first instinct when it came to managing my time. I actually felt guilty about spending my own time and energy on myself.

Thankfully, my body woke me up. The lower back pain I experienced when I was out of shape returned, and I felt tired all the time, but didn’t sleep well at night. A handful of pounds had creeped back on, and I knew that I needed to make time for my fitness again. I’ve also learned some really valuable lessons about balancing my time and energy, and making sure to include myself in the mix.

Super-optimists will tell you “each day has the same number of hours”, but the truth is that some are much, much longer than others. Some days, there genuinely isn’t any time. What is true is that each day is a new day, and any small thing you have time to do for your health and your body is never wasted, and never “not worth doing.” There is no need to wait for a day that you can dedicate two hours at the gym to “make up for lost time.” Putting in a very small amount of effort can lead to putting in more another day, and, at the very least, it will remind you that you are deserving of your own time and energy.

I will still drop everything to be there for my family when they need me, but I have learned that it’s important to remember to do the same for myself. My first day back at the gym this morning felt amazing, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning as well. After all, I’m a superhero on a mission…

superhero

Stroke Awareness and Recovery

July 28, 2015 by Joy Cain

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Joy Cain

Club Fit’s Syd Berman shares her experience to promote stroke awareness.

Syd Berman promotes stroke awareness.
Syd having fun with friends from the Club Fit “Dance ‘N’ Funk” crew.

The morning of June 6, 2012 was like any other beautiful spring morning at Club Fit. Swim classes were going on in the program pool, treadmills and stair climbers were being used in the fitness area, and up in Studio I, Syd Berman was leading her Dance ‘n’ Funk class, just as she had done hundreds of times before. But about 15 minutes into this particular class, things went awry. And Syd Berman’s life was changed forever.

“I didn’t feel anything,” Syd responds when asked if she felt pain. “I was just teaching a dance, and I thought, ‘Wait a minute. I’m an instructor, and it’s almost like I’m stumbling.’ Then I said something over the microphone and two of my students recognized what was going on and stopped the class.”

What was going on was that Syd was having a stroke. The alert students who saw Syd’s unusual stance and heard her slurred speech reacted immediately. They notified the front desk, and 911 was called. Syd was whisked off by ambulance to Hudson Valley Hospital. A day later, she was transferred down to Columbia Presbyterian, where she remained in the ICU for a few days. When doctors determined that she wasn’t in imminent danger of having another stroke, Syd was transferred to Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains for what turned into a six-week stay.

For those in the Club Fit family, the overwhelming sentiment surrounding the entire episode was one of shock and incredulity. This wasn’t some weekend warrior, some wannabe jock who suffered the stroke — this was SYD! Syd… who had begun working here when the facility was known as the Jefferson Valley Racquet Club. Syd… who, since 1993, had been the Club’s dance coordinator and was later put in charge of all the group exercise programs. Syd… who ate all the right foods and slept the right number of hours and who, at the age of 59, was in better physical shape than most women half her age. The stroke had happened to Syd! And the underlying thought was this: If a stroke can happen to someone like Syd, what chance do the rest of us have?

“I had none of the precursors,” Syd says. “I’m just happy I was here when it happened because our emergency response was excellent.” What Syd had was an ischemic stroke, which means that a blood clot interfered with the flow of blood to her brain. Doctors told her that the clot probably formed after she made a sudden movement with her head. “When I do the warm up, I get very high energy, so I might have just twisted too hard or something,” she says. “My doctor told me that was it. I said, ‘Well why hasn’t Beyonce stroked out ?’ and he said it’s just the luck of the draw. My GP told me that sh*t happens — so I said, ‘Thanks a lot — that really helps me out.’ But you know what? I’m still here and I feel very lucky because everyone has a story. Everybody has a tragedy in their life and I’m lucky I survived, because stroke is the No 4 killer in the country.”

Syd is speaking from the bridge area overlooking the pool at Jefferson Valley, waiting for a chair yoga class to begin. She has gained weight in the three years since her stroke, which is to be expected given that she is so much less mobile than she used to be. She needs a cane to get around, and her left arm is virtually useless. But her speech is back to normal and the smile on her face is real. She’s wearing a black Club Fit shirt with the words Live, Laugh, Love on it, and around her neck is a rhinestone turtle, a gift someone sent to her when she was rehabbing at Burke. The turtle is her reminder that recovery from stroke is a slow process — but the idea is to keep moving forward.

When she arrived at Burke, Syd had absolutely no movement in her left arm or her left toes, and her left leg felt like it was in a bucket of cement. The left side of her face drooped slightly. She was riding on an emotional roller coaster, going from a place of initially joking about her predicament in the hospital (“little did I realize the joke was on me,”) to a place of feeling no emotions at all. It wasn’t until some instructors from Club Fit sent 100 red roses to her room at Burke that Syd finally broke down and cried.

She knew that she would do whatever she could to restore her health.“Any testing they had at Burke, I volunteered for it,” she says. “Electrical stimuli (I felt like Frankenstein), a low carb diet that was supposed to help the brain — I was game to try anything I could.“ She went to physical therapy three times a week and eventually made such amazing progress that, in 2014, she was asked to return to Burke to share her story at a clinical conference.

Which brings us to today.

“I’m good. It’s a struggle everyday to live with a disability — boy, do I have appreciation now for people that have disabilities! — but I get along. I still have a good arm, a good leg, and my husband (Howie) is so good at taking care of me!

“I can do pretty much everything myself — except I can’t cook on the stove because that’s dangerous. I’m left-handed, so I try to write, but I can’t write too well — I sort of scribble with my right hand.

“I feel very lucky. I get to take care of my grandkids, I see my friends, I get out and about. I joined a singing group — we’recalled the Sweet Seasons — and we have such a good time! Everything I read says that the more you do for your brain, even without a stroke, the better it is for you.”With that in mind, Syd tries to keep mentally busy. One of her goals is to learn Spanish. Also, Syd recently took the written test to recertify herself as a group instructor; perhaps one day she’ll be able to lead a fitness class for those with special needs.

Still, she fatigues easily. An occupational therapist regularly visits Syd at home, and, among other things, makes Syd get down on her hands and knees to try and do push ups. That, along with trying to lift her left arm by itself, are two of her most challenging physical tasks. Although doctors have told her that her disabilities are permanent, Syd refuses to accept that. “I’m not gonna stop working,” she says. “I’m never gonna give up hope.”

Life has a way of teaching us everything we need to know. Prior to the stroke, Syd says that she was super critical of her looks. “I was very self conscious and didn’t think I was good enough. Now, of course, I look at pictures and say, wow, I was pretty good,” she says. The lesson here? “Appreciate your body — no matter how big it is, how thin it is. Embrace yourself — don’t let society tell you that you have to be perfect. Embrace yourself and just make the best out of it.

“A lot of people just don’t want to go out when they’re like this [with physical challenges] — but you know what? I’m here and I’m gonna live my life the best I can.”

She’s also doing what she can to make a difference. Syd’s proud of the fact that Club Fit partnered with her to raise funds for the National Stroke Association (NSA). Among other things, the NSA seeks to educate people about strokes, help stroke victims receive extended therapy, and advise hospitals on how to become better equipped to deal with stroke victims. In May, this Club Fit fundraiser was held in conjunction with the So You Think You Can Choreograph contest and raised over $4,000 for the NSA. Last year’s fundraiser raised over $3,500.

Syd is also proud of the fact that so many of the women she taught in Dance ‘N’ Funk contributed in some way to the fundraiser, and that they are still there for her — and for each other. Says Syd: “The dance girls are unbelievable. It makes me so happy to see them bonding and being friends.”

More than 30 years have passed since Syd Berman and Club Fit first crossed paths, a path that has seen its share of twists and turns. And as Syd looks back over what’s transpired these last three years, some more of life’s lessons are revealed.

“Family is more important than anything — and keeping your spirits up, no matter what happens, is important.,” Syd says. “I’ve discovered that I have so many wonderful friends at the club, it’s like my second home. And I also discovered that I am strong. I used to wonder what would I do if something happened [to me],