Member of the Quarter- Valaida Wise

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Valaida Wise, 61, saw a picture from her son’s wedding and didn’t recognize herself. Shocked and saddened from the picture, and worried that her doctor felt her health was in danger, Valaida had the push she needed to begin her weight loss journey.

Prior to joining RCSC, Valaida had tried other gyms but never followed through. Life seemed to always get in the way. Her experience at Rock Creek started with a free introduction to the gym by personal trainer Kolon Diallo.

“I loved it (although I was convinced I was dying after the first workout),” says Valaida.

With her history of starting and stopping exercise routines, Valaida felt she needed an external push to keep motivated. She joined RCSC and started training with Kolon once a week. When Kolon took a leave of absence to attend graduate school, Valaida was introduced to Caity. The two now train three times a week and Valaida comes in at least two other times on her own.

“Caity’s knowledge of nutrition and weight loss management coupled with her sunny (but tough) disposition was just what I needed.”

Valaida started dropping weight and feeling better. She and Caity mapped out how to reach her ultimate goal of 155lbs, which would require her to lose more than 70 lbs. They talked about the mindset she needed to have and ultimately how she wanted to feel.

“I’ve found that every time I meet my goal I want to push it farther,” says Valaida.

One goal was to deadlift 120lbs. She exceeded that goal by 30lbs and immediately set a new goal for 200! Valaida also plans to compete in her first powerlifting meet. She says her favorite part of her transformation is the reaction from others. Some don’t recognize her! Her absolute favorite thing to do is show people the video of her 150lb deadlift!

“I love the fact that Caity gets excited when I want to do more. It makes me want to “go for it”!”

Caity says what helps Valaida reach her goals is her ability to turn a big task into small manageable steps.

“She realized the importance of small day-to-day decisions and was able to get exactly where she wanted to be. And if you ask her, she’ll say, ‘I’m not done,’” says Caity.

Valaida notes several rough patches along the way, such as going backwards on weight loss and injuring her shoulder. This is where Caity’s support really shows itself, including the pictures Caity would send to Valaida, with words of encouragement, to show her how far she’s come.

“Having someone to help you refocus, to remind you of your long-range plan and to remind you of how far you’ve come is vital,” says Valaida.  “I remember, when I was at my heaviest, going up one flight of stairs was torture. Now, I run up and down “flights” of stairs and I’m not winded. I have to say thank you to Caity and Kolon for helping me get this far and to RCSC for providing such a wonderful place to get healthy and have fun,” says Valaida.

She states she loves everything about RCSC, from Hadji greeting members by name, to the friendliest front desk staff, to feeling like being part of a large family. But, the top of her list has to be the trainers, who she believes makes RCSC what it is.

“Kolon was wonderful with his gentle but positive push and Caity Adams is sunshine on steroids while still being a serious fitness expert.”

Member of the Quarter- Elisabeth Boas

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Elisabeth, 68, has been a member since August, 2016. She currently trains with Caity and does Pilates with Madie. Interesting, kind, funny and well read, wearing spectacular vivid-colored hand-knit socks, and possessing all things red– car, clothing, shoes, purse, wallet–Madie notes, ‘to know Elisabeth is to imagine her curled up on a plush sofa reading a great book, taking a week-long University summer course, or touring art galleries.” But working out, was never really for her. She simply was not accustomed to exercising.

Before joining RCSC, she depended on activities of everyday life for her physical ‘workouts’.

“I tried persuading myself that hauling groceries, traveling up/down the stairs, walking to and from the car would suffice as exercise,” says Elisabeth.

“Her good eating habits, small frame, and light weight reinforced her belief she did not need to exercise her body as long as she exercised her mind,” Madie says.

Her journey with Caity and Madie started immediately after joining the club. Elisabeth responded to an ad that offered a facility tour and multi-day pass to RCSC. When she called, it was Caity who answered the phone. On that same day, she signed up for a series of private Pilates sessions with Madie and scheduled her complimentary personal training session with Caity.

Her current workout routine involves Pilates and “whatever Caity suggests.” Elisabeth’s goals consist of progressing toward physical mastery and converting into someone who loves to go to the gym. Caity says her balance, flexibility, and endurance have improved a great bit.

“One of my favorite things about working with Elisabeth is when her eyes light up when she sees someone do an exercise that she thinks is impossible and then she does it” Caity said.

Madie has also seen her transform.  

“This is the best gift any student can give to a teacher,” Madie says of Elisabeth’s hard work and progress.

“I am the least likely person to be going to a gym, let along gushing about one,” Elisabeth says. “If RCSS can move me along in fitness, it can very likely be right for you…”

Member of the Quarter- Phil Tofilon

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Phil and Steve 2Phil Tofilon, a 62 year-old cancer research scientist at NIH, attends RCSC with his wife, Corie. Active in his youth, and an avid runner until 2013, Phil joined RCSC when lower back pain caused him to look for low-impact aerobic exercise and core strengthening.

Despite the changes in his exercise regime and ongoing physical therapy, his back problems continued. To alleviate pain and correct lack of mobility, he had surgery in January 2015 to fuse part of his lumber spine. Unfortunately, there were complications. Phil had to undergo three additional surgeries, spending four months in the hospital and two months in outpatient rehab to regain strength in his hands and to relearn how to walk.

Phil had been training with Steve Basdavanos in 2014. After his surgeries and rehab he returned to RCSC on walking sticks and started riding the recumbent bike. He then added intermittent training with Steve, which turned into weekly half hour sessions. A couple of months later they moved to 1-hour sessions, which they continue today. Phil’s goal was to walk well enough to hike the trails in Rock Creek Park with his wife and dogs. Through training with Steve, perseverance, discipline and motivation, Phil met his goal by Christmas of 2015. He has only continued to improve since that time!

Phil and Steve 3 Phil also works hard to slow any age-related decline in fitness. He now works out five days a week: three days focus on aerobics, flexibility and balance and two days on strength. One of the strength days is his training session with Steve, which also incorporates a focus on core work. Phil notes that today there is a great deal more information available on effective training methods as opposed to when he was younger, or even when his kids were growing up in the 90s. He appreciates that Steve has this knowledge and incorporates it their training sessions, creating challenging yet safe workouts.

“There are a number of ‘small’ muscles that are difficult to isolate, yet critical to balance,” says Phil. “Steve showed me the appropriate exercises to target these muscles, which I do on a regular basis. There is a fine line between working hard and risk for injury. It is important to have a qualified trainer that will push you up to the line”

Phil’s hard work is inspiring to anyone who has been set back due to surgery. If you see Phil, congratulate him for his perseverance and for being RCSC’s Member of the Quarter!

Member of the Quarter-Steve Ehrmann

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Angela and SteveSteve Ehrmann, 68, has always done push-ups and sit ups as a way to stay fit. In his 20’s and 30’s he enjoyed running. When that eventually caused permanent tendonitis and, later, bone spurs in both feet, he switched to bicycling. He started outdoors and moved to indoor cycling in the last ten years. It was around this time he joined Rock Creek Sports Club. “I wanted to put off getting rickety as I got older” he jokes. Steve felt the stationary bike wasn’t enough, but was intimidated by all the possibilities the Club had to offer, so he asked for a suggestion for a trainer.

“I’m so grateful they suggested Angela Sims,” he smiled.  “When I asked my wife to describe my philosophy of working out, her response was the same as mine: ‘Do what Angela says.’ I’ve been an educator all my life and I know great teaching when I see it.”

Steve started off training two sessions a week.  After many months, he felt that his progress was too slow; travel or catching cold could set him back.  He shifted to three weekly sessions and that has really helped.  Angela creates workouts for Steve that focus on flexibility, core, and balance. Steve is determined to continue his progress, despite the occasional set-back from injuries and illness and the challenges of travel. When he finds he has been away from the gym too long he becomes “stubborn” again about exercising and gets back into his routine!

Angela and Steve 2As a researcher and writer, exercising makes Steve feel mentally sharper. Weight loss helps him feel light on his feet and working out in general has helped ease aches and pains. RCSC staff have truly supported him in his journey.

“Wanting [Angela] to be proud of me is a lot of what keeps me going.” says Steve. He believes that when he is training with her he is able to summon up 2 to 3 times the endurance and reps than he could on his own.

And Angela is proud! She reports he no longer has frequent knee and shoulder pain and has progressed to heavy bench presses, chest flies, and decline leg presses.

“Even on days when he is not feeling his strongest, he comes to train anyway and always works hard, sometimes asking for heavier weights!” Angela says. “These are just some of the reasons I’ve nicknamed him ‘Champ’.”

Next time you see Steve, or Champ, be sure to congratulate him!

 

Member of the Quarter- Natalie Webb

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

1nataliewebbNatalie Webb used to be the type to work out only through occasional outdoor activities like kayaking or swimming; the types of things you can do on vacation.  But in January 2015 she joined Rock Creek Sports Club with the goal of losing 100 pounds by December 2016. By the end of 2015, Natalie had lost 52 pounds! Or, as she says, “5 – 10 pound bags of potatoes, 2.5 automobile tires, or more than 6 gallons of water”. Because of her incredible attitude and strong work ethic, we’ve named Natalie member of the quarter for the second quarter of 2017!

When Natalie first joined the club, she had also signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day, 150-mile cycling journey through the DC Capitol Region, to help motivate her and keep her on track to her goal. As a new member at RCSC, Natalie mentioned this to Hadji, our sales manager.

“He recommended Tina (Warnick) for the fitness consultation since she was a      cyclist and could help with my training” Natalie says. “He was right … She started where I was (over weight and out of shape) and helped me get ready for the ride through her informative yet fun training sessions. The variety of her workouts is exactly what I need.”

Natalie also added Pilates to her routine in order to add the 6th component to being a strong cyclist (that she learned from a cycling magazine); flexibility. Natalie was hooked quickly on Pilates Reformer sessions with Claudia Corwin.

“Though both deny it,” Natalie says. “I’m convinced that Tina and Claudia are coordinating my workouts.  The weekly training sessions with Tina (personal training) and Claudia (Pilates reformer sessions) complement each other.”

natalie Webb1

Like many, Natalie has had to overcome challenges, such as understanding that some weeks you won’t lose weight and finding the drive to come workout on cold, dark days. However, Natalie persevered and was able to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, as well as snowshoe and cross country ski in Vail; hike Sargent Mountain in Maine and run in Mayor Bowser’s Fit DC Annual Fresh Start 5k.  Natalie believes she couldn’t have done all of this without the support she receives from the staff and members of RCSC, especially Tina and Claudia. Natalie cites the friendly neighborhood feel the club has.

“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’” Natalie says.

Natalie now regularly works out five days a week, engaging in a mix of exercises, from spin,   Zumba, and independent cardio to Pilates and personal training sessions. Natalie says she feels better overall and that her “knees, back and hips are truly grateful for the weight loss.” She also says being active has helped her get better sleep and be more productive at work!

“Some of my best ideas and solutions to work issues have come to me when working out.”

Next time you see Natalie be sure to congratulate her on her hard work! If you would like to track her journey, she has been posting updates on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to follow her to hear more!

Facebook: Natalie Webb

Twitter: @NatalieWebbMSRD

Member of the Quarter – Kourtney Thomas

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Kolon and Kourtney plankIn 2015, after being a Rock Creek Sports Club Member for three years, Kourtney Thomas made some changes — she got a trainer, she got a new routine, and she lost a “whopping 95 pounds!”  Now, today we’re celebrating all of Kourtney’s hard work by naming her our Rock Creek Sports Club Member of the Quarter!

Kourtney is definitely what we would call one our of regulars!  Her typical workout schedule includes group classes like Zumba, Asa! African Dance, and BollyX four times a week; Boxing Fitness — a small group personal training class — on Sundays; 30 minutes of cardio with almost every workout, and personal training with Kolon Diallo, twice a week.

“Kolon is a great trainer and is simply an awesome person to work with,” Kourtney says. “Rain or shine, morning or evening, Kolon is always smiling and helpful, giving 100% to his clients. He keeps our sessions interesting and challenging, and he progressively tailors each workout to my skill level. Kolon is a great listener and always makes sure to check in with me to see how I’m progressing with my weight loss goals. I’m really grateful to have gotten the chance to work with and get to know him!”

During her sessions, Kourtney says they do everything from running, boxing, and strength training to resistance, training and cardio.

Kolon and Kourtney step up“Sometimes we’ll focus on legs and lower body, sometimes arms and upper body, sometimes core, and sometimes a whole body workout,” she adds.  “It has definitely paid off!… In addition to the pounds and inches I’ve lost, my fitness level has improved markedly. I feel stronger, faster, and more nimble – all thanks to Kolon.”
Kolon also encouraged Kourtney to sign up for our Reach the Beach Challenge this summer, and no surprise, she did “reach the beach!”

“I think it was a fun and cute way to get members engaged,” Kourtney says. “It gave me a sense of personal accomplishment, and I would definitely do it again.”

It’s challenges like that Kourtney says she used to stay away from in the past, but this last year has helped her feel strong and empowered, and she’s “so glad to get my fitness level back to where it was when I was younger!”

Living close by, you can find Kourtney working out at Rock Creek Sports Club almost every day of the week.
“Everyone is really friendly and I’ve gotten to know some of the other members, instructors, and trainers, so I feel like I’m part of a community when I’m there,” Kourtney explains.

So make sure you give her a high five next time you see her in the gym!

Member of the Quarter: Vernon Drew

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member Highlights, Member of the Quarter

Zach and VernonIn 2009, after turning 60 years old, Vernon Drew went to his doctor for a physical, and was surprised to hear that at 200 pounds, it was time to lose weight.

“I got mad and decided to get even,” Vernon said, and he joined Rock Creek Sports Club, mostly because it was close to his house and it looked like a “community gym.”  It was then that Vernon was offered a free personal training session with Zach Tochin, which little did he know at the time, was just the beginning of new, fit and healthy lifestyle.

Now here we are almost seven years later, and Vernon is our latest Member of the Quarter!

After Vernon’s first assessment and session with Zach, he was offered another free session in order for Zach to show him how to use several of the machines and a couple of bodyweight exercises.

“ [Afterward] I thought he would say, ‘See you around,’ Vernon said. “Instead he said, ‘ I could work with you if you want and think we could make some progress.’”

For the past six years Vernon has worked out twice a week with Zach, and recently added a third day in order to increase his weight-lifting numbers.  He says he appreciates Zach’s experience, knowledge, attention to form and safety, and his ability to program so that Vernon gets the most out of each session.

“Zach challenges and encourages me so that I meet goals and progress, “Vernon explained.  “He is fun, gives me the right grief, but always ends with ‘good job.'”  “Most importantly, Zach sees me as a person not a session, meaning he makes sure my session and the advice I get for working on my own is tailored to me not some set scheme.”

Vernon push up on Bosu

In addition to working out with Zach, Vernon also gets in some lighter weight work about two days a week. Plus he also gets in some cardio, such as using the stair-stepper, three days a week.

Vernon says that not only did he lose the weight his doctor his doctor had recommended, he has reduced the amount of medicine he was taking (including cholesterol meds), was able to say goodbye to using a CPAP machine, and has more energy.

“Also, I like that I can lift more than my 25 year old son.” Vernon joked. “Vanity, I know, but it is nice to have something on him.”

One of Vernon’s favorite things about Rock Creek Sports Club, is how friendly everybody is, even if you don’t know everyone’s name. So make sure you congratulate him next time you see him at the club!

Member of the Quarter: Joff Pincher

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member Highlights, Member of the Quarter

Zach and Joff 1When it comes to making positive changes in your life, it really helps to have a good attitude, and anyone here at Rock Creek Sports Club will tell you that Joff Pincher has one of the best.  With his upbeat personality — along with his hard work and outstanding progress— Joff was an easy choice for our Rock Creek Sports Club Member of the Quarter!

Joff tells us that there was a time he would have described himself as very fit, but after taking 10 years off from exercising, he decided to join Rock Creek Sports Club back in February to shed some weight and get healthy. Or as he joked, “I wanted to get fit enough to get fit.”

Joff, who’s a 52-year-old stay-at-home dad with twin 4-year-olds, says he was also looking for ways to combat diabetes, and he had read that strength training would be very beneficial.  So in addition to joining the gym, he also signed up to work with RCSC Personal Trainer, Zach Tolchin .

Joff works out with Zach twice a week now, focusing mainly on strength training, such as squatting. In addition to these sessions, with guidance from Zach, Joff also works out on his own 2-3 times a week, with free weights, plus some cardio work.

It’s paying off.

Since joining in February, Joff has lost 45 pounds, reduced his medication to 10% of what it was, and his blood pressure has dropped.

“If you pick up a 45-pound dumbbell, or plate, it’s a lot of weight,” Joff says enthusiastically. “ I had a made-to-measure suit and it simply doesn’t fit anymore. I told Marc (RCSC Manager) that I think he has to pay for it. None of my original gym gear fits either.”

These awesome results are especially encouraging for anyone on the fence about joining a gym.

“I’ve been super fit in my life,” Joff explains. “I was wondering if I was going to be disappointed in myself. I had a lot of catching up to do. My first ambition was just go to the gym, and nothing else.  And it’s been brilliant.  The Rock Creek Sports Club atmosphere, the coaches, the members, they are all very encouraging.”

Member of the Quarter: Maureen Zaniel

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

MaureenZaniel1When asked why she works out, Maureen Zaniel, had a multiple reasons to share. Reasons that brought her to the gym, a reason she decided to kick up the intensity, and a reason she’ll continue to keep coming back.

No matter what her goal is, one thing we at Rock Creek Sports Club know for sure, Maureen will reach it – which made her a perfect choice for our latest Member of the Quarter!

“At age 64, Maureen Zaniel can do more than most people half her age,” explains Sharon Sellers, Personal Training and Operations Manager at Rock Creek Sports Club.

It all started about 5 years ago when Maureen decided she wanted to lose some weight and increase her fitness, to help her tennis game.

“ I love to play tennis,” says Maureen, “I wanted to have a fitness regime to help with that.”

Then after moving to Silver Spring about a year and half ago, Maureen joined Rock Creek Sports Club. To keep up her game, she keeps her workout routine well-rounded by personal training with Kolon Diallo, small group Tabata Training with Sharon, and some light cardio, like walking and treadmill work.

MaureenZaniel2

But she didn’t stop there, when Maureen’s daughter made the announcement that she was getting married, Maureen told Sharon she wanted to make sure she had enough stamina to dance all night.

“I actually suggested to Sharon that I should have a couple of drinks before we did Tabata, you know, to simulate real life,” jokes Maureen.

Of course, they didn’t actually do that, but Kolon and Sharon made sure Maureen worked hard enough to have all the energy (and then some!) that was needed for this very important role.

“As Mother of the Bride, you’re on your feet the whole time,” says Maureen.  “I kept up with the party the whole night, AND made it to the bar later with all the kids!”

And, speaking of her daughter, Maureen says it’s the reason she’ll continue to make sure fitness is a part of her life.

“I think it’s important for your health, mostly,” she says. “I have one daughter and I would like to stay around for her as long as I can. She actually expects me to take care of her babies some day, so I need to be fit!”

Members of the Quarter: Jeffrey and Maude

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Maude

Husband and wife members – Jeffrey Madison and Maude Windsor have loved working out at Rock Creek Sports Club for the past dozen years or so.  So much in fact, that Jeffrey was willing to go the extra mile to make sure it remained a  community gym.

That’s just one of many reasons we have named them our Members of the Quarter!

A few years ago, when there was a possibility that Rock Creek Sports Club would turn into a national chain, Jeffrey was concerned that many of RCSC’s employees would lose their job, and in turn, it’s status as a neighborhood gym.

“I just figured if I could, I would not let that stand,” Jeffrey explained.  “When we realized that the key to the deal was acquiring the client list, I suggested we create a petition. The petition stated that the undersigned would quit their membership should the national chain buy the club. Our team worked tirelessly to get over 1400 of 1800 members to sign the petition within the two or three week deadline. That was like a gut punch to the national chain’s intentions!”

What made Rock Creek Sports Club worth saving?  According to Jeffrey, he loves it because it reminds him of the regular person gym in the movie “Dodgeball” — neighborly and a lot fun.  For Maude,  she said she had a great feeling after her very first visit, when she saw it wasn’t a “meat market.”

“RCSC is truly a neighborhood gym,” Maude agreed. “Everybody here is just trying to get a little fitness. That makes all the members friendly and loyal. Plus the staff really listen to your suggestions and comments.”

Though, with their busy schedules they don’t often find time to workout together, both Jeffrey and Maude find ways to make it into the gym at least a few times a week to keep up their fitness routine.

During the week, you may find Maude working out with one of her two trainers or walking on the treadmill while watching a DVD.  As for Jeffrey, he enjoys circuit weight-training and riding a stationary bike. Plus, they are both fond of taking therapeutic, detoxifying saunas.

“(Staying fit) adds to the quality of our lives,” they said.  “We just feel better when we work out. Plus staying the same size saves on having to buy new clothes!”

Members Of The Quarter: Sam & Melissa

Written by Paul. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Sam and MelissaWhen some of your favorite activities include rock climbing, scuba diving, and road racing motorcycles, you definitely have to stay fit! Which is why you’ll see one of our favorite couples — and our newest Members of the Quarter — Sam Fleming and Melissa Berkoff in the gym training several times a week getting ready for their next big adventure.

Member Of The Quarter: Bobbi Dittrich

Written by Paul. Posted in Blog, Member of the Quarter

Rock Creek Sports Club is proud to announce its newest Member of the Quarter, Bobbi Dittrich, a fitness enthusiast who dedicates herself to helping others.

Bobbi is no stranger to being active. She grew up playing baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis. Then later she joined the military where she said, “physical fitness was a natural evolution into everyday living.”