Member Stories: Maria Pascente, “I am in control!”

We’re extremely proud of our members. Over the years their work out agendas and sporting endeavors serve as healthy examples of how it feels to be Elite, and how exercise not only adds years to your life, but life to your years! Today we’d like to highlight another member’s accomplishments:

Losing weight, ugh! For those of us who struggle with this, those two words are highly offensive curses. I am Maria Pascente and I have struggled with obesity my entire life.

It started in about second grade when I had to get the “girls plus” first communion dress and it has been “plus size” ever since. While I have lost hundreds of pounds in my life I have always managed to find them again. Joining West Brookfield Elite in 2007 was my first step in the right direction. I have had my fits and starts with exercise since joining the club but have always been encouraged by the staff to keep working at it.

After a series of rather stressful events in my life, I got back to the gym with a passion in December of 2010 and that started my road to success. I began with H20 Blast three times a week at Brookfield Elite and added from there as I became more fit. After losing close to 50 lbs with exercise and some food modifications, I found myself at a plateau that I could not seem to overcome. I was becoming discouraged and knew I needed to get some extra help.

I decided to turn to the club and through some inquiry I hooked up with Rita Larsen, RD. After meeting with her one-on-one for a while I started to see some success. Her practice style of what I will call “tough love with a smile” is what I needed. You see, what you put in your body is your choice, every carrot stick or cookie is 100% under my control. When you have struggled to control your weight your whole life, recognizing that you alone actually have the power to control it is a monumental task.

In January of this year I was a charter member in Rita’s “Lose It Now” program. I needed to really challenge myself and shake things up to a level that I had not achieved in many years. I lost 30 lbs in 13 weeks. I feel so much better about myself, I have more energy and I think I am finally learning how to maintain weight loss and keep it off for good. So, overall this program was successful for me and working with Rita works.

Last summer and fall I had another period of stressful events and I am happy to report that I was able to maintain my weight loss through it this time. I kept my 4-5 times a week workout schedule of Body Pump, Cardio and Pilates going as best I could, which is key. My ability to choose wisely and remember that I am in control, helped me succeed when in the past I would have gained it all back by now. My goal is to lose 50 more pounds and I intend to do it with Rita and Elite in 2013.

We are so proud of Maria! She is so positive about her weight loss journey and can truly be an example for us all! Submit your own “Elite” story! Or tweet us your workout wins (and woes) @MyEliteStory!

Do you feel like you are “in control” of your weight? It’s a tough question, but can be telling of your situation and motivation. Tell us about a time you felt in (or out of) control in the comments.

Elite in the Community: Music Festival & 5K Trail Run

Last weekend Elite Sports Clubs once again had the opportunity to sponsor and participate in the Gathering on the Green music & performing arts festival and Run on the Green 5k Trail Run/Walk & Youth Fun Run in Mequon.

On Friday night we hosted a booth before the ABBA tribute show and demoed some of the exercises we can now offer using the new outdoor boot camp facility at Elite Sports Club-Mequon.

On Saturday morning we helped put on another successful year of Run on the Green, featuring a new double loop route through Rotary Park. Runners experienced paved, grass, and gravel trails; along with musical performing acts from K-Nation along the way. Not to mention the Jimmy Luv’s bloody marys post-race!

To wrap things up on Saturday evening before the final orchestra show featuring the great grandchildren of the Von Trapps, plus musical fireworks; we set up a QuickStart 10 & Under Tennis court in the children’s area for kids to play and learn about tennis.

All in all, it was another successful year. The weather was great, we met a lot of fun people, and got to show of all the cool stuff happening at Elite. We are really enjoying getting out into our communities this summer!

4 Benefits of Training With Your Significant Other

By Gage Livingston, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-North Shore

Couples Personal TrainingDo you and your significant other want to try something new together? Do you want to improve your relationship? I was just reading an article from Ace Fitness that was discussing the benefits of couples that participate in a personal training program together. I thought it was excellent and I would like to share some of the highlights with you.

The article mentioned a number of key benefits to training with your partner.

  1. The chances of sticking with a fitness program are greatly increased when you train with your partner – a little peer pressure is always good for staying on track.
  2. You will both benefit from a customized workout from a personal trainer.
  3. Personal training together allows you both to benefit from an opportunity to support each other’s goals in a very focused way.
  4. Personal training with your partner will enhance your fitness level and your relationship. It will give you something new to talk about, laugh about, and enjoy.

So, go get your honey off the sofa and get to the gym!

Get started with a customized personal training program today, we offer couples rates! Haven’t been to an Elite Sports Club yet? Schedule a tour to check out our fitness & training facilities.

Do you work out with your significant other? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

What Can a Registered Dietitian Do for You?

If you have been following our blog for awhile, you have probably noticed the weekly posts from Elite Sports Clubs’ Registered Dietitian, Rita. However, many of you may not really know what exactly a RD does or how one could help you reach your health and weight loss goals. Check out the article below from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to learn more about what a Registered Dietitian can do for you!

By Karen Ansel, MS, RD

Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. “Whether you want to slim down, lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, a registered dietitian [or registered dietitian nutritionist] can help you weed through the murky waters of nutrition misinformation and provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice,” says Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here are just a few of the benefits of working with a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist:

The highest level of nutrition counseling: Anyone can call him- or herself a nutritionist, but only a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) has completed multiple layers of education and training established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, an RD or RDN must fulfill a specially designed, accredited nutrition curriculum, pass a rigorous registration exam, and complete an extensive supervised program of practice at a health care facility, foodservice organization or community agency. What’s more, roughly half of all RDs and RDNs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields such as sports, pediatric, renal, oncology or gerontological nutrition.

Personally tailored advice: When you see an RD or RDN, the last thing you’ll get is one-size-fits-all diet advice. “A dietitian is like an investigator seeking to learn about your current and desired state of health,” says McDaniel. “At your initial visit, expect to do a lot of talking while the dietitian does a lot of listening.” After learning about your health history, favorite foods, eating and exercise habits, an RD or RDN will help you set goals and prioritize. Follow-up visits will focus on maintenance and monitoring your progress.

Help managing chronic diseases: If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer it can be hard to know what to eat. “An RD [or RDN] can review your lab results with you, help you understand your condition and provide education about the nutrients that affect it,” says Angela Ginn, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Then, he or she will help you create an eating plan that includes all the important nutrients that can help you manage your condition.”

Guidance navigating food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances: When you suffer from conditions like celiac disease, food allergies or lactose intolerance, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by what you think you can’t eat. That can translate into a boring diet and may even lead to nutrient deficiencies. An RD or RDN can teach you how to read food labels so you’ll know which ingredients to avoid and a help you find substitutions to keep your diet balanced and tasty, too.

A weight-loss program that really works: Fad diets may sound like the quick ticket to weight loss but they rarely work for very long. A registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist will partner with you to develop a safe, effective weight-loss plan that you can stick with for the long haul. To guide and motivate you, an RD or RDN will use creative and out-of-the-box strategies to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, food journaling and mindful eating.

Now, that’s a recipe for success.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Logo

 

Original article from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Contact Elite Sports Clubs’ Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor: Rita Larsen, RDCD

Rita Larsen has a bachelors degree from Kansas State University, a masters in Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania and a dietetic internship from Indiana University Medical Center. Rita is a Certified Dietitian, Registered Dietitian, member of the Milwaukee Nutrition Council and American Dietetic Association, certified in Adult Weight Loss, Childhood Nutrition, and Diabetic Management. She has worked many years in the field serving families and those interested in improving their health through optimum nutrition. This includes providing dietary information of new food products, creating a better food plan to match individual fitness, and weight loss management. Rita enjoys discussing with families ways to create interest in family time together and preparing good foods while learning more about what foods are best for children of all ages. She finds it interesting to search for ways of cutting food costs, while still providing optimum nutrition through easy quick meal planning.

Staff Stories: My First Half Marathon

Our members aren’t the only ones working towards goals and striving to become a better version of themselves. Elite Sports Clubs staff share some of their own stories about their health & fitness successes.

From “I can’t” to “I did and will again!”

By Alex Yuspeh, Elite Sports Clubs Marketing Director

Alex's First Half MarathonIt started off as a dare. One of those situations where I said, “I’ll do it if you do it.” However, this was not just between myself and another person. This was with my sister, my brother and my cousin. We all agreed in December 2007 to run a half marathon together. My parents in disbelief agreed to fund the run if we all ran it. I was living in Phoenix, my brother in San Diego, my sister in San Francisco and my cousin in Manhattan, this was going to be a destination run. I Googled half-marathons in the late spring, early summer and found a fairly flat, if not a little downhill run in Vancouver in June 2008.

My sister was the only one of us that had done a run in the past. The rest of us more so resembled an offensive line of a football team than runners about to embark on 13.1 miles. My brother and I are fairly competitive. We trained together even though we lived far apart. In January, we started our training with the correct footwear. We bought running shoes and also each bought a Nike Plus to track our runs. I did not do a typical training program. Instead I just “winged it.” All I knew was in 5 months I needed to keep my feet moving for about 2 hours.

My first big hurdle was running one mile. As simple as that sounds now, I struggled when I started. However, it did not take me long to achieve that minor milestone. My brother was ahead of me with his training and warned me of the next hurdle–the 30 minute continuous run. I would go out at first and run as long as I could. I would make it 15 minutes, then walk a minute or two and then run more until I hit 30 minutes. It took me a good two/three weeks to get to 30 minutes of continuous running. Once I hit that mark, I realized that running is as much mental and it is physical. I was astonished that I could do it. After I could run for 30 minutes, I gradually increased my run times and distances. I got up to 10 miles two months before race day. (Before I go into the actual half-marathon experience, I have to say I do not endorse my program. It is not typical and if you are planning on training for a half-marathon, please consult a professional on a program.)

We all arrived in Vancouver and checked into the hotel where all the other runners were staying. You could easily tell who the runners were from the other guests. This is when I realized that this was BIG. The day before the race, we registered, picked up our bibs and went to the trade show. The trade show was an eye-opener. There was so much cool running gear. I then started realizing that running is a huge sub-culture.

On the day of the race, I did my running routine, but this time at the crack of dawn. I had a bagel, banana and an energy drink. We got our bibs on and left our hotel. All I remember were runners and that they were everywhere. My siblings, cousin, and I found a spot to do our stretching. I recall a man saying, “This is going to be fun. There are a lot of people to pass.” I thought that was so cool to have that confidence. That day my goal was to finish (and beating my brother would be a bonus). The experience was surreal. I have never been a part of something so big. My adrenaline was at a high. I was part of something, along with 15,000 runners all with a common goal–to run across the finish line.

The gun went off and I was amazed on how slow it took to even cross the start line as I was stuck in a pack in the back. I ran the first 3 miles with my brother when I wanted to run faster. I found a group of people going at my pace and ran the entire half-marathon with them. When I finished, I received my metal, got water, food and my belongings. I called my parents and found that I was the first to finish in my family. One by one the rest of my family finished.

Since that race, my sister and cousin have run 2 races together; I have run another with my brother and we are planning our next race. Going from a “I can’t even run one mile” person to now identifying myself as a runner has become a great gift, and I am thoroughly happy to be part of the running sub-culture.

We’d love to hear YOUR story! Submit your story of success (and even struggle) and you may be featured on this blog or even in our seasonal magazine!