From Couch to 5K… and beyond!

March 30, 2015 by karen

— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton

Club Fit Member Linda Adair goes from couch to 5K, and farther — losing 45 lbs and getting stronger in the process!

Linda before and after
Linda lost 45 lbs — gained speed, strength and fitness!

Change is good! But only if you make the right changes. Linda Adair decided that she wanted to get back into shape last summer, and 45 pounds later, she has achieved that goal.

Last June, Linda reached a point where she was tired of being overweight, and wanted to return to her former fit, energetic self. With the support of fellow Club Fit Briarcliff member and friend, Denyse, a marathon runner, she attempted the Couch to 5K program, and by August she was running 3 miles every other day. “The first day was tough, but then I got back up on day two and did it again,” she says.

In the fall she joined Club Fit, and she feels it made a huge difference in her fitness quest. “I had adjusted my diet and increased my exercise, but Club Fit pushed me over the top with the addition of Group Fitness classes and access to the Fitness Center,” she says. Linda, a paralegal (she graduated in March!), is a regular in the Spin Studio, and uses the treadmill, the women’s circuit and the free weight area. She completed her first 5K, slowly, last July, and now she has thirteen 5Ks and one 10K planned for 2015!

So the exercise increased, but what did she change in her diet? “I eat tons of fruit, cut out carbs and replaced white rice and potatoes with healthier starches like yams and brown rice.” She adds, “My diet is constantly evolving, and I continue to do research, but I definitely don’t starve myself. If I want something that doesn’t fall into my ‘healthy’ list, I don’t deprive myself.” The key is to become educated, and learn how to maintain a good balance, something she feels should also be stressed to young people, who today can so easily succumb to eating disorders.

Speaking of young people, two of the reasons Linda was motivated to regain her health were her daughters. Both girls are active and athletic, but her younger daughter also suffers from cystic fibrosis. Because of this, Linda and her family have become active supporters of Team Boomer, a program within the Boomer Esiason Foundation that encourages people with CF to incorporate exercise into their everyday lives, and supports athletes in raising money for CF through fundraising events. The Foundation, launched by former New York Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason, works to heighten awareness, education and quality of life for those affected by CF. “One hundred percent of the money they raise goes to research, so I am happy to support them!”

At this point, Linda has achieved what she set out to do… “I am healthy now!” She dropped from a size 16 to size 6, and feels much stronger and faster since her decision to commit to fitness last summer. Her husband and daughters also are benefitting from the adjustments she made to her diet, which of course impacted the foods she brings into their Pleasantville home. “There are always things you can work on at the gym, but at this point I am simply grateful to be healthy!”

For more information on the Couch to 5K program that started Linda on her way, visit www.fromcouchto5k.com, and if you want to give a philanthropic twist to your fitness plan and join the Adairs in their support of Team Boomer, visit www.teamboomer.org.

Healthy advice from Dietitian Cathy DiSomma

September 30, 2014 by karen

Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist  at Club Fit Jefferson Valley
Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist at Club Fit Jefferson Valley

We often pick one approach over the other… exercise more so you can eat more, or eat less so you can exercise less. But a healthier approach, especially with the calorie-heavy, time-consuming holidays around the corner, is to balance your exercise and nutrition. They work together to get you optimal results, whether you are trying to lose weight or just maintain.

Just ask Cathy DiSomma, who joined the Club Fit Jefferson Valley staff this summer. Cathy, a Registered Dietitian, certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health (ACSM) Fitness Specialist, is very excited to help our members out. She has an undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from Fordham University, and earned her Master’s degree in the same at Lehman College. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College.

Cathy will be playing an integral part in the club’s Healthy Holidays program, a new version of our popular Merry Maintenance program from past years. “I’ve already gotten very good input from the Club Fit members on what they are interested in, from a survey I put out for possible presentation topics, and interaction at informational tables and presentations,” says Cathy. “The topics we’ve come up with are very diverse, from food allergies to proper diet for athletes, healthy lunches, and post-cancer nutrition.”

Healthy Holidays will be a bit different from Merry Maintenance. There is no weigh-in or weigh-out, just a focus on maintaining healthy habits and keeping members moving during the holiday season. Cathy is working closely with Fitness Director Joelle Letta on weekly emails that will be sent to participants on topics such as maintaining a fitness routine, better food and drink choices, low calorie recipes, reducing holiday stress, and keeping up the motivation to stay on track.

According to Cathy, statistics show an average 5- to 6-pound weight gain through the holiday season. It starts with munching on Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving feasts, followed by Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Christmas, then the big finale, New Year’s. Some helpful topics Cathy wants to cover include how to approach holiday party food and drinks as a guest, how to offer healthy options if you are hosting, alternate recipes for high-calorie or high-fat dishes, and portion control. “People are very interested in portion control at this time of year. You don’t want to skip your favorites, but you don’t want to overdo it, either,” says Cathy.

“We felt the weigh-in and weigh-out process may have intimidated some people who were just interested in maintaining their weight through the holidays. What makes this program fun is that you can earn points for activities throughout the club, and for each 100 points you are entered into a raffle for great prizes rewarding your efforts,” says Cathy. No limit on entries!

Beyond Healthy Holidays, Cathy is enjoying working with the entire population at Club Fit. Even the staff members are using her as a resource. “Instructors and trainers have many questions that come to them from their clients,” says Cathy. “They want to be in the know on nutrition, so they can help our members separate fact from fallacy.” There is so much information out there that it can be confusing for everyone, even the professionals! “We can give them the real story.”

Outside of Club Fit, Cathy is also Fitness Director at Kendal on Hudson, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Sleepy Hollow, on the campus of Phelps Memorial Hospital. Her schedule is flexible, allowing her to also serve our Club Fit members, and she loves the combination of jobs because it allows her to work with people of all ages with a variety of needs. “I so enjoy working with the seniors at Kendal, but then I can mix up my day at Club Fit working with kids, athletes, and other seniors with other issues and questions.” She also notes that Kendal and Club Fit share many of the same values and practices, and Club Fit Briarcliff has shared space in the past with Kendal residents when they are in need of the pool. “Both are very community-oriented, and I’m proud to be a part of organizations that have that focus.”

Cathy, a resident of Ossining, loves the outdoors, and is an avid hiker and cyclist. She also loves Pilates, and is certified to teach but that has taken a back seat to her work helping others with fitness and nutrition. She is available evenings and weekends, but her schedule is flexible if those hours don’t suit your schedule. Cathy looks forward to hearing from you, and can be reached 914-245-4040, ext. 1214 or cdisomma@clubfit.com if you would like to set up a consult or would like more information on Healthy Holidays. “It’s great that the fitness and nutrition connection is finally coming full circle,” says Cathy. “Our goal at Club Fit is to help our members reach their goals, and by incorporating knowledge from both areas, we can do that!”