Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Class That Can Save YOUR Life!

by Heather Szczepiorkowski

If you knew you could take a class and reduce the chance of your kids or you dying, you would take it immediately.  We put on sunscreen to protect our skin from damage.  We try to pick the best foods for our kids to eat - sometimes even spending a little extra for those treats they love.  We do all those things for our families - to help keep them safe and be the best they can be.

It seems a bit too early, when you look out the window, to be thinking of water safety.  But summer is right around the corner, and we want you and your family to be ready with timely swim lessons at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center (UVAC).

When I was growing up, before we headed out the door for school, my Mom would line us up and give each of us a teaspoon of cod-liver oil.  It was gross, but it was good for us.  (Check out the blog on DHA for more info about the benefits of fish oils.)

I digress a bit, but my point is that in taking good care of your family, you don't want to forget those swim lessons -Why?

  • A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.

  • 70% of all preschoolers who drown are in the care of one or both parents at the time of drowning. 75% are missing for 5 minutes or less.

So in case you have not noticed, at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center (UVAC) we take water safety pretty seriously!!  

At UVAC we have swim lessons for everyone in your family.  Swim lessons for babies, kids and for Adults.   Do you have a teenager in need of a good summer job, we also have Lifeguard certification and recertification training. And for the 11 and over child, we offer Babysitter Training.  And while we are on the topic of summer safety and your family's safety, we also offer First Aid AED/CPR training.  

Why at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center?  Here are just a few of the reasons why UVAC stands out!
  • Warm water pool - our pool temp is an extremely comfortable 86 degrees.  Maybe someone in your family has experienced the "water is too cold blues"  well you won't find that here!
  • Participants are thoughtfully placed by ability into small lesson groups - so providing just the right amount of instruction at just the right time.
  • 1/2 hour play time before or after the lesson - a great chance for your child to practice those newly acquired skills after the lesson or warm up before.
  • We want everyone in the family in the water - so as your child is getting a swim lesson, day passes are 1/2 off for the rest of the family.  Bring those extra suits and goggles along!

So say yes to swim lessons now - and of course shop for that new swimsuit if you dare!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

8 Tips for Weight Loss Success

There have been a number of things that we have learned since we started running Shed and Shred our six or eight week, group training and weight loss program.   

These are 8 Tips we have come up with for losing weight:

1. Count your calories.  Your best bet for losing weight is tracking what you are putting into your body.  This probably won’t be something you will do for the rest of your life, but it will definitely help teach you how many calories are in the foods you are eating.  You will also need to weigh or measure your food—best option here is to put a kitchen scale (available for about $20 at your favorite box store) on the kitchen counter.

2. Make exercise a priority and part of your routine.  If exercise remains one of those things you put off until the weekend—like the laundry—it will be harder to get the ball rolling.  Making it part of your weekly schedule will help keep you on track.  If you are a very busy person, block it off in your schedule.

3. Get a buddy, personal trainer, or join a class.  Being accountable to someone will help you immensely!  When you don’t feel like going to the gym, having an appointment will keep you from blowing it off.  You will always feel better after you workout!

4. Be consistent with exercise and food.  When you over eat on some days and under eat on others, we notice that weight loss slows.  Your best option here is to keep things consistent.  If your diet and exercise are consistent and you aren’t losing weight, you can choose one thing to change.  If you are all over the place with your food and exercise and you aren’t losing weight, you will never know what the problem is.

5. Drink plenty of water and avoid consuming excess salt.  Our bodies are made up of 60% water and your body works much better when it is properly hydrated.  I have had clients who were doing everything right except drinking enough water.  They were stuck in a constant state of dehydration and they weren’t losing weight.  Once they started drinking more water the weight started coming off. Adding salt to your food will cause you to retain water.  As the salt ions enter your cells, water will follow to maintain a proper electrolyte balance.  When this happens you will get thirsty and drink water.  All that extra water will come in, but it won’t go out.  I’ve seen a swing of 5 pounds overnight because of a very salty meal.  There is 1 pound of water in 1 pint—it doesn’t take long to put on an extra pound or two of excess water.

6. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound.  Setting a goal of losing 25 pounds in an 8 week period is not a smart goal.  Losing 1-1.5 pounds per week is considered healthy weight loss which means a total of 8-12 pounds in an 8 week period.

7. Be open to lifestyle change.  Many people do not put on a lot of excess weight because they are eating healthy.  Being open to reevaluating what you are really doing for food is a must.  Eating pizza and hamburgers for dinner is not eating healthy.  Be open to eating more fruits and veggies!

8. Get enough sleep.  Not only does lack of sleep affect cognitive function—we all can attest to that, I’m sure (if you can’t, wait until you have kids)—but it also affects performance in the gym.  Just like the water example, I’ve seen clients who started to lose weight after a plateau once they started sleeping better.

If you are interested in losing weight and need a jump start, our next session of Shed and Shred starts Monday March, 10th!  Register today at the Welcome Desk.  If you have any questions about Shed and Shred, contact John Grainger at jgrainger@uvac-swim.org  today!

by John Grainger
BA, MS, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, UVAC Fitness Center Director and Personal Trainer

Monday, February 17, 2014

How Upper Valley Aquatic Center Changed My Life

Here are the inspiring stories of four Upper Valley Aquatic Center members who have found real change here in our facility with our trainers and staff. We are a home away from home and a moral support to them all and we are PROUD to have them as our members.

Natalie Thompson

Natalie Thompson
"For my entire adult life I have always been obese. Before moving to Vermont for a travel nursing assignment in August I had given up on weigh loss all together and decided that I just needed to accept that this was who I was. A couple of weeks after the move I did decide to join the Upper Valley Aquatic Center and try to start working out. I went to my free first personal training session with no intent of getting a personal trainer, however even though I was completely out of shape John never made me feel like I was the fat girl or make me feel out of place. John has not only helped me lose the weight but has been there for me every step of the way on this physically and emotionally trying journey. With his encouragement I am pursuing new goals that I could had never imagined 6 months ago!"
Lester Dropkin

Lester Dropkin
When I turned 40, I weighed 265 and decided it was time to lose weight.  I went on a diabetic diet (low salt and fat) and exercised.  I lost 85 pounds in 9 months.  For the next two decades I have tried to keep the weight off.  With the help of Katherine MacPherson and john Grainger of Uvac, I have adjusted my exercises due to the aches and pains of getting old and have kept 60 off. "

Maria Borowy
"I was 238 pounds at my heaviest by the fall of 2010. My annual visit a year earlier in 2009, showed my Blood Sugars were getting in a pre-diabetic range, and by early 2011 my attending physician called me a well-controlled Type II diabetic.
Maria Borowy

Needless to say, I was in denial from day one and very concerned about this diagnosis. I did not accept the diabetic label and started my turn around on January 27, 2011. I joined the Points Plus program of Weight Watchers International and have not looked back.
I argued with my AP about whether I was ever in fact a "diabetic", because the parameters of this diagnosis were changed during the period affecting me and that in fact that I was only pre-diabetic and not ever a confirmed diabetic at all. I am happy to report my AP has agreed to my point at issue and has taken diabetes type II off my record. I have had normal blood sugar since early spring 2011.

I joined the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in the Spring of 2011. I started with Evelyn in Zumba and then decided to re-try the Spinning Program at UVAC. I soon became a regular at Deb and Corey sessions, and I braved Jen's now and again. I take a Spinning class at least 4 days a week, and I do two of these sessions with Deb's Spin/Kinesis, I down hill ski, enjoy gardening and a good political novel. I am married to the Principle Engineer at Hypertherm and have two beautiful daughters both attending University in Canada.

I have lost a total of 70 pounds and I am up or down 5 pounds because life has its moments. I have changed my life style and have made exercise and eating healthy top priorities.

I am 55 years old and want women and men my age, younger, and older to know that Diabetes is a killer. It wreaks havoc on the Heart, Eyes, and immune system. And frankly, limb amputations are not anything a person should bring on themselves."

Kathleen Danforth

Kathleen Danforth

"After smoking for 35 years and trying to quit millions of times, I tried something different and joined UVAC. The instructors cared about my success and helped me tremendously.  I have met a whole new circle if friends.  Uvac is now one of the most important points of my life and this year I am learning to swim laps!"

Would you like to tell us YOUR story?  
Send your before and after photo along with your story to kmacpherson@uvac-swim.org and receive a FREE personal training session. In sending your story and photo, you agree to let us tell others about your accomplishment via print, web or other advertising. Be an inspiration to those who need it most!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Experience at the Olympic Training Center

By Hannah Cox, UVAC Swim Team 

On Thursday October 24, 2013 Dorsi and I flew out to Colorado Springs for the National Select Camp. After a long flight we finally arrived at the Olympic Training Center. Over the next three days, 31 other girls and I shared tightly packed days filled with meetings, swim practices, and meals. The ten meetings we had were informative and inspirational. We heard from USA swimming coaches about race day execution skills, starts and turns, USADA, nutrition, and from national athlete, Laura Sogar. 

Before and after meetings we had swim practices where we were split up into different groups. I swam with the distance group. The practices were hard but everyone was encouraging and supportive. After practices and before the following meetings, we all headed to the dining hall where we ate delicious food and drank a lot of chocolate milk. During the scheduled events each day I was able to meet a lot of swimmers and start building new friendships with these girls. I am very grateful for the opportunity and how much I was able to learn while at the Olympic Training Center. I am also thankful for my UVAC family, teammates and coaches for all their support.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Treadmill Doesn't Have To Be Your Dreadmill

  With the recent ice storm last weekend, slippery roads and our dark cold New England mornings, I am reminded that the treadmill is really my friend. It’s easy to think of it as the “dreadmill”. Am I a hamster in a wheel? It doesn’t have to be a boring and mind numbing exercise. In fact, I have actually found that for some runs and for some of the athletes I coach a treadmill is preferred for certain workouts.

Most of us don’t have access to an indoor track and getting on a track during a January ice storm, well, you might as well pick up speed skating or luge. If you don’t own a treadmill it’s pretty easy to find a club with flexible hours that will accommodate your busy schedule. Even in warmer weather getting track time around the high school track teams workouts, or the college team can also be a challenge.

I find the treadmill especially good for some speed workouts. The treadmill keeps you honest. You control the pace, so if you are trying to do 800’s at a 7:00 pace you can control that pace. Whereas, if you were running outside it would be easy to let yourself slow down as you get fatigued. The treadmill is also an excellent trainer for doing negative splits. You can hop on a treadmill and know exactly what your workout needs to be and finish with a sense of accomplishment. You might even find that the treadmill makes you faster.

I don’t recommend that you do all your runs or interval training on a treadmill. When the weather gets warmer, test yourself on the track. Are you holding the same pace as you were when you were running on the treadmill?  

As with any run, always consider good form. Where are your arms? Not crossing the body, but at 90%. Are you relaxed? Not holding tension in your arms or shoulders? Are you landing over the center of gravity? How is your cadence?

So put on some good tunes, lace up your kicks and embrace the treadmill!  Remember to focus on the process and not always the outcome. Time to do the work and good things will come.

Robin Asbury



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Zumba - hot pink hightops and having a blast!

by Heather Szczepiorkowski

What’s up with those hot pink hightops!  When I saw Evelyn stroll in with her pink sneakers, I knew we were in for fun.  As I have been interning here, I have noticed this class - this class that was dancing, sweating, kicking, belly dancing and yet smiling!!  I thought – I've got to try this out!

Was Zumba made for Evelyn or was Evelyn made for Zumba?  Hard to say- but here's what I  know – Zumba at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center is a blast!!  
Evelyn flows with the music effortlessly.  Don’t get me wrong though, this is definitely a work out.  Somehow to the rhythm of the music, we get in lots of squats, kicks and arm work.  Not to mention it
being a total cardio workout!!  Want a great workout and keep coming back for more
- try Zumba!!


Spinning - an Intern's view - awesome and need to bring two water bottles!

by Heather Szczepiorkowski

I'm back and still having fun!  As an intern for UVAC, one of the great things is that I can exercise right at my work-site! Today I took my first class.  Spinning.  I have been wanted to attend this class for a while.

First of all the setting is beautiful.  I think it is one of the most scenic exercise rooms I have ever been in. There were floor to ceiling windows - on one side a view of the outdoors with the bright fall foliage.  Perfect for when you need to bike indoors.  On the other side of the room, windows with a fantastic view of the splash park.  Here is a view from the room of the pool.

Corrie - the instructor introduced herself and helped me to adjust my bike properly explaining that the seat and the handle bars should be roughly the same height - something I had never known.

She was great in coaching us throughout the class - talking us up and down hills, flowing through the flats!!  It was not hard to imagine as the beautiful scenery was right in front of us.

Also just when I needed it, a fresh breeze came to the room as the fans were cranked!  All in all a great first class! My goal is to be in great biking shape when the spring arrives.

My only wish was that I had two water bottles instead of one!