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.

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!

Using Rates of Perceived Exertion to Help You Determine Your Exercise Zones

Everyone is unique when they exercise and the use of standardized formulas to determine your target heart rate zones can often lead you to exercise at either higher or lower than your actual effective rate. By combining the “Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale” with “Target Heart Rate Zones” you can more effectively estimate how hard your heart should be working while you are exercising.

Exercise can be divided into three different intensity zones:

  • Zone 1 Light Intensity Zone (heart beating at 60 to 70% of Heart Rate Max)
    Helps in weight control, improves endurance, and improves aerobic fitness.
  • Zone 2 Moderate Intensity Zone (70 to 80% of Heart Rate Max)
    Improves aerobic fitness, improves endurance, helps in weight control, accustoms your body to exercising at a faster pace, and begins to raise the speed that you can maintain without building up lactic acid.
  • Zone 3 Hard Intensity Zone (80 to 90% of Heart Rate Max)
    Increases muscles’ tolerance to lactic acid and improves hard, short effort ability.

There are tests available that can accurately determine your heart rate ranges but they can be beyond the reach of many people. So, how can you start to figure out your heart rate ranges and then begin to vary your workouts to achieve the results you want?

While you are exercising, picture a scale from 0 to 10 and ask yourself “how hard am I working?” Use the following descriptions to figure out how hard you are working and then convert that number to a %. For example, if you choose level 6 it roughly corresponds to 60% of your heart rate max. Measure your heart rate at that point and plug your number into the ranges above. It’s a start at heart rate training.

If your answer is 0 to 5 you may not be working hard enough to accomplish your goals or you are just beginning an exercise program.

Perceived Exertion Chart

Level 6: This is the feeling you might get when you are walking somewhere and are very late for an appointment. You know you can maintain this level for your exercise session. Your breathing is somewhat deep and you are aware of it.

Level 7: You are exercising vigorously. There is a definite feeling of fatigue, but you are quite sure you can maintain this level through your exercise session. Your breathing is deep. You can carry on a conversation but you would probably prefer not to.

Level 8: You are exercising very vigorously. There is a definite feeling of fatigue. You think you can maintain this pace for your exercise session but you are not completely sure. You can carry on a conversation but you definitely don’t want to.

Level 9: You are exercising very, very vigorously. You can’t maintain this level for a whole exercise session. Your breathing is labored and you can’t carry on a conversation. Be cautious before trying this level and have a significant aerobic training base.

Use these ranges as a guideline and get to know YOUR BODY and YOUR HEART as you workout. If you need additional help measuring your ranges, or would just like some advice on exercises for each zone, visit us in the Fitness Center! One of our certified personal trainers would be happy to give you advice on how to use the fitness center equipment or our training services to better reach your goals.

Prepared by Anne Tremel
Certified Personal Trainer
Exercise Is Medicine Program Director
Elite Sports Clubs-Brookfield
www.eliteclubs.com

Official Guidelines for Physical Activity

Beginning an exercise program has become one of the most important public health issues of today.

United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently met with combined support from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) and released jointly published physical activity recommendations. These separate guidelines collectively and effectively support each other and are all based on the most relevant science available that links physical activity to improved health and wellness.

  • ACSM/AHA guidelines focus on 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity five days a week.
  • HHS guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, an amount most reasonable on five days a week at a duration of 30 minutes.

The associations note that the core recommendation as it relates to health gains of physical activity are highly consistent.  These recommendations conclude that relatively modest amounts of physical activity will improve the health and cardio-respiratory fitness of inactive persons, while expanded health gains, such as weight loss or weight maintenance, require more than the minimum 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.

“Guidelines for physical activity have long been based on research demonstrating that even relatively moderate amounts of physical activity will have positive benefits on health,” said William Haskell, Ph.D., FACSM, lead author of the ACSM/AHA guidelines.  “A very important idea, especially for people who are inactive, is that health and physical activity are closely linked.  The more days a week that you can be active or accumulate some activity, the higher the significance for your health and wellness.”

“Numerous studies now suggest that if we can simply move people out of the lowest levels of cardio-respiratory fitness, it can have a profound (and beneficial) impact on public health”, says Barry A. Franklin, PhD, national American Heart Association spokesperson and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Adults & Older Adults

Strong Evidence:

  • Lower risk of:
    Early death
    Heart disease
    Stroke
    Type 2 diabetes
    High blood pressure
    Adverse blood lipid profile
    Metabolic syndrome
    Colon and breast cancers
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Weight loss when combined with diet
  • Improved cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness
  • Prevention of falls
  • Reduced depression
  • Better cognitive function (older adults)

Moderate to Strong Evidence:

  • Better functional health older adults
  • Reduced abdominal obesity

Moderate Evidence:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower risk of lung and endometrial cancers

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Children & Adolescents

Strong Evidence:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness
  • Favorable body composition
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers
  • Moderate Evidence
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression

In summary, the investment in a daily 30 minute or more exercise regiment betters your quality of life, delays diseases and reduces the medical expenses regardless of your age or your current condition. There is no time sooner than the present to invest your time and energy in a professionally developed and administrated physical fitness program.

Choosing the Right Goal & Finding Success

Everyone works out for different reasons.  Whether it is to lose weight, get stronger, to lean up and tone the body, help prevent health issues or fight against family history, it is important that whatever your reason or objective is that you first define your goal and make sure that it is right for you to help you find success.  Setting a goal that is unrealistic or purely based on an urge, no matter how well intentioned it may be, is only going to set you up for failure and ultimately lead you to stop working out.  So when you decide that you want to get started in an exercise program or start leading a healthy lifestyle, there are six simple steps that you can take to make sure that your goal is right for you.

The first step that you need to take is to make the goal personal and share it with someone you trust and feel comfortable with.  If you aren’t starting an exercise program for yourself, whether it’s to look better, feel better or to get healthy, there isn’t anything binding you to it.  We always know that there is an out.  When we make the goal about us and it is something that we feel passionately about and when someone else knows about it, we are going to do anything and everything we can to make sure that we succeed.

The second step in making sure that your goal is right for you and a success is to make it specific.  Losing weight is the number one goal that I hear.  And while that is a worthy goal, it isn’t specific enough to make you feel satisfied.  A one pound weight deficit is still losing weight, but I doubt that was your goal.  So the questions is, how much weight do you want to lose?

The next step is to make sure that the goal is measurable.  To get healthier is a very commendable goal, but how can you tell if you are reaching your goal?  You want the goal to be measurable so that you can get baseline numbers that can be compared against throughout your training.  What was your initial weight?  What was your initial blood pressure and resting heart rate?  Where are you starting at with your aerobic capacity?  All of these factors can be measured so that 3 months, 6 months, 12 months down the road, you can go back and check them to determine your progress and if no progress is being made, to make adjustments so that you can.

The fourth step to deciding the appropriate goal is to make it action oriented.  This means to determine a plan that is going to get you to reach your goal in the safest, most efficient way possible.  Often, the best way to go about this is to set up an appointment with a personal trainer or physician to have them set up a program for you.  You want to make sure that you are working at the proper intensities based upon your current fitness level and then progress your workout at the proper moment to maximize your results.  It is important that this program works within your everyday lifestyle so that adherence to the program is easier where it can be scheduled into your day so that there aren’t any excuses.

The fifth step is to make your goal realistic.  This may sound simple enough but more often than not, perception and reality don’t match.  Again, if weight loss is your goal, determining how much weight you can expect to lose or is a healthy amount to lose is not an easy task, but is also crucial in determining your success and eventual happiness.  Again, here is another time with this particular goal that making an appointment with a personal trainer or physician is an integral part of the process.  These individuals will be able to determine your current body composition, factor in any health risks, and determine what is realistic and safe and then help guide you through the process.

The sixth and final step is to make your goal timed.  This means simply when do you want to achieve your goal by?  Putting an end date to your goal gives you something to work toward, as opposed to leaving it open ended where there is no real rush to achieving it.
So by following these steps, not only will you find success in achieving your goal, but you will also know that it is truly the right goal for you.  And when that happens, you feel better about yourself, you are happier, feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and are more likely to keep exercise a part of your life!

Sincerely,
Luke Lewitzke
A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Clubs
(262) 241-4250