One (not-so-secret) Secret to Becoming Happier & Healthier

By Tom “Yogaman” Feest, Elite Sports Clubs Exhale Studios Director

In our fast-paced and demanding world, the ability to manage our health is becoming increasingly harder. Balance your lifestyle, as well as manage your mind and body. Become happier, healthier, and more effective in your everyday life–How? Yoga!

It's no secret, yoga makes you happier and healthier

Living a Yoga-Centric Lifestyle:

  • Relieve stress
  • Restore, relax and energize your body
  • Increase fitness and lean muscle growth
  • Improve your mood, focus and overall energy levels
  • Ease aches, stiffness and back pains

Start developing overall well-being and better health now!

Yoga is a gift, a pathway to better health, a pathway that has changed many lives, including my own. (Tell us how yoga has changed your life! Share your story!) Yoga can enhance every aspect of your inner life; yoga can help you generate strength, grace, as well as healing in your body, in your mind and in your heart. As we make ourselves feel better, our body gets stronger, more flexible and healthier. At the end of class you may have feelings of joy, a sense of peace, rejuvenation and a feeling of compassion during meditation, as we turn our attention inwards.

Some come to yoga seeking refuge, others needing a challenge. I ask only that you come to class with no expectations, no judgment and above all no competition. We don’t come to yoga to compete because being competitive is actually counter–productive, we come to yoga to find peace with our inner connection. A mindful yoga practice will bring results and as you increase your yoga practice over the weeks and months you will notice those results.

There are many variations of yoga such as; Beginners, Restorative, Vinyasa, Power Flow and many other styles at all of Elite Sports Clubs’ Exhale Studios. Styles and intensity will vary depending on the type and the demographics of the class. There is a style for you, just attend a class and soon you will find a connection between you, the instructor and your fellow yogis in the class.

Find a yoga instructor that regularly attends conferences and additional seminars staying current with the ever changing world of yoga. As a result, they will be able to make correct anatomy adjustments, and safe modifications, while being up to date with new yoga poses and movements.

You can view our full yoga schedule on our online calendar. Or contact us if you need help figuring out which class is right for you.

Namaste


Tom Feest, Yogaman Elite Exhale Studios DirectorFeest, who has been a yoga instructor at Elite for five years, will now manage all of the clubs Mind/Body programs and provide business and educational support to the clubs 45 yoga instructors. Over the past few years, Feest has been instrumental in helping Elite Sports Clubs grow its Exhale Yoga Studios, a “club within a club” approach focused on providing a relaxing studio atmosphere and wide variety of yoga classes and workshops directed by certified instructors.

“Yoga was something I did when I needed to release stress, tension, and anxiety from personal and work life issues and it became a passion,” said Feest. “The sense of peace and rejuvenation as well as physical benefits that yoga provides is a gift that I want to share with everyone who attends classes here.”

Feest is also well-known for establishing his popular yoga classes at Bradford Beach during summer and fall which now draw close to one hundred participants.

“Tom is one of the most dedicated yoga practitioners I’ve ever met and we are fortunate that he will bring his great skill level and love for yoga to all of our Elite clubs.” said Kay Yuspeh, owner of Elite Sports Clubs.

Back to School Means Back to a Routine

It’s amazing how quickly summer comes and goes. Before you know it, the air is crisp, the leaves are turning and the sweaters are coming out of the back of the closet. Just because cold-weather clothing provides a little more coverage, doesn’t mean we have to let that summer body go. With “back to school” time comes a little more routine and therefore the capability for a consistent workout strategy to help you maintain that physique you worked so hard for this summer.

Back to School Back to Routine

Try some of the tips below to get started in creating your own Back to School Fitness Routine.

  • Just like you plan out the kids’ schedules on the family calendar, build in some workout time for yourself as well. Remember, just 30 minutes a day can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Things can get hectic and you may not be able to get away on your own to the gym. Don’t forget to take advantage of your health club’s child services or playroom. If unavailable, try playing basketball with the kids or taking advantage of the pool. We often forget that play is not just fun, but also a good workout.
  • Be prepared for your workouts, otherwise you will be more likely to skip them. When you pack your kids’ lunches, pack your gym bag or set out your clothes/shoes for your morning run.
  • If you think of working out as something as necessary as brushing your teeth, you won’t feel inclined to pass it up if you get busy. It will just become a part of your daily routine.
  • Be flexible and get creative. Sometimes the unexpected will interfere with your plans, that’s inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up over it though. Take a deep breath, and re-adjust. See if your group exercise class is offered at a different time or club location, or even do squats and lunges while you make dinner.
  • Stay fit by incorporating workouts into family activities. Take date night out of the restaurant and onto bikes in the park. Turn family game night away from board games and into the backyard. Who doesn’t love a good game of Kick the Can or Ghost in the Graveyard?

Back to School Check List

Remember, back to school time isn’t all about the kids, it’s about you too. Summer will be back again before you know it!

Are you excited to get back into a routine? What about your workout routine changes between summer and the school year?

Don’t forget to get the kids back into a routine too with Elite Sports Clubs youth tennis lessons and youth swim lessons! Registration is now open for Fall and Winter sessions!

Use Exercise to Reduce Stress

By Amy Hall, Group Exercise Director & Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-North Shore

Who among us isn’t stressed in some way or another? As we go through life we experience many situations that can lead to either short or long-term stress. I’m not about to start naming them, but I can certainly give first hand testimony to that! Raise your hand if you agree…

Exercise Relieves Stress

Okay, so how do you handle it? Exercise! It’s a proven stress-buster. Just one exercise session can generate 90-120 minutes of relaxation response. This is caused in part by the increase in production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. They improve your mood and leave you feeling relaxed. Clinicians have actually done studies on this and have measured a post-workout decrease in the electrical activity of tensed muscle and an increase in the flow of oxygen.

Exercise can also be a very positive distraction from life’s daily struggles. Concentrating on your body’s movements can cause you to forget about whatever else may be on your mind and replace it with a new sense of calm and balance. This creates a reduction in anxiety which may continue on to other aspects of your life and even improve your quality of sleep.

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Any form of movement will do as long as it’s something you enjoy so that you’ll stick with it and want to do it on a regular basis – that’s the key. For some exercisers an all-out sweat session is in order, while for others the focused and controlled movements of yoga or pilates are more desirable. All varieties are sure to improve your mood and body, therefore increasing your self-confidence.

Think about what works for you, your body and your daily schedule. Make it a priority and write it on your calendar. Work out alone or ask a friend to be your workout buddy. Find a personal trainer who can motivate, inspire, and encourage you to reach your goals. Make it your controlled environment, you have the power. Stop stressing and start moving!

Check out our Mind/Body calendar for a list of yoga & pilates classes. Or get started with a personal trainer (special training packages available for new members!)

What do you do to reduce the stress in your life? How does exercise affect your stress levels? Tell us in the comments!

Member Stories: Eric Ensminger “110 Pounds Later-Racing with Friends, Inspiring Others”

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:

No secret way to lose the weight and get fit – Diet and Exercise

I was 36 and not satisfied with a lot of things in my life. I was overweight with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My family has a history of stroke and heart attack. To compound the issue, I was carrying a lot of stress due to work/life in-balance issues.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2006 – Time for a Change
I vowed that summer to lose 10 pounds by eating better and walking when I played golf. By September, I met that goal and set my mind on losing an additional 10 lbs. I continued to play more golf and ate healthy and limited alcohol. By November, I had lost another 10. The golf season was over and holidays were coming soon. I joined a gym and met with a personal trainer once. My workouts included walking and bike riding and by the end of 2006, I was 25 pounds down.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2007 – Plateau
My goal was a BMI of 23.5, center of the average range. That Spring I joined a Capoeira (Brazilian Kick Boxing) group. By May, I was frustrated. According to the charts my BMI had reached a plateau. For the second time, I met with my trainer. She accurately measured my body fat at 17.5. I had BLOWN past my goal. She was not surprised; I became an athlete. I was 60 lbs lighter than high school graduation.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

In October, a friend suggested racing. Convinced I could do it, I registered for my first race and haven’t looked back.

2008 – Inspiration
I raced my first duathlon, 5K, triathlon; eight events in total. Late that season, I was in the top 20%.

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

I encouraged those around me to become healthier and more active. Some had never run before, started racing. Friends who were overweight said, “Eric if you could do it, so can I.”

2009 – Firsts
Half Marathon
Olympic distance triathlon
Teaching a beginning running class linked with weight loss
Biking and discussing slow foods with my daughter to show her the importance of a healthy lifestyle

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2010 – Getting Ready for Ironman
Full marathon – 3 hours, 52 minutes
Half Ironman Triathlon – 5 hours, 39 minutes
Race the Lake – 90 mile bike race 3 hours, 50 minutes

2011 – The Year of a Lifetime
2012 Olympic Triathlon Course in London as a test event
Ironman Wisconsin
NYC Marathon

2012
Ironman Louiseville 96 degrees

Elite Member Eric Ensminger

2013
Planned Ironman Tahoe

Eric is an amazing example of what one can do with a little help and a lot of determination. Not only has he accomplished great things himself, but he has inspired others to do so as well. Congratulations Eric on your weight loss and racing success!

Submit your own “elite” story. Or tweet us @MyEliteStory with not just your major accomplishments, but also those little everyday wins too.

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.