Drink Water for Weight Loss

By Dory Karinen, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield

There’s so much more to water beyond just quenching your thirst! And as the weather heats up, there’s no better time than now to use weight-loss as an excuse to stay properly hydrated!

Water Glasses

8 glasses a day keeps the fat away.

As incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true “magic potion” for permanent weight loss. Water suppresses the appetite naturally, hydrates your body, and helps the body metabolize stored fat. The kidneys cannot function properly without enough water. When the kidneys can’t function properly, they deposit everything into the liver. The liver’s function is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. If it is doing some of the kidney’s work, then it is not working at 100% capacity and more stored fat stays as stored fat. Water reduces fluid retention in your body. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop of water and every drop of fat. More often than not, when you feel hungry, it is because your body is dehydrated, not food-starved.

Water Facts:

  • You can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water.
  • 60-70% of your body is water.
  • Obesity decreases the percentage of body water – to as low as 45%.
  • 8-12 cups of water are lost daily and must be replaced.
  • Thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger.
  • By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be dehydrated.

Water is critical for all bodily functions, especially when you are losing weight.

Water is required to maintain muscle mass. Muscle is the “furnace” for burning fat and calories. You need to maintain your muscle mass while losing weight. In fact, every chemical reaction in the body, including the breakdown of body fat, requires water. Water also helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of – all that metabolized fat had toxins stored in it that must be eliminated. Without adequate water, waste products just stay in the system.

Water helps to suppress the appetite naturally and is the best treatment for fluid retention.

When people feel hungry, they may actually be thirsty! Drinking more water than recommended does not cause bloating or water retention when you have normally functioning heart and kidneys. Excess water is very quickly eliminated, and allows the body to function properly. If you have a consistent problem with water retention, too much salt may be to blame. Processed foods contain a tremendous amount of salt. The more salt you eat, the more water your system needs to get rid of it. If you don’t get enough water you will feel bloated. But getting rid of unneeded salt is easy – just drink more water! The more you drink the more ya shrink!

Drinking Naturally Flavored Water

Water is such an integral part in our overall health and wellness. Often people complain that they don’t like the “taste” of water. Instead of purchasing processed and sugar-filled bottled “health” waters, or adding crystallized (sugar) flavoring, consider adding fruits like berries, or lemons to your water. Or you can even try mint & cucumber for more of a “cocktail” flavor!

Our certified and educated staff at Elite Sports Clubs are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this and other topics! You are always welcome to consult our trainers & Registered Dietitian for health & nutrition advice. Interested in becoming a member at our clubs? Stop in for a tour of any of our 5 Elite Sports Clubs locations. We look forward to seeing you soon!

How many glasses (or ounces) of water do you drink each day? Do you drink it plain, or add in some healthy “flavors”? 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!

Day in the Life: Petite Elite Preschool

My name is Christina Garthwait and I am the director and a teacher of the Elite Sports Club-Brookfield Petite Elite Preschool. (Petite Elite Preschool at Elite Sports Club-River Glen opens next Fall!) I have been in education for 11 years and absolutely love my time with the 3 and 4 year olds in Petite Elite.

The Petite Elite school day in the 4 year old class looks a little like this…

Petite Elite Preschool Elite Sports Clubs Children Masks

9:00 a.m.

Kids arrive and free choice playtime.

9:20 a.m.

Carpet time (hello song, counting, calendar and songs, theme of the week, letter of the week activities, travel the map, math skills, story).

10:00 a.m.

Bathroom break followed by snack time.

10:20 a.m.

Rotation of small group learning time with the teachers (when not with the teachers, children work in small groups on theme-based, curriculum-based, or skill-based centers).

11:20 a.m.

Art project.

11:40 a.m.

Music, parachute games, play-dough, scavenger hunts, movement games.

12:00 p.m.

Story and good-bye.

We have karate and swimming lessons alternating on Monday mornings during school time.

Optional Afternoon Enrichment program on Mondays and Wednesdays after the 4 year old class looks a little like this…

Petite Elite Preschool Elite Sports Clubs Children Educational Project

12:00 p.m.


12:30 p.m.

Tennis lesson or swimming lesson depending on the day.

1:00 p.m.

Art project or game in classroom.

1:30 p.m.

Outdoor play.

2:00 p.m.


About 75% of the Petite Elite students stay for the Afternoon Enrichment program.

Open enrollment for Petite Elite Preschool at Elite Sports Clubs is still open! Start your child’s educational journey with Petite Elite and have your child come grow with us, register today!

Did you, or do you plan to enroll your child in a preschool? What do you look for most in a preschool curriculum? Tell us in the comments!

Keeping Up Your Fitness Routine Through Pregnancy

By Jen Bauman, Elite Sports Club-Brookfield Group Exercise Director, ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Prenatal/Postpartum Exercise Certification

You have all heard of those women who talk about how they absolutely LOVED being pregnant. Well I have to say, I am one of them. I felt great throughout my entire nine months. I truly believe that the reason I felt so good, was that I kept up with my regular workouts. Now before I go any further, one thing I will say is that you must check with your doctor to make sure working out is okay for you as an individual. Every body and every pregnancy is different.

One of the first things I noticed was the fatigue. My heart rate was higher and it took much more out of me to perform my pre-pregnancy routine. I continued with my normal workouts but realized that I would have to slow down a bit to allow my body to take in enough oxygen for both the baby and myself. I also added a small snack before my workouts. I loved my banana, yogurt, and granola parfait that I’d whip up about 30 minutes before exercise. (As a general rule, 300 additional calories are needed per day during pregnancy.) Other than having to modify my intensity, I initially was able to continue with my cardio and strength workouts as I had pre-pregnancy.

pregnant woman on treadmillAs my pregnancy progressed, however, I did make several adjustments to my workouts. For cardio, I taught regular kickboxing and step classes, both of which I was able to continue. Nonetheless, my movements overall became smaller. Joints become more flexible during pregnancy so it is important to be aware of the range of motion you are taking your body through. I do remember around 8 ½ months feeling really light-headed after one of my step classes. This was my body telling me to stop what I was doing–always listen to what your body is telling you. From that point on, I replaced my step workouts with a walk on the treadmill.

Pregnant woman exercising with kettlebellFor my strength training workouts, it was really just a matter of adjusting my weights. As my belly got bigger, my weights got smaller. I continued to work all areas of the body, concentrating on my back to keep my posture strong. Standing for a prolonged period of time is not recommended, so I used a stability ball to sit on and perform rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and overhead triceps extensions. If I was standing, I would make sure to maintain a wide stance, with my toes turned out. This provided a good base for stability. I also avoided lying flat on my back because it can decrease blood flow to the uterus. One option I used was lying on an exercise step with two risers on one end to provide an incline that was comfortable.

I have heard many women say they avoided working their abs entirely during pregnancy. I believe this is one of the most important areas to concentrate on. You can’t exactly perform bicycles until you’re exhausted, but you can work your core in other ways. I often used the stability ball to do slow, small crunches or did planks on my knees. Just this little isometric contraction is a great way to keep your abs tight and strong. However, avoid excessive oblique work, it can cause strain on the lower back.

These are just some of the concepts that helped me during my pregnancy. I can’t say that it helped me through the horrible, painful back labor I had, but I absolutely believe it helped keep my weight gain under control. It also allowed me a quicker return to my normal routine after giving birth. I plan on doing it all again with the next one!

Do you need help determining which exercises you should do while pregnant? Our certified personal trainers can help you set up a personalized plan! When you are in a group exercise class, you can also ask the instructor to for modifications.

What were your (or your significant others’) favorite ways to exercise while pregnant? Did you find that you had to temporarily give up certain workouts? Tell us in the comments!

Four of the Best Foods You Should be Eating Regularly

By Rita Larsen, Elite Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

For a long time, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been speaking in very general terms to “eat a variety of foods.” Today, scientists are able to be more specific about their research in order to target those foods that will help you prevent certain kinds of illnesses and disease processes. These include heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers—and promote better overall health. You can look better and feel better, too, when you eat a healthy diet. So, consider putting some of these foods to use in your eating plan today, and every day!


Berries at Farmers Market

According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The antioxidants in berries may help maintain normal communication of the neurons in your brain. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, and raspberries and blackberries are good sources too. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are also low in calories and high in fiber.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables in this family contain compounds called glucosinolates, which are being studied for possible anticancer effects. A new laboratory study shows that compounds in cruciferous vegetables can selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal, healthy cells unaffected. The family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, turnips, radishes and watercress.


Nut bowl

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and promote brain health. Some research suggests that nutrients such as vitamin E may be important in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts also are high in protein and fiber (but also in fat, so be careful with portion size).

Whole Grains

Whole GrainsIn contrast to refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, whole grains are rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Eating whole instead of refined grains can help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels, decreasing the risk of heart disease. Eating whole grains can also reduce the risk of diabetes and improve digestive health. Refining wheat strips away significant amounts of vitamins B and E and virtually all of the fiber.

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society, and the Cotton—O’Neil Heart Center. Spring 2013, Heart Health News.

Sweet-and-Sour Savoy & Fennel Salad

Serves 4

Sweet Sour Savoy Fennel Salad


• 1 ½ cups thinly sliced Savoy Cabbage (about 6 oz.) [or Napa Cabbage]
• 6 Tbs. Olive Oil
• ¾ lb. Fennel Bulb (sometimes called anise) stalks trimmed flush with bulb and bulb chopped fine (about ¾ cups)
• ¼ cup Water
• ¼ cup Cider Vinegar
• 1 cup Orange sections


1. Using a sharp knife cut cabbage and fennel in strips as you would for coleslaw.
2. Mix well.
3. Mix dressing ingredients together.
4. Pour over salad mixture.
5. Section orange and add.
6. Let set in refrigerator for 1 hour.
7. Serve chilled.

Looking for more recipes to add to you cookbook? Or just general guidance on how to incorporate the above foods into your daily menu? Get in touch with Rita, our Registered Dietitian at Elite Sports Clubs! Also, make sure you follow our other Nutrition blog posts for more great tips!

Berries, cruciferous veggies, nuts, and whole grains! Oh my! Do you eat foods from all of these categories on a regular basis? Tell us in the comments!