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!

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!

Member Stories: Gerry & Donald Vogel

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:

Member Stories Gerry Donald Vogel

Within one year of joining Elite, Gerry & Donald Vogel both lost significant amounts of weight. Gerry lost 60 pounds, and Donald lost 40 pounds. They exercised four or five times a week and were pleased when their entire fitness profiles improved.

Over the years, Gerry and Donald have utilized and enjoyed a variety of programs at Elite including: healthy eating programs, pilates, and the exercise machines. Donald attends pilates twice a week and uses the bike, treadmill, elliptical, and weights on other days. Gerry began taking treading classes when they first joined and now she uses a combination of the elliptical, bike, and treadmill four days a week and weights two to three times a week.

Their short term goals were to lose weight and increase their total fitness. Happy with their results so far, they still strive to maintain and improve upon their overall fitness.

“There have been so many positive experiences during our time here,” Gerry explains. “We have met so many people and that is a big part of getting us here every day. The interaction with the training staff has been so beneficial. Having knowledgeable professionals who encourage you to improve and who correct you if needed. Elite is a major part of our lives because of the professional and social contacts. The parties are great too!”

Gerry and Donald have been members since 2001 and continue to stay active at the club. Submit your own “Elite” story! Or tweet us @MyEliteStory!

How do the people you meet at the club affect your exercise routine and strides towards accomplishing your own goals? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Member: Kim McQuillan

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:

Elite Featured Member Kim McQuillan

I first came to Elite as a guest in January & February 2012. I decided to do the training for the Ridin’ 4 Research to help with increasing my endurance for running my first marathon in May 2012. I immediately felt at home at Elite. Karen Bruckner was so positive about Elite helping me with all of my stress of a first time marathon. Annie Weiss was also very positive and helpful not only for the great spin endurance rides, but with how to fuel your body during long workouts.

My favorite workouts will always be in the pool. I got the opportunity to meet Jessica Byrd, an intern at the time. There are not a lot of people who understand and appreciate swimming. She had some great encouragement for me about the marathon. I had a really hard time leaving after only working out here for 5 Sundays.

I did my first marathon and finished! It was great to come back to share my experience with all of the new supportive people I had met. Everyone was so happy for me. I wasn’t even a member! I got lucky at the R4R and I won a one month family membership to Elite. My family and I joined in July. I met many more friendly and encouraging employees and really nice members. At the end of July I chose to continue my membership.

I have committed my life to being healthy. In 2009 I weighed 315 lbs, that year I lost 48 lbs then in 2010 I lost 130 lbs through healthy eating and exercising (spinning, swimming, and walking).

I feel happy when I come to Elite. I think if you pick an activity you like to do and you join a health club you are happy at, it makes it a lot easier to stay committed to being healthy. I have to drive 40 minutes one way to come here, but I am always happy when I leave. I have a new swim partner. I think having someone to workout with is another great way to keep your workouts exciting and fun, or at least in knowing someone else is suffering right along with you during a long, hard workout!

If you have an “elite” story to share about your own personal accomplishment or someone else’s, please share it with us at MyStory@eliteclubs.com or tweet it to us @MyEliteStory! We’d love to hear from you too!

What helps you stay committed to being healthy? Is it your health club, your workout buddy, encouraging staff, or something else? Tell us in the comments!