Club Fit Member Spotlight: Richard Senato

November 26, 2018 by jeanne

The Season of Giving

By Jeremy Brown

Love Holds Life’s annual toy drive will bring holiday joy and happiness to the families who need it the most.

In 2012, Richard Senato, then a volunteer with the Red Cross, was approached by a friend with the prospect of starting a foundation. A young boy, Michael Montana, was battling leukemia at just 11 and the family was struggling financially. The proposed foundation would help raise money to fund Michael’s treatments.

“I agreed to do it,” Senato recalled, “and that’s how Love Holds Life was formed.”

Through fundraisers, motorcycle rides, golf outings charitable donations and toy drives, Love Holds Life helped raise more than $70,000 for the Montana family and has gone on to help families throughout the region at an average of $25,000 per child.”

“Our mission is to financially assist families whose children are battling cancer,” said Senato. “We want to help to relieve the financial pressure that they’re facing.”

Senato feels that Love Holds Life stands apart from other organizations due to the immediacy of the work that they perform.

“We have a powerful message and mission,” he said. “We do something that most people don’t do, which is take care of people who are battling cancer now. I’m looking to help those that are sick right now – whether it be your brother, your sister, your father or your mother.

As the holiday season approaches, Senato is looking ahead to Love Holds Life’s annual Toy Drive, which will be held on Saturday, December 15th at Lewis Tompkins Hose Company #1 in Beacon, New York. The event, which is officially titled “Cookies & Cocoa with Santa” will feature holiday treats, an array of superheroes and princesses to meet, and plenty of photo ops with Santa himself.

The drive is held each year in memory of Leticia Dos Santos, the eighth child to be sponsored by Love Holds Life, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 15. “She and I started these toy drives about five years ago,” Senato said.

Recently, Senato, in need of a little extra help, has been reaching out to Club Fit for their involvement. A long time member of the Briarcliff location, Senato said that Club Fit’s charitable and family-driven approach make them the perfect ally for Love Holds Life.

“I think they’re great,” he said. “They’re family-run and family-oriented, and they’ve got great staff members who are always smiling and happy and there to help you. I think everything that they stand for is great.”

For Club Fit members and families who are looking to help out with the toy drive, Senato said that boxes will be available at the Briarcliff location. People who wish to donate have until December 7th to bring new and unwrapped gifts ranging from board games to stuffed animals, books, sports equipment and Legos. Senato says that, however little or much each family wants to give, he can guarantee that it will be worth it.

“The kids get so happy and the parents are so grateful,” he said. “It brings people together. And the holidays aren’t just about presents, it’s about coming together. It’s about being happy and joyful. What could be better than that?”

Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Matt Macias

November 19, 2018 by jeanne

Marathon Man

By Jeremy Brown

Matt Macias’s run at the New York City Marathon turned tragic circumstances into a day of triumph.

It seems that Matt Macias is always running. Between teaching full-time in the South Bronx and working at Club Fit’s Energy Center, he’s perennially on the move. But recently, Macias was running not because he had to, but because he needed to.

Last month, Macias participated in the New York City Marathon, running to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. It was an emotional and challenging run, particularly because the cause is one that is very close to his heart.

“My grandmother was very sick with Alzheimer’s and dementia,” he said. “I was feeling kind of useless in a way. Like there wasn’t anything that I could do. So I decided to try and run and raise money for the cause.”

Macias said that he was inspired to take on the marathon by Chris Becker, another Club Fit employee. Two years ago, Becker ran the Chicago Marathon, raising more than $2,000 for breast cancer research in the process.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Macias said. “So I knew that, if he could do it, I had to one-up him!”

Macias had run a number of half marathons but had yet to actually run a full marathon. The closest he had come was a race in San Diego, but an injury had forced him to walk the course instead. In addition, his training was made more difficult by the fact that his grandmother had passed away.

“Everything was just so tense,” he recalled of that time. “The stress was getting to me physically. I know running probably would have been better for me, but I just couldn’t.”

Luckily, Macias said, he had a built-in support system at Club Fit, with many of his co-workers stepping in to help him out when things became too trying.

“Chris Becker was always there, Angelina Curcio always had my back, Kristen Saffo was also there for me,” he said. “All those people helped me every step of the way. I’m starting to realize that all my friends work at Club Fit!”

On the day of the marathon, the unthinkable almost happened when Macias awoke with a fever of 101 degrees. Determined to compete in spite of his illness, he hauled himself out of bed and hit the pavement. However, about halfway through the race, the fever began to catch up with him, and Macias began having second, and maybe even third, thoughts.

“I actually thought about quitting and started texting people saying, ‘I shouldn’t have done this, I’m too sick to run,'” he said. “But, in my armband, I had my grandmother’s prayer card. So I just took it out and ran with it in my hands the rest of the way. That’s when I knew that I was going to finish.”

Having crossed the finish line and raising more than $4,000 for Alzheimer’s research, Macias said that the whole experience was overwhelming.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Especially all the support I received from everyone. And not just the friends and family who came to watch, but all the people who were tracking me at home and everyone who helped me raise money for this great cause. And being able to run through the streets of New York City was just insane. There’s nothing quite like it.”

Next up, Macias and Becker plan to run a marathon at Disney World in Orlando, with a course that will take them through all five parks in one day.

“I haven’t started preparing for that one yet,” he said. “I’m giving myself time to recover from the last one. But the physical part isn’t as challenging as the mental part. Once you get to mile 18 and you say to yourself, ‘I still have six more to go!’, that’s when you start questioning what you’re doing.’ But the more you work at it, the easier it gets. Practice makes perfect.”

Club Fit Member Spotlight: Loretta Whipple

August 30, 2018 by jeanne

Still Going Strong

By Jeremy Brown


Loretta Whipple has been a member at Club Fit for four decades, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

During the 1970s, while attending graduate school at West Conn, Loretta Whipple struck up a conversation with her professor about their extracurricular activities. The professor told her he was a member of Club Fit in Jefferson Valley and waxed rhapsodic about racquetball. Whipple was immediately intrigued. “I investigated it,” she said, “and joined up with a group of ladies who played racquetball there, loved it, and stayed with it for many years.”

Whipple started playing racquetball at Club Fit back in the days when there were still eight courts available and she and her husband quickly became very involved in the sport. “We soon got wrapped up in racquetball and played frequently,” said Whipple.

An active traveler and adventurer who has visited all 50 states, Whipple came to Yorktown from the small farming town of Peabody, Kansas. “I was a farm girl,” she recalled. “After school, I went home and gathered eggs, fed the chickens, milked the cows, all those sorts of things.” When she arrived in Yorktown and began teaching 5th grade at Crompond School. Whipple made sure to bring a little bit of her hometown with her. “Kansas’s birthday was always a special day in the class,” she said. “And for a number of years, I actually made a sheet cake in the shape of Kansas and decorated it with products or towns related to the state. It was always a special day!”

Whipple’s impact as a teacher was strong enough that remains in touch with three of her students who had her as a teacher back in 1966. “That was 52 years ago and today they’re getting ready to retire! As a teacher, that’s one thing that’s a lot of fun, to see students that I’ve had through the years come over and say, ‘Do you remember me, Mrs. Whipple?’ It’s nice that they acknowledge some of the things that we have interesting conversations about their lives today.

Although she retired in 2000 after nearly 40 years on the job, Whipple continued her adventurous ways. That same year, she and her husband, Fred, made the journey all the way to Churchill, Manitoba to view polar bears in their natural habitat. “We took a lot of pictures of the polar bears on the tundra,” she recalled. “And then I came back and went to different classes and made presentations with the pictures that we’d taken. It was a lot of fun!”

Today, Whipple remains as active as ever. She and her husband visit Club Fit three times a week, and more in the winter months. “We love the variety of programs,” she said. “They have the swimming pool, they have racquetball, they have tennis. They have so many different types of classes, from spinning to yoga and many others. Club Fit is a family-oriented club, but they also have programs for seniors and programs for teenagers. They appeal to a wide variety of people and it’s very exciting to be a part of that.”

During their visits to the gym, Whipple’s husband tends to work out in the aquatics center, while she herself takes classes or works with a personal trainer. “It’s just something that’s a part of our life,” she said. “It’s never a case of our feeling lethargic or saying, ‘We’re too tired to go today.’ Having the space in our day to go to the gym is just something that’s always there and we do it often!”

This sense of staying healthy and active is something that’s important to Whipple and something that she hopes other people take seriously. “There are a lot of people that don’t feel like they have the time to develop an interest in going to the gym,” she said. “Age is a factor that diminishes your agility, your flexibility, your balance. So when you’re participating in activities and having the help of the personal trainers, exercise really makes a difference in people’s lives. It keeps you healthy mentally as well as physically. I think it’s important, that’s the bottom line!”

Trainer of the Month Tiana Gonzalez

May 29, 2018 by karen

June 2018 Club Fit Briarcliff Trainer of the Month Tiana Gonzalez

Tiana will be giving a free-to-member lecture in our Conference Room on Wednesday, June 13th at 7:30 pm and Friday June 22nd at 11:30 am
Subject: How To Set Goals

Club Fit Master Trainer Tiana Gonzalez
Club Fit Master Trainer Tiana Gonzalez

Hi my name is Tiana Gonzalez. I am a Master Trainer at the club with a background in movement, bodybuilding, strength training and nutrition. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering that I don’t use as often as I did when I worked in Corporate America for 13 years, before I decided to pursue my passion. I love to help people and have experienced the utmost joy in coaching people on how to identify goals, put a plan together and then empower those same individuals to execute their plans. There are no two people that are the same in this world, so being versatile and open-minded has helped me to become a better trainer. I believe that honesty and personal accountability should be at the foundation of anyone’s plan. When clients learn how to take ownership of their fitness plans, their workouts, their nutrition, and the other 23 hours of the day when I’m not standing in front of them, that’s when the wheels really start to roll and things pick up momentum. So often, I encounter people that truly do not know where to start and I absolutely love helping them put the right pieces in place to start moving forward. From getting stronger, to trail-run events, to bodybuilding shows and beauty pageants, whatever your goals are, you need to have a plan in place and you need to be committed to that plan. It’s not as daunting of a task as one would think and I am happy to help!

Oftentimes, people get overwhelmed thinking about what they really want for themselves. The secret to accomplishing any goal is to first establish what it is a person truly wants, then break it up into smaller steps. Once you do that, you work backwards to create a schedule that is effective, manageable and has check points along the way. There are plenty of mobile apps and websites that are designed to help you stay on track. I will be discussing a basic overview on how to set goals and I will go over a few popular applications. I’m hopeful that this short lecture will help you feel better equipped to reach for your goals.

To Keep You Inspired … Our Club Fit Members!

August 30, 2016 by karen

For our members and for us, fitness is a way of life.
For our members and for us, fitness is a way of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our members inspire us every day. YOU are why we do what we do. Listen to what some Club Fit members had to say during last month’s Member Appreciation Weeks.

Tess Cerra
“Shortly after joining Club Fit 3 years ago, my husband suddenly passed away. Thanks to all of the club activities, and the friendship of the members, I was able to get through that difficult time. Club Fit was a wonderful lifesaver for me. I will be forever grateful!

Beth Klewan
Club Fit is more than a health club to me. It’s a place that enhances my life. I have made friendships and have improved my health. I feel that Club Fit is a place to enhance your physical and emotional health. I feel like the people that work here are my family and my friends. Thank you for being my health club. Everyone at Club Fit seems to be concerned about myself and all members.

Ophelia Hill
Club Fit is an environment which houses a group of multi-ethnic, highly professional individuals focused on giving us a program of healthy, varied, motivating exercises for all. Special events and other surprises keep things exciting and inspire us.

Deb Ross
Club Fit motivates me to stay young, stay fit and to keep going for my kids. Once day, when they are strong athletes I can keep up with them and not be old!

Usha Ragheran
Hmmm…where do I begin? Many Group Fitness classes, like Zumba (with awesome instructors) Danceology (unique to Club Fit) and Barre! The M.E.L.T. class and Definitions class are amazing. And…drum roll…the incredible socialization and sense of community we bet. Some of my best friends are my “exercise mates”. I love the Energy Center — very reasonable and wow…lots of toys!

Sandy Olsen
Club Fit motivates me to be as fit as I can get. I became a member with my daughter who was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis her freshman year in college. The water classes were suggested for her joints and it helped greatly. That was over 15 years ago and I’ve met wonderful friends here. Love it!

Theresa Prestopino
This last year, I lost 13 pounds. My best friend encouraged me to get strong and gave me her guest pass to go to Sunday’s Definitions class with Shelby. The class includes a lot of equipment for an hour — it absolutely challenged me. It also made me realize I needed to take back my health. It is never too late to make time for happiness.

Andrea Sonenberg
Going to Club Fit and working out gave me emotional strength during a very difficult time in my life. I’ve been able to keep healthy and physical as well. It’s been a life-saver (and a life investment) for more than 25 years!

Michael Carozza
Club Fit is a great club. I Have been a member for the past 18 years. Always upgrading equipment… What keeps me motivated is that I will be 69 years old and don’t take any medication. Doctor tells me it’s all because of my exercise routine!

Elizabeth Plager
I like that there is something for the whole family to do at Club Fit!

Catherine Zsiday
Club Fit has helped me maintain my weight loss for the past 9 years. Your staff is an awesome group of people. Keep up the good work!

Brian Lett
I enjoy the variety of equipment and classes that allow me to achieve a well-balanced level of fitness.

Paul Pecoraro
Was a Club Fit member years ago, and now I am motivated to get back in excellent condition.

Janet Lyman
Group Fitness classes motivate me! Cycle, 20/20/20 and BODYPUMP. Love seeing my successes through MYZONE!

Janet Tinari
The Chair Yoga class is great. Instructor, Lucy, is so good. She motivates me to get here!

Karen Lett
Club Fit has healed me and keeps me healthy… physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. It is truly my second home. I love the classes, the instructors and the racquetball opportunities! I love that I can take the Yoga Teacher Training at Club Fit!

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Instructor Lisa Coffman

April 22, 2016 by karen

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

Lisa Coffman and her family
Club Fit instructor Lisa Coffman and her family of four.

For the last twenty years, Mahopac resident Lisa Coffman has helped the greater Club Fit community to reach their goals and overcome life’s challenges both in and out of the water. An aquatic exercise instructor, swim instructor and one of the assistant coaches for Club Fit’s swim team, Lisa has helped many members to strike back against potentially sidelining injuries and arthritis through aquatic exercise classes like H20 Waterwalking and Cardio Splash. She has helped members of all ages master the life skill of swimming both recreationally and competitively. Perhaps most impactful, she has also helped members overcome their fears of the water and learn to swim.

Lisa’s passion and loyalty to the Club Fit aquatics program has been a steadfast anchor over the years. These same qualities have also colored the pages of Lisa’s life from her childhood in the Dakotas and Minnesota to her career as a standout collegiate swimmer at Division III Cornell of Iowa where she swam the 50 meter butterfly at the NCAA Championships and then as a walk-on member of the Division I University of Minnesota Golden Gophers team. While in college she had her first taste of teaching people to swim, a feeling of reward and purpose that remains with her today. “One of the most rewarding aspects of what I do,” says Lisa, “is when I’m teaching somebody, and it just clicks.” Whether it’s in a class, in a swim lesson or on the swim team, Lisa has made a real difference to countless members of Club Fit.

Lisa brings this same passion and loyalty to her volunteer work as a member of the Yorktown Heights chapter of P.E.O. Founded in 1869, P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization. An international organization, P.E.O. has over 6,000 chapters in the U.S. and Canada and over 250,000 members. P.E.O. strives to increase women’s opportunities for higher education through scholarships, low-interest loans, grants, emergency funds and the Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. In addition to supporting P.E.O. programs, the Yorktown Heights chapter donates funds to local organizations Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Friends of Karen, and Hope’s Door. They also sponsor local women for P.E.O. assistance and programs. To learn more about P.E.O. and the Yorktown Heights chapter visit www.peointernational.org.

Lisa has always led a busy life working at Club Fit, volunteering with P.E.O., and raising her family. She and her husband Paul have two children Paul, 28, and Stephanie, 25 — who works full time at Club Fit Jefferson Valley as the WSI coordinator, a swim instructor, and a swim coach. While Lisa has a full schedule, her goal is to log at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Sometimes she’ll work out before her classes in the women’s section or on cardio in the fitness center. Some days it’s lap swimming, and some days it’s just walking outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. Lisa feels daily exercise in any form is important to keep physically and mentally healthy. “Get thirty minutes of something in every day,” says Lisa. “Whether it’s cardio, weights, or swimming, just do something.” From Nike’s “Just Do It” to the NFL’s “Play 60”, Lisa’s E-30 philosophy is something we can all strive to incorporate into our lifestyle.

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo

April 22, 2016 by karen

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo
Club Fit Instructor Harriette DeCarlo

At 85 years young, Club Fit aquatic exercise instructor Harriette DeCarlo is an energetic powerhouse whose confident, welcoming handshake is indicative of the joie de vivre in which she lives her life. Always moving, always educating, Harriette leads those around her to a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy lifestyle.

A swimmer in high school, Harriette has always been an athlete — an avid runner, rower, and follower of Tai Chi, which she practiced at the Chuang Yen Monastery, a Buddhist monastery on 225 acres in Carmel, NY. But it wasn’t until joining Club Fit 30 years ago, that exercise truly became a part of her daily routine. Recognizing Harriette’s passion and knowledge of aquatic exercise and Tai Chi, Club Fit hired her two years later as an aquatics instructor, and she helped the club launch its first aquatic Tai Chi class in the 1990s. Since then Harriette has been enlightening members at Club Fit to the strengthening and restorative power of mind-body fitness in the water. Currently, Harriette teaches “Mind/Body Aquatics” on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 am. The class — a blend of yoga, Pilates, balance, and tai chi — is a full body workout integrating breathing, core strengthening, balance and relaxation.

So, how does Club Fit’s version of the Energizer Bunny keep going? “I can’t imagine a week without exercise,” says Harriette. “The Club is so much a part of my life that I don’t feel good if I’m not here.” Her routine at the club anchors her day, and she works out three to four days a week. On Tuesdays before her 10:00 am Mind/Body Aquatics class, she arrives at the gym around 7:00 am, and does her normal workout of cardio, weights, and stretching. Then she goes to the Café to meet with her longtime breakfast group of almost 20 years. Next, she heads to the Aquatic Center for her class, and then it’s back to the café to meet her lunch group, which has been meeting since she started teaching in 1988. Yes, her lunch group is 28 years old and an amazing testament to the friendships formed over the common bond of exercise, camaraderie and healthy lifestyles.

“I don’t think there’s a club in Westchester that compares to this,” says Harriette, “I will never give up Club Fit.” Harriette also feels the club is not afraid to lead, to take the initiative to do things that haven’t been done before — and not only in programming. “This is the only club I know that hires people with special needs,” Harriett says proudly. “I’ve never worked in a club that had the guts to do that — that took the initiative to do that.”

So, what’s next for Harriette? Rest assured, it will be more of the same with the current aquatic trend featuring yoga and Pilates — components she already integrates into her Mind/Body Aquatics class. And, rest assured, Harriette stands ready to welcome newcomers and regulars, alike, to Club FIt, the Aquatic Center, or even her breakfast and lunch groups, with her captivating smile and and that joie de vivre that make her not only an amazing instructor, but an amazing friend.

To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Member John Gillespie

March 28, 2016 by karen

by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.

John before & after
Picture 1: Before: May 2014: John, 14 days into his stem cell transplant at 260 pounds from the impact of his treatment.
Picture 2: After: March 2016: John, healthy, fit and cancer-free at 190 pounds.

If you’re part of the 5:00 am exercise crowd, chances are you’ve met Club Fit Briarcliff member John Gillespie, 57, whose natural energy and captive smile is hard to forget. John’s early-morning workout includes cardio and weight lifting and gives him the energy and jump-start he needs to start his day as a health care public relations professional in the City. John, who recently moved to New York from his native St. Louis, had always led an active lifestyle filled with golf, running, and exercise. That is until two years ago on March 27, 2014, when a normal day at the office became anything but routine.

John was working at a St. Louis hospital in the health system that he worked for when excruciating abdominal pain sent him to the emergency room. John’s bloodwork showed a hemoglobin level of 8 (very low) and an iron level of 0 (non-existent). John was bleeding from his intestines, and his body was unable to stop it.

Diagnosed with a rare and advanced form of lymphoma, called peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), and four tumors in his small intestine, John’s treatment included a dangerously aggressive six-round, high-dose E-CHOP chemotherapy regimen followed by an autologous stem cell harvest. The E-CHOP began destroying the four tumors, however, two of the tumors burst, forcing emergency surgery to clean up the toxic contents spilling into John’s stomach and to sew his small intestine back together. “The good news was that the chemo worked,” said John, “and the bad news was that the chemo worked.”

Because of the damage to his small intestine and the proximity of one of the remaining tumors to his large intestine, an ileostomy was ordered rather than reattaching his small intestine to the large intestine. The ileostomy diverted the end of his small intestine through his lower abdominal wall where it was attached to an external waste bag for 18 months, a painful experience that made it difficult to exercise and get proper nutrition and hydration. Upon completing his chemo, the stem cells were transplanted and successfully grafted which regenerated his bone marrow. After being cancer- and chemo-free for one year, John was given the green light for an ileostomy reversal on November 4, 2015, to reattach his small intestine to his large intestine which would return his body to normal functionality.

John’s two-year battle with PTCL had been the most painful experience of his life, and he credits the love of his family and two children with helping him persevere. After the pain receded from the ileostomy reversal, John was cleared to begin an exercise program. Enter Club Fit’s HelpRx — a three-month, physician-referral, new-member program for $150 that offers support, guidance and motivation to help people successfully and safely integrate the benefits of regular exercise into their routine. For John, who had lost all muscle tone and a level of fitness and health that had always been a part of his identity, HelpRX was the answer, and he started on the Rx program the week before Thanksgiving.

Restricted from exercise involving abdominal strain for eight weeks, John began his routine with cardio and resistance training, transitioning to weight lifting in January. Under the guidance of Club Fit’s training staff, John’s fitness, strength, and energy quickly improved, and at the end of his three-month Rx membership he signed on to a regular membership because he did not want to go backward. “Exercising is not work anymore,” explains John. “It’s become a routine, a commitment.”

In his four months with Club Fit, John has lost 20 pounds, six inches, and his strength has increased dramatically. “I missed being fit,” said John. “The Club Fit staff has always been very supportive of my goals. I’ve never had to pay for training or classes to access their expertise.” John tries to exercise 5-6 days a week with 35-40 minutes of cardio exercise on the StrideClimber elliptical machines and 30 minutes of weight lifting, with bench pressing being a favorite activity. “Weight lifting has become my favorite,” says John. “Reaching new benchmarks is very rewarding.” John’s latest benchmark is seven reps at 190 pounds, and this month he may hit his next benchmark of 200 pounds.

“I’ve gone from not being able to lift a carton of milk to bench pressing 190 pounds,” said John. “So if I can leave anyone with just one thought, it would be that it is possible to feel healthy again — to recover from cancer or severe injury or just to get healthy.”

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

High-Protein Snacking

June 9, 2015 by Liz

KristinBy Kristin Klewan, B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics

Studies show high-quality protein can improve satiety, help manage weight, and prevent chronic disease.

It seems as though snacking may have replaced baseball as America’s favorite pastime. National dietary surveys have found that about 90% of adults, 83% of adolescents, and 97% of children snack every day, sometimes several times per day. Whether or not that’s a good thing largely depends on the quality and quantity of the snacks being consumed. Many of the most common snacks, such as chips and soda, are high in both salt and sugar. It’s no coincidence then that increased snacking is associated with decreased protein intake. However, there’s much research to suggest that choosing snacks high in protein, rather than high in salt and sugar, could provide a host of health benefits.

Satiety and Weight Management
High-protein snacks, as well as balanced meals, have been linked to increased satiety. Protein-rich snacking may boost satiety and facilitate weight loss. In a longitudinal study, researchers gave 17 men and women with type 2 diabetes moderately high-protein morning and afternoon snacks (7 g to 12 g of protein) for four weeks, and compared the results with their normal eating habits for four weeks. The subjects who ate the two high-protein snacks lost a modest but significant amount of weight (1 kg) during the four-week period. Researchers noted that the subjects’ weight reduction occurred without changes in total energy intake.

In a study that examined the effect of high-protein snacking on satiety and appetite control, researchers found that healthy women who ate a high-protein yogurt snack (14 g of protein) in the afternoon experienced improved appetite control, satiety, and reduced subsequent food intake compared with eating other common, energy-dense, high-fat snacks.

Blood Glucose
High-protein snacks also can help maintain normal blood glucose levels. In a study of 20 healthy males, who were given a variety of mid-morning snacks, those given the snacks with the greatest protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, including plain yogurt and skim milk, had the lowest blood sugar levels. Researchers determined that the improvement in blood sugar was due to improved insulin action, rather than to increased concentrations of insulin.

Blood Pressure
A high-protein diet also may help lower the risk of developing hypertension. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g per day) had a 40% lower risk of high blood pressure compared with those consuming the least. Adults who consumed the most protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. Because high-protein snacks contribute to overall protein intake, based on the findings of this study, it would appear that high-protein snacks could aid in lowering blood pressure.

Athletic Performance
For athletes, protein powders and high-protein snacks are easy to find. But how necessary are they, and can they really improve performance? The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming high-quality protein, and singles out milk-derived whey protein isolate and casein, egg white powder, and soy protein isolate as proteins that provide essential amino acids that readily aid in muscle tissue synthesis.

Athletes should include protein at all meals and snacks, especially post workout. Ideally, 20 g of high-quality protein should be consumed within 45 minutes after exercise to promote the recovery process. Athletes demand a higher level of protein intake (1.2 to 1.4 g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.6 to 2 g/kg for strength athletes), and they have to work harder to obtain it, because of the larger quantities of high-protein foods they must consume, she adds. High-protein snacks, such as low-fat dairy foods or protein bars, are a good way to work more protein into the diet.

While dietary protein is important, research suggests that the combination of physical activity (eg, resistance, interval, stretching, and endurance) and 20 g of whey protein may be particularly beneficial for weight loss, fat loss, increasing lean body mass, and improving insulin resistance.

Protein Distribution
Just as important as consuming high-quality protein, is the time of day when it’s consumed. The typical American dietary pattern is a consumption of about three times more protein at dinner than at breakfast. Most Americans don’t eat an adequate amount of protein in the morning, which may cause decreased performance, hunger, and poor eating habits throughout the day.
Evenly distributing protein intake throughout the day has been found to be optimal.

The idea of 30% of daily protein intake at each meal is being promoted, with some protein snacks between meals.
Maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health, especially in older individuals. Research shows that proper protein distribution also may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass with age. To lower the risk, research suggests 25 g to 30 g of protein per meal in older people. Protein synthesis response is blunted in older adults when protein is less than 20 g per meal or snack, research suggests, so getting enough protein becomes even more important with age, she says.

Counseling Clients
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called micronutrients. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. Find sources of protein in Fish, Lean meats, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

I personally recommend to clients and patients to snack on foods that provide a good supply of protein compared with fat and carbohydrate, both for possible appetite and blood sugar control. Mix up your proteins throughout your meals, and make sure the rest of your meal is colorful (the more color in fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense).

If you have medical conditions or concerns, please consult your Club Fit Registered Dietitian, or your MD for further information. It is always recommended to consult an RD or MD before making any dramatic changes to your diet.

Learn more about Kristin, schedule an appointment and see what else is happening at the club!

Take Care of Your Heart Health

January 28, 2015 by karen

— written by guest blogger and Club Fit member John Fisher

 

Master Trainer Beth Kear and Club Fit Member John Fisher
Master Trainer Beth Kear and Club Fit Member John Fisher

I had just completed another cardio fitness session with Beth Kear, a Master Trainer at Club Fit/Briarcliff and went up to the cafeteria to get a snack and relax. Once there, I paused to reflect on just what brought me together with Beth (a remarkable person, 100% experienced trainer and a compassionate and spiritual mentor who is teaching me to connect my mind to my stretches to feel my body’s response and stop mechanically counting seconds).

Anyway, my story begins about three years ago…and what I have to share just might save your life, or that of a loved one.

Then 75, physically trim and active, an avid tennis player, the first awareness of diminishing capacity came when when I began to find my reaction time and movement on the tennis court diminishing. It was driven home to me when the captain of our men’s indoor winter tennis doubles game approached me awkwardly to ask me to drop out of the group because I was beginning to drag down the quality of play. I attributed my reduced mobility to a lack of fitness, and signed on for a series of sessions with another Club Fit Master Trainer, Mike Cohen.

After our first package of sessions, I decided I could carry on by myself, using Club Fit’s FitLinxx equipment and supplementing that with a regular exercise program at home. But that required a level of self-discipline I just didn’t maintain. Sound familiar?

Now we come to 2013, and I find myself experiencing shortness of breath at the slightest exertion. I cannot keep up with my wife and friends on hikes, walking the streets of NYC or getting about on our son’s farm, having to stop periodically to catch my breath before continuing. Just wheeling our garbage can 150’ up our inclined driveway twice a week became a challenge.

“Do something about it!” I scolded myself. Time to resume a disciplined fitness routine. So in late 2013 I re-contacted Mike Cohen. But he could not fit me into his crowded schedule, so he introduced me to Beth. Well, at the end of my 2nd 1-hour session, I went to stand up after stretching on a table…and blacked out momentarily. Fortunately, Beth caught me before I hit the floor. After regaining my equilibrium, I lectured myself, not to sit up and then stand so abruptly so blood does not drain from my head suddenly, causing light-headedness. Enter self-deception/rationalization once again.

One week later, at the end of my next session, I again felt light-headed as I stood up, but immediately caught myself, sat down and avoided another blackout. That did it!

A call to my family physician at the Mt. Kisco Medical Group, a CT scan of the chest, a referral to their chief cardiologist, and the diagnosis: “You’re headed for open-heart surgery. You have calcification of the aortic valve, which needs to be replaced. And while they’re in there they’ll also need to perform a triple bypass to restore adequate blood flow, currently acutely compromised by blockages in three main arteries.”

I asked my cardiologist where he’d take his heart if he were facing the same circumstances. He gave me the names of two heart surgeons, one at Columbia Presbyterian and the other at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. I chose the latter…with a highly-regarded team of cardio-thoracic surgeons, the best in the mid-Hudson Valley.

I had the surgery nine months ago, on April 4, 2014. Five days in the hospital; left for home pain-free, with a new tissue (cow) valve. Six weeks of monitoring at home by a nurse from the Westchester Visiting Nurse Service, followed by 40 closely-monitored sessions at the cardio rehab center run by Northern Westchester Hospital at Chappaqua Crossing, after which I resumed training with Beth. Beth and Mike Cohen (who also happens to be a cardio-rehab specialist) got together to review my progress report from the NWH cardio rehab center and designed a cardio fitness program to transition me to Club Fit.

I can report goodbye to shortness of breath; lung and heart functioning normal; and I feel like a completely new man at 78. All that remains is to test — and win — the quest for self-discipline. Stay tuned!

John also uses MYZONE heart rate and effort monitoring system as part of his health & fitness regimen.

Related post: Best Heart Rate Monitor Reviews.

Are you living a healthy lifestyle?

December 15, 2014 by Liz

Don’t laugh! It’s a good question to ask yourself! Some of us are super motivated when it comes to health and fitness, some people may even go a little too far with their workouts, some of us need a little push, some of us would really rather not workout, but we do for health reasons and some of us just simply don’t do it.

Here is a little factoid: There is no “too late” for anyone. Do you have a friend, relative or even a neighbor that needs to get active? It begins with encouraging them. Our society puts a great deal of pressure on us and sometimes we do not even notice it. It doesn’t automatically register in our minds that all the models we see in magazines and on TV are all photoshopped and airbrushed to the nines. We are fed unrealistic images of how people look and feel, and we assume that these “beautiful people” are all also healthy. This is not always so, but it sure does a number on our self esteem to be inundated with these images. Sometimes all it takes is a little push from a loved one or friend to get us to do something that is good for ourselves. Even when we are in the habit of working out, we still need that encouragement to stay motivated.

There is more to health than just working out. We need to consider our diet (including consumption of alcohol), our sleep habits, and our daily behaviors. It doesn’t always occur to us to check how many calories are in that Latte or what the side-effects of a particular medication are. Many times we don’t look behind the curtain. It’s time to start. Start by asking questions. Take a more active role in understanding health as whole and not just a piece of a puzzle. Where are we without our health? Probably not where we would like to be.

If you need some guidance and are ready to make a change, we are here to help you on your journey. We have registered dietitians, personal trainers and many programs that were designed specifically for your needs no matter where you are with your health. Whether you have been instructed by a doctor to start working out or are an avid fitness enthusiast, we want you to be a part of our community. We also have a Cancer Wellness Program that is open to anyone actively undergoing cancer treatments.

Get started today at our Jefferson Valley or Briarcliff location! Visit the Club Fit website for more information!

Just how important are our habits?

August 14, 2014 by Liz

A recent viral video, “Rewind the Future”, has inspired us to write about the importance of healthy habits from the beginning of life.
We asked Fitness Director, Susie Reiner to share some thoughts with us and this is what she had to say . . .

“This video is a stark reminder of the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle not just for ourselves but for the people we care for in our day to day life. Wellness is a lifelong commitment to maintaining and improving the human body and in essence, its resilience to aging. In most instances, we are responsible for our own health and sooner or later succumb to the facts that a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity enhances our lives more than indulgent food and sedentary habits. When bringing children into the world, as this video depicts, it is a slippery slope to letting unhealthy habits reign supreme in a child’s life. It is the parent, guardian, schools, community, and youth programs’ responsibility to establish a healthy environment for children to flourish in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of the United States’ population is obese and the chances of an adult being overweight or obese is greatly influenced by the behavioral habits instilled with them as a child and adolescent. We have the power in our own lifetime to change the quality of life for the next generation through consistent efforts to support a healthy lifestyle. Including fitness and lifestyle activities in a child’s life and developing a healthy relationship with wholesome food is crucial at an early age. And remember, it is never too late to make a change; health complications can be prevented by taking small steps to a longer future.”

The stuff kid’s dreams are made of?

August 7, 2012 by Liz

For some kids, getting involved in athletics is not always first nature. Maybe sometimes it is a matter of self confidence. If they are not naturally the biggest, strongest, fastest or even the most coordinated, they are not going to be the first ones to ask you to sign them up for football. Moreover, (and I feel this is more the case, in today’s society) there are so many things that take away the desire and motivation to be active. There are movies, video games and all sorts of technological advances that kids are drawn to- even we are! (I can’t remember the last time I left my house without my iphone and didn’t freak out or feel lost).

The Olympics make now a great time to get the kids excited about sports. With all of the amazing accomplishments of these proud hardworking athletes, we can teach our children the value of teamwork, discipline, talent and perseverance no matter which sport is vaulting ground for inspiration. Seeing the USA Women’s Soccer team win may inspire your daughter to be a soccer star, seeing the USA Men’s Basketball team blow away the competition may inspire your son to want to learn to dunk a ball one day.

I’m not saying that technology is to blame or that one of these reasons applies to all kids. I am merely saying that if your kid is one who has trouble getting into the active lifestyle, encouragement by world class athletes is a great way to inspire them and get them excited. We all need motivation and it behooves us to remember what dreams are made of and where they come from!

If your kids are interested in trying some new sports, the club is a good place to start!

To find out more about our sport specific camps and programs at Briarcliff, contact jwalsh@clubfit.com! To find out more about available programs at Jefferson Valley contact jritz@clubfit.com!